Archive for November, 2007

Boratoglu Online

Rumors that Aylin Boratoglu has a website have come to be true.  A reader has sent us the link to Boratoglu’s website –– where he has posts about Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Azerbaijanis.

One of Boratoglu’s posts, for example, says that the Armenian Genocide didn’t happen presenting a world map as a proof:

My geography professor Nursultan Baskiyevoglu from Ankara Universities proved Armenian genocid didn’t exist.  Look at the map of Turkeys (green, pink and zig zig), it don’t say genocide! Niice.  

He has posted some disturbing images of his wife and ex-girlfriend, and reveals a historic document about gay lifestyle of some Ottoman rulers to show that “[o]ur governments made loves (sic), not genocid (sic).”

In the words of Boratoglu, you finds more in

Karabakh Feminism?

A single-mother in a village of Karabakh – the unrecognized Armenian republic in the South Caucasus – has opened a cafe despite hardships and gossips in her tiny community.  Addiction to caffeine, it seems, is stronger than addiction to patriarchy in Karabakh.

Business lady of our village

KarabakhOpen reports


The people who don’t know Karine cannot believe this lovely girl already has two children. She was very young and in her dreams life was easy and beautiful when she fell in love and left with her prince far away.

But soon Karine got disappointed and had to come back home with two children. Her family did not accept her, only the old grandmother who lived alone and was happy to get a family.

Soon the men of the village learned about the young woman with two children and no husband. And it began. Some stood at her house for hours to say a couple of words which they thought were so wise.
“Nobody dated me and nobody gave me flowers but everyone asked to come in for a cup of coffee. I wondered if there’s not a single café around and why everyone wanted to come in. In fact, there was no café around, and I thought why I could open a café in our yard.”
It turned out that people in Karabakh cannot do without caffeine. Karine could not imagine it would be so difficult. The business is so small but she had to work very hard. She had to study the laws, learn accounting, be the barmen and the waitress at the same time. People gossiped, nevertheless, Café Karine is the only place where one can go, have a cup and coffee and have a chat.


Divorced women, especially with children, are often looked down at in Armenia.  They rarely remarry and have few opportunities for economic success. 

And the question that I have from this story is whether the Armenian feminist movement will also start in Karabakh. 

I know that the word “feminism” scares off lots of people and is often associated with the Western culture.  But as a famous Egyptian feminist once said the history of feminism is found in the history of every culture.  And feminism is not about women being as “vulgar” as many men can get; it is about having the right to opportunity and respect as in the case of the struggle of the lady from Karabakh.

The Armenian Cathedral of Kars, Turkey, Under Restoration

Another ancient Armenian church is being restored in Turkey, to be converted to a museum, as the Turkish Mayor of of Kars – a historic Armenian city – says he wish he could do more.

Image: Relief carvings from the Kars Church via VirtualAni

The front page article of Azg Daily‘s November 21, 2007 issue (in Armenian) is an interview with Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoglu who reveals that the ongoing restoration of Surp Arakelots (St. Apostles) Armenian church, the building will be converted to a museum and not to a mosque.  This comes as a surprise because “[i]n 1999 work began to convert [the church] into a mosque.”

Image: The cathedral in Kars at the end of the 19th century with the destroyed belltower via VirtualAni

The mayor says that his attempts to build a monument to Armenian-Turkish friendship in Kars have failed and that there are no Armenians participating in the
restoration of the Kars Church.

Image: The Mayor of Kars via

After the reporter asked the mayor whether he was aware that the house of famous poet Yeghishe Charentsin his native Kars is almost in ruins and a sign says it is for sale, the mayor replied that he didn’t know that Kars had a famous Armenian poet and would now try to find out more about it.

Although Mayor Alibeyoglu may have a true commitment to restoring peace between Armenia and Turkey, he certainly doesn’t represent the views of everyone who live in his city.  As we revealed in April of 2007, a member of Azerbaijan’s “Sicilian mafia” (the Azeri journalist who gave this name was killed in 2005) is in Kars working hard to keep the Turkish-Armenian border closed. The Economist did similar reporting a month later confirming that “Hasan Sultanoglu Zeynalov, Azerbaijan’s consul-general in Kars, eastern Turkey… openly complains about Naif Alibeyoglu, the mayor, who is promoting dialogue between Turkey, Azerbaijan and their common enemy, Armenia, just over the border.”

