Nisanyan Faces Up to 16 Years in Turkish Prison

Turkish Armenian Entrepreneur, Writer Could Be Imprisoned ‘Any Time Now’

Sevan Nisanyan, the owner of Nisanyan Hotels, was given a 3.5-year prison sentence by Turkey’s Western Seljuk District’s criminal court for the illegal construction of his hotels, located in Sirince, Izmir. Nisanyan, a linguist, columnist, academic, and outspoken critic, still faces more than a dozen other cases stemming from construction work he has done on his hotels.

Sevan Nisanyan

“I have been fighting this nonsense almost full-time for the last year and a half. There are now 16 criminal cases against me running simultaneously, so I have to face the prosecutor or attend court, on the average, twice a week,” Nisanyan told the Armenian Weekly, after the court ruled against him on March 8.

The cases are mainly concerned with illegal construction—building without a permit. Other charges, such as resisting authority and contempt for the court, were also added. “One charge concerns building a stone arch—about three-feet wide—over the door of our chicken coop,” he said.

Nisanyan moved to Sirince in the mid 90’s. He gradually purchased 22 historic Greek houses and turned them into the Nisanyan Hotels. Many of the houses were in ruin and in dire need of repair. Nisanyan used traditional methods of building to renovate them, careful to preserve the authentic charm of the area. Widely considered a model of reviving traditional rural architecture, his investment energized the little village with a limping agriculture and turned it into a booming tourist spot.

“The government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is in fury because I have done all this without their permission—which was not forthcoming anyway—and without regard to due form,” he said.

So far there have been nine court verdicts, which add up to about 16 years of prison. “Each one of the verdicts is involved in a long and costly appeals process.”

Almost all court verdicts are appealed in Turkey, and the final deliberation rests with a higher court.

“I have time to appeal, though there are several other appeals pending and I expect a rejection—and consequent jail time—any time now,” he said.

As for the houses, Nisanyan donated them to the Nesin Foundation in February 2011, an organization he has cooperated with in the past. The foundation, which is headed by mathematics Professor Ali Nesin and located in Sirince, works towards providing educational opportunities to children from economically handicapped homes.

Aside from the 3.5-year sentence, Nisanyan was fined 160 liras and lost many political rights, including his election license, the right to work for a public institution, or to manage a foundation, a company, a club, or any other organized group, report Turkish sources.

Around the time Nisanyan donated his houses, he narrowly evaded a demolition order. Still the threat looms. “The immediate threat of demolition has passed since the minister of culture and tourism has made a personal intervention. Though I expect this means simply another prolongation of the bureaucratic mess.”

Last September, Nisanyan told the Weekly he planned to appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). “I still plan to take this to ECHR, though I haven’t had a couple of days of peace to plan the case with my lawyers,” he said in his latest statements.

According to Nisanyan, there are at least 90 illegal building constructions in the village. In 1984, Sirince was declared a historic site, banning constructions and renovations. By law, authorities had to produce a new zoning plan within a year. However, according to Nisanyan, it took authorities 23 years to produce the plan, making it impossible to build or renovate legally in the village.

The new zoning plan is a disaster, according to Nisanyan. The basic mathematical proportions of the traditional constructions are ignored; and while the traditional village houses were made of stone and timber, the new plan allows the use of cement and permits 250 new houses in the village.

Prior to engaging in construction projects, Nisanyan and his builders pulled apart ruined houses to study the materials, modes of construction, and intricacies of the earlier builders. He later published the information in a booklet as a guidebook for builders in Sirince.

“As far as I know, this is the first—and I think only—commercial establishment in the history of the Turkish Republic that carries an openly Armenian name,” he told the Weekly in September, adding, “The Armenian who openly defies the Turkish state is something they cannot tolerate.”

Nisanyan, who was awarded the 2004 Freedom of Thought Award by the Human Rights Association of Turkey, has often voiced views that are controversial in the tightly censored Turkish society. He has spoken publicly about the Armenian Genocide, winning him more than a few enemies. Last year, his comments made during a Turkish television debate program, resulted in the punishment of the airing station by Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), who claimed Nisanyan’s comments were excessively critical and that they “humiliated the Republic of Turkey.”

