Monday, October 30, 2006

Sorry For The Inconvenience

Dear Readers,

I'm sorry that I did not update my blog for quite a while now... And unfortunately, I won't be able to update this blog for a while , I am moving and I'll hit the road in few days...

In the mean time, you can find some very interesting articles & news in the links and the websites in the menu (on the left). It will take some time until I finally settle down and start updating this blog again...

Thanks for Stoping by..

Keep Comming Back


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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gul suggests that the Europeans should reduce their standards to that of Turkey

A friend had send me this really interesting article, and although I am currently moving a lot, I got a little free time to post this article.

It is really interesting how Turkey thinks that it can boss people around... and the more interesting is that the EU don't make any response to such statements.

Here's the article.

Turkish FM Gul Blames EU Leaders for Plunge in Turkish Support for EU

Journal of Turkish Weekly
Saturday , 08 July 2006

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul blamed some European leaders for the plunge in Turkish public support for the European Union (EU).

Gul told a press conference on Friday after his US visit that the remarks of some EU leaders, who cater to their domestic politics without considering the impact of these remarks in Turkey, are responsible for the drop in support for the EU.

A Eurobarometer poll, carried in April over 1000 people in Turkey, found that only 43 percent of Turks have a positive image of the union. The recent figure shows a plunge in Turkish support for the EU over a six-month period, as the corresponding figure was 60 percent
six months earlier.

FM Gul stated that the European side should act responsibly to prepare the Turkish public. Gul noted; however, that the exaggeration of certain issues in Turkey was partly responsible for the fall in Turkish support for EU membership. Foreign Minister Gul pledged that the ruling AKP would take measures to tackle the fall in Turkish support for the union.

Most of the Turkish people are unhappy with the EU stance on Cyprus, PKK terrorism, the so-called Armenian issue and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchy. Remarkable numbers of Turks believe that the EU the cynical intention to divide Turkey.

Unceasing EU demands on the Turkish government and increasing pressure over Cyprus are seen as the main reasons why Turkish people have begun to turn their back to the European Union. The more EU leaders criticize Turkey, the more nationalist sentiment gains ground in Turkey.

Turkey commenced actual accession talks with the European Union in mid-June, following its eight-month screening process.

Turkey's EU accession process is expected to be long, arduous and susceptible to crises, especially on Cyprus. Optimistic analysts predict that Turkey, with its large population, may enter the wealthy bloc by 2014 at the earliest.


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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Invitation to an Armenian Cultural Project From Stepanavan Youth Center

Via Email
Dear Armenians,

Our organization, Stepanavan Youth Center (SYC) in Stepanavan, Armenia is looking for partners for our cultural project.

Only Armenian organizations and groups from European countries can join us, as we are going to apply to European Commission for financial support of the project.

The name of the project is "European Citizenship and Common Heritage" and will bring young Armenians from 6 European countries (3 EU countries and 3 Eastern European/Caucasus countries) to Armenia for 8 days next spring (2007).

Each partner organization will be represented by 6 young people (17-25 years old) and one leader.

70% of travel expenses will be reimbursed and 100% expenses related to stay and visa will be covered.

The languages of the exchange will be Armenian and English.

Type of the project- youth exchangeTopics- Armenian heritage, culture, history Youth participation

The project will incude workshops, discussions, study visits, excursions, cultural events, project design and implementation. Of course, we do not forget about national cuisine, dances and songs!
We are looking for 2 more EU countries and 1 Eastern European country to join. We will send necessary documents to fill in to organizations/groups interested.

Please feel free to forward this message to any person of group who you think will be interested to join us!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Lilit Simonyan
Stepanavan Youth Center NGO/Armenia
For More info. Contact

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Early Day Motion In the UK Parliament To Recognize The Armenian Genocide

Stephen Pound, MP, had suggested a bill to recognize the Assyrian & Armenian Genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. There's no date set for the debate of this motion so far, but signatures are being collected since this bill was presented in Jan. 24, 2006, and the last count reported 58 signatures ...

Below is the text of this bill as appeared in The Early Day Motions Database Web Site , United Kingdom Parliament Publication Website and More Info. From Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG) Website


Stephen Pound
Bob Russell
Mr Martin Caton
Mrs Ann Cryer
Mr Andrew Dismore
Jeremy Corbyn

Nia Griffith

That this House is appalled by the genocide committed against the Assyrians in 1915 in their ancestral homeland by the then ruling government of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, the Committee for Union and Progress, a genocide which led to the mass exodus of the Assyrians from their millennia-old native soil and resulted in the deaths of approximately two-thirds of the Assyrian population and one and a half million Armenians and the destruction of many Assyrian and Armenian villages and national and religious institutions; recognises the suffering of the Assyrian and Armenian people during the genocide of 1915, and accepts that the suffering of victims of genocide is augmented and perpetuated by indifference and denial, and that genocide prevention can only by achieved by learning from history and recognising and condemning previous acts of genocide; calls upon the UK and Turkish governments publicly and officially to recognise the Assyrian and Armenian genocide of 1915, and encourage other members of the international community to take similar steps, thereby fulfilling the obligation of international co-operation enshrined in the preamble to the 1948 Genocide Convention; and urges the UK Government to call on the European Union to make official Turkish recognition of the 1915 Assyrian and Armenian genocide one of the pre-conditions for Turkey's membership of the EU.

