ASBAREZ ONLINE
TOP STORIES
03/01/2005
TO ACCESS PREVIOUS ASBAREZ ONLINE EDITIONS PLEASE VISIT OUR
WEBSITE AT <http://www.asbarez.com/>HTTP://WWW.ASBAREZ.COM

1) Ambassador Evans's Statements Do Not Represent a Formal Change in US Policy
2) Deadline Nears for Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund Claims
3) EU Warns Turkey That Talks Hinge on Quick Recognition of Cyprus
4) Turkey Finds New Reason to Condemn Germany
5) Oskanian's Illness Delays New Round of Karabagh Talks
6) Galveston, Texas Issues Armenian Genocide Proclamation
7) House Members Honor 17th Anniversary of Karabagh Liberation Movement

1) Ambassador Evans' Statements Do Not Represent a Formal Change in US Policy

ANCA voices community outrage over Administration's inability to withstand
Turkish pressure over Ambassador's statements

WASHINGTON, DC--US Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans, only days after
completing an official tour of Armenian American communities during which he
repeatedly gave recognition to the Armenian genocide, has noted that these
comments were his private views and do not reflect a change in US government
policy. His statement on this subject was posted Tuesday on the Embassy's
website: www.usa.am.
"Armenian Americans are profoundly disappointed by those influential
officials
that remain within the Administration who--against all facts and contrary
to US
interests--are still able to impose their agenda on every front of the
increasingly untenable and lop-sided US-Turkey relationship. This is
particularly troubling, coming at a time when Turkey has obstructed US
regional
objectives, deceived US policymakers, and fostered an unprecedented level of
anti-American sentiment among its citizens. As a community, we vigorously
condemn the ongoing policy of US complicity in Turkey's shameful campaign of
genocide denial," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
"Regardless of the disappointing outcome of this episode, we commend Amb.
Evans for his courage in coming forward and publicly stating his views on the
Armenian genocide, views that are shared by all but the Turkish government and
its surrogates. In so doing, the Ambassador has placed this issue prominently
on America's public agenda. For our part, as Armenian Americans, on this year
of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, will pursue this matter with
renewed vigor--with the White House, Congress, and the entire foreign policy
community," added Hamparian.
Ambassador Evans comments were made at a series of public Armenian American
community outreach events in Boston, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Los
Angeles, Fresno, and Washington, DC. During his presentations in these cities,
the Ambassador spoke with a level of candor on the Armenian genocide that was
specifically welcomed by Armenian Americans.
During his public presentation at the University of California, Berkeley,
hosted by Armenian Studies Program Executive Director, Prof. Stephan
Astourian,
Evans announced, "I will today call it the Armenian Genocide." The Ambassador,
who has studied Russian History at Yale and Columbia universities and Ottoman
History at the Kennan Institute, argued, "We, the US government, owe you, our
fellow citizens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem. Today,
as someone who's studied it...There's no doubt in my mind what happened." He
explained that he had also consulted with a State Department lawyer who
confirmed that the events of 1915 were "genocide by definition."
Amb. Evans' commitment to moral clarity came through in further remarks,
stating, "I think it is unbecoming of us as Americans to play word games here.
I believe in calling things by their name."
During a speech to schoolchildren at the Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Los
Angeles, Amb. Evans cited with pride that 37 US states had recognized the
Armenian genocide.


2) Deadline Nears for Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund Claims

Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund Board member Paul Krekorian announced that
March 16 is the absolute deadline to submit a claim for payment under the
class
action settlement in Marootian v. New York Life Insurance Co.
The Marootian case was a class action suit filed in United States District
Court by the heirs of Armenians who had purchased life insurance from New York
Life in the Ottoman Empire between 1875 and 1915. The heirs contend that on
the
deaths of the policyholders, many of whom were murdered by Turks during the
Armenian genocide, New York Life did not pay the benefits on these policies.
Last year, New York Life agreed to settle the class action suit by paying a
total of $20 million, including up to $11 million for the heirs of the
policyholders and at least $3 million for specified Armenian charities.
"The beneficiaries of these policies have waited 90 years for justice," said
Settlement Fund Board member Krekorian, an attorney who also serves as Vice
President of the Burbank Board of Education. "It would be a great tragedy if
their efforts were frustrated now because they missed a simple deadline and
waived their legitimate legal rights," Krekorian said.
The heirs of policyholders may be considered for a share of benefits under
this settlement only if they submit a Notice of Claim form by March 16. The
form may be obtained by calling the toll free information line at
1-866-422-0124 or visiting the settlement fund website at
<http://www.armenianinsurancesettlement.com/>www.armenianinsurancesettlemen
t.com. Claims may come from anywhere in the world, and it is not necessary
that
complete documentation be included with the Notice of Claim form. After the
Settlement Fund Board receives the Notice of Claim form, the claimant will be
informed about other steps that are required in the process.
The settlement fund website includes a partial list of New York Life
policyholders from the relevant era, and those who believe they may be heirs
can search for their ancestors on this list. However, it is not necessary that
their ancestor appear on the list in order to submit a claim. A claim might
still be approved if the heir has some other evidence that their ancestor
was a
policyholder and payment was not made, even if the ancestor does not appear on
the list.
The Settlement Fund Board is an independent panel of three Armenian community
leaders appointed by California State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.
The Settlement Fund Board is not affiliated in any way with the lawyers who
handled the class action suit, and the Board members were not involved in
negotiating the terms of the settlement. The Settlement Fund Board is an
entirely independent panel that will evaluate all of the claims of individual
heirs and award the funds to those who meet the qualifications of the
agreement. The three members of the Board are Paul Krekorian; attorney and law
professor Berj Boyajian; and physician and health care activist Viken
Manjikian.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, $3 million has already been
distributed in equal shares to the AGBU, the Armenian Relief Society, the
Armenian Education Foundation, the Armenian Missionary Association, the
Armenian Catholic Church, the Eastern and Western Dioceses of the Armenian
Church of North America, and the Eastern and Western Prelacies of the Armenian
Apostolic Church.


3) EU Warns Turkey That Talks Hinge on Quick Recognition of Cyprus

LONDON (International Herald Tribune)--The European Union warned Turkey on
Monday that it must recognize Cyprus soon if it wants to begin talks to join
the Union in October. The view reflects mounting concern within the EU that
Turkey may not meet its promise to tacitly recognize Cyprus, which was the
condition agreed to by EU leaders last December for talks to begin on Oct. 3
this year.
"The member states of the European Union expect Turkey to sign the protocol
regarding the adaptation of the Ankara agreement as soon as possible," said
Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, which currently holds
the EU
presidency.
"There is no possibility for Ankara to start commenting on what has already
been negotiated," he added after talks in Luxembourg with President Tassos
Papadopoulos of Cyprus. After tense negotiations at a summit meeting with EU
leaders last December, Turkey agreed to tacitly recognize Cyprus, although at
the time Turkey insisted that did not represent formal political recognition.
Ankara agreed to sign a protocol that extended an existing customs union with
the EU to the 10 new countries that joined the EU last May, including Cyprus.
The landmark agreement appeared to end months of uncertainty about whether
Europeans could accept Turkey within the EU's borders. It also appeared to
pave
the way for Turkey to join the Union at the end of negotiations, which were
set
to last for 10 to 15 years. But since December, Ankara has not moved to sign
the protocol, leading EU officials Monday to warn that a delay jeopardized the
December agreement.
"Obviously the protocol has to be ratified before it can enter into force. If
Turkey does not sign soon we will have a problem with the ratification
process," a spokesman for the Luxembourg government said. "The clock is
ticking."
Earlier Monday, Nicolas Schmit, the foreign affairs and immigration minister
of Luxembourg, said that Turkey's EU membership efforts had lost momentum.
"After the Brussels summit there has been a loss of enthusiasm," he said
during
a visit to Turkey. "That has created certain worries" about Ankara's
determination to join the EU, Schmit said in a television interview ahead of a
meeting with Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister. "We cannot say there
has been a very good atmosphere" in Turkey, Schmit said.
Schmit underlined the necessity for Turkey to continue its pro-European
momentum and to fully implement the reforms already proposed by Turkey in its
campaign to join the EU. However, Abdullah said Monday that EU membership
remained Turkey's "top priority." "The process of democratization will be
followed with the same determination," Gul was quoted as saying by the Turkish
news agency Anatolia.
During the past five years, Turkey has undertaken a raft of reforms to meet
requirements for EU membership. However, it has stopped short of recognizing
Cyprus, a key condition for EU countries. Cyprus has been divided since 1974,
when Turkey occupied the northern part of the island following a Greek Cypriot
coup that sought to unite the island with Greece.
In December, EU countries agreed that the final goal of negotiations with
Turkey would be membership of the EU but they offered no guarantees that the
talks would necessarily end in Turkey joining the EU. They also stipulated
that
Turkey could face strict long-term restrictions on the migration of Turks into
Western Europe. The safeguards would be the toughest yet faced by a nation
aspiring to join the EU. The Union also said it would break off talks if
Ankara
broke promises on human rights and democratic reforms.


