Friday, December 31, 2010

Maintaining the memories of genocide

The late J. Michael Hagopian escaped the mass murder that claimed the lives of as many as 1.5 million Armenians. Through his 12 films, the atrocity will remain visible to all who are willing to see.

Most who suffer unspeakably at the hands of others look for ways to forget, to resume a normal life as best they can. Some, however, assume the duty of witness in the hope that truthful memory will protect those who come after them. The passing of these heroic men and women ought not to go unremarked upon.

J. Michael Hagopian, who died this month in Thousand Oaks, was one such man. He was just 2 years old in 1915, when his parents hid him in a well behind their home because they believed they were about to be killed by Ottoman Turkish soldiers, who were massacring Armenians across eastern Anatolia. The soldiers ultimately passed them by because the boy's father, a physician, had treated his Turkish neighbors. The Hagopians immigrated to Fresno, escaping the mass murder that claimed the lives of as many as 1.5 million of their fellow Armenians in the 20th century's first genocide.

The toddler who was sheltered in a well went on to earn advanced degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard and to become a distinguished teacher at UCLA and Oregon State. His great contribution, though, was a series of 12 moving — indeed, heartbreaking — films documenting the attempted genocide of his people. The most sweeping of these, "The Forgotten Genocide," was nominated for an Emmy in 1976. He appeared in one of his own films, "Voices From the Lake," recalling that his mother had told him, "You can kill a people, but their voices will never die."

The voices of the Armenians still are struggling to be heard in some quarters. Contemporary Turkey, which has no political connection to the Ottomans, continues to defy history and decency, and denies the mass murder was the result of anything but wartime civil strife. It is a claim refuted by every serious observer in that period. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who coined the term "genocide" in 1943, began his lifetime's work on the subject by studying the organized murder of the Armenians and that of Iraq's Assyrians in 1933.

Thanks to an agreement Hagopian reached last spring with USC's Shoah Foundation, his vast archive of firsthand testimony by Armenian genocide survivors and witnesses to the Ottoman atrocities will be preserved and made available for study by scholars. Because of his courage and the Shoah Foundation, the voices of the Armenians will continue speaking to all who are willing to listen.

Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2010


Please remember to visit the 1915Club, a one of a kind website geared to help you recreate a virtual Armenia. Sign up, upload material, and share pirceless memories, photos, and stories of the past by visitng today!
We would also like to use this opportunity to thank you for being part of our continued effort to keep members around the world informed and aware of developments in and around the Armenian community.
On behalf of the Center for Armenian Remembrance, we wish you a healthy and Happy New Year!
Center for Armenian Remembrance

Thursday, December 23, 2010

SUPRISE -SUPRISE !!! U.S. Congress Avoids Vote On Armenian Genocide Bill

Representatives failed to adopt a resolution terming the World War I-era killings of more than 1 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey a genocide as it wrapped up its final session late on Wednesday.
The two main Armenian lobby groups in the United States gave conflicting explanations for what is a serious setback for their decades-long genocide recognition campaign. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) condemned the pro-Armenian Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in the “lame-duck” House for not bringing the draft resolution up for a vote. The less radical Armenian Assembly of America insisted, however, that its passage was far from guaranteed because more than a hundred lawmakers mostly supportive of the measure have left Washington after approving a crucial spending bill on Tuesday. A senior Assembly representative told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the number of absentees rose to almost 170 by Wednesday afternoon. He said Pelosi, the outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and other pro-Armenian congressmen “have really extended themselves in working to get the resolution passed in ways that most people will never know.”The Assembly’s executive director, Bryan Ardouny, likewise praised the “steadfast leadership” of these lawmakers, in a statement issued later on Wednesday. He said they “provided guidance and invaluable assistance throughout this process.”
U.S. -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at a press conference in Washington, DC, 28Sep2008The ANCA put the blame squarely on the House leadership, however. “Armenian Americans are angered and disappointed by the failure of Speaker Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership to honor their commitment to allow a bipartisan majority to vote for passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution,” its chairman, Ken Hachikian, said in a statement. “Speaker Pelosi clearly had the majority, the authority, and the opportunity to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution, yet refused to allow a vote on this human rights measure,” Hachikian claimed. Assembly leaders believe that the vote would have been too risky in those circumstances. They say the bill’s rejection by the House would have set back the recognition drive, the main focus of Armenian-American activism, by many years. The Turkish government, meanwhile, welcomed the defeat of the measure. “As decades-long friends and allies, Turkey and the U.S. will continue to work for global peace, prosperity and stability,” the Turkish ambassador in Washington, Namik Tan said, according to the Associated Press. Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent U.S. President Barack Obama a letter asking that he prevent a vote on what leading Turkish organizations in the U.S. denounced as “an anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim racist measure.” In a joint statement issued on Friday, they said it “unfairly accuses, judges and convicts people of Turkish heritage with this high crime without due process.”According to the Assembly, the key resolution sponsor, California Democrat Adam Schiff, intends to introduce similar legislation to the next, Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which is due to convene on January 5. Its incoming speaker, John Boehner, has strongly opposed such measures in the past. The Armenian-American community is now expected to turn the pressure up on Obama, who repeatedly promised to ensure official U.S. recognition of the genocide when he ran for president. “We are not going to give up,” the Assembly’s Ardouny was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. “We are going to press President Obama to hold to his commitment to unequivocally affirm the Armenian genocide.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Armenians sue Turkey claiming U.S. air base land

