Switzerland hosts Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Bern

FDFA - news.admin.ch


Bern, 19.12.2015 - Presidents Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan met in Bern today, 19 December 2015, for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the invitation of Switzerland. As representative of the Federal Council, the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) Didier Burkhalter welcomed the two Presidents and underlined Switzerland’s willingness to continue supporting efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict through its good offices.


At the meeting with the two parties today, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter highlighted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could only be resolved by a comprehensive negotiation process. He called on the parties to reinforce dialogue and to refrain from any act of violence or provocation. He recalled Switzerland’s commitment to continue supporting the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan in hosting meetings and offering experts also in the future. The South Caucasus is a priority region of Switzerland’s peace-policy commitment. During its year as Chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014, it advocated the OSCE’s existing mediation formats and also supported various confidence-building measures, as well as seeking close contact with civil society. As Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter had invited the two Presidents to Switzerland for talks.


Offering good offices is part of Switzerland’s extensive and long-standing commitment in the region which among other things helped Georgia and Russia reach a trade agreement in 2011 and paved the way for Russian accession to the WTO. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter visited the region on several occasions in 2014 as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. Switzerland has provided an OSCE Special Representative for the South Caucasus since 2014 in Ambassador Angelo Gnädinger, and this office will also be held by a Swiss official in future, Ambassador Günther Bächler.


The efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which began in 1991, are coordinated by the Minsk Group of the OSCE. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, the US, France, Belarus, Germany, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Turkey and the OSCE Troika (currently Serbia, Germany and Switzerland) belong to the OSCE’s Minsk Group.


The ANCA on the European Court of Human Rights Mixed Decision on the Perincek Case

October 15, 2015 | ANCA | Elizabeth S. Chouldjian



The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a contentious 10-7 ruling on the case of Turkish national Dogu Perincek, convicted in Switzerland in 2007 for denial of the Armenian Genocide.  While the ruling upholds Perincek’s right to freedom of speech in this specific case, the court affirmed the "right to dignity" of the Armenian people and, more broadly, did not dispute the legality of  criminalizing genocide denial, particularly in the instances of inciting hatred or violence.


ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian offered this reaction to the ECHR court ruling on the Perincek Case:


"A sharply divided European Court for Human Rights failed to consistently apply fundamental principles of law and justice in the Perincek case, resulting in a mixed decision. The court’s conflicted and contradictory judgment, while offering deeply troubling protection for hate speech, does create meaningful new opportunities for progress in ending Turkey’s denials and ultimately reaching a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide."


The 134-page ruling includes 3 dissenting opinions, including a dissent submitted by 7 judges from the panel, most notably the President of the European Court of Human Rights Dean Spielmann.  That opinion reads, in part:


1. We are unable to agree with the conclusion that there has been a violation of Article 10 of the Convention in the present case.


2. First of all, we note the decidedly timid approach on the Court’s part in reiterating the Chamber’s position that it is not required to determine whether the massacres and deportations suffered by the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Empire can be characterised as genocide within the meaning of that term in international law, but also that it has no authority to make legally binding pronouncements, one way or the other, on this point (see paragraph 102 of the judgment). That the massacres and deportations suffered by the Armenian people constituted genocide is self-evident. The Armenian genocide is a clearly established historical fact. To deny it is to deny the obvious. But that is not the question here. The case is not about the historical truth, or the legal characterisation of the events of 1915. The real issue at stake here is whether it is possible for a State, without overstepping its margin of appreciation, to make it a criminal offence to insult the memory of a people that has suffered genocide. In our view, this is indeed possible.


3. That being so, we are unable to follow the majority’s approach as regards the assessment of the applicant’s statements (I). The same applies to the impact of geographical and historical factors (II), the implications of the time factor (III) and of the lack of consensus (IV), the lack of an obligation to criminalise such statements (V), and the assessment of the balancing exercise performed by the national authorities (VI).

La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme sanctionne la Suisse pour avoir condamné un négationniste du génocide des Arméniens

Berne, le 13 octobre 2015 | ASA


L'Association Suisse-Arménie (ASA) et le Groupe parlementaire Suisse-Arménie (GPArm) invitent les journalistes à une

Conférence de presse


au sujet de l'important verdict qui sera prononcé ce jeudi 15 octobre, à 11h45 à Strasbourg par le Président de la Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme dans l'affaire Perincek c.Suisse.


Date: jeudi 15 octobre 2015
Lieu : Centre de presse du Palais fédéral, Bundesgasse 8-12, 3003 Berne
Heure : 15h30 – 16h30

Intervenants :
M. Ueli Leuenberger, Conseiller national (Les Verts/GE), coprésident du GPArm
M. Dominique de Buman, Conseiller national (PDC/FR), coprésident du GPArm
M. Sarkis Shahinian, président honoraire de l'ASA
M. Andreas Dreisiebner, président de l'ASA

Les intervenants vont commenter la décision de la Cour.


Pour rappel: l'affaire porte sur la condamnation pénale pour discrimination raciale de M. Perinçek, qui en 2005 avait nié publiquement plusieurs fois l'existence du génocide des Arméniens, ainsi que pour avoir minimiser et justifié les faits. Invoquant l'article 10 (liberté d'expression) de la Convention, M. Perinçek soutient que les tribunaux suisses ont violé sa liberté d'expression. Il fait notamment valoir que l'article 261 bis , alinéa 4 CP ne présente pas
un degré de prévisibilité suffisant, que sa condamnation n'était pas motivée par la poursuite d'un but légitime et que l'atteinte à la liberté d'expression dont il se dit victime n'était pas «nécessaire dans une société démocratique». Dans son arrêt de chambre du 17 décembre 2013, la Cour avait conclu, par cinq voix contre deux, à la violation de l'article 10 (liberté d'expression) de la Convention. Le gouvernement suisse a demandé le renvoi de cette affaire
devant la Grande Chambre en vertu de l'article 43 de la Convention (renvoi devant la Grande Chambre) et, le 2 juin 2014, le collège de la Grande Chambre a fait droit à cette demande. L'Association Suisse-Arménie, déjà partie à la procédure interne, s'était portée tierce partie. Une audience de Grande Chambre a été tenue le 28 janvier 2015.


Le communiqué de presse de la CEDH ainsi que le texte arrêt seront publiés, juste après le prononcé du 15 octobre 2015, sur le site officiel de la Cour : www.echr.coe.int


Le conseil de l'Association Suisse-Arménie, Frédéric Krenc, sera présent à Strasbourg et se tient, le cas échéant, à la disposition de la presse (0032/2/5331085).


Contact : Sarkis Shahinian, tél. 0041 76 399 16 25, pg-shahinian(at)armenian.ch


Communiqué de presse (PDF)


April 24, 1915-2015

April 24, 1915

On the night of April 24th 1915, all Armenian notables and intellectuals in Constantinople were apprehended. This marked the beginning of an organized campaign by the government of the Ottoman Empire to systematically exterminate the Armenian people  the first genocide of the XX Century, with a toll of approximately 1.5 million victims.


The Committee of the Young Turks Union and Progress "Ittihad ve Terakki Jemiyeti", the political party in power at the time, decided to rid themselves of all of the Armenians and other Christian minorities who were the majority living in the provinces in the east, but also Adana (Cilicie), along the Black Sea, and to the border of sacred Mt. Ararat. The triumvirate of Young Turks constituted by Enver, Minister of War; Talaat, Minister of the Interior; and Djemal, Minister of the Marines, under the cover of the restrictions imposed by WWI, masterminded a sophisticated, refined plan of extermination.


Words can not translate the horror inflicted upon this entire people, in the indifference of the western world, because the crime of genocide surpassed all other crimes committed up until that point. The men were stripped of their spirits and mutilated, the women raped and then burned alive, the children butchered in front of their parents; the criminals had set out to erase the culture, art, religion, and entire memory of a nation. The bodies were left without a burial, thrown into rivers and abandoned to predators. The perpetrators were not content to merely kill; their aim was to delete any compromising trace of the genocide. They had already realized at the time, that the crime would be too heavy a burden to bear for the generations to come. In 1919, those greatly responsible were judged and sentenced to death by a Turkish military tribunal, but Moustafa Kémal’s fearful nationalists inverted this course and established a general amnesty on 31 March 1923. And so, the new government dealt with the genocide by adopting a program of negationism – rewriting history and offering a new virginity to the nascent Turkish nation.


Eyewitness testimonies were innumerable, the survivors, of course, but also the Turks themselves, foreign delegations, like Armin T. Wegner, and ambassadors, like Henry Morgenthau, who denounced the boats crammed full of Armenians and made to sink in the Black Sea, the Euphrates river red with blood, the roads towards the Syrian desert strewn with dead bodies, villages aflame – their populations sacrificed in their churches, transformed into pyres. Already, between 1894 and 1896, during the reign of the "Red" Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, about 300’000 Armenians were massacred, there villages pillaged - the rare survivors forced into exile. In 1896, Jean Jaurès denounced the premise of genocide to the National Assembly in Paris; George Clémenceau declared, "It is no longer possible to feign ignorance; the truth is known, and the muddling of our European diplomats can no longer abuse by acting as accomplices to universal cowardice".


Aujourd’hui, les Arméniens du monde entier réclament justice: ils veulent que la vérité soit partout reconnue afin que leurs parents, laissés sans sépulture, tombés pour le seul crime d’être nés Arméniens, puissent enfin reposer en paix. Les Arméniens réclament des monuments en souvenir de leurs parents car ils n’ont nul endroit où se recueillir: leurs parents ne seraient soi-disant pas morts, ils ont juste été déportés… Les Arméniens réclament le droit de prier sur leurs terres afin de pouvoir pardonner sur l’autel de la vérité.


The Armenians, converted by the Apostles Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, have chosen Christianity as their State religion in 301. They have always been faithful to their Christian faith, and they have paid with their own blood their Love for Christ. In memory of our parents, we light today these candles. Que leurs âmes reposent en paix.


Commémoration du centenaire du Génocide des Arméniens


Les responsables de l'Église Apostolique Arménienne, les comités de l'Union Arménienne de Suisse, de l'Association Suisse Arménie, de l'Union Générale Arménienne de Bienfaisance, d'Artzakank, de l'Armenischer Schul-und Familien Verein, de l'Armenischer Verein Zürich, de la Communauté Arménienne de Tessin, de la Chorale Arax, de la Compagnie Sanahin, du Fonds Arménie, de KASA, de HOM, de CHARM, de Building an Alternative Future, de Young Professionals Genève d'UGAB, de HERES, de Sevak, les conseils des Fondations Armenia, H.D. Topalian, D. et Ch. Philippossian, Saint Grégoire l'Illuminateur


vous appellent à participer au grand rassemblement du 24 avril 2015


Parce que le 24 avril 1915 est un jour qui a changé le destin de tous les Arméniens

Parce que le 24 avril 2015 nous offre l'opportunité exceptionnelle d'être entendus

Parce que le 24 avril 2015, par votre présence, vous démontrerez que les Arméniens de Suisse sont unanimes et déterminés


Nous revendiquons d'une seule voix

Programme :

13:00 Rassemblement à l'église St Hagop de Troinex.

13:30 Requiem et dépôt de gerbe.

14:30 Départ en bus pour Berne (stops à Lausanne et Neuchâtel).

Infos: 079 889 35 13, courriel ou inscription en ligne www.genocide1915.ch

17:00 Rassemblement à Berne.

19:15 Concert à la cathédrale de Berne.

21:30 Retour en bus.


Le Pape reçoit le Réverbère de la Mémoire

Communiqué de l'Association Les Réverbères de la mémoire


Messe pour le centenaire du génocide des Arméniens : Le Pape reçoit le Réverbère de la Mémoire refusé jusqu'à ce jour par la Suisse et par Genève


A l'issue de la messe historique pour le centenaire du génocide des Arméniens présidée par le Pape François ce dimanche 12 avril 2015 dans la basilique Saint-Pierre de Rome, le Souverain pontife a reçu des mains de Vahé Gabrache, Président de la Fondation Alliance arménienne, un Réverbère de la mémoire, ce même Réverbère dont Genève et les autorités fédérales ont refusé l'érection dans le parc de l'Ariana.  Il appartient maintenant à Genève de montrer sa fidélité à sa tradition humanitaire et son attachement aux droits humains en autorisant sans délai la construction de ce monument avant la fin du centenaire du Génocide des Arméniens.


