Archive for January, 2007

Istanbul Church Vandalized

On the wall of the Armenian Surp Takavor Church in Kadikoy/ Istanbul
some wrote on Saturday night, ”A Hrant dead, tomorrow more Hrants.
Die, Ugly Armenian!”


Authorities have cleared the wall immediately, but
journalists are not allowed to take pictures.

Cartoon by, the webmaster of which sent the news about the vandalism.
Source: Todays Milliyet newspaper/ Can Dundars article.

Murder Mastermind Trained in Azerbaijan

According to the International Herald Tribune, “One of the suspects [in Hrant Dink’s assasination], Yasin Hayal, an alleged Islamic militant who learned to make bombs from Chechen militants at a camp in Azerbaijan and who served 11 months in jail for the bombing of a McDonalds restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, is suspected of masterminding the attacks on both Dink and Father Santaro.”

The Turkish Haber Vitrini has an article on Yasin Hayal and a photo of him.


Ayse Gunaysu, a Turkish human rights champion and a contributor to Blogian, has written an angry article about shameless Turkish officials’ self-victimization in Hrant Dink’s death. The original was written in Turkish; this is a translation by another Turkish fellow.  Ayse’s article is especially interesting given the fact that the nationalist Turkish media has now overcome its self-victimization stage and is now comparing Hrant Dink’s murder to the assasination of the main organizer of the Armenian Genocide – Talaat Pasha.


Everyone who says that this was an attack on Turkey, everyone who talks about the sinister games played on Turkey, everyone who talks about the timing of this attack coinciding with foreign parliaments’ making decisions on the “alleged” genocide, and thus trying to disguise the fact that Hrant Dink was being tried because he said “genocide” and was receiving threats because of this, and everyone who is protecting the real murderer, that is the ones who are allowing Union and Progress’ covert operator, lyncher, rabid spirit to still live on, has a share of responsibility.

The Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk, who yelled from the podiums of the congress that the ones who were organizing the Armenian conference were stabbing the Turkish people in the back, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer who vetoed the law proposal dealing with minority foundations on the grounds that it would strengthen minorities, the district attorneys who turn a blind eye on thousands of cases of torture, convictions without trial, unknown culprits taken into custody and lost, but processed and tried the alleged “notices of guilt” that are devoid of the most elementary notions of universal law, the newspaper Hurriyet that in the days Hrant Dink declared he was going to look for justice in the European Human Rights Courts, made front page news with the head of the Greek foundations who said he wouldn’t go to European Human Rights Courts as he trusted the Turkish Justice system, called him a true citizen, and therefore whomever tried to look for justice in the European H.R. Courts was shown as a target, branded as “so-called/pseudo” citizen, and, before Hrant’s blood was even dry, the Turkish Television stations that for hours debated a litany of provocation by relating it to the law proposal pending in the United States Congress, are all a part of this murder, they have a responsibility.

Everybody who says that this was an attack on Turkey is lying. Because this attack was made possible by Turkey herself therefore, Turkey is responsible. This attack was made possible by the government that has implemented article 301, as protection against only the denigration of Turkishness, not of all identities, thus providing a legal basis for aggression, and it was made possible by an entire population of Turkey who didn’t reject this article.

Everybody who, instead of feeling shame faced with the murder of Hrant Dink, instead of saying “we are all guilty”, worried about Turkey’s dignity, from the officials to the opinion leaders, they are all lying, they are trying to disguise their guilt. Let all the liars shut up.

And you shut up too please, democratic journalists like Altan Oymen. If you are not refusing to answer questions that link the murder of Hrant to the genocide recognition proposal in the US Congress, and do not see a problem replying to them, if you are not refusing to be disrespectful to the pain of the Armenian people by making such connections, if you are not rejecting to thus support the ones who are trying to fool people with conspiracy theories by foreign influences aimed at the Turkish people, just to exonerate our own murderers, shut up, all of you shut up.


Original source in Turkish


The Murderer

UPDATE: The suspect is arrested.  

UPDATE: Turkish TVs are saying the name of the murderer is OGUN SANMAZ from Trabzon.

via ArmenNews The photo of Dink’s possible murderer has been released. In contrary to earlier reports, the assasin doesn’t look like a teenager, but his outfit does.

