diumenge, de març 25, 2012

ILS SONT TOMBÉS, poema de Charles Aznavour

Ils sont tombés sans trop savoir pourquoi. Hommes, femmes et enfants qui ne voulaient que vivre. Avec des gestes lourds comme des hommes ivres mutilés, massacrés les yeux ouverts d'effroi ils sont tombés en invoquant leur Dieu Au seuil de leur église ou le pas de leur porte. En troupeaux de désert titubant en cohorte terrassés par la soif, la faim, le fer, le feu. Nul n'éleva la voix dans un monde euphorique tandis que croupissait un peuple dans son sang. L' Europe découvrait le jazz et sa musique. Les plaintes de trompettes couvraient les cris d'enfants. Ils sont tombés pudiquement sans bruit par milliers, par millions, sans que le monde bouge, devenant un instant minuscules fleurs rouges recouverts par un vent de sable et puis d'oubli. Ils sont tombés les yeux pleins de soleil comme un oiseau qu'en vol une balle fracasse pour mourir n'importe où et sans laisser de traces. Ignorés, oubliés dans leur dernier sommeil. Ils sont tombés en croyant ingénus que leurs enfants pourraient continuer leur enfance qu'un jour ils fouleraient des terres d'espérance dans des pays ouverts d'hommes aux mains tendues. Moi je suis de ce peuple qui dort sans sépulture qu'a choisi de mourir sans abdiquer sa foi qui n'a jamais baissé la tête sous l'injure qui survit malgré tout et qui ne se plaint pas. Ils sont tombés pour entrer dans la nuit éternelle des temps au bout de leur courage. La mort les a frappés sans demander leur âge Puisqu'ils étaient fautifs d'être enfants d'Arménie. Paroles: Charles Aznavour. Musique: Georges Garvarentz

dimecres, de març 21, 2012


VIATGE A ÍTACA (part de l'Odissea), poema d'Homer

Daniel Varujan demana, quan és a la presó, que li portin el llibre de l'Odissea d'Homer. Aquí tens Viatge a Ítaca, interpretat per Lluís Llach.

dilluns, de març 19, 2012



Armenian Revolutionary Federation

Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն (ՀՅԴ)
The ARF logo.
Leader Hrant Markarian
Founders Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, Simon Zavarian
Founded 1890
Ideology Socialism,[1]
Left-wing nationalism,[2]
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International[1]
Official colours Red [α]

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF or ՀՅԴ) (Traditional Armenian: Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն; Reformed Armenian: Հայ Հեղափոխական Դաշնակցություն — Hay Heghapokhagan Tashnagtsutiun or Hay Heghapokhakan Dashnaktsutyun, Դաշնակ — Tashnag or Dashnak) is an Armenian political party founded in Tiflis, Russian Empire (now Tbilisi, Georgia) in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian. The party operates in Armenia and in countries where the Armenian diaspora is present, notably in Lebanon and the ethnically Armenian-dominated Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The ARF advocates socialism and is a member of the Socialist International. It possesses the largest number of members from the political parties present in the Armenian diaspora, having established affiliates in more than 200 countries. Compared to other Armenian parties which tend to primarily focus on educational or humanitarian projects, the Dashnaktsutiun is the most politically oriented of the organizations and traditionally has been one of the staunchest supporters of Armenian nationalism. The party campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the right to reparations. It also advocates the establishment of Greater Armenia based on the Treaty of Sèvres.

The ARF became active within the Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s with the aim of unifying the various small groups in the empire that were advocating for reform and defending Armenian villages from massacres that were widespread in some of the Armenian-populated areas of the empire. ARF members formed fedayee groups that defended Armenian civilians through armed resistance. The Dashnaks also worked for the wider goal of creating a "free, independent and unified" Armenia, although they sometimes set aside this goal in favor of a more realistic approach, such as advocating autonomy.

In 1917, the party was instrumental in the creation of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Armenia, which fell to the Soviet communists in 1920. After its leadership was exiled by the communists, the ARF established itself within Armenian diaspora communities, where it helped Armenians preserve their cultural identity. After the fall of the USSR, it returned to Armenia, where it now again has a significant presence as the leading opposition party in Armenia's parliament. Prior to Serzh Sargsyan's election as president of Armenia and for a short time thereafter, the ARF was a member of the governing coalition, even though it nominated its own candidate in the presidential elections.

