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11-Month Prison Sentence for ‘Gul is Armenian’ Comment

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ISTANBUL, Turkey—A Turkish journalist and publisher has received an 11-month prison sentence for “insulting President [Abdullah] Gul” by saying that he was of Armenian descent. The complaint against the journalist was filed by the president’s office, reported Bianet.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

The defendant, Cem Buyukcakir, is the publication director of the news website Haberin Yeri (HaberinYeri.net). His crime? Publishing a comment by a reader who “accused” Gul of being Armenian.

During the trial, the defense lawyer argued that the publisher was not responsible for the reader’s comments and requested to drop the procedures, Bianet reported.

After the hearing, Buyukcakir said, “I received an 11-month prison sentence for a comment that I removed as soon as the warning reached me. It is very strange that people still insist on controlling the internet press in this country. It is upsetting that the author of the criminal comment is still publishing his columns at another website and that nobody initiated any legal proceedings against that person. I am not asking for much: I just want the evidence presented to court to be investigated. With today’s technology, it’s not very difficult to establish that I am not the person who wrote that comment. I hope that the parties in and outside the parliament will not remain passive on this issue.”

Deputy Canan Aritman from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) opposed the position of the president’s office, saying, “You will see [the truth] once you look into the ethnic roots of his mother’s family.”

The comment was posted in late 2008 when the Turkish Grand National Assembly was discussing the apology campaign on the Armenian Genocide, initiated by Turkish intellectuals.

According to human rights activists, the fact that the Turkish president went to court for the “insult” of being called an Armenian demonstrates the extent to which Armenians are vilified in Turkey.

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55 Comments on 11-Month Prison Sentence for ‘Gul is Armenian’ Comment

  1.    This almost sounds surreal if i didn’t wake up and realize  that ‘its Turkey and their treatment of Armenians. This should, if we are doing our job, do wonders for Turkey’s EU bid as a country that has no respect for freedom of speech… not to mention that this lack of freedom is directed towards the Armenians. It really reflects the underlying problem in Turkish society and how large the gap is for them to move forward. In the meantime, we should take advantage of their regressive thinking and connect this for the world to their continued denial of the genocide.

  2. Unbelievable for this day and age. To be narrow minded like this…. and this Turkish government, with these values, wants to be accepted in the EU. Ha!!!

  3. avatar Louise Kiffer // November 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm // Reply

    So, the Turkish journalist thought that to have an armenian mother is a dishonour…

     

  4. “we should take advantage of their regressive thinking and connect this for the world to their continued denial of the genocide”

    I agree with you, Stepan, 100%. I am wondering how we can draw the attention of the international community to this incident. How can we make it more public? Turks like to pretend that they are democratic, civilized and ready to join the more progressive nations in the EU. How can they explain something like this if they are asked a question?

    Murat, Metin, Robert, and all others who like to label us as haters and nationalists. Do you feel proud or ashamed of this? How would YOU react or feel about Armenians if we considered being called “Turkish” an insult?

  5. Well, I am not sure if all of this is correct as there has been little mention anywhere else, but it is shameful indeed if true.  I find it hard to believe especially if Gul got involved with something like this, it would be so out of character.  Regardless, this is what nationalism does.  It is banal.  Not too different than many of you here who use “Turk” as an insult.  It is certainly not an insult to be of this or that ethnicity in Turkey, at least for a great many.  I have never heard of anything like this before.  I will not even attempt an explanation lest it sounds like a justification.

  6. avatar Cheesy mustache! // November 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm // Reply

    I think Persident Gul has a cheesy mustache!  How many years for that?

  7. avatar Norair Armenya Van // November 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm // Reply

    Turks are 85% Armenian.  From the invasions before and after 1071 AD to the Ottoman Turks (who were already 85% Armenian) Turks have stolen Armenian boys and girls for nearly 1000 years.  The Turks have Armenian blood in their veins, Armenian blood on their hands, and Armenian blood on their minds.

  8. avatar Cheesy mustache! // November 6, 2010 at 10:59 pm // Reply

    Oops!  I meant President Gul has a cheesy mustache!  But seriously, after such a ridiculous court decision which only exposes the small-minded xenophobic, turco-superiority complex, Turkey wouldn’t look sillier even if they all reverted to poofy pants and red fezzes?

  9. Murat there is no justification for this because that is how it is in Turkey.. i mean how many cases do we need to read about such unfair and xenophobia about Armenians to show the true colors of this country called Turkey… I hope that Turkey will NEVER EVER be accepted into EU..

    Such cowards…

  10. Gayane – I understand what you mean, Turkey does not act like an EU country yet but….if you REALLY want to see meaningful, lasting change in Turkey and in its attitude toward Armenia, then the only way to make that happen will be EU membership. Without it, chances are rather slim.

