Le site commun des journalistes azerbaïdjanais et arméniens
[ 29 mars 2009 17:35 ]
Bakou. Kamala Gouliyeva - APA. Les journalistes azerbaïdjanais et arméniens se sont réunis de 27 à 29 mars à Tbilissi sur l’invitation de la Fondation de Coopération Européenne, a rapporté APA.
La conférence a été financée par l’USAID et le ministère britannique des affaires étrangères. 10 journalistes ont été présents dans la conférence. L’Azerbaïdjan a été présenté par Arif Aliyev, chef de l’Union des journalistes « Nouvelles Génération », Ilham Safarov, adjoint directeur de « Internews Azerbaijan » et d’autres. Les participants ont discuté de trouver des moyens visant la tolérance, non pas de la haine.
Les parties en litige doivent tourner les films sur les victimes de la guerre. Les journalistes azerbaïdjanais et arméniens doivent créer un site commun pour y installer des nouvelles et de préparer des articles en commun.
Gaz: consultations UE-Azerbaïdjan sur la mise en oeuvre du projet Nabucco
06/04/2009 20:53 BAKOU, 6 avril - RIA Novosti. L'Union européenne (UE) discute de la mise en oeuvre du projet de gazoduc Nabucco avec l'Azerbaïdjan, a déclaré lundi lors d'une conférence de presse à Bakou le représentant spécial de l'UE pour le Caucase du Sud et l'Asie Centrale Peter Semneby.
"Nous préparons sur cette question une conférence qui se déroulera en mai prochain et dont les résultats auront une grande importance", a indiqué M.Semneby.
Evalué à 7,3 milliards de dollars, le projet Nabucco est le prolongement du gazoduc Bakou-Tbilissi-Erzurum. Il doit permettre de transporter 20 à 30 milliards de mètres cubes de gaz naturel caspien tous les ans à partir de 2014 vers l'Europe, en traversant l'Azerbaïdjan, la Géorgie, la Turquie, la Bulgarie, la Hongrie, la Roumanie et l'Autriche.
Les négociations sur Nabucco, qui butent sur les risques du manque de réserves dans les pays producteurs, se sont intensifiées début 2009 sur fond de conflit russo-ukrainien. Les pays participant au projet doivent se réunir en mai prochain à Prague en sommet sous l'égide de la présidence
Calls for Federated Georgia Come on Eve of Opposition Protests to Oust Saakashvili
AKHALKALAK, Samtskhe-Javakheti (A-Info)--During an expanded session of the Council of Armenian Organization of Javakhk Tuesday, a resolution was drafted calling for the establishment of a Javakhk state within a federated Georgia. This resolution will be presented at a conference scheduled for April 16.
Invited to participate in the conference are representatives of all Armenian organizations in the Samtskhe-Javakhk region and the neighboring Kvemo-Kartili region, as well as federal and local Georgian authorities, foreign embassy staff, members of parliament, representatives of Georgian and foreign organizations that deal with human rights and minority issues and representatives of the president's office.
Organizers underscored that the conference aimed to strengthen the position of Armenian members of the Georgian parliament representing the Javakhk region, who have not been successful in presenting or addressing the concerns of the Javakhk constituency within the legislature.
The draft resolution call for the formation of a federated Georgia, under article 3 of the country's constitution, through which Samtskhe-Javakhk and the neighboring Kvemo-Kartili will become a state within the federation, and will be granted rights to self-government, education, representation in the federal government structure and other stipulations guaranteed by the constitution.
The meeting concluded with a decision that prior to the April 16 conference, representatives of the Armenian organizations would engage in grass-roots efforts to rally the Armenian community behind this resolution.
On the Eve of Protests
The news came a day before tens of thousands of supporters of Georgia's 17 opposition parties took to the streets of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, calling for the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Reports indicate that many members of the government were expected join the cause.
