Monday, February 27, 2012

ANCA Condemns Anti-Armenian Protests in Turkey

Calls on U.S. Ambassador Ricciardone to Denounce Government-Sanctioned Rallies Aimed at Inciting Violence
WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), sharply criticizing the government-sanctioned anti-Armenian demonstrations held throughout Turkey on Feb. 26, called on U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone to forcefully condemn this latest attempt by Ankara to foment hatred and violence against Armenians.

'You are all Armenians, You are all bastards'
“Today’s anti-Armenian demonstrations in the streets of Istanbul—with the interior minister and prominent political parties at the helm—were clearly aimed at inciting increased racism and renewed violence against Turkey’s own Armenian citizens and neighboring Armenia,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “These are not simply the violent echoes of a post-genocidal state, but the determined actions of a pre-genocidal Turkish society that is angrily lashing out at its imagined enemies and seeking out its next target. We urge U.S. Ambassador Ricciardone to immediately, forcefully, and publicly condemn this government-sanctioned incitement to violence.”
International news agencies have reported that 20,000 to 50,000 people participated in the anti-Armenian protests, with professionally printed signs that read, “You are all Armenians, You are all bastards,” and “Today Taksim, Tomorrow Yerevan: We will descend upon you suddenly in the night.” Among the speakers at the demonstration in Turkey’s famous Taksim Square was Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin, among other leaders of Erdogan’s AK Party.
According to statements issued by the protest organizers, similar demonstrations have been planned in over 50 cities in Turkey.
For updates and extensive photos, visit the Armenian Weekly Facebook page at

Anti-Armenian statements voiced in streets of Turkey

February 27, 2012

Anti-Armenian statements voiced in streets of Turkey

By Artur Hakobyan

The representatives of Turkish authorities continue making rude anti-Armenian statements. Turk nationalists seek a chance to express their hatred towards Armenians not without the participation of Turkish authorities.
An anti-Armenian demonstration with the participation of Turkish high-ranking officials, including Internal Affairs Minister Idris Naim Sahin, took place in Istanbul downtown devoted to the Khojalu events.
Turkish Minister said that they will demand responsibility for the Khojalu events.
Besides, statements, insulting Armenians and Hrant Dink [Armenian journalist killed by Turkish nationalists] were voiced during the demonstration, which shocked even the Turkish society.
Several days ago posters inciting enmity against Armenians appeared in the streets of Istanbul. The Turkish press says an anti-Armenian demonstration held in Istanbul was organized by he authorities.
Mayor of Turkey’s Bayburt Haci Ali Polat, member of ruling party, characterized Armenians as enemies, and called on young people to be revengeful.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Azeris Don’t Want to Admit About Khojaly

YEREVAN, NEW YORK—A new documentary about the events between November 1991 and February 1992 in Karabakh was screened Friday. The film recounts the shattering of the blockade of Stepanakert (capital city of Nagorno Karabakh Republic), as well as criminal activities of the political elite of Baku which led to the tragic deaths of civilians in Khojaly,
A two-part documentary, entitled “Between hunger and fire: Power at the expense of lives,” presents compelling evidence about criminal activities of Baku’s political elite, which victimized women, the elderly and children.
The research group, which initiated the film-investigation, reports that the documentary for now will be screened in Russian and English, while it will be translated into seven more languages.
Using a vast trove of materials, the film will be of interest not only for wider audience, but also for research and the academic community. The archive, assembled during the investigation of tragic death of civilians in Armenian-populated Stepanakert and Azerbaijani-controlled Aghdam region, entails grounds for a wider-scale film. The latter will counter and shed light on a range of misinformation by Azerbaijan, which was tasked to deport the civilian population of Nagorno Karabakh Republic from their ancestral homeland.
Meanwhile in the United States, a group calling itself the Azerbaijan America Alliance has launched a massive propaganda campaign of misinformation on the Azeri version of the Khojaly issue. Full-page advertisements headlined “Khojaly: A Human Tragedy Against Azerbaijan” appeared in the national editions of the New York Times on Friday and the Washington Post on Saturday. Advertisements have also been placed in Washington Metro stations, buses, bus shelters and other transportation venues in Washington and New York.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Armenians Need to Pursue Their Cause With More Confidence and Commitment