By Harut SassounianPublisher, The California CourierOver the years, Armenians have gradually shifted their attention from the recognition of the Genocide to the pursuit of legal remedies for their massive losses suffered between 1915 and 1923.Several lawsuits have been filed recently in U.S. Federal Courts against Western insurance companies and banks. In July, Armenian-American attorneys sued the Republic of Turkey and its two major banks, seeking compensation for confiscated properties and loss of income.A new federal lawsuit was filed last week by attorneys Vartkes Yeghiayan, Kathryn Lee Boyd and David Schwarcz, along with international law expert Michael Bazyler, against the Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank, and Ziraat Bank for “unlawful expropriation and unjust enrichment.” The plaintiffs are Los Angeles-area residents Rita Mahdessian and Anais Haroutunian, and Alex Bakalian of Washington, D.C.The three Armenian-Americans, who have deeds proving ownership of properties stolen from their families during the Genocide, are seeking compensation for 122 acres of land in the Adana region. The strategic Incirlik US Air Base is partly located on their property.During the Genocide, the Turkish government initially placed all properties belonging to Armenian victims under seal. Subsequently, it directed the Ziraat Bank to hold all proceeds from the sale of seized properties in trust and for safekeeping on behalf of the Armenian owners. These properties were then transferred to the Turkish Treasury and placed under the administration of the Central Bank. The lawsuit accuses the Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank and Ziraat Bank of unfairly benefiting from the plaintiffs’ seized assets.The three Turkish defendants are currently engaged in commercial activities in the United States which grants jurisdiction to US courts. The Republic of Turkey operates several state-owned or controlled enterprises in the US, such as the Turkish Airlines and Tourism Information Office. Both the Central Bank and Ziraat Bank also have offices in the United States.In addition to seizing the Armenian plaintiffs’ property, the Turkish government has pocketed the rent paid by the United States for the Incirlik Air Base during the past 60 years. The base is operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service - a US Department of Defense entity. Several major American corporations, such as Baskin Robbins, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and AT&T transact business and provide services on the base for US troops. These companies have also been profiting from Armenian-owned lands for many years.The lawsuit claims that the plaintiffs "are suffering harm from the loss of use and proceeds from their property.” Turkey and its Central Bank’s "continued unlawful use of the property causes a direct effect in the United States because a US commercial entity pays money" to Turkey to lease the Incirlik Air Base and "is engaged in a long-term business arrangement with defendants…."The lawsuit also states that the "plaintiffs’ action is additionally based upon their rights in property unlawfully expropriated by defendant Turkey in violation of international law, pursuant to a Turkish campaign of genocide…. International law prohibits the taking of property when it is done in a discriminatory way or pursuant to gross violations of human rights. Plaintiffs’ property was taken pursuant to the genocidal campaign of the Ottoman Turkish Empire to destroy, in whole or in part, Armenian Christians in Turkey."The plaintiffs assert that after the Genocide, the Turkish government transferred Armenian-owned "businesses, factories, shops, farms, and all other economic enterprises into Turkish Muslim ownership," Yet, the most shocking charge is the accusation that the Turkish authorities used "the proceeds derived from the sale of Armenian property to fund their deportation." It is noteworthy that beyond depriving Armenians of their lives and property during the Genocide, Turkish authorities strictly forbade the survivors from reclaiming their properties, by stamping their passports "Return prohibited."The Armenian-American plaintiffs estimate the current value of the property seized from their families to be $63.9 million, since their land constitutes 3.7% of the $1.7 billion “plant replacement value” of the Incirlik Air Base, according to the latest U.S. Defense Department data. The plaintiffs are demanding the current fair market value of their property as well as the accrued rental for the past 60 years, possibly totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. This lawsuit does not include the value of other Armenian properties in Incirlik, including a church and school.In the coming months, several other lawsuits are expected to be filed in U.S. courts against the Turkish government and other Turkish entities, including a claim for the Turkish Presidential Palace in Ankara, which is located on land owned by the Kassabian family.



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Erdogan sends letter to Obama concerning vote on H. Res. 252 in U.S. House of Representatives

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the country’s parliament that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama with respect to a possible vote on H. R. 252, the Armenian Genocide resolution, on December 21 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Turkish Minister said that Ankara hopes that the U.S. President will display prudence with respect to H. Res. 252 also this time.
"We know that the U.S. House of Representative may vote on the resolution on December 21. And we, specifically, our Ambassador in Washington, have taken all the needed actions. We cannot allow the resolution to hang over the Turkish-U.S. ties like a Sword of Damocles," Milliyet paper quoted Davutoglu as saying.

Erdogan sends letter to Obama concerning vote on H. Res. 252 in U.S. House of Representatives

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the country’s parliament that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama with respect to a possible vote on H. R. 252, the Armenian Genocide resolution, on December 21 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Turkish Minister said that Ankara hopes that the U.S. President will display prudence with respect to H. Res. 252 also this time.
"We know that the U.S. House of Representative may vote on the resolution on December 21. And we, specifically, our Ambassador in Washington, have taken all the needed actions. We cannot allow the resolution to hang over the Turkish-U.S. ties like a Sword of Damocles," Milliyet paper quoted Davutoglu as saying.

U.S. Department of State trying to block House vote on H.Res.252

U.S. Department of State trying to block House vote on H.Res.252
December 21, 2010 - 12:11 AMT 08:11 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Spokesman for the U.S. Department of State Philip Crowley said the administration made clear its opposition to the Armenian Genocide resolution.
Asked whether Secretary Clinton making calls to Speaker Nancy Pelosi or other people in the House to prevent bringing the bill to the floor, Mr Crowley said: “We are in touch with the House on this. I can’t say whether it’s the Secretary, but we’ve been in touch with the House.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Zaman: Armenian army most combat ready in Caucasus

Zaman: Armenian army most combat ready in Caucasus

December 20, 2010 14:03

In his article titled “Armenia keeps on arming” Fikret Ertan, expert of the Turkish “Zaman” newspaper, stresses that despite being a country with the most combat ready army in the Caucasus, Armenia takes steps aimed at military buildup.

“Despite Armenia has small population it is considered a country with the most professional, well-skilled and flexible armed forces in the Caucasus. It is hard to say whether it is true,” he writes. Ertan recalls that in the past Armenia managed to achieve superiority over Azerbaijan “seizing” 20% of Azerbaijani territories.

“Armenia is not satisfied with present military might and is planning steps to strengthen the army. For instance, program modernizing the armed forces has been adopted. It provides for modernization of equipment and development in 2011-2015. It also stipulates development of country’s own defense industry.

Today Armenia has missiles directed at some targets of the opponent, for instance Russian Scud, tactical ballistic missile. There may be other weapons as well, as it is known that Russia had supplied modern arms to Armenia. The country may possibly have long-range missiles,” the expert says, adding that Russia is also providing assistance to Armenia’s defense industry.

Fikret Ertan noted that Armenia’s opponents should draw attention to the mentioned points, especially long-range missiles Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan was speaking about. “Armenia’s military programs are likely to be directed against its opponents and we should take it into consideration,” he concluded.

