March 31, 2007


AKHTAMAR ISLAND (March 29, 2007): In a sign of mutual understanding and cultural goodwill, Turkish security forces are posted around the Holy Cross Church to safeguard Turkey's US$2 million investment.

HOLY CROSS CHURCH, AKHTAMAR ISLAND: This is the Turkish tourism sign that welcomed guests to the island for years. Note the reference to Islamic-influenced bas-reliefs.

CATHEDRAL OF KARS (Holy Apostles Church): Photo of the church after being converted to a mosque. Note the Islamic crescent where the cross should be.

CHURCH OF ST. GREGORY - ANI: A government approved sign that fails to mention the Armenian origins of the church.

(Bottom three photos: Suren Markosian - Land of Crying Stones)

(For more info & pics on Armenian religious and cultural sites in eastern Anatolia in varied states of disrepair and abuse please see the website: Western Armenia

March 29, 2007


The official opening of the Church of the Holy Cross, on the island of Akhtamar in Lake Van, takes place tomorrow, March 29th.

Representatives of the Catholicosates of Etchmiadzin and Cilicia of the Armenian Church have refused to participate since the centuries-old church will be maintained as a museum and that it will remain the property of the Turkish state.

A delegation from the Republic of Armenia, headed by Deputy Acting Minister of Culture Gagik Gyurjian, has left for Turkey to participate in tomorrow's ceremony.

After decades of neglect and abuse, the restoration of this shining example of medieval Armenian architecture is sadly being used by Turkey to garner undeserved goodwill. Of course we are all gladdened that this monument no longer faces imminent collapse, but the situation reached this crucial stage specifically because the Turkish authorities failed to take appropriate action years ago. But then, they had no real need to rectify the situation. They hadn't applied for European Union membership nor had voices in the international community been raised to take Turkey to task for the crumbling walls and washed-out frescoes of Akhtamar. It was only Armenians who were demanding that something be done.

Thus we applaud the refusal of Etchmiadzin and Cilicia to participate in this farce, thus putting their stamp of approval on the US $2 million restoration. If Turkey wanted to make a real gesture of goodwill, especially just after the tragic murder of Hrant Dink, it could have easily done so by inaugurating the edifice as a church and transferring it to the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul. But even this small step is too much for Turkey to take!!!

Even Zakaria Mildanoglu (see photo), one of the architects involved in the restoration made the following comment, " though there is no chance to see the structure in service as a church, it could be opened for a few times a year; at least services would be allowed during the Feast of the Holy Cross and this is spiritually important. "

Erected in the 10th century, the Church of the Holy Cross is the only remaining structure of a much larger settlement that was built on the island by the Armenian King Gagik I (908-943 AD). Between 1116 and 1895, the island was the location of the Armenian Catholicosate of Akhtamar.

In 1915, the monks living on the island were massacred, the church looted and the monastic buildings destroyed. The US $2 million spent by Turkey thus can be seen as the first drop in the renumeration bucket for the countless other religious and secular Armenian edifices and monuments that today lie in ruins across the length and breadth of Turkey.

THE HRANT DINK AFFAIR CONTINUES: Resolution in the U.S. Senate and Detention of Turkish Nationalist Politicians

We would like to inform our readers regarding developments following the murder of Hrant Dink on January 19th...

1) The United States Senate Committee on Foreign relations today is planning to vote on a resolution condemning the murder. The resolution cals on Turkey to abolish the infamous article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and asks Turkey to establish diplomatic, political and economic relations with Armenia.

Authored by Joe Biden, a Democrat, the resolution had been scheduled for a vote three weeks ago but was delayed after Richard Lugar, a ranking member of the committee, objected to the wording which included the term "Armenian Genocide". (More tomorrow...)

It's official. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, by a voice vote late today, approved a resolution condemning Hrant Dink's murder and urging the people of Turkey to "honor his legacy of tolerance." Notably, while the resolution does not explicitly refer to the events of 1915 as "genocide", it observes that before his death Dink was subjected to legal action in Turkey for doing so.