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Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2014 to 2016. She served as assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2010 to 2014. Her writings focus on human rights, politics, poverty, and environmental and gender issues. She has reported from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabagh, Javakhk, and Turkey. She earned her B.A. degree in political science and English from the University of Massachusetts (Boston), where she is currently continuing her graduate studies. Email Nanore Barsoumian at writenanore@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter (@NanoreB).

47 Comments

  1. Well, I am sure that if a million Armenians were still living in Turkey, and Turkey tried to commit another genocide, the US and Russia would send Turkey some very strongly worded letters to stop mistreating Armenians.  
    I mean, this is 2011, but not 1915, you know?   Turks aren’t like they were back then. It would be racist to say that.

    Yes, Turks have come a long way.  They have a wonderful democratic system now, and they remodeled an Armenian church, which was certainly nice of them.

  2. Dear Paul,you must be living on Mars or one of those moons.Using Turkey and democracy in the same sentence is at least oxymoron. Do you ever read ,even your local paper?Recently Turkey jailed6-7 journalists;do you know why? i suggest ,you research it and then try to make such statements.The non existent human rights in Turkey is one of the reasons that EU wont admit it into the union  PERIOD.

  3. Please Paul, TURKS have not remodeled an Armenian church, Turkey has remodeled an Armenian Church and kept it, yes, kept it as Turkey’s government property. What gives them that right? Instead you are mentioning that fact as Progress, I see Turkey got what it spend money for, some people think it’s nice of the Government of Turkey to have done
    this not the propaganda that’s behind it. Now Turks have changed (the people) not Turkey,
    some are willing to put their lives in danger by telling the TRUTH about what happened. I say, as the French saying “Chapeau” to them. Those people, I hope, are the real Turkey of tomorrow. There’s difference between Turkey the state and Turks the people.

  4. I think Paul is completely misinformed and I will not try to convince him the contrary. Just one question: how a country can be democratic when journalists and writers are imprisoned for their thoughts or critics. So much for Paul’s ignorance.
    Concerning Nisanyan… which christian or Armenian in his right mind would still open a business in Turkey???

  5. funny how they can “renovate” one of our churches and turn it into a hotel , but we can’t even do the same for ourselves. keep going baron nisanyan! you have people on your side!

  6. In response, I would say, you live in Turkey, build in Turkey. Show your entreprising spirit.
    Don’t kill that spirit, show what you can do for you and for your “host” country. Of course if the individual Armenian, specially, is already familiar and has the Nisanyan conviction,

  7. Nişanyan has received a lot of support in Turkey. We have come a long way, especially since Hrant. We really have come a long way, not the State maybe, but a lot of people have.

  8. Yes. The State did not change, still spending millions to deny and bury the truth instead of
    going to a more noble spirit and build bridges with that money.

    But there’s a big change among the intelectuals and some people. These people don’t think admitting a mistake is offending Turkishness. Im sure they are proud Turks too.

  9. I don’t know of a church that was renovated to be turned into a hotel. This may be a misunderstanding. The Ahtamar Church was renovated as a museum, if that’s the one we are talking about. I am not trying to defend anything, but just to clear a possible misunderstanding. Trying to talk for those people who do care, like the 7386 members of the “We don’t want Şirince to be demolished” facebook page of Sevan Nişanyan’s. Of course he has many many people on his side, and in Turkey too.

  10. thank you Gary. I am embarrassed that Nişanyan received almost four hundred death threats for a political article he wrote last year, which didn’t have all to do with his being an Armenian, (he is just very, very outspoken about the recent history, not only the history of the Armenian genocide) but I can see where those people are coming from, as well. We have been told very differently. But there is a sort of a shift now. A good one.

  11. Elif,
    You are, of course, entitled to your opinions. That’s your right and I respect it. However, you do not speak for the vast majority of Turks (especially those who lost family members between 1915-1922), or Turkey itself, for that matter. You certainly don’t speak for me. You’ve been exposed to too much of Taner Akcam and O. Pamuk. Try doing some independent research by examining NEUTRAL authors and scholars. Elif, only after you’ve done this for yourself, then come back and post. If you still feel the way that you do, well then, so be it. But at least give it a chance. You owe that much to yourself.
     

