Tale of Bryza’s Wedding and the Jailed Reporter - Veille media

Tale of Bryza’s Wedding and the Jailed Reporter
Did a high-level Azeri official pay for Matthew Bryza’s 2007 wedding to Turkish author Zayna Baran? A swift crackdown on two journalists who reported at the time that the wedding ceremony for President Obama’s current nominee for the US ambassadorship to Baku was funded by Azerbaijan’s Economic Development minister suggests some misconduct.
In 2007, the editor of opposition newspaper Azatliq, Genimet Zahid and correspondent Adil Khalil were sued over an article entitled “Azerbaijanis Paid for Matthew Bryza’s Wedding.” The article alleges that Azeri Economic Development minister Haydar Babayev paid for a significant portion of Bryza’s wedding, which took place in Istanbul the same year. At the time, Bryza was the US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, the body tasked with mediating a peace deal for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The libel suit against Zahid and Khalil also included a charge of dealing a blow to Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, claiming that Armenians reading the article would conclude that the OSCE Co-chairman was bought off by Azerbaijan. The suit demanded that the newspaper retract the story. Not surprisingly, the court ruled against the newspaper.
During the appellate process, both of which were ruled in favor of the minister, Khalil was severely beaten and stabbed. Reportedly he fled to France. Meanwhile, Zahid was sentenced to four years in jail on a separate charge of “hooliganism.”
 Zahid’s lawyers last fall appealed to the International Court of Human Rights, arguing that charges against their client was a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression. The appeal to the court also charges that the journalists were not granted a fair trial.
 The swift action by Minister Babayev signals that the Azadliq article had merit. The editor’s unwillingness to retract, coupled with the swift court rulings and the subsequent attacks on the journalists, suggest that there was more to Bryza’s Istanbul nuptials than a mere wedding ceremony.
Upon his nomination, Azeri leadership circles praised their close ties with Bryza and underlined her marriage to a Turkish woman as a plus. Bryza’s one-sided approach to Karabakh peace was a constant problem during his tenure as the US OSCE mediator and a bone of contention for the Armenian-Americans, who are legitimately concerned about Bryza’s loyalties and the possible irreparable damage he might do as the US ambassador in Baku.
Allegations of Babayev’s role in Bryza’s wedding also raises questions of whether Bryza breached diplomatic conduct codes while serving as a US envoy in the region.
When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds hearings on his nomination this and other issues that pose a serious conflict of interest should be carefully discussed and questions about his deep involvement with Azeri leaders should be brought to forefront.
 US taxpayers should not be funding a diplomatic mission, whose number one person might be on the host country’s payroll.