2) Last Sunday, Yasar Cihan (see photo), the leader of the Great Unity Party (BBP) in Trabzon and three other party officials, including Cihan's son Bahadir, were detained and taken to Istanbul for questioning in the Hrant Dink murder investigation. Cihan has since been released but the other members of the conservative and nationalist Turkish party were still being questioned.

According to the Turkish Daily News, Cihan admitted that, " Almost everyone in Trabzon knew there were plans to murder Hrant Dink." The TDN states that Cihan told the police that he knew both Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, the alleged main instigators of the murder.

A report in the Journal of Turkish Weekly alleges that Cihan admitted that he spoke by phone with Tuncel just a few days before the murder on a non-related matter. He also admitted to giving Yasin Hayal a sum of money while Hayal was in jail for the bombing of a Trabzon McDonald's some two years ago. Cihan insisted that the money was part of the assistance he regularly gives needy families.

As to why Yasar Cihan was detained in the first place remains murky. Some Turkish media reports say Cihan had in his possession a photo of him and another BBP member, along with Tuncel. Today's Zaman reports that Mushin Yazicioglu, the BBP's national leader, was also unclear why Cahin and the others were picked up for questioning.

In the meantime rumors persist that Tuncel, alleged to be a police informant, had warned the Trabzon police about the Hrant Dink murder plot some seventeen times before Trabzon authorities passed the information to the Istanbul police. Authorities have neither confirmed nor denied reports that Tuncel's phone conversations had been monitored and that records showed that two of the BBP detainees had been in phone contact with Tuncel.

March 24, 2007

BOOK ALERT - THE HEMSHIN (Islamicized Armenians)

For all those who want to delve deeper into the world of Armenian historical development in Anatolia , we'd like to bring to your attention the publication of the book entitled, The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey.

The Hemshin, investigates this community of Islamicized Armenians living in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey and in the former Soviet Union. The Hemshin, who live around Rize and Artvin in northeastern Turkey, are the descendants of Armenians who converted to Islam beginning in the seventeenth century, in a process that took several centuries to complete. While maintaining Armenian elements in their culture and continuing to speak an Armenian dialect, the Hemshin have tended to dissociate themselves from their Armenian ancestry, with many actively seeking assimilation into the larger Islamic community.

Surprisingly, many Hemshin communities still retain their original Armenian dialects, despite converting to Islam. Of course, most Western Armenian dialects were irretrievably lost due to the genocide and eviction of Armenians from their homeland in eastern Anatolia. (Some remnants of Western Armenian dialects survive in The Republic of Armenia , Kessab, Anjar, etc..)

March 22, 2007


Thousands of Kurds throughout Turkey celebrated the spring festival of Nowruz on March 21st, using the occasion to call for greater political and cultural rights and to assert their identity as Kurds.

Some 50,000 Kurds in Diyarbekir gathered to celebrate and small clashes broke out between celebrants and local police. During the festivities, Leyla Zana, a former Kurdish member of the Turkish parliament and well know leader of Turkey's Kurdish minority made the following comment, " The Kurds have three leaders. One is Iraqi President Talabani. The other is Barzani . And the third is President Ocalan." ( Referring to Abdullah Ocalan , the jailed leader of the Kurdish Workers Party)

For Kurds, the Nowruz (the Farsi word for New Year) festival is an occasion to highlight their cultural identity. They sing, dance and jump over lit fires to symbolically burn away past impurities. Celebrations took place throughout the Kurdish regions of Turkey plus the cities of Istanbul, Izmir and Mersin.

In Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called for peace and unity between Turks and Kurds. He lit a small fire and three of his ministers hopped over the flames, (see picture).

The Prime Minister, due to a bad back, stood to the side and watched this merry-making and commented, "May the seeds of hatred that aim at our brotherhood burn and disappear in the fires that are being lit." ( Էֆէրիմ Էրտօղան Էֆենտի )


Another fascinating tidbit for those following the news regarding the passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the United States Congress is that the head of the American-Turkish Council (ATC), a powerful pro-Turkish lobby, used to be the Deputy Chief of the Mission in the United States Embassy in Ankara from 1992 to 1995.

Retired Ambassador James H. Holmes, President and CEO of the ATC visited Turkey last month to confer with allies there to formulate a united plan of action to derail passage of the genocide resolution. While in Turkey, Holmes made the following comment in an interview given to the paper Today's Zaman...

