Gintaras Visockas. Slaptai.lt foto

By Gintaras Visockas

Every year, on the eve of 24 April, disputes start how the West should commemorate the tragic events of 1915, when many Armenian people died in then Ottoman Empire.

It was very curious to hear, what the new US President Joe Biden would do. Biden’s predecessor republican Donald Trump avoided word ‘genocide’ in his statements on 1915 events. Barack Obama, in whose administration Biden was a Vice President, also did not use this definition.

Unfortunately, US President Biden yesterday, according to Armenian press, officially called the wars of 1915 as ‘genocide’. This statement is not binding, it is just a declaration. And it is a strange step by the 46th US President.

History is not politics. It is impossible to understand historical events by throwing out political statements. It is stupid and primitive to search who was right then, by voting in the Congress, the Senate or the White House. There is only one way to learn history – carefully study it in archives. Today’s situation is this: US congressmen and senators really do not know, what, how and why happened in 1915 between Turks and Armenians in the lands of the Ottoman Empire. Official Yerevan is to be blamed the most for the fact that the world still does not know the real truth about 1915. Yes, Armenia, unlike Turkey, still keeps its archives of this painful topic classified. Armenia did not respond to Turkey’s urges to all interested countries to unlock their archives, carefully review them and then sit at a round table and discuss all nuances and details. So, it will only be possible to say who shot, killed, starved when US historians will have a possibility to review Armenian archives (Turkish archives, as I have told, are open).

So, Biden’s hurry to make categorical conclusions without knowing the Armenian archives is a fateful mistake. Biden’s hurry to indulge Yerevan shows not the 46th US President’s morals, sensitivity, but his weakness and primitivity by succumbing to large lobbying influences. There are many Armenian lobby organizations in Washington, and he shamefully succumbed to them. If Biden cared about truth and justice, one question would have been enough for him: does America know what secrets Armenia hides in its archives? Hearing the answer about locked doors of Armenian archives, the principled President must have responded: until Yerevan opens its old manuscripts, there will not be an official statement by Washington.

Bruce Fein

Finally, before making strong statements, Biden should have asked what former law advisor of US President Ronald Reagan, Bruce Fein thought about this. This advisor of President Reagan has many times publicly stated that the White House has tried to carefully analyze the issue of ‘Armenian genocide’ using available information. This is his conclusion, which today is reminded by a publication Turkiye and Caucasus Online: ‘If the archives are opened, Armenians will have to apologize for misleading the world’.

In my opinion, Armenian researcher, historian, author of the book ‘Israel Ori. Pandora’s chest’ Philip Ekozians has the most sober view of the Armenian tragedy of 1915. Here is his comment, which he gave to slaptai.lt on January 20th, 2020:

The fight for recognition of ‘genocide’ is not a fight for the victory of justice. It is a fight to change one definition to another: calling the tragedy of all nations of the Ottoman Empire as genocide of one Armenian nation. It is clear to a smart person, that in such conditions, when the Ottoman Empire was fighting on several fronts, when there were several outbreaks of civic confrontation inside the country, which rose because of both religious and national reasons, it was very difficult to record this sad statistics, which today is manipulated by ‘victims of genocide’ (saying ‘victims of genocide’ I mean, of course, not those who were killed, God rest their souls, but those who today are trying to get financial and moral ‘royalties’ for their deaths). It is obvious, that today it is impossible to clearly uncover, what exactly happened in every city, every village, every part of the front. Does any one of us understand: who is killing whom and why in Iraq and Libya? Today we are using satellite connections, internet, media, video records, we have thousands of professional journalists working in hot spots. And we still cannot doubtlessly answer these questions. What to say about a hundred years old events!’.

Philip Ekozians

Balanced opinion of official Ankara is also worth attention: ‘Turkish Government recognizes the fact of the mass killing of Armenians, but stands against the use of term ‘genocide’ and states that the number of victims, claimed by Armenia, is too high. According to Ankara, Armenian deaths were not a result of a purposeful government policy, but the outcome of the civil war in the Ottoman Empire, which claimed Turks as victims as well’.

Unfortunately, official Washington spat at all arguments of Armenia’s opponents. And at the same time opened the famous Pandora’s chest. What do I mean? They not only drove away their NATO ally Turkey, but also set against themselves millions of Muslims across the world, also gave a right to their big and small critics to constantly ask: how should destruction of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki be called, how should we call wars in Vietnam, Iraq or Serbia’s bombings? Even attacks against red-skinned Americans could be remembered.

Joe Biden. EPA – ELTA foto

Another question by America’s opponents is also possible: is it worth to blindly believe every word of Washington, if the previous US President guaranteed territorial integrity to Ukraine with his signature in exchange for ‘giving up nuclear bombs’ and later US President forgot this public and solemn obligation?

