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Cartoon illustration by Nino Jose Heredio
Below are selected passages from articles and comments appeared in the Dubai English speaking press during the last two weeks:  
 
Gulf News logo
 
 
 
 
 
 
1- "Gulf News", 15 October 2007
"US applies a double standard to Turkey", by Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News
 
Whether or not the Turks were guilty of genocide 92 years ago is an issue for researchers and historians. The Turks say hundreds of thousands of Armenians died as a result of war. The Armenians put the figure at between 600,000 and 1.5 million, and contend they were the victims of genocide. The question is why are the Americans getting in on the act - and why now?
 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for the vote on a moral platform. But shouldn't she first take the log out of her own country's eye before she tackles the mote in Turkey's? Perhaps she has forgotten that her nation was founded on what some historians refer to as "genocide".
 
Just as Turkey is sensitive to being accused of genocide, so is the US, which refused to ratify the 1948 UN Genocide Convention until 1988 with the proviso it was immune from prosecution for genocide without its consent. And just to remind you, it still hasn't ratified the International Criminal Court, established in 2002 to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
 
Let that alleged genocide be investigated by the UN and if and when the US is found culpable it should make financial reparations to the living descendents of those who suffered. It should also be up to the UN to pronounce on whether or not Armenians were the victims of genocide. Pelosi, a California Democrat, has a large number of Armenians in her constituency and rather than acting out of some deeply held conviction may be playing to the gallery.
 
Finally, I harbour no intent to undermine the Armenian tragedy or to defend the actions of the Ottomans during the First World War. Further, I neither condemn nor advocate a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq. My distaste is reserved for the US government and certain American lawmakers who obviously have never heard of the adage "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" or even if they have, are simply too arrogant to care.
 
Complete article is available here.
 
Opinion on the above article by Steven Dadaian (United States) as published on 21 October 2007 "Gulf News" Letters section.
 
Shortsighted policies
I guess the Armenian genocide is just another inconvenient truth people would rather not have to deal with ("US applies a double standard to Turkey", Gulf News, October 16). To set the record straight, the United States stands for values and principles that should not be for sale for shortsighted interests. Well, the time has come for the government of the people to speak with moral clarity on this and all crimes against humanity. Bravo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for trying to restore a small measure of Armenia's former nobility as a nation.
 
Steven Dadaian (US)

Gulf News logo
2- "Gulf News", 27 October 2007
"The horrible legacy of genocides", by Fawaz Turki, Special to Gulf News.
 
(Fawaz Turkis veteran journalist, lecturer and author of several books, including The Disinherited: Journal of a Palestinian Exile. He lives in Washington D.C.).
 
Turkey considers the question of Armenian genocide not only a sensitive issue, virtually taboo in the public debate, but places it under the rubric of "insulting Turkishness" in the penal code, for which a conviction will get you three years in jail.
 
To this day, 92 years after the incidents, Turkey continues not only to obfuscate the facts surrounding the massacres but to deny them outright. Very simply, you don't bring up the issue, but if you must do so, accept the official version: a "mere" 300,000 to 600,000 "died" at the time, and their deaths were "the unfortunate consequence of war".
 
That is the version modern day Turks learn at school from their sanitised textbooks, which barely mention the tragedy. They thus grow up with little comprehension of its scope.
 
It's a mystery why Turks do not want to own up to their past and why they persecute those intellectuals and academics in their midst who do.
 
The novelist Elif Shafak, author of the critically acclaimed The Bastard of Istanbul, and Orhan Pamuk, the 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, have both faced charges of (you guessed it) "insulting Turkishness" when they spoke up. And Taner Akam, a prominent professor of history at the University of Minnesota, opted not to return to his homeland after writing his seminal work Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, in which he meticulously chronicled the destruction of the Armenian community whose members where hunted down and slaughtered throughout their habitat by the Ottoman military.
 
Hundreds of thousands of others were deported to what was then called Greater Syria or, in Arabic, Bilad Al Sham. For what are these Armenian enclaves that exist in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq today, but the survivors of that dreadful act?
 
If this narrative is not factual, and these figures are wrong, and the killing of Armenians was indeed the "unfortunate consequence of war", then the Turkish authorities have nothing to fear of an open debate at academic conferences and panel discussions devoted to exploring the issue. By silencing or incarcerating those who have something to say, you make a pact with the devil who will shield your history and your name from shame. But the devil will return one day asking for his fee to be paid.
 