The Armenian genocide resolution is the cause of great distress for us, for the commercial interests of our members as well as for the national security and foreign policy interests of both countries. We, as the ATC, are fully committed to the preservation and promotion of these relations. We see an enormous potential for cooperation and growth in commercial relations between Turkey and the US. There is increasing commerce between Turkey and the European Union, but we don't want Turkey with its 72 million population to become the property of the EU. The strong future of Turkey is one in which the US should participate as well.
For the US to risk our relations with Turkey on the basis of a meaningless resolution is just not right. Our interest is seeing this resolution defeated, derailed, delayed. I don't care what the formula is. We want it to fail. We want Congress to realize the consequences from the Turkish side.

Well, at least Mr. Holmes doesn't mince words when it comes to expressing his opposition to the genocide resolution. You can't call the man a hypocrite, unlike others who, when the s--t hits the fan, seem to find any excuse to escape the promises they once made. Case in point: For years we at SASSNA DZRER were fairly indifferent to the whole genocide recognition issue and viewed it as a meaningless exercise since all we were trying to do was to convince those very same European and American governments, who failed to fulfill the promises they made at the end of World War I to right the wrongs of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, TO NOW TAKE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND AND AND LEAST RECOGNIZE THOSE EVENTS AS A GENOCIDE!!!!

These are the same nations that felt no remorse to carve up the Middle East and Anatolia into spheres of influence for their own strategic interests and who for decades have enjoyed deep economic and military ties with successive regimes in Ankara. Democrats or Republicans -is there any essential difference between the two when it comes to safeguarding American national interests??? Of course not. After 90 years of silence, it will take more than the passage of resolutions for Armenians to reconstitute a presence in their historic homeland in eastern Anatolia.

There is a deep-rooted alliance of individuals and organized interests intent on quashing even this non-binding, symbolic resolution from passing. It's amusing to watch them squirm and squiggle in an attempt to distort the truth and their complicity in the cover up of historical reality. If this is how they react to such an innocuous initiative, one can only imagine their fear if true pressure was brought to bear down on them.

March 21, 2007


The official Turkish propaganda machine is going into high gear during the weeks before April 24th to make sure that the Armenian Genocide resolution does not pass in the United States Congress.

Recently, a Turkish parliamentary delegation concluded a visit to Washington D.C. during which they met with some thirty members of the House of Representatives, sending the message home that passage of this non-binding resolution would severely impact Turkish-American interests at a crucial stage in United States policy in the Middle East.

At a news conference held at the Turkish embassy in Washington D.C., Egemen Bagis, a parliamentarian of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) stated that....

" following the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to New York, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Foreign Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, and Turkish parliamentary delegations to Washington D.C., both the Congress and U.S. administration better understood Turkey's sensitivity on the matter."

The Turkish press has also reported that the Turkish delegation also met with executives of the organization AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), which describes itself as " America's pro Israel lobby." We visited the AIPAC website but could not find any reference to this purported meeting. What we did come across was the following photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the much touted prime supporter of the genocide resolution, addressing an AIPAC audience and expressing her staunch support of Israel.

The Turkish press also reports that a third delegation from Turkey will travel to Washington D.C. at the end of this month with the same anti-genocide resolution agenda

March 20, 2007


Award-winning British journalist Robert Fisk, who has covered the Middle East for some 30 years, revealed in a March 19th article in The Independent, a London-based newspaper for which he writes, that his Istanbul publishers for a proposed Turkish language edition of his latest book "The Great War for Civilization" are now pulling out of the deal.

According to Fisk, the reason is that his book includes a chapter entitled "The First Holocaust" which records the genocide of one and a half million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915.

In The Independent article entitled, " The truth should be proclaimed loudly", the journalist reprints the following letter form his Istanbul publishers as their rationale for postponing the book's Turkish edition.

