TIME Armenia

German President Enrages Turkey by Referring to 1915 Armenian ‘Genocide’

German President Joachim Gauck delivers a speech at the Berlin Cathedral Church in Berlin, Germany, April 23, 2015
Michael Sohn—AP German President Joachim Gauck delivers a speech at the Berlin Cathedral Church in Berlin, Germany, April 23, 2015

"The fate of the Armenians stands as exemplary in the history of mass exterminations, ethnic cleansing, deportations and yes, genocide"

German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday angered Turkey by labeling the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as a “genocide” ahead of Friday’s centennial commemoration of the event, which took place during World War I.

A day before the German parliament debates using the term “genocide” for the Armenian massacre, Gauck said, “The fate of the Armenians stands as exemplary in the history of mass exterminations, ethnic cleansing, deportations and yes, genocide, which marked the 20th century in such a terrible way.”

However, the contentious term has sparked outcry within Turkey, which has a significant Armenian minority and officially contends that both sides suffered a heavy death toll during the war. The successor state of the Ottoman Empire, as the territory was known during 1915, has never formally acknowledged the Armenian massacre as a genocide.

On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Dautoglu urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to exclude the genocide label in parliamentary debates. “To reduce everything to a single word, to put responsibility through generalizations on the Turkish nation alone … is legally and morally problematic,” he said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the Armenian deaths “our shared pain” and offered to establish a joint historical commission to examine the deaths, but fell short of acknowledging the events as a “genocide.”

“[U]sing the events of 1915 as an excuse for hostility against Turkey and turning this issue into a matter of political conflict is inadmissible,” Erdoğan said in a statement.

Pope Francis recently provoked the ire of Erdoğan for labeling the 1915 Armenian killings as the “first genocide of the 20th century.”

TIME Turkey

Obama Won’t Call Armenian Killings ‘Genocide’

President Barack Obama speaks during a reception for supporters of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 21, 2015 in Washington.
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama speaks during a reception for supporters of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 21, 2015 in Washington.

The President has not used the term in reference to the killings while in office

President Barack Obama won’t use the term “genocide” in remarks Friday marking the 100th anniversary of the killing of more than a million Armenians, officials said Tuesday, igniting disappointment from critics who say the President is catering too much to Turkey.

Activists had hoped that the President would realize a 2008 campaign pledge and use the term for the first time in office, particularly as other governments and world leaders, including Pope Francis, have referred to the massacres as “genocide” in recent days.

But in a meeting with Armenian American leaders on Tuesday, administration officials said Obama would not use the term. “President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian said in a statement Tuesday.

The Turkish government has consistently rejected the term—President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the Pope not to repeat the “mistake” of using it—and the White House has long been reluctant to risk relations with a key ally in a tumultuous region.

Taner Akcam, a history professor at Clark University who was one of the first Turkish academics to openly call the killings “genocide,” said it was “a shame” that Obama was set to again avoid the term.

“The United States is always emphasizing its exceptionalism in supporting liberal values and human rights at home and across the world,” Akcam said. “But Obama and the Americans should also recognize that one should uphold human rights not only when it’s convenient.”

TIME Turkey

The Turkish Journalists Who Reprinted Charlie Hebdo Caricatures May Be Jailed

Hikmet Cetinkaya, a columnist of Cumhuriyet newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 14, 2015
AP Hikmet Cetinkaya, a columnist of Cumhuriyet newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 14, 2015

Turkish prosecutors say the images of the Prophet Muhammad "insult people's religious values"

Two Turkish columnists who reprinted caricatures of Prophet Muhammed from the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo risk jail time for “insulting people’s religious values,” according to an indictment from Turkish prosecutors published by their secular employer, the Cumhuriyet Daily newspaper.

“We are being threatened with prison for defending free speech,” one of the accused, Ceyda Karan, told Reuters. “To threaten a journalist because he or she printed a drawing that does not include an insult can only come from a religious, authoritarian government.”

Karan and her colleague Hikmet Cetinkaya printed the images to show their solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, the Parisian newspaper that was attacked by Islamist gunmen on Jan. 7, with the loss of 11 lives. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated the caricatures constituted an “incitement” and opened an investigation.

Cumhuriyet received threats following the printing.

Turkey’s penal code administers jail time for acts deemed disrespectful toward religion.