USA TODAY in Armenia?

According to 168 Hours (Oct. 18, 2007),

“USA Today”, an American daily will be published in Armenia too. According to radio “Liberty”, the owner of the paper has decided to issue a weekly consisting of the publications covered during the week. The weekly will be called “USA Today Abroad”. It is supposed that the first outlet of this paper will be published on Friday.

I asked one of the editors of USA TODAY about the news and she said,

I have not heard about this. Frnakly we are going through some cost-cutting so it sort of surprises me.

What’s going on?

Our Azeri Sisters

Because of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, most discussions and talks about the two nations is their differences and not similarities.

But one thing that these two people, unfortunately, have in common is the high rate of human trafficking.  And since both countries are vehemently patriarchal and don’t care much about their own citizens, it seems that the problem is not going to become any better any time soon.

I just read a disturbing story in Gulnaz Guliyeva’s article about an Azeri teenager who was forced into prostitution (it seems the link doesn’t work any more, but you can read it through a Google capture as retrieved on Oct 18, 2007)

14-year-old Elina (the name is fictitious), who lives in Baku, was in love with a young man, and ran away from home and married him.

The young man turned out to be a drug addict and at one of the moments when he was under the influence, the brother of her husband and the son of her husband’s sister took advantage of the situation and had a sexual intercourse with her. She spent a long time having to satisfy the sexual demands of the men in her husband’s family.

After her husband was arrested for drugs, Elina was left high and dry with a child. Strange as it may seem, but a “Mama Roza” offered to help her, saying that she can work as a vendor in a shop in Turkey.

But when she arrived there, it turned out that she had been sold for prostitution. On her return home, Elina who was left high and dry could not find any other job but prostitution. The next trip was to Nakhichevan, where she had to service businessmen from Iran and Turkey. Luckily, one of her clients of Turkish nationality decided to help her and get her out of this fatal situation. He took in her and her child, solved all her problems and brought her to the centre for psychological rehabilitation.

Few victims of human trafficking get help from strangers like in the case of Elina.  Guliyeva goes ahead to point to the interesting connection of a newly opened pipeline, that the United States refused to build because it isolates Armenia, and human trafficking:

Inside Azerbaijan, trafficking is blossoming in places of intensive economic activities. So-called Mama Rozas (pimps) hire 15-20 girls and take them to various places where intensive construction work or trade is going on. The centre has cases when girls were taken to cities where the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is being laid and to the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic which is often visited by businessmen from Turkey and Iran. This is a well-organized criminal business which is well-aware of the situation in the country and in places where their services are in demand.

One of the scariest things about human trafficking is that people ignore it and don’t want to discuss it. Last week, for example, I wrote a two-page article in Armenian about human trafficking for the newsletter of the the Student Government of the Yerevan State University.  I had talked to their president – a good friend – and he wanted me to write it.  I wasn’t surprised that they decided not to publish the story. So I sent it to Azg, and I am sure they won’t publish it either.

Why is it that when I write a critical piece about Turkey or especially Azerbaijan, oh, I have the blessings of Armenians and a number of newspapers ready to publish my writings.  But when it is a problem of human trafficking or Armenian poverty, for some reason the level of my writing doesn’t appeal as much to Armenian publications (I wonder if I should write an article about human trafficking for History Today).

MSNBC: Those Turkeys From TURKEY!

MSNBC has gathered together a variety of political cartoons dealing with the Republic of Turkey. Thanks to Lucine Kasbarian for sharing the link.

Here are a few.

Theatre Play in Turkish Prisons Denies Genocide

Via Groong, The Noyan Tapan News Agency informs that a theatre play denying the Armenian Genocide has been organized for Turkish prisoners.

ADANA, NOVEMBER 16, NOYAN TAPAN. In one of the prisons of Adana the
actors of the Chukurova’s Center of Culture and Art have staged the
“Yell: the tale of the so-called Armenian Genocide” performance.

As the Turkish press reports, the performance has been staged within
the frameworks of the cultural events organized by the management of
the prison for the prisoners.