  12. To be honest with you at first.. I misread Paul’s comment as being a racist Turk writing on our pages.. but after re-reading it, I see that he was being sarcastic…at least i hope so..:)

    Elif- such a refreshing moment when I read your comment.. glad to meet a Turk that is poised and well informed about the truth… i am absolutely thrilled to learn that we have true heros that stand up and not afraid to express what is going on and how it is..bravo..not to sound negative…  please know that it is not  only state (even though the state IS THE MAJOR player in this) that are still in the Ottoman era but many ordinary Turkish citizens who do not believe in Genocide and think it was the Dashnak Armenians who murdered the Turks do exist.. we have few on our pages.. Like Robert, Murat, Ahmet, Zekin and few others… however, i am happy to know that people like you exist .. i pray more of you come to surface..

  13. It is interesting that this issue, which has little to do with Armenians in general makes its way to here, but let us say an Armenain “honor killing” of a Turkish groom in Istanbul does not get a single sentence.  Sevan has a long track record as an activist.  By definition he has made most things about himself very public, including any irregularities or illegalities in his various projects.  Inevitably these scenes emerge.  One can discuss bribery and corruption in small Turkish towns of course in this context, but is this the place?  Is it not possible for a Turkish Armenian to cross a line?  I am one of those well wishers to Sevan and hope a way is found to save his creations but what is this got anything to do with Armenians?

  14. It is likewise interesting that the issue of Armenia’s strictly bilateral relations with Azerbaijan, which has little to nothing to do with the Turks in general makes its way to here and there in the Turkish foreign policy…

  15. HI KriKor Greg:
    I totally agree with you one hundred percent, re-Paul’s  unrealistic statements.    He must be in a La La Land, or very naive, and unaware of the living conditions in Turkey, lets not forget,  the assassination of the Editor/Owner of the Armenian Newspaper  in Istanbul.      I salute you for standing up, for the human rights, for the Armenians rights.     Thank you.

  16. Murat:

    When the Turkey’s  PM Erdoğan sticks his nose into China’s internal affairs and tells them to stop the – quote – ‘genocide’ (!) of  Uighurs, then anything having to do with mistreatment  of Armenians in Turkey has something to do with all Armenians worldwide.
     
    Question: what does the situation between Atrsakh and ‘Azerbaijan’ have anything to do with Turkey, that they have injected themselves into it ?
     
    Question: when a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, Hrant Dink, is murdered in broad daylight, shot in the back of the head by a cowardly Turk, then a ranking Turkish Police Officer is photographed – proudly smiling – with the suspect, and to date nobody has been tried, should Armenians worldwide have the reasonable suspicion that Turkish citizens of Armenian descent are considered 2nd class, even in 2011, and have the right to bring pressure to bear on Turkish authorities ?

    When 2,000,000 of our brothers and sisters were murdered by Ottoman Turks, and at the time Armenians couldn’t do anything to stop it….we are going to raise a stink every time one of us is in danger now – anywhere in the world.

  17. It is likewise interesting that the issue of a sovereign UN nation-state of Cyprus, which has little to nothing to do with the Turks in general, made its way to international politics because of Turkish occupation of the island…

  18. What a country!  Turning civil matter into criminal cases.  Only in Turkey!  While over 70% of buildings in Turkey are illegal to go after renovations in some village.  What a hypocrisy! Sevan is a brave man.  He looks like a decent and honest guy.

  19. “When the Turkey’s  PM Erdoğan sticks his nose into China’s internal affairs and tells them to stop the – quote – ‘genocide’ (!) of  Uighurs, then anything having to do with mistreatment  of Armenians in Turkey has something to do with all Armenians worldwide.”

    Fundementally flawed logic and analogy at many levels.

    First, it is a racist statement.  Being an Armenian or a Muslim Turk or a member of any other group should not give anyone immunity form critcism or legal prosecution. 

    Second, Sevan is facing a problem here mainly becasue of his actions, not because of who he is, his religion, race or ethnicity.  He is not under any attack, at least related to this issue, from any government or local authority becasue of who he is.  Nothing that is publically known points at such a cospiracy.  One can even say his notoriety has given him some cover.

