ASBAREZ Online [05-03-2005]

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05/03/2005
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1) Davis Warns of Strict Measures in Case of Ceasefire Violation
2) ARF Youth Reacts to Absurd Letter
3) Premier Carr Meets European Armenian Community Leader
4) Switzerland Confirms Legal Case against Turkish Professor
5) Aliyev Avoids Summit in Protest against Armenian ‘Aggression’

1) Davis Warns of Strict Measures in Case of Ceasefire Violation

MOSCOW (Armenpress)–Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis spoke
sternly about consequences in the case of cease-fire agreement violations on
the Armenian-Azeri contact zone, reported “Prime” news agency.
Davis warned that if any of the conflicting sides resorts to military
actions, the Council of Europe would undertake strict measures without waiting
for the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE). He
added that the Council of Europe is willing to help the OSCE Minsk Group in
regulating the Karabagh conflict.
“The Karabagh conflict must be solved in a way beneficial both for
Armenia and Azerbaijan,” said the Secretary General.

2) ARF Youth Reacts to Absurd Letter

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Reacting to a letter issued by a group of students calling
themselves the Armenian Youth Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s
Youth Organization and the Nigol Aghbalian Student Union issued a statement on
May 3 stating, “Nobody has the right to violate the rights of the Armenian
people on behalf of the Armenian youth.”
According to reports in April 30 issues of the Hayastani Hanrapetutiun
and Aravot newspapers, a conference organized by the Armenian Youth Party on
April 29, passed a decision to send a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayip Erdogan. The letter, in particular, states: “Mr. Prime Minister: Yes,
the
Armenian Genocide did happen but today’s Turkey is not responsible for the
Genocide.”
“Protesting some of the views expressed in the letter, we see it as our
duty to once again underscore that today’s Turkey must not only officially
recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, but also compensate the Armenian
people. The issue is the restoration of our rights and the justice,” the
statement concluded.

3) Premier Carr Meets European Armenian Community Leader

SYDNEY (EAFJD)–The Premier of New South Wales (NSW) Bob Carr on Tuesday met
with Chair of the European Armenian Federation of Justice and Democracy
(EAFJD)
Hilda Tchoboian, who is visiting the city to participate in local
commemorations marking the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Carr was joined by the Chair of the Community Relations Commission, Stepan
Kerkyasharian, and Chair of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee, Dr.
Tro Kortian.
Discussions focused on commemoration activities for the 90th anniversary of
the Armenian genocide and issues affecting the Armenian community.
“I welcome Tchoboian’s visit to Australia and heightening awareness of the
Armenian genocide,” Carr said. “I join with the Armenian Australian community
in marking this year’s important anniversary, and the call for justice,
acknowledgement and remembrance.”
The Federation aims to act as a link and advocate between European
Institutions and the Armenian communities through the European Union;
provide a
better understanding of Armenian related political and strategic issues to the
European Union; and foster the European Union’s values of tolerance and
dialogue in Armenian related issues.
Since 2000, Tchoboian has been a consultant to the UN High Commissioner on
Human Rights. She is also the President of the Govcas Center for Law and
Conflict Resolution and publisher of the “Govcas Bulletin”.