  11. In truth, it is the dishonored Armenian women who were forced by the Turks, thus were the great grandmothers and grandmothers of so many who want to believe that they are of the
    full-bloodied Turks of today… Armenian women and girls… surely against their most honest and innermost feelings… subjected against their will… Turkish style.  Manooshag

  12. Turks have entered all the nations of Europe and Europeans now see what they are… incapable of joining the civilized nations of the world.  Bullying, lying and more… PLOYS, agreements to agree/to disagree, agreements awaiting Turks’ signatures lined up for years… awaiting signatures… all true Turkish style of ‘foreign relations’ – but Turkey style!  Manooshag

  13.  This type of information needs to find its way into the EU membership infrastructure. I doubt that the core members of the EU will look upon this type of overt ethocentric behavior as something they want to be affiliated with. We need to expedite this because perhaps on appeal or when the embarassment of this is public , the sentence will be commuted or thrown out. What is important to convey is the intent and the value system that would something as archaic as this to be even considered. The parallels between Ottoman and Republic should be drawn.

  14. Turks will never change. I’m glad they keep proving to the world their cruel and criminal minds. Gul should be proud of his mother whether Armenian or not but from the way he got insulted just proved the possibility the she may indeed be Armenian.

    I would be proud of my mother regardless of her ethnicity. If one the Turks’ brightest feels this way about his mother I feel bad for the average turkish citizen!!

  15. President Gul is Armenian.
     
    We should all make fun of the Turkish government by repeating that horribly blasphemous comment :p Maybe make a facebook page of it??

  16. Norair Armenya Van from where did you get this information. our history did not start at the begining of 1000s.

  17. Varoujan, you say “Turks will never change” but tens of thousands of Turks also chanted “we are all Armenians” in Hrant Dink’s funeral. There are always two opposite sides. As a Turk, I find this incident embarrassing, even disgusting.

  18. http://rbedrosian.com/atmi2.htm
    [81] The establishment of Turkish political overlordship over an overwhelmingly Armenian Monophysite Christian population in eastern Asia Minor, and over Graeco-Armenian populations in central Asia Minor did not immediately lead to widespread conversions to Islam. This was to occur in the 12th and early 13th centuries, and to resume, after a hiatus, in the early 14th century. But during the time of the Saljuq invasions, Armenian Islamization seems to have been limited, restricted mostly to those obliged to convert to save their lives, and to the tens of thousands of Armenian women and children forcibly removed from their homes and sold on the Middle Eastern slave marts, entering Muslim harems and households (139). In this early period too, several influential Armenian naxarar women were sought after as brides by Saljuq rulers (140). [82] Presumably many of them Islamized. Subsequently, after the establishment of Saljuq political control, other Armenians converted, be they the young Armenian boys, gulams, absorbed into the Saljuq military schools, or the skilled Armenian bureaucrats and artisans who dominated numerous important positions within the various Turkish states, and who figure prominently in Turkish epic literature (see below) (141).

    The upshot of this conversion, forcible or voluntary, was the creation with time of a distinct group–virtually excluded from the Armenian sources as “renegades”, but apparently not yet fully accepted by their new Muslim co-religionists either, who in their sources usually style [83] them “Armenians” (142). However, it must be underlined that the majority of the Armenians remained true to their own [84] distinctive form of Christianity. This fact, coupled with the reality of an Armenian majority in eastern Asia Minor, in its turn led to yet another phenomenon–also not new on the highlands, albeit this time affecting the overlords, not their subjects, i.e., what might be termed the Armenization of the Saljuqs (143). Not only did Armenians of different faiths–Apostolic, Orthodox, Muslim–constitute the bulk of ths population in eastern Asia Minor during the Saljuq domination, but fairly quickly an Armeno-Turkish community came into existence through intermarriage (144). Intermarriage occurred not only between the families of Armenian civil servants and Turkish lords, but at the very pinnacle of the state. By the 13th century, few were [85] the Saljuq sultans and rulers of eastern Asia Minor lacking an Armenian, Georgian or Greek parent or grandparent (145). Indeed, some have suggested that the great warlord and founder of the Danishmandid emirate, hero of the Turkish epic the Danishmend-name, emir Malik Danishmand himself, was an Armenian Muslim (146). Judging from the many clearly [86] Armenian names of his comrades-in-arms who waged holy war against the Byzantine Christian “infidels”, the same applied to his inner circle (147). Danishmandid coinage usually was stamped with the sign of the Cross and/or a bust of Christ (148). The hereditary rulers of the powerful emirate of Xlat’ in southern Armenia styled themselves Shah-i-Armen (Persian for “King of the Armenians”), and married Armenians (149). Furthermore, Armenization was not solely an ethnic process, but a cultural one as well. [87] Saljuq architecture not only took some of its inspiration from Armenian ecclesiastical and civil structures which graced and still grace the landscape of eastern Asia Minor, but in the 11-13th centuries, many of the structures themselves were designed and constructed by Christian and Muslim Armenians (150). By the end of the 12th century Armenia was well on the way to absorbing and transforming its newest residents.

