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Turkey Bans Entry of Foreigners Who Criticize President Erdogan

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier


The Turkish government, led by the autocratic leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has banned the entry of over 100,000 foreigners from 150 countries, including journalists and academics, just because they have expressed views critical of the government.

This is a violation of the most basic principle of democracy -- freedom of _expression_. This is also a violation of the criteria for Turkey’s membership in NATO and the Council of Europe which is based on “shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”

Yet, neither NATO nor the Council of Europe criticize Turkey for its multiple and long-standing violations of their lofty principles. Even when the European Court of Human Rights, a part of the Council of Europe, rules that Turkey is guilty of violating such rights, the government of Turkey simply ignores the Court’s judgment and refuses to pay the ordered financial penalty, even though abiding by its verdict is mandatory for all members.

Abdullah Bozkurt, the Sweden-based Turkish investigative journalist, exposed the Turkish ban in a Nordic Monitor article titled, “Turkey's Secret Blacklist Targets Foreign Critics with Entry Bans and Deportations.”

The Turkish government’s secret database designates the banned foreigners with the code G followed by two-digit numbers, describing the specific reasons for restricting their entry to the country.

“The G-87 restriction code is perhaps the most frequently used designation for foreigners, signifying that an individual labeled with this code is deemed to pose a threat to general public safety. The alleged evidence justifying such classification often originates from intelligence sources or the assessment made by the risk group responsible for screening incoming passengers at airports or at border crossing points,” Bozkurt revealed.

The unsuspecting foreigners become aware of their ban only after they arrive at a Turkish airport. Some of them are refused entry, while others are arrested. The reason for their ban could be as innocent as posting or liking a message on social media. The restrictive measures are not only a violation of the rights of these individuals, but also a violation of the Turkish constitution, as no laws have been passed authorizing such bans.

The information on the foreigners are collected either by the Security General Directorate (Emniyet) and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) or diplomats at Turkish Embassies overseas who monitor those who make critical comments about Erdogan’s government. To make matters worse, some of these foreigners are described as terrorists, without any evidence, simply for criticizing Turkey.

In 2019, former Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu publicly warned: “In Europe, especially in Germany, there are people who attend meetings of terrorist organizations and then come to [the resort cities of] Antalya, Bodrum and Mugla for vacation. We have taken precautions now. ...Let them come, see if they can enter the [country] easily. It's not so simple. We will detain them and send them back.”

Ironically, the Erdogan government has facilitated the entry into Turkey of real terrorists belonging to ISIS. Bozkurt mentioned that “in 2012, Erdogan personally assisted a one-time al-Qaeda financier to enter Turkey, despite a ban on him imposed by a UN Security Council designation, and secretly met with him in Istanbul and Ankara several times.”

Sometimes, the Turkish government detains a completely innocent foreign visitor for the purpose of extorting from another country political favors or the exchange of prisoners. An example of such Turkish blackmail took place when Pres. Erdogan ordered the arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson and offered to exchange him with Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who had escaped to the United States from Turkey after being falsely accused of plotting a coup against Erdogan. Pres. Trump refused to exchange Gulen for Brunson and imposed sanctions on Turkey. After serving two years in jail, pastor Brunson was finally released and allowed to return to the United States.

The extensive list of individuals on the Turkish government’s blacklist has given rise to a lucrative business for certain law firms who specialize in defending the rights of those banned from entry into the country. Sometimes even after the courts have ordered the government to remove the name of an individual from the black list, the Turkish government has refused to comply, claiming that its evidence cannot be presented in court because it is considered a state secret.

Bozkurt concluded his article: “The blacklist serves as a tool in the Erdogan government's toolbox to perpetuate an intimidation campaign against critics, particularly foreign journalists, activists and human rights defenders. Denying entry or enforcing abrupt deportations, the government has used the blacklist to restrict the reporting activities of foreign journalists on the ground. Over the last decade, numerous foreign journalists have been affected by this practice, facing the repercussions of having their names added to the list. It appears that the blacklist will continue to be maintained by the Erdogan government's repressive rule for the foreseeable future.”

A simple solution to this problem is for foreigners not to travel to Turkey, thus protecting themselves from harassment, deportation or arrest. The refusal to go to Turkey would deliver a major blow to the country, as millions of tourists visit Turkey each year, injecting tens of billions of dollars into the bankrupt Turkish economy.

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Panorama, Armenia

March 9 2024

Expert: Turkey seeks corridor through Armenia to realize its long-cherished plan

Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yasin Ekrem Serim has publically unveiled the policy pursued by the Turkey-Azerbaijan tandem in his speech in Baku, claims Varuzhan Geghamyan, a Yerevan-based geopolitical strategist and regional security expert.

"The opening of the Zangezur corridor will create a new era for the Turkic world," the Turkish official said.

“What else does pan-Turkism look like?” Geghamyan wrote on Telegram on Friday.

“The corridor is not for trade, it's an opportunity for Turkey to put into action its long-cherished plan of seamless connection with the Turkic world,” the expert noted.

He shared a map showing the Turkic world “according to the popular perception in Turkey, which is shared by everyone, from ordinary citizens to the vast majority of the political elite.”


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Denialists Erdogan and Netanyahu Shamefully
Exploit the Term Genocide to Bash Each Other
By Harut Sassounian

For several decades, Israel and Turkey were in a honeymoon, supporting each other politically and economically.

However, over the years, their relationship soured due to their opposing positions on the Palestinian issues. On several occasions, Israel and Turkey withdrew their ambassadors from each other’s capitals due to such conflicts, only to reinstate them again. In other words, they kissed and made up repeatedly.

We all know the _expression_, “politics makes strange bedfellows.” Israel and Turkey are one of those political odd couples. Initially, there was some basis in their partnership, more aptly described as mutual exploitation. Israel, surrounded by a large number of hostile Arab nations, needed Turkey as its political and economic ally, an Islamic nation that had established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1949. Meanwhile, Turkey needed Israel for various reasons, including political support from the West, the purchase of advanced weapons and billions of dollars of trade.