    In China on the other hand, Uygurs, somewhat related to Turks assuming most Turkish citizens are Turkic (not a correct assumption), are persecuted becasue of who they are.  Still, I did not approve of the language (typically very undiplomatic) our PM used on this occasion.  On the other hand it would have been inconsitent of him to have said nothing while we are all loudly criticising the brutal suppression of dissenters in ME and Africa.

    I can see why and how this “human” story could be of interest to many readers here, but the implication that Sevan is persecuted becasue of who is patently false.  Besides, as I have pointed out earlier, the editors seem to be very selective in picking their Armenian related stories.  Then again, I am the last one here to be surprised by this double standard.

  20. And isn’t Nisanian sentenced (he being an Armenian, and a loud mouth on the bargain) for illigal construction while Muslim Turks who also built or repaired houses illegally – perhaps for the same reasons – had no problem? If this is true, it means that he is the victim of an ongoing racism against Armenians, and especially an Armenian who mentioned the genocide on Turkish TV.
    Also thanks to Elif for telling us that lots of Turks support Sevan Nisanian, and for being part of a growing section of the Turkish population, people who are brave and honest, and believe in universal human values. And let the Sarcastic be careful, lest they may be misunderstood  – I had thought that Paul was being sarcastic too, actually, and didn’t understand why others took him seriously, but these things happen.

  21. Hi, please visit http://www.nisanyanmap.com you can see old names of places and old Armenian villages in Turkey. Also Nisanyan is very famous intellectual in Turkey speccially for Turkish language. The penalty is not about he is Armenian.
    Best wishes

  22. “I can see why and how this “human” story could be of interest to many readers here, but the implication that Sevan is persecuted because of who he is patently false.” Yeah, and the implication that Hrant Dink was killed because of who he was is patently false. And the implication that Luigi Padovese was decapitated while his Turkish perpetrator shouted “Allahu Akbar” because of who he was is patently false. And the implication that Cypriot Archbishop Kyprianos was hanged during the Greek independence movement in 1821 because of who he was is patently false. And the implication that Greek Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Georgios Angelopoulos was hanged on Easter Sunday in 1821 and then barbarously mutilated because of who he was is patently false. And, generally, the implication that 2 million innocent Armenians were slaughtered, marched to death, burned and buried alive, raped, tortured, mutilated, and forcibly deported because of who they were is patently false. Don’t the posters know that whatever Turks do, they do it out of compassion and value for human life and dignity. Whereas whenever the Armenian posters reveal the Turks’ “compassion” and “value of human life and dignity” in the light not conformable to Turkish ears, such statements are viewed as patently “racist”… Is there any nation in the world that knows Turks better than the Armenians?

  23.  
    “Fundementally flawed logic and analogy at many levels.”
    Actually not: the example about China  was in response to the sentence in the your previous post: “…but what is this got anything to do with Armenians?
     
    If a Turk, Erdogan, can inject himself into a foreign country’s, China, internal affairs, it is perfectly logical for Armenians to inject themselves into the internal affairs of another foreign country, Turkey.
    A state, by the way, that denies their Ottoman predecessors committed a Genocide against the same people they are persecuting (not prosecuting) now.
    A state, BTW, that has an active, worldwide campaign of denial of the AG.
     
    “In China on the other hand, Uygurs, somewhat related to Turks assuming most Turkish citizens are Turkic (not a correct assumption), are persecuted becasue of who they are.”
    How so ? how do you know Uighurs did not break local laws ? I know how: when Turks (and ‘somewhat related’) are persecuted, it’s because of who they are.
    When Armenians are persecuted or murdered in Turkey, it’s because they broke some Turkish  ‘law’: an oxymoron if there ever was one.
    (and yes, you can call that one a racist statement too: I am already crushed by the first one, so a 2nd one won’t make a difference…)
     

