About this blog

I plan to collect historical documents and articles by various authors in this blog, usually without comments. Opinions expressed within the articles belong to the authors and do not always coincide with those of mine.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Why Is Erdogan Being Demonized In The West?

Soumaya Ghannoushi (British Tunisian writer and Middle East expert)


Many masks have slipped since Turkey’s failed military coup last Friday, such that a great many on the right and the left alike, who never tire of eulogising about democracy and human rights, the masses, and people power have been exposed as little more than pseudo liberals and fake democrats.
Ironically, the same western “experts”, “analysts” and “commentators”, who had in the last Turkish elections gleefully predicted the overthrow of the AKP but were sorely disappointed after its victory, have committed an even more colossal error of judgment this time round.
Instead of expressing a clear principled stance against military coups and in favour of democracy and the popular will, they chose to side with the putschists as they bombed the Turkish parliament with F16s and gunned down peaceful protesters. They cheerfully sought justification for the plot to topple a democratically elected government when it was underway, heaping scorn on the elected president instead of the generals and soldiers who conspired to overthrow him.
And when the coup was defeated, against all the odds, the tune turned to lamentations over democracy and its terrible plight under “arrogant” and “authoritarian” Erdogan and gloomy warnings of an inevitable slide to repression and tyranny
A Sunday Times commentator even rebuked the coup plotters, which he referred to using such lofty descriptions as “the guardians of secularism” and “a force for progress”, even as “Modernity” itself, for staging its coup in July when “everyone is soporific with the heat”, suggesting that September would have help yield the desired outcome.
The same symphony of exoneration of the coup-plotters and demonisation of Erdogan was played by leftwing media. Hours after the coup’s launch, the liberal, left-leaning Guardian ran a piece that bore the surreal title “Turkey was already undergoing a slow-motion coup - by Erdoğan, not the army”
Neither was western governments’ response any more principled. Resorting to diplomatic sophistry, they initially avoided denunciation of the military coup, confining themselves to vacuous calls to “caution” and “restraint”.
Only when the tens of thousands of ordinary Turks who defied the curfew and, unarmed, resisted the attempt to drag their country back to the dark era of military dictatorship and managed to defeat the seceders, did these hollow phrases shift towards tepid statements of “support for democracy” and lengthy expressions of concern for the putschists and their fates.
Erdogan may have committed numerous errors, moving as he is in a highly complex local and regional context. What is indisputable though is that his power is founded on electoral and popular legitimacy. And, like him or loathe, the Turkish president has done more to democratise the country than any other leader in its modern history, strengthening its civil institutions and corroborating the authority of the people in opposition to a military which had wrought havoc in its political life. The AKP era has seen the liberation of civil rule from the general’s hegemony, reform of the military and restructuring of the security service, intelligence apparatus and special forces.
Through the accumulation of democratic traditions, with the liberalisation of the country’s political system via successive elections, political pluralism and the widening role of civil society, the Turkish people has grown freer, bolder, and more able to defy the edicts of putschists and generals.
The paradox is that no other leader in the Middle East is more demonised than Erdogan when he is one of the very few heads of state who have actually been democratically elected in that part of the world “we” wish to keep as a “black hole” and “our” anti-thesis.
As for “our” allies, who range between seasoned autocrats and bloodthirsty generals, they are safely exempted from our scorn, plots and conspiracies. In fact, they may even do our dirty work for us, as some of our oil rich Gulf friends had done in Egypt and continue to do in Libya and other countries in the region.
For this is the deal: Either a democracy that yields those we want, that is, those who do as we say and serve our interests, and eliminates those we disapprove of, which is the ideal scenario for us. Otherwise, we must look to our reserves of putschists and generals around the region to accomplish what is needed in quick “surgical interventions”. Our orchestra of apologists would, then, swiftly move to embellish the ugly spectacle with fact-reversing analyses and commentaries than turn coup-plotters into “guardians of modernity and “agents of progress” and democratically elected leaders into “dictators”.
As for those citizens who dared defend their electoral choices, they will be painted as zealots and religion crazed fanatics, or in Turkey’s case, as “Erdogan’s Islamist mobs”, as one British newspaper referred to the anti-coup.
The truth is that the West couldn’t care less about democracy or human rights. They are irrelevant when it comes to its friends and allies and are only valuable as a stick with which it may beat its rivals and enemies. If Erdogan is being vilified today, it is not because he is not a democrat or a tyrant, but because he is not pliant to western dictates and willingly keeps to the rules and parameters the West lays down for the region.
The real challenge, then, is: Are western powers able to accept and deal fairly with a leader who expresses the will of his nation and his country’s interests, which may not necessarily coincide with their will and their interests?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Christian Nationalists and the Kurds