News from Armenia -

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Turkey threatens world in case of H.Res. 252 adoption by U.S. House of Representatives

Turkey threatens world in case of H.Res. 252 adoption by U.S. House of Representatives
December 19, 2010 - 17:29 AMT 13:29 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - In his speech addressed to representatives of a regional branch of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, Turkish Foreign MinisterAhmet Davutoglu confirmed the fact that he had a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during which he urged to spare no efforts to prevent consideration of H.Res.252, the Armenian Genocide resolution, by the U.S. House of Representatives. "I openly stated that the relations between the United States and Turkey will worsen if the resolution is put on the agenda. Clinton promised to do her best to prevent it," Dikkathaber quoted Davutoglu as saying.
According to Davutoglu, the world will see Turkey's reaction if the resolution is adopted. "However, I hope it will not happen," said Davutoglu.
On December 17, spokesperson for the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Elizabeth S. Chouldjian said that H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide resolution, can be considered in the U.S. House of Representatives within the next 48 hours.
The ANCA urges American Armenians to call their congressmen and demand from them that they vote for H. Res. 252 adoption, Chouldjian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
The ANCA, as well as famous representatives of show business of Armenian descent have initiated a campaign urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to schedule a vote on H.Res. 252 before the House adjourns.

WikiLeaks documents reveal Turkey's efforts to use protocols to derail genocide affirmation; ANCA

WikiLeaks documents reveal Turkey's efforts to use protocols to derail genocide affirmation; ANCA
10:23 • 18.12.10

A public disclosure by WikiLeaks of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables included many of special interest to Armenian Americans, most notably a "smoking gun" revelation that Turkey has aggressively used the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, particularly the prospect of its ratification, to pressure American leaders against US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in favor of a pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“These files are a smoking-gun,” explained ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “They reveal the remarkable candor with which Ankara has, from day one, sought to pressure the United States to enforce it preconditions for the Turkey-Armenia Protocols. It's painfully clear from the words of Turkey's own leaders that, rather than seeking peace, they instead sought to use the prospect of the ratification of these accords to block the Armenian Genocide recognition and to force a pro-Azerbaijani resolution of Nagorno Karabakh.”

In a February 25, 2010, confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffery noted that Turkey had made it clear that its ratification of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols was predicated on Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s approval. Specifically, in describing a February 18, 2010, meeting between U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Sinirlioglu, Jeffery writes:

“Sinirlioglu appealed for ‘simultaneity’ between Armenian Protocols ratification and the Minsk Process. He emphasized ‘a strong reaction’ against the protocols among ruling party MPs had to be overcome before the government would hazard a ratification effort. He warned Congressional passage of an Armenian genocide resolution would ‘complicate’ his government's domestic political calculations regarding ratification. He said if something acceptable to Azerbaijani President Aliyev can found, then ‘we can move’ the protocols forward.”

In a January 20, 2010, confidential cable, Ambassador Jeffery provided his analysis of Turkey’s foreign policy, citing concerns about Turkey’s “inability to bring to conclusion foreign policy initiatives,” specifically noting the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, and noting Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s “tendency to substitute rhetoric for long term investment of diplomatic, military, and assistance capital.” Ambassador Jeffery went on to note that:

“Turkey will have to stand and be counted on Iran, in the Security Council, with MD, and in implementation of UN or US sanctions. This will have a profound effect on relations second only to the fate of the Armenian protocols over the next year.”

Pres. Aliyev: Armenian Genocide Remembrance “Sword of Damocles” Over Turkey-Azerbaijan-Armenia relations

In a confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Baku, senior diplomat Donald Lu reported on a meeting between U.S. Under Secretary of State Burns and President Ilham Aliyev, in which the Azerbaijani leader advocated the combining of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols discussion and the Nagorno Karabakh peace negotiations. He also urged the postponement of any Protocols ratification until after April 24th, Armenian Genocide remembrance day, describing this date as a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over political initiatives in the region. Lu wrote:

“U/S Burns stressed that the U.S. believes that progress on the Turkey-Armenia protocols could create political space for Sargsian to be more flexible on NK. He continued that the reverse was also true, that a failure of the Turkey-Armenia process would almost certainly result in serious negative consequences for the NK process. Aliyev said that NK progress would require a minimum of five or six months. He suggested that the entire Turkey-Armenia protocol ratification process be delayed until after April 24. He said that the ‘Sword of Damocles’ of Armenian Remembrance Day is hanging unhelpfully not only over the Turkey-Armenia process, but also now the NK progress. ‘If there were no deadline, maybe we could see how to combine our efforts (to resolve NK).’”

According to the cable, President Aliyev urged Under Secretary Burns to pressure Armenia to accept the most recently proposed OSCE Minsk group settlement regarding Nagorno Karabakh, calling on the three co-chair countries to “send a strong message that the independence of NK is not under review,” and urging “consequences in terms of international isolation” if Armenia does not accept the measures.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Philip Crowley: US State Secretariat opposes Armenian Genocide resolution

Philip Crowley: US State Secretariat opposes Armenian Genocide resolution
“We are aware of a potential House Resolution 252, and we strongly oppose that resolution. We continue to believe that the best way for Turkey and Armenia to address their shared past is through their efforts to normalize relations,” US State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said in a briefing Friday making his remarks on Speaker Pelosi’s plan to bring Armenian genocide bill to the floor today, or tomorrow if the Congress remains open, “” web site reports. It was being much talked that US House of Representatives would bring Armenian Genocide bill to Congress plenary session to recognize events of 1915-1923. Armenian organizations of the US adopted intensified campaigns. It’s reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu had a telephone conversation.It’s remarkable that US State Secretariat doesn’t make references to Armenian-Turkish protocols while making remarks on Genocide resolution.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Land under US Airbase Stolen by Turkey during Armenian Genocide

