Erdogan Orders Schools to Teach Muslim Discovery of Americas ?
Posted 14 November 2017 - 11:01 AM
Posted 22 November 2017 - 12:37 PM
Where is the money? That's where I belong.
Turkish PR Agent Ronn Torossian’sFather and Grandparents are ArmeniansBy Harut SassounianPublisher, The California CourierLast week I wrote a column about Ronn Torossian, President of 5W Public Relations firm in New York City, who had signed a contract for $60,000 to do PR work for the Republic of Turkey in the United States.I wrote that I did not know if Torossian was an ethnic Armenian or simply had an Armenian last name, since some Jews and Iranians also have Armenian last names. Before writing the previous column I had attempted to contact him and had left two voice mail messages at his office. But, he did not return my phone calls.After writing that column, I received several emails and phone calls from Mr. Torossian. However, he requested that our phone conversations be off the record. I also received many emails and phone calls from Armenians around the world who knew the Torossian family.I also noticed that several readers had posted comments under my column in various websites, insisting that Mr. Torossian was not an Armenian, but simply Jewish or Iranian who carried an Armenian last name. These commentators were basing their presumptions on the fact that all of the articles about Mr. Torossian on the internet referred to him as being Jewish and mentioned his extensive record of activism and involvement in Jewish causes and organizations.However, I was informed by a Canadian Armenian, a former resident of Jerusalem, that he grew up in that city with Ronn’s father, Harout Torossian, who now lives in New York City. Ronn’s grandfather was Voskan Torossian and the grandmother was Mariam.Voskan and his family lived in the Convent of Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate. Voskan worked as a handyman at the Patriarchate. Ronn’s father attended Saints Tarkmanchats Armenian School in the Convent. Both Ronn’s father and grandfather were members of Homenetmen (Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts). Voskan was also a devoted member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.Since Ronn’s father was married to a Jewish woman, Ronn is considered by the Jewish community to be Jewish. He was raised as a Jew and considers himself to be Jewish and not Armenian. From Ronn’s family friends and his father’s former classmates I have learned a lot more about his relatives and their personal lives, but to protect Ronn’s privacy I decided not to divulge any more details. I only mentioned his father and grandparents to prove that he is partly of Armenian heritage, and not Iranian or fully Jewish.Interestingly, in one of the emails Ronn Torossian sent me after my first article, he stated: “I am Jewish. I am American born and raised in a Jewish home, and proudly educate my children in Jewish day schools. I do not and never have considered myself to be Armenian. You are conducting a comical, ridiculous and destructive ugly litmus test.” He asked that the rest of his email be considered off the record.I answered Torossian in an email: “Thank you for finally contacting me. I wish you had responded to the two phone messages I left for you in the past month. I respect that you feel Jewish. That is your choice and decision. However, being Jewish does not exonerate you from the unacceptability of doing PR for a country that denies Genocide whether you are Jewish, Armenian or any other nationality. Being of both Jewish and Armenian ethnic ancestry makes you a descendant of survivors of both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide which places the double burden on you to be especially sensitive to Genocide deniers. Just because you are making money spinning for Genocide deniers does not justify your professional activities. As I pointed out in my column, you yourself have criticized those who do PR for dictators. Yet you are paid to do PR for the dictator Erdogan. If you don’t consider Erdogan to be a dictator, then you are one of the few individuals in the world who thinks so!”Ronn Torossian replied to my email: “Criticize me all you wish. Please don’t raise my family or your perceptions of my ethnicity. I have never considered myself Armenian all my life.”I must inform Ronn Torossian that over the years I have written dozens of columns criticizing all those who have been hired by the Turkish government for the purposes of lobbying or public relations, regardless of their nationality. It is unacceptable to represent Turkey for money, a country that is run by a dictator, violates the human rights of its citizens, and denies the Armenian Genocide.Ironically, back in June 2010, before Torossian signed a PR contract with Turkey, he had organized an anti-Turkish protest in Manhattan after the Israeli military attacked a Turkish humanitarian flotilla. Torossian was quoted as stating: “what these so called peace activists on the Turkish vessel pulled off was nothing short of a cleverly devised anti-Semitic lynching.”
Posted 26 November 2017 - 09:31 AM
Amid tension arising from the marking of Alevi houses in a neighborhood in the province of Malatya, the Association of Kurtuluş Churches was attacked on Friday evening, DHA reported.
According to the report a window of the church association’s office was broken in the central Anatolian city.
The Malatya Human Rights Association in a statement on Saturday called on authorities to find the perpetrators of the attack.
Red crosses were painted on the front doors of 13 Alevi homes in the Cemal Gürsel neighborhood of the city by unknown parties on Nov. 22.
Malatya police called the incident a “provocation by dark powers” while Alevis in the city expressed concern.
Three missionaries, German national Tillman Geske and two Turks, Necati Aydın and Uğur Yüksel, were tied up and tortured before their throats were slit at the Zirve Publishing House, a Christian publisher in Malatya, on April 18, 2007.
Posted 26 November 2017 - 09:32 AM
The Armenian representation of the “Union of Salvation Churches” came under a stone attack by unidentified people in Turkey’s Malatya province, Ermenihaber reported, citing Gazetekarinca.com Turkish news agency.
According to the source, there was no one inside the building during the attack, which only left the glass of windows broken.
The security cameras installed in the area fixed the incident, with the faces of some of the attackers clearly outlined in the footage.
The Turkish police have launched an investigation into the incident.