Lors de cette messe historique dédiée au centenaire du génocide des Arméniens, le Pape a reconnu le génocide arménien en ces termes : « Au siècle dernier, notre famille humaine a traversé trois tragédies massives et sans précédent. La première, qui est largement considérée comme “le premier génocide du XXe siècle” a frappé votre peuple arménien ».


Malgré les pressions des autorités turques pour la messe n'ait pas lieu, elle a non seulement eu lieu, mais elle a été retransmise en direct en Eurovision et en présence du Président arménien Serge Sarkissian. A la fin de la messe, le Catholicos de tous les Arméniens Karekin II et le Catholicos de Cilicie Aram I ont eu l'opportunité de prendre la parole. C'est également à ce moment que le Pape François a reçu le Réverbère de la mémoire des mains du Président de la Fondation Alliance arménienne, M. Vahé Gabrache.


Vahé Gabrache, Président de la Fondation Alliance arménienne a déclaré à cette occasion : « Le Pape François, en faisant cette messe historique et en recevant ce Réverbère de la mémoire, a fait montre d'un courage et d'un leadership exemplaires. Il revient maintenant aux autorités genevoises de faire montre d'un pareil courage en autorisant enfin et au plus vite la construction de ce monument à Genève».



Contact Médias :


Stefan Kristensen, coordinateur du projet (079 138 4604)


Liens :


Sainte Messe au Vatican, dédiée au centenaire du génocide des Arméniens, célébrée par Pape Francesco en présence des deux Catholicos arménien

Le pape parle de «génocide» arménien et Ankara proteste

La déclaration du pape ouvre le centenaire du «génocide» arménien


Vatican Information Service

April 9, 2015 | Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 9 April 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience twenty bishops of the Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church, who will attend next Sunday's Holy Mass to be celebrated for faithful of Armenian rite in St. Peter's Basilica, during which St. Gregory of Narek will be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.


In the discourse he addressed to the bishops, the Holy Father remarked that on Sunday they will “raise a prayer of Christian intercession for the sons and daughters of your beloved people, who were made victims a hundred years ago”, and invoked Divine Mercy “so that it might help all, in the love for truth and justice, to heal every wound and to expedite concrete gestures of reconciliation and peace between the nations that still have not managed to reach a reasonable consensus on the interpretation of these sad events”.


Francis greeted all the clergy and lay faithful of the Armenian Catholic Church, many of whom have accompanied the bishops to Rome in these days, as well as “those who live in the countries of the diaspora, such as the United States, Latin America, Europe, Russia, Ukraine, up to the Motherland”. He added, “I think with particular sadness of those areas, such as that of Aleppo, that a hundred years ago were a safe haven for the few survivors. In such regions the stability of Christians, not only Armenians, has latterly been placed in danger”.


“Your people, whom tradition recognises as the first to convert to Christianity in 301, has a two thousand-year history and preserves an admirable patrimony of spirituality and culture, united with a capacity for recovery amid the many persecutions and trials to which it has been subjected. I invite you always to cultivate a sentiment of acknowledgement of the Lord, for having been capable of maintaining fidelity to Him even during the most difficult periods. It is important, furthermore, to ask of God the gift of wisdom of the heart: the commemoration of the victims of a hundred years ago indeed places us before the darkness of the mysterium iniquitatis”.

“As the Gospel tells us, from the depths of the human heart there may emerge the darkest powers, capable of planning the systematic annihilation of one's brother, of considering him an enemy, an adversary, or even without the same human dignity”, he observed. “But for believers the issue of the evil committed by man also introduces the mystery of participation in the redemptive Passion: a number of sons and daughters of the Armenian nation were capable of pronouncing Christ's name to the point of shedding their blood or of death by starvation during the interminable exodus they were forced to undertake”.

“The painful pages in the history of your people continue, in a certain sense, the Passion of Christ, but in each one of these there is also the germ of the Resurrection. There is no lack of commitment among you, Pastors, to the education of the lay faithful to enable them to interpret reality with new eyes, in order to be able to say every day: my people consists not only of those who suffer for Christ, but above all of those who are risen in Him. Therefore it is important to remember the past, in order to draw from it the new lymph needed to nurture the present with the glorious announcement of the Gospel and with the witness of charity. I encourage you to support the path of continuing formation of priests and consecrated persons. They are your first collaborators; the communion between them and you will be strengthened by the exemplary fraternity they may observe in the Synod and with the Patriarch”.

The Pope expressed his gratitude to those who made efforts to alleviate the sufferings of their ancestors, making special reference to Pope Benedict XV “who intervened before the Sultan Mehmet V to bring an end to the massacre of the Armenians”, and who was “a great friend of the Christian Orient: he established the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and in 1920 he inscribed St. Ephrem the Syrian among the Doctors of the Universal Church”. Francis continued, “I am pleased that our meeting takes place on the eve of the same gesture I will have the pleasure of performing on Sunday regarding the great figure of St. Gregory of Narek”.

“To his intercession, I entrust in particular the ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Armenian Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, aware of the fact that the 'ecumenism of blood' has already been achieved through the martyrdom and persecution that took place one hundred years ago”, he concluded. “I now invoke the Lord's blessing upon you and your faithful, and I ask you not to forget to pray for me”.


Die politische Situation im Nahen Osten – Türkei, Iran, Irak und Syrien

Vortrag von Dr. Kamal Sido, GfbV-Nahostreferent

am Montag, den 2. März 2015 von 19:30 Uhr bis 21:00 Uhr
an der VHS Konstanz-Singen in der Theodor-Hanloser-Straße 19
Der Eintritt beträgt 6 Euro.


Tagtäglich leiden ethnische und religiöse Minderheiten im Nahen Osten unter den Kämpfen der Terrormiliz „Islamischer Staat“. Nach seinem dreiwöchigen Aufenthalt, vorwiegend in Syrien, gibt der syrisch-kurdische Historiker Dr. Kamal Sido Aufschluss über die Geschichte des Nahen Ostens und die derzeitige Lage dort.

Bereits 300.000 Menschen wurden bei den tragischen Konflikten getötet – größtenteils der Teil der Bevölkerung, der nicht den Streitkräften angehört. In seinem Vortrag wird Dr. Kamal Sido darauf eingehen, ob es eine rettende Lösung für die schrecklichen Auseinandersetzungen geben und vor allem wie diese aussehen kann.

Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples
P.O. Box 20 24 - D-37010 Göttingen/Germany
Nahostreferat / Middle East Desk
nahost@gfbv.de - www.gfbv.de


USA: ReturnChurches Bill Adopted by House Foreign Affairs Committee

Return of churches

June 26, 2014 | Washington, DC, USA | ANCA

U.S. call for Turkey to return christian holy sites


House Foreign Affairs Committee Beats Back Ankara's Attacks; Adopts Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act


The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a powerful religious freedom measure this morning holding Turkey accountable for the return of thousands of stolen Christian holy sites and urging the immediate opening of the Greek Orthodox Halki Theological Seminary, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).


Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY) led the effort which received broad bipartisan support despite a last minute campaign led by pro-Turkey lobbyists to gut the measure. An amended version of H.R. 4347 was adopted by voice vote.


"Americans of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian heritage – the descendants of those subjected to genocide by Ottoman Turkey from 1915-1923 and whose churches continue to be held captive by the Turkish Government – join with friends of all faiths in welcoming Committee passage of the Royce-Engel Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "The adoption of this measure sends a strong signal to Ankara that it must stop its anti-Christian conduct and start coming to terms with its moral, material, and legal obligations to Armenians, Syriacs, Cypriots, Pontians, and other victims of Turkey’s still unpunished genocidal crimes."


Introduced this March of this year by Chairman Royce along with the panel's Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY), H.R. 4347 would require that the U.S. Department of State formally report to Congress on an annual basis about the status of Turkey's return of stolen Christian churches and properties in Turkey and occupied Cyprus. H.R. 4347 builds on a measure (H.Res.306), spearheaded by Chairman Royce and then House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA), which was overwhelmingly adopted by the House of Representatives on December 13, 2011. That resolution set the groundwork for H.R.4347 by calling upon the government of Turkey to honor its international obligations to return confiscated Christian church properties and to fully respect the rights of Christians to practice their faiths.


In the days leading up the vote, the ANCA worked closely with Armenian American religious leaders and Hellenic American groups including the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA), American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and American Hellenic Council (AHC) in securing Committee passage of the measure.


Complete details and the full text of the legislation as amended will be available shortly.

© ANCA - Armenian National Committee of America, 2014

Author of UN Report Confirming the Armenian Genocide Passes Away

June 25, 2014 | Asbarez | Harut Sassounian


Benjamin Whitaker, author of a United Nations report qualifying the Armenian mass killings as genocide, passed away earlier this month at the age of 79 in London. The world lost a great humanitarian and a staunch supporter of minority rights.


I worked closely with Mr. Whitaker at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, for several years. He served as the British expert on the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, while I represented the Indigenous World Association, a Native American non-governmental organization (NGO).


Mr. Whitaker was an activist lawyer, elected to the British Parliament from North London in 1966. He became executive director of the Minority Rights Group in 1971, publishing dozens of studies on minority groups around the world, including a trailblazing report on Armenians.


In 1975, Mr. Whitaker was appointed as British representative on the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in the midst of a major controversy regarding a reference to the Armenian Genocide in a UN study. Rwandan Special Rapporteur Nicodeme Ruhashyankiko, author of the preliminary study, was pressured by Turkey to delete the reference to the Armenian Genocide.


To counter the Turkish pressures, a handful of Armenian activists, including this writer, successfully lobbied the UN Sub-Commission in 1978 to block the report after the reference to the Armenian Genocide was removed. I then asked Mr. Whitaker if he would be interested in becoming a Special Rapporteur to complete Ruhashyankiko’s aborted report. Mr. Whitaker agreed on condition that he would not do seek any votes for his appointment.


Given his impeccable reputation as a human rights activist, the Sub-Commission members overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Whitaker as the new Special Rapporteur with a mandate to prepare a “revised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.” The only unhappy delegate was Turkey’s UN representative who knew that his government’s intimidating tactics on Mr. Ruhashyankiko would not work on Mr. Whitaker.


In August 1985, Mr. Whitaker presented to the UN Sub-Commission the revised and updated report, qualifying the Armenian Genocide as an example of genocide in the 20th century. After lengthy debates, Turkey failed in pressuring the Sub-Commission to delete the reference to the Armenian Genocide. By a vote of 14 in favor, one against, and four abstentions, the Sub-Commission adopted the report, thus confirming that the Armenian Genocide met the UN criteria for genocide.


Since then, Turkish denialists have engaged in blatant lies, claiming that there was no such vote and no such UN report! They even alleged that Farhan Haq, spokesman for the UN Secretary General, had told Turkish groups back in 2000 that the UN had “never approved nor supported a report that describes the Armenian experience as ‘genocide.’” I contacted Mr. Haq who told me that he was indeed aware of the report adopted by the UN human rights body which referred to the Armenian Genocide. He had simply told the Turkish groups that the UN General Assembly had not adopted a report on the Armenian Genocide.


Unfortunately, there has been very little effort by Armenians to publicize this critical UN report which acknowledges the Armenian Genocide. More surprisingly, in his UN General Assembly address in 2000, Pres. Kocharian called upon the UN to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The President’s aides had not informed him about the UN Sub-Commission report of 1985!


Since our UN days, I had the distinct pleasure of being in the company of Mr. Whitaker on several occasions. In the late 1980’s, we were both invited to Argentina by the local Armenian National Committee to deliver a series of lectures on the UN and the Armenian Genocide. In 2009, Mr. Whitaker kindly attended my presentation at the British Parliament on the Armenian Genocide and made gracious remarks about our past collaboration at the UN.


The Armenian Republic and Armenian communities worldwide should organize a fitting tribute to Mr. Whitaker, as 2015 is not only the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, but also the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN genocide report.


There are three other members of the UN Sub-Commission who were extremely supportive during the adoption of the genocide report and who are still alive: Leandro Despouy of Argentina, Louis Joinet of France, and Mrs. Erica Daes of Greece. Despouy has already been decorated by the President of Armenia. Joinet and Daes deserve similar recognition by Armenia and the Diaspora!


