The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires following reports about the Dutch parliament planning to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the ministry’s spokesman Hami Aksoy said Saturday, February 17, according to Sputnik International.
On Thursday, the Dutch parliament approved two motions to consider recognizing the Armenian Genocide and send a minister or state secretary to the commemoration event that will take place in the Armenian capital of Yerevan in April. The motions were proposed by Christian Union lawmaker Joel Voordewind.
“The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the charge d’affaires of the Netherlands in connection with reports about the Dutch parliament’s plans to support Armenia’s claims regarding the events of 1915,” Aksoy’s statement read.
The Dutch move came amid the ongoing deterioration of Dutch-Turkish relations. In 2017, Dutch authorities refused entry to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, who were going to participate in the Turkish rallies for the referendum on amendments to the Turkish constitution.
Earlier this month, the Netherlands decided to formally withdraw its ambassador from Ankara, who has been denied access to the country since March.
Al-Monitor has prepared an article about kadaif (or kadayif or kataifi), a delicious dessert claimed by Turks, Greeks and Middle Easterners, which can be made into different shapes.
In the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, locals believe that the dessert was first baked in the Armenian houses of the cosmopolitan city in the 18th century, the article by Mahmut Bozarslan says.
As the dessert became popular, the Armenians taught it to the Muslim population in the 19th century, mainly migrants from Bingol, a small city to the north, who had come to Diyarbakir looking for jobs.
“My grandfather Riza Ansin learned the art of making kadaif from an Armenian chef called Agop,” Ahmet Altunay, the third generation of a family of kadaif makers, told Al-Monitor.
“After the Armenians left [Diyarbakir in the beginning of the 20th century], we took over the business. Nowadays, all the kadaif makers are from Bingol.”
He added, “When my grandfather died in 1990, he was 85 years old. Our family has been making and selling kadaif for more than 100 years now. My grandfather taught my father, and my father taught me and my four brothers. I am currently teaching my own children how to make kadaif. I take them to the shop the weekends and tell them to look and learn. They will end up running the business one day.”
Altunay’s business is growing, with a new branch in Ankara and prospects for another in Istanbul. He’s shipped kadaif all the way to the United States. “There was an Armenian who moved to New York from Diyarbakir. One day, he called and asked us to send to the United States 10 kilos of kadaif. We told him it would be too expensive, but he asked us to send it anyway. So we sent him 10 kilos of kadaif — the shipping costs were twice as much as the cost of the sweet. We send the dessert to most of the European countries. We have a customer who works with Boeing and we ship him his kadaif wherever he is.”
Two motions regarding the Armenian Genocide of 1915 are circulating in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.
Earlier reports suggested that the parliament has already approved the bills but the voting is scheduled to take place in spring.
One states that the Tweede Kamer “recognizes the Armenian Genocide“, the other that a Dutch Minister or State Secretary should attend the commemoration of Genocide in Armenia in April, NL Times reports citing ANP.
This decision is expected to further sour the relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands.
Both motions were submitted by ChristenUnie parliamentarian Joel Voordewind. All four coalition parties seem to be supporting the motions.
Op initiatief vd @christenunie gaat de 2e Kamer de Armeense genocide erkennen en zal op regeringsniveau de herdenking vd Armeense genocide dit jaar worden bijgewoond in Armenië. Een duidelijk signaal naar nabestaanden en waarschuwing aan potentiële daders! https://t.co/4BBuvB2gZm
— Joël Voordewind (@JoelVoordewind) February 16, 2018
So far the Netherlands never officially recognized the Genocide, always speaking of the “issue of the Armenian genocide”. But a majority in parliament believes it is time for the situation to change. “We can not deny history out of fear of sanctions. Our country houses the capital of international law after all, so we must not be afraid to do the right thing here too”, Voordewind said.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey is already tense, since the Netherlands refused Turkish ministers access to the country to campaign for a referendum that gave president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. Recently talks to repair relations broke down, and the Netherlands officially recalled the Dutch ambassador to Turkey.
Some three dozen countries, hundreds of local government bodies and international organizations have so far recognized the killings of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as Genocide.
Turkey denies to this day.
Nonprofit has collected 45,000 photographs of Armenian culture.
With no homeland, a genocide, and a lack of information, how can a culture be remembered?
Ruth Thomasian was asking those questions of her Armenian heritage in the 1970s, wondering about that part of her identity and the people that came before her.
She found out the village where her family was from the village of Anchertee which is Armenian for “without water” in the state of Arabkir. Living in “Water town” now the history comes full circle, Thomasian says.
Based on what she learned about her family and based on her love of history she decided to take on the preservation of Armenian culture herself and created a place where that history could not only be preserved but valued.
She created Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives in 1975.