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Christian Union Wants to Make the Denial of Genocide Punishable


Christian Union wants to make the denial of genocide punishable

THE HAGUE (ANP) - The denial of genocide, such as the Holocaust, must be punishable. To this end the Christian Union (Christen Unie) party has submitted a bill to the Parliament. Anyone who intentionally denies a genocide or a crime against humanity in order to insult others or incite hate shall be accountable as having committed a crime which can carry a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment, according to the draft law.

The presenter of the bill, Dutch MP Mrs. Tineke Huizinga, wants to have this provision included in the Dutch Penal Code as a clear signal that such denials would not be tolerated. The law should also make it easier to combat discrimination on Internet, said Huizinga Thursday during the introducing of her bill.

For the victims of genocides and their surviving relatives the intentional denials of the committed evil or distorting of the facts are ³indigestible². Huizinga named as an example, next to the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War, the extent and dimensions of the slavery in which The Netherlands has played a ³disgraceful² role.

In addition, the parliament member recalled the Genocide of the Armenians in 1915 during the Ottoman Empire, which is still being denied by the present day Turkey and the Turks elsewhere.

Huizinga and other members of the Parliament have recently been bombarded by E-mails forwarded especially by the Turks who oppose the Christian Union bill. Huizinga emphasised that the bill does not seek to restrict the freedom of speech. According to her, the historical facts should always be open to discussion. The denial, approval or justification of genocide should therefore be punishable when it concerns a deliberate _expression to insult and discriminate people.

The Federation of Armenian Organisations in The Netherlands called the bill a step forward and is happy that the Armenian Genocide has been explicitly mentioned in the Explanatory Memorandum of the bill. A representative of the organisation, Mrs. Inge Drost, thinks that the adoption of the bill should make it possible to close Internet sites which engage in the denial of Armenian Genocide, such as seemingly innocent site www.armenië.nl

In a reaction, the National Bureau for Combating Race Discrimination and the Israel Information and Documentation Centre, likewise announced their support of the bill. The draft law should go first to the Council of State for advice, following which the Parliament can start the proceedings on the bill


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Turkey Fails to Defeat French Bill Despite Threats and Blackmail

Turkey Fails to Defeat French Bill
Despite Threats and Blackmail

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
May 25, 2006

At the request of the French government, the Speaker of the French Parliament, Jean-Louis Debre, resorted to crass manipulation and shameful delay tactics last Thursday, to postpone the vote on a bill that would have banned the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The Speaker blocked the measure for now, realizing that the overwhelming majority of Parliament members were ready to vote for it.

The Turkish government had sought to defeat the bill outright by exerting extraordinary political and economic pressure on France including threats, blackmail and boycott of French products. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, therefore, expressed its disappointment at the postponement of this bill, as it could be reconsidered by the French Parliament next November.

The bill’s supporters now have 6 additional months to counter Turkish pressures on the French government and garner wider public support for the proposed law. Ankara, on the other hand, has to go to the trouble of re-enacting its elaborate lobbying campaign and marshalling all its resources for this purpose all over again. There is a good chance that the French public and government officials would get fed up by Turkey’s repeated bullying tactics. The continuous Turkish threats not only could backfire on Ankara for this particular bill, but also increase the French public’s opposition to Turkey’s admission to the European Union. In addition, the six-month delay would put the reconsideration of this bill that much closer to the upcoming French Presidential elections, making the parliamentarians more responsive to the wishes of their constituents.

Here is a list of seven major actions the supporters of this bill could undertake in the next 6 months in order to improve the chances of its adoption:

-- Explain to the public that the proposed law does not infringe on freedom of _expression, since Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights allows certain restrictions which are also approved by French courts.

-- Point out that the bill simply seeks to complete the law on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide that was adopted in 2001, by designating a punishment for those who break that law.

-- Explain that the threatened boycott of French companies and goods by Turkey is not only morally reprehensible, but also an empty bluff. In 2001, when France recognized the Armenian Genocide, Turkey initially cancelled some French business deals, only to have mutual trade resume as normal and even exceed the levels of the previous years.

-- Establish direct contact with the media, explaining the rationale for the proposed law and pointing out that there should not be a double standard on banning the denial of the Holocaust, but not the denial of the Armenian Genocide.

-- Contact a large number of French historians, professors and legal scholars asking them to sign a joint statement in support of the proposed law. Publicize widely such a statement, explaining that this law would not hinder the work of historians, but sanction the liars and denialists.

-- Explain to prominent French Jewish intellectuals that unless they throw their support behind the Armenian Genocide bill, certain historians and advocates of free speech would next campaign for the removal of the law against the denial of the Holocaust. The Union of Jewish Students of France (UJSF) has already issued a statement supporting the proposed law on the Armenian Genocide. The UJSF said that blocking this bill "for the sake of political and economic considerations is offensive to the memory of 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and their descendants." The list of similarly supportive Jewish organizations should be expanded in the coming months.

-- Make maximum use of the French government sponsored " Year of Armenia in France," which begins in September, to present a comprehensive image of Armenian history and culture. This unique opportunity could sensitize the French public and government officials to the unique heritage of the Armenian nation.