    The emergence of Georgia as a great military power in the late 11-12th centuries radically shifted the balance scales in favor of complete Caucasian cultural as well as political supremacy in eastern Asia Minor. Thanks to Georgia, much of historical Armenia once again came under Armenian political control–though briefly–and those parts that were not, were either tributary to Georgia or had made peace with that state. Beginning in the reign of the Georgian Bagratid monarch David II, called “the Builder” (1089-1125), the armies of Georgia commenced clearing southern and southeastern Georgia of nomadic Turkmens, capturing from them Shamshoylde and many strongholds in the Armeno-Georgian district of Somxit’i (1110); Lorhe [88] Agarak and the Kiwrikean holdings (1118) (151); Shamaxi, eastern Gugark’, western Utik’, Gag, K’awazin, Kayean, Kaycon, Terunakan, Nor Berd, Tawush, Mahkanaberd, Manasgom, and Xalinchk’ar (1123) (152). The same year Ani was taken, though that city passed back and forth between the Georgian and the Muslim emirs many times throughout the 12th century (153). During the reign of David’s successor Demetre I (1125-1155/56) and his successor Georgi III (1155/56-1184) the conquests continued though at a slower pace. Throughout this period, the Georgian army was swelling with Armenian volunteers, enthusiastically participating in the Iiberation of their country. Furthermore, the Georgian Bagratids, themselves of Armenian descent, very definitely favored certain Armenian nobles long since established within Iberia and within that country’s ruling structure (154). Such lords as the Zak’arean/Mxargrcelis, Orbelean/Orbelis and [89] Arcruni/Mankaberdelis not only commanded the victorious armies, but were left in charge of the newly established administrations (155). The Georgian Bagratids reached the apogee of their power under queen Tamar (1184-1213). Under Tamar’s generals, the energetic brothers Zak’are and Iwane Zak’arean, the Armeno-Georgian armies surged ahead reclaiming one after another fortress, city and district: Anberd in Aragacotn district (1196), Shamk’or, Ganjak, Arc’ax, Siwnik’, Shirak, the Ayrarat plain and Ani (ca. 1199); Bjni (1201); and Dwin (1203) (156). They now turned upon the southern and western emirates, defeating the renowned sultan of Konya, Rukn al-Din in the district of Basen (1204) (157). In 1204/5 they reached as far south [90] as Manazkert and Archesh on the northern shore of Lake Van, although this area was not taken until ca. 1208/9 (158). Iwane’s daughter T’amt’a was married to the Shah Armen of Xlat’ in 1209/10 (159). In a great final burst, general Zak’are marched through Naxijewan and Jugha, through Azarbaijan to Marand, Tabriz and Qazvin, looting and sacking Muslim settlements (160). By the time of Zak’are’s death in 1212, Georgia was the most powerful state in the region, while the status of the Armenians, be they inhabitants of historical Armenia–northeastern, southern, western–of Georgia, or of the plethora of small communities stretching to the southwest to the independent Cilician kingdom had been changed in a very positive way. This situation was to be altered again almost at once.

    [91] The great demographic, military, and political changes which had taken place in the history of the Armenians in the late 12th-early 13th centuries have left their imprints on the contemporary sources. In the 11-14th century sources there is justifiable confusion over the borders of Armenia. Political boundaries, of course, do not always embrace neatly definable regions of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural entities, and “Armenia” in the 13-14th centuries was a fine example of this. Because of large scale emigration, resulting in the creation of new diasporas, one could draw very wide indeed the cultural boundaries of Armenia, in this period, even though a delineation of the political boundaries is well-nigh impossible (161). [pp.92-93 are continuations of footnote 161]

  19. Ozan:
     
    your ancestors invaded from Central Asia (Altay Mountains) to Western Armenia and Easter Byzantine Empire (mostly Greeks)  about 1,000 years ago.
     
    “…Certainly identified Turkic tribes were known by the 6th century and by the 10th century most of Central Asia was settled by Turkic tribes. The Seljuk Turks from the 11th century invaded Anatolia, ultimately resulting in permanent Turkic settlement there and the establishment of the nation of Turkey. Meanwhile the other Turkic tribes either ultimately formed independent nations, such as Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan …” (citation from Wikipedia)
     
    If you study  the pics of Turkmens in present day Turkmenistan, you’ll  see that they have clearly Asiatic features. Your ancestors are from the Asiatic group of the 3 main races that anthropologists classify, e.g. Mongoloid, Caucasian, and Negroid. You will see some modern Turkmens with Caucasian features: those come from being part of the former Soviet Union, and having intermarried with ethnic Russians.
     
    If you observe the features of present day Turks, there should be no doubt in your mind that quite a large percentage of them, maybe the majority of them, are not really ethnic Turks (or Turkmens).
     
    I am not sure about 85% being Armenian; there were very large numbers of Assyrians and Greeks (East to West)  in the population mix, in addition to Armenians. Also, about 30%-35% of the population of present day Turkey are ethnic Kurds – distinct from Turkmens, Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal, had blue/green eyes: the blue eye gene mutation does not exist in Asiatic races. Kemal has to have non-Turk/Turkmen ancestry somewhere in his genetic lineage.

  20. I agree with Metin; let’s not go ahead and make general assumptions about all Turkish people. We have to remember that this anti-Armenian sentiment/propaganda, and the systematic denial of the genocide is perpetuated by the Turkish administration — that is the source, and always has been since the 1920′s.

  21. Metin, I agree with you. We can’t paint all Turks with the same brush. However, in this case, it’s not a random Turk that considers being called an Armenian an insult. It’s your President. Secondly, the fact that someone has to go to jail for this means that it IS considered an insult by the Turkish society as a whole. As I understand, this story is public and is openly discussed in Turkey. If the President himself does not realize that there is a problem, what can we expect from the average Turk?