1 Early history
1.1 Russian Empire
1.2 Persian Empire
1.2.1 Constitutional Revolution
1.3 Ottoman Empire
1.3.1 Abdul Hamid Period (1894-1908)
1.3.2 Young Turk Revolution (1908-1914)
1.4 World War I and the Armenian Genocide
1.5 Democratic Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)
2 Exile
ARF Founders: Stepan Zorian, Christapor Mikaelian, Simon Zavarian

In the late 19th century, Eastern Europe and Russia became the hub of small groups advocating reform in Armenian-populated areas in the Ottoman Empire. In 1890, recognizing the need to unify these groups in order to be more efficient, Christapor Mikaelian, Simon Zavarian and Stepan Zorian created a new political party called the "Federation of Armenian Revolutionaries" (Հայ Յեղափոխականների Դաշնակցութիւն, Hay Heghapokhakanneri Dashnaktsutyun), which would eventually be called the "Armenian Revolutionary Federation" or "Dashnaktsutiun" in 1890.

The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party at one point had agreed to join as well, seeing that the ARF's political ideology was socialism. However, the Hunchakians claimed the new party was not Marxist enough and withdrew from the union.The original aim of the ARF was to gain autonomy for the Armenian-populated areas in the Ottoman Empire. The party began to organize itself in the Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s and held its first major meeting in Tiflis, Russian Empire, in 1892. At that meeting, the party adopted a decentralized modus operandi according to which the chapters in different countries were allowed to plan and implement policies in tune with their local political atmosphere. The party set its goal of a society based on the democratic principles of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and agrarian reform.


The ARF gradually acquired significant strength and sympathy among Russian Armenians. Mainly because of the ARF's stance towards the Ottoman Empire, the party enjoyed the support of the central Russian administration, as tsarist and ARF foreign policy had the same alignment until 1903. On June 12, 1903, the tsarist authorities passed an edict to bring all Armenian Church property under imperial control. This was faced by strong ARF opposition, because the ARF perceived the tsarist edict as a threat to the Armenian national existence. As a result, the ARF leadership decided to defend Armenian churches by dispatching militiamen who acted as guards and by holding mass demonstrations.

In 1905–06, the Armenian-Tatar massacres broke out during which the ARF became involved in armed activities. Some sources claim that the Russian government incited the massacres in order to reinforce its authority during the revolutionary turmoil of 1905. The first outbreak of violence occurred in Baku, in February 1905. The ARF held the Russian authorities responsible for inaction and instigation of massacres that were part of a larger anti-Armenian policy. On May 11, 1905, Dashnak revolutionary Drastamat Kanayan assassinated Russian governor general Nakashidze, who was considered by the Armenian population as the main instigator of hate and confrontation between the Armenians and the Tatars. Unable to rely on government forces to protect their interests and properties, the Armenian bourgeoisie turned to the ARF for protection. The Dashnak leaders argued that, given employment discrimination against Armenian workers in non-Armenian concerns, the defence provided to the Armenian bourgeoisie was essential to the safekeeping of employment opportunities for Armenian laborers. The Russian Tsar's envoy in the Caucasus, Vorontsov-Dashkov, reported that the ARF bore a major portion of responsibilities for perpetrating the massacres. The ARF, however, argued that it helped to organize the defence of the Armenian population against Muslim attacks. The blows suffered at the hands of the Dashnakist fighting squads proved a catalyst for the consolidation of the Muslim community of the Caucasus. During that period, the ARF regarded armed activity, including terror, as necessary for the achievement of political goals.

In January 1912, 159 ARF members, being lawyers, bankers, merchants and other intellectuals, were tried before the Russian senate for their participation in the party. They were defended by then-lawyer Alexander Kerensky, who challenged much of the evidence used against them as the "original investigators had been encouraged by the local administration to use any available means" to convict the men. Kerensky succeeded in having the evidence reexamined for one of the defendants. He and several other lawyers "made openly contemptuous declarations" about this discrepancy to the Russian press, which was forbidden to attend the trials, and this in turn greatly embarrassed the senators. The Senate eventually opened an inquiry against the chief magistrate who had brought the charges against the Dashnak members and concluded that he was insane. Ninety-four of the accused were acquitted, while the rest were either imprisoned or exiled for varying periods, the most severe being six years.