Land under U.S. Airbase Stolen by Turkey during Armenian Genocide,Lawsuit Says Armenian Americans Seek Reparations from TurkishGovernment and Two Leading Turkish Banks in First Lawsuit Based onSpecific Land Parcels Seized during GenocideLOS ANGELES - December15, 2010 - Descendants of Armenian genocidevictims today filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against theTurkish government and two leading Turkish banks seeking hundreds ofmillions of dollars in potential damages, citing the illegal seizureof their homes, business and farmland, a portion of which now houses akey U.S. airbase used to support military operations in Iraq andAfghanistan. The lawsuit accuses the Republic of Turkey, the CentralBank of the Republic of Turkey and T.C. Ziraat Bankasi, one ofTurkey's largest and oldest banks, of stealing and then profiting fromland that was illegally seized during the Armenian Genocide of1915-23, when the Ottoman Turks drove them from the Adana region, acenter of Armenian culture and religion. The three Armenian Americanswho are plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking hundreds of millions ofdollars as compensation for their families' seized property andrepayment of rent and other illegal proceeds collected over the pastcentury. This is the first lawsuit filed in a U.S. court against theTurkish government in which the plaintiffs are seeking reimbursementfor specific parcels of property illegally seized during the ArmenianGenocide, said their attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan, whose wife, RitaMahdessian, is one of three Armenian American plaintiffs in thelawsuit. Mahdessian's ancestor was a wealthy Armenian landowner whowas forced to flee Turkey with his family in 1915, leaving behind hishome, some farmland, a dry goods store and an insurancebusiness. Their lawsuit seeks "fair market rents and other relief forPlaintiffs, the rightful owners and their heirs, of approximately122.5 acres of property located in the Adana region of Turkey,"according to the filing.The Incirlik Air Base, which is located at the crossroads of Europe,the Middle East and Central Asia, is considered strategically vital toU.S. interests in the region. During the Cold War, the base was usedfor U.S. spy plane missions over the Soviet Union. Today, the base isa vital transportation hub supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistanand humanitarian missions throughout the region. Fast food giantsBaskin-Robbins, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are among the U.S. companiesoperating on the base, according to the lawsuit. The Turkishgovernment has repeatedly threatened to deny Americans access to thebase if the U.S. Congress recognizes the Armenian genocide, despitethe fact that the base is built on land illegally confiscated fromArmenians. "I was upset when I learned that the Turkish government wasrenting my family's property to the U.S. government for an airbase,"said Anais Haroutunian, another plaintiff in the case. "I cannotbelieve that the brave Americans who have served at Incirlik, some ofwhom are of Armenian descent themselves, would condone such abhorrentbehavior by a government claiming to be our ally." Today's filingcomes less than a week after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appealsruled that descendants of Armenian genocide victims could pursue legalaction against insurance firms that failed to honor the policies ofArmenian genocide victims, re-opening the door for legal claims inCalifornia stemming from the Turkish atrocities. California, home ofthe nation's largest Armenian community, is one of 42 states that havepassed laws recognizing the massacre of more than 1 million Armeniansnearly a century ago by the Ottoman Turks. "Until Turkey acknowledgesand makes amends for this genocide, the injustice continues unabated,"said Yeghiayan, a Glendale attorney who has championed the Armeniangenocide litigation movement. "There can be no healing until Turkeydoes what is right." Joining Yeghiayan in this litigation are LosAngeles attorneys Kathryn Lee Boyd and David Schwarcz of Todd,Ferentz, Schwarcz & Rimberg. Professor Michael Bazyler of ChapmanUniversity, one of the nation's leading experts on genocide law andrestitution, has been brought in as an international legalexpert. Yeghiayan has filed more than half a dozen lawsuits related tothe Armenian genocide issue and has negotiated successfulmulti-million dollar settlements against two major life insurancecompanies. In June, Yeghiayan and Boyd filed litigation against theJ. Paul Getty Museum in what is believed to be the first case in theU.S. seeking the return of cultural or religious objects stolen duringthe Armenian genocide.Haroutunian, Mahdessian and Alex Bakalian, the third plaintiff intoday's filing, have deeds proving ownership to the property stolenfrom their grandparents, some of which lies directly beneath therunways, warehouses and commercial buildings that have served theU.S. military since the 1950s, according to their lawsuit. The town ofIncirlik, where the base was built, was also home for a large Armenianchurch. The lawsuit estimates the current value of the stolen Armenianland in and around Incirlik Air Base at approximately $63.9 millionbased on U.S. Department of Defense data.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Descendants of Armenian genocide victims seek $65 million compensation from Turkey

Descendants of Armenian genocide victims seek $65 million compensation from Turkey
12:11 • 16.12.10
Three Armenian American descendants of victims of the Armenian genocide nearly a century ago filed suit Wednesday against the government of Turkey and two Turkish banks, claiming they are owed at least $65 million for property seized from their relatives and untold millions more for the profits their lands generated, Los Angeles Times reported.The lawsuit filed by two Los Angeles-area residents and a Washington, DC man could be the start of a flood of litigation spurred by last week's ruling by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a California law recognizing the crimes committed against Armenians after 1915 as genocide.The appeals court reversed its earlier opinion that the state law was unconstitutional because it interfered with the federal government's power to decide foreign policy matters."Now that that obstacle is gone, it definitely opens up the possibility of many more lawsuits being filed" in pursuit of compensation for expropriated property, said Michael J. Bazyler, a Chapman University law professor and an expert on litigation stemming from the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity.Anais Haroutunian, a 68-year-old Pasadena resident whose grandparents were killed when Ottoman Turks drove Armenians out of ancestral lands, said she has retained her family's deeds to the 40 acres seized after their expulsion. She joined the lawsuit in hopes of recovering some of the family wealth lost in the genocide."I want to do this for our children. It is our civil right to have all these things they took from our family," the retired tailor's assistant said, noting there are at least nine living descendants of the family whose seized property is now part of Incirlik Air Base, rented by the US government.The suit estimates that the three plaintiffs' share of the base land to be worth $65 million. It also seeks compensation for the profits accrued by the Turkish government and the two banks that inherited the confiscated land, Ziraat Bank and the Turkish Central Bank. The Turkish government is likely to contest the jurisdiction of US courts in the matter by invoking the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. But Bazyler said the law doesn't protect foreign states from suits over illegal property seizures.

Azerbaijan -THE TURKISH COUSINS Must Be Held Accountable For Cultural and Religious Destruction

Azerbaijan Must Be Held Accountable For Cultural and Religious DestructionTORONTO - On December 15, 2005, the government of Azerbaijan orchestrated the final demolition of the historic Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, an ancient Armenian city now located in Azerbaijan. Today marks the fifth anniversary of the final blow to the 10,000 intricately hand carved khachkars (stone crosses) which were erected between the 6th through the 17th centuries. By 1998, following systemic destruction of the khachkars by Azerbaijani authorities over decades, only 2,000 remained.By December 15, 2005, the final destruction was complete. Approximately 200 Azerbaijani soldiers amassed at the Nakhichevan-Iran border to desecrate the remaining grave markers at the Djulfa Armenian cemetery. The cemetery has since been replaced with an Azerbaijani military training base. Other Armenian sacred and historic sites in Azerbaijan have faced the same fate such as the Pombloz or Hovivi (Shepherd's) Church built in the 16th century which was destroyed along with its cemetery in 2002.