The other aspect of this unholy union was that both countries denied the Armenian Genocide. Turkey used its relations with Israel to convince the powerful Jewish lobby in the United States to block the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the U.S. Congress. Turkey pressured Israel to block the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide in Tel Aviv in 1982, prevent the broadcast of a documentary on the Armenian Genocide and its recognition by the Knesset. Turkey went as far as threatening its domestic Jewish community and demanded that the Chief Rabbi of Istanbul to lobby American Jewish organizations on behalf of Turkey.

In 2009, Erdogan told the Israeli President Shimon Peres during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in front of the assembled world leaders: “When it comes to killing you know very well how to kill. I know very well how you killed children on the beaches [of Gaza].”

Then the Mavi Marmara incident occurred in 2010, when the Israeli military attacked six Turkish civilian ships in the Mediterranean Sea trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, killing nine Turkish passengers. The raid seriously deteriorated Israeli-Turkish relations. Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled Israel’s ambassador from Ankara. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and offered $20 million in compensation for the raid.

Shortly before Hamas attacked Israel in October 2023, Israeli customs officials intercepted 16 tons of explosive materials for making missiles hidden in a Turkish shipment of construction supplies for Gaza. Surprisingly, Israel took no action against Turkey. This was yet another example of Israel appeasing Turkey’s anti-Israeli actions. Rather than designating Turkey as a state sponsor of terrorism, Israeli leaders embraced Erdogan, encouraging him to continue his misdeeds.

Following the recent Hamas attack on Israel, Erdogan called Hamas “freedom fighters,” and likened Netanyahu to “Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, today’s Nazis.”

In January 2024, Israel’s Foreign Minister tweeted: “The President of Turkey Erdogan, from a country with the Armenian Genocide in its past, now boasts of targeting Israel with unfounded claims. We remember the Armenians, the Kurds. Your history speaks for itself. Israel stands in defense, not destruction, against your barbarian allies.”

Last week, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz summoned the Turkish envoy, Shakir Ozkan Torunlar, to complain about Erdogan’s statement that he will “send Netanyahu to Allah to take care of him, make him miserable and curse him.” Katz replied on X/Twitter: “You [Erdogan] who support the burning of babies, murderers, rapists and the mutilation of corpses by Hamas criminals, [are] the last one who can speak about God. There is no God who will listen to those who support the atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by your barbaric Hamas friends.” Katz then admonished Erdogan: “Be quiet and shame on you!”

The Turkish foreign ministry replied to Katz: Israel has been built upon ‘occupied’ Palestinian land since its creation. “Since the first day they occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli authorities have made a great effort to keep the serious crimes they committed against the Palestinians secret, and have tried to create an armor of immunity for themselves. They have targeted our President, who screams the truth.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry then accused Israel of committing ‘genocide,’ stating that the “entire world public opinion is eagerly awaiting the day when Israeli officials who committed crimes will be brought to justice.”

Earlier, Netanyahu, who himself does not recognize the Armenian Genocide, criticized Erdogan for denying the Genocide. Netanyahu tweeted: “Israel, which adheres to the laws of war, will not accept moral preaching from Erdogan, who supports murderers and rapists of the terrorist organization Hamas, denies the Armenian Holocaust, massacres Kurds in his own country and eliminates regime opponents and journalists.” However, Netanyahu keeps arming Turkey’s ally, Azerbaijan, with sophisticated weapons which were used to commit a new genocide against Armenians in Artsakh.

In conclusion, both Erdogan and Netanyahu should be ashamed of using the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust as a bargaining chip in their dispute.

Rather than using the term genocide as a cudgel to bash each other, both Israel and Turkey should have recognized the Armenian Genocide long ago, in order to be classified among the ranks of civilized nations!

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March 30 2024


Sale of historic Armenian church in Turkey raises parliamentary questions


The sale of the 19th-century Surp Garabet Church in Sivas, Turkey, purportedly by owner Hatice Akay for 16 million TL (500,000 USD), prompts parliamentary inquiry over the preservation of Christian heritage.

The Surp Garabet Church in Sivas, Turkey, dating back to the 19th century and previously used by Armenians, has been listed for sale by its alleged owner, Hatice Akay, for 16 million Turkish Liras (500,000 USD), sparking controversy and parliamentary action.

George Aslan, a Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party MP from Mardin (Mêrdîn), has brought the matter to the Turkish Parliament, seeking answers from the Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy through a formal inquiry.

In his inquiry, Aslan emphasised that selling churches and monasteries, sacred places of worship for Christians, is demeaning to Christian citizens and argued that it is the government’s responsibility to prevent such sales and preserve these historical religious sites as national heritage.

Aslan posed critical questions to Minister Ersoy, including whether the government was aware of the church’s sale, the legitimacy of the claim that the church’s deed is privately owned, the number of churches and monasteries owned by the Ministry, and if there were any plans to prevent the sale of religious sites or return them to their communities.


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April 1 2024
Turkish Television Discusses Hitting Greece
  • [T]he Turkish government aims to conquer the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea – either militarily or demographically. The goal is the same: the islands' capture.

  • The Turkish media also falsely and repeatedly claims that "152 Greek islands and islets in the Aegean belong to Turkey". These islands, however, historically and legally, belong to Greece, mainly through the 1924 Treaty of Lausanne, 1932 Turkish-Italian Agreements and the 1947 Paris Treaty.

  • Conquest is part of Islamic jihad (warfare in the service of Islam) which, according to Islamic scriptures, is a communal obligation. The ideology of conquest in the name of jihad is what drove Ottoman Turks to invade and conquer lands stretching across Asia, Europe and Africa for more than 600 years.

  • According to Islamists, Muslim military expansion is an act of Allah's favor because Allah bestows those places upon Muslim conquerors.

  • The Turkish government's stance on the genocide is a bizarre combination of denial and conceit. First, they say that their ancestors did not commit genocide and that it was merely a war of self-defense. Then, they proclaim "they [Christians] deserved it" and "if need be, we could do it again".

  • The US government seems to ignore that Turkey – acting as if it is the successor to the Ottoman Empire – does not stop threatening Greece, Cyprus and Armenia with military invasion.