4) Turkey Finds New Reason to Condemn Germany

(Combined Sources)Turkey has new reason to vent its frustration over the
manner
in which various German circles have been treating the issue of the Armenian
genocide. The German opposition Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social
Union (CDU/CSU) last week issued a statement calling for the immediate
recognition of the genocide perpetrated under the Ottoman regime. Turkey's
Ambassador to Germany, Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik, immediately swung back by
labeling the opposition as the "spokesman for fanatical Armenian nationalism."
Now, Turkey has discovered that some Armenians are interested in converting
German historian Johannes Lepsius's home into an Armenian genocide museum.
Born in Potsdam, Germany in 1858, Lepsiusan evangelical pastor--was, from the
onset, interested in documenting the persecution of Ottoman Armenians. After
the first wave of massacres struck in the mid-1890s, Lepsius set up the
Deutsche Orient Mission with the aim of assisting Armenian orphans.
In an attempt to publicize the atrocities, Lepsius in 1896 published
"Armenians and Europe"the first report documenting the large-scale massacres
directed by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Soon after, the German philanthropist
established the "Lepsius Foundation," and participated in the diplomatic
conferences on the Armenian question in Constantinople, Paris, London and
Bern.
During the first state of the genocide, Lepsius arranged to meet privately
with Minister of War Enver Pasha, who disregarded the German's pleas. Within
the following year, Lepius authored and privately published "The Condition of
the Armenian People in Turkey," copies of which were censored and confiscated
by the German government.
Prior to his death in 1926, Lepsius took refuge in Holland, where he
published
yet another volume, "Germany and Armenia 1914-1918," in which he thoroughly
documented German complicity in the Genocide. After the assassination of
former
Minister of Interior Talaat Pasha, Lepsius appeared as an expert witness on
behalf of Soghomon Tehlirian.
Turkish officials have told the German Ambassador in Ankara that the move to
establish the genocide museum could seriously impact the relations between the
two countries.


5) Oskanian's Illness Delays New Round of Karabagh Talks

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--The next and potentially crucial round of Armenian-Azeri
peace talks on Karabagh, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed due to
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's illness, officials in Yerevan said on
Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry Sedrak Bejanian, said the
meeting between Oskanian and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov may still
take place in Prague later this week. "Everything depends on the minister's
health condition," he said.
Oskanian is said to be suffering from an acute cold. He has not been seen in
public since returning from a visit to Equatorial Guinea a week ago.
Meanwhile, Mammadyarov was already in Prague on Monday. Azeri media, citing
the Foreign Ministry in Baku, said the meetings mediated by the French,
Russian, and US co-chairs of the OSCE's Minsk Group will take place in
Paris on
Thursday.
Bejanian did not confirm or refute the information. "Nothing can be ruled
out," he said.
The planned talks are part of "the Prague process." It began last year and
raised new hopes for a breakthrough in the protracted search for Karabagh
peace. Speaking after his most recent encounter with Mammadyarov in the Czech
capital on January 11, Oskanian said the "second phase" of that process could
prove decisive.
The mediators are also cautiously optimistic. "We hope that there will be
progress," the chief French negotiator, Bernard Fassier, said on February 8.
For his part, US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans remarked in a recent speech
in California that the current situation bodes well for the conflict's
resolution as neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan is nearing an election.
Addressing
a group of Armenian-Americans, Evans also stated that "Karabagh can't be
given
back to Azerbaijan."
The remark drew protests from Azerbaijan. Baku's ambassador in Washington,
Hafiz Pashaev, said he was assured by senior US State Department officials
that
Evans had expressed his personal opinion.
In a statement on Monday, the US envoy said he regrets "misunderstandings"
caused by his comments but did not retract them.