2021.04.26; 09:00

Gintaras.Visockas. Slaptai.lt nuotr.

In the beginning of April this year the official webpage of the State Security Department of Lithuania (SSD) published a report by Danish intelligence service, which states that threat of terror attacks in the Danish state remains high in 2021. The document, published by the Terror analysis centre under the Danish security and intelligence service, states that ‘radical Islamists, willing and capable of organizing attacks’ are still the biggest threat to the Kingdom of Denmark. Allegedly they plan to carry out terror attacks using both firearms and explosives.

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Of course, not only radical Islamists, but also far right extremists, believing complicated theories about ‘Sionist plot’ or worried about ‘the fate of the suffering white race’ are also mentioned among the threats. But the Danish document focuses on Islamic fanatics, who, for example, are irritated by the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, which published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed, and Quran burnings, initiated by Danish radical political party ‘Stram Kurs’.

Denmark. EPA – ELTA foto

Why did I remember this Danish document? It does not include a deep, serious analysis on who is responsible for emerging of ‘radical Islamists’. Those several short arguments, that, let’s say, one side considers caricatures of Prophet Muhammed as personal insult, and others understand such images as ‘freedom of expression’, – are too straightforward, too primitive. If we look at it like this (we are all understanding good people, they are baddies, who don‘t understand anything) we will not understand the real reasons of the confrontation.

We should take a deeper look at the topic of ‘radical Islamists’. Not only Danish, we all should. Those caricatures are only a striking case among many examples, of how wrongly we act communicating with Muslim states and later we are surprised why Muslims are angered, disappointed, insulted (raising this issue I do not justify killing, because taking a life is one of the worst crimes).

XXX

This is how the Paris tragedy in 2015 was reported in the portal slaptai.lt, then edited by me:

What happened in France is a horrible example of intolerance. Unfortunately, intolerance from both sides. Some of the caricatures, published in the journal, which has become tragically famous across the world, are simply disgusting, insulting, inciting religious enmity. What did their authors seek? Double standards are obvious. Insulting some is allowed, but not the others? Christians are allowed to mourn genocide, while Muslim victims are too few to be considered as genocide?

Bill Donohue, leader of Catholic League – a US organization ‘defending Catholic rights’ – made a press release called ‘Muslims have reasons to be angry’. In it, Donohue criticizes the journal’s tendency to insult believers across the world, including not only Muslims. ‘Murdered editor of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Stephane Charbonnier ‘did not understand the role, with which he contribute to his own tragic death’, reads the statement.

So intelligence services of the European Union, in my understanding, should talk not only about consequences of ‘radical Islam’. Such reports should include the causes of this phenomena. Let’s analyze not only Muslim mistakes, let’s start seriously analyzing our own sins. What are our, European, mistakes? Saying this I do not invite to become submissive, abject. Let‘s not allow others climb onto our hears. Let‘s not allow our churches be turned into mosques. But if we want Muslims to respect us, we must respect their traditions, religion, symbols. If we see that they are irritated by the disgusting caricatures, maybe we should refuse them, even if freedom of expression provides a right to draw them?

But now it is chaos. We demand them to respect us, but we do not have to respect them?

XXX

By there are many more cases, when we act unacceptably. The disgusting ‘Charlie Hebdo’ caricatures of public burning of Quran are only the tip of the iceberg. We are demonstrating double standards much more often and more subtly. Not only Denmark or France. Let’s have a wider, deeper look. For example, I mean a successful victory of Azerbaijan (in the end of 2020 Muslim country in 44 days managed to reclaim most of the territories of Nagorno Karabakh, lost in 1992-1994). Did we congratulate Azerbaijan with this impressive victory (so far it is the only republic of the former Soviet Union, who managed to restore its territorial integrity, Georgians, Moldavians and Ukrainians are still struggling)?

Charlie Hebdo. AFP nuotr.

We did not congratulate them. It seems we cannot turn our tongue to rejoice in Azerbaijan’s achievements, because Azeri’s opponents are Armenian, that is Christian, separatists. Having not congratulated Azerbaijan, we also did not condemn Armenia, when it opened fire to civilian Azeri cities, which are not related to Nagorno Karabakh. Have we forgotten how in the second half of 2020 Armenian armed forces used powerful cannons to bomb Azerbaijan‘s old capital Gence and two smaller Azeri cities – Barda and Terter?! Women and children were killed in these attacks. Many residential buildings were destroyed. Did the great European capitals express sympathies to Azerbaijan over these attacks, organized by the Armenian armed forces? No, they did not. Why? Because Armenians are Christians?

