Caucasus Theater

Russia accused in Georgia missile attacks

The United Nations observer mission in Georgia has opened an investigation into missile attacks in three remote villages near the Russian border March 11, claiming initial evidence suggested that Russian helicopter gunships were involved. The military action damaged several buildings in the Kodori Gorge. Both Russia and the forces of the nearby breakaway region of Abkhazia denied involvement in the attacks. (NYT, March 14)

Armenian genocide denial on trial —in Switzerland

A disturbing consensus seems to be emerging in Europe that the best reaction to genocide denial is to ban it. In addition to the many European laws against denying the Nazi Holocaust, Bosnia is now considering such a law for its own more recent genocide. And now Switzerland is prosecuting a Turkish writer for denying the 1915 Armenian genocide. From the Turkish daily Hurriyet, March 8:

Istanbul: streets filled for slain editor's funeral

A glimmer of hope is that the outcry following the slaying of Hrant Dink is coming from Turks as well as Armenians. Perhaps his death will not have been in vain—or will there be an inevitable backlash? From the UK-based Turkish newspaper Londra Toplum Postasi, Jan. 25:

Turkey: Article 301 debate on hold as slain editor laid to rest

The assassination of Hrant Dink has, fortunately, sparked renewed challenges to the censorious Article 301. But the Turkish state seems to be trying to squelch the debate. Would Dink have wanted his funeral to be used in this manner? From the Turkish Daily News, Jan. 24:

Responding to calls from prominent Turks and foreign leaders to annul a controversial law immediately, Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek said on Tuesday that the last thing Turkey needed was to begin another debate on Article 301 of the penal code, arguing that the matter should be discussed after slain journalist Hrant Dink, convicted under the article last year, was laid to rest.

Armenian editor assassinated in Turkey

This is what George Bernard Shaw called "the extreme form of censorship." From the New York Times, Jan. 19:

ISTANBUL — The editor of Turkey's only Armenian-language newspaper was assassinated today on an Istanbul street.

Armenian genocide becomes political football —again

Pretty funny that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has officially congratulated novelist Orhan Pamuk, who has just won the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature, saying the prize would make valuable contributions to promotion of Turkish literature in the world. (Xinhua, Oct. 13) Meanwhile, the Turkish government, which recently put Pamuk on trial for daring to write the truth about the World War I-era Armenian genocide, seems to be doing its best to suppress Turkish literature. And just to complicate things further, France's move to make denial of the Armenian genocide a criminal offense is meeting with all the predictable reactions...

Turkish intellectuals in solidarity campaign for persecuted writer

The New York Times notes Oct. 6 that charges were dropped against Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, whose fictional character committed the crime of refering to the "Armenian genocide." But almost simultaneously, charges were brought against another writer, Hrant Dink, who dared to uphold historical truth. This Sept. 29 report from Turkey's BIA news agency indicates growing dissent among Turkish intellectuals:

Chechnya: Shamil Basayev reported killed

Interesting how Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty uncritically accepts Putin's talk of a fight against "terrorism." Basayev was assuredly a bad dude, but the Russian state's counterinsurgency war in the North Caucasus is hardly less terroristic—and, as this report actually notes, really produced Basayev in the first place. From RFE/RL, July 10:

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