Armenia–Turkey relations

There are currently no formal diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey. While Turkey recognized the state of Armenia soon after Armenia's independence, it refusedFact|date=October 2007 for various reasons to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Armenian state. In 1993, Turkey closed its borders with Armenia due to the Nagarno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Turkic nation with close ties to Turkey.cite news |title=The Ties That Divide |url=http://www.globalheritagefund.org/news/GHF_in_the_news/economist_ties_that_divide_june_17_06.asp |work=Economist|publisher=Global Heritage Fund |date=2006-06-15|accessdate=2008-08-14 ] Tensions stemming from the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire are a bitter point of contention, with the Armenian state decrying the killings as "genocide", a term whose applicability the Turkish state rejects.cite news
first=Ivan
last=Watson
coauthors=
url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6196764
title=Schism: Free Speech vs. 'Insulting Turkishness'
work=National Public Radio
date=2006-10-04
accessdate=2008-08-14
] Merely to speak of the Armenian Genocide in modern Turkey is to risk "insulting Turkishness", a criminal offense for which various Turkish intelligentsia have been brought to trial.cite news
first=Susanne
last=Fowler
url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/15/world/europe/15turkey.html?ex=1315972800&en=d225df1585544a62&ei=5088
title=Turkey, a Touchy Critic, Plans to Put a Novel on Trial
work=International Herald Tribune
publisher=New York Times
date=2006-09-15
accessdate=2008-08-14
] cite news
first=Kathleen
last=Moore
coauthors=
url=http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/12/b918d372-13df-48d1-87b5-4f09ba9062e8.html
title=Turkey: Trial Of Novelist Orhan Pamuk Puts Focus On Freedom Of Speech
work=Radio Free Europe
date=2006-11-15
accessdate=2007-08-19
] cite news
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4205708.stm
title=Turk 'genocide' author faces jail
work=BBC News
date=2005-11-01
accessdate=2008-08-14
] cite news
first=Felix
last=Corley
coauthors=
url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20020214/ai_n12598598
title=Obituary: Ayse Nur Zarakolu
work=The Independent
date=2002-02-14
accessdate=2008-08-14
]

While the lingering bitterness of the 1915 killings underlies the tension between the modern states, several key factors have served to exacerbate relations between the nations over the course of the ensuing century. In the 1970s and early 1980s, a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organization, calling itself the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), began an assassination and bombing campaign targeting Turkish diplomats all over the world, killing almost 50 Turkish nationals over the course of a decade (see list of ASALA attacks). These killings contributed to stoking resentment of ethnic Armenians among Turks, while exciting nationalistic sentiment in Turkey, a feature of the state reflected today in its persistent campaign to deny or rationalize the 1915 extermination of Armenians.Who|date=October 2007fact|date=August 2008 The 2007 assassination of Armenian intellectual Hrant Dink by a Turkish nationalist, and the ensuing scandal in which his killer was exalted as a hero by the policemen who had detained him served as a reminder of the historico-political tensions.

In the wake of Hrant Dink's murder, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens throughout the country marched in protest of the killing, sounding a hopeful note in the development of Armenian-Turkish relations. And in September 2008 Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, became the first ever Turkish leader to visit Armenia. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7602066.stm
accessdate=2008-09-12
title=Gul in landmark visit to Armenia
section=Europe
work=BBC News
date=2008-09-06
]

Turkic migration to Anatolia, and the rise of empire

Turkic tribes ranged westward towards the Middle East and Anatolia, encroaching upon local populations that included Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians. In 1071, the Seljuks routed the Byzantine army at Manzikert, an Armenian-populated city of Byzantine Anatolia. Turks easily overran Anatolia, despite occasional western incursions in the form of crusading armies and settlements. Absorbing and transmitting Islamic culture and civilization, and given an enormous superiority in population and organization, regional power naturally came to rest in the hands of the Turkic speaking population. Armenian communities continued to flourish under relatively tolerant Ottoman rule for centuries, either as minority populations in urban areas or as exclusively Armenian towns in rural areas. In cities such as Istanbul and İzmir, Armenians played particularly important roles; an 1851 New York Times report, for instance, indicates that Armenians comprised nearly one quarter of the population of Istanbul at that time, with over 200,000 residents. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A03EEDA103AE334BC4852DFB566838F649FDE
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=The Asia's News—The Greek Insurrection
work=cite web">url=http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9987685
title=Unearthing the past, endangering the future
work=Economist
date=2007-10-18
accessdate=2008-08-14
]