It took several decades for the French government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The supporters of this bill can surely wait a few more months or even longer until it is finally adopted. All the while, the proposed law would be hanging like a Damoclean sword over the head of the Turkish denialist state, forcing it to expend untold energy and resources to continuously fight against its passage!

A member of the Turkish Parliament proposed last week that the Turkish legislative body adopt a resolution that would condemn France for committing "genocide" in Algeria and make its denial a crime! This is one threat that Armenians hope the Turkish state would carry out because it would create such a backlash in France that it would virtually guarantee the adoption by the French Parliament of the proposed ban on the denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Furthermore, the adoption of such a resolution by the Turkish Parliament would help silence once and for all Turkish critics who have been claiming that parliaments have no business recognizing the Armenian Genocide and should not legislate history. A second member of the Turkish Parliament proposed making any reference to the Armenian Genocide a crime in Turkey. If adopted, such a law, on top of other existing draconian laws, would make it virtually impossible for Turkey to join the EU.

With parliamentarians like these, Turkey does not need any enemies on the outside!


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Monday, May 22, 2006

You're talking nonsense, Mr Ambassador

Robert Fisk The Independent 20 May 2006

By: Robert Fisk

All the while, new diplomatic archives are opening to reveal the smell of death - Armenian death Published: 20 May 2006

A letter from the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of Saint James arrived for me a few days ago, one of those missives that send a shudder through the human soul. "You allege that an 'Armenian genocide' took place in Eastern Anatolia in 1915," His Excellency Mr Akin Alptuna told me. "I believe you have some misconceptions about those events ..."

Oh indeedy doody, I have. I am under the totally mistaken conception that one and a half million Armenians were cruelly and deliberately done to death by their Turkish Ottoman masters in 1915, that the men were shot and knifed while their womenfolk were raped and eviscerated and cremated and starved on death marches and their children butchered. I have met a few of the survivors - liars to a man and woman, if the Turkish ambassador to Britain is to be believed - and I have seen the photographs taken of the victims by a brave German photographer called Armen Wegner whose pictures must now, I suppose, be consigned to the waste bins. So must the archives of all those diplomats who courageously catalogued the mass murders inflicted upon Turkey's Christian population on the orders of the gang of nationalists who ran the Ottoman government in 1915.

What would have been our reaction if the ambassador of Germany had written a note to the same effect? "You allege that a 'Jewish genocide' took place in Eastern Europe between 1939 and 1945 ... I believe you have some misconceptions about those events ...' Of course, the moment such a letter became public, the ambassador of Germany would be condemned by the Foreign Office, our man in Berlin would - even the pusillanimous Blair might rise to the occasion - be withdrawn for consultations and the European Union would debate whether sanctions should be placed upon Germany.

But Mr Alptuna need have no such worries. His country is not a member of the European Union - it merely wishes to be - and it was Mr Blair's craven administration that for many months tried to prevent Armenian participation in Britain's Holocaust Day.

Amid this chicanery, there are a few shining bright lights and I should say at once that Mr Alptuna's letter is a grotesque representation of the views of a growing number of Turkish citizens, a few of whom I have the honour to know, who are convinced that the story of the great evil visited upon the Armenians must be told in their country. So why, oh why, I ask myself, are Mr Alptuna and his colleagues in Paris and Beirut and other cities still peddling this nonsense?

In Lebanon, for example, the Turkish embassy has sent a "communiqué" to the local French-language L'Orient Le Jour newspaper, referring to the "soi-disant (so-called) Armenian genocide" and asking why the modern state of Armenia will not respond to the Turkish call for a joint historical study to "examine the events" of 1915.

In fact, the Armenian president, Robert Kotcharian, will not respond to such an invitation for the same reason that the world's Jewish community would not respond to the call for a similar examination of the Jewish Holocaust from the Iranian president - because an unprecedented international crime was committed, the mere questioning of which would be an insult to the millions of victims who perished.

But the Turkish appeals are artfully concocted. In Beirut, they recall the Allied catastrophe at Gallipoli in 1915 when British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops suffered massive casualties at the hands of the Turkish army. In all - including Turkish soldiers

- up to a quarter of a million men perished in the Dardanelles. The Turkish embassy in Beirut rightly states that the belligerent nations of Gallipoli have transformed these hostilities into gestures of reconciliation, friendship and mutual respect. A good try. But the bloodbath of Gallipoli did not involve the planned murder of hundreds of thousands of British, French, Australian, New Zealand - and Turkish - women and children.

But now for the bright lights. A group of "righteous Turks" are challenging their government's dishonest account of the 1915

genocide: Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran, Halil Berktay, Hrant Dink, Ragip Zarakolu and others claim that the "democratic process" in Turkey will "chip away at the darkness" and they seek help from Armenians in doing so. Yet even they will refer only to the 1915 "disaster", the "tragedy", and the "agony" of the Armenians. Dr Fatma Gocek of the University of Michigan is among the bravest of those Turkish-born academics who are fighting to confront the Ottoman Empire's terror against the Armenians. Yet she, too, objects to the use of the word genocide - though she acknowledges its accuracy - on the grounds that it has become "politicised" and thus hinders research.