Copyright Asbarez 2014

OSCE supports peace process for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

June 4, 2014 | Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs | Bern

Armenia: the President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, reaffirms support of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship to help find solution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict


In the Armenian capital Yerevan, the third and final stage of his trip to the South Caucasus, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan. The central issue on the agenda was the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. As the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Burkhalter expressed his support for a meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan which could form the beginning of a structured negotiation process for a peace agreement, and he called for the strict observance of the 1994 ceasefire. At the bilateral level, Mr Burkhalter signed a memorandum of understanding with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan on cooperation between the foreign ministries of their two countries.


Mr Burkhalter concluded his visit to the South Caucasus in the Armenian capital Yerevan with political discussions. At the forefront of his meetings with President Sargsyan and the foreign minister, Edward Nalbandyan, was the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The dispute had led to a war at the beginning of the 1990s which ended with a ceasefire agreement in 1994. Since then, the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France, has been seeking a peaceful solution. Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk (Poland) supports the three co-mediators in this process as the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.


As the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Burkhalter expressed his support while he was in Yerevan for a proposed further meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to form the beginning of a structured negotiation process for a peace agreement. He also called for the rigorous implementation of measures for the observance of the 1994 ceasefire. Despite the ceasefire, numerous violent incidents continue to occur along the demarcation line and the national borders. The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office made it clear that this situation is unacceptable and stressed that the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship was ready to support the Minsk Group and the parties to the conflict in their efforts to find a peaceful solution, if requested.


Switzerland is also ready to support this process after the end of its OSCE Chairmanship, if requested, within the framework of its peace policy.


Mr Burkhalter was pleased to note the good cooperation between the Armenian authorities and the OSCE office in Yerevan, thanks to which over the past year several rounds of talks were organised in connection with electoral reform, including representatives from the authorities, the political parties, civil society, the media and the international community. Mr Burkhalter also discussed the ongoing reforms to domestic politics during his meetings today with National Assembly speaker Galust Sahakyan and with opposition representatives in the Armenian parliament. Furthermore he invited Armenia to a regional civil society conference, to be organised by the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in September in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.


Bilateral agreement signed


Mr Burkhalter also discussed various bilateral matters with Mr Nalbandyan and signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the foreign ministries of Switzerland and Armenia.


Switzerland and Armenia enjoy good relations. Trade relations between Switzerland and Armenia in 2013 amounted to approximately CHF 40 million. Switzerland mainly exports pharmaceutical products, watches, jewellery and machinery to Armenia, and imports principally textiles and watch components. A mission of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will conduct upcoming talks in Yerevan.


Within the framework of the 2013-2016 regional cooperation strategy for the South Caucasus, Switzerland is supporting a number of projects in Armenia, including for the prevention of natural disasters, the protection of vulnerable persons and support for smallholder farmers. For the four-year period it has earmarked a budget of CHF 29 million.


Source: admin.ch


Perinçek : la Suisse recourt à Strasbourg

Le 12 mars 2014


Dogu Perinçek a été condamné en 2007 en Suisse pour discrimination raciale, au sens de l'art. 261bis al. 4 CP, après avoir qualifié en 2005 le génocide des Arméniens de "mensonge international".


Dans un jugement effarant, la Cour européenne des droits l'homme (CEDH) a récemment donné raison à Dogu Perinçek qui déclarait que sa "liberté d'expression" n'avait pas été respectée.


La Suisse a décidé de faire recours devant la Grande Chambre de la CEDH à Strasbourg. L'Office fédéral de la justice tient à défendre la norme pénale antiraciste votée par le peuple suisse en 2003.


Dogu Perinçek, président du Parti des travailleurs turcs, que l'on pourrait croire de gauche, est en fait un nationaliste turc d'extrême droite qui a été condamné en Turquie dans le cadre de l'affaire «Ergenekon», structure militaro-mafieuse, pour tentative de renversement du gouvernement islamo-conservateur.


Le premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan — en conflit ouvert avec la confrérie religieuse de Fethullah Gülen, son ancienne alliée — a récemment libéré Dogu Perinçek ainsi que des militaires de haut rang liés à «Ergenekon» dans l'espoir d'obtenir le soutien de l'armée, liée à  l'«État profond», le véritable pouvoir depuis toujours en Turquie.


Liens :

armenian.ch: tout sur le procès Perinçek

Le Figaro : En Turquie, les «Loups» sont de retour


Un suspect dans l'assassinat de Hrant Dink libéré

Le 12 mars 2014 | Le Figaro | Paris


En deux jours, 26 personnes, qui avaient écopé en 2013 de très lourdes peines pour tentative de renversement du gouvernement islamo-conservateur, ont été remis en liberté.



Le noyau dur d'Ergenekon, constitué de hauts gradés, d'Ibrahim Sahin, ancien chef des forces spéciales qui ont conduit la sale guerre contre les Kurdes dans les années 1990 à Kemal Kerinçsiz, avocat ultranationaliste et instigateur de la campagne anti-arménienne qui a culminé avec l'assassinat du journaliste Hrant Dink en 2007, a ainsi bénéficié de cette dernière mesure. Ils ont été précédés par Ilker Basbug, ancien chef d'état-major, libéré vendredi et qui avait été condamné à perpétuité, pour appartenance à cette structure militaro-mafieuse. Cinq suspects dans l'assassinat de trois chrétiens, égorgés il y a sept ans, un autre dans celui de Hrant Dink sont aussi dehors depuis la semaine dernière.


© Le Figaro 2014 | Lire l'article complet


In Major Policy Shift, Armenia Demands Lands from Turkey - by Harut Sassounian

July 31, 2013 | The California Courier | Harut Sassounian, Publisher


Ever since independence in 1991, Armenia’s leaders have been reluctant to make any concrete demands from Turkey beyond recognition of the Armenian Genocide.


Only in recent years, Armenian officials have begun to speak about “the elimination of the consequences of the genocide,” without specifying the ‘consequences’ and the means for their ‘elimination.’


Earlier this month, however, a major shift was announced in Armenia’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Turkey, when Aghvan Hovsepyan, the Prosecutor General of Armenia, called for the return of historic Armenian territories at an international conference of Armenian lawyers in Yerevan. This is the first time that a high-ranking Armenian government official has made such a public demand from Turkey.


In a lengthy and comprehensive speech, Hovsepyan stated that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by various countries is simply a moral and emotional issue. Calling for a switch to “the legal field,” the Prosecutor General indicated that “to eliminate the consequences of the Armenian Genocide” Turkey must “pay compensation to heirs of the Armenian Genocide, return to the Armenian Church the miraculously still standing Armenian churches and properties in Turkey, and give back the ‘lost territories’ to the Republic of Armenia.”


Prosecutor General Hovsepyan insisted that unless Armenians adopt this bold approach, they will not accomplish any concrete results in the next one hundred years, just as they did not in the last one hundred years. He proposed a thorough legal review of all international agreements regulating Armenia-Turkey relations, from the Berlin Treaty of 1878 to the signed but not ratified protocols of 2009. He also declared that the region of Nakhichevan is “an inseparable part of Armenia, albeit occupied by Azerbaijan.” Hovsepyan urged the assembled lawyers from around the world to prepare the legal case for territorial demands from Azerbaijan and Turkey and present it to the Armenian government for eventual submission to the International Court of Justice (World Court).


Statements made by a prosecutor general usually do not carry much weight in international affairs, if it were not for the fact that several other high-ranking officials, including Pres. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Constitutional Court Gagik Haroutyunyan, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan, Armenia’s Minister of Justice Hrair Tovmasyan, and Minister of Justice of Artsakh (Karabagh) Ararat Tanielyan, also made remarks on restitutive justice at the lawyers’ conference. It was clear that the Prosecutor General was the designated spokesman of the Armenian government to articulate its new tougher line toward Turkey in advance of the Genocide Centennial.


Pres. Sargsyan, using more circumspect language than the Prosecutor General, told the lawyers’ conclave: “The international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, and elimination of its consequences will always remain a salient issue. As long as the Armenian State is in existence, all efforts to deny and send into oblivion this historical reality will be doomed. This greatest crime against humanity must be recognized and condemned once and for all, and first of all, by Turkey itself.”


In keeping with the government’s new policy orientation, Constitutional Court President Gagik Haroutyunyan announced that a special committee will be formed to prepare the legal documentation necessary for the pursuit of Armenian Genocide claims.


At the conclusion of the conference, the participants issued a joint statement asserting that the priority for Armenian lawyers is not proving the self-evident facts of the Genocide, but preparing a comprehensive legal document “to remedy the consequences of the Armenian Genocide.”


This is a welcome development in terms of arriving at a consensus between the Armenian government and the Diaspora on the objectives to be pursued for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.


However, in order to move beyond mere emotionally inspiring statements, the Armenian leaders must take two immediate steps:


1) Withdraw the Armenian government’s signature from the counterproductive Armenia-Turkey Protocols. On the eve of the Genocide Centennial, it would be inconceivable to move forward with fruitless efforts to improve relations with Turkey, while preparing to file a lawsuit for restitution.


2) Form a team of international law experts to begin structuring the legal case against Turkey in the World Court and/or the European Court of Human Rights.


While skeptics may not take seriously the recent policy pronouncements of the Armenian authorities, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has no such doubts. Last week, Ankara denounced the Armenian territorial demands, announcing angrily that “nobody can dare to claim territory from Turkey!”


House Resolution Goes Beyond Genocide Recognition Seeking Truth and Justice - by Harut Sassounian

June 17, 2013 | The California Courier | Harut Sassounian, Publisher


In a welcome move, four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a resolution that advocates a new approach for the pursuit of Armenian rights in Congress, going beyond genocide recognition.


This new bipartisan initiative, introduced by Congressmen David Valadao (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Michael Grimm (R-NY), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), is appropriately titled: “Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Act.”


It is well-known that the U.S. government has recognized the Armenian Genocide on several occasions, starting in 1951 by the submission of an official document to the International Court of Justice (World Court), followed by Pres. Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Proclamation of April 22, 1981, and through two House resolutions in 1975 and 1984.


The proposed measure calls upon Pres. Obama “to work toward equitable, constructive, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgement of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity,” the Armenian National Committee of America reported.


It is high time that Armenian-Americans support congressional efforts that go beyond the mere repetition of the acknowledged facts of Armenian Genocide, and seek the more meaningful goal of justice, which entails the restitution and recovery of the substantial losses suffered as a consequence of the Genocide, including personal and community properties, and the occupied territories of Western Armenia. It is hardly conceivable that anyone would dare to oppose the universally-accepted concept of justice, not even Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, who heads the ruling ‘Justice and Development Party.’


It is understandable that for many years, it was necessary to seek genocide recognition as most of the world was unaware of the Armenian Genocide. However, as a result of the relentless efforts by the Armenian Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia, there is no longer a need to continue pursuing recognition -- having largely prevailed over persistent Turkish denialism. By declaring victory and moving forward to reclaim their just demands, Armenians would avoid falling in the Turkish trap of trying to reconfirm the facts of the Genocide ad nauseam! Meanwhile, the Turkish government would continue its shameful refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide or might engage in the deceptive game of issuing partial and meaningless apologies in order to mislead the international community on the eve of the Genocide’s Centennial.


The new House resolution also seeks to shift the U.S. government’s efforts away from the ill-fated Armenia-Turkey Protocols and refocus the Obama Administration’s attention on Armenia’s just demands from Turkey. The congressional resolution reminds Pres. Obama of his April 24, 2012 statement in which he advocated that “a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests. Moving forward with the future cannot be done without reckoning with the facts of the past.”


The resolution points out that the Republic of Turkey, rather than “reckoning with the facts of the past,” has “escalated its international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, maintained its blockade of Armenia, and increased its pressure on the small but growing Turkish civil society movement acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and seeking justice from this systematic campaign of destruction of millions of Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, Pontian, Syriac, and other Christians upon their biblical-era homelands.”


The Congressional resolution further declares that U.S. “national interests in the establishment of equitable, constructive, stable, and durable relations between Armenians and Turks cannot be meaningfully advanced by circumventing or otherwise seeking to avoid materially addressing the central political, legal, security, and moral issue between these two nations: Turkey’s denial of truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide.”


The newly-introduced resolution makes it clear that Armenians, rather than being satisfied by merely regurgitating the well-known facts of the Genocide, demand a just resolution through full and comprehensive restitution.

Taksim Square Belongs to Armenians

June  15, 2013 | Aztag Daily | Lebanon


While the newspapers are replete with stories about the rioting at Taksim Square in Istanbul, as Paul Harvey used to say "...here's the rest of the story".