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Why didn’t we commend Turkey, who helped Azerbaijan take back its Nagorno Karabakh territories? It is also Ankara’s merit, that Baku managed to restore its territorial integrity. We did not congratulate or commend. Of course, such subtle silence and ignorance are not as disgusting as caricatures, but they are still painful. European tactlessness is the most obvious. Muslim world sees it, feels and analyzes it.

Turkish army

European tendencies regarding Turkey are obvious too. We did not commend Turkey when it helped Azerbaijan to forcefully drive out Armenian troops, neither when Ankara strongly defends Ukraine’s right to Crimea, Donbas and Luhansk and supplies Ukrainian troops with arms. Instead of commending Turkish government for principles in respecting territorial integrity of other countries, we criticize Ankara for real and imagined sins – for not sharing sea with Greece, making high EU official sit not in a central chair during an official reception, when democracy level does not comply with Brussel’s and Strasbourg’s standards. Muslim world sees, how tendentiously EU supports Greece and Armenia, conflicting with Turkey.

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Here is another example, that does not make us more honorable.

We all know what UNESCO is. UNESCO is the specialized agency of the United Nations, aiming to contribute to strengthening peace and security in the world by developing cooperation among nations in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.

But does this organization always act correctly? Let’s look at the South Caucasus region. In the end of 2020, when Azerbaijan, helped by Turkey, in a military way took back Nagorno Karabakh, which belongs to it by international law, from Armenian separatists, UNESCO representatives started criticizing Azeri, saying they should not dare to destroy Armenian cultural, historical and architectural monuments. Looking from aside, such warning by an influential international organization is understandable. Carefulness does not harm.

However, throwing such suspicions at Azerbaijan is immoral, because those who know at least a bit about the history of this Muslim country, clearly know: Azeri have always been tolerant to other nations and other religions. Suspecting that after reclaiming Nagorno Karabakh, called the Black Garden, they would necessarily start avenging, that is destroying objects of Armenian culture, is primitive. By the way, as soon as it started liberation operation in 2020, official Baku, without any urges, stated that it would protect all Armenian, all Christian signs of architecture, history, culture. Azeri have never been vandals.

UNESCO

Official Baku also stated that it was not against UNESCO’s plan to send a special expert delegation to Nagorno Karabakh, which would follow how culturally, historically valuable Christian objects are protected in this region.

However, such energetic concern of UNESCO, whether Azeri would destroy, figuratively speaking, Armenian churches, is ambiguous. It speaks about the unsound morality of this organization, lack of principles, about applied ugly double standards. Why do I think so? A moral international organization, before starting to search for so called ‘cases of Azeri barbarism’ in the end of 2020-beginning of 2021 (not even a year has passed), firstly should examine how Armenian forces acted in this region for three decades (from 1994 to autumn of 2020). It firstly had to raise a question – how many of Muslim, Azeri heritage objects have been destroyed by Armenian supported separatists.

But UNESCO organization has never been interested in Armenian actions in Nagorno Karabakh in 1994-2020. While Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh was in the hands of Armenian separatists, Azeri government many times applied to UNESCO. It requested sending delegations, which would examine how Azeri cultural and historical objects are taken care of  there. UNESCO ignored all Azeri requests. It would diplomatically steer away or justify itself saying it cannot intervene to issues of the international politics.

However, in 2020, when Yerevan started causing noise about allegedly endangered Christian masterpieces, UNESCO immediately expressed wish to examine ‘the real situation’. Double standard, not suitable for a solid international organization, are obvious. If efforts to examine objects of Azeri heritage in Nagorno Karabakh is politics, then concern about Armenian cultural objects in Nagorno Karabakh should be politics too? But UNESCO cares, it seems, not about seeing ‘the whole picture’ but only about finding at least a single example of unacceptable action by Azerbaijan.

But Azerbaijan is rejoicing that eventually UNESCO got concerned about Nagorno Karabakh and, let’s hope, seven nearby regions (which were also occupied by Armenian separatists). Because there are many cases of Armenian vandalism, when mosques were destroyed there, museums were robbed, Caucasian and Albanian architectural monuments were remade into Armenians, Agdam and Fizuli cities were destroyed to dust.

Karabakh

Despite indifference of the international community to the three decades of erasing Muslim heritage in Nagorno Karabakh, all that time Azerbaijan carefully recorded every case of Armenian vandalism. All barbarisms are registered in two catalogues: ‘Losses of historical and cultural monuments in occupied Azeri territories’ and ‘Catalogue of Azeri cultural monuments in Nagorno Karabakh’. These encyclopedias are translated to Azeri, English, Russian and French languages.

