Blog

11 Dec
0

Rohingya Genocide Inquiry

The world watches on the proceedings at ICJ in La Hague. The genocide allegations brought against Myanmar, and Myanmar’s response will be heard during the sessions.

To rule that Myanmar has committed genocide, the court will have to determine that the state acted “with intent to destroy in whole or in part” the Rohingya minority.

Such determination requires ample and strong evidence, and has never been the case in the matter of Ottoman Armenians for the events of 1915.

For example, the so-called Armenian genocide lobby is yet to produce a single authentic Ottoman Government dispatch ordering the killing of Armenians.

The alleged “genocide of 1.5 million Armenians” should have left countless pieces of evidence, else than survivor stories that were quite common to every citizen of a collapsing empire fighting a world war.

The British were the closest party to these events as the principal occupying Power of the Ottoman Empire and its capital, Istanbul. They had full control of the Ottoman Archives. 

As such, the British led an in-depth investigation against 144 highly placed Ottoman officials including Ministers, who were charged with war crimes against the Armenians, and 56 out of the 144 accused were deported to the island of Malta to stand trial. 

After a wide-scale and frantic search of all the archival material, Sir Horace Rumbold, the British High Commissioner in Istanbul, wrote to London that the “evidence against the deportees are [sic] very few. Under these circumstances, the prosecution finds itself under grave disadvantage”. But he added that “he hoped that the American Government could supply a large amount of documentary information”. 

In failing to find any legally acceptable evidence against the deportees, Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Secretary at the time, informed Geddes, the British Ambassador at Washington, that there was “considerable difficulty” in establishing proof of guilt against the Turkish detainees at Malta, and requested him “to ascertain if the United States Government is in possession of any evidence that could be of value for the purpose of prosecution”. 

On 13 July 1921, the British Embassy at Washington gave the following reply: “I regret to inform Your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are being detained for trial at Malta. Having regard to this stipulation and the fact that the reports in the possession of the Department of State do not appear in any case to contain evidence against these Turks which would be useful for the purposes of corroborating information already in possession of His Majesty’s Government, I fear that nothing is to be hoped from addressing any further inquiries to the United States Government in this matter”. 

Subsequently, all charges against the Ottoman detainees were dismissed. 

On 14 April 1999, Foreign Office spokesperson Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale said the following: “The British Government had condemned the massacres at the time. But in the absence of unequivocal evidence that the Ottoman Administration took a specific decision to eliminate the Armenians under their control at that time, British Governments have not recognized those events as indications of genocide. Nor do we believe it is the business of Governments of today to review events of over 80 years ago, with a view to pronouncing on them.” 

Furthermore, acting on behalf of the British Government, Baroness Scotland of Asthal said the following in a written response on 7 February 2001: “The Government, in line with previous British Governments, have judged the evidence not to be sufficiently unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorized as genocide as defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide, a Convention which was drafted in response to the Holocaust and is not retrospective in application. The interpretation of events in eastern Anatolia in 1915-1916 is still the subject of genuine debate among historians.” 

So much for “the process of achieving international recognition of the Genocide of Armenians which has appreciably gained momentum” according to the Permanent Representative of Armenia. One should ask why a handful of 30-plus deputies out of nearly 600 parliamentarians were present when the French Parliament voted on the so-called Genocide Resolution. The Permanent Representative of Armenia should keep in mind the future when the realities of a terrible war in which millions on all sides died will no longer be ignored, and when a very different picture will emerge as politics are avoided and the standard procedures of historical analysis are applied to this question. It will be seen then that there is a vast difference between history written to defend one-sided nationalist convictions and what true historical analysis should be. Indeed, in presenting the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide for ratification, the Secretary-General of the United Nations emphasized that genocide is a crime of “specific intent”, requiring conclusive proof. 

We hope that the above information contributes to the correct perception of the First World War era events in eastern Anatolia.

We also hope our politicians, if genuine, pay attention to what is happening in our region now, rather than racing to appease powerful ultra-nationalist foreign lobby groups for donations and votes.

14 Apr
0

Gestures of compassion and goodwill are never forgotten.

Where government and the industry fails, community groups rise up to save the image of Australia’s multi-billion dollar international education sector.

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Gestures of compassion and goodwill are never forgotten.

Like the cross-trench aid exchange between the Turk and the ANZAC during the direst of all conditions in Gallipoli. Similarly we remember Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s letter to ANZAC mothers. His words are inscribed not only on monuments across Australia but also in our national psyche. Small gestures of goodwill towards the enemy dating back 100 years continue to bond the people of two countries 15,000 kilometres apart to this day. 

People also tend to hold on to their disappointments. More than half a million international students who cannot return home and their families abroad feel nothing but disappointment after being left out of the government’s generous safety net packages. 

They are also vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of unprofessional industry related service providers, landlords and employers.

Australia’s world class education institutions are being promoted heavily across the world, including Turkey, focusing on our lifestyle and welcoming nature of Australians. However the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has proven some of these claims wrong and have left students feeling left behind. 