  22. THe bottom line of all this important history is that there would not be a Turkey today if not for the Armenian contribution over the last ten centuries. Moreover, most educated Turks know this, as did every sultan since Alp Arslan, because all were of mixed minority parentage due to the succession rules that governed their lives. So, it is well established that the minorities were an essential and valuable foundation for them, without whom they would have had nothing at all. How and why then would they kill the goose that gave them golden eggs for a thousand years, especially when they had very deep blood ties to their minorities?  This is not a casual or light question…it is essential to our understanding of what happened to some minorities and not others.

  23. I find this “who is  a Turk” discussion very amusing, I mean who has blond hair and blue eyes and asian features, size of their skull and ratio to forehad and all.  I can recommend some good books on this, in German.

    A Turk is whoever calls himself one.  That simple.  There is no such argument or discussion in Armenia or even Greece for example.  It points at the richness of Turkey.

    Here is another interesting fact, and confusing to many I am sure:  The most nationalistic Turk I ever met was an Armenian.

  24.    Let’s stay focused on the main issue. The policies of a government and value system of a society that creates injustice for another group and deceives its own citizens. I don’t find the ethnic generalizations particularly useful for our cause. In fact , I am hoping for improvement and enlightenment to emerge in Turkish society because it is in our interests, as Armenians. Real change in our position will happen when change within Turkey enables a true reconciliation with its past. If Turkey is really interested in “moderizing”( and I’m not sure they are united on that one) then it is in their interest to deal with their past and address the impact today. Murdering a people, stealing its property and homeland…these issues will not go away. They will always slow down Turkey’s progress because they illustrate the hypocracy.

  25. “I find this “who is  a Turk” discussion very amusing, I mean who has blond hair and blue eyes and asian features, size of their skull and ratio to forehad and all.  I can recommend some good books on this, in German.”
     
    That’s quite ironic, Murat. I can recommend to you some good history lessons on this, in Turkish.
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkish-racism-an-unpleasant-story-2010-07-13

  26. Murat:
     
    Re: “… size of their skull and ratio to forehad and all.  I can recommend some good books on this, in German. … “
     
    Pretty clever misdirection, but it won’t work: Ottoman Turks committed Genocide against Armenians, not the other way around. And Hitler learned that Genocide/Holocaust ‘works’ – in his mind – from Ottoman Turks, not Armenians. Your predecessors decided to exterminate ‘Turks’ who happened to be Christian, whether they considered themselves a ‘Turk’ or not.
     
    Re: “…The most nationalistic Turk I ever met was an Armenian. … “
    Are you kidding ? an ‘Armenian’ who’s the most nationalistic Turk ? is that the same nationalistic type of Armenian-Turk who murdered Hrant Dink because he was of Armenian descent, and with whom Turkish police officers proudly posed in a photograph ? that type of nationalistic Turk ?
     
    Are you sure you can become a ‘Turk’ simply by calling yourself one ? Hrant Dink considered himself a Turk, worked tirelessly towards the goal  of Turkey becoming part of EU, for the good of all Turkey and all ‘Turks’– and he was murdered by a nationalistic Turk for no other reason than his ancestry was Armenian.
     
    And if  “… it’s as simple as that …”, why don’t you ‘Turks’ convert to Christianity, change your names to Armenian surnames and call yourselves Armenians, and call Turkey  ‘Western Armenia’ – simple, no ?

  27. Great find Alex.
    And kudos to Hurriyet for publishing the article.

  28. Well, it’s all kind of fascinating because it brings up notions of who we all are, doesn’t it?  We may think we are ‘Armenian’, but again, that may be a very mixed bag. I’ve often heard and read that Armenians in Turkey were the most ‘Turkish’ of all the minorities and the most loyal. This may have meant that they were the most Anatolian, since they were there the longest, but it does point out an interesting issue: that Armenians (including my staunchly Ottoman and Turkophile great-grandfather) did support the empire for hundreds of years, in a very serious way. They were not marginal players…they were part and parcel of Ottoman society.

  29. The initial results of the Family DNA Project for Armenians and Turks are revealing interesting relation (Cain and Abel relationship?).
    We could get unexpected results as more people get their DNA results… and how this will be translated politically and historically will be very interesting.

  30. Most Turks have Armenian, Greek, Kurdish blood in them–original inhabitants. Yet, they try to kill these people.They falsely think they are 100% Turkish, but that would make them oriental. They are lying to themselves about who they are. HAHA

  31. OR, Gul has something against this publisher… using this ‘excuse’ to jail him… a’something’ else… which a Gul does not want ‘known’.  Manooshag

  32. The idea that there are only 1 – 200,000 Armenians left in Turkey and that all are in Istanbul is probably being promoted to hide the face that there are millions with Armenian roots just under the surface. They survive as Kurds, Turks, Alevis, Hemshins, etc., but they are there and they know full well who they are. The govt probably does, as well. Even more interesting is that they are still living on their ancestral lands and still making contributions to the state that attempted to eliminate them. The fact is, those ultranationalist, racists who can be traced to the CUP/Ittihadists are also still there. We can only hope that their influence and power will diminish over time as the Turkish public learns more and more about their discredited deeds at this very moment in time, and demands an end to fear, intimidation and facist tactics.

  33. Well said, Karekin. Your best post on this website. Nuanced stuff like this and less overt Turkophilia is much appreciated aper.