Persian Empire
Constitutional Revolution

The Dashnaktsutiun held a meeting on April 26, 1907, dubbed the Fourth General Congress, at which ARF leaders such as Aram Manukian, Hamo Ohanjanyan and Stepan Stepanian discussed their engagement in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. They established that the movement was one that had political, ideological and economic components and thus were aimed at the establishment of law and order, human rights and the interests of all working people. They also felt that it would work for the benefit and interest of Armenian-Iranians. The final vote was 25 votes in favour and one absentia.

From 1907 to 1908, during the time when the Young Turks came to power in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians from the Caucasus, Western Armenia, and Iran started to collaborate with Iranian constitutionalists and revolutionaries. Political parties, notably the Dashnaktsutiun, wanted to influence the direction of the revolution towards greater democracy and to safeguard gains already achieved. The Dashnak contribution to the fight was mostly military, as it sent some of its well known fedayees to Iran after the guerrilla campaign in the Ottoman Empire ended with the rise of the Young Turks. A notable ARF member already in Iran was Yeprem Khan, who had established a branch of the party in the country. Yeprem Khan was highly instrumental in the Constitutional revolution of Iran. After the Persian national parliament was shelled by the Russian Colonel Vladimir Liakhov, Yeprem Khan rallied with Sattar Khan and other revolutionary leaders in the Constitutional Revolution of Iran against Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar. Relations between Sattar Khan and the ARF oscillated between amity and resentment. Sometimes he was viewed as being ignorant, while at other times he was dubbed a great hero. Nonetheless, the ARF came to collaborate with him and alongside Yeprem Khan posted many victories including the capture of Rasht in February 1909. At the end of June 1909, the fighters arrived in Tehran and after several battles, took over the Majles building and the Sepahsalar mosque. Yeprem Khan was then appointed chief of Tehran police. This caused tensions between the Dashnaks and Khan.

Ottoman Empire
Abdul Hamid Period (1894-1908)

The ARF became a major political force in Armenian life. It was especially active in the Ottoman Empire, where it organized or participated in many revolutionary activities. In 1894, the ARF took part in the Sasun Resistance, supplying arms to the local population to help the people of Sasun defend themselves against the Hamidian purges. In June 1896, the Armenakans organized the Defense of Van in the province of Van, where Ottoman Hamidieh soldiers were to attack the city. The Armenakans, assisted by members of the Hunchakian and ARF parties, supplied all able-bodied men of Van with weapons. They rose to defend the civilians from the attack and subsequent massacre.

To raise awareness of the massacres of 1895–96, members of the Dashnaktsutiun led by Papken Siuni, occupied the Ottoman Bank on August 26, 1896. The purpose of the raid was to dictate the ARF's demands of reform in the Armenian populated areas of the Ottoman Empire and to attract European attention to their cause since the Europeans had many assets in the bank. The operation caught European attention but at the cost of more massacres by Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

The Khanasor Expedition was performed by the Armenian militia against the Kurdish Mazrik tribe on July 25, 1897. During the Defense of Van, the Mazrik tribe had ambushed a squad of Armenian defenders and massacred them. The Khanasor Expedition was the ARF's retaliation.[21][25] Some Armenians consider this their first victory over the Ottoman Empire and celebrate each year in its remembrance.

On March 30, 1904, the ARF played a major role in the Sasun Uprising. The ARF sent arms and fedayees to defend the region for the second time. Among the 500 fedayees participating in the resistance were top figures such as Kevork Chavush, Sepasdatsi Murad and Hrayr Djoghk. They managed to hold off the Ottoman army for several months, despite their lack of fighters and firepower.

In 1905, members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation organized the Yıldız Attempt, an assassination attempt on Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). The Yıldız Attempt failed to assassinate the Sultan because the timed bomb missed its target by a few minutes. The Dashnaksutiun also lost one of its founders, Kristapor Mikaelian, in an accidental explosion during the planning of the operation.

Two of the largest revolutionary groups trying to overthrow Sultan Abdul Hamid II had been the ARF and the Committee of Union and Progress, a group of mostly European-educated Turks. In a general assembly meeting in 1907, the ARF acknowledged that the Armenian and Turkish revolutionaries had the same goals. Although the Tanzimat reforms had given Armenians more rights and seats in the parliament, the ARF hoped to gain autonomy to govern Armenian populated areas of the Ottoman Empire as a "state within a state". The "Second congress of the Ottoman opposition" took place in Paris, France, in 1907. Opposition leaders including Ahmed Riza (liberal), Sabahheddin Bey, and ARF member Khachatur Maloumian attended. During the meeting, an alliance between the two parties was officially declared. The ARF decided to cooperate with the Committee of Union and Progress, hoping that if the Young Turks came to power, autonomy would be granted to the Armenians.