Taksim Square Belongs to Armenians


According to Lebanese daily "Aztag", some Turkish protesters in Taksim Square demanded the dedication, in the square, of a monument to the memory of the victims of the Genocide of Armenians.


It is worth mentioning that the legal owner of the square and the surrounding area is the Armenian Church of Turkey. In 1930 the Armenian Cemetery, which was at Pangaltı district attached to the square, was destroyed by the order of the city. The marble tombstones and monuments were sold by the city and the land was used to build, in addition to the Inonu Gezi Park, hotels such as Hilton, Intercontinental, and Divan. Also, the TRT radio and TV building was built on the sized Armenian land.


Pangaltı district, part of the St. Hagop Armenian Cemetery, was the largest non-Muslim cemetery in Istanbul. The cemetery was built in 1560 after Sultan Suleiman I (the Magnificent) officially decreed the land to the Armenians. That year, when a plague hit Istanbul, the Armenians began burying their dead outside the city, across from the St. Hagop Sanatorium which later became St. Hagop Cemetery. In 1780 the cemetery was enlarged and in 1853 a wall was built around it.


According to some, in 1919 a monument was built there in memory of the victims of the Genocide of Armenians. In 1933, Istanbul launched a legal challenge to take the land from the Armenian Church. The Armenian Patriarch launched a counter challenged, but the court case dragged on for so long that at the end the Ministry of Interior decided to confiscate the cemetery which covered 850,000-sq. meters and hand it to the city. Only 6,000-sq. meters were left to the patriarchate. Furthermore, the ministry demanded the patriarchate pay 3,200 liras for cover court costs. After the confiscation, the city started to sell the land to investors.


The confiscations continued and between 1931 to '39, St. Hagop Church, which was at Gezi Park and Taksim Square, was also confiscated and destroyed. The destruction of the centuries-old church was the final nail which erased the presence of Armenians in that part of the city. The illegal confiscation and demolition was in line with the Turkish government policy of ethnic cleansing which started with the genocide of 1915 against the Armenians.


The irony is that the Turkish authorities used the cemetery and church stones to build the current park and square.


The history of the Taksim Square and Gezi Park symbolize the vicious, inhuman and barbarous policies of successive Turkish governments vis-à-vis minorities. The racist policy has persisted unmitigated for the last one hundred years.


Turkey’s Human Rights Hypocrisy

July 19, 2012 | The New York Times | Taner Akçam


A new political order is emerging in the Middle East, and Turkey aspires to be its leader by taking a stand against authoritarian regimes. Earlier this week, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, went so far as to denounce the Syrian government’s continuing massacres of civilians as "attempted genocide."


Turkey’s desire to champion human rights in the region is a welcome development, but Mr. Erdogan’s condemnation of Syria is remarkably hypocritical. As long as Turkey continues to deny crimes committed against non-Turks in the early 1900s, during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, its calls for freedom, justice and humanitarian values will ring false.


Turkey’s attempt to cultivate an image as the global protector of Muslim rights is compromised by a legacy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Christians and terror against Arabs and Kurds. Memories of these crimes are very much alive throughout former Ottoman territories. And Turkey cannot serve as a democratic model until it acknowledges that brutal violence, population transfers and genocide underlie the modern Turkish state.


Using documents from the Ottoman government archives in Istanbul, which were once classified as top secret, I have sought to pull back the veil on Turkey’s century of denial. These documents clearly demonstrate that Ottoman demographic policy from 1913 to 1918 was genocidal. Indeed, the phrase "crimes against humanity" was coined as a legal term and first used on May 24, 1915, in response to the genocide against Armenians and other Christian civilians.


Britain, France and Russia initially defined Ottoman atrocities as "crimes against Christianity" but later substituted "humanity" after considering the negative reaction that such a specific term could elicit from Muslims in their colonies.


Today, Mr. Erdogan is seeking to be a global spokesman for Muslim values. In June 2011, he told thousands gathered to celebrate the landslide victory of his Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P.: "Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul; Beirut won as much as Izmir; Damascus won as much as Ankara. Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza won as much as Diyarbakir."


Speaking in support of oppressed Muslims has earned him popularity. But if Mr. Erdogan aspires to defend freedom and democracy in the region, he must also address the legitimate fears of Christians in the Middle East. Just as the European powers opted for universalism in 1915 by denouncing "crimes against humanity," Mr. Erdogan must move beyond his narrow focus on "crimes against Muslims." All oppressed peoples deserve protection.


It isn’t a coincidence that many Christians and other minorities in Syria support Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party; they are willing to sacrifice freedom for security. While Turkish rhetoric appeals to the Sunni Muslim majority’s demand for freedom in Syria, it does not relieve Syrian Christians’ anxiety about their future. On the contrary, Syrian Christians listening to Mr. Erdogan and his denialist rhetoric are reminded of 1915, and that makes Turkey look very much like a security threat to them.


Confronting the past is closely linked to security, stability and democracy in the Middle East. Persistent denial of historical injustices not only impedes democratization but also hampers stable relations between different ethnic and religious groups.


This is particularly true in former Ottoman lands, where people view one another in the cloaks of their ancestors. In addition to the reverberations of the Armenian genocide, mass crimes against Kurds and Alevis in Turkey, violence against Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, and Christian-Muslim tensions in Syria and Lebanon continue to poison contemporary politics.


The popularity of the A.K.P. in Turkey and the Muslim world affords Mr. Erdogan an opportunity to usher in an era of tolerance. By acknowledging the genocide against Christians and crimes against other groups, the Turks can become leaders in the realm of human rights. But Turkey’s efforts to paint itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy will fail so long as Turkey refuses to atone for Ottoman sins.


Moral purists and hard-nosed realists mistakenly believe that pursuing justice and national interests are mutually exclusive. But acknowledging historical wrongs is not a zero-sum game.


In the Middle East, the past is the present. And truth and reconciliation are integral to establishing a new, stable regional order founded on respect for human rights and dignity. Turkey should lead by example.


Taner Akcam, a professor of history at Clark University, is the author of "The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire."


© The New York Times 2012

Official working visit to Bern by the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian

March 14, 2012 | admin.ch | Bern


Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) met his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in the framework of an official working visit at the maison de Watteville in Bern. They discussed several bilateral issues, including technical and humanitarian cooperation as well as regional questions.


Switzerland and Armenia will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in April 2012. The links between the two countries have intensified in recent years. The first meeting between Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and his Armenian counterpart  Edward Nalbandian comes almost a year after the visit to Armenia by former president of the Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey on 30 March 2011, a visit which marked the inauguration of the Swiss Embassy in Jerevan. On 3 May 2011 the Armenian President Serge Sarkissian in turn paid a visit to Switzerland.


During their discussions, Mr Burkhalter and Mr Nalbandian discussed a number of bilateral issues. They noted that there was still room for further progress in the area of economic cooperation, even though the legal framework is favourable. As for development cooperation, the active participation of the Armenian government in the development and the follow-up of projects started by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) was welcomed.


The Swiss and the Armenian foreign ministers also discussed regional issues, in particular Switzerland’s efforts to broker a peace in South Caucasus.


Finally, Mr Burkhalter informed Mr Nalbandian about the successive chairmanships-in-office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of Switzerland  (2014) and Serbia (2015). He pointed out that in Switzerland's view the conflict in Nagorny Karabak  could only be resolved by peaceful means. In this context, Switzerland was following with great interest the mediation efforts by the OSCE Minsk Group to bring about a resolution of this conflict.


Additional indications:

  Bilateral Relations Switzerland-Armenia

  Swiss activity in South Caucasus (SDC)


Génocide arménien, crime et négation du crime

Janvier 2012 | Le Monde Diplomatique | Atlas Histoire version livre | Vicken Chétérian


Souvent qualifié de « premier génocide du XXe siècle », le massacre des Arméniens par l’Empire ottoman en 1915-1918 constitue le premier exemple d’une tuerie de masse perpétrée par un Etat contre une partie de sa population. De nombreuses nations, à commencer par la Turquie, n’ont toujours pas pleinement reconnu ce génocide.


Au cours de la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle, deux évolutions majeures pèsent sur les relations entre le calife ottoman et la communauté arménienne. D’une part, les ambitions coloniales européennes se traduisent par une pression croissante sur les marges d’un empire en déclin. Sous prétexte de « protéger les minorités chrétiennes », les tsars russes repoussent leurs frontières au détriment des Ottomans. Leurs annexions en Crimée, dans le Caucase et dans les Balkans, jettent sur les routes des milliers de musulmans qui se réfugient au coeur du territoire ottoman. Cet afflux de population exacerbe les tensions entre majorité musulmane et minorités chrétiennes.


D’autre part, la présence dans les universités européennes d’étudiants ottomans séduits par les idées d’émancipation favorise la création de partis politiques arméniens progressistes, le Henchak (social-démocrate) et la Fédération révolutionnaire arménienne (FRA, nationaliste de gauche). A partir des années 1890, ces partis réclament des réformes politiques, en faveur notamment de la paysannerie arménienne, qui endure des impôts élevés et des massacres sporadiques.


Face à ces demandes, le sultan Abdülhamid II opte pour la répression. Entre 1894 et 1896, les revendications politiques des Arméniens déclenchent des persécutions qui font 200 000 morts. En 1908, le « sultan rouge » est renversé par le Comité pour l’union et le progrès (CUP), qui jouit du soutien des officiers de l’armée. Le CUP veut réformer l’empire, alors en voie de désintégration, soulevant l’enthousiasme de nombreux Ottomans, parmi lesquels des Arméniens.


La FRA collabore étroitement avec le nouveau pouvoir et joue un rôle central au Parlement. Cette alliance se désagrège toutefois en 1909, quand de nouvelles exactions provoquent une trentaine de morts parmi les Arméniens. Le CUP et la FRA rompent tout contact en 1913. Alors que le pouvoir se concentre entre les mains des « trois pachas » (Enver, Cemal et Talat), le CUP renonce à son programme de réformes. En quête d’une nouvelle légitimité, le régime développe une idéologie nationaliste fondée sur le rêve d’un grand Empire turc s’étendant au Caucase et à l’Asie centrale.

Massacre planifié


Le 28 octobre 1914, la Turquie se rallie aux puissances centrales : l’Allemagne, l’Autriche-Hongrie et l’Italie. Le ministre de la guerre, Enver Pacha (1881-1922), entend profiter du conflit pour chasser les Russes du Caucase du Sud. Il prend lui-même les commandes de la IIIe armée ottomane, et la défaite que lui infligent les troupes russes à la bataille de Sarikamis n’en est que plus cuisante. Repoussés vers les montagnes, la plupart des rescapés turcs périssent dans des tempêtes de neige.


Cette débâcle précipite les événements. Enver rend la population arménienne locale responsable de la déroute de son armée. Il désarme les soldats arméniens et les affecte à des « bataillons de travail » auxquels ils ne survivront pas. Le 24 avril 1915, la police turque arrête des centaines d’intellectuels arméniens à Istanbul, capitale de l’empire, et procède à leur déportation puis à leur assassinat. En mai, ordre est donné de transférer la population arménienne de l’Empire ottoman dans le désert syrien. Plus de la moitié – soit environ 1 million de personnes, selon les estimations les plus fiables – périt dans les massacres, meurt d’épuisement sur les routes ou succombe de faim ou de maladie dans les camps de réfugiés. L’Etat saisit les biens de centaines de milliers d’Arméniens. Les déportations, exécutions et mauvais traitements font aussi des milliers de victimes parmi les chrétiens d’Orient et les Grecs pontiques, confirmant l’existence d’un plan visant à décimer la population selon des critères ethniques.


Le crime de génocide s’achève par sa négation. Depuis neuf décennies, les autorités turques persistent dans leur politique de non-reconnaissance. La position d’Ankara se résume à cette triple affirmation : « Il n'y a pas eu de génocide ; le nombre des victimes s'établit à 300 000 morts ; la responsabilité des événements incombe aux Arméniens eux-mêmes qui ont trahi la Turquie. »


Dans les années 1970, ce négationnisme se heurtera à l’émergence d’un mouvement politique arménien recourant à la lutte armée pour se faire entendre de la « communauté internationale ». Depuis, l’Organisation des Nations unies et les Parlements de divers pays, tels que la France ou la Russie, ont adopté des résolutions visant à reconnaître le génocide arménien. En Turquie même, où les libertés démocratiques ont gagné du terrain dans les années 1990, la question arménienne fait l’objet de débats ouverts dans le monde intellectuel, qui a pris ses distances à l’égard des vérités officielles.