To remind, a few days ago red crosses with red paint were spotted marked on the outside walls and doors of several households belonging to Alevi people in the Cemal Gürsel neighbourhood of Malatya.
Posted 28 November 2017 - 02:19 PM
Erdogan Keeps Alienating Everyone,
Including Distinguished Foreign Scholars
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Turkish President Erdogan is a ‘blessing’ to all those who are opposed to Turkish autocratic rule and massive violations of human rights. Not a day passes without the Turkish government behaving brutally against scholars, human rights activists, non-governmental organizations, journalists, and political opponents. Erdogan has done more harm to Turkey’s image around the world than anyone else since the Ottoman Turks’ implementation of the 1915Armenian Genocide.
The latest manifestation of Turkish intolerance of free speech and academic freedom was displayed when the University of Michigan’s Workshop for Armenian Turkish Scholarship decided to hold a conference at the European Academy in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 15-18, 2017. The conference was co-organized by the University of Michigan, USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies, and Lepsiushaus Potsdam, under the auspices of Dr. Martina Münch, Minister for Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg in Germany.
Prominent multinational scholars, including Turkish academics, were invited to participate in this important conference. However, the Turkish Council of Higher Education prevented the travel of distinguished professors from Turkey to attend the conference on “Past in the Present: European Approaches to the Armenian Genocide.”
Prof. Beth Baron, President of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), sent a highly critical letter to Pres. Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim in September on behalf of its 3,000 members worldwide, describing Turkish efforts against the conference as “an assault on the academic freedom of scholars in Turkey and a disturbing new instance of a broader trend of stifling scholarship on topics deemed taboo by your government…. The events surrounding the WATS conference in Berlin represent another depressing instance of your government’s failure to respect basic human rights’ protections under Turkish law despite Turkey’s clear international obligations.”
Radical Turkish politician Dogu Perincek announced that the conference would “serve imperialism and the interests of Kurdistan” and called the Turkish participants ‘traitors.’ Other right wing nationalists and pro-government media in Turkey also denounced the conference.
MESA’s President sent copies of her critical letter to: President of the Turkish Parliament; Justice Minister of Turkey; President of the Turkish Higher Education Council; Chair and Vice Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights; High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations; Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights; Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament; United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and _expression_; United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States; and United States Ambassador to Turkey.
Not surprisingly, several weeks later, neither Pres. Erdogan nor the Prime Minister had responded to the MESA letter!
In addition, a statement was issued by the WATS Organizing Committee on Sept. 18, 2017, describing Ankara’s refusal to allow Turkish scholars to attend the Berlin conference “an attack on free speech and academic freedom, indeed, to extend such intellectual repression beyond the borders of Turkey. We share the concern of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) of North America that such actions seriously and scandalously damage scholarship and the free exchange of knowledge.”
WATS stated that the conference came “under sustained attack by Turkish ultra-nationalist political circles in Turkey and Germany. Long-time deniers of the Armenian Genocide in the international arena declared that the conference will ‘serve imperialism and the interests of Kurdistan’ and framed the Kurdish issue as forming ‘the second Israel,’ clearly an anti-Semitic slur.”
WATS also declared that “Turkey has been hurt by the current atmosphere of intimidation and threats as evidenced in the treatment of the scholars who wished to attend the WATS conference in Berlin…. We… call on the Turkish government to restore the academic freedoms that have been and are being violated in Turkey. We demand as well that the Turkish state desist from interfering in intellectual exchange and _expression_ outside of Turkey.... Such interference infringes on the democratic order in Turkey and in hosting countries. The events surrounding the WATS conference in Berlin demonstrate one more instance of the Turkish state’s refusal to respect basic human rights’ protections both under Turkish law and Turkey’s clear international obligations.”
Finally, Dr. Fatma Muge Gocek, Professor at University of Michigan (originally from Turkey) and co-organizer of the Berlin conference, wrote a commentary in the Washington-based Ahvalnews.com Turkish website on Nov. 10, 2017, titled: "Harassment of Turkish academics in the West should be stopped."
Prof. Gocek wrote: “I have been constantly harassed by the Turkish state because of my work. This harassment has taken the form of online slander campaigns, anonymous threats traced back to Turkey, and people at my talks planted by the Turkish state who try to challenge and demean me. I have encountered this harassment both in the United States and in Europe, despite the fact I have only given lectures at universities. Once, the FBI had to be called in to investigate a personal threat I received. This situation, which was already bad and completely antithetical to the freedom of _expression_ and opinion, has become worse this year.”
Prof. Gocek further stated that the Turkish protesters who came to the Berlin conference “not only heckled and filmed participants, but also tried to break into our meeting. Finally, Turkish newspapers reported our activities as a bizarre conspiracy to attempt to control Turkey and create a second Israel there.”
Prof. Gocek concluded her critical commentary by calling on Western countries to take action against Turkey: “What is most disturbing for me is not only the persistence of Turkish state violence in Turkey, but its extension outside the country, as I have experienced in Europe and the United States. It is time for the West to take an effective stand against this escalating harassment on its own soil. I believe that such harassment differs from terrorist violence only by degree as both intend to challenge, undermine and destabilize Western norms and values. Only by taking an effective stand against foreign state harassment would the West be able to contain the lack of accountability for violence that exists within such authoritarian countries like Turkey.”
Posted 30 November 2017 - 03:03 PM
ISTANBUL — Minorities in Turkey worry that they could again be pawns of shadowy forces that seek to exploit the country’s current discontents, Garo Paylan, Isatanbul Armenian MP from from oppositin HDP, told Al-Monitor.