Idris Shahin, the Head of the Chukurova’s Center of Culture and Art,
declared that the above-mentioned performance “telling about the
tale of the Armenian Genocide” will also be performed in a number of
villages of Turkey.

Are the Turkish officials going to release again their prisoners to “relocate” Armenians to Moon as was done in 1915? What’s the point in making prisoners to hate Armenians even more?

U.S. Task Force on Genocide Silent on Armenia

Founders of a new, semi-official United States Task Force on Genocide were grilled on official attitude toward the Armenian Genocide during their very first press conference, according to Corporate Crime Reporter and CNN.

An official press release was also issued on the task force on November 13, 2007, making no reference to the Armenian Genocide:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen today announced that they will co-chair a Genocide Prevention Task Force jointly convened by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the United States Institute of Peace. The Task Force will generate practical recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s capacity to respond to emerging threats of genocide and mass atrocities.“The world agrees that genocide is unacceptable and yet genocide and mass killings continue. Our challenge is to match words to deeds and stop allowing the unacceptable. That task, simple on the surface, is in fact one of the most persistent puzzles of our times. We have a duty to find the answer before the vow of ‘never again’ is once again betrayed,” said Secretary Albright.“We are convinced that the U.S. government can and must do better in preventing genocide—a crime that threatens not only our values but our national interests,” said Secretary Cohen.[…]“The Task Force will harness tremendous expertise from across the spectrum and include distinguished Americans with experience in politics, diplomacy, economics, humanitarian and military affairs,” said Ambassador Brandon Grove, Executive Director of the Genocide Prevention Task Force. “It is a unique partnership of organizations and individuals that care deeply about preventing genocide.”The Task Force will issue a report in December 2008. Continue Reading »

ARMENIA: More Traffick…In Humans

Arminfo via Groong informs that Armenia’s Armavia Airlines has increased frequency of flights between the top destination of human trafficking victims from Armenia.

“Armavia”, the national air carrier of Armenia, increases the
frequency of Yerevan- Dubai-Yerevan flights up to 3 flights per week,
the company’s press-service told ArmInfo.

According to the source, in order to meet the increasing demand of its
passengers, “Armavia” will implement the 3rd frequency of flight
operations Yerevan-Dubai-Yerevan starting from the 18th of November
2007. This will provide a new opportunity to get unforgettable memories
from the sunny beaches of Dubai with unbeatable low fares solely
applied on the flights operated on days 7. The minimal “One ay” fare is
Euro 69 /without taxes/. The minimal “Round Trip” fare is Euro 138
/without taxes/.

Racism in the U.S. – From Judge Judy to Everyone Else

Image:Romany girl from cz 2005.jpg

A Romani woman from the Czech Republic.  For her and the other 15 million members of world’s Roma community the term “gypsy” is like the term “nigger” for African-Americans.  

I must confess that the only show I watch on American TV is Judge Judy.  I must say she is very entertaining, but often racist too.  Don’t get me wrong, that racism is not personal at all. Almost everyone else in the United States like Judge Judy uses the word “gypsy” to offend someone else.

I can’t recall the exact date and the case, but I have heard Judge Judy calling someone a “gypsy” as a derogatory term at least once this fall on My20 in Denver, Colorado.

Doing a Google search, I found another observation of Judge Judy’s usage of the g-word:

My name is Hilda and I’m from Australia. I admired Judge Judy and watched her show every day. Last week I got a shock of her comment. Judge Judy said to one of her client “she doesn’t look like a Gypsy thief does she?” I always thought Judge Judy was an inteligent women but how can a person with high inteligence make such an ignorant racist comment in national television?
I want a public apology from Judge Judy televised in national tv. about her racist comment of my race. I’m a Gypsy and I can assure Judge Judy I’m not a thief. I’m shure if she would of say “she doesn’t look like a Jewish thief or a Nigger thief” she would lose her job over it.. but is it ok to say Gypsy Thief?

Few people realize that “Gypsy” is actually reference to an ethnic group – just like Armenians, Russians, Germans.  There are about 15 million “Gypsies” in the world who prefer to be called Romani.

Judge Judy and the rest of America should go and educate themselves before making derogatory comments against an entire people who have been marginalized throughout centuries and due to omnipresent racism often hide their identities.

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