Sassounian: Why Would Armenians Go to Akhtamar, and Become Tools of Turkish Propaganda?

Ever since the genocide, after nearly a century of banning Armenian church services, the Turkish government has finally decided to allow a one-time celebration of Mass to be held at the 10th-century Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island.

Questions have been raised about the prudence of attending the Sept. 19 church services to which the Turkish government has invited Armenians from around the world, members of the international media, and foreign ambassadors and dignitaries. Those calling for a boycott indicate that the true aim of the Turkish authorities is to score propaganda points with the European Union and the United States, by feigning tolerance towards Christians and other minorities. In reality, successive Turkish governments have carried out a systematic policy of eliminating all visible signs of Armenian presence throughout Western Armenia (Eastern Turkey) for over nine decades, during which more than 2,000 Armenian churches and monasteries have been destroyed or converted into non-religious use. The Holy Cross Church itself was targeted for demolition some years ago, but was saved by the intervention of a local Turkish official.

Critics of those traveling to Akhtamar also object to the Turkish government’s classification of the historic church as a “museum,” and holding services only once a year. After many requests and complaints, Turkish officials have finally promised to place a cross on the church’s dome.

There is no reason for Armenians to be grateful to a country that, after confiscating and destroying thousands of churches, is now allowing a religious ceremony in a single church, which it classifies as a museum. This church and thousands of others should belong to the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, and services should be held as needed, without governmental permission or interference.

Last week, tempers flared in Armenia when the Holy See of Etchmiadzin announced its intention to send two clergymen to the Sept. 19 ceremonies. His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II usually consults with Armenian officials before taking decisions on matters involving foreign countries. Since he was absent from Armenia while this announcement was made and possibly unaware of the objections raised, His Holiness now has the opportunity to make a final determination regarding the sending of representatives of the Holy See to Akhtamar. As Armenians in Turkey are not permitted to freely express their views, church officials and lay leaders outside Turkey should take the initiative to condemn the Turkish exploitation of Armenian religious ceremonies.

The Foreign Ministry of Armenia announced that it has not received an official invitation from Ankara to send a delegation to the Holy Cross Church. It is hoped that if and when such an invitation is extended, the Armenian government would reject it. Yerevan handed the Turks a propaganda victory last year by signing the Armenia-Turkey protocols. Participating in the Akhtamar church services would be tantamount to presenting the Turks an undeserved additional reward.

There are indications, however, that this time around the Armenian government may not be as accommodating. Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesman of President Serge Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party and Member of Parliament, harshly criticized the planned church services, calling it a “publicity stunt” and a “provocation” to mislead the international community.

In addition, a subcommittee of the Public Council, an advisory body formed by Sarkisian, issued a statement urging Armenians to boycott the Holy Cross church services. It called on all self-respecting Armenians to refrain from participating in “this cheap Turkish show.” Giro Manoyan, spokesman of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Yerevan, also advocated boycotting the church services and criticized the Holy See of Etchmiadzin for planning to send two clerics to Akhtamar.

A clear indication of Turkish disinterest in preserving Armenian churches is the interrogation by the secret police of several thousand families who have offered to host Armenian visitors in the nearby city of Van on Sept. 19, due to a shortage of hotel rooms. Turkish officials are suspicious that host families may be forcefully Turkified or Kurdified remnants of Armenian Genocide victims. By this appalling action, reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s Gestapo tactics, the Turkish regime is showing its obsession to keep track of its citizens’ ethnic origin. In fact, after this racist investigation, a number of families have been officially banned from hosting Diaspora Armenians in Van.

Armenians who naively plan to attend religious ceremonies in “a museum” would inadvertently legitimize the confiscation of a historic Armenian Church and promote a political show staged by Turkish authorities.

It is perfectly understandable that Turkish leaders would want to create a positive image in order to facilitate their country’s entry into the European Union, and counter Armenian efforts for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. It is far less understandable, however, why Armenians would help advance the Turks’ anti-Armenian objectives.

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

743 Comments

  1. How many times are we Armenians going to endorse deliberate propaganda ploys aimed at countering the efforts of our own cause?
    Newsflash: This cheap publicity stunt seeks to bait as wide a net of suckers as possible in order to support Turkey’s active efforts of trying to brandish themselves as something their clearly not.
     
    Mark my words. The next letter sent by the Turkish Coalition in America to our friends in congress and the senate, against any Armenian endorsed Genocide Resolution will not only discuss the defeatist protocols but also highlight this Akhtamar stunt as a reason why a Genocide Resolution should not be passed. Its going to happen and each of you politically astute Armenians reading this knows it well.
     
    In other words, we can choose to be the cause of our own demise by deciding to participate in this Akhtamar fiasco OR this time we can choose NOT to hand Turkey yet ANOTHER effortless victory on a golden platter on our tab.
     
    Any FOOL who thinks this MAJOR News Story (and it will be, get ready for it…) will not be splashed across the pages of every major newspaper with talk of reconciliation has not read enough or been alive long enough to understand Turkey’s influence in the media and their ability to spin stories in their favor. If you are naive enough to think that this story is not being “advertised” or “pushed” to several different media outlets by Turkish groups in America as I type…you are dead wrong.
     
    Its PR stunts like this that Turkish lobbyists thrive on. Our stamp of approval with our participation only helps their cause at the expense of ours. So if you feel like giving Turkey another pat on the back for denying us justice, our property and our legal rights 95 years after murdering our ancestors then enjoy your trip to Turkey!

    • The Turk waits behind the door with his knife, believe you me my Armenian brothers.

      “When the Turk calls for peace, the man knows it’s time to kiss his wife goodbye and prepare for war”
      Greek proverb

  2. Thank you, Harut, I was not aware of the interrogation by the turkish secret police. Thank you Dikranagertzi for your right-on comments. Let us continue to encourage those who have naively fallen into the Turkish trap and  signed up to go, to cancel and go another time of their own choosing, perhaps to another church. What makes them think that they will even get inside Holy Cross? It is a very small church. Most of them will end up standing outside, perhaps in September rain, listening to the shortened service on loudspeakers. They will then stand in line-ups in order to pay for the hole in the ground toilet. They will then pay an exorbitant boat fare to get back to the shore in order to sleep in a turk’s house and eat at a turk’s table. And for those who do get inside – an important, still unanswered question – will the large photo of Ataturk be taken down or will you have to bend your knee in its presence? How will you feel when you get home and find the turks have not stopped rubbing their hands in glee?

  3. This really is an easy decision to make. I can hardly believe its even an issue worth discussing within our community. After what our people have experienced first hand over the last 90 years and even within this last year with the protocols, no Armenian with any semblance of dignity would step foot into this trap.
     
    I’m sure the likes of karekin and his subservient flock of defeatist gentiles will soon be up in arms in defense of this not so veiled attempt at so called olive branch diplomacy…
     
    LOL! Give it a rest karekin. The Turkish embassy should have replaced you a while back.

  4. The whole thing is a dog and pony show for the Turkish regime. Had they even been remotely magnanimous they would just open the church to be used for worship full stop without any fanfare. It is actually more of an insult if anything. I realize that some of canaries in a cage (Armenians in Turkey) will be coerced or tricked into going, but the Catholicos should not send anyone from Etchmiadzin in protest. To have the church opened for one single day for mass and the remainder as a museum with a Turkish flag atop is an indication of how little the Turks have/or will change.

  5. I respect everyones opinion and respect their choices. I have serious qualms about not attending. Like in a chess game, what then next? Will the Turkish authorities say than, for lack of interest by the Armenians, we will hand it over to the local religious authorities, who will dispose of it at their pleasure. I think that we should hold on to every gain, every inch, every hand-hold. Next, we should find a way to finance a few armenian families from Turkey to move around the complex. Perhaps like a kibutz. Anything, even if it turns out to be wrong. Anything !

  6. It is just sand.. absolutely heartbreaking that Turkish govt is using such matters to gain brownie points… they use every manipulative way to show their willingness to be brotherly with their neighbors…like how they demonstrated when they allowed Greeks to conduct their mass recently in their own cathedral after 88 years… just like the Armenians, the Greeks also got only ONE DAY out of the year to pray and worship in their catherdral..what a joke… by doing this, i see no advancement in Turkish Govt actions.. they are still telling us and the Greeks that they are the boss, that Turkey is their land and they will dictate the terms..

    I say… Hell with them.. if they want to play dirty, well hopefully only handful will show up at the Holly Church’s grounds…

    Another thing we can do is this: if Turkey is soooooo open to change and soooooo eager to become civilized, then she should not have a problem if people decide to go to church every week, every month, every year instead of once a year.. If they get stopped, or harrassed or bullied or thrown in the jail for not listening to the Turkish rules, then the media should capture all that and blast it all over the world to show how fake and ugly Turkey truely is..

    Until then, I do not and will not be part of this dark and ugly show… let Turkish govt tap on her shoulder for the job well done.. but the world will know how the job was done: under false pretense and for manipulative and evil reasons…

    Gayane

  7. Well said Harut. I echo your sentiments and wouldn’t be caught dead at this venue. For those willing to go, you might as well save yourself the hassle and just make a $10,000 donation to your local Turkish American Association chapter.
     
     

  8. Hye, as the Muslim Turk chose to convert Holy Cross Church at Aghtamar into a Turkish museum, too, Turkish mosques  the world over can be diverted too,  in many of these nations in this same method – as each nation chooses.  Muslims have not the rights, nor are Muslims worthy of choosing what shall become of the histories of any ancient cultures, ancient structures, ancient histories of any advanced peoples of our world.
    Today, in New York City where Muslim’s seek to build their mosque near to September 11th site has not any meaning for a Turkey – they have not any comprehension of what that area of Muslim destruction holds for the families and the citizens of the USA – the loss of nearly 3,000 innocents murdered by the planned treachery of the Muslims. An IN YOUR FACE AMERICA from a Turkey!
    Truth: Turkey seeks to re-gain their Ottoman empire – proud of  their Ottoman past.  Brave Turks who murdered and worse the unarmed – bravely!
    Truth:   The leaders who planned the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians are revered in a Turkey – even today, unbelivable,  as ‘heroes’ of the Turkish nation… ‘Heroes’ who perpetrated  the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation – bravely. Yet, a Turkey denies that there has  been a Turkish Genocide of the Armenians (Turks declare Muslims do not commit Genocides) but these ‘heroes’ planned and perpetrated the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation!  Bravely – without any war – just via Genocides murders and worse, stole a nation (1890s-2010). But a Turkey  has never committed the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation… recognized the world over… but the Turk just refuses to admit – but will choose to make this Armenian church an issue.  Turks say IN YOUR FACE ARMENIA your holy church is now a museum of the Turks… the non-Genocided Holy Martyrs Church of Aghtamar – which you may only use one day each year ONLY.   Manooshag
     
     

  9.  It looks like I will stand alone on this post. Harut, I look forward to your commentary and respect your insight, but on this one I will disagree. I am not a Turkish apologist..nor am I an advocate of compromising in the name of pseudo-reconciliaton.
    I simply believe that when you overtly boycott, your take away your voice. Several weeks ago, Harut wrote a column outlining a series of demands that the Armenians should put forth as it relates to the Holy Cross church…. re-consecration, under the jurisdiction of the patriarchate and open always not just when the Turkish government allows. I feel that this is a sound strategy,but we need to be present to articulate it. Are we so insecure that we feel that only in our absence can we not lose? The faces of the descendants of the gencide should stand tall on September 19, proudly confront the Turks and proclaim”we are here in western Armenia”; while we praise God.
                  I have been listening to many of you voice concern over the Turks gaining financially over this event through tourism. Are you saying tha no Armenians should go to any part of Turkey, be it historic Armenia or western Turkey for fear that some Turks is financially benefitting from this visit. How silly! Look, we don’t live there. Are we to forget our past and as a result have no hope for the future. How do you expect young Armenians to have any type of relationship with the concept of Turkish Armenia if we don’t encourage visits.
            Instead of venting our tired anger about the Turks(look we all have it, but our cause has to be more than that), can’t WE VIEW THIS as an opportunity for more of our people to connect with western Armenia and to PRAY TO OUR LORD IN A MOST HOLY PLACE. Many of you have said to pray at Akhtamar is okay, but not on a day that the Turks dictate. Fine. Some of you sincerely have a problem being told to pray on that day. I respect that. But let’s be honest, opposition to this is also an easy out.
           TO ME THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION IS WHETHER WE WILL EVER GET OVER LETTING ANGER GUIDE US TO SEE AN OPPORTUNITY WHERE TODAY ALL WE SEE IS A PROBLEM. HAVE WE BECOME SO FRUSTRATED BY OUR CURRENT STATE THAT WE HAVE LOST FAITH AND NOW ONLY SEE DARKNESS. WE KNOW THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT’S INTENTIONS ARE NOT PURE. THE QUESTION IS WHETTHER WE HAVE THE WILL TO DRIVE OUR AGENDA. I, FOR ONE, AM TIRED OF THE LOW RISK , STANDARD APPROACH OF OUR COMMUNITY. HARUT, I CONSIDER YOU TO BE ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST MINDS IN OUR COMMUNITY, BUT ON THIS ONE I RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE.

  10. I find myself in agreement with Stepan again especially the notion that boycotting is nullifying our voice in the event.  You do not stand alone, Stepan.

  11. I also agree with Stepan. Whatever the underlying motivation of Turks, I don’t think we are gaining anything by boycotting this event. Absence of Armenians can be interpreted and presented as indifference from our part.

  12. I wonder why most people outside the Middle East are negative to  a church ceremony in Aghtamar. Why would you consider only a Turkish propaganda and not an Armenian propaganda in the sense that Armenian are attached to their values, civilization, to their churches even if destoyed, occupied and Islamized.  Why don’t we use this occasion for an Armenian propaganda. Can we? Do we? Shall we?  What happened to Armenian churches and the clergy during the 70 years  of communist regime?  Here is a chance for the Armenians in the world  to attend a church ceremony. on our land which we say it is occupied.  We have many  problems with the Turks (the new Ottoman generation) we should solve them  face to face and one by one and with time ; aren’t we, Armenians in the Diaspora descendents of Ottoman citizens? Afterall, they are geographic neighbours.

  13. I’m sorry but there is a major flaw in the argument of those advocating to attend this glaringly obvious public relations show put forth by the Turkish government. Some of you like Stepan base your fallacious defense of this ploy with the false premise, that “when you overtly boycott, you take away your voice.”
     
    In arguing from this vantage point, people erroneously assume that Armenians living in Turkey are not restricted in their freedoms to date and can say and do what they want without worrying about being brought under litigation or even being gunned down in public for expressing themselves. This is complete hogwash I’m sorry to say and most well informed observers can attest to the fact that Armenians living in Turkey do NOT share the same freedoms as other Turks. Canaries living in a cage is the right analogy, unfortunately. Basically, Armenians living in Turkey don’t have the unadulterated voice you think we would loose if we did boycott this ploy. It doesn’t exist. This is why our struggle continues. Armenians are treated as second class citizens in Turkey. Their voices continue to be taken away and are currently nullified with or without a boycott in September. Article 301, the murder of Hrant Dink and the continued prosecution of anyone who speaks about the Armenian Genocide attests to this fact.
     
    IF Armenians in Turkey were living on equal footing with the rest of Turks in society,
     
    and we were not still considered ‘infidels’ by the majority of Turks,
     
    and the Turkish government had atoned with their barbaric past,
     
    THEN I could understand how this small step to reconcile its relations with Armenians would help showcase Armenian culture and civilization to the world and not further add insult to murder.
     
    However, when the Turkish government is trying to hurdle these necessary steps by replacing them with insincere gestures to masquerade on the international scene as ‘tolerant Turkey’ then our involvement in this charade does more harm than good to our noble cause and sends a contradictory message to world leaders about our resolute pursuit of truth and justice.

  14. OHhhhhhhhhhhh ppppppppppaaaaaaaaalllllleeeeaaaseeeeeee!
    “when you overtly boycott you take away your voice”…? In Turkey? Really???? Regarding Armenians? They have a voice like other Turks? This is news. I almost fell off my chair in jubilant laughter…
     
    What “voice” are you referring to Stepan?
     
    The one muzzled by the turkish authorities on an hourly basis by the likes of good for nothing zealots like Robert, Murat and the other stooge that entertain us every week on this site?
     
    Any other lame excuse for going I could have stomached I guess, but the “take away your voice” bit really is out there…

  15. I think the issue is different from what some introduce here. To my mind, it’s not about attending/not attending the mass on Akhtamar per se, but whether it’s wise to attend the mass on Turkish terms, i.e. for one day, to a particular church, and providing money flow for a one-day tourism to the Turkish state. Let’s put the propaganda issue aside for a moment: it’s clear to almost everyone here that the Turks will try to portray themselves as “religiously tolerant” to the world and, in all probability, the world mass media outlets will pick this cheap Turkish crumb. I just don’t believe that any news agency would go as far as to explain to the readers or listeners as to why the 10th-century Armenian church was transformed into a museum, who were the parishioners, what happened to worshippers, who lived in the vicinity of the church or, broadly, in the Van province, and, most unlikely, why and as a result of what crime on the part of the Turks the church stood idle for 95 years. I have two major reservations, and Bouldoukian, it doesn’t matter whether they are “people outside the Middle East” or anywhere else where there are Armenian communities. I myself am an Armenian from the Republic of Armenia and this is, perhaps, the only instance when I’d support otherwise unpopular president Serge Sarkissian: Armenians anticipate substantial steps (establishment of diplomatic relations, opening of the borders, border trade, decoupling of Turkish-Armenian relations from an unrelated issue of Artsakh, discontinuation of the state denialist policy for the Armenian genocide, discontinuation of  distortion of history, etc.) towards repentance by the Turks, not masquerades that’d profit the Turks’ image-building and not the reconciliation process in general.

  16. So, are you suggesting that the Armenians who attend church at the Patriarchate in Istanbul or any of the 29 other churches in the city also partaking in ‘propaganda’?  Should they all boycott all the Armenian churches in Turkey? What planet are you living on?  This would serve no one at all…least of all, Armenians.

  17. Those of you who still want to go should ask yourselves if you are willing to honour the name of Ataturk by bending your knee in the presence of his image hanging in our cathedral which has become a turk museum. Are you willing to support what has become a re-run of the Ottoman legacy with your money and your presence? Why are you willing to accept the invitation of a butcher by presenting Armenians to the world as lambs knowingly going to a turkish shish-kebob?
    The following excerpt has the byline Istanbul and was sent to me today by Groong.
    Today, the legacy of the Ottomans is enjoying a makeover.
    Today, Ataturk’s image adorns state offices, shops and many private homes. Roads and sports stadiums bear his name. A huge mausoleum in the capital, Ankara, harbors his remains, and most visiting foreign dignitaries are expected to pay tribute. It is a crime in Turkey to insult the memory of Ataturk, whose name means “father of the Turks.”
     
     

  18. Dear Gordon P. and Zohrab. To clarify based on your comments. The voice I am refering is the voice of the Armenian nation, the voice of our martyred ancestors, the voice of the diaspora and the voice of our future generations. I understand and respect the shameful limitations on our breathren in Turkey. All the more reason for the Armenians of the diaspora outside of Turkey to “carry the ball” and make our presence felt.
         I must admit that I am a bit saddened by the fact that almost all the comments reflect little enthusuam for the spiritual emotion I feel this event represents. I couls care less about the Turks motivation. Someone earleir said, you can go any time ; just not on September 19. The badarak being celebrated is the difference. perhaps this is onme of the effects of assimilation or the hardened impact of decades of frustration, but for our ancestors , this is a holy place. Let US honor that.
              That being said, let us all remember that we are all brothers and sisters of the Armenian nation united in our common commitment. Gordon P. and Zohrab, we may not agree, but I respect you because you care. Boyajian and Gina, thank you.

  19. I agree with Stepan as well. Yes, the fact that there was a genocide and that Armenians no longer occupy these lands will undoubtedly come up as Diaspora Armenians visit and give interviews to press. This is exactly what happened in Trabizond last weekend. Pontian Greeks were looking for their grandparents’ homes, grandparents who had to flee the Genocide. And the whole world press carried their stories, including the Turkish press. Slowly, the Turks are learning that they have many skeletons in the closet.

    Additionaly, I would like to mention that September 19 was not an arbitrary day the Turks decided. The mass was supposed to take place on September 12th, the date of “Don Veratztman Sourp Khatchi” in the Armenian calender. The day pilgrimages used to take place at Sourp Khatch church on Aktamar before 1915. However, the date was postponed due to the conflict with the constitutional referandum in Turkey. It might have been wiser to allow advance voting for the pilgrims and keep the date, but who knows? Maybe security could not be guaranteed on the 12th or the Patriarch staff didn’t think of advanced polling.
    I am not suggesting we be happy with the crumbs Turks throw at us, but let’s take advantage of every chance we get to promote our cause. This is one such occassions Armenians should not miss!

  20. Church and the Patriarchate in Istanbul or any of the other churches in the city have been functional because Armenians of Constantinople (not to count 250 beheaded intellectuals) were purposefully left largely unharmed to blow dust to the eyes of foreign embassies and representations whereas Armenians in the six Armenian vilayets and Cilicia were being slaughtered en masse and forcibly deported to meet their deaths in Syrian deserts. These have been functional churches and one needs to have enough intellectual prowess to distinguish them from a church which along with thousands of others stood idle for 95 years. Its renovation and invitation to partake in a one-day mass is “propaganda.” If other churches in Western Armenia would be allowed to have a one-day mass this would also be “propaganda,” because in a society that considers itself “civilized,” “religiously tolerant,” “genuinely secular,” and “compassionately caring” for the lives of millions of ancient peoples inhabiting Asia Minor, churches should not have been detonated, intentionally destroyed, transformed to mosques, sheepyards, or transformed to museums. Ask your beloved Turks: can mosques operate once a year and tell us what they’d tell you. We’re living on a part of the planet that’s seen Turkish sword, fire, and insolence: border to border, land to land, people to people.
     
    Whoever wants to go and visit Armenian churches in Western Armenia, go. Whoever wants to pray in the Armenian churches in Western Armenia, pray, but not on a day designated by “their majesties” the savage Turks in our own church and not as part of image-building effort that’d benefit the Turks and Turks only.

  21. Altough I am getting sick to the stomach by this latest stunt by the Turks to kiss up to the EU, ie: by renovating an Armenian Church to show that they have sensibilities towards old monuments, while keeping the church to themselves as a museum to generate more Tourism income for their country by none other than the Armenians from whom the church was stolen in the first place, I think we should all step back, take a deep breath and think about how we will respond.

    A response such as a boycott which would be the “decent and respectable” thing to do by turning down an invitation to see “our property” by a victimizer who took it away, not only still keeps it but plans on making money off of the viewing of this stolen property, will unfortunately only translate into a Negative response within the international media whose attention span will not allow it to delve into the reasons behind such a stance, and Turkey will win this propaganda round.  The Boycott will only be effective if we work hard and invest money in having it highly exposed and publicized in the media.  It will not serve its purpose if it stays within our community.  I am talking about major news coverage on international news stations delving into the history of the 10th Century church which was taken away by Genocide and is now the property of the 90 year old Turkish Republic… it should cover the outrage within the Armenian communities and splash interviews with Armenian individuals about how them feel about this…  The Boycott will only be effective if it is vocal enough to overshadow the grand opening/the one day pilgrimage to Holy Cross Church.

    If we do not have the funds/resources that will allow us exposure in the media to rival the media exposure that the Turks will have for the renovation of the church, the other option would be something along the lines of what Stepan suggested.  We should invite the international media to the Holy Cross church to report our reactions there.  We can even make symbolic statements by for example asking all the attendees to wear Black and be very articulate about why they feel that the renovation of the church by Turkey was a step in the right direction and yet so far from the “right thing to do” which would be returning the church to its rightful owner, the Armenian people.  Why can’t we learn from the Jews and become more expressive by articulating with tears and outrage on national TV in front of the church, about what a confusing situation this is, where the country that ruined thousands of our churches decided to do the right thing and renovate this particular church which has fallen into disrepair because it was taken away from its owners by the same government.  How hurtful it is for us that the church was renovated without the consultation of our experts and the Turks had decided not to put a cross on it.
    We have to learn to start doing the unexpected in a world where decency has become boring and ineffective.  A “No Show” which stays UNEXPLAINED will be a great opportunity lost for us.  It will also leave the spotlight on an unchallenged “good deed” by the Turks.

  22. Ani, just how can you be sure that “the fact that there was genocide and that Armenians no longer occupy these lands will undoubtedly come up”? Look at the media coverage of the Pontian Church mass: no single word on the genocide of the Greeks or the fate of their civilizational heritage in Asia Minor. How do you know that the Diaspora Armenians will be required to give interviews to press? Even if they are, how can you be sure that mentioning of the genocide of the Armenians and Turkish policies at transforming Christian religious sites into museums, mosques, and sheepfolds will take place in them? Again, read how the world media covered the Pontian Church mass: there’s virtually nothing except for praise for “societal and cultural transformation” of the Turks. Why do we, Armenians, need to repeat the same mistakes over and over again when dealing with sly and uncompassionate Turks?

  23. Katia K., I tend to believe that even if we invite international media to “report our reactions there,” international media is after all controlled by several magnates and no matter what we report, they’ll air to the world what they were instructed to say. Let’s appear again on these pages after September 19th: I challenge anyone who supports attending the mass to witness how international media will praise “tolerant” policies of the Turkish state that shows how “sensible” she is towards old Christian—maybe even “Armenian” could be mentioned, in passing—monuments and religious sites. I challenge anyone here who supports attending the mass that international media will not address the issue of the Armenian genocide as a result of which the church stood dysfunctional for 95 years, nor will they address our sorrows for the stolen property and mass exterminated worshippers. Get real, people!

  24. Yes, unfortunately I do agree with you MJM that anything and everything the Armenians will say at the church that can remotely shed a negative light on Turkey will be sensored by the Turkish government, and the international media which is dominated by Turkish allies the US, Israel, Britain and to some extent the European countries which want to brainwash their people that Turkey is ready to join the EU. 
    I agree with you that we need to study very closely how the Pontian Church opening went.   In order to be effective, the Boycott must be either an all or none response.  But getting the different Armenian sects to agree on this will be challenging.  How can it be effective when Armenian is sending two top clerics.  Therefore, we should from our part, make an effort to somehow expose the history of the Church and the way we feel about this hypocritical gesture by Turkey in the international media.
    Bottom line is we need to get our “yergateh sherep” one way or another by strenghtening our people and our homeland economically, militarily and politically.  If as a nation we are not strong on these levels, we will never be given a voice. 

  25. Katia jan… you took my words out of my mouth.

    It seems Turkey found a way to throw a divide among us..it makes me soooo upset when i see this happening..but then again, i am not worried as i know all of us are fighting for our country and people…
    I personally would not want to go there on the day set by the Turks..it is like a slap on my face.. as I stated, by dictating us when to go and how to do things is like having no voice whether we go there or not.. As Katia jan said it loud and clear and i hope all our wealthy and influential people read and respond to this immediately: many don’t want to particiate in this show that the Turkish authorities organized; however the world should know as to WHY the Armenians do not want to attend this mass.. they need to know the history, the background.. . and by blasting this all over the newspapers and media outlets we may accomplish our goal… but this can only happen if we pull this through as Katia said…

    I also agree with Mjm, Zohrab, Perouz, and Karo.  Even though I am saddened that we can’t find a common ground on this matter.. Taghem Turqeri gluxa for doing this to us…

    We also should look at the Greek Mass that took place recently… I read nothing about the Genocide, nothing about why it was closed for 88 years old.. all i read was positive wave toward Turkey.. that is just wrong.. very wrong.. and I am afraid the same thing will happen with Akhtamar’s mass….i just hope that we come up with a plan very very soon…

    Gayane

  26. OK, Armenian two top clergymen are going, fine. The government has already made a statement that it’d most probably reject the invitation to attend. ARF called it, and rightfully so, a “cheap Turkish show.” Hopefully, other “sects,” as you call them, would join in partaking in the Turkish masquerade, too.

  27. I like Katia K.’s suggestion that all who attend the Sourp Khatch mass wear black as a symbolic gesture highlighting the sorrow we feel as a nation for all the souls and other churches lost to us.  I would only add to this a slight alteration.  We should wear white with a black arm band.  White to signify our hope and faith in the enduring place of Armenians in that part of the world and the black arm band to represent our mourning for what has been decimated, stolen, denied but not forsaken by us.
     
     

  28. Katia, correction again. It is the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians that is sending two clergy, not Armenia. Maybe a subtle point, but an important one nevertheless.

    Also Katia, you say “How hurtful it is for us that the church was renovated without the consultation of our experts…”.  Our experts were indeed consulted, in fact the architects in charge of the renovation were Armenian (from Istanbul). And I know for a fact that they consulted not only experts from Armenia but also from the Diaspora.
    Karo, I am afraid, you are mistaken. Armenians of Istanbul did in fact experience genocide. Some even in the streets of Istanbul. It is a widely held misconception that they were saved because of the existence foreign embassies. Most of those embassies could not or would not do anything to save them. Also Armenians NOT living in the 6 vilayets and Cilicia (for example living in Western Turkey) were also subjected to genocide. I understand and share your anger, however if the Diaspora boycotts the mass, who will be there to promote our cause?

    I agree that we need to study the coverage of the Greek ceremony in Sumelia last Sunday. However, there was a lot of confusion in expressing the Pontian Genocide. Even the AW used an awkwardly worded paragraph on this. It did come out though that there were massacres and that the Greeks were driven from their ancestral lands. (Reuters and Associated Press stories had snippets of this) And if there are some Diasporan Armenians who are there and can eloquently and calmly give some comments we can hope that they will be picked up by the press. If not, nothing will come out. Then for sure it will just be Turkish propaganda.

  29. Unless Erdogan plans on making a visit to recognize the truth of the Armenian Genocide during this Akhtamar show, Armenians have NO business being there.
     
    Its our church, our land, our religion, our rules and our agenda. We should dictate what, how and when anything happens not take orders from the sultan and his diabolical henchmen. Well said mjm, zohrab andperouz.
     

  30. Thank you Gayane jan :)
    Boyajian, I like your suggestion for the white clothing and black arm band for the Armenians who will attend the mass at Holy Cross church even more: white for hope and black for the grief of loss and injustice.  Symbolic gestures like that not only will make a statement, but will also create an opportunity for discussion.
    Ani, thank you for the corrections.  I am aware that the Armenian government is planning on officially turning down an invite to the Holy Cross mass and that the clergy are being sent on behalf of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, however, I doubt that the international media will pick up on that.  My take is that they will either completely ignore it, or marginalize the matter by announcing that “Armenia” had sent two clergy.
    Yes, I was wrong, Armenian experts were consulted in the renovation of the church.  However, it is predictably obvious that the Turkish government has not or ever would have given them complete “cart Blanche” in the decision making process.  Bringing in the Armenian experts is part of this charade, because at the end of the day, those Armenians will not have the power to weigh in on their expertise of the architectural authenticity of the church if the Turkish side decides that a cross should not be placed on it and a picture of Ataturk will be placed inside the church… sorry the Turkish museum.  Either way, the Armenians are second class citizens in Turkey, to be used for their expertise when the need arises.  Can you imagine how insulted the Islamic world would have been if this had happened to them; if we had called in on their experts to renovate their mosque and then kicked them out and made the mosque into a museum?

  31. Dear M. H. BOULDOUKIAN,
     
    Armenian Weekly staff is setting rules in these pages and it’s not against their rules to use abbreviations of names, nicknames or first names when posting comments. Please understand that some commentators might have personal motives behind using pen names. Some commentators posting here might also don’t reside in a free society like the U.S.

    Cheers.

  32. Hi, Ani,
     
    You misread my post. I didn’t say that “Armenians of Istanbul did [not] in fact experience genocide.” I said they were largely (as compared to other Armenian-populated areas) were left unharmed. I also didn’t imply that they were “saved because of the existence foreign embassies.” I said they were left largely unharmed because the Turks “blew dust to the eyes of foreign embassies and representations” in an attempt to cover mass massacres of Armenians undergoing elsewhere in the country.
     
    “Most of those embassies could not or would not do anything to save them.” Yes.
     
    “Also Armenians NOT living in the 6 vilayets and Cilicia (for example living in Western Turkey) were also subjected to genocide.” Yes.
     
    “I understand and share your anger, however if the Diaspora boycotts the mass, who will be there to promote our cause?” Two clergymen from Etchmiadzin and several representatives of the Constantinople Diaspora.

  33. Turks are still playing the Armenians like a fiddle.  First the protocols and now this!!!  When are you guys going to wakeup and start to lead?  I guess due to hundreds of years of being subservient to the Turks it has become a second nature!  I am really sorry to see this in a nation who should be proud of their accomplishments and heritage.  Civilization has thrived for having Armenians in this world.  Has it really benefited for having the Turks?

  34. Dear Katia, I agree that it was,and still is, a disgrace to convert the renovated church to a museum and not allow the cross (which was duly re-built) to be installed. And to have a huge Turkish flag and a picture of Ataturk makes us all cringe. However, I must disagree with you on the renovation process. You say “… it is predictably obvious that the Turkish government has not or ever would have given them [the experts] complete “cart Blanche” in the decision making process.” I don’t know if you have some specific knowledge or this is purely conjecture. The architects in charge in this case were Armenians, they did have the power to utilize any and all feedback by other experts and the renovations was done in an authentic manner. This is very important point, because we need to promote this relationship and celebrate their accomplishment under difficult circumstances so that their services can be utilized in any future reconstruction (take for example  the work being done in Ani)

    Dear Karo, thank you for the clarifications. I guess the point is that Armenians were not safe anywhere in the Empire. I don’t have exact numbers of Armenians massacred in Constantinople but I have heard numbers as high as 125-150,000. Not insignificant…
    Who will promote the Armenian cause on Sep 19? I don’t know if the fellows from Etchmiatzin will even be interviewed as they might be under security.  I suspect Constantinople Armenians will be in great fear. So there will be no quotes from those who can speak. I do like Boyajian’s idea of the white and black. I think our leadership should give this some thought.

  35. You took the words right out of my mouth Fredrick. Unfortunately you are right and i have the courage to admit it.
     
    I love how some people in their comments here suggest softening the approach to turks by making quirky “symbolic gestures highlighting the sorrow we feel as a nation”. FOR HEAVENS SAKE PEOPLE WAKE THE HELL UP! The majority of these people still relish in the fact that their great grandfathers put a stake into the ground with your ancestors sliced off head on it as a head bust to display their pride in killing off everything non-Turkish.
     
    Jesus, Mary and Joseph is their no limit to how much patience and tolerance WE, the unjustly victimized and still vilified to this day Armenians, are going to swallow before we start thinking about calling the shots or even considering to demand that WE do.
     
    Gee whizzz…talk about slave mentality. This event at Akhtamar is a HUGE insult to injury and nothing more. I really don’t know what else to say.
     
    Why are we trying SO hard to dilute and/or circumvent the real issues here for the sake of Turkish pride and their distorted understandings of history?
     
    Its more scientifically fascinating than sad really. Anyone thinking about a potential psych PHD topic here…?
     
    I’m sorry if these comments came across somewhat crass or offensive to anyone here but I just couldn’t help it after reading all the comments above.

  36. Hye, http://www.groong.com Tuesday, 8/17 there was a ‘release’ from Ankara describing the Pontic Greek ONE DAY religious event… as interpreted by the Turk.  As this will be the same as that  which the Turk will ‘release’  describing  the September 19th Armenian’s ONE DAY at Holy Cross Church – as interpreted by the Turk – on the day following the Armenian’s ONE DAY – September 20th.
    Dr. Gregory Stanton, a Genocide scholar and director of GENOCIDE WATCH has said, “Genocide denial is a double killing, it is considered the last stage of Genocide where the perpetrators and their successive states attempt to cowardly rewrite history, vilify the victims and thus trivialize their fate.  Thus the Turkish state has extended its denialist propaganda by hiring lucrative public relations companies, lobbying firms and as well, even academics to lie to continue to pursue in the United States and Canada denials of the Turkish Genocide of the Christian Armenian nation. Too, with the policy of denials of the Armenian Genocide, the Turk’s own governments continues to victimize the Armenians.  Too, the Turkish leaders also, by lying to their own citizens, thus corrupts the conscience of their own Turkish people.  Turkey must acknowledge its own history. By doing so Turkey will contribute to ending the cycle of Genocides.  Turkish leaderships must end their hostilities toward the Armenians.  Turkish education should promote justice and reconciliation with the Armenians. Further, the civilized nations of the world, together, must urge Turkey to become, too, a civilized nation.                 Manooshag

  37. Ani,

    I’m afraid there’ll be no quotes from those who cannot speak just as like there’ll be no quotes from those who can speak. World mass media outlets most probably won’t broadcast our concerns regarding the fate of Armenians as a result of genocidal practices of the Ottoman Turks, nor will they touch upon Western Armenian lands occupied by the Turks as a result of genocide, nor will they mention the fate of thousands of other monuments of Western Armenian civilization scattered throughout the six Armenian vilayets, Cilicia, and beyond, that were blown up, desecrated, transformed into mosques, or sheepfolds bby the Turks. The reason I’m so sure is the way the mass media handled the Mass at the Greek Church last week. Except for spiritual communion while being at an Armenian church on Akhtamar island, which in and of itself is important, I see no other gains, so to speak—political, counter-propagandistic, informational—that Armenian would get. Sorry. The point that several commentators here raise is not about attending a church or churches or ruins of other religious and educational sites in Western Armenia. It’s about attending Holy Cross on a day designated by the Turks and on their conditions. I consider this humiliating, and frankly, don’t understand why can’t we just go and pray at any other time, the way late Archbishop Asjian and several Diasporan Armenians did several years ago? Why on one day so mockingly designated by the Turks? If you end up being there, could you ask a question to whoever you hope to give an interview: “Will Turks be happy if a mosque be open for just one day, whether in Turkey, or in a Muslim or non-Muslim country?” And see if your question will appear anywhere in the news. I bet it won’t.

  38. It would be treachery and betrayal of Armenians all over the world to attend and pay money to Turkey. Not one cent to go to the Turks.

  39. Dear Ani,
    I have absolutely no doubt that the Armenian architects did their utmost to renovate the church in a historically authentic manner.  My hope is that I will have the opportunity to one day see the church myself and marvel at their work.  However, it would be naive of our part to disregard all of our past experiences with the Turks and somehow imagine that the Turks were silent investors in this renovation.  Forbidding the Architects to place the cross on the dome of the church does not really qualify as giving them creative “cart Blanche”.  The cross of a Christian church is its most symbolic relic and no renovation would qualify as being complete without it. 
    The only positive outcome from this arrangement is the fact that an archaeological treasure has been for now saved from further deterioration.  It was a monumental achievement on the part of the Turkish Armenians, to secure government funds for this renovation.  I completely agree with you that this success should not be lost on us, and their work should be highly praised. 
    Socially and politically however it is a deja vue.  In the aftermath of the renovation, we have again been disrespected and used.  The Turkish government approved the renovation only under its own terms of making it into a museum.  It made sure that the renovation was authentic by allowing the Armenian architects to work on it, but at the end of the day the whole project is being viewed as a “tourism” investment and a “propaganda scheme” to cozy up to the EU. 
    If you delve into the sensitivities surrounding the property’s background, you cannot help but become “irate”.  These are the facts:
    1. Holy Cross Church is an Armenian church on lake Van which was awarded back to the Armenians in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.
    2. Not only has the Treaty of Sevres been disregarded, Turkey treats the property as its own, allows the Armenian architects to renovate it so that it may increase Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU.
    3. Not only does Turkey not do the right thing by returning it to the Armenian church, it decides that mass will be allowed on one specific day, and makes sure to fly the Turkish flag on it.  The Armenians will come to marvel at their church which is no longer theirs and contribute their tourism funds towards the expense the Turkish government incurred in renovating it.
    If you are able to ignore all of the above, you will be able to appreciate the gesture of saving the monument archeologically.

  40. Advertise – via the internet – to all honest religions of the civilized world… To  local churches in USA and Canada..  of the Turkish PLOY of rebuilding the revered ancient Holy Cross Armenian Church… NOT as a Christian site by a Turkey – rebuilt ONLY to benefit and gain tourism for a Turkey. Even the American Muslims who may now have recognized the a Turkey’s goals using their ‘diverted’ Muslim religion to gain a TURKEY FOR TURKS ONLY… eliminating non-Turks.
    ONE DAY EACH YEAR FOR ARMENIANS OBSERVANCES – 364 days of the year it is a Turkey’s museum… will probably honor their leaders who bravely perpetrated the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation – murderers and worse, whom Turks’ leaderships foist upon their citizens as examples of ‘leadership’…
    Our ancient edifice, built centuries before the Turkish hordes from the Asian mountains descended to commit their Genocides of the peoples of the Caucasus… another effort to steal the Armenians talents, Armenians culture – eliminate symbols of the Armenians – now a Turkey’s museum to praise their gains via all their Genocides…
    The American media is unavailable to the Armenian cause – Turks’ Genocides continue to be perpetrated and the guilt of the Turks’ ignored… Too, the NYTimes, who,  finally admitted it had covered the years of Armenian Genocide (in the the Genocide years) realizing their printed articles of the Armenian Genocide –  today, allegedly, would no longer ‘deny’ any coverage of the Armenians issues with Turks – don’t hold your breath… Omission works too…Manooshag
     

  41. Just a minute – let’s back up a little. I was at Holy Cross 2 years ago. If you think it is “restored” think again. Renovated is not the same thing as restored. It is not restored until all the large wall paintings inside are restored. turks aren’t going to restore the paintings -they are religious works of Christian faith. Their notion of art is to have Ataturk hanging on the wall. Our paintings are still just fragments of faded colour chips on the wall. If you think they are going to “restore” Holy Cross, go to Istanbul and look at how they have “restored” the Greek’s Hagia Sophia. The marble columns are still in pieces in the courtyard. That magnificent Greek Christian church which once glittered with gold and jewels and light and artworks is a dark pit in which it is almost impossible to photograph. And Greeks as well as the rest of us pay U.S. $12 to go in and look at it. Holy Cross has been “renovated” so that it is no longer falling apart, rain is no longer pounding down in it, but “restored”?  No. “Restored” means it need to look like it did in the time of our fathers. Restored means they take down their flag and their photo poster and put back our baptismal font and our lights and our crucifix and our paintings and prayer books and hand woven carpets and altar of gold. “Restored” means it looks like an Armenian cathedral. It’s a long way from “restored.” When you walk into it, you know you are in a money-making, political, turk museum, not an Armenian cathedral. So, get over it. Move on. Go to Ani, soaked with our blood – you’ll pay to get in there too. You think that Armenian architects had a free hand with the renovation? You are talking about turkey where you go to jail for using the big G word- no one has a free hand at anything, least of all an Armenian. Why don’t you go to the church in Gyumri? Our people who live there still need our support. and you can go there anytime. The Armenian priest will pray in our church with you.

  42. Perouz, I appreciate your distinction between renovation and restoration.  Good point.  And I agree that Armenia needs our dollars and support much more than Turkey.
     
    Irate Armenian,  your criticism of the notion of a symbolic gesture is crass and insensitive to your fellow Armenians.  The idea of a symbolic gesture is not intended to “soften” our approach with Turks.  It is a way of participating in the first steps to reclaiming Akhtamar on our terms, however small the gesture.  Would you rather some “irate Armenian” create a riot on this holy site?  Of course not.  Or perhaps you think our absence at this event speaks volumes.  I think it would be interpreted as indifference and to the uninformed public it would only weaken global support of the Armenian Cause.  Why should Europe, US, etc., care when we don’t appear to?
     
    Clearly Turkey’s agenda is self-serving.  It is a joke to think otherwise.  But how does it serve us to not attend?  I still don’t see what is to be gained by a boycott or what is lost by our attendance.  This is our Akhtamar.  Our Sourp Khatch.  We should be there to honor the memory of our forefathers who built that architectural marvel as an expression of their faith.  We lose more in world awareness by engaging in a boycott that will not even appear as as a blip on the media’s radar for news.  Let’s face it. This is not a big event for the world.  But it is an opportunity, however small, for Armenians to speak for truth.
     