So it will not be difficult for sirs from UNESCO, arriving to Nagorno Karabakh, to search for the real vandals. But will they want to sincerely establish, how many architectural, historical, cultural monuments were destroyed by Armenian separatists?

Do you think the Muslim world does not see these slaps in the faces Do you think such European hypocrisy does not disappoint, irritate them?

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The Danish intelligence‘s reports somehow does not include a single word about possible attacks of Armenian terrorist organizations in 2021. Today situation is complicated in Armenia. There are powers there that urge the countrymen to take arms and avenge, avenge, avenge. Azerbaijan and Turkey are the targets of Armenian paramilitary terrorist groups. You ask, what Denmark has to do with it?

Let‘s remember 1981, when an explosion took place in Copenhagen, near the office of Turkish transport company ‘THY’, and two Danish persons were seriously injured. One of Armenian terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for this attack. This was their alleged revenge to Turks for tragic events in 1915. Focus here – they took revenge not in Turkish, but in Danish territory, without any concerns that not only Turks, but also innocent Danish could be harmed.

That 1981 attack in Copenhagen is only one of the terror attacks, organized by Armenian terrorists in the West in 1973-2002, which claimed 70 lives, injured 524, where 105 were taken hostage and 12 of them were killed. Not only Turkish diplomats are among the murdered and crippled. Those were revenge acts by ASALA, Dasnakcutiun, Gncak and their related organizations against Turks in Denmark, France, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Great Britain.

Aren’t such terrorist actions by ASALA, Sasnakcutiun, Gncak, which shook Europe for almost three decades, impossible today?

XXX

One of the last disgusting slaps in the face was the words, uttered by the 46th US President Joe Biden on 24 April this year, allegedly that the 1915 wars in the territories of then Ottoman Empire were ‘Armenian genocide’. Maybe. But we do not know. We cannot know. Armenia, unlike Turkey, does not allow researches into its archives. Therefore, I am surprised: how can one say there was or there wasn’t ‘Armenian genocide’ without thoroughly researching Armenian archives? For example, Bruce Fein, former law advisor to the US President Ronald Reagan, admits that during the administration of Raegan, Washington started researching the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. However, this research was not finished. And still, from what they managed to collect, Fein came to conclusion: ‘if the archives are opened, Armenians will have to apologize for misleading the world’ (it is reported in publications ‘Turkiye and Caucasus Online’).

Joe Biden. EPA – ELTA nuotr.

So my beloved and respected America made the biggest mistake by underlining strong reproaches to Turks – they should have waited until Yerevan opens its archives.

Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mantas Adomėnas also made a bad mistake, by flying to Yerevan on the even of 24 April to pay respects to the victims of ‘Armenian genocide’. How could Adomėnas not know: Armenian archives are still carefully protected from foreign researchers. Member of Seimas Raimundas Lopata also made a mistake on 24 April, by urging states, who have not done so yet, to recognize the 1915 tragedy as ‘Armenian genocide’. Prof. Lopata, who in the past had an important position in the International relations and political sciences institute, must know: historians, scientists, politicians, who seriously look at history, firstly analyze archives of the conflicting side and only then make resolutions, decisions and publish laws.

Mr. Adomėnas and Lopata should listen to at least what Latvian Vice Minister and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks has written on his personal social network profile: ‘The position of the US President on the issue of the Armenian genocide will only complicate cooperation between two NATO countries when it is most needed. I can give similar advise to those Latvian parliamentarians who want to buy indulgences for themselves by sacrificing national interests’.

These are only several examples when we act without tact in communication with Muslim countries.

2021.04.26; 15:45

Gintaras Visockas. Slaptai.lt foto

Tomorrow is February 16th. It is a very important holiday for Lithuania. During these days, in our press, on television, on radio, there are many comments about February 16, 1918. This day is given to history, to politics.

However, while welcoming the increased interest in history, I must admit that Lithuania is unfortunately not one of the countries where historical topics are examined very objectively, honestly. There are many silenced moments and biased approaches. There are even nagged historians in Lithuania, because instead of being silent, they draw unpleasant, uncomfortable facts in public.

So let me also say a word for the reflection on February 16th. Unfortunately, not very happy. It is common to have fun and be proud during the holidays. But why should I be overwhelmed with joy, if not so much of it is around?

We still do not have monographs on dushanskis, raslans and zimanas

(Jewish collaborators of the Soviet regime participating in the killing and deportation of Lithuanians – T.P. )

First of all, it is striking how Lithuania deals with topics that are unpleasant for the Jewish community. It simply does not. It is a taboo. Deadly silence. Everyone who mentions them is attacked, criticized and eventually falls. I agree, we must know the crimes of our bad guys. I do not dispute – all mistakes must be registered, described in detail. Lithuanian sins must not be hidden. However, pushing aside our historians or publicists interested in history of the country simply because they raise issues that are inconvenient not only for Lithuanians, but also for Jews, is that democratic?