The comments come after vandals targeted several Alevi homes in eastern Turkey. Late last week, assailants painted an ominous red “X” on 13 homes in the predominantly Alevi district of Cemal Gursel in Malatya, a conservative city of nearly 800,000 people, said the head of a local Alevi group, adding police had yet to make any arrests.
Two days after the Alevi homes were vandalized, an Armenian church association was pelted with stones when the office was empty.
Only a few dozen Armenians still live in Malatya; they made up a third of its inhabitants before genocide during World War I annihilated the country’s Armenian population. Garo Paylan’s family is originally from Malatya.
Minorities worry that they could again be pawns of shadowy forces that seek to exploit the country’s current discontents, said Garo Paylan, an HDP lawmaker and an ethnic Armenian. His family is originally from Malatya.
“They [minorities] remember what happened to their grandparents, or even their mothers and fathers, and they know that it is in the current kind of environment that crimes can occur,” he told Al-Monitor.
“I’m not saying that the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] wants that to happen. Some powers use minorities as a form of manipulation against each other [knowing] people are biased against these identities,” he said.
Posted 03 December 2017 - 08:43 AM
The persecutions against the four Turkish intellectuals who visited Artsakh in September come to show that Turkey is unable to tolerate the independent intelligence and supports Azerbaijan, which has adopted a similar behaviour, Armenian turkologist Ruben Melkonyan said on Saturday in an interview with Panorama.am.
“Azerbaijan’s fanatic strive to blacklist the intellectuals, political figures and reporters visiting Artsakh would naturally be supported by brotherly Turkey. Such a step by Turkey can have a two-folded basis: firstly, to voice support to Azerbaijan and secondly, to crack down the independent intellectuals.
In this case, Erdogan is showing his inclinations to dictatorship against the four intellectuals, who pose a serious threat to the Turkish national through their free speeches and scientific works. They are not welcomed by the Turkish state,” the turkologist said, adding the Turkey and Azerbaijan are following each other’s faulty behavior of restricting the free speech.
According to Ruben Melkonyan, there are few sincere intellectuals with critical thinking in Turkey, with so called ‘court’ intellectuals making up the majority.
“One of the four intellectuals facing persecutions, Sait Çetinoğlu is the author of numerous books and article on the Armenian Genocide and misappropriation of the Armenian property. He is one of the scholars conducting a serious research on these topics and enjoys great popularity in Turkey.
I think Turkey will sooner or later apply a drawn up scenario against such intellectuals, either imprisoning them, or subjecting to persecutions and committing murder attempts against them. This was the case before and so is it now, as evidenced by Hrant Dink’s fate,” he concluded.
Posted 03 December 2017 - 08:46 AM
Hey ErDOGan, it's time to resign!
Panorama, ArmeniaDec 2 2017Turkey’s opposition party reveals documents on Erdogan family’s offshore transfers
Bulent Tezcan, the spokesperson for Turkey’s main opposition party CHP (the Republican People's Party), has presented documents to media representatives, which come to prove the offshore allegations against the relatives of the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tezcan showed off original bank receipts to the assembled press at a news conference on Friday revealing money transfers conducted by Erdogan’s close circle and relatives to offshore companies, Ermenihaber reported citing Agos newspaper.
The CHP spokesman noted they would submit the documents to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Earlier the opposition party’s leader Kemal Kılıçdaroglu announced that Erdogan’s relatives and family members made millions of dollars of offshore bank transactions. The Turkish president in his turn vowed to resign as the country’s president and leave politics if the opposition party leader proves his claims.
Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:02 PM
Posted 06 December 2017 - 09:55 AM
By Serouj Aprahamian on December 5, 2017
Special to the Armenian Weekly
Is there any connection between Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s pleading guilty for lying to the FBI and an Azeri-Turkish businessman’s testifying about having worked with Turkish President Erdogan’s government? (Graphic: The Armenian Weekly)
President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Friday. A few days prior, a prominent Azeri-Turkish businessman testifiedin New York about having worked with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions.
Is there any connection between these two former power brokers who turned state’s evidence? All signs seem to suggest so—and they are pointing to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
On March 19, 2016, a high-profile, wealthy businessman named Reza Zarrab was arrested by federal agents in Miami for illegally trading Iranian gas for gold, and laundering the money through U.S. financial institutions. Zarrab, who holds citizenship in Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Macedonia, carried out this violation of U.S. sanctions with the aid of the Turkish government.
Erdogan began immediately calling on the Obama administration to do away with the case, fearing what would be revealed if Zarrab went to trial. Indeed, soon after Zarrab was arrested, others began to be indicted, including Turkey’s former Economy Minister and several heads of Turkish state-owned banks.
When the overtures to officials such as then-Vice-President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch did not pan out, the Turkish government set its sights on the Trump administration.
Michael Flynn was at the center of its strategy.
Flynn’s guilty plea this past Friday included admissions of being a lobbyist “for the principal benefit of the Republic of Turkey.” His statement of offense read that he lied in his Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings about being under the “supervision and direction” of “officials from the Republic of Turkey.” In other words, Trump’s leading national security adviser has openly admitted to having been a paid agent of the Turkish government.
One of the many services Flynn is suspected of carrying out was a plot to help free Zarrab and drop the case against him. There are reports that Flynn met with Turkish officials in mid-December—after being officially designated National Security Adviser—to discuss a deal in which he and his son would be paid $15 million for their assistance.