  • The US Congress would be well advised to reconsider its decision regarding F-16 sales to Turkey and this alliance altogether.

On Turkey's pro-government TV channel AHaber, political analysts and national security specialists on February 28 enthusiastically discussed how the Turkish Air Force could strike Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Speaking in front of a map of Turkey and Greece, Mesut Hakkı Caşın, a professor of international law and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's advisor for security and foreign policy, spoke about the Turkish Kaan fighter jet, which is currently under development, and said:

"This [Kaan] plane won't be spotted by Greek radars. As this plane hits the main targets [Aegean islands] here, the other plane accompanying it, [the UAV Bayraktar] Akıncı, can destroy all the radars here [on the islands], leaving the Greeks blind...

"Add to that our other unmanned combat aerial vehicles, Greek squares will be devastated in less than 3 hours...

"If the Greeks enter a war with us, all the weapons in all those islands will be war booty for us."

Another analyst said:

"The Turkish nation has a dream regarding the islands, but the official policy can't be expressed publicly."

Another said:

"We will not invade the islands. We will use our right to move freely. We will be a member of the European Union. And then the islands will demographically pass to the Turkish people in a generation. In a generation, all the islands will be majority Turkish."

"Conquest without a war," he added, "happens like this [through demographic domination]."

The other analyst disagreed:

"Those islands were under Ottoman rule for 500 years, but they were 95 percent demographically Greek. Even the Ottoman Empire could not Turkify them. Also, I don't believe Turkey will ever be a member of the EU. [The conquest of the islands] will happen only through war."

So, the Turkish government aims to conquer the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea – either militarily or demographically. The goal is the same: the islands' capture.

Such conversations are frequent in Turkey's pro-government media. On February 6, Turkish analysts proudly discussed the prospects of Turkey striking Greece with missiles.

On CNN Turk, pro-government analysts said that the Tayfun, the first Turkish-made short-range ballistic missile, could easily hit Greece from Turkey. "If we fire it from Edirne or Izmir, we can hit Athens," they concluded.

These threats are not new. For at least the past five years, Turkey's government has threatened to invade and annex the Greek islands in the Aegean.

On the official X (Twitter) account of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a video was posted on April 22, 2023, claiming some Greek islands and the Western Thrace region of Greece as part of Turkish territory.

The Turkish media also falsely and repeatedly claims that "152 Greek islands and islets in the Aegean belong to Turkey". These islands, however, historically and legally, belong to Greece, mainly through the 1924 Treaty of Lausanne, 1932 Turkish-Italian Agreements and the 1947 Paris Treaty.

Erdogan's Islamist government apparently aims to annex Greek territory for two main reasons. The first stems from a belief in neo-Ottomanism and the Islamic concept of conquest, or "fetih," from the Arabic word "fath". The second reason stems from the government's proud denial of its past crimes against Christians.

Conquest is part of Islamic jihad (warfare in the service of Islam) which, according to Islamic scriptures, is a communal obligation. As author Dr. Mark Durie explains:

"The Islamic ideology of conquest demands that a land, once conquered for Islam, belongs in perpetuity to Muslims. After conquest, previous occupants became tolerated clients of the Muslim occupiers, and, according to Islamic law, they were allowed to survive as long as they paid tribute.

"Connected to the idea that conquered land belongs to Muslims is the Quranic concept of mustakhlafīn ('successors'). [Qur'anic] Sura 24:55 says, 'God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will surely make you successors in the land.'

"In the Qur'an, 'successors' are believers who take over the properties of a people whom Allah has destroyed, including by conquest at the hands of believers. By this logic, Muslims become the 'successors' – the rightful owners – of conquered lands."

The ideology of conquest in the name of jihad is what drove Ottoman Turks to invade and conquer lands stretching across Asia, Europe and Africa for more than 600 years. At its height, the Ottoman Empire occupied most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna, including present-day Hungary, the Balkan region, Greece, and parts of Ukraine; parts of the Middle East (including present-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel); North Africa and large parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

According to Islamists, Muslim military expansion is an act of Allah's favor because Allah bestows those places upon Muslim conquerors.

In conquering Constantinople for instance, Islamists claim that according to a hadith (Ahmad; Hakim, al-Mustadrak), Islam's prophet Mohammed (b. 570 – d. 632) encouraged Muslims to conquer the city.

Muslim Turks, led by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Muhammed bin Murad, invaded and captured Constantinople from the Greek Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire on May 29, 1453. The city had been built and ruled by Greeks for millennia. Turks call the Sultan "Mehmed the Conqueror" (Fatih).

According to Professor Mustafa Sabri Küçükaşçı, a specialist in Islamic history:

"It was through the Hudaybiya Treaty (April, 628) that the general concept of conquest, with its spiritual dimension of reaching out to hearts and minds, entered Islamic culture. Prophet Muhammad taught his Companions (
) that conquest could occur both through war and through preaching the message of the faith."

According to what Islamic scholars, including Küçükaşçı, call "conquest hadith", Islam's prophet Mohammed said: "

Verily, you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful army will that army be, and what a wonderful commander will that conqueror be."

Küçükaşçı writes:

"These types of
, and especially the conquest hadith, frequently referred to concepts like conquest, war, and jihad; in addition, the Companions and the Muslims who came after them brought the conquest
to the fore as the most defining component of the motivation for the conquest of Constantinople."

What followed the fall of Constantinople was bloodshed and the rape of Christians by Muslim Turks, among other atrocities, as described by the historian Raymond Ibrahim, from reports by eyewitnesses at the time:

"Once inside the city on that fateful May 29, 1453, the 'enraged Turkish soldiers . . . gave no quarter':

"'When they had massacred and there was no longer any resistance, they were intent on pillage and roamed through the town stealing, disrobing, pillaging, killing, raping, taking captive men, women, children, old men, young men, monks, priests, people of all sorts and conditions... There were virgins who awoke from troubled sleep to find those brigands standing over them with bloody hands and faces full of abject fury... [The Turks] dragged them, tore them, forced them, dishonored them, raped them at the cross-roads and made them submit to the most terrible outrages... Tender children were brutally snatched from their mothers' breasts and girls were pitilessly given up to strange and horrible unions, and a thousand other terrible things happened. . .'"