The war in August, when Russia crushed a Georgian assault on South Ossetia and sent tanks to within 40 km (25 miles) of Tbilisi, has emboldened critics who argue the president has made too many mistakes to stay in power until 2013, Reuters said.
The planned protests were scheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Soviet crackdown on independence demonstrators in Tbilisi. The opposition movement claimed that some 100,000 people took to the streets.
There is concern that protests are also planned in the Georgian secessionist region of Adjara, which rose up against and rejected Saakashvili's government in 2004 after the Rose Revolution. Saakashvili supressed the region but analysts say the Adjarian's still hold a grudge and are looking for the perfect time to rise up again. Adjara is home to the large port of Batumi and many of Georgia's transport routes to Turkey run through it.
Georgia already officially lost its two northern secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Russia during the August 2008 war and is highly concerned with its southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Russian troops had been reported entering Abkhazia's Gali region since April 7.
6 ANCG-PAC-Endorsed Candidates Win in Glendale Elections GLENDALE--During Tuesday's Glendale municipal elections, six of the nine Armenian National Committee Glendale-Political Action Committee-endorsed candidates were successful in their bids for the various races.
In the City Council race, incumbents Ara Najarian and Frank Quintero were re-elected and will be joined by Laura Friedman to complete the five-seat body. ANCG-PAC endorsed Najarian and incumbent Bob Yousefian who placed fourth.
"The Armenian community lost one more representative seat on the city council as a direct result of the community's vote being split by too many Armenian candidates who never had a chance of winning from the beginning,” said ANCG-PAC chairman Zanku Armenian.
"The ANCG-PAC had multiple direct discussions with each of these candidates in the beginning of the process and made them fully aware that they were endangering the interests of the community by running campaigns that had no chance," added Armenian.
"The motives of several of these Armenian city council candidates and their ties to other incumbent candidates is highly suspect. By running they put their personal interests ahead of the community's interest by virtue of their untenable candidacies. We hope the community has come away with some learnings from this experience," added Armenian.
In the City Clerk race Ardashes (Ardy) Kassakhian, who was running unopposed, was reelected, as was incumbent City Treasurer Ron Borucki, defeating his opponent ANCGPAC-endorsed candidate Rafi Manoukian.
In the Glendale Unified School District race, ANCG-PAC-endorsed candidate Christine Walters will join incumbents Greg Krikorian and Joylene Wagner. Eric Sahakian, who was endorsed by the PAC was unsuccessful in his bid.
"With Christine Walters added to the new school board, the ANC intends to work with the board to address many pressing issues impacting students and parents. It is the ANC's intention to be very active and visible on these school issues in the months ahead," said Armenian.
The full slate of ANCG-PAC-endorsed candidates for the Glendale Community College board won their elections. Incumbents Armine Hacopian, Anita Quinones-Gabrielian and Ann Ransford will return to the GCC board.
"The ANC will be working closely with the full [GCC] board to build a closer bond and collaboration between GCC and the Armenian American community so that the full potential of the college may be reached,” added Armenian.
Wednesday, April 8,2009 http://www.asbarez.com/index.html?showarticle=41263_4/8/2009_1#AMC=Open&ASBSC=Open
Armenian Foreign Ministry Must Be More Vocal, Says Manoyan YEREVAN (Yerkir)--With the recent barrage of information about an impending agreement between Armenia and Turkey on normalizing relations, the Armenian foreign ministry must be more vocal in expressing Armenia's official position, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Director Giro Manoyan Wednesday during a press briefing.
In his assessment, Manoyan said that Armenia has gone as far as to allow Turkey to speak on its behalf, referring to statements made Tuesday by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who asserted that Armenia and Turkey were well on their way to developing a comprehensive agreement on normalizing relations.
Manoyan went on to urge the foreign ministry to be more transparent in its approach to this very crucial issue. The ARF leader pointed out that while Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian delaying his trip to Turkey could be seen as a sign of protest, but he added that the foreign ministry should provide a more comprehensive reasoning behind Nalbandian's decision to not participate in the UN Civilization Summit, choosing instead to attend the reception, where he met with President Barack Obama.