Armenian-Turkish relations during the decline of the Ottoman Empire

Hamidian rule

For a half century leading up to World War I, the Armenian populations of Anatolia became increasingly politically fractious, and in turn endured increasingly more brutal persecution under Sultan Abdul Hamid II. As the Ottoman Empire declined, its political leadership either authorized or tolerated increasingly violent and reckless attacks on the Armenian population, attracting harsh criticism from various Western nations whose missionary communities in Anatolia witnessed several massacres of Armenians. From 1894 to 1896, the Hamidian massacres took place with the Sultan ordered the massacring of up to 300,000 Armenians [Akcam, Taner. "A Shameful Act". 2006, page 42.] which resulted in at least 50,000 Armenian orphans. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C00EED7103BEE33A2575BC1A9649D94679ED7CF
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=FIFTY THOUSAND ORPHANS; Made So by the Turkish Massacres of Armenians
work=New York Times
date=1896-12-18
]

The concurrent and accumulated testimony of hundreds and thousands of intelligent people, Christian and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, European and American, made it conclusively certain that a massacre of innocents, unparalleled for ages, had been perpetrated in the Armenian provinces of Turkey. [" [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20817FE395A16738DDDAC0A94D9405B8685F0D3 DEBATE ON THE RESOLUTION; Speeches that Voiced the Senate Detestation of the Turks] ," "New York Times", January 25, 1896]

Following the Hamidian massacres, the seizure of the Ottoman Bank by Armenian revolutionaries later that year, apparently a naive plea for Western intervention on behalf of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, contributed to stoking Hamidian persecution of Armenians. While the nationalist dissidents who stormed the bank were granted safe passage out of the empire, the Armenian population at large found itself subject to intensified violence, as the sultan made no distinction between the revolutionaries who had stormed the bank and the Christian populations at large.

The ensuing violence prompted condemnation from several heads of state, including American President Grover Cleveland, who condemned the "bloody butchery" in Anatolia. While it remains unclear to what extent the violence against Armenians was governmentally organized, Cleveland's speech noted that "strong evidence exists of actual complicity of Turkish soldiers in the work of destruction and robbery." [Cleveland, Grover (1896-12-08) " [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00616FE3B5C17738DDDA10894DA415B8685F0D3 MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT; Belief Expressed that Christendom Will Not Much Longer Tolerate Atrocities in Armenia. THE CUBAN MATTER DISCUSSED Conditions Under Which the United States Might Be Compelled to Intervene. THINKS THE WILSON BILL SHOULD HAVE A LONGER TRIAL. Suggests the Use of the Surplus to Meet Any Deficiency in the Treasury. WOULD RETIRE DEMAND NOTES Army and Navy Progress Commended—Post Office mill Pension Reforms Urged—General Suggestions] ," "New York Times"]

In 1909, as the authority of the nascent Young Turk government splintered, Abdul Hamid II briefly regained his sultanate with a populist appeal to Islamism. 30,000 Armenians perished in the subsequent Adana Massacre. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A06E1D8173EE033A25756C2A9629C946897D6CF
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=30,000 KILLED IN MASSACRES; Conservative Estimate of Victims of Turkish Fanaticism in Adana Vilayet. DEADLY WORK CONTINUES Tribesmen Besiege Towns and March on Others—Messengers to American Women Slain. CLASH FEARED AT BEIRUT Druses Gather to Avenge Murder of Deputy and Mohammedans Prepare to Oppose Them
work=New York Times
date=1909-04-25
]

The Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide was the forcible deportation and massacre [" [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E03EEDE1730E733A0575BC0A9669D946796D6CF Lord Bryce's report on Armenian atrocities an appalling catalogue of outrage and massacre] ," "New York Times", Lord Bryce on Armenian Atrocities Fashions Drama, Page X2, October 8, 1916.] of a significant portion of the Ottoman Armenian population during the government of the Young Turks from 1915 to 1917 in the Ottoman Empire. [Bevan, Robert. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=KpYAWqx2eG4C&pg=PA25&dq=Cultural+Cleansing:+Who+Remembers+The+Armenians&ei=3aKkSPG2D4LKigHxhIRx&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U1joG-xxhwJ0KyBAJeN3dE-hEMLfg Cultural Cleansing: Who Remembers The Armenians] ," The Destruction of Memory, Reaction Books, London. 2006, pp. 25–60] According to Peter Balakian, the modern Turkish government has systematically denied or rationalized the killings of Armenians during the Ottoman period, inflaming Armenian resentment in Armenia and around the world. [Balakian, Peter. "The Burning Tigris" pn]