6) Galveston, Texas Issues Armenian Genocide Proclamation

Galveston, TX--The City of Galveston issued a proclamation last week, marking
the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, reported the Armenian National
Committee of Texas (ANC-TX). The city adds its name to the growing list of
states, counties, and towns who have joined the Armenian American community in
commemorating this crime against humanity.
"Armenians in Galveston and throughout Texas join together in thanking Mayor
Lyda Ann Thomas for her proclamation commemorating the Armenian Genocide, for
her leadership in the Galveston-Armavir sister city program, and for all of
her
outreach to the Armenian community," said ANC-Texas representative Vatche
Hovsepian. "This is a kick-off of the 90th anniversary commemoration events in
Texas. We recognize the important role Texas plays in national politics. We
hope to build on this and other successes, catapulting 'Texahye' concerns on
the state-wide level."
Since 2001, Galveston has been developing a special relationship with Armenia
and the Armenian American community. Through the efforts of the University of
Texas and widespread support by local Armenian community organizations,
including the ANC, Galveston established a sister-city relationship with
Armavir, Armenia. The University worked on healthcare and disaster
preparedness
projects in Armavir through a collaboration of the American International
Health Alliance (AIHA) and the US Agency for International Development
(USAID.)
To read more about the University of Texas Medical Branch Community Outreach
Partnership Program between Armavir, Armenia / Galveston, Texas, visit:
<http://www.utmb.edu/km/ArmavirPartnership/Default.asp>www.utmb.edu/km/Arma
virPartnership/Default.asp


7) House Members Honor 17th Anniversary of Karabagh Liberation Movement

Congressional Armenian Caucus organizes special order speeches

WASHINGTON, DC--Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) were joined by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ),
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Michael McNulty (D-NY), last week, in
commemorating
the 17th anniversary of the Mountainous Karabagh liberation movement, reported
the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The House Members stressed
their commitment in ensuring a lasting and peaceful resolution to the Karabagh
conflict.
"We join with the people of Nagorno Karabagh, Armenians around the world, and
throughout the United States in thanking Representatives Frank Pallone, Joe
Knollenberg, Rush Holt, Carolyn Maloney, and Michael McNulty for helping to
mark the 17th anniversary of the Nagorno Karabagh liberation movement," said
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "In 1988, the people of Nagorno
Karabagh--at great sacrifice--were the first to rise up against Soviet
misrule,
sparking powerful pro-democracy movements that would bring an end to the Cold
War and ultimately make the United States and the entire world safer."
In Special Order speeches organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, the
Representatives called attention to Mountainous Karabagh Republic's commitment
to self-determination and regional peace. In his remarks, Congressional
Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone reviewed Karabagh's efforts to end
Soviet-era oppression of its citizenry.
"During the seven decades of Soviet rule, the Armenians of Nagorno Karabagh
repeatedly stated to each successive Soviet regime their desire to be joined
against with Armenia. These peaceful and legal maneuvers were met with violent
repression and forced settlement of ethnic Azeris into Nagorno Karabagh,"
explained Rep. Pallone. He noted that on the fall of the Soviet Union, the
"Nagorno Karabagh population overwhelmingly voted to establish an independent
Nagorno Karabagh Republic, currently known as Nagorno Karabagh Republic."
Noting his participation in an election-monitoring group for the Karabagh
presidential elections, he praised the strengthening of democracy in the
state.
"This process is astounding considering that Nagorno Karabagh Republic is not
recognized internationally; that they still must deal every day with Azeri
aggression, and that their economy is still devastated from the war," stated
Pallone.
New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney remarked that "The people of Nagorno
Karabagh courageously defended their right to live freely on their ancestral
lands." She went on to cite the importance of ongoing US assistance to Nagorno
Karabagh, "which has a vital role in achieving a peaceful and stable South
Caucasus region."
Rep. McNulty noted that "Nagorno Karabagh continues to strengthen its
statehood with a democratically elected government, a capable armed forces and
independent foreign policy. I stand with the people of Nagorno Karabagh in
celebrating their continuing freedom and democracy."
Rep. Holt cited the importance of finding a peaceful and lasting
resolution to
the Karabagh conflict. "Just as the people of Nagorno Karabagh saw the
necessity of a peaceful secession from Azerbaijan seventeen years ago, so too
must a peaceful resolution be achieved with this current conflict. . .The
United States will continue to promote the cause of our democratic friends in
Nagorno Karabagh, not yielding until the goals set forth on February 20, 1988,
have been fully realized."
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg
sent
a congratulatory letter to Karabagh President Arkady Ghoukasian, commending
the
Karabagh people on the 17th anniversary of the liberation movement and
pledging
support for continued efforts to find a lasting peace in the region.
The complete texts of the Congressional statements may be found on
the ANCA website at the following link:
www.anca.org/press_releases/press_releases.php?prid=709