Assyrian writer Frederick A. Aprim states (in a web article dated September 19, 2003 and titled "Assyria or Kurdistan?"):

"Deception is an art and the Kurds have perfected it. They presented themselves to the world through that democratic and civilized image (by allocating five seats for Assyrians in their Kurdish regional parliament in northern Iraq in 1992), however, they never stopped oppressing, killing, assassinating, kidnapping, raping, and terrorizing the Assyrians in north of Iraq."

This is how Kurds are seen by Christian nationalists. Armenians do not have a very different view of the Kurds; but as long as the Armenians keep hoping that some Kurds (such as the Marxist Kurds of PKK) will keep fighting against Turkey, they will not be very vocal about their real feelings about the Kurds.

Let's also remember some relevant history:

Source: Hassan Arfa, "The Kurds," (London, 1968), pp. 25-26:

"When the Russian armies invaded Turkey after the Sarikamish disaster of 1914, their columns were preceded by battalions of irregular Armenian volunteers, both from the Caucasus and from Turkey. One of these was commanded by a certain Andranik, a blood-thirsty adventurer.. These Armenian volunteers committed all kinds of excesses, more than six hundred thousand Kurds being killed between 1915 and 1916 in the eastern vilayets of Turkey."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Murat Bardakçı on Armenian Relocations

This is what Murat Bardakçı wrote (in his article titled "İşte tehcirin uygulanmasını ve Doğu’daki bütün Ermeniler’in sürülmesini başlatan mektup!" and dated April 19, 2015):

"1915’te büyük acıların yaşandığını, tehcirin Ermeniler tarafından unutulmasının imkânsızlığını ama tehcirin “soykırım” değil, devletin o günlerdeki mecburiyeti ve daha da önemlisi “nefis müdafaası” olduğunu senelerden buyana yazıp söylüyorum."

My translation:

I have been saying and writing for years that it is impossible for Armenians to forget the relocations and that great pains were experienced in 1915, but the relocation of Armenians was not a genocide but was a necessity and even more importantly was a self-defense for the [Ottoman] state in those days.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Taking A Stand Against The Turkish Government's Denial of the Armenian Genocide...

Let us now take a look at

"Taking A Stand Against The Turkish Government's Denial of the Armenian Genocide and Scholarly Corruption in the Academy"

Letter signed by prominent academic scholars and historians.

There are 107 names on this list and looks impressive for the unwary. Deleting the names, let us look at the professions/specialties of these people:

Poet; Professor of English, University of Massachusetts)
Professor of History, College of William and Mary)
Former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley)
Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania)
Poet; Professor of English, Colgate University)
Director, Armenian Studies Program, and Marie Manoogian Professor of Armenian Language and Literature, University of Michigan)
Professor of Anthropology, George Mason University)
Professor of Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
Elliott Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley)
Poet; Charles A. Dana Professor of English Emeritus, Colgate University)
University Professor, Georgetown University)
Professor of Comparative Literature, Yale University)
Professor of Religion, Colgate University)
Professor of Theology and Ethics Emeritus, Pacific School of Religion)
Professor of History, Pacific Lutheran University)
Writer; Fairchild Professor of Literature, Colgate University)
Professor of Comparative Literature, Emory University)
Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem)
Pastor Emeritus, Riverside Church, NYC)
Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland)
Associate Professor of Middle East Languages and Cultures, Columbia University)
Director, Genocide Study Project, H.F. Guggenheim Foundation)
Sterling Professor of History, Yale University)
Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts)
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School)
Professor of Sociology, Yale University)
Harvard School of Public Health; Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan)
Professor of Slavic & Comparative Literature and Harry Levin Professor of Literature, Harvard University)
Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Genocide, John Jay College of Criminal Justice)
Professor of Comparative Literature Emerita, City University of New York)
Poet; Professor of English, George Mason University)
Professor of History, Indiana University)
Professor of Afro-American Studies, Harvard University)
Professor of Psychology, Harvard University)
Kenney Distinguished Visiting Professor of Theology, Georgetown University)
Poet; Distinguished Professor of English, Brooklyn College)
Professor of Theology and Ethics, Loyola College)
Professor of English Emeritus, The City College of New York)
Professor of English, William Paterson College)
Psychotherapist; Consultant in early childhood education)
Poet; Boylston Professor of Rhetoric, Harvard University; Nobel Laureate)
Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature, Yale University)
Poet; Boylston Professor of Rhetoric, Harvard University; Nobel Laureate)
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School)
Professor of Political Science Emeritus, University of Vermont)
Professor of Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University)
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, New York University)
Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA)
Crashaw Professor of English, Colgate University)
Assistant Professor of English, Princeton University)
Professor of Jewish History and Thought, Cornell University)
Instructor in History, Warwick University)
Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate School of the City University of New York)
Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Emory University)
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School)
Professor of Sociology, Southwest State University, Minnesota)
Professor of Philosophy, Southern Connecticut University)
Professor of Political Science, Purdue University)
Dag Hammarskjold Professor, Rutgers Law School)
Director, Spenser Institute)
Professor of History, Sarah Lawrence College)
Sidney Hellman Professor of European History, University of California, Berkeley)
Professor of History, George Washington University)
Henry Ford II Professor of Social Science, Harvard University)
Professor of Nutrition, Community Health, and Pediatrics, Tufts University)
William R. Kenan Professor of Religous Studies Emeritus, University of Virginia)
Professor of Government, College of William and Mary)
Stephen Colwell Professor of Christian Ethics, Princeton Theological Seminary)
Professor of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice & The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago)
Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan)
Professor of Philosophy, Colgate University)
Professor of Religion, Colgate University)
Professor of English, Wesleyan University)
Professor of History, Georgetown University)
Poet, Professor of English, Boston University; Nobel Laureate)
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, University College, Dublin, Ireland)
Lecturer in Child Welfare, School of Social Work, Haifa University, Israel)
Professor of Sociology, Haifa University, Israel) Cornel West
Writer; Professor of English, Bucknell University)
Cooley Professor of Peace Studies and Professor of Sociology, Colgate University)
Professor Emeritus of History, Boston University)

Now, let us keep only those lines that contain the word "history:"

1. Professor of History, College of William and Mary)
2. Professor of History, Pacific Lutheran University)
3. Sterling Professor of History, Yale University)
4. Professor of History, Indiana University)
5. Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA)
6. Professor of Jewish History and Thought, Cornell University)
7. Instructor in History, Warwick University)
8. Professor of History, Sarah Lawrence College)
9. Sidney Hellman Professor of European History, University of California, Berkeley)
10. Professor of History, George Washington University)
11. Professor of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice & The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
12. Professor of History, Georgetown University)
13. Professor Emeritus of History, Boston University)

Out of the 107 names in the list, only 13 people seem to have some professional experience (training and research) in history.