[Reuters]

TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in March, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Matt Black‘s work from Guerrero state in Mexico. Black has documented impoverished indigenous communities in southern Mexico for years. This latest work captures communities affected by rampant crime and poverty, including the disappearance of the 43 students from a school in Iguala. The black-and-white photographs are extraordinary and the accompanying short-film, which includes a moving letter from a mother to his lost son, is definitely worth watching. The reporting was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center.

Matt Black: Guerrero and the Disappeared (The New Yorker Photo Booth) Watch “The Monster in the Mountains,” a short film based on Black’s work in Guerrero.

Adam Ferguson: The Deadly Global War for Sand (Wired) These stunning photographs document sand mining in India.

Lynsey Addario: India’s Insurgency (National Geographic) Addario’s pictures capture mineral-rich eastern Indian states, plagued by poverty and a continuing Maoist insurgency.

Josh Haner: The Ride of Their Lives (The New York Times) A fantastic year-long project that follows three generations of one rodeo-mad family | More on the Lens blog

Yuri Kozyrev: Cuba (TIME LightBox) TIME contract photographer’s beautiful work from the Cuban capital.

Mathias Depardon: Gold Rivers (TIME LightBox) Construction of the hydroelectric Ilisu Dam in Turkey threatens a cultural treasure.

Lynsey Addario: Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against Culture (The New York Times) A compelling series on Afghani women determined to make a difference.

Newsha Tavakolian: Stress and Hope in Tehran (The New York Times) These excellent portraits paired with insightful quotes give us a peek inside the minds of Iranians.

Eugene Richards: Lincoln (National Geographic) Richards’ photographs trail the assassinated president’s last journey home in 1865 and raise questions about his life and legacy.

Matteo Bastianelli: Young Syrian Refugee’s Journey Through Europe (MSNBC) The Italian photographer has documented a Syrian refugee’s life in Bulgaria and journey to Germany. | More on his agency’s website

TIME portfolio

Discover the Cultural Treasure Turkey Threatens to Flood

Construction of the hydroelectric Ilisu Dam threatens the ancient village of Hasankeyf

“Absurd.” That’s how documentary photographer Mathias Depardon describes the surreal scene of a mosque’s minaret jutting out from the water as a boat passes by in Savaçan.

The tiny community along the Euphrates River in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region was flooded by the filling of the Birecik Dam’s reservoir about 15 years ago, pushing its residents and others nearby into a new settlement erected by the country’s housing authority.

Activists worry Hasankeyf is next. The small village with ancient roots on the edge of the Tigris River is upstream from the hydroelectric Ilisu Dam, the last major dam to be built within the decades-long Southeastern Anatolia Project, Turkey’s largest hydropower project that is comprised of 22 dams and 19 power stations. Once construction on Ilisu is done—Turkey was forced to secure alternative funds after European backers pulled out, putting it behind schedule as environmental campaigns steadily lobbied against it—the filling of an 11 billion cubic-meter reservoir will inundate some 74,000 acres, including Hasankeyf.

Ankara has long-positioned the dam as a provider of irrigation and jobs to an impoverished corner of Turkey, and considers it part of the solution to the country’s dependence on foreign energy imports amid increasing domestic demand, as the dam is expected to generate some 2% of Turkey’s current electricity supply. The tradeoff, aside from the further of squeezing crucial supplies downstream in Syria and Iraq, exacerbating already strained tensions from decades of cross-border water disputes, is that part of Hasankeyf—along with its found and still hidden archaeological treasures—and other nearby sites will morph from open air exhibits on ancient Mesopotamia to underwater treasure chests. (Hasankeyf was placed on the World Monuments Fund’s 2008 Watch List.)

Turkey says archaeologists are working to excavate, record and preserve “as much as possible.” And, like others impacted by dams, residents due to be displaced by water can move into a new settlement built across the river.

Depardon, who is half-French and half-Belgian, heard about the project after he moved to Turkey a few years ago. For the 34-year-old photographer, who estimates that he shoots 30 to 50 assignments in a given year, the disappearing village became part of his personal project: an environmental portrait of a land steeped in history before it’s drowned.

A lot of people have assumptions about what Hasankeyf will be like, he says, especially in light to what happened to Savaçan: “People don’t go [to Savaçan] with the nostalgia of the place. Obviously, they didn’t know the place before that, they’d never been there. But they go there and they visit as they would an entertainment park.” Still, he adds, not everyone in the area is against the dam.

Hasankeyf is the iconic at-risk community, Depardon says, but his project is more of a visual look at overall Turkish dam policy that’s driven, he says, by anti-environmental policymakers in Ankara. That’s part of why he named the project Gold Rivers. The expected completion of the dam this year, and the energy that it will help generate, will help pad state coffers while impacting local tourism industries: “The water is now money.”