Dink’s Last Words

Dink’s last editorial was translated from Turkish by Fatma Gocek today (received through e-mail from the translator):

“The Pigeon-like Unease of My Inner Spirit”

By Hrant Dink AGOS Newspaper 10 January 2007 (translated by F.M. Gocek)

I did not at first feel troubled about the investigation that was filed against me by the Şişli public prosecutor’s office with the accusation of “insulting Turkishness.”

This was not the first time. I had been familiar to the accusation because of a similar lawsuit I had filed against me in Urfa . I was being tried in Urfa with the accusation of “denigrating Turkishness” over the past three years for having stated in a talk I gave at a conference there in 2002 that “I was not a Turk…but from Turkey and an Armenian.”

And I was even unaware about how the lawsuit was proceeding. I was not at all interested. My lawyer friends in Urfa were attending the hearings in my absence.

I was even quite nonchalant when I went and gave my deposition to the Şişli public prosecutor. I ultimately had complete trust in what my intentions had been and what I had written. Once the prosecutor [had the chance] to evaluated not that single sentence from my editorial alone which made no sense by itself but the text as a whole, he would understand with great ease that I had no intention to “denigrate Turkishness” and this comedy would come to an end.

I was certain that a lawsuit would not be filed at the end of the investigation. I was sure of myself. But surprise! A lawsuit was filed.

But I still did not lose my optimism.

So much so that at a television show that I joined live, I even told the lawyer [Kemal] Kerincsiz who was accusing me “that he should not get his hopes too high, that I was not going to be smacked with any sentence from this lawsuit, and that I would leave this country if I received a sentence.” I was sure of myself because I truly had not had in my article any premeditation or intention – not even a single iota – to denigrate Turkishness. Those who read the entirety of my collection of articles would understand this very clearly.

As a matter of fact, the report prepared by the three faculty members from Istanbul University who had been appointed by the court as experts stated exactly that. There was no reason for me to get troubled, there would certainly be a return from the wrongful path [of the lawsuit] at one stage of the proceedings or the other.

So I kept asking for patience…

But there was no such return.

The prosecutor asked for a sentence in spite of the expert report. The judge then sentenced me to six months in prison.

When I first heard about my sentence, I found myself under the bitter pressure of the hopes I had nurtured all along the process of the lawsuit. I was bewildered… My disappointment and rebellion were at their pinnacle.

I had resisted for days and months saying “just you wait for this decision to come out and once I am acquitted, then you will all be so repentant about all that you have said and written.”

In covering every hearing of the lawsuit, the newspapers items, editorials and television programs all referred to how I had said that “the blood of the Turk is poisonous.” Each and every time, they were adding to my fame as “the enemy of the Turk.” At the halls of the court, the fascists physically attacked me with racist curses.

They bombarded me with insults on their placards. The threats reaching hundreds that kept hailing for months through phones, e-mail and letters kept increasing each time.

And I persevered through all this with patience awaiting the decision for acquittal. Once the legal decision was announced, the truth was going to prevail and all these people would be ashamed of what they had done.

My only weapon was my sincerity. But here the decision was out and all my hopes were crushed. From then on, I was in the most distressed situation that a person could possibly be in.

The judge had made a decision in the name of the “Turkish nation” and had it legally registered that I had “denigrated Turkishness.” I could have persevered through anything except this.

According to my understanding, racism was the denigration by anyone of a person they lived alongside with on the basis of any difference, ethnic or religious and there was not any way in which this could ever be forgiven.

Well it was in this psychological state that I made the following declaration to the members of the media and friends who were at my doorstep trying to confirm “as to whether I would leave this country as I had indicated earlier:”

“I shall consult with my lawyers. I will appeal at the supreme court of appeal and will even go to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. If I am not cleared through any one of these processes, then I shall leave my country. Because according to my opinion, someone who has been sentenced with such a crime does not have the right to live alongside the citizens whom he has denigrated.”

As I voiced this opinion, I was emotional as always. My only weapon was my sincerity.