Now, let us look at these people more carefully:

1. James Axtell , Professor of History, College of William and Mary)
2. Christopher Browning , Professor of History, Pacific Lutheran University)
3. David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History, Yale University)
4. Lawrence J. Friedman, Professor of History, Indiana University)
5. Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA)
6. Steven T. Katz, Professor of Jewish History and Thought, Cornell University)
7. Mark Levene, Instructor in History, Warwick University)
8. Francis B. Randall, Professor of History, Sarah Lawrence College)
9. Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, Sidney Hellman Professor of European History, University of California, Berkeley)
10. Leo P. Ribuffo, Professor of History, George Washington University)
11. Charles B. Strozier, Professor of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice & The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
12. Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, Professor of History, Georgetown University)
13. Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus of History, Boston University)

Now, let us focus on the training and specialties of these people:

1. American Indian history and the history of higher education
2. American historian of the Holocaust.
3. American intellectual and cultural historian, and a leading authority on slavery and abolition in the Western world
4. American Cultural History, U.S. and European Intellectual History, Philanthropy in American Culture, War and Society, Biography, and Baseball History.
5. Armenian zealot (the only historian in the list that has in depth knowledge of the Turkish-Armenian conflict; unfortunately a nationalist and not objective)
6. Jewish and Holocaust Studies.

Katz is reported to say that the Holocaust is the only genocide that has occurred in history, and defines "Holocaust" to include only "the travail of European Jewry" and not other victims of the Nazis.

He also had some ethical problems:

Shortly afterward it was reported that Katz had been disciplined by Cornell for two matters. Katz had misrepresented how close a book he was writing (The Holocaust in Historical Context) was to publication. In documents dating to 1983 Katz had claimed that the book's publication was imminent on Harvard University Press, while it actually only appeared in 1994 on Oxford University Press. A Cornell report found that Katz had "knowingly and deliberately misrepresented his claims of completed and published scholarly works." Katz was also punished by Cornell (his salary was frozen for years) because during a 1989 sabbatical he had accepted a paid teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania, in violation of Cornell policy. Katz maintained his innocence, but in the wake of much criticism from within the Jewish community and Holocaust museum board he stepped down in March 1995. (Wikipedia)

7. His sources: Dadrian and Hovannisian
8. Little information
9.  Russian history and European intellectual history
10. 20th century US history and American intellectual history
11.  A practicing psychoanalyst, has training as a research candidate at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and clinical psychoanalytic training at TRISP in New York City
12. Expert on the history, diplomacy, and politics of U.S.-China relations and on the cross-strait relationship between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan
13. History of the United States

I have looked at these persons' resumes carefully; not a single one of them has expertise on Ottoman or Turkish or Kurdish history. Not a single one of them can read Turkish, not to mention Ottoman Turkish and Ottoman archives. The opinions of these people on the Turkish-Armenian conflict, I have to say, are worthless.

Strasbourg experiences a memorable and moving evening dedicated to the Khojaly victims



More than 150 people have attended the screening of the multi-award-winning documentary 'Endless Corridor' and a performance of Pierre Thilloy's tone poem 'Khojaly 613' in Strasbourg in commemoration of the 613 civilian victims of the Khojaly Massacre. The event was organised by the Strasbourg office of The European Azerbaijan Society, under the auspices of the 'Justice for Khojaly' campaign.

On 16 February, the multi-award-winning independent documentary 'Endless Corridor' – a US/Lithuanian co-production – was shown at the Cinéma Odyssée, Strasbourg, which ranks amongst the most respected art cinemas in the Alsace region. The evening in this city – which is home to such institutions as the Council of Europe and the European Parliament – commemorated the victims of the Khojaly Massacre on 26 February 1992. This was the worst single atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and claimed the lives of 613 civilian victims in 1992. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. The screening was organised within the Justice for Khojaly campaign.