In 1908, Abdul Hamid II was overthrown during the Young Turk Revolution, which launched the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire. Armenians gained more seats in the 1908 parliament, but the reforms fell short of the greater autonomy that the ARF had hoped for. The Adana massacre in 1909 also created antipathy between Armenians and Turks, and the ARF cut relations with the Young Turks in 1912.

World War I and the Armenian Genocide

In 1915, Dashnak leaders were deported and killed alongside other Armenian intellectuals during a purge by Ottoman officials against the leaders of the empire's Armenian communities. The ARF, maintaining its ideological commitment to a "Free, Independent, and United Armenia", led the defense of the Armenian people during the Armenian Genocide, becoming leaders of the successful Van Resistance. Jevdet Bey, the Ottoman administrator of Van, tried to suppress the resistance by killing two Armenian leaders (Ishkhan and Vramian) and trying to imprison Aram Manukian, who had risen to fame and gained the nickname "Aram of Van". Moreover, on April 19, he issued an order to exterminate all Armenians, and threatened to kill all Muslims who helped them.

About 185,000 Armenians lived in Vaspurakan. In the city of Van itself, there were around 30,000 Armenians, but more Armenians from surrounding villages joined them during the Ottoman offensive. The battle started on April 20, 1915, with Aram Manukian as the leader of the resistance, and lasted for two months. In May, the Armenian battalions and Russian regulars entered the city and successfully drove the Ottoman army out of Van. The Dashnaktsutiun was also involved in other less-successful resistance movements in Zeitun, Shabin-Karahisar, Urfa, and Musa Dagh. After the end of the Van resistance, ARF leader Aram Manukian became governor of the Administration for Western Armenia and worked to ease the sufferings of Armenians.

At the end of World War I, members of the Young Turks movement considered executors of the Armenian Genocide by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were assassinated during Operation Nemesis.

Democratic Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)

As a result of the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, the Armenian, Georgian, and Muslim leaders of the Caucasus united to create the Transcaucasian Federation in the winter of 1918. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk had drastic consequences for the Armenians: Turkish forces reoccupied Western Armenia. The federation lasted for only three months, eventually leading to the proclamation of the Republics of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The negotiators for Armenia were from the ARF.

With the collapse of the Transcaucasian Federation, the Armenians were left to fend for themselves as the Turkish army approached the capital of Yerevan. At first, fearing a major military defeat and massacre of the population of Armenia, the Dashnaks wanted to evacuate the city of Yerevan. Instead, the Military Council headed by Colonel Pirumian decided that they would not surrender and would confront the Turkish army. The opposing armies met on May 28, 1918, near Sardarapat. The battle was a major military success for the Armenian army as it was able to halt the invading Turkish forces. The Armenians also stood their ground at the Battle of Kara Killisse and at the Battle of Bash Abaran. The creation of the Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) was proclaimed on the same day of the Battle of Sardarapat, and the ARF became the ruling party. However, the new state was devastated, with a dislocated economy, hundreds of thousands of refugees, and a mostly starving population.

The ARF, led by General Andranik, tried several times to seize Shusha (known as Shushi by Armenians), a city in Karabakh. Just before the Armistice of Mudros was signed, Andranik was on the way from Zangezur to Shusha, to control the main city of Karabakh. Andranik's forces got within 26 miles (42 km) of the city when the First World War ended, and Turkey, along with Germany and Austria-Hungary, surrendered to the Allies. British forces ordered Andranik to stop all military advances, assuring him that the conflict would be solved with the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Andranik, not wanting to antagonize the British, retreated to Gorin, Zangezur.

To forestall the probable victory of the "Freedom Fighters" at the upcoming 11th General Congress (27 March to 2 May 1929), on the eve of the meeting, the Bureau began a "cleansing campaign."[clarification needed] The first to be "removed" from the party was Bureau member, Shahan Natalie. "Knowingly" (by his definition) having joined the ARF and unjustly separated from it, Shahan Natalie wrote about this: "With Shahan began again that which had begun with Antranig; Bureau member, Shahan, was 'ousted'" After Shahan were successively ousted Haig Kntouni, Armenian Republic army officer Bagrevandian with his group, Glejian and Tartizian with their partisans, General Smbad, Ferrahian with his group, future "Mardgots" (Bastion)-ists Mgrdich Yeretziants, Levon Mozian, Vazgen Shoushanian, Mesrob Kouyoumjian, Levon Kevonian and many others. As a protest to this "cleansing" by the Bureau, some members of the ARF French Central Committee also resigned.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation had a strong presence in the DRA government. Most of the important government posts, such as prime minister, defence minister and interior minister were controlled by its members. Despite their tight grip on power, the ARF was unable to stop the impending Communist invasion from the north, which culminated with a Soviet takeover in 1920. The ARF was banned, its leaders exiled, and many of its members dispersed to other parts of the world.