Mehmed II converted Hagia Sophia Cathedral, then the world's greatest church, into a mosque. In 1934, the government of Turkey turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, then, in 2020, back into a mosque. The latest transformation fully displayed the government's disrespect for religious liberty, particularly for Christianity.

A possible second reason for Turkey's aggression against its neighbors (including Greece and Armenia) is its self-satisfied denial of the 1913-23 Christian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

The pride that Turkish authorities take in the genocide, during which over three million Christians were killed, and the rejection of any accountability, enables the government of Turkey to commit similar crimes with ease. As Turkey's Human Rights Association noted in 2016, "When a crime goes unpunished, it continues to be committed. Denial perpetuates genocide."

Turkish citizens who publicly acknowledge Turkey's genocide can, to this day, be tried in Turkish courts for "insulting the Turkish state". Since the government of Turkey smugly and aggressively denies Ottoman Turkey's genocide of Christians and has faced no consequences, its threats continue against Greece.

On January 27, Erdogan said at a public meeting of the ruling AKP party:

"Our struggle did not end with expelling the enemy [Greeks] from our lands and throwing them into the sea from Izmir."

Erdogan was referring to the 1922 Turkish massacre against indigenous Greeks, Armenians, and other Christians in Smyrna (Izmir), which brought an end to that city's millennia-long Greek civilization. Smyrna had been a majority-Greek city from ancient times until the 1922 massacre.

Lou Ureneck, a professor of journalism, went to Smyrna, did extensive research there on the city's history, and wrote a book about the massacre. According to his research:

"In September 1922, the richest city of the Mediterranean was burned, and countless numbers of Christian refugees killed. The city was Smyrna, and the event was the final episode of the 20th Century's first genocide — the slaughter of three million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Ottoman Empire. The slaughter at Smyrna occurred as warships of the great powers stood by — the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy."

Many survivors fled to neighboring Greece. Property and land that the victims had left behind were seized by Turks.

The Turkish government's stance on the genocide is a bizarre combination of denial and conceit. First, they say that their ancestors did not commit genocide and that it was merely a war of self-defense. Then, they proclaim "they [Christians] deserved it" and "if need be, we could do it again".

Erdogan spoke at a rally prior to the March 31, 2019 local elections in Izmir, referring to 1922 and proudly said: "Izmir, which threw the kafirs [infidels] into the sea."

Emphatic denial of the genocide or blaming the victims is the mainstream position across Turkey, including in schools, media, academia, politics and elsewhere.

Turkey's genocide-denial can be clearly seen in its foreign policy issues. How is the government of Turkey supposed to respect international human rights law when it takes pride in having wiped out entire nations, such as the Armenians, Assyrians and Anatolian Greeks, and has taken no step toward restorative justice?

The foreign policy of the Islamist government of Turkey is, in fact, mainly shaped by its genocide denial in addition to its ideology of Ottoman-style violent conquests and territorial expansion, an approach which has created wars and massive instability in the region, as in Cyprus, Syria, Iraq, and Armenia.

Despite these practices of the Turkish government, on January 27, the US government approved the $23 billion sale of 40 new F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, after Ankara ratified Sweden's accession to NATO. On March 1, US Senators declined to block the sale, despite strong opposition voicing deep disdain for Turkey's conduct as an ally.

The US government seems to ignore that Turkey – acting as if it is the successor to the Ottoman Empire – does not stop threatening Greece, Cyprus and Armenia with military invasion.

Azerbaijan – with the support of Turkey – has been falsely referring to the entire country of Armenia as "Western Azerbaijan" and has been demanding that it either surrender or suffer a military invasion by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan did in fact invade the Armenian Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in September 2023.

Azerbaijan apparently now wants to conquer the Republic of Armenia as well. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev falsely calls Armenia's capital Yerevan "historical Azeri land," even though the Republic of Armenia has never been under Turkish or Azeri rule.

Turkey also denies the sovereignty and Greek identity of the Republic of Cyprus, 36% of which it illegally invaded and has been occupying since 1974. Cyprus had been a demographically Greek island for millennia, had also been occupied by the Ottomans from 1571 to 1878.

Erdogan, furthermore, has long been referring to Jerusalem, which was under Ottoman occupation from 1516 and 1917, as a Turkish city. "Jerusalem," he announced in 2020, "is our city."

Erdogan also announced that Turkey "firmly" backs terror group Hamas, which aims to destroy Israel and exterminate the Jews. Erdogan's government indeed provides Hamas with military, financial, political and diplomatic support, and hosts its terrorist leaders, as Qatar does.

"Turkey is a US ally," a recent report noted, "but should not be a trusted one."

The US Congress would be well advised to reconsider its decision regarding F-16 sales to Turkey and this alliance altogether.

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

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April 4 2024
The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that the meeting between Armenia, the US and the EU would undermine the principle of neutrality.

The meeting of representatives of Armenia, the US and the EU scheduled for April 5 in Brussels will undermine the principle of a neutral approach to the Azerbaijani-Armenian settlement. This is stated in a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

“As a result of Azerbaijan’s liberation of the occupied territories, a historic opportunity has emerged for lasting peace and stability in the region. At a time when success is so close, it is even more important that third parties, especially players outside the region, take a fair and impartial approach to this process and carefully avoided harming it. In this context, we must clearly emphasize that the trilateral meeting of Armenia, the EU and the US on April 5 will undermine the principle of a neutral approach, which should be the basis for solving the complex problems of the region,” the statement said.

As the department indicated, “this initiative, excluding Azerbaijan, will lead to the South Caucasus becoming a zone of geopolitical confrontation, not peace.

“We repeat our call to third countries to take into account the peculiarities of the region and adhere to an equidistant approach to the parties to the conflict,” the Foreign Ministry noted.

Earlier, the Armenian leadership reported that a joint meeting of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is planned in Brussels on April 5. The event, according to Armenian politicians, “is aimed at increasing the stability of Armenia.” Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan said on Thursday that the planned meeting is of an economic and humanitarian nature and has no geopolitical context.