Speaking before the audience of 150 diplomats, VIPs, press representatives and friends of Azerbaijan, Eliza Pieter, Director, Strasbourg Office, The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) explained: “TEAS is proud to organise these events within the framework of the Justice for Khojaly campaign, which is an international awareness campaign initiated by Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President, Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The Justice for Khojaly international campaign was launched on 8 May 2008. The campaign’s rapid development is a measure of international support for the restoration of justice in the region. This support has been expressed at events in over 100 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, and has come from individuals and international organisations, as well as states.

“The tragedies of today should not make us forget those of yesterday. The millions of refugees today should not make us forget the estimated one million Azerbaijanis who have waited to return to their land for more than 20 years.”

H.E. Ambassador Emin Eyyubov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe, said: “The town of Khojaly no longer exists today, but the remembrance of the massacred victims survives. They are present in all our memories. We ask for an end to the impunity and injustice regarding the massacre, and that this type of tragedy will never be repeated. I hope that this screening of the film Endless Corridor will help all those here achieve a better understanding of the realities of the massacre.”

Lithuanian journalist Ricardas Lapaitis – whose return journey to Khojaly formed the basis of the film – vividly remembered his experiences, saying: “When I appeared in 'Endless Corridor', it charted my first return visit to Agdam in 23 years. That which I experienced there, as an eyewitness to the Khojaly Massacre, had completely changed my life. I saw a building filled with victims’ bodies; the body of a six-year-old girl; decapitated men. I cannot forget what I saw.

“At the time, when I filed my report, my editor expressed incredulity – saying that such a massacre was impossible. But I said that such a tragedy should never be allowed to happen again. When I returned to Agdam – which is partially occupied by Armenia – after so many years, I realised that this devastated place is the saddest town in the world. The most incredible aspect is that the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is still ongoing. Armenia continues to occupy Azerbaijani territory. Snipers from the sides sit five metres apart. I remember all those who continue to suffer, due to this conflict. I was pleased with the result of this film, and it is an adequate memorial to the 613 people who are unable to see it for themselves.”


Following its international premiere throughout 2015, 'Endless Corridor' has received plaudits from critics across the world. It has received the Best Documentary and Best Director for a Documentary Prizes at the Tenerife International Film Festival in Madrid; the Best Documentary Editing Prize at the Milano International Filmmakers Festival; and in the prestigious US-based Accolade Global Film Competition, it achieved two awards – Best of Show in May 2015 and in January 2016 the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Accolade Humanitarian Awards 2015. It has also been screened on the pan-European Eurochannel, CNN Turk and TV 24 (Turkey) channels.

Despite the passing of four UN Security Council resolutions against the invasion, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts to this day, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory.


Remembering the innocent victims of a war crime in Khojaly

by Nasimi Aghayev
Jewish Journal
Posted on Feb. 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

There is nothing more calamitous than the trauma of war. The scars left behind from wars are definite, and the consequences profound. For all the talk of war in global terms, the most fundamental essence of it is extremely personal.

The prospect of tragedy, of senseless loss of human life, touches every part of the world today. Across the globe, in places like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine or the Caucasus, wars and conflicts continue to cause more and more suffering to affected populations. There are few things more global than war, but there is nothing more personal, or more individualized than the loss of one's own life, or the mourning of slaughtered kin.

War becomes something else, and takes on even greater consequences, when the basic lines of human decency are overpassed, and the world once again must document human brutality, massacres, and ethnic cleansing; all in violation of many international laws on wartime engagement.

The town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan's Karabakh region might sound unfamiliar to some. But Khojaly was the scene of one of the most horrific tragedies in modern European history - a tragedy that lives in the hearts of many today as though it had just occurred.