Dark Humor

But it so happens that the deep force that was trying to single me out and make me an open target in the eyes of the people of Turkey found something wrong with this press release of mine as well and this time filed a lawsuit against me for attempting to influence the court. The entire Turkish media had given my declaration but what got their attention was what was writ in AGOS alone. And it so transpired that the legally responsible parties in the AGOS newspaper and I started to be tried this time around for attempting to influence the court. This must be what people call “dark humor.”

As I am the accused, who has the right more than the accused to try to influence the judiciary? But look at this humorous situation that the accused is this time tried for trying to influence the judiciary.

“In the Name of the Turkish State ”

I have to confess that I had more than lost my trust in the concept of “Law” and the “System of Justice” in Turkey .

How could I have not? Had these prosecutors, these judges not been educated in the university, graduated from faculties of law? Weren’t they supposed to have the capacity to comprehend [and interpret] what they read?

But it so transpires that the judiciary in this country, as also expressed without compunction by many a statesman and politician, is not independent.

The judiciary does not protect the rights of the citizen, but instead the State.

The judiciary is not there for the citizen, but under the control of the State.

As a matter of fact I was absolutely sure that even though it was stated that the decision in my case was reached “in the name of the Turkish nation,” it was a decision clearly not made “on behalf of the Turkish nation” but rather “on behalf of the Turkish state.” As a consequence, my lawyers were going to appeal the Supreme Court of Appeals, but what could guarantee that the deep forces that had decided to put me in my place would not be influential there either?

And was it the case that the Supreme Court of Appeals always reached right decisions?
Wasn’t it the same Supreme Court of Appeal that had signed onto the unjust decision that stripped minority foundations of their properties? [And had done so] in spite of the attempts of the Chief Public Prosecutor.
And we did appeal and what did it get us?
Just like the report of the experts, the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals stated that there was no evidence of crime and asked for my acquittal but the Supreme Court of Appeals still found me guilty.
The Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals was just as certain about what he had read and understood as I had been about what I had written, so he objected to the decision and took the lawsuit to the General Council.

But what can I say, that great force which had decided once and for all to put me in my place and had made itself felt at every stage of my lawsuit through processes I would not even know about was there present once again behind the scenes. And as a consequence, it was declared by majority vote at General Council as well that I had denigrated Turkishness.

Like a Pigeon

This much is crystal clear that those who tried to single me out, render me weak and defenseless succeeded by their own measures. With the wrongful and polluted knowledge they oozed into society, they managed to form a significant segment of the population whose numbers cannot be easily dismissed who view Hrant Dink as someone “denigrating Turkishness.”

The diary and memory of my computer are filled with angry, threatening lines sent by citizens from this particular sector. (Let me note here at this juncture that even though one of these letters was sent from [the neighboring city of] Bursa and that I had found it rather disturbing because of the proximity of the danger it represented and [therefore] turned the threatening letter over to the Şişli prosecutor’s office, I have not been able to get a result until this day.)

How real or unreal are these threats? To be honest, it is of course impossible for me to know for sure.
What it truly threatening and unbearable for me is the psychological torture I personally place myself in. “Now what are these people thinking about me?” is the question that really bugs me.
It is unfortunate that I am now better known than I once was and I feel much more the people throwing me that glance of “Oh, look, isn’t he that Armenian guy?”

And I reflexively start torturing myself.
One aspect of this torture is curiosity, the other unease. One aspect is attention, the other apprehension.

I am just like a pigeon…..

Obsessed just as much what goes on my left, right, front, back.

My head is just as mobile… and just as fast enough to turn right away.

And Here is the Cost for You

What did the Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül state? The Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek?
“Come on, there is nothing to exaggerate about [legal code 301]. Is there anyone who has actually been tried and imprisoned from it?”
As if the only cost one paid was imprisonment…
Here is a cost for you… Here is a cost…
Do you know, oh ministers, what kind of a cost it is to imprison a human being into the apprehensiveness of a pigeon?… Do you know?….
You, don’t you ever watch a pigeon?

What They Call “Life-or-Death”
What I have lived through has not been an easy process… And what we have lived through as a family…
There were moments when I seriously thought about leaving the country and moving far away.
And especially when the threats started to involve those close to me…
At that point I always remained helpless.
That must be what they call “Life-or-Death.” I could have resisted out of my own will, but I did not have the right to put into danger the life of anyone who was close to me. I could have been my own hero, but I did not have the right to be brave by placing, let along someone close to me, any other person in danger.
During such helpless times, I gathered my family, my children together and sought refuge in them and received the greatest support from them. They trusted in me.

