1 st June 2001
Azerbaijani TURKS COMMUNITY IN Britain
ANAYURDUM IS A MONTHLYNEWSLETTER BEING PUBLISHED BY AZERBAIJANI TURKS COMMUNITY IN BRITAIN.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
40 MILLION AZERI MARK
Today Azerbaijan is celebrating the Day of Republic. Eighty three years ago, on 28th May 1918, representatives of the Azerbaijani intellectual elite proclaimed Northern Azerbaijan a Democratic Republic (which was overthrown then by the Red Army). During the two years of its existence, the Republic authorities passed democratic laws and established diplomatic relations with other nations. Democratic principles laid at the beginning of the 20th century were recovered only in the 1990-s.
Presentation Given at "Armenian Genocide?" Debate
25 April 2001
London School of Economics
Murad Oguz Hassanly
Political Implications of Armenian Genocide Claims.
An examination of the issue from Turkish perspective.
I have been asked to make a short presentation addressing the issues raised by the intensification of the debate on the "genocide" issue and the political fall-out that came as a result. In other words I will be concentrating on the real-politic of the matter rather than the historical aspect which was discussed in Alp Serif’s presentation earlier. Turkish evaluation of the present situation, given the aforesaid historical background, will therefore form the basis of this presentation.
I will also look at the prospects for Turkish-Armenian relations in the future and the Azerbaijani dimension to this. It is difficult to address the matter without giving proper appraisal to the Karabagh conflict and Turkish position on this issue. It should, however, be made clear that there is no direct link between Armenian -Azeri dispute over Karabagh and the events of 1915 in Eastern Anatolia. At the same time it is important to recognize that Azerbaijani historical experience in the early decades of 20 century was very much affected by those events.
General perception of the "genocide" issue in Turkey is that it represents a threat - a historical but also (and more importantly) a political threat. Several factors need to be considered to understand why this is the case.
Compensation and territorial claims
It is becoming increasingly clear that a bulk of the discourse around "genocide" inevitably leads back to the question of who is responsible - who should pay. Many in the Armenian Diaspora are actively pursuing the matter of compensation. Recent multi-million dollar settlement in Los Angeles class action lawsuit filed by Armenian civic organisations against New York Life Insurance Co. is an indication that the matter of financial rather than historical responsibility is the driving force behind the political campaign for international recognition of genocide.
In other words if today the target for compensation claims are Western insurance companies then Turkish government will become such target in the future.
Recent moves in Armenian parliament in Yerevan regarding the abolition of Kars Treaty of 1921 further fuelled fears that the "genocide" matter is a cover for expansionist policy of the Armenian state. Armenian declaration of independence of 23 August 1990 already established Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Abolition of Kars Treaty would put Armenia in direct territorial dispute with Turkey. Many observers now view the "genocide" issue as means for Armenia to gain international sympathy and recognition, on the basis of which territorial claims against Turkey can be made in the future.
Debate on Genocide and mis-representation of
The manner in which "genocide politics" are being exercised is, however, the major concern. No proper debate took place. Turkish views have been at best ignored at best or actively ridiculed. Racism, Turk phobia and religious bigotry have unfortunately been at the heart of this issue. Reading a recent article by Robert Fisk, a well known pro-Armenian journalist, in the Independent I thought that if he was writing about any nationality other than Turks, he would have been reported to Commission for Racial Equality.
Turks are being constantly told to "get the heads out of the sand" or to "face the truth" regarding their history. Yet no evidence of Turkish civilian casualties during W.W.I (as many as 3 million) is taken into account. No piece of literature on "genocide" addresses these facts - fact that Armenians actively participated in military actions against Turkey in W.W.I; that they had their own armed forces and that Armenians too were massacring Moslems in the region.
The fact that these particular views are not being aired is half the problem. Modern Turkish state and nation stand accused of a terrible crime. When they make the attempt to defend Turkish historical heritage they are branded as "genocide deniers". This is a dangerous strategy - at a time when struggle against W.W.II Holocaust denial is intensifying e.g. the Irwing case, the term "genocide denier" creates highly biased and inflammatory connotations especially amongst those not familiar with the issue. This is not the way a dialogue should be carried out. An outcome to this problem and also to Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict must first of all be just. How can there be a just settlement when those who challenge the perceived "truths" of the genocide matter and raise legitimate questions about evidence and figures presented are demonized and ridiculed?