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ASBAREZ ONLINE
TOP STORIES
03/01/2005
TO ACCESS PREVIOUS ASBAREZ ONLINE EDITIONS PLEASE VISIT OUR
WEBSITE AT <http://www.asbarez.com/>HTTP://WWW.ASBAREZ.COM

1) Ambassador Evans's Statements Do Not Represent a Formal Change in US Policy
2) Deadline Nears for Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund Claims
3) EU Warns Turkey That Talks Hinge on Quick Recognition of Cyprus
4) Turkey Finds New Reason to Condemn Germany
5) Oskanian's Illness Delays New Round of Karabagh Talks
6) Galveston, Texas Issues Armenian Genocide Proclamation
7) House Members Honor 17th Anniversary of Karabagh Liberation Movement

1) Ambassador Evans' Statements Do Not Represent a Formal Change in US Policy

ANCA voices community outrage over Administration's inability to withstand
Turkish pressure over Ambassador's statements

WASHINGTON, DC--US Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans, only days after
completing an official tour of Armenian American communities during which he
repeatedly gave recognition to the Armenian genocide, has noted that these
comments were his private views and do not reflect a change in US government
policy. His statement on this subject was posted Tuesday on the Embassy's
website: www.usa.am.
"Armenian Americans are profoundly disappointed by those influential
officials
that remain within the Administration who--against all facts and contrary
to US
interests--are still able to impose their agenda on every front of the
increasingly untenable and lop-sided US-Turkey relationship. This is
particularly troubling, coming at a time when Turkey has obstructed US
regional
objectives, deceived US policymakers, and fostered an unprecedented level of
anti-American sentiment among its citizens. As a community, we vigorously
condemn the ongoing policy of US complicity in Turkey's shameful campaign of
genocide denial," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
"Regardless of the disappointing outcome of this episode, we commend Amb.
Evans for his courage in coming forward and publicly stating his views on the
Armenian genocide, views that are shared by all but the Turkish government and
its surrogates. In so doing, the Ambassador has placed this issue prominently
on America's public agenda. For our part, as Armenian Americans, on this year
of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, will pursue this matter with
renewed vigor--with the White House, Congress, and the entire foreign policy
community," added Hamparian.
Ambassador Evans comments were made at a series of public Armenian American
community outreach events in Boston, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Los
Angeles, Fresno, and Washington, DC. During his presentations in these cities,
the Ambassador spoke with a level of candor on the Armenian genocide that was
specifically welcomed by Armenian Americans.
During his public presentation at the University of California, Berkeley,
hosted by Armenian Studies Program Executive Director, Prof. Stephan
Astourian,
Evans announced, "I will today call it the Armenian Genocide." The Ambassador,
who has studied Russian History at Yale and Columbia universities and Ottoman
History at the Kennan Institute, argued, "We, the US government, owe you, our
fellow citizens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem. Today,
as someone who's studied it...There's no doubt in my mind what happened." He
explained that he had also consulted with a State Department lawyer who
confirmed that the events of 1915 were "genocide by definition."
Amb. Evans' commitment to moral clarity came through in further remarks,
stating, "I think it is unbecoming of us as Americans to play word games here.
I believe in calling things by their name."
During a speech to schoolchildren at the Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Los
Angeles, Amb. Evans cited with pride that 37 US states had recognized the
Armenian genocide.


2) Deadline Nears for Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund Claims

Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund Board member Paul Krekorian announced that
March 16 is the absolute deadline to submit a claim for payment under the
class
action settlement in Marootian v. New York Life Insurance Co.
The Marootian case was a class action suit filed in United States District
Court by the heirs of Armenians who had purchased life insurance from New York
Life in the Ottoman Empire between 1875 and 1915. The heirs contend that on
the
deaths of the policyholders, many of whom were murdered by Turks during the
Armenian genocide, New York Life did not pay the benefits on these policies.
Last year, New York Life agreed to settle the class action suit by paying a
total of $20 million, including up to $11 million for the heirs of the
policyholders and at least $3 million for specified Armenian charities.
"The beneficiaries of these policies have waited 90 years for justice," said
Settlement Fund Board member Krekorian, an attorney who also serves as Vice
President of the Burbank Board of Education. "It would be a great tragedy if
their efforts were frustrated now because they missed a simple deadline and
waived their legitimate legal rights," Krekorian said.
The heirs of policyholders may be considered for a share of benefits under
this settlement only if they submit a Notice of Claim form by March 16. The
form may be obtained by calling the toll free information line at
1-866-422-0124 or visiting the settlement fund website at
<http://www.armenianinsurancesettlement.com/>www.armenianinsurancesettlemen
t.com. Claims may come from anywhere in the world, and it is not necessary
that
complete documentation be included with the Notice of Claim form. After the
Settlement Fund Board receives the Notice of Claim form, the claimant will be
informed about other steps that are required in the process.
The settlement fund website includes a partial list of New York Life
policyholders from the relevant era, and those who believe they may be heirs
can search for their ancestors on this list. However, it is not necessary that
their ancestor appear on the list in order to submit a claim. A claim might
still be approved if the heir has some other evidence that their ancestor
was a
policyholder and payment was not made, even if the ancestor does not appear on
the list.
The Settlement Fund Board is an independent panel of three Armenian community
leaders appointed by California State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.
The Settlement Fund Board is not affiliated in any way with the lawyers who
handled the class action suit, and the Board members were not involved in
negotiating the terms of the settlement. The Settlement Fund Board is an
entirely independent panel that will evaluate all of the claims of individual
heirs and award the funds to those who meet the qualifications of the
agreement. The three members of the Board are Paul Krekorian; attorney and law
professor Berj Boyajian; and physician and health care activist Viken
Manjikian.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, $3 million has already been
distributed in equal shares to the AGBU, the Armenian Relief Society, the
Armenian Education Foundation, the Armenian Missionary Association, the
Armenian Catholic Church, the Eastern and Western Dioceses of the Armenian
Church of North America, and the Eastern and Western Prelacies of the Armenian
Apostolic Church.


3) EU Warns Turkey That Talks Hinge on Quick Recognition of Cyprus

LONDON (International Herald Tribune)--The European Union warned Turkey on
Monday that it must recognize Cyprus soon if it wants to begin talks to join
the Union in October. The view reflects mounting concern within the EU that
Turkey may not meet its promise to tacitly recognize Cyprus, which was the
condition agreed to by EU leaders last December for talks to begin on Oct. 3
this year.
"The member states of the European Union expect Turkey to sign the protocol
regarding the adaptation of the Ankara agreement as soon as possible," said
Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, which currently holds
the EU
presidency.
"There is no possibility for Ankara to start commenting on what has already
been negotiated," he added after talks in Luxembourg with President Tassos
Papadopoulos of Cyprus. After tense negotiations at a summit meeting with EU
leaders last December, Turkey agreed to tacitly recognize Cyprus, although at
the time Turkey insisted that did not represent formal political recognition.
Ankara agreed to sign a protocol that extended an existing customs union with
the EU to the 10 new countries that joined the EU last May, including Cyprus.
The landmark agreement appeared to end months of uncertainty about whether
Europeans could accept Turkey within the EU's borders. It also appeared to
pave
the way for Turkey to join the Union at the end of negotiations, which were
set
to last for 10 to 15 years. But since December, Ankara has not moved to sign
the protocol, leading EU officials Monday to warn that a delay jeopardized the
December agreement.
"Obviously the protocol has to be ratified before it can enter into force. If
Turkey does not sign soon we will have a problem with the ratification
process," a spokesman for the Luxembourg government said. "The clock is
ticking."
Earlier Monday, Nicolas Schmit, the foreign affairs and immigration minister
of Luxembourg, said that Turkey's EU membership efforts had lost momentum.
"After the Brussels summit there has been a loss of enthusiasm," he said
during
a visit to Turkey. "That has created certain worries" about Ankara's
determination to join the EU, Schmit said in a television interview ahead of a
meeting with Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister. "We cannot say there
has been a very good atmosphere" in Turkey, Schmit said.
Schmit underlined the necessity for Turkey to continue its pro-European
momentum and to fully implement the reforms already proposed by Turkey in its
campaign to join the EU. However, Abdullah said Monday that EU membership
remained Turkey's "top priority." "The process of democratization will be
followed with the same determination," Gul was quoted as saying by the Turkish
news agency Anatolia.
During the past five years, Turkey has undertaken a raft of reforms to meet
requirements for EU membership. However, it has stopped short of recognizing
Cyprus, a key condition for EU countries. Cyprus has been divided since 1974,
when Turkey occupied the northern part of the island following a Greek Cypriot
coup that sought to unite the island with Greece.
In December, EU countries agreed that the final goal of negotiations with
Turkey would be membership of the EU but they offered no guarantees that the
talks would necessarily end in Turkey joining the EU. They also stipulated
that
Turkey could face strict long-term restrictions on the migration of Turks into
Western Europe. The safeguards would be the toughest yet faced by a nation
aspiring to join the EU. The Union also said it would break off talks if
Ankara
broke promises on human rights and democratic reforms.