    Let’s keep our perspective.  No one wants to help Turkey help herself as she adds injury to insult at Akhtamar, but  to think that we can have things on our terms, on our lands which are being held hostage by the Turkish invaders is naive.  We must move forward one step at a time, putting pressure on Turkey where we can, but being willing to take small steps when the greater long term goals are on the line.  In this case, the greater goal is the return of Akhtamar to our care, which will never occur if we choose to appear indifferent.  It may appear that we get a tiny nibble while Turkey helps herself to a nice big slice of the EU pie, but as long as we keep nibbling we will eventually tear a hole in the Turkish curtain behind which hides all her deceit and pan-turanic fanaticism.
     
    Our duty is to not forget who we are in the meantime.  We are the people of Asia Minor.  We are the architects of a 3-4 thousand year old culture, we are the rightful inheritors of that blood-soaked soil, we are the true defenders of Sourp Khatch.

  43. I think the underlying notion that really undermines arguments for going to Akhtamar is the false belief that Armenians have an influential say in what happens to Akhtamar post September regardless of whether we attend or not. It’s an unfounded assumption that many of you are making. Do you really think this is the beginning of real change in Turkey? We don’t have as much control as some of you think. The Turks are doing a fantastic job however in creating that misconception that some of you have already fallen head over heels for from what I can surmise.
     
    We are being used as pawns to flaunt the very idea that Turkey can still do what they like with our property even in our attendance and not only that but with our blessing now. How demeaning and perverse.
     
    I hope many of you are not as naive to think that ‘symbolic gestures’ of any sort on any ones terms would be permitted without the approval of the Turkish gov.
     
    If not a single Armenian showed up for this event, but each of our leading church’s and the official Armenian Government released a one page press release that day explaining our peoples absence and our historical roots to the land accompanied by our demands this would guarantee attention from the media more so than symbolic gestures that bank on wishful thinking if at all permitted by Turkish authorities in the first place.
     
    May I also add that even if those attending were allowed to make ‘symbolic gestures’ in whatever form, and even if the media did document the symbolism of your gestures it would have to pass the numerous pro Turkish filters before publication. If you understand the dynamics of how media operate with regard to our issues you know the probability of a handful of symbolic gesturing Armenians making the AP cut is close to nil.

  44.  Right on Boyajian!! I appreciate the balance in your thinking…. never naive to the Turks, but always keeping the goal first in our thoughts. Honoring the past and comitted to the future. I am sure the community you serve is the benficiary of your thought process.

  45. Boyajian,

    You are probably on the Turkish payroll to promote tourism in Turkey. You are probably not even Armenian. You certainly don’t have the vocabulary as an Armenian. You sound like a staff member on Hillary’s team. The Armenian Church should send one or two low level priests to observe but not to encourage attendance. Not one cent to go to Turkey that purchases drones and bullets to kill Armenians and deny the Genocide. They must come to terms first.

  46. Boyajian… as eloquent as always.  I completely agree with you.  A silent Boycott will be an opportunity lost as I said in a previous post.  If we do not make noise in the international media and just stay away from the mass at Sourp Khach, we will have abandonned an opportunity at exposing the truth about the church.  The truth is that the church belongs to us, it belongs in the Wilsonian map of Western Armenia, and it is being exploited by its occupier.

  47. Can anyone succinctly explain as to why our absence at the Turk-designated one-day-a-year event at our own church “speaks volumes?” Why our absence at a one-day-a-year show would be interpreted as “indifference to the uninformed public”? I don’t believe that uninformed public would be more informed as a result of our attendance at the event because no one mass media outlet would want to inform the public about the prerequisites, pre-history, or modern-day reverberations surrounding the event. Tha’s for sure. As if watching Armenians’ attendance or non-attendance at the event is no.1 item on uninformed public’s checklist. Conversely, maybe our absence would generate curiosity of “uninformed public” as to the reasons why Armenians declined to attend a mass at an ancient Armenian Church? And just how our absence “would weaken global support of the Armenian Cause issue,” I fail to see? More than the preceding defeatist Turkish-Armenian protocols that affected foreign parliaments in that they potentially could impede the pace of international recognition of genocide? Are the “global watchers” happy with the way the Turks have “renovated” the pearl of Christian Byzantine Greek architecture, the Hagia Sophia, with “Allah-u-Akbar” and “La Illahi illa Allah wa Mohamad Rasul al-llah” signs hanging all across its interior? Is this called renovation or renovation a la Turk? Whoever wants to go, go, but I know that the Armenian government rejected participating in a staged show. Nor do opposition parties, including the ARF, are in support of attending. Nor do many citizens of Armenia with whom I communicated support partaking in a Turkish masquerade in a 10th-century Armenian church, when toponym “Turkey” or a nation of “Turks” didn’t even exist, and with a portrait of a great falsificator, freemason Mustafa Kemal hanging inside the church. If any Christian country would allow such disparagement inside a Muslim religious site, I imagine what indignation there’d be in the Islamic world. I fail to understand why, and I ask this question for the fourth time already, is it necessary to attend one of 3000 churches, most of them destroyed, in Western Armenian on a day and conditions set by the Turks? Why on that particular day and not on any other day and in the same or any other church?

  48. I don’t have to go to Akhtamar on the day the turks invite me too in order to make my claim on that property as one that belongs to Armenians. Does the fact that I’m not there right this minute without their invitation mean that Akhtamar didn’t belong to Armenians? Sheer absurdity.
     
    If we are all convinced of the fact that this is a Turkish ploy directed to benefit Turkey’s self-serving agenda (which we all know is Anti-Armenian) someone please elaborate on what difference our absence or attendance will serve other than too fulfill our critical role as obedient subjects of propaganda?

  49. Hye, advertise… via internet to all the civilized religions of the world – of the ongoing inhumanity the Turks espouse – permitting  a ONE DAY event at a supposedly renovated Holy Cross Church in Aghtamar.  The other 364 days this holy edifice is to be a Turkish museum – obviously where Turks shall display all the cultures they stole of the peoples whom they Turk slaughtered and worse to gain their goal of a Turkey Only For Turks… Send Press Releases – the world over, the USA/Canada and more… to all the local churches as well… The Turks lie as they pursue anohter PLOY, obviously, as though the Turk magnanimously saved the Holy Cross Church for posterity. This same ‘method’ was offered to the Pontic Greeks recently – entrance fee – payable to Turks was $12 – to enter a church – Turkish mentality.  Manooshag

  50. Kaizer Souze, I thought I liked your clever name and its reference to one of my favorite movies, but now I see you are an undignified and insulting person who makes false accusations against another Armenian simply because you don’t agree.  Are you sure you’re Armenian?

  51. No need to elaborate Zhorab, the Turkish tourism frontmen with false Armenian identities are posting here. As one blogger said, and in which I agree, the Church belongs to Armenians and it will always do so. Not one cent to go to the Turkish economy which in turn buys drones or bullets to murder Armenians. Don’t forget about Hrant Dink and who paid for the assasin’s bullet and gun.

  52. You are right on, Zorab. Those who go are bending their knee in obedience to the butchers of our people. what else is it when turkey tells Armenians when and where and for how long, and all we can say is how much? 

  53. mjm, you make very good arguments and I respect your well reasoned opinion.  I can’t really provide answers that will satisfy you.  I just go with my heart and my heart feels pulled to Akhtamar.   Even so, I don’t disagree with your contempt for the absurdity of Turkey calling the shots as to when we can attend and worship at one of our ancient churches.  And of course I advocate Armenians worship at any of the many Armenian churches throught RA, Artsakh, Western Armenia and the rest of the disapora on any of the 365 days of the year.
     
    I agree with Gayane’s early observation and warning not to allow Turkey to create a controversy that divides us.  To Zohrab, Garbis, etc.,:  I and others who support Armenians attending mass at Sourp Khatch are not the enemy.  How about a little tolerance for a difference of opinion.

  54. A comment to Garbis:  I read your earlier post carefully and tend to agree that whether or not we go, realistically, this will be a controlled event in which Turkish media censors will dictate what gets broadcast.  I am not naive.  However, when I weigh both sides of the issue, my Armenian soul wishes I had the power to bring us all there on September 19 to smell the Armenian air, to walk on the Armenian ground and to hear our sharagans coming from inside Sourp Khatch.  This may be a small event on the world stage but it is still important to me as an Armenian and may provide an opportunity for us to share our story.  Turkish propaganda and hypocrisy duly noted.

  55. It is just what Turkey wants.. they know VERY well that this event will divide Armenians.. they know that all of us are driven by passion for our country, our history, and our ancestry…and they know VERY well that no matter what they do, especially when it relates to the Armenian Cause/Armenians will create such distruction…and if they get the smallest % on their side, they will be absolutely content…because our passion can be expressed in many different ways.. perfect example was this mass.. and also when the protocols were being written…I personally did not agree with the Protocols and I personally do not agree with attending the mass.. but That is just my gut feelings…

    However, not every Armenian thinks the same I do.. we definintely need to express our views: whether it is pro or con the mass… however, we should never put each other down.. NEVER… that is one thing I vowed myself in front of GOD… Never put down another fellow Armenian.. no matter what.. and I honored that vow for as long as I remember…

    Even though I respect Boyajian’s, Ani’s and few others who are in support of attending the mass… I personally do not agree with it..but that does not mean I don’t like them..

    I still think what needs to be done is MEDIA OUTREACH EVERYWHERE.. NON STOP..INTERNATIONALLY..to tell everyone about why so many Armenians do not want to attend the mass..we have to spread the word out.. why our newspapers, media sooo quite????
    those who will be attending the Mass,   I would request they gather information and report back to us.. to share their reaction/feelings/experiences not only what it meant to be there but how Turkey was conducting herself during this entire ordeal….. their insight story… as I understand TV and Newspapers may not have the greatest coverage due to many obstacles i am sure..all i want is great exposure of Turkey’s wrongdoing and fakeness..whether we attend the Mass or not… 

    Gayane

  56. Iper dibar Krisdonia Hye, I make no slight towards you Boyajian and others who opine attending mass at Sourp Khatch. I’m also pretty sure that you are not a Turkish frontman although I cant say the same about the ‘Roberts’ within us. They will always be there trying to divide and conquer but as long we understand and respect each other I have no qualms with you personally, so let the discussion amongst us all continue with a healthy tolerance of different opinions.
     
    Unsubstantiated opinions void of any considerations as to the repercussions of certain decisions however is a sign of weakness when arguing for or against a position. A vibrantly fulfilling debate of serious issues with fellow compatriots is healthy, normal and invigorating. I take great pride in discussing these issues with you all, especially our passionate fedayoohees Gayane and Katia K and do not consider you enemies.
     
    If I may proceed, this is not a decision for the heart but for the head to make. Our feelings are important no doubt but don’t assume that my heart doesn’t also pull me to our infamous island. Just not on their watch and under their rules.
     
    Armenians will not have a more predominant say in what happens to Akhtamar if we have Armenians present their on that specific day in September. Politically its a no brainer. PR wise its a bonanza for the Turks and their already salivating.
     
    I tend to believe that attitudes and policy on Armenians and Armenia in Turkey are in no way shape or form changing for our best interests. If you all believe this as truth then what difference will having 1000 Armenians in attendance or 0 Armenians in attendance make if we are convinced of the states Anti-Armenian agenda (which i have no evidence to question)?

  57. Interesting read Garbis and great insight.
     
    So your basically saying that:
     
    If we go with 1000 Armenians they’ll use reconciliation rhetoric in the media to blindfold justice and create misguided perceptions of Armenian divisions.
     
    Or if 0 Armenians attend, at least we wont play a leading role in crafting our own demise that way giving the media an opportunity to get our take of the days activities by consulting our official Republic and religious leaders for opinions.
     
    So in other words the risk of being screwed by Turkish propagandists is there in both cases, perhaps more with us attending, but by not going its the lesser evil.

  58. Ayo Zohrab jishd es. Hamastayn em Boyajian yev ge hasgenam esadzneret.
    Sireli Boyajian, Katia, Perouz, Gayane, Zohrab, manooshag yev Kiazre Souze.
    Purk Asdouzo vor tzezi bes hyortiner oonink mer mech.
    Luv heshetzek: MYASNAPAR bedk eh baykarink minchev verch.

  59. I agree both with Mr. Boyajian’s and Zohrab, Garbis, etc. points of views.
    I have to say though both views are not fundamentally at odds with each another.
    Yes, we all know the turk will TRY to use this as a propaganda tool. But believe me, world opinion is NOT as gullible as some of you might think. in fact this a very good way of showcasing the absolute cynicism of the turk. These FEW Armenians are simply representatives of Armenians people are to say a prayer for the the souls of the Genocide victims will in a very small way help bring a tiny bit of “closure” to the survivors. As usual, turk is expert at putting it’s foot in it’s mouth. just look at all the recent turkish debacles. the turk is much more primitive and stupider animal than most of us think. let them do their usual games. their games  are very transparent to world opinion by now.

  60. Kiazer Souze,
     
    I came to know Boyajian when I engaged myself in the second most-commented discussion here in Armenian Weekly. I admired her well-thought, eloquent, and utterly patriotic views on a variety of issues pertinent to the Cause. False accusations against another Armenian, indeed, do you no credit and I think you owe an apology to Boyajian for undignified and discourteous remark.

  61. Msheci jan.. it is sooooooooooooooo nice to hear from you..:)

    I second what Mscheci said.. I was also part of the second most-commented discussion forum on AW.. and I have to say.. that was THE MOST and UNFORGETTABLE discussions I have ever experienced.. thanks to Msheci, Katia K, and Boyajian for running the show.. I still think AW should record that discussion in their achives for being the longest and passion heated and fact driven discussion forum EVER…

    My dear commentators.. I am sure KS did not realize how the comments came off.. I am sure KS did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.. we are all frustrated and angry with what Turkey is doing and sometimes we say things that simply was born out of anger and annoyance… I don’t know this 100% but I have a feeling that KS did not mean to be intentionally rude or mean…especially when the passion burns in him or her like it does in us..

    Zohrab jan and Garbis jan.. thank you very much for your kind words…it is much appreciated.. my passion and dedication came from my great grandfather who dedicated his entire life finding orphans and reuniting with their families after the Genocide…and I am sooo greateful for that…

    God Bless..

    Gayane 

  62. Thanks to all (Stepan, mjm, Zohrab, Garbis, John, Ani, etc., who understand the need to stand together and respect one another as we struggle for justice for our ancestors.  Even you, Kaizer Souze, because I suspect your passion comes from the same place mine does; our Armenian soul.  Shad shnorhagal em to Msheci, Katia and Gayane whose support means a lot to me because we got to know and respect each other in a previous lengthy discussion.
     
    Zohrab you write that  “Unsubstantiated opinions void of any considerations as to the repercussions of certain decisions however is a sign of weakness when arguing for or against a position.” I agree with this in general theory, but I have yet to see an explanation of the negative repercussions of Armenians attending the mass.  Maybe I have not read carefully enough.  To me it seems that the Turks gain ground whether or not we attend, so why not attend to honor our own people (thanks John for acknowledging this) and to take whatever small gain we can from this.  I know many do not agree and I understand their aversion to attending the event.  I admit to my own ambivalence in doing anything that might help Turkey’s image.  This is not an easy issue for any Armenian, whether they use their head, their heart or both!
     
    I support Gayane and Manooshag in their assertion that we must exploit the media NOW in explaining why so many of us oppose attending this Mass on Turkey’s terms.  I think it is important to recognize that some of us will attend the Mass and many will not, but that both sides on this issue can use their respective positions as platforms from which to promote our cause.

  63. Msheci, Boyajian, Gayane,… it is great to be in your company again!  Although no forum can top the “discussion” we had over the Taner Akcam article challenging Davutoglu.

    Thank you Zohrab and Garbis for your kind words.  Internet news sites should be encouraged and more people should comment to make these discussions/brainstorming healthier and more informative to us and non Armenians alike.  For a people as disbursed as we are, the Internet can have a vital role in bringing our communities closer, and helping us better identify our nation’s needs and goals.
    Coming back to the issue at hand… I think our frustration and anger do not stem from our dislike of the ideas of our fellow Armenians, but from the fact that this Turkish propaganda stunt seems destined to be a win win situation for Turkey no matter what angle you look at it.  If Armenians attend the Holy Cross mass, they will help Turkey enhance its chances of joining the EU by portraying itself as tolerant to all religions and conciliatory towards the Armenians.  Not to mention, we will help generate touristic income for Turkey by visiting a monument that belongs to our people.  If we boycott and don’t go, we will dishearten the Turkish Armenians, give the international community the impression that we are indifferent and an excuse for Turkey to deny further renovations of Armenian monuments, and these historic sites will fall into further disrepair.  I think the choice should be left to individual Armenians, but the Armenian nation should not waste this opportunity to shed light to our cause, by electing to conduct a quiet boycott.
    We need to make lemon out of lemonade, but turning the tables around.  The only place where we have a sliver of an opening to make our “voice” heard is in public perception.  We can steel the spotlight from this fake “tolerance” show, by for example holding a huge mass in Armenia around a small replica of Sourp Khach, on the same day and at the same time as the one being held in Turkey.  We need to invite the international media and explain to them that although we welcome the renovation of Sourp Khach by Turkey, we feel it is not an honest attempt in tolerance because: Sourp Khach is an Armenian church which should be returned to its owners, a holy site that the Turks have turned into a touristic income generating museum, an official invitation was not extended to the government of Armenia, the international archaeological/historical society should be outraged that the government refused to put a cross on the dome of the church, and that Turkey continues our Genocide by renaming our ancient monuments with similar sounding Turkish names aimed at erasing any trace of our civilization from eastern Turkey and making its people think that these ancient Christian monuments belong to them…. We should tell them that we have elected not to go, but Holy Cross church is in our minds and hearts as one of the symbols of the Armenian nation along with our mount Ararat.  
    There should be a whole month of Holy Cross church coverage on Public Armenian TV, with documentaries talking about the history of Holy Cross turned into the international media.  Who but us, should expose the truth about Holy Cross and that it was awarded back to us by President Woodrow Wilson along with the six Armenian Vilayets in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres?  Who but us, should explain the origin of the island’s name and the story of how Armenian Princess Tamar’s forbidden love had cried “Akh Tamar” with his last breath before drowning in Lake Van in the 10th century?  Who but us, should be outraged that Turkey would dare to rename the island “Akdamar” after its recent renovation: “AK” apparently means “white” after the AKparty of Erdogan, and “damar” means “vein”.
    Where is our propaganda machine?  Where are our leaders?  How can they waste such golden opportunities to shed light to our cause?  Books, the Internet, movies, documentaries, symbolic gestures, coverage in the international media…  We won’t have an effective voice if we don’t speak up using all communications methods available.   Leaving the entire spotlight to Turkey and disappearing in a quiet boycott is not the way to go.  It is exactly what the Turks are hoping for.

  64. Katia, I love the fact that your mind is always working, thinking of ways to use situations to our benefit.  I agree that is what we need to do now.
    Some Armenians will be in attendance at this event, while others will boycott.  This is clear and I respect both these choices. Those who must boycott the event should not do it in silence.  Check your contact lists.  Who do you know?  Who can help bring attention to this matter?  Get Peter Balakian to bring this to 60 minutes.  Ask Kim Kardashian to twitter about it.  Write editorials to newspapers, magazines, websites…  Diocese and Prelacy, where is your leadership?  Are our clergy men speaking about this?  What of an ANCA response to this.
     
    We must harness our outrage into a positive and productive response.

  65. For those who still consider attending the mass on Aghtamar, please read Sat, Aug 21 2010 article “Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch in Aghtamar.” While I understand that the “museum” will be so “graciously” transformed to the church by “religiously tolerant” state of Turkey for just one day on Sept 19, I invite you to take a deeper look at the general attitude of the Turks towards the heritage of nobler and more ancient peoples inhabiting Asia Minor before they were wiped out in 1915-1923. I fail to see how our attendance might change this intolerant, xenophobic attitude unless full international media coverage of the prerequisites and current reverberations pertaining to the Armenian genocide and the state of thousands of Christian monuments and heritage attributes in Turkey happens, which I have strong doubts about. In short, I understand from the comments above that the only small “gain” that we can expect is “honoring our own people.” It’s important, but in dealing with such a duplicitous state as Turkey, is, to me, highly insufficient. I suggest that our groups organize annual voyages of Armenians from Armenia, Artsakh, and Diaspora worldwide that can be dubbed “Road to Home,” that’d visit all the remnants of Armenian civilization in Asia Minor, pray inside those ones that still stand ruined or half-ruined, if not allowed to pray inside, pray outside near a church or a monastery or a khatchkar or even a house from which Armenians were forcibly expelled and viciously murdered by the Turks. These voyages must be accompanied by the representatives of mass media—Armenian and foreign—and their coverage would have to make its way to the online or mainstream media outlets. To me, this would be more effective way than attending a one-day event so mockingly arranged by the loathed Turks. Sorry.

  66. Talat Pasha declared his goal as having “one Armenian left to be displayed in a museum.”

    It is no irony that the Turks will achieve their goals through their propoganda in a museum (The Church).

    If you cannot see how attending this museum and paying money to the Turkish government is treasoness and symbolically shameful, then I doubt that you are an Armenian.

    Kiazer Souze: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, and…..pouf…like that…..he was gone.”

    The greatest trick the Turks will ever pull is convincing the world that it didn’t have intent to commit Genocide, and pouf…(sound of flatulence)…..like that, they paid nothing.

  67. mjm, please be careful not to diminish the need to honor our people and our history and faith.  I know you don’t intend this.  I like your Road to Home suggestion. I believe there are many avenues from which to keep pressure on the Turks and we should exploit as many as we can.  Imagine the domino effect of more and more Armenians praying at Armenian sacred sites throughout Turkey.  I watched the clip of the kids at Sourp Khatch and was moved to tears by their bravery and civil disobedience which demonstrated Armenian dedication to our heritage and revealed the true nature of Turkish religious tolerance.  They can call it a museum and attempt to stifle our expression of faith in that holy space, but they can never change our hearts.  Bravo Hai Aspet!

  68. I have seen the tube. What a prospective occasion to turn the propaganda on our side and show  to  the international press the behaviour of the soldiers forbidding the lighting of candles and the singing of DER VOGHORMIA by the Armenian children.
    This happened. It will  happen in the future. Do not forget that We are on enemy territory even if we consider a ZAVTEWADZ land.  If we are KHIZAKH, then we accept the challenge and attend this religious ceremony on Sept. 19. Soldiers follow orders everywhere, in every country; they do not use their minds. Being a soldiers is a lifetime job. No unemployment.  Do you want  them to lose their job. Rare are the MUTINIES TO ORDERS. History today is for us Armenians worldwide is a chess game. You move a stone, I move a stone until the game is over; comes then the following games.
    Perhaps this invitation to attend the Aghtamar religious ceremony is only for Armenians living in Turkey which includes the Hamshems, the Zazas and many Islamized Armenian generations

  69. Sorry for the hurry for the query:

    To all Commentators:  do you attend regularly religious ceremonies every sunday in the area  you live? Do you stay at least 2 hours and pray during the BADARAK? Do you light a candle(s)  when you enter an Armenian church, so as your lifepath is illuminated? When was the  last time  you took the HAGHORTOUT YOUN? Do you encourage and support the Armenian clergy of the town you live in?

  70. to M.H. Bouldoukian –   I fail to see the connection between the current discussion and your question.Please do not assume that all of us live even remotely close to an Armenian church. Many, many, of us in the Diaspora live in cities and towns with less than half a dozen Armenians, let alone a church. It is a struggle simply to maintain our language. This does not mean that we have no interest in what is happening on Aghtamar, or that we do not have spiritualy held beliefs.it also does not mean  that we are not politicaly astute or aware of Turkish propoganda .

  71. Do any of you know if the deliberate conversion of a religious building into a “museum” by force falls under any definition of cultural genocide by the UN?

  72. Hrag, 

    You pose an interesting question that I don’t think on these blogs have an answer to.

    However, what I do know is that the Turks are going to make the so-called renovations with Armenian tourism monies. It is rather a sick joke on their part–kind of like building a moseque at ground zero of the World Trade Center. If any repirations are going to be made by the Turks, they are going to do it by taking your hard earned cash and giving us back a token percentage.  

    If people don’t see the Turkish cruelty in this, then I don’t know if they Armenians despite what they espouse.

  73. Cultural Genocide is not a part of the UN Genocide Convention. However, the destruction of monuments falls within the purview of UNESCO.

  74. Thanks Harut. Thinking out loud here again..
     
    I wonder if UNESCO considers the unauthorized transformation of a religious monument a breach of human development and/or cultural diversity? More so, does the act of transformation itself constitute a form of destroying monuments?
     
    If so, what can be done about it and how can we use a possible UNESCO acknowledgment or condemnation of Turkey’s illicit appropriation to ensure all of our Akhtamars remain Churches as they were meant to be?

  75. Interesting line of thinking Hrag. This action seems to represent a strategy more powerful than any wrist band wearing activist seeking the medias attention could ever garner by showing up at Akhtamar. Our efforts should be channeled to these ends if we truly are irate.
     
    Wheres the Armenian Patriarchate’s pull in all of this?

  76. Mr Sassounian,

    Although there is plenty of literature covering the Genocide, there is a palpable lack of material delving into the Cultural Genocide of Western Armenia.  Perfect opportunities come once in a lifetime, and if we do not react to them at the opportune time, the moment and its possible impact is lost forever. 
    The scheduled mass at Sourp Khach is such a window of opportunity, open to us at this moment, to use as a platform from which to launch awareness for the archaeological/historical/cultural Genocide of the indigenous Armenian race in what is now eastern Turkey.
    There is a serious need for documentary coverage of the irreparable damage done to our ancient civilization’s monuments, historic sites and churches; in itself a crime against humanity.  This is the time, where our historians, writers and producers have to converge their talents to prepare a complete inventory of the thousands of churches that the Turks have intentionally desecrated, bombed, turned into mosques and stables, of our ruined historic treasures of Cilicia, our art and ancient Bible pages that turn up in museums such as the Getty Museum, our thousand year old cemeteries that are being destroyed… etc.  The documentary can then transition to known current Turkish landmarks such as the Turkish Presidential Palace that sits on the Kassabian property…  We should at the least, do this for our record keeping purposes and for the awareness of our coming generations.  The lacking/inadequate response by world cultural/historical/archeological authorities such as UNESCO should also be documented.
    This is the time to put together very well researched and prepared documentaries and push them in social, online communication networks and mainstream media outlets.  A perfect storm comes once in a lifetime.  I think we are in such a storm now.  Let’s have all this information pour down on the world.  It is long time in coming.
    Turkey and its allies have teamed up to keep all of this information buried.  Politics can be influenced by public opinion, and that’s where our work lies now.
    Peter Balakian’s documentary on 60 minutes was just perfect.  We need more of those, in addition to hour long detailed documentaries.  Saying that Turkey destroyed thousands of our churches does not have the same impact as showing before and after pictures, listing the actual names of the churches and bringing in eyewitness accounts.  Complaints should also be directed to UNESCO.
    We look up to you as someone who has the connections to convey this message to the appropriate sources.

  77. Hrag and Zohrab, I couldn’t agree with you more.  Where are our political and religious leaders, and why aren’t they voicing their outrage to UNESCO.  How can a government decide to convert the ancient church of a nation that it’s predecessor exterminated by Genocide into an income generating museum for its own benefit?  And the income is mostly going to come from the victimized race itself!  The message here is:”You are done with.  You belong only in museums, and we are still going to milk profits from the very idea of your existance”.  Disgusting, uncivilized and immoral to the max.  Shame on UNESCO.  Shame on the United States for closing its eye on human rights/cultural abuses by its so called allies, in exchange to political and economical gains.
    The decent thing for Turkey to have done would have been to repair the church in goodwill and gifted it back to the Armenian people.  That would have been something that Turkey could have earned major “kudos” on.  I guess it’s too much to expect…
    Zohrab, I disagree with you on the “armbands” idea.  Yes we need to apply pressure on UNESCO, but “symbolic” messages can be instrumental in touching the public nerve of leading countries if they are effectively presented and publicized.  People nowadays have zero attention span and desire to “read” the news.  They only react to VISUAL and FAST information.  I watched the Youtube of the Armenian kids inside Sourp Khach,… and I am telling you… the stories that can be woven from that footage can indead be very valuable.  I would definitely include their video in any documentary concerning our Cultural Genocide and the impact it has on our kids, their sense of identity and their social development.  Bring in the psychological effect of how an individual feels when the property of his ancestors, and a holy place at that, is being freely converted and utilized by another people as a “museum”!  Does he feel that he does not exist?  Does he feel that he does not belong anywhere?… It’s called SPIN.  Very effective in this fast paced world if enough resources are put into it and it is done well.

  78. Why haven’t we heard from America? There is such a thing as the
    International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

    International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

    U.S. Congress

    Title:
    International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

    Introduced by:
    Rep. Frank Wolf, September 9, 1997; Sen. Arlen Specter

    Dates

    Date passed:
    May 14, 1998 (House), October 9, 1998 (Senate)

    Date signed into law:
    October 27, 1998

    Amendments:
     

    Related legislation:
    Foreign Service Act of 1980

    The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–292, as amended by Public Law 106–55, Public Law 106–113, Public Law 107–228, Public Law 108–332, and Public Law 108–458)[1] was passed to promote religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States, and to advocate on the behalf of the individuals viewed as persecuted in foreign countries on the account of religion. The United States, through its constitution and various international agreements, supposedly has an obligation to support religious freedom around the world by skirmishing religious intolerance in countries that put sanctions on the religious rights of the people. The Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 27, 1998.[2] Three cooperative entities have been maintained by this act to monitor religious persecution.

    An Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom within the Department of State,
    A bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and
    A Special Adviser on International Religious Freedom within the National Security Council.[2]

    As per the Act, the Congress and the President are obligated to take into account the various issues of religious freedom while developing the country’s foreign policy. As under the Title I of the Act, a bureaucratic infrastructure is created for dealing with religious issues. This is known as the Office of the International Religious Freedom which is regulated under the US Department of State. Title II creates the Commission on International Religious Freedom and Title III a special advisor to the president on international religious freedom within the National Security Council. The crux of the Act lies in Title IV. Title IV details the possible options available to the president and his actions based upon them in response to the states which violate the provisions under the Act. Under Sec. 401(b)(1), the President shall identify specific countries that the Commission on International Religious Freedom designates as having obstructed religious freedom. The president must then, with the consultation of the secretary of state, the ambassador at large, the National Security Council special advisor, and the commission, design a response to those countries.[6]
    Countries that are severe violators of religious freedom are categorized under Sec 402 of the Act and this subjects them to punitive sanctions which are listed in Sec. 405. Under this section, the president must either enter into a binding agreement with the concerned country to end the religious persecution, or to choose from remedies outlined in Sec. 405 of the Act. This section offers the president with fifteen options to exercise against countries engaging in religious persecution. These include

    a private or a public demarche;
    a private or public condemnation;
    the delay or cancellation of scientific or cultural exchanges;
    the denial, delay, or cancellation of working, official or state visits;
    the withdrawing, limitation, or suspension of some forms of U.S. aid;
    direction to public and private international institutions to deny assistance;
    and sanctions prohibiting the US government from entering into import or export agreements with the designated governments.[6]

  79. We should become more sensitive to the Armenian cause by boycotting all goods and services to countries that have not recognized the Armenian Genocide in which we do not live in. I love seeing Turkish products left untouched in the super market shelves. I love kicking a politician out if he/she has not lived up to their promises with our issues. It should be your patriotic duty to do so and it is called freedom of speech.

  80. I do not buy anything that is made in Turkey… especially the loghums that I love so much..

    I do not even buy Chevron gas because they being heavily supported by the Turkish money..

    However, Kaizer may have a point even though it may be hard but it is not difficult to accomplish.

    Gayane

  81. Armenia will become a powerhouse of  a tiny country (concentrated wealth in Artsagh as well) if it can export its stuff to all over the world and not allow any other country’s products or services if they have not recognized the Armenian Genocide. Look at how China has done it. It is a seller nation, not a consumer nation. That is why this century belongs to the Chineese. And, no American can stop us Armenians from expressing ourselves in this manner including the right to speak out at Jews, from the ADL, against their aparthiad and victim exclusivity.

  82.  At Christmas, our markets are flooded with turk figs.  small, dried-out hard fruits. Read the label and buy the wonderful ones from Greece. They are superior in flavour and worth every single penny more. They are  big sweet juicy figs when they are cooked. serve them with your Christmas dinner. Everyone will ask for more and you will never buy the cheap turk ones again. turkey is now making towels and jeans and textiles of all kinds. Wonderful things come from countries of the world whose workers and government deserve our support. you are making a statement every time you open your wallet, whether it is for figs or jeans or an airline ticket to Aghtamar.

  83. Katia JAN… you are definintely a think tank with full of ideas… I nominate you to be the Director of Organizing a Media Outreach about this..:) and I will be more than happy to assist..

    As Boyajian suggested and I have been doing it every time I find an interesting and provoking article, I share it with EVERYONE on my contact list, Armenian and Non.. It is interesting that I got an e-mail from one of my close friends who is not an Armenian.. she sent me two e-mails.. one before she knew the background and the history of the Aghtamar and another one after she took the initiative to read about it.. to illustrate how important it is to educate Non-Armenians, full and detailed background as Katia and Boyajian suggested need to be exposed to EVERYONE.. especially Non-Armenians; otherwise we will not be successful in reaching massive groups of people…

    My friend’s First E-mail

    Hey G – I know how sensitive the Turk- Armenian relations are.  And I do not condone anyone mistreating anyone else.  But this sounds like normal museum rules to me.  It makes sense that burning candles would not be allowed anywhere inside.  Even if the kids moved to the center of the structure, the smoke from the candles could still do damage.  
     
    (In fact, if you go to the MET in New York City or up to the Getty in LA, you would not be able to burn candles there either.)
     
    The heartwarming part of the newspaper article is that the kids went to visit the site. I’m glad that Armenian kids go to to visit Turkey.  And I hope that Turkish children visit Armenia.  That is a good thing.
     
    Her Second e-mail

    G – I googled and read a little bit more about this matter.  I can see the issue is more complex that just the act of burning candles.  There is controversy around the church itself and the very fact that it was restored by Turkey and then turned into a museum in the first place.  I barely read for five minutes and already I can see that a lot of emotion is involved. 
     
    Armenians want to worship in the building – sing, pray, light candles.  Turks say no because the building is now a museum that they spent a lot of money fixing up. 

    The controversy was not made clear in the article, initially, but that’s probably because the article was intended to be read by Armenians who already know the history of the church and the island. 
     
    I’m emailing all this to say, I undestand now why you would be upset.  Your church is not a museum to you, whether the Turks say it is or not.  And photographing a group of kids who attempted to sing, pray, and light candles was probably intended to get people stirred up about the subject.  Which it did. I can see that it made you angry and I understand why. 
     
    I wish things were different between the Armenians and the Turks.  But there’s no easy answer and probably won’t be resolved anytime soon, i’m afraid.  In the meantime, I will pray for you and your family and for all of Armenia and Turkey.  I know that God is bigger and more powerful than even the mightiest nation.  He is the One who can handle this situation.

    I love you, Gigita, and I will pray that one day all Christians everywhere will be able to worship freely in places that are holy to us.  That includes those places in Armenia and Turkey.  I think we can do this and still respect other religions.  I think that in this case, based on what I have read so far, that Turkey is wrong in what they are doing with the Akhtamar church.  They should allow Armenians to worship there.  


    Very very different when one does not know and reads about why Aghtamar is being boycutted and why Children are being thrown out and when someone actually learns of the history and background and understand the matter in detail.  This is how we need to do it..

    God Bless
    Gayane

  84. “You are making a statement every time you open your wallet, whether it is for figs or jeans or an airline ticket to Aghtamar.”
     
    Right on the mark Perouz. Very well said. Not a single penny.

  85. I beg to differ with many on this line.I wrote on another forum that our Babiks Mamiks and/or middle aged and  the young who have signed up,ought to go,notwithstanding all adversities mentioned.Why?  and How to proceed:-
    Firstly if this rare occasion  to be on ARMENIAN SOIL in huge numbers and attending Mass in Akhtamar  church by Armenian King Gagik Artzrouni is passed up, we fail to drive home  that it is SO,for the world public at large.A Tremendous plus to our Cause!!!
    However,I also suggested  that if -like at opening ceremonies-Ataturk or turkish Flag is draped on facade of church or even inside,the pilgrims  should NOT enter,even if mass is conducted inside church.Stay outside in huge numbers,pray there,even if not allowed to light candles.The International media correspondence will understand  toroughly what is going on.WE will have scored best this way.never mind if our clergy inside are surprised.
    Meanwhile the local authorities will also comprehend  that  they cannot impose upon the remnants of the Armenian Genocide,as they did before.
     

  86. Let’s get together here after September 19 and, if there’s a larger gathering of Armenians on Akhtamar island, analyze as to what we essentially achieved by attending the Turkish masquerade. I should like to hear achievements other than “honoring our people” or “hearing bells and badaraks” on the shores of the Armenian Lake Van. These are very important, but I’d like to concentrate on what impact our attendance had in the mass media and the international support for the recognition of the genocide of Armenians whose churches and monasteries in Western Armenia, such as Holy Cross, have been desecrated and transformed into museums, and most of 3000 others transformed to mosques, sheepfolds, or just piles of stones by the Turks. I hope we’ll learn another lesson of how we should deal with the Turks from then on.

  87. gayane,

    Every Armenian knows about Talat Pasha’s proclamation to leave one Armenian living to be displayed in a museum and have the admission paid for the sightseers.

    The opening of our sacred relics to be trampled on by sightseers and who are paying the Turkish government revives Talat Pasha’s dreams and is teasoness to Armenians all over the world.  Why not turn the moseques into museums where Armenians get paid for admission?  Turkey has to come to grips with its evil past and pay repirations that does not have our blood on it.

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, and …..puff….like that….he was gone.”

    “The greates trick the Turks will ever pull is convincing the world that they had no intent to commit Genocide, and …..pouffff (sound of flatulance)….like that, they will escape justice.”

  88. Good idea mjm.  I hope those who boycott along with those who attend will be able to have their voices heard.  Park Asdoudzo.  We will see…
     
    Despite my ambivalence, I still lean with Gaytzag Palandjian above toward attending this mass and following the example of peaceful civil disobedience demonstrated by the Hai Aspet children last week.  Most participants will not be able to be inside for the Mass anyway so the gathering outside of peaceful, faithful Armenians will be a media opportunity I hope we will be able to capitalize on.

  89. Boyajian,

    Your suggestion of attending the museum would be symbolically treasoness and fall into the sick Turkish joke played against the Armenian people. It would be like saying Talat Pasha’s goals have been accomplished of the only way to see the Armenian culture is to go to a museum.

  90. Kiazer Souze, I disagree with you.  I don’t think it is treasoness for Armenians to be drawn to Sourp Khatch to show the Turks that this church will never be a museum to an Armenian.  I respect your opinion and understand it and other’s decisions to reject these Turkish terms.  However, if you need to criticize, you should criticize them, not your fellow Armenians.
     
    Refusing to engage with Turks, even as they continue to be denialists, will not benefit us.  These are times for action.  I hope you will find an active way to express your voice other than passively boycotting and finding fault with other Armenians that you disagree with on a website.  We have enough enemies.
     
    Maybe you and Azad could have a cup of sourj together after your next ABA meeting (Armenian Bashers Anonymous) and discuss ways of supporting each other in getting over these destructive tendencies.
     
    (Just kidding; I owed you one.)

  91. Not sure, Boyajian, absolutely not sure. As much as those in attendance would hope to capitalize on the event, so do those in the Turkish government and the world mass media who’d want to narrow the Armenians’ attendance to our acceptance of Turkey’s miraculous metamorphosis from internationally known pluralist fascist state to open, religiously tolerant, and transforming society. There’s no doubt in my mind that the emphasis will be made on the latter rather than on whose church it was; what happened to thousands of parishioners and hundreds of thousands of parishioners and their families inhabiting mostly Armenian-populated Van vilayet of the Ottoman empire; as a result of what crime against humanity committed by the Turks the church stood idle for 95 years; what right does an “open” and “religiously tolerant” Turkish society have to transform a Christian church into a museum; and what is the state of roughly 3000 other Armenian churches and monasteries in Western Armenia that have been blown up by the authorities, desecrated, ruined, transformed into mosques and sheepfolds? There’s just no way, Boyajian, that any of these pressing issues would make their way to the mainstream media even if tens of thousands of Armenians be in attendance on the island and along the shoreline of Lake Van. Let’s also agree that if this happens the way I and many others here predict, by means of AW and other Armenian online publications we’d advise Armenians in the Diaspora and the Republic to never again fall into such primitive Turkish traps however emotional we can become towards our heritage in Van and other provinces of Western Armenia until there are substantial steps towards rapprochement and admittance of guilt on the part of the Turkish government to which we could reciprocate.

  92. You’re correct, Boyajian, in stating that “refusing to engage with Turks, even as they continue to be denialists, will not benefit us.” No one here denies this trivial truth, but many of us would like to see substantial steps on their part so we could engage with them, not a masquerade on Akhtamar island or elsewhere. You may argue that substantial steps start from minor ones, but allowing a 10th-century Armenian church—when there was no toponym as “Turkey” or a nation as “Turks”—to function as a church for just one day is not even a minor step; it’s a cheap Turkish demonstration of who’s the current “boss” on ancient Armenian lands from where Armenians were forcibly expelled and massacred en masse.

  93. Ohh look our provocative pet pipsqueak from the peanut gallery is looking for more attention…
     
    Get another hobby murat.

  94. My dear mjm, we all want substantial steps!  We only differ on the notion of when to engage with Turks.
    I endorse the idea of asserting our rights and using our voices whenever possible to advance our cause.  I really don’t think Armenian attendance at Sourp Khatch is a one dimensional event, (i.e., that it only serves to play into the hands of the Turkish desire to appear religiously tolerant and magnanimous.)   I think a swell of Armenians at Sourp Khatch to worship on September, 19th, serves to point to the absurdity of the Turks decision to make this house of worship a museum.  It pointedly begs the questions the Turks fear:  Who built this church?  What happened to all the Armenians that 95 years ago worshipped here?  If there are still Armenians willing to come and worship, and there is an Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, why are they not allowed to administrate this site as a church.  Where is the altar? 

     
    I respect your opinion, mjm, but pray that those who attend on Sept., 19th do not do so in vain.  Though you and others disagree with my (and others) opinion, I hope we can all pray this together.

     

  95. Garbis jan.. thank you for the laugh..:) that was straight to the point to our beloved Murat…lol….

    Mjm.. I agree with you…

    Boyajian jan.. I also see and understand your stand.. we are all torn about this.. whichever way we take, Turks will benefit it.. UNLESS we use our media very intelligently as Katia jan and myself advocated so much.. That is the ONLY way to get the truth out… not only for Armenians around the world but also for NON-ARMENIANS just like the story of my non-Armenian friend that I shared with you all on the other forum…

    Gayane

  96. Murat,

    I wonder if you know the origin of my handle. A lot of Turks try to shut me up as well. I am hear to let people know that it is symbolically treasoness to visit this museum in Turkey. Leting a few low level clerics go to view the shape it is in is ok. Otherwise, going there and feeding the population that has occupied my grandparents’ land is outrageous and hurtful.

  97. Boyajian,
     
    “I think a swell of Armenians at Sourp Khatch to worship on September, 19th, serves to point to the absurdity of the Turks decision to make this house of worship a museum.” I fail to see how it could serve to this point unless a mass media outlet raises it up. Further, “It pointedly begs the questions the Turks fear:  Who built this church, [etc.]?  Question raised by whom? Again, if by a mass media outlet, then Turks would indeed fear, but by a swell of Armenians, I strongly doubt. I’ll pray that only two mid-level clerics appear in the church and not a swell of Armenians because in my view this is NOT the time and NOT the event to engage with the Turks. Only if major news agencies report on it raising the questions you raised: “Who built this church?  What happened to all the Armenians that 95 years ago worshipped here?  If there are still Armenians willing to come and worship, and there is an Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, why are they not allowed to administrate this site as a church.  Where is the altar?,” etc., then I’d accept that it was worth going. As things stand, there’s virtually no chance that any of those major agencies would touch upon these issues. It’s a grave mistake to attend this Turkish mockery, and I hope there will be no Armenians except for clerics.