Thomasian is founder and president of the nonprofit.
“I started it back in 1975 when I, as a young person, was looking for my identity living in New York City,” she said. “I was working in the theater as a costume designer and I got a play to costume and there was no research to show me what people looked like from the homeland.”
More than four decades later, the nonprofit has collected 45,000 photographs and has digitized 8,500 of them since 2009.
“Our mission is to collect these photographs document them and also make them available,” said Tsoleen Sarian, executive director of Project SAVE Armenian Photographs Archives. “We are always growing and looking to help people connect with the photographs and see things they have in common whether its by place or time and the more we collect the richer the tapestry becomes.”
Photos from Project SAVe were part of a Netflix documentary “They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief” by George Billard. The documentary featured nine photographs from Project SAVE’s collection that detailed life before and after the genocide of the early twentieth century where approximately a million Armenians were killed.
“It’s intrigued me putting the pieces of the diaspora back together through the photographs,” said Suzanne Adams, archivist, for Project SAVE. Adams has been at the nonprofit for the past 11 years and has helped to digitize the collection to allow the photos to be shared across all mediums.
Collecting is a constant process. Many photos have been found in garage sales and through a variety of donors. There have been 1,550 donors of photos to date.
There is a use for old photos and they matter, Sarian says.
“If they don’t know what to do with photographs if they don’t know the people in the photographs anymore those photographs are very valuable to us,” she said. “We want to collect them the more information someone has the better obviously we want people to know that we collect photographs and we are then able to use them and share them and tell their stories.
“They were important people and even after the genocide even all around the world those people have stories and we want to share them and we can share them if they’re with us,” she added.
Project SAVE can help families connect the dots with their past. Often one photo can help others remember.
“Before it used to be your family’s recollections or stories but now a lot more is available and that’s why I’m interested to is to create this dialogue with people each of us may have a little shred of information but together collectively the whole story comes together,” Sarian said. “And so that’s why it’s important for me to have people talk about this and bring people together about this.”
What started as a personal mission has now taken on a larger meaning, one that Thomasian hope brings a sense of pride and awareness to Armenians seeking more clarity about their history.
“We Armenians have a need–we did not know anything,” she said. “This was one way of finding information that would be otherwise lost we didn’t have a country. If you’re French or Italian you have a country to go to and learn who you are and what your culture is–we didn’t have that. What does it mean to be Armenian? I learned by talking to my surrogate grandparents. All of these photo donors were my elders.
“We had a real deep need emotional need for it so I was willing to spend my time doing it,” she added.
The Knesset rejected a bill sponsored by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid to have Israel recognize the Armenian Genocide, in a preliminary vote Wednesday. “There is no reason that the Knesset, which represents a nation that went through the Holocaust, shouldn’t recognize the Armenian Genocide and have a remembrance day for it,” Lapid said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said sent a parliamentary delegation to the 100th anniversary event in Yerevan, but will not take an official stance on the matter, “in light of its complexity and diplomatic repercussions, and because it has a clear political connection.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein called on the government in 2015 to change its stance, and in 2016 the Knesset Education Committee recognized the genocide.
On Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 2-4 pm, thousands will gather in Times Square (43rd St. & Broadway) to commemorate the 103rd anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide (Medz Yeghern), the first genocide of the 20th century.
In recognition of Genocide Awareness Month in April, Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) will also be commemorated, along with other genocides committed in contemporary history, the Massis Post reports.
This powerful event, free and open to the public, will honor the 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire and the millions of victims of genocide worldwide. Speakers will include well-known artists, politicians, academics and humanitarians. Armen McOmber, Esq and Professor Nvair Beylerian, Co-Director of the Center for Peace, Justice, Reconciliation at Bergen Community College, will preside over the program, the theme of which is Truth, Justice and Recognition.
“These killings, which were labeled crimes against humanity and civilization at the time, exactly fit the definition of the word genocide, which was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer in 1943,” said Dr Dennis Papazian, Founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “In the long run, Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide is critical, since Turkey is the responsible successive government of the Ottoman Empire.”
The commemoration arrives on the heels of the newly published book, Killing Orders, by Turkish historian Dr Taner Akcam, who has pieced together documents from trials that emerged from the Armenian Genocide, which he refers to as the “smoking gun” and hopes it will “remove the last brick in the denialist wall.”
“My firm belief as a Turk is that democracy and human rights in Turkey can only be established by facing history and acknowledging historic wrongdoings,” said Dr Akcam in a recent New York Times interview titled, “Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide Uncovers Lost Evidence.”
The Astghikner Vocal Ensemble of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Mission Parish of Brooklyn, New York, will sing the Armenian and American anthems, kicking off a program that pays homage to the lives lost to genocide and invigorating efforts towards worldwide recognition.
