Journal of Turkish Weekly
Sept 22 2012
Turkish PM to Make No Show at UN
Saturday, 22 September 2012
By Sevil KüçükkoÅ?um, Hurriyet Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an has canceled a planned visit to
New York City for the U.N. General Assembly, citing a busy schedule
and preparations for his party’s upcoming convention, his office said
yesterday. Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄ?lu will represent Turkey at
the United Nations in place of ErdoÄ?an, the statement said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) fourth congress on
Sept. 30, the prime minister’s hesitation at going abroad amid
increased militant activity, as well as the lack of a chance to meet
with U.S. President Barack Obama, were all cited as three reasons for
ErdoÄ?an’s last-minute cancelation, according to a source from the
The AKP’s upcoming big congress will see the participation of nearly
10 government heads and foreign presidents, spurring ErdoÄ?an to pay
close attention to the organization of the gathering as he plans to
hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines.
Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an also expressed hesitation at being abroad for a
long period of time amid tense fighting between the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish Armed Forces, according to the
U.S. President Barack Obama, with whom ErdoÄ?an had wanted to meet, is
also only expected to participate in one session of the U.N. General
Assembly due to his presidential election campaign schedule and would
not have the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with ErdoÄ?an and
other world leaders.
There were no other significant bilateral meetings on ErdoÄ?an’s
schedule as Obama’s expected absence meant many other leaders were
also choosing to stay away.
`Our martyrs, who have lost their lives in many corners of the world,
will never be forgotten,’ DavutoÄ?lu said.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird also spoke during the ceremony.
`Sadly, both Turkey and Canada have lost talented and distinguished
diplomats through senseless acts of violence directed at our
countries,’ said Baird. `Recent events prove, tragically, that the
dangers facing diplomats and public servants in foreign postings are
still an unfortunate reality.’
The monument in Ottawa stands on the spot where AltÄ±kat was
assassinated on his way to work by gunmen from the Armenian Secret
Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA). The gunmen fired a number
of shots at AltÄ±kat while he was stopped at a red light, killing him
The cone-shaped wood and metal monument, designed and built by a
Turkish team headed by sculptor Azimet Karaman, is intended also to
restore good relations between Canada and Turkey.
A row erupted between the two countries a number of years ago over
Ottawa’s recognition of what it terms the Armenian genocide of 1915.
The monument’s large, open face points upward toward the `gateway of
eternity,’ while the winnowed base points downward into the `gateway
according to the dedication. A series of metal prisms lining the
monument represent the fallen; a single prism located at the base pays
special tribute to AltÄ±kat.
The militant group ASALA, active from 1975 to 1991, claimed
responsibility for around 200 attacks on Turkish diplomatic and
non-diplomatic institutions and was responsible for the deaths of 58
people, 34 of whom were Turkish diplomats.
ASALA, which demanded territory in eastern Turkey for what it termed
the Armenian genocide, was listed as a terrorist organization by the
United States until it disbanded.
Saturday, 22 September 2012