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Erdogan says Netanyahu to blame for Iran's attack on Israel
1134944.jpg 21:21, 16 April 2024

YEREVAN, APRIL 16, ARMENPRESS. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the main one to blame for Iran's first direct attack on Israel.

"The main one responsible for the tension that gripped our hearts on the evening of April 13 is Netanyahu and his bloody administration", the Turkish leader, who regularly criticises Israel and its leadership, said in televised remarks, reports Agence France-Presse

"Those who have been silent for months about Israel's aggressive attitude immediately condemned the Iranian response," he said. "But it's Netanyahu himself who is the first who should be condemned."

He said Israel's April 1 attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus violated international law and "was the straw that broke the camel's back."




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Hurriyet, Turkey

April 24 2024
Türkiye never discriminates its Armenian citizens: Erdoğan
Türkiye will never allow the discrimination and alienation of its Armenian citizens, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in a statement he issued on the anniversary of the 1915 incidents.

“The security, prosperity and well-being of our Armenian citizens, who enriched Anatolian lands with their cultural works and human relations, continue to be under our assurance,” Erdoğan said in a message he sent to Sahak Maşalyan, Armenian Patriarch of Türkiye, on April 24.

“We did not and will not allow even a single Armenian citizen of ours to be discriminated, alienated or feel second-class in their homeland,” he stated.

President Erdoğan said he once again remembers with respect the Ottoman citizens of Armenian descent who lost their lives due to unfavorable circumstances of the First World War and extends his condolences to their descendants.

“I also wish Allah Almighty's mercy to all members of the Ottoman society who passed away or martyred as a consequence of armed conflicts, rebellions, gang violence and terrorist acts,” he added.

The devastation caused by World War I in the Ottoman Empire has opened deep wounds in the minds, he underlined, saying the atmosphere of peace and serenity inherited from the ancestors can only be maintained through joint efforts.

“It is important to address history under the guidance of wisdom, conscience and science, instead of favoring a radical discourse, marginalization and hate speech. Showing empathy without discrimination among the incidents engraved in our national memory will prevent the sown seeds of hatred from taking root,” Erdoğan recalled.

“We believe that the way to protect future generations from the spiral of violence and war encircling the world is to build a future together in the light of the lessons we have learned from our common pain,” added the president.

Foreign Ministry criticized statements by some countries

In the meantime, the Foreign Ministry issued a written statement on April 24 that rejects “the one-sided statements about the events of 1915 that have been made to satisfy certain radical circles.”

“These statements, which distort the historical facts, are also contrary to international law. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has clearly underlined that the events of 1915 are a legitimate subject of debate,” it recalled.

Biased and partial statements about history undermine the reconciliation efforts between the two communities, and encourage radical groups to commit hate crimes, the ministry urged.

“We call on all parties to support our proposal for a Joint Historical Commission and the normalization process that has been initiated with Armenia,” it added.



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Ethnic cleansing of Artsakh reminds the world how destructive pan-Turkic ideology can be - Swedish MP

1135451.jpg 08:47, 24 April 2024

YEREVAN, APRIL 24, ARMENPRESS. On the occasion of the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Swedish-Armenian Friendship Group in the Swedish Parliament will arrange a ceremony with the Armenian Ambassador to Stockholm and other guests, Member of the Swedish Parliament, Erik Hellsborn said.

“Here in the Swedish Parliament, the Swedish-Armenian Friendship Group will arrange a ceremony with the Armenian Ambassador to Stockholm and other guests. Sadly, this year's Remembrance Day feels more relevant than it has been in several years,’’said Hellsborn.

Drawing comparisons between the Armenian Genocide and the ethnic cleansing carried out by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2023, he noted: “ With last year's ethnic cleansing of Artsakh, the world was reminded of how destructive pan-Turkic ideology can be.”

“Therefore, this is my promise to you. I will continue to use the platform I have been given to shine light on what has happened and what continues to happen in the region and to continue to build ties and closer relations between the peoples of Europe and the people of Armenia for a brighter future,” Member of the Swedish Parliament, Erik Hellsborn.




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Washington Examiner
May 16 2024

State Department will fail until it gives enemies a taste of their own medicine

By Michael Rubin

Secretary of State Antony Blinken famously declared, “Diplomacy is back,” he but confuses diplomacy with affability. Guitar jamming in Ukraine is already Blinken’s Michael-Dukakis-in-a-tank moment. Dictators see in Blinken a man around whom they can run circles.

During the Trump years, NATO allies paid up; today, they again stick America with the bill. Two-bit dictators such as Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev mock and belittle American diplomats without fear of consequence. Eritrea continues to imprison an Eritrean employee of the U.S. Embassy. To harass American diplomats serving in Cuba, Cuban agents often kill their family pets.

Turkey provides a case in point about how coercion can trump consultation. Backbone matters.

There is no doubt Turkey is problematic. After two decades of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strongman rule, Turkey has become a money-laundering hub, the world’s worst prison for journalists, a human rights black hole, and a terrorism sponsor in all but name. Erdogan’s brownshirts assaulted peaceful protestors not only in Ankara but also in Washington, D.C. Erdogan extorted NATO and put the alliance at risk for ego and greed. Ukraine may be the front line of the defense of the free world, but rather than stand firm for Kyiv, Turkey plays both sides.

Turkey’s terrorism sponsorship is problematic. Erdogan may complain about U.S. partnership with Syrian Kurds, but that alliance came about only because Turkey provided aid and sustenance to the Islamic State. More recently, Erdogan has scrambled to become Iran’s coequal in sponsorship of Hamas.

On May 13, Erdogan hosted Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. After Mitsotakis referred to Hamas as a terrorist group, Erdogan chided him. “If you call Hamas a ‘terrorist organization,’ this would sadden us,” he said. “We don’t deem Hamas a terrorist organization … More than 1,000 members of Hamas are under treatment in hospitals across our country,” Erdogan added.