In recent years the Armenian Genocide has been increasingly discussed in Turkey, at conferences and universities,cite web
url=http://www.omroep.nl/human/tv/muur/artikel_chgo1.htm
title=Turkish Scholars Acknowledge the Genocide
] since the law does not prevent debates on the topic. Even though freedom of speech and freedom of thought are guaranteed by Turkish law [cite web
url=http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/World/turkey.htm
title=Turkey, Constitution, Government & Legislation
] due to the nature of Article 301, people claiming an Armenian Genocide can be accused of calling the nation "killers" and thus "insulting Turkishness". [Bostom, Andrew G. (2007-08-26) " [http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/08/congress_must_recognize_the_ar.html Congress Must Recognize the Armenian Genocide] ," "American Thinker". Accessed 2008-08-15.] Over eighty authors have faced prosecution for "insulting Turkishness"; [cite news|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/aug/07/culture.features
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Continental collisions (Maureen Freely and Elif Shafak talk to Richard Lea)
page=Books
work=Guardian
date=2007-08-07
first=Richard
last=Lea
] Kemal Kerinçsiz, an ultra-nationalist lawyer, is responsible for at least forty of them, and his group "Büyük Hukukçular Birliği" ("Great Union of Jurists" or "Turkish Lawyer's Union") for most of the rest. [cite news|first=Sarah|last=Rainsford|title=Turkish novelist case collapses|date=2006-09-21|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5366048.stm|work=BBC|accessdate=2008-08-14] [cite news|title=In Turkey, ultra-nationalist lawyer wins supporters as enthusiasm for the EU falls|date=2006-09-05|publisher=International Herald Tribune|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/06/europe/EU_GEN_Turkey_Nationalist_Lawyer.php |work=Associated Press |accessdate=2008-08-14] The Turkish educational system continues to proffer an alternative view of the events in its public schoolsFact|date=October 2007 and through many of its [http://www.tbmm.gov.tr/english/english.htm governmental websites] .

Democratic Republic of Armenia

The 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litowsk established three independent states in the Caucasus, including the Democratic Republic of Armenia. Within two months of its signing, the Ottoman Empire reneged on the treaty by invading the nascent Armenian state. Ottoman victory culminated in the Treaty of Batum in June 1918.

The Interwar Period, and The Soviet Era

The interwar period was marked by the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire; Anatolia became the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Turkish revolutionaries waged the Turkish War of Independence against Ottoman loyalists and invading forces, and engaged in continuing conflict with the Democratic Republic of Armenia.

Armenia formally declared war on September 24, 1920: the Turkish-Armenian War was underway. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk sent delegations to Moscow; the DRA would ultimately become the Armenian SSR of the Soviet Union. The Treaty of Kars was signed on October 23, 1921, between the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and representatives of Bolshevist Russia, Soviet Armenia, Soviet Azerbaijan and Soviet Georgia (all of which formed part of the Soviet Union after the December 1922 Union Treaty).

The Soviet Union and Turkey remained officially neutral after the Treaty of Kars, and there was no hostility between Turkey and the Armenian SSR. The land border was closed except for the Kars-Leninakan railway.

Capital Tax and Aşkale

During WWII, an extremely high tax burden was imposed on Armenian, Greek and Jewish citizens of Turkey, and tax assessors had a free hand in determining the amount, often amounts that could not be paid. In the winter of 1942, hundreds who could not pay, including elderly men, were brought to the town of Aşkale, with very harsh winters, and made to shovel snow continually for as much as 5 months. Some were able to pay locals to perform the labor for them, and some succumbed to the cold and conditions, sleeping in barns, coffeehouses, or anywhere else they could get shelter. [Yalcin, Kemal. " [http://www.gomidas.org/books/KemalYalcin.htm You Rejoice My Heart] ," Gomidas Books Ltd., London. 2007, pp. 78–89] The book "You Rejoice My Heart" by Turkish author Kemal Yalçın includes a visit by the author to Aşkale in the 1990s to learn first hand about the tax and the labor camps, the conditions and the victims at a time when this incident was dangerous and taboo to discuss in Turkey. [Yalçın, Kemal. "You Rejoice My Heart" pn]

