Asa Jennings: A failed Minister who saved 250,000 Christians during Armenian Genocide

Asa Jennings was a failed small-town Methodist minister from upstate New York working for the YMCA in Smyrna, Turkey, in 1922, when he saved a quarter of a million Christians from perishing in a brutal final chapter of the Armenian Genocide, according to

“A private individual, a guy without portfolio, who held a minor position in the YMCA, came forward and put together this astonishing rescue,” says Lou Ureneck, who spent four years researching and writing Jennings’ story. “One of the things I hope the book does is give America another hero. People ought to know about the work of Asa Jennings.”

The College of Communication journalism professor’s book, The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide (Ecco, 2015) will debut at an event this week in Washington, D.C., amid commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the genocide’s beginning. The story’s staying power can be seen today in the continuing controversy over use of the word “genocide” and persecution of Christian minorities in other Muslim countries in the Middle East.

“I think the world has awakened to what happened in Asia Minor during those years,” Ureneck says. “When will Turkey stop denying it? I have no idea. But clearly there are a lot of people in Turkey who would like to know the truth, who are willing to admit the truth, who want to know the facts. So I think eventually Turkey will reconcile itself to its history. But it’s not an easy thing for any country to do, to admit it participated in a genocide.”

Erdogan declines Putin’s invitation to Moscow ceremony in fresh diplomatic snub

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declined an invitation from counterpart Vladimir Putin to attend the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Moscow’s victory in World War II, in an apparent diplomatic reprisal againstRussian leader’s decision to label the 1915 killings of Ottoman Armenians as genocide last month, the reports.
Russian diplomatic sources told daily Hürriyet on May 5 that Turkey would be represented by Ambassador Ümit Yardım at the May 9 Victory Day Parade in Moscow.
Upon a question from a Russian journalist, Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek said during his visit to Moscow on April 15 that he “was sure that President [Erdogan] would try to come” to Moscow for the ceremony.
“April 24, 1915 is a melancholy date, related to one of the most horrendous and dramatic events in human history, the genocide of the Armenian people,” Putin said in a letter to the World Without Genocide commemorative event on April 23, the text of which was also posted on the Kremlin website. Furthermore, the Duma voted on April 24 to pass a resolution that described the 1915 events as genocide.
Putin and French President François Hollande were among the leaders to join the commemorations in Armenia’s capital Yerevan on April 24 to mark the 100th anniversary.
After the Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Putin and the Duma, President Erdogan personally dove into the issue.
“We wish that Mr. Putin and Mr. Hollande had not gone to Armenia [on April 24]. Two heads of states went there [in Yerevan]. Thank God, 20 heads of state came to us,” Erdogan said.
Diplomatic sources in Moscow told Hürriyet that Putin’s invitation was conveyed toAnkara in March, but Putin’s stance over 1915 prompted Turkey to decline it.

Russian arms exporter plans to expand deliveries to Turkey

Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport plans to expand deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Turkey, the company’s press service announced Tuesday, Sputnik reports.

“[W]e are actively working on expanding deliveries of Russian arms and military equipment to Turkey,” Rosoboronexport’s press service cited Anatoly Aksyonov, who is heading the company’s delegation at the IDEF-2015 international defense industry exhibition in Instanbul, as saying.

He added that Russian-Turkish technological cooperation would continue in joint projects to include short-range missile defense systems, tactical digital communications, orbital space systems, as well as various military and marine equipment and arms.

According to Aksyonov, as quoted on the Rosoboronexport website, Russia currently provides after-sales service for Mi-17 transport helicopters and supplies spare parts for Russian-made military equipment. The company is also expected to offer programs to upgrade Russian equipment supplied earlier.