In addition, the U.S. attorney in charge of prosecuting the Turkish gas-for-gold case, Preet Bharara, was abruptly fired by Trump on March 11. That firing alone is not shocking, considering that it was part of a mass dismissal of 46 former Obama-era prosecutors. What is bizarre is that Bharara was being personally courted by Trump prior to his termination.
After winning the election, the president-elect called for a meeting with Bharara at Trump Towers in New York, where he asked for his cell phone number and said he wanted to keep him on the job. He called Bharara three times after that, including on the day before the inauguration, simply to “shoot the breeze.” Bharara characterized the conversations with Trump as one where the latter was trying to cultivate a relationship with him.
For a sitting U.S. president to be directly contacting a U.S. attorney is not exactly the ethical norm. As a result, Bharara let Trump know he could not answer his calls. A few days later he was fired. “To my knowledge, Donald Trump did not reach out to any other U.S. attorney,” said Bharara on his podcast, “and none has come forward to say they got a phone call—it seemed like it was just me.” Like other justice officials who have been fired by Trump this year, Bhahara felt he was, inappropriately, being vetted to carry out wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Zarrab himself hired former New York Mayor and close Trump confidante Rudolph Giuliani to be his attorney. Giuliani—who is an adviser to the president and whose law firm is also a registered foreign agent of Turkey—tried to resolve the case by flying back and forth between Ankara and Washington. Instead of pursuing legal channels, he pursued high-level meetings with the Trump administration in an attempt to arrange an extrajudicial “prisoner swap” between Zarrab and unnamed Americans being held in Turkey.
Those efforts failed, and Zarrab’s prosecution continued to move forward. As a result, officials in Ankara grew more and more hysterical.
Erdogan has called the Zarrab trial a plot to “blackmail” Turkey, masterminded by an Islamic cleric living in Pennsylvania. Both Bhararra and his successor, Joon H. Kim, have been accused of being part of the conspiracy and have had investigations opened against them in Turkey. Authorities have also arrested a longtime employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on allegations that he is linked to the cleric behind it all. They also called on the acting American Ambassador, John Bass, to resign in the wake of the row over the consulate employee’s arrest.
However, despite all of the lashing out in Ankara, not once has Erdogan criticized Trump himself.
Instead, Erdogan calls the American president “my dear friend Donald.” Trump similarly expresses great admiration for his counterpart, saying at a meeting with Erdogan in September, “I think right now we are as close as we’ve ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship.” Trump added, “Frankly [Erdogan’s] getting very high marks.” Even after Erdogan’s bodyguards brutally attacked peaceful U.S. citizens (not once, but twice!), in Washington and New York, Trump refrained from making any condemnation of Turkey.
Despite the affinity between the two presidents, Zarrab was unable to stop U.S. prosecutors from moving forward with the trial. Seeing no other way of sparing himself, he decided to go from being a defendant in the gas-for-gold case to the government’s main witness.
And this is when the relationship between Michael Flynn and the authorities also began to shift.
About a week after news surfaced of Zarrab’s flip, Flynn’s lawyer told the Trump legal team that he can no longer share information with them about the FBI’s special counsel investigation into the administration, signaling the beginnings of a plea deal. Another week went by, and Zarrab took the stand in New York. Three days later, Flynn plead guilty to the FBI in Washington.
Many analysts believe that Zarrab’s decision to work with the authorities was the tipping point that led Flynn to similarly begin cooperating with the special counsel. What Zarrab, and his associates like Giuliani, may know about the extent of Flynn’s and Trump’s dealings is yet to be seen.
However, what we do know is that Michael Flynn—a man at the center of the Trump team, with access to the most sensitive state secrets—was a paid agent of the Turkish government. His statement of offense issued on Friday clearly states he was being paid and directed from officials in Ankara. His activities may have included not only plans to kidnap an American resident but also to free a man charged with helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions and derail plans to defeat ISIS in Syria. What’s more, even after Flynn left the White House, the Trump administration continued to placate Ankara and considered extrajudicial measures to free Zarrab and others evading sanctions against Iran, in exchange for freeing American citizens being held as bargaining chips by Turkey.
Is it any wonder, then, why Erdogan feels so free to try to meddle in the U.S. judicial and legislative system, plot kidnappings, barter for detainees, and attack peaceful protesters when visiting the country? Not to mention the repression he carries out in his own country and in the region.
What Zarrab and Flynn, as well as the broader FBI investigation into the Trump administration, will reveal has yet to be fully uncovered. What is for certain is that the coming days of this investigation will be critical for not only the future of democracy and rule of law in the U.S. but also the basic protection of the nation’s sovereignty against foreign intervention.
Posted 16 December 2017 - 09:40 AM
General H.R. McMaster, President Tump’s National Security Adviser
WASHINGTON—The United State national security adviser, national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, said Tuesday that Turkey was a prime source of funding that contributes to the spread of extremist ideology, reported Voice of America.
“A lot of Islamist groups have learned from” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), said McMaster.
It is he said a “model of really operating through civil society,” McMaster said, “then the education sector, then the police and judiciary, and then the military to consolidate power in the hands of a particular party, which is something we’d prefer not to see and is sadly contributing to the drift of Turkey away from the West.”
“We’re seeing great involvement by Turkey from everywhere from western Africa to Southeast Asia,” McMaster said during an appearance in Washington. “The Balkans is an area of grave concern now.”