Manoyan said Obama's meeting Monday with the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers was meant to push the two countries to quickly sign an agreement and open the borders.
“It is unclear what Turkey will do, because its priority right now is to stop the recognition of the Genocide by the US,” said Manoyan adding, however, that Turkey is faced with the prospect of alienating Azerbaijan, whose growing anger over the exclusion of the Karabakh conflict from the Armeno-Turkish issue was expressed by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev's boycott of the Istanbul summit earlier this week.
If Turkey succumbs to Azeri threats and the Armeno-Turkish negotiations do not yield the desired results in the near future, Armenia will not continue the talks. “Our President will not want to extend the negotiations for years. We want to see practical results soon,” said Manoyan, affirming that diplomatic relations with Turkey would be established and the border would be opened this year.
Manoyan characterized Obama's comments in Turkey about the Armenian Genocide as “positive but not satisfactory,” saying that Obama missed an opportunity.
“As the US president, he [Obama] stressed that his position on the recognition of the Genocide had not changed. He did this for the whole world to hear and in the presence of the Turkish president,” said Manoyan who deemed this statement, as well as Obama's speech in parliament where he urged Turkey to reconcile with its own history as a positive.
However, Manoyan added that Obama's statements about not wanting to tip the balance of the Turkish-Armenian negotiations could be characterized as giving in to Turkish threats, since the recognition of the Genocide and the Turkish-Armenian discussions are not related.
“The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is one thing, while the Armenia-Turkey negotiation is another. They are not related,” stressed Manoyan.
He stressed the importance of ensuring that any agreement between Armenia and Turkey not compromise Armenia's national interests. As an example, he said any document or phrasing that might cast doubt on the veracity of the Genocide would be unacceptable.
Obama Marks Rwanda Genocide with Pledge to Prevent Genocide
BY ALLEN YEKIKAN
Two weeks ahead of the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, US President Barack Obama on Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda with a statement urging the United States and its world partners to deepen their commitment to ending the cycle of genocide, the White House reported.
The Rwandan genocide, which began on April 6, 1994, led to the brutal murder of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in some 100 days by extremist Hutu militias.
"It is a somber occasion that causes us to reflect upon the deaths of the more than 800,000 men, women, and children who were killed simply because of their ethnicity or their political beliefs," Obama said in a statement.
"The memory of these events also deepens our commitment to act when faced with genocide and to work with partners around the world to prevent future atrocities," he said.
Obama, as a Senator and as a presidential candidate, has been a strong advocate for genocide prevention. During his 2008 campaign for the White House, Obama repeatedly pledged to "respond forcefully to all genocides," including the one currently ranging in Darfur.
In a January 19, 2008 statement, he stressed that preventing genocide today calls for a “principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide” that “starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history.”
"Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics--displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter--that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915,” Obama said in the statement. “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President."
As the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide has served as a blueprint for genocides for over a hundred years, from the Holocaust to Darfur. The blind eye cast to the slaughter of Armenians was a point used by Hitler in 1948 when he asked his joint chiefs of staff, "who today speaks of the [their] annihilation?"
Turkey, however, vehemently denies there was any genocidal intent towards the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Official Ankara spends millions of dollars in its denial campaign, lobbying politicians, universities, and various publications to distort the truth of the issue.
Turkey even goes so far as to argue that a recognition of the Armenian Genocide will curtail attempts at reconciliation with Armenia currently under way. But Armenia's Foreign Minister, Eduard Nalbandian, disagrees. Speaking at the French Diplomacy Academy on March 10, Armenia's chief diplomat stressed that "If Armenia and Turkey have a political will and sincere intentions to normalize the relations, no factor can prevent it.
US legislators on March 17 introduced a resolution calling on the U.S. president to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.