  24. Robert says to Elif in bold..

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinions. —that is right.. so hush up…
    That’s your right and I respect it. Really—??? you actually have respect for others? wow… that is something new…However, you do not speak for the vast majority of Turks (especially those who lost family members between 1915-1922), —first of all, Elif did not say VAST MAJORITY.. he said many Turks support Nisayan..So get off your high horse and stop coming up with your own interpretation….. i am sorry and what families are you talknig about ?? what was the cause of their loss? and my most important question is this.. what THAT got to do with our issue and Nisayan.. i don’t get it)….or Turkey itself, for that matter. You certainly don’t speak for me. —-of course he does not speak for you because you are definitely not one person who will ever admit the crime as you belong to the Ottoman era mentality.. but we are not suprised…Elif’s small finger has more character and balls and understanding and humanity than you as a person.. so istead of putting him down, why don’t you look at yourself first.. You’ve been exposed to too much of Taner Akcam and O. Pamuk. —that was a stupid comment but we will let that go……Try doing some independent research by examining NEUTRAL authors and scholars. —-look who is giving Elif advice.. someone who thinks Dashnaks are the cause of all evil… someone who blames Dashnaks for everything.. i mean seriously… follow your own advice Robert before you preach to someone else.. what DID YOU read that was nuetral besides anything Turkish govt shoved in your head and brains of yours.. Elif, only after you’ve done this for yourself, then come back and post.—I suggest you do this yourself Robert before telling this to Elif… Why don’t YOU do some research besides your screwed up stories about Dashnaks and then come back and post here… If you still feel the way that you do, well then, so be it. But at least give it a chance. You owe that much to yourself.—-and you owe it to yourself to admit that your ancestors commited the crime of the 20th Century and cleanse yourself from the enigma that lingers in your blood for years… then after that you can understand what True Turks who believe in humanity first and then nationality feel and why people like Elif are welcomed with open arms than people like you… who definintely represents a the group called racist Turks toward Armenians…

    Elif… thank you for being a human being … and getting it.. you are definintely a breeze of new air among people like Murat, Robert, and their kind..

    G

  25. Arman jan.. well said.. apres….

    Murat- are you for real? you keep trying to justify your peanut gallery comments with such statements that they leave me in the state of ” did he really write that? You got to be kidding me..” they are simply laughable…..don’t try to convince us that Turks prosecute, persecute or kill has nothing to do with who they are.. you think we were born yesterday??? Like Arman said. who knows Turks better than Armenians… pleaseeeeee.. stop your nonsense and get on with your sorry existance….. because you are not going to succeed… no matter how hard you try..

  26. Robert, please learn the difference between neutrality and objectivity. Objectivity consists of examining all the facts of an issue and making a conclusion, taking all these facts into account. Neutrality consists of saying “both sides are equally guilty” regardless of what the facts are.
    Taner Akcam examined all the facts which were available to him (i.e. all the Ottoman and German archives except the Turkish military ones which are sealed to this day) and made a conclusion. The vast majority of objective world historians have made the same conclusion.
    “NEUTRAL authors and scholars” have no value because regardless of what the facts are, they will make the same conclusion.

  27. Robert, thank you for your words. My grandmother’s uncle died in Erzurum those days, because he hadn’t cleaned his sword after fighting and the sword, having been stuck with the blood dried on it, didn’t come out of its sheath the next day when he was attacked. I grew up with those stories too. Instead of trying to explain what happened,  isn’t it time we saw terrible it all was, and just at least respected the pain of all involved? Taner Akçam, I have not read, and Orhan Pamuk only said a couple of sentences as far as I know. Whatever happened, and I am choosing my words very carefully throughout, people died and their descendants feel wronged. Maybe we can begin from that human place. I am choosing my words very carefully because of course it hurts also me to talk about the genocide, but I owe it to basic human goodness to not look for explanations. There is immense pain we are refusing to honour.