  98. One good thing is that, in contrast to “Hillary’s’ non-Armenian propaganda team”, as you correctly dubbed it, Kiazer Souze, the government of the Republic this time has shown will and determination not to attend the Turkish show. I’ve heard from many people in Artsakh and the Republic who cracked this cheap Turkish-US ploy and are strongly opposed to attendance. Many in the Diaspora also object. Those who follow orders from their bosses, let them go, but regardless, those who object will be triumphant, because it’s already obvious that no word on the pre-history of the church, its worshippers, fate of inhabitants of the Van province, or the state of 3000 other churches and monasteries in Armenian provinces will be uttered by a few magnate-controlled media.

  99. mjm, you are right.  It is necessary for the media to be present for any Armenian presence to be worthwhile at Sourp Khatch.  Meanwhile an unnoticed silent boycott will only help underscore Turkey’s ‘magnanimous’ decision to preserve as a museum ‘the abandoned church of long gone inhabitants.’  Makes me sick!

  100. It was s imple question: Do you know the origin of the handle?  I get the feeling you do not.  What is this have anything to do with “people” trying to shut anyone up?

  101. Murat,

    The origin of my handle was from a myth told to Turkish kids if they misbehaved; namely, that if they didn’t behave …you know….Kiazer Souze would get them. I am the Usual Armenian Suspect.

    With regards to Boyajian, a silent boycott is the best thing to do and then have ANCA explain that Armenians are not interested in feeding the Turkish occupying population with tourist dollars to go see a museum and fullfill Talat Pasha’s dream. This idea of visiting a museum is sick Turkish joke.

  102. Boyajian, if you admit that “it is necessary for the media to be present for any Armenian presence to be worthwhile at Sourp Khatch,” have those who can’t wait to rush to the island checked if there’s going to be media presence? Have they checked if the media would tend to represent the Armenian (i.e. truthful) side of the story? Are they sure that Armenians’ attendance–if not truthfully presented by the media in terms of factual demonstration of events in 1915-1923 in Ottoman Turkey–could prevent “Turkey’s ‘magnanimous’ decision to preserve as a museum ‘the abandoned church of long gone inhabitants.’”? And what if the media that are present play the same tune as the Turks, i.e. how “compassionate” and “religiously-tolerant” they have now become and being known to the world as savages for hundreds of years?

    And, for the fifth time, why can’t Armenians go to our sacred ancestral lands, visit churches or whatever is left of them as a result of Turkish “preservation” of the Armenian heritage, on any other day, not the date designated by the Turks for their own advantage? Have we heard of any forces within the US government that push Armenians to attend the mass on that particular day? And if some Armenians respond favorably, then how should we call those few?

  103. I am sure you were inspired by the movie Usual Suspects, and a worthy source it is, but as you must know then there is no such myth told to Turkish kids in reality, it was simply a myth, told in a story in a film.  In the movie, the myth the victim, survior of a gang shootout, tells the police is about a Turkish gangster hardened by the brutal murder of his family and goes on to be a mythical figure, never seen but always leaving a trail of violence and sows fear among even the most hard core criminals.  It turns out, the victim (Kevin Spacey) who spins these stories is himself is Kiaser Souze, and the poor detective realizes that Souze was inspired by the common objects in the office around him to spin his tale, but he has already been set free.  The viewer is left wondering how much of it was myth and how much real, so to speak.

    Still, where did this name come from?  A little bit more of trivia here, but for real now. I am not sure where McQarrie, the writer of the script, took Kiazer from, but Souze was apparently a Turkish friend named (probably last name) Sozer.  He liked the way it sounded and changed it to the way he heard it.  Though I have also heard slight variations on this.

    So, you can understand why I am puzzled by this choice of a handle here by an avowed turkophobe.

  104. Boyajian,

    ANCA can explain this to the American congress and the media. Hillary’s staff that you work for will notice the protest. How hard is it to understand that we must boycott anything Turkish?

  105. Boyajian,

    I am an Armenian and as such, I note that you have ignored some the questions posed by certain of my compatriots.

    For one thing, you have not explained how the cost of attending this humilating event of visiting a museum and spending my hard earned cash to feed a Turkish population occupying my lands is worth any sort of a small lopsided media event.

  106. Murat, we’ve seen the movie and could make out the meaning of the screenplay without a Turk explaining it to us, except for your presumption that “Souze” could have been a Turkish name of “Sozer”, which is least important for the viewers .
     
    Boyajian, one of the questions that’s been ignored is: “What’s the rationale behind attending a Turkish mockery in our own church and on our own ancestral land where millions of Armenian were slathered by Turkish savages on a day designated by the Turks and on their conditions?” Why can’t we attend this church or any other church or monastery that still stands ruined or half-ruined as a result of Turkish “religiously-tolerant, caring preservation” of ancient Christian monuments, on any other date and on our own conditions (i.e. visit whenever we want; pray inside, or, if not allowed by “religiously tolerant” local Turkish authorities, say a massive, sound prayer outside a church; and have all these on the tape with trusted media reps present with us)? Can anyone answer this question? Or it doesn’t sit well with an agenda that’s already been worked out for Armenians’ to attend the Holy Cross mass on the 19th?

  107. Kaizer Souze and mjm, it appears that you think that I have ignored your questions.  Not true.  I have read your comments to me which have become increasingly contentious (rather than a respectful exchange of ideas) and needlessly hostile in tone.  Also several untrue and unwarranted ‘Hillary’s team’ comments from both of you demonstrate that you are not really talking to me (who you do not even know) but to some imagined character that got stirred up in your mind by my comments.  I can’t speak for this character.   I am not on Hillary’s team (whatever that means?).  I am simply an Armenian woman sharing ideas and opinions on one of my favorite sites for Armenian news.
     
    Now if you want to take it down a notch and recognize that we are on the same team but feel differently on some points, I think we would have a more productive discussion.  But remember, I represent only my own voice, not some monolithic body of “treasonness Armenians willing to sell their souls to the devil for a cheap couple of minutes of minor media attention.”  I can’t answer questions directed to this mythical body.
     
    I shared my honest opinion which I reiterate here:  I respect your viewpoint that it is wrong for an Armenian to go to Akhtamar on Sept. 19 and become a willing participant in what is essentially a Turkish propaganda stunt.  If this is how you feel, I support your decision not to go there and to advocate that others not go.  On the other hand, I just recognize that going to Akhtamar holds a potential opportunity to advance our cause in the media rather than allow the media to portray the event as solely Turkey’s generous contribution to the world of antiquity preservation and religious tolerance.  I find the thought of this sickening.
     
    If two “low level clerics” can go to Akhtamar and handle the responsibility to make the most of whatever media attention we have access to, than Amen!  But if a body of faithful, remembering their dead and voicing their objection to the desecration of their church and homeland, would garner more sympathy from the media, than so be it.  Why do these two sides have to be mutually exclusive?  Let the ANCA put out its position paper/news releases against the event.  Let the RA reject the invitation.  Let Etchmiadzin cry foul!  AND let some go to Akhtamar, not for the Turks, but to stake our claim.
     
    As far as explaining: “how the cost of attending this humilating event of visiting a museum and spending my hard earned cash to feed a Turkish population occupying my lands is worth any sort of a small lopsided media event.” What do you want me to say?  This is a personal decision.  In my way of thinking, you place way too much value on your dollars and not enough on your voice or the spiritual significance of the event.  Just my opinion.   Forget the few million dollars (if that!) that Turkey might get from this.  It’s nothing compared to the benefits we could derive from both a well-publicized boycott and a clarion voice of truth at the event.  How do you know the media event will be lop-sided?   Unflattering news reports, films and documentaries come out of Turkey all the time.  Couldn’t we work to create this opportunity rather than argue amongst ourselves?  Since it is likely that some Armenians will attend, doesn’t it make more sense to try to figure out how to capitalize on their presence while also inundating the media with our outrage at the charade the event represents?
     


    Mjm you ask: “What’s the rationale behind attending a Turkish mockery in our own church and on our own ancestral land where millions of Armenian were slathered by Turkish savages on a day designated by the Turks and on their conditions?” Why can’t we attend this church or any other church or monastery that still stands ruined or half-ruined as a result of Turkish “religiously-tolerant, caring preservation” of ancient Christian monuments, on any other date and on our own conditions (i.e. visit whenever we want; pray inside, or, if not allowed by “religiously tolerant” local Turkish authorities, say a massive, sound prayer outside a church; and have all these on the tape with trusted media reps present with us)? Can anyone answer this question? Or it doesn’t sit well with an agenda that’s already been worked out for Armenians’ to attend the Holy Cross mass on the 19th?
     
    Again, just my opinion, but I think you make a good point and I have already agreed with you on this previously.  Armenians should visit as many other Armenian religious sites as we can, on our terms, on dates of our choosing, thus avoiding taking part in this Turkish show.  But aren’t we still transferring dollars to Turkey if we do this?  No agenda here.  Go or don’t go.  It is a personal decision.  For some it will be a spiritual pull that draws them there for others it is a political statement.  But if one chooses to go, I would say that the most common rationale would be that it is a rare opportunity to worship in an important Armenian Cathedral which bears witness to our thousands of years presence in Asia Minor and begs the question “What happened to these indigenous people?”  Who better to answer this question and to declare we are still here and waiting to bring it all home?
     
     
    KS, I agree the ANCA should speak out about this and represent to the world the hypocrisy of this Turkish show.  I have yet to see anything from ANCA but hope it will be coming soon as it would be helpful for all of us if they would put out a fact sheet on the situation.  In the mean time I ask you both to be a little more respectful of those who don’t agree lock-step fashion with your politics and refrain from falsely accusing fellow Armenians of treachery, treason or mind-bending.  I respect your opinion and your passion, but I believe the Armenian Cause can and should be approached from many angles for the greatest benefit.  Just my opinion.
     

  108. Just a thought….can anyone call the Kardashian sisters and convince them to go to Akhtamar on Sept.19?  Watch the rush of media that would follow them there!  Then Kim can twitter from Sourp Khatch about how pleasant the weather is there in mid September and “btw, isn’t it time for Turkey to just admit to the genocide, already?”

  109. Boyajian,

    From your vocabulary, I am not convinced that you are a woman let alone an Armenian. From your thought process, I am having a very difficult time understanding how you can justify (as a so-called Armenian) going to a museum in Turkey and feeding the population there occupying my land after they murdered my great grand parents. This total disregard of the symbolicly treasoness act and constant reweighing of it with something of no or very little return is what is causing great trepidations that one, you are Armenian. Apparently, you were not told by your grandparents of Talat Pasha’s goal of having one Armenian left to be displayed in a museum.   

  110. …I remember that old Armenian man who confessed about his Turkish neighbors…
    if just happened to share a house or a room with a “Turkish friend” never forget to keep your long stick beside your bed…Turk will strike and slit your neck, while you are in sleep, that is their ancestral habit…..opening of Akhtamar Armenian church is a trap toward Diaspora Armenians…..”Never trust a Turk’…..

  111. Wow, KS, this is getting really, really weird.  I don’t even know how to respond to such sexist and prejudicial thinking.  My vocabulary is manly?  Is there such a thing?   And my vocabulary is odar-ish?  What?  Your detective radar is giving you false readings.  Don’t give up your day job.
     
    I am not the only person who has commented on this site that they find some merit in Armenians attending the mass on Sept. 19th.  Why so much attention on me?  Really weird.   Hostility and suspiciousness are unfortunate byproducts of having been victimized and marginalized as a people.  Not one of our best features.

  112. Also, Kaizer, Talaat failed!
    I accept that you think it is an act of treason for an Armenian to go to Akhtamar under these Turkish terms.  I just don’t see it that way.  I’m sorry it bothers you so much.  As far as your comment regarding ‘constant reweighing,’ I really don’t understand what you mean, but I will just say that I only repeat my views on this because you repeatedly ask me to justify my opinion. No more.

  113. Dear Boyajian,
    Kim Kardashian should follow the example of Jennifer Lopez….Turkish state policy addressed, especially to Diaspora Armenians. where they can break-up the “unity” of Armenians against Turkey’s “goodwill intention” toward Armenians, for their immediate political goal, in order to neutralize the truth of “Armenian Genocide” especially to make confusion within members of US Congress, where on going debate will be moderated and eventually will be favored to Turkish false propaganda machine, philosophy…


    filled in Congress regars’ the “truth of of Armenian Genocide!!
     

  114. mjm, Kiazer Souze… I thought we had completed our useful dialogue on this important sujbect, but I can not let Boyajian take the heat on this matter. Boyajian , i continue to be impressed with the balanced , rational and clarity of your expressions. It is thinking like this that will advance our cause.Very respectful of others but always open to opportunities.
            Kiazer Souzer… the core of Armenian values is to connect with each otherbased on our common bond with our heritage. It transends and subordinates all minor conflicts. You should be more respectful of not crossing that line with Boyajian. She is not the issue. Her comments have been consistently full of commitment and openness to others views. What else could you ask for in a post such as this.
               Now, abck to the issue which you have attempted to divert us from. I will not repaat what Boyajian eloquently stated… I agree with the spirit and tone. I will add that you remind me of many Armenians who are trapped in anger. I feel that you consider yourself a committed Armenian, but I pray that one day you will realize that with anger only you are missing many opportunities for the cause you claim to love.
              We all think of “my grandparent’s land” and feel the emotion, but if all our cause becomes is a nostolgic display of anger, we will make little progress and it will remain a distant notion.
         We live in exciting times. A public opportunity in Western Armenia? Wow! and the only response we can garner to the same old “hate Turks” mentality. Come on. We can be better than that. Are we that insecure that we don’t think we can find a way to get a benefit from this? We have a serious victim mentality that we need to move beyond. I am not intimidated by the Turkish attempts. If this is our land and church, THEN LET’S BEHAVE AS IF IT IS. IGNORING THIS IS NOT HONORING OUR GRANDPARENTS.IT IS CONTINUING TO BEHAVE LIKE A VICTIM. IT IS TIME FOR US TO ACT LIKE THE OWNERS.
            I pray for the strength and wisdom of our nation and thank God for this opportunity.
                                                        

  115. Boyajian,
     
    I’m afraid you failed to provide a convincing answer to my question above and thus justify attending Holy Cross precisely on the 19th and on Turkish conditions. By “visiting as many other Armenian religious sites as we can, on our terms, on dates of our choosing, thus avoiding taking part in this Turkish show” we, of course, will be “transferring dollars to Turkey,” but it’ll be based on OUR PERSONAL will to visit our ancestral lands and in a manner that WE PERSONALLY will choose to obey with. For these personally-set plans, I’ll be willing to “transfer dollars to Turkey” in order not to be a part of Turkish masquerade. You fail to see, or maybe deliberately omit, the difference between a staged and a freely-chosen setting for attendance. You also fail to see that a personal decision may take a variety of forms for attendance, whereas a staged event will, almost certainly, benefit those who staged it in every respect. I’m afraid you err as well in that “it is a rare opportunity to worship in an important Armenian Cathedral which bears witness to our thousands of years presence in Asia Minor and begs the question “What happened to these indigenous people?” It is NOT a “rare opportunity” unless you attend it on a Turk-designated date and participate in it in a Turk-decorated fashion. If you’d prefer our own choosing, there’ll be PLENTY of opportunities to worship in this or any other important Armenian cathedral. No biblical connotation urges you to worship inside a church especially that you know that a portrait of great falsificator freemason Mustafa Kemal will be hanging inside instead of holy silhouette of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ effectively desecrated by the “religiously tolerant” Turks. As for “declaring we are still here and waiting to bring it all home,” you fail to explain how it’s achievable if no international media coverage, not just Armenian ANCA, will shed light on this?
     
    Stepan, I personally don’t hold Boyajian responsible for the desire of some Armenians to attend the event, so there’s no need for you to state that you “won’t let Boyajian to take the heat on this matter.” I’m just offering my observations and always provide arguments in support to my position. I disagree fundamentally that attending a mass on the date and in the form designed by the Turks would “underestimate our behavior towards the church as ours.” Why? How can ignoring the Turkish masquerade be classified as “dishonoring our grandparents”? How? How does any other date and our own choosing be less honoring our grandparents” than the Turk-staged show? Just how? As for continuing to “behave like a victim,” you’re dead wrong, I’m afraid. For me, the best illustration of the opposite is those groups of Armenians that visit our churches, monasteries, and other sites independently, like the group led by the late Archbishop Asjian. I’ve watched the film while in Armenia and became overwhelmed by the courage and the civil position that the group was able to ascertain there as OWNERS, not victims, of all the sites that they visited. Why don’t we capitalize on this experience, make it all-national, and with as expansive coverage as possible by the media reps accompanying such groups? KS maybe tougher on the issue than I am, but I can understand his point: visiting our lands must be done on OUR terms to an optimal degree, as OWNERS of those lands and architectural monuments that belong to us. This has nothing to do with a victim mentality, on the contrary: it demonstrates our increasing tendency towards asserting our rights on our heritage on the level of all-national, not narrowly Turkish, choosing.

  116. Okay, mjm.   Just one problem.  I am not trying to convince anyone of anything.  I am only sharing my personal thoughts on the matter and my understanding of how and why some may see positives in going to Akhtamar.  As always, I respect your opinion and even see your point regarding visiting on our own terms.   I am not familiar with the visit led by the late Archbishop Ashjian but would love to hear more about it.
     
    If I understand you correctly you do not object to going to Akhtamar or any other Armenian site on any other day, just not on a day set by Turkey as if they have the right to grant this permission.  You reject the idea of Turkish sovereignty over our historic sites and resent the destruction they have allowed to happen to them.  You also resent the idea that they will use this event to pretend they are caretakers of our antiquities and religiously tolerant.  You do not see the value of being present at Akhtamar to “declare we are still here and waiting to bring it all home if there is no international media there to witness it.”  I agree.
     
     

  117. Oh how nice; while the Turks and ADL lobby against an Armenian Genocide resolution in the coming months, Turks set a trap to have Armenians spend tourist dollars at a museum to make them selves look good at the same time fulfill Talat’s dreams.

    Instead of spending that money in a museum in the coming months, we should tell the filthy scumbags to take a hike in circles from Istanbul to Der Zhor without food or water.

    We should spend our money in excavating the bones of our ancestors in Der Zhor to get our genetic information.

  118. There is a “male” vocabulary and a “female” vocabulary?  For God’s sake guys… this is getting out of hand!… Which century are we living in?  Boyajian, I would not bother if I were you!
    The fate of our cause does not rest solely on how the media will perceive this September 19th Sourp Khach Propaganda stunt!  Instead of holding our breaths and waiting for Turkey’s next propaganda stunt, we should become the “Captains” of our cause, by strengthening our motherland and by having Armenia ARTICULATE “our demands from Turkey”.  This whole propaganda shenanigans will be “nullified”, and the spotlight will be snatched form Turkey, if our Armenian government makes an official complaint about our Armenian church being turned into an income generating Museum instead of allowing two Etchmiazin clergy attend!  The Armenian President can summon the International media on September 19th, and expose this event for the outrageously immoral deed that it is.  Why is our Armenian government sleeping is beyond me!  Can you imagine how the Jewish leadership would have reacted, and what a big international fuss they would have made out of this!  People do not disrespect you… You LET people disrespect you.  Stand up as a government and express the outrage of your people! 
    They massacred us… out of the 2.5 million that we were, they massacred 1.5 million of us to take our lands and make them their own… they took over our homes, farms, businesses, bank accounts, treasures and even life insurances..now they are changing the names of our historical/archaeological/worship sites into “Turkish” sounding names, and making “museums” out of Christian Armenian churches to make money even from the remaining traces of our ancient civilization… and our Armenian government is mum about this!
    Why do you think they were able to massacre our women, children and men in the first place… can you guess?… we did not have a government to protect us,… we did not have an army…  now we have one… and it is choosing to stay quiet in front of this latest assault!  When you have to speak up, you need to speak up!  The Armenians who chose to attend can do a lot to ruin Turkey’s day in the sun if they want to!  They marched us to our deaths like sheep… we can refuse to visit Sourp Khach like sheep, and that applies to both going there and to boycotting!  Can the Turks arrest Armenian tourists for holding up our flags inside the church?  It is an Armenian church!
    If we still want to use our churches, then we should be outraged that they are turning them into museums!  No voice=you do not exist=you belong in museums! Do we only want to be good in crying, wining and bickering amongst us! 

  119. Indeed, KS. I’d add that we failed spending money for such an important endeavor as building a monument in memory of hundreds of thousands of Armenians let starve and burnt alive by the Turks in the Deyr Zor dessert. Has any Armenian group ever explored the possibility and the Syrian government’s reaction to that? I don’t see why Syrians would object to this commemorative monument.

  120. “Can the Turks arrest Armenian tourists for holding up our flags inside the church?  It is an Armenian church!”

    Obviously the intention and wish is not a celebration of the Armenian culture and heritage and say prayers in a space that has heard the prayers of ancestors for a thousand years but to wave a flag, challenge the sovereignity of a nation, a host nation, and make a nationalistic and cheuvensitic deomnstration and cause trouble and embaressment for the Turks.

    Can anyone blame the Turkish government moving so gingerely on this?  How can they be expected to accomodate virulent Armenian nationalism on their own soil?  I have only lately became aware of the risks the Turkish government is taking on this and similar issues.  Thanks to you.

  121. Stepan:  Continuing to knowingly succumb to Turkish trickery, ploys, image-building, and point-scoring means continuing to behave like a victim. Conversely, attempting to change the rules to an optimal extent possible, based on our claims on the lands, churches and monasteries, and the entire heritage stolen from us, to me, means starting to behave like an owner.

  122. I tend to think that the event on the 19th is a continuation of the same policy of KS-dubbed “Hillary’s anti-Armenian team” to bring the two nations together in order to advance her government’s interests, not restoration of justice for Armenians. First, idiotic attempt at having two polarized sides sign and ratify ill-conceived, out-of-reality protocols by exerting pressure on the government in the Republic. Now, it’s the Diaspora’s turn to succumb to the same careless policy by attending the Turkish masquerade. In both cases, tactical considerations for rapprochement are greatly flawed as they avoid addressing the core issue of Armenian-Turkish “relations”: recognition of genocide, and focus on mending fences between the victim and the unrepentant murderer-nation without regard for the core issue. Nothing will come out of this, even with the group of flattering Diasporans rushing to Akhtamar on the 19th. How many times the U.S. administration would need to repeat the same mistake over and over again to understand that for a problem to be solved the CAUSE, not the consequence, needs to be addressed?

  123. Murat you wrote:
    Obviously the intention and wish is not a celebration of the Armenian culture and heritage and say prayers in a space that has heard the prayers of ancestors for a thousand years but to wave a flag, challenge the sovereignity of a nation, a host nation, and make a nationalistic and cheuvensitic deomnstration and cause trouble and embaressment for the Turks.
     
    Twisted logic Murat, to think that murdering thieves can be considered the “host nation.”  You still don’t get it. Nobody wants to “embarrass” Turks.  We want to make Turkey face justice. We want to let the world know the truth of how Turkey came to turn a church into a museum for tourists to visit. We want the world to ask why is Turkey sponsoring this one day a year religious service for an ancient church?  Who does it belong to?  What happened to these people?  Why isn’t the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul allowed to administrate the church for its faithful?  And we want to answer these questions with a piercing and unwavering truth.  Does this really surprise you?
     
    Do you recognize the remnant of Ottoman mentality in your thinking?  You think Armenians should be ‘grateful’ to Turkey for ‘restoring’ this church by turning it into a museum.  It ‘annoys’ you that we should find fault in Turkey’s self-serving gesture.  We ‘rudely’ insult Turkey with a nationalistic demonstration on Turkey’s sovereign territory.  It doesn’t even occur to you how Turkey insults Armenians by turning a house of worship into a an “architectural marvel” that they will proudly display and that tourists will pay to view.  This church does not belong to Turkey and it offends me that Turkey couldn’t just repair Sourp Khatch because it was the right thing to do for Armenians, for history and for justice.
     
    Can you not see how twisted you and your sick little nation are not to recognize the need to finally face the truth and apologize?

  124. Listen, Murat: You’ve been asked a direct question which you chose to avoid in the best sneaky Turkish tradition: “What’s your position on these pages with regard to the core issue of Armenian Question during the final years of the Ottoman empire and subsequent years?” If your mental ability only allows you to copy and paste excerpts from Armenian commentators’ posts, do please state unambiguously: “Ladies and Gentlemen, being a Turk, my mental abilities are limited only to extracting excerpts from your comments and spit out spite on them.” Believe me, knowing the Turks better than anyone else in the world, Armenians would understand this completely. Likewise with your most recent “masterpiece”: “Obviously the intention and wish is not a celebration of the Armenian culture and heritage and say prayers in a space that has heard the prayers of ancestors for a thousand years but to wave a flag, challenge the sovereignty of a nation, a host nation, and make a nationalistic and chauvinistic demonstration and cause trouble and embarrassment for the Turks.” But, dude, haven’t your ilk mounted a Turkish flag on an Armenian church after wiping out its parishioners in 1915-1923? Hasn’t your state, mildly speaking, “challenged,” and factually speaking, annihilated the whole civilization of Western Armenians? Hasn’t your state become a “host” on the lands of genuinely host nations inhabiting Asia Minor as a result of scorching, devastating invasions of your nomadic Seljuk and Mongol forefathers? Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that when an indigenous nation is colonized, nationalistic demonstration is inevitable in an attempt to free the nation from the repressive foreign yoke? Finally, hasn’t it ever occurred to you that when the whole nation is massacred by your savage, barbarous grandfathers, the remnant of that nation may become chauvinistic and rightfully indignant against the unrepentant murderer nation? Oh, and excuse me, look who’s talking about causing “trouble and embarrassment for the Turks:” a Turk, whose ilk caused 1.5 million of innocent people to disappear from the face of the earth; hundreds of thousands of others forcibly deported; three quarters of our ancestral lands stolen; and almost all monuments of ancient Armenian civilization desecrated; thus committing genocide of people and incorporating their lands and properties into the filthy republic of turkey. See, ungrateful Armenians who were annihilated in millions by the Turks are causing “trouble and embarrassment” for the most compassionate, human life-valuing, religiously tolerant, most respectful, and open-minded Turks. Why would they come to be known in the world as “barbarian Turks,” might anyone know?

  125. mjm,

    Well said. I don’t know why, but you sound like an Armenian to me. Even Murat gets it that it is a trap. Those who don’t see it as a trap are either purposefully leading the lambs to the wolves or are just outright wreckless.

  126. “How can they be expected to accomodate virulent Armenian nationalism on their own soil?”
    “Obviously the intention and wish is not a celebration of the Armenian culture and heritage and say prayers in a space that has heard the prayers of ancestors for a thousand years but to wave a flag,”
    Very interesting statements… The Armenian ancestors said prayers in this church for a thousand years, but somehow the soil that the church is standing on is Turkish soil, even though the Turkish Republic is only 90 years old!  And before that the Turkish empire had ruled 3,000 year old Armenia for 700 years, the same amount of time that it ruled Lebanon, Syria and Palestine… but somehow those are no longer Turkish soil, but the Armenian lands are Turkish soil because the Armenian population was killed off.  It is not acceptable for the Armenians to be nationalistic and celebrate their nationality holding the flag that the church truly belongs to, a flag that stands for their culture, history and religion, but somehow, it is civilized to place the Turkish flag on top of a thousand year old Armenian church and claim it as a Turkish museum.  It is wrong for a people to celebrate its nationality, but it is not wrong for a people to destroy another nationality.
    Turkey is very tolerant of other religions and nationalities… as long as they don’t mention anything about their nationalities and do not put their cross on their church…
    Hmmmmm…..
    Real tolerance would have meant returning the church to the Armenian theologians, not milking a sacred site for touristic income!  Can you imagine if we put the Armenian flag on top of a mosque, and asked Muslims to pray there on a specific day, but not mention that the mosque belongs to them, because now it is an Armenian museum…  There are all sorts of flags displayed in the United States of America.  No one calls the different nationalities “virulent” and “dangerous”!
    Bizarre….
    Why all this worry… unless you have something to hide…  It is one thing for a nationality to naturally disappear from the history of a land.. it is another when that nationality has been brutally wiped out from that land.  You do not put your flag on the church of a people who’s women you raped, and children you drowned and men you beheaded and ask them to be thankful and come in and pray nicely…
    You renovate the church, apologize for what you have done, and return it in good will to the Armenian church.  Now that is something that all Armenians would appreciate and be impressed and thankful about.  That would be the difference between a racist backwards nation and a strong modern nation that is not scared to admit its wrongdoings and moving on.
    Not to worry… the idea of waving the Armenian flag was just that:an idea …

  127. Katia K — Correction: “And before that the Turkish empire had ruled 3,000 year old Armenia for 700 years…” Ottoman Turkish empire (The House of Osman) was established in the 15th century AD. This makes the duration of Ottoman rule over Armenia for roughly 500 not 700 years.

  128. mjm,

    I agree with you 100% Unfortunately, there are a lot of ADL and Turkish lobbiests who are either paid by the ADL and the Turks to say certain key words that are repetitive all over the blogisphere. Not to mention the FBI and CIA monitoring these web sites. You have to be carefull as to whom you are speaking to. I’m glad you caught on to the sharades.

  129. Mjm.. you are brilliant.. qefs galisa when i read your comments..You remind me of Msheci who has the same wealth of knowledge and can shut Murat and his kind one word at a time.. Bravo……

    Boyajian and Katia jan….you have been and will always be my role models..:)

    KS- you have strong points and i agree with you on many levels… except Boyajian is our sister.. i warned everyone very early on that Turks are doing things like this knowing very well that it will put a divide in us.. ari [email protected] es anter shunerin to do this to us….i am sure you would agree…

    Grish you mentioned that Turkey’s President will be visiting USA on the same day that Aghtamar’s event will take place.. I am going to read the news that you provided to us.. thank you for that..

    Stepan- thank you for your encouraging words.. it is our love and passion for our ancestors, lands, and culture that will keep the fight alive.. it will never die..

    Murat-i just don’t get it.. are you not embarrassed by your stupidity and Anti- Armenian mentality… absolutely incredible how one can be sooo clueless… i feel sorry for you..

    have a great day…

  130. Thanks, KS, for refreshing my memory as to who some of the commentators here might actually be and that the FBI and CIA are monitoring these websites. Well, if they now do, let me tell them out loud: I don’t give a f**** damn. Being cabals of certain sinister supranational, supragovernmental forces, the so-called “internationalist power elites” that assumed a blasphemous right of orchestrating world events, these agencies should distinguish between anti-government, anti-establishment proclamations or actions from rightful indignation of a people who were subjected to genocide and who raise their voices in an attempt to restore justice. If these agencies don’t distinguish between these two things, then I really pity them. I alsod question the level of their professionalism and knowledge of the subject that’s being discussed on these pages. My motto is never be anyone’s b***, especially the government’s.

  131. mjm, I appreciate the scrutiny, however, I am afraid you are wrong on this one.  The Ottoman Empire ruled from 1299 to 1923; for roughly 700 years.
    I used the number “700” in my earlier post, because that is the number I encountered in the books and literature that I have read.

    Gayane and Boyajian… always great to hear from you!

  132. Actually, the correct lifespan of the Ottoman Empire is 624 years.  The number is rounded up to 700 or rounded down to 600.  Most Arabic history books place it at 600 years.
    Either way, Sourp Khatch church was built between years 915-921, about 400 years before the Ottoman Empire even existed.
    So much rich history and culture stolen from us…

  133. Katia K:  My comment was in response to your remark: “And before that the Turkish empire had ruled 3,000 year-old Armenia for 700 years.” You’re wrong: the duration of Ottoman rule over Armenia is less than that. I’m not arguing that the Ottoman Empire existed for roughly 700 years, but its rule over Armenia spread only during the 16th century AD when the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia divided Armenia among themselves. This (i.e. Ottoman empire’s rule of Armenia) makes it roughly 500, not 700 years. You either misread my post or I wasn’t clear enough, sorry.

  134. The 400 years that preceded the Ottoman empire were filled w/ Seljuk rule, where they acted not only as rulers, but as patrons who used Armenian architects and stone masons to build their monuments. Those ‘Seljuk’ buildings, turbes, etc. were all built by Armenians since the Seljuks knew nothing of architecture. Ahktamar, as well as Armenian domed churches built in prior centuries provided a firm foundation for what came later on, not just during the Seljuk period, but the Ottoman as well. If it were not for an Armenian architect (Drtad), the dome of the mightly Hagia Sofia would probably not be standing today…about 900 years after he directed a restoration made necessary because of an earthquake. The point being that Anatolian Turkish history owes alot to the Armenian civilization that preceded it. Unfortunately, their ability to give credit to Armenians for anything was squashed during the Republican period of the 20th C, when virulent anti-Armenianism reached a zenith unmatched during any other period of Turkish history.

  135. Karekin:  “The 400 years that preceded the Ottoman empire were not completely filled with Seljuk rule” [over Armenia], but also with self-rule of several mighty independent Armenian principalities, such as, for example, the Bagratounis’.

  136. MJM,you may want to check your historical chronology – the Bagratunis came to power just as Arab rule over Armenia came to an end, but Bagratuni rule ended as a result of the dual onslaught of the Greek Byzantines and then the arrival of the Seljuks shortly thereafter.  The Bagratunis and Armenians of the day were not fans of the Greeks at all, who little by little encroached upon the Armenian kingdom. They were only too glad to help the Seljuks, if that meant an end to Greek domination…which it did.

  137. Karekin, you seem to have a serious reading comprehension problem, thus there’s no need for me to check “my historical chronology.” I didn’t go that far as to dissect historical minutia with you in terms whom the Armenians were fans of: civilized Greek Byzantines or tent-living savage Seljuk nomads. I only responded to your misleading remark that “the 400 years that preceded the Ottoman empire were filled with Seljuk rule” by illustrating that those centuries were not totally filled with Seljuk rule: the Armenian Bagratid dynasty existed until the 11th century and the dynasty’s branch in Georgia at the end of the 11th century drove out the Seljuks and retook a part of Armenia which included Ani and Kars. During the Seljuk colonization many other independent Armenian principalities also existed, such as in Dzoraget, Zangezour, Sasoun, and Moks. Also, do please check you historical chronology: where did you get 400 years of Seljuk rule? Seljuk savages appeared at the gates of Armenia at the end of the 10th century and parts of Armenia remained under their rule until the beginning of the 13th century. I have hard time calculating this time span as 400 years; to me, it’s slightly more than 200 years.

  138. Love the hisorical knowledge here…
     
    Meanwhile, as Armenians bicker about dates and who is right regarding the history of conquests and long gone empires, Turks are standing on the shores of Akhtamar Island rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the tourists arriving on Sept., 19.
     
    People, we need to focus here!  How should we best respond to this upcoming event?  How do we best serve the needs of the Armenian nation at this time?

  139. boyajian,

    What you are asking about is a no brainer. The Church has spoken on the topic and it is simple, “boycott.” Why do you insist on determining the so-called “best way to respond” on the topic when the Church has already spoken?

  140. KS, a boycott is a partial response recommended by a part of The Church.  It doesn’t close discussion on the realm of possible innovative responses to the larger question of how to get a step ahead of Turkey instead of only responding to its self-serving provocations.

  141. Boyajian:  I thought you’ve already made up your mind: you’re going, aren’t you? You also heavily tried to persuade others to go, so why would you still need the “best response to this upcoming event”? As for history insights, they are part of our Cause. Some individuals here, like Karekin, try effortlessly to justify rapprochement with the Turks by tilting our minds that Armenians were always subjugated to other nations, most recently, to the Seljuk-Mongol-Turk ilk. Proving them wrong is my obligation as an Armenian. You have time to object that? I thought you were already packing suitcases for a flight to Turkey for the Sept 19th event…

  142. mjm you are too smart to be such a careless reader or for the need to resort to snarky remarks against a fellow Armenian.  Check your assumptions.
    I am quite familiar with Karekin and the need to correct some of his propaganda.  More power to you.  Also, I support historical insights and have engaged in and benefited from many.  You purposely twist my intent.

  143. No propaganda here, folks, sorry to disappoint you.  Just facts….not created by me, I can assure you. No one is trying to discredit anyone or anything Armenian, though it appears there are plenty of Armenians who are quite willing to do that to their countrymen.  But, if you want a more detailed history that is quite good, you can try Robert Hewsen’s Historical Atlas of Armenia, or try this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagratuni_Kingdom_of_Armenia

  144. What if Etchmiadzin held a massive memorial service either at Dzidzernagaberd or the cathedral on Sept.19th instead and invited the international media?  Or perhaps our Diocesan centers in America should organize such an event?  Could this be effective in bringing attention to the Armenian response to Turkey turning Sourp Khatch into a museum that they control rather than restoring a church that the patriarchate of Istanbul controls?

  145. What’s the rationale behind continuing to debate on this issue? Everything’s clear now. Catholicosate of Cilicia has made an unambiguous statement; their message to all Diasporan Armenians is crystal clear. Two mid-level clerics from Etchmiadzin are enough so that Turkish distortionists won’t say that Armenians have abandoned their heritage stolen from them by their Young Turk mass murderers.

  146. Offering an idea or raising a question does not constitute a debate, in this case, simply an  idea that is not contrary to Cilicia’s statement.  This forum invites ideas as well as allows others to respond to ideas.

  147. Boyajian.. I think that is a great idea…

    Any media attention at this event or away from this event is absolutely necessary.. Media outlets that will tell the story… the correct story….the more noise this makes, the better for us because education is the key here.

    Any regular American or a non-Armenian who does not knwo the history behind this church will not understand the purpose of us boycutting or attending.. a crystal clear story with the background of the church up till now needs to be told to the world.. and this needs to be done now until the day of… not sure why our media is soooo quite….

    Gayane

  148. One of the unfortunate byproducts of a creative and talented community such as the Armenians is that we , at critical times, have DIFFICULTY PROVIDING LEADERSHIP AND DISPLAYING A WILLINGNESS TO FOLLOW. This Aktamar situation is an excellent example of where the Armenian people should be looking to their church for leadership and they should be ready to follow.
           So what have they delivered? The patriachate is essentially silent due to the political constraints and internal issues. The Mother See comes out publically in support of this event and the See of Cilicia does the opposite…essentially advocating a boycott.
    So we will do what we tend to do….that is follow our parochial interests. We simply do not understand or value the power of unity. We don’t have an “in house” approach to our diiferences. We would rather let them play out publically… in a not so subtle competition for public approval. Aram I”s statement may be direct and strong, but in the absence of a unified position, its effect is greatly diluted. We have to have higher expectatons of our leaders.
                I read relentless criticism.. some of which is justified… some of which is just do the populat thing. What about our church? The Armenian church always played a central role in the life of the Armenian nation. Our heritage and our faith are inseparable; yet we have such tolerance for the disunity of the church because it aligns with our local community behavior. For years , we have been walled off and sub-optimized. Aram I makes a statement and we respond because he “ours” Karekin II makes a statement and others respond similarly. yet few of us demand or more importantly pray that they
    work as one unit publically … for the good of our nation.
               When we started this dialogue, I felt the issue of Turkish manipulation verses
    the Armenian Cause was the issue. As time has transpired, unfortunatley our disunity has become far too prominent. I pray for our strength in unity.

  149. I can understand that many Armenians will not visit a country where their ancestors were killed, and also that many will not attend a once in a year religious service in a church turned into a museum by the unrepentant descendants of those responsible for the bloodshed. In this way I can understand Kiazer Souze and mjm. But the matter can also be seen according to the general experiences of political opposition and activism. In the first place, public protest will nearly always happen according to rules made by those in power and these rules may make the protest seem impotent and twisted to support the adversary. In many cases, this makes protesters prefer illegal protest, not to be associated with the power holders. This view has some merits and some drawback. To allow a demonstration against injustices may be construed as an admission of democratic attitude in those in power who are responsible for the injustice, but also for the permission to demonstrate.
    Isnt the main question whether a large Armenian attendance in the ceremony in Sourp Khatch – or boycott – will strengthen the campaign for Turkey to go into the black spots in its history, admit and repair?
    Now Harut Sassounian was – if I remember correctly – protesting against  the Istanbul Armenian church leader, Karekin, I believe, attending the re-opening of the church/museum. But Karekin had earlier refused to attend if the opening was to be on april 24, which was the intention of the Turkish authorities. He said that by using this day the Turkish authorities were portraing the opening as an atonement for the Medz Yeghern, whereas in fact the Turkish authorities had not admitted anything. And the Turkish authorities backed down and changed the date. This can be taken as a sign of Armenian influence. Other examples might be cited. But would Harut Sassounian prefer this event never to have happened, would he prefer that the desecrated church should never be visited by Armenians at all? You can say that this would have been better because it would not have created any illusions about the Turks, and that Armenians would not have been lured into a trap in the form of  a rotten compromise. On the other hand, there would have been no stage for actions like the youths who recently were thrown out because they sang and lighted candles,staging a quite effective demonstration of Armenian claims to the church. I can see the force of the boicott of the Cilician catholicosate, and that it is unfortunate for Armenians to be divided. However isnt it better to discuss the matter in terms of the general experiences of political protest and activism rather that accusing each others of not being Armenian?     

  150. Stepan,
     
    I’m afraid you’re wrong. The leadership has been provided and a willingness to follow displayed. The government of the Republic and the Catholicosate of Cilicia have unambiguously denounced the event as a Turkish show that’d only benefit advancement of Turkey’s image as “religiously tolerant” state having throughout the country thousands of intentionally ruined, detonated, transformed into museums or sheepfolds architectural monuments and artifacts that belong to the civilizations that Turks have wiped out from the face of the earth. What other leadership do you want from a diasporan nation, a part of which lives in eastern Armenia and most of it scattered all over the world? There hardly can be any centralization under such circumstances unless all Armenians are declared citizens of the Republic, the two Catholicosates be unified as one Mother See, and our political parties come to understanding—at last—that they need to drop differences, unify, and serve one all-Armenian goal.
     
    I can understand the motives behind the Mother See’s actions to dispatch two mid-level clergymen to Akhtamar: after all, if there’s no presence at all, sly Turks would interpret it as a sign of Armenians’ willingness to abandon their rich heritage in Western Armenia. As for the Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople, come on, man, what can you possibly expect from this oppressed, Turkish government-bullied institution?
     
    As far as points raised by you and Ragnar, until now I haven’t received a satisfying answer to my question repeated for the sixth time already. Why necessarily on the 19th? Why as a part of Turkish government-orchestrated event that they’d reap benefits from? Why in a church on top of which there’s no cross and a Turkish flag instead? Why inside a church where most probably a snout of Mustafa Kemal will be hanging? Why not on a day that we ourselves choose? Why not in the same or any other ruined or half-ruined Armenian church, monastery, town, district, village, house? Why not on our own will to pray inside or, if denied, outside a church? Why not on our own conditions, i.e. large groups of Diasporan Armenians and Armenians from the Republic wearing “Road to Home” or “Back to Home” shirts? Why not accompanied with the media reps that’d almost certainly air the pre-history of Armenians’ presence in their ancestral lands associated with our visits?
     
    Why wouldn’t these actions strengthen the campaign for Turkey “to go into the black spots in its history, admit, and repair,” and only a large Armenian attendance in the ceremony in Sourp Khatch on the 19th would?

  151. Ragnar Naess:  I consider it cynical, just utterly cynical, to formulate the “main question” as to whether “a large Armenian attendance in the ceremony in Sourp Khatch–or boycott–will strengthen the campaign for Turkey to go into the black spots in its history, admit and repair,” when you know too well what’s happening in Turkey as we exchange comments: human rights activist Dogan Akhanli is imprisoned in Istanbul and a linguist, columnist, academic, and outspoken critic Sevan Nisanyan is facing a demolition order on his hotels because of his criticism of Turkey’s persecution of her minority citizens. How dare you to suggest that our attendance on Akhtamar would “strengthen the campaign for Turkey to go into the black spots in its history, admit and repair” knowing that Turkey’s own actions as we speak sharply contradict any such possibility? I consider such a statement as being in the realm of sheer cynicism. Sorry.

  152. Will someone please explain to me – Why Aghtamar on Sept 17 and not Ani on April 24? At least at Ani there is no pretense at “restoration.” You will still have to pay turks at the entrance of land that is ours; you will still be confronted by a turkish flag and posters, but at least you will be bending your knee when and where you want. There is more than just one church to pray in at Ani; there is more room for large numbers of us; we are more able to control the event. It is a deeper part of who we are. Aghtamar is a small island.  Holy Cross is the only church there. It is not large enough to accomodate more than a couple hundred people. Ani is more easily accessible from Yerevan. You would not have to start your trip in Istanbul. You could drop your bucks in Yerevan instead of turkey. my people were forced to obey by the turkish sword. I live in a democracy. I don’t obey turks. I’m busy with other things on Sept. 17.

  153. It’s very unfortunate that in our need for genocide recognition, etc., Armenians find it necessary to endlessly demean another ethnic group. I can understand denouncing the Young Turks and the CUP and their policies, as well as those who continued them. But, believe it or not, we are all humans and deserve recognition as such. None is better than another. This is a big world, our pain (which is now 100 years old) is not bigger than that of those who are suffering around the world right now. If we want compassion, recognition, etc., then be prepared to give it yourselves, even if you find it painful. Yes, the CUP murderers wiped out 75% of the Armenian population in Anatolia and this was, without a doubt, one of humanity’s worst moments. But sadly, the world at large closed the chapter on the Armenian genocide a long time ago and has moved on –  and forgets our history in the light of newer crimes and atrocities.  Even my grandparents, who lost their land, homes, relatives and friends in Turkey, were able to move on. Why can’t you?  I agree with those who say that being physically present at Akhtamar (or Ani, or Kayseri or even Istanbul) is a good thing, not a bad one. It reaffirms and honors the Armenian history of Anatolia for everyone in Turkey. In rejecting Akhtamar and its preservation – as a church or as a monument – it’s important to think about what you’re really objecting to and why. I think people are largely avoiding the central issue…which is that Akhtamar was saved from destruction and the risk of further degradation, which was the fate of many Armenian monuments in Turkey. At the very least, let’s be happy about that because no matter what anyone says, it is much better for Armenians and their history as a conserved monument than as a pile of stones.
     
     

  154. Karekin,

    I don’t like you insulance towards our Church. They have already spoken. It is their property to tend to not yours. The only thing that belongs to you is your identity and you will not be representing your identity by paying money to visit a museum with Kemal Attaturk’s picture at the altar.

  155. Incorrigible Karekin – Aren’t you tired of repeating the same charades over and over again? Give us a break, will you?
    None of the humans are better that another: OK, admitted. Armenians haven’t mass murdered and mutilated virtually whole Turkish nation, the Turks did it to Armenians, but we’re no better that the Turks. If no humans are better than another, why wouldn’t Turks apologize to Armenians? Aren’t they, too, not better that anyone else? Our pain (which is now 95 not 100 years old) can be considered bigger than that of those who are suffering around the world right now, in that based on the Turks’ mass extermination of Armenians the international term “genocide” has been coined and the world generally admits that had there been admittance of guilt and proper recognition of Turkish crime against humanity, there would have been no Holocaust of the Jews, or genocides of the Cambodians, Bosnians, Rwandans, and Darfurians. We don’t have to give compassion to an unrepentant murderer; the murderer has to offer an apology to the victim, this is how things work. The world at large didn’t “close the chapter on the Armenian genocide a long time ago and has moved on”: as lately as several months ago the nation of Sweden joined other nations in recognizing the Armenian genocide. Other nations and organizations have the issue on their agendas. An unrecognized atrocity brings newer crimes and atrocities, not the one that’s been forgotten. There’s no panacea for atrocities to reoccur, if the humanity forgets the previous ones. Your grandparents were able to move on because of maybe some peculiarities of their fundamental nature; mine were not, so were millions of other Armenian grandparents, parents, and contemporary youth, because the pain has become a part of our genetic memory. It can’t just fade away until we know that a perpetrator-nation has repented.
    “Akhtamar was saved from destruction and the risk of further degradation, which was the fate of many Armenian monuments in Turkey.” Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Who blew them up, deliberately ruined, desecrated, and transferred to mosques and sheep stables all these beautiful ancient monuments? Don’t you understand that Turks did external restoration for propagandistic purposes as the event on Akhtamar clearly demonstrates? And haven’t you seen piles of stones left from St. Karapet in Moush and hundreds of other magnificent structures in Armenian-populated provinces? Who did this to them? Eskimos? And you urge us to be “happy” with it? You should be ashamed of yourself …

  156. Stepan, maybe this is what happened…
    Etchmiadzin:  “You know we are going to have to send someone to Aghtamar on the 19th.  It is the politically prudent thing to do while we are still negotiating opening borders, etc.”
    Antelias:  “We understand the situation.  Don’t worry, we will issue the press release stating that we will not attend this mockery and call on Turkey to restore the church to the Patriarchate in Istanbul.”
    Etchmiadzin:  “Good, that will cover the bases.”
    Antelias:  “Plus we are speaking up for the Patriarchate who are practically muzzled!”
    Etchmiadzin:  “Coming for sourj, Tuesday afternoon?”
     

  157. “Armenians were always subjugated to other nations, most recently, to the Seljuk-Mongol-Turk ilk.”

    I came accross above and it may be irrelevant now but just for those interested in historical accuracy and trivia, following may be of interest. 

    Battle of Malazgirt in 1071 is considered to be the event that opened the flood gates for these “barbarians” into Asia Minor, where suppposedly people lived happily under the Roman rule.  In additon to various Muslim and Christian nations and tribes, Alp Aslan, the commander of the Seljuk army, also had a large number of Armenians fighting on his side.  It seems your ancestors had a slightly different view of these barbarians.

    A few days ago, it was the anniversary of the Battle of Ain Jalut, or “Spring of Goliath”, in 1260.  Mongol armies were for the first time defeated in a battle.  Some consider it one of those events that changed the course of history.  Mamluks managed to stop this seemingly unbeatable force of nature somewhere near Palestine, but only after it laid to waste great civilizations, Abbasids and Eyyuibis.  There were Christian Nestorian Turkish and Armenian armies under his command, helping him demolish much of Middle East, and bring an early end to the Islamic enlightment.  In any case, again here the choice of your ancestors in choosing sides and allies seems to contradict your modern sensibilities.

  158. mjm
    How can discussing possible options be termed cynicism? Further, I do not understand why you on the one hand accept the sending by the Mother See of two clergyment to “prevent” a Turkish interpretation, and on the other hand advocate boicott. Does this make sense? How reconcile your lack of general belief in official Turkish versions and interpretations (a disbelief which I share to a great extent) with your idea that Turkish interpretations may be influenced by the attendance of two Armenian clergymen?

     

  159. Ragnar Naess:  It is not “discussing possible options” that’s been termed “cynicism.” It’s your suggestion that “a large Armenian attendance in the ceremony in Sourp Khatch–or boycott–will strengthen the campaign for Turkey to go into the black spots in its history, admit and repair.” I responded that based on what we see happening in Turkey as we exchange views, that you’re well aware of, large Armenian attendance cannot “strengthen the campaign for Turkey to go into the black spots in its history, admit and repair,” because these are unrepentant Turks and based on their conduct against the remnants of ethnic Armenians, or Kurds, or their own human rights activists they’ll always remain as such. If 500 years of their prison-of-nations-turned empire and 90 years of their fabricated republic didn’t change them, no one-time attendance of Armenians at a mocking event will. I don’t advocate boycott; I advocate presence of clergymen, but not crowds of people. It should be obvious that two clerics conducting mass vs. large crowds of Armenians will have different degree of impact on both Turkish domestic audience and international mass media coverage. Turkish interpretations of the attendance of two Armenian clergymen will have lesser effect and will leave lesser room for possible misinterpretations simply because the number of Armenians was small and they were all clergymen. For a one-day Christian mass Turks will get just one or two Armenian clerics. That simple.

  160. Dear mjm,
    For sure for those Armenians who are going to visit  “Sourp Khatch” Church, will be a day of anxiety attacks and hopelessness, unless Armenians tranquilize themselves with Doxepin…Turkey will decorate the Church walls with blood color flags, and Ataturk picture on top of altar, if there is any, for Blessed Virgin Mary Picture!!

  161. mjm
    thank you for your answer. I respect your opinion and I clearly see that attending the mass will not immediately change much. And I see the point about Armenians being divided on the issue.
    However I am still puzzled why you say that I am cynical. My main point is that attendance may be one of many symbolic acts that will make Armenians and their claims visible in Turkey. And is not influencing Turks one of the goals? And as I tried to say, whether attending is meaningful or not must be judged in the context of how we organise fights for justice more generally. Must not a decision be anchored in a more general idea of how to further a cause? So that it can be discussed in terms of what actions give the most effect. Was it cynical to say this? Now I understand and respect your feelings, and I have learned much about how the genocide is still a living reality in Armenians, so maybe I simply should shut up because I cannot as an outsider make any ciontribution ? But since we actually are discussing it does not seem so.
    I apologize if I offend your sensibilities, but again – you speak as if it is impossible to influence turks at all. I disagree with you in this, but again – why then the two clerics?

  162. I’m not going to live my life in reaction to what is good or bad for Turkey. I don’t want to live my life as a simple stimulus and response creature pegged to Turkey.  That is, what I chose to do or not do will not be in reaction to the perceived impact on Turkey. I am 4 generations removed from that part of the world. If I have an interest in my ethnic lineage and that interest takes me to an event in Turkey-that’s ok. It won’t seem OK for someone who on balance has punishing Turkey as a main focus of their life.

  163. I apologize if I offended your sensibilities, Ragnar Naess, by using the word “cynicism” to describe your recent comment on possible parallels between “a large Armenian attendance in the ceremony in Sourp Khatch–or boycott–will strengthen the campaign for Turkey to go into the black spots in its history, admit and repair” and your first-hand knowledge of the fact that the Turkish government actually does everything to prevent and suppress any attempts at “going into the black spots in the country’s history.” I can now see that using the term “cynicism” was unnecessary. My apologies.

  164. Harb:  For an unidentified “someone,” who actually represents the prevailing majority of the Armenian nation, it’s not about “punishing” Turkey as a “main focus of their life.” It’s about restoring justice for the heinous crime against my nation. If tomorrow I receive an apology from the Turkish government for the actions of the Young Turk government that caused death of my relatives in Sassoun, I would no longer care about “punishment” as a “main focus of my life.”

  165. I guess what you and I, as well as several other commentators among themselves, disagree with is that we don’t see the masquerade on Akhtamar island as a substantial step at rapprochement on the part of the Turkish government so that our attendance “may be one of many symbolic acts that will make Armenians and their claims visible in Turkey.” I’m certain that due to the Turks’ traditional distortion of any event that’d reveal the true history of their country and the crimes committed by their governments, coupled with the general reluctance of the world mass media outlets to look deeper into the causes of why an Armenian church—out of thousands of others—has been transformed into a museum; why it’s been dysfunctional after 1915; what happened to its parishioners; and where the families of worshippers inhabiting the Armenian-populated province of Van vanished, our attendance at the event in Holy Cross, in all likelihood, has little potential of furthering a cause, unless the world mass media outlets substantiate our attendance by making known to the world the answers to the questions that I posed. However, no commentator here displayed certainty as to whether these outlets would do that. Hence, under these circumstances, I think for a one-day mass in our own church Armenians should dispatch a one or two clerics, but not a large audience. We can argue ‘til the cows come home and each one of us might be right in his or her own mind. I only share what I feel and what my knowledge of the Turks’ behavior and proven record of unrepentance tells me. I don’t advocate anything.

  166. Harb, I really appreciate your thoughts.  I think most Armenians (and probably other minorities who have suffered under Turkish oppression) struggle to find their place on the continuum between feelings of hatred and vengeance against Turkey on one end and complete detachment from this history on the other.  The balance is not as easy to find as you might expect.  It depends a lot on how your family has coped with the tragedies and your own personal emotional make-up as well as your concept of right and wrong and fairness.  Most Armenians I know do not hate Turks as much as they are angry that Turkey seems to be getting away with murder and a cover-up.  That offends most people at the level of justice and basic human dignity.  It is both an internal conflict and a societal conflict.  If you choose to just accept the status quo and not struggle for a resolution to this obvious and glaring injustice, than what does that mean about your own self worth?  Who are you when your ancestors lives and history are disposable and easily forgotten?  And what kind of world are we part of when political and economic expediencies trump the moral imperative to stand up for the weak and oppressed amongst us?
     
    Most Armenians distinguish between the average Turkish citizen and the acts of a corrupt government which has brainwashed it citizens to believe that the deportations and massacres of minorities during 1915-1923 due to Ittihadists/CUP policy were justified for “national security reasons.”   Our fight is with powers that are for the most part unseen and purposely hidden behind figure heads and insincere rhetoric.  This is a struggle that has to be fought on several levels at the same time.  The movement to get governments and political and academic bodies to recognize the genocide is very important for putting pressure on Turkey from the outside.  But I think it is also important to educate the Turkish citizenry so that they can put pressure on their government and judicial system from the inside.  An Armenian presence inside Turkey that can assert our rights in a way that the average “oglu” can hear it and begin to question their own brain-washing is quite a challenge.

  167. As I said, I’m quite happy that Akhtamar did not suffer the same fate as many other Armenian monuments in Turkey. That does not equate with being happy about the fate of Armenians in Turkey or with being happy about Turkey. Far from it. But, there’s little you or I can do to change those sad facts. Armenia’s borders have shifted constantly over the last 4000+ years. Perhaps they’ll shift again in the future, but we live for now, as we can’t change the past and have little impact on the future. In some ways, this is very much like being caught in the rain without an umbrella, and holding a grudge against the clouds as a result. We all have to learn to live with the rain in our lives and our histories. If you have a destination (whether that’s a physical place or a psychological space – such as happiness), you may need to walk thru some rain to reach it, but standing in the rain and crying about it doesn’t change the situation for the better. Harb’s points are well made. Don’t let your lives and your attitudes be ruled by Turkey or even by history, otherwise you will be continually depressed and unhappy, which isn’t good for anyone.
     
     
     

  168. “There’s little you or I can do to change those sad facts,” says incorrigible Karekin. I agree. But there’s a lot a nation can do to restore justice for those sad facts. And I’m pleased to see that Armenians succeeded in keeping the genocide recognition issue on the agendas of many governments, organizations, prominent individuals, and academia. “Armenia’s borders have shifted constantly over the last 4000+ years.” I agree. However, whereas in the past they shifted as a result of wars and invasions, in the modern history, from 1915 to 1923 they shifted as a result of the most heinous crime against humanity committed by the Turks: the genocide. Big difference. But it’s not about shifting borders, it’s about our dignity as a nation that’s been trampled by barbarous crime. Our lives are not “ruled” by Turkey; now it’s our time to make Turkey follow our rules that are also the rules of the whole civilized world: repent and admit the guilt. Until that happens, we’ll be continually depressed and unhappy.

  169. Boyajian,  the quote was from another post here, maybe mjm.  Others have also made statements to the effect as if Armenians were innocent and neutral bystanders as the Asia Minor was overun by Turks and Mongols. 

  170. The commentators are coming at this issue from several different perspectives and most likely from several different countries. There are some who perceive themselves as Armenians in exile. I can and do respect their dedication to our common ancestors and their commitment to righting the heinous injustices they suffered. They see the best interests of their children and future generations are served by regaining Western Armenia. Clearly, these folks ought to be investing their time, their energy and their lives in that pursuit. At the other end of the spectrum there are those who see themselves as Americans or French etc.. We see the best interests of our children as served by the economic and political vitality of the US. I’m in that camp-my nation is the USA. We see the US/Mexico border issues as having much more impact our lives and those of our children than the demarcation of the Armenian border. Please understand that doesn’t mean we are indifferent to what happens in or to Armenia. It does mean that we see the issues of Armenian policy and interest as most appropriately the province of the people of Armenia. It does mean that what is good or bad for Turkey is not a big swing factor in our calculus.

  171. Murat, I meant your remarks.  Where did you get the info?
     
    Changing borders for 4000 years!  Yes Karekin, and yet with all that change, we Armenians stayed, prospered, built, farmed, harvested, wrote, sang, invented, danced, fought, rebuilt, worshiped, and remained Armenian on those lands.  What’s your point?  In my opinion you only illustrate just how horrendous the crime of genocide is and why we Armenians owe it to our ancestors and all mankind to fight for the guilty to pay and help prevent this atrocity from happening to others.  In a few short years, Turkey did what 4000 years of tumultuous history never accomplished.  This should make you unhappy but also move you to take action, not succumb to depression.

  172. Listen, typical Turk Murat:  Scroll up to my September 1, 2010 post in response to Karekin’s post and re-read it two times to understand. In case you won’t succeed in understanding, here it is a sentence from my post in its entirety, from which you, in the berst sly Turkish tradition, have extracted a portion and presented it in a distorted fashion. Here’s what I wrote: “Some individuals here, like Karekin, try effortlessly to justify rapprochement with the Turks by tilting our minds that Armenians were always subjugated to other nations, most recently, to the Seljuk-Mongol-Turk ilk. Proving them wrong is my obligation as an Armenian.” That is that commentators try to tilt our mind by asserting falsely that Armenias were always subjugated to other nations, a stance that is historically wrong as I proved in my response. And here’s what you extracted from my comment and presented that as if I’ve stated it affirmatively: “Armenians were always subjugated to other nations, most recently, to the Seljuk-Mongol-Turk ilk.” Knowing you’re a Turks, such cheap, low-mentality tricks come to no surprise to Armenians. You only ridicule yourself and your country known to us as distortionist state. As for your further statement, and I quote: “Others have also made statements to the effect as if Armenians were innocent and neutral bystanders as the Asia Minor was overrun by Turks and Mongols.” Well, at least thank you for admitting that Asia Minor was “overrun” by Turks and Mongols, but here’s a distortion again. Asia Minor was actually invaded by Seljuks and then Mongols in the 11th-13th centuries AD, and the amalgamation of these two tent-living, horse-riding savage tribes laid a foundation for the emergence of the Turks. Therefore, to separate Turks from Mongols by saying “Asia Minor was overrun by Turks and Mongols” is laughable. Maybe you wished to say “by Seljuks and Mongols,” but erred, than it’s excusable. The worst centuries for Armenians in the course of our 4000 year-old history were the Seljuk-Mongol-Ottoman centuries. And the most resistance was shown to Seljuks, and being sandwiched by the Byzantines on the one side and Seljuks on the other, Armenian kings and princes had to maneuver between the two invaders in order to salvage their land. You don’t have to present the picture as if civilized Armenians were longing for the invasions of your nomadic forefathers, but having been unable to resist hordes of savages, they had to sometimes take sides to be able to play upon the differences between the Byzantines and the Seljuks. Turkish distortionism of history is well-known to us, as a matter of fact your republic is founded on sheer distortion that your governments brainwashed you for decades.As a result we have Murat on these pages.

  173. Well  of course Harb, we all want economic prosperity and security for what ever nation we live in and this is right.  But take care not to lose sight of how interconnected the world is now.  The undue influence that Turkey has on our policies and the State department should worry you as secularism gives way to Islamization of Turkish life and government and ultranationalist ideology.

  174. Everyone seems to forget that pre-genocide, that is, pre-1915, there had not been an independent Armenia for about 600 years!  Isn’t that something to cheer?  Isn’t that something that should not be taken for granted?  The last was the Cilician kingdom, that ended in 1375. It could be argued that today’s Armenia (as well as any other border changes in history) came about ONLY as a result of war and the dissolution of empires, not the generosity of some ruling power. And, in the most recent case, it was the combo of dismantling of the Russian/Soviet and the Ottoman empires which created space for the smaller parts to emerge. The reality is that during the 600 year Ottoman period, Armenians were provided with a relatively safe haven. Now, you may want to argue that fact, but while the overwhelming power of the Ottomans denied Armenians independent political freedom, it did allow other freedoms to grow without the worry of maintaining a government, an army, etc, etc, etc.  Not the best outcome perhaps, but in that era, they had protection from many outside forces who wanted their land and transit routes, and would kill to get them. And, as everyone knows, when the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.  Best of all, Armenians did not live as slaves, as did most people of the world during those years, but as a respected millet because they provided a huge number of services and skills the ruling Ottomans were unable to offer. The ruling class focused on the military and running a government, while the minorities did everything else and provided the tax base to keep the entire machine running smoothly.  Sadly, Karo has a fantasy that ‘we’ can force Turkey ‘to follow our rules’.  Fat chance. Instead of indulging in such useless (and arrogant) thinking, why don’t we work hard to create the best possible world for people living in Armenia and Karabagh?  You can spend alot of time throwing stones at others, but if your own people are suffering (the poverty rate in Armenia is out of control), why would you waste your time or your focus on trying to change someone else, especially when you have no plans to pick up and move to the heart of Turkey anytime soon?  If you really care so deeply for Akhtamar or any other Armenian monument in Turkey, start a fund or an organization to collect money to maintain them. Many people would contribute and appreciate that effort, since that is our heritage. If you don’t like the Turkish govt doing it, do something yourself. Make an effort. Show an active interest instead of just complaining about the status quo.  I can guarantee you that the Patriarchate does not have the money to do it on their own and would appreciate all the help it could get. Do something positive – because doing something for the larger community always helps people overcome depression and anger.

  175. FYI – a correction is in order:  in case you were wondering, the ‘cheering’ I refer to should be for the independent Armenia that came about after the genocide and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, not for the 600 years of Ottoman rule.

  176. Boyajian, what I have stated are simple facts, easily availabe if you google or wiki.  In fact, wiki, a reliable source of Armenian propaganda, is a good starting point.  Now, I can make a few cynical remarks about text books and such, but I will refrain.  There is this myth that Armenians were hapless victims of Turkic AND Mongol invasions.  In our modern nationalistic interpratation of 1000 yr-histories we tend to ignore certain realities, since it conflicts with national myths, that kingdoms and nations did whatever was expedient.  All are prone to such notions, but I noticed, Armenians more than others.  None of these large armies were uniformly composed of one ethnicity or religion etc.  It did not matter at the time at all.  Alp Aslan’s army was heavily fortified by Armenians and other groups, who benefited from his conquests.  Similarly, Mongols did not just use pure-bred Mongols in their armies.  That is what made them succeed, ability to work with locals.  There were opportunities and rewards for those siding with the winners.  In any case, this is truly ancient history, it is beyond ridiculous to try to judge history from such a distance, but here we are, I felt the need to point these out.

  177. Can anyone tell me the benefit of paying my hard earned money to feed Turks by visiting a museum that has the picture of a homosexual pedophile (kemal Ataturk) at the altar?

    I am dieing to know.

  178. Harb — No doubt, of course you’re free to “see see the best interests of our children as served by the economic and political vitality of the US,” and [that] you’re in that camp-my nation is the USA.” As such, aren’t you bothered by the fact that our nation, while portraying herself as a beacon of democracy, morality, and human rights all over the world, is crawling behind such totalitarian, undemocratic countries as Russia or such minor world players as Uruguay in recognizing the Turkish crime that the humanity has termed as “genocide” based on Turkish extermination of Armenians? Don’t you feel disgrace for every other US presidential candidate who admits the fact of and pledges himself to recognize the genocide, but in a cowardly fashion retreats from his position after becoming president? Aren’t you irritated by the fact that a minor nation of Turkey can have influence on America’s moral standing on the human rights issue, such as the heinous crime against humanity: the genocide? I’d be greatly bothered, and not because I’m an Armenian, but because “America the Beautiful America the Great” is, essentially, subservient to pressure of a country that owes America its very existence, military prowess, and national security. I feel ashamed when Russian president Medvedev bowed at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, while the US president plays “ring around the rosy” with the issue. I really do.

  179. KS, you do realize that no one is asking or expecting you to go to Akhtamar, only to be less harsh in your judgment of those who feel they have good reason to go.  Your reason for boycotting is valid and you’re entitled to hold to your position without feeling that others are trying to change your mind.  We don’t all have to think alike to respect each others decisions.
    Now don’t you think it’s time to stop baiting an argument with others about this?

  180. Karekin you say:
    But sadly, the world at large closed the chapter on the Armenian genocide a long time ago and has moved on

    EXCUSE ME?  Are you living on planet Mars Karekin?  Do tell us as to how you came to a conclusion that the world has closed its chapter on the Genocide… is it written somewhere?  did someone tell you?  did you talk to Turkey’s President or Foreign Minister??? …. .. WOW…on the contreray Karekin, the world IS MORE AWARE and works at her hardest to get recognition and spread the education of her FIRST Genocide…. Are YOU even an Armenian??? I wonder sometimes….

    Karekin you say:
    which is that Akhtamar was saved from destruction and the risk of further degradation, which was the fate of many Armenian monuments in Turkey. At the very least, let’s be happy about that because no matter what anyone says, it is much better for Armenians and their history as a conserved monument than as a pile of stones.

    So we should be happy that our OWN church is now a museum for the sake of the argument.. that it was saved from being pile of stones?  ARE YOU our of your mind??? So you think a church turned into a museum with Turkish flag flying on it,  their ugly ass Ataturk’s picture hanging inside our sacred church wall and WITHOUT A Cross is a happy moment???? So you think we should kneel and kiss their feet for saving our church?? Should we send our thankful and heartfelt messages to the Turkish govt for doing us a favor for ruining our history and our ancient church???? is that what you are suggesting??? just so you know.. TO ME, having our church turned into a museum is AS BAD as having pile of stones…
    ….
    Karekin you say:
    But, there’s little you or I can do to change those sad facts.

    Well.. i don’t know about you but i do as much as i can to change those sad facts.. with whatever i can and i will NEVER give up…. but how i see you Karekin is this: someone who says forget history, move on and be happy with what we have… DEAD WRONG.. it is unfortunate that we have Armenians like you…. Turqera heriq chein, we have Armenians who try to stir the matter in the wrong direction and try to convince the rest of us that we should forget and forgive.. all i say to that Karkin: OHH..HELL NO.. you may do that but don’t preach to me to see your point because you are WRONG…

    Karekin you say:
    Don’t let your lives and your attitudes be ruled by Turkey or even by history, otherwise you will be continually depressed and unhappy, which isn’t good for anyone.

    Well i guess i am willing to live my life depressed and unhappy cause until TUrkey comes to realization with her past and what happened by showing signs of democracy and humanity..i, and hoping many many more like me minus you of course will continue to fight for what is right and just for the Armenia and her people… oh and just so you know.. to me…history IS OUR lives and attitude.. duhhhhhh… without history, without your ancestry, YOU won’t fully exist…

    I don’t know about many, but I get dumbfounded when I read your comments Karekin… simply, and utterly dumbfounded…

    Gayane

  181. I have to agree with Mjm…..

    I would also love to see answers to Mjm’s questions as it will give me a better undertanding of this matter..this is not to say that those who want to go are wrong.. on the contrary, everyone has a choice and need to follow their instinct and heart… I have personally expressed from the start that I don’t support in going to this event but I won’t put down or dislike those who decided to go…that said..

    Why necessarily on the 19th? Why as a part of Turkish government-orchestrated event that they’d reap benefits from? Why in a church on top of which there’s no cross and a Turkish flag instead? Why inside a church where most probably a snout of Mustafa Kemal will be hanging? Why not on a day that we ourselves choose? Why not in the same or any other ruined or half-ruined Armenian church, monastery, town, district, village, house? Why not on our own will to pray inside or, if denied, outside a church? Why not on our own conditions, i.e. large groups of Diasporan Armenians and Armenians from the Republic wearing “Road to Home” or “Back to Home” shirts? Why not accompanied with the media reps that’d almost certainly air the pre-history of Armenians’ presence in their ancestral lands associated with our visits?

    Thank you
    Gayane

  182. Harb you said:

    It won’t seem OK for someone who on balance has punishing Turkey as a main focus of their life.

    Boyajian and Mjm said it beautifully…. I want to tell you that my main goal and focus is not to “punish” Turkey but to bring awareness, and recognition of a history that has been and being distorted  by Turkey and her manipulative and bastards state…not only that.. the govt has been injecting the poison in her citizens turning them into zombies who think only one way:  TURKEY is not capable of horrible Genocide, and it is Armenians who started this whole bloodbath.. now.. that said…one of our main focus needs to be to break that cycle and that is what I intend to do with the help of millions of other Armenians who care and love their country, history and culture..
    and i believe..you should too…just my opinion… take it what is worth.

    Harb you said:
    We see the best interests of our children as served by the economic and political vitality of the US. I’m in that camp-my nation is the USA.

    I agree with this statement but ONLY if: No matter where I live, no matter who I meet, no matter who I marry, no matter what govt I support, i am an ARMENIAN first and foremost.. and THEN that country’s citizen..I strongly disagree with those who say “well i am detached from my roots because for whatever reasons and these matters don’t really mean much to us here….” I say the only time you detach yourself from your ancestry, your culture, your history is when you stop caring where you came from and what race you represent… my heart, and nation is ARMENIA… my country I live in is US…that said… Karo posed a great argument to your statement Harb.. EXCELLENT comment by Karo…Please reread it…

    Harb you said:
    It does mean that we see the issues of Armenian policy and interest as most appropriately the province of the people of Armenia.

    I am sorry but i have to disagree with this… Even though your statement is partially accurate, I have to say that Armenian issues should and need to be for ALL OF ARMENIANS.. not just people of Armenia… We are part of one nation, one culture, one history… to say that what goes on in Armenia should not be imposed or bothered by people living in US, France, Argentina, Peru, Spain, Israel, Moscow or Japan is very selfish statement.. I sort of understand where you are coming from and being 4 generation detached from your roots you still have an ARmenian blood running through your veins.. and these issues should interest and affect you in some way… ESPECIALLY when what you consider Armenian issues is not just Armenian issues.. Boyajian said it absolutely beautifully and she is 100% correct. …

    Well  of course Harb, we all want economic prosperity and security for what ever nation we live in and this is right.  But take care not to lose sight of how interconnected the world is now.  The undue influence that Turkey has on our policies and the State department should worry you as secularism gives way to Islamization of Turkish life and government and ultranationalist ideology.

    Don’t ever lose sight of what you represent and where you came from no matter where you are..and no matter what economic and political vitality you follow…..that is just my two cents..
    Thank you
    Gayane

  183. Karekin,
    You said:”Everyone seems to forget that pre-genocide, that is, pre-1915, there had not been an independent Armenia for about 600 years!”
    Yes, Armenia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for 600 years, therefore it could not have been independent during those years… and your point?!!!!
    Guess what:
    Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and parts of Iraq were also not independent for 600 years under the Ottoman rule.  The Empire was falling apart, nationalism, human rights, ethnic and civic rights were burgeoning and most of the above countries were handed their independence.  Some did not have designated borders until then.  What happened to Armenia?  Its quest for independence was regarded as treason and its lands were taken over by massacring its people!  You are right about one thing, we were the “trusted millet”, who patiently waited for the Ottomans to grant them their freedom, we depended on the whims of an empire that carried out massacres against our people even before 1915, instead of relying on ourselves, strengthening our people and taking charge of the protection of our people, monuments and lands.  By the way, Spain was ruled by the Arabs for 781 years, even longer in comparison!  That did not stop the Spanish people to demand their freedom back.
    In the past and now our main weakness has been the pursuit of personal gains and comfort rather then pursuit of the dream of a homeland such as the Jews.  If more and more of us will only concern themselves with their day to day living, forget about their homeland and just adopt the country they are living in such as Harb, then we do not deserve a homeland, and what happened to us in 1915 was partly to be blamed on this nonchalance.  While Russian Jews who settled in Ottoman Turkey refused to become Turkish citizens, we willingly helped out the Ottomans in all aspects of their nationhood, earned the nickname of the “faithful millet”, enlisted as soldiers, gave up our weapons when we were asked, and were butchered very easily when the time came.  Where was the prudence of our leadership?
    Murat,
    You said:”Alp Aslan’s army was heavily fortified by Armenians and other groups, who benefited from his conquests.  Similarly”.  You do not have to go that far back!… there were thousands of Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman army, fighting along side the Turks during WWI.  The Armenians, again the “faithful millet”, hoped and waited for the Ottomans to eventually grant them their free nation peacefully.  What did the CUP do?  It ordered all those Turkish Armenian soldiers killed by their own Turkish colleagues…  A baby will get this: THEY DID NOT WANT TO LET GO OF OUR LANDS!
    Shame on anyone who makes a mockery of the History of Armenia.  Shame on anyone who marginalizes what a horrendous crime it is to wipe out an entire ethnic population in order to take over their lands.  Yes, wars come and go and lands get conquered, but unarming a nation, massacring its population, taking over its lands and wiping out all traces of its existence is the most cowardly way of conquering a land.  Refusing to acknowledge the truth, keeping all that’s been stolen, denying justice so that not a penny is paid in reparations and not an inch of land is given back, is lower than low…. it has no word to describe it!
    Harb, 
    You said that you were four generations removed American Armenian.  Since the Genocide happened only about three generations ago, I am guessing that your immediate family has not been victimized.  I hope I am right, and you have been spared of that kind of family history.  Your position on this is something that the Turks envisioned will eventually happen to the Armenians, as their Genocide continues to be denied and they settle more and more in other countries.  What happened to you will happen to the majority of us down the road as the years go by.  This is exactly what was intended by the Genocide, and I guess it was successful in your and many other Armenians lives…  It was very easy for two empires to decide among themselves how they wanted to draw our borders… there was no people to object!  However, our numbers have grown again, and many of us do have legal matters to settle with Turkey.  There is new momentum in exposing the truth.  We owe that to our ancestors.  We can’t allow the Turks to succeed in annihilating our people, by treating our ancient treasures, churches and monuments as archaeological interests.
    Be a proud American, but also be proud and happy that in addition to that you carry in you the blood of one of the oldest people on the face of the earth.  Many Americans who have become part of the “melting pot” would die to have a background as rich as yours.
    This is why I have great respect for the way the Kardashians promote the idea of being Armenian, and they are only half Armenian! 

  184. Dear Gayane,
    Person like Karekin either has a Turkish blood or he is paid “historian” by Turks to use a name like KAREKIN……
    Karekin, my blood line do no go through Genocide of Turkey, but I feel “Genocide of my people” inside my vein and soul… it is not “forgettable” or “ignorable” and I am not under influence of the world politics, about the “truth of Armenian Genocide”….

  185. Ok Karekin, I read another post of yours where you explained why you mentioned the fact that Armenia was not independent for 600 years.  I understand what you were trying to say.  Yes, we should be very grateful that we now have an independent Armenia that we dreamt about for so long.  This smaller version of our nation was kept through the sacrifice of then destitute Genocide survivors and refugees who took up arms and defended the remnant of their country with all their might in the battle of Sardarabad.  Turkey not only had massacred us, but openly moved its armies on Yerevan in to finish us off.  The reason why the Armenian Genocide was supported by Turkey’s ally Germany was because of the Pan Turkic dream that was going to join Turks with their brothers the Azeris and open the roadonto India to form a new empire with all sorts of economic and geopolitical promises.  And lo and behold, we were smack in the middle of this territory, and preventing this Pan Turkic expansion.

    Gayane jan, absolutely excellent post, bravo!

    Harb,
    I want to know how you feel as an American about the fact that the US government, the world leader in human rights, continuously avoids acknowledging the Armenian Genocide in order to protect its Caucasus interests, even though it has in its national archives the most damning documents on the Genocide?
    Also, since you are American first and foremost, did you know the following facts (and if you did, how do you feel about them?):
    1. The Armenian Genocide was openly condemned in the US as it was happening.  The American newspapers covered all the atrocities, and the Americans raised money for the starving Armenians.
    2. The American President, Woodraw Wilson, promised he will push for the return of the Armenian lands back to the Armenians after the war, and did just that in the Treaty of Sevres.  All six of the Armenian Villayets (that includes mount Ararat, Lake Van, Akhtamar island and the Holy Cross church we are discussing here) were awarded to the Armenians.  The sad reality was that most of the Armenian leaders were killed and the population was down by 60%,… how were they going to reclaim these lands when thousands were still dying of hunger and disease?
    3. Ataturk negotiated his way out of the Treaty of Sevres by holding many negotiations, including the keeping of the Armenian Villayets in exchange to a percentage of Iraqi oil revenues to the US government (the US Secretary of State back then was the CEO of the largest American Oil company and he struck this deal).
    4. Injirlik, the present American base in Turkey, sits on an Armenian property whose deeds we still possess.  How do you feel about the Turks making money out of leasing this Armenian property to the Americans?

    Karekin,
    If all human beings are born equal, than why did the Jews deserve the justice due to them and the Armenians do not?  Were the 1.5 million human beings or flies?  How is it that rules of justice and civility apply to the rest of the world and not to Turkey?  We would not be vilifying the Turkish State if it had done the decent thing and acknowledged the wrong doing of its ancestor instead of denying the Genocide victims and their descendants the justice, recognition and reparations due to them.  How are we not to vilify a state that hopes to literally get away with murder and desecration of history? 

  186. Some details and clarifications on my previous comments:
    1. The Sevres Treaty was signed on August 10, 1920, and it said that Erzrum, Van, Bitlis and Trabizon should be incorporated to the Republic of Armenia.  While Wilson was contemplating on drawing the southwestern borders of Armenia, the Turks attacked the Republic of Armenia in September 1920, after having signed the Treaty of Sevres.
    2. In the earlier “Reform Measure” of 1914, Germany and Turkey on one side and Russia representing the Entente powers and the Armenians on the other side had named the six provinces of Erzrum, Van, Bitlis, Trabizon, Harput, Diarbekir and Sivas as the “Armenian Vilayets”.
    3. Charles E. Hughes who was a counsel (not CEO) with the US Standard Oil Company, pushed for the Lausane Treaty once he became the US Secretary of State.  He pushed for the interests of the Standard Oil company, by negotiating away the four Armenian provinces awarded to the Armenians in the Treaty of Sevres.  The deal secured the US Standard Oil company shares of Mosul oil revenue, as well as oil in the Armenian provinces of Erzrum, Van, Bitlis and Trabizon.  

    In defense of Americans, 42 out of 51 of the US states have officially acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, and the congressmen who voted against the recent Armenian Genocide Resolution did not deny the Genocide, they just said that it will not be politically correct at this time to officially acknowledge it.

    Most Armenians do not vilify regular Turkish citizens.  We cannot blame them, because they have been brainwashed by State propaganda… their alphabet was even changed to obscure their history.  The Genocide was mainly concocted by the CUP regime to satisfy its PanTurkic aspirations.  Many Turkish governors refused to take part in the Genocide and were either demoted or assassinated.  I owe my life to the Turkish neighbors who saved my grandmother’s life by claiming that she was their daughter.

    We understand that no price can be put on our loss as a nation, in resources, lands, farms, businesses, bank accounts, historical monuments, churches, fortresses, human lives and everything that we could have potentially become as a people had we not endured this horrific crime.  But a recognition and apology by the perpetrator can be a good start.  Had Turks and Armenians parted in a civilized manner… who knows?  They might have now evolved into allies… we have after all a lot of history in common.

  187. Katia, you know i agree with you absolutely.  I’m glad you included the info about the US oil interests  trumping justice for Armenians in the abandoning of the Treaty of Sevres.  US State department has its own skeletons in the closet that emerge when the truth regarding justice for the genocide is explored.  France, Russia and Britain also had their hands in the pot.
     
    I don’t blame people like Harb for the position they take.  It’s a coping mechanism in the face of injustice when we feel we can do nothing about; probably one that many of our down-trodden grandparents experienced and unwittingly passed on through the generations.  “Let go of the past.  Focus on health and prosperity here for yourself and your family.  Be grateful you are now in the land of opportunity. Thank God you were spared. Move on.”
     
    But Harb, times are different now.  Armenians are not down-trodden refugees.  We are a strong, educated and wealthy group many of whom willingly take up the fight that their ancestors could not; not out of sheer hatred or vengeance but out of a sense indignity and a commitment to right a wrong.  It is a modern day David and Goliath battle and every Armenian Christian knows how that story ended and should draw courage from it.  I am in that camp.

  188. Karekin — “There had not been an independent Armenia for about 600 years.” So…? And there had been no independent Jewish state for 2000 years. And there had been no independent Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, for roughly 500-600 years, too. And there had never existed such nation-states as Iraq, Pakistan at all, but now they exist. WHAT’S YOUR POINT? What do you want Armenians to become? Brain-dead, spineless, memory-lacking, inactive, motionless, justice-undemanding creatures? Bury our civilizational memory, our genetic memory, our pain, our pride, our 4000-year old ancestral lands and culture, our generational connectivity? Become more resembling sheep than human beings?

  189. I believe the issue of going to Akhtamar is now closed: Mother See of Etchmiadzin has spoken against sending clergymen for a divine liturgy because it’s absurd and blasphemy for Christians to conduct a mass in a “museum” that has no cross on it. Hence, we now have government of the Republic, Catholicosate of Cilicia and Mother See rejecting to participate in a Turkish masquerade. If Patriarchate in Constantinople sends clerics, that’d be OK for me. But Turks, I’m sure, will get the message, and hopefully learn a lesson, in light of the absence of major Armenian government- and spiritual leadership and large crowds of worshippers.

  190. I part company with many on this site on a couple of few fundamental points.
    One, I am an American first.
    Two, the people of Armenia need to drive the domestic and foreign policy of that country to maximize their welfare and the development of their country.
    Three, I can’t support the calls for sacrifice on the part of the people of Armenia by the diaspora. The most ardent champions for  sacrifice seem to live in comparatively safe and well removed venues.
    These fundamentals of perspective result in much different positions on almost every question that confronts the Armenian community. To some, this makes me a person who has disavowed his heritage.
    I see myself as someone who wants the country of Armenia to develop into a viable state, where the rule of law prevails, and democratic governance prevails. This may mean that the country of Armenia is the prime focus and not the genocide or reclamation of Western Armenia.

  191. I would love to see Etchmiadzin commission a small scale replica of Sourp Khatch be built complete with cross, place it in Republic square and call all Armenians to attend an open air mass remembering the Armenians and historical churches lost due to the genocide.

  192. to mjm:
    It is extremely unfortunate but many Armenians have already booked to go. They have put down their money in order to pray, not just in any museum, but in one with the turkish flag and a large photo of a genocidal mass murderer smirking down on them. As well, many, if not most, of them will now have to pay to sleep and eat in turkish homes with descendants of those who pillaged our people and drove them out of their homes before murdering them. The turkish govt has screened all these bed and breakfast homes to make sure that none of them have any Armenian ancestors. Don’t go looking for 3 star accommodations. Since most people will end up praying outside on the thin grass, I recommend they take their own foam pads to kneel on and umbrellas to pray under. Take a portable potty with you unless you have an extremely strong bladder. I doubt they have installed flush toilets, but they may have dug a few more holes. Bravo, bravo, bravo,to the heads of our churches who are boycotting. Let us show our gratitude for their wisdom and leadership by sending a much needed donation to them. I too, can understand the Istanbul church having to go. Their lives are already difficult in this country that wants to get into the EU. If you want to know how difficult it can be for an Armenian in turkey, read today’s Armenian Weekly article, “Nisanyan to sue turkey at the european court,” and take note of the 50 year jail sentence.

  193. Exactly, Katia:  Armenians’ psychological detachment from genocide recognition cause, as their genocide continues to be denied and they settle more and more in other countries, is what “the Turks envisioned would eventually happen to the Armenians.” But guess what: they grossly miscalculated the workings of genetic memory, our capabilities at survival, ability to keep our memories alive and ability to never cease efforts at restoring justice. I’m thrilled to see hundreds of thousands of youths going to the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan with rightful indignation expressed on their faces, as well as millions of young people in the Diaspora fighting for justice for Armenians in the countries they settled in. Of course, there are many assimilated Armenians like Harb, but virtually everything in the history of a nation is being accomplished by its best and brightest. It gives me pride to see my children protesting in front of a Turkish consulate even though no one in the family ever bred hatred towards the Turks. I’m proud because their indignation was formed mostly as a result of their genetic attachment to their great grandparents’ fate and also as a result of their readings into genocide literature and Internet by their own initiative. It means something reverberates in their souls, something that’s distinctively inner, hard to explain even by themselves.

  194. Perouz:  Obviously, it was expected that there’d be those who’d book to go. I doubt there’d be “many” of them at the event, though. Regardless, I’m pleased that our leadership has expressed unity on the issue. That’s our major achievement, as well as the major message for the Turks. I pray that their absence will be noticed by the media more than the attendance of a few Armenians.