President Obama was in Turkey on Monday ahead of a UN-sponsored conference in Istanbul on Tuesday. Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara, Obama was asked to clarify his position on the Armenian Genocide. He stood by his earlier statements on the Armenian Genocide but shied from using the actual word.
“My views are on the record and I have not changed views,” he said. Speaking to the Turkish Parliament later that day, he reiterated that his views had not changed on the matter.
“I know there are strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915,” Obama said in his address. “The best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open, and constructive.”
But Obama missed an opportunity to honor his campaign pledge of recognizing the Genocide and reaffirm America's commitment to ending the cycle of Genocide, according to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“The President's willingness to raise his commitment to recognizing the Armenian Genocide, even indirectly, in his remarks before the Turkish Parliament represents a step in the right direction, but far short of the clear promise he made as a candidate that he would, as President, fully and unequivocally recognize this crime against humanity," Aram Hamparian, the executive Director of the ANCA, said on Monday in response to Obama's remarks in Turkey.
"We expect that the President will, during Genocide Prevention Month this April, stand by his word, signaling to the world that America's commitment to the cause of genocide prevention will never again be held hostage to pressures from a foreign government."
The ANCA earlier this month launched a nationwide online and print campaign urging concrete action to end the Darfur genocide and full U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The “Fierce Urgency of NOW" campaign urges anti-genocide activists across the U.S. to visit www.anca.org/change and phone the White House to urge President Obama to stand firm behind his pledge to commemorate and end genocide.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 http://www.asbarez.com/index.html?showarticle=41265_4/8/2009_1#AMC=Open&ASBSC=Open
Obama, Aliyev Discuss Turkish-Armenian Ties
YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--BAKU (Combined Sources)--U.S. President Barack Obama has defended an unconditional normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey in a phone call with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, who is strongly opposed to such prospect, RFE/RL reported.
The two leaders spoke on the phone late Tuesday after Obama ended a two-day visit to Turkey during which he urged Ankara and Yerevan to complete talks aimed at establishing diplomatic relations between the two neighbors and reopening their land border.
“The President had a good conversation with President Aliyev,” the White House said in a statement. “He reaffirmed U.S commitment to a strong relationship with Azerbaijan and to supporting progress toward a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“The President also underscored the importance of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, which will lead to greater peace and security in the region,” added the statement.
Aliyev's office also said that Turkish-Armenian relations were high on the agenda of the “frank conversation.”
“Barack Obama informed the Azerbaijani leader about steps taken by the United States concerning Turkey-Armenia relations,” it said in a statement. “President Ilham Aliev brought the Azerbaijani state's position on the issue to the U.S. president's attention.”
The Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, reported Wednesday that Turkish President Abdullah Gul also spoke with Aliyev over the phone, briefing the Azeri leader on his talks with Obama in Ankara, rapprochement with Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Azerbaijani leaders have expressed serious concern at reports that Armenia and Turkey are close to normalizing their historically strained relations after months of high-level negotiations. Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov warned last week that Ankara will act against the national interests of its closest Turkic ally if it reopens the Turkish-Armenian border before a resolution of the Karabakh conflict. The current Turkish government's apparent readiness to stop linking improved ties with Armenia to Karabakh reportedly led Aliev to cancel his participation in a UN-sponsored international conference held in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday.
During a meeting of Azerbaijan's Security Council on Monday, Aliyev hinted that Baku could retaliate against Turkish moves to reconcile with Armenia.
"We are observing ongoing changes in the region and necessary measures will be taken," the Azeri Press Agency quoted Aliyev as saying. Azerbaijan is the starting point for a key corridor of Western-backed pipelines carrying oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, through Turkey. Quoting officials in Baku, Hurriyet reported last week that Azerbaijan would consider cutting gas supplies to Turkey if Ankara ignored the Karabakh issue in its talks with Armenia.
