ASBAREZ Online [01-26-2005]


1) Armenia Reacts to PACE Resolution
2) Reference of Genocide to be Included in Turkish Textbooks
3) Armenian Caucus Co-chairs Call on Bush Administration to Renounce
Accusations by State Department Official on Karabagh
4) Melkonian Trust Monitoring Group Meets with Patriarch in Support of Legal
5) Turkish Army Warns Iraqi Kurds, US over Kirkuk
6) European Court of Justice Demands Turkey to Pay up for Inhumane Treatment

1) Armenia Reacts to PACE Resolution

Foreign Ministry emphasizes Minsk Group’s role in negotiations, non-binding
nature of resolution

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparian
criticized, on Wednesday, a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE) resolution that addresses the Armenian occupation of Azeri territories
around Mountainous Karabagh.
Adopted on Tuesday, the resolution states that “the occupation of foreign
territory by a member state constitutes a grave violation of that state’s
obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.” It also notes that the
Karabagh war has led to the creation of “mono-ethnic areas which resemble the
terrible concept of ethnic cleansing.”
Gasparian called the document flawed, saying that it “addresses consequences
of the conflict without looking into its root causes.”
“Nonetheless, the resolution is not legally binding. It is only advisory and
declarative,” he said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry’s statement emphasizes that the Karabagh peace
process is
spearheaded by the OSCE’s Minsk Group and the Council of Europe. “We believe
that the positive and negative sides of the resolution will not have much
of an
impact on negotiations.”
Levon Mkrtchian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a member of the
government coalition, warned of pitfalls lying ahead. “I don’t think that the
document will have a direct influence on the Minsk Group process,” he said.
“But it could complicate the situation in a different way. It could create an
illusion among Azerbaijan’s leaders that they can toughen their position and
exert pressure on Armenia with such methods.”

2) Reference of Genocide to be Included in Turkish Textbooks

ANKARA–The Republic of Turkey’s Education Ministry recently announced that
elementary-level history textbooks will, for the first time, include reference
to the genocide committed against the Ottoman-Armenians. The textbooks,
however, will include both, what Turkey refers to, the “Armenian version” of
the genocide, and an “official” government sanctioned version of the events.
The chairman of the Education Ministry’s committee on textbooks, Moustafa
Safran, explained that the inclusion of the genocide arose from the fact that
Armenians have insisted that the events that occurred between 1915-1923
as “genocide.” In order to address the issue, Safran said, the committee
decided to include both the Armenian and Turkish perspectives–a move allowing
students the information necessary to form an educated opinion–according to
the committee.
Safran noted his committee realizes that it is impossible nowadays to shield
Turkish school children from “Armenian claims,” and that it is their intention
to bolster the government’s position on the issue by including archival
documents, which reportedly prove that the genocide never occurred.
Safran’s committee has also decided to exclude incendiary remarks such as “we
crushed the Greeks,” and be particular in its definitions of “heroes” and
“traitors.” Textbooks will note that numerous Kurdish tribes assisted Mustafa
Kemal’s efforts in establishing a “modern” Turkey.

3) Armenian Caucus Co-chairs Call on Bush Administration to Renounce
Accusations by State Department Official on Karabagh

WASHINGTON, DC–US Reps. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ),
cochairmen of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, called on the US
State Department to formally renounce remarks by a State Department
official in
Moscow that described the government of Mountainous Karabagh Republic as
“criminal secessionists.”
The lawmakers made the request in a letter to Secretary of State nominee
Condoleezza Rice, referring to a statement made by Assistant Secretary of
Elizabeth Jones during a January 13 digital video-conference with journalists
at US Embassies in Moscow, Rome, and Bratislava.
Expressing serious concern about the inaccurate characterization of Karabagh,
the co-chairs said, “These unfounded and incendiary accusations undermine the
very principles underlying our role as an honest broker in the Organization
Security and Cooperation’s Minsk Group Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.”
The letter also stresses the damage of such remarks as it “unfairly
the tremendous progress that the people and government of Nagorno-Karabakh
made in establishing democratic institutions, even as they have struggled to
rebuild their homes, schools and farms destroyed by years of brutal Azerbaijan
Jones’s false charge that the government is “criminal,” the lawmakers said,
“only serves to further encourage irresponsible senior Azerbaijani leaders
are already calling for a military solution to the Karabakh issue.”