  195. Hye, since so many have planned to attend the Sunday, September 19th, Holy Cross Church (Turk museum)
    – why not have the Armenian religious observances held outside and surrounding Holy Cross Church… .since the innards bear evidence of the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation… celebrating the killers of Armenians as the heroes of the Turkish nation.
    – why not have the Armenians all across the world, our Armenian diasporas,(and all others who would want to join us)  to celebrate on this date, together, outside our churches in tribute to the fact that Holy Cross Church at Aghtamar, is now a Turkish museum… and, in our pain, we all, across the world join with those at Aghtamar through all  24 hours of the day – in our prayers for all peoples lost to Genocides, to pray too, for the civilized nations of the world to seek to work together to end the cycle of Genocides… to end the killing of innocents – forever,,,
    Bringing those guilty to justice will deter despots whose ongoing use of Genocides to gain their convoluted goals via eliminating humans – using mans’ inhumanity to humans (not even wars) but violating Armenian lives from the 1890s until today, 2010…
    Too, let us use this date to speak out for the ending of all Genocides by asking the civilized religions and peoples of like minds of the world to join with us in this observance of Sunday, September 19th… all across the world to end the cycle of Genoicdes… the guilty brought to justice.  Manooshag

  196. Harb, I agree with points 2 and 3 in your comment above.  I believe these are sound fundamentals, but I also believe that the interests of the Republic of Armenia and the achievement of justice for the genocide aren’t mutually exclusive.  It’s a matter of balance and RA has priority in calling the shots.  But diasporan Armenians have a vested interest as well as actual legal claims to land in Turkey.  They have a right to pursue these.
     
    As far as your first point regarding being American first, I can’t say that I completely agree with this.  It’s not that I am unpatriotic, but I look at my American citizenship as an accident of my birth.  A fortunate one; I’m glad to live here!  I want the best for this country, I say the pledge, but I am not a flag waver.  My parents were immigrants and most of my relatives still live in Armenia and Europe and I feel very connected to my roots.  It’s more like a split allegiance; one that is sometimes quite conflicted, especially when my country of birth fails to support Armenia but sides with Turkish interests instead.

  197. I’m puzzled, Harb:  Why then you chose to comment in a discussion forum that deals with the Armenian Cause, i.e. the Cause of ALL Armenians: whether in the Republic, or Artsakh, or communities worldwide? You might as well chose to continue living in comparatively safe and well removed venues, why bother? Millions of other Armenians, whether or not they consider themselves Americans of New Zelandians first, will continue advancing the Cause for the Armenian nation. If you choose not to be one amongst others who dedicate time, nerves, and resources for the Cause, then why emerge on these pages at all? Continue to be proud for the country that pursues double standards in the issues of moral values and human rights while pounding its chest for being a pioneer in these fields. What can I say? Don’t worry, be happy…

  198. Harb,
    If you are American first, then why are you on this site?  Why are you reading the Armenian Weekly instead of the New York Times?
    There is an underlying hint of disgust in your post.  You seem to be ashamed of the way the Republic of Armenia is being run, and you seem to say that the Diasporan Armenians are hypocrites.
    It seems you are inpatient with the pace with which the burgeoning Armenian Republic, which happens to be blockaded on both sides with arch enemies, is advancing toward let’s say the level of the United States, which happens to reign free from sea to sea.  The corruption in Armenia has not evolved into the modern day sophisticated Enron, AIG and Bernie Madoff models which might be more palatable for you.  There is corruption everywhere, especially in a newly formed country.  You are right, a lot must be changed and improved in Armenia, but nothing can be changed if its people is indifferent and uninvolved.
    You have chosen a 300 year old “Melting Pot” which is being run by major companies and interests over your 4,000 year old history laden nationality.  You want Armenia to be strong, then get involved.  If not,… than have a great “American” life!
    I see my American citizenship as a privilege.  I believe in the American Constitution and the American dream, which allows everyone to be proud of who he is.  I fear the US has veered very far from the vision of its founding fathers, however, I am grateful for all the equal human rights that I enjoy in this country.  But my heart belongs to Armenia.  I am proud to be an Armenian!
    By the way, you did not answer the questions I asked you… maybe you feel they are beneath you, coming from a Diasporan…  And oh yes, if someone stole an American’s house, bank accounts, family herlooms and treasures, doesn’t this American have the right to sue for his stolen property?  And let’s say someone killed this American’s entire family, don’t you agree that the legal system allows him to get justice and go after the criminal?  That is exactly what the Diasporans who are the descendants of the orphans of the Genocide are doing.  How is this not our right?  And who are you to decide that we should not pursue justice?  Again, I am glad that the Genocide has not touched your family directly…
    Everyone has the right to pave his own road, I am glad that millions have not chosen the road you took.  You can always make a U turn!  Look at Kirk Krikorian… he is the embodiement of the American dream.  He had not given an interview in two decades, and he just consented to give an interview in Yerevan magazine.  And what did he say:”I have always been proud to be Armenian”.  He has not let the mishaps in Armenia deter him from helping out as much as he can, because he knows that it takes resiliency and dedication to put a new country in the right path.  Nothing will improve with criticism alone.

  199. Manooshag, i think your idea is excellent. Now that the Armenian Church has a united position, they should direct all parishes in the world to say special prayers on the 19th for the return of Holy Cross to the Armenian Church as well as other historic sites( a public campaign over Ani is not far away). In parallel, our political capability(ANC, AAA ) should be focused on bringing public attention to this matter. We must mount a sustained effort to resolve this matter and use it to show the connection to the core issues(Genocide regcognition and reparitions).

  200. I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand 1) the insinuations that there are some sinister (aka, Turkish) links or forces that are influencing my thoughts since there is nothing of the sort and 2) the refusal to accept the tides of history, which admittedly have not always been kind to Armenians. It is one thing to be patriotic/nationalistic, but to reject historical outcomes just because you don’t like them and hope them to be different is really another kettle of fish. It is called fantasy. Aren’t Armenians allowed to think outside the rather restrictive idealogical, nationalistic box? Once again, I’m certain none of you actually live in today’s Armenia and have no plans whatsoever to move, lock, stock and barrel, to western Armenia/eastern Turkey.  In fact, for hundreds if not thousands of years, Armenians have, either by force or by choice, left their homeland to explore the world. In many ways, being Armenian might actually be more a state of mind than a physical place. For most Armenians, it is a virtual ethnicity that does not require anyone to even step foot on Armenian soil…let alone live there. So, why the fuss about territory you and most Armenians will never live on anytime soon?  Yes, eastern Turkey was the Armenian heartland for 4000+ years…no argument there. That is undisputable. But, as a result of many nasty variables, most out of our control, Armenians were driven out by non-natives. And yes, this was a truly horrible outcome after so many millenia…I get that…I really do get that. My entire family had lived there since very ancient times, and all was lost. Lacking both an army and a population that could fight back effectively, not to mention diplomatic setbacks, it’s hard to see how a new Armenia in eastern Anatolia could have come about, except in our dreams and wishes. The world was against us and that’s a tough place to be, especially if you’ve already been decimated by genocide. This is why I’m thankful for today’s Armenia, and want to preserve it, as well as for what appear to be positive changes in today’s Turkey.   We need to deal w/ the world as it is, not as the fantasy we want or wish it to be. If Armenia is to survive, it will need all the help we can give it. It does not need to antagonize a powerful neighbor, nor can it afford to. It does need to consolidate its reunification w/ Karabagh, if for no other reason than to compensate for the loss of sovereignty over old Armenia. You know, not that long ago, native American tribes were forcibly removed from many places on the east coast of the US and relocated to areas in the west. These deportations cost millions of lives and decimated native American culture in many areas. In similar fashion, we are the true natives of Turkey who were rejected by a small group of newcomers (some of who were not even Turkish at all), who wanted to steal land, resources and control. If we could not prevent that 900, 600 or even 100 years ago…what makes you think we – a truly dispersed people – can do it now, on land where we have virtually no presence at all? As I said, I understand nationalism very well, but fantasy – on a serious subject like this – I do not.   

  201. BRAVO KATIA JAN.. apres…

    Harb.. i am sorry but i feel ashamed of you… yes.. i am.. I guess you did not really pay attention to my statement:.. no matter where i live, no matter what economic and political vitalities I follow, no matter what languages I speak, no matter what citizenship I carry, I am an ARMENIAN first and foremost…it is my duty to fight, and protect what is ours and never lose ties with my motherland and my heritage… my heart bleeds when I meet or read about Armenians who are indifferent and care less what is going on … just heartbreaking.. i just want to take them and shake them sooo hard to wake them up from their dreamland.. to melt the ice that surrounds their heart and brain and bring them back to what they are: ARMENIANS first and then French, Argentinians, Spanish, Russians, ect…i just hope that we don’t have too many Harbs in this world even though I know they exist…i hope the flame of love for culture, history and heritage that burns in soooo many of us will ignite in Harb and those like him.. and i don’t care how long it takes.. as long as it happens..

    Everyone except few on this forum provided excellent comments.. thank you all for that ….

    Gayane

  202.  Harb, I don’t think that you have disavowed your heritage. I just think that you have distanced yourself. Look, all of us in the diaspora are fighting two battles if we choose to….. one are the issues of our people,…. the unfinished business caused by the unprecedented expulsion of Armenians from their homeland. The other is the war against assimilation. In the diaspora, especially in America, we remain Armenian by choice…. and we assimilate by choice. There is not one commited Armenian here who doesn’t worry about retention of their heritage and the future for their children as Armenians. This is the great irony of the diaspora. For me, my grandparents came to this country after the genocide, like many American-Armenians. This country gave them life and freedom; for which we should all be grateful. It is only when you are denied such things that they are fully appreciated. My grandparents understood that. We do live in a society, however, that enables assimilation. But , at the end of the day; it is our choice.
    Thank God , we have that freedom. So we build schools and churches and community centers. We have youth organizations, socials and networking group…. all with the intent of maintaining identity.
           This was the plan for the diaspora for several decades. But now we have an nidependent Armenia to support. It should be a mutual beneficial relationship for the diasporan Armenian. We help support(economically, financially, etc.) our ancestral homeland and we receive a gift in return. That gift is a way to address assimilation by helpingto make identity with our heritage real. How many young Armenians have gone to Armenia and come back inspired?
          All of us enjoy our Armenian heritage in some way. For many , it is a deep commitment. For others it is based on convenience. Regardless, we need to remember that for centuries our people have survived based on a conection in their heart to this history, to this identity and to each other. This is a sacred responsibilty that each of us has. But like many responsibilities, sometimes they are ignored. It is what ties us to Tigranes, Mashdotz, Taniel Varoujan and the countless others who have given us this gift. A gift that all of us, to varying degrees, including you Harb, enjoy. Be guided by your heart and free yourself to take your place in the long line of those who have recieved and passed this gift along. Those in the future should not be denied.

  203. Boycotting is a waste of time. Why do you always think that your boycotting will change anything? What’s your goal: move on or keep the status quo?
    For those who want to move on, one thing to advice. Go to Akhtamar and profit from Ambassadors and cameras of world media outlets to shout and claim the genocide recognition. Hold banners, sing songs, shout “Erdogan, we are not dupes. We want Akhtamar’s Holly Cross and other churches returned to the Armenian Church”. I mean, use this opportunity to attract the attention to your cause instead of loosing it.

  204. Karekin, I feel for you, but you have to realize you put your own head on the chopping block when you try to convince the descendants of victims and survivors of the Genocide to “move on.”  You are definitely in the minority on this site.  No one disagrees that the strength and security of the Republic of Armenia is paramount.  We are grateful to have a free and independent state, fledgling and struggling though it is.  However, you are wrong to tell people who have a legitimate claim on property in Turkey to forget about it.  This is their right.  More power to them.
     
    But as Armenians we have a further claim, and that is the claim of outrage against the injustice that was dealt against us and in the subsequent genocides that followed.  We have earned the right to our voice of indignation and the right to repeatedly call the world’s attention to these injustices until the forces that allow such things to happen are stopped.  You might find this futile or depressing.  Others find inspiration in the thought that their lives are connected to such a worthy cause.  Or do dispute that standing for justice is a worthy cause?
     
    Being Armenian is a state of mind?  So you give no credence to the concept of feeling connected to place?  4000, indisputable years, do not create a character in a people?  4000 years of fighting the survival odds in a tumultuous area with ever changing boundaries only to be wiped out in a blink of the eye doesn’t outrage you?  4000 years to develop a distinct language and a distinct Armenian kind of Orthodoxy, distinct art and architecture that draws directly from its environment for inspiration, and you would say “Oh well, things happen.”
     
    The dirt is still under my fingernails.

  205. Misha from Paris:  Since you just popped up in these pages, I’ll repeat for you personally: it’s not about boycotting, it’s about whether it makes sense for Armenians to visit and pray in our own church on a day and in the form designated by the Turks, and not on a day and in the form that we ourselves choose. Secondly, many of us don’t see this mockery on Akhtamar island as a substantial step towards rapprochement on the part of the Turkish government so that we, as you say, “move on.” Think for moment about the format of the event: a “museum” is “graciously” allowed to function as a church for just one day—with a Turkish flag and no cross on the top and with a portrait of Kemal instead of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that’s been effectively desecrated—and by authorities of a nation that 95 years ago exterminated all worshippers of the church, as we as well all inhabitants of the Van province where the church is situated. Do you consider this a substantial platform to “move on”?
     
    As for media, even those who want to, as you say, “move on,” expressed no certainty that those media outlets will touch upon genocide recognition even if we “shout and claim,” because the goal is to portray Turkey as an “open, religiously tolerant” society, not the reasons why they church stood idle for 95 years, what happened to its Armenian worshippers, and what’s the state of thousands of other Armenian churches and monasteries in the Turkey-occupied Western Armenian lands. How do you attract attention to the Cause if media stops short of getting the message across?
     
    I didn’t get what “ambassadors” you had in mind? You don’t really think that members of the diplomatic corps accredited in the host country would want to be present in an event where Armenians will be, as you suggest, “holding banners, singing songs, and shouting ‘Erdogan is a Nazi p**’”?

  206. Katia,
    Katia you have asked so many questions-few about matters of fact but several about my feelings. My feelings are unlikely to contribute to a thoughtful discussion. You’ve also made assertions about my lack of ties to the genocide.  Maybe we ought to start there.
    If we include all adult generations of our extended family here in the USA–the count is 5. This includes TWO generations of genocide survivors. Among my great grandparents one survived to reach the US. Among my grandparents 2 survived to reach the US. Subsequently 3 generations have been born in the US. My surviving grandparents met and married other survivors here in the US. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I can’t tell you how many nights I heard my grandmother cry out in her sleep in anguish and pain.  My guess is my story is no different than anyone else in this forum. Similar to many of you-it comes through in your writings–I have struggled with the hate and anger. Some of you play down the hate and anger that has hold of you but it comes through. I am no different. I struggle to insure it does not become my driving force.
    Katia, you ask why I am reading the Weekly and not the NYT. Katia, it is not apparent to me why you would conclude that reading the NYT and the Weekly are mutually exclusive or why being an Armerican would also preclude an interest in my lineage. Even if you could explain the thought process that led you to these conclusions or the set of assumptions that led you to believe that my predecessors got a pass on the genocide–it would not be helpful or relevant.
    To the participants of this forum. Let me approach in a different way and tone that might resonate more easily with some.
    Some assumptions in no particular order:
    Success is the best revenge
    That getting what you want on the international stage is a function of the leverage you bring to the negotiating table. It is not a matter of right or wrong or justice. Granted these are descriptors invoked widely and effusively in foreign affairs and policy.
    That a victims mentality doesn’t play out well over time. At some point it is just whining.
    If you expect other countries to sacrifice their interests for Armenia-then you are going to be disappointed more often than not.
    Lets drill down a bit more.
    If you want justice-you need leverage-you need to bring currency to the negotiating table. Right now, Turkey has a lot more leverage than Armenia. Turkey can provide influence plus  support for basing and logistcs to the US. I fully expect the US to take advantage of those capabilities regardless of who really owns the land. The US in-turn has to make it worthwhile for Turkey. Genocide recognition is part of the quid pro quo in the US-Turkey relationship. When the US determines it isn’t getting what it needs from Turkey or it gets annoyed with Turkey and Armenia develops to the point of being able to offer something of value to the US-then Genocide Recognition happens. Yes, the world is an ugly place replete with competing interests. As much as you may want it to work on principle it doesn’t and won’t. Principle merely provides the terminology to wrap around what is nothing more or less than expediency.
    To have leverage you need a strong-successful, viable Armenia. An Armenia that is dependent on the largess of Russia, the USA (armenia is the second largest per capita recipient of US aid). the EU and yes, the diaspora–has no leverage. Each of these parties has its own strings and agenda-including the diaspora. Armenia is just whipped around by these often competing patrons.
    Justice for the genocide is best indirectly pursued. Diaspora efforts-110% should be directed to supporting Armenia and its needs. The people who live in Armenia need the latitude to pursue their best interests even if those interests are not apparently aligned with the diaspora agenda. Example, Armenia can not become a viable-truly independent state while blockaded. If the protocols open the border-so be it. Many in the diaspora are outrage by the thought for many reasons. Among them-the issue of border recognition. This is of course bogus in real terms. Remember Sevres–that treaty was overturned by the success of the Turkish Independence War and the Treaty of Lausanne. Treaties only bind until they don’t.
    If small gestures between the two states-Turkey and Armenia help in some measure to move towards an open border then great-which brings us back to the Church Service.
    I could go on-but you get the drift. You will see some merit or not.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  207. Karekin:  I actually live in today’s Republic and for me and millions of others being Armenian is both a state of mind and a physical place. As such, we’re not “rejecting” historical outcomes “just because [we] don’t like them and hope them to be different.” We’re rejecting continuation of denial for the crime against us and obstruction of justice for us. This can be perceived as nationalistic—and “nationalism” has many definitions—only in terms of a nation’s claim for restoration of justice. In no way is it reminiscent to thinking inside a “restrictive ideological box.” We’re also rejecting your distorted interpretations of historical timeframes and events, the most recent one being: “Armenians have—either by force or by choice—left their homeland to explore the world.” Why do you typify this as a distinctly Armenian behavior? What nation didn’t leave their homeland to explore the world? Didn’t Italians or the Irish come to America from their respective homeland by choice? The nation is formed not only as a result of attachment to a particular territory, but even more so, as a result of languistic, traditional, cultural, and, broadly, civilizational heritage that it develops on a particular territory. To say “why the fuss about territory most Armenians will never live on anytime soon” is, to me, robotic and insensitive. Such a rigid statement may be applicable to a nation with a 250 year-old history, but not to a nation with 4000 year-old history. It also oversimplifies the situation: those territories were not voluntarily abandoned by Armenians: they’re soaked in blood and covered with bones of our mass-murdered ancestors, therefore, there’s a great psychological, generational element in our attachment to these territories. As for Armenia, no one denies that it’s high on the priority list, but here again you distort by saying: “Armenia… does not need to antagonize a powerful neighbor, nor can it afford to.” In 1991 Armenia became independent and least of all on the foreign policy and national security agenda of the newly-formed state was “antagonizing a neighbor.” Have we witnessed Ankara’s willingness to establish diplomatic relations with the Republic, as a result? On the contrary, we came to witness imposition of blockade and closing of the border. It is Turkey that continues its genocide against Armenians by denying recognition of her crime and attempting to suffocate the new Republic. Even if we forget the genocide recognition and territorial compensation issue tomorrow, Turkey will still trample us in pursuit of her “make-your-neighbor-weak” policy and in pursuit of the remnants of her pan-Turkic, pan-Islamic euphoria. I think genocide recognition and strengthening of the Republic and Artsakh are mutually inclusive notions that represent a unified front against Turkish unrepentant, expansionist, and intolerant policies towards Armenia and Armenians. Lastly, forcible relocation of native American tribes didn’t cost “millions” of lives; native American lands were not as densely populated as Asia Minor; native American tribes didn’t develop high civilizations as peoples of Asia Minor; native American tribes didn’t face centuries-long colonial millet treatment that ultimately led to their total annihilation. Most importantly, colonizers of native American tribes could find the courage to officially apologize to them for maltreatment. Armenians couldn’t prevent nomadic Turkish barbarians from stealing our land and resources and eliminating our people, but we can do is to hold them responsible for their crime. You’re, obviously, not on the same train with us…

  208. Wow Harb! What kind of a – me and my people are hopeless saps and should just accept the status quo – commentary was that? I truly feel sorry for ingratiated defeatists like yourself. Good day and good lu
    ck to you.

  209. Harb,

    the only thing that is unsettling for me about what you said is the way you presented yourself, especially in your first post. You projected some kind of “above it all” detachment, which made me sad. Nevertheless, I agree with your points, 100%, although I am an Armenian, first, and an American, second. “Success is the best revenge” is my mantra. If Armenia goes underwater, it will be the last page in our nation’s history. It will be irrelevant whether the genocide is recognized or not. Survival and success is the best victory over those who wanted us dead. 

    Genocide recognition is extremely important to me. However, our resources are not unlimited. If we have to choose a priority, I think a succesful finale to the Karabagh issue and a strong and economically powerful Armenia, along with a prosperous Armenian diaspora, are number one. From there, it will be a lot easier to restore the justice that is long overdue. 

    In particular, as important as the question of going to Akhtamar is, I think there is way too much energy devoted on this forum to it. In general, I would like to see many more articles on these pages devoted to what’s happening in Armenia and how we can help. 

     

  210. Gina you are absolutely correct regarding Armenia succeeding as an independent nation.  Genocide recognition cannot take precedence over a living, breathing prospering Armenia where our language and culture flourish and transform into new innovative expressions of what being Armenian means.  Strong economy equals strong families equals well fed children equals vibrant schools equals invention and creation of a new Armenia for the future; all of which requires security and sound relations with neighbors as a prerequisite.

  211. Hye, our leaderships of our fledgling nation of Armenia have been, obviously, to put it bluntly, been the worst that a new nation, overcoming the Turkish Genocide of our people, and then the USSR communisim too.  Then a first president who ‘gave away the store’ and those that followed too, including the ill equipped leaders of today, still of their communist mentality – today filling first their own pockets, endlessly, and to hell with the worthy citizens of Haiastan.  Nearly twenty (20) years old, Haiastan today young, and in need of patriots who are able to give of themselves for all the citizenry of Haiastan.  It appears that the leadership of Artsakh (NK) is proving to better the lives of their citizens – at a dedicated pace – than the leaders of Haiastan… Yerevan is as a city in the USA- the villages are waiting.  Hopefully Serge and Edward take an early leave of office; hopefully our citizens of Haiastan are learning to choose leaders dedicated for a Haiastan. And yet, even here in the USA, we sometimes have not elected (from the choices that were) the most dedicated, patriotic and selfless leaders the citizens of the USA has need of and deserves. Seems to me that if Abraham Lincoln, a fine leader, were he running for office of the presidency he would not be elected!!  Good and honest leaders in all the world’s history come along from time to time… as at Sardarbad and Artsakh – and in the meantime… mediocrocy rules. Sadly.   Manooshag

  212. Gina said:
    the only thing that is unsettling for me about what you said is the way you presented yourself, especially in your first post. You projected some kind of “above it all” detachment, which made me sad.
    Gina, I went back an read that initial note. You are right-I don’t like the tone either.
     

  213. MJM – it’s great that you are living in Armenia – bravo to you!  Though, you may have to consult your history books again, because unbeknownst to you, as many as 20 million native Americans died or were put to death as a result of the European arrival in the new world. You may think the Americas were underpopulated in comparison to Asia Minor, but keep in mind, as of 1915, there were only about 10 million people living in Anatolia (approx. 2.5 milliion of them Armenians) …18 million in the entire Ottoman Empire. Today, Istanbul has 15 million people all by itself. That said, I have to agree w/ Gina…she makes the point very well and sounds very pragmatic…that today’s Armenia and Karabagh are all we have and are, or should be, the most important priorities for all Armenians. People in the diaspora are pretty much doing just fine now…they are comfortable, successful, professional. They may have wants (such as wanting the genocide to be recognized), but in most ways, they have no needs as do the vast majority of people in Armenia. This may sound a bit harsh, though it’s not meant to be, but yearning, crying and wringing hands over what has been lost is not going to get it back….history just doesn’t work that way, especially when you don’t have either the numbers or political winds on your side.  My family also has deeds and property papers for land in Turkey.  So what?  What shall we do with those?  Will we, can we – get that land back?  Doubtful. Am I sad about it? A bit. Do I care to make a fuss about it? Not likely. However, if you want to see and experience the old Turkish-Armenia of our great-grandparents, you can go there, see history – touch it, taste it and smell it – and there is no overwhelming Russian influence to tinge things. Plus, just like Khatchig Mouradian did, you can in many ways, get a sense of the past, with all the good and bad. It may not be perfect, I’ll admit, but neither is Armenia itself, which has its own share of crumbling churches and long vacant historic sites.   

  214. Harb- again.. by presenting your reasons does not change the fact that i don’t agree how you view yourself… because at the end of the day, you call yourself an American and not an Armenian.. which truly bugs me… i understand what you are trying to  explain by giving us reasons… but those are reasons only…and you use these reasons to  turn yourself away from your culture, heritage and history. .. also, you let these reasons turn you into something you are not by blood and that is to call yourself an American and not an Armenian… that is to me an easy way out and that is wrong….. i am sorry..

    Karekin- please stop talking.. you are making my blood pressure go up… i jst can’t read your convoluted comments too long.. MJM along with many already commented and gave you excellent arguments… ALSO, NO ONE said we should forget Armenia, and Kharabagh.. on the contrary, we are doing everything to help our motherland.. however, Armenia and the Genocide Reognition go hand in hand.. we have explained this to you many times over… to care and look after our country does not mean we have to drop the Genocide Recognition ticket.. you with “forget the past, and lets move on” truly makes me angry…

    and you with your ignorant comment of People in the diaspora are pretty much doing just fine now…they are comfortable, successful, professional

    and how do you know that?? do you live with my family or other families who struggle every day to make ends meet ??? DO YOU? my guess would be NO. so stop with your stupid remarks and ignorant comments.. because there are many families like my family who use any means to save as much as we can just to assist those who need our help in ARmenia (including my 100+ family members who are still living in Armenia)…we also support organizations such as Armenian Tree Project, ANCA or any well known and humanitarian groups regardless the dollar amount to make sure we rebuild our nation stone by stone, tree by tree, and voice by voice…. ..

    If you think those living in Diaspora are spoiled, rich, ignorant, and selfish people and they care less about Armenia than they do about their cars houses, degrees, and career, you are dead wrong.. my family and many that I know who live in America live in an apartment, drive a salvaged car, don’t own a house,  incomes combined do not even equal to $70,000 annually, don’t use too much hot water and turn off any lights that are not in use, purchase non brand clothes and do not have extra money to gamble away in vegas or san manuel casinos just to be able to save a little extra money to send to our people in need in ARmenia… now i don’t think this is a comfortable life or a selfish act.. do you??? so get off your high horse and think twice before you put down your own countrymen and women…as you can see, even though many of us who can’t greatly assist with our financial aid (i just wish I had the money..) we help with other ways.. like how we fight with our keyboard strokes, our pen and our words every day to educate non-Armenians about our history, culture and heritage which is probably more than what you contribute Karekin.. ….i just don’t know ….

    MJM, Boyajian and Katia jan… thank you for your great comments.. always a pleasure to read them…

    Have a great evening..

    Gayane

  215. Look, Gayane, I support all the same organizations and charities that you do and some others as well that are important to me, so I am not here to criticize your giving habits, but…to equate genocide recognition with supporting today’s Armenia is just a bit of a stretch.  Living people always trump memories for very good reasons…the living represent the future.  Some people might be on a high horse, but it’s not me.  In the US, those who endlessly advocate war without actually ever being in the military are called ‘chicken hawks’.  I think we can see a similar phenomenon in the Armenian community. I know that people support whatever they can, and it’s all about individual choice and ability. It’s all great. However, since this discussion is focused on attendance of badarak at Akhtamar, I would also suggest that those who expend endless energies demeaning Turkey’s work there as a pure PR stunt could at least be appreciative that one of our most cherished monuments is still standing and that it will not get worse. That’s all. If you really care about Armenian history, then you should be ecstatic about Akhtamar receiving protected status, whether it’s from the govt of Turkey, UNESCO of any other agency or organization.  Restoring Akhtamar, at the least, is evidence of some kind of respect.  So please, give your grudge a rest. When you complain about anything and everything, then nothing can be important and you cannot ever be satisfied, even in a minimal way. This is not the behavior or mindset of a balanced adult, it is the mindset of a spoiled child who has not learned to accept that yesterday’s spilled milk cannot be put back in the glass. It may be a ‘tough love’ message, but it’s one that some of my fellow Armenians need to accept. This does NOT mean abandoning history or the genocide, far from it, but rather accepting that Rome (real or conceptual), was not built in a day. Repairing Akhtamar is one small step of a very long and difficult process that can deliver many benefits across the board if it is accepted and nurtured to the next step, and then the next, and then the next.  One small step at a time.  Accept the fact that you cannot get everything you want all at once or exactly when you want it, but if you can be patient, good things will come your way.  It’s not unlike wine….open it too early and you just get sour grape juice, wait the proper time and you will enjoy a wonderful taste. Is this such a hard lesson?

  216. Karekin:  You have a pathological inclination towards inflating figures, as in: “Armenians were not independent for 1000 years,” or “Armenians were ruled by the Ottoman empire for 700 years,” or “Seljuks ruled Armenia for 400 years,” or deflating them when it comes to supporting your arguments, as in: “as of 1915, there were only about 10 million people living in Anatolia, 18 million in the entire Ottoman Empire.” You also continually distort historically-known geographical toponyms, as in: “Anatolia.” This is a Turkish creation, geography knows no such a toponym as “Anatolia.” The area has been known as Asia Minor or Eastern Asia Minor in case you’d want to use “Eastern Anatolia.” In Eastern Asia Minor the plateau which Armenians inhabited for millennia has been known as “Armenian Plateau.” This time, too: “as many as 20 million native Americans died or were put to death as a result of the European arrival in the new world.” The number of Indians who died at the hands of the Europeans is highly debatable. An estimate sponsored by the U.S. government shows between 1 million to 4 million Indians killed. Independent researchers give higher figures, from 4 to 12 million Indians, as a result of Europeans’ arrival. But you omit the fact that widespread epidemic disease, to which the natives had no prior exposure or resistance, was the overwhelming cause of the massive population decline of the Native Americans. You also omit the fact that the U.S. enacted laws that were previously not applicable to American Indians recognizing their rights, such as The Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Indian Education Act of 1972, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, as well as the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs and the opening of the Museum of the American Indian near the U.S. Capitol.
     
    According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in 1914, i.e. before the genocide of Armenians, the total population of the Ottoman Empire was approximately 25 million, of which about 10 million were Turks, 6 million Arabs, 1.5 million Kurds, 1.5 million Greeks, and between 1.5 million and 2.5 million Armenians.
     
    Lastly, your family has deeds and property papers for land in Turkey, and you ask: “So what?  What shall we do with those? Do I care to make a fuss about it? Not likely.” You fail to understand that for most of the Armenians it’s not only about their ancestors’ stolen property, but most importantly, it’s about the memory of their massacred ancestors and desecrated civilizational heritage that need to be acknowledged as a premeditated physical and cultural genocide and be apologized for by the Turks. Now, if you dare to ask the same humiliating question “So what?” in this case, then go ahead and keep asking it to yourself in a haunted latrine.

  217. MJM – I don’t want to get into a pissing match about numbers, but here are some real numbers – from Wikipedia:  

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_Ottoman_Empire

    As for the Americas:
    Using an estimate of approximately 30 million people in 1492 (including 15 million in the Aztec Empire and 6 million in the Inca Empire), the lowest estimates give a death toll due from disease of an astonishing 80% by the end of the 16th century (8 million people in 1650).[3] Latin America would only recover its 15th century population early in the 20th century; it numbered 17 million in 1800, 30 million in 1850, 61 million in 1900, 105 million in 1930, 218 million in 1960, 361 million in 1980, and 563 million in 2005.[3] In the last three decades of the 16th century, the population of present-day Mexico dropped to about one million people.[3] The Maya population is today estimated at 6 million, which is about the same as at the end of the 15th century, according to some estimates.[3] In what is now Brazil, the indigenous population declined from a pre-Columbian high of an estimated 4 million to some 300,000.
    The Aboriginal population of Canada during the late 15th century is estimated to have been between 200,000[4] and two million,[5] with a figure of 500,000 currently accepted by Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health.[6] Repeated outbreaks of European infectious diseases such as influenza, measles and smallpox (to which they had no natural immunity), combined with dispossession from European/Canadian settlements and repressive policies, resulted in a forty to eighty percent aboriginal population decrease post-contact.[4] For example, during the late 1630s, smallpox killed over half of the Wyandot (Huron), who controlled most of the early North American fur trade in what became Canada, were reduced to fewer than 10,000 people.[7]

  218. Wikipedia is believed to be the most unreliable source of information because virtually anyone can add, edit, or otherwise revise any given section that contains information on a subject.

  219. Hey Karekin, if you are not willing “to make a fuss” about your families deeds and property in Turkey and don’t feel particularly inclined to collect what rightfully belongs to you, perhaps you wouldn’t mind handing over your family’s deeds and property to other Armenians willing to do the legwork in reclaiming what rightfully belongs to us?

  220. sadly, while there is a lively discussion in “Armenian Weekly” on this issue it is hardly noticed in Turkish papers. I regularly follow the “Daily Zaman” and “the Daily Hurriyet” and “Taraf”, some times the “Bianet.tr” and try to find anything similar to the discussions in “Armenian Weekly. There is very little to find, and few opportunities for debate of the kind we see here. The Turkish side is resting on its assumed laurels after the reluctance of the Armenian side to support the historical commission which by the way  would have provided a very important forum, properly organized, to demonstrate again the inadquacy and sometimes sheer falsity of standard turkish claims. Yiou refuse a debate referring to holy truths. Thisd is hardly satisfactory. A chance was lost. Mr. Sassiounian’s campaign for boicott of the 19 september mass follows the same logic. Boicott, boicott, never counter the adversary directly. I will not criticise Karekin II for not attending. He is actually in a realistic political tug of war with Turkish authorities, but Mr. Sassounian’s policies seems geared at maintaining his own political constituency rather than further the Armenian cause by using opportunities to influence Turks and demonstrating for the world what is going on. I posted the following message after an article today (9.septemberI in “Daily Zaman”), but wish that some of the eloquence and energy of many of the posts in “Armenian Weekly”  were seen in Turkish papers. You win a war by enganging the enemy – metaphorically speaking – not by lively discussions in your own camp.
    My text;
    it sounds extremely strange that Turkish entrepreneurs, who regularly are assigned to difficult tasks abroad should not be able to solve the technical questions of mounting the cross on the church. This smacks of political bickering. Turkey has a very long way to go to be able to go into the dark spots of its history and make repairs to the Armenians. The alleged inability to mount a cross in time is hardly convincing 

  221. “….seems geared at maintaining his own political constituency…” I wrote my last post at the spur of the moment, and want to emphasize that I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Mr. Sassounian.  The formulation was not a good one. There is however a logic to your approach, Mr. Sassounian, and  I tried to show it by recapitulating  your stand on different stages of the debate on the Sourp Khatch church. There are several possible interpretatons of this logic. Does it mean that one hopes to force Turkey exclusively from the outside, and can neglect to support any piecemeal progress in Turkey because it, as the revolutionaries used to say, only fosters illusions? It it useless to support Turkish human rights activists for instance when they launch the “I apologize movement”? Is it useless for Armenians to go to smaller or greater events or places or institutions in Turkey itself (for instance Turkish newspapers) to further the Armenian cause? Or do you believe that political pressure outside Turkey itself will be sufficient?

  222. Hrayr…do you know that Turkish law stipulates that Armenians are entitled to their land/properties, but only if they have not been ‘appropriated’ by someone else. Unfortunately, the saying that a treaty, a deed, etc. isn’t worth the paper it is written on seems to be germaine here. While it might be nice to have those properties, I doubt that any of my family members would ever move to the center of Turkey at this point in time.  Maybe you or your family would…if so, bravo for you.  At the same time, I’ve also read that another Turkish law stipulates that if a religious edifice (church, mosque, synagogue) does not have a community to support it financially, then it falls under state control. While it is clear that these policies were largely designed to hinder or disable the minorities and steal their properties, I can say that every entity handles such affairs in their own way. In the US, there are many vacant churches across the landscape…. boarded up, closed, turned into condos or community centers. Perhaps they aren’t really churches unless someone is using them as such and can maintain them?  In any event, my point is that if we really want to see Akhtamar preserved for future generations, it makes alot more sense to become active participants in its revival, rather than backseat drivers or naysayers sitting at the sidelines. And, while I agree w/ Ragnar that it might be good if the Turkish public and press were more aware of these discussions, we also have to recognize that the significance of all this for today’s Turks is minimal due to the small size of the Armenian community there, even if it is represents huge and significant part of Anatolian history.       
     

  223. There’s no such a thing as “Anatolian” history, because there’s been no such a geographical toponym as “Anatolia” in history before the Turks have colonized indigenous peoples living in Asia Minor, transforming them to millets of the Ottoman empire in the 16th century AD. The correct toponym is “Asia Minor” or its eastern part where Armenians lived for millennia. If you’re so concerned about Akhtamar being preserved for future generations, why aren’t you similarly concerned about calling geographical places by their correct names for the present and future generations?

  224. Ragnar says: “You win a war by enganging the enemy – metaphorically speaking – not by lively discussions in your own camp.” I have to agree with you, Ragnar. We have to talk to the Turks, the good guys and the bad guys. Also, despite the fact that I am offended by the absence of the cross on the church and I am not going to Akhtamar, I agree that there can be some benefits in going there. The answer to that question isn’t as black and white to me as it is to some others.
    As for not supporting the establishment of a historical commission, I thought the reasons have been discussed many times. What do you personally expect the commission to find out that is going to be news for you? 
     
     

  225. Karekin since your looking into it anyway, I wonder if you know of any Turkish law that regulates the entitlement to those who faced forced appropriation of land and property 95 years ago as a result of state planned butcher campaigns with the intent to eliminate a particular race? Any clue? If not, do you have any clue as to why these laws may not exist?

  226. Gina
    I dont necessarily expect a historical commission, properly organized,  to find out anything new at all, if we speak about answers in the sense of definitely cracking a code or finding a logically compelling and empirically 100 percent unassailable conclusion or “definite truth”. Science does not work like that in the end as long as somebody is objecting. But I expected there to surface so many examples of the Turkish side having the burden of proof  that the main denialist Turkish versions would have been destroyed for ever, not because the bulk of historians disagree with them, but because it would be evident more in detail to a much broader international scene.
    But this presupposes that there had to be an international audience following the procedures of a commission, hearing in detail how the Turkish side answers questions properly posed. This would completely discredit the traditional Turkish side as it is vastly inferior to the scholarly assets the Armenian side can muster. Provided the existence of a commission, which surely would draw international attention, the main denialist stances would be more more clearly exposed than it has been so far. And this again would have an impact in Turkey. We have seen it before. The linguists told Atatürk that he must stop talking about Turkish being the source of all other languages, or make himself ridiculous in the eyues of the world. and he stopped. 
    –But of course a number of the assertions I see from time to time from Armenians in these discussions in “Armenian weekly” would also have to go. But to my mind it would have been a victory for the Armenian side. This is my view since you ask.

  227. Gina:  “The answer to that question [going to Akhtamar] isn’t as black and white to me as it is to some others.” Well, “some others” actually never put the question as black and white, i.e. to go or not to go. On the contrary, they—myself included—offered a different dimension to it, namely: why precisely on the 19th and why in the format designed by the Turks? Why not on any other date, on our own initiative, and in the format that we ourselves choose? So far, “some others” haven’t heard any objective, rational, and balanced response to it.

  228. Ragnar Naess:  These questions were addressed to Harout, but I’d like to comment on them anyway. Hope you don’t mind.
     
    “Is it useless for Armenians to go to smaller or greater events or places or institutions in Turkey itself (for instance Turkish newspapers) to further the Armenian cause?” I’d be interested to know how you technically envision this having in mind that Turkish citizens themselves are being harassed by their authorities for speaking the truth?
     
    “It it useless to support Turkish human rights activists, for instance, when they launch the “I apologize movement?” The “movement” that gathered 30,000 signatures in a country of 73 million people was not as immaculate as it might seem. It’s been revealed by some initiators of the movement (Ayse Gunaysu, for example) that the movement also pursued the goal of calming the waves of international recognition of the Armenian genocide.
     
    “Do you believe that political pressure outside Turkey itself will be sufficient?” It IS, actually, so far sufficient: we have growing number of foreign governments—central and provincial—recognizing the genocide, as well reputable international organizations, regional organizations, professional associations, advocacy groups and human rights organizations, as well as scores of genocide scholars, historians, and Nobel Prize laureates on our side. I’m more than sure that in addition to such major world players as France, Russia, and Germany (although Bundestag avoided the term “genocide” because Germany was Turkish accomplice at the time), other major countries will follow the lead.

  229. Ragnar,

    if there is nothing new to learn from a commission, why do we need it at all?

    You think that the process will finally expose the bankruptcy of all denialist arguments for the world to see. Good point. Assuming things with the commission go as you describe in your first paragraph, Turks will have to finally accept the inconvenient truth in front of the international community with all the implied concequences.

    Now, knowing the majority of Turks as well as you and I do, why would they want to do that? Why would they want a commission like the one that you suggest? I hope, you are not going to tell me that they don’t know the truth and want to find it out for themselves. If so, why would they have the infamous Article 301 to punish whoever speaks the truth? 

    Ironically, it’s the most vehement denialists who talk about a commission simply because they know very well that the existing cummulative knowledge is overwhelmingly not in their favor. The progressive forces, such as Pamuk and Akcam, who care for the long-term interests of their country, do not need help from any commission. See, I am having a very hard time reconciling the sigle-minded by all means denialist behavior with a willingness to find out the truth. If I think that I need a commission to find out the truth, why make the strong denialist statements ex ante? Shouldn’t I abstain from doing that until I find out the truth?  

    The bottom line is, I don’t think what you describe is the kind of commission and the process Turks have in mind. I am sure that you understand their hidden agendas very well and the way you describe the process in your second paragraph suggests that you, too, have serious doubts about whether we can realistically expect such a commission enhance the international awarness of the truth. 

  230. Ragnar,

    You established an odious record in these pages and elsewhere on the issue of the Ottoman and Kemalist Genocide and massacres of Armenians, Greeks, Pontians, and Assyrians. Frankly, I would prefer to read the fascist ravings of Ergun Kirlikovali than this poisonous honey.

    First, there is no “Armenian position” on the AG. That’s the way your friends the Turkish nationalists frame the issue – its just a psat between Armenians and Turks. What it actually was, in the Words of the British War Mionistry in 1915 and to this day – is a crime against humanity. The Holocaust of the Jews, is in the same measure not something only Jews assert.  

    Don’t counsel the grandchildren of the slaughtered and dispossessed as to how they should frame any argument, who cares what you in Norway find satisfying. The truth is that you deny the Genocide, and like to pussyfoot around that simple fact.

    If you are here in good faith – which you aren’t – counsel your Turkish nationalist buds about the Genocide that needs acknowledgment, apology and reparation.

  231. mjm,

    perhaps, I haven’t read your comments on Akhtamar as carefully as I should’ve. However, I got an impression that some people had very strong views on whether we should go or not. I guess, you are not one of them. But what I meant was that, even on the existing terms set by Turks, it would not be an easy decision for me to make.   

  232. Exactly Zara jan.. good question.. 
    Karekin since your looking into it anyway, I wonder if you know of any Turkish law that regulates the entitlement to those who faced forced appropriation of land and property 95 years ago as a result of state planned butcher campaigns with the intent to eliminate a particular race? Any clue? If not, do you have any clue as to why these laws may not exist?

    I would like to know that as well..

    karekin?? your turn…

  233. Ragnar.. i don’t get it…

    it seems like you have a tendency of going from one forum to another and ignite a long list of discussions and then abruptly leaving when you see you have nothing else to say or convince us or simply being defeated…

    We have expressed to you many times over.. no matter what you say.. you are not ON OUR SIDE SIR.. until you truly believe that Genocide did happen and it happened by the hands of the Turks, you beloved fair and civilized friends, no matter what you say, I will still see you as a deniar… sorry.. truly sorry.. but that is how it will be..get that through your head.. and no matter what reasons or comments or justifications or examples you provide to us.. I will not take any of it as anything but smoke blown into my eyes because i know underneath all that there is an agenda… and that agenda is not a venue that will support the Armenian cause. Not by you…

    So your suggestions and input may be entertaining but does not mean anything…

    Pay attention to Gina’s and mjm’s comments…they are very valuable..