Obama spoke with the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Istanbul conference and, according to a senior U.S. official quoted by Western news agencies, urged them to “complete an agreement with dispatch.” Addressing the Turkish parliament earlier on Monday, the U.S. president made a case for an open border between the two estranged nations.
According to “Hurriyet Daily News,” Obama and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian held a bilateral meeting before being joined by Foreign Ministers Ali Babacan of Turkey and Micheline Calmy-Rey of Switzerland. The Armenian Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment on this report on Wednesday. It is also unclear whether Nalbandian and Babacan held talks in a face-to-face format in Istanbul.
Nalbandian insisted on Sunday that the Karabakh dispute has not been on the agenda of the Turkish-Armenian negotiations and said statements to the contrary made by Turkish leaders could undermine the ongoing dialogue. He was reacting to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Friday remark that "as long as the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is not resolved, it is not possible for us to reach a healthy solution concerning Armenia."
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 http://www.asbarez.com/index.html?showarticle=41261_4/8/2009_1#AMC=Open&ASBSC=Open
Armenia says the visit encouraging
by Vercihan Ziflioğlu
ISTANBUL - United StatesPresident Barack Obama’s comments on the Armenian genocide claims of the 1915 events were as closely scrutinized in Armenia as they were in Turkey, with most in Armenia finding the remarks encouraging
Armenia warmly welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama’s encouragement of the steps Turkey and Armenian have taken to tackle bilateral problems and his stand that he has not changed his views on the controversial Armenian genocide issue.
Yerevan Press Club chairman Boris Navasartyan said he welcomed Obama’s remarks in Turkey, but said the real weight of the matter was on Turkish and Armenian leaders.
"The important thing is the step Armenia and Turkey are willing to take without any pressure. The step needs to be persuasive," he said.
Armenia argues the death of Armenians in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire is genocide, while Turkey, admitting hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Turks died during the upheaval caused by World War One, stringently denies it constitutes genocide.
When asked at a joint press conference with President Abdullah Gül if he will support a U.S. congressional resolution that would label the 1915 events as genocide, Obama said, "My views are on the record, and I have not changed those views."
During his campaign for president, Obama promised to support the resolution and said he recognized the massacres as genocide. His election had raised the hope among the Armenian diaspora that he would recognize it as the president.
In his address to Turkish Parliament, Obama acknowledged the sensitive nature of the matter and said, "The best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive."
The chairman of the Gyumri Journalists’ Club Asparez, Levon Barseghyan, praised Obama’s statements, saying, "Steps taken by Obama are praiseworthy in terms of the normalization of the Turkish-Armenian relations."
Caucasus Institute President Alexander Isgandaryan said it had been apparent that Obama would not risk relations with Turkey by referring to the murders as genocide in his April 24 statement. "All candidates for president make the same kinds of statements during their campaign," said Isgardaryan, but added that he found Obama’s statements in Turkey positive. "U.S. support for the opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia and the establishment of relations is crucial," he said.
Giro Manoyan from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaksutyun Bureau International Secretariat described Obama’s remarks in Turkey on the matter as "positive but inadequate." "I find it positive because he openly said his opinions on the 1915 matter had not changed under the roof of the Turkish Parliament as the Turkish president was watching. He also referred to the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. What I find inadequate is his failure to tell Turkey to recognize the genocide," said Manoyan.
Greeted by Worldwide Condemnation By Appo Jabarian Executive Publisher / Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine
Friday, April 10, 2009
Last week, this writer reported about the widespread misrepresentations made by Turkey, the main organizer of the so-called "Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival" which took place in Costa Mesa, California, April 2-5.
Soon after the publication in USA Armenian Life Magazine and the electronic dissemination of the article titled "An Orgy of Turkish Soup with Armenian Bones in Southern California," the editorial offices were inundated with several phone calls, and letters via e-mail, fax and regular mail by angry readers. They were speaking out against Turkey’s lies about its history, culture and cuisine.