I have some sympathy with this argument. Why make the job of honest Turks more difficult when these good men and women are taking on the might of Turkish nationalism? The problem is that other, more disreputable folk are demanding the same deletion. Mr Alputuna writes to me - with awesome disingenuousness - that Armenians "have failed to submit any irrefutable evidence to support their allegations of genocide". And he goes on to say that "genocide, as you are well aware, has a quite specific legal definition" in the UN's 1948 Convention. But Mr Alputuna is himself well aware - though he does not say so, of course - that the definition of genocide was set out by Raphael Lemkin, a Jew, in specific reference to the wholesale mass slaughter of the Armenians.

And all the while, new diplomatic archives are opening in the West which reveal the smell of death - Armenian death - in their pages. I quote here, for example, from the newly discovered account of Denmark's minister in Turkey during the First World War. "The Turks are vigorously carrying through their cruel intention, to exterminate the Armenian people," Carl Wandel wrote on 3 July 1915. The Bishop of Karput was ordered to leave Aleppo within 48 hours "and it has later been learned that this Bishop and all the clergy that accompanied him have been ... killed between Diyarbekir and Urfa at a place where approximately 1,700 Armenian families have suffered the same fate ... In Angora ... approximately 6,000 men ... have been shot on the road ... even here in Constantinople (Istanbul), Armenians are being abducted and sent to Asia ..."

There is much, much more. Yet now here is Mr Alptuna in his letter to

me: "In fact, the Armenians living outside Eastern Armenia including Istanbul ... were excluded from deportation." Somebody here is not telling the truth. The late Mr Wandel of Copenhagen? Or the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of St James?

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Friday, May 19, 2006

French National Parliament: Official Report of The Meeting of May 18, 2006

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for Justice and Democracy
Avenue de la Renaissance 10
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel: +322 732 70 26
Tel/Fax: +322 732 70 27

For immediate release
May 19, 2006
Contact: Vartenie ECHO
Tel: +322 732 70 26


-- President of National Assembly uses Delaying Tactics to Defer Vote
-- French Government Cites Economic Interests in Turkey

PARIS, FRANCE - The draft law establishing legal penalties for thedenial of the Armenian Genocide, set for a vote today of the National Assembly,was blocked by Jean-Louis Debré, the National Assembly’s president, who,under pressure from the French Government, deferred a vote on themeasure for an undetermined period.

The anti-denial measure was introduced by the Socialist Group as part ofits “Parliamentary Window." Despite the fact that it was listed as onlythe second item on the Parliamentary agenda, President Debré effectivelyblocked its consideration by artificially extending the first agendaitem by adding speakers, extending time limits, and other dilatory tactics.

These delaying tactics were confronted by the Socialist, Communist and Centrist groups. These protests, notably that of the President of the Socialist group, Jean-Marc Ayrault, led to Mr. Debré finally consentingto examine the anti-denial measure during the remaining thirty minutes leftin the session. Mr. Debre again delayed holding a vote and, with timehaving expired, he postponed the vote to an undefined future session.

Sensing the strong consensus behind the measure – and fearful of being isolated within the French political establishment, the Minister ofForeign Affairs, Mr Douste-Blazy, spoke against the resolution on the basis of France’s economic interest in Turkey. Almost all the other speakersargued in favor of sanctioning Armenian Genocide denial. Sources within Parliament reported that a broad majority of members, including those inthe conservative majority, were prepared to vote for the resolution.

“We thank the deputies who, by their commitment to the struggle forjustice and dignity, preserved the honour and prestige of France as a nation committed to these high ideals. We are however scandalized by theshameful schemes employed by the French government to hamper the free _expressionof members of the National Assembly on this core issue of concern to the conscience of all people,” said Hilda Tchoboian, President of theEuropean Armenian Federation.

“Both the government and the media should keep in mind the lesson of thereferendum on the European Constitution – namely that in a leading democratic nation, such as France, the will of the people cannot be ignored, deterred, or obstructed by the government. Sooner or later,the imposition of penalties for Armenian Genocide denial will be adopted because, in their wisdom, the French people and their elected representatives understand that the true basis for peace and progressare justice and the dignity,” concluded Tchoboian.


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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Armenian Genocide and Denial: The Discussion, The Deferred Vote

The Committee of Defense of the Armenian Cause (CDCA) expresses its stronger indignation after ending the meeting of the French National Assembly, without the examination of the private bill repressing being completed the negation of the Armenian genocide.

The obstructions that the president of the French National Assembly and the Government made are scandalous and unworthy of the national representation.

Indeed, Jean-Louis Debré of the French National Assembly declared the meeting closed Thursday shortly after 13h00 to the French National Assembly, as of the end of the discussion, without the examination of the private bill against the denial of the Armenian genocide and thus without a vote being able to determined.
The UMP majority and the Government made trail the debate on a first text of Paul Quliès (PS) devoted to the control of the Parliament and also registered in this meeting reserved for socialist proposals.

After sharp exchanges, recalls with the payment and adjournments, opposition PS/PCF protesting against “the obstruction of UMP and the government”, the deputies finally adopted the Quilès proposal and could start the debate on the Armenian question but only towards 12h30.

At the time of the debate, the Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy opposed the text qualifying it of “unfriendly gesture” for Turkey.