    Good Day

  234. Spoken like a true Karekin.. we have a sayin in Armenian when you try to educate or try to explain someone something but in return they do their own same thing… we say..’ iranq irants ESH nen qshum” or ” Chor glux”…

    You say:

    So please, give your grudge a rest. When you complain about anything and everything, then nothing can be important and you cannot ever be satisfied, even in a minimal way

    ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?  and you think by pointing out how corrupt and manipulative Turks and demanding what is owed to us is complaining? So to make you happy, why don’t I go and kiss the Turks feet to thank them for keeping our church..oh oh.. i am sorry.. my error.. our MUSEUM in tact for everyone to enjoy..oh Gosh.. I did it again.. i am sorry.. dang.. i meant to say… for TURKISH STATE to enjoy the benefits and rip the fruit of everything conceived and prospered by my ancestors… or should I simply hand over my hard earned money to Turks.. will that make you happy?  is that what you are suggesting me to do?  You want me to jump up and down from joy that Turkey did a HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE FAVOR to poor Armenians by renovating the church now a museum with Turkish flag and their bastard icon hanging in our church? You must be smoking something produced or manufactured by the Turks .. seriously…

    Here is a reality check for you SIR…. most everything that the Turks do has an underlying agenda which usually benefits them… THE ONLY WAY and THE ONLY TIME i will be greateful or be happy about something is when I know FOR A FACT that Turks propose or do something out of goodwill and genuine desire without any hidden agendas..but as we have seen it for many many years, Turks don’t do anything out of good will or genuine desire..so  until then.. you continue to support Turkey by patting them on their shoulder for saving our church,  and I will continue to support our cause…

    and if you are trying to say that you are a strong player and by suggesting to get into a match with MJM.. all I can say is good luck because you won’t win…..

    Good Day Karekin.. 

    Gayane  

  235. JDA… i just loved your comment.. i finished typing my comment when I saw yours…. you took the word out of my mouth.. you hit the bulls eye…apres..

    Gayane

  236. Loved your comment, jda:  laconic and strong, at the same time.
     
    Ragnar Naess:  A question of mine in AW’s another discussion “Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch Church in Akhtamar” of September 5, 2010 is still awaiting your response.
     
    Gina:  You’re right. I’m for going to Akhtamar on any day but the 19th; with a group of Armenians from Diaspora, the Republic, and Artsakh visiting that and several other Armenian  churches and monasteries; wearing T-shirts with “Road to Home” on them, and praying inside—and if denied by compassionate, religiously so tolerant, and human life-valuing Turks—outside of them.

  237. gayane – you gave me my laugh for the day when you said “iranq irants esh nem qsum or chor glux.” – too funny, but appropriate.
    let’s all be clear about who paid for the very basic renovation of Holy Cross when turkey turned it into a museum. There is no reason for gratitude on our part. The artifacts they removed from our church are worth millions today and desired by museums around the world. the Illuminated manuscripts alone would see a frenzy of bidding world-wide. Where is all this? In their storehouses? sold? the cost of renovation is nowhere near the value of the artifacts that were in that church. We have more than paid for any restoration. The reality is that we would have preferred to do it ourselves. And before any simple mind asks why we didn’t, let me say that of course we would have – but if we had lifted even one shovel, we would all have been sent on the Midnight Express. 
    does anyone have any numbers yet of how many are going?

  238. Harb, responding to your post… many posts ago.
    You wrote:”Katia you have asked so many questions-few about matters of fact but several about my feelings”.
    Harb, that’s nonsense.  All the questions that I asked you had to do with facts.  Since you are American first, i asked you how you “felt about” the following “facts” about your country:
    1. The US says that it advocates Human Rights and condemns Genocides, but has consistently refused to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide because the perpetrator is a key ally. A FACT.
    2.  Injirlik, the US base in Turkey, sits on Armenian property of which we have the deeds. A FACT.
    3. US Secretary, Charles E. Hughes was instrumental in bartering the Armenian provinces that the Sevres Treaty had awarded to the Armenians, in return to a percentage in oil revenues in those provinces as well as Mosul Oil. A FACT (check the book Vahan Cardashian, Advocate Extraordinaire of the Armenian Cause)

    For some people, the facts are so hurtful, or the crime so debasing and painful, that it’s better to become closed off and not deal with feeling the pain at all.  Of course, If you don’t like the word “feel” in my questions, you can substitute it with the word “think”… same idea.  The “fact” is that you avoided answering those questions. The FACT is Harb, that you are not simply an American… you are an Armenian-American.  (Only the Native Indians are true Americans).  My comment of “if you are American, why are you reading the Armenian Weekly instead of the New York Times” was intentionally “absurd” and aimed at shattering the cold facade of “I am only American”.   Of course you are free to read whatever you please.  But you are here, because deep down you CARE… caring is a feeling.  And blood is thicker…  I was not surprised at all to learn about your ancestors.  I was taunting you to open up and talk about your background.
    And guess what, not only did your tone change in your recent posts, but I am in complete agreement with the points you raised in your post of Sept. 7!  I have made similar points myself several times.  “No one feels your pain like you do”, therefore it makes no sense for the Armenian nation to expect the US, Europe or Israel to feel our pain with us and put all of their interests aside and rescue us.  All of these countries are busy tending to all of their painful issues in this race of “the survival of the fittest”.  The main objective should be for us to be “fit” as a nation.  The Diaspora will realistically not go anywhere soon.  A strong Diaspora can be however very beneficial to Armenia.  I often suggest creating a Diaspora,Armenia,Artsakh Union (much like the EU) so that we can link all the parts of our nation and have a platform that represents a cohesive national vision/goal.  I also agree and echo your thought that whining will not get us anything.  We need to have “things” to barter with, whether it be advancements in technology/arts/tourism/fashion.  We need to become so viable a nation that the world will take notice and consider sitting on the table with us and listen to our demands. 
    Another thing that we are lacking in as a nation, is being better “politicians”.  It’s amazing how through all the years that we lived with the Turks, we did not learn the art of how to be good liars, sorry, good “politicians” like them.  Yes, we should learn a thing or two from the Turks!  I don’t know how they manage to be with the West, the East, Europe and Islam all at once.  Instead, we stil can’t help but getting all hyped up about what the correct response is to this phony Akhtamar Museum/Mass charade… and we are worried about how each possible reaction of ours will be viewed by Europe and the entire world… as if Europe does not know who Turkey truly is… as if any of the involved countries will be truly buying this masquerade… as if UNESCO is not aware of what Turkey is doing… (but they will all join the show becaue it $uit$ them).. as if it will even matter what Europe and UNESCO thought once we are “Successful”, “Solid” as a nation.  They will all then line up to condemn Turkey.  Yes, Success is the best revenge… and it should be our “main” target.  Gina said it so well!  Does Israel care what Europe thinks!  Isn’t the US bending backwards to trade with the same Japan it bombed?  We cannot afford to lose sight of this “main” target, and “only” work on convincing the world to acknowledge the Genocide and raising awareness to our cause.  And in order to be successful as a nation, we need to learn to put the needs of our Nation at the same level as the needs of its separate parts (Unity everyone!)
    Welcome home Harb… my Armenian bro… sorry Armenian-American bro…

  239. I know that we are all part of a traditional society that has a traditional mindset, and that mindset almost always dictates that everyone in the group think and act in the same way. That kind of conformity is valued, supported and esteemed. However, there are times when it becomes very obvious, even to those within the society, that such conformity is oppressive and hinders, rather than encourages, open thinking. I’m not sorry for thinking outside the box and strongly suspect that’s why my words are continually criticized here. You may notice that I’ve not hurled insults or barbs toward those who’ve been so harsh to new ideas.  That said, I would also add this. Diapsora Armenians (and yes, that includes me), have been banging the same drum about Turkey for a very long time without a change in tune….and after 90 years, have yet to see results that please them. Maybe it’s time to change the tune?  I think that’s exactly what Pres. Sarkisyan and his government have been thinking. There are many ways to skin a cat. If the tactic you’ve used does not produce the desired results, try a different method, employ a new strategy. If I tell you I support Armenia 100%, if I tell you I support Karabagh 100%, if I tell you I support genocide recognition and acknowledgment 100%, but that I differ on how we best get there….why is that a problem?   Your methods haven’t worked – plain and simple. Shunning Turkey 1000% hasn’t produced the outcome you want…so why not adopt a different and potentially more effective strategy?   Learning to adapt to new situations is a key to survival. All I’m asking is that everyone think about some new ways to accomplish our goals, but sadly, that’s heresy for some people who find it easier to just be critical, without offering any constructive, NEW ideas. I’ve heard all the same, old Armenian mantras all my life…and clearly, they have not worked, which is why they’re still being repeated.  Pave a new road people – you may find something very new (and good) at the other end.  
      

  240. Katia K.:  “It’s amazing how through all the years that we lived with the Turks, we did not learn the art of how to be good liars… like them. […] I don’t know how they manage to be with the West, the East, Europe and Islam all at once.” This can be explained. Turks are pathological liars, i.e. they lie to achieve their goals without caring a bit about hurting the feelings of other nations. Pathological liar-nations would always tend to exaggerate about things and often go on the forceful defensive whenever other nation attempts to cross-examine them. As for Turkey’s ability to “manage” to be everywhere at once, there’s no ability per se.  The formulation of foreign policy of any state, and Turkey is no exception, depends on a number of variables. Among them, geographical location represents perhaps the most powerful incentive on the way foreign policy is made. This has nothing to do with “intellectual prowess” of the Turks, it is just an instinctive behavior motivated by geography.

  241. mjm, I am not sure if we can say that Turks are pathological liars by virtue of their ethnicity, so much as that Islam is a religion that permits lying to infidels if the end is in service of Allah. (I hope someone corrects me on this if I am wrong.)  And even though Turkey purports to be a secular society, theirs is a culture that developed over centuries of societal discrimination and stratification along ethnic and religious lines (millet system, unfair tax codes, Article 301, abuse of minorities, ethnic eliminationism through deportation and massacres, desecration of churches in order to create mosques and sheep holds, turning churches into museums when their is a patriarchate waiting for its return).  These policies create deeply held attitudes of ethnic superiority which go unexamined until enough members of the society begin to question them.  The key to changing Turkey is in enlightening individual Turks to the pathological attitudes that they subscribe to which allow theirs to be a weak democracy, ultra-nationalist society and not quite EU ready.

  242. Incorrigible Karekin says: “Your methods haven’t worked – plain and simple.” Boyajian responded perhaps best of all of us to that in “Akhtamar: Wrong Church, Wrong Pew!”: “There is no doubt that our goal has not yet been achieved, but Armenians who blame other Armenians without recognizing that geopolitical dynamics play a major role in determining outcomes in power struggles around the world, are very short sighted, analytically deficient and verging on self-deprecation.” So, you believe “our methods” haven’t worked, hah? What’s your “method”? Come up to Turks with drooped heads, saying: “Yeah, we know you slaughtered our nation, mutilated men, women, children, and elders, raped virgins in front of their families, burnt and buried human beings alive, left hundreds of thousands of living people starve to death in the desert, slit pregnant women’s bellies, crashed newborns’ heads against the wall, wiped out virtually all remnants of our ancient civilization, appropriated our lands, pastures, houses, and properties, stole our bank accounts and insurance indemnities, but that’s OK, pals, why won’t we just forget everything overnight and befriend you? Haven’t you undergone a miraculous metamorphosis from being nomadic savages to a truly secular, democratic, repentant, religiously tolerant, life-valuing nation? That’s OK, pals, that you still deny that your grandparents have committed a heinous crime against humanity and for 95 years avoid taking responsibility for it, moreover, aggressively hamper foreign governments’ genocide recognition resolutions, fund lewd scholars to write anti-genocidal accounts, harass, deport, and kill your own intellectuals who speak the truth, and even distribute DVDs to schools showing young kids how bloodthirsty, dreadful, atrocious Armenians slaughter millions of so innocent, compassionate for other peoples’ lives Turks. Even though you haven’t progressed an inch in realizing what unrecoverable damage you’ve done to the whole nation, why won’t we just be friends without regard for 1.5 million of people slaughtered, 1 million of others forcibly deported, 80 percent of Armenian lands occupied, and 95 years of denying the crime? What…? Why do we now wish to befriend after decades of rightful indignation against you? Well, you know, we’re now employing a “new method” so graciously offered to us by a self-deprecating person by the name of Karekin.”

  243. By the way MJM, I am so happy that you are joining this forum from Armenia.  I hope we will have more and more of our brothers and sisters in Armenia join these sites.  They’re input/thoughts are very important.  I am very thankful for the Internet technology and sites such as AW that provide us a place/opportunity to come together from all over to world and carry conversations such as this.
    Regarding the Turkish nation…. yes I know they are pathological liars… I was not the bit surprised when they came up with a predictable “technical difficulties” excuse, and changed their minds about placing the cross on Holy Cross church, after making the promise and waiting for everyone to buy their plane tickets.  Very predictable.  Very typical.  However, the saying goes that “you can learn something from anyone”.  Being the patological liars that consecutive Turkish governments have been, they also were successful and bold to recognize/seize opportunities and maximize negotiations.  We, the first Christians of the world, have been at the other end of the spectrum, always doing what was honorable etc.   But if we look around us… none of the Christian leading countries came to our help…on the contrary they are all Turkey’s partners.  Russia’s Stalin gave Karabagh to Azerbaijan.  Russia can solve the problem of Karabagh in an instant by reversing Stalin’s deed and acknowledging Karabagh’s sovereignty.  But that won’t be beneficial to Russia.  The Americans granted us our lands back, and then went back on their promise when they realized they will gain more geopolitically if they let Turkey keep our lands…. I wonder who gave them that idea…
    More recent “Political” moves (lies) come to mind… President Obama promised on record that he will recognize the Armenian Genocide, when he needed the millions the Armenian-Americans donated towards his campaign… we know how that went when he got elected.
    Bottom line guys… we can’t just keep on getting scr…ed by everyone… we must be doing something wrong.  We need to analyze what is working with the times we are living in, and what is making us more predictable and vulnerable.  We can’t just ask the world to do the right thing.  We need to have benefits to offer them in return.  Turkey and Russia, left us a piece of landlocked land with no access to sea.  Turkey has been blockading us for the last 15 years, with the hopes that more Armenians will emigrate and the country will fall apart.  We have to come up with ways to improve the quality of life of Armenians in Armenia by controlling oligarchy, by creating a free economy, new industries and jobs….  We need to invest in Armenia’s Tourism industry (check out the Tatev project) and promote our motherland from all over the world.  Armenia already has the Human Resources that will promote it all over the Globe… the Diaspora.

  244. Gina
    I think you misunderstood my answer. Anyhow, this is my opinion.
    mjm
    if you from innumerable questions you posed to me have one I have not answered, please repeat it. It is better than me going back and try to guess what question you have in mind
    about my writing in these discussions. I do exactly as the others, as I look from debate to debate and find many of the same people. I express my opinions because I hold it is an important subject

  245. Well said Karo. Some people on this site are advocating new approach, claiming we need to think out of the box.  These are the same people that are insisting that we need to peel ourselves off of victim mentality and yet they are the ones who are bowing their heads to Turkish ploys.  I’m sorry, kissing Turkey’s A.. can not be considered a new approach. 

  246. Ragnar,

    I am not sure what you are trying to get at with you questions. Your fallacy is that you make it sound like I am the only Armenian on this planet. While I take a strong position on justified Armenian demands from Turkey. there are many other Armenians who are engaged in a variety of actiivities with so-called “liberal,” “tolerant” or “sympathetic” Turks. As long as these Armenians are helping Turks learn about the historical facts and our just demands, I have no problem with such activities. I am opposed, however, to a Genocide commission because I don’t need a commission to tell me, a desdendant the Genocide victims, that there was an Armenian Genocide. This is not an academic exercise for me. You and others could study the Genocide, if you wish, but do not ask me to study whether there was a Genocide or not.
    By the way, you promised to send you a copy of an article you were writing a few years ago. You asked for my permission to quote from one of my columns. I gave you my permission, but you never sent me a copy of your article. So I do not know what you quoted me as saying. I see that since then you have migrated from Muge Gocek’s armworkshop to the Armenian Weekly. What happened? Did you get kicked out of armworkshop. Did you irritate even the so-called “liberal” Turks to such a degree that they had to kick you out of their website?

  247. “mjm
    if you from innumerable questions you posed to me have one I have not answered, please repeat it.”

    Ragnar,

    don’t you worry. I will help you with find the question. Go to “Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch” and read mjm’s question of 9/5 (it’s the third most resecnt comment on the article, I believe). The following link should take you right there

    http://armenianweekly.com/2010/08/21/armenian-kids-made-to-leave-sourp-khatch-in-aghtamar/ 

    I am sure you know what the question is that we expect you to answer. You just pretend not to remember because there is no reasonable answer that you can give at this point without contradicting all your stories.  

  248. Apres Katia jan.. I am with you 100% on your last comment.

    I also agree with you on the comment directed to Harb…..

    I believe our wealthy should invest in Armenia as much as possible… that should be one of the most immediate step to rebuild our economy…. If I had the money, I would definintely do that…

    I love your last statement Katia jan.. very true..

    Karo.. I share your thoughts exactly…mersi..:)

    Perouz- glad we can share a laugh together.. :)

    Have a wonderful day…

    Gayane

  249. It’s amazing to me that some people here can be asking the world to recognize the pain of Armenians (which I admit is very real and deserves recognition), while at the same time hurling an endless barrage of insults and racist comments at those you want to give you that recognition.  You’re selling a concept and a point of view – and insulting those you want to come to your side isn’t very effective – trust me.  Policies and actions are valid targets, but not humans, at least if you don’t want to be a target yourself.  What about ‘do unto others’?  Isn’t that a cornerstone of our faith?  Have any of you ever read the book, How to Make Friends and Influence People?  You might try it. Well worth reading.  As you have seen, the lack of basic dignity and respect shown here will often be mirrored by those you most hope to persuade.  

  250. …hurling an endless barrage of insults and racist comments at those you want to give you that recognition [of the pain of Armenians].
    Who exactly do you have in mind? Who do we insult that we want to come to our side? Turks, for Christ’s sake? How? Demonstrate just one substantial move on their part so we, ungrateful Armenian saps, would finally stuff it into our dumb heads that by refusing to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, closing the common border, strangling the Republic by the blockade, dispatching military advisors to Azerbaijan, denying to admit the crime of genocide, hindering its international recognition, harassing and killing their own human rights activists, distributing DVDs to the schoolchildren showing Armenians massacring poor Turks, or transforming one out of 3000 ancient Armenian churches into a museum, Turks “want to give us that recognition and come to our side.”

  251. TYPO: The line in my earlier posting, “you promised to send you…” should be “you promised to send me….”

  252. just a minute now, Karekin. You have really hit a new low here. Armenians are not “selling a concept and a point of view.”We don’t need to “sell” anything. We are stating documented historical fact. The International Association of Genocide Scholars, whose members are intellectuals associated with universities around the world, long ago made it clear that the genocide of the Armenian people is a historical truth. Please, don’t embarrass yourself by attempting to pit your intellect against that of such an august body of scholars in the study of genocide and holocaust.
    If we were to “do unto others” as you so ridiculously suggest, we would murder 2 million turks, pillage and rape them. Turks do not live in the Diaspora except by choice. We live here as a result of their barbaric slaughter of our people which goes back many generations before 1915.
    Please also be well advised that we are not interested in winning the friendship of turks. nor do we think in terms of “influencing” them. As gayane so pointed said “iranq irants ESH nen qshum” or ” Chor glux”…

  253. Karekin,
     
    We are demanding that our human rights be tolerated and our people’s property rights be respected under accepted norms of international law. Is that too much to demand from a fascist government whose underhanded policies and offensive actions towards our people and our country for decades have consistently and blatantly undermined mutual trust and respect since illegally appropriating our assets?
     
    How do you think an unrepentant perpetrator of genocide is best able to repair its relations with our people? Is transforming our Church into a money making enterprise to fill their own coffers with more ‘blood money’ really their best effort at reconciling our relations? Does that sound friendly and genuine to you? If you perceive these types of actions to be genuine and friendly, I can just imagine what you would consider to be fraudulent and hostile.
     
     
    We are not looking for friends Karekin. And we are NOT “selling a concept and a point of view” (you really sounded like a denier there, be careful next time not to show your cards to that many Armenians on this forum…). This is not a business proposition. And this is not about influence peddling. Its about a government being courageous enough to live with truth and the consequences of that truth.
     
    Remember, in order to be able to reason with people, the people your conversing with need to be able to to listen first. Even Dale Carnegie knows that. And we all know Turkey is not yet ready to enter the listening stage of their development. It’s still stuck in the act now, reason (lie) later stage. Indeed, a sad yet realistic truth.
     
    btw the books title is “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

  254. Karekin,
    Over 95 years  “Armenian Genocide” of Turkey  become unnecessary tools and subject within various Turkish leadership and circles..yet, I agree with you, most Turkish innocent population have no idea, what happened to their Christian populations, some may even have Armenian or other Christian blood..
    I have to admit, that we should have never insult Turkish population…it is their leadership who chose to be “anti Armenian” on behalf of Turkish population, and they are very much alive in this forum..
    Those individuals, who are part of Turkish Government intelligence team,  are targeting  civilian infrastructure of Turkey, feed them with hatred information about Armenians, especially “dashnaks” and other none related subjects.
    Their immediate goal is to falsify and distort the history and seed hatred disease into their population minds and souls, in order to harvest their immediate political goals of  future, for their selfish political propaganda interest..

  255. Gina
    The link you gave me leads to a post by mjm posing a question regarding the arrests of Armenians on april 24, towards the end of his post-
    I think mgm should confirm that this is the question he is referring to.
    Apart from this, to my mind Karekin has a cogent point when he refers to the “hurling of accusations” against those from whom you want an apology. By the way: I was asked back in spring in the debate on the articule on Davutoglu why I hadnt done fieldwork with Armenians (I have done fieldwork in Turkey). I want now to say that I regard this debate here in the “Armenian weekly” as a kind of fieldwork. I try to get acquainted with a way of thinking and a way of responding in debates. A possible summing up on my part: A big segment, possibly the majority, of participants on the Armenian side seem to feel that they can only honestly and determinedly defend their cause by way of levelling accusations and offensive interpretations that are launched as absolute truths.
    I am by now accustomed to it but if I were to make synopsis of the “way of arguing of the Armenians participants in the debate in “Armenian weekly””, I would use your comment, Gina, as an example of a negative aspect (there are also positive ones). You write: You just pretend not to remember because there is no reasonable answer that you can give at this point without contradicting all your stories”. 
    We never discussed before, Gina, and your remark is remarkable for its lack of courtesy, and also your alleged access to an understanding of my motives and even that “I pretend not to remember”. Fantastic!
    Because I am genuinely interested in your Armenian cause and discuss/quarrel with Turkish friends fairly frequently about it, I participate in these discussions. I also learn a lot and have to try to be updated on the late Ottoman history. I also lecture on this in the University of Oslo I and would be doing a bad job if I did not use time disucssing with Armenians. But at some point i must say that I am amazed and saddened at the style of debate of many of the participants. There are important exceptions to this barrage of insults – people doing fieldwork must adopt to the local mores regarding how outsiders are treated – it is hardly a sign of self confidence if they are badly treated –   but since this is the first time we discuss, Gina, I will ask you really in full seriousness  to reconsider your assertion: You just pretend not to remember because there is no reasonable answer that you can give at this point without contradicting all your stories. “. I believe this style which you exemplify here,  is part of the reality prompting Karekin to ask his question, a quite sensible question….how would you fare in a discussion with liberal Turks – those who are close to providing the apology but also are not sure, and maybe will disagree on some points? –  if you adopt this style the moment you disagree with them on some point? Would you convert more Turks? 

     

  256. Harut
    Nice to meet a person here who is not anonymous…..
    the article I was planning never materialized. Otherwise you would have receved a copy. Yes, you and I had a discussion at that time, a quite amicable one, so I do not understand your present tone. Yes, they – those who organized the listserve-  kicked me out for very strange reasons. About who participated and liberal Turks in this discussion forum I have no comment, since a prerequisite of participation was not to divulge details on the discussions. –
    I have one question: werent you also kicked out by Suny, Gochek and Libaridian? You and I at that time discussed  privately the question of leakages from the assumed internal discussion forum. I have the copy of our discussion, I believe. I can paste it here, but of course I need your permission. I have nothing to hide. I even found a copy of one of my posts at that time in which I support your idea of demanding reparations, but with certain qualifications.
    At that time you wrote me: “You have your convictions and I have mine”. This represented a very commendable attitude to my mind. However, your tone now disappoints me.
    About my views on the commission, see my post to Gina. If anything here is not clear i will be happy to answer. But your comment – I dont need a commission – is not relevant to my view of the matter.  About my reasons to be here, see earlier posts and what I say in the long debate following the artcile “What Davutoglu fails to understand”. But again – I like that you appear under your full name. So far I only met Ayda Erbal who did the same in the debates here in “Armenian weekly”.
    Hoping all is well
    Ragnar Naess

  257. When you try to force a square peg into a round hole, the only way you can do it is to trim the corners. As Armenians, we need to learn that lesson. I don’t care how many demands we have…no one responds to demands, especially if they become increasingly angry and hostile 95 years after the fact. If you want respect, you need to give respect, even to those you may not admire, especially if they have something you want and you hope to get it. You may say there is no negotiation, no debate, no discussion…and that’s the exact point where you fail…at the very beginning…because it is a false premise – even if you have all the facts on your side. Every issue has two sides or perhaps more, especially if there are two people involved, whether you like it or not.  You do not live in Armenian bubble, and if you think you do, you will fail at this. You cannot force your point of view on anyone against their will…because you need them to buy into your concepts, your ideas and your thesis in order to have success. To some degree, this is about education, not about bludgeoning people into ideological submission.  Learning the art of negotiation and strategy is a valuable skill, and only those who’ve mastered them can be successful in the realm of human interaction.  So stop the begging, pleading and harrassing…as these are useless characteristics that are not effective when it comes to reaching Armenian goals.  I want to see Armenians succeed at this as much as anyone else, but again, a change of tactics is in order if that is going to ever happen.      

  258. “I think mgm should confirm that this is the question he is referring to.”

    “Gina, I will ask you really in full seriousness  to reconsider your assertion: You just pretend not to remember because there is no reasonable answer that you can give at this point without contradicting all your stories. ” ”

    Ragnar,

    beating around the bush? Why do you need a confirmation from mjm? You were actively participating in the debate. A simple question was asked that made you uncomfortable and you disappeared. What do you expect me to think? Don’t you agree that any believable answer is going to contradict your previous argumemnts? If not, simply answer the question now. Why do you need permission from mjm?

    Let’s say mjm is busy now and cannot confirm. May I please ask you the exact same question myself? I confirm that I ask the same question. I confirm one more time that I ask the same exact question. If you answer, I will reconsider my statement and apologize. If you don’t, let me know please how else I should interpret your refusal to answer the question.   

    “Because I am genuinely interested in your Armenian cause” Somehow, I find it hard to believe. 

    “discuss/quarrel with Turkish friends fairly frequently about it” If Murat and Robert aare among those friends, I don’t remember you dissecting any of their statements with the same zeal and persistency that you show to us. 
     

  259. You don’t have to try and convince us that you “don’t care about how many demands we have” Karekin. If anything is clear to us all from your writings thus far, its that you not only don’t care about our demands, you would eliminate them if you could (reparations for example). But you can’t. Why? Because the majority of Armenians don’t share your defeatist approach in our dealings with Turks, especially after 95 offensive years of the same trite Turkish propaganda.
     
    Karekin your living in a hypothetical bubble of supposed ‘Turkish tolerance’. You are basing your comments on the far fetched assumption that Turks are not limited by what they can say, write and think in Turkey. You may have overlooked this minute detail but ‘Turkish tolerance and freedom’ is a figment of your imagination. Do you consider Article 301 another example of a ‘friendly’ gesture of ‘genuine’ Turkish ‘respect’ shown towards those whom they seek to converse with?
     
    You place such a high premium on “negotiation, debate and discussion” of the Armenian Genocide with Turks when in fact these same people – that Armenians are supposed to cradle in our arms and spoon-feed the truth too – are prohibited by law from “discussing” this topic. Since when has it been the responsibility of Armenians to re-educate all Turks to undue the Turkish governments 95 year old propaganda campaign? Let the government who fed and spun the denial campaign come clean to their OWN people and then re-educate them with the truth using their own state funds. Armenians can only do so much. Can Armenians really be expected to re-educate 70 million brainwashed Turks into believing an ‘illegal’ truth? Are we to incur that financial cost as well????
     
    The Turkish government has insulted its own peoples intelligence by lying to them about their history. Can this be considered a violation under ‘insulting Turkishness’?

     
    The Turkish government can be criminally liable itself, under its own Machiavellian laws, for ‘insulting Turkishness’ by insulting the intelligence of Turks with lies! Where’s a lawyer when you need one? Any supposed ‘liberal Turk’ interested in taking this one up?

  260. Ragnar Naess:  I don’t need to confirm the question, because earlier in this discussion, in the September 9, 2010 post, I myself already wrote to you: “A question of mine in ‘Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch Church in Akhtamar’ of September 5, 2010 is still awaiting your response.” What special invitation are you waiting for? You undoubtedly learnt a lot of sneaky tricks from the Turks. Moreover, the question was not regarding “the arrests of Armenians on April 24,” it was regarding your perverted remark: “The powers prayed on the Ottoman Empire, for instance Russia who aided the Bulgarians, and the Turks reacted by seeing Armenians as enemies who maybe wanted to repeat the ‘Bulgarian way’.” I don’t think Gina’s reminder to respond was “remarkable for its lack of courtesy,” I think your negligence to answer the question was a lack of courtesy.
     
    Since you consider yourself a scholar, I presume you should know that fieldwork is a work done in the field to gain practical experience and knowledge through firsthand observation. Fieldwork also is the gathering of anthropological or sociological data through the interviewing and observation of subjects in the field. I’m sorry to say but I consider it unscholarly to state that “[you] regard this debate in the “Armenian weekly” as a kind of fieldwork.” As a “kind,” maybe; but as a “fieldwork” per se, hardly, until you travel to Armenia and Turkey and do fieldwork—in the classical sense of the word—in archives, libraries, and other repositories, as well as gather observation of subjects. I’d also suggest that you visit repositories of several countries whose emissaries, humanitarians, and missionaries witnessed the genocide of the Armenians, namely: Germany, Austria, Russia, the US, the UK, France, even your native Norway whose missionaries saw the consequences of Turkish slaughters.
     
    Lastly, least of all I’d think of “converting the Turks.” It’s not my prerogative, it’s the prerogative of their government, social associations, and human rights organizations. To me, a fundamental mistake is being made here by commentators like Karekin and Ragnar Naess: it is the Turks’ prerogative to wash themselves off a stigma of the genocide-perpetrator nation and the classification “barbarous Turks,” not Armenians’. Turks need to clean themselves from within, not wait for Armenians—the bulk of whom they wiped out from the face of the earth—to come to their rescue. We won’t.
     
    It’s derogatory to suggest that “if Turks have something we want and we hope to get it,” then “we need to give respect.” We’re not hoping to get what we want, namely: recognition of genocide, from the Turks. If they arrive at this point after 95 long years, it’d be, first and foremost, good for them. If they don’t, well, genocide is a crime against humanity, and Armenians will continue to advance the issue in world governments, international organizations, and courts. We owe no respect to a murderer-state. They owe us an apology.

  261. Ragnar, I just want to let you know that Armenians, on his site and other sites, are willing to discuss calmly, openly and politely with Turks (or Norwegians) who are sincerely exploring the truth.  It is genocide denial that makes the hair on the back of the neck stand up.  It is those who engage in a pseudo-academic analysis of well-established facts for the purpose of explaining why Turks did what they did, that stir the anger of those who seek justice.  It is smokescreens that obscure facts that are met with impatience and distrust by Armenians.  If you have received undue contempt and been subjected to undeserved accusations, i do apologize.  But you continually align yourself with those who work to water-down the truth of the genocide.  And you fail to tell the uncouth boor Robert when he is out of line and offensive or argue with Murat when he distorts history.  What kind of reception do you expect?  Should we help you practice/develop your arguments for a future Turkish apologist’s book or lecture by deceptively being drawn in by your pseudo-conciliatory language which amounts to non-commital emptiness.  Your goal is not clear after all these months…
     
    Sorry if years of deception and blatant disregard of justice has made us a bit “sensitive.”  Like a beaten dog, we can’t help but bare our teeth and growl when we sense danger.

  262. mjm
    you wrote:”A vivid example of such one-sided influence (Turkish influence, RN) is found in the statement as follows: “The powers prayed on the Ottoman Empire, for instance Russia who aided the Bulgarians, and the Turks reacted by seeing Armenians as enemies who maybe wanted to repeat the ‘Bulgarian way’. This is cause and effect.” It’s like saying: “A group of policemen entered my neighbors’ house and evicted them, and because of that my neighbors intruded my house and slaughtered all the members of family: newborns, kids, women, and ailing elders.”

    Now your “it is like saying…” is not very enlightening. First, to make this a kind of parallel you must add that you and your neighbour belong to the same group and the assailants to another. Secondly, I believe you, as so many here in the discussions, equate “cause” with “excuse” when I talk about mechanisms in history. I have many times here emphasized that this is not so. the theme we were discussing were the causes of events. –Unfortunately people’s experiences may lead to quite disproportionate responses.  Many of the Circassians who were ethnically cleansed in 1864 and ended up in Anatolia viewed Armenians fighting for their rights as dangerous enemies, indeed deadly dangerous enemies. This is about mechanisms, causes and effects, not about moral judgement. Morally, needless to say, the atrocities against Armenians – children, women, old men, young men – were despicable, inexcusable whatever the triggering incidents and ideas in the heads of the perpetrators
    I said this because I react to the simplifications that appear here from time to time. It is interesting that Murat pointed to the alleged fact that the Selchuks were aided by Armenians in attacking the Byzantines. In a onedimensional historical view, to which I unfortunately feel, maybe mistakenly, that you adhere, such facts have no place. All Turks are bad, all Armenians good.–
     Gina, Robert and Murat are not my friends. I dont know who they are. It is also not true that I do not challenge Murat. I challenged him on his comment on the “old building on Akhtamar island – why not a museum?”, but I received no answer. In earlier debates I have challenged him on the merits of Turkish history writing. But we also share some points of view.
    The people mostly asking me questions and challenging me are Armenians, so for this reason you get this impression that I only debate with – or attack – Armenians. My Turkish friends are  Turks in Norway. Last time I saw them I distributed the leaflet I have distributed to Norwegian tourists going to Turkey asking them to ask Turks what happened to Armenians in the Antalya area, and in Anatolia generally.

  263. Boyajian
    part of what you say I answer in my comment to Gina. My criticism also does not concern you. Certainly there are Armenians here who discuss calmly and are willing to listen to arguments.
    I have in mind people who simply uncritically assume that I am on the Turkish payroll because I say that genocidal intent – in the juridical sense – in the upper ittihadist echelons are so far not proved. And then feel that they do not have to listen to my arguments. Or Msheci who held that Turks – at least some of them – are genetically  determined to kill. Or you, Sylvia, who in your bizarre way presents her poems claiming that Turks are not real Muslims and also launched insults against me of the most incredible kind. Now as you understand I am not impressed by this, only saddened– But then of course there are counterexamples, for instance of mjm recently apologizing to me. And I apologize to all Armenians in the dialogue forum if I at the heat of the moment behave inconsiderately. The  Armenian I apologized to latest was Harut Sassounian. This is my idea of dialogue.

  264. I was one of the participants in the 500 posts long “What Davutoglu fails to understand” discussion that our Norwegian friend Ragnar is referring to.  I have to say that I will always remember it as the most dizzying, confusing, convoluted debates that I have ever participated in.  I advise mjm as well as Mr. Sassounian not to bother embroiling themselves in a discussion with Ragnar, because it will not go anywhere.  The man has a talent of entrapping individuals by portraying himself as a “scientific scholar”, while his main goal is inflating his “ego”.  Sorry Ragnar, you know how I feel about your style. You gave Msheci, Boyajian, Gayane and myself the goose chase of our lifetime…

    Karekin,
    You must be either out of your wits, or completely unaware of our history with the Turks.  The “new strategy” you are talking about, is not new at all, it has been tried over and over again by none other than our ancestors.  Throughout the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians tried to employ a soft friendly approach, by giving in to all of their demands/needs, we even were instrumental in drawing the Ottoman Constitution for them, but the Turkish attitude has always been “we are your masters and you should be out faithful millet” period.  With all the concessions, the humiliating unfair discriminatory laws they subjected us to, their leaders never ever strayed from their abusive treatment of their Armenian subjects.  To the point that they drove us crazy and made us revolt and demand fairer laws.  And what happened then?  They branded us as traitors, rebellers and massacred us.  You cannot win with them.  “Being nice” to them only means that you are officially allowing them to “take advantage of you” period.  The Dashnaks were fooled by the Young Turks promises of equal civic rights when they take over the government.  The Armenians went ahead and pledged their complete support of the Young Turks and helped them out during the Revolution when they toppled the Sultan.  Agnouni even saved Talat’s life by hiding him in his house…  And when Talat took power, he himself signed the arrest warrant and murder of Agnouni on April 24, 1915.  How can you deal with people who’s laws are completely different than yours.  How can you deal with a nation who’s Jihad law allows lying, abusing and murdering in the name of spreading Islamic/Turkic power.  Our only hope are the modern, educated, liberal Turks and Kurds who are fighting for their own human rights in Turkey.  How can you strike a deal with people, who do not think twice about reversing the deal.  It has happened over and over with them… Good luck with your strategies…

    Dikranagertzi, Very well said!!!

  265. mistake: I wrote:
    …..Or you, Sylvia, who in your bizarre way presents her poems claiming that Turks are not real Muslims…..
    it should of course be
    Or you, Sylvia, who in your bizarre way present your poems claiming that Turks are not real Muslims

  266. “Should we help you practice/develop your arguments for a future Turkish apologist’s book or lecture by deceptively being drawn in by your pseudo-conciliatory language which amounts to non-commital emptiness.”

    Boyajian,
    I am afraid that’s exactly what we are doing. I can’t find any other explanation for Ragnar spending all this time here and never ever for a second doubting his convictions. I think he presented an article titled “Polarization of Discourses and Quality of Dialogue” in April, 2010, at a conference at the Univeristy of Utah. It was in “Panel IV: The Armenian Question” for which the discussant was Justin McCarty, a notorious denier of AG, the author of “Death and Exile; The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims.” (And I was wondering who were Ragnar’s mentors.) God knows what he is telling in his article but my impression is that he has already taken his stance on the issue and is not going to suddenly change it no matter how long we discuss. I do academic research myself (not on the issue of AG) and I don’t see any genuine interest in him. It’s just a job he does.
    Following an earlier discussion that you and others had with Ragnar, I had decided not to fall into the trap of providing him with material for his “scholarly” activities, since his intentions did not seem earnest. Somehow I started talking to him. It’s up to you what you want to do but I am totally out of this. This is it for me. 
     

  267. I would disagree with you that it is about religion, It is about Turkish nationalism and that’s all it is. If Turks put their religion first, how do you explain the Kurdish situation. If you are talking about Muslims as a whole, why did the Arab Muslims welcome us into their lands?
    (http://www.armenian-genocide.org/Affirmation.4/current_category.1/affirmation_detail.html)
     
    I do agree that the key to change is target Turkish individuals, human rights organizations, etc. Don’t forget these people are raised the same as us. From when they are children they are taught that it was the Armenians fault of what happened and that we were traitors to the empire and a danger. Imagine growing up in this way, it is very hard to get minds to change. I know that since I was a child I grew up hearing about the Genocide and what the Turks did, from Church to School to Scouts, etc. This issue has been pushed deep into the minds of both Armenians and Turks. So its best to use patience and not hate when trying to deal with Turks and educate them.
     

  268. Ragnar,

    Your incessant pedantry is a bore. And an insult to the memory of the dead. If you have something to add to Ottoman history, or Genocide research, then publish it, and let your peers have at it. You try to roll over lay people, and they’re crushing you at every turn.

    In the meantime, I recommend that the posters here avoid and ignore you. You thrive, it seems, on lecturing Turks and Armenians from the lofty heights of some Norwegian Junior College.  Your scholarship us unknown and unheralded.

    Dwell that brain on this: Not only did Ottomanist and former AG agnostic Donald Quataert expose the efforts Turkey made to distort scholarship, but he also in 2000 admitted that the same pattern of killings, esp. of the men, throughout Anatolia and European Turkey implied a common plan, namely to kill Armenians because they are Armenians. Ditto for Assyrians, whom we might view as a type of control group in testing the Genocide hypothesis.  

    Explain to us the de Nogales admissions that were made both by Jevdet Bey and the Tigranagert Governor, to the effect that their orders were to kill all Armenians. Or perhaps the General of the Third Army’s 1919 admissions.

    Maybe you can tell us what happened to the scores of thousands of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian men drafted into the OE Army, who were disarmed in 1915, and for whom no records have ever been provided. We know what happened to them. They were murdered outright or starved to death while in the Army. Wouldn’t you agree that if these men were massacred in uniform, by their officers and fellow soldiers, that might be good evidence of governmental intent to kill?

    Please use your dubious gifts to afflict Turkish Nazis, leaving the descendants of the slaughtered, without access to their properties, Churches, and physical culture alone.

    In the west, we know the Norwegians to have been uncommmonly brave and resolute in defending their country from Nazi Germans. You, on the other hand, would doubtless have demanded that your countrymen justify self-defense.  

  269. Hi, Ragnar – Our paths have crossed again. It’s come to my attention thanks to a fellow commentator who knows my Facebook address that in your September 11, 2010 comment, as I see it right away on the screen, you contended that [I] ‘held that Turks–at least some of them–are genetically determined to kill’ in the ‘What Davutoglu Fails to Understand’ discussion. I find it outrageous and challenge you to refer me and all commentators in this discussion to a particular comment of mine that confirms precisely, word by word, that I’ve ever said that ‘Turks–at least some of them–are genetically determined to kill.’ If you don’t, I’ll have to request moderators of this Forum to accuse you of blackmailing a fellow-commentator. I continue to visit AW from time to time, but withdrew myself from posting any further comments because, just like Gina said here, I tend not to provide you or any other genocide intent-denying individual with material for your activities whatever they might be, since your intentions don’t seem earnest. I can see that our second heavily-commented discussion left a little impact on your way of thinking. Well, then so be it, stick to your guns, and we’ll stick to ours. I’ll only emerge when the Storting will acknowledge the Armenian genocide, or when another major power—the US, Israel, or the UK—will do the same. So long.

  270. I will say it again, though you don’t like my suggestions for a new strategy and approach toward Turkey, you just won’t admit that the standard tactics used over the last 95 years have not worked.  Turkey has not acknowledged the genocide. Plain and simple. So, what new ideas do you have?  Repeat: NEW ideas.  I’ve heard none, just the same old lines repeated as if from mindless parrots.  Moreover, you’ve fallen into the trap of stimulus and response…every action from Turkey is met with the same response.  If you want to talk about a victim mentality, that defines it quite well.  Until that pattern can be broken, nothing will change.  It is encouraging that leaders in Armenia are exploring new approaches, but sad to see that the diaspora is largely unchanged.  

  271. Ragnar you said:

     I was asked back in spring in the debate on the articule on Davutoglu why I hadnt done fieldwork with Armenians (I have done fieldwork in Turkey). I want now to say that I regard this debate here in the “Armenian weekly” as a kind of fieldwork.

    how quickly you forget that THE FIRST PERSON to ask you this question over and over and over again was me on the most discussed/commented forum on AW (as Katia jan said.. the same forum that you send me, Katia, Boyajian and Msheci on a goose chase).. and the reason I asked that question Ragnar was because i caught you and your twisted game right away.. i distrusted you right away.. and to this day i don’t trust you and do not see you as someone who is credible and reliable..  you are operating on thin ice sir…… i am sorry… I knew your agenda was not pure… you gather information from these forums to use in your twisted and distorted lectures and what not.. now that is kind of disturbing as we have no idea how you are using these comments.. only God knows… and of course you consider discussing and commenting on AW as fieldwork….I say HA HA HA.. very funny indeed…

    Mjm said it perfectly so i am going to copy and paste it …..