© 2012 Le Monde diplomatique


Les Protocoles entre l'Arménie et la Turquie: feuille de route pour la négation d'un génocide

April 22, 2011



Les Protocoles entre l'Arménie et la Turquie, scellés en 2009 sous l'égide de la Suisse, donnent à la Turquie la possibilité d'escamoter sa responsabilité concernant le génocide des Arméniens. Pendant le sommet officiel prévu le 3 mai 2011 à Berne entre la présidente de la Confédération Micheline Calmy-Rey et le président de la République d'Arménie Serj Sargssian, il est entre autres prévu de raviver la flamme de ces Protocoles. En aidant la Turquie à nier le génocide des Arméniens dans le cadre du processus de réconciliation arméno-turque, la Suisse a perdu de sa crédibilité en tant que médiatrice.


Il se pourrait bien que Berne ait lancé sa nouvelle offensive diplomatique autour de la commémoration du Mèdz Yéghern dans ce seul but : affaiblir la force symbolique de cette journée du souvenir. Pour rappeler le crime dont a été victime le peuple arménien dispersé aujourd'hui dans plus de 85 pays, l'Association Suisse-Arménie (ASA) sera présente dimanche 24 avril à la manifestation organisée à Genève devant l'ONU par l'Union Arménienne de Suisse. Selon l'ASA, la jeunesse arménienne a raison de vouloir se rapprocher de la jeunesse turque. C'est là un bon moyen de tourner la page la plus sombre de l'histoire des deux peuples. Mais encore faut-il que la jeunesse turque reconnaisse la vérité, ce qu'elle ne pourra pas faire tant que le Gouvernement d'Ankara continuera à propager des thèses négationnistes.


La négation du génocide des Arméniens porte atteinte à la dignité humaine et constitue en Suisse un acte raciste. Depuis dix ans, le Département fédéral des affaires étrangères (DFAE) est impliqué, avec le Département d'État américain, dans un processus de réconciliation entre les peuples arménien et turc. À la veille du 96e anniversaire du Mèdz Yéghern, l'ASA fait part de sa consternation, parce que le DFAE a promu ce processus favorisant une banalisation du génocide. À l'époque de celui-ci, l'Appenzellois Jakob Künzler sauvait des milliers d'orphelins arméniens ; aujourd'hui la Suisse fait des courbettes intéressées à la Turquie en lui offrant sur un plateau d'argent le moyen de perpétuer une négation.


En effet, la Suisse a joué un rôle important dans la signature en 2009, à Zurich, des Protocoles entre la République d'Arménie et la République de Turquie, des textes dont le but est, selon le Ministre des Affaires étrangères turc M. Ahmet Davoutoglou lui-même, de remettre en question la véracité du génocide, de ralentir le mouvement de reconnaissance de ce crime à l'échelle internationale, de rendre caduc l'arbitrage des frontières entre la Turquie et l'Arménie rendu par le président américain Woodrow Wilson en novembre 1920 et de favoriser une solution du conflit du Haut-Karabagh à l'avantage de l'Azerbaïdjan.


Le Conseil national en 2003 et le Tribunal fédéral à deux reprises, en 2007 et 2010, ont clairement rappelé que le génocide des Arméniens est un fait avéré, reconnu par la communauté internationale. En affirmant que la qualification du premier grand crime contre l'humanité du 20e siècle revient aux historiens, le Conseil fédéral participe à une opération qui permet d'escamoter la responsabilité de la Turquie, État qui non seulement continue à nier ce génocide mais en honore les bourreaux. Le DFAE perd ainsi de sa crédibilité en tant que médiateur dans le processus de réconciliation en cours, dont le seul but est de permettre à la Turquie de résoudre comme par enchantement tous les problèmes liés à son passé. Car ces Protocoles ne suffiront pas pour que la Turquie surmonte sa contradiction native, qui est de fonder son identité nationale, politique et économique sur un génocide.






-> Press release [PDF en français] [PDF auf Deutsch] [PDF in italiano]


Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Armenia


The Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Armenia has been officially opened by the President of the Confederation on March 31, 2011, in presence of the President of the Republic of Armenia and of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.





Embassy of Switzerland
Melik-Adamyan Street 2/1
0010 Yerevan

Tel.: +374 10 52 98 60
Fax: +374 10 52 98 61




Consular district

The Swiss Embassy in Yerevan is the competent representation for diplomatic relations with Armenia. However, for all consular affairs please contact the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi/Georgia.


Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Georgia


The following consular services are provided by the Swiss embassy in Tiflis:

  • Registration/de-registration with the Swiss representation
  • Applications for identity cards and passports
  • Matters of civil status (birth, marriage, divorce, etc.)
  • Notifications of change of address
  • Consular protection
  • Naturalisations
  • Visa information
  • Care, assistance, etc.


In emergencies Swiss citizens can contact the Swiss Embassy in Tiflis (Tel. +995 32 75 30 01).

Federal President Micheline Calmy-Rey in Armenia

March 29. 2011 | Federal Department of Foreign Affairs | Bern, Switzerland

Media Release


Federal President Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will be in Armenia for an official visit from 31 March to 1 April 2011. Her program will include not just official talks but also the ceremonial opening of the Swiss embassy in the capital of Yerevan.


At the invitation of Armenia, Federal President Micheline Calmy-Rey will arrive in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on the evening of 30 March 2011 for the start of her official visit. During her visit she will, amongst other things, hold talks with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and other high-ranking Armenian officials. These will include the Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan and Patriarch Karekin II, Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.


In Yerevan the Federal President will open the newly established Swiss embassy. Until now Switzerland has maintained a diplomatic presence in Armenia through the Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Yerevan.


A visit to the second largest city of Gyumri in the north-west of the country is also planned. This area was hit particularly hard by an earthquake in 1988. The Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) runs an education project there focused on the issue of catastrophe prevention.



Lars Knuchel, Head of Information FDFA, +41 (0)79 277 55 60


TARGET: Armenian Member of Parliament Ara Nranyan

December 9, 2010 | Forwarded by the Gibrahayer Newsletter


TARGET: Armenian Member of Parliament Ara Nranyan


ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.) - Turkish security forces provided details of plots by a Turkish terrorist group planning to assassinate ARF members visiting Turkey and attack Kurdish targets, reported the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman.


The Turkish Revenge Brigades planned attacks on ARF Dashnaktsoutiun members. According to the police report, one such plot dated back to March 22, 2009, when members of the Turkish Revenge Brigades (Turk Intikam Birligi Teskilatı) Mutlu Erdogan and Onur [full name not provided] discussed over the phone the entry of an ARF member into Turkey and his acquisition of a cell phone number. Responding to the information provided by Onur, Erdogan advised him to lay low for a few months, because he suspects that security forces are following them. "Let a few months pass and we will slowly begin conducting operations; we won’t stand idly by," he adds.


The Armenian Weekly was unable to independently confirm the identity of the Dashnak member mentioned in the March 22 conversation. In the phone conversation log, he is referred to as the head of the Dashnak Party’s political committee (Dashnak Partisi'nin Siyasi Komite Bashkanı). No one in the organisation’s leadership holds such a title, and no member of the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun's top leadership has entered Turkey in recent years. It is likely that the target in March 2009 was the member of the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun's parliamentary bloc in the Armenian National Assembly Ara Nranyan, who was in Turkey for a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).


The ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Bureau Press Office expressed concern over the fact that information about Nraniyan’s entry to Turkey was available to a terrorist organization, noting that such information could have only been provided by the Turkish state.


The only other Dashnak "heads" visiting Turkey are Editors / Directors of ARF Dashnaktsoutiun's media, as well as reporters of the Yerevan-based Yerkir Media, who visit Turkey several times a year to conduct interviews and prepare special reports and documentaries.


The police report notes the connection between Ergenekon and the Brigades, and also cites planned attacks, also against Kurdish and Christian targets.




YEREVAN (Armenian Weekly) - ARF Dashnaktsoutiun political affairs Director Giro Manoyan expressed concern over the possibility that a source within the Turkish government leaked to a terrorist group, information on the visit of a Dashnak member to Turkey.


"In a country where some like Hrant Dink who was considered a "dove" by most was gunned down in broad daylight, we wouldn’t be surprised that a member of ARF Dashnaktsoutiun - generally viewed in Turkey as the "hawks," would be targeted," Manoyan noted.


"It has already been reported that Ara Nranyan, a member of the ARF faction in Armenia’s National Assembly, visited Turkey a couple of weeks before the reported conversation, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Nranyan’s visit was not secret, but it was not a high profile visit either. So, it is possible that the information the alleged plotters had was from a source within the Turkish government," Manoyan said in an interview with the Armenian Weekly.


"We are taking the issue seriously and looking into it, trying to find out as much information as possible," he added.


December 1st, 2010 | Asbarez |


The public disclosure on Sunday by WikiLeaks of tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables included many of special interest to Armenian Americans, most notably a “smoking gun” revelation that Turkey has aggressively used the Turkey-Armenia protocols, particularly the prospect of its ratification, to pressure American leaders against U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in favor of a pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).


In a Feb. 25, 2010 confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffery noted that Turkey had made it clear that its ratification of the Turkey-Armenia protocols was predicated on Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s approval.  Specifically, in describing a Feb. 18, 2010 meeting between U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Turkish Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Sinirlioglu, Jeffery writes: "Sinirlioglu appealed for ‘simultaneity’ between Armenian Protocols ratification and the Minsk Process. He emphasised ‘a strong reaction’ against the protocols among ruling party MPs had to be overcome before the government would hazard a ratification effort. He warned that Congressional passage of an Armenian genocide resolution would ‘complicate’ his government’s domestic political calculations regarding ratification. He said if something acceptable to Azerbaijani President Aliyev can be found, then ‘we can move’ the protocols forward."


Wikileaks cables of interest:


Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan here


Reconstruction of Noyemberyan Hospital Complete

October 28, 2010 | Armenia Fund (Hayastan All-Armenian Fund) | Yerevan, Armenia


Armenia Fund is proud to announce that the reconstruction of the Noyemberyan Regional Hospital is complete. The only regional healthcare institution in Armenia’s Tavush region has been modernized through the co-sponsorship of Armenia Fund’s German, Swiss, Lebanese, and Australian affiliates. Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon also participated in the project with a sizable donation. The total cost of construction was $880,000 USD.


"I am extremely impressed by the new look and feel of the facility. We, the Diaspora, specifically the Armenian communities of Germany, Switzerland, Lebanon, and Australia implemented this beautiful project through our close collaboration. I hope this hospital will long serve our compatriots and continue to facilitate numerous births" – said Avedis Kizirian, Chairman of the Swiss Affiliate of Armenia Fund - Comite Suisse Du Fonds Armenie.


The three storied structure, of the Hospital, was built in 1961 and has not undergone any major renovation since then. As always in such reconstruction projects, Armenia Fund stripped the building down to structural weight-bearing walls and pretty much built the Hospital anew from inside. The facility was redesigned to correspond to current medical codes. The roof as well as all floors, windows and doors were replaced. The Hospital was also fitted with a new heating system and a hospital-grade elevator. All patient rooms now feature bathrooms and showers with hot and cold water made possible with the addition of a new autonomous boiler house.


"I have the highest regard for the work of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. A standard of excellence and great attention to detail are evident throughout the renovations at the Noyemberyan Hospital. This facility is the only healthcare center of its kind in Tavush, and now, with its reconstruction concluded, is poised to provide an unprecedented level of service," – said Armenia’s Health Minister Harutyun Kushkyan, who was present at the opening ceremony along with the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Armen Gevorgyan, Governor of Tavush Region Armen Ghularyan and Executive Director of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Ara Vardanyan.


The reconstructed Hospital now features 30 patient rooms with 60 hospital beds across the General Medicine, Physiotherapy, Surgery, Urgent Care, Intensive Care, OB/GYN, Labor and Delivery, Infectious Disease and Dental departments. The hospital will serve more than 30,000 residents of Noyemberyan city and surrounding villages.


Medical equipment and furniture was donated by the Union of Armenian Physicians and Healthcare Professionals of Germany while additional furniture and equipment will be provided by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia.


Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Since 1991, Armenia Fund has rendered more than $200 million in development aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. Tax ID# 95-4485698



Le 5 novembre 2010 | Armenews | Paris | Jean Eckian

Sérieux coup de froid entre Moscou et Erevan


Selon le journal Chorrod Inknishkhanoutioun repris par plusieurs titres arméniens, le premier ministre russe Vladimir Poutine aurait envoyé quelques salves de semonces à l’adresse du Président Serge Sarkissian.


Selon la publication, Poutine exigerait de Sarkissian qui résolve trois problèmes de taille.

1 - Rompre tout lien avec des bandes de criminels sévissant sur le territoire russe et qui nuisent à la réputation de la Russie.

2 - Engager des poursuites contre des oligarques et fonctionnaires impliqués dans la corruption et autres crimes.

3 - La Russie a déterminé et présenté la position et les attentes de la partie arménienne dans le règlement du conflit du Karabakh et publié des rapports sur les accords conclus lors des pourparlers avec la Turquie, les États-Unis et l’Azerbaïdjan, qui ont été menées en secret par la Russie.


En cas de défaillance du premier et deuxième alinéas, Smbat Karakhanyan, chef du Club National Arménien « Unity », basé à Moscou, présentera des preuves de liens avec les autorités arméniennes à des bandes criminelles, se livrant au trafic de drogue, de traite, vente illicite d’armes et blanchiment d’argent.


En cas d’échec du troisième alinéa, Vladimir Poutine a menacé de publier les négociations secrètes, dont il devient clair que l’Arménie a effectivement consenti au retour des réfugiés azerbaïdjanais des territoires libérés... et autres détails. Par ailleurs, le Premier ministre a également ajouté que tout cela ne sera que le début des sanctions - écrit Chorrord Inknishkhanoutioun.

"Le pouvoir dans le pays est composé d’oligarques, criminels et des étrangers protégés. Bien sûr, ces groupes servent les intérêts de leurs patrons et ils ne se soucient pas des problèmes de la majorité de la population. Ils sont engagés dans la trahison des intérêts nationaux, la fraude économique et financière, et jouent avec le taux du DRAM et tromperie sur la qualité du gaz fourni à domicile. Imaginez que le gouvernement possède environ 85% de tous les actifs des entreprises du pays, y compris le trafic illicite, et les contrôles de près de 90 pour cent des flux financiers », dit Karakhanyan.


J’ai posé cette question récurrente à un éditorialiste arménien d’Arménie très connu, dont je tairais le nom : "Ici et en diaspora, nous apprenons chaque jour les problèmes de corruption et de criminalité touchant le pays. Croyez-vous que des mesures sont sérieusement envisagées pour faire cesser ces dérives inacceptables ?


- Tout va bien. La corruption existe dans beaucoup de pays. En Arménie, c’est plus ou moins que dans d’autres États.


Rappelons que l’enquête de Transparency International 2010 a attribué à l’Arménie un score de 2,6 sur une échelle de 10 points, zéro indiquant un degré extrêmement élevé de corruption. Le pays avait obtenu 2,7 points en 2009.


Lire l'article original sur Armenews


"L'office" du tourisme turc

Le 7 octobre 2010 |  Le Mondehttp://abonnes.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2010/10/07/l-office-du-tourisme-turc_1421973_3232.html | Paris | Ara Toranian


Pour une fois, il n'y a pas eu débat, ni même l'ombre d'une polémique. A quelques exceptions individuelles près, l'ensemble des Arméniens a choisi de boycotter la messe autorisée par le pouvoir turc sur l'île d'Aghtamar du Lac de Van, berceau de l'Arménie ancestrale, dans l'un des plus purs joyaux de l'architecture arménienne. Il faut dire que les ficelles de cette opération de propagande étaient cette fois-ci grosses comme une cathédrale. Il s'agissait pour le pouvoir turc d'offrir au monde l'image d'une tolérance retrouvée à l'égard des Arméniens, dans le but évident de conforter son dossier d'adhésion à l'Union européenne. Celui-ci pâtit en effet dans son avancée de la situation des droits de l'homme et des minorités dans le pays. On n'en refera pas ici la liste. Or, bien que les autorités islamiques turques tentent depuis quelques années de diversifier leurs appétits, en lorgnant du côté de l'Asie ou du Moyen-Orient où l'herbe leur semble plus "verte", elles n'ont pas pour autant abandonné leurs visées sur l'Europe. Et dans cette perspective, Bruxelles vaut bien une messe.


Tout ceci serait plutôt risible, si cette exploitation de la détresse des croyants et de la nostalgie des Arméniens ne révélait pas, au-delà du "plan com", l'incroyable cynisme du pouvoir turc. Voilà en effet un Etat porteur d'un des plus sombres passifs qui soit à l'égard des Arméniens (plus de 1,5 million de victimes et 2 000 églises détruites), et qui s'imagine pouvoir se refaire une réputation de tolérance avec des artifices aussi grossiers. L'Etat turc croit aux miracles. Car cette initiative, au lieu de souligner la mansuétude des autorités en place, ne fait au contraire qu'illustrer leur arrogance. Comment en effet appeler autrement cette attitude qui consiste à n'octroyer qu'une fois l'an aux Arméniens l'autorisation de prier dans l'un de leurs sanctuaires les plus sacrés, situé de surcroît au cœur de leur capitale historique ? Il est vrai qu'après un siècle d'interdit, accorder davantage pourrait donner le vertige. Rien ne presse, on avait compris.


Cette mentalité, qui s'inscrit naturellement dans l'histoire de ce pays marqué par l'élimination de la présence chrétienne et le génocide de 1915, qui n'en finit pas de défrayer l'actualité, se double de surcroît d'une rare désinvolture. Qu'on en juge : cet état qui se targue d'être aujourd'hui la seizième puissance économique mondiale ne s'est même pas donné les moyens d'installer à temps pour l'événement une croix sur le fait de cette église. C'est donc bel et bien dans un musée que les Arméniens ont été invités à se rendre. Un symbole fort qui n'est pas pour surprendre de la part d'un appareil d'Etat qui n'a eu de cesse de vouloir réduire ce peuple en vestige du passé.


Hostie sur le gâteau, ce show médiatique tombe un an après la signature des protocoles arméno-turcs, qui s'est soldée par la déconfiture que l'on sait, du fait de la pantalonnade d'Ankara. Cette date a-t-elle été choisie pour rappeler au monde cette palinodie, qui a vu le pouvoir turc mettre a posteriori des conditions à l'application d'un document au bas duquel il avait quelques jours auparavant apposer sa signature ? Quoi qu'il en soit, la tentative d'humiliation de Van a fini par se retourner contre les intentions de son auteur. Les cameramans ne se sont pas tous contentés, tant s'en faut, de la visite guidée pour cet "office" du tourisme turc. Et pratiquement tous les médias ont posé la question de savoir comment et dans quelles conditions avaient disparu les gens qui avaient été capables de construire en ces lieux désertés un tel chef-d'œuvre.


L'avenir de la turquie passe par l'Arménie


On tirera comme enseignement de cet événement, que quoi qu'elles fassent désormais sur la question arménienne, les autorités turques sont attendues au tournant. Il y aura toujours, en toute circonstance, un parlement, un homme politique, un journaliste, un descendant des rescapés pour rappeler à leur bon souvenir ce crime fondateur, "ce génocide exemplaire et presque séminal", pour reprendre l'expression de Bernard-Henri Lévy. Et le pouvoir turc serait inspiré de tirer les conséquences de cet état de fait, en écoutant davantage certains de ces intellectuels qui plaident pour une autre façon d'écrire l'avenir avec les Arméniens. Plus humaine.


La Turquie n'est plus aujourd'hui un pays sous-développé qui n'aurait pas les moyens économiques de penser aux droits de l'homme. Si les conditions matérielles d'existence jouent un rôle dans la conscience, cet Etat ne dispose plus de l'excuse de la pauvreté pour justifier son obscurantisme. L'opulence retrouvée devrait au contraire lui donner les moyens d'accéder à un niveau général de développement qui ne soit pas purement profane. A quoi bon, sinon, convoquer la religion en politique, comme le fait l'AKP ? Si en revanche ce mariage entre le spirituel et le temporel ne sert qu'à humilier les autres religions, comme Ankara vient d'en faire une nouvelle démonstration, il n'est décidément pas sûr que cette union-là milite en faveur du dossier turc auprès des édiles européens. Lesquelles pourraient au contraire être de plus en plus fondées à penser qu'en ce qui concerne l'Europe du moins, l'avenir de la Turquie passe par l'Arménie.


Ara Toranian, directeur de Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine


© Le Monde 2010 Lire l'article original complet

La Turquie se détourne-t-elle de l'Occident ?

Le 17 juin 2010 | Le Monde | Istambul | Sophie Shihab


S'il est une question qui a le don, ces jours-ci, d'irriter les Turcs, c'est bien celle qui est à nouveau posée à l'étranger à la suite des crises, touchant à Israël et à l'Iran, qui viennent d'opposer Ankara à ses alliés traditionnels : « Le pilier turc de l'OTAN lâche-t-il Washington et Bruxelles pour Damas et Téhéran ? Verse-t-il dans l'islamisme ? »


Les dirigeants turcs, issus d'un parti islamiste, s'en indignent. Convertis aux « valeurs universelles » et forts de leurs succès électoraux depuis 2002, ils réfutent tout changement de cap en politique étrangère, rappelant qu'ils ont su, contrairement à leurs prédécesseurs kémalistes, accélérer les réformes en vue d'une adhésion à l'Union européenne (UE). Ils réaffirment aujourd'hui - à leurs interlocuteurs européens du moins -, que cette adhésion, un processus pourtant proche du coma, « reste leur priorité ».


Le soutien du gouvernement turc à la flottille pour Gaza.


Expliquant une telle constance, étonnante au vu des refus franco-allemands, des crises en Europe et du poids croissant de l'Asie, le chroniqueur vedette turc Mehmet Ali Birand assure que ces dirigeants « savent parfaitement qu'il ne sert à rien de se détourner de l'Ouest vers l'Est, car les Arabes et autres musulmans ne seraient plus attirés par une Turquie non candidate à l'Union européenne, qui crierait, hurlerait, aurait une économie faible et serait contrôlée par un islam radical ».


Pour autant, le premier ministre, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reste adepte des discours forts, et ose dénoncer ses détracteurs comme « agents d'une propagande mal intentionnée » venant de Tel-Aviv. Car Israël, après avoir été largement condamné pour son raid meurtrier, le 31 mai, contre le Mavi-Marmara, le navire turc en route pour Gaza, a bénéficié d'une contre-attaque médiatique, accusant le régime d'Ankara de s'être « allié aux terroristes du Hamas ».


Les craintes des Occidentaux


Le soutien du gouvernement turc à l'IHH, l'ONG islamiste coorganisatrice de la flottille pour Gaza, fait peu de doutes - en tout cas pas chez d'anciens militants tchétchènes qui la disent sous la coupe des services turcs. Mais M. Erdogan ne cache pas qu'il espère attirer le Hamas dans le jeu politique, rappelant que Yasser Arafat fut aussi qualifié de terroriste avant de recevoir le prix Nobel de la paix...


Dix jours après l'affaire de l'assaut de l'armée israélienne contre la flottille, le « non » de la Turquie à de nouvelles sanctions de l'Organisation des Nations unies (ONU) contre l'Iran, a renforcé les craintes des Occidentaux d'avoir perdu un allié précieux - en Irak, Afghanistan et ailleurs. M. Erdogan, lui, affirme que seuls s'inquiètent ceux qui sont « incapables de comprendre le nouveau rôle de la Turquie, et sa politique étrangère multidirectionnelle ».


Une diplomatie décomplexée


Car s'il n'y a pas changement d'axe - « il faudrait d'abord que cet axe existe », disent ceux qui connaissent les problèmes de l'UE et de l'Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord (OTAN) -, il y a une nouvelle diplomatie turque : décomplexée, néo-non-alignée, voire « gaullienne ». Elle est le fruit de la fin du rideau de fer, qui isolait aussi la Turquie de ses voisins, comme de la démocratisation et de l'économie de marché qui gagnent ce pays, aux dépens de la tutelle de l'armée.


En 2003 déjà, le Parlement turc avait dit non au passage des troupes américaines vers l'Irak, entraînant une longue crise avec les Etats-Unis, alors que l'AKP, le parti qui venait d'arriver au pouvoir, n'y était pour rien. Il a su la surmonter, et tente de faire pareil auprès de Washington avec la crise actuelle.