For The Committee of Defense of the Armenian Cause (CDCA) the remarks of the Foreign Minister are not worthy of a representative of France, where the respect of human dignity should be a base.

Paris, on Thursday May 18, 2006 - 14h45

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Outsite French National Assembly : May 18, 2006

While waiting for the French National Assembly to vote on the Bill that criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians rally for the Assembly to vote "YES", after all it is only fair since "denial of the Armenian Genocide," is a "hate crime" as much as the denial of the Holocaust, which already was recognized by the French National Assembly as a crime !

Here are some pictures of the demonstrations taken by the Associated Press Agency.

Armenians, some of them carrying French flags, wait ouside the National Assembly, in Paris, Thursday, May 18, 2006, as French lawmakers debate a proposal that would make it a crime to deny that the killings of Armenians during World War I constituted genocide. Later, the National Assembly put off indefinitely the debate on a proposal by the opposition Socialists that would recognize the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1919 as genocide.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler/May 18 5:56 AM)

An Armenian carries a poster reading: 'Criminal Turkey, Armenian Genocide 1894-1909-1915-1923 (numbers stands for the years of consequent massacres by Turkish state against the Armenians of Ottoman Empire)'

Ouside the National Assembly, in Paris, Thursday, May 18, 2006, as French lawmakers debate a proposal that would make it a crime to deny that the killings of Armenians during World War I constituted genocide. Later, the National Assembly put off indefinitely the debate on a proposal by the opposition Socialists that would recognize the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1919 as genocide.

AP Photo/Michel Euler/May 18 5:56 AM)

Armenian demonstrators carrying stickers reading:

'stop revisionism, everyone united and mobilized for truth', wait ouside the National Assembly, in Paris, Thursday, May 18, 2006. French lawmakers debated a proposal that would make it a crime to deny that the killings of Armenians during World War I constituted genocide. Later, the National Assembly put off indefinitely the debate on a proposal by the opposition Socialists that would recognize the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1919 as genocide.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler/May 18 5:55 AM)

Some Turks were rallying too outside the French National Assembly, of course opposing the Bill.

Protestors carry French flags and a sign reading: 'Armenians, Turks of France, together for reconciliation', Place des Invalides, in Paris, Thursday, May 18, 2006, as French lawmakers debate a proposal that would make it a crime to deny that the killings of Armenians during World War I constituted genocide. Later, the National Assembly put off indefinitely the debate on a proposal by the opposition Socialists that would recognize the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1919 as genocide.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

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Uproar As French Parliament Shelves Vote On Armenian Genocide

By Emma Charlton, Agence France Presse

The French National Assembly Building in the Palais-BourbonAngry scenes broke out in the French National Assembly on Thursday after lawmakers were forced to call off a vote on a bill that would make it a punishable offence to deny the Armenian genocide.

Debate on the opposition bill -- which has sparked a diplomatic row between France and Turkey -- started late, and the time allocated for its discussion ran out before a vote could take place. Discussion of the controversial text will now be pushed back to October at the earliest, under the parliamentary calendar.

Shouts filled the assembly as the bill's supporters accused members of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) of stalling debate. Dozens of lawmakers – angrily yelling "Vote! Vote!" -- had to be evacuated from the building after the leader of the assembly declared the session closed.

Philippe Douste-BlazyEarlier Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy came out openly against the bill, which follows on from a 2001 French law officially recognizing the Turkish massacres of Armenians at the end of World War I as genocide. "If adopted, this text would be seen as an unfriendly gesture by the great majority of the Turkish people," he told lawmakers, warning its adoption would have "serious political consequences and weaken our position not only in Turkey but across the entire region."

"Turkey is a leading economic and trade partner... We cannot accept this bill," Douste-Blazy said.

The bill would make punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (57,000 dollars) the crime of denying that Turkish troops committed genocide against the Armenians. The same punishment is on the statute books for people who deny that the Jewish Holocaust took place.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- backed by Turkish business leaders and unions -- appealed this month to France to block the contentious new bill, warning of the threat to bilateral relations. Ankara briefly recalled its ambassador from Paris for consultations this month, amid rising tensions over the bill.

While the 2001 law was passed when the Socialist Party had a majority in the National Assembly, the new bill could only pass with support from ruling party deputies – who had been given a free vote on the text. The bill has provoked divisions within both the UMP and the Socialist Party. Former Socialist minister Jack Lang said it would "undermine the efforts of those in Turkey who are trying to bring Ankara to recognize its history", and warned against a trend towards "criminalizing public expression".

There has been much critical discussion recently in France about so-called "historical" laws which seek to authorize an official version of past events. In January President Jacques Chirac asked for a controversial law recognizing the "positive role" of colonialism to be struck off the statute books.


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Because of Turkish Bullying, Vote On The French Bill Was Postponed

[AP PHOTO] Turkish protesters gathered outside the French consulate in IstanbulThe French parliament has postponed debate on a bill that would make it a crime to deny that the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 was "genocide".

Turkish officials and businesses had lobbied French MPs to shelve the bill, which relates to a thorny issue still plaguing Turkish-Armenian relations.

Turkey rejects Armenia's claim that the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5m Armenians.

The French Socialist opposition wanted a new law to impose fines in line with those for Holocaust deniers.