4) Melkonian Trust Monitoring Group Meets with Patriarch in Support of Legal

ISTANBUL–The Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Mesrob Mutafyan, held a meeting
with members of the Monitoring Group on the Melkonian Trust (MGMT) to discuss
the pending suit against New York-based Armenian General Benevolent Union
(AGBU). The January 24 meeting took place Armenian Patriarchal headquarters in
The MGMT members thanked the Patriarch for his willingness to act on the
in order to assure that the historic school continues to function.
As reported on January 20, Archbishop Mutafyan, in his fiduciary capacity as
Patriarch of Constantinople, filed a lawsuit against New York-based Armenian
General Benevolent Union (AGBU) on January 13, 2005. The suit, which mainly
addresses the formal announcement made by the AGBU in March 2004 that it would
be closing the Melkonian Educational Institution in Nicosia, Cyprus at the end
of the 2005 school year, was filed in the Superior Court of the State of
California for the County of Los Angeles by plaintiff Mutafyan’s
California-based attorney Mark Macarley.
In July 1921, wealthy Armenian businessman Garabed Melkonian donated a
gift to
then Patriarch of Constantinople Zaven Der Yeghyayan, to establish and
Armenian schools, as well as carry out various charitable works for the
Armenian people. In 1924, the value of the gift was at least $3.5 million and
per Melkonian’s request, an Armenian school and orphanage named the Melkonian
Educational Institute was established in Nicosia, Cyprus.
In 1925, Patriarch Der Yeghyayan transferred the entire Melkonian gift,
including the Melkonian Educational Institute, to the AGBU due to the latter’s
expressed ability to better manage the trust’s assets and execute the donor’s
Archbishop Mutafyan informed the members of the MGMT that he first became
aware of the existence and contents of the 1926 Deed of Amendment to the
Melkonian Trust on December 28, 2004, through the Melkonian Educational
Institute Alumni in Los Angeles, and emphasized that he is now cognizant of
multiple obligations the AGBU accepted from his predecessor, Patriarch Der
Yeghyayan, in 1926.
The suit, Arch. Mesrob Mutafyan vs. Armenian General Benevolent Union,
petitions to compel AGBU to perform the Trustee’s duties and redress a breach
of trust by payment of money or otherwise.

5) Turkish Army Warns Iraqi Kurds, US over Kirkuk

ANKARA (AFP)–Ethnic strife in Kirkuk, sparked by Kurdish attempts to take
control of the oil-rich city in northern Iraq, would create “serious” security
concerns for Turkey, the Turkish army warned on Wednesday. It might also
open a
rift with the United States, it said.
The number two in line, in the influential Turkish military, renewed Ankara’s
charges that more Kurds than those expelled from Kirkuk under Saddam Hussein’s
regime have now settled in the city and registered for Sunday’s elections in
“We have repeatedly said that such a situation may make the election results
in Kirkuk disputable and make it almost impossible to find a fair and lasting
solution for Kirkuk,” General Ilker Basbug told a news conference.
“Moreover, we are concerned that such developments will pose a threat to
territorial and political unity and create a great security problem in the
region,” he said. “Such a development will also create a serious security
problem for Turkey.”
Ankara is vehemently opposed to Kurdish control of Kirkuk, which many Kurds
want to incorporate into their enclave in northern Iraq and even see as the
capital of a future independent Kurdish state, a nightmare scenario for Iraq’s
Earlier this month the Kurds reached a deal with the Iraqi government that
cleared the way for an estimated 100,000 Kurds said to have been expelled from
Kirkuk in the past, to vote for the new local government in the elections.
The deal effectively tipped the balance of power to the Kurds, fanning ethnic
tensions in the city, home to a large number of Turkmen, a community of
descent backed by Ankara.
Basbug warned that post-election disputes in Kirkuk “may lead to
confrontations…and may pull the trigger for a civil war in Iraq.”
Asked about the United States’s role in preventing unrest in the region, the
general conceded that “the circumstances in Iraq are very difficult,” but
cautioned that ethnic tensions in Kirkuk might deal a blow to Turkey’s ties
with its long-standing ally.
“If the people of Kirkuk endorse the election results, we will conclude that
no major problem exists,” he said. “But if the opposite happens, then we will
see that we have differences” with the US.

6) European Court of Justice Demands Turkey to Pay up for Inhumane Treatment

The European Court of Justice demanded on January 25 that Turkey pay 10,000
euros to a man who was subjected to harm and electric shock when taken into
custody by Turkish police.
On the night of April 1, 1996, 29-year-old Hussein Syunal was taken to jail
and endured inhumane treatment, including electric shock. The same night,
Syunal was taken to the hospital, where he was reported to have had numerous
injuries to his head, body, including his tongue. It later became apparent
during questioning, the police had tied electric lines to his tongue.

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