Istanbul pogram

The Istanbul Pogrom is launched in Turkey against ethnic minorities residing in Istanbul, in particular Greeks, Armenians, and Jews.Speros Vryonis, "The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6–7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul", New York: [http://www.greekworks.com Greekworks.com] 2005, ISBN 0-9747660-3-8 ]

ASALA

ASALA, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, was a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organization that operated from 1975 to 1991. [Hayutyan, Vasn. "Vasn Hayrenyats", "ASALA", 1995 Verify source|date=August 2008] In the 1980s it launched a series of attacks against Turkish diplomats in several countries, with the intention to compel the Turkish Government to acknowledge publicly its responsibility for the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory.cite web
url=http://www.nps.edu/Library/Research/SubjectGuides/SpecialTopics/TerroristProfile/Prior/ASALA.html
title= Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
work=Patterns of Global Terrorism
accessdate=2008-08-14
author=U.S. Department of State
] The territorial claim related to the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and a Woodrow Wilson-era plan for an Armenian homeland.cite book
url=http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/trtoc.html
chapterurl=http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+tr0020)
chapter=Plans for Partitioning Turkey
accessdate=2008-08-14
author=Pitman, Paul M
title=Turkey: Country Studies
publisher=Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
date=2005-11-09
pages=283, 354-355
LOC=DR417.T874 1996
month=January
year=1995
]

A Diaspora organization without any known ties to the Soviet Armenian government, ASALA was considered to be a "terrorist organization" [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02E1DD1339F93AA35757C0A964948260
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=AROUND THE WORLD; Gunmen in Ottawa Wound Turkish Envoy
work=Associated Press
publisher=New York Times
date=1982-04-09
] in the West, for its regular attacks on Turkish officials. The group planned attacks worldwide, though it experienced internal splintering after its 1983 Orly Airport attack incurred non-Turkish casualties. According to MIPT website, there had been 84 incidents involving ASALA leaving 46 people dead, and 299 people injured.Fact|date=August 2008

A similar organization, Justice Commandos against the Armenian Genocide, at times known as the Armenian Revolutionary Army, was responsible for at least an additional six killings.Fact|date=August 2008 In a particular 1983 attack on the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon, the gunmen deliberately "sacrificed" themselves by setting off a bomb in the building, such that none of them survived. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0DF1139F932A05754C0A965948260&sec=health&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
date=1983-07-31
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=THE WORLD; A New Armenian Death Mission
work=New York Times
author=Freudenheim, Milt
coauthors=Giniger, Henry
]

Amidst a spate of attacks in 1985, U.S. President Ronald Reagan asked Congress to defeat a resolution recognizing the "genocidal massacre" of Armenians, in part for his fear that it might indirectly "reward terrorism". [cite news|url=http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50B1EF83C5F0C778CDDAC0894DD484D81&scp=1&sq=Reagan%20congress%20resolution%20%22genocidal%20massacre%22&st=cse
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Inconvenience vs. Armenians
work=New York Times
date=1985-05-04
page=Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 26, Column 1
]

Armenian independence 1991

Border

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the land border between Turkey and Armenia was opened for both road and rail traffic. However, in 1993 the border was closed by Turkey as part of its support for Azerbaijan during the Nagarno-Karabakh War. As the years progressed, other issues have been raised by Turkey as reasons for continuing to keep the boder closed, such as the demands by Armenia and the Armenian diaspora for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Relations between Armenia and Turkey had not formally developed in decades, as Soviet control co-opted Armenian diplomacy, preserving intercultural tensions between Armenians and Turks stemming from the 1915 massacres of the Armenian peoples of Anatolia.

Turkey approaches the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict using the Minsk Process Fact|date=November 2007 and standing by the principal of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Turkey supported indirect bilateral talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia Fact|date=November 2007. With the aim of playing a facilitator role, Turkey initiated a trilateral process of dialogue (Reykjavik, 2002 & Istanbul Summit, 2004) among the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In the post-Soviet climate of irredentism, Turkey was particularly wary of hard-line Armenian sentiment laying claim to the territory of "Historic Armenia" within Turkey. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, an Armenian political party among the Armenian coalition government, continues to insist on a reversion to the Treaty of Sevres territorial boundaries Fact|date=November 2007. The tension underlying the nations' borders is augmented by Turkey's conflict with Kurdish separatist groups; Turkey's initial closure of the border with Armenia occurred amidst a flaring up of violence between Kurdish separatist and Turkish government forces, at a time when Turkey was particularly concerned with its borders' security. [citation
url=http://hrw.org/reports/1996/Turkey.htm
title=Violations of the Right of Petition to the European Commission of Human Rights
accessdate=2008-08-14
publisher=Human Rights Watch
date=1996-04-01
volume=8, 4(D)
]