"We would like to denote that the political situation in Turkey concerning several issues such as Armenian and Kurdish Problems, Cyprus issue, European Union etc do not improve, conversely getting worser and worser due to the escalating nationalist upheaval that has reached its apex with the Nobel Prize of Orhan Pamuk and the political disagreements with the EU. Most probably, this political atmosphere will be effective until the coming presidency elections of April 2007... Therefore we would like to undertake the publication quietly, which means there will be no press campaign for Mr Fisk's book. Thus, our request from [for] Mr Fisk is to show his support to us if any trial [is] ... held against his book. We hope that Mr Fisk and Harper Collins can understand our reservations."

Mr. Fisk goes on to draw parallels between this latest example of Turkish nationalist intimidation of proponents of freedom of speech, the murder of Hrant Dink and the general philosophical quagmire that exists in Turkey regarding a fair and frank expose of past historical realities.

March 17, 2007


In a statement dated March 15, 2007, that Daniel Fried, United States Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, made before the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee, Fried had the following to say regarding House Resolution 106 (Armenian Genocide Resolution),

"Against this backdrop, we believe that H.Res. 106 would undercut those voices emerging in Turkey who call for a truthful exploration of these events in pursuit of Turkey's reconciliation with its own past and with Armenia. We hear from members of the 60,000-70,000 strong Armenian-Turkish community that any such resolution would raise popular emotions so dramatically as to threaten their personal security."

Fried's testimony, entitled "U.S. - Turkish Relations and the Challenges Ahead", basically spells out how the current Bush Administration views Turkey as an important strategic and political ally in the Middle East and in particular in the "Fight Against Terrorism."

True to form, the Assistant Secretary stresses that Turkey and the United Sates share interests and common values. He concludes that,

" Our common values start from our two countries' deep commitment to democracy. Turkey, a majority Muslim state with a deepening democracy with a tradition of secular governance is of strategic importance to the U.S. It's 160-year legacy of modernizing reform, dating back to the late Ottoman period, can inspire people throughout the broader Middle East who thirst for democratic freedom and market-based prosperity."

Rhetoric? To be sure! But does Fried actually believe his own words? The whole convoluted analysis is part and parcel of what is called the "Shared Vision" statement that the U.S. Secretary of State Rice and Turkish Foreign Minister Gul came up with in Washington last July.

Fried continues in this same hackneyed vein of praising Turkey's steadfast march to greater democratic reform and specifically as it relates to Ankara's coming to grips with its historical past by stating,

"But after a long silence, Turkey is making progress. The terrible murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink by an ultra-nationalist accelerated an intellectual opening in Turkish society, with more than 100,000 Turkish citizens of all political, confessional, and ethnic backgrounds demonstrating at Dink's funeral in support of tolerance and a candid exploration of Turkey's past. Their shouts of "We are all Hrant Dink; we are all Armenian" resonate in the ears of millions of people in Turkey and the world over who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and human dignity for all of Turkey's citizens."

To add insult to injury Fried also hinted that the passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution would lead to greater anti-American sentiment in Turkey which in turn might prompt the Ankara government to close the U.S. Air Force base at Incirlik, which is used in U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who knew that Armenians enjoyed such far-flung leverage??

Seriously though, Fried and his ideological mentors in the upper echelons of the United States government should hang their heads in shame for their not too subtle ploy to hold the Armenian community in Turkey hostage!! It's as if they are saying - Armenians, don't wag your tongues too much over the genocide issue or the 60,000 Armenians left in Turkey might face the same fate as their grandparents did in 1915 at the hands of the reform-minded Ottomans..

All concerned, including the government in the Republic of Armenia, need to read the Fried Statement. We might have to deal with the Turkish-American alliance, but we should know who and what they represent!!!

March 15, 2007


The above is the headline of an article that appears in the March 15th edition of Haaretz Online. True to form, the Turkish media has given extensive coverage to this development, portraying it as somehow giving credence to the Turkish state's continued denial that the Armenian Genocide ever occured.

While it is no secret that Turkey and Israel have enjoyed a regional alliance of sorts in the political, economic and especially military fields, despite many in Turkey condemning last year's Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Knesset's shelving of a proposal for a mere parliamentary discussion of the events of 1915 would appear to be a new benchmark in placing one's political interests before any principled moral position.

Both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Foreign Minister had made several requests that the proposal be removed from the Knesset's calendar because they believed it would severely damage Israeli-Turkish diplomatic relations.

