Armenia Seeks Foreign Policy Balance

BERLIN — In the current Cold War climate in East-West relations, exasperated by the British-Russian crisis around the Skripal affair, it has become increasingly difficult for smaller nations to maintain an independent stance in the interest of protecting friendly relations with both the West and Russia. No one knows this better than the Armenians. Thus, when Ambassador Ashot Smbatyan was invited to speak at the Lepsiushaus in Potsdam on March 22, he faced an audience of intellectuals, political figures, diplomats and members of the Armenian community, eager to hear his views on “Armenia and Europe: Taking Stock, with a View to the Future.”Read Further...

Weaving Close Ties between Germany and Armenia

BERLIN — “Wisdom is the art of considering things from all sides.” The saying is by Nerses Shnorhali and it was printed in Armenian and in German on the invitation issued by the Armenian Embassy in Berlin to a ceremony on March 23. And it fit the occasion: we were invited to attend an event honoring two outstanding individuals who might be considered practitioners of the “art” in the political and cultural realm.Read Further...

The Plight of Afrin Reverberates Across Europe

On March 18, the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) carried a bold banner headline: “Battle for Afrin Now Also in Germany.” That night, television news reporters announced the fall of Afrin. And the violence on German soil has not abated. Over recent years, German politicians have increased their warnings that the political conflict inside Turkey, between AKP loyalists and opposition groups, could spill over onto German soil. Now it is the warring parties in Syria whose proxies and sympathizers are clashing here.Read Further...

Self-Defense or Violation of International Law?

Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria is coming under growing censure throughout Europe. It will be high on the list of foreign policy challenges facing the German government which has just come into being. Under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, a new version of the grand coalition made up of her CDU and sister party CSU, together with the Social Democrats (SPD), was officially constituted in mid March.Read Further...

Educators and Parliamentarians in Talks on Education

Berlin played host last week to a group of teachers from Armenia and Georgia, who had come to learn more about the education system in the German Federal Republic. Their visit was arranged by the German-Armenian Forum (Deutsch-Armenische Forum), an initiative launched in May 2015 by Albert Weiler, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member of the Bundestag (Parliament), along with more than 30 private individuals, MPs and representatives of business, scientific and cultural institutions.Read Further...

Ecumenical Altars of Remembrance in Berlin

It was a bitter cold day in mid-February, with a strong wind that chilled to the bone. As we walked from the bus stop and entered the Luisenkirchhof III cemetery through the huge gate, I thought about the women and children being deported from their homes in Ottoman Empire over a hundred years ago, and what immense suffering they must have faced as they wound their way through inclement weather, on their march toward death.Read Further...

German Intellectuals and Artists in Defense of Afrin

As the Turkish military offensive in Afrin has escalated, the caretaker government in Germany has come under growing pressure to intervene to stop the bloodshed. Since Germany has supplied Turkey with military equipment, its role has been subject to harsh criticism. Photographs of the Turkish actions aired on television confirmed suspicions that German tanks were indeed involved in the aggression against the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militias, who have been battling IS. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared that any decision regarding modernization of Turkey’s military — an item which had been discussed at the beginning of the year in bilateral meetings — would be put on ice, and deferred to the new government.Read Further...

Germany Appoints Honorary Consul in Gyumri

Gyumri has good reason to celebrate. One of its most prominent sons has been chosen as the honorary consul of Germany and this will bring relations between the two countries, on the political, economic and cultural level to new levels. The official ceremony took place on January 26, 2018.

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Carrying On Hrant Dink’s Legacy

On the 11th anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink in front of his Agos office in Istanbul, Turks and Armenians and Germans gathered in several German cities, not only to commemorate his passing but to celebrate his life’s work, with a pledge to continue his struggle for equality, dignity and reconciliation. Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne were among the several venues for events on January 19-20, where speakers from the Armenian community joined with Turkish intellectuals, journalists and artists — many in exile here — and German human rights activists.
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Erdogan’s New Year’s Resolutions

January 1 is always a good time for pledging better behavior. It is a time for political leaders to reflect on the outgoing year and project plans for the immediate future. Turkey was no exception. In his New Year’s Eve address, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that after a hard year, he was looking forward to being a friend of Europe again. His country would like to minimize the number of its enemies and increase the number of its friends, he said. There were actually no problems, he continued, with European countries, like Germany or the Netherlands; indeed they were old friends.Read Further...