McMaster stopped short of accusing Ankara of funding actual terrorist groups. Instead, he voiced concern that Turkey was following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, and more recently Qatar, by funding groups that help create the conditions that allow terrorism to flourish.
“We didn’t pay enough attention to how extremist ideologies were being advanced through madrassas and mosques, and so-called charities more broadly,” he said.
“The same Erdogan regime that the White House rightfully vilifies for sponsoring extremist violence today is – against all reason – granted a U.S. veto over honest U.S. remembrance of Turkey’s genocide of Armenians and other Christians a century ago,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “It’s long past time for America to finally reject Turkey’s gag-rule, bring an end to Ankara’s denials, and overcome Erdogan’s ongoing obstruction of justice for this still unpunished crime,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry criticized McMaster’s remarks Wednesday, calling them “astonishing, baseless and unacceptable.”
“We expect the United States, which we continue to recognize as our friend and ally, to display the same stance to our country, to cease all forms of cooperation with terrorist groups such as YPG and provide more concrete and effective support in our ongoing determined fight against terrorism and radicalism,” the ministry said in a statement.
Posted 18 December 2017 - 01:39 PM
There are two lessons in minority rights that Turkey should learn from its neighbour Greece.
The first lesson has been given by Greece since 1923, and the second, more important one, has been given in the past few days.
The first lesson is that, just two years after we signed the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, we violated Article 42/1 and we continue to do so. Greece, on the other hand, applied this most significant clause to its Muslim-Turkish minority with great diligence.
The article states: "The Turkish Government undertakes to take, as regards non-Muslim minorities, insofar as concerns their family law or personal status, measures permitting the settlement of these questions in accordance with the customs of those minorities". Article 45 says that Greece will apply the same to Muslim minorities in its own country.
This article introduces a "positive right" to minorities. A reminder: positive rights are not given to the majority, only to minorities. We will return to this at the end of the piece, because this is the second lesson given by Greece.
Turkey, at the end of 1925, told non-Muslims: 'The Civil Code comes out next year, and now your church wedding does not replace official marriage. You will waive your rights granted at Lausanne and you will marry in the municipalities. Whoever desires can go to the church and have a ceremony.”
Turkey had no right to say that. Because members of a minority or their communities cannot waive the provisions granted by an international treaty signed by eight states, such as the Lausanne Treaty. Article 37 of the Lausanne Treaty declares that these provisions are protected as a whole and "(...) no law (...) and no official action [s]" can prevail over them.
The result was as follows: the Jews immediately succumbed to this violation of Lausanne. The Armenians complied after much resistance. The Greeks, after much resistance also, complied because Greek community leaders and journalists were arrested and were not released without a "resignation" to the fact.
Greece never violated Article 42/1 and Islamic family law was applied to this minority in terms of: 1) Marriage 2) Divorce, 3) Children's custody, and 4) Inheritance.
This brings us to the second lesson that emerges from this.
Hatice Molla Salih and her husband from Komotini, in Western Thrace where the exceptions apply, had a discussion: “We do not have children. If one of us dies, our property will go to others. Our relatives will come like vultures to claim a share of the inheritance.” Because, according to Islamic Law, inheritance goes not only to children and spouses but also to brothers.
As a result, they made a will with a notary in 2003.
After 44 years of marriage, her husband died in 2008. Salih (67) won in court, thanks to the will, but the Greek Court of Cassation disagreed: “You are a Muslim of Western Thrace,” it said. “We asked the mufti who stated that the testament you made at the notary according to Article 42/1 of the Lausanne Treaty is invalid under Islamic law. You will share the inheritance according to Islamic law.”
The process in the Greek courts has not been completed, but the case has been open for eight years and Salih has applied to the ECHR. There, she will win for sure, because she has not been given the right to choose herself, and also because Islamic law, which does not recognise the will of the individual, is against the basis of the European Human Rights Convention as applied by the ECHR.
Seeing what will happen, on Nov. 24, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that he would issue a new law: Whoever wishes will from now on indicate in his or her will that he or she chooses civil law for the distribution of his or her inheritance, or will indicate that he or she chooses Islamic law, retaining the right to change this statement at any time. Wills made up to the present day will also become valid.
Greek Education Minister Kostas Gavroglu suggested that those wishing to live by Sharia law would have to opt-in.
At the moment, some members of the minority oppose the long-delayed and at the same time so modern initiative by Tsipras. In this way, they ingratiate the muftis to them, as well as Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Consulate-General of Komotini. Moreover, they will be highly esteemed in this introverted Muslim community. But their first aim is to support the “we defend Lausanne and minority rights” argument.
Talking about the muftis, the elected (but not officially recognised) mufti of Komotini, Ibrahim Şerif, objected to the judgments of Islamic law, which granted the legacy to the brothers of the wife, and demanded that the inheritance be shared according to the civil law. Everyone knows that in the minority.
Millet, one of the newspapers published in Western Thrace, wrote : "Tsipras admits it: the rape of minority rights begins”. According to the news, "one of the leading lawyers in the minority”, Ercan Ahmet said: "What good news does Tsipras give? Already minority individuals can choose between Islamic law and civil law”. This "leading lawyer" probably has not heard of the decision of the Greek Court of Cassation.
İlhan Ahmet, a member of parliament from Rodopi, said: "It is not possible to unilaterally remove Islamic law by the government's decision." However, no right is to be removed, but on the contrary, there is an additional right: the right to choose.
But what is even more interesting is that Salih’s lawyer, Ayhan Şakir, who opened the case and won in the Court of Cassation, said : "It is contrary to Lausanne to issue a law without the consent of the minority". He became a lawyer, but he has not heard of the above, namely international law.
Maybe it was not his interest. In Western Thrace, they explain, his mother and aunt were the sisters of the deceased husband of Salih. In other words, if Islamic law is applied, they will take a share of the heritage, but if the will is applied, they will not.
Of course, what disturbs him most is that the new law that Tsipras has prepared will be retroactive.
The second and main lesson Greece has given today to Turkey is, if I have to repeat it:
Any exception to contemporary law, for which mankind has struggled for ages, can be introduced only to the benefit of a minority. This "positive right" is called democracy. If these rights are granted to the majority, then it is called a "parallel law" and a state with multiple legal systems is a nightmare.
Christian Greece has granted the Muslim minority in Western Thrace the right to choose. However, in Turkey, "mufti marriage" was not recognised as a choice because, if there was such a choice, who would opt for the civil law in a country where 99 percent of the population is Muslim?
Besides, AKP rule, based on the argument of this "large majority", will move forward, and is already moving on:
First, there will be a change of the working hours on Fridays in accordance with the prayer times. Then, Friday will become a holiday instead of Sunday. Already, "Black Friday" in the shopping malls has been criticised because Friday was called “black”.
Then divorce in court will be replaced by a simple “I divorce you" statement for which the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs has already issued a fatwa.
Of course, in the meantime, while the ban on non-Muslim minorities marrying in their places of worship, applied at the end of 1925, continues in Turkey, the first official mufti marriage was witnessed personally by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Last-minute news: The Supreme Council of Religious Affairs Office declared that a husband can divorce his wife by phone, fax, letter, SMS and internet.
This news is very important, because the Religious Affairs Office, in the end of this fatwa has as references İbn Kudame (1147-1223) and İbn Abidin (1784-1846) and so we learn that the telephone, fax and internet had been invented during that era and, of course, by Muslims.
Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:14 PM
Turkish Forum (turkishnews.com) website journalist and columnist Ahmet Güler criticized Turkey’s devotion to Palestine, and recalled that the latter recognizes Armenian Genocide.
In his latest article, Güler noted that even though Turkey brought the world to its feet for Palestine and recognized East Jerusalem as its capital city, it forgot that in 2015, Palestine issued a stamp on the centennial of Armenian Genocide.
Also, the Turkish journalist recalled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks on January 18, 2016, at the Church of the Nativity basilica in Bethlehem, on the occasion of Armenian Christmas.
“Abbas had stated that the Armenians were ‘the salt of these lands’ and that they would never leave this land,” the Turkish Forum columnist wrote, in particular. “Mahmoud Abbas had likened the grave situation of the people of Palestine to the situation of the Armenians in the years of the Turkish Genocide.
“[Also,] the President of Palestine said he had invited his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan to Palestine and had hoped Sargsyan would accept the invitation.”
Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:21 PM
German media reported that a Turkish parliamentarian has provided money to a boxing gang in Germany to buy weapons, organize protests, and go after critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reported the Deutsche Welle (DW) TV and radio company of Germany.
Metin Kulunk, a member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and close confidant of Erdogan, directly and indirectly provided money to the Turkish nationalist Osmanen Germania (Ottoman Germy), according to research by Frontal 21, an investigative news program on German public broadcaster ZDF, and the daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
Osmanen Germania describes itself as a boxing club and “brotherhood,” but German authorities have long suspected it of being involved in criminal activity and violence. It is estimated to have 20 chapters and 2,500 members in Germany.
One of Kulunk’s main contacts was Mehmet Bagci, the former head of Osmanen Germania who has been in pre-trial detention in Germany since 2016. Another key figure was the group’s vice president, Selcuk Sahin, who is also detained.
According to police investigations, Osmanen Germania was instructed by Kulunk to go after Kurds and critics of Erdogan living in Germany. Also, he allegedly organized protests against last year’s Armenian Genocide resolution passed by the German parliament.
Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:35 PM
Posted 22 December 2017 - 11:25 AM
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Garo Paylan on Wednesday, December 20 said he has confirmed intelligence that exiled opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan including Alevi and Armenian leaders, journalists and academics will be exposed to assassination or a series of assassinations in Europe, CNNTürk reported.
“I confirmed it from various sources last weekend. I have intelligence that Turkish citizens living in Europe in particular will be targeted by assassination or a series of assassinations,” Paylan said during a press conference at Parliament, Turkey Purge says.
Underlining that he had informed the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT), police and government about three hitmen prepared to carry out the assassinations, Paylan said: “Due to the oppressive policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) thousands of academics, journalists, politicians and leaders of society are forced to live in Europe. Those people were labeled as traitors by the AKP government, the president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] and the media. Unfortunately, this sort of discourse and the atmosphere created by politicians moves certain circles.”
Stating that a structure based in Turkey has readied the hitmen for the assassinations, the HDP deputy said: “This intelligence has been taken seriously primarily by Germany but also by many other European countries. They have mobilized their intelligence services, and certain people and groups have been taken under protection.”
Despite questions from reporters Paylan did not share details of the intelligence sources or the names of the targets.
Posted 22 December 2017 - 11:35 AM
ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
December 20, 2017 Wednesday
Nalbandian: Examples of disrespect of Ankara's own signature under
Yerevan December 20
David Stepanyan. Examples of the lack of respect for Ankara's own
signature under the agreements are many, "Armenian Foreign Minister
Edward Nalbandian said in an interview with the Greek newspaper
Ethnos. "One of the examples is the Zurich protocols on the
normalization of relations with Armenia, I can say that the
renunciation of the agreements reached is becoming a feature of
Ankara," the diplomat said.