  28. aahh where have we come again. even here. the whole charge around all this is so intense, we have started insulting each other. murat is only telling you what some people feel.robert too. they don’t mean to belittle what happened. and i haven’t got any balls. 
    let’s not talk about sorry existences, because we are all doing the best we can with what we know. nobody is trying to be unfair here. we grew up hearing very different stories.
    this is difficult for us turks. turks were told that we were the victims. we also need to feel justified, otherwise it is very painful. people here sincerely think what they think, they are not trying to belittle your pain or be cruel. 
    i know. in beirut i went to the armenian district because i thought i needed  to get a guided tour of the genocide museum. on the way, there was this bookstore, and i thought it would be nice to buy an armenian alphabet as a present for my armenian friends back home. the lady at the store, the moment i said, for my friends back home in turkey, froze, looked me in the eye and asked me what i thought of the genocide.
    there i saw the pain and the intensity. she had a heaviness that i was not familiar with. there was the pain and the hatred of our ancestors, her ancestors suffered more than mines but we can’t grade suffering easily. after the uncle died, my family had to immigrate to kayseri for safety. 
    so there she is, looking me in the eye like a wall , and i could only start crying like i never knew before, and i told her i was sorry for what happened. then she asked me if i was sorry for being a turk. no, i said, i am not sorry that i am a turk, i am sorry for what happened. she wanted to hear her sentence. then we talked a bit. i told her maybe we all need to sit and cry together and then continue from there. then her phone rang and i used that to  escape from that situation, and from that store, and felt too exhausted to go see the museum. in that neighbourhood, my passport felt cursed, and it is a heavy feeling. 
    you see, this is not easy for anybody.  i will not join this conversation if we keep insulting each other, what’s the point. 
    good day everyone.

  29. Elif, your compassion has moved me to tears.  May your spirit be an example to other Turks, including Robert, and to Armenians alike.  I believe, more than anything, Armenians crave this basic human compassion from your people.  We want to know that Turks of today can be honest about the desperate barbarism of the final days of the Ottoman period and say “Those were awful days and we regret the harm done by our forefathers and wish to apologize and make amends.” In turn, I believe there are Armenians who wish to say “We can never forget, but we wish to live in peace and respect on our ancient homeland and are willing to begin the process of forgiveness.”  

    Of course, this process must include discussion of reparations, despite how difficult this may be for Turks to consider.  This is unavoidable.  What was stolen must be acknowledged.  Lives cannot be restored, but an apology that fails to recognize what was taken and the need to compensate that loss, really is not much of an apology.

  30. “We grew up hearing very different stories. this is difficult for us Turks. Turks were told that we were the victims”
     
    Elif, sorry, but I can’t take this as an excuse for “doing the best you can with what you know.” I understand that what you were told might have shaped your worldview and your position on the genocide of Armenians by the Turks. But I fail to see how in this globalization era, with the Internet, social networks, libraries and archives—both physical and online—readily available to anyone, Turks stubbornly (Murat, Robert, Ahmet, etc. even bellicosely) feel it difficult to at least seek the truth. Look, Elif, I spent half of my life living in the Soviet Union, hearing all kinds of lies, as you say, “very different stories.” And the Soviet Union was much more closed society than Turkey. Yet, when opportunity presented itself during the Gorbachev reforms, I, and many others, have started browsing the archives, search for foreign sources (the Internet didn’t exist back then), forbidden literature, etc., in the quest for Truth. And we succeeded. I remember having radically changed my views within a year or two. Why can’t you? I understand your fears to face the unpleasant truth. I understand the discomfort of realizing that your Ittihadist ancestors were mass murderers, rapists, and mutilators who committed the deliberate annihilation of the Armenian race. But isn’t knowing the Truth and exhibiting a human virtue of Repentance better than self-deceipt?

  31. Arman well said…

    Boyajian- True.. i agree with you about Elif…

    Elif-as I said thank you for being a human first than a Turk and at least acknowledging the fact that what happened is the Truth and it is time to openly face it..

    Unfortunately people like Robert, Murat, Ahmet and Zeki and their alike don’t have the capability…. and that is truly a sad matter…

    G

  32. Even the ones that unconditionally accept what happened in 1915, stop well short of any discussion about compensation and territorial concessions.
     
    The Turkish Denialist campaign has worked – in some insidious ways: many of us Armenians are so ‘hungry’, that even a few crumbs thrown our way cause disproportionate celebration.
     
    It’s certainly valiant of  some Turks to acknowledge the AG and feel sorry: then what ? What can you do with a ‘Sorry’ ? Can you bank it ? Can you grow crops on it ? Can you access the Black Sea thru it ?
     
    I believe Mr. Harut Sassounian has discussed this already: we need to assume Recognition stage is done – which it largely is – and move to the next stages (while adding more countries to the Recognition list….)
    We can’t wait until the Turkish State recognizes the AG – which they never will: we falsely assume at some point in the future they will, then feel sorry, then give us what we actually are owed. We don’t really need the Turkish government to recognize the AG: if enough of the world’s major powers do – then we are good to go to the next stages.
     