Historian Valdas Rakutis did not say anything reprehensible, urging to look at the history of the Second World War from both sides. The only minor sin was that the call should not have been made on the Holocaust Day. But a democracy must tolerate such „sin.“ After all, in such cases, the most important thing is whether this is true: if we stubbornly condemn people who were at least somewhat related with fascist Germany, let us also register those who cooperated with the Kremlin regime.

Valdas Rakutis. Slaptai.lt nuotr.
Vidmantas Valiušaitis. Slaptai.lt foto

We are urged to honestly analyze our peoples’ biographies, to look through the magnifying glass at the slightest suspicion. Just why has the other side so far neither prepared nor has plans to prepare scientific monographs on, say, the crimes of the dushanskis, raslans, zimanas? What should we do if we record every one of our real or perceived sins and others hide their own sins? If that side relies on the KGB archives and accept them as true facts, why can’t we analyze what was written in the Lithuanian Archives during the years of German occupation?

Historian Arūnas Gumuliauskas proposed to adopt a resolution declaring that the Lithuanian nation is not the nation of Jewish killers. There was a real need for such a resolution. But he was silenced, claiming that no one blames the Lithuanian nation for this sin attributable to the fascist Germany. Is it true that no one reproaches, no one rebukes, no one condemns?

Vidmantas Valiušaitis, a publicist interested in history, has been expelled from the Lithuanian Center for Genocide and Resistance, in his books, articles and video comments presented the obvious facts about how our heroes Jonas Noreika and Kazys Škirpa are unjustifiably accused of sympathizing with fascist Germany.

What will fall next? Will it be Dalius Stancikas, an LCGR employee, who wrote the much-needed book „Hammering the history of Lithuania“? After all, he is not in a hurry to hang the labels of Jewish killers on Lithuanian characters of that time…

Belarusian accents

Another topic is Belarusian. The leader of the Belarusian opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, is both praised and supported in our country. This is the right posture. It is not possible to beat the protesters in this way, as Alexander Lukashenka is doing. Lithuania must lend a helping hand to Belarusian protesters.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. EPA-ELTA foto.

But I have not heard that any of our journalists and politicians have publicly and openly asked that lady about the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Astravec nuclear power plant. I am very interested to know what this lady thinks about the origin of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and whether she agrees that it is necessary to shut down the Astravec nuclear power plant as soon as possible? And if she even said that the origin of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was Lithuanian, even if she confirmed that „the Astravec NPP must be stopped because it threatens Vilnius“, is our intelligence certain that this lady does not speak the opposite during private conversations?

What do we know about Alexei Navalny?

The story of Alexei Navalny is similar. Of course, he is a brave man. Navalny’s documentaries, which tell how Russian intelligence poisoned him with „Novichok“, or that film about Vladimir Putin’s fabulous palace, are noteworthy and respectful.

Alexei Navalny. EPA – ELTA nuotr.

But my first concern is to find out what Navalny said when Russia invaded Georgia, Ukraine. If he really claimed that it would be worthwhile to throw those Georgians with cruise missiles, if he claimed this sincerely, without being forced by anyone, then there is a high probability that this man will want to throw cruise missiles on Lithuania. I hope that the Member of the Seimas Laurynas Kasčiūnas, who recently participated in the rally in support of A. Navalny in front of  the Russian Embassy, knows the answer to this question?

Curbing corruption in Russia is an important issue. But it is no less important to know that the heart of the tireless anti-corruption fighter is not trapped in the icebergs of imperial thinking.

When will the activities of ASALA be evaluated?

Here is an excerpt from the text of Rayat Ibrahim, a senior fellow at the Gateston Institute (author of the book “The Sword and the Scythian: Fourteen Centuries between Islam and the West”), which prophesies that „as many as 340 million Christians in the world are being persecuted”. It says that in the present world, 13 Christians are killed, 5 Christians are abducted and 12 churches are attacked every day for their religious beliefs.

We need to know these sad statistics. But aren’t you missing a comparative analysis? Why is there no figure for how many people are killed every day in the world just because they are Muslims? I would then compare the anti-Muslim facts with the attacks on Christians and see the real situation. Now it seems that the blowing is only one way – only Muslims are hurting Christians, and the Christians have never hurt Muslims anywhere and are not going to hurt them.

ASALA

But this is not true. Let us remember the Crusades, the occupation of Algeria, the war against Afghanistan, the bombings of Iraq, the attacks on Muslims in the Balkans, the equated Chechen capital, Grozny.