Shonky education institutions that are solely profit oriented sent letters to students threatening to report them to immigration if they fail to pay their fees. At a time when many students have lost their 40 hour per fortnight low paying jobs, mainly in the hospitality industry, and while Australian businesses are eligible for generous government support, these acts sound extremely greedy and unfair. 

We are flooded with messages from Turkish students who fear not only for their current visa situation but also the negative impact this will have on their future travel record. Student agencies with questionable professionalism give confusing information to their customers and doggy service providers, such as shared accommodation companies, threaten to evict students who share over-crowded units in Sydney and Melbourne. Most of these students are vulnerable, as they neither know their rights in full nor have enough language skills to make complaints and defend their rights.

Furthermore the education provided is no longer in the classroom, hence is of lower value. Decent education institutions should make more effort to defer or freeze school payments, offer installments and make significant fee reductions for international students. After all, these students didn’t have to travel thousands of kilometres and live in one of the world’s most expensive cities to get their education online.  

Every day we see numerous acts of generosity in Australia, and that generosity can easily be extended to the young people who chose to come here from all over the world to thrive in their education. Where the industry and government fail together in looking after the international students, community groups rise up to the challenge. 

We, the Australian-Turkish community provide free meals, job opportunities and free accommodation to many of these students. We also raise funds to assist them in paying their school fees when they are unable to do so.  

As Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States of America says, “pandemics don’t make your character; they reveal your character.” This pandemic will also reveal whether Australia sees hundreds of thousands of students who pump billions of dollars in to its economy every year as guests or just as a source of disposable and replaceable income. The choice will identify the perception of Australia’s multi-billion dollar international education industry for decades to come. 

We call on all levels of governments in Australia to show a gesture of goodwill during these hard times to these vulnerable people as much as they show it to all Australians and businesses. 

Once this situation is over a serious review of the industry providers and their competency is also required. 

21 Dec
0

Operation Esslemont

$1 million reward for information into 1980 assassination of Turkish diplomats.

The NSW Police Force has announced a $1 million reward for information into the assassination of a Turkish diplomat and his bodyguard in Sydney’s east nearly four decades ago.

Turkish Consul-General Sarik Ariyak, aged 50, and his bodyguard, Engin Sever, aged 28, were shot outside a residence on Portland Street, Dover Heights, about 9.45am on Wednesday 17 December 1980.

Mr Ariyak and Mr Sever were leaving the residence in separate vehicles, when they were approached by two unknown men, who fired multiple shots at close range before fleeing the area on a motorcycle.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, Mr Ariyak died at the scene, and Mr Sever died a short time later at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Shortly after the attack, responsibility was claimed by the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide, but despite extensive investigations by police, no one has ever been charged.

The $1 million reward can be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the men’s murders.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Esslemont investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Watch the 17 December 2019 ceremony and speeches.

04 Dec
0

TERRORISM IN SYDNEY

Ahead of the 39th Anniversary of the terrorist attack against Turkish Consul General Sarik Ariyak and his bodyguard Engin Sever, we wanted to publish the following Editorial by The Canberra Times dated December 18, 1980.

The full article can be found on http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126164785

Dictionary definition of the word terrorism

The Canberra Times

Thursday, December 18, 1980

TERRORISM IN SYDNEY

The gunning-down in Sydney yesterday of the Turkish Consul-General, Mr Sarik Ariyak, and his bodyguard was a dastardly act, apparently the work of political terrorists. Responsibility for the assassination has been claimed by ,a terrorist body – the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Gcnocide. Armenian guerillas going under various names have claimed about a dozen Turkish victims, including ambassadors in France and the Vatican and senior diplomats in Greece and Austria, and their families. In October this year they exploded bombs in New York and Los Angeles which injured six people. The message phoned to a newsagency yesterday from the apparent terrorists said the killings fell within the bounds of the revolutionary movement which began in the early 1970s with acts in Vienna, Rome, Madrid, Paris and the Vatican. It was in retaliation “for the injustices done to the Armenians by the Turks in 1915”. This message added that the attacks were aimed at Turkish diplomats and .institutions, and threatened, “We will strike again”.

It is not the first time such a violent criminal act has been perpetrated against foreign representatives on Australian soil. But the fact that this event could occur in broad daylight in a suburban street must bring home to ordinary citizens the fact that terrorism is no longer something which happens somewhere else. The full impact of international terrorism became manifest in Australia with the bombing of the Hilton hotel in Sydney during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting in February 1978. In 1977 there had been the kidnapping of the Indian military attache and his wife at knifepoint in Canberra by a member of the Ananda Marga movement who is now serving a nine-year jail sentence for the crime. More recently there was the unexplained bombing of the Iwasaki tourist resort at Yeppoon in Queensland. The perpetrators have not yet been brought to book.

What these events have in common are the transport of simmering hatreds, often to areas remote from the origin of these hatreds, and the willingness to extract murderous vengeance for wrongs, real or imaginary. Yesterday it was a senior foreign diplomat and a member of his staff killed by those apparently seeking vengeance for historic wrongs.

This is not the place to canvass the rights and wrongs of that time, when the Turks also claimed that as many of their people were massacred by Armenians. It was all in the period of World War 1 and should have been buried with the other millions of dead from all sides in that conflagration.


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