In Quarter Of Jerusalem, Armenians Fear For Future
JERUSALEM (Reuters)–In Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter, a library stores precious memoirs which are all that remain of hundreds of Armenian communities, erased from the map of Turkey a century ago in the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
Now the Armenians in Jerusalem itself, many descended from refugees, fear their own 1,500-year-old Christian presence may disappear, too. Their society and extensive landholdings risk becoming collateral damage in a demographic conflict for land and power in the holy city between Israel and the Palestinians.
“It’s a dying community. Only the church holds us together,” lamented 97-year-old Arshalouys Zakarian, as she sat with family and friends in her garden near St. James’s Armenian cathedral.
The church, with its distinctive rites and dozens of black clad singing monks, dominates a Quarter which the Armenians, now just 2,000 of them, have held since Ottoman times alongside the Old City’s bigger Muslim, Jewish and Christian Quarters.
Over tea, Zakarian’s guests, some living locally, others back on visits from overseas, joined in tales of children gone abroad in search of jobs and of struggles, often in vain, with Israeli bureaucracy to retain rights to come back home to live.
“For the first time in our history, we are not sure we can stay, after 1,500 years,” concluded one man, now working for the Armenian church after a career spent in the United States. His daughter, born here, can visit, but may no longer live here.
Officials of the church, at the Armenian Patriarchate, share a view held by the mostly Muslim Palestinians — that Israel’s designation of the whole city as capital of the Jewish state means its control of residence and building permits is being used to press Arabs and other non-Jews to give up and leave.
“The withdrawing of ID cards is becoming very serious,” said historian George Hintlian, a former Patriarchate secretary. Five local-born Armenians lost residence rights last month, he added.
Non-Jews, a third of today’s 750,000 population in greater Jerusalem, have had residence rights but not citizenship since Israel seized the Arab east, including the Old City, from Jordan in 1967. Israel, which promotes Jewish immigration, says it is not obliged to grant re-entry to other residents who emigrate.
It says it respects the access of other faiths to Jerusalem and denies any policy to discriminate or to push non-Jews out. But the Armenians see double standards and fear for their land.
In the library, Hintlian leafs through volumes of memoirs detailing names, families, anecdotes, plans and sketches of lost Armenian communities in Turkey, from where refugees came to Jerusalem after World War One, bolstering the local population.
“What remains of historical Armenia is these books. For a people who suffered genocide, it is very important,” he said.
But while many Jews had sympathy for a people whose history of dispersal and suffering has echoes of their own, Armenians are wary of the Israeli state: “For the private Israeli, we are full-time genocide survivors,” Hintlian said. “But for the Israeli bureaucracy, we are full-time Palestinians.”
Many fear territorial designs on their Quarter, which covers a sixth of the square kilometer (230 acres) inside the walls but houses only a small fraction of the Old City’s 40,000 people. It lies next to the Jewish Quarter, ravaged under Jordanian rule after 1948. Israelis have rebuilt and expanded it since 1967.
A rash of spitting at clergy in the street by ultra-Orthodox Jews in recent years add to a sense of siege among a community which traces its roots back to monks and pilgrims who settled in the 5th century. By the mid-1940s, the community numbered 16,000 across Jerusalem and other cities of British-ruled Palestine.
Many were refugees from Turkey who revived Armenian language among native compatriots assimilated in Arabic. They brought, too, colorful ceramic work which still fills their shops today.
Many left when British rule ended in 1948. More followed in 1967. Those who stayed on in the Old City under Israeli rule were cut off from 400,000 other Armenians in the Middle East — in countries like Syria and Lebanon, at war with Israel. They are part of a global Diaspora of 10 million whose language and religious roots lie in a Caucasian kingdom that was the first to adopt Christianity as a state religion, in 301.
St. James’s Cathedral is a serene jewel, hung with precious lamps and treasures donated by Armenians scattered far and wide and infused with the haunting singing of its black cowled monks.
The Armenian Church has parity at Jerusalem’s Christian holy places with the much bigger Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches, 6,000 of whose Palestinian Arab adherents live in the Christian Quarter. Its history, income from local rents and gifts from the Diaspora, should assure the Church’s future here. But the lay community surrounding it does question whether future generations will be here; residents say Armenians feel disadvantaged in getting work with Jewish or Arab employers and so move abroad and then face Israeli refusal to allow them back.
“It’s a demographic struggle,” said Hintlian, as he strolled the quiet courtyards that distinguish the Quarter from the crowded lanes typical of the rest of the Old City. “The basic struggle is to have numbers,” he added. “Diplomats say, ‘Look, the Armenians have a lot of space and very few people…’.”
Among Armenian fears is that Israel and Palestinian peace negotiators might revive an idea to divide sovereignty over the Old City by allotting the Muslim and Christian Quarters to a Palestinian state and handing the Armenian Quarter to Israel.
The end of Communism in Armenia has thrown a lifeline to the church, bringing a supply of novices from the ex-Soviet state, said Archbishop Nourhan Manoogian, who himself came from Syria just before the 1967 war. But having returned now from 20 years abroad, he too faces a problem renewing his residence permit. “What kind of freedom of religion is there?” he asked.
Life can be uncomfortable beyond the walls of the monastery compound. Relations with Muslims have cooled, Manoogian said. There have been fights between Armenian and Greek clergy around Jesus’s tomb. And some ultra-Orthodox Jews are openly hostile.
But, consoled by a history that has seen Armenians survive bloodier sieges and regimes in Jerusalem down the centuries, Manoogian has confidence after four decades of Israeli rule: “In another 40 years, we’ll still be here,” he said.
And for all the anxieties that tinge the nostalgia round the tea table in Arshalouys Zakarian’s garden, there too there is a note of cheerful defiance: “The Armenians had a hard life,” the retired schoolmistress concluded. “But they are survivors.”


