Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Recognize Armenian genocide

In the column “Silence is a killer” (Op-Ed, Tuesday) Tulin Daloglu suggests that the U.S. Congress should not adopt a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide because it could trigger other attacks by nationalists in Turkey.

Hrant Dink fought for freedom of speech and democracy in Turkey all his life — despite the dangers described in the column. For Congress not to pass a resolution affirming the truth about the Armenian genocide would set the dangerous precedent that fear can dictate historical revisionism.

Miss Daloglu also says, in speaking about the events of 1915, “But in the end, it is not a matter of denying history.” How else would one describe Turkey’s mandate to include genocide denial in every high school history curriculum?

How does one describe the government’s worldwide campaign of genocide denial? And what about Articles 301 and 305 of the Turkish Penal Code, which equate mere mention of the genocide to “insulting Turkishness”?

Turkey needs to face its history honestly if it wants to live up to its international obligations.


Armenian Youth Federation France

Valence, France


A bit more than a year ago, Hrant Dink was convicted of “insulting Turkishness.” The Armenian Turkish journalist was given a six-month suspended sentence under the notorious Turkish Penal Code 301 for simply stating the truth regarding the Armenian genocide. Singled out before the law and deemed a criminal, Mr. Dink, who is hailed as a hero by the Turks today, was then nothing more than a criminal and a threat to “Turkish honor” in the eyes of the Turkish government. The government was attempting to set an example by applying the penal code to the likes of Mr. Dink and Orhan Pamuk in order to suppress any others who dared to think freely in Turkey (“Silence is a killer,” Op-Ed, Tuesday).

Is it not ironic, however, that after his death, the very same government that outlawed this great man hails him as a hero? Had the government not criminalized his thoughts — allowing him to speak freely while he was alive — and had he been hailed a hero by the Turks while he had the opportunity to live to see it, maybe the murderer and the people responsible for this crime might have understood Hrant Dink.

If the Turkish government’s condolences and remarks after Mr. Dink’s assassination were genuine, it must also apologize to Mr. Dink’s family, his newspaper and the intellectual community in Turkey for creating and applying such oppressive and undemocratic laws. How many more intellectuals will be labeled traitors and criminals by the Turkish government during their lifetimes and hailed as heroes after their murders? I hope Hrant Dink will be the last and that his martyrdom will open the door for the establishment of rights and freedoms that are long overdue in Turkey.



Get government out of the way

For those of us who actually work in the industry, one of the most frustrating features of the ongoing health-care debate is the misplaced emphasis on the “uninsured.” Virtually all commentary, including your editorial “Not a conservative health-care plan” (yesterday), takes for granted that the resolution of this issue should be a primary focus of any reform effort.

This mistaken view is rooted in two popular myths: that the uninsured have no access to health care and that they have no access to coverage. As to the former, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires all hospitals to treat all patients who cross the thresholds of their emergency rooms, regardless of ability to pay. As to the latter, more than 30 percent of the uninsured already are eligible for government-subsidized coverage, and another third have incomes exceeding $50,000 per year.

The problem of the uninsured is but a symptom. The real disease that afflicts American health care is government interference in the market. The combination of overregulation, price controls and unfunded mandates that Washington gradually has imposed on the system has created a set of hopelessly perverse incentives. Thus, patients, doctors, hospitals, drug companies and insurance carriers all operate irrationally, making choices they never would make in a free market undistorted by the heavy hand of government.

The best way to solve the problem of the uninsured, and most other problems facing American health care, is to get government out of way.



Patient Financial Services

Sumter Regional Hospital

Americus, Ga.

Satellite headaches

“Olympic-sized satellite headaches” by Peter J. Brown (Commentary, Tuesday) is a very well-researched, authoritative piece of journalism focusing on China’s satellite diplomacy in Asia and Africa as well as the very awkward loss of Sinosat-2.

In addition, China destroyed one of its old satellites in a highly successful demonstration of its missile capabilities, generating a huge security alarm and protests from the United States, Japan, Australia and many other countries. Space business can be very glamorous when successful, but it can be a real pain when something goes badly wrong.

It is very interesting but understandable that both Japan and India, leading Asian democracies, have resisted joining the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), a Chinese creation, in the context of Asian geopolitics.

Mr. Brown states, “China could not help but watch closely as the launch of a Japanese experimental satellite known as Engineering Test Satellite-8 (Kiku-8) went forward in mid-December. After all, a press release from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) specifically mentioned that the Kiku-8 solar array deployment was successfully completed.”

As per Reuters and an Associated Press report of Jan. 22, India’s space agency declared that an orbiting capsule had been returned successfully to Earth, marking a major step toward the development of a highly prized manned space program.

An Indian-developed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C7, took off on Jan. 10 from a space center in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh and successfully deployed three satellites in addition to the space capsule — India’s Cartosat-2, Indonesia’s Lapan-Tubsat and Argentina’s Pehuensat-1 — into a 635-kilometer-high polar orbit, a statement said. India has not announced specific plans for a manned space mission, but an unmanned moon mission is scheduled for 2008.

It splashed down in the Bay of Bengal 11 days later, boosting plans for a lunar mission next year. “It landed in the Bay of Bengal … as per schedule. The mission is a great success,” said A. Subramoniam, head of the team that designed and built the capsule at the Indian Space Research Organization.

“This mission is a steppingstone to design and build our very own reusable spacecraft and eventually [carry out] manned missions into space, too,” he said.

Though India has for years been building communication and remote-sensing satellites, this was its first foray into deploying reusable spacecraft, joining an elite club led by the United States, Russia, China, Japan and France.

The success of the mission is a morale booster for Indian space scientists who are busy preparing for the country’s first unmanned lunar mission, scheduled for launch in February 2008, to be powered by an indigenously built rocket.

Further close cooperation among the United States, Japan and India in high-tech aerospace developments will be a very positive development for the democratic world.



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