After the communists took over the short-lived Democratic Republic of Armenia and ARF leaders were exiled, the Dashnaks moved their base of operations to where the Armenian diaspora had settled. With the large influx of Armenian refugees in the Levant, the ARF established a strong political structure in Lebanon and to a lesser extent, Syria. From 1921 to 1990, the Dashnaktsutiun established political structures in more than 200 states including the USA, where another large influx of Armenians settled.

With political and geographic division came religious division. One part of the Armenian Church claimed it wanted to be separate from the head, whose seat was in Echmiadzin, Armenian SSR. Some Armenians in the US thought Moscow tried to use the Armenian Church to promote Communists' ideas outside the country. The Armenian Church thus separated into two branches, Echmiadzin and Cilician, and started to operate separately. In the US, Echmiadzin branch churches of the Armenian Apostolic Church would not admit members of the ARF. This was one of the reasons why the ARF discouraged people from attending these churches and brought the representatives from a different wing of the church, the Armenian Catholicate of Cilicia, from Lebanon to the US. In 1933, members of ARF were convicted in the assassination of Armenian archbishop Levon Tourian in New York City. Prior to his murder, the archbishop had been accused of being exclusively pro-Soviet by the ARF. However, the ARF itself was legally exonerated from any direct complicity in the assassination.

During the 1950s, tensions arose between the ARF and Armenian SSR. The death of Catholicos Garegin of the Holy See of Cilicia prompted a struggle for succession. The National Ecclesiastic Assembly, which was largely influenced by the ARF, elected Zareh of Aleppo. This decision was rejected by the Echmiadzin-based Catholicos of All Armenians, the anti-ARF coalition, and Soviet Armenian authorities. Zareh extended his administrative authority over a large part of the Armenian diaspora, furthering the rift that had already been created by his election.[24] This event split the large Armenian community of Lebanon, creating sporadic clashes between the supporters of Zareh and those who opposed his election.

Religious conflict was part of a greater conflict that raged between the two "camps" of the Armenian diaspora. The ARF still resented the fact that they were ousted from Armenia after the Red Army took control, and the ARF leaders supported the creation of a "Free, Independent, and United Armenia", free from both Soviet and Turkish hegemony. The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party and Ramgavar Party, the main rivals of the ARF, supported the newly established Soviet rule in Armenia.

divendres, de març 16, 2012

EL GENOCIDIO ARMENIO (canal d'història)



C’est ce qui s’est passé en 2011, lorsque l’Assemblée a tranché un vieux débat en reconnaissant l’existence d’un “génocide arménien”. Plus d’1,5 million de morts selon les associations arméniennes et beaucoup d’historiens, à l’issue d’une volonté systématique et planifiée de les exterminer. Un drame contesté par les différents gouvernements turcs. La version turque officielle étant de concéder 500 000 morts, attribués aux aléas de la première guerre mondiale. Les “aléas” ont bon dos. Il est évident que le climat de la première guerre mondiale ne suffit pas àexpliquer l’extermination de presque deux tiers des Arméniens. Même s’il appartient aux historiens d’établir le nombre exact de morts, et surtout le degré de responsabilité des futurs cadres de la République turque. C’est bien ce “péché originel”, associé au nationalisme turc, qui rend leur tâche si difficile. Les réactions à la proposition de loi française le démontrent : la Turquie est loin de porter un regard apaisé sur son histoire fondatrice. Qu’il soit islamiste ou laïque, aucun gouvernement n’hésite à brandir le drapeau nationaliste sitôt que l’on prononce le mot “génocide”.