Put aside the numerous sanctionable lines Erdogan crossed. Diplomatically, Erdogan is an expert hypocrite. He has become so accustomed to Western weakness that he no longer fears Western counterparts seizing the precedents he creates to the West’s advantage and Turkey’s misfortune.

When Erdogan spoke about revising the 1923 Lausanne Treaty that set modern Turkey’s borders, no Western official suggested that might mean Turkey conceding territory to allow the Greek community, ethnically cleansed alongside the Armenians, to return. Had Washington, Athens, and other European states used the opportunity to demand the return of Smyrna, Erdogan might think twice about aggression.

The same holds true for Turkey’s support for statehood in northern Cyprus, a region its army occupies, or for Hamas, a group whose covenant calls for Israel’s eradication. If Erdogan is going to declare Hamas a legitimate insurgent group, why should the State Department not respond by declaring the Kurdistan Workers Party a legitimate organization? The United States could go further by offering PKK members and other Kurds, wounded by Turkey’s drone and jets, free medical care in the U.S. Erdogan might whine and bluster, but a stronger State Department could then simply point the finger back at Erdogan and the precedents he embraced.2

A more aggressive diplomatic posture, defined by extreme prickliness and backbone rather than supplication and scoliosis, would pay dividends. The mere mention of relative minor tariffs in response to Erdogan’s seizure of Pastor Andrew Brunson set the Turkish dictator backpedaling in an effort to make amends.

Effective diplomacy requires the secretary of State to be more pit bull, less golden retriever. His bite should be as bad as his bark; he should not roll on his back with his proverbial tail between his legs.

It is time for a fundamental rethink of American diplomacy. The State Department could begin by labeling not only northern Cyprus occupied, but also eastern Turkey. If Erdogan describes Hamas as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians, then the U.S. should consider the PKK as the legitimate representative of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Erdogan is long overdue for a dose of his own medicine.

Michael Rubin is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is director of policy analysis at the Middle East Forum and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.


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Modern Tokyo Times, Japan

May 18 2024

NATO Turkey is Sending Syrian Mercenaries to Niger: Armenians of Karabakh

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

NATO Turkey is sending Syrian mercenaries to Niger. This is a similar move to when Turkey sent Syrian mercenaries to assist Azerbaijan in the ethnic cleansing of Armenian Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

NATO Turkey continues to occupy North Cyprus and parts of North Syria – while utilizing North Iraq to fight against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). Christians in North Cyprus – similar to the recently cleansed Armenian Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh – are expendable to NATO. Therefore, Turkey understands that no NATO criteria exist concerning democracy, human rights, and occupying foreign lands permanently (North Cyprus).

Rami Abdulrahman (Director of the Syrian Observatory) says, “We have confirmed that about 1,100 Syrian fighters have already been deployed to Niger since September of last year.”

It is another signal that Turkey is “a rogue NATO nation.” After all, Niger recently implemented the withdrawal of the armed forces of France and America.

Naturally, Niger is an independent nation. Also, the legacy of France is deemed detrimental to the ruling elites in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. However, it is strange that NATO Turkey is welcomed – and the political elites in Ankara care little for fellow NATO powers.

Voice of America reports, “Turkey has in the past deployed Syrian fighters to other conflict zones, including Azerbaijan and Libya, through SADAT International Defense Consultancy, a private military company that reportedly has close ties with the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

France 24 – concerning the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh said (2020), “… intelligence reports had established that 300 Syrian fighters drawn from “jihadist groups” from the Syrian city of Aleppo had passed through the Turkish city of Gaziantep en route for Azerbaijan.”

Turkey, under President Erdogan, is constantly involving itself in foreign conflicts. This includes the utilization of Islamist terrorists (mercenaries) from Syria in the conflicts of Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh were cleansed by Azerbaijan with the assistance of Turkey on several fronts). NATO Turkey also attacks the Kurds in Iraq and Syria – often killing Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities.

The legacy of the Turks in history concerning the Armenians – and other regional Christians, including the Assyrians and Pontic Greeks – is pogroms, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and the erasure of ancient Christianity (ancient Churches converted to mosques or destroyed along with dismantling architecture and the traces of indigenous Christianity).

President Emmanuel Macron of France said several years ago, “A red line has been crossed, which is unacceptable… I urge all NATO partners to face up to the behavior of a NATO member.”

Macron said this after French intelligence notified the leader of France that Turkey was sending Islamists and mercenaries to Nagorno-Karabakh to kill Armenian Christians. However, little was done to protect the Armenian Christians of this region. Therefore, Azerbaijan (with tacit support from Turkey) cleansed the Christians of this region last year.

Greece and France even signed a Defense Pact in 2021 aimed at their fellow NATO member.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece said, “For the first time it is clearly stipulated that there be military assistance in the event of a third party attacking one of the two states.”

Alluding to Turkey and its expansionist policies, he continued, “And we all know who is threatening whom with a casus belli (cause for war) in the Mediterranean.”

Mitsotakis said, “I agree with President Macron that we Europeans must stop naively accepting the tectonic shifts in the global geopolitical chessboard… Greece is the last Western garrison in the east. Geography dictates it, history confirms it, and civilization seals it.”

President Joe Biden of America – when Vice President in the Barack Obama administration – condemned Turkey’s role in Syria.

Biden said – similar to Macron – “What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

Associated Foreign Press reports (2022), “The heartland of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, Sinjar is frequently targeted by Turkish airstrikes against bases of Turkey’s separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).”

A Yazidi activist continued, “The international community also has a moral responsibility towards Yazidis and the people of Sinjar. It is both painful and illogical that these attacks go [unaddressed] as if they are legitimate. It seems Turkey can get away with anything.”

If Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger merely force out one foreign power to be replaced by another – then this policy will backfire in the long term. The Sahel nations need friendly ties and international support against the internal Islamist threats they face.

NATO also needs to tackle Turkey – if not, this organization is stabbing itself in the back.


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July 3 2024
Turkey’s media watchdog revokes radio station license over ‘Armenian genocide’ reference

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Turkey’s broadcasting and streaming regulator, has cancelled the broadcasting license of independent radio station Açık Radyo (Open Radio) due to a reference to “genocide” in the mass killing of Armenians in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, a RTÜK member announced.