Knesset Member Haim Oron who initially proposed the parliamentary discussion had this to say before the vote to shelve the proposal took place, "This inquiry is something we owe the Armenians, primarily at a time when we are struggling to preserve the memory of our own people."

Despite the fact that many courageous and conscientious Israeli genocide scholars have called on the Israeli government to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, such a development appears as elusive as United States recognition, despite the euphoria that surrounds the genocide resolution making the rounds in the U.S. Congress presently.

In fact both Unites States Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Gates have sent letters to senior members of Congress warning that passage of the genocide resolution would damage American-Turkish relations and would be detrimental to the national interests of the United States. ( Read more of the Bush regime's attempts to sabotage the Armenian Genocide Resolution see: International Herald Tribune


In yet another example of just how sensitive the Turkish establishment remains regarding any hint of dissident voices commenting on the orthodoxy of the establishment of modern Turkey, a professor of political science at Ankara's Gazi University was charged on Tuesday with allegedly insulting the legacy of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Professor Atilla Yayla, in a speech given last November, had stated that the era of one party rule under Ataturk from 1925 to 1945 was not as progressive as the official ideology would have Turks believe but was regressive in some aspects. He also criticized the omnipresent statues and paintings of Ataturk, saying that Europeans would be baffled to see such depictions of just one man all over Turkey.

Gazi University Chancellor, Kadri Yamac, was inundated with calls for Yayla's removal soon after the speech and temporarily removed him from his position pending an investigation.

Professor Yayla has stated that he was not insulting Ataturk personally but only questioning his legacy. "As an academic, I must be free to think, to search and share findings," Yayla, 50, has said in an interview at the Ankara-based Association for Liberal Thinking, an organization he co-founded in 1994. "If Turkey wants to be a civilized country, academics must be able to criticize and evaluate Ataturk's ideas."

The academic could receive up to three years in prison if tried and convicted. No trial date has been set as yet.

March 13, 2007


Will federalism in Iraq lead to an independent Kurdistan a stone's throw from Armenia??

How will a Kurdish state affect political developments in Anatolia and the immediate region??

These and a host of other questions inherently flow out of the recent talk of a "federalist" political solution to the chaos now taking place in Iraq. The possibility of an independent Kurdish state just a few hundred miles from Armenia, let alone bordering Turkey, should get our collective minds speculating as to what the effects would be for the region in general and Armenia in particular.

A March 12th report published by the influential United State think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, focuses on the possibility of an independent Kurdistan created on the territory that now comprises the Kurdish Provisional Government in northern Iraq.

For it seems that there's a growing consensus for transforming Iraq into a federalist state, based on ethnic and sectarian lines, as the most likely approach that could lead to a political settlement in that war torn country. No one doubts that federalism will eventually lead to total independence for Kurdistan, despite what Iraqi Kurdish politicians and leaders state to the contrary.

The report quotes United States Senator Joe Biden, the democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as stating that his proposed federalist plan, " offers a road map to a political settlement in Iraq that gives its warring factions a way to share power peacefully and a chance to leave with our interests intact."

Biden claims endorsement of his plan by a bipartisan group of heavyweights including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, and James Baker, former senior State Department officials and a number of senators and congressmen.


According to an article that appeared in the March 8th edition of "Reporters Without Borders", the family of slain Agos editor Hrant Dink filed a complaint in an Istanbul court on February 18th against those who failed to take adequate measures to protect Mr. Dink.

It appears that after the French Parliament passed a law last year making the denial of of the Armenian Genocide a crime, the Istanbul Security Directorate compiled a list of "possible targets" needing greater police protection. The offices of the newspaper Agos was twelfth on the list but police authorities at the time concluded that Hrant Dink didn't warrant extra protection.

A total of 28 people have been detained in several Turkish cities regarding the murder and eight have been taken into custody.

Yasal Hayal, the alleged instigator of Mr. Dink's young murderer, has recanted his original statement after he learnt that Erhan Tuncel, an ultra-nationalist and student at Karadeniz University, was a police informer. Tuncel, it turns out, had informed the police several times of a plan to murder Hrant Dink.