Genocide politics and the issue of Karabagh
It is wrong to assume that it is the Armenian Diaspora that single-handedly pursuing the issue of genocide. The Armenian Republic, Armenian state, is more than interested in this. After all Armenian constitution and declaration of independence clearly identify international recognition of genocide as a "pan-national" goal. So this is as much of a current political matter as it is a historical one.
The question regarding the notion of international community recognition of genocide, is whether French parliamentarians or US congressmen or any other international political figures are in any position to pass judgments on history of Turkey or any other country? Armenian state policy and actions of Diaspora show that political goals rather than historical justice are being pursued. And this brings us to Karabagh.
The fact that Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations, their borders are closed and that Turkey had imposed sanctions against Armenian Republic is due largely to Armenia’s occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories, not to "genocide". Turkish and Azeri view is that Armenians are the aggressors and that their aggression translated into ethnic cleansing of 1 million Azeri Turks from a whole swath of South Caucasus - territories which Azeris inhabited from time immemorial. This by no means is intended to diminish the suffering of Armenian side during the conflict but given the present situation it is impossible not to draw connection between an almost hysterical campaign for political recognition of "genocide" and Armenia’s failure to justify its occupation of Azeri territories. It is therefore clear that as long as illegal occupation continues, prospects for Armenian-Turkish relations remain rather bleak.
Armenian genocide claims and the Turkic world
One of the main effects of the "genocide" issue in Turkic world and Turkey and Azerbaijan in particular, was to open old wounds . Azeris mark
31 March as the Azeri Genocide Commemoration Day to pay tributes to hundreds of thousands of Azeris massacred by Armenians in the years 1915-1920 and again in the early 1990s in Karabagh.
What is important , before compromise can be reached, is for Armenians to also recognize that death is not exclusive and that Turks have died too, more than often at the hands of Armenians. I would like to conclude by reading the following passage, describing the events in Baku in 1918:
"The Armenian soldiers became more brutal as resistance subsided, and for a day and a half they looted, killed, and burned in the Moslem quarter... Almost the entire upper part of the city was burning by the afternoon of April 2..."
"When the shooting died down and the smoke cleared, a totally new political order had come to Baku. The Moslems, who hitherto had made up the bulk of population, were now burying their dead and fleeing from the city en masse."
"The Left -wing of the Moslem community - the Socialist Revolutionaries and Hummet - emerged from the holocaust as the sole spokesmen for their countrymen".
This comes from "Baku Commune, 1917-1918", a book written and published in 1972 by a prominent Armenian historian R. Gregor Suny. I leave it to the audience to consider what has just been read out.
Comments on "Armenian Genocide?" Debate.
The debate was organized by LSE History Society as part of a three day event to commemorate the so-called Armenian genocide. Iagreed to participated on the grounds that this presents an opportunity to undermine Armenian propaganda and raise the issue of Karabagh.
Armenian participants were Lilit Gevorkian and Hratch Oskanian. First one is a student at LSE from Yerevan whilst the latter is a Diasporan Armenian. Serif Alp, a Turkish student, was my partner and he concentrated on historical argument. The event was well attended (around 150) with Armenian embassy staff also present.
After 25 minute presentations from each side, the floor was open for questions. As could have been expected Armenians made up majority in the audience but despite that we were able to hold our corner and argued out position strongly throughout the evening. Final verdict was that no resolution was reached and Armenians failed in the propaganda mission, which they hoped this event would be.
After the debate I was approached by Ramzik Panossian and Ara Sarafian, two prominent Diaspora academics who invited me to join them for a discussion next week. I also established contact with Greg King-Underwood, an Armenian youth leader heading "Hokis", international Armenian youth organization.
Ara Sarafian is editor of "Armenian Forum", a monthly publication dealing with Armenian issue. He presented me with a latest edition dealing with the question "What comes after recognition?". I will prepare a separate paper on this, examining Armenian strategies and the debate on the future of Armenia that is currently hot-ing up in Armenia and Diaspora.
ANAYURDUM:Presenation given by Sherif Alp of Turkish Association will be published in next issue.
IRAN WOMAN STONED TO DEATH
TEHRAN, Iran May 25- A 38-year-old Iranian women is stoned to death under Iran's Islamic law for murdering her husband, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
In Iran public executions normally take place where the crime occurred. Stoning is a common punishment in Iran, where drug smugglers and murderers are regularly hanged under strict Islamic Sharia law.