İlhan Taşçı announced on X on Wednesday that RTÜK cancelled Açık Radyo’s broadcasting license on the grounds that the station did not comply with a five-day broadcast ban it was given on accusations of “inciting hatred and enmity among the people.”

Taşçı said since the radio station paid the fine it was levied for the same reason and only failed to comply with the ban, RTÜK should have taken that into account and not cancelled its license.

Açık Radyo, a regional radio station established in 1995 and broadcasting from İstanbul, was slapped with RTÜK sanctions on May 22 including the five-day broadcasting ban and a fine of TL 189,000 ($5,800) due to the remarks of a guest speaker, political scientist Cengiz Aktar, on the Açık Gazete (Open Newspaper) program on April 24, when the mass killings of Armenians are commemorated.

Armenians say — supported by historians and scholars — 1.5 million of their people died in a genocide committed under the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Turkey accepts that both Armenians and Turks died in huge numbers as Ottoman forces fought czarist Russia but vehemently denies a deliberate policy of genocide and notes that the term had not been legally defined at the time.

Aktar’s remarks — “[Today] is the 109th anniversary of the mass deportation and massacre of [Armenians] on Ottoman soil described as genocide. As you know, Armenian genocide commemoration has again been banned this year” — drew RTÜK’s ire.

According to the watchdog, it is not possible to talk about freedom of _expression_ when journalists make non-factual statements that will destroy the unity and solidarity of society, polarize it or ruin its prestige. RTÜK said when announcing the reasons for its sanctions on the radio station that the guest speaker openly used the term “genocide” during the conversation and the program’s host failed to correct him in line with the broadcaster’s public duty and responsible broadcasting principles. As a result RTÜK found the exchange as having the potential to “incite hatred and enmity among the people.”

Açık Radyo, however, denied RTÜK’s accusations in a statement last month, saying that as a radio station which has the motto of being open to the “all the world’s voices, colors and vibrations,” it is impossible for the radio station to incite enmity among the people.

The station said since its establishment in 1995, Açık Radyo has been defending freedom of the press and freedom of _expression_ and that RTÜK’s accusations do not comply with these universal values.

The station said it has taken legal action to challenge RTÜK’s sanctions.

However, anonymous sources from Açık Radyo told the Bianet news website that the station paid the fine but was unable to halt its broadcast due to a technical problem and informed RTÜK accordingly.

They said RTÜK did not respond to their notification and cancelled the station’s license without waiting for the judicial process to play out since Açık Radyo had challenged RTÜK’s sanctions in court.

Although Açık Radyo was founded as a private company as required by Turkish law, it functions similarly to a nonprofit organization. The station’s format includes news, music and talk radio. All of Açık Radyo’s presenters and producers are volunteers except for those involved with the morning show.

It is common for pro-opposition or independent news channels in Turkey to face restrictions on their broadcasting through sanctions imposed by RTÜK, whose board members are appointed in proportion to the number of seats held by political parties in parliament, meaning that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) currently dominates the agency.

After a failed coup in July 2016, the Turkish government summarily shut down nearly 200 media outlets due to their alleged links to terrorism or their alleged involvement in terrorist propaganda. The post-coup crackdown also included the detention of dozens of journalists, which briefly made Turkey the second worst jailer of journalists in the world after China.

Turkey, which has been suffering from a poor record of freedom of the press for years, ranks 158th among 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index published on May 3 on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.


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Medya News
July 11 2024

Closed to all voices of the universe, hostile to Armenians

“The most fundamental characteristic of this model of enmity is that it understands and communicates everything in reverse. In fact, we are at the roots of a form of lawlessness that I call "anti-law", which was shaped in the Kurdish laboratory and originated in 1915”.

Ali Duran Topuz


The pretext fabricated to shut down Açık Radyo is the same accusation that was used at the beginning of the trial that led to the death of Hrant Dink. The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) combines hatred of Armenians with hostility towards freedom, resulting in the slandering of Açık Radyo.

Açık Radyo is such a wonderful station! But it is being shut down with an ugly slander. The allegation is that Açık Radyo violated the following legal provision:

(A broadcast under the supervision of RTÜK) “shall not incite society to hatred and enmity by discriminating on the basis of race, language, religion, gender, class, region and sect, or create feelings of hatred in society”.

These are slanders, outright slanders. We are really talking about a radio station that is “open to all the sounds of the universe”, a station that has managed to produce a quality that is rare not only in Turkey but worldwide. Unfortunately, there is a history of using the law to slander, which I’ll come back to later, but first let’s specify the reason for the accusation. A guest on an Açık Radyo programme mentioned “the Genocide” in relation to 1915. In other words, they spoke about the Armenian genocide.

Absurd but serious

One is tempted to say, if you are looking for an excuse to punish Açık Radyo, we can help, but please don’t resort to such ugly slanders: Finding evidence of “incitement to hatred and enmity” on Açık Radyo, or even the possibility of “discrimination on grounds of race, language, religion, gender, class, region and sect” is absurd. Were it not for the temporary closure decision and the threat of permanent closure, we could laugh, but the situation is very serious, embarrassingly serious.

But wait a minute, we recognise this phrase “incitement to hatred and enmity” from somewhere. Isn’t this a version of an article in the penal code that the RTÜK has adapted? Isn’t this the same charge on which Hrant Dink was tried? The same charge that made Dink the target of the hate campaigns that led to his assassination? So the same slander that was used against Hrant Dink is now being used against Açık Radyo. If the accusation was serious enough to warrant a murder, the radio station would be closed down! We call it slander, but don’t those who initiated the case against Dink and those who made the decision to close Açık Radyo know this? Of course they do! But there is a history that makes this slander possible, which I will also come back to below.

What a murderer doesn’t do to a radio station!

Just as it was absurd to claim that Hrant Dink had violated the Turkish Penal Code (formerly Article 301, now Article 216), it is equally absurd to claim that Açık Radyo had violated the aforementioned RTÜK article. The campaign of attacks against Dink and the “closure” procedure against Açık Radyo are based on the same illogical premise:

The illogicality of overturning an article of the law in order to fabricate a non-existent accusation.