Anyone denying that six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in World War II can be fined up to 39,064 euros (£26,500) and be jailed for five years in France.
Armenia says up to 1.5 million Armenians were deported and died at the hands of the Ottoman rulers in World War I. Turkey says a few hundred thousand died in a war which also left many Turks dead.

Diplomatic impact

Ahead of the debate, Turkish MPs had been lobbying their French counterparts, warning of irreparable damage if the bill passed into law.

It was set to be a free vote for French MPs, but President Jacques Chirac said that passing the bill would be a mistake.
Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy agreed, telling the National Assembly: "The Armenian cause is just and should be defended and respected. But the bill you have submitted today would, if passed, be considered as an unfriendly gesture by a large majority of Turks, whether you want this or not."

As the session ran out of time for a vote to take place, there were reportedly angry scenes as MPs and Armenian groups in the public gallery shouted: "Vote! Vote!"

There are some 400,000 people of Armenian descent in France, and the Socialists have been accused of trying to win their favour ahead of next year's presidential election.

Some European Union countries have passed bills recognising the killings as genocide and the European Parliament has backed a non-binding resolution saying Turkey must recognise it as such before it can join the EU.

The French bill will now be shelved until October at the earliest.

BBC article Link

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Turkey Declares Diplomatic War On France on Armenian Genocide Law

Turkey Declares Diplomatic War
On France on Armenian Genocide Law

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

May 18, 2006

The Turkish government gets embroiled in diplomatic conflicts every time that a country acknowledges the Armenian Genocide. However, what happened this month is extraordinary even by Turkish standards. Ankara simultaneously recalled its ambassadors from France and Canada to express its displeasure at these countries’ stands on the Armenian issue.

The confrontation with Paris has much more serious repercussions as Turkey is caught between needing France’s support to join the European Union and going on an all-out offensive attempting to stop the French Parliament from adopting a law on May 18 that would make the denial of the Armenian Genocidea criminal offense. photoAfter recalling its Ambassador to France, Ankara threatened to exclude French companies from multi-billion dollar tenders, called for a boycott of French products, rallied the Turkish community in France against this law, placed ads in various French newspapers, pressured French companies operating in Turkey to lobby against this bill, and dispatched teams of Turkish politicians, trade union officials and businessmen to Paris to dissuade the French Parliament from such action. Both the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister met with their French counterparts, urging them to prevent their Parliament from considering such a law.

The Turkish government is outraged that the Armenian Genocide issue is being raised once again in the heart of Europe, despite Ankara’s extensive efforts to relegate this "tragedy" to the dustbin of history. Consequently, Turkey has resorted to all sorts of political and economic pressures, even threats and blackmail, to thwart the passage of the new law. In their desperation, Turkish leaders have shamelessly tried to use the argument that the ban on genocide denial would constitute suppression of freedom of _expression!

Turkey is in no position to lecture anyone, especially a democracy like France, about the protection of civil rights. A pariah state like Turkey, that has long violated just about every human right of its citizens, makes itself the laughing stock of the entire world when it tries to give lessons to Europeans on civil liberties. The fact is that Turkey is using all possible means in its disposal and making up ridiculous arguments in order to silence discussion of the Armenian Genocide in France.

Regrettably, it appears that even some highly-educated and independent-minded Turkish individuals, along with a handful of Armenians, have been fooled by the shenanigans of the denialist leaders in Turkey.

Since these otherwise reputable individuals have come forward opposing the French bill on grounds that it limits freedom of _expression, I must say that in a perfect world no government should restrict any of the liberties of its citizens. As the publisher of a newspaper, I value highly freedom of the press and take full advantage of it in my weekly columns. However, I realize that even in the United States, where such freedoms are cherished and zealously guarded, legal limits have been placed on them, such as libel, defamation and fraud. Freedom of speech is therefore not an absolute right in the United States, and even less so in France, where verbally assaulting the dignity of an individual is itself a crime under French law!

Many European countries, where such freedoms are further restricted by outlawing racism, anti-Semitism, and advocacy of crimes against humanity, have laws that specifically criminalize the denial of the Jewish Holocaust. Such restrictions have not only been sanctioned by national laws, but by the European Court for Human Rights.

Isn’t it ironic that neither a single Turkish official nor any of those siding with Turkey’s position on this bill have uttered a single word against such restrictions on freedom of speech in a dozen or so European countries? But, all of a sudden, when the French Parliament considers making the denial of the Armenian Genocide a criminal offense, all sorts of complaints are voiced about the sanctity and inviolability of freedom of speech. There seems to be an unacceptable double standard in this matter. Logically, either these other laws are also considered to be restrictive of the freedom of speech, in which case Ankara should have complained about them years ago, or they are not, in which case Turkish officials should not utter a single word of complaint now!

Last week, nine prominent citizens of Turkey (Murat Belge, Halil Berktay, Hrant Dink, Muge Gocek, Ahmet Insel, Etyen Mahcubyan, Baskin Oran, Elif Shafak, and Ragip Zarakolu) who are well-known for their opposition to the Turkish state’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, surprised everyone by issuing a hasty statement which put them inadvertently and uncomfortably in bed with Genocide denialists! They condemned the proposed French law by claiming that the ban on the denial of the Armenian Genocide would not only curb free discussion of this issue in France, but even more so in Turkey.