Mais sans renier ses choix, désormais définis par l'hyperactif ministre des affaires étrangères, Ahmet Davutoglu : d'abord, développer une zone de « stabilité et de coopération avec tous les voisins », donc Syrie et Iran compris. M. Davutoglu ose une diplomatie « Sud-Sud » sur le dossier brûlant de l'Iran. Mais il assure l'avoir fait avec les encouragements de Washington. Rabroué, traité de naïf, il persiste à coopérer avec l'Occident, contrairement aux pratiques passées des non-alignés.


Les intérêts vitaux d'Ankara


Le président, Abdullah Gül, a d'ailleurs reconnu le bien-fondé des réserves occidentales sur l'accord irano-turco-brésilien, en déclarant au Monde qu'il « n'est pas la solution du problème, mais un pas pour établir la confiance » et maintenir la voie des négociations. Non pas par sympathie pour l'Iran, « rival historique des Turcs », rappelle l'expert Ali Kazancigil, mais parce qu'il en va de ses intérêts vitaux : la Turquie serait en première ligne en cas de guerre contre l'Iran, et coupée de son second fournisseur de gaz, après la Russie.


Le rapprochement d'Ankara avec cet autre ennemi historique qu'est Moscou est également dicté par son hyperdépendance envers le gaz russe. « On ne peut pas accuser l'AKP d'avoir cédé, dans ce cas, à ses penchants musulmans... », remarque le politologue Soli Ozel, de l'université Bilgi. Pour lui, « même si on peut discerner un fond d'idéologie dans la politique actuelle de la Turquie quand il s'agit d'Israël, son implication croissante dans les affaires régionales est avant tout dictée par ses intérêts, et doit être considérée comme telle ».


En témoigne le nombre d'hommes d'affaires embarqués dans les voyages officiels. M. Davutoglu a visité une centaine de pays en un an, jusqu'en Asie, Afrique et Amérique du Sud - zones nouvelles pour les Turcs, où seuls les ont précédés les enseignants du mouvement de Fethullah Gülen, actif en Turquie comme à l'étranger.


Tiraillements au sein du gouvernement


Ce musulman modéré, ami des Etats-Unis où il réside, a surpris les Turcs en critiquant l'action de l'IHH. Ces réserves, venant d'un homme influent depuis son exil, ont contribué à apaiser la rue, en mettant aussi au jour les tiraillements au sein du gouvernement. Cela, alors qu'en Turquie aussi on commençait à s'inquiéter ouvertement des risques de dérapages dus à la rhétorique de M. Erdogan, et à dire que la question kurde était sans doute plus urgente pour lui que Gaza.


Alors, « où va la Turquie ? » Tout dépend des élections à venir, en 2011 - si elles ne sont pas avancées à cet automne. Le premier ministre, pour la première fois menacé, pourrait être tenté par la surenchère. Mais un éventuel nouveau gouvernement serait certainement plus nationaliste encore, à défaut d'être islamique. Ce qui, de l'avis des meilleurs observateurs, représente un plus grand danger.


« Il est donc plus que temps de cesser de se demander où va la Turquie, pour s'engager avec elle, car le temps où l'on pouvait ignorer les acteurs émergents est fini », prévient un diplomate européen.


Copyright Le monde 2010 | Lire l'article original


Lire aussi:

- Israël et la Turquie, la fin d'une époque 

- Glaciation des relations turco-israéliennes




Mustafa Kemal devient président de la République. Il crée le Parti républicain du peuple (CHP), parti nationaliste et laïque.

La Turquie reconnaît l'Etat d'Israël.

La Turquie entre dans l'Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord (OTAN).

Coup d'Etat militaire.

Nouveau coup d'Etat militaire. La répression frappe l'extrême gauche et les Kurdes, mais épargne les ultranationalistes.

Poussée des islamistes du Parti de la prospérité (Refah).

Entrée en vigueur de l'union douanière entre l'Union européenne (UE) et la Turquie.
La Turquie et Israël signent trois accords de coopération militaire. En mars, ils signent un accord de libre-échange.

Le sommet européen d'Helsinki reconnaît à la Turquie le statut de candidat à l'UE.

Le parti islamiste modéré AKP remporte les élections législatives.

A Davos, Recep Tayyip Erdogan fustige l'opération militaire israélienne à Gaza de décembre 2008-janvier 2009.

31 mai 2010
Assaut des troupes israéliennes contre le Mavi-Marmara.


Négationnisme: Zürich condamne

9. Februar 2010 | Tages Anzeiger | Zürich

Geldstrafen für türkische Genozid-Leugner


Das Zürcher Obergericht hat das erstinstanzliche Urteil gegen drei Anhänger des Politikers Dogu Perinçek bestätigt, die den Völkermord an den Armeniern im Ersten Weltkrieg verneinen.

Weiter lesen...



February 10, 2010 | Asberez | Yerevan/Ankara

Reaction from Ankara


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday slammed efforts by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, who in a letter addressed to his Turkish counterpart, urged Turkey to honor its commitment to the protocols.

Read more... 



Le 9 février 2010 | ATS | Zürich

Trois nationalistes turcs négationnistes condamnés en 2e instance


Trois nationalistes turcs ont été condamnés à Zurich à des peines pécunières pour discrimination raciale. Ils avaient qualifié le génocide arménien de "mensonge international". La Cour suprême du canton a confimé en appel le verdict prononcé en 2008 par le Tribunal de district de Winterthour.


Ali Mercan, 58 ans, représentant en Europe du Parti des travailleurs turcs, écope d'une peine pécunière de 150 jours-amende à 30 francs, soit 4500 francs. Il avait nié le génocide lors d'une manifestation publique en juin 2007 à Winterthour.


Les deux Turcs organisateurs de la manifestation sont condamnés pour complicité de discrimination raciale. Leur peine pécunière s'élève pour chacun à 120 jours-amende à 30 francs, soit 3600 francs. Pendant le procès de première instance, les trois prévenus avaient déclaré qu'ils étaient prêts "à tout moment" à organiser une nouvelle manifestation et à répéter leurs propos.


Les trois condamnés sont des compagnons politiques de Dogu Perincek, sanctionné en 2007 par le Tribunal fédéral pour la même raison. Président du Parti des travailleurs, ce dernier était également invité à la réunion de Winterthour mais il n'avait pas obtenu de visa pour s'y rendre.



Le 9 février 2010 | Armenews | Paris | JE

Condamnés pour négationnisme


La Cour d’Appel de Zurich a confirmé le jugement en première instance de trois partisans du politicien turc Dogu Perinçek pour négation du Génocide des Arméniens pendant la première guerre mondiale.


La Haute Cour a donc prononcé, mardi 9 février, des verdicts de culpabilité à l’encontre de trois citoyens d’origine turque, militants du Comité Talaat Pacha, pour violation de la norme antiracisme (art. 261bis CPS).


Les accusés, Ali Mercan, 59 ans, un épicier de 43 ans et son comparse de 53 ans , se sont vus infliger une amende allant de 120 à 150 jours au taux de 30 francs suisse par jour, dont la moitié avec sursis, assortie d’une période probatoire de trois ans.


Fin juin 2007, les accusés avaient été arrêtés lors d’une réunion publique organisée dans un hôtel de Winterthur. A cette occasion, Ali Mercan avait déclaré que le génocide arménien était "un mensonge historique international".


Ce sont ses complices qui avaient organisé la réunion. Pendant le procès de première instance, les trois prévenus avaient déclaré qu’ils étaient prêts "à tout moment" à organiser une nouvelle manifestation et à répéter leurs propos.


En octobre 2008, le chef du Parti des travailleurs, Dogu Perinçek, a été condamné par la Cour fédérale pour des déclarations similaires.


Sarkis Shahinian, Président de l’Association Suisse-Arménie (ASA), s’est félicité de la décision de la justice suisse, notant qu’"elle casse la ligne du négationnisme d’Etat turc, qui s’est d’abord servi de personnes comme Dogu Perincek pour propager cette idéologie d’Etat hors de la Turquie, et qui finalement se revèle être un boomerang formidable contre cette même politique."


"Celle-ci intervient seulement à quelques jours de distance de la visite du Sous-secrétaire d’Etat turc, Féridun Sinirlioglu, qui était venu chercher l’appui de la Suisse, dans le but d’exercer une tentative de pression sur Erevan, en raison de la décision de la Cour constitutionnelle arménienne, confirmant l’intention de l’Arménie de continuer à poursuivre la reconnaissance internationale du génocide arménien."

"Un grand jour pour la justice !"

Saison de la Turquie en France : Apartheid historiographique

Le 9 février 2010 | Collectif VAN | Paris


Le chercheur Nil Agopoff continue à interpeller les pouvoirs publics sur la Saison de la Turquie en France : "au niveau de la réflexion citoyenne, laisser importer légalement un négationnisme officiel d'un génocide impuni, minimiser la teneur d'un tel état de fait, banaliser des déshumanisations, ne peut qu'encourager sociologiquement dans notre pays, discriminations ou délinquances - consciemment ou inconsciemment." Voici sa lettre ouverte à Mme Huguette Meunier-Chuvin, Chargée de mission auprès du Commissariat général de la Saison de la Turquie en France. Notons qu'au-delà des thématiques soulevées par Nil Agopoff, cette Saison turque fait l'impasse sur toute mention du terme "arménien", y compris lorsqu'elle met à l'honneur des artistes arméniens. Le dossier de presse de Cultures France est assez révélateur à cet égard : il ne fait jamais mention de la présence arménienne millénaire sur les territoires de l'actuelle Turquie et de son apport indéniable au patrimoine mis à l'honneur durant cette Saison. La présence séculaire grecque a, elle, le droit à 3 petites mentions, le terme de Byzance semble par contre inconnu, et apparaît sous la seule occurrence de "période byzantine".


Lire l'article original complet


Hem suçlu, hem güçlü...

23 janvier 2010 | Institut Tchobanian | Varoujan Sirapian


«Hem suçlu, hem güçlü...»


C'est une expression turque qu'on peut traduire comme «Et coupable et insolent...». Cela convient parfaitement à l'attitude et aux déclarations des dirigeants turcs à propos des Protocoles signés le 10 octobre 2009 entre l'Arménie et la Turquie. Le but de ces protocoles, fortement souhaités par les grandes puissances, était d'aller vers une normalisation des relations entre les deux pays, le point principal étant l'ouverture des frontières, qui au passage soulignons-le, ont été fermées unilatéralement par la Turquie, en 1993.


La réaction de certains journalistes turcs, de plus en plus courageux pour critiquer ouvertement aussi bien l'Armée que le gouvernement d'Erdogan, n'a pas tardé aux déclarations, frisant le ridicule, de M. Davutoglu, le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères turc. «Restez fidèle au texte que vous avez signé, ayez une volonté politique» a lancé Davutoglu à son homologue arménien, Nalbandyan, MAE d'Arménie, par média interposé. «Alors que c'est la Turquie qui ne respecte pas sa signature» écrit dans le journal TARAF la journaliste Amberin Zaman. Elle poursuit, «C'est la Turquie qui conditionne la normalisation des relations entre les deux pays au règlement du conflit du Haut-Karabagh, un problème exclu des protocoles, et cherche à cacher ensuite sa tromperie. C'est la Turquie qui manque de volonté politique en acceptant les avertissements teintés de chantage de la part d'Azerbaïdjan».


De son côté Erdal Güven, dans le journal RADIKAL, dénonce les réactions artificiellement indignées de certains chroniqueurs et journalistes turcs qui considèrent que les conclusions du Tribunal Constitutionnel de l'Arménie sur les Protocoles portent un coup fatal à leur ratification. «Ils ne reconnaîtront pas le Traité de Kars..., la reconnaissance du génocide par les instances internationaux sera poursuivi..., la Diaspora arménienne est en liesse,...» peut-on lire sous la plume de ces journalistes. Güven s'interroge, «la proclamation des conclusions du Tribunal Constitutionnel date du 12 janvier. Pourquoi ces pseudo-journalistes ont attendu huit jours avant de faire 'éclater la bombe' » ? «Parce que», poursuit Güven, «le ministère des affaires étrangères turc a lu, relu dans tous les sens ces conclusions, a évalué politiquement les données seulement avant hier. Nous sommes devant un exemple éclatant de désinformation de la part du gouvernement qui, soit se ment soit essaye de berner le monde. Je me demande qu'est ce qui est plus grave».