Mathias Depardon is a documentary photographer based in Istanbul, Turkey. Follow him on Instagram @mathiasdepardon.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Andrew Katz is a News Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @katz.

TIME energy

Europe Turns To Turkey As Alternative To Russian Energy

Fuel Prices At Russian Gas Stations As Oil Price Drops
Bloomberg—Getty Images An OAO Rosneft gas station near the Ostankino TV tower displaying the colors of the Russian national flag in Moscow, Russia, on Dec. 2, 2014.

Despite its wealth of oil and gas, Russia isn’t the only source capable of meeting Europe’s needs

The European Commission (EC) plans to tighten its relations with several nations, including Turkey, as a part of the Continent’s effort to lessen its dependence on Russian for its energy security.

In a statement on March 11, the EC said it “intends to strengthen EU-Turkey energy relations by establishing a strategic energy partnership” because “[a] stronger and more united EU can engage more constructively with its partners, to their mutual benefit.”

Two weeks earlier at EC headquarters in Brussels, the commission unveiled its Energy Union Package seeking greater coordination among the European Union’s member states to permit a free exchange of energy from one to another to ensure a secure supply for all citizens of the EU.

Read more: Azerbaijan Eyeing Gas Opportunity In Europe

At that time, the EC specifically spoke of its goal to reduce its reliance on energy from Russia, which has been hit by EU and US sanctions for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. EU customers get about one-third of their gas supplies from Russia, and half of that flows through pipelines in Ukraine.

“As part of a revitalized European energy and climate diplomacy,” the March 11 statement said, “the EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with increasingly important producing and transit countries or regions such as Algeria and Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the Middle East, Africa and other potential suppliers.”

Turkey is the key, however, according to Marco Giuli, who studies energy issues at the European Policy Center, a Brussels think tank. “European policymakers have been trying to find a more diverse gas supplier since the ’90s,” he told the International Business Times, “but right now there is more intense momentum for that to happen. To Eastern Europe especially, it’s absolutely critical.”

Read more: This Is Why The EU Energy Union Will Fail

In fact, despite its wealth of oil and gas, Russia isn’t the only source capable of meeting Europe’s needs. There are generous deposits of the two fuels northeast of Turkey in the Caspian Sea basin and beyond. And coincidentally they provide a kind of balance between supply and demand.

These regions hold about 65 percent of the world’s total known oil and gas reserves, and countries west of Turkey consume 65 percent of the world’s oil and gas. Turkey’s geographical position, combined with its political and military ties to the West, makes it the obvious choice for a stable energy channel.

If the EC’s plans bear fruit, Turkey would become a major transit country for energy because it already is about to begin building the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline, which is part of the region’s Southern Gas Corridor. That pathway would carry gas from Azerbaijan in the east to Greece in the west, and eventually to Albania and Italy.

Read more: Europe Overtakes Asia As LNG’s Hottest Market

This role may lead Turkey to formally join the Energy Community, which was created in 2005 to extend the EU’s energy market to countries in Southeastern Europe and beyond that aren’t EU members. Turkey has limited its association with the community to observer status because of its concerns about the group’s policies on regulations, competition and trade.

The membership in the Energy Community now includes Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine. Like Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Norway are observers.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

More from Oilprice.com:

TIME Behind the Photos

The Photo That Made Me: Mary Ellen Mark, Trabzon, Turkey, 1965

Mary Ellen Mark presents the first photograph she took that went beyond the usual clichés

TIME LightBox talks to Mary Ellen Mark as part of our series “The Photo That Made Me”, in which photographers tell us about the one photograph they made that they believe jump-started their career, garnered them international attention, or simply reflected their early interest in photography.

In 1965, I was in Trabzon in eastern Turkey on a Fulbright scholarship. I would get up every morning and walk around the streets and look for photographs. One day, I came across this beautiful young girl, Emine. She was wearing a very babyish dress and a bow in her hair. I photographed her, and she invited me to come to her home.

At her home, her mother gave me some tea and we went to the back area of her house where I took this picture. She just posed for me like that, I didn’t tell her what to do.

I don’t like to photograph children as children. I like to see them as adults, as who they really are. I’m always looking for the side of who they might become. Emine was being very seductive in her own nine-year-old way. It’s interesting to me that she would show me that side of herself.

