“Sometimes they ask me what it is like to be an Armenian. I tell them that it is a wonderful thing and I recommend it to everyone.” These were Hrant Dink’s opening remarks at a conference entitled “Ottoman Armenians During the Collapse of the Ottoman Empire,” held in Istanbul on September 24 and 25, 2005.
Glinting off the black Caucasus Mountains, the morning sun gives Stephanakert the gleam of a town freshly scrubbed. Everywhere roads are being laid and houses restored. Women wrapped in blue nylon overcoats and woolen leggings sweep away litter from the town square. And on Stephanakert's main Azatamartikneri (Partisans) Street, stores display fresh fruit and cheeses alongside refurbished restaurants and a new discotheque.
Princeton University recently launched a massive fundraising campaign in its palatial Prospect House for maximum media exposure. But its public relations people are unhappy with reporters snooping around the Near Eastern studies division — a lumbering dinosaur of a department housed in nearby ivy-covered Jones Hall. The unwelcome attention involves a new member of the faculty, Heath Lowry, whose Ataturk chair in Turkish studies is paid for by the Turkish state. Lowry has a history of being beholden to Turkish governments and, as City University of New York psychologist Robert Jay Lifton charges, of doing their bidding.
Early in 1988, the southern Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan witnessed large-scale political demonstrations and ethnic clashes. Renewed demonstrations and street confrontations in mid-May led to the dismissal of the Communist Party chiefs in both republics. Joe Stork spoke to Ronald Grigor Suny, who teaches Soviet and Armenian history at the University of Michigan, about the background to these clashes. Suny is the author of Armenia in the Twentieth Century (Scholars Press, 1983) and The Baku Commune, 1917-1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution (Princeton University Press, 1972).
What exactly happened early this year in Karabagh, when clashes erupted between Soviet Armenians and Azerbaijanis?