Men who are stoned to death are first buried waist-deep in the ground. If they manage to escape, they can go free. Women are buried deeper to stop stones hitting their breasts.
EDITOR IN COURT
Hamid Imani, the managing director of Shams e Tabriz , has been summoned to the press Court. The bi lingual weekly was accused of spreading false news and fined 20,000,000 rial( 2000 GBP) . Experts of Iranian politics believe this is part of crack down on newly revived Turkic press in Southern Azerbaijan.
Avaye-Ardebil and Omid e Zancan were banned last month.
ABA TV CHANNEL WILL BROADCAST CNN NEWS IN AZERI
Since mid May , the Azerbaijani TV viewers have joined watching the news of the famous U.S. CNN channel. ABA TV channel [Azerbaijan Broadcasting Agency] will broadcast the CNN News in Azeri for a half an hour. It is notable that Azerbaijan is the second country after Israel having the right to broadcast the news of this channel in its mother tongue.
GUNESH PARTY OF SA
Tebriz-After years of waiting Gunesh Party of Tebriz was finally registered by Iranian government. In its first press release they asked presidential candidates to clarify their stand on what matters to the Azeris most such as occupation of Karabakh by Armenian Fascists, right of education in their mother tongue and eradication of poverty. Gunesh is the only party allowed in Southern Azerbaijan to campaign on these three issues. All Southern Azeri political groups based abroad have persuaded Azeris to boycott the election .
HUNDREDS OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DISQUALIFIED
Tehran-The Islamic Guardian council has said it has rejected all but 30 of the more than 800 hopefuls who put themselves forward for the polls. In Iranian Islamic system only those who are loyal to the government can run for presidency. All women candidates were disqualified as the Iranian constitution bars women from becoming a president.
Baku-Northern Azerbaijan-the Youth Committee of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party has attempted to hold a picket in front of the Embassy of Iran to Azerbaijan on My 15 . The aim of the picket was supporting the adoption of a draft law proposed by a group of Azeri deputies at the Iranian parliament on reading and writing in the native language of over 30 million Azeris living in South Azerbaijan [Iran]. Police acted heavy-handedly and dispersed picketers by using excessive force. And according to the initial news, 2 picketers were detained, 1 person has been seriously injured, and another 4 persons were brutally beaten.
ANOTHER RUSSIAN BASE TO OPEN IN ARMENIA
A spokesman for Russian air force commander Aleksandr Drobyshevskii told ITAR-TASS on 29 April that another Russian military base will open in Armenia in the near future. Meanwhile, on 27 April, Armenian Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisian said that the planned joint Armenian- Russian military command will be commanded by an Armenian.
Tebriz-Southern Azerbaijan– Iranian Government granted permission to Armenian Airline to operate a weekly flight between Tebriz and Yeravan. It is notable that no such arraignment is being allowed to connect two Azeri cities of Baku and Tebriz. Iran also refusing to allow Azerbaijan Republic to open a consulate in Tebriz despite 1992 agreement.
2000 YEAR OLD COFFIN
UNEARTHED IN HAMADAN
Hamadan (Southern Azerbaijan), A ceramic coffin dating back to 2000 years ago was discovered at one of the old districts of Hamadan, Southern Azerbaijan .
The coffin, made of coarse ceramic without being enameled, measures 195 cm by 48 cm and is 25 cms heigh.It has been shaped like a human body except that it is broader at higher part and narrower at lower part."
Cybercafes closed for not complying with Islamic norms
Reports said recently that some 600 Internet cafes in the capital Tehran, Tebriz Capital of Southern Azerbaijan and other cities in Iran had been closed on grounds that their owners were required to obtain licenses to stay in business.
The move seems to be for more control and supervision on the activities of Internet cafes, in order to purify materials which go awry of Islamic norms.
TURKISH POLICE INJURED BY HIZBULLAH TERRORIST
ANKARA, May 28 (Reuters) - An Islamist, believed to be a member of group Hizbollah was killed and two policemen lightly injured overnight during an attack by militants in Turkey's eastern Province of Batman, state-run Anatolian News Agency said.
The agency said the militant opened fire on a police car patrolling in the town of Batman, known as a stronghold for Hizbollah. He was shot dead by police as they fired back.