Wherever I would be, they would be there as well.
If I said “let’s go” they would go, if I said “let’s stay” they would come.

To Stay and Resist
Okay, but if we went, where would we go?
To the Armenian Republic ?
How long someone like me who could not stand injustices put up with the injustices there? Would not I get into even deeper trouble there?

To go and live in the European countries was not at all the thing for me.
After all, I am such a person that if I travel to the West for three days, I miss my country on the fourth and start writhing in boredom saying “let this be over so I can go back,” so what would I end up doing there?
The comfort there would have gotten to me!
Leaving “boiling hells” for “ready-made heavens” was not at all right for my personality make up.
We were people who volunteered to transform the hells they lived into heavens.
To stay and live in Turkey was necessary because we truly desired it and [had to do so] out of respect to the thousands of friends in Turkey who gave a struggle for democracy and who supported us.
We were going to stay and we were going to resist.
If we were forced to leave one day however… We were going to set out just as in 1915…Like our ancestors… Without knowing where we were going… Walking the roads they walked through… Feeling the ordeal, experiencing the pain….
With such a reproach we were going to leave our homeland. And we would go where our feet took us, but not our hearts.

Apprehensive and Free

I wish that we would never ever have to experience such a departure. We have way too many reasons and hope not to experience it anyhow.

Now I am applying to the European Court of Human Rights.
How long this lawsuit will last, I do not know.
The fact that I do know and that somewhat puts me at ease is that I will be living in Turkey at least until the lawsuit is finalized.
If the court decides in my favor, I will undoubtedly become very happy and it would mean that I would never have to leave my country.
From my own vantage point, 2007 will probably be even a more difficult year.
The trials will continue, new ones will commence. Who knows what kinds of additional injustices I would have to confront?
While all these occur, I will consider this one truth my only security.
Yes, I may perceive myself in the spiritual unease of a pigeon, but I do know that in this country people do not touch pigeons.
Pigeons live their lives all the way deep into the city, even amidst the human throngs.
Yes, somewhat apprehensive but just as much free.

The 1,500,001st

(The homepage of Google News several hours ago)

At this point, almost everybody knows that Turkey’s outspoken journalist and the most famous Armenian of that country was shot to death several hours ago.

I was so shocked the entire day that could not prepare an entry for the blog. It has been several hours, and I am finally able to share some thoughts and information.

Hrant Dink kept his promise of leaving Turkey. When he was convicted in “insulting Turkishness” (saying that he was an Armenian, not a Turk), Dink said he would leave the country if he were not cleared off the charge.

The shots of a nationalist Turk killed Dink today.

As the news is the main story of the international media, there are not, perhaps, new details of the murder that can be posted at this time, and the point of this post is to actually commemorate and provided underreported information.

I turned on my work computer this morning, and as I opened the Internet homepage (, a headline struck my heart: Turkish-Armenian Journalist Shot Dead in Istanbul.

I breathlessly opened the link and found out that Hrant Dink had been assassinated. Although not having met Dink in person, I was in such a pain and anger as though as I had just lost a close friend.

I went ahead to check my e-mail where I knew I would find many messages of anger and mourning by Dink’s friends and colleagues received through a private but publicly known group discussion.

Fatma Gocek, a Turkish professor in America, had written,

it is in tears and with great remorse that i try to write you this e-mail,
the worst one i have written in my entire life, to share with you the
news of the assassination of a great friend, hrant dink, the editor of the
agos newspaper and a champion of human rights in turkey.

(The homepage of The New York Times several hours ago)
A good friend, Amberin Zaman, a prominent Turkey-based international reporter, informed that she had

just returned from Agos where hundreds of Turks are keeping vigil, lighting candles and laying down red carnations around his picture, singing Sari Gul, crying, chanting “We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians” Hepimiz Hrantiz, Hepimiz Ermeniyiz.”followed by Katil Devlet, Killer State. Inside Agos the mood was predictably sombre. A clutch of young people were holding up copies of todays’ Agos from the balcony overlooking the crowd.