Some Armenian officials, such as Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan," [http://www.mediaforum.am/armtoday.php?year=2006&month=12&day=13&LangID=1 In Vartan Oskanian's Words, Turkey Casts Doubt On The Treaty Of Kars With Its Actions] ," "All Armenian Mass Media Association"] have asserted that there is no issue of border between Turkey and Armenia, except the Turkish government's fear of Armenian territorial designs. The border was agreed to while Armenia was under Soviet control, under the Kars treaty, which Oskanyan accuses Turkey of compromising by maintaining a closed border with Armenia. Armenia claims that Turkey is using the blockade to isolate the country with projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline and the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway, all of which directly bypass Armenia despite the economic logic of incorporating Armenia. A rail line from Kars to Baku already exists in fact, but is closed by Turkey, as it passes through the closed Turkish-Armenian border.

The Armenian demand to unify Karabakh with Armenia, which proliferated in the late 1980s, began in a relatively peaceful manner; however, as the Soviet Union's disintegration neared, the dispute gradually grew into a violent conflict between the ethnic groups in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in ethnic cleansing by all sides. [cite journal
title=Case Study in Ethnic Strife. (Nagorno-Karabakh)
journal=Foreign Affairs
volume=76
issue=1997
url=http://www.cilicia.com/armo19e.html
publisher=Council on Foreign Relations
month=June
year=1997
first=David
last=Rieff
accessdate=2008-08-14
] The closing of the border by Turkey may have been a preventative measure aimed at containing militarism and radicalism, as the isolation of indigenous Armenians within Turkey may have served to dissuade them from taking up arms in pursuit of political or territorial claims.

Turkey has opened its airspace to Armenia in a limited capacity, while land trade is currently diverted through Georgia.

Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant

Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is an additional point of conflict in Armenian-Turkish relations. While it produces nearly half of Armenia's electricity, the plant is "severely outdated" Fact|date=November 2007, posing a safety concern for Armenians and neighboring Turkish populations alike.

Turkey has appealed to the IAEA and the European Union to pressure the Armenian government to act on its safety concerns. In May 2007, reports surfaced that Armenia may have reached an agreement with Russia, whereby Russian funds would finance a new power plant in exchange for partial ownership. The cost of the transition remains the sticking point, as shutting down Metsamor alone is estimated to cost approximately one quarter of a billion US dollars Fact|date=November 2007.

Minority issues

Turkish Prime Minister Recep T. Erdoğan suggested that up to 40,000 Armenians were residing in Turkey illegally, without work permits. [cite web
url=http://www.abhaber.com/news_page.asp?id=3306
title=Ankara not expects negative decision on genocide resolution
accessdate=2008-08-14
archiveurl =http://www.armeniandiaspora.com/forum/showthread.php?s=c869e9399b257d5a959025699b024d5c&t=81373
archivedate=2008-05-05
]

Current developments

Kocharyan's threat assessment

Previous Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said that Armenia continues to perceive Turkey as a "threat". Kocharyan stated that Turkish revisionism is "not only an ethical problem" but "a national security problem": "We have the same neighbor now that refused to accept its guilt in 1915. There is a risk that what happened before could happen again."

Hrant Dink assassination

The January 2007 assassination of Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, brought the issue of Armenian-Turkish relations into the national consciousness of modern Turkish citizens. Dink was instrumental in getting Turks to discuss the Armenian Genocide, an effort for which he found himself the target of criminal prosecution on three separate occasions. Nonetheless, Dink also reserved some criticism for the Armenian diaspora, for its insistence on enforcing a claim of genocide without engaging the modern Turkish people.

Shortly after the arrest of Ogün Samast, the 17-year old nationalist suspected in the murder, pictures surfaced of the assassin flanked by smiling Turkish police and gendarmerie, who were posing with the killer in front of the Turkish flag while he was in police custody.cite news |title=Samast'a jandarma karakolunda kahraman muamelesi |url=http://www.radikal.com.tr/haber.php?haberno=211902 |work=Radikal |date=2007-02-02 |accessdate=2008-08-14tr icon] The pictures triggered a spate of investigations and the removal from office of those involved.