As the investigation plods on the offices of Agos continue to be a target of nationalist threats. On February 12th, ten people in Kayseri were arrested for emailing threatening messages to the newspaper. The suspects were later released.

For the complete article see: Reporters Without Borders

March 09, 2007



Հաւաստի աղբիւրներուն համաձայն կը տեղեկանանք որ Քաշաթաղի շրջանի ղեկավար Յամլետ Խաչատրյանը, Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետութեան որոշմամբ պաշտօնազուրկ եղած է:

Ըստ Հետք Online-ին, իր փոխարինորդը նշանակուած է Պրն. Էռնեստ Ղեւոնդյանը, որը անցեալին «Արցախ» կոմիտէի ղեկավար եղած է:

Տակաւին կանուխ է ըսելու թէ Քաշաթաղի շրջանի ղեկավարի հեռացումով էապէս բան մը փոխած պիտի ըլլայ թէ ոչ: Թէ Քաշաթաղի բազում նեղութիւններ քաշած բնակիչները, թէ ալ իրենցմով մտահոգուած հայութիւնը, անհամբեր կը սպասեն դրական արդիւնքներ որպէս հետեւանք: Այլապէս գանգանտները եւ բողոքագրերը ԼՂՀ-ի ղեկավարութեանն ուղղուած վերստին պիտի տեղան:

March 07, 2007


In the on-going saga of the Genocide Resolution in the United States Congress, we bring to our readers the following two commentaries that recently appeared in prominent United States' publications. While both are critical of the resolution, they approach the issue from quite different perspectives and make for somewhat interesting reading.

1) An Op-Ed piece by Jackson Diehl that appeared in the March 5th edition of the Washington Post basically belittles the resolution as "Much Ado About Nothing."

2) A piece penned by Mark Parris, a former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, that appeared in the March 2nd issue of the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Parris, who served as ambassador under the Clinton Administration, laments the probable passage of the resolution and says it will result in a " train wreck with a longstanding American ally - Turkey."


In yet the latest example of how the nuances of language can be used to silence and harass dissident voices in Turkey, we now read that Ahmet Turk, a leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, has been sentenced by a court in Diyarbakir to six months imprisonment for referring to jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as "Mr. Ocalan."

The court stated that the prefix "Mr" implied respect for the leader of the Kurdish Workers' Party who is serving a life sentence of imprisonment after being found guilty of treason for leading a decades long armed struggle in Turkey's Kurdish regions.

A BBC report states that this is the second conviction for Mr. Turk in the past seven days. Last week he and another DTP official were sentenced to an eighteen months jail sentence for distributing party materials in the Kurdish language. Turkish law allows the distribution of political literature only in Turkish.

The Democratic Society Party , despite being a legitimate political body working for democratic and minority rights for Kurds in Turkey, claims to have been subjected to various forms of harassment in the lead-up to Turkish elections later this year.


In yet the latest of a series of reports from the international press commenting on the rise of outward manifestations of nationalist sentiment in Turkey, The Independent of March 3rd, focuses on how this growing trend had affected Turkey's beleaguered liberal intelligentsia ever since the murder of Hrant Dink in January.

The article focuses on the plight of Perihan Magden, a prominent female novelist and commentator, and others like her who have, in the past, run afoul of the law and particularly Article 301 of the Turkish Penal code that has been used to bring individuals to trial for the crime of " insulting Turkishness and the Turkish state".

According to this report and others, so menacing have conditions become in Turkey for dissenting individuals that many, like Orhan Pamuk, have fled the country or have gone into self-imposed seclusion in the country, rarely venturing out in public.

The Independent article quotes Perihan Magden as describing her plight thusly...

"We don't want to live like hunted animals, but we have been made international targets. It's a lottery and this time it stopped at Hrant's slot. What if next time it stops at mine?"

The report holds out little hope that calls to repeal the infamous Article 301 will be realized in the run-up to elections in Turkey later this year.

Read the entire Independent article !!!