I am amazed that Erdogan was shameless enough to call Hrant’s slaying “a bullet aimed at free speech.” Its the laws his government passed that have created the atmosphere in which Hrant became a target. And of course Cemil Cicek, the Justice Minister immediately hints at some kind of plot revolving aroud Armenian efforts to get US congressional recogition of the genocide. Well the excuse for not passing the resolution–that it would make it harder for Turkey to reach out to the Armenians–no longer holds.

Dikran Abrahamian, a close friend from Canada, wrote,

Personal feelings and emotions aside, Hrant Dink is the latest victim of the Armenian Genocide. The atmosphere of hatred, intolerance and deplorable stance of the Turkish establishment regarding Human Rights and Freedom of Speech paved the way to such a tragic end.

Dikran’s spirit was seen in an Independent article by Robert Fisk, where the latter wrote, “Hrant Dink became the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian genocide yesterday.”

Videos from Hrant Dink’s commemoration and his murder’s condemnation are available at (I learned about this link from a Yahoo’s Armenia group). Photographs are available at

The Professor from Nowhere

I never thought the question “Where are you from” could confuse a university professor to an extent of giving an unsatisfying answer.

Professor Kazak from University of Colorado didn’t know how to answer the same question that he had just asked me. “I am from Armenia,” said I and asked the professor where he was from.

“Near Armenia…” said the professor.

“Near Armenia?! I had not heard of that country!”

“I am basically Palestinian,” finally said Professor Kazak.

Being always considerable of both Israeli and Palestinian arguments on their conflict I was speechless this time.

It must hurt when you don’t have a country to say you are from – the case for the Jews for two thousand years, and now the case for the Palestinians.

Now I feel the joy of having Armenia – no matter how small, how powerless and even how corrupt.

What is Your Dream?

The past 24 hours seemed a day some people would dream for. It was an interesting chain of historical and not-so-historical events, great and surprising encounters, with a nightmare, though, at the end: I realized that school starts tomorrow (and I had thought that it started in a week).

My Martin Luther King Jr. Eve was unforgettable. Since I would not be able to attend the annual commemoration at my former college due to work, I decided to meet with the keynote speaker of the day – Daryl Davis, who will be talking on CNN tomorrow or sometime this week.

Daryl Davis is a Grammy-winning musician and also the author of a famous book about the racist militant and sometimes terrorist organization Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and his encounters and conversations with Klansmen. The African-American writer has KKK friends, and has even converted many of the robe and hood people to humanhood. His journey in the Klan has been and is his desire to understand and fight racism.

First time I met Daryl last year when he lectured at my former college earlier in 2006. Actually I didn’t meet him personally on that day. But I ended up e-mailing him and told him I enjoyed the lecture and learned a lot. After I finished reading his book, I continued staying in touch.

“How are your films going?” said Daryl yesterday after I finally made it in the snowroad to his hotel and received a friendly hug from my huge friend (he has some stories of fighting with Klansmen – I guess the only time in my life I would feel sorry for those racist pigs). I guess he had taken the time to watch “ForstFree 2024” and “The New Tears of Araxes” on YouTube.

We drove around 30 minutes on the same streets and finally decided to go and have some desert. He told me a story I had read in his book about his encounter with what turned out to be a KKK member. Although I knew the story, it seemed so interesting that I would listen to it over and over again. I guess that is the reason that my former college invited him the second time in 12 months to speak at two different events. You just can’t get enough of Daryl’s adventures and life stories. He is amazing and so is his journey in racist America (during his 2006 lecture he said that from all of the 50 countries he had visited and lived in he felt most racist was his home – America).

But Daryl’s odyssey in the Klan has not always brought him omnipraise. He has been criticized and misunderstood by members of his own black community. I still remember how an African-American girl from my school shockingly told me, “there was a Ku Klux Klan meeting at the college yesterday!” I asked her whether she was there, and then it turned out she was referring to Daryl’s lecture but had not attended it. When I told Daryl the story, he laughed and said that it happens a lot, and that an American college newspaper had written an article about one of his lecture (mis)titling the report “A Klansman Speaks…”
I asked him what state had the most active KKK. Daryl said, “Pennsylvania,” and explained that is was due to economic depression that people in the state are facing. Is there a state that has never had KKK, I asked? “Hawaii,” laughed Daryl.