Finally, let’s remember how many Turkish diplomats residing in Vienna, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, and Copenhagen were killed by the Armenian terrorist organizations ASALA, Dasnakcutiun, Gncak in the European capitals from 1975 to 2002? There were 235 terror acts, 70 murder and 41 assault cases. 524 people were killed during these attacks, including 105 hostages.

Let’s recall how in the second half of 2020, the Armenian armed forces fired on the Azerbaijani cities of Bard, Gianja and Terter (69 civilian Azerbaijanis were killed and another 322 were injured in these attacks).

Are these figures included in reports of religious intolerance? Do we know that the infamous ASALA, who persecuted Turkish diplomats a few decades ago, sent a scary letter to a Turkish diplomat residing in Beirut (Lebanon) on January 1, 2019, and burned a Turkish flag near the embassy building (Turkish flags were burned in other countries as well, near the Turkish missions)? Do we know that on January 20, 2021, ASALA issued a statement that members of the organization are not barred from committing terror against the citizens of Azerbaijan and Turkey, who took back Nagorny Karabakh in the end of 2020?

Try to publish these facts in the Lithuanian media, and you will see that it is not so simple. It is allowed to criticize Muslims – as much as the heart desires, but not to blame Christians! Although, for example, the international community recognizes that Nagorny Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan. However, Lithuania did not congratulate Azerbaijan, which recovered the lands lost decades ago due to the Armenian aggression, including those seven neighboring districts that had nothing to do with Nagorny Karabakh. Also it did not congratulate Turkey, which helped the Azerbaijanis to regain what belongs to Azerbaijan according to the international law. After all, this is an important, significant event.

What is hidden in the Armenian archives?

Find the text of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE / RL) published by LRT – a conversation between Harry Tamraziano, Director of the RL Armenian Service, and Thom de Waalu, a Caucasus expert at “Carnegie Europe”. There is not the slightest hint that, under international law, Nagorny Karabakh is an indisputable territory of Azerbaijan. When this fact is silenced, all other discussions are meaningless. At least that’s what it seems to me.

Remember how the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences did not allow historians invited by the Turkish Embassy to present their position on the tragic 1915s, and opened doors for guests invited by the Armenian Embassy? That is why we do not know that the US Ambassador Henri Morgentau, who resided in Istanbul in 1913-1916, for a total of 780 days, wrote a report extremely unfavorable to the Turks, entitled „The Tragedy of the Armenian People“, grossly distorted the facts. During his residence in the Ottoman Empire, he did not leave Istanbul in order to visit any problematic region – he limited himself to leisure, recreational trips around the then Ottoman Empire. Therefore, his report cannot be regarded as objective.

But there is another reason why his reports should not be considered objective. The translator, an adviser, considered his right-hand was Arshag Simavonian, helped him write this report. And his secretary was Acopus Andonian. What matters is not that both the adviser and the secretary were Armenians. It is important that both these Armenians hated the Turks and everything Turkish. They were therefore grossly biased.

Turkish flag

And what about Johannes Lepsius’ work „Germany and Armenia 1914 – 1918. Collection of Diplomatic Mail“? Is it worth  to trust it blindly? This person is known to have been blindly pro-Armenian and pathologically hated the Turks. He did not include in his mail, for example, reports from Lois Mozel, a special Caesar agent, and Felix Gus, officer, informing that Armenian armed formations befriended the enemy of the Ottoman Empire, Tsarist Russia, receiving weapons from Russian Tsar, and coordinating their attacks against the Turks with the Russians.

There are a lot of such tendentious defaults and distortions. But Lithuania does not want to know them. Avoiding even mentioning that in 2005 it was Turkey that proposed Armenia to convene a joint commission of historians to investigate all the causes and consequences of the 1915 tragedy. Official Yerevan – categorically refused. Apparently, there are fears that a lot of unpleasant facts will come to the surface.

Donald Trump and censorship

So Lithuania is still a long way from a real democracy. There are many forbidden, ignored, and silent topics.

The only consolation is that not only Lithuania is in difficulty. On the Delfi.lt portal, I read an interesting article by Vidas Rachlevičius „The Big Break: the End of the American Dream“. I will admit: I never liked Donald Trump. Especially when he pandered Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Trump’s accusations of rigged elections were also unconvincing. I also remember an interview published on the gordonua.com portal with Yuri Schwec, a former KGB employee who had left for America a long time ago, who claimed that the Russian special services had been eyeing Trump for a long time.

Donald Trump

And still, Trump’s accounts on social networks should not be blocked. Let us argue with him, criticize him, unmask him, but let us not restrict his right to freedom of expression.

