ASBAREZ Online [06-29-2004]


1. Bush Defies Chirac, Says Turkey Merits EU Place
2. Safarov Trial for Gourgen Margaryan Murder Set for Fall
3. Rights Court Condemns Turkey for Expulsion of Kurds
4. Armenia Again Ready to Normalize Turkish Relations without Preconditions
5. Monument Dedicated to Unknown Soldiers Unveiled in Stepanakert
6. ‘Shen’ Will Provide 400 Computers to Karabagh Schools

1. Bush Defies Chirac, Says Turkey Merits EU Place

ISTANBUL (Reuters)George W. Bush said on Tuesday that Turkey belongs in the
European Union and that Europe is “not the exclusive club of a single
religion.” in what amounted to a rejection of French President Jacques
In remarks prepared for delivery at an Istanbul university, Bush refused to
back down in the face of Chirac’s criticism on Monday that Bush had no
urging the EU to set a date for Turkey to start entry talks into the union.
“America believes that as a European power, Turkey belongs in the European
Union,” Bush said.
Bush is to use the speech to try to mend relations between Muslims and
Americans left tattered relations by the war in Iraq. “We must strengthen the
ties and trust and good will between ourselves and the peoples of the Middle
East,” he said.
Bush held up Turkey as an example of a Muslim democracy and said its entry to
the EU would be “a crucial advance in relations between the Muslim world and
the West, because you are part of both.”
“Including Turkey in the EU would prove that Europe is not the exclusive club
of a single religion, and it would expose the ‘clash of civilizations’ as a
passing myth of history,” Bush said.
Chirac said on Monday that Bush should not comment on Turkey’s EU entry hopes
as EU affairs were none of his business.
“If President Bush really said that the way I read it, well, not only did he
go too far but he went into a domain which is not his own,” Chirac told
reporters at the summit.
“It is like me trying to tell the United States how it should manage its
relations with Mexico,” he added.
Turkey is keen to use the NATO Summit to showcase its credentials as a
westward-looking democracy before December, when EU leaders decide if it has
met the political criteria to be put on the formal road to EU membership.
Countries such as Germany, Italy and Britain strongly back Ankara’s bid, but
Chirac’s government has expressed wariness about kicking off a formal process
to admit the relatively poor country of 70 million people.

2. Safarov Trial for Gourgen Margaryan Murder Set for Fall

BUDAPEST (Combined Sources)–Criminal proceedings against Ramil Safarov for
brutal killing of Gourgen Margaryan is set to begin in Budapest sometime this
Senior Lieutenant Ramil Safarov, an Azeri officer is accused of hacking
Margaryan to death, and of attempting to murder a second Armenian officer Hayk
Makuchyan. All three soldiers were attending a NATO Partnership for Peace
training program in Budapest. Margaryan, 26, was murdered with an ax as he
slept in the early hours of February 19.
Nazeli Vardanyan, the lawyer for the family of Margaryan, recently stated
a September trial is unlikely due to the fact that the months of July and
August are set aside for vacationing in Hungary.
Vardanyan is representing the interests of the legal successors of Margaryan
as well as Makuchyan, who is also recognized as a victim in the case.
Safarov is charged with premeditated murder which carries a 10 to 15 years or
life imprisonment. The court has yet to decide whether the trial will be
public. If he is convicted, Sarafov could be transferred to his homeland to
serve his sentence.

3. Rights Court Condemns Turkey for Expulsion of Kurds

STRASBOURG (AFP)–The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday condemned
Turkey for expelling about 15 Kurdish villagers from their homes under a 1994
state of emergency and for preventing them from recovering their property.
The decision is the first with a bearing on the inability of hundreds of
to return home to their villages in southeastern Turkey until July 2003.
Ankara “had the essential duty and responsibility of guaranteeing the
conditions–and providing the means–to allow the plaintiffs to return home of
their free will, in security and with dignity…or to voluntarily make a new
home elsewhere in the country,” the court ruled.
Some 1,500 similar demands have been brought before the court, about
one-fourth of the total cases it is hearing against Turkey, which hosted a
two-day NATO summit in Istanbul that ended Tuesday.
Ankara, bidding to join the European Union, has faced an uphill struggle over
its human rights record.
The European judges Tuesday ruled unanimously that Turkey infringed the right
to the protection of property and failed to respect family rights.
The plaintiffs were expelled from the village of Boydas, near Hozat, during
clashes between security forces and Kurdish separatist sympathizers.
The villagers “were deprived of all the resources essential to their
livelihood,” the court said, adding that the Turkish authorities failed to
provide alternative housing.
The court noted that draft legislation on compensation for damages resulting
from the “fight against terrorism” was still under consideration and
offered no
For 15 years, Southeastern Turkey was the scene of heavy fighting between the
Turkish army and rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, who sought
self-rule in the mainly Kurdish region.
The PKK announced a unilateral ceasefire in 1999 and withdrew from Turkey,
its successor, the Kongra-gel, announced last month that it was ending the
truce as of June 1.
Clashes have been on the rise in the region.