4) Turkey Finds New Reason to Condemn Germany

(Combined Sources)Turkey has new reason to vent its frustration over the
manner
in which various German circles have been treating the issue of the Armenian
genocide. The German opposition Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social
Union (CDU/CSU) last week issued a statement calling for the immediate
recognition of the genocide perpetrated under the Ottoman regime. Turkey's
Ambassador to Germany, Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik, immediately swung back by
labeling the opposition as the "spokesman for fanatical Armenian nationalism."
Now, Turkey has discovered that some Armenians are interested in converting
German historian Johannes Lepsius's home into an Armenian genocide museum.
Born in Potsdam, Germany in 1858, Lepsiusan evangelical pastor--was, from the
onset, interested in documenting the persecution of Ottoman Armenians. After
the first wave of massacres struck in the mid-1890s, Lepsius set up the
Deutsche Orient Mission with the aim of assisting Armenian orphans.
In an attempt to publicize the atrocities, Lepsius in 1896 published
"Armenians and Europe"the first report documenting the large-scale massacres
directed by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Soon after, the German philanthropist
established the "Lepsius Foundation," and participated in the diplomatic
conferences on the Armenian question in Constantinople, Paris, London and
Bern.
During the first state of the genocide, Lepsius arranged to meet privately
with Minister of War Enver Pasha, who disregarded the German's pleas. Within
the following year, Lepius authored and privately published "The Condition of
the Armenian People in Turkey," copies of which were censored and confiscated
by the German government.
Prior to his death in 1926, Lepsius took refuge in Holland, where he
published
yet another volume, "Germany and Armenia 1914-1918," in which he thoroughly
documented German complicity in the Genocide. After the assassination of
former
Minister of Interior Talaat Pasha, Lepsius appeared as an expert witness on
behalf of Soghomon Tehlirian.
Turkish officials have told the German Ambassador in Ankara that the move to
establish the genocide museum could seriously impact the relations between the
two countries.


5) Oskanian's Illness Delays New Round of Karabagh Talks

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--The next and potentially crucial round of Armenian-Azeri
peace talks on Karabagh, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed due to
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's illness, officials in Yerevan said on
Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry Sedrak Bejanian, said the
meeting between Oskanian and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov may still
take place in Prague later this week. "Everything depends on the minister's
health condition," he said.
Oskanian is said to be suffering from an acute cold. He has not been seen in
public since returning from a visit to Equatorial Guinea a week ago.
Meanwhile, Mammadyarov was already in Prague on Monday. Azeri media, citing
the Foreign Ministry in Baku, said the meetings mediated by the French,
Russian, and US co-chairs of the OSCE's Minsk Group will take place in
Paris on
Thursday.
Bejanian did not confirm or refute the information. "Nothing can be ruled
out," he said.
The planned talks are part of "the Prague process." It began last year and
raised new hopes for a breakthrough in the protracted search for Karabagh
peace. Speaking after his most recent encounter with Mammadyarov in the Czech
capital on January 11, Oskanian said the "second phase" of that process could
prove decisive.
The mediators are also cautiously optimistic. "We hope that there will be
progress," the chief French negotiator, Bernard Fassier, said on February 8.
For his part, US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans remarked in a recent speech
in California that the current situation bodes well for the conflict's
resolution as neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan is nearing an election.
Addressing
a group of Armenian-Americans, Evans also stated that "Karabagh can't be
given
back to Azerbaijan."
The remark drew protests from Azerbaijan. Baku's ambassador in Washington,
Hafiz Pashaev, said he was assured by senior US State Department officials
that
Evans had expressed his personal opinion.
In a statement on Monday, the US envoy said he regrets "misunderstandings"
caused by his comments but did not retract them.