Turks should exercise their right to throw a backward glance at their past without fear of retribution, in the name of intellectual integrity of nothing else.
 
Congressmen on Capitol Hill, however, opting to probe another nation's historical experience and pass judgment on it, is another story. If these folks are such titans of moral rectitude, guardians of the truth, why not pass a resolution, say, identifying the mass killings and deportations of Chechens by Stalin's regime in 1944 as genocide? Or a resolution condemning Israel for its genocidal acts in Deir Yassein in 1948 and the ethnic cleansing it mounted against the entire population of the twin cities of Lydda-Ramlah that same year? Or the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 against 500,000 Tutsis, whose misfortune was that they belonged to the wrong tribe?
 
Why not, you ask? Because Chechens, Palestinians and Tutsis do not have large, organised communities with arm-twisting lobbies in Washington.
 
Here's how it should be done. Instead of souring their relationship with the US or embarking on an ill-conceived military adventure in Iraq (heaven knows we don't need another of these over there!), Turkish parliamentarians should give their counterparts in Washington a taste of their own medicine: they should pass a resolution, in the same cavalier fashion, condemning the United States for the genocide it inflicted on Native Americans and African Americans almost two centuries ago. And leave it at that. Deal?
 
Complete article is available here

Khaleej Times logo
3- "Khaleej Times", 21 October 2007
"Two ways of looking at the Armenian genocide", by Claude Salhani
(Editor of the Middle East Times).  
 
There are two ways of looking at the diplomatic tug-o-war currently being fought in Washington over the question of the Armenian genocide. One can either decide with his heart, taking the side of the Armenians, and vote, yes, the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians was genocide. End of story. Or, one can vote with his mind, and oppose the notion.  Either way the United States will upset a close ally in the region.
 
The fact that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide in the slaughter of Armenians around the time of World War I is not in question. The massacres did take place. The killing of Armenians is well documented.
 
Regrettably, the dead are dead; changing the tactical name of how it is they came to die is not about to bring them back to life. Nor would it change how they died. What it will accomplish is possibly help their memory and somewhat sooth the sufferings of their descendants. But in so doing, it risks producing a major geopolitical upset, accompanied by strategic alliances being reviewed at a time when the United States needs all the friends it can get, particularly in such a sensitive part of the world.
 
Turkey, who wants admittance into the European Union, could close the chapter on the Armenian genocide by admitting that what happened in 1916 was indeed genocide, however, stressing that the crimes were committed by an entity predating the modern Turkish Republic, which after all, bears no resemblance to its forerunner. For the sake of maintaining stability in the region, Ankara can issue an apology to Yerevan, and while making it clear that modern Turkey is not financially or morally liable for the crimes of their fathers.
 
Complete article is available here.

Khaleej Times logo
4- "Khaleej Times", 22 October 2007
"US and Turkish interests colliding over the Armenian matter", by Jamila Qadir (Senior Reporter with Khaleej Times). 

[Azad-Hye Note: This Azerbaijani national took advantage of "Khaleej Times" and misued her position by turning up the article on the Armenian Genocide to a platform for anti-Armenian propaganda. By reading the first sentence of the article you would feel sorry to realize how far can someone go by denying the suffering of millions of people. It is a shame on "Khaleej Times" to give space for such views in the guise of a senior reporter].  
 
The so-called Armenian genocide has always been a loose change in dirty global political games of superpowers, something akin to Monika Levinski, who kept her stained dress for years to make use of it at the right time.
 
The Armenian card was played during World War I by Britain, France and Russia against Turkey. More recently Soviet Russia played the same card against Soviet Azerbaijan, which dared ask for independence and the right to control its own oil reserves.
 
Interestingly, Turkey was one of the first countries in the world to recognise the neighbouring Armenia’s independence in 1991, but relations between the two states soured following the Armenian occupation of the western provinces of Azerbaijan; particularly the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent territories close to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
 
Another serious issue surrounds the events of 1915-17, when actions by the Ottoman Young Turks led to the forced deportations and related deaths of an estimated 300,000 (according to Ottoman archives) to 600,000 (according to Arnold J Toynbee, an intelligence officer of the British Foreign Office during the World War I), and up to 1,500,000 (according to Armenian resources) ethnic Armenians in what some scholars and countries recognise as the “Armenian Genocide”.
 