At the same time, the Armenian minister refrained from commenting on
the statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during
the visit to Greece on the need to revise the Lausanne Treaty.
Commenting on the rumors circulating in Turkey about the cooperation
of Fethullah Gulen's supporters with Armenian organizations and
accusations against Gulen in his supposedly Armenian roots, Nalbandian
described this regretfully as yet another proof of the centuries-old
habit of some Turkish politicians to compare their enemies with
"In my opinion, very often these people go too far, this is an
outright manifestation of intolerance and racism." The methodology of
Turkish lobbyists in the US is known, perhaps, to everyone, which,
however, does not prevent the Turks from accusing them of lobbying
activities against Turkey of others, "the minister summed up.
Posted 23 December 2017 - 09:00 AM
I,m more worried about Garo Paylan's assassination than the Turkish ones! God help him.
Panorama, ArmeniaDec 22 2017Turkey launches investigation after Paylan's assassination warnings
The Turkish Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation following a statement by Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), waring against assassination plans targeting Turkish citizens living in Europe, among them Armenians who have left Turkey, Ermenihaber reported citing Alevinet Turkish media outlet.
Paylan was invited to testify in the investigation, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.
“I received intelligence last week about plans of assassination or chain of assassinations of our citizens living in Europe, particularly those in Germany, information that I have verified from multiple sources,” Paylan told reporters at Parliament on Wednesday.
“This Turkey-based structure mobilized certain people to carry out these assassinations,” he said, adding that several European countries have taken such tips seriously and their intelligence services have provided security for the persons and groups on the target.
Posted 24 December 2017 - 11:32 AM
Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
December 22, 2017 Friday
Germany aware of Turkey's attacks being planned against
Turkish-Armenians living in Europe
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 22, ARMENPRESS. The German law enforcement agencies
have announced that they are aware of the statement issued by ethnic
Armenian lawmaker of the Turkish parliament Garo Paylan according to
which assassination attempts are being planned against
Turkish-Armenians and Turkish-Alevis living in several European
countries, in particular in Germany, Deutsche Welle reports.
The law enforcement agencies said they are observing the reports on
“We are aware of the aforementioned danger, we carefully observe the
situation. But we cannot provide further details on the situation and
defense measures”, the statement says.
Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian lawmaker of the Turkish parliament,
announced during a press conference in the parliament that he has an
intelligence data according to which an assassination attempt is being
planned against the Turkish-Armenians settled in Europe. Paylan
informed that the assassination attempts are being organized by a
structure operating in Turkey. “I have information that certain groups
are preparing an operation against Turkish-Alevis and
Turkish-Armenians living in Europe, as well as journalists, writers,
academicians who were forced to leave Turkey under the ruling Justice
and Development Party which must create a great reaction”, Paylan
said. The lawmaker refused to inform from where he has received this
Posted 26 December 2017 - 09:38 AM
Fundamentalist Muslims in Turkey -- and elsewhere -- do not see jihad, forced conversions or other forms of persecution against non-Muslims as criminal. On the contrary, their religious scriptures openly command them "to chop off heads and fingers, and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding," among many other openly violent teachings.
Hence, what the rest of the world would describe as "genocide," "massacre," "terrorism," or "ethnic cleansing" is viewed by radical Muslims as a "righteous" way of spreading Islam and of liberating kafir (infidel) lands. Erdogan is clearly such a radical, which is why he takes pride in his country's criminal history, while chastising and rewriting that of other states, such as Israel.
The West's misunderstanding of this knows no bounds.
Since the Trump administration's official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been ramping up his anti-Israel rhetoric, calling the country "a state of occupation and terrorism."
This is worse than ironic. The Jews are not "occupiers" in their ancient native homeland, where they have lived for more than 3,000 years. Turks, on the other hand, 3,000 years ago were most likely in Central Asia, nowhere near the area that is now Turkey. To add hypocrisy to injury, Erdogan also said about his own country, "Let it be known that there has never been any holocaust or genocide in this nation's past. There's no campaign of ethnic cleansing, massacres, persecution, or torture in this nation's history."
The cities in today's Turkey -- most of which are in Anatolia (Asia Minor) and the Armenian highlands -- were actually built by Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians; and Jews have lived there since antiquity. Turkic jihadists from Central Asia invaded and conquered the Christian Byzantine Empire in the eleventh century, thereby paving the way for the gradual Turkification and Islamization of Anatolia and Armenia. The Ottoman invasion of Constantinople (Istanbul) in the fifteenth century brought about the complete destruction of the Byzantine Empire.
Throughout those years, many Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians in the region converted to Islam to escape death, exile, or the exorbitant "protection" tax, the jizya, imposed on non-Muslims. As a result, only around 0.3% of Turkey's population remains Christian or Jewish at this time.
"The process of annihilation [of Greek Christian civilization in Anatolia] took centuries. Some people think that when Islam invaded, the Kafirs [non-Muslims] had the choice of conversion or death. No, absolutely not. Sharia law was put into place and the Christian dhimmis continued to have their 'protected' status as People of the Book who lived under the Sharia law. The dhimmi paid heavy taxes, could not testify in court, hold a position of authority over Muslims and was humiliated by social rules. A dhimmi had to step aside for the Muslim, offer him his seat, could not carry a weapon and defer to a Muslim in every way. In all matters of society the dhimmi had to yield to the Muslim. Over the centuries, the degradation, lack of rights and the dhimmi tax caused the Christian to convert. It is the Sharia that destroys the dhimmis.