4. Armenia Again Ready to Normalize Turkish Relations, without Preconditions

ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
released details of his June 28 meeting with Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul,
noting that during the frank discussion, Turkey expressed its interest in
improving relations with Armenia, but added that the timing for such action is
not politically conducive for Turkey.
Oskanian, who met with Gul on the sidelines of the NATO summit, confirmed
Armenia is ready to normalize trade and diplomatic relations with Turkey
without pre-conditions. The two ministers also discussed the Mountainous
Karabagh conflict. Although no details regarding the situation in Karabagh
released, Oskanian did say that he briefed Gul about his meeting in Prague
Azeri foreign minister Elmar Mamedyarov.
Later in the day, the Armenian, Azeri, and Turkish foreign ministers met to
discuss regional and international issues, including NATO priorities in the
area. The NATO summit later adopted the document Euro-Atlantic Cooperation:
Review and Reassessment that shifts the body’s attention from the Balkans and
countries of Central and Eastern Europe, to the South Caucasus and Central
The three also discussed the future of the region in light of the European
Union’s (EU) outreach to the South Caucasus. Oskanian stressed that the
realities in the region are sure to change considering Turkey’s aspirations to
join the European body, as well as the inclusion of Armenian, Azerbaijan, and
Georgia in the EU Wider Europe: New Neighbors program. They addressed
cooperation within the framework of that program.
Though the Mountainous Karabagh conflict was not discussed in detail, the
Turkish press reported on Tuesday that Turkey seeks to assume the role of
mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan in an effort to resolve the dispute.
The Azeri newspaper 525 Gazet quoted a Turkish diplomatic source as saying
that a new formula to regulate the Karabagh conflict was put forth, similar to
that used in regulating the Cyprus issue, that “maximally considers the rights
and interests of Armenian and Azeri population of Karabagh.”

5. Monument Dedicated to Unknown Soldiers Unveiled in Stepanakert

STEPANAKERT (ARMENPRESS)A newly constructed monument dedicated to the unknown
soldiers of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict was unveiled in Stepanakert on
Monday. Family members of missing combatants and high ranking government and
military officials attended the ceremonies, including Mountainous Karabagh
Republic (MKR) President Arkady Ghougassian, National Assembly President Oleg
Yessayan and Prime Minister Anoushavan Daniyelian.
MKR Education, Culture and Sports Minister Armen Sargssian presided over the
ceremony and introduced a number of speakers, including mother of fallen
soldier Rosa Stasian, MKR military deputy Vladik Khatchadrian, International
Red Cross Stepanakert office representative Viacheslav Movsisian and Families
of Unknown and Missing Soldiers Association president Vera Krikorian.
Krikorian’s organization has registered the names of over 700 soldiers whose
whereabouts are unknown.
The construction of the monument was a collaborative effort between designer
Alexander Mamounsti, sculptor Tavit Mesrobian, and architect Nevair Mikaelian.

6. ‘Shen’ Will Provide 400 Computers to Karabagh Schools

(Azat Artsakh)The charitable organization “Shen,” which has been active in
Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh, has announced its plans to supply 400
computers to the schools of Karabagh. To date, the program has been
in the Askeran and Shoushi regions of the country.
“Children living and studying in the villages must not be cut from the
said Karen Aramian who serves as Shen’s representative in Karabagh. The
representative stated that schools within the Martouni region will receive
twelve computers in the near future. Program administrators have decided to
allocate at least two computers to each school. After the computers are
distributed, the organization will launch the second stage of the program,
which aims at equipping the schools with internet access.
“Shen” was established in 1988 by a group of Yerevan Polytechnic College
professors and students who were interested in addressing the myriad of
problems that emerged after the devastating Spitak earthquake, the imposition
of severe blockades of overland communications by Turkey and Azerbaijan and
start of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. The word “Shen” in Armenian
means a
well-to-do, and reflects the mission of the organizations, which aims to
rehabilitate disadvantaged Armenian villages. The organization has active
chapters in the Armenia, Mountainous Karabagh, France and the United States.

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