Hizbollah emerged in Turkey's mainly-Kurdish Southeast in mid-1980s when fighting between separatist Kurds and Turkish troops was at its peak.
PROBABILITY OF WAR STRENGTHENING
Co-chairs return empty-handed from the trip to the region.
By Farhad MAMMADOV
ANDFThe trip of the OSCE Minsk Group's co-chairs to Baku and Yerevan that has begun since May 18th has finished resultless. The main goal of the visit was to prepare the next talks of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents planned to be held in Geneva and at the first day of the trip the co-chairs stated that they would try strengthening "the important progress" gained at the Key West talks. It is notable that co-chairs, concretely American co-chair Carry Cavanaugh was very optimistic before the trip to the region and has several times given statements expressing great hope for the settlement of the conflict during this year. Even before the co-chairs' trip to the region, there was spread news on being held of Geneva meeting on June 15 citing on Mr. Cavanaugh.
But after their meetings in Baku and Yerevan, as well as in the so-called "Nagorno Karabakh Republic", the co-chairs stopped thinking on gaining a peace in near future and left the region empty-handed. And its reason is strong reaction of public opinion to possible compromises both in Azerbaijan and Armenia. In the words of Cavanaugh, the presidents- Heidar Aliev and Robert Kocharian go in the forth of their nation by being ready to compromises. But the nations are far from the idea of adopting the compromises.
Naturally, such a peace can not be firm. Mr. Cavanaugh himself confirms it: "To go to concessions for the sake of peace is a dangerous game". After the trip to the region co-chairs have come to such an opinion that there is no use of holding the next stage of talks without agreeing the parties with compromise. This is why, it is not known when and whether the Geneva talks will take place.
In fact, the probability of breaking the Azerbaijani-Armenian talks again was strong yet before the trip of co-chairs to the region. Armenian president Kocharian has received the leaders of fraction and groups at the Armenian parliament and informed them of the course of talks after returning back from Key West talks. And a week later after that meeting, fraction and group leaders of the Armenian parliament issued a very aggressive statement and rejected any compromise.
According to that statement, Upper Karabakh either should be unified to Armenia together with another 2 regions of Azerbaijan or get a status of full independent state. Naturally, the Azerbaijani community did not approach silently to becoming the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country to an object of compromise at the talks. Major oppositional forces of the country, as well as the entire public opinion regarded as impossible of abstaining from these two principles and called Aliev to come out from this position at the talks, as well. Generally, the method used by co-chairs for the settlement of the conflict was wrong and over 7 years of history of Karabakh talks also confirms the impossibility of gaining any positive progress by this method.
That method considers that the moderators while knowing Armenia is an occupant party, do not pressure on him, and on the contrary, are trying, indirectly, legalize the military successes of the occupant. Having been lasting the resultless talks for many years and Armenia's use of its military successes as a pressure increase the probability of beginning the war again. Aliev himself has confirmed it, as well. In his meeting with the representatives of the European parliament on May 22, he has confirmed that there has increased dissatisfaction in society with extending Karabakh question and stated that "the situation is very dangerous". At last, Aliev has admitted that the impossibility of settling the Karabakh conflict without regarding the opinion of the community, as well as opposition. "If Armenia does not go to compromise, then I can not do anything alone. This is why, the probability of war will increase time-by-time".
ISLAMIC EXTREMISM A REAL THREAT TO AZERBAIJAN
Zerkalo - 2 May Potential participants in subversive activities against Azerbaijan are trained in terrorist camps in Iran, Azerbaijani deputy national security minister says On the orders of President Heydar Aliyev, heads of main ministries and departments discussed religious issues yesterday in an extended session in the Baku mayor's office. Representatives of almost all religious organisations registered by the Justice Ministry attended this session. Facts and information provided by representatives of various bodies gave grounds to say that all is not well beneath the calm surface. The state advisor for ethnic issues, Hidayat Orucev, opened the session and said that 360 religious organisations have been registered in the republic and 54 of them are non-Muslim groups. Deputy Justice Minister Akif Rafiyev stressed that religious bodies registered by the Justice Ministry are only a fraction of those operating in Azerbaijan. Commenting on religious issue in the country, the deputy national security minister, Tofiq Babayev, said that a number of organisations are involved in subversive activities in Azerbaijan under the guise of Islam. Babayev said that representatives of non-traditional religious groups, including Wahhabis have shown great interest in Azerbaijan. They have been working with the public in order to create a social base for Wahhabism. The deputy minister noted three stages in this respect. The first one is the spread of Wahhabi literature and financial assistance to potential activists. The second stage involves training of the activists. The final stage is involvement of active members in provocative actions and acts of terrorism to paralyse state bodies. At the moment, there are over 7,000 members of this religious sect. Taking into account the fact that they are trying to become closer to Chechen refugees (about 5,000) and that they do this quite successfully, then one can imagine that the threat could be real in the near future.