I agree with V. Rachlevičius, who believes that blocking D. Trump’s accounts is an anti-democratic step. I agree with V. Rachlevičius that real democracy and human rights start with freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is inviolable and unquestionable in any form. Freedom of speech – without any „provided“, „if“, „but“.

Freedom of speech either exists or does not exist.

2021.02.15; 00:30

Beirut, the Lebanese capital. EPA – ELTA foto.

We all know that on August 4 in Beirut, the Lebanese capital, two powerful explosions destroyed seaport warehouses, taking hundreds of lives and wiping out entire quarters of the city. Currently, such an official version is announced – the explosions were caused by inefficiency and clutter. There are no signs of terrorist activity.

The disaster in Beirut

It was not so long ago when due to this accident over 300 thousand people of Beirut lost their homes.

The EU was one of the first to provide humanitarian aid to Lebanon. That support is € 63 million (Lebanese President Michel Aoun claims that the explosion of 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate in the port caused more than € 12.7 billion in damage).

Lithuania did not remain indifferent to the pain of Lebanon, it allocated 50 thousand EUR.

However, vigilance should not be lost in such cases. It is important that those suspected or accused of terrorist acts do not receive assistance. We are well aware that, under the guise of this disaster, representatives of various terrorist organizations operating in Lebanon are also likely to apply for financial support or a residence permit in Europe. Such counterfeits should not be ruled out.

By the way, Lithuania is just like that – vigilant, cautious. Few days ago the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that persons associated with “Hezbollah” (it is active and strong in Lebanon, it is of particular concern to Israel) have been banned from entering Lithuania for 10 years. It is alleged that the Migration Department made this decision after receiving some specific information about the activities of persons associated with “Hezbollah”.

According to ELTA, Linas Linkevičius, ForMin of Lithuania, has stated: „Assessing the information available to us and provided by our partners, we can state that “Hezbollah” is a terrorist organization that poses a threat to the security of many countries around the world, including Lithuania. We stand in solidarity with the US, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and other countries that have taken a similar position. We appreciate the successful cooperation between the Lithuanian and Israeli national security institutions. We thank these institutions for their important contribution to ensuring the security of our citizens.“

Lithuania’s move to pay very close attention to those suspected of belonging to “Hezbollah” is fair and meaningful. In such way official Vilnius is in solidarity with an influential ally of the US – Israel.

It is not for nothing that after the decision not to allow entrance or contacts with sympathizers of “Hezbollah”, Lithuania received the congratulations of Israeli ForMin Gabi Ashkenazi. This Israeli politician thanked the Lithuanian government for its decision to declare “Hezbollah” a terrorist organization based in Lebanon.

What are Turkey’s interests in Lebanon

However, in the Lithuanian public space, I did not notice any information whether Lithuania would have coordinated its steps with Turkey by providing financial support to Lebanon and considering which Lebanese might be worth sheltering. After all, we must know the opinion of an official Ankara, at least because Turkey is a member of NATO, our ally in this political-military Alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty.

ASALA

Figuratively speaking, Turkey’s opinion should be even more important to us than Israel’s. Especially since many organizations accused of terrorism have been operating in Lebanon for a long time and are still active today. “Hezbollah” is just one of them. Lebanon is also famous for having its strong holds here, “Daşnaksütun”, ASALA, whose representatives killed Turkish diplomats in Europe, the US and Australia just a few decades ago. Between 1975 and 2002, these terrorists carried out 235 attacks, 70 murders, 41 assassinations and 524 injuries in the West. 105 people were taken hostage, 12 of whom were killed. So does the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows what Turkey’s interests are in Lebanon, or are they taken into account?

Daşnaksütun

Another very important detail – the explosion of warehouses in the seaport region in Beirut has particularly affected three residential neighborhoods – Chad, Mar Michail, Bed Halil. They are called Armenian districts because many Armenians live there. Among them, there are likely to be those who support the activities of “Daşnaksütun”, ASALA and similar organizations. It cannot be ruled out that, under the guise of the disaster of August 4, some sympathizers of “Daşnaksütun” and ASALA will try to enter the EU by applying for a permanent residence permit, ask for financial benefits. It is possible that the representatives belonging to these organizations or sympathizing with them will try to enter Lithuania as well, that it could then harm Turkey from European capitals.

What is the official approach to “Daşnaksütun” and ASALA?

The version is that some sympathizers of “Daşnaksütun” and ASALA from Lebanon will try to enter Nagorno-Karabakh, which belongs to Azerbaijan but is currently controlled by Armenian separatists. In order to prepare military attacks against Azerbaijan from there, which, among other things, is unconditionally supported by Turkey, Lithuania’s ally in the NATO.