  34. Thank you for your comments. My advocate, my friends and my collegues couldn’t understand this legal decision. This lawsuit cannot be interpretted legally.The comment in my website, also placed in 5 different websites. But because they are not opponent, there are no lawsuits about them. Only I want from you is to share this legal decision with all of your friends. And appreciate freedom.

  35. Our prayers are with you Cem.

  36. Thanks, Alex, I appreciate that. However, I don’t think ‘overt Turkophilia’ is really the problem or even a problem at all.  Overt Turkophobia might be, however. Let me just say that despite my family’s very deep connections to the Tashnagsutiun and very real losses as a result of 1915, there was never any anti-Turkish sentiment among any of them. I know it may sound odd, but it’s true. Various family members have visited Turkey on and off for about 40 years now, and have never, ever experienced anything negative, hostile or unkind. Actually, it’s been just the opposite. So, while I think it’s entirely justified to oppose a government’s policies and point out its failings, I cannot and will not demonize an entire group of people. It serves no good purpose, for us or for them, or for the many Armenians still living and working in Turkey today.
     

  37. Cem, I’m sorry that things turned out the way they did for you. Although it may look bleak, I nonetheless think that actions like these by the Turkish government will only harm it, and will result in more pressure upon Ankara (from the West, but also perhaps from inside Turkey itself) to initiate civil reform. The important thing is not to give up and continue speaking out; the day when Turks stop voicing themselves about issues with which their government is uncomfortable, that will be the day when they would have become slaves to a bunch of corrupt religious oligarchs.

  38. Karekin I don’t think I made my point clearly enough. I espouse rational analysis; assertions which ignore facts and are based on anecdotal evidence (“my family has never experienced anything negative”) or an irrational love–or hate–for Turks are counter-productive. I’m not asking you to demonize anyone. I’m asking you not to praise everything the government of Turkey does just because your family has had good experiences in that country. Although I must say, you’re more coherent than Avetis’ unconditional sexual attraction for everything Russian.
    As I said, I liked your post.

  39. Alex I agree with you…

    Karekin.. i can honestly say that Alex is right..out of all the weird and out of this world comments you made so far, you finally made sense in few of your comments here..lets not ruin it shall we?.

    Cem.. you have supporters on these pages…. we will pray for your victory..

  40. Alex…not to worry….believe me….I can’t and won’t praise anything and everything done by the govt of Turkey. I know the score there…trust me…and I have no illusions. Despite attempts to overcome their fascist/military tradition, it lingers in both laws and practice…and is hurting everyone living there. Just ask Orhan Pamuk or any Kurd…many of whom fear that in Turkey, they could become the 21st century’s new Armenians. We all hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s one of the fears that could be overcome with EU membership. Plus, having an EU member right next door would probably be a huge plus for Armenia. The other thing you need to realize is not just that my family has had positive experiences in Turkey, but that literally millions of people have just in the past year, including some 50,000+ tourists from Armenia itself.  Personally, as an Armenian, I feel much safer walking down any street in Turkey than in Russia, and again, I don’t think I’m alone on that.

  41. Thank you, Gayane. I appreciate it.

  42.  
    Karekin – I strongly doubt that Turkey will ever become an EU member-state. Letting 73 million close-minded Muslim Turks into Europe is suicidal, and Europeans understand this. Chancellor Merkel has unambiguously hinted on this to the Turks. Turkey’s EU membership is not a panacea for fears that the world has in regard to Turkey. Membership in a regional organization cannot cure a country’s xenophobic, unrepentant mentality and fascist state order. Evolution can. But I have a strong reservation that descendants of earth-scorching nomads can undergo civilizational evolution to the extent that they raise to the European libertarian standards. An idea that an EU member next door would probably be a huge plus for Armenia is also flawed. A plus for Armenia, as well as for Turkey and the region, will be open borders without preconditions and acceptance of guilt. Whether this is done in the capacity of an EU member or not doesn’t essentially matter. As for feeling much safer walking down any street in Turkey than in Russia, is so relative. You may be safer in Turkey on an individual level until you reveal you’re an Armenian, because you’re generally favorably predisposed towards the Turks. But keep in mind that Armeniams as a nation-state feel much safer when their back is covered by fellow Christian Russia against the surrounding Turkic bellicose nations…

  43. Paul….while I understand the need for an official apology and agree that it’s imperative, we should also keep in mind that most European nations have never apologized for the millions of deaths, damage and destruction they caused with their imperial exercises over the last 300 years, from India, to Africa to S. America…slavery, theft of resources, etc. and yet, everyone does business with them as if their crap doesn’t stink. If you want to see what European/Western meddling can do, even in this day and age, just look at Iraq and Afghanistan. Christians will now leave Iraq in droves….all due to US greed.  Those same factors were operating in Ottoman Turkey at the time of WWI and before. Perhaps the west should mind its own business for once and stop causing grief for innocent people around the world and in the Middle East, more specifically. The point is, the western nations are very good at issuing words that sound good, causing locals to sign on to their agenda, but in most cases, the locals are left to fend for themselves and often loose much, much more for cooperating with these invaders.

  44. Excellent retort Paul. Deep insight.
     
    To all friends who, no doubt genuinely, believe Turkey can become friendly with Armenia anytime soon and benefit the latter somehow, I offer the following facts:
     

    In today’s Germany if you display any Nazi paraphernalia – just display, mind you – you will be arrested and jailed.