Several Southern California Armenian and non-Armenian activists rallied their resources and, in less then 24 hours, successfully produced life-size, full color giant posters of a live art presentation of the "Turkish Soup Made with Armenian Bones." The "Turkish Soup" is created by well-known artist Zareh of Los Angeles (To see a live art presentation on Turkish Soup, please click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urWCGtI7XXc).
The "Turkish Soup" along with life-size posters of Pres. Ronald Reagan and Amb. John Evans (both acknowledging the genocide) and "Mustafa Kemal Ataturk" (Founder of modern Turkey strongly condemning Young Turk government’s crime against the Armenians) were carried by a contingent of Armenian activists to Orange County’s fairgrounds to post them at the entrance of the misleading Turkish festival.
Even the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles declined to accept the official invitation extended by the Consul General of Turkey in Los Angeles.
According to various reliable reports, the Turkish Consul General had sent invitations to a number of consuls general, including Armenia’s top diplomatic representative in Los Angeles, Honorable Grigor Hovanessian.
USA Armenian Life learned that Mr. Hovanessian declined to participate in the opening ceremonies of the Turkish festival.
Responding to a question presented by USA Armenian Life as to why the Armenian Consul General refused to accept the Turkish invitation, he responded: "The reasons for Consul General’s non-participation in the festival: 1) The agenda throughout April is intense, as the Consulate General along with the entire Armenian community prepares for the Genocide commemorative events. The Consul General considered the timing for this festive event highly inappropriate from the Armenian point of view; 2) Members of the Armenian community across the widest spectrum were consulted on this matter and their positions were factored in while making the decision. In addition, the Consul General fully shares the disagreements voiced in the local Armenian media and professionals as to the distortion of historic facts by the organizers of the festival."
French-Armenian journalist Gilbert Béguian, a regular contributor to France’s Nouvelles d’Armenie Magazine, wrote: "I prefer to think that the Armenians of Turkey undergo direct pressures that lead them to act as they do. … The case of Diaspora Armenians is different."
Beguian added: "I have just completed the translation (into French-Ed.) of your article and truly I’d like to compliment you for the force and the spirit that it emanates. … The video and the idea of Zareh’s ‘Turkish Soup’ is genius. They transmit the message in a blink of an eye, in matter of few seconds. Let’s hope that many Turks see it."
Janine A. Soukiasian, a well-known criminal defense attorney in Southern California wrote: "I was moved by your article on ‘An Orgy of ‘Turkish Soup with Armenian Bones’ in Southern California.’ …I strongly agree that the denialist Turks are trying to shove down our throat, literally, in a month of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, their so-called Turkish culture and food. This is a definite slap in the face. I am not sure I can blame some Armenians if they truly feel the need to participate ‘under duress and fear of being subjected to all kinds of blackmail in Turkey,’ if this event was taking place in TURKEY. However, we live in America and we don't face duress and should not make any excuses for supporting the denialists in our home turf of Southern California."
She concluded: "The OIA [Organization of Istanbul Armenians] must be very careful in who they trust and the company they keep. I think all Armenians should ban future misleading Turkish Festivals altogether. It is a shame if a single Armenian attends the event, particularly in the month of April."
Gary Bedian, an international entrepreneur-developer, and Southland activist, wrote: "While at first glance one may wonder what the whole fuss is about Turks holding an ‘Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival’ in the City of Costa Mesa, one must dig deeper to understand its true significance. The Turkish Ministry of Culture, along with the government of Turkey, denies the Armenian Genocide. The City of Costa Mesa, as part of The State of California that officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide, should not have issued a permit for a misleading event of this nature to take place on its soil."
Bedian continued: "Adding insult to injury, the City of Costa Mesa has hosted this event in the month of April which is a sacred month for Armenians who have suffered genocide at the hands of Turkey."
