The country and Armenians worldwide marked on Saturday (April 24th) the 95th anniversary of Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
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Armenia will not allow to use the negotiations as campaign tool and to drag out the comprehensive dialogue; this is Armenia’s disposition regarding the regulation of Armenian-Turkish ties.
“We’d like to open the closed borders of Europe and to create normal ties without preconditions. But we are not intended to allow to use the negotiating processes to mislead the international society,” Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said at joint news conference with his Cyprus counterpart.
President Sargsyan stressed that it would be much willing if Turkey kept faithful to mutual agreements.
It’s worth reminding that Armenian-Turkish negotiations have been launched after President Serzh Sargsyan took the initiative to start “football diplomacy”. Since 2008 the parties have had discussions and with Swiss mediating a joint statement has been made in April this year claiming to adopt “road map” to regulate ties. It seems the negotiating processes are currently paused which, according to experts, means Turkey wants to reject agreements.
Interview with Corry Guttstadt Turkey, the Jews and the Holocaust.
Turkologist Corry Guttstadt has published a comprehensive study of the behaviour of the Turkish government towards its Jewish citizens during the Holocaust. In doing so, she has investigated a chapter of twentieth-century history that has thus far been all but neglected by international Holocaust research. Sonja Galler spoke to her about her findings
| Much is made of the fact that there are approximately 20,000 Jews in Turkey today, a figure that is frequently held up as evidence of the country’s tolerant attitude towards its Jewish minority. It is often claimed that this success story began when persecuted Sephardic Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of the modern Turkish state …
Corry Guttstadt: Well, there are currently over 20,000 Jews in Iran too. A number alone is not necessarily a reliable indication of whether somewhere is safe or free from anti-Semitism. As far as Turkey is concerned, it is important to emphasise that only 20,000 Jews now live in the country. That’s in stark contrast to the estimated 120,000 to 150,000 that lived in the region at the end of the First World War. Both before and after the Second World War, and most particularly after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the vast majority of Jews left Turkey. This was a reversal of the trend of previous centuries.
Over the course of many centuries, the Ottoman Empire was an immigration destination for Jews fleeing the Reconquista in Spain and pogroms in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, to portray the Ottoman Empire as a “multicultural paradise” is absurd and ahistorical. As non-Muslims, the Jews were subject to countless constraints. Like the Christians, they had to pay a poll tax and were obliged to behave in a submissive manner towards Muslims. Moreover, it must be said that there were numerous fluctuations in the fortunes of the Jews in the 600-year history of the Ottoman Empire.
Azerbaijan has banned Turkish songs on the radio and television in Azerbaijan as a protest against the (talks toward the) opening of the Turkish border with Armenia. Azeris are readying themselves to demonstrate in front of Turkey’s embassy in Baku, and a boycot of Turkish goods is also on the agenda.
Hayk Demoyan:Opening of Armenian-Turkish border is no longer considered a manna from heaven for Armenia.
We have all preconditions necessary for establishment of diplomatic relations with Ankara, Armenian Genocide Museum Director Hayk Demoyan told a news conference in Yerevan. “If Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia, international community will take it as reluctance to be on friendly terms with their neighbors,” Demoyan noted. When questioned about the possibility of Turkish Armenian border opening, the Museum Director stressed that even if Ankara does not open borders, Turkey will sign some document on a possibility to open it.
“Opening borders have both positive and negative aspects for Armenia. We have to carefully analyze the challenges not to fall into dependence on Turkey. We mustn’t forget that Turkey is a country that has several scenario developments up their sleeve,” Demoyan said adding that Turkey remains the chief ally for Azerbaijan, the country waging undeclared war with Armenia.
“In financial crisis circumstances eastern provinces of Turkey became very vulnerable, the population in those regions also expects the opening of borders. Opening of Armenian-Turkish border is no longer considered a manna from heaven for Armenia. Those times are gone,” Demoyan stressed.
Obama:The United States strongly supports the full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia
This future was not easily assured. At the end of World War I, Turkey could have succumbed to the foreign powers that were trying to claim its territory, or sought to restore an ancient empire. But Turkey chose a different future. You freed yourself from foreign control. And you founded a Republic that commands the respect of the United States and the wider world.
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Turkey has its own responsibilities. You have made important progress toward membership. But I also know that Turkey has pursued difficult political reforms not simply because it’s good for Europe, but because it is right for Turkey.
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Finish of the saga of SOAD at Eurovision-2009
The Turkish media regularly reports false stories and makes exaggerated claims. The latest example of misinformation is the Turkish claim of preventing the participation of the world famous American-Armenian rock band System of A Down (SOAD) in the May 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, Harut Sassounian, Publisher of The California Courier, writes in his editorial.
The article goes on:
“What are the facts? Last August, in an interview with Asbarez newspaper, SOAD’s lead singer Serj Tankian said that a Finnish journalist had asked him if he would be interested in participating in “a song competition” which would raise “awareness about the Armenian Genocide.” Tankian told the reporter that it was “an interesting idea.” When the reporter asked if he would be interested in participating in such a song contest, Tankian said, “Maybe, yeah.”
Soon after the Finnish interview, Tankian said he was inundated with media reports that he was “going to take System of A Down to do this Eurovision thing.” He told Asbarez: “It was all a misinterpretation and a misunderstanding to a point where I had to actually call my label reps [representatives] in Finland and asked them to please tell the journalist to retract those statements, since I never said that.”
Despite Tankian’s attempts to lay these rumors to rest, the Armenian and Turkish media continued to report that SOAD would be presenting a song on the Armenian Genocide on behalf of Armenia in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Armenian public TV officials, who have the task of selecting Armenia’s official representative to the Eurovision Song Contest, repeatedly announced that they had received no such request from SOAD.