    Since you consider yourself a scholar, I presume you should know that fieldwork is a work done in the field to gain practical experience and knowledge through firsthand observation. Fieldwork also is the gathering of anthropological or sociological data through the interviewing and observation of subjects in the field. I’m sorry to say but I consider it unscholarly to state that “[you] regard this debate in the “Armenian weekly” as a kind of fieldwork.”

    I know I beat this one to death but i will say it again: until you do an extensive fieldwork with ARmenians and Non-ARmenians as you did with the Turks, don’t give us your comments, thoughts and what not…because as I always do, I read and dismiss as it does not stand ground.. it is a fluke…zilch…zero…
    and you as I said many many times over are another type of a deniar..YOU do not believe in Genocide.. PERIOD…

    Ragnar you said:

    Because I am genuinely interested in your Armenian cause and discuss/quarrel with Turkish friends fairly frequently about it, I participate in these discussions

    I say.. HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and ASTRONOMICAL B.S…..

    Ragnar you said:

    Morally, needless to say, the atrocities against Armenians – children, women, old men, young men – were despicable, inexcusable whatever the triggering incidents and ideas in the heads of the perpetrators

    See what i mean???? You can’t even say the word Genocide.. your favorite words are atrocities, tragedy, catastrophy, casualties.ect ect ect… Let me correct your sentence if I may….

    Morally, needless to say, The Ottoman Genocide of Western and Eastern Armenians- children, women, old men, young men- were despicable, inexcusable and morally wrong that was viciously organized and carried out by the then Turkish govt…

    such a deniar…

    Ragnar you said:

    The people mostly asking me questions and challenging me are Armenians, so for this reason you get this impression that I only debate with – or attack – Armenians

    ummmm.. duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… of course the challengers will be Armenians..because only ARmenians know that what you present is outright wrong and twisted..only Armenians see how confused you are and how one-sided you are.. Turks love you because you are helping their cause and not he Armenians. of course they will not challenge you.. Also, you yourself told me you have off line contact with Murat and who knows maybe Robert too.. The stooges…

    Ragnar you said:

    Now as you understand I am not impressed by this, only saddened– But then of course there are counterexamples, for instance of mjm recently apologizing to me. And I apologize to all Armenians in the dialogue forum if I at the heat of the moment behave inconsiderately. The  Armenian I apologized to latest was Harut Sassounian. This is my idea of dialogue.

    Well you know what? i am saddened too..I am saddened that someone non-Turkish supports the Turkish tactics… someone who is from Norway believes with such strong beliefs what Turks fed him..even though he says he did the fieldwork himself.. HA….. and someone who thinks he is smart yet gets caught every turn he takes and continues to deny..now THAT is sad Ragnar….. but that is the reality of the matter..
    oh and you should apologize to Harut Sassounian…no doubt about that…

    Good Day sir..

  272. Incorrigible Karekin – Do please elaborate on your “new strategy.” So far we’ve heard a perverted viewpoint to “show respect” to a murderer- and denialist state in order to get “what we want.” Lay out details as to how technically you envision this “new strategy” of yours can work out. Oh, and you’re dead wrong that our “standard tactics” as compared to your non-standard ones have not worked over the last 95 years. What planet do you live on? Aren’t you aware of the fact that almost 30 foreign governments and dozens of provincial governments have recognized the mass extermination of Armenians as genocide? Don’t you know that 44 state legislatures of the United States have done the same and every presidential candidate, including Barak Obama, acknowledges unambiguously that Turkish actions constitute genocide? Are you unaware of the fact that leading international and regional organizations, such European Parliament, the EU, and the UN Commission on Minority Rights, have done the same? Haven’t you come across the resolutions of reputable professional associations, such as the International Association of Genocide Scholars, admitting mass murders of Armenians as an act of genocide? Aren’t you aware that hundreds of Nobel laureates signed petitions recognizing the killings as genocide? Don’t you know that a number of advocacy groups and human rights organizations did the same? Haven’t you read the accounts of scores of genocide scholars—Armenian and mostly non-Armenian—as well as historians and international lawyers recognizing the annihilation of Armenians as genocide? If these are not results of our “standard tactics” and moral integrity of these individuals and organizations, then what is it?! “Turkey has not acknowledged the genocide?” Well, the Hell with the murderer-state and its acknowledgment. Plain and simple. Genocide is a crime against humanity punished by the UN Convention, it’s not just an individual prerogative of a perpetrator-state to admit it, it’s a prerogative of the community of nations to admit and condemn the crime committed by an individual state, and the number of recognizing countries is growing. We don’t have to show respect to a denialist state. It’s in Turks’ best interest to relieve themselves from the burden and shame of a genocide-perpetrator nation, not Armenians’ obligation to “educate” them. We owe them nothing: THEY owe us an apology. We haven’t wiped out 1.5 million people from the face of the earth: THEY have. We haven’t stolen their ancestral homeland: THEY have. We haven’t slaughtered, raped, mutilated innocent human beings: THEY have. What “respect” are you calling upon us to show to these barbarians? And exactly what “every action from Turkey is met with the same response [of stimulus and response]? What honest, repentant action is it that Turks have done that Armenians didn’t appreciate? Established diplomatic relations with Armenia? Lifted 17-year old blockade? Opened common border? Ceased to tie the issue of normalization of bilateral relation with an unrelated issue of Artsakh? Stopped sending military advisors and sharing intelligence with the Azeries to the detriment of Armenians? Ceased efforts at hampering genocide resolutions across the globe? Stopped harassments and killings of their intellectuals who speak the truth about the Armenian genocide? Re-opened Armenian churches and monasteries—or whatever remain of them as a result of the cultural genocide, to be exact—to serve their primary goal as spiritual centers not museums? Placed them under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople? REPEAT: What is it the Turks have done so far that we, ungrateful Armenians, haven’t recognized and reciprocated? Victim mentality my a**, it’s exactly your mentality that falls under this definition. Had you lived during 1915-1921, you’d almost certainly put your head into a noose of the Turkish assassins not partake in resistance movements.
    And for the thousandth time, leaders in Armenia, repeat: are not exploring new approaches with Turkey. All initiatives at rapprochement, be it notorious TARC or defeatist Protocols have been imposed on both sides by external forces. One should be blind not to see this. And don’t you dare to join your Turks in their futile attempts at dividing the Republic and Diaspora Armenians. We are one nation, having one history and one destiny. Nothing will come out of this. The more we’re being pushed to the wall, the more resistant we’ll be. Don’t forget that.

  273. Hi Msheci,
    the passage I am referring to is the following which you wrote on june 7:
    “We’re dealing with the Turks, a nation-state that appeared on the world map, as a result of nomadic invasions from Mongolian steppes and destruction of the natives in Asia Minor, only in the 11th-14th centuries AD. Their’ modern’, as they call it, state was formed only in the beginning of the 20th century. Essentially, these people, not all of course, inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers: kill to gain new pastures; demolish ancient structures of the natives and build mosques;….”.

    Now of course the expression “….inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers: kill to….” is not exactly the same as “being genetically determined to…” but it amounts to more or less the same in my understanding.

    As far as I remembered I returned to your words on this topic several times during our discussion following the Akcam article on Davutoglu, but i never eceived any satidsfying answer.
    I wish I could say something mopre conciliatory, but this remark of yours made a very negative impression on me.   

  274. Gina
    Do  you infer something about my presentation from the fact that Justin McCarthy presided the session?
    Because the presentations may be turned into articles that may be published I am not free to circulate the presentation, but I can say as much as the following: the main input is a comparison between Anaide Ter Minassian’s treatment (article “Van, 1915”) of the fighting at Van and the analysis of the same events in the book “The Armenian rebellion at Van” by Justin McCarthy and his associates. I criticise both versions for failing to relate to the main points in the opposite narrative. In a way my criticism of McCarthy is stronger because he cites Ter Minassian fairly much, but fails to relate to central aspects of her narrative, whereas Minassian wiriting earlier obviously does not cite McCarthy, but fails to relate to the alleged documentation on Armenian preparations for aid to the Russian army in a serious way. And the main message is that in so far as we intend to debate in a scholarly fashion we must relate explicitly to the main tenets of our adversaries.

  275. Karekin there’s quite a difference between people with a “victim mentality” and those of us with a justice mentality.
     
    Those with a “victim mentality” (a.k.a. “slave mentality”) advocate a defeatist approach in our dealings with the Turkish government and are usually the same crowd who thought an independent Armenia and the liberation of Artsakh were a pipe dream. They also tend to be the first to fall head over heels over offensive propaganda ploys that Mr. Sassounian has correctly identified over the years as ‘bait and switch’ tactics. This crowd of obedient slaves, it turns out, is also Ankara’s most fertile picking ground in their search for the next top Armenian turncoat, who they plan to place on a podium for hire in order to showcase to the world as the so called “good Armenian.”
     
    Those with a justice mentality on the other hand, are usually demonized by people such as you, for merely demanding what belongs to us as legal guardians of our own assets. We do not believe that the passage of time has undermined our legitimate rights to our assets which by the way are backed by accepted tenets of international law. And we demand that the human rights of our people living in Turkey today be respected, tolerated and protected. While those with this mentality do accept that new strategies and approaches with Turkey are required in our battle for truth and justice, we neither acquiesce nor endorse the Turkish governments every whim to insult and provoke Armenians with insincere disparaging actions cloaked in pseudo-conciliatory rhetoric. They also acknowledge that much has been accomplished over the decades in not only recovering from a nearly successful attempt at race extermination but also in liberating some of our people’s mindset from the slavish yokes of empires past.
     
    Karekin, you claim to be “encouraged” by how “leaders in Armenia are exploring new approaches” with Turkey.
     
    Is slavish adherence to Turkey’s attempts to re-subjugate our people your idea of an “encouraging” “new” approach with Turkey? For how many more years are you willing to take orders from an unrepentant foreign government intent on dividing and conquering our people? The strategy you’re advocating was tried and tested by your great grand parents and their ancestors for nearly 600 years. Guess what? It culminated in the Armenian Genocide. This was the product of 600 years of subjugation and persecution. Expecting anything different by embracing that same approach today IS INSANE. Advocating a defeatist approach with our Turkish neighbors would only repeat our history. You, Karekin, should heed your own advice and realize that “repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”
     
    How may I ask, have Armenian leaders been “exploring new approaches” with Turkey?
     
    Has the Armenian President demanded reparations for the Armenian Genocide from the unrepentant Turkish government? Has the RA officially demanded an apology and the return of our occupied lands? Has the RA launched legal action against the Republic of Turkey to reclaim our people’s assets from illegal appropriation?
     
    And what exactly have you been “encouraged” by Karekin?
     
    The fact that now instead of Turkish authorities laughing behind our backs in Ankara they can laugh AT our ‘leaders’ while sipping coffee WITH our ‘leaders’ WHILE IN THE PRESENCE of international dignitaries IN Yerevan? I guess that can be considered “encouraging” if those of us still afflicted by slave mentality are looking for a NEW LOW!
     
    Wake up Karekin. You are fast asleep my friend.

  276. Well, Ragnar, if you agree that the expression “….inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers: kill to….” is not exactly the same as “being genetically determined to kill…,” then, I guess, there was no need to twist words and the meaning that I put in them. I don’t think it does you credit. As for your understanding of the passage, it’s incorrect first and foremost because the passage particularly referred to a nation-state and not ordinary individual Turks, as you portrayed it. Secondly, the passage clearly refers to invasions of their nomadic forefathers that, as I’m sure you’re aware, brought destruction to half of the globe and reached as far as the walls of Vienna. And lastly, it should have been understood from the last part: “inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers: kill to gain new pastures; demolish ancient structures of the natives and build mosques,” that I particularly referred to how the Ottoman Turks behaved in regard to Armenians during a particular period of 1915-1923. Yes, just like their savage forefathers, having inherited in their genes the mentality of their 11th-14th centuries’ destructionist invaders, Ottomans, too, forcibly deported Armenian natives; gained their pastures, houses, properties, bank accounts, and insurance indemnities; demolished their cultural heritage or transformed their structures into mosques. Yes, I tend to draw parallels between their forefathers’ behavior back in 11th-14th centuries and their Ottoman predecessors’ behavior in the early 20th century. You have a problem with that? It saddens me that virtually little changed in the mentality and behavior of their nation-state in the course of the 11th to the beginning of the 20th century. And the only explanation I can find—and I don’t claim to be correct—is that it might be the genes of their nomadic invaders that Ottoman Turks were bearing when exterminating innocent human beings in 1915. However, this speculation of mine and your portrayal of it as if it referred to modern-day Turks who are “being genetically determined to kill” sit on divergently different poles and is utterly distorting in essence.

  277. Ragnar Naess:  Since you intend to “in so far debate in a scholarly fashion,” do bear in mind that Van resistance of April 19 began after Armenians who were enlisted in the Ottoman armies were disarmed and after Armenians of Zeitoun were forcibly deported en masse on April 8, that is almost two weeks before the events in Van. Shortly after the expulsions from Zeitoun, other Cilician Armenian towns suffered a similar fate. Therefore, whatever you may refer to as “alleged documentation on Armenian preparations for aid to the Russian army” runs the gantlet of criticism, because Ottoman Turkish atrocities aimed at forced expulsions and accompanying mass murders of Armenians had already begun by the time of Van resistance. Another indication of a planned incitement at Van is the fact that the chief provocateur and ugly executioner in the province was Jevdet Bey, the brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, one of the three main premeditators and perpetrators of the genocide of Armenians within the inner circles of the Ittihadists. In this capacity, Jevdet’s extremism towards Armenians was explicit. A man of dangerously unpredictable moods, friendly one moment, ferociously hostile the next, capable of treacherous brutality, he had been nicknamed “Nalband Bey” (in Turkish: “Lord Blacksmith”) after atrocities committed at Bashkale in which he had nailed horseshoes onto his victims’ feet. Your argument on Armenian “serious preparations for aid to the Russian army” at Van will be bombarded, ridiculed, and ultimately defeated with no sweat by serious historical scholarship based on an easily-verifiable fact that the Ottoman authorities had already started the deportation and mass murder campaign of Armenians earlier in Cilicia.

  278. Ragnar Naess:   As I see it, you failed to respond to my question of September 5, 2010 in “Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch Church in Akhtamar.” What you did, you just extracted the “neighbor” parallel out of it, hazily dropped an inarticulate remark thus offering nothing “enlightening,” as you say. Secondly, I don’t think that many here in the discussions equate “cause” with “excuse” when you talk about “mechanisms in history.” Rather, from the tone of your writings we get an impression that you’re prone to finding excuse for Turkish actions, albeit tacitly. Of course, “people’s experiences may lead to quite disproportionate responses,” and you hastily supported this argument by this remark : “Many of the Circassians who were ethnically cleansed in 1864 and ended up in Anatolia viewed Armenians fighting for their rights as dangerous enemies, indeed deadly dangerous enemies.” But I won’t tire to repeat the same question over and over again, this time not about Balkan Turks, but Circassians: “ethnically cleansed by whom, for Christ’s sake, so they viewed Armenians as deadly dangerous enemies?”  All Turks are not bad, and all Armenians are not saints, but the Ottoman Turkish response to the ideas of a few Armenian revolutionaries or their isolated freedom-fighting acts or retaliation against the non-stop maltreatment by the government and pillages by the Turkish and Kurdish bands, as well as the same Circassians, who would pillage the Armenian villages themselves, but God knows why would view the Armenians as “deadly dangerous enemies,” in the form of annihilation of the whole race is inadequate, to say the least! Why are you debating this trivial, obvious actuality?

  279. God bless you Karo. I thank you with deep gratitude for summing up so accurately, for speaking out with such passion and committment, particularly in your last posting.

  280. Pro-Turks, Turks, and citizens of a Turkey:  Can you deny that your leaderships are commiting Genocides since the 19th, the 20th and now the 21st centuries (currently the Kurds) and enjoined with the Sudanese in their denials of the Darfurians Genocide – ala Turkish denials of all the Genocides committed by Ottomans and their subsequent leaderships. Slaughtering, rapings, kidnappings, torturing humans all these centuries and you – citizens of a Turkey – are not aware of your nations’ violations of any humans eliminating humans?  You must wallow in this ‘title’ as the nation which promotes Genocides to steal and then to lie to world… How can you live with these lies, how can you sleep at nights, knowing your status as a people who  allow such mentally misdirected leadership to continue to lie to all your citizens and to the world. Your leaderships today continue to perpetrate Genocides to gain their convoluted goals… and use the Muslim religion, distorted, for their own purposes. Lying to you, are you unaware, a nation of 70 million Turks before all the world? There is such a thing as a revolution… peoples who see and know their governments are not in sync with the civilized nations of the world… Are you not ashamed to be counted amongst the 70 millions of your citizens who still are in pursuit of eliminating humans. Your own Muslim religion is used to convince you of the need to slaughter and worse humans… Fpr all these years since your forbears came down from the Asian mountains to steal lands – eliminating peoples to steal cultures, properties, wealths that today your leaderships have built upon – as wealthy Turks. Turks are known the world over as the mentality that seeks to commit the Genocides to advance their own goals – to hell with humanity. (Mind you, not by wars – Genocides).   But yet, how else shall the world see these actions of Turks – continuing Genocides still today – 2010. Too, Turkey’s relationships with all their ‘foreign relations’ are a farce – on again/off again – and the PLOYS – desperate acts of your leaderships to delay, distract and their lies abound  in pursuit of ‘allies’ – none of which Turks can retain – since a Turkey cannot sign and maintain agreements with other nations… Turks are in fear of any agreements… especially the Sevres Treaty!  How many centuries shall it take for the Turk to join the civilized nations of the world?  Too, our young Armenian women captured to live Turkish lives. Manooshag
    P.S. Nations have had revolutions against the tyranny of their governments – perhaps the Turk leaders are careful not to ‘upset’ your citizenry for they have mis-educated  students with the lies of their true history with the omissions  by  your own Turkish governments of all their Genocides against the Syrians, Assyrians, Greeks and the Armenians… all non-Muslims.  Now, today the Kurds – Today the brave Turks use fighter planes and chemical warfare against the Kurds…   For the Turk does not declare wars – Genocides are easier, just overwhelm the unarmed and kill, rape, kidnap, slaughter pregnant women and toss their embryos to catch upon their swords, and too, hammer horse shoes to the victims feet… torture and worse – is the true history of the Turk – which Turk leaderships delete/omit in your history books. Lately, Turkish brave accomplishment was the young 15 year old Kurd girl, supposedly tosses pebbles at a Turk policeman – she is in jail for about seven (7) years (the heinous Turkish jails) – and the big brave Turks shall be proud of this vilest accomplishment??  Thus your Turkish reputation before the world via the Turkish leaderships – cruel and vile – still unable to join the civilized nations of the world – too, still seeks to gain back their demented Ottoman empire, and more.  No matter the cost for lives – still seeking to offer inhumanity to humans – at which they excell, Turkish style.  M.

  281. Getsehs Karo!
    Getsehs Dikranagertsi!

    We are not doing anything wrong in the pursuit of the justice due to us as the victims of 20th century’s first Genocide. Get this into your skulls. We did not ask to be massacred. We never asked Turkey to steel our lands. The perpetrator nation is the one that despite the affirmation of 30 countries and the leading authorities on Genocide, is stubbornly denying its crime and going to every length including distorting its own history and brainwashing its own people in order to avoid justice. I see merit in educating the Turkish people about the truth and especially supporting their human rights activists and honest courageous historians such as Pamuk and Ackam.
    Turkey will only earn our respect when it is civilized enough to apologize and make reparations in the example of Germany. A country that with no shame enjoys the fruits of the land that it stole from a population that it massacred, a country that used the Genocide victims bank accounts, jewelry, abandonned property, business inventories and farms to fund its new Republic and armies, a country that persecutes anyone who mentions the truth and produces demolition warrants of the properties belonging to an individual who is using his God given right of expression, a country that shamelessly renovates a church as a museum and plans to charge money from the same church’s rightful owners deserves the respect of only spineless people with no integrity.
    Yes, we can always improve on our diplomacy, but there is nothing to improve on our rightful claims. The claims are based on international laws and speak for themselves.
    Not only should we stay firm on our rightful demands, but Armenia should stop being an enabler, and giving Turkey, Europe, the US and Israel the time, space and luxury to keep the status quo. It should stand up and oppenly demand from Turkey reparations for its crimes against the Armenian nation. What will Turkey and the rest do if Armenia demands an apology, restoration and reparation? What are we scared of? If we are on the side of the truth, we should have nothing to fear unless we are still entrenched in the slave mentality that is playing to everyone but our advantage. We have a free nation, we have our own government and we should have screamed these demands from Turkey yesterday… How is it that Armenia did not voice its outrage on the way Dink’s case is proceeding and the recent demolition warrants?
    We are a victimized nation with legitimate demands for justice. Our luck, we are dealing with the most notoriously uncivilized, faceless, cheating and conniving state on the face of the earth. What kind of a government covers up the truth and reaps the benefits of murdering innocent women, children and men?
    We will earn everyone’s respect when we stand up for our rights, and Turkey will earn respect when it is big enough as a nation to accept its ancestors crimes and stops all the equally criminal covering up and threatening that it is engaged in.

  282. Rita, i think you commented to me regarding the idea that religion is not the cause of Turkish attitudes regarding mistreatment of Armenians.  I agree that nationalistic chauvinism is a root cause, but i meant to say in my comment that in the case of the Turks (not all Muslims) Islam’s teachings help to provide a fertile ground in which such chauvinism can grow.  I think we agree…?  I do not mean to be disrespectful toward Islam.
     
    Dikranagertzi and Karo, very strong comments.  Really liked the distinction between victim mentality and justice mentality.   Katia, I agree with your comment, especially your strong advocacy for standing up for our rights, which does not preclude reevaluating and re-strategizing when necessary but never compromising on the truth.  I appreciate the optimistic and determined attitude in your writing.  We need to persevere knowing that we are going in the right direction, even though it may be slowly.  As long as we keep moving forward, I am not going to lose heart.
     
    However, I do want to say that I think Karekin has a valid point regarding how difficult it is for the average Turk to be told they are a member of a barbaric race, especially when they have been misinformed all their lives.  They do not know our shared history as we know it. In fact, they have been cutoff from this history because their alphabet was changed with the creation of the modern Turkish state; only a few select scholars know the old script and have access to historical and archival Ottoman records.  They have been led to believe that we were the aggressors with nationalistic aspirations.  In their view, we refused to join them in being ‘happy Turks’, aided the Russians and threatened them.  None of this justifies Genocide of course or lets the Turkish government off the hook, but we could be smarter about our rhetoric and more precise in our language just by remembering these facts and consequently more effective in our dialogue with Turks.  I know this challenges us to avoid repeating some of the accusations against Turks that we have all heard since we were children, but if it makes for more fruitful dialogue, I think it is worth it.  Not sugar-coating, just straight forward, non-inflammatory discussion of the facts in a tone that says “We have been terribly wronged by what happened in 1915 and continue to be wronged by your nations refusal to acknowledge the genocide of 80% of Ottoman Armenians and the appropriation of their wealth and property, as well as the desecration of our historical monuments and churches.  We are waiting for your nation to stop the denial and to treat us with respect and dignity by acknowledging the truth that numerous nations and genocide scholars have confirmed.”
     

  283. Apres Katia jan… well said.

    Karo.. bravo

    Dikranagertsi- excellent post…

    Msheci- i always said.. ….qefs galisa havata when I read your comments.. so glad you can join again…..

    Mjm- as always.. great posts…

    Thank you for everyone who believe in our Cause and stand firm and tall…

    Gayane

  284. msheci
    your attempt at answer baffles me. The central point is that you talk about behavioural traits being caused by, or determined by, the genes. Is there any way you can avoid the connotation of such a statement? Who, and what political parties, and what historical movement, has argued that the behaviour of certain people is so because it is “laying in their genes”? Honestly, Msheci, I had some respect for you and I hope you will re-establish it by re-evaluing your point of view

  285. Mjm
    the point you raise is one which is central to the debate on crimes and criminology the last 150 years. the disjunction between explaining and excusing. Let me make an example: Somebody steals or murders or embezzles. In some cases you can say that this is done because of what you may call pure evil. For instance if somebody attacks a total stranger and kills him or her. Then you look if the person is insane. No, no insanity. Then you look if the person was living under strong stress and had been humiliated by others, and had a strong suppressed feeling of anger. YOU LOOK FOR EXPLANATIONS, MECHANISMS. But nothing of this kind materializes. On the contrary, the person is ostensibly well adjusted, and moreover selected his victim with cunning. Then you may conclude that what we see is unadulterated evil. There was nothing the murdered symbolized in the eyes of the perpetrator, nothing in the previous life of the perpetrator that could explain the act.
    Then you take resort to the concept of pure evil. Evil is ioften defined as crime in the absense of any provocation or external explanation.
    But say that the person killed the other because the other symbolized something by force of the previous experiences of the perpetrator, then this may provide an explanation, but not an excuse. But if the killed person earlier had attempted to kill the one who later murdered, then you may speak of extenuating circumstances. But still the murdered person is GUILTY. there is no EXCUSE, properly speaking. In the same way the Circassian who murdered Armenian men, and then murdered Armenian women and children so that a new generation of Armenians should not grow up, did not murder in a vacuum. The Armenians symbolized the Christian oppressions for him. The very real experiences of what the Russian army did. To answer that “Armenians did not do this to the Circassians” is immaterial. The Armenians symbolized the deadly enemy experienced in actual experience. This does not condone Turkish or Circassian acts towards Armenians, but it explains them. and if you refuse any explanation, you indirectly accuse the Turks of an absolute or pure evil. The Turks had absolutely no problems with the armenians, you say, and if the Turks had any problems is it because they were evil in the first place, they were invaders, murderers who have it in their genes, as Msheci implies (and no Armenian in the discussion objected….) .
    Given this attitude of yours, mjm, I again ask: whom do you expect to convice? Not the people who have studied history and who always talk about mechanisms and developments, but maybe people who are blinded by some kind of hatred and who behave as if they are looking for the representatives of evil on earth, and then select the Armenians as their champions and Turks as their object of hatred?  I know some non-Armenians, champions of the Armenian cause in Norway, who behave like this and I believe the Armenian cause is not well served by them. They interpret any attempt at explanation as an attempt at excuse. But so say that Turks did not act in 1915 out of poure evil is not an excuse.—Well, maybe I spoke too long. This is my view. The ittihadists did not act out of pure evil, but they can never be excused, and Turkey should apologize and make reparations.

  286. Thank you Gayane and Boyajian…
    Gayane you light up these conversations with your generosity…
    Boyajian, the ever elegant and eloquent…

    Msheci, so great to hear from you… I wouldn’t bother with you know who…

    What happened to our people, was truly truly unfair, unjust and inhuman… It has now boiled down to the battle of the wills… on one side Turkey distorting, brainwashing and covering up the truth with all the resources that it has, and relying on the passing of the time and the forgetfulness of the world … on the other side is the entire Armenian people, armed with the Internet, books, documentaries, movies, historians and political activists… it is another battle of Sardarabad in a way.  We are driven with the pain of every mother who abandoned her dead child under a tree, with the pain of each child who witnessed the murder of his mother, with the pain of each grandfather who walked away from the farms he nurtured with his hands, the anguish of children who were forced into slavery or orphanages and who yearned for their parents, the pain of living with unspeakable memories… these were our grandparents… and we will tell the whole world about what happened to them.  We hold nothing against today’s regular Turkish citizen.  We just want to inform him that there are thousands of ghosts roaming his lands.  The lands that used to be theirs.  They were massacred because they wanted their freedom.  They were massacred because Turkey needed their lands.  All we want is for the memory of these people to be respected.  We want what happened to them acknowledged and reparations made to their descendants.  And we want to put them to rest like every human being deserves.  And if we ask for our mount Ararat back… it is only because, it has always been Armenian…
    Redemption is the ultimate victory…

  287.   Katia K. great post! Our day will come because the truth always has the stronger will and reliable foundation to lean on. The lies lose their strength because lies never add value.
        The one concern that I have is that we must continue to educate and instill the sense of responsibility I see on this board in our children!! Assimilation and ambivilence are Talaat’s victory. It is a personal responsibility that each of us have in the diaspora. Part of the denial strategy is to let the ravages of assimilation close the book on the genocide. Of course, they have completely misunderstood the core of what an Armenian is. But we must continue to instill in the new generations in our homes, in our churches, in our schools and in our centers. This the same responsibility that our ancestors had after continuous invasions scattered our people…only to see them regroup and regenerate. This is who we are. This is why the Turkish government will one day admit the crimes of their predecessors and account for their denial.
           Once a young Armenian understands this responsibility, the torch will never be extinguished. This is our sacred mission.

  288. The Ittihadists did not act out of pure evil?  I’m sorry, but you must be joking. They decide to solve Turkey’s financial crisis by killing and deporting 25% of the population and stealing all their property and worldly goods, and you don’t think this was pure evil??? Please.  Yes, it was pure evil, but it was not an act masterminded or committed by all Turks, but rather by a tiny group of largely non-Turks who hijacked the government, and saw an opportunity for themselves to exercise control over one of the world’s oldest empires, and then rise to the top in that society, by eliminating their only competition.  It was calculated with precision and yes, that kind of premeditation is intrinsically evil.

  289. Karekin:   This is one rare instance in these discussions when I applaud you and generally support your argument above, except for the “non-Turk” part. I understand what you mean by it, but I firmly believe that whoever some of the inner circle of the Ittihadists were ethnicity-wise, they nonetheless represented the official government of the Ottoman Turkish empire. Besides, hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of employees of the central government and provincial administrations, local governors’ apparatus, village heads, gendarmes, army commanders and soldiers, prisoners set free with the aim of massacring Armenians, the Chettes, as well scores of ordinary pillagers, thieves, and murderers were predominantly of Turkish, and to some degree, Kurdish nationals.

  290. Karekin
    you mean that the ittihadists did what they did “in the absense of any provocation or external explanation”? This is how I understand “pure evil”

  291. Ragnar,
     
    I think I made myself perfectly clear in that in no way have I ever mysteriously alluded, or remotely implied, or, what is more, explicitly stated, that Turks are “being genetically determined to kill.” Yet, I can see that you again misinterpret my words in your September 13, 2010 comment, this time paraphrasing them a bit: “murderers who have it in their genes, as mscheci implies.” I hereby denounce in the strongest terms your citing of words never written by me in the order, form, meaning, or implication as you portray them. Just as nowhere in my comments have I implied any such thing in regard to ordinary Turks, I won’t deny that I tend to draw parallels between the behavior of Seljuks and Mongols and the behavior of their Ottoman successors with regard to destructive 11th-14th centuries invasions in the first case and early 20th century genocidal extermination in the second. I don’t claim to be right because I’m not a geneticist, but this is how I feel based, for example, on my reading into Gabriel García Márquez’ “100 years of solitude,” where he depicts with brilliance that in closed societies generations repeat themselves. I’d like to close this exchange of views, and to request that you refrain in the future from twisting my words. I might be wrong, but that’s just my speculation. Otherwise, I know that a human being is a product of nature and nurture, i.e. social upbringing. And if this is what you believe, too, then this time you’d have to explain to all of us: if the Ittihadists did not act out of pure evil; if the Ittihadists did not act out of mentality genetically similar to destructionist Seljuks and Mongols; if the Ittihadists were expelled from and subjected to murder by other freedom-fighting nations but poured their vengeance on a nation that played no role in their expulsions or murders; then a natural question arises as to what kind of weird people in the Ottoman government are we dealing with?
     
    Farewell.

  292. Thank you, Gayane, Katia K. et al, for your kind words. Having my hands full with other important things, I know I’ll “pop up” again on these pages in the future. For now, all the very best to all of you.

  293. Ragnar, I will be honest and admit that I did not completely follow everything in your last post above.  However, you are incorrect when you state that no Armenian objected to the idea that Turks are genetically predisposed to kill.  This is untrue.  I objected to this statement and asserted that I believe behaviors and attitudes about using violence to solve problems are passed down from generation to generation but are not necessarily genetically determined.  I believe Katia did as well.  Please check our previous dialogue.  Also, you may be misunderstanding Msheci’s idea.  You should allow him to explain before you permit your own prejudice about Armenians to creep into your comments.  Armenians have a common cause but we are not a monolithic body with one voice.
     
    Also, I agree that to explain an act doesn’t mean that you excuse the act.  I am happy that you state that “the ittihadists can never be excused and that Turkey should apologize and make reparation. “ Can you clarify what you think ittihadists can not be excused from and what Turkey must apologize for?  I know we don’t see eye to eye on the explanations or mechanisms you offer, but let’s clarify our terms for the sake of dialogue.
     
     
     
     
     

  294. Ragnar, as for pure evil… please clarify.  Do you mean to say if there are extenuating circumstances, it diminishes the evilness of the act?  If so, are we talking about imperfect or incomplete evil?  If circumstances can predispose one to commit evil, can we say that one’s cultural milieu can be such a contributing factor?

  295. Ragnar Naess:  First, I raise no point, I just happen to respond to the one you raised earlier in another discussion. Shall I repeat it? Here it is: “The powers prayed on the Ottoman Empire, for instance Russia who aided the Bulgarians, and the Turks reacted by seeing Armenians as enemies who maybe wanted to repeat the ‘Bulgarian way’.” I offered my extensive comments on this perverted remark in “Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch Church in Akhtamar” that I’d prefer not to repeat here. There I learnt that you were an expert in the theory of science, a Norwegian human rights defender, and an activist. In this discussion I was surprised to learn that you were also an expert in criminology. Your comments also indicate that you’re an “expert”—if I may say so knowing you’ve done no fieldwork in Armenia—on the Armenian genocide. One can only wonder as to why having so many impressive qualifications you incessantly try to look for “explanations or mechanisms” of an historical event that’s been extensively researched by genocide scholars, foreign governments, international organizations, and professional associations, most of whom admit that the only major “explanation or mechanism” for Turkish atrocities against Armenians in 1915 was the premeditated, pure-evil campaign of race annihilation, read: genocide. Do I really look like I’m trying to “convince” anyone beyond what’s been already admitted by those who, as you say, “have studied history and who always talk about mechanisms and developments”?
     
    Well, guess what? I’m not a historian, nor am I a criminologist, but—in contrast to you—I’ve done research in Armenian archives, and am having hard time understanding how “a person kills the other because the other symbolizes something by force of the previous experiences of the perpetrator” may provide an explanation of a killing? And then you went on: “The Circassian [or a Turk for that matter] who murdered Armenian men, women, and children did not murder in a vacuum: the Armenians symbolized the Christian oppressions for [the killer].” So, indirectly you admit that there actually was an underlying religious element in the mass killings of Christian Armenians? Does it imply that a part of the genocide definition, as given by the 1948 UN Convention, i.e. “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” is now admitted by you? Secondly, you tend to portray Turks as conventional, evil-free human beings. Does it look like a conventional behavior to you that state authorities can give orders at forced deportations and mass killings based on what one of their national, ethnical, and racial minority groups “symbolized” for them? Turks are Muslims for Armenians, but nowhere in these pages or beyond will you find any Armenian who’d blame Muslims for the catastrophe that’ befallen us because Turks “symbolize” Islam or centuries-long Muslim oppression for us. Why is it so? Maybe the extent of evil in one nation might be bigger than in the other? Maybe there are different behavioral, societal, civilizational levels of understanding of “otherness”, different worldviews, different extents of extreme nationalism, different levels of religious tolerance, different systems of values, including the value of human life? Maybe these may serve as “explanations or mechanisms” for a particular behavior of a killer? Also, what “Christian oppressions” are you talking about? You mean it were nomadic Christian tribes whose invasions into Asia Minor brought grief and destruction to the Turks who lived there for millennia? Strange, we all know that it was the Ottoman empire that enchained indigenous Christian peoples, colonized them, occupied their lands, and oppressed them as millets for centuries. Explain “Christian oppressions,” please. Couldn’t find any centuries-long, state-imposed methodical oppressions against Turkish and Circassian millets in, say, Russian empire. In this context, you stubbornly continue to hit the same nail on its head by repeating again that “the experiences of what the Russian army did [to the Turks were] very real.” Whaever Russian army did to the Turks was a part of a war in which BOTH sides: Russians as well as Turks, were involved. The very notion of war presupposes human suffering of both or multiple sides, and not those who were in no way involved in or aided any warring side. Also, please explain how the answer “Armenians did not do this to the Circassians [or Turks] is immaterial”? If actual non-participation, non-involvement of Armenians in expulsions and killings of the Turks from the colonized lands is immaterial, how can Turks’ illusionary “symbolization” of largely non-provocative Armenians as “deadly enemy” be material?!
     
    “[Turks] did not murder in a vacuum.” I agree, they did not murder in a vacuum, they murdered out of pure evil, simply because Armenians, as you say, “symbolized” some other nations, who kicked them out from the lands Turks occupied earlier. Give way to your imagination, and just visualize what mayhem could have been on Earth had any given nation mass murdered any other nation simply because the latter “symbolized” something to it. It’s a very weak “explanation and mechanism’ of the motives and actions of the Turks. To me, explanations and mechanisms for their genocidal actions lie in evil programmatic policies outlined by leading Ittihadists already in 1907 and 1910, which I cited in “Armenian Kids Made to Leave Sourp Khatch Church in Akhtamar.”:
    — Already in 1906-1907 rising Young Turk leaders Drs. Mehmed Nazim and Behaeddin Shakir described the Armenians as enemies of Turkish and Caucasian Muslims “to be dealt with.” They called Armenians “tubercular microbes” that were contaminating the state. Then on August 6, 1910, a secret top-level CUP conclave assembled in Saloniki at which CUP leader Talaat announced that equality between Muslims and [Armenian] infidels was “unrealizable” and that “there can therefore be no question of equality until we have succeeded in our task of Ottomanizing the Empire,” which was feasible because “[t]he army is solidly ranged in our support … we remain all-powerful.” Talaat called for crushing the non-Muslim communities “by force and by arms.” —
     
    Note that these ruling party programmatic statements were made before Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 and before the World War I of 1914, during which Armenians could have “symbolized” the experiences of the perpetrator side.

  296. Mjm jan.. i also agree with this statement of yours below, even though I can never know what will come out Karekin’s mouth….but for the time being, Karekin finally received one agreement from me.. that is huge……..

    Karekin:   This is one rare instance in these discussions when I applaud you and generally support your argument above, except for the “non-Turk” part.

    Also, excellent post to Ragnar Mjm jan…
    Msheci jan.. i learned alot.. and it is because of you, Katia, Mjm, and Boyajian…when I see you guys post, I drop everything to read your comments..:) that is how connected I feel to you all… you are my online family who give me the wisdom and education I need …and trust me.. i will carry this to teach my children if i ever do have them in the future.. i also use my learnings to educate my non-Armenians..

    Ragnar– ahhhhh (BIG SIGH)… sooo tired and frustrated with your games..

  297. “But if the killed person earlier attempted to kill the one who later murdered, then you may speak of extenuating circumstances”. This is what is called shaping your research and limiting its scope in order to fit your theory. It is also called taking things out of context and ignoring what came before. The more scientific examination would go even further back and attempt to understand why did the victim try to “kill” the murderer in the past? Actually this is not really an accurate hypothetical juxtaposition at all because it assumes that the Armenians were trying to annihilate the Turks, an unfounded assumption. If we want to reduce the subject to a more simplified smaller scale model, it would fit more to the following scenario: A woman is forced into a marriage she never wanted. Since she is an only child the new husband takes over all of her father’s properties as well. The husband is very controlling and abusive. He confides to his family that he only married her for her father’s wealth. Despite the fact that he doesn’t give her any pocket money, the wife manages to embelish their dwelling by doing odd jobs here and there, which ignites his jealousy and irritates him. The husband hopes he can somehow get rid of her, and in time becomes more abusive. The more the wife pleads with him to stop abusing her, the worse he gets. In her desperation, she starts complaining to the neighbors which embarrasses the husband and infuriates him further. The wife decides that she wants no part in this marriage anymore. She tells him that she wants a divorce and wants all of her father’s assets back to start a new life. The husband cannot invision giving her back all her inheritance. They have been married for so long that he considers them his. Fearing for her life, the wife heeds the advice of a particular neighbor who also gives her a bat to defend herself with the next time her husband hits her. The neighbor assures her that he will give her refuge whenever she decides to leave her husband, and also promises that he would find her a divorce lawyer who will fight to get her father’s inheritance back. The wife does not really trust this neighbor, but being in a desperate bind starts considering enlisting his help. The next time her husband raises his hand on her she hits him with the bat. The husband is shaken and eases off a little. He finds out from his relatives that one of their neighbors has given his wife the bat and is giving her legal advice on how to leave him. The husband bides his time. He starts spreading rumors that his wife is having an affair with that certain neighbor. All his relatives are angry at his wife now. They tell him that he should kick her out, because she is an adultress, and she deserves nothing. At home however, the husband feigns that he has changed his ways, promises his wife that he will never abuse her again, and convinces her to give him the bat. The wife, being peaceful in nature, wants to resolve the matter amicably. She gives him the bat with the condition that they will have an amicable divorce. The minute the husband gets the bat away from her hands, he stabs and kills her. He tells everyone that his wife attacked him with the bat and he killed her in self defense. He keeps all of her father’s inheritance, burns everything that will remind him of her and carries on as if she never existed.

    If a detective from another city takes over the case and listens only to the husband’s lies and claims of self defense, he will never charge him with murder…(or Genocide). He will say that what the husband did was criminal but there were extenuating circumstances.
    Thank God that criminal investigations do not work this way.

  298. Katia, I love the hypothetical analogy that you created!   Let’s make a movie about this.  We’ll call the wife Haigouhi and the husband Osman and title the movie Extenuating Circumstances.

  299. Ragnar,

    please explain what you think you have accomplished with all the “analysis” that you have been trying to carry out on these pages for months. Have you learned anything new? If yes, what is it? If no, why go on? 

    Dear Katya, Boyajian, Gayane, mjm, msheci, and others, your patience with this guy is extraordinary. Really. Save your nerves and energy for something better. 

  300. Dear Boyajian,
    I like the title of the movie to be “Midnight Express 2”, of course if Katia agrees …and I wonder who will be the director??I’ll vote for Mr. Alan Parker!!
     
     

  301. HA HA HA.. I love ITTTT..:)

    BRAVO Katia jan.. brilliant….. and Boyajian…GREAT IDEA……

    You guys just created a masterpiece..:)

    Hugs
    Gayane

  302. Thank you Stepan,

    You raise a very important point.  Assimilation is the final chapter of the long term effect of a Genocide.  Turkey steadfastly denies the Genocide, hoping that with the passing of time, our demands for justice and attempts to uphold our culture will burn out of steam, and be abandonned by the coming generations.  The identity of the coming generations and their ancestral lineage will become fuzzy with time and melt within the different societies they happen to live in.
    Denying our Genocide, erasing our trace from the land, not making reparations until everything disappears in oblivion, it seems are their goal and vision for the final stage of the crime of Genocide.
    Therefore, every Armenian should be involved in their community in any shape or form possible.  Whether it be in church, schools, volunteering for youth organizations,… writing commentaries on newspaper sites,… anything and everything counts when it comes to upholding our culture, history and rights.  And the longetivity and survival of our people will be secured if we all work on making Armenia safe, democratic, strong and prosperous.