Hrant Dink believed that recognition of the Armenian genocide would serve as a form of healing for Turkish society, allowing Armenians to process their pain and grief and Turks to face the truth and take responsibility. The article for which he was prosecuted criticised certain attitudes within the Armenian community, but the case was not brought because he “criticised Armenians”; it was brought to silence someone who said “genocide”. Saying “genocide” was a crime serious enough to lead to his murder. First the court opened the case, then he faced racist attacks accompanied by the “grey wolf” sign, and even that was not enough, so the police, informers, gendarmerie and intelligence officers all worked together to kill Dink. Let’s not forget: the racist, inciting media was active at every stage. So, what would those who kill people/have people killed not do with the radio?

Is it a crime to say ‘genocide’?

So what is this “Armenian” issue? Is it a crime to say “genocide”? What kind of discrimination occurs when someone says genocide? How does it incite hatred and enmity? What kind of hatred is created?

There is no article that criminalises saying “genocide”. If a citizen uses this term for 1915 or any other massacre (for example, I consider Dersim 1937-38 a genocide), there is no article in the law to prosecute them. You can’t manufacture a crime out of nothing or out of RTÜK. You can’t make a crime out of interpretation. You can’t present something that is not a crime as if it were a crime.

Saying that Armenians were subjected to genocide does not have the potential to incite “hatred and enmity”. Who would be provoked by an _expression_ of victimhood? But of course, hatred, hostility and feelings of enmity play a very crucial role in this game, which I will come to.

The real crime: hostility to Armenians

The relevant articles of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and the RTÜK are not really meant to punish Hrant Dink or Açık Radyo, but rather to protect the diversity they represent, address or are part of. So the attempt to close down Açık Radyo is itself a violation of this article!

However, those who enforce the laws are using these articles like torches to incite society and are themselves committing the real crime. How is this possible? How can an article of the law be so thoroughly subverted? And how can so few people notice the trickery? The thing that makes it possible is hatred and hostility, especially hostility to Armenians. And hatred of Armenians. This hatred and hostility will apparently not end until the last Armenian dies. It is a hostility that is so pervasive that it doesn’t seem to end even when there is no one left to say “Armenian”. Açık Radyo is being closed down precisely because it does not participate in hostility to Armenians, does not allow it and does not commit the crime of denial. RTÜK says: “Forget the voices of the universe, just be open to the voice of the state”.

This enmity needs a name

It is an enmity as poisonous as the anti-Semitism that led to the establishment of the Holocaust ovens, but for some reason it does not have a special name, whereas it is so advanced that it deserves a special name. It is an enmity that has penetrated all the institutions and laws of the Republic of Turkey and has penetrated deep into the psyche of those who run, operate and implement those institutions and laws; an enmity that is so ingrained in the state it always finds a response in the society, especially when we consider the confiscated movable and immovable property in 1915, i.e. the forbidden morsels or the cursed shares, this is a model of enmity that is hand in hand between the society and the state. When such a ready-made enmity is combined with an understanding of governance that is orientated towards silencing everyone, imprisoning those who do not, in short, establishing a dictatorship, we should not be surprised if TRT (Turkish Radio Television) is shut down tomorrow. In short, RTÜK wants to destroy Açık Radyo by combining hatred of Armenians and hostility towards freedom.

The most fundamental characteristic of this model of enmity is that it understands and communicates everything in reverse. In fact, we are at the roots of a form of lawlessness that I call “anti-law”, which was shaped in the Kurdish laboratory and originated in 1915. The trial against Hrant Dink (under the old TCK 301, now 216) and the punishment against Açık Radyo (under Article 8/1 of Law 6112) basically say this: You will not mention the Armenian question. Whether you are Armenian or not. Otherwise, we will silence you. If RTÜK is enough, through RTÜK. If not, with Ogün Samast – there are enough killers in our society.

Ali Duran Topuz, born in 1967 in Zara, Sivas, is a prominent journalist and writer. After studying law at Istanbul University and working briefly as a lawyer, he became a journalist in 1994. Topuz spent 17 years at Radikal newspaper, and was a founding editor and editor-in-chief of Gazete Duvar from 2016 to 2021. He is now a columnist for Artık Gerçek and has also published poems, stories and literary criticism in various magazines. He is known for his insightful commentary on the Kurdish issue, Alevis and other marginalised communities in Turkey. Follow him on Twitter.


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WE News
July 15 2024

Erdogan Insists on Armenian ‘Corridor’ for Azerbaijan to Ensure Peace

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his call for Armenia to open an extraterritorial corridor linking Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave, emphasizing that such a move is crucial for achieving lasting peace in the region.

Erdogan highlighted Turkey’s strong support for a comprehensive peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He underscored that the opening of the Zangezur corridor, connecting Nakhichevan with mainland Azerbaijan through Armenian territory, is a crucial step towards reconciliation.

“We hope that Azerbaijan and Armenia will achieve lasting peace which Turkey wholeheartedly supports,” Erdogan told reporters. “The opening of the Zangezur corridor is the final step of this agreement. We want positive decisions along this path to be made without delay.”

The proposal for the corridor has been a contentious issue in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia has maintained that any corridor must respect its sovereignty and ensure its control over all transit routes passing through its territory. This stance has been one of the main sticking points in the ongoing peace talks between the two South Caucasus nations.

“The Zangezur corridor is a strategic route that will benefit everyone, especially Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Iran,” Erdogan emphasized.

The corridor envisioned by Baku and Ankara would traverse through Syunik, an Armenian region bordering Iran. However, Iran has vehemently opposed any initiative that would undermine its existing border arrangements with Armenia and jeopardize its transport links.

Iranian leadership, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and former President Ebrahim Raisi, have expressed strong opposition to the “Zangezur corridor.” This opposition was reaffirmed during discussions between Iranian officials and Erdogan.

Despite Iran’s objections, Erdogan and Turkish officials continue to advocate for the corridor, framing it as a project that would not only benefit Turkey and Azerbaijan but also contribute to broader regional cooperation among Turkic nations.


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