PLOT OF COUP BY TEHRAN AND MOSCOW
"Iran and Russia are plotting a coup d’eta in Azerbaijan Republic (AR)" says Jahandar Bayoglu, head of BAB's press secretariat in Baku. This revelation is based on the information given by an official of Ministry of National Security. Iranian regime has sent 500 secret agents to AR during month of Moharram [a month in Islamic calendar]. Mahir Javadov who is being financed and supported by Iran, Hizbullah terrorists of "Hizbollah Vilayet-I-Faqih" organised and trained by Iran, religious missionaries of Iranian religious organisations, communists and former Azeri president Mutallibov's supporters who are being backed by Moscow are working together to overthrow the government of AR by illegal and violent means.
"It is a pity that the Azerbaijani government has not yet neutralised the activities of those foreign agents who are threatening the estate." said Bayoglu.
ARMENIAN OPERATING TOP SECRET FLIGHTS IN IRAN
TEHRAN, May 17 (AFP) - Experts from Armenia arrived Thursday in Tehran to look at the crash site of a plane piloted by Armenians that apparently killed Iran's transport minister and other officials, the state news agency IRNA said.
The delegation was received at Tehran airport by Behzad Mazaheri, head of Iran's civil aviation authority, IRNA said.
The plane, whose five crew members were all Armenians, went down Thursday in eastern Iran, carrying 32 people including Transport Minister Rahman Dadman, seven members of parliament and two deputy ministers.
An interior ministry official told AFP there were no survivors.
AZERIS CALL ON BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO CONDEMN ARMENIAN AGGRESSION
On May 12th nearly a hundred representatives of Britain’s Turkic community gathered outside No 10 Downing Street, the official residence of Prime Minister Tony Blair, to present him with some 1000 petitions, calling on British Government to condemn Armenian aggression, which led to occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories (disputed Karabagh and seven other regions) and ethnic cleansing on a mass scale with a million people forced to live in refugee tent cities.
The action organised by Vatan, Azerbaijani Society of the UK, which also collected the petitions, represented the highlight of Vatan’s "Karabagh" campaign, launched earlier this year to raise awareness about this on-going conflict and the human catastrophe unravelling in Azerbaijan. Representatives of all sections of Azeri community in Britain, Turkish organisations, Cyprus Turkish Association as well as members of press were present at the picket, which lasted for three hours. Delegation of six people presented Downing Street staff with petitions, books and other information on Karabagh conflict.
British government has made a commitment to contain aggressive regimes on international arena and prevent ethnic cleansing. It is still to condemn Armenian aggression. Although news from the negotiations seem to suggest that a peace deal may be reached soon, Armenia’s war against Azerbaijan can set a dangerous precedent if international community fails to firmly address the aggression and uphold international law.
Vatan’s "Karabagh" campaign will continue with the aim of raising awareness of Karabagh’s historical attachment to Azerbaijan and the refugee situation.
KIRGIZIA PREPARES TO SIGN A MILITARY-TECHNICAL CONTRACT WITH ARMENIA
Bishkek is ready to sign an inter-governmental contract on military-technical partnership with Yerevan. According to the agency ITAR-TASS, head of Kirghizia Chief Headquarter Kurmanbek Tinaliyev informed about it in his speech at the parliament yesterday.
He also added that there is a principal agreement between both sides concerning the mentioned matter. But there has not been agreed the concrete date of signing the document, yet. Tinaliyev stated that the contract considers sending, mutually, military equipment and weapons, training of specialists, and others. Members of the Kirghizia parliament are concerned on the probability of breaking the relationships of Bishkek with Ankara and Baku by signing this contract.
12th May 2001
The Rt Hon Tony Blair
10, Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister
We present you with these petitions calling on British Government to resolutely condemn the aggression perpetrated by Armenian Republic against Azerbaijan.