These professors and journalists, who are frequently accused of being traitors to their nation by the Turkish "deep state," were probably trying to rehabilitate their reputations in Turkey by issuing a statement that criticized both Armenians and Turks. However, they seem to have overlooked five key points in making their joint declaration:

1- Their utopian view of freedom of _expression contradicts the Europeans’ long-standing acceptance of certain restrictions for the sake of higher values, such as the rights and dignity of the victims of racism, genocide and crimes against humanity.

2- These nine individuals singled out the proposed ban on the denial of the Armenian Genocide in France, while remaining silent on the criminalization of the denial of the Holocaust throughout Europe. Why is the former considered suppression of free speech, while the latter is not?

3- No moral equivalence should be drawn between laws in Europe banning the denial of the Armenian Genocide and Turkish laws banning its recognition. In Europe, it is against the law to lie, while in Turkey, it is against the law to tell the truth on genocide!

4- They unfairly accuse "Armenian nationalists" for supporting laws limiting freedom of _expression in France. This law is being debated and considered not by "Armenian nationalists" but by the French Parliament. It is simply untrue that the Armenian minority in France, that constitutes less than 1% of the country’s population, controls the French Parliament’s actions and decisions. Similar laws have been or are being passed also in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Do "Armenian nationalists" control the parliaments of these countries too?

5- The proposed law, if adopted, would not ban the discussion or even the debate on the facts of the Armenian Genocide. It would simply ban its denial.

The rationale behind the French Parliament’s intent to pass such a law is very simple and straightforward. When the French government adopted a law in January 2001, stating that France recognized the Armenian Genocide, no punitive damages were assigned for those violating that law. The French Parliament is now trying to correct that oversight by prescribing a punishment for those denying the Armenian Genocide. This is why the title page of the proposed law states that it is intended for the "completion" of the law of 2001.

Finally, all those who are unhappy that such a law is being considered by the French Parliament, should note that the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, 91 years after the fact, are still hounded by a country that brings to bear all of its powerful political and economic resources to boycott, bully and threaten everyone around the world, from journalists to politicians, in order to silence any and all mention of the Armenian Genocide. The descendants of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, who are engaged in a David vs. Goliath struggle, use what little clout they can muster to counter the onslaught of the Turkish state, which makes no distinction between legal and illegal means, and shows no regard for any kind of rights, starting from the right to life and ending with the right to be free of abuse and insults. All the while, the fledgling Republic of Armenia, due to its many domestic problems, is unable to come to the defense of its compatriots scattered in the four corners of the globe, leaving them alone to fend for themselves in the face of the massive Turkish assault.

The proposed French law also corrects the existing imbalance in French law between punishing the denial of the Holocaust, but not the denial of the Armenian Genocide. It eliminates a glaring double standard! All those who are siding with the denialist Turkish state on this bill are consciously or unconsciously backing the victimizers against the victims! Since the final stage of any genocide is its denial, and since committing genocide is punishable by law, so should its denial!

Even if this law is not adopted this week by the French Parliament, the bullying behavior exhibited once again by the Turkish government on this occasion, would surely further erode its low standing in the eyes of the European public. A country that uses threats and boycotts against its future partners cannot then turn around and ask for their support to gain entry into the European Union.

Furthermore, thanks to the Turkish overreaction to this proposed law, Ankara has once again managed to do something Armenians could never have accomplished on their own: it has placed the Armenian Genocide issue on the front pages of newspapers around Europe and indeed around the world. The only thing that would top this in the future is if the Turkish government would repeat its erratic behavior in many more countries. Should that happen, Turkey would withdraw its ambassadors from several countries, cancel all trade, boycott foreign products, and become an isolated pariah state – a fitting punishment for a denialist regime!


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Tuesday, May 16, 2006


"The Da Vinci Code" blockbuster shot on the notorious novel by Dan Brown, will be shown at the movie theatres of Yerevan, after the world premier of the film in the Cannes Film Festival, on May 17.

Tamara Movsisian, manager of "Moscow" movie theatre, informed ArmInfo that the film will be shown at "Nariri" movie theatre from May 18 and from June 1 at "Moscow" cinema. She added that the Moscow based "Cascade" copyright company assisted the movie theatres in getting the right for show of the film. The film is shot by Ronn Hovard in 2006. The novel of Dan Brown was translated into 40 languages and has sold more than 40 million copies. It's worth mentioning that the book aroused the indignation of the Christian confessions who condemn the author for mockery of human values.

Besides, world known Armenian musician Jivan Gasparian plays doudouk in the soundtrack of the film.


The United States premier will be Friday, May 19.

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Thank You Andrew Goldberg !

Just wanted to say, Thank You Andrew Goldberg , You really did a Great job and the documentary was outstanding ...

If anyone want to thank Goldberg for this great documentary and all the other work that he did to tell the untold Armenian Genocide story , you can contact him at this email address...
Below is the latest interview with Goldberg ..

Armenian Genocide film producer Andrew Goldberg speaks to

New York ( 14 May 2006: On April 17, PBS aired The Armenian Genocide, a one hour documentary written, directed and produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Andrew Goldberg of Two Cats Productions, in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting. Using a variety of sources, this film tells the story of the nearly complete elimination of the Armenian population of Anatolia at the beginning of the 20th century. While remembrance of these events, known as the Armenian Genocide, is a major component of modern Armenian identity, the Turkish government and many Turkish groups actively seek to convince the world that the Armenian Genocide never occurred and work tirelessly to prevent any discussion of the mass murder.