4) Switzerland Confirms Legal Case against Turkish Professor

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Switzerland confirmed opening a legal investigation
against Turkish Institute of History (TTK) Chairman Prof. Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu
about his statement on the Armenian genocide.
Swiss authorities placed the Turkish professor on their red list for his
claims that there was no Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turkey.
The step comes after Yusuf Halacoglu’s insistent and public rejection last
year of the Armenian genocide, when he said that Armenians, in fact, killed
Ottomans, and claimed that “many studies had been conducted in the archives of
several countries, and mostly in that of the Ottoman Empire, but have not
turned up a single document or record mentioning genocide.”
Releasing a statement on Monday, the Swiss Embassy in Ankara said, “It is
true
that a complaint against Prof. Halacoglu was deposited by a third
party–not by
an official state prosecutor–with the competent local legal authorities of
Winterthur after Prof. Halacoglu delivered there in spring of last year a
speech on the Armenian issue.”
“According to Swiss legal procedures, an investigation has to be opened after
the deposition of any complaint to clarify the facts. This investigation
against Prof. Halacoglu is still pending. In the context of this
investigation,
the local legal authorities of Winterthur have forwarded in a normal and
ordinary procedure an information request regarding the personal data of Prof.
Halacoglu via Interpol to the competent Turkish authorities,” it said.
The Swiss Embassy denied allegations that Prof. Halacoglu was condemned,
formally accused, or searched by the Swiss authorities.
Noting that local legal authorities in Winterthur had not yet decided whether
the complaint was acceptable or not, the Embassy said, “they need further
necessary information before they can take any decision in this case.”
“The Swiss government welcomes the proposal of the Turkish government that a
joint commission by Turkish and Armenian historians is looking into this
issue,” the Embassy added.
The Armenian genocide issue has overshadowed Turkey-Switzerland relations
from
time to time. The dispute comes at a time when relations between the two
countries appeared to be calming down after a period that was marked by
tensions over the Armenian genocide.
The canton of Vaud’s parliament voted to recognize the Armenian genocide,
leading to Ankara withdrawing an invitation for Swiss Foreign Minister
Micheline Calmy-Rey to visit Turkey in September 2003.
A similar vote on the Armenian matter by the House of Representatives three
months later drew fresh condemnation from Turkey.
Calmy-Rey finally made the trip to Ankara at the end of March this year,
which
resulted in the two countries agreeing to disagree over the Armenian issue.
Winterthur’s prosecuting magistrate Andrej Gnehm also said on Monday that he
had asked Interpol to provide him with information about the historian.
Insisting that that Halacoglu be interrogated to decide whether to go further
with the investigation, Gnehm added that denying the fact of the Armenian
genocide is equivalent to denying the Holocaust.
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper on
Monday that the decision by the canton of Zurich and some European parliaments
to “forbid the rejection of the Armenian genocide” was a “terrible mistake”.
Gul added that Zurich’s inquiry was also against the European
Agreement on Human Rights and that Europe was “trampling on its own
foundations” by stopping the freedom of expression.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Monday that it had summoned the Swiss
ambassador to Turkey, Walter Gyger, to explain the move. The Turkish
embassy in
the Swiss capital, Bern, has also protested to the Swiss government.
It added, however, that Bern and Ankara were “closely collaborating” and that
Switzerland had been cooperative over the matter.

5) Aliyev Avoids Summit in Protest against Armenian ‘Aggression’

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Azeri president Ilham Aliyev announced his decision not to
attend an upcoming summit of former Soviet republics in protest against
“Armenian aggression” in Karabagh.
Aliyev announced on Monday that he will not take part in the May 8 summit in
Moscow of the Commonwealth of Independent States because it will coincide with
the 13th anniversary of one of the most serious Azeri setbacks in the 1991-94
Karabagh war. He said he will instead attend the May 9 ceremonies in Moscow
marking the 60th anniversary of Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
“The Azerbaijani president does not consider it appropriate to participate in
a meeting which will be attended by the president of an aggressor country,
Armenia, on the day when the [Karabagh] town of Shushi was seized by Armenian
occupying forces,” Aliyev’s press service was reported to state.
But Kocharian’s office dismissed this explanation, saying that Shushi was in
fact fully “liberated from Azerbaijani occupation” on May 9, 1992. “That
day is
officially marked every year in the republics of Armenia and
Nagorno-Karabakh,”
it said.
Once the cultural and political center of Karabagh Armenians, Shushi was
mainly populated by Azeris when the conflict broke out in 1988. Nestled on a
hilltop just 15 kilometers southwest of Stepanakert, it provided an ideal
position for Azeri troops that bombarded the Karabagh capital on an almost
daily basis during the initial stage of the war.
Shushi remained the only Azeri stronghold inside Karabagh when Armenian
forces
successfully won it back it 13 years ago. The town’s fall precipitated the
opening of a land corridor between Armenia and the disputed enclave which
proved vital for Armenian victory in the war.
The Moscow summit was seen as a possible occasion for a widely anticipated
meeting between Aliyev and Kocharian, which international mediators say could
yield a breakthrough in the Karabagh peace process. It is not clear if
Aliyev’s
decision made an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in the Russian capital
impossible.

The two men could also meet in Warsaw on the sidelines of a Council of Europe
summit scheduled for May 16-17.
The US, Russian, and French mediators discussed preparations for the
Aliyev-Kocharian meeting during separate “proximity talks” with the Armenian
and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in London on April 17. They held a follow-up
meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Frankfurt on
April 27.

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