Members of the Azerbaijani army photographed destroying khachkars at the Djulfa cemetery courtesy of For video footage please visit are cross-stones approximately one metre wide and up to two and a half metres high, richly decorated with Christian symbols, flowers and arabesque climbing plants as well as depicting subjects from daily life. In November 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Armenian Khachkar an intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding. this protects khachkars that remain elsewhere in the world, the oldest have already become victim to systematic campaigns of destruction by the government of Azerbaijan.On December 5, 2010, the American Association for the Advancement of Science published a case study titled "High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Destruction of Cultural Artifacts in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan". This recent report further documents the destruction through clear satellite imagery. Hall Findlay, MP for Willowdale, and a friend of the Canadian Armenian community, made a statement in the House of Commons earlier today marking the fifth anniversary of the destruction of the khachkars by Azerbaijan describing it as "a significant loss of history and culture". In her remarks, she also commended the work of the Armenian-Canadian community. Her statement can be viewed at the photographic and videotaped evidence, the government of Azerbaijan has since denied their atrocities. The Armenian National Committee of Toronto calls on all Canadians to demand that UNESCO hold Azerbaijan officially accountable for this cultural destruction. Vahan Ajamian, Chair of the Armenian National Committee of Toronto said, "Recent decades have unfortunately been marked by the government of Azerbaijan's aggression toward Armenians which continues to unfold today. This hostility has become the source of massacres, mass deportations, and cultural and religious destruction in the country. The international community must condemn the Azerbaijani government's acts of aggression against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh which threaten regional peace and stability. Inaction against such harmful activities will only encourage similar destruction around the world."Azerbaijan's aggressive history, combined with regular threats by President Ilham Aliyev to restart the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, merely cement our view that Nagorno-Karabakh's independence must be universally recognized and that a return to Azerbaijani rule jeopardizes the lives of the Armenians living there and is therefore unacceptable. Furthermore, governments around the world must condemn Azerbaijan for the continued display of religious intolerance, and aggression in the Caucasus region.Subscribe to ANCT's Frequent Donor Program!We need your help to help advance the Armenian Cause. While we may never win the "money war" against our opponents, every little bit helps to increase our resources and ability to leverage the activism of our community members. Please consider making a lasting relationship with ANCT by signing up for recurring donations through our safe and secure Frequent Donor Program.To sign up please visit or contact us at

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WikiLeaks: Resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is key to unlocking Turkish-Armenian relations, Gordon says

WikiLeaks: Resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is key to unlocking Turkish-Armenian relations, Gordon says
December 15, 2010 00:25
WikiLeaks released a confidential cable on U.S. Assistant Secretary Philip Gordon’s July 3 meeting of European Union political directors in 2009.
“Resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is the key to unlocking Turkish-Armenian relations and consequently regional energy supplies,” Gordon said.
According to the document, Gordon stressed Moscow’s significant role in the Karabakh conflict resolution.
“The Russians have been reasonably productive on this account, but it is unclear whether they are just going through the motions or are seriously engaged, particularly as a Nagorno-Karabakh solution would facilitate a Southern Corridor gas route,” Gordon stressed.
According to the released document, the high-ranking diplomats had a controversy over the issue.
In response, EU Council Secretariat Director General Robert Cooper asserted that if the Russians really wanted to resolve Nagorno-Karabakh, they would have done so already.

News from Armenia -

Hans Johan Schmidt. I and people of Germany signify self-determination right of nations

15:57 15/12/2010 » POLITICS
Hans Johan Schmidt. I and people of Germany signify self-determination right of nations
“I greatly signify President Serzh Sargsyan’s speech to Astana Summit, where three legally equal principles were underscored – right of nations’ self-determination, non-use of force and territorial integrity. I totally support Armenia’s disposition, and its clear demonstration,” Ambassador of Germany to Armenia Hans Johan Schmidt told reporters today referring to Serzh Sargsyan’s speech delivered to OSCE Summit. “Personally me and people of Germany signify the right of self-determination,” Ambassador of Germany said.Ambassador signified the pentagonal statement, particularly the part which urges creation of mutual trust: “Certain events happen which are evident that Karabakh conflict is not frozen, it is asleep,” Ambassador said.

Israel Charny: “The people of Israel absolutely know the Armenian Genocide; they do not deny it.”

17:45 15/12/2010 » IN THE WORLD
Israel Charny: “The people of Israel absolutely know the Armenian Genocide; they do not deny it.”
On december 14-15 in Yerevan took place an international conference titled “the Genocide as a crime: Prevention, condemnation and elimination of the consequences”. The journalist of in the frameworks of the international conference had an interview with the Executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, Dr. Israel W. Charny. - What is the moral significance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide in the case of Israel?I am laughing but I am crying and I am angry and I am laughing. Israel’s failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide is a terrible shame, it’s evil, it’s a failure on our part and many of us are fighting it day and night. I have one piece of good news which helps me to laugh; culturally we have won the battle in Israel, the people of Israel absolutely know the Armenian Genocide, they do not deny it. The Media in Israel, the newspapers, the magazines, TV programs recognize the Armenian Genocide, refer to it regularly and I cannot think right now of a single article even that is ever supported the Government for its denial, and yet the real politic, and you see my fist, the manipulative approach to life that you look out for yourself even when great moral principles are involved is still winning and we have to defeat it, so that’s the significance. - The recent developments have led to an aggravation of Turkish - Israeli relations. In this context, many people deem it possible for Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Don’t you think that any considerations of the political landscape in such a sensitive and delicate issue may devalue the meaning of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the State of Israel? I appreciate your question because I agree completely. I would be in a very difficult position if Israel now recognizes the Armenian Genocide, because the Turks have become allies of a totalitarian access of Iran, Syria and people who are real threat to Israel and to the whole free world. Still I want Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide under clear, moral bases that it must be recognized and honored. Yossi Sarid was one of the two ministers in Israel’s history who recognized the Armenian Genocide. Yossi was with me and Professor Yair Auron, to pay tribute at the Armenian Genocide Memorial a few years ago. Yossi is now a colonist for Ha'aretz and he wrote, it’s a bit funny but it’s all very serious, he wrote a column that he is getting calls from many people saying “Yossi ok now is the time to recognize the Armenian Genocide and get back those miserable Turks” and Yossi writes in the Ha'aretz “When they speak to me that way it makes me want to vomit.”- What means do the Jewish scholars employ for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel?Academically of course, professionally of course, in terms of our contributions to the culture continuously. We are all interviewed regularly, we all give talks regularly, we are all on television regularly. The question is whether we have any means for reaching the political level which is our mutual enemy. And an interesting answer is that there is a proposal in the Knesset to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it was voted positively by the Knesset a few months ago. This is a fine step-forward. In Israel it goes from the Knesset to a committee. In America it goes from the committee to the Congress. The man having the move in the Knesset is a Knesset member who is the head of Israel’s tiny, weak, beautiful liberal party. His name is Haim Oron. Politically we work with Haim Oron. By now there is a significant number of Knesset members from all the fractions including the man who is the head of the Right Wing Government party of Knesset members who are very strongly in favour of the resolution on the Armenian Genocide. We do not expect to win, I am sorry to say this on television to Armenia. But we are doing our best. That’s all we can do in any generation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“Armenia can appeal Genocide issue to International Court of Hague”

“Armenia can appeal Genocide issue to International Court of Hague”
Armenia can appeal the issue of Armenian Genocide to the International Court of Justice, researcher of Open University of Berlin Tessa Hofman, who arrived in Armenia to attend Crime of genocide, prevention, condemnation and elimination of the consequences” international conference, said.“Murder, annihilation are certainly conducted by Ottoman Empire,” Ms. Hofman said adding that claims of “cold genocide” can also be introduced to the international court of Hague.
Referring the recognition of Armenian Genocide by Germany, Ms. Hofman said yet from 2005 three political figures support the process but it is still undeveloped.