KNK: Turkey is preparing to carry the war to outside its borders

KNK Executive Council 22.06.2010-

After the skirmish that took place between Kurdish guerrillas and Turkish army on 19.06.2010 in Semdinli district of Hakkari, the Turkish state has started to deploy special units on the borders of Southern Kurdistan by helicopters. Intense military deployment is an indication of a land operation. Ten thousand soldiers are stationed on the border line. The area around the position of soldiers is being constantly bombarded by helicopters.
Intense activities are also going on at the Amediye and Bamerne military headquarters of the Turkish army which are inside the borders of Southern Kurdistan. In the meantime, assaults by military aircraft and daily bombardments continue uninterrupted.
As a result of the bombardment until today, 4 civilian Kurdish villagers including children have been killed and 8 people have been wounded. Hundreds of families had to leave their homes. Gardens and fields where the animals of the villagers grazed have been badly damaged.
Turkish and Iranian war planes are continuing to target civilian people outside their borders.
On the evening of 10 May, a house in Benistan village of a town called Seladize in Duhok has been hit during the howitzer attacks from Cukurca to Southern Kurdistan. The house-owner named Rekan Huseyin Rekani (27) has been killed and his wife and 3 children named Bihar, Hesen and Huseyn had been wounded. The next door neighbour Kerim Sekir has also been wounded.
On 15 May, Yekame village in Xabur has been targeted during a heavy and uninterrupted bombardment. A villager named Izbat Temel has been wounded during these attacks.
A girl named Zahide Mihemed Mecid aged 15, who was in the field at the time has been killed as a result of the bomb explosions that targeted the civilian areas in Xakurke on 19 June, while sister Sexawan Mihemed Mecide aged 6 and mother Gelawej Mela Ehmedi aged 36 have been heavily wounded.
Military helicopters are combing the villages.
On 21 June 2010, military helicopters belonging to Turkey or Iran have been flying above the districts of Coman in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) such as Pirelok, Kani Res, Omer Xeyat, Gomdelawan, Weza, Enze, Kani Spi, Singure and Ciyaye Kotoye. It has been reported that there have been two more flights over the area during the day. Due to a fear of bombardments, the villagers have left their houses and taken shelter.
It is clear from the security meetings of the Turkish state that it has decided to intensify the dirty war.
The Turkish state claims that it will bring peace and tranquility to the area while it does not recognise the rights and liberties of 20 million Kurds living within its borders, and annihilates anybody that resists the implementation of this policy.
While this is how it wants to be known abroad, the state is carrying out a dirty war against the Kurds within its borders. Turkish state authorities that have been meeting in security summits have decided to embark on stepping up the dirty war.
These decisions mean new deaths, suffering, massacres and injustices.
To the world public opinion and Kurdish people;
Every operation conducted by the Turkish army home and abroad further jeopardises the democratic resolution to the Kurdish question. It compels the peoples to bear grudges against one another.
This dirty war that means the violation of human rights and liberties as well as the violation of international laws should not be allowed to continue.
We call upon the Kurdish people in all four parts as well as the Kurdish parties to oppose the war and stand together in unity and solidarity.
We call upon the UN, EU and USA to take action against Turkey, against its military operations that mean the violation of international laws.

Back to the 1990's


- While the military mobilization of the Turkish army is increasing in the region, the measures adopted in the 1990’s are being resurrected once again.Soldiers in the region ordered the headmen of some villages of Hizan, Tatvan and Güroymak/Bitlis to warn their citizens that they have to report to the station before they go out of the villages for whatever reason.
The people in the villages should go to the nearest station to report their whereabouts. Soldiers also threatened the village headmen, saying that the army won’t be responsible for any ‘negative result’ should they not be informed. In some villages, the warnings and new measures were announced from the mosques.

Two villages set on fire in Hasankeyf by Turkish soldiers

Kurdish Info 24.06.2010

- Two villages set on fire in Hasankeyf district of Batman by soldiers. According to news, the villages of Bizinka (Keçeli) and Xerbekar (Palamutlu) were set on fire by soldiers and the residents of the villages were prevented by soldiers from putting out the fire. Peasants applied to the Human Rights Association to get help due to make denouncement against soldiers. The fire is still continuing. Human Rights Association (IHD) sent a committee to investigate the allegations about two villages’ were being set on fire by soldiers in Batman.
Human Rights Association (IHD) sent a committee to investigate the allegations about two villages’ were being set on fire by soldiers in Batman. According to the allegations the villages of Keçeli (Bizinka) and Palamutlu (Xerbekar) were set on fire by soldiers for security reasons and the residents of the villages were prevented by soldiers from putting out the fire.
Evaluating the application of the peasants to get help, IHD sent a committee due to investigate the allegations.
The villages as the subjects of allegations had been emptied by soldiers for security reasons. The land owners have been in the villages for daily work or stay. The peasants also alleged that all field of vegetable and fruit have been burned. The fire is still continuing without any intervention by fire department.
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