When I came back from Turkey and developed the film, I saw this picture and knew it was something special. I had been photographing for a couple of years before this, and I felt that sometimes you are looking and looking, and you are not sure what you are looking for. Often you look for the cliché and what you think makes a picture. This was the first time I felt I went beyond that. I thought this photograph transcended the image and had an edge.

A few years ago, I went back to Istanbul for the first time since my Fulbright. I was thinking I would love to find Emine. A local newspaper in Istanbul published the picture, and we found her through her daughter. It turns out that Emine ran off a few years after I took this photograph – at age 16 – with her boyfriend and got married. She now lives in a town not far from Istanbul with her husband, the same person.

I’m currently working on a book for Aperture on Tiny, a girl from my previous book, and my husband Martin Bell’s film Streetwise. Tiny is a young prostitute from Seattle whom I’ve photographed and Martin has filmed for more than 30 years. At the same time, Martin is making a film about her and her ten children. Going back is something that’s always fascinating to me. I would have liked to photograph Emine again.

Mary Ellen Mark is a photographer based in New York. She is best known for her in-depth documentary projects done around the world and has been published and exhibited widely. LightBox has previously featured Mark’s work Man and Beast on the relationships between human and animals.

As told to Ye Ming, a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

TIME Iraq

Turkey PM Warns That Assault on ISIS in Tikrit Could Ignite Sectarian Tensions

Shi’ite fighters launch a rocket towards ISIS militants during heavy fighting in Salahuddin province, Iraq, March 4, 2015.
Mahmoud Raouf—Reuters Shi’ite fighters launch a rocket towards ISIS militants during heavy fighting in Salahuddin province, Iraq, March 4, 2015.

Warnings that a defeat for ISIS could lead to bloody Sunni-Shi'ite warfare in Iraq

By sending Shi’ite militias and Iranian forces to battle ISIS in Tikrit, Iraq risks stoking the sectarian divide that nourishes the extremist group. So warns Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“If Daesh is a big threat in Iraq, another threat is Shi’ite militias,” Davutoglu told TIME in a Wednesday interview, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria by its Arabic initials. “This is very important. If Daesh evacuates Tikrit or Mosul and if Shi’ite militias come in, then there will be sectarian war. Therefore all these cities, Sunni populated areas, should be liberated by the inhabitants of those cities.”

Davutoglu’s warning raises the question of whether Iraq’s leadership has changed as much as U.S. officials hope. ISIS swept up the city of Fallujah last spring, and Mosul, Tikrit and other Sunni regions in June, in part by offering itself as protector of a minority Sunni population that had been excluded and even persecuted by the central government in Baghdad, which is dominated by autocrats who have overtly favored the country’s Shi’ite majority. Iraq’s corrupt and poorly led military, also dominated by Shi’ites, fled the battlefield en masse as ISIS advanced last summer, while many Sunni tribes essentially welcomed ISIS. The first major stand government troops made was at Samarra, home of a major religious shrine revered by Shi’ites.

The offensive on Tikrit, which began just days ago, is the first major counterattack aimed at ISIS, and observers are concerned that two-thirds of the force of 30,000 attackers are Shi’ite militia. They are backed by Iranian warplanes, artillery, rockets and advisors, including Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, who was photographed near the front line on Wednesday, drinking tea with beaming members of the Badr Brigades—a militia trained and equipped by Iran. “This is the most overt conduct of Iranian support, in the form of artillery and other things,” Joint Chiefs of Staff chair General Dempsey, told a Senate committee on Tuesday, noting that U.S. warplanes are playing no role in the Tikrit assault. “Frankly, it will only be a problem if it results in sectarianism.”

It’s a big if. Turkey’s Davutoglu notes there is scant evidence of the local Sunnis who are supposedly being trained for a later assault on Mosul, the Iraqi government having promoted legislation that allows Sunnis to form “national guard” units that amount to militias of their own. “[The Sunni guards] should have a role,” the Turkish premier said. “In Iraq the government passed a new law forming national guards. But unfortunately now Shiite militias form national guards, while Sunnis in Anbar or in Tikrit and in Mosul, they were not allowed to. For us, Sunnis and Shiites are our brothers, we don’t make any difference. But we don’t want to see another wave of sectarian war.”

Davutoglu said he voiced the warning to Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi in a conversation 10 days earlier. Al-Abadi has cast himself as a more moderate and inclusive Shi’ite leader than the highly sectarian premier he replaced, Nour al-Maliki. But the country remains sharply divided on ethnic and sectarian lines: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the west, and Shi’ites everywhere else. The danger is of a wholesale sectarian blood-letting like the civil war that left tens of thousands dead in 2006 and 2007, when U.S. troops were still in the country. ISIS, with its extremist Sunni orientation, is both a product and an agent of the strife, having slaughtered thousands of Shi’ites during its summer blitzkrieg, including more than 1,000 recruits at a military base outside Tikrit in June. The men were lined up, made to lie in freshly dug trenches, and executed on camera.