For over ten years now over a million Azeris have been subjected to the hardship of refugee camps and tent cities (biggest refugee population in Europe), whilst their towns and cities lay in ruin under Armenian occupation. Nearly 20% of Azerbaijani territory is occupied. An entire swath of South Caucasus has been ethnically cleansed of Azerbaijanis – some three hundred thousand were expelled from Armenia as early as 1988-89.
Peace talks, currently underway, seem to suggest that solution to the conflict may be found. But until that happens, Armenian aggression continues to blight the lives of hundreds of thousands of Azeris and seriously handicap transition in Azerbaijan. Furthermore it makes mockery of international law. Azerbaijani territorial integrity has been violated and sovereignty compromised. Perhaps you will be able to appreciate the whole gravity of the situation especially in respect to national moral, when we talk about sovereignty. Although it is "only" a concept, as you know, it can have strong roots in the social fabric of a state, especially one that has just won its independence.
Moreover, economic cost of the conflict prevents Azerbaijan from fully realising potential it represents. Britain and British companies have made a heavy investment in facilitating Azerbaijan’s transition to market economy as well as social reforms needed to mitigate the effects of economic crisis – unemployment (highest amongst refugees), breakdown in health, education and social security. The cost of keeping a million people alive in tent-cities and railway carriages exceeds the entire state spending on these vital public goods – in effect the basis of modern democratic system. Military threat from Armenia further contributes to this problem – high defence spending takes cash away from where it is most needed.
Karabagh is the cradle of Azerbaijani national identity. Home to some of Azerbaijan’s greatest poets, composers and thinkers such as Uzeir Hajibeyov who wrote the first opera in the Moslem world. Armenians, who claim to "own" the lands on the basis of some historical arguments, fail to acknowledge the fact that they arrived there only in the middle of IXX Century and that Karabagh had always been an integral part of all state formations on the territory of Azerbaijan (US State Secretariat, "Historical Note on Karabagh" April 2001 is just one of many sources on this).
Our society was formed to facilitate better relations between Britain and Azerbaijan as well as to provide representation to Azerbaijani community of some 60,000 people. We enjoy the support of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot organisations in the UK. Today’s event attracted people of various nationalities in their condemnation of aggression. Labour government has paid considerably more attention to this in international arena and we hope you will examine the situation in the region and see that what happened was blatant military conquest of considerable part of Azerbaijan (seven other regions apart from Karabagh are occupied) by Armenia. We enclosed books and other material which will help to fully evaluate the Karabagh conflict and is testimony to the humanitarian catastrophe which is unravelling in Azerbaijan.
In the light of this we call on British government to condemn Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan and assist in refugee situation in that country.
Vatan, Azerbaijani Society of the UK
Russia and Iran must help Armenia
IRNA: 29 Apr 01 Vice president of Iran Hassan Habibi calls for Tehran-Moscow cooperation to solve regional problems. Visiting leader of the Fatherland-All Russia (OVR) party, Yevgeny Primakov here Sunday that Iran and Russia can through cooperation with each other help their friends (Afghanistan and Armenia) solve regional problems. He said Iran and Russia should prevent foreigners' presence in the region and the Caspian Sea and let the sea run in a way that no only the economic issues but the security and environmental issues are also included in the process. He called Palestine as another important issue of the region and also pointed to the deplorable situation of the Palestinian refugees and expressed hope that Russia would defend the rights of the oppressed Palestinian refugees at the UN Security Council. He expressed hope that Tehran-Moscow ties would further expand in various fields. Primakov in return stressed adoption of suitable strategies in the case of the Caspian Sea and said Russia would not allow any other country to meddle in the case.
Iran is No. 1 terrorist backer -- State Department
WASHINGTON (AP) Apr. 30 - Iran was the most active sponsor of terrorism world-wide last year, offering assistance for groups opposed to Israel and to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours, the State Department said Monday.
Still, Secretary of State Colin Powell gave an upbeat assessment of the struggle against terrorism world-wide, saying that international cooperation ``is increasing and it is paying off.''
Powell commented as the State Department released its annual report on terrorism.
A department official said Iran has been the most active state sponsor of terrorism for about a decade, although some annual reports stop short of officially making that designation.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security ``continued to be involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts and continued to support a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their goals,'' the report said.
``Statements by Iran's leaders demonstrated Iran's unrelenting hostility to Israel,'' the report said. ``Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continued to refer to Israel as a 'cancerous tumour' that must be removed.''