6) Galveston, Texas Issues Armenian Genocide Proclamation

Galveston, TX--The City of Galveston issued a proclamation last week, marking
the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, reported the Armenian National
Committee of Texas (ANC-TX). The city adds its name to the growing list of
states, counties, and towns who have joined the Armenian American community in
commemorating this crime against humanity.
"Armenians in Galveston and throughout Texas join together in thanking Mayor
Lyda Ann Thomas for her proclamation commemorating the Armenian Genocide, for
her leadership in the Galveston-Armavir sister city program, and for all of
her
outreach to the Armenian community," said ANC-Texas representative Vatche
Hovsepian. "This is a kick-off of the 90th anniversary commemoration events in
Texas. We recognize the important role Texas plays in national politics. We
hope to build on this and other successes, catapulting 'Texahye' concerns on
the state-wide level."
Since 2001, Galveston has been developing a special relationship with Armenia
and the Armenian American community. Through the efforts of the University of
Texas and widespread support by local Armenian community organizations,
including the ANC, Galveston established a sister-city relationship with
Armavir, Armenia. The University worked on healthcare and disaster
preparedness
projects in Armavir through a collaboration of the American International
Health Alliance (AIHA) and the US Agency for International Development
(USAID.)
To read more about the University of Texas Medical Branch Community Outreach
Partnership Program between Armavir, Armenia / Galveston, Texas, visit:
<http://www.utmb.edu/km/ArmavirPartnership/Default.asp>www.utmb.edu/km/Arma
virPartnership/Default.asp


7) House Members Honor 17th Anniversary of Karabagh Liberation Movement

Congressional Armenian Caucus organizes special order speeches

WASHINGTON, DC--Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) were joined by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ),
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Michael McNulty (D-NY), last week, in
commemorating
the 17th anniversary of the Mountainous Karabagh liberation movement, reported
the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The House Members stressed
their commitment in ensuring a lasting and peaceful resolution to the Karabagh
conflict.
"We join with the people of Nagorno Karabagh, Armenians around the world, and
throughout the United States in thanking Representatives Frank Pallone, Joe
Knollenberg, Rush Holt, Carolyn Maloney, and Michael McNulty for helping to
mark the 17th anniversary of the Nagorno Karabagh liberation movement," said
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "In 1988, the people of Nagorno
Karabagh--at great sacrifice--were the first to rise up against Soviet
misrule,
sparking powerful pro-democracy movements that would bring an end to the Cold
War and ultimately make the United States and the entire world safer."
In Special Order speeches organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, the
Representatives called attention to Mountainous Karabagh Republic's commitment
to self-determination and regional peace. In his remarks, Congressional
Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone reviewed Karabagh's efforts to end
Soviet-era oppression of its citizenry.
"During the seven decades of Soviet rule, the Armenians of Nagorno Karabagh
repeatedly stated to each successive Soviet regime their desire to be joined
against with Armenia. These peaceful and legal maneuvers were met with violent
repression and forced settlement of ethnic Azeris into Nagorno Karabagh,"
explained Rep. Pallone. He noted that on the fall of the Soviet Union, the
"Nagorno Karabagh population overwhelmingly voted to establish an independent
Nagorno Karabagh Republic, currently known as Nagorno Karabagh Republic."
Noting his participation in an election-monitoring group for the Karabagh
presidential elections, he praised the strengthening of democracy in the
state.
"This process is astounding considering that Nagorno Karabagh Republic is not
recognized internationally; that they still must deal every day with Azeri
aggression, and that their economy is still devastated from the war," stated
Pallone.
New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney remarked that "The people of Nagorno
Karabagh courageously defended their right to live freely on their ancestral
lands." She went on to cite the importance of ongoing US assistance to Nagorno
Karabagh, "which has a vital role in achieving a peaceful and stable South
Caucasus region."
Rep. McNulty noted that "Nagorno Karabagh continues to strengthen its
statehood with a democratically elected government, a capable armed forces and
independent foreign policy. I stand with the people of Nagorno Karabagh in
celebrating their continuing freedom and democracy."
Rep. Holt cited the importance of finding a peaceful and lasting
resolution to
the Karabagh conflict. "Just as the people of Nagorno Karabagh saw the
necessity of a peaceful secession from Azerbaijan seventeen years ago, so too
must a peaceful resolution be achieved with this current conflict. . .The
United States will continue to promote the cause of our democratic friends in
Nagorno Karabagh, not yielding until the goals set forth on February 20, 1988,
have been fully realized."
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg
sent
a congratulatory letter to Karabagh President Arkady Ghoukasian, commending
the
Karabagh people on the 17th anniversary of the liberation movement and
pledging
support for continued efforts to find a lasting peace in the region.
The complete texts of the Congressional statements may be found on
the ANCA website at the following link:
www.anca.org/press_releases/press_releases.php?prid=709


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