    In today’s Turkey a peaceful ‘Turk’, who happened to be Christian Armenian was           murdered by a nationalist Turk, and with whom Turkish Police  Officers proudly  posed for a photograph, and  whose deed was actively supported and possibly organized by elements of the Turkish security apparatus.  I am well aware of the gratifying display of 10s of thousands of righteous Turks demonstrating  with signs that said ‘I am Hrant Dink’. However, those righteous Turks are in the tiny minority and certainly don’t run Turkey.

    No need to elaborate, but the plight of Kurds – whom official Turkey does not even recognize and calls ‘Mountain Turks’ – is well known and documented.

    Modern Germany not only has unequivocally acknowledged the crimes committed against Jews by their Nazi predecessors, but has supported the (Jewish) State of Israel diplomatically, financially, technologically, and militarily: the 3 modern ultra-quiet submarines that make up the seaborne leg of Israel’s nuclear arsenal were designed, built and  provided by Germany.

    Turkey, on the other hand not only does not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, but has a very active, worldwide campaign of Denial. Countries or entities who have ‘dared’ officially acknowledge the Genocide are ‘punished’ by Turkey.

    Turkey goes to great lengths to damage and cause economic harm to Armenia.

    Only a few years ago, during the Artsakh war of survival and liberation, when Turks’ cousins attempted a 2nd Armenian Genocide against our 200,000 or so brothers and sisters of Artsakh, NATO-trained Turkish officers were advising  and guiding Azeris in the art of warcraft; Armenians lost several battles due to direct involvement of well-trained Turkish officers and cadres in the planning and execution.

    Is there any doubt that Turkey – if she could – would invade and snuff out Armenia ? The World would not allow it, you say ? The ‘World’ stood by and did nothing while Turkish troops invaded a European country – Cyprus – ostensibly to ‘save’ Cypriot-Turks, the latter themselves being invaders from far away lands. Turkish armed forces to this day still occupy about 40% of Cyprus.

    Who is to say Turkey would not use the pretext of  ‘saving’  their Azeri cousins from something or other to attack Armenia ? Not possible, you say ?

    It is a well known – but not widely publicized – fact that during the Arsakh War of Liberation, in early 1990s, Turkey had concrete plans to invade Armenia,  take and occupy its Southern half and link up with Azerbaijan. Gambling that Russia was too preoccupied with its internal turmoil (during Yeltsin’s administration), Turks planned to execute a lighting strike with overwhelming force and present the ‘World’ with a fait accompli, somewhat similar to their  successful invasion and  partition of Cyprus.
     
    “… The Turks sent more and more weapons, military trainers , provided Turkish military hospitals for treating the wounded Azeri soldiers. …”
    “…On several occasions the Turkish 3rd Field Army was made ready to cross the frontier. The army included at the hottest period of the     confrontation c. 1500 tanks, 2500 artillery units with heavy artillery, 1100 armoured transport vehicles. It was supported by the 2nd Tactical Aviation Command with 260 war planes and a unit for psychological warfare. The army was engaged furthermore in training both Azeri soldiers and irregular “grey wolves” that became a major force in Azerbaijan at that time. Incidentally, important camps and recruitment centres for Azerbaijan fighters were organized also in many other places, i.al. in remote Turkish-occupied Cyprus. They were all supported and encouraged by the Turkish authorities. …”
    “… The 220th Armoured and 9th artillery groups of the 9th Sarykamysh Division were deployed directly on the Armenian border. There were skirmishes along the boderline. Yet the Armenians were winning the war. The Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller threatened that if the Armenians make further progress “Turkey is not going to stand idly by …”
    (Google “Tansu Ciller plan to invade Armenia” for links to source material)
    Please take careful of the date: this was not Ottoman Turkey, this was not 95 years ago; this was modern Turkey; this was less than 20 years ago.
    ___________
     
    The mere fact that the entire Turkish government apparatus not only does not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide but actively works against its recognition – worldwide – is sufficient reason to mistrust every Turkish overture.
    Also, let’s not forget the dream of every ‘nationalistic’ Turk: to have an unbroken Pan-Turanic chain from the Bosphorus back to the Altay Mountains, where Turkish nomadic tribes originated. Which country is it that is ‘in the way’ of completing that chain ?

  45. Karekin, you confuse cases of colonization, imperial wars, and slavery with the premeditated policy of mass annihilation of Turkey’s own citizens who happened to be of different race, ethnicity, and religion. This particular case falls under a definition that was coined based on race annihilation of Armenians: genocide. A UN convention was adopted based on this and a couple of other cases effectively differentiating genocide from interstate wars, colonial occupations and atrocities committed in the process, as well as slavery. And you are wrong that many Western nations have never apologized for these atrocities. Many of them actually did, Germans immediately come to one’s mind. And the Turks will be made, too. Factors divergently different from European/Western meddling were operating in Ottoman Turkey at the time of WWI and before. Non-Muslims, including Armenians, feel safe in Iraq and many other Arab countries or Iran, whereas in Ottoman and modern-day Turkey national and religious minorities feel insecure. Centuries-long pillages of their villages, massacres, abductions, and the lack of basic civil rights is one proof. Hamidian massacres of 1984-96, Adana massacre of 1909, and the Genocide of 1915 are another compelling proofs. Xenophobia and intolerance exist within Turkey, and Westerners only reflected on it on several occasions, most notably, in the Treaty of Berlin, and not the other way round. If xenophobia and intolerance no longer exist in modern-day Turkey, why can’t modern Turks acknowledge the crimes of their Ottoman predecessors? Why would they kill Dink and his lawyer, threaten and kill Christian priests, persecute Kurds? Because the reason is in who the Turks are as a nation, not in the “meddling” of outside powers.