At Hrant Dink's funeral, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens marched in solidarity with Dink, many bearing placards reading "We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians". [cite news|url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8fa527ce-aaed-11db-b5db-0000779e2340.html?nclick_check=1
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Turks flock to editor’s funeral
date=2007-01-23
work=Financial Times
first=Vincent
last=Boland
]

Turkish overtures to re-examine 1915 events

Turkish leadership has suggested that a committee of Turkish and Armenian historians re-examine the events of 1915, challenging the committee to prove that Armenian deaths resulted from a genocidal intent, rather than war-time famine and mutual struggle. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said they would respect the conclusion of such a task force. Armenian leadership has rejected the overture, indicating that the overture itself is a political maneuver, and that the "normalization of bilateral relations is the responsibility of governments, not historians."cite web|url=http://www.armenialiberty.org/armeniareport/report/en/2007/02/786D82CE-E489-47EA-A15C-BABC50859734.asp
date=2007-02-19
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Armenia Ready For Ties, Talks With Turkey
work=Reuters
publisher=Radio Free Europe
]

In response to this gesture, Israel Charny and the International Association of Genocide Scholars responded in ,

We represent the major body of scholars who study genocide in North America and Europe. We are concerned that in calling for an impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention. We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades.

International mediation

As much Armenian-Turkish tension stems from the 1915 Armenian Genocide and its subsequent denial by the modern Turkish government, many attempts have been made to reconcile the conflicting perspectives of Armenia and Turkey. The Turkish government has struggled, for its part, to find support for its position, as several nations and American states have passed formal legislative condemnations of the Armenian Genocide, often despite Turkish diplomatic and economic pressure." [http://www.ictj.org/en/news/coverage/article/935.html Turkey Recalls Envoys Over Armenian Genocide] ," "International Center for Transitional Justice"]

Other times, Turkish diplomatic pressurescite news
url=http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=65457
date=2007-02-05
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Ankara takes Turkish agenda to Washington
work=Turkish Daily News
] to squelch recognition of the killings have been more effective. In March 2007, for instance, Condoleezza Rice and Robert M. Gates signed an open letter to Congress, warning that formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide “could harm American troops in the field” by "antagonizing" Turkey. [cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/30/washington/30turkey.html?ex=1333512000&en=aa799e777de8851f&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
title=Planned House Vote on Armenian Massacre Angers Turks
work=New York Times
accessdate=2008-08-14
date=2007-03-30
first=Sebnem
last=Arsu
coauthors=Knowlton, Brian
]

Several international organizations have conducted studies of the events, each in turn determining that the term "genocide" aptly describes "the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916." Among the organizations asserting this conclusion are the International Center for Transitional Justice, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, [http://www.genocidewatch.org/TurkishPMIAGSOpenLetterreArmenia6-13-05.htm Letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan] , "International Association Of Genocide Scholars", 2005-06-13]

and the United Nations' Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

Upon the death of Hrant Dink, a letter that was critical of both nations was signed by 53 Nobel Laureates. The letter called for reconciliation and re-affirmation of the Genocide Scholars' conclusion that the 1915 killings of Armenians constituted genocide. [cite news|url=http://rfe.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/04/f1cacd86-b6bf-413f-b6ad-6c423454f845.html
date=2007-04-10
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Nobel Laureates Call For Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation
work=Radio Free Europe
first=Emil
last=Danielyan
] Wiesel's organization also asserted that Turkish acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide would create no legal "basis for reparations or territorial claims", anticipating Turkish anxieties that it could prompt financial or territorial claims. [ [http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/PressReleases/TA_Press_Release.pdf] Dead link|date=August 2008] Dead link|date=August 2008

Nonetheless, the modern Turkish state suggests additional arbitration. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül (now president) has suggested that Turkey looks forward to arbitration, believing that it can effectively counter claims of an Armenian Genocide.

