The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 20 April 2015

by Molly Goodman on April 20, 2015


The Rendon Group Snapshot Report



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.

(Gregorio Borgia/AP)


This week’s snapshot focuses on the recent comments made by the Pope officially declaring the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a “genocide.” This comment has had backlash and support around the world and from the EU, which Turkey is trying to become a part of.

News Summary of events during the week of 13AP15—19APR15

  • 13APR: Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the massacres by calling them “the first genocide of the 20th century.” (AP)
  • 13APR: Turkish European Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said Argentines as a whole – not just the Pope – had been brainwashed by rich and powerful Armenians. (NYT)
  • 14APR: On Tuesday, Erdogan said he was “condemning and warning” Pope Francis against making “such a mistake again.” (AP)
  • 15APR: The European Parliament urged Turkey to use the centenary of Ottoman-era massacres to “recognize the Armenian genocide” and help promote reconciliation between the two peoples. (AFP)
  • 16APR: The first ever member of Turkey’s Armenian community to hold the post of senior advisor to the Turkish prime minister has retired, after he described the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a “genocide”. (AFP)
  • 16APR: The Mufti of Ankara, Professor Mefail Hizli, said the Hagia Sophia could be converted into a place of Muslim worship in response to the Pope’s comments. (Hurriyet)
  • 17APR: Selahattin Demirtaş, Leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, expressed support of the Pope’s statement. (Armenian News Agency)
  • 18APR: Turkish President Erdogan said Turkey is ready to cooperate with Armenia should it take “positive” steps with regards to so-called “genocide” allegations as well as to a dispute with Azerbaijan over the region of Karabakh.  (Anadolu Agency)
  • 19APR: Armenian President Sarkisian said the centenary will be used to remind the world of the struggle to recognize the massacre as genocide. (AFP)



Samples of Twitter handles regarding the Turkish Armenia Conflict



Samples of Third Party Validators regarding the Turkish Armenia Conflict

Fatma Muge Cocek, Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

“Well for a civil war to occur, on both sides you have to have two armies or two armed forces fighting each other. In this case it was the Ottoman military or paramilitary organizations that basically took out not only the males, but also the women, children and the elderly. That is not a civil war when you include, and I think destory, your own subjects. That is why I think it’s not a civil war.”

                        – Turkish Professor Concludes There Was An Armenian Genocide, 14APR, Here and Now Public Radio


Maria Armoudian, Political Scientist, Auckland University

“There are very few scholars in the world who would not call the events that took place genocide.”

– NZ should recognize genocide: Armenians, 14APR, Yahoo News


Thomas de Waal, Historian, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“There clearly were Armenian revolutionaries and rebels who were intending to side with Russia. This is a case of punishing the whole for the perceived disloyalty of a few.”

–          A Century After Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s Denial Only Deepens, 16APR, New York Times


Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, Director, German Marshall Fund of the US

“Turkey treats a country’s stance on the events of 1915 as a barometer of bilateral relations. Turkish leaders also have a domestic agenda, where they take credit for responding to resolutions and statements in a decisive manner.”

–          Turkey’s Erdogan Condemns EU, Pope Francis Over Armenian ‘Genocide’ Label, 15APR, Wall Street Journal


Ayhan Aktar, Professor, Bilgi University in Istanbul

“Turkey has been putting forward the Turks dying on world war one battlefields for 97 years, arguing that, yes, Armenians might have died, but so did our ancestors. This move just continues this line of defense. It’s indecent, and a disgrace.”

–          Turkey eclipses centenary of Armenian massacre by moving Gallipoli memorial, 16APR, The Guardian



Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Turkish Armenia Conflict

1. EU urges Turkey, Armenia to normalize ties amid massacre row


Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 13 April 2015


BRUSSELS – The European Union is urging Turkey and Armenia to normalize ties after remarks by Pope Francis fueled their long-running row over the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 100 years ago.


EU foreign affairs spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said Monday that the EU encourages the countries “to consider additional, meaningful steps that would pave the way toward full reconciliation.”


Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the massacres by calling them “the first genocide of the 20th century.”






2. Erdogan ‘condemns’ pope over Armenian genocide comment


Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 14 April 2015


ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is “condemning” Pope Francis for describing the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as “the first genocide of the 20th century” and for urging the international community to recognize it as such.


Turkey denies the killings that began 100 years ago were genocide and contends those who died were victims of civil war and unrest. Turkey also insists the death toll has been inflated.


It responded to the pope’s words Sunday by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and accusing Francis of spreading hatred and “unfounded claims.”






3. EU parliament urges Turkey to recognize ‘Armenian genocide’


Media: New York Times

Byline: Ceylan Yeginsu

Date: 15 April 2015


ISTANBUL — The European Parliament adopted a resolution Wednesday commemorating the centennial of the Armenian genocide and urged Turkey to recognize that event.


Turkey has pledged to disregard the European Parliament, the European Union’s legislature, which has passed similar measures twice before.


But this one was particularly likely to add fuel to the historical debate over the characterization of the genocide, which began in 1915 and took place over several years during World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The debate gained momentum on Sunday after Pope Francis referred to the event as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”






4.  Turkish PM’s Armenian-origin advisor steps down: official


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 16 April 2015


ANKARA: The first ever member of Turkey’s Armenian community to hold the post of senior advisor to the Turkish prime minister has retired, an official told AFP Thursday, after he described the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a “genocide.”


The official, who asked not to be named, denied any link between the departure of Etyen Mahcupyan and the looming 100th anniversary on April 24 of the start of the 1915 killings of Armenians, which Yerevan regards as genocide.


Mahcupyan, 65, “has retired on the grounds of age,” the official said, noting this was the age limit for all Turkish civil servants.






5. Armenian Genocide: Turkey to Convert Hagia Sofia Basilica into Mosque to Spite Pope Francis


Media: International Business Times

Byline: Johnlee Varghese

Date: 17 April 2015


Irked by Pope Francis’ statement on the Armenian mass killings, Turkey is planning to convert the historic Hagia Sofia Catheral into a Muslim prayer house, a top Turkish Islamic leader said.


Turkey had reacted with outrage after Pope Francis called the mass deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915 a genocide. On Wednesday, the European Parliament also voted in favour of using the term to describe the killings.


The Mufti of Ankara has now announced that in response to the Pope’s statement, the country will convert Hagia Sofia Catheral into a mosque, Hurriyet Daily News reported.






6. Armenians to mark genocide centenary as Turkey dispute rages on


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: Mariam Harutyunyan

Date: 19 April 2015


Yerevan (AFP) – Armenians prepare to commemorate a hundred years since 1.5 million of their kin were massacred by Ottoman forces, as a fierce dispute still rages with Turkey over Ankara’s refusal to recognise the mass murder as genocide.


Hundred of thousands are expected to flock to a towering memorial in Armenia’s capital Yerevan on Friday for an emotional ceremony to mark the centenary of the start of a tragedy that still stirs deep divisions.


Ex-Soviet Armenia and the huge Armenian diaspora worldwide have battled for decades to get the World War I massacres at the hands of the Ottoman forces between 1915 and 1917 recognised as a targeted genocide.






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