  46. Ehhhhh Karekin .. Karekin.. Karekin…. did i not ask you not to ruin it? and guess what you did.. you ruined it again….oh well…

    Paul and Avery excellent comments…Thank you

    Gayane

  47. Let me ask…why the immediate knee jerk reaction?  Why the Pavlovian response?  Where are all the open minds, free of racial stereotypes and prejudice?  Where is the self-analysis and self-criticism?  I will not disagree that the Turkish state orchestrated and carried out the worst mass murder in history or that elements within today’s Turkish government have clear ties to the masterminds. That is all true. However, it is incumbent on us to boost and promote those in that society who are and can influence positive change. Painting Turkey with a broad brush just turns everyone off, including those who might offer us support as we go into the future.  And, that is the risk I am pointing out, because positive change between Turks and Armenians can only come by building alliances and ties within that society who can affect direct change, not just by reinforcing and repeating our beliefs to ourselves (i.e., preaching to the choir) but by expanding our audience beyond our circle and to include those from the other side. It may sound trite, but ‘hug your adversary’ has more potential to change the dynamic than building an impenetrable wall. This truism holds for Israelis and Palestinians, as well as for Armenians and Turks, Americans and Vietnamese, Jews and Germans and many other groups. Done with caution and prudence, as well as sincerity, it can work wonders.  

  48. Karekin, nice words, but they are, essentially, empty verbiage. For several reasons. First, it is not incumbent on a victim to boost and promote those in the murderer society who can influence positive change. We can encourage and appreciate their efforts if they are honest, but how do you suggest that a nation of 10 mln technically boost and promote those in the nation of 73 mln who can promote change? I believe several people asked you the same question which you chose to ignore. Is it really a prerogative of the victim? I doubt so. The victim typically relies upon international and legal support in order to generate change in the murderer society. This has nothing to do with racial stereotypes and prejudice. This has to do with restoration of justice for the victim. Second, I don’t think positive change between Turks and Armenians can only come by building alliances and ties within that society who can affect direct change. Empty verbiage, again, I’m afraid. How do you technically build alliances and ties if the murderer state refuses to establish diplomatic relations, keeps the border closed, and trade and economic blockade in effect? Third, “hug your adversary” does actually sound trait, because Turkey is not just an adversary, it’s a genocide-perpetrator state whose crimes can receive punishment under UN conventions and numerous binding international documents, as Alfred de Zayas has outlined. Fourth, it is not true that “hug your adversary” truism held for Jews and Germans. Jews never advanced such a “truism” to extract Chancellor Willy Brandt’s apology in 1970. It was Germans’ evolutional maturity as Europeans, not descendants of nomadic Asian tribes as in the case of Turks, that prompted them to first make voluntary payments to Israel, then to offer compensations, restore citizenship for the families of the victims, pass a law allowing Jews from anywhere in the world to settle in Germany, and make Holocaust denial a criminal offence. But these are Germans. In our case, we’re dealing with cunning, still evolutionary developing close-minded Turks.

  49. Karekin, the Turks are not my adversaries.  The Turkish government and establishment that denies truth, thwarts justice and behaves as if the name Armenian is a slur, are my adversaries.  I reserve my hugs for people and give them freely, even to Turks who I befriend.  But institutions, governments, closed-minded and xenophobic ideologies; how do we hug that?  Paul is right, such trite suggestions only imply that Armenians need to bear the brunt of the efforts for reconciliation and it adds to a self-blame victim mentality.  I agree with you that we should be careful about getting mired down in hate and fail to appreciate those Turks who have begun to deal with the truth.  But this group is a minority in Turkey and we have a long way to go to change hearts and minds in the rest of Turkish society.  I believe we best do this by being strong, unwavering, unashamed, voices for truth.  Why do you want us to sit down and be quiet like the obsequieous, second-class, Ottoman citizens we were once forced to be?

  50. Boyajian…I agree with you, but unlike Paul, I refuse to be a victim of anyone or anything. Choosing to be and remain a ‘victim’ is not productive, particularly since you yourself have not been victimized….I’m sorry to say. I think it’s much more effective to stand up and act like an equal to be treated like an equal…and don’t resign yourself to victimhood or to the fear factor that comes along with it. And by the way, since this all started w/ a question about Gul having some Armenian ancestry, let me just say that it would be great if he does and even better if he stated it publicly and with pride. That would be the best outcome of all this.