    In any kind of negotiation, you demand the Moon, then negotiate down to a mutual win-win position: you don’t start by asking for crumbs, then work your way up.
     
    There needs to be compound interest: every year Turks deny and delay, the bill goes up: the sooner they pay up, the better for both parties. And to those that counter-argue that if we put Reparation and Return on the table, Turks will back off from Recognition: I say “So what ?”
    If and when Turks decide to Recognize, they’ll require the ironclad condition that Armenians – both RoA and Diaspora – forever renounce Reparations and Return (of  lands).
     
    In the Diaspora, let’s start beating the drums for Reparations and Return of Wilsonian Western Armenia.
     

  33. Avery … chisht es.. we should.. absolutely…

    Elif- I am with Boyajian.. was not sure what the sigh was about… please clarify..

    Thank you
    Gayane

  34. I agree Avery.  Certain Turks are trying to soften our resolve with compassionate words that sooth our aching souls and quell our demands.  Not to say that all compassion expressed by Turks is insincere (Elif?), just that we owe it to our ancestors to not lose sight of the ultimate goal:  Strong and prosperous Armenia, safe and independent Artsakh and recognition and reparation for what was lost.  A multi-faceted goal requires a multi-sided approach and resolve, resolve, resolve…  It is not just for us or for our ancestors.  A world that tolerates genocide, tacitly condones it and guarantees its repetition.

  35. A very accurate observation, Avery. Apology, recognition, reparations, and land restitution represent ONE package for Armenians in their quest for justice. Even if Turks ever offer an apology and recognition (which I personally think they never will on their own because of exalted national ego, guilt complex, and a fear for reparations and territorial concessions), this in no way can be taken as full restoration of justice for Armenians. Only reparation and land restitution can be taken as such, even short of apology and recognition. I agree with Boyajian that Turkish propaganda cabals posting on these pages are trying to soften our resolve with compassionate words in an attempt to draw our attention to the moral (read: apology), not political/legal side (read: reparations and land restitution) of the issue to prepare the grounds for possible apology only after being convinced that Armenians won’t go any further. This will never happen…

  36. sigh…..  what do you want me to say? i can’t solve this huge problem. i can’t heal anything. i was only trying to tell you that a lot of people are now admitting what your ancestors have gone through. it would be different if we were now sitting at a table and drinking and eating together, and we could talk more, but on the internet it’s so easy to misunderstand each other… there is so much charge…
    boyajian– i feel those and then some. hrant dink is a hero here, tens of thousands of people shouted  the famous slogan “we are all hrant, we are all armenians” at his funeral. they weren’t trying to soften your stance. do you know what he was saying?

  37. Elif, “sigh,” indeed!  Thanks for understanding the enormity and complexity of the issue and the need for healing.  I would love to hear more about your thoughts regarding Hrant Dink and how he is viewed in Turkey.  What is your understanding of why he was murdered and why his murderer has not yet been sentenced.  Why did thousands say We are Hrant, we are all Armenian?”  What does this mean if it doesn’t lead to justice?  Please tell me, what was Hrant saying?

  38. Elif,
     
    Tens of thousands of people who shouted the “famous”(?!) slogan “we are all Hrant, we are all Armenians” are greatly admired by us for their courage. But Hrant’s funeral was not about Turkey’s official apology for annihilating the Armenian race. Besides, do we know for sure what hidden (i.e. non-Turkish) ethnicity many of those people might have been?
     
    Cheers.

  39. that was the slogan for solidarity. 
    everybody i know in istanbul were there. it was really not about people’s mixed ethnicities. “we are all hrant, we are all armenians” meant something beautiful.  
    we are also very furious that justice hasn’t come for hrant yet. there is a gathering of people who call themselves “the friends of hrant” who follow all the court proceedings closely and protest frequently. 
    i need to read some of hrant’s writings to be able to answer boyajian’s question properly. boyajian, can you do that also? then we talk?  

    cheers.

  40. Noticing that all this happened in 2011; could we have an update on this story? Is he in jail now?
    If so, would someone start a donation site for this man to help with his defense, please?

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