He concluded: "It remains to be seen if Turkey will now do the right thing and take up President Obama's challenge to recognize the genocide and normalize relations with Armenia. After all, one must act European before he can become European."
Reiterating Armenian demands for justice, Jean Eckian, a Paris-based French Armenian independent journalist, wrote: "Our ancestors sacrificed their lives for the soil of Turkish-occupied Western Armenia. They have built a treasure, a civilization of which we, the descendants, are the inheritors. In this context, it doesn’t matter as to how far and to which foreign ports we have navigated. Till the end of time, we will reclaim in their memory, and for our sake, the right to return so that the Armenian spirit continues to live."
Southern California Armenian and non-Armenian activists who made timely contribution of valuable time, energy and material included Kalayjian Enterprises' Krikor "Cigar Koko" Kalayjian and his sons Minas and Hagop, along with their assistant Raul Vizcaino, a Mexican-American activist opposing all genocides.
When Vizcaino was approached to pose like a genocidal Turk for the photography of life-size "Turkish Soup," he adamantly refused saying that he strongly dislikes the Turks. He said: "Those Turks are bad. They are responsible for what they did to Armenians. Their genocidal act of 1915 has affected the rest of the world. Had the world punished those ‘Los Turcos’ and Turkey for their genocide against the Armenians, no other genocides would have been committed, such as the one in Darfur."
Later Vizcaino agreed to dress up like a Turk to help the Armenian Cause, and in solemn respect to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The additional contributors to the 11th hour Armenian efforts for protest actions also included United Shipping Group's Gagik Tamrazyan and his assistants; Calprod giant size poster printing company’s Harout Hovsepyan; fellow activists Vasgen Zargarian, Ardavast M., Emelda M. and Diana Aslan, who have valiantly carried the life size and somewhat heavy pressedwood-enforced posters to the main entrance of the infamous festival; Karine Mkrtumyan who assisted in graphics, and Hagop Yedalian and his son Razmik along with their assistants who volunteered their time and energy in helping Hagop perform woodcarving to create life-size wood sculptured posters of the "Turkish Soup." Yedalian’s assistants –Rigoberto, Reyes, David, Manuel, and Oswaldo, coming from various Latino-American backgrounds, explained the widespread Latino disdain of the genocidal Turks. Several of them explained that fellow Latinos when intending to insult a man they would label him as "Turco!"
All felt both a moral duty to help the cause of the one and a half million Armenian martyrs by joining the efforts and were also touched by the spiritual blessings that they were receiving as a result of their service to keeping the memory of the 1.5 million martyred saints alive.
Their spirit of solidarity and their determination now may serve as a forewarning of what’s to come in the form of future tsunami of Armenian-led protests against denialist Turkey and its Southland lackeys.
Several Armenian American community leaders representing various organizations privately expressed exasperation at the Organization of Istanbul Armenians Los Angeles chapter’s participation. They have vowed to react vociferously if they continue to side with the denialist Turkish government in the free world of the Armenian Diaspora.
The few fast-acting Armenian activists’ reactions should send a clear signal to Turkey, that as long as Ankara refuses to make amends to the Armenians, its public relations ploys on the world stage are doomed not only to fail but to be counter-productive.
Obama Undermines His Credibility
By Not Saying Genocide in Ankara
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Senior Contributor, USA Armenian Life Magazine
For several months now, I have been exposing the Turkish government's ploy of creating the false impression that Ankara is engaged in serious negotiations to establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan. Turkey has been exploiting the illusive promise of opening the border in order to pressure Armenia into making concessions on a host of issues, while simultaneously subverting Pres. Obama's pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Turkish officials have been repeatedly warning Pres. Obama not to issue a statement on the Armenian Genocide, claiming that such a step would disrupt the on-going negotiations between Armenia and Turkey. Regrettably, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian's decision to travel to Istanbul this week to participate in the meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations served to substantiate the Turkish government's contention that all is going well between the two countries.