"Today, Turkey is 99.7% Muslim. The Christian and Greek civilization of Anatolia is gone. It is annihilated.
"What is tragic is that it seems that no one knows or cares..."
Even today, expansionist Islamic raids against non-Muslim peoples have been and are accompanied by mass murder, rape, sex slavery, forced conversions, looting, plundering and deportations, by Islamic State, Boko Haram and others.
The goal of this jihad is to expand Islam and submit people worldwide to sharia [Islamic law] and Islamic supremacy. Once under Islamic rule -- such as during the Ottoman Empire -- Christians and Jews become dhimmis: third-class, "tolerated" citizens forced to pay a tax in exchange for "protection." No matter how much money they pay, however, dhimmis are never allowed the same religious rights or freedoms as Muslims.
This is something that Turkish school children are not taught. Instead, they learn in school about the "glorious" Ottomans, and how bestowing dhimmi status on non-Muslims was an example of Ottoman mercy, justice, and compassion -- not a tool for humiliating and enslaving them.
Far more recently, as Erdogan knows but aggressively denies, Turkish regimes committed their greatest attacks on Anatolian Christians: the 1914-1923 genocide against Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians (Syriacs/Chaldeans). Sadly, there has been no public protest in Turkey against the government's refusal to acknowledge the genocide, in which at least three million Christians were killed.
There are several reasons for this:
Turks are continually exposed to the denial of the genocide in school, the media, and in parliament. Millions of Turks have been brainwashed to believe that what took place was not genocide, but rather a legitimate act of self-defense against "treacherous" Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian elements.
Myths about Turkish nationhood
According to official myths, the Turks have never wronged or victimized any other people; it is they who have been wronged and victimized throughout history. As a result, according to these myths, any and all violent actions they may have committed were carried out in self-defense.
Turkey fears what it calls derogatorily as the Armenians' "Four T" Plan: Tanıtım, Tanınma, Tazminat ve Toprak (Propaganda, Recognition, Compensation, and Territory). The government worries that if the Armenians are successful in their efforts to obtain international recognition of the genocide, they will demand money and land. This concern is shared by those who inherited property seized from the victims of the genocide. Such Turks fear losing the wealth they amassed through the spoils of mass murder.
The political doctrine of Islam, which was largely responsible for the Christian genocide, still plays a role in Turkey's denial of it.
In his contribution to a recently released collection of essays on the topic -- "Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923," edited by Professor George N. Shirinian -- historian Suren Manukyan writes that the planners of the Armenian genocide:
"... activated social forces by the policies they pursued, including the proclamation of jihad at the beginning of World War I, to mobilize religious fanaticism among the population of the empire.
"After the proclamation of jihad on November 14, 1914, the killing of Armenians was seen to bear legitimacy in religious terms. In many areas, clerics led the columns of Muslims and blessed them for punishing the unbelievers... One slogan was repeated everywhere: 'God, make their children orphans, make widows of their wives... and give their property to Muslims.' In addition to this prayer, legitimization of plunder, murder, and abduction took the following form: 'it is licit for Muslims to take the infidels' property, life and women.'"
Turkish regimes committed their greatest attacks on Anatolian Christians during the 1914-1923 genocide against Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians (Syriacs/Chaldeans). Sadly, there has been no public protest in Turkey against the government's refusal to acknowledge the genocide, in which at least three million Christians were killed. Pictured above: Armenian civilians, escorted by Ottoman soldiers, marched through Harput, April 1915. (Image source: American Red Cross/Wikimedia Commons)
The Ottoman Tanzimat reforms in the nineteenth century had "abolished" the dhimmi status accorded to non-Muslim subjects. Regardless of this official change, non-Muslims continued to face various forms of institutional discrimination. Similarly, when the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, non-Muslims no longer possessed the legal status as dhimmis, but their unofficial dhimmitude continued, if not intensified.
In 1934, there was an anti-Jewish pogrom in eastern Thrace; in 1941-1942, there was an attempt to enlist and enslave all non-Muslim males in the Turkish military -- including the elderly and mentally ill -- to force them to work under horrendous conditions in labor battalions; in 1942, a Wealth Tax was imposed to eliminate Christians and Jews from the economy; in 1955, there was an anti-Greek pogrom in Istanbul; and in 1964, Greeks were forcefully expelled from Turkey. All of the above contributed to the previous ethnic cleansing of Turkish Christians and Jews.
Not only has the Turkish government not recognized, apologized for or given reparations for any such incidents in its history, but there is little media coverage of the current intimidation of and violence against Christians, Jews, and Yazidis in Turkey.
In addition, fundamentalist Muslims in Turkey -- and elsewhere -- do not see jihad, forced conversions or other forms of persecution against non-Muslims as criminal. On the contrary, their religious scriptures openly command them "to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding," among many other openly violent teachings.
Hence, what the rest of the world would describe as "genocide," "massacre," "persecution," or "ethnic cleansing" is viewed by radical Muslims as a "righteous" way of spreading Islam and of liberating kafir (infidel) lands. Erdogan is clearly such a radical, which is why he takes pride in his country's criminal history, while chastising and rewriting that of other states, such as Israel.
The West's misunderstanding of all this knows no bounds.
Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim in Turkey, is a journalist currently based in Washington D.C.
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