Twenty-­four years ago, I watched in horror as TV screens in Azerbaijan showed the immediate aftermath of a brutal event: dead children, women and elderly, mutilated bodies, frozen corpses scattered across the ground. 613 Azerbaijani civilians, including some 300 children, women and elderly, had just been ruthlessly murdered in a massacre, which the international human ­rights group Human Rights Watch would later call the "largest massacre in the conflict"​ between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

On February 26, 1992, Azerbaijani civilians were attempting to evacuate the town of Khojaly in the freezing cold while coming under attack, and many were gunned down by the invading Armenian troops as they fled towards the safety of Azerbaijani lines. This brutal attack was not simply an accident of battle, it was part of Armenia's deliberate policy of terror to intimidate Azerbaijani citizens into fleeing towns and villages of the region, allowing Armenia's army to occupy Nagorno­-Karabakh and other areas of Azerbaijan. The Khojaly massacre was an unabashed campaign of ethnic cleansing, in no uncertain terms.

This policy of ethnic cleansing and terror was even braggingly acknowledged by the very men in charge of it. Serzh Sargsyan, then one of the most senior Armenian military commanders and now the country's president, told the British journalist Tom de Waal in 2000 that "Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We needed to put a stop to all that. And that's what happened."​ One also needs to mention that Seyran Ohanian, one of the commanders of Armenian troops invading Khojaly, is currently the defense minister of Armenia and is hailed as a national hero in the country.

Since 1992, Azerbaijan has worked hard to recover from the atrocities of that brutal invasion, and to make sure the perpetrators of these crimes, the mass murder of innocent people, were condemned.

And the world has responded: countries from Mexico to Slovenia and from Bosnia ­Herzegovina to Peru, as well as nineteen U.S. states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and others ­have all condemned the Khojaly massacre.

The Khojaly massacre has also not gone unnoticed by Israel. President of Israel Reuven Rivlin speaking to the United Nations General Assembly last year, noted: “Is our struggle, the struggle of this Assembly, against genocide, effective enough? Was it effective enough then in Bosnia? Was it effective in preventing the killing in Khojaly?”

More than two decades after Khojaly, Armenia's illegal occupation of 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory still continues despite international condemnation, and nearly one million Azerbaijani refugees remain uprooted.

This unprovoked and senseless land grab has not brought any benefits to Armenia – on the contrary, it has only weakened the country and significantly reduced its sovereignty and independence making it over-reliant on external help. The country has lost almost half of its population since 1991 to economic emigration.

In a powerful contrast, Azerbaijan has become the region’s largest economy, pursuing and succeeding with a truly independent foreign policy and promoting interfaith tolerance and harmony in a difficult neighborhood. The country is also a vital strategic partner for the U.S., especially in the areas of global energy security and the fight against terrorism.

Yet to the people of Azerbaijan, the tragedy of Khojaly can never be forgotten, or lessened by the blessings of recovery. Despite global condemnation, Armenia denies these crimes, as if genocide denial were an acceptable, everyday sort of national policy.

Azerbaijan will continue its fight for justice for the Khojaly victims. And we would like to see the U.S. Congress join this struggle. A Congressional condemnation of the Khojaly massacre would be the first step in the right direction. For our future generations, let us make sure that such callous human cruelty cannot occur freely in this world, because we wish our children to live in a world that will no longer tolerate the madness of genocide and ethnic cleansing. For the crimes of Khojaly, like the crimes in any other part of this world, there is no ambiguity of blame. Justice must be a swift measure, and there is nothing so unjust in the world as the murder of innocents.

Based in Los Angeles, Nasimi Aghayev is Azerbaijan’s Consul General to the Western United States


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mathematics of Medieval Islam

Source: Prof. J. L. Berggren, Episodes of Mathematics of Medieval Islam, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1986. p. vii:

"Many people today know something of the debt our mathematics owes medieval Islamic civilization. They know "algebra" is an Arabic word and they speak of our Arabic numerals. In recent years, as well, historians of mathematics re-learned what our medieval and Renaissance forbears knew: the Islamic contribution affected the development of all branches of mathematics in the West and was of prime importance in many."