Therefore, I am questioning,  when will Lithuania declare as unacceptable organizations not only “Hezbollah”, which is causing Israel a headache, but also “Daşnaksütun”, ASALA and similar organizations that are harmful to Turkey?

We have muffed many times in judging Turkey. We behaved shamefully, for example, on December15,  2005, by adopting a Seimas resolution on the recognition of the genocide of the Armenian people. Ms. Irma Ąžuolė has noticed on the portal slaptai.lt that only about one third of the members of the Seimas participated in the anti-Turkish sitting at that time: 55 out of 141. The resolution was submitted, considered and adopted in one go, only ten minutes was enough for this. Only 49 members of the Seimas signed the draft resolution.

But the worst thing is not because of the half-empty meeting room and the rush. Most important is that this resolution sets us apart from our ally Turkey. It is also scandalous that at that time (and at present) no Lithuanian historian, politician or journalist had studied the documents stored in Turkish archives due to the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. Lithuania was not even confused by the idea – after all, without seriously delving into the arguments of the other side, it is stupid to make accusations. Lithuania has not even wondered why the Turks had long ago opened their archives to foreign researchers, and Armenia still carefully hides them from outsiders (apparently it has something to hide). So, December 15, 2005, in my opinion, is one of the strangest days in Lithuanian politics. We signed an important document without even taking the problem seriously.

Lithuania’s next step is no less shameful – when the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences did not admit Turgut Kerem Tuncel, a senior analyst at the Eurasian Studies Center, on December 13 last year, accompanied by Gokhan Turan, Turkish Ambassador residing in Lithuania. The Turks wanted to read a report on the tragic events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. However, the Turkish scientist was prevented from presenting the Turkish position in the hall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, justifying that the hall was needed for another unforeseen but very important event. Thus, we rejected Turkish scientists under the guise of primitive excuses, and the Armenian diplomats were admitted by the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences without hindrance.

This scandal, described in detail on the portal slaptai.lt by a journalist Gintaras Visockas, deserves serious analysis. If it were the other way around (the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences does not admit an Armenian ambassador because Armenia is not a member of NATO, and a Turkish ambassador is admitted because Turkey is a member of NATO), I would have better understanding. But I do not imagine the opposite, when Lithuania rejects its ally in the NATO alliance, although it is obvious.

With this in mind, I want to know when Lithuania will name “Daşnaksütun” and ASALA as terrorist organizations? At least I would like to understand whether Lithuania is aware of Turkey’s position on anti-Turkish organizations operating in Lebanon?

About the author

Vytautas Čepukas. Slaptai.lt foto

V. Čepukas was born in 1953 in Krasnoyarsk (Russia) in a political prisoner’s family. When he was 5 he was brought to Lithuania.

After Lithuania regained its independence, he participated in the activities of the Sąjūdis, and after the events of January 1991, he joined the Lithuanian Voluntary Service. In 1991, he defended the Lithuanian Parliament. In September of the same year, he started to serve as the Commander of the Utena Commandant Squad of the Lithuanian National Defense Department.

After that, he served in the training center of the military training; in 1993 he was appointed the commander of the SKAT 71st Battalion. From 2000 to 2003, he served as the commander of the Vilnius County KASP team.

He started his service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces from lieutenant degree. He ended his service  in 2003 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Awards:  Medal of the January 13, the volunteer creator, the Medal of the Star of Riflemen of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the Diaspora of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union.

2020.08.22; 00:30

Slaptai.lt skelbia Eurazijos studijų centro vyresniojo analitiko, mokslų daktaro Turgut Kerem Tuncel pranešimą dėl tragiškų 1915-ųjų metų įvykių tuometinėje Osmanų imperijoje. Mokslininkas pateikia Turkijos poziciją.

Tai – 2-oji teksto, perskaityto 2019 metų gruodžio 13-ąją Vilniuje, dalis. Pranešimas išdėstytas anglų kalba.

2019.12.28; 06:00

Slaptai.lt skelbia Eurazijos studijų centro vyresniojo analitiko, mokslų daktaro Turgut Kerem Tuncel pranešimą dėl tragiškų 1915-ųjų įvykių tuometinėje Osmanų imperijoje. Mokslininkas pateikia Turkijos poziciją.

Tai – 1-oji pranešimo, perskaityto 2019 metų gruodžio 13-ąją Vilniuje, dalis. Pranešimas skaitytas anglų kalba. Jo lietuviškąją versiją rasite čia: https://slaptai.lt/turkiskoji-versija-zvilgsnis-i-1915-uju-tragedija-tuometineje-osmanu-imperijoje/

2019.12.28; 06:00