When I was driving him back. Let me say it again, when I was trying to drive him back and find his hotel (seriously, I made U-turns on the same street 7 times and every time I was sure I was headed to the right direction – I guess Daryl thought I was totally crazy) I asked him what his dream was. As always, Daryl had a sincere answer, “To continue doing what I am doing.” He told me the best thing to do is to do something about things you feel passionate about. “If there is something going on in Armenia,” he referred to my human responsibility and passion, “make a film about it.”

I told him I was not into making films and was actually a Political Science major, but I still agreed to his offer to send me professional movie making software from his home in Maryland.

As he would go back to Maryland in late Martin Luther King Jr. Holliday afternoon, on Tuesday Daryl was going to visit a KKK friend, with whom he celebrated the past Christmas, with the CNN for a program that I forgot the name of. The first part of the CNN interview was going to be conducted in Colorado, today.

I went to work this morning kind of upset for not being able to participate in the annual community breakfast where Daryl was going to speak. As I went to the first floor desks, I saw a group of international students wondering around. I checked the schedule, and saw that this was a group of Japanese and Russian exchange students. Although I had already assigned one of my staff to conduct the tour, I approached the High Schoolers and asked, “Where are you guys from?”

“Japaan,” – was the first answer, followed by my broken “You Kosou Kolorado Kapitolei” (Welcome to Colorado’s Capitol in Japanese). The next welcome was easy when a cute girl answered, “Kazakshtan.” Although my Russian sucks, I guess they understood me. As these kids learned I was from Armenia, they told me there was an Armenian girl in a green coat in their group who had went to the restroom.

As the short girl in the green coat came to the first floor, I turned around and said, “Ia, Lilit jan! Inchqan jamanak a chem. tesel qez: Vonc es?” (Hey, dear Lilith! I have not seen for such a long time. How are you?) The poor thing got confused and didn’t get the joke. After telling me she was from the city of Sisian, she asked me whether I knew where it was. “Is she OK?” – I whispered to myself and said that I had been to Sisian indeed.

They left for the tour after the teacher, Courtney, decided to take my picture with the exchange students with 10 cameras (not so fun).

Very shortly, a lady with a beautiful smile came by (if I didn’t have a girlfriend and if she were 30 years younger that would have been a greater scene) and said, “Are you Simon?”

After getting a positive response, the lady with the beautiful smile said she was the new Lieutenant Governor (like the Vice President) of Colorado (she was sworn in last Tuesday), Ms. O’Brien.

I was surprised at her down-to-the-earthness and niceness. After we talked a bit, the Lt. Governor left.

The next thing I noticed was lot of noise coming from the Capitol rotunda on the first floor. I went to check out what was going on. It turned out that U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) was going to have an announcement about the 2008 election year.

Sen. Allard had promised not to seek a third term long ago, and the announcement would make it clear whether he was going to keep his promise or not. Unlike the infamous Colorado Representative (my own representative) Tom Tancredo, Allard said he had made a promise to the people of Colorado and was going to honor it: he would not be running for a third term. The question is who will run and fill in for this open Senate seat next year.

The press conference had no more than 50 people, but I made enough noise to get all of them mad at me. As he had started to talk, I pulled out my cell phone, stood behind the camera crews and took a photo… with a horrendous digital noise that was much louder than Allard’s voice. Since my phone was on vibrate, I didn’t think it would make a sound while taking a picture.

Right after the Sen. Allard’s announcement I went back to our working stations and saw people marching outside. I knew this was the Marade – the annual MLK Denver parade that despite the horrible cold had gathered 1,200 attendees. Since it was lunchtime, I ran outside and ended up walking down with part of the Marade and took many photos with my cell phone, which you will never see because I don’t use Internet on my phone and therefore cannot transfer them to a computer.

It was such a good feeling to see people marching on MLK day. The black High School bands made you forget about the cold and the snow all around you.

As I was leaving work for home, I saw the Lt. Governor again. We started to talk and I asked her where the governor was (his office was closed, I have never seen it closed before). “He took off to participate in the Marade and sent the rest of his staff to vacation today.”