Following the airing of the documentary, certain PBS affiliates decided to air a panel discussion featuring two historians who dispute that the Armenian Genocide ever occurred, drawing protest from Armenian-Americans and others. Andrew Goldberg took the time to speak to regarding his experiences in producing the documentary, which included having staff travel to Turkey and Kurdistan, and his response to the controversies generated by his work.

Q:Can you please explain what motivated you to make a documentary on the Armenian Genocide? What do you want viewers to take away from your documentary?

A: I am not an activist about this issue, I am journalist. As a journalist, my job is to report on issues that are important for people to know. I feel the Genocide is far too underreported and is far too important to be overlooked. I also felt like the Armenians were trying to get people to listen to their story, to their pain, but no one would. So I wanted to help that effort by simply telling the truth.

Q: Please describe the different types of research that went into making this documentary. How long did it take to gather sufficient information?

A: I had done other work on the Armenians before this project so we had a running start… but the whole project took about two years. Research was done on the internet and with both new and old books, and on the telephone. Photos and old video came mostly from archives around the world. We dealt with archives in Russia, Turkey, the US, England, France, Germany, Yugoslavia and others. We also relied heavily on our scholars – Peter Balakian, Ron Suny and Fatma Muge Gocek.

Q: Did you face any difficulties doing firsthand research in Turkey? What, if any precautions did you staff take?

A: We generally traveled undercover. Still, our “tourist” camera crews were stopped several times by the army and police. It was very frustrating. We also hired a Kurdish cameraman and producer to travel to eastern Turkey and Kurdistan. He went there *very* undercover and asked that we not disclose his name for fear of Turkish reprisal.

Q: We know that you conducted a few Kurdish-language interviews for this film. Was it easy traveling through Kurdistan and finding people able and willing to speak on the Armenian Genocide? Was there anything unique about the Kurdish perspective on these events?

A: See above question for the first half of this and yes, it is Kurdistan and must be called that! The Kurdish voice is tremendously important because they tell the truth about the events and are not wrapped up the nationalism of many Turkish people – a nationalism that prevents them from telling the truth. Kurds do not suffer from denial, which I believe is a psychological issue for many Turks, and not just an issue of what people “say in public.”

Q: How do you feel about the current state of scholarship and awareness on the Armenian Genocide?

A: Far too little is done. And far too much is done by Armenians only. Also, the work in my opinion has too much of an activist tone. Others need to help the issue. The community can be very closed and often are not inclusive of others. This needs to be overcome so other scholars enter the field. Also, the amount of photos and film around the world is immense. This is first hand witness material to the events in ways that paper documents can never equal – for example, we have Raphael Lemkin actually saying he invented the word genocide because of what happened to the Armenians. That is why this material is so important. Philanthropists need to give millions and millions more to this effort.

Q: Are you surprised by the controversy generated by your documentary? What kind of feedback have you received from viewers and cultural and political organizations with respect to this controversy?

A: The controversy with the Armenians themselves had to do not only with my show but with the after panel. I was not at all surprised that that happened over the after panel. It was kind of obvious (to me at least) that that would be the response from the Armenians. The Turkish reaction on the other hand was less public but they did aggressively go after PBS to stop the film from showing. This effort included getting several congressmen to ask PBS to drop my film from the schedule. This is typical Turkish government and nationalist behavior, though, so it did not surprise me either.

Q: Do you have any future plans to further explore the Armenian Genocide or other historical events in the region?

A: No. This was a very upsetting experience for me. Seeing PBS get so incredibly assaulted by the whole world – justified or not -- was very upsetting to watch. Seeing congressmen try to stop PBS from showing either the film or the panel, regardless of the value of either, reminded me of Turkey where government controls the media. Terrifying. For the record, I never want to live in a country where the government tells the press what to do. The people can always speak out instead. Our government cannot even build a sidewalk and yet we are take seriously their nonsensical efforts at censorship? Again, no matter how offensive something is – the government cannot be the ones to tell us what we can and cannot say. It must only be the people and the viewers.

Going on, being attacked, often with fabrications, by nationalists in the Armenian press in California was very upsetting and uncalled for. In my opinion, it is press like this that only harms efforts at recognition. It divides rather than unites and prevents any consistent voice to speak for the issues.

Furthermore, raising money was nearly impossible. I was told by one of our funders that a man named Walter Karabian actually suggested that supporting our efforts was a mistake! But we were able to finish the film and we are very, very proud of what we achieved for journalism and for human rights.

As for the Armenian organizations such as ANCA (Armenian National Committee) and the Armenian Assembly? We tried to work with them many times but we found them to be entirely non-responsive. The AGBU [Armenian General Benevolent Union] on the other hand was amazing, outstanding and incredible. They were truly wonderful to work with and I wish I had such talented and generous people to work with on all our projects.

We wish you the best of luck with this and other efforts. Thank you for your time.

Thank you!

To learn more about the documentary visit: THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

To order a copy of the documentary visit: The Armenian Genocide

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