In the recent years, however, large numbers of Armenian workers, some 70,000, have moved to Turkey, around 40,000 in Istanbul alone. This in addition to some 100,000 Armenians who have been living in Turkey permanently for decades despite the “genocide”.
 
Interestingly, a map compiled by Armenians and found from the archives of the Ottoman Empire by Turkish historian Chezmi Yurtsever, refutes the so-called Armenian genocide. According to the academic, the map compiled by the Armenian Mekhitarists monastery on the island of San Lazzaro (Saint Lazarus) near Venice, Italy, shows that the number of Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1832-1896 was 1.2 million.
 
This figure proves that the allegations of killing of 1.5 million out of 2.5 million Armenians who so they say lived in Turkey during the World War I and the statements about the so-called Armenian genocide are baseless, Turkish media reported earlier this year.
 
The Turkish historian said that the archives records on the number and composition of the population in the Ottoman Empire before 1916 also shows that the allegations of Armenians are false.
 
Ironically, Armenia itself had conducted a policy of ethnic cleansing in early ‘90s of last century, killing thousands of ethnic Azerbaijanis living both in Armenia and Azerbaijan and expelling more than a million of Azerbaijanis from their lands. Suffice to recall the Khojaly Massacre of 1992.
 
So, what is the bottom line? Sadly for Armenians, the bottom line is that they will have to wait for another “appropriate” chance to push their far-fetched case.
 
Complete article is available here.

Seven Days logo5- "7DAYS", 16 October 2007
"Why the reluctance over Armenian issue", an opinion by Alberto Michel Chahoud, UAE
 
It is so weird how those same governments, so eager to defend human rights, still cannot feel the urgency to defend the rights of the Armenian population slaughtered during the First World War by Ottoman Turks, where more than 1.5 million Armenians were systematically eliminated and a million others deported. Today, 92 years after the Armenian genocide Ankara is still denying the crime, despite thousands of pictures, films, testimonials and other irrefutable proofs that have been publicly available to the entire world.
 
Today, Turkey is angry! It is infuriated at the potential resolution by the American Congress, labeling the Armenian killing by Turkey as genocide. Of course Turkey is angry; not only will this new development shed more light on the Ottomans' shameful butchery against Armenians, but it might also hamper Ankara's efforts to secure an EU membership. Whatever the case, hats off to the American Congress, despite the lengthy delay in taking such an action. While this new resolution might sound firm, it should be considered as an invitation to the world to stop living in denial and start admitting the mistakes and atrocities committed throughout the history of humanity.
 
Complete article is available here.

Seven Days logo6- "7DAYS", 23 October 2007
"Objection to letter about Armenians" by Reha Oztanyel, UAE
 
The resolution of the American congress is meant only for internal consumption. Ebbing Ottoman Turkey was at war with Russia at the time and is being stabbed in the back by Armenians instigated by the western missionaries operating within the Ottoman territories. Relocation of Armenians within the Ottoman borders was an action of self defence. Blaming Ottoman Turkey for defending herself instead of blaming the instigating missionaries and the Armenian militants (tashnak) for sufferings of the relocation is not fair.
 
Turkey has offered the Ottoman archives to historians from all countries and has nothing to hide. There is no empire in the history of the world with such a clean record despite the fact that it was one of the longest lasting ones. Middle East lived its longest period of peace under the administration of the Ottomans and this was not done done by "shameful butchery" as put by Mr. Chaoud.
 
Please do not carry your obsessions to your next generations. Let them leave in peace. Support the initiatives to open the border between Armenia and Turkey for the benefit of both countries (Already 70 thousand Armenians from Armenia are illegally working in Turkey). Support the idea of allowing the historians to all available archives including the ones in Armenia. Thinking too much in the lines of racial conflicts of the past only helps to prepare ground for future sufferings.
 
Complete article is available here.

Upper-left cartoon illustration by Nino Jose Heredio, "Gulf News", 15 October 2007

Posted on Saturday, October 27, 2007 (7975 reads), comments: 0
 
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