  303. sorry, Msheci, you are evading the issue, and I understand that you leave now. There is but an insignificant difference between saying that they had it in their genes to kill and saying that they were “determined”. It smacks of the same stuff. Dont befuddle the issue by talking about something else. But then of course you qualify your words by saying that they are your speculations, so OK.
    Boyajian
    first, I think that discussing evil and the nature of evil is important in our case, even if my presentation was not clear. The way I see it msheci is conceptualizing the process leading up to the Armenian mass death of 1915-16 in a way that makes it impossible to talk about mechanisms of the kind that influence ordinary human beings. My point is that if you respond to any assertion of the existence of mechanisms with pointing to moral blame – and accusing the one who talks about mechanisms as a denier –  you end up with an ethics – in the given case – that will have to assert the existence of an evil that was never prompted by external circumstances in a way analogous to how ordinary human beings are prompted to do evil acts. This I call “pure evil”. You might also call it “absolute evil” or “unadulterated evil”.
    My point is that pure evil is seldom seen and its existence – or imputing it to somebody, close the door to any reconciliation. The one who falsely is accused, directly or indirectly, of pure evil will feel excluded from the moral community and may as well just be unrepentant as trying to prove that he is human.  
    Regarding the question of “extenuating” and “aggravating” circumstances, this is a legal term, but be it as offensive to you as it may be, the Ottomans were in dire straits, branded by Europe with a vilification way beyond the reasonable, attacked and massacred, not by “freedomloving” subjects but by subjects led by murderous nationalists, and what they did  to  your countrymen and ancestors must partly be understood as answering in kind to a potential threat. This is extenuating circumstance in legal terms. Morals is something else. Personally I find it difficult to say that one heinous act is worse than another, because they both may be so bad that it defies comparison. How to compare? But I believe the distinction  between evil acts that are not motivated by motives we recognise as human beings is something else than evil which seems unmotivated. Pure evil is in a way not committed by humans. The perpetrator is dehumanized and is this correct – or wise?
    My point is that msheci by postulating an unbroken chain of Turkish evil from the pristine life in Central Asia, motivated by their genes, makes the Turks less human. Scientifically his idea is also rejected today and has negative political connotations. If it is true that Armenians assisted  the selchuks against the Byzantines, as Murat holds, this is is a case in point.
    But of course the dilemma surfaces the moment you say that the Turks, or ittihadists, were prompted by ordinary human desires to do evil. We protest if we feel that this means that we “understand”, i.e. condones it. So the challenge is to make our adversary human enough to admit that he was prompted by many usual sentiments, and at the same time stick to our moral condemnation.
    To repeat again, my post was prompted by a tendency I see in msheci’s way of reasoning and in other posts by some Armenians and some champions of the Armenian cause in Norway. 
    It goes without saying that I believe that not all Armenians believe in Turks being genetically disposed to do evil. But I see a tendency in some of the posts, a tendecy that I partly tend to excuse (“the Armenians have been living with the Genocide for 95 years, and living with unrepenting descendants of the perpetrators”), partly I feel that I have to protest because this line of reasoning is unjust to Turks and to my mind it serves the Armenian cause badly. 
    Regarding the inexcusability of the ittihadists acts, it appears  to me most clearly in the fact, as far as I have being able to ascertain, that perpetrators of massacres were never prosecuted and punished, except in a few instances by Cemal. This is a clearcut moral issue and a good, if not conclusive, argument for the existence of genocidal intent. It is also easy to see that this sent a signal both to Armenians and to the perpetrators and to the ottoman muslims at large that Armenians were singled out as a danger to be removed. The complete disappearance of Armenians from their homeland is understandable from this.
    Mjm
    I am surprised that you cannot admit that what happened to the Armenians partly was caused by the ottoman experiences with Bulgarian, Greek and Serb uprisings in combination with the imperialism of the great powers. I cited Donald Bloxham who says this. Why this anxiety that saying this may be understood as an excuse for ittihadist crimes?
    Then I am not a specialist in criminology, but I am generally schooled in the social sciences, and all who have an interest know about trhe debate on the relationship between guilt and the knowledge of causes of crimes
     
    Gayane
    Maybe you are frustrated because you never really tried to understand my point of view. You say that “Ragnar says there wasd no genocide”. This is misleading because one has to define genocide, and for many definitions I admit that there was a genocide, but for others I see it as doubtful, and for still others I believe it was not genocide. We have to get beyond analysis that only uses one word.
     
    Katya K
    You jump too quickly to a diagnosis of my position. I believe our discussion would be more fruitful if you tried to follow my arguments. You also write regarding my parable: “Actually this is not really an accurate hypothetical juxtaposition at all because it assumes that the Armenians were trying to annihilate the Turks, an unfounded assumption”. Now my example was also my tale of the assumed Circassian and what Armenians SYMBOLIZED to him. So the question is if this symbolization along with certain Armenian actions and experiences of Armenians acting as scouts for Russian invasions since the early 1800-eds would count as an extenuating circumstance in an assumed court ruling. For instance if you as a judge had to compare with a case in which there was no such symbolization and pre-history of the relation between perpetrator and victim. And remember we are not talking about guilt, both are guilty. We talk about the penalty. 
    Karekin
    I hope this was clarifying.  
    Boyajian, yes it would make a good movie. Certainly the concept of extenuating circumstances can be abused. But this doesn’t change the point that extenuating circumstances is a legal term. By the way, the term does not enter at the point of investigation, it enters in the decision regarding the punishment to be meted out. In the investigation it has no place. The investigation deals with establishing facts. 
     

  304. Gina
    I have 1) learned quite a lot on how the memory of the genocide is still a living reality among Armenians. The combined impressions of both the Michigan University listserve and the discussions in “Armenian Weekly” have made a profound impact on me, and I will continue my work towards Turks and Turkey to have them understand this and to go more seriously into the question. 2) Apart from this I have learned about different interpretations  and a number of new facts.
    About patience? Yes, maybe you all are to patient with me. This is up to you. The only thing i can say is that I profit from discussions with those I disagree with, including you. Not necessarily you personally but by discussing with some of the people here in the “Armenian Weekly”, and also by reading some posts from people I dont discuss with. I also believe in patience in dialogue. If you do not profit from reading my posts and discussing with me, please stop. So the question might be turned around: why do you relate to me at all,  if you find what I say irrelevant, foolish and harmful? Are you sure that you are able to appreciate discussion with those you strongly disagree with?

  305. Ragnar Naess,
     
    why don’t you give us the list of your publications on Armenian-Turkish issues? I would like to read some of them.  
     

  306. I think if any of you were to investigate history beyond the superficial level, you would learn that Talaat and most of his closest, most murderous CUP collaborators were not Seljuk, nor even Ottoman Turkish in origin, and their connection to Islam was peripheral at best.  As in any criminal investigation, if you want the truth, then follow the money. It could be argued that the genocide was largely an act of theft, more than anything else. Armenians, as well as Greeks and Assyrians were made out to be scapegoats, blamed for all kinds of false accusations and then declared persona non-grata on their own soil – by people who had little or nothing to do w/ Anatolia or Armenians (the Saloniki crowd was very anti-Anatolian, except when they could incite the masses to suit their purposes) – they commandeered the Ottoman government for their own purposes – not to benefit the population. Moreover, the act of grand theft did not stop after the CUP was deposed, but continued under Ataturk, another non-Turk, as well.  The point is that our quest may possibly be failing because so few  ‘real’ Turks have any connection w/ the leaders of the CUP or their memory.  As of a result of this major disconnect, they reject attempts to equate them with a regime they are not proud of….one that destroyed Turkey during WWI. Again, Turks do not have a good understanding of their own pre-republican history or the important role of the minorities for hundreds of years. All of that was swept under the rug by those who sought to capitalize on the concept of ‘Turkey for the Turks’.  This rally cry was very far removed from the multicultural, cosmopolitan record of the Ottoman Empire, yet was reinforced to secure their control on the country. All the minorities suffered, but then so did Turks, who in the aftermath had to learn the basics which had long been attended to by Armenians, Greeks and others. The process was long and arduous, because the practical backbone of the country had been removed, along with the head (sultan). For a long time, Turkey existed on life support as it tried to come back. It’s taken a while, but now it seems the role of the military, which was always ultra-nationalist and Ataturkist in nature and policy, has been pushed back somewhat. The hope is that democratic processes and a more European approach to human rights will prevail. Of course we don’t know what will happen over time, but the signs are that this could be a very significant change, particularly for Armenians and other minorities who still live in Turkey.  It could hardly be worse than what’s come before….that’s for sure.   

  307. “Are you sure that you are able to appreciate discussion with those you strongly disagree with?”
    Ragnar Naess,

    don’t preach me about appreciating discussions with people who disagree with me. FYI, I am constantly exposed to ideas of people who disagree with me. I am doing just fine without any of your lessons and enjoy respect from others in my profession. I know very well how my work can benefit from their comments and I greatfully akwnoledge their input. It is clear to me that their only intention is to help me sharpen my arguments and improve my articles. This is fundamental. 
    The thing that bothers me in your case is that, as I said before, your intentions do not seem to be earnest at all. Among other things, I dislike how you jumped on the opportunity to twist msheci’s words and now you make statements about how Armenians view Turks that are completely baseless.

    “It goes without saying that I believe that not all Armenians believe in Turks being genetically disposed to do evil. But I see a tendency in some of the posts, a tendecy that I partly tend to excuse … partly I feel that I have to protest because this line of reasoning is unjust to Turks and to my mind it serves the Armenian cause badly.”

    Not all Armenians? … What do you mean?  Who are the Armenians who do believe so? Give me their names. Why do you think you can feel free to throw accusations like this left and right without any responsibility? I think you owe us an apology, a big one. 

    You clearly feel very bad for any recognition or acknowledgement of the AG by any country, any organization, documentary, or individual. You try to diminish what’s been accomplished towards the recogniction of AG and you were even deeply annoyed by, as put it, our “congratulatory tone.” You try to hide your feelings but you are failing. What’s your problem?

    Make a list of your publications available so we can read and see your true color. What are you afraid of? 

     

  308. Ragnar,

    Why don’t you peddle your pedantry to the readers of Turkish Forum? You’ve worn out the hospitality of Armenians long ago.

  309. Karekin,

    Without saying so explicitly, you refer to the Doenmeh thesis recently quite popular among Turks and some Armenians to boot. The thesis is that among the CUP triumverate and its ideologues were to be found crypto-Jews. The corollaries of this wretched idea assert that these crypto-Jews eliminated Armenians and Greeks for economic reasons, as well as to obtain control over Palestine.

    While the secret origins and allegiances of the leaders are anyone’s guess, their origins hardly compel the conclusion that they acted to advance Jewish goals, whatever those might be. 

    The other flaw in this thesis is that it ignores the nationwide participation in elimination  of Christian minorities that was unleashed commencing in the 1890’s [before the CUP took power, by the way]. 

    Killing Christians was a national and nationalist undertaking. A few crypto Jews at the top could not make a resistant population kill their neighbors and steal their property. Much of the killing was done at the local level, with impunity, and with the encouragement of eager Imams and greedy neighbors, all of whom knew that both Islamic fatwa and the state sanctioned the killings. It seems to me that Islam, not Jewish interests, were in play, if any religion was. 

    The Jews did not act in concert to exterminate the Armenians for Jewish goals. The Turks did. Don’t make anti-semitism a common ground between Turks, Armenians and Greeks. 

    This thesis is  a smokescreen behind which the acts of the Turkish nation are obscured. Turks tortured and killed. Jews did not.  

  310. Ragnar,
     
    Yes, I’d like to leave, but you seem to try to drag me back by making false accusations. Have I ever tended to “evade” or “befuddle” any issue based on your experience of exchanging views with me? Why do you reduce yourself to a pissing match of semantics? Haven’t you already agreed in your September 12, 2010 post that, “of course the expression ‘inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers: kill to…” is not exactly the same as ‘being genetically determined to kill…’? While I understand that you effectively evaded responsibility for twisting the words I’ve never uttered, I also think I’ve explained terse and clear that your understanding was incorrect. The meaning I put in “inherited in their genes” had to do, in my speculation, with the destructive behavior—not genetics per se—of their Seljuk/Mongol forefathers. To clear things up, I even gave an example of Gabriel García Márquez’ “100 years of solitude” in support of my argument, where he explained convincingly that in closed societies generations do repeat themselves. No, Ragnar, as I said before and never implied any other meaning, I don’t believe that ordinary Turks, using your twisted version, “are being genetically determined to kill.” Please memorize this confirmation as being in my September 14, 2010 comment in “Why Would Armenians Go to Akhtamar, and Become Tools of Turkish Propaganda?” If after this you’d still think that “inherited in their genes,” by which I meant generational repetition of certain behavior, still “amounts to more or less the same [as ‘genetically determined to kill’] in your understanding,” then, I’m afraid, you may have to attend a fundamental comprehension problem.
     
    Till the next recognition of the Armenian genocide by a major world player or the Storting.

  311. Is anyone else’s head spinning here?  I think we have all been thrown into a big bowl of soup and our vision of the world and each other is obscured by the potatoes (mechanisms) and vegetables (explanations) floating around us.
     
    Ragnar,  you are certainly misguided and naive in thinking that you can conduct this philosophical discussion on guilt and evil with a group of descendants of genocide victims who have waited for justice for 95 years and have inherited the legacy of the collective memory of centuries of subjugation and oppression based on ethnic millet affiliation, and not expect some resistance. You are asking us to put aside our indignation against the continuing crime against us and embrace the concept that Turks felt desperate to preserve Turkey for Turks when they decided to dehumanize us and treat us as disposable.  This is twisted.   Turks are the one’s that need the lesson in empathy.   What about explaining to Turks the mechanisms that helped produce the Armenian animosity against their nation?
     
    What difference does it make if we call it pure evil or modified or incomplete or forced-by-circumstances evil?  For the purposes of a just society, there is a bottom line.  No nation should go unpunished when it encourages, allows, or fails to punish acts of genocide against a segment of its citizenry.   Too simplified?   I won’t apologize for that.  I strongly believe that you are on the wrong side of this struggle if you are doing anything that helps Turkey avoid “looking at the dark spots of its history” (your words).  This is what I believe you are doing when you focus on mechanisms and explanations.  I have said it before.  First comes the accountability. You yourself mention that “extenuating circumstances” constitute a legal construct that comes into play in the sentencing portion of a legal procedure.  So if you don’t mind, could you get this cold discussion of mechanisms and explanations out of the way until we have achieved accountability.
     
    You as a Norwegian, from the region of the Nobel Peace Prize should not allow personal ambitions to cloud your thinking when it comes to working for justice.  And speculations about mechanisms and explanations for evil acts are not useful to a nation awaiting its just reparations.  I recommend that you step back and examine some of your preconceived notions regarding Armenians and Turks and realize you lack the objectivity that is required to carry out this philosophical debate.  You are clearly invested in sparing Turks the full weight of the condemnation that awaits them.  However, it might help you to remember that one cannot receive the full blessing of healing through forgiveness until one is able to sincerely admit one’s guilt.
     
    Katia, mjm, Msheci, Gayane, Stepan, Gina, Karo, Perouz, Manooshag, Dikranagertzti, Karekin and Ragnar, etal., I am grateful to all of you for the time and energy you put in to your comments and for your dedication to dialogue.  I hope we will all see the day when Turks come to terms with the evil done in their name and we can all begin healing.  But I believe that Turks have huge cultural/societal hurdles to jump before they can do this.  Even the “I Apologize” campaign had self-serving motives to forestall the genocide recognition movement and spare Turkey accountability.

  312. jda:  You’ve spoken from my heart. On many occasions I offered the same counter-argument to Karekin. It’s historically distorted and potentially hazardous from the political of view to suggest that the genocide of Armenians, as well as extermination of other Christian minority groups, was carried out by a few Donmeh in the inner circles of the CUP. I’m tired to repeat that whoever those few were ethnicity-wise, they nonetheless followed CUP’s programmatic proclamations to crush non-Muslim communities “by force and by arms” in their official capacity as elected authorities of the Turkish Ottoman state. Even if a few CUP leaders were crypto-Jews, how could a small ethnic gang within a larger Turkish ruling party generate a societal hatred and consequent action of such a magnitude? They couldn’t, had there not been xenophobic, religiously-intolerant general attitude of the Turks at large towards their non-Turkish, non-Muslim co-citizens. The history of the Ottoman empire’s treatment of their minorities is the best testimony to that, indeed, it’d been there long before Young Turks’ coming to power. The most convincing example is Bloody Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s massacres of up to 300,000 Armenians. Abdul Hamid is believed to have had some Armenian lineage, should we then blame Armenians for massacring fellow Armenians, if we follow Karekin’s logic? You’re so correct, making anti-Semitism a common ground between Turks, Armenians, and Greeks is a disreputable and historically- and politically distorted. From what I see on these pages, very few Armenians fall into this trap.

  313. Gina
    except the Salt Lake city presentation, all publications are in norwegian. No, I have not reason to doubt that you often talk, and talk well, with people with other convictions. But the way you have adressed me so far made me ask the question.
    Karekin
    I organised a conference in Oslo on february 1, and invited among others Hilmar Kaiser and Christian Gerlach. Gerlach made a very interesting presentation of the financial aspect of the Ittihadist Armenian policy. Talaat was minister of finance and the theft of the Armenian assets amounted to “….like robbing all Swiss banks today”. On the other hand, Gerlach believes that a great number of factors underlie the Armenian catastrope. There were economical, but also political and military considerations. People from all layers of society collaborated in attacking the Armenians, he said. It was not just a tiny minority.
    Msheci
    sorry again. You made the right thing by saying that this talk about the genes was speculations from your side.  Dont reinterpret the word “gene” in the direction of cultural transmission of values across generaitons. This is not what “genes” means. You and I discussed a lot and I learned things from you. But let us not talk more about your speculations about Turkish genes.
    jda
    “Why not go somewhere else…?”. I have posted several messages in Turkish papers on the lack of credibility of the official Turkish assertion  that the cross on the Sourp Khatch church has not been mounted for technical reasons. I will continue this and I am looking for fora to discuss with Turks, but I have not found many. I will continue to hand out my leaflet to Norwegian tourists, and I have som other plans. I will hopefully lecture again in february-march and my lecture will be influenced by my discussions in “Armenian Weekly”. But I dont necessarily agree, and i argue. Sorry. I might also add that you have here an extremely good and dynamic forum. It makes me return to you, and it bodes well for the Armenian cause.
    Boyajian
    I disagree with you on the question of evil and causes. These are questions that naturally pose themselves to my mind if one really thinks about strategy and about anchoring one’s strategy in a unified vision. But I can see that it is provocative. But to my mind either you discuss or you comfort. I prefer to discuss and also have the impression that you wear the mantle of discussant. To be blunt, I would rather travel many more times to hand out leaflets than restricting my message in certain ways from speaking my opinion because I talk to descendants of one of the worst crimes in the last century. I feel you have said this too many times, Boyajian: “you are talking to descendants of a genocide”. I feel you are mixing things here. I feel a solidarity with you and your cause, to my mind we agree on important things, but it will not prevent me from speaking my opinion. Finally: thank you for including me in your thank to the discussants.

  314. Sorry, Ragnar, I was not born yesterday.

    You deny the Genocide and lord your meager credentials over lay people. You have never posted on Turkish Forum, you have never denounced the overt racism of ATAA President Ergun Kirlikovali [who in 2008 said that the Genocide reminds him of a joke he heard about the death orf a fly].

    You were kicked off the listserve [or perhaps you quit when real academics went after you hammer and tong], and you surface here.

  315. Thank you all for joining me in my attempt for a little humor…. it is much needed when dealing with Ragnar Naess…

    Ragnar… you do have the talent to suck people into absurd debates…
    You wrote that I “jump too quickly to a diagnosis of [your] position. [you] believe our discussion would be more fruitful if [i] tried to follow [your] arguments”.

    Ragnar… you are the only one who will ever understand your one sided “position”, and your unscientific “arguments”.  You are not attempting at “diagnosing” the criminal deed of the Turks, you are coming up with attempts in  “excusing” it.  Please behave as a true scientist, and stop relying on “symbolisms”.  The factual explanation of the Ottoman decision to resort to Genocide is: Western Armenia was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for a long time.  The Ottomans treated the Armenians as second class citizens on their own lands, oppressed and abused them with unfair tax and civic laws.  The abuse became so unbearable that the Armenians started revolting and asking other countries to intercede on their behalf.  Instead of coming up with reforms that would assure them equal rights, the Sultan massacred 300,000 of them in 1895-1896.  The other countries that were occupied by the Empire started rejecting this model and fought for their freedoms.  The Armenians looked for help from the Russians to help them break away from the crumbling empire as well.  The CUP decided they could not let go of Armenia because it was where most of the Turks lived.  The Ottoman Empire was embattled and had lost most of its lands.  Losing Armenia also was seen as detrimental.  The CUP with the help and guidance of Germany devised a plan to wipe out the Armenian population and march eastward to spread a new PanTuranist empire.  They first disarmed the Armenian population by promising them equal rights as Turkish citizens, and when the coast was clear they started the world’s first ever “massacre and take over their land” campaign”.  This is how things happened. 
    Stop coming up with excuses by taking the Serbian and Caucassian revolts out of context.  These were all people who were fed up by the oppressive Ottoman regime.  You are conveniently keeping out the fact that the Ottomans were not loved by their subjects because of the way they mistreated them.  You are probably the only European who sees merit in the Master/Subject model.    No one can force anyone to stay in an unhealthy marriage (Haiguhi and Osman from above…)  The model of EMPIRE was tried many times, and has proven itself as being a most unhealthy and flawed model of existence for nations. (The Roman empire, the Europen Colonies, Arab empires even the Soviet Union all failed).
    Things would have looked very different for the Turks and Armenians now, if the Turks had abandoned their Master/Subject mentality and their dreams of a PanTurkic empire, and respected the right for the Armenian nation to exist  (as they did with Serbia, Rumania etc).  Instead they resorted to the most cowardly and barbaric ways of conquering a land.

    Karekin,
    Please do not make excuses for the Turks by delving into the ethnic background of the CUP.  You are right that most of the leaders were Donmes, however, the hundreds and thousands of Turks who followed their orders earnestly were not.  Even the Turks are not coming up with that excuse, because it will not hold up in the court of law.  The CUP were their leaders at the time, and the country should take responsibility for their actions and make the appropriate reparations for them.  The German nation did not point at Hitler and said “it was only him”.  He was their representative and they took responsibility for his actions. 

  316. Karekin you lose a lot of credibility when you succumb to anti-semitic paranoia.  I agree with mjm and jda when they point out that a small group of Donmeh/crypto Jews could not have managed to initiate a genocidal campaign without the cooperation and agreement of thousands, maybe millions of average Turks and Kurds.  More was at play here that set the ground for the evil unleashed against the Armenians.  It was an attitude that had been building for decades before the 1915 events and was evident in the Hamidian Massacres, the Adana Massacres, etc.
     
    Ragnar, what can I say.  If you continue to look for explanations for why Turks acted against Armenians as they did without keeping the chronology of events straight you will appear to be trying a little too eagerly to excuse the Turks of the full weight of their crimes.
     
    Also, if we were simply talking about battles between the two side as if they were equal combatants or simply looking at a few sporadic incidences of massacres, then I might be able to accept this effort to explain mechanisms as an effort toward elucidation.  But we are talking about the government of a nation engaging in and allowing the elimination of the majority of an ethnic group within the nation, followed by failure to prosecute perpetrators, followed by distortion of the historical record, followed by intentional neglect of the architectural remains of that ethnic group, followed by appropriation of the wealth and property of those eliminated, followed by instituting laws that prohibit open debate about the facts, followed by hostile policies against the remnant nation…I could go on.
     
    I understand the value of examining mechanisms when trying to understand the root causes of conflicts—but this situation goes way beyond mere conflict and simple conflict resolution.  This issue comprises the decline of the Ottoman Turkish society into the lowest depths that human beings can go.  I feel sorry for those Turks who watched in horror the events of 1915  and were unable to prevent it.  I’m sure it was traumatic to watch fellow Turks succumb to such evil impulses.  But until Turks reconcile themselves to the truth of what their ancestors did, they will not succeed to climb out of this hole, nor will they ever be EU ready.  We (including Turks) as civilized citizens of the world have a responsibility to make sure that such crimes are not tolerated, and especially careful not to minimize them through explanation.

  317. Well, the point is that the donmeh are not Jews at all…they are donmeh, and as such are a very different and distinct group. They were/are not accepted as Jews by the Jewish community, but more importantly, no one is saying that the Jews caused the genocide…so don’t conflate the two. That is not what is being said here.
    The other point is that they, the key masterminds of the genocide, were not Turkish…plain and simple….and had little connection to Anatolia or the Armenian heartland. Check your facts. Ottoman yes, Turkish no. In those facts, you will find that all of the key CUP leaders came from Salonika, where some descendants of Spanish Jews who wore the cloak of Islam in order to function under the radar and operate as Muslims, came into being. And, the idea that a small, powerful ruling group could commandeer an empire and the masses is very real…it happens all the time in history.  Didn’t the Bush administration use lies to rally the public in support of a war on Iraq?  It was no different in Turkey, where the masses were largely illiterate. This created a situation that was tailor-made for those who sought to take advantage. At the same time, let’s not forget that post WWI and post-genocide, it was the donmeh who left Salonika en masse (approx 150,000 people), and moved to Anatolia and largely took over Armenian properties and businesses, filling the void.
    The other important fact is that all of this information is somewhat brand new for the general Turkish public. They have lived their lives unaware of and unaffected by anything related to the genocide. So, while it is paramount in the minds of diasporan and Hayastantsi Armenians, it is a relatively obscure issue for today’s Turks who have been alot more focused on Kurds, military coups and the overall economy of Turkey to worry about Armenian issues. Again, let’s ask…do most Americans ever give much thought about the native Americans whose soil they’re living on? Probably not. I’m sure it pains most Navajos and Cherokees, Sioux and Apaches to think they lost their entire world to the white man who is now abusing it, but there is little they can do….so, they have to live with it. I don’t know if you’ve read Deep Mountain, but if not, you really should:
    http://zohrabcenter.com/2010/05/28/interview-with-ece-temelkuran-author-of-deep-mountain
     

  318. Ragnar,

    please provide links to your posts on the Turkish Forum. JDA is right. I visit the Turkish Forum pretty often, although I have never posted there. I don’t remember ever seeing anything from you.  

  319. Correction,
    Not “the world’s first massacre and take over their lands campaign”. The” civilized 20th Century’s” first “massacre and take over their lands” campaign.

  320. Exactly, Katia K. And the Russians did not point at Stalin and said “he was a Georgian.” He was their leader and they took responsibility for his purges. 

  321. Ragnar,

    I am going to say this in four languages and i hope i don’t have to say it again:

    THERE ARE ONLY TWO ANSWERS RAGNAR: YES to Genocide or NO to Genocide.. NO middle ground

    Menq unenq miayn yerku patasghan Ragnar: AYO Genocidin kam VOCH Genocidin…Mechtegh chka..This is Armenian….

    sadece iki cevap Ragnar vardır: EVET Soykırım veya NO Soykırım .. hiçbir orta yol yoktur This is Turkish… I used a translator and hope it translated correctly..you must know Turkish having spend soo much time with your beloved…right??

    this one should look very familiar to you.. and again, i hope it tanslated correctly…it should be Norwegian..so what I do for you???….

    Det er bare to svar Ragnar: JA til folkemord eller NEI til Folkemord .. det er ingen mellomting

    Ragnar… that is my stand… and will never change.. i know i am ont he right side of the spectrum… you can’t be wishy washy on this subject.. i said it million times…you can’t, absolutely NO NO NO to say I think there was a Genocide or there was a partial Genocide.. NO NO NO.. Either there WAS a Genocide or there WAS NOT one.. pick a side and stick to it… but then again, I know which side you are on..
    Good Day..
    Gayane

  322. Gina
    I found some of my posts in Turkish newspapers. The november 2009 discussion of the article of Eberhard Demm (the third one below) is the only instance when I was able to participate in an extensive discussion. the Turkish deniers do no seem interested in participating in the current debate on the Akhdamar case. They do not answer my posts
    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/columnists-190619-turkish-armenian-dialogue-initiative-by-harvard-university.html
    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-216635-109-centerour-sophisticated-fascists-bribyi-brorhan-kemal-cengiz-center.html
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=a-new-interpretation-of-the-armenian-deportations-in-world-war-i-2009-11-30

  323. I would like to comment about Mr. Sassounian’s question.

    At first, I thought that there were equally strong political reasons for going or boycotting. The reasons for boycott are obvious and everywhere understood. The reasons to attend are to make some claim on this Church as moral property of the Armenian nation and faith.  However, as events unfold, it is clear that the Turks, at best, invite Armenians to attend as guests, not as inheiritors or owners of some sort.  The Cross debacle, the failure to invite the Culture Minister, and now we hear that the 500 families who volunteered to  host Armenian visitors have received calls from the police, eager to make sure they are not crypto-Armenians.  Armenians are not welcome, except as props for a Turkish charm offensive. 

    The Nazis planned to open a Jewish Museum in Berlin as soon as all the Jews were dead. This operation does the Nazis one better – they are inviting Armenians to walk around the museum and act as if they are happy to be there.

    Apart from the politivcal, there is the spiritual realm.  I can imagine a very important spiritual experience for worshippers in that Church. However, it could be equalled if all the Churches, Lousavorchagan and Anteliasagan and Pokhagan had a day of prayer
    for the welfare of the Armenian culture and faith,  

  324. Ragnar Naess, thanks for the links.

    EVERYBODY,

    PLEASE LISTEN. I accidentally came across a comment by Ragnar in Today’s Zaman, and here’s what he says among other things:

    “… It is not unusual to meet a crass anti-turkishness among Armenians who participate in the debates, for instance in “Weekly Armenian”. It is said that Turks are genetically disposed towards violence, to take one example…”

    Check the following link and see for yourself.

    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/columnists-220171-cruelty-of-the-victim-jews-armenians-and-others.html

    In case you were wondering how Ragnar is using the material he collects here for his “scholarly” activities, now you know.

    I can’t find the right words for you, Ragnar.

  325. Thanks Gina for the info on Ragnar’s Zaman post.  I am disappointed that after spending all this time with us he misrepresents us to those who already hold a very biased and distorted view of us.  Rather than helping to explain the desire for justice that motivates us he reinforces the notion that we are motivated by sheer hate.  What credibility can he have left?
     
    Ragnar, what possible gain do you hope to find in playing the two sides against each other in this way.  What is your goal?
     
     

  326. boyajian,
    well, there are in fact a number of utterances like “the turks have never changed”, “the turns are not real muslims”, and also a lack of appreciation of the actual progress Turkey has made in human rights affairs. the identification of Turks at a certain juncture of their history with Turks at large. And very few countervoices.
    Apart from this Gina has picked on only one sentence. The phraze I have repeated in several posts is that “Turks” still have a long way to go to to into the dark parts of their history”. 
    Regarding the utterance abpout Turks having it in their genes is was also repeated by Sylvia, and no Armenians in the discussion reacted then and there. It was only when I brought the issue up that you said that “not all Armenians….”. So this criticiosm you cannot avoid. It is ridicoiulous to say that I pit the groups against each others. Rather I would lessen my credibility if I did not admit to shortcomings among Armenians as I continuously do regarding Turks. 
    Finally, Gina has picked out just one sentence. First it was your idea, Gina, that it was not true that I had written anything. When you discovered that this was not the case you looked for some way to discredit me and you found this sentence. Where is your credibility as an unbiased judge of my writing?
    And again, I must honestly confess that I am apalled by the anti-turkishness that sometimes appears in these discussions. It is so exaggerated and misinformed. It works against your own credibility in the eyes of the world.

  327. Honestly, I am very sorry that there is such a huge pressure to boycott the church service at Aghtamar. Turks are a nation of 60 mln people. Armenians in Armenia most likely do not even reach 3 mln. Turks have nothing to lose and have been destroying our churches for the last 90 years without any serious attempts on the part of international authorities to do anything. Realistically, any protests on the part of Armenia or the diaspora can have no real impact on this.  Now, Turks are offering us something which could be a step, even a small one, for normalizing the relationship between Turkey and Armenia. Yes, we don’t trust them, but we could have used this chance to embarrass them. Instead of boycotting, we should have gathered 1.5 mln Armenians, one for each of the martyrs of the Genocide, to attend the mass and put the Turks in front of the fact that they would have to deal with 1.5 mln Armenians who have come to THEIR OWN LAND. I do not believe we can get anywhere with the boycott, also because we are in no way speaking from the position of force (and they are). Plus, we left the Turkish Armenians ALONE. And THESE are people who have no choice and who are, again, left alone…

  328. Dear Moderators and Fellow Commentators –
     
    Thanks to Gina’s post, I’ve learnt that a portion of my comment, namely: “[Ottomans might have] inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers [Seljuks and Mongols]: kill to…,” that implied possible behavioral parallels between the destruction spread by Seljuks and Mongols and extermination of Armenians by the Ottoman government, was used by Ragnar Naess in his comment in “Today’s Zaman” in the following perverted form: “It is said that Turks are genetically disposed towards violence.” In my September 12 and September 14, 2010 posts I expanded on my speculation, explaining to Ragnar that in closed societies, and certainly the Ottoman empire was one, generational repetition of certain behavior, which I meant by “inheritted mentality in their genes,” is not uncommon. Ragnar Naess agreed in his September 12, 2010 post that, “of course the expression ‘inherited in their genes the mentality of their savage forefathers’ is not exactly the same as ‘being genetically determined to kill.” Yet, in “Today’s Zaman” he used the words that neither I nor any other Armenian commentator here used the way he presented them there, namely: “Turks are genetically disposed towards violence.
     
    I consider it a cheap, two-faced, and dishonorable conduct and request that Ragnar Naess be warned for deliberate distortion of meaning and for citing the words of commentators in “Armenian Weekly” that were never written, meant, or implied in the way he presented them elsewhere. I encourage all commentators here to ignore his comments and stop responding to them. Outrageous!

  329. Ragnar,

    There is a world of difference between racist comments by individual Armenian and Turkish posters, and the express racism of institutions. I have never seen essentialist or racist comments on any Armenian site, such as those maintained by the Government of Armenia, the Churches, ANCA or AAA. 

    The same cannot be said of official and semi-official Turkish sites. Read ATAA’s, the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s or the posts of ATAA President Ergun Kirlikovali, who likens the Genocide to the death of a fly. 

    Who said that Dink was likely killed by an Armenian.

    Who says regularly that the majority of Armenian Americans today want to kill any Turk on sight.

    Who said that Armenian Americans cannot be trusted to serve in the American military because they are duplicitous.

    Who promotes Sari Gelin, with its blood libel that Armenians made soup from the bones of Muslim children.  

    Who says that anyone who affirms the Genocide is a racist.

    Who said that any person affirming the Genocide will be sued.

    Why do you not attack THEIR INSTITUTIONAL RACISM when it is so abundant?

    Don’t attack Gina for quoting you. You are sewing dischord between Armenians and Turks. You are serving no one, only your own desire to be the center of attention. 

  330. Ragnar Naess:  I’m confused. Even if you were not given an explanation by an author as to what meaning he put in his words re: ‘mentality inheritted in genes’,  how is it possible to post a crap like ‘It is said [by Armenians] that Turks are genetically disposed towards violence’ in a Turkish publication while considering yourself an activist who works relentlessly for rapproachment between Armenians and the Turks? Even IF exactly these words were uttered by anyone here—although they were not—don’t you think you’d devalue yourself as a ‘humanist’ had you tattletaled them in a Turkish forum? I regret I waisted so much time exchanging comments with you in a hope that you’d deliver our concerns to the other camp in an truthful manner or, at least, refering to them exactly as they were written. I’m sorry to say that you act as a naughty schoolboy, not a mature, accomplished “scientist.” Have a good life…

  331. Dear ArmenianLady:  Excellent idea. Really, loved it. But why necessarily on the 19th and as part of a Turkish “initiative”, so to speak, but not, say, on the 20th and as part of our own initiative?

  332. Mjm you took the words out of my mouth when you posted for Armenian Lady.. we have said it over and over about how we feel about this matter.. she probably did not read the every post that was put on this forum…

    Msheci jan.. when we first started communicating with Ragnar…a whole lot of emotions started to built up inside of me.. from the start mind you… i did not get a good vibe from Ragnar and i stuck to my guns of not letting him sweet talk me into liking and discussing openly with him.. he himself requested to give him a chance and that i was the only one that he was having such difficulty getting through… and here is the perfect reason as to why i never came to like this person.. because he is a fake, one-sided and Turkey loving individual.. he is not a scientist…i am just sorry that he took only very small % of all the wealth and data we provided and used it in a negative way….

    Gayane

  333. mjm
    I acknowledge that it was unfortunate to say this in a Turkish daily, but I feel that you take too lightly on this type of anti-turkish statements. I was outraged, not in the least because other Armenians did not react.  I am also not impressed by the attempts to re-interpret the statement of msheci away from the tendency to you-know-what. But I agree that I should not have  written this in the Turkish paper

  334. Ragnar you are a denialist…i am sorry.. please stop trying to dig deeper hole for yourself..

    Not sure why but the part where I said i don’t know who is worst.. Karekin or Ragnar did not come through..because these two are soooooooooo confusing..soooo muddy in their responses and fight for justice and this and that… i can’t figure these two men out… i just cant…

    Sooo frustrating that we have people like Ragnar that we need to go against on top of all those sympathizers of Turkish govt and deniars…

    G

  335. Ragnar Naess:  Haven’t you been given an explanation of the meaningt? Was there a need to twist words and distort? It’s inflammatory. Moreover, “this type of anti-turkish statements,” as you perceived it, refered particularly to the behavior of Ottoman Turkish leaders in regard to Armenians, but the meaning I got from your comment in “Today’s Zaman” was that Armenians generally refer to Turks—Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman,  Young Turk, Kemalist, or modern-day—as being ‘genetically disposed towards violence.’ Lastly, our anti-Tukishness is targeted against the genocide-perpetrator and denialst state, not ordinary citizens, and has a VE-E-E-RY solid grounds to be as such. Having said this, I commend you for agreeing to admit your mistake, but nonetheless, will cease exchanging comments, sorry…

  336. A decent individual who is advancing efforts in rapprochement would not have taken this type of a comment out of context, attributed it to the “Armenian Weekly” and communicated it to the group in question, who might find the comment very offensive, unless he has two objectives: to stir trouble, and get attention for himself.
    Shame on you Ragnar, for calling yourself a human activist. This was extremely irresponsible of you. Why don’t you stop cheating by borrowing comments from this site without our knowledge, and do real scientifically controlled fieldwork with sensitivities to individual privacy, choice and by excluding comments that can potentially be inflammatory in your communication with both groups. Why would you chose that comment instead of the many positive and hopeful comments we also made about the Turks.
    I had a terrible hunch when you constantly asked us to disclose our identities. I guess you were planning on quoting us personally. Why do fieldwork when you can work in front of your computer! We have asked you several times to disclose the reasons you were engaging in these conversations. You should have told us that you are posting our views on Turkish newspaper sites.
    Msheci, I suggest you post your last comment on the “Today’s Zaman”, so that those Turkish readers realize how Ragnar has taken your comment out of context, unless if Ragnar himself will be gracious enough to clarify his post on “Today’s Zaman”
    himself.
    Once and for all, the Ottomans used ver barbaric and gruesome ways to kill the Armenians. We did not chose this adjective out of thin air. Many non-Armenians have also attributed this adjective to the ways we were massacred.

  337. Ragnar,

    Where is your “outrage” at the racism and race-baitng of the official and semi official Turkish sites I mentioned above?  

  338. Ragnar, you are wrong and you are a trouble maker.  First, you come to a false conclusion to assume that Armenians “hold a crass anti-turkishness” and “believe that Turks are genetically disposed toward violence” based on a couple of questionable posts and the fact that few objected on the website.  You fail to recognize that just because people did not object to the posts in question does not mean that they agree with them, only that they did not comment.  What kind of social scientist makes such a faulty leap?   I for one do not agree with everything others say on the website but do not comment on every instance when this occurs.  Also, you conveniently forget all the conciliatory comments made by Armenians which recognizes the kindness shown to Armenians by some Turks, the fact that most average Turks do not know their true history nor were directly involved in the genocide or its denial, as well as the welcome offered to Turks willing to face the truth between us.  Your limited acquaintance with Armenians on a website provides only anecdotal evidence from a self-limiting group of participants.  Hardly random.  Not nearly exhaustive.  Not at all conclusive.  I am offended.
     
    Secondly, why should you be surprised by the existence of anti-turkish sentiment among those who have endured first, deportation and murder, theft of property, and loss of millenia-long homeland at the hands of Ottoman Turks, followed by denial of these crimes and bought and paid for deliberate distortion of the historical record by the government of modern Turkey.  Would you not have less than warm feelings for those who deny your loss and instead imply your brought upon yourself whatever happened?  Even so, these are feelings that stem from frustration at the lack of empathy and remorse that most Turks have toward the tragedy that their ancestors inflicted upon Armenians, not from deep-seated racism or hatred.
    Why would you want to feed the irrational fear that Turks have of Armenian anger instead of using the knowledge you gleaned in “your fieldwork with Armenians” to help Turks better understand what they could do to move the process of reconciliation forward?  You suggest instead that Armenians as a whole have an unrealistic anti-Turkish attitude.   Who are you to make such a claim?  Based on what unbiased research?  It is prejudicial and inflammatory.  And who are you to judge Armenian credibility in the ‘eyes of the world.’  You just ruined your own credibility with Armenians and have squandered an opportunity to better understand the Armenian viewpoint.  But maybe you were never really interested in it or open to the idea that you had anything to learn from us.  Only that you had a mission to help us understand Turks.
     
    Please stop trying to pass yourself off as a peacemaker interested in bringing out the truth.

  339. I just posted a comment below in “Today’s Zaman”:

    — Ragnar Naess who posted above referred to one particular comment posted by me in ‘Armenian Weekly’ that attempted to draw a parallel in a speculative form between the behavior of Seljuk and Mongol invaders from the one hand and their Ottoman Ittihadist successors’ behavior that resulted in mass extermination of Armenians in 1915. This comment was made in relation to that period. In particular, the comment speculated that the destructive mentality of the Ittihadists might have been inherited in their genes from Seljuk invaders. Nowhere in this or any other comment in ‘Armenian Weekly’ did any Armenian commentator stated or implied, as Ragnar Naess wrongly presented here, that ‘it is said [by Armenians] that [ordinary] Turks are genetically disposed towards violence.’ My comment implied a fact that in closed societies—and the Ottoman empire certainly was one—generations repeat themselves. As for “a crass anti-turkishness among Armenians who participate in the debates,” as Ragnar Naess portrays, please be aware that our anti-Turkish attitudes are mainly directed against the Ittihadist regime that committed a great crime against Armenians, as well as all consecutive Turkish governments who deny the crime. No anti-Turkishness has ever been displayed on the pages of “Armenian Weekly” in regard to ordinary Turkish citizens. —
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  340. Ragnar,

    If as a private person you wish to play these games, that is your business.But you claim broadly to be an academic, and you discredit Oslo University. I am sending them your handiwork. After all, you are m,erely a non-tenured lecturer.

  341. Dear Boyajian,
    You should have known about “Turkish bipolar syndromes”…Turkey’s  “double standard” policy is well documented, and also reflect to their “bright and smart candidates” it is well known to “civilized world”, especially to members of European Union…just look at their actions and decisions toward Muslim world, Israelis, Iran, US, EU, Armenia, Russia…when the head is confused, do not expect other body parts function at satisfactory level, therefore I do not blame, Ragnar, about his misbehavior in “Armenian Weekly” .. “the sickman of Europe” is back after AKP landslide victory in Turkey!!

  342. Ragnar,

    Though this is the first time that I have “met” you, you seem to be a person who has a good head on his shoulders and is sincere and fair in their respective feelings. This is a rare thing in this day and age!

    You’ll note that you’ve received a number of comments from a poster named JDA. I can tell you that this person is an imposter! He uses several aliases. He has long since shown that he lacks credibility and can only resort to classical defamation of Turks. He trolls around Turkish sites quite a bit. I have followed him for the past year and have caught him in numerous falsities!

    I wish you the best and I bid you peace. Good luck.

  343. sorry msheci,
    you used the phraze “in their genes”. No twisting can change this. but then you recanted and said that it was a speculation. I will commend you for that. And thank you for our interesting exchanges

  344. msheci
    I congratulate you with posting a message in “Daily Zaman”. This is the kind of exchange we need inb order to move forwards

  345. Robert you could not keep your mouth shot huh? it is not possible..we have discussed many many times in the past that you are an angry, anti-ARmenian human being..

    I laugh at your comments.. you keep repeating the same thing over and over and over again.. are you obsessed with JDA? you say you follow JDA and you catch him…. what the heck does that got to do with anything? so by following JDA and trying to discredit him is your life goal?? or maybe because you can’t handle the truth that JDA is spreading? why would you follow him? is it to do what you do best.. threaten?  as you have done many times on these pages? is that it? listen JDA has more intelligence in his pinky than you in your entire body.. please dont spread such filth among those who know him well….so your attempts to put an ARmenian down won’t fly here.. sorry to disspoint you…..

    Whatever you say I hearby void…

    Have a great violence free day

    Gayane

  346. Msheci jan.. Shat apres… EXCELLENT way to fight back…

    Let every denialist and sympathizer of Turkish govt know that when you step on an Armenian you will be faced head on…you may get away with lies and denials but you can’t hide.. you wil b