Istanbul Armenians comment on killing of Armenian girl and Turk

Istanbul Armenians comment on killing of Armenian girl and Turk
December 14, 2010 13:05
Killing of an Armenian girl and a Turk in Istanbul evoked a response of the Armenian community of Turkey. The Vatan newspaper published some of the comments.
“There are different views regarding mixed marriages in the Armenian community. Some treat this positively, some of the Armenians – negatively. I respect both positions,” said Aram Ateshyan, Deputy Patriarch of the Constantinople Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic church, condemning the crime.
According to him, groom had Christian roots but the family turned to Islam in the beginning of 20 century.
In his turn, Petros Sirinoglu, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Armenian Surb Prkich (Holy Savior) hospital in Istanbul, stressed that such crime should not have been committed in 21 century.
“Murders in the name of religion and honor are unacceptable. Unfortunately, the killed girl is Armenian. In the past representatives of previous generation opposed marriages with Muslims but they expressed their protest by words,” he added.
Grigor Agabaoglu, representative of the Gedikpasha Armenian church of Istanbul, considers unacceptable behavior of girl’s family. “The groom has Christian roots. They are Armenians who had to turn to Islam in 1915 in order to survive,” he said.
On December 12, corpses of Armenian Sonaya and Turk Zakeriya were found in the car in Istanbul.
Girls’ brother confessed to killing sister and brother-in-law who insulted him and his traditions.
News from Armenia -

Sunday, December 12, 2010

National Geographic Channel to broadcast film about Holy Spear kept in Armenia

National Geographic Channel to broadcast film about Holy Spear kept in Armenia
December 11, 2010 - 17:21 AMT 13:21 GMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Legend of the Holy Spear program will be broadcast by National Geographic Channel. It will include parts shot in Armenia (Etchmiadzin, Khor Virab, Garni and Geghard). Today there are three Spears (kept in Vatican, Austria and Armenia) claiming to be the Holy Spear. According to the program announcement placed on the channel official website, the film of When Rome Ruled series makes an attempt to discover if any of them could have been present at the crucifixion. The film tells about Armenia as the first country, which adopted Christianity as a state religion. The program will be aired by the channel on December 12 and 14. The monastery of Geghard is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, and which is said to be brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Etchmiadzin treasury. NOTE TO ALL:Please delete my address before forwarding this to others. If you forward this email, please delete the forwarding history, which includes my email address and maybe others. It is a courtesy to me and others who may not wish to have their email addresses sent all over the world. Erasing the history helps prevent spammers from mining addresses and prevents viruses from being propagated. If at all possible, send email to others under Blind Copy. Thanks=

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turks file lawsuit against American university for recognizing Armenian Genocide

Turks file lawsuit against American university for recognizing Armenian Genocide
December 11, 2010 12:06
ôhe Turkish Coalition of America filed a lawsuit against the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which is part of the University of Minnesota.
“This Center has a website for students and researchers which suggests, among other things, recommended readings. It also indicates that other texts on these subjects are “unreliable”, beginning with the texts of the Turkish Coalition,” reads the statement by Meir Waintrater, editor in chief and publisher of L’Arche, a French Jewish monthly magazine.
This fact has angered Turkish lobbyists and they filed a lawsuit against the university, its president, and educator Bruno Chaouat, who directs the Center. “They have been defamed, they say, they are being denied the right to speak,” Waintrater says.
“All this may seem far, very far, from us. In reality, we are directly concerned. Not only because the academic in question, Bruno Chaouat, is a French citizen. What happens today in Minneapolis could occur tomorrow in Paris, if we are not careful,” he says addressing French Jews.
April 24, 2001 is declared Armenian Remembrance Day in the State of Minnesota under proclamation as of March 16, 2001. The State of Minnesota recognized Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Empire.

News from Armenia -

Friday, December 10, 2010

Armenian president reaffirms intention to recognize Karabakh in case of Baku’s aggression

Armenian president reaffirms intention to recognize Karabakh in case of Baku’s aggression
December 10, 2010 16:50
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan delivered a speech at the Dec. 10 meeting of CIS Heads of States held in Moscow.
“In case Azerbaijan launches new hostilities, Armenia will have no choice but to recognize independence of Nagorno-Karabakh de jure and ensure security of its population by all means possible,” Sargsyan said, ITAR-TASS reported.
President Sargsyan also recalled that the five-sided statement was issued by the Minsk Group, the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents at the OSCE summit in Astana. “The statement mentions that peaceful resolution by means of negotiations has no alternative while making decision to establish stability, peace and mutual understanding between nations based on the UN and OSCE documents,” the Armenian leader noted. “Russian President, French Prime Minister and U.S. Secretary of State stated use of force and threats are unacceptable and any attempts to use force will make impossible peaceful resolution of the conflict,” he said, adding “Armenia strongly objects to resolution of the conflict by military means.”
The Armenian leader also commented on issues related to CSTO. He also informed of CSTO states’ intention to create more efficient crisis management mechanism. According to him, the CSTO documents will be amended. “Tragic events in Kyrgyzstan revealed a number of problems regarding prompt measures,” he stressed.
News from Armenia -

New born Turkish child called Hrant after Hrant Dink

17:02 10/12/2010 » SOCIETY
New born Turkish child called Hrant after Hrant Dink
The family of Olmez who live in Turkish state of Hakkari called their new born child Hrant after renowned Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, editor-in-chief of “Agos” daily Hrant Dink, who was murdered on January 19, 2007.

According to “” news web site fathering three children Zeki Olmez said: “Murder of Hrant Dink deeply made us upset. We love him very much. And as our family name – Olmez, means immortal, we decided to make Hrant’s name immortal.”