March 06, 2007


Ըստ «Հետք Online» ընթացիկ թւի մէկ յօդուածին, ներկայ Քաշաթաղի շրջանի վարչակազմի ղեկավարը, Պրն. Յամլետ Խաթատրյանը, շուտով պաստօնազուրկ պէտք է ըլլայ: Հակառակ անոր որ Արցախեան կառավարութիւնը հերքած է նման փսփսուքներ, Հետքի խմբագրական կազմը կը հաստատէ թէ իր հաւաստի աղբիւրներուն համաձայն, Պրն. Խաթատրյանը իր «չանթէ»ները լեցուցած է եւ իր պաշօնասենեակին առջեւ taxi մը կ՛սպասէ:

Յօդուածը իր ամբողջութեամբ կարդալու համար այցելեցէք Հետք

March 02, 2007


Below, we reprint a March 1st BBC report from the city of Trabzon, Turkey, the hometown of Ogun Samast (Hrant Dink's killer), and eight other accomplices charged with plotting to kill Mr. Dink. The report contends that this Black Sea coast city, to a greater degree that other Turkish towns, has given rise to a strain of blind Turkish nationalism that is virulently intolerant of others. The report cites issues such as unemployment and alienation of the young people as prime motivating factors behind this phenomenon. It fails, however, to explain why Trabzon is the focus of such ultra-nationalism and not other areas of Turkey where the same socio-economic problems are present. Then again, that's not to say such nationalist sentiments are indeed limited to Trabzon.

On match days Trabzon turns claret and blue as thousands of football fans stream towards their stadium.

The Black Sea port city was always famous for its football. The only team outside Istanbul ever to win the league title, Trabzonspor, is the pride of this place - its identity.

But the city is now notorious as home to the teenage boy and eight accomplices charged with plotting to kill ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead in Istanbul last month.
Some here seem proud of that connection.

When Dink was murdered, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul and declared themselves Armenian in solidarity.

In public people will say it is bad that [Hrant Dink] was killed, but to most Trabzon people he was not an intellectual - he was just an Armenian.

"People here are proud to be Turks, without thinking about what it really means. There is a blind nationalism here. Racism has flourished," says local political activist Zeynep Erdugul.

Two years ago she and her friends were beaten in the streets of Trabzon by a furious mob that mistook them for supporters of the Kurdish separatists, the PKK.

Ms Erdugul fears nationalist feeling is now climbing to dangerous new heights.
In public people will say it is bad that Hrant Dink was killed, but to most Trabzon people he was not an intellectual - he was just an Armenian," she says.

(Read the entire BBC article)

March 01, 2007


Below is a translation of a news report from Arminfo that originally appeared in Russian on February 27th. It deals with the unresolved problems faced by residents of Kashatagh and the unwillingness of the responsible authorities to take the needed measures to rectify these issues.

Robert Simonyan, head of the Kashatagh non-governmental organization for the protection of resettlers, accuses the administration of the Kashatagh (Lachin) district of embezzlement.

Speaking to journalists, Robert Simonyan, who in 1990s was the head of the administration of five villages in the Kashatagh district, accused both the former and the current heads of the district administration, Aleksan Hakobyan and Hamlet Khachatryan, of pillaging Azerbaijani villages and embezzling funds they had been given to reconstruct the district.

The disagreement with the district administration over its policies resulted in Simonyan's persecution. A Yerevan resident, who had moved to Kashatagh, was forced to go back again, but he claims that his persecution did not stop there either.

Simonyan claims that he had repeatedly informed all possible instances in Armenia - from the president to foreign diplomatic corps - of the embezzlement by the district administration and the persecution of himself and family members, but has not received a reasonable answer.

Today, Simonyan made a statement describing the talk about a possible return of the liberated territories around the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic as a crime and treason.

"On the one hand, they speak of keeping the Lachin corridor under the Armenian control, but on the other hand, the local authorities and the Armenian leadership create such inhuman conditions that the resettlers run from those strategically important territories," Simonyan said. He said that while 15,000 people lived in Kashatagh in 1988, only 2,500 people now remained there. He also said that the residents of the border regions of Armenia - Ijevan, Tavush, Goris and Kapan - should be entitled to a compensation for the damage caused by Azerbaijan.

"In addition, we demand that the Armenian and the NKR authorities do their for both the protection of the NKR borders with Iran and opening of bilateral communication through it," the statement said.

(Lachin Photo by Onnik Krikorian)