  51. I agree with Paul …..

    Karekin jan… you say “Painting Turkey with a broad brush just turns everyone off”… but in reality, it is not us who is doing it .. but the Turkey herself is doing it with her actions… many come to mind like the Aghtamar event, like Ani event, like the imfameous protocols, like the assasination of Hrant Dink, his lawyer and the catholic priest, the aweful Article 301, the treatement of Kurds..list goes on… so if you ask me, Turkey is diggin her own deep hole… and just because we voice our anger and we demand justice it does not mean we are vayreni or we are unreasonable.. or hate every Turk.. no one said that.. and no one can say that…

    Thank you
    Gayane

  52. Gayane, I understand what you’re saying, but let’s face it, no country or govt is perfect.  Yes, Turkey has a long way to go in many areas and could use alot of improvement if it wants to live up to the image it’s attempting to convey to the world, but as you say, it won’t be easy…there’s plenty of nasty news footage out there that’s not going away any time soon. We also have to face that some rather nasty things happen in Armenia as well, as much as we love it. I just think that like many other things in the world, it’s not all black and white, good and bad…there’s many other options on how to evaluate the situation that are alot less extreme and alot more nuanced, that might be more realistic and productive for us.

  53. “nasty things happen in Armenia as well…” Like what? Armenians have slaughtered other nation in an act of genocide and refuse to apologize for the crime?

  54. No Paul….it doesn’t have to be that level of catastrophe to be damaging and hurtful to the Armenian people.  Please read some of the real news that’s coming out of Armenia these days….army recruits being murdered by their own superiors, women being beaten by their husbands, the loss of trees and forest, serious water issues, plus corruption, crime and no real jobs for people. Face it – it is not a paradise. THe worse part of it is that Armenians are abusing each other in their own little azad Hayastan. To me, that’s much, much worse because we only have Armenians to blame. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians have spoken with their feet and moved to Rostov, Moscow or Istanbul…fully 20% of the population has left…now tell me, why is that?  Something is systemically wrong…and people have no hope that it will be fixed in time for them to feed, educate and clothe their families. No matter what political stripe you wear, these are serious, major issues…..that unless they are addressed, will destroy Armenia. That’s what you should be worried about, instead of wasting time parsing words and splitting hairs.   

  55. avatar Sylva-MD-Poetry // May 1, 2011 at 1:21 am // Reply

    Turkification of Armenians
    (Genocide of Identity)


    Turkifications of Armenians,
    Another word for crucification
    By sinking their Identify at a degree
    Not to have one cross on any grave, Khatchkars*

    Planned to destroy each historical Church

    Language: No-one should speak Armenian
    Even at a closed home.

    No more Armenian schools in Anatolia.

    Religion: all must become Muslims,
    The bells of Churches silenced and
    Churches demolished or turned to mosques; **

    How many of those holy temples!

    No one should celebrate Christmas,
    Jesus must be wiped from all hearts;
    Jesus, Isa doesn’t exist
    Thus…Isa’s name must be deleted even from the Holy Qur’an!
    (Isa is the Arabic name for Jesus which is mentioned twenty-five times
    in the Qur’an, Seljuk-Turks entered Islam in 11th century)

    Culture: No more Armenian songs and dance
    Forenames and Surnames changed to Turkish,

    Surnames which end in Ian to Oghlo,***
    As well as forenames
    (like: Khajeg to Ahmet, Christine to Aisha.)

    Now in the Internet age
    Each Turk who can smell have some Armenian blood in them
    Yv…And…Are
    Searching vigorously for their smashed identity.

    Even Abdullah Gül****,
    They said, had Armenian blood.
    (Is there even light smoke without any fire?)

    Whoever has some suspicions
    Over people they feel are different
    At heart, in literature, in art, there is
    Something in them
    They can’t understand
    Sooner or Later
    ‘They Must Find.’

    No-one can vanish
    ‘Truth Rays of the Dateful Sun.’

    As were brought up worse than orphans.
    To say to Armenians
    This is Turkish land.
    Armenians can’t live here you must get Turkified.
    Turkified…Turkified…Turkified

    Children above the age of eight
    Were killed or thrown in the Rivers, Black Sea alive;
    The young will not remember their identity.
    The rest of the orphans were kept to be brought up
    Turkish…Turkish…Turkish…
    Sylva-MD-Poetry

    April 2009
    __________________________

    ***According to knowledgeable senior residents in Turkey if you read the surname Oglu or Oghlo you would suspect Armenian ancestry. I wonder where Gül’s intelligence came from, is it from Satoglu or Satoian: Sadoian—different names but the same genes (so called Turkification).

    ****Abdullah Gül: Associate Professor Abdullah Gül, GCB, GColIH, PhD (b. October 29,1950) is the 11th and current President of the Republic of Turkey, serving in that office since 28 August 2007. He previously served for five months as Prime Minister from 2002 to 2003 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007.
    President Gül was born in Kayseri, a city in central Anatolia. His father is Ahmed Hamdi Gül, a retired air force mechanic, and his mother is Adviye (née Satoğlu). His family has lived in the Güllük district of Kayseri for about a century.
    President Abdullah Gül released a statement about his family’s ethnic origins in response to a Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy’s attempt to link the president’s attitude toward a recently launched apology campaign for the Armenian killings at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire in 1915 to his ethnic roots: Zaman news paper reported.
    As CHP deputy Canan Aritman who claimed that President Gül’s mother is of Armenian origin. That was a great insult for Gül, so he has opened a court against Aritman. The civilized answer will be to analyze his DNA.

     

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