Amberin Zaman, toujours dans le même article cité plus haut écrit : «Aussi bien que les Etats-Unis que la Russie ont déclaré que la solution du conflit du Haut-Karabagh doit être tenue en dehors du processus de normalisation des relations entre les deux pays. Ce qui met un point final à cette discussion».


Güven dans son article s'interroge aussi de savoir d'où sort la croyance que grâce aux protocoles la reconnaissance du génocide serait abandonnée. «Il n'y a rien à ce sujet ni dans le texte ni dans l'esprit des protocoles. S'il y avait le moindre doute l'Arménie aurait-elle signé les protocoles?» Selon Güven la ratification des protocoles n'avance pas en Turquie pour une raison simple ; la Turquie, concernant le conflit du Haut-Karabagh, espérait obtenir une solution satisfaisante pour les Azeris. «Malheureusement il n'y a que les Turcs et les Azeris qui soutiennent cette solution et aucun autre pays» conclut-il.


Ces derniers rebondissements et la situation difficile dans laquelle se trouve aujourd'hui la diplomatie turque confirment nos premières analyses selon lesquels ces protocoles ne seront pas ratifiés de sitôt par les Turcs. Et quoi qu'on en dise, pour l'instant c'est l'Arménie qui a marqué un point.


Ceci devrait faire réfléchir ceux qui, en Arménie et dans la diaspora, ont crié au loup depuis des mois, en imaginant des périls là où il y en avait pas. Plus grave encore, ils ont eu tort aussi de sous-estimer la volonté politique de la République d'Arménie.


Article original publié sur E&O online 

Voir aussi le site de Newropeans magazine 



Charles Aznavour, new Ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland

Charles Aznavour is now the new Ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland. On June 30, 2009 he presented his credentials to Mr. Hans-Rudolf Merz, the President of the Confederation.


Afterwards, Charles Aznavour met in Bern Armenians living in Switzerland and members of the diaspora established in Switzerland since many years. Two new diplomats will help the ambassador in his work between Bern and Geneva.


The Armenian community of Switzerland welcomes the New Ambassador His Excellency Charles Aznavour and wish him all success in his new assignment.


On December 26, 2008, the President of the  Republic of Armenia, Serge Sarkissian, conferred the Armenian citizenship to the french singer Charles Aznavour. 85 years old today, the singer always kept a strong relation with the land of his ancestors.


After the earthquake and his song «Pour toi Arménie», Charles Aznavour was appointed permanent Ambassador of Armenia to the Unesco. In 2004, as he was 80, Aznavour has been declared «national hero» of Armenia by the President Robert Kotcharian.


See also the official website of the embassy - Voir le site officiel de l'ambassade

Erdogan Admits Turkey Practiced Ethnic Cleansing

28 May 2009 | The California Courier | Harut Sassounian, Publisher


Prime Minister Erdogan Finally Admits Turkey Practiced Ethnic Cleansing


In a daring statement, Prime Minister Rejeb Erdogan admitted for the first time, that the expulsion from Turkey of tens of thousands of ethnic Greeks in the last century was a "fascist" act, Reuters reported.


Some commentators viewed Erdogan’s remarks as a reference to the expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Greeks from Turkey to Greece in 1923. The large-scale population exchange between the two countries also included the transfer of more than 500,000 ethnic Turks from Greece to Turkey.


Other observers thought that Erdogan was referring to the pillaging of thousands of Greek shops and houses by Turkish mobs in Istanbul on Sept. 6-7, 1955, following the spread of false reports that Atatürk’s house in Thessaloniki, Greece had been burned down.


Beyond the expulsion of Greeks, Erdogan made an indirect reference to the tragic fate of other ethnic groups, such as Armenians, in Turkey. "For years, those of different identities have been kicked out of our country.… This was not done with common sense. This was done with a fascist approach," Erdogan said on May 23, during the annual congress of the Justice and Development Party, held in the western province of Düzce.


"For many years," Erdogan continued, "various facts took place in this country to the detriment of ethnic minorities who lived here. They were ethnically cleansed because they had a different ethnic cultural identity. The time has arrived for us to question ourselves about why this happened and what we have learned from all of this. There has been no analysis of this right up until now. In reality, this behavior is the result of a fascist conception. We have also fallen into this grave error."


The Turkish Prime Minister’s candid remarks were harshly criticized by opposition parties. Onur Oymen, vice president of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that associating Turkey’s history with terms like fascism based on hearsay was not right. He also said that no Turkish citizen had ever been expelled because of his or her ethnic background. Oktay Vural of the opposition MHP party added: "Erdogan’s words are an insult to the Turkish nation."


In sharp contrast, liberal Turkish commentators praised Erdogan for his conciliatory remarks: "For the first time you have a prime minister who wants to admit that mistakes were made in the treatment of religious minorities. This is historic," wrote journalist Sami Kohen in Milliyet. "But whether this rhetoric will be followed with deeds, remains to be seen." Hürriyet Daily News added: Erdogan’s speech was historic; it was the first time that a high official accepted there have been unlawful and undemocratic practices against minorities in the past.


This sentiment was echoed by Prof. Halil Berktay in Vatan newspaper: "That statement was the most courageous thing ever said by Erdogan." Baskin Oran, another academic well-known for his liberal views, told Star newspaper that he was "proud of a prime minister who denounces ethnic and religious cleansing."


CNN-Turk News Director Ridvan Akar was more skeptical about Erdogan’s true intentions. He wrote in Vatan: "Minority rights as well as those of religious foundations are a structural problem within the Turkish state. Of course, Erdogan has taken a step forward with this declaration. But the sincerity of his words will depend on facts to back them up, such as the restitution of rights to those who have been expelled, the return of confiscated properties, or compensation."


The Prime Minister’s statement is encouraging, if it is an indication that Turkey’s leaders have finally decided to face the ugly chapters of their country’s past.

However, it would be wrong to draw overly optimistic conclusions from this single statement. Erdogan has made similar comments about the Kurds in Turkey, only to have their hopes dashed by taking unexpected repressive measures against them.


The fact is that Erdogan is not the master of his political domain. The "fascists" he attacks are not buried in an Ottoman historical grave, but are alive and well in Turkish society and occupy the highest echelons of the military and judiciary. Yet, Erdogan is politically shrewd enough to realize that his condemnation of fascism would resonate at home and in the West, and win him accolades and support against his powerful domestic opponents.


Erdogan’s battle against the ghosts of the Turkish past is in fact a fight for his political survival against those in today’s Turkey who view him and his Islamic party with deep suspicion, and are determined to counter his every move, ultimately seeking his downfall from power.


Devastating Document on Armenian Deportations Unearthed in Turkey

Armenians deported
Ottoman Armenians are marched to a prison by armed Turkish soldiers in April 1915. About 972,000 Armenians disappeared from population records in 1915 and 1916.

The New York Times reported Sunday that a long-hidden official document from the Ottoman Interior Minister, Talaat Pasha, detailing the deportations of 972,000 Ottoman Armenians from 1915 through 1916 has been unearthed.

Below is the article, written by the New York Times Istanbul Bureau Chief, Sabrina Tavernise.

Nearly a Million Genocide Victims, Covered in a Cloak of Amnesia

Monday March 9, 2009| NY Times | Sabrina Tavernise | Istanbul

For Turkey, the number should have been a bombshell.

According to a long-hidden document that belonged to the interior minister of the Ottoman Empire, 972,000 Ottoman Armenians disappeared from official population records from 1915 through 1916.

In Turkey, any discussion of what happened to the Ottoman Armenians can bring a storm of public outrage. But since its publication in a book in January, the number--and its Ottoman source--has gone virtually unmentioned. Newspapers hardly wrote about it. Television shows have not discussed it.

“Nothing,” said Murat Bardakci, the Turkish author and columnist who compiled the book.

The silence can mean only one thing, he said: “My numbers are too high for ordinary people. Maybe people aren't ready to talk about it yet.”

For generations, most Turks knew nothing of the details of the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918, when more than a million Armenians were killed as the Ottoman Turk government purged the population. Turkey locked the ugliest parts of its past out of sight, Soviet-style, keeping any mention of the events out of schoolbooks and official narratives in an aggressive campaign of forgetting.

But in the past 10 years, as civil society has flourished here, some parts of Turkish society are now openly questioning the state's version of events. In December, a group of intellectuals circulated a petition that apologized for the denial of the massacres. Some 29,000 people have signed it.

With his book, “The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha,” Mr. Bardakci (pronounced bard-AK-chuh) has become, rather unwillingly, part of this ferment. The book is a collection of documents and records that once belonged to Mehmed Talat, known as Talat Pasha, the primary architect of the Armenian deportations.

The documents, given to Mr. Bardakci by Mr. Talat's widow, Hayriye, before she died in 1983, include lists of population figures. Before 1915, 1,256,000 Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire, according to the documents. The number plunged to 284,157 two years later, Mr. Bardakci said.

To the untrained ear, it is simply a sad statistic. But anyone familiar with the issue knows the numbers are in fierce dispute. Turkey has never acknowledged a specific number of deportees or deaths. On Sunday, Turkey's foreign minister warned that President Obama might set back relations if he recognized the massacre of Armenians as genocide before his visit to Turkey next month.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was bloody, the Turkish argument goes, and those who died were victims of that chaos.

Mr. Bardakci subscribes to that view. The figures, he said, do not indicate the number of dead, only a result of the decline in the Armenian population after deportation. He strongly disagrees that the massacres amounted to a genocide, and he says Turkey was obliged to take action against Armenians because they were openly supporting Russia in its war against the Ottoman Empire.

“It was not a Nazi policy or a Holocaust,” he said. “These were very dark times. It was a very difficult decision. But deportation was the outcome of some very bloody events. It was necessary for the government to deport the Armenian population.”

This argument is rejected by most scholars, who believe that the small number of Armenian rebels were not a serious threat to the Ottoman Empire, and that the policy was more the product of the perception that the Armenians, non-Muslims and therefore considered untrustworthy, were a problem population.

Hilmar Kaiser, a historian and expert on the Armenian genocide, said the records published in the book were conclusive proof from the Ottoman authority itself that it had pursued a calculated policy to eliminate the Armenians. “You have suddenly on one page confirmation of the numbers,” he said. “It was like someone hit you over the head with a club.”

Mr. Kaiser said the before and after figures amounted to “a death record.”

“There is no other way of viewing this document,” he said. “You can't just hide a million people.”

Other scholars said that the number was a useful addition to the historical record, but that it did not introduce a new version of events.

“This corroborates what we already knew,” said Donald Bloxham, the author of “The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.”

Mr. Bardakci is a history buff who learned to read and write Ottoman script from his grandmother, allowing him to navigate Turkey's written past, something that most Turks are unable to do. He plays the tanbur, a traditional string instrument. His grandfather was a member of the same political party of Mr. Talat, and his family knew many of the important political figures in Turkey's founding.

“We had a huge library at home,” he said. “They were always talking about history and the past.”

Though he clearly wanted the numbers to be known, he stubbornly refuses to interpret them. He offers no analysis in the book, and aside from an interview with Mr. Talat's widow, there is virtually no text beside the original documents.

“I didn't want to interpret,” he said. “I want the reader to decide.”

The best way to do that, he argues, is by using cold, hard facts, which can cut through the layers of emotional rhetoric that have clouded the issue for years.

“I believe we need documents in Turkey,” he said. “This is the most important.”

But some of the keenest observers of Turkish society said the silence was a sign of just how taboo the topic still was. “The importance of the book is obvious from the fact that no paper except Milliyet has written a single line about it,” wrote Murat Belge, a Turkish academic, in a January column in the liberal daily newspaper Taraf.

Still, it is a measure of Turkey's democratic maturity that the book was published here at all. Mr. Bardakci said he had held the documents for so long--27 years--because he was waiting for Turkey to reach the point when their publication would not cause a frenzy.

Even the state now feels the need to defend itself. Last summer, a propaganda film about the Armenians made by Turkey's military was distributed to primary schools. After a public outcry, it was stopped.

“I could never have published this book 10 years ago,” Mr. Bardakci said. “I would have been called a traitor.”

He added, “The mentality has changed.”

Reported by asbarez




Arménie. À l'occasion du 500e anniversaire de l'imprimerie arménienne

Erevan, Commission nationale pour l'organisation du 500e anniversaire de l'imprimerie arménienne & Genève, Fondation H.D. Topalian 2011, 191 p., avec de nombreuses illustrations

ISBN 978-2-8399-0859-7



News & Forum