Powell's analysis of the overall situation was more positive than in past years.
As examples of progress, he cited the tightened U.N. Security Council sanctions against Afghanistan, which harbours Osama bin Laden, who is wanted for the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.
He also pointed to the trial and conviction of a Libyan intelligence officer in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and continued progress in the investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole last October in Yemen.
That incident killed 17 American sailors and, according to the report, accounted for all but two of the Americans who died in terrorist incidents in 2000.
Powell told reporters that ``state sponsors of terrorism ``are increasingly isolated. Terrorist groups are under growing pressure. Terrorists are being brought to justice. We will not let up.''
The number of anti-U.S. attacks rose from 169 in 1999 to 200 in 2000, the report said, largely because of an increase in pipeline bombings in Colombia. These attacks, though numerous, rarely result in casualties.
Nations that repeatedly provide support for actions of international terrorism are required by law to be placed on the State Department's terrorism list.
Pakistan is not on the list, but the 91-page report said the United States has been increasingly concerned about reports of Pakistan's support for terrorist groups in Kashmir.
Edmund Hull, the top official in the State Department's counter-terrorism office, suggested to reporters that Pakistan has been able to remain off the list because of its cooperation with the United States on a number of terrorism cases.
The countries on the terrorism list are Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Libya. Hull noted that the United States has initiated a dialogue with Sudan based on evidence that the East African country has demonstrated a ``serious intent to get out of the terrorism business.''
REPUBLIC DAY IN LONDON
London-28 May Hundreds of Azeris living in Britain marked Independence day in West London. Memmed Vidad an Azeri of Qars had his wedding in the community hall on the same day. He is an accordion player known as Memmed Qarmonchi and has entertained the Azeri community for years . It was payback time and every body worked hard to make this special day to be remembered for ever. More and more Azeris are holding their wedding on independence day. It is being considered to be a good omen if the beginning of their family life coincides with declaration of first democratic republic of whole east. During the celebration community leaders congratulated the crowd specially Memmed and Toghba (bride and groom) and made short speeches.
Azerbaijan Embassy in London organised another celebration in the embassy hall on 29 May. Over 40 ambassadors, representatives of British government, Azeris living in UK and British companies were invited. Celebration lasted for three hours.
PRESIDENT ALIYEV ISSUES DECREE ON HOLDING FIRST CONGRESS OF
Source: Presidential Press Service
24.05.01--BAKU--President Heydar Aliyev signed on May 23 a resolution «On Holding The 1st Forum of World’s Azeris.» According to the document, the first forum of Azeris will be held in Baku on November 9-10, 2001. The forum is timed to 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s state independence and will be held with the purpose of discussion of issues related to further strengthening the relations with Azeris living abroad, as well as beefing up coordination of activities of Azeri communities, societies and associations throughout the world. The president’s executive staff was charged with setting up a working group and developing a plan of works on holding the forum, as well as controlling its execution.
Ex-Intelligence Minister's Campaign Is Viewed as Effort to Clear His Name
TEHRAN, May 28 -- (AP)It was a three-year trial with 166 witnesses, stretched out over 246 court sessions. In the end, it took a German judge six hours to read the decision, but he minced no words: Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian, a member of Iran's Committee for Special Operations, had directed the 1992 assassinations of three Kurdish dissidents and their translator at Berlin's Mykonos restaurant.
Today, Fallahian is running for president of Iran. Most Iranians who go to the polls June 8 know nothing of the Berlin case, which was decided in 1997. But some do think of Fallahian as the "Master Key," a name used by Iran's top investigative journalist to describe the man allegedly behind a government conspiracy to kill Iranians at home who have criticised the country's conservative Islamic system.
Fallahian's presidential bid is receiving little domestic attention, but his candidacy has refocused international attention on lingering questions about the country's record in sponsoring assassinations.
The decision in the Mykonos restaurant case was the first time a Western court directly implicated Iran's top leadership in the killing of Iranian dissidents abroad. A three-judge panel said that Fallahian, then intelligence minister, had been delegated to carry out "an official liquidation order" issued by Iran's Committee for Special Operations. German police had issued an arrest warrant for him a year earlier.
Fallahian was the only Iranian official named in the ruling. But the court cited testimony that the hit -- two masked gunmen burst into the restaurant and sprayed the four people with automatic weapons fire -- could only have been carried out with an order signed by Iran's president and supreme leader, who were cited only by title. At the time, Iran's president was Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and its supreme leader was the same as today, Khamenei.