>> Lire l’article La Turquie accuse la France d’avoir commis un génocide en Algérie

Le fait que ce jugement émane d’un autre Parlement n’est pas de nature à calmercette fièvre, bien au contraire. Mais comment faire lorsqu’un gouvernement s’acharne à nier un crime commis il y a presque cent ans. Alors que les faits semblent bel et bien correspondre à la notion de “génocide” adoptée par l’Organisation des Nations unies en 1948 ? Sans doute est-ce à la justice internationale de proclamer si l’épuration ethnique visant les Arméniens relève du “génocide”. Encore faut-il que la Turquie l’accepte ! Cela permettrait au droit français de pénaliser la négation de crimes reconnus par la communauté internationale, sans avoir à écrire l’histoire de sa propre initiative. Ni à se brouilleravec un autre pays.


En attendant, notre droit prévoit déjà de pénaliser la négation du génocide juif commis sous la seconde guerre mondiale. Il est donc difficile de ne pas l’étendreau génocide arménien reconnu par notre Assemblée… Même si cette extension sort des frontières de notre histoire et va devoir entraîner une certaine clarification :dissocier ce qui relève du débat de bonne foi, entre historiens, pour établir la réalité des faits, et ce qui relève de la négation à des fins de propagande haineuse. Les tribunaux ne sont pas au bout de leurs peines.

Quant au gouvernement turc, on lui proposerait bien un marché. Puisque la France envisage de sanctionner ceux qui nient le génocide arménien sur son sol, pourquoi le gouvernement turc ne voterait-il pas une loi pour sanctionner ceux – très nombreux – qui nient le génocide juif (aidé par la police française) sur son sol ? Voilà qui serait plus équilibré, et sans doute très utile.


Turkish anger at US Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey committed to Armenia peace search

Turkey has reacted angrily to a US congressional panel's resolution describing as genocide the killings of Armenians in World War I.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country had been accused of a crime it did not commit, adding the resolution would harm Turkish-US relations.

Ankara has recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations and says it is considering other responses.

The White House had urged against the vote. Armenia welcomed the outcome.

The government of Turkey, a key American ally and fellow Nato member, had lobbied hard for the US Congress not to vote on the issue.
Armenian-Americans hold protest in Washington (file picture)
Armenian-Americans have lobbied for official use of the word "genocide"

The BBC's Jane O'Brien in Washington says Turkey must be hoping that, as with a similar resolution two years ago, the issue will not come to the floor of the House for a full vote.

In 2007, it passed the committee stage, but was shelved after pressure from the George W Bush administration.


The resolution was narrowly approved - by 23 votes to 22 - by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

It calls on President Barack Obama to ensure that US foreign policy reflects an understanding of the "genocide" and to label the World War I killings as such in his annual statement on the issue.

Jonathan Head
Jonathan Head, BBC News, Istanbul

Talks between Turkey and Armenia helped defer a US congressional vote after 2007. The two countries signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations on 10 October 2009 in Switzerland.

That deal has since faltered. Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his promise to Azerbaijan not to fix ties with Armenia until the the conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is settled.

Turkey feels ethnic kinship with Azerbaijan and relies on it for gas supplies.

Turkey has also complained about a ruling in the Armenian Constitutional Court restating the requirement to keep seeking international recognition of the genocide. The agreement is still not ratified by either parliament.

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton lobbed against the genocide resolution, but only at the last minute. Both supported it as candidates. Turkey may also have lost support from the powerful US Israeli lobby because of PM Erdogan's verbal attacks on Israel.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul responded angrily to the committee's vote, saying it was "an injustice to history" to take such a decision with "political concerns in mind".

"Turkey will not be responsible for the negative results that this event may lead to," he said.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara on Friday that Turkey was determined to press ahead with efforts to normalise relations with Armenia.

However, he said the ratification by parliament of peace accords signed with Armenia last October was in jeopardy.

A Turkish parliamentary delegation had gone to Washington to try to persuade committee members to reject the resolution.

Turkey accepts that atrocities were committed but argues they were part of the war and that there was no systematic attempt to destroy the Christian Armenian people.

The Armenian government welcomed the vote, calling it "an important step towards the prevention of crimes against humanity".

'Too important'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had urged the House committee not to vote on Thursday on the grounds that it would damage reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Armenia, and said she hoped it would go no further.

An Armenian woman mourns a young boy during the Ottoman deportations of 1915
Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915-6
Many historians and the Armenian people believe the killings amount to genocide
Turks and some historians deny they were orchestrated
More than 20 countries regard the massacres as genocide

Media ask: What next for vote?
Q&A: Armenian genocide dispute

"We do not believe that the full Congress will or should act upon that resolution, and we have made that clear to all the parties involved," she said.