Human rights group warn that Shi’ite militias are already exacting revenge, burning down buildings and carrying out extrajudicial killings in Sunni areas taken back from ISIS. “The day of judgment is coming,” Badr Brigades commander Hadi al-Ameri (who was transport minister under al-Maliki) warned residents of the Diyala Province town of Muqdadiyaa on Dec. 29. “We will attack the area until nothing is left. Is my message clear?” Clear enough. The question is whether anyone beyond Iraq was listening.

 

TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in February, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Stephanie Sinclair‘s work on child and underage brides in Guatemala in the latest installment of her decade-long project spanning 10 countries to document the issue of child marriage around the world. In Guatemala, over half of all girls are married before 18, and over 10% under 15. Many girls marry men far older than themselves, end up withdrawing from school and become mothers long before they are physically and emotionally ready. Sinclair’s powerful pictures and accompanying video capture Guatemalan girls trying to come to terms with the harsh realities of early motherhood, especially for those who have been abandoned by their husbands.

Stephanie Sinclair: Child, Bride, Mother (The New York Times) See also the Too Young To Wed website.

Sebastian Liste: The Media Doesn’t Care What Happens Here (The New York Times Magazine) These photographs capture a group of amateur journalists trying to cover the violence in one of the largest urban slums in Brazil, Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro.

Ross McDonnell: Inside the Frozen Trenches of Eastern Ukraine (TIME LightBox) The Irish photographer documented the Ukrainian soldiers in the week preceding the most recent, fragile cease-fire.

Sergey Ponomarev: Pro-Russian fighters in the ruins of Donetsk airport (The Globe and Mail) Haunting scenes of the Pro-Russian held remains of Donetsk airport.

Alex Majoli: Athens (National Geographic) The Magnum photographer captures the people of Greece’s struggling capital for the magazine’s Two Cities, Two Europes feature on Athens and Berlin.

Gerd Ludwig: Berlin (National Geographic) Ludwig documents Germany’s booming capital for the magazine’s Two Cities, Two Europes feature on Athens and Berlin.

John Stanmeyer: Fleeing Terror, Finding Refuge (National Geographic) These photographs show the desperate conditions facing Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Edmund Clark: The Mountains Of Majeed (Wired RawFile) The British photographer’s latest book is the Bagram Airfield U.S. Military base in Afghanistan, which one held the infamous detention facility. Also published on TIME LightBox.

Sarker Protick: What Remains (The New Yorker Photo Booth) This moving, beautiful series documents the photographer’s grandparents. The work was recently awarded 2nd Prize in the Daily Life stories category in the World Press Photo 2015 contest.

Muhammed Muheisen: Leading a Double Life in Pakistan (The Washington Post In Sight) The Associated Press photographer captures a group of cross-dressers and transgender Pakistani men to offer a glimpse of a rarely seen side of the conservative country.

TIME Turkey

Missing Teen Girls Suspected of Traveling to Syria Were Spotted in Turkey

BRITAIN-IRAQ-SYRIA-CONFLICT-POLICE-CHILDREN-FILES
AFP/Getty Images A combination of handout CCTV pictures received from the Metropolitan Police Service on Feb. 23, 2015, shows British teenagers Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum passing through security barriers at Gatwick Airport, London, on Feb. 17, 2015

The three British girls are believed to have left the U.K. to join ISIS

Three British teenagers who are suspected of traveling to Syria to join Islamist militants were spotted on camera in Turkey not long after they boarded a flight from London to Istanbul last month.

The missing girls, who are classmates, were seen on closed-circuit cameras at an Istanbul bus station on Feb. 18, CNN reported Sunday. Police said the girls got off the bus before it reached the final destination.

London’s Metropolitan Police said last week that they believe the girls — Shamima Begum, 15; Kadiza Sultana, 16; and Amira Abase, 15 — have already entered Syria. Before, their parents had publicly pleaded for them to come home, while British officials had encouraged Turkish media to urge them to return to the U.K.

Their disappearance has sparked tensions between the U.K. and Turkey, whose Deputy Prime Minister said last week it was “condemnable and shameful” that British authorities had allowed the girls to travel to Istanbul.

[CNN]

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