Politics 11:53 01/09/2011

Armenian Assembly statement on Turkish Government’s announcement

 The Turkish government's announcement of its decision to abide by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights to return long-ago confiscated properties of minorities comes as a step in the right direction. While it remains to be seen how the government will implement this new measure, the policy holds the promise of restoring the rule of law for minorities long discriminated against in Turkey.

The announcement comes in the wake of a series of developments in Turkey resulting in increasing civilian oversight of several branches of the Turkish government previously controlled by the military. Some of these reforms stem from Turkey's aspirations for membership in the European Union.

However, with the increasingly Islamist policies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party and a recent turnabout for the worse in its relations with the Kurdish population in Turkey, we hope the timing is not just another effort to burnish the government's image as a reform-minded administration.

The timing of Erdogan's new policy on minority properties also coincides with the fact that the Turkish Parliament failed to act on the Armenia-Turkey protocols to establish diplomatic relations and open the border, despite its international commitments to do so. Turkey's failure to enact the protocols reflects a continued pattern of nonperformance, including its existing obligations under the Treaties of Kars and Moscow guaranteeing Armenia access to the Black Sea. Instead, Turkey, in solidarity with Azerbaijan, maintains its illegal blockade of Armenia and seeks to isolate Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.

As far as the Armenian minority in Turkey is concerned - after a century of violent persecution, official discrimination, and public racism - the decree to return some of the confiscated properties is a welcomed development, but cannot begin to redress the magnitude of the damage inflicted. This indirect admission that Turkey discriminated against minorities for over three quarters of a century does nothing to reverse the lasting consequences of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey has shown no evidence that it is prepared to deal with the legacy of the Armenian Genocide.

Designed to undermine the remaining minority institutions in Turkey, the confiscation of properties mostly deeded to minority endowment dates to the 1930s when Turkey ramped up its discriminatory practices under the influence of Nazi racial policies. These practices of the Kemalist regime followed upon the earlier policies of the Young Turk Committee responsible for the Armenian Genocide and continued with punishing taxation policies specifically targeting the Armenian, Jewish, and Greek minorities remaining in Turkey.

Turkey never redressed the result of its official policies dating from that era. Instead, it sustained pressure on minority communities by continuously denying or depriving community-based institutions and endowments that support schools and churches from legally registering the donation of properties. The policy, as a result, succeeded in reducing the presence of minority groups to a mere fraction of their former numbers. In a country with a population of 78 million, the total minority presence of Christians and Jews in Turkey numbers less than 100,000.

The decree also does nothing to protect the Armenian architectural heritage in Turkey represented in countless monuments, many of a religious nature, that have been subjected to vandalism, deliberate neglect, if not outright destruction. The sorry state of the antiquities in the historic city of Ani that sits astride the border with the Republic of Armenia remains a constant testament to offenses committed in denying the Armenian Genocide as Turkish officials continue to drag their feet about salvaging what little remains of the medieval capital city.

After 75 years, the announcement demonstrates the need for Congress to adopt the Royce-Berman legislation calling for the safeguarding of the Christian heritage in Turkey. It was precisely these issues that noted Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink raised publicly for the first time in Turkey, and as it turned out tragically, at the cost of his life. Much more can and should be done to address the concerns of minorities in Turkey.

Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Reporter beaten up at Yerevan protest accuses Pashinyan of 'political immorality'
Famous journalist and political analyst Abraham Gasparyan, who was brutally beaten by police officers at a protest outside the Armenian...
Kim Kardashian opens up about son's rare skin condition
Kim Kardashian is opening up about a family health battle. "The Kardashians" star revealed that one of her and ex-husband Kanye...
Armenia expresses solidarity with Cyprus
Armenia expressed solidarity with Cyprus on Saturday as it marked 50 years of occupation. "This year marks the 50th anniversary of the...
Russian diplomat reveals secret meetings before Azeri attack on Artsakh
Retired Russian Foreign Ministry senior advisor Alexander Ananiev made some revelations about the developments in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in...
CSI renews call to ban Azerbaijan from Paris Olympics
As the opening of the Paris Olympics approaches, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is renewing its call to the International Olympic...
International Chess Day celebrated on July 20
International Chess Day is an annual chess celebration held on July 20. Players, clubs, and organizations from around the world create and...
Trump vows to end Ukraine war in call with Zelensky
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Friday he had spoken by telephone with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky, and pledged to...
Global media forum being held in Azeri-occupied Shushi
A global media forum on combating disinformation will be held in the Azerbaijani-occupied Artsakh town of Shushi on July 20-22....
Two policemen injured as foreigner fires shots at Armenian police station
A foreigner opened fire at a police station in Armenia’s Kotayk Province last night, injuring himself and two police officers. Police...
Biden vows to stay in race
US President Joe Biden is looking forward to "getting back on the campaign trail next week", fortifying his commitment to stick in the...
Azerbaijan erases Armenian heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh, report warns
The European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) warned of Azerbaijan’s systematic erasure of Armenian Christian heritage in...
Today marks Minas Avetisyan's birth anniversary
“There are very few painters like Minas Avetisyan in the world, believe me if I say that there are none at all. He is so powerful, so...
At least 11 killed as bridge collapses in China
Chinese authorities say at least 11 people have died in the partial collapse of a highway bridge in the northwest following heavy storms and...
Armenian church remembers St. Gregory the Illuminator's sons, grandsons
The Armenian Apostolic Church on Saturday commemorates St. Gregory the Illuminator’s sons and grandsons, Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik,...
Yerevan bus driver to be dismissed after misconduct
A Yerevan bus driver will be sacked after misbehaving with a passenger, Yerevan mayoral spokesman Hayk Kostanyan said. A video...
White stork contamination reduces in Armenia
Research conducted by the branch of German Nature Protection Union (NABU) in Armenia shows that for the first time in 2020-2024, a reduction in...
Victims of Armenian military plane crash identified
The Armenian Defense Ministry has identified the two victims of a military aircraft crash. The Yak-52 aircraft crashed near the town of...
Microsoft says root cause of outage fixed
Microsoft said the “underlying cause” that caused the global outage “has been fixed,” adding that residual impact is...
Opera star Placido Domingo to perform in Armenia
The Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra led by its chief conductor Eduard Topchyan will embark on a new concert season on September 12...
Iranian envoy: Next 3+3 meeting to be held in Turkey soon
The next meeting of foreign ministers in the 3+3 format, which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Turkey and Georgia, will be held in...
Armenian authorities probing military aircraft crash
Armenia’s law-enforcement authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the fatal military plane crash. The Interior...
Video shows Yerevan bus driver swearing at passenger, throwing bottle at him
A video of an incident involving a Yerevan bus driver has been circulating on social media. The footage shows the driver swearing at a male...
Opposition MP comments on failed Pashinyan-Aliyev talks in UK
Opposition lawmaker Tigran Abrahamyan claims that the breakdown of talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and...
Microsoft IT outage hits users worldwide
A widespread Microsoft outage was disrupting flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday, AP reported. ...
Armenian Defense Ministry says plane crashed during training exercise
The Armenian Defense Ministry reports that its military training plane was involved in a crash on Friday morning. The Interior Ministry said...
Two killed in small plane crash in Armenia
Two people were killed in a small airplane crash in Armenia on Friday, the Rescue Service of the country's Interior Ministry reported,...
Artists' strike threatens Paris Olympics opening ceremony
The opening ceremony for the Olympic Games is facing potential turmoil after a union of French performing artists issued a strike notice amid an...
Pashinyan, Macron discuss Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with French President Emmanuel Macron at Blenheim Palace in the UK on Thursday. The...
Ursula von der Leyen wins second term as European Commission chief
The European Parliament elected Ursula von der Leyen for another five years as European Commission president, choosing stability and continuity...
Maria Gabrielyan elected to Syrian parliament
Maria Gabrielyan, an ethnic Armenian from Aleppo, has been elected to the Syrian parliament, Kantsasar reports. According to the...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}