Source: Panorama.a

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ANCA WR urges Speaker Nancy Pelosi to schedule vote on H.Res. 252.

ANCA WR urges Speaker Nancy Pelosi to schedule vote on H.Res. 252.
December 7, 2010 - 19:43 AMT 15:43 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - ANCA WR (Armenian National Committee of America Western Region) issued an address urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Schedule a Vote on H.Res. 252. before the House adjourns.
The address says,
“The Honorable Nancy Pelosi will have the unique opportunity to end her term as Speaker of the House of Representatives with a strong moral stand.
She holds the power to schedule a floor vote on legislation urging the United States President to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide, to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide, and to make sure that the lessons of this atrocity are used to help prevent future crimes against humanity.
The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252) introduced by Representative Adam Schiff and 76 of his colleagues in March 2009 was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by Representative Howard Berman in March of this year. The resolution was reported out of committee on September 22nd for consideration by the entire House of Representatives.
H.Res. 252 has gained the co-sponsorship of 148 House members. The actual number of House members willing to vote for the measure is much higher.
This past summer, Speaker Pelosi, consistent with her long record in support of Armenian Genocide recognition, committed to schedule a vote on H.Res. 252 - a vote that she described as an expression of the American conscience - as soon as it was clear this human rights measure enjoyed the support of a majority in the House of Representatives.
The spirit of the victims of Genocide and the voices of the survivors and their progeny are calling on the Speaker to bring this resolution for a vote before the 111th Congress adjourns in the next 10 days. Armenians and all the world deserve to know where each member of the U.S. House of Representatives stands on this vital expression of our common American conscience.
There are some members of the House who do not want to face their conscience and would prefer avoiding having to take a stand against a clear case of genocide. As in the past, they will offer every manner of excuse - some old and others invented for this occasion. The fact remains, however, that none of these excuses should be allowed to prevent the elected representatives of the American people from the long overdue opportunity to vote up or down on the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
The Speaker's decision to bring H.Res. 252 to a vote will represent a victory over the forces of denial, just as its adoption by the full House will stand as a triumph of the truth.
As you know, a vote on Armenian Genocide resolutions by the entire House or Senate has been blocked for more than a quarter century. Every manner of obstacle has been thrown in the way of their adoption in 1985, 1987, 1990, 2000 and 2007 - ranging from foreign threats and domestic pressure to parliamentary tactics and procedural motions. We look to the Speaker to make sure that 2010 is the year this measure is brought to the floor and adopted by the full House of Representatives.
We know Speaker Pelosi to be a woman of conscience and call upon her to schedule a vote on H.Res.252 before the House adjourns.”

Armenian parliament approves bill allowing to conclude agreements with unrecognized states

Armenian parliament approves bill allowing to conclude agreements with unrecognized states
December 8, 2010 - 13:19 AMT 09:19 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - With 88 votes in favor, the Armenian parliament has passed a bill on introduction of amendments to the law on international agreements.
The bill allows to conclude agreements with unrecognized states, PanARMENIAN.Net rsquo;s parliamentary correspondent reported.
Addressing the MPs prior to the voting, Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said that the amendments “are meant to guarantee human rights in Artsakh” and said Armenia will do its utmost for international recognition of NKR.
Meanwhile, chairman of Heritage parliamentary group Stepan Safaryan labeled the bill as “not complying with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties” and said that the party will not take part in the voting.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

9,000 families still have no homes in Armenia's earthquake-hit regions

9,000 families still have no homes in Armenia's earthquake-hit regions
13:32 • 07.12.10
Twenty-two years have passed since the 1988 devastating earthquake in Armenia's northern and north-western regions, but there are still 9,000 families whose housing problems have not yet been solved, the head of Shirak Kentron (Centre) NGO told of that number, 6,500-7,000 families alone live in Armenia's second-largest city of Gyumri, Vahan Tumasyan said."On the one hand, it is positive that the state is carrying out a housing program. On the other hand, it should not be regarded as a favor, but rather a duty that has been belated for 20 years," he said. The December 7,1988 earthquake left 20,000 people wounded and 25,000 dead, affecting about 40% of Armenia's northern and north-western area that included four towns – Spitak, Gyumri, Kirovakan (now Vanadzor) and Stepanavan, as well as 342 villages.Tumasyan expressed his discontent with the fact that the government has adopted a decree that does not register any homeless people in the earthquake-hit area since December 2008. This, according to him, means that some of the citizens who left Armenia after the earthquake are finding themselves homeless upon their return to Armenia.About 18,000 flats have been built since 1988 in Gyumri, where also1,056 flats were built under a government-sponsored housing program, implemented in 2009-2010. The construction projects in the earthquake-hit regions are due to be completed by 2012. The projects currently underway in 24 villages in Lori region and in 11 villages in Shirak region will cost an estimated 26 billion drams. A total of 39 billion drams is planned to spend for the construction projects carried out in Gyumri.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Serzh Sargsyan: Nagorno Karabagh has no future within Azerbaijan

Serzh Sargsyan: Nagorno Karabagh has no future within Azerbaijan
In this phase Azerbaijan isn’t interested in settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, President Serzh Sargsyan declared at OSCE Summit plenary session. President made his remarks stating that its sole objective is to inflict as much damage as possible on Armenia.
“Armenia categorically refuses to accept the resumption of military hostilities in Nagorno Karabagh as an option,” President declared adding in case Azerbaijan resorts to military aggression, Armenia would not have any other choice but to recognize the Nagorno Karabagh Republic de jure and to invest all its capabilities into ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh.“Nagorno Karabagh has no future within Azerbaijan and, whatever the solution, it should emanate from the will of the people of Karabagh. This is the axis of the right of people to self-determination. Azerbaijan has neither legal, nor political, nor moral grounds for its claims over Nagorno Karabagh.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Turkey may stop using Karabakh conflict as precondition after WikiLeaks' publications: Hurriyet

Turkey may stop using Karabakh conflict as precondition after WikiLeaks' publications: Hurriyet
13:10 • 01.12.10
Turkey may eventually stop using the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as precondition for the Turkey-Armenia reconciliation due to an examination of the recent secret documents made public by WikiLeaks website, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported. In that sense, according to the paper, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's meetings with American diplomats and the rude statements he made about Turkey during the meetings - and especially about the policy pursued by the Turkish government- would play a crucial role. "Ankara will definitely examine all that in detail, and after that it is quite possible that the Turkish authorities will cease to be as resolute over using the Karabakh conflict as precondition in relations with Armenia as before."

Turkey and Azerbaijan: One nation, two states of affairs

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Critical remarks about Turkey by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are likely to make relations between the two neighboring countries a lot less cozy. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show that Aliyev is distrustful of Turkey and tried to condition energy deals on Ankara backing away from reconciliation with Yerevan

This file photo shows Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev (L) and Turkish PM Erdoğan shaking hands after inking a deal to form a strategic partnership council. AA photo
The much-touted idea that Turkey and Azerbaijan are “one nation, two states” may be a casualty of classified documents released Sunday by the website WikiLeaks that show relations between the two neighbors are fraught with tension.
The leaked diplomatic cables reveal that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is resentful of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts and distrustful of Turkey, a lack of confidence that is known within Turkish foreign policy circles.
In one cable, Turkish Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Feridun Sinirlioğlu is asked about the prospect for progress on a natural gas deal between Turkey and Azerbaijan. In his response, the Turkish diplomat implies that Aliyev is holding an agreement hostage to Ankara’s handling of the protocols between Turkey and Armenia.
“He doesn’t trust us,” Sinirlioğlu is quoted as saying in the cable sent from Ankara, which deals with Feb. 18 talks between the Turkish undersecretary and U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.
A separate cable sent Feb. 25 from the embassy in Baku quotes Aliyev as saying that if the Turks demonstrate “constructive behavior” this year, then a gas transit deal can be made. “He was clear, however, that nothing would be signed before April 24,” the cable said. April 24 is the day Armenians commemorate what they see as the “genocide” of their people at Ottoman hands in the early 1900s.
“Azerbaijan’s resentment of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation does not come as a surprise. We knew from open information that Aliyev reacted to the government’s opening to Armenia and that this would have negative implications on the energy cooperation between the two countries,” said Necdet Pamir, an energy expert, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
In the same Feb. 25 cable, diplomats say Aliyev confided that the real reason for Azerbaijan to sell gas to Russia was to illustrate “to ‘our Turkish friends’ that they will not be allowed to create a gas distribution hub.”
The fact that Azerbaijan sold gas to Russia as a message to Turkey was well known, Pamir said. “In this sense, the information in the cable is consistent with facts.”
The transit deal with Turkey discussed in the Feb. 25 cable was signed in June following the suspension of the ratification of the protocols with Armenia.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül said Aliyev denied the claims made in the leaks and told him during a bilateral meeting Wednesday in Astana that he was very saddened about them. “Why should he [Aliyev] be against the energy lines crossing through Turkey? I told him, ‘Don’t worry, we did not believe it,’” Gül told Turkish journalists in Kazakhstan, where he is attending an international conference.
Aliyev’s rhetoric against Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, became especially bitter after Turkey signed protocols with Armenia in August 2009 to normalize relations. Although the Azerbaijani president was always careful in his public statements, he made clear his discontent about the reconciliation process, something that was often downplayed by Ankara. The cable from Baku also shows Aliyev has a strong dislike of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Aliyev made clear his distaste for the Erdoğan government in Turkey, underscoring the ‘naivete’ of their foreign policy and the failure of their initiatives,” the cable read.
“The Turkish leadership might already know Aliyev’s sentiments, but knowing about them is one thing; the fact that he talks about his dislike to others is another,” said Mensur Akgün from Istanbul’s Kültür University. Though he said he thought Turkish-Azerbaijani relations would not be strained by the leaks, it said they could cause resentment among Turkish officials.
Though Aliyev expressed anger with Turkey for moving ahead to normalize relations with Yerevan without seeing progress on Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory under Armenian occupation, the classified documents also show that Turkey conditioned its ratification of the protocols on progress on this issue.
During his meeting with Burns, Sinirlioğlu appealed for “simultaneity” between the ratification of the Armenian protocols and the efforts to solve the Karabakh issue. “He said if something acceptable to Azerbaijani President Aliyev can be found, then ‘we can move’ the protocols forward,” the cable quotes Sinirlioğlu as saying.
It is unclear, however, whether this stance by Turkey was a result of Aliyev’s negative reaction or something Ankara had pursued since the beginning of the process.
Turkey’s argument that progress toward withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani provinces surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh is a pre-condition to ratifying the protocols “was not part of the agreement and [is] not a position the U.S. supports,” then-U.S. Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey wrote in a cable dated January 2010.

WikiLeaks: Nicolas Sarkozy dislikes Turkish flag

WikiLeaks: Nicolas Sarkozy dislikes Turkish flag
December 01, 2010 13:43
Secret files published by WikiLeaks presented interesting details of an incident involving French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The letter sent by U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentions that Sarkozy’s team does everything to make him happy, Milliyet reported.
Rivkin recalls that on the occasion of Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to France, the Eiffel tower was illuminated with colors of the Turkish flag. According to him, being aware of Sarkozy’s anti-Turkish mood pilots of his aircraft changed the direction for him not to see the Eiffel tower in red and white.

Azerbaijan -TURKISH COUSIN fails at OSCE Summit

Azerbaijan fails at OSCE Summit
December 01, 2010 17:31
The first day of the OSCE Summit in Astana is over. Many of the participants focused on the protracted conflicts in the territory of the OSCE member-states, particularly in Georgia, Transdniestria, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Many of the heads of delegations pointed out the importance of peaceful settlement of conflicts.
Interestingly, in contrast to Moldova and Georgia, members of the delegations never mentioned Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement proved a cold shower for the Azerbaijani delegation, which was now and then mentioning Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. She stated that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be settled on the principles of nonuse of force or threat of force, territorial integrity and peoples’ right to self-determination.
The U.S. Secretary of State emphasized that the principles are a single whole, and any attempt to present one of them as superior to the others will not contribute to the peace process.
Mrs. Clinton underlined the importance of simultaneous application of the principles, which rules out any exceptions.
Observers account for Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s emotional speech by the aforementioned. According to them, the first day proved a failure for the Azerbaijani delegation. Even before the summit, Azeri political analysts made numerous appeals to the international community for pressing Armenia into agreeing to the basic principles.
However, in their statements, the leaders of the OSCE member-states only pointed out some problems in the process.
An Azerbaijani-Armenian presidential meeting, the Azeri side had hoped for so much, was not held either.
“In his speech, president Aliyev, who ignored Hillary Clinton’s statements, stressed only one principle and found himself in an awkward situation,” a foreign diplomat told
The Armenian and Turkish Presidents, Serzh Sargsyan and Abdullah Gul, are to deliver speeches on December 2, when a final document is to be adopted.
News from Armenia -