This week’s column deals with the self-defeating attitude of some Armenians whose negative outlook manifested itself once again with the latest news about the French bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Some people hold the skeptical view that any project undertaken by Armenians is doomed to failure. A few years ago, I was advised by several readers not to call for dismissal of the Los Angeles Times Managing Editor for censoring an article by Mark Arax on the Armenian Genocide. On another occasion, I was advised not to ask Time magazine to apologize and make amends for disseminating a Turkish denialist DVD. I ignored the defeatist suggestions that countering such powerful publications would be futile and even counter-productive. It was not an easy struggle, but I am happy to report that Armenian activists prevailed in both campaigns.
It is noteworthy that such apathetic individuals not only fail to offer any assistance or encouragement, but go to great lengths to discourage those who are furthering the interests of the community. Interestingly, those who sit on their hands are usually the ones who complain the most about others who are serving the common cause.
Imagine if twenty years ago the small band of Armenian freedom fighters had listened to such naysayers and decided that it was not possible to liberate Artaskh (Karabakh) from Azeri and Soviet occupation forces! Would I be here today if my ancestors, the brave people of Zeitoun, located in the heartland of the Ottoman Empire, had not fought against powerful Turkish armies and won more than forty battles and hundreds of skirmishes to preserve their safety and autonomy?
Returning to our own times, how often are we told by misinformed Armenians with an “all-knowing” attitude that the U.S. Congress will never recognize the Armenian Genocide, when in fact it was recognized in 1975 and 1984! Or how many times these misguided fortune-tellers have prophesized that no U.S. President will ever recognize the Armenian Genocide because Turkey is too important, unaware that President Ronald Reagan recognized it in a Presidential Proclamation on April 22, 1981!
These same Armenians were confident that the French Parliament would not adopt a bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide last December, either because there would be a last minute snag or that President Sarkozy was tricking Armenians to get their votes in the forthcoming Presidential elections. Yet the Parliament approved the legislation by a wide margin. When the bill made its way to the Senate on January 23, 2012, once again the skeptics confidently predicted that an unexpected development would block its passage. The bill was adopted by a vote of 127-86.
Last week, when some French legislators, aided and abetted by the Turkish Ambassador, appealed the bill to the Constitutional Council, some Armenians fell into deep depression. They insisted that there was an anti-Armenian conspiracy, claiming to have known all along that the initiative would end up in failure. These people do not seem to realize that the appeal does not necessarily mean defeat of the bill. In fact, should the Council determine that the bill is constitutional, those who would be arrested for denying the Armenian Genocide could no longer challenge the new law.
However, should the Constitutional Council reject the bill, it would not be the end of the world, as President Sarkozy has pledged to amend it and resubmit it to both legislative houses. Nevertheless, the pursuit of the Armenian Cause does not depend on any particular bill. Armenians have many other major demands from Turkey under international law.
Rather than simply deploring that the bill has ended in the Constitutional Council, Armenians should demand that certain members of the court disqualify themselves from this case due their impermissible affiliation with Turkish Think Tanks or for having made prejudicial statements on this issue. It is noteworthy that six of the French Senators who filed for the appeal are currently enjoying themselves in Azerbaijan as guests of the state, tasting Caspian caviar and indulging in other Azeri “delicacies.”
Far more important than any bill is Armenians’ solemn determination to continue the struggle for their rightful cause, undeterred by setbacks or obstacles. Having survived several millennia of occupation, pillage, massacres, and genocide, Armenians cannot succumb or surrender at the first sign of adversity!
Armenians can go forward only when they purge themselves of their self-defeating attitude and subservient mentality, left over from centuries of Ottoman Turkish subjugation and servitude.

Genocide Education Project Trains Grant Hs Teachers

LOS ANGELES—Teachers at Grant High School in Los Angeles learned how to teach about the Armenian Genocide at a workshop provided by The Genocide Education Project on their campus on January, 17.
Suzanne Douzmanian, GenEd’s Southern California Regional Coordinator led the workshop for Grant’s social studies teachers, which is part of a series of teacher-training events provided in coordination with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has purchased GenEd’s lesson plans and teaching materials for all its high school history teachers.
“Suzanne gave an enthralling and thought provoking workshop,” said Kevin Kruska, Grant’s social studies department chair. “I felt like everybody came away from the workshop with a greater understanding of genocide and specifically, the Armenian Genocide.”
Grant High School has a substantial Armenian student population that has experienced tensions with the school’s Latino students. In the weeks leading up to the workshop, Kruska and GenEd’s education director, Sara Cohan, discussed ways of integrating the study of Armenian issues into the curriculum, as a means of building understanding and mutual respect within the diverse student body, as well as between the teachers and students.
The workshop theme was “The Eight Stages of Genocide,” a valuable teaching tool developed by Dr. Gregory Stanton, a past president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. “By using Stanton’s work, teachers and students can better comprehend the intentional and methodical nature of the Armenian Genocide, as well as all genocides, and can analyze ways of preventing genocide in the future,” said Raffi Momjian, GenEd’s Executive Director.
Teachers received a full set of resources on the Armenian Genocide produced by GenEd and provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The LAUSD is the second largest school district in the country and has been collaborating with GenEd over the past eight years to help fulfill the California state mandate to teach about the Armenian Genocide.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hamparian: Confronting a Pre-Genocidal Turkey

It’s sometimes said that the obstruction of truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide is the result of actions by the Turkish state, not a reflection of the values of Turkish society.