Enjoy the Honeymoon period, I said to Ms. O’Brien as she confessed that the media had not given her hard time yet.

I was so tired from the stressful discovery that my school in fact starts tomorrow, that I slept on the train the entire way back. But I shouldn’t worry about my classes too much. As one of my senior friends says, “don’t give a poop!”

Turks Conquer Belgium’s Defense Ministry Website

Belgian government website hacked

January 14, 2007

BRUSSELS, Belgium: The Web site of Belgium’s Defense Ministry was hacked Sunday by a group of Turkish nationalists, news reports said.

The group, which called itself “grandchildren of Ottoman Empire and Children of Turkey” posted text in English on the site defending the World War I-era killing of Armenians in Turkey and asserting that there was no Kurdish problem in Turkey. It also claimed that the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, was a terrorist organization supported by the West, according to footage shown on RTBF, Belgium’s French-language public TV broadcaster.

There was no suggestion why the group had chosen a Belgian government site.

Late Sunday, the site,, was still inaccessible.

“We must clearly identify the perpetrators and take additional measures to avoid a repetition of this in the future,” Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut told RTBF.

Jughacide, Stamps, Politics and Dinosaurs

Months after annihilating the largest medieval Armenian cemetery in the world, Azerbaijan honored a nearby Muslim monument in stamps.


An ongoing Google search about Jughacide (Jugha + cide/kill) – the destruction of the world’s largest Armenian medieval cemetery in Jugha (Djulfa or Julfa) by Azerbaijani authorities in Nakhichevan– introduced me to a website that sells Azerbaijani postal stamps since 1992.

djulfa-gulustan-tomb.gif (Gulustan tomb by Digital Image, 2003)

I was shocked to find out that on May 22, 2006, just a few months after wiping out the cemetery and banning European delegations from visiting the vandalism site, Azerbaijan had issued a stamp with the depiction of Gulustan Tomb – a medieval Muslim monument only a few miles away from the barbarized cemetery.

I couldn’t help but think about the irony and the cynicism of honoring a Muslim monument – just next to the vanished cemetery – in a time when Azerbaijan vehemently denied (and still does) that the vandalism ever happened. What this a coincidence or a message to the Azerbaijani people? If it was a message, then what was it? A sense of satisfaction of finalizing the Jughacide? A reminder that the Azerbaijani people should only think about the Muslim heritage? What about the sarcastic speeches of Azerbaijani tolerance?

Interestingly, the same Gulustan tomb was already depicted, among with other monuments, on a 1999 stamp that commemorated the 75th of Nakhichevan – the birthplace of then president Heydar Aliyev who has stamps for his 80th Anniversary, for his death, etc.


The stamp for Aliyev’s 70th Anniversary had three grammar errors in one word: Nakhichevan, the Armenian region (now part of Azerbaijan due to J.V. Stalin’s order in the 1920s) where Aliyev was born. The regular Azerbaijani spelling for Nakhichevan is Naxçıvan (“c” with a tale on the bottom and “i” without the dot on the top), yet the 1993 stamp wrote the name as “Haxcivan” (H- for Heidar Aliyev?).


In 1994, Aliyev was replaced by Prehistoric Animals – the Dinosaurs – namely Coelophysis and Segisaurus, Pentaceratops and tyrannosaurids, Segnosaurus and oviraptor, Albertosaurus and corythosaurus, Iguanodons, Stegosaurus and allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus and saurolophus, perhaps in an attempt to document the early days of Azerbaijani culture destroyed by Armanian terrorists. Well, the last one was a joke, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Azerbaijani authorities claimed that Armenians were responsibly for the extinction of the Dinosaurs. But if you pay attention to the stamps, you will see that all stamps, but one, depict fighting animals, and this perhaps symbolizes the anger in Azerbaijan at the time although the war with Armenia was already over.


Another war, namely the one on terror, has also become a theme for an Azerbaijani stamp. On September 18, 2002, Azerbaijan issued a stamp with New York’s twin towers and the phrase, “Freedom for All.” Are the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh part of that “All”? Not the vanished cemetery in Nakhichevan for sure.

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