During his campaign for the 2008 election, Mr Obama promised to brand the mass killings genocide.

Mrs Clinton acknowledged his administration's change of opinion on the issue, saying circumstances had "changed in very significant ways".

In October last year, Turkey and Armenia signed a historic accord normalising relations between them after a century of hostility.

Armenia wants Turkey to recognise the killings as an act of genocide, but successive Turkish governments have refused to do so.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915, when they were deported en masse from eastern Anatolia by the Ottoman Empire. They were killed by troops or died from starvation and disease.

Armenians have campaigned for the killings to be recognised internationally as genocide - and more than 20 countries have done so.


House Panel Says Armenian Deaths Were Genocide

WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted narrowly on Thursday to condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians early in the last century, defying a last-minute plea from the Obama administration to forgo a vote that seemed sure to offend Turkey and jeopardize delicate efforts at Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.

Times Topic: Armenian Genocide

The vote on the nonbinding resolution, a perennial point of friction addressing a dark, century-old chapter of Turkish history, was 23 to 22. A similar resolution passed by a slightly wider margin in 2007, but the Bush administration, fearful of losing Turkish cooperation over Iraq, lobbied forcefully to keep it from reaching the House floor. Whether this resolution will reach a floor vote remains unclear.

In Ankara, the capital, the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately issued a sharp rebuke. “We condemn this bill that denounces the Turkish nation of a crime that it has not committed,” the statement said. Ambassador Namik Tan, who had only weeks ago taken up his post in Washington, has been recalled to Ankara for consultations, according to the statement.

Historians say that as many as 1.5 million Armenians died amid the chaos and unrest surrounding World War I and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey denies, however, that this was a planned genocide, and had mounted a vigorous lobbying campaign against the resolution.

A White House spokesman, Mike Hammer, said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had told Representative Howard L. Berman of California, the committee chairman, late on Wednesday that a vote would be harmful, jeopardizing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts that last year yielded two protocols aimed at a thawing of relations.

President Obama spoke to President Abdullah Gul of Turkey on Wednesday to endorse the efforts at normalization with Armenia, said Philip J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman.

“We’ve pressed hard to see the progress that we’ve seen to date, and we certainly do not want to see that jeopardized,” he said.

The timing of the administration’s plea seemed to catch some committee members by surprise. Early in the meeting on Thursday, the ranking Republican member, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, said that the administration had taken no position on the vote. But several minutes later she requested time to correct herself: an aide had handed her a news article describing the administration’s newly announced opposition.

Suat Kiniklioglu, a member of Turkey’s Parliament who was in Washington to meet with lawmakers, said later that he thought the intervention by Mrs. Clinton — who was asked about the resolution last week before the same House committee, but did not condemn it explicitly — had come too late.

Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, also said he doubted that Mrs. Clinton’s intervention had changed much. “It was closer than anticipated,” he said of the vote, “but at the end of the day the truth prevailed and the members made a very affirmative statement in the face of the opposition.”

Committee members were clearly torn between what they said was a moral obligation to condemn one of the darkest periods of the last century and the need to protect a relationship with Turkey, a NATO partner vital to American regional and security interests. “This is not one of those issues that members of Congress look forward to voting on,” said Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York.

Like nearly every member, Mr. Berman saluted Turkey as an important ally. “Be that as it may,” he added, “nothing justifies Turkey’s turning a blind eye to the reality of the Armenian genocide.

“The Turks say passing this resolution could have terrible consequences for our bilateral relationship,” Mr. Berman said. “But I believe that Turkey values its relations with the United States at least as much as we value our relations with Turkey.”

While still in the Senate, Mr. Obama had described the killings of Armenians at Ottoman hands as genocide. Mrs. Clinton, also then a senator, had taken a similar stance.

Last year, she strongly supported talks that led to two protocols between Turkey and Armenia calling for closer ties, open borders and the creation of a commission to examine the historical evidence in dispute.

Those accords, not yet ratified by either nation’s lawmakers, could now be endangered, opponents of the resolution said. “This is a fragile process that destabilizes the protocols,” said Representative Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana.

Sebnem Arsu contributed reporting from Istanbul.

dimarts, de març 13, 2012

IN MEMÒRIAM TERESA PÀMIES (morta el dia 13 de febrer de 2012, a 92 anys)


Teresa Pàmies recorda la mort del seu company Gregorio López-Raimundo