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan, while conceding that "genocide denial hurts", insists that the Turkish viewpoint does not necessarily "impede the normalization of our relations".cite web|url=http://www.aztagdaily.com/EnglishSupplement/NEWS_12042006_0001.htm
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian gives exclusive interview to TNA
work=New Anatolian
date=2006-12-04
first=Nursun
last=Erel
]

For us, there's no court case, we'll never talk about this,because we grew up with the real evidence, our parents and our grandparents.That living evidence of this tragedy, survival of genocide, I'm the son ofone them. So for Armenians there has never been an issue where we ourselveshave to prove this by going to court, that this genocide happened. Thequestion for us is to get a political solution. Because the issue is neitherhistorical nor legal, it's political... between the governments of Turkey and Armenia.

European Union membership

Some European Union politicians who are politically sensitive to the Armenian Genocide issue have pressed Turkey into formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide as a precondition for joining the EU. [cite news|url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4620581
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=Turkey Pressed to Admit Armenian Genocide
date=2005-04-26
work=NPR
first=Ivan
last=Watson
] [Danielyan, Emil (2005-06-03) " [http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav060305.shtml Turkey, Armenia Miss Opportunity for Rapprochement] ," "Eurasia Insight"] These efforts to exploit Turkey's vulnerability in its attempted accession into the EU have been widely criticized within Turkey. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6043290.stm
title=Armenia vote splits Turkish press
work=BBC News
accessdate=2008-08-14
date=2006-10-12
] [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6045838.stm
title=Turkey condemns 'genocide' vote
work=BBC News
date=2006-10-12
accessdate=2008-08-14
]

Among the fiercest critics of this method of pressuring Turkey was the late Hrant Dink, who accused Angela Merkel of sponsoring legislation acknowledging the Armenian Genocide to undermine Turkey's EU ambitions.cite news|url=http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,353274,00.html
work=Spiegel
title=Turkey's Memory Lapse: Armenian Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On
accessdate=2008-08-14
date=2005-04-25
first=Bernhard
last=Zand
] Dink suggested that anyone sincerely interested in the welfare of the Armenian and Turkish peoples would sooner pressure Yerevan to finally replace the Metsamor reactor, or press Turkey to finally open the Armenian-Turkish border, or even just generally "help economically and diplomatically and support the moderates who exist on both sides."

According to Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, "Armenia has never been against Turkey's accession to the European Union." [Tapan, Noyan (2006-06-20). " [http://www.armeniadiaspora.net/ADC/news.asp?id=1190 House Members Call On Eu To Encourage Turkey Reform And Recognition Of Genocide] , ArmeniaDiaspora.Com] cite news
url=http://www.norharevanner.am/news.php?cont=3&rg=2&date=21.12.2006&month=13&year=2006
accessdate=2008-08-14
title=We would like to see Turkey among EU members
work=New Neighbors
publisher=H2 TV Channel
date=2006-12-21
first=Kristine
last=Karslian
] Armenia itself is a member of the EU's New Neighborhood group, which may one day lead to EU membership.cite web|url=http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1052759.html
title=EU: European Commission Unveils Details Of 'New Neighborhood' Strategy
work=Radio Free Europe
date=2004-05-12
accessdate=2008-08-14
first=Ahto
last=Lobjakas
]

Gül's visit

The Turkish President Abdullah Gül, attended a football match between Turkish and Armenia national football teams, becoming the first Turkish head of state to visit Armenia. He accepted the invitation of Serzh Sargsyan on 3 September 2008. [cite news|first=Pam|last=O'Toole|title=Turkish president in Armenia trip|date=2008-09-03|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7596768.stm|work=BBC News|accessdate=2008-09-04] Talks during the game focused on bilateral relations and Karabakh, and did not touch upon the genocide, [cite news|url=http://reporter.am/pages/2008-09-13/gul%20in%20yerevan.html
accessdate=2008-09-12
title=Armenia receives Turkey’s president for six-hour visit
date=2008-09-13
first=Tatul
last=Hakobyan
work=Armenian Reporer
] though Foreign Minister Ali Babacan raised the issue soon afterward. [cite news|url=http://todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=153022
accessdate=2008-09-12
title=Babacan presses Armenia for joint study of genocide claims
date=2008-09-13
work=Today's Zaman
] Both presidents reflected on the visit in positive terms, and the press coverage was generally favorable. Gul subsequently visited Azerbaijan to discuss his visit to Armenia with government officials there.

References

External links

* [http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/pp072001.shtml Brief history of Armenian-Turkish relations after the Armenian Genocide.]
* [http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/Armenia/justin.html Armenian-Turkish Conflict]
* [http://www.meforum.org/article/748 Revisiting the Armenian Genocide]


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