Azerbaijan unaware of processes in northern Iran, Azeri activist
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; May 29, 2001
Cingiz Goyturk was born in the town of Sarab in the south in 1966. He graduated from the faculty of agriculture, University of Tabriz. As a student, he joined the national movement and was arrested in 1981 for secretly disseminating anti-regime leaflets in Iran. After his release, he met Dr Zehtabi, Abulfaz Elcibay's teacher, who gave him lessons in Azeri. He worked for Tabriz radio as a broadcaster, director and journalist. At the same time, he worked as a teacher in a secondary school. He was fired from the school for teaching his pupils in Azeri along with Persian. He was one of the founders of the Turkic revival organization. Since pressure was exerted on him, he left Iran in 1992 and came to northern Azerbaijan. He met Elcibay and became his companion. In June 1993, he went to Kalaki and together with Elcibay continued his struggle for four years and two months. As a result of Elcibay's recommendation, he was appointed deputy chairman of the United Azerbaijan Association.
[Reporter] Cingiz bey [form of address], it is known that Azerbaijan was united historically. This nation was divided into two after the Turkmancay agreement. For 200 years now, our people have been fighting for their territorial integrity. Was this the driving force for the creation of United Azerbaijan Association, of which you are deputy chairman and was founded in Kalaki ?
[Cingiz Goyturk] Since Azerbaijan's division, the people of Azerbaijan have striven for reunion and have always fought for this goal. This fight has been going on both in the northern and southern Azerbaijan. In spite of the fact that our people wish to unite, the unity was not the guiding principle in this fight. The main reason that our fight was defeated to some extent and yielded no results, is that a united Azerbaijan was not the target. In general, the homeland can be compared with a body, if it is divided, it will not develop.
The idea of a united Azerbaijan stems from a 200-year-old wish for unity.
[Passage omitted: historical background]
[Reporter] Do you not think that unlike the south, northern Azerbaijan has a different approach to the idea of unity and in general, to the processes that are taking place in the south?
[Goyturk] Unfortunately, this is true. On the whole, northern Azerbaijan is absolutely unaware of the reawakening and national liberation movement in the south. I'll tell you something - at a round table held by the Democratic Congress, Avaz Temirxan, deputy chairman of the Liberal Party, said that we should liberate Karabakh first and then southern Azerbaijan. This statement stems from Avaz Temirxan's lack of information. The movement has already started in southern Azerbaijan. This movement is gradually yielding results. Ten years ago, I had to leave the country for giving lessons in our native language in the south. Today on every corner in the south, there are courses in Azeri, on the history of music and so on. This goes to show that the movement, which is already under way, is yielding results at the national-cultural level. According to my information, the Iraniangovernment is even preparing a concept of teaching Azeri in primary and secondary schools. This means that the movement is yielding results. Nobody is suggesting to Avaz Temirxan and others, who think like him, to go and start a revolution in the south. [Passage omitted: details]
on him to destroy national forces? In one of your talks to the United Azerbaijan Association, you said that after the Dr Varjavand's letter, pressure on Azerbaijani Turks had increased in Iran and even repression was expected.
[Goyturk] Yes, this is true. In his letter to Khatami, Parviz Varjavand clearly says that "the movement in the south is on a large scale and if you do not take serious action, Iran's territorial integrity will be in danger". Even blackmailing and provocative expressions were used in that letter. He ties the movement in Iran to Turkey and other foreign countries. As for the repression, I can say that its signs can already be seen. According to our information, high-ranking officers of Azerbaijani origin are being made redundant in the army and the law-enforcement force. Pressure, insults and fines have increased. I would like to draw your attention to another issue - the conservative and reformist wings, which went even for physical clashes until yesterday, are united on issues regarding the Azerbaijani national movement and have taken the same stance in the Iranian parliament.
[Reporter] You said that the repression against Azeris may continue. What measures has the United Azerbaijan Association taken in this connection?
[Goyturk] Of course, as the United Azerbaijan Association, we will spare no efforts to try to stop repression against Azeris. I reckon that the United Azerbaijan Association has enough power and potential to prevent this.
[Passage omitted: About the Azerbaijani diaspora abroad]
Source: 525 qazet, Baku, in Azeri 23 May 01 p 8