In modern Turkey, Hrant Dink's killer is treated like a hero, and those guilty of his assassination are let free.
On the surface, this explanation might have some superficial appeal.
But upon any meaningful examination, this formulation falls apart. It dramatically oversimplifies the complex reality on the ground in Turkey, at so many levels, and ignores the deep historical and societal roots of anti-Armenian racism and violence in modern Turkish culture.
An imperfect (but perhaps useful) analogy may help shed some light on this issue: America’s brutal treatment of African Americans and Native Americans was not simply the function of governmental policy driven from above, but rather a reflection and a direct result, sadly, of very toxic and hateful cultural attitudes on race. Attitudes that created the very basis for the horrors of slavery and the genocidal massacres and ethnic-cleansing of American Indian tribes from their ancient homelands. Reading our Declaration of Independence (and its reference to “merciless Indian Savages”) or our Constitution (and its inhuman description of African Americans as three-fifths of a human being) just scratches the surface of the untold terror visited upon these peoples.
Add to this intolerance the vast American wealth drawn from centuries of slave labor and the massive theft of native lands—a parallel to the foundation of the modern Turkish economy, built upon the wealth and properties of literally hundreds of thousands of Armenian families and businesses stolen during the Armenian Genocide era—and you compound racial discrimination with deeply rooted and highly influential economic interests. A powerful combination. Hard, but not impossible, to challenge.
To our credit, as Americans—after decades of denial, demonstrations and, eventually, dialogue—we are today openly struggling with these deeply intense issues that are so closely tied to our very foundation, growth, and future as a nation. In Turkey, it is still illegal to talk about them.
Imagine Birmingham or Montgomery, Ala., at the height of Jim Crow.
Imagine a time in American history, thankfully behind us now, when segregationists openly celebrated Klan lynchings, and school children were raised to revel in old-school Westerns that demonized American Indians and glorified their destruction.
Well, sadly, that is where Turkey stands today.
In modern Turkey, Hrant Dink’s killer is treated like a hero, and those guilty of his assassination are let free. Armenians are regularly threatened with renewed deportations, the remaining Christian heritage of Anatolia is being systematically erased, and the country’s most popular films and books are about scapegoating and striking down treasonous minorities.
There are, of course, Turks who line up on the side of the angels. Unfortunately, however, U.S. policy toward Ankara has long been to play to the lowest common denominator, backing demagogues who appeal to their population’s basest instincts, at the expense of the small but growing number of brave souls who are struggling and sacrificing for the simple freedom to speak and act in pursuit of their country’s highest aspirations.
Turkey today is not a post-genocidal state, but a pre-genocidal society, angrily lashing out at its imagined enemies and, it would seem, seeking out its next target. The remaining Armenians on the soil of present-day Turkey – reminders of the unfinished work of Turkey’s last genocide – are high on this list, as, of course, are the Kurds, the most likely victim of its next.
The bottom line is that what is needed is not simply a change in Turkey’s policies, but rather a profound, long-term movement driven by both international and domestic pressure to rehabilitate Turkey into a modern, tolerant, and pluralist society that—as proof of its reform—willingly forfeits the fruits of its genocidal crimes.
Any less would be a disservice to Turkey’s victims, to Turkey’s neighbors, and to Turkey’s own citizens.

Friday, February 3, 2012


ANKARA. - During the Turkish parliament's hearings on the proposal for fight against the financing of terrorism, the Kurdish "Peace and Democracy Party" (BDP) MP Sirri Sureyya Onder reflected on the court ruling on the case of Hrant Dink, the founder and former chief editor of Istanbul's Agos Armenian weekly, who was killed in 2007.
"The person [Erhan Tuncel] who was punished in the trial was punished for placing a bomb in a hamburger-selling company [McDonald's]. In Turkey, the life of an Armenian citizen is not as important as an American company that sells hamburgers. You cannot touch a hamburger seller, but you can kill an Armenian," Sirri Sureyya Onder said, Turkish Haberx news agency informs.
To note, Erhan Tuncel was found not guilty of prompting Dink's murder, and, instead, he was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for an explosion in a McDonald's store. But taking into account that Tuncel was already incarcerated for that amount of time, the court had ruled his release.