Azerbaijan's President, on the other hand, was determined to stick to his guns in safeguarding his nation's interests. When Pres. Aliyev learned that Ankara was contemplating opening the border with Armenia, he viewed it as a betrayal of Azerbaijan by "fraternal Turkey." He promptly canceled his planned trip to Istanbul. Aliyev even threatened to block the sale of natural gas to Turkey should it proceed with its announced plan to open the border. He wanted the Turkish border to remain closed in order to force Armenia into making territorial concessions on Artsakh (Karabagh). The Azeri Press Agency reported that Aliyev turned down a personal invitation to Istanbul by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as Turkey's President and Prime Minister. Aliyev remained unmoved even when he was offered a private meeting with the President of the United States.
It is not clear if Pres. Obama was deceived by the Turks' warnings to third parties not to interfere in the Armenian-Turkish negotiations. It could be that he found it expedient to heed the Turkish objections in order to maximize the concessions he wanted to extract from Turkey on Iraq and Afghanistan.
During a press conference in Ankara on Monday, this is how Pres. Obama responded when asked if he had changed his view on the Armenian Genocide: "My views are on the record and I have not changed views. What I have been very encouraged by is news that under Pres. Gul's leadership, you are seeing a series of negotiations, a process, in place between Armenia and Turkey to resolve a whole host of longstanding issues, including this one. I want to be as encouraging as possible around those negotiations which are moving forward and could bear fruit very quickly, very soon. And so, as a consequence, what I want to do is not focus on my views right now, but focus on the views of the Turkish and the Armenian people. If they can move forward and deal with a difficult and tragic history, then I think the entire world should encourage them. And so what I told the President was I want to be as constructive as possible in moving these issues forward quickly.
And my sense is that they are moving quickly. I don't want, as the President of the United States, to preempt any possible arrangements or announcements that might be made in the near future. I just want to say that we are going to be a partner in working through these issues in such a way that the most important parties, the Turks and the Armenians, are finally coming to terms in a constructive way."
When the reporter pressed him for not using the term genocide, Pres. Obama repeated the deceptive arguments advanced by Turkey: "What I'd like to do is to encourage Pres. Gul to move forward with what have been some very fruitful negotiations. And I'm not interested in the United States in any way tilting these negotiations one way or another while they are having useful discussions."
Pres. Gul then took the floor, and in a lengthy response, repeated the standard Turkish denials of the Armenian Genocide.
Later that day, while addressing the Turkish Parliament, Pres. Obama again carefully avoided using the term genocide: "Human endeavor is by its nature imperfect. History is often tragic, but unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future. I know there's strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. And while there's been a good deal of commentary about my views, it's really about how the Turkish and Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive."
In view of these developments, it is imperative that the Armenian government terminate at once all negotiations with Turkish leaders in order to limit the damage caused by the continued exploitation of the illusion of productive negotiations. Moreover, the Armenian leadership should denounce in the strongest possible terms Pres. Gul's shameful denial of the Armenian Genocide during the Ankara press conference which was broadcast live by TV networks worldwide.
Meanwhile, Armenians from all over the world should inundate the White House Comment Line with phone calls to inform Pres. Obama that his statements on the Armenian Genocide in Ankara did not go far enough and do not fulfill his solemn promises on this important issue. Please call: 1-202-456-1111 and leave a message. Unless the White House hears immediately from a large number of Armenians, Pres. Obama and his aides might think that Armenians are satisfied with the remarks he made in Ankara. The President may then not issue a statement on April 24 or he may repeat the same unacceptable words he used in Turkey.
Finally, Pres. Obama should understand that the significance of keeping his word on the Armenian Genocide goes beyond this issue and has a direct bearing on his overall credibility. Within hours of the President's remarks in Ankara, the Politifact.com website questioned his integrity, having concluded that he had broken his promise on the Armenian Genocide -- one of the 511 campaign promises that the website keeps track of, to verify his trustworthiness.