“The international community needs to not only recognize the Armenian Genocide but shine a light on its history for all to see,” said Beylerian. “Acknowledge it, study it, talk about it and emphasize to the world how easily the horrors repeat themselves over and over and over again.”
The 103rd Armenian Genocide Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Knights & Daughters of Vartan (www.kofv.org), an international Armenian fraternal organization headquartered in the United States, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (www.agbu.org), the Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.org), the Armenian National Committee of America (www.anca.org), the Armenian Council of America and the Armenian Democratic League – Ramgavars.
Participating organizations include the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for US and Canada, the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF), Armenian youth organizations and university Armenian clubs.
President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, accompanied by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan, Acting Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Gevorg Vardanyan.
Rumen Radev left a note in the Book for Honorary Guests. AGMI Acting Director Gevorg Vardanyan handed the President a Golden Medal of the Institute.
Students gathered outside Geisel Library on Thursday to hold a silent demonstration against the United States’ failure to recognize the Armenian genocide — the systematic execution of over 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire and subsequent Turkish state from 1915 to 1922. Due to the fact that the Republic of Turkey, an American ally, has since denied that the killings constitute a genocide and instead argue that the Armenians were enemy combatants, the U.S.government has never officially declared the government’s actions a genocide, reported The UCSD Guardian, University of California at San Diego’s independent student newspaper.
The group of almost 10 people, some with duct tape covering their mouths, stood in front of the Silent Tree, bearing red signs with slogans like “Stain of Denial” and “TOMORROW’S INTELLECTUALS AGAINST GENOCIDE” and carrying the Armenian flag. One poster depicted a drawing of Adolf Hitler next to one of the “Three Pashas” who perpetrated the Armenian genocide and asked “WHERE IS OUR RECOGNITION?” — clearly questioning the government’s acknowledgment of the Holocaust compared to its silence on the Armenian genocide.
Meg Zargarian, a member of UC San Diego’s Armenian Students Association, explained the origins of the genocide to the UCSD Guardian.
“Since they were a Christian minority during [World War I], nations started leaving the [Ottoman Empire],” Zargarian said. “[The Ottomans] decided they wanted to keep the land … their goal was to leave one Armenian and leave him in a museum. They didn’t succeed, but over 1.5 million Armenians were massacred.”
While their demonstration was only a small group, Zargarian noted that they were acting in conjunction with Armenian students across the country.
“Every year, from [the] east to west coast, Armenians in different schools on this day at the same time protest for the Armenian genocide,” she stated. “We’re trying to get the hashtag ‘Stain of Denial’ trending on social media. It’s for the Armenian genocide and to get recognition on the day of April 24 [the day the Armenian genocide began].”
Sixth College student Albert Danielyan believes that because the genocide was one of the first modern ethnic cleansings, it is important that the event be remembered accurately.
“Despite the fact that other historical cases of ethnic cleansing such as the Holocaust have been acknowledged by the U.S., the Armenian genocide is still being denied,” Danielyan told the Guardian. “It was one of the first signs of systematic cleansing, and I feel that it should be recognized so we can have our voices heard.”
At past years’ demonstrations, students have also highlighted the University of California’s financial ties to Turkey, particularly its over $70 million in investments, and called for divestment.
“It’s still in the works, but we’re going to present a divestment from the Republic of Turkey,” Earl Warren College graduate Seda Byurat said in 2016. “This resolution passed across many UC campuses — UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, just to name a few. Finally, it’s coming here to UCSD. This is our segue into bringing up divestment. Even Hitler quoted, ‘Who, after all, remembers the Armenians?’ when he was trying to get away with his Holocaust. If we keep these huge historical things under wraps, and we keep supporting governments as students, that’s not the progress we want to see in society and the world.”
A.S. Council unanimously passed the resolution in March 2017, making UCSD the seventh campus to do so, but the UC Board of Regents have yet to take action on the issue.
U.S. congressman Ted Lieu, member of Democratic Party from California, has called for a resolution to be passed in Senate, recognizing the Armenian genocide in reaction to Turkish threats to U.S. troops in Syria.
“Turkey essentially is telling the United States that we should end our support to Kurdish YPG fighters or risk being targeted by Turkey. In fact, they had some pretty specific remarks, threats to U.S. troops and our policy there,” said, according to local media sources.
“We all understand that the Armenian Genocide happened, it is a historical fact, and the only reason that that resolution has not been passed is that we want to keep our relations with Turkey,” he said, adding “Is it now time to pass that resolution and tell Turkey that look, if you are going to take these actions against us, we are going to tell the truth and do some things you just might not like?”
According to Ahval news site report, the comments came during a Congress sub-committee hearing on the way forward for Syria in which Turkey was heavily criticized for its ongoing operation against the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin.