Thursday, November 30, 2006


by Afram Barryakoub

Spero News
Nov 29 2006

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has received an interpellation
from parliament demanding an investigation into finding of human
remains of genocide.

The finding of a mass grave in south eastern Turkey, believed to date
from the 1915 genocide of Assyrians and Armenians, and the Turkish
government's silence regarding the finding has prompted a debate in
the Swedish parliament on the matter.

It was on October 17 this year that villagers from Xirabebaba (Kuru)
in southeastern Turkey came across a mass grave when digging a grave
for one of their deceased. The villagers took pictures of the skulls
and bones in the mass grave before Turkish military came and blocked
the site.

The villagers were certain that they had found remains of victims of
the 1915 genocide. The military personnel forbade the villagers to
tell anyone about the site and then closed it. Some of the villagers
chose not to follow the orders of the military and told the story to
a local newspaper who followed up on the story.

As soon as the military learned that someone has leaked this
information to the press, they pressed the villagers to give the
names of those responsible for this. Since then journalists trying
to get near the mass grave have been denied access by the military.

Turkey still denies that its Christian population of Assyrians (also
called Chaldeans and Syriacs), Greeks and Armenians were subjected
to genocides. That could explain why the Turkish state and most of
the Turkish media has remained silent about the finding.

But now one of Turkey's most popular weekly magazines, Nokta,
has highlighted the mass grave finding with a cover story in the
latest issue with the main heading "Again acting the three monkeys -
a mass grave was found one month ago in Nusaybin and the jurisdiction,
execution and legislation bodies as well as the media are silent."

The writer, Talin Suciyan, accuses the Turkish state of turning a
deaf ear to the mass grave finding. "None of the three 'powers' of
our democracy, legislation, jurisdiction or execution made a move to
deal with the issue. And when the fourth power - the media - swept
the bones under the carpet (the Turkish) public remained completely
unaware of the issue." she writes.

In fact, the only Turkish group that has reacted to the finding is
the Turkish Human Rights Association who sent an open letter to the
ministry of interior calling for an investigation into the matter.

The mass grave finding has yet to enter Turkish politics but in Sweden
the matter has stirred up a debate on the highest levels, much due
to the efforts of the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Association (ACSA).

The news about the mass finding was distributed by Tidningarnas
Telegrambyrå (TT), Sweden's top news agency and was thereafter
published in several Swedish media, including the two leading morning
papers Dagens Nyheter (DN) and Svenska Dagbladet (Svd).

As a result of the above the mass grave issue has now entered Swedish
politics as MP Hans Linde from the left party recently submitted an
interpellation to the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, asking
for an independent commission of scientists and historians to examine
the findings.

The foreign minister must now ask the foreign ministry to launch an
investigation into the matter before he can respond to MP Hans Linde.

The response of the foreign minister on this issue is due to be
presented on the 12 of December before parliament.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turkey's 'New' Approaches In Armenian Genocide Issue

By Kiro Manoyan

Yerkir, Armenia
Nov 27 2006

The "exciting" announcements that Turkey makes about applying new
tactics when dealing with the Armenian Genocide issue are nothing
more than a new packaging for the old tactics.

The aim is the same as before: to dispute the facts of the
Armenian Genocide for years with a goal to derail the process of
the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In other
words, this "new" tactics pursues the same goal as Turkish Prime
Minister Erdogan's 2005 proposal to set up a "bilateral commission of
historians," and by transforming the issue into a historical dispute,
remove it from the political agenda.

Speaking two days ago at a meeting that was discussing his ministry's
budget for the next year, Turkish Foreign Minister Gul said the
Armenian Genocide will be among the key issues for Turkey's foreign
policy in the coming ten years because it stands in the way of Turkey's
relations with many countries. He also said they were seeking advice
of Turkish and foreign lawyers for possibilities to take the case to
the "international court."

The Turkish foreign minister's vague description of the "international
court" was immediately explained by Turkish retired diplomats Sukru
Elekdag and Gunduz Aktan. Aktan, who was also a member of the infamous
Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, spoke about it at a recent
lecturing tour to Canada.

It turned out that the "international court" is not the International
Court of Justice but the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Though both
courts operate in the same building in the Hague, their missions and
authorities are quite different as their names show.

Apparently, the Turkish diplomatic circles are trying to first of
all make a propaganda move. Aktan told Milliyet newspaper, "Though
the trial process may take 5-10 years, but it ensures us a moral
advantage now. If Armenia or France refuse to appear in the court,
they will be embarrassed in the world."

According to Aktan, the process of passing the Armenian Genocide to
the international law assumes: 1.Set up a commission to check the
reality of the documents kept in the archives of Turkey, Armenian
Patriarchate of Constantinople, Boston chapter of ARF, Russia, USA,
Germany, England and France; 2.Carry out statistical work to study the
ethnic changes of the population; 3.Study military movements and the
activities of the Armenian armed groups; 4.Find out the causes of the
deaths during the deportation; 5.Study the registration books of the
hospital for the period in question; 6.Though a forensic examination
determine the ethnicity of those buried in common graves.

The Turkish diplomats are trying to accomplish the goal that was
supposed to be reached by the failed "bilateral commission of

But the thing is that Article 9 of the 1948 Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide clearly
states: "Disputes between the Contracting Parties relating to the
interpretation, application or fulfillment of the present Convention,
including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide
or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3, shall be submitted
to the International Court of Justice at the request of any of the
parties to the dispute."

In other words, the Turkish diplomats, violating the rules of the
Convention, plan to take the issue to another direction, knowing well
that Armenia has not signed under the 1899 and 1907 Hague conventions
that have set up the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

If the Turkish diplomacy really wants to take the problems between
Armenia and Turkey - of which the Armenian Genocide is just one part
- to the international law, the issues should first of all include
issues such: 1.Restoration of Turkey's eastern border as determined by
US President Wilson under the Sevres Treaty of August 10, 1920; 2.The
issue of non-validity of the December 2, 1920 Treaty of Alexandrapol;
3.The non-validity of the treaties signed on March 16, 1921 in Kars,
and on October 23, 1921 in Moscow; 4.Violation by Turkey since 1991
of the main principles set in the Kars Treaty; 5.The illegality of
replacing the 1920 Severs Treaty with the July 24, 1923 Lausanne

However, if Turkey wishes to determine its responsibility in the
Armenian Genocide through an international court, it should turn to
the International Court of Justice.

It is important to reveal the real goals and efficiency of this new
Turkish fraud for the international public opinion.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bible verses

Revelation 6:9-11 (New International Version)

9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

Psalm 13
1. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2. How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3. Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4. my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5. But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6. I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 42
9. I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10. My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11. Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Lamentations 5
1. Remember, O LORD, what has happened to us;
look, and see our disgrace.
2. Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens,
our homes to foreigners.
3. We have become orphans and fatherless,
our mothers like widows.
4. We must buy the water we drink;
our wood can be had only at a price.
5. Those who pursue us are at our heels;
we are weary and find no rest.

Remember The Armenian Genocide (link)

This report is a collection of research articles offered as evidence of the veracity of the Genocide inflicted on the Armenian peoples by the Ottoman Empire, to justifiably qualify for inclusion in the commemoration of holocausts perpetrated throughout history.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Turkey can one day destroy the celebration of Christmas

 Christmas was once celebrated in Constantinople, today,s Istanbul this was once the center of the Christian world, but you would never know it today.

St Sophia Christianities, oldest Vassilica built one thousand years before St. Peters in Rome is now surrounded by Minnerets
and it's big cross has been replaced by a crescent.

St Sophia was spared the wrecking ball thanks to former US president Carter who intervened on behalf of the Christian community in the US, at the very last moment.

The seminary in Halki remains closed and the Ecumenical patriarchate can't even use his title , all this by a country which claims to be European and ready to join our society.

The reality is Turkey has virtualy cleansed all Christian Europeans from what was once their ancesteral homelands. The number should be over 5,000,000 European Christians instead of just a few thousand ironically this was the very same land that Turkey uses to claim European identity.

What should be further evidence is Northern EU Cyprus where since the Turkish invasion of the island since 1974 over 200,000 Christian Cypriots have been force off their homes and land and their monesteries, and churches have virtually all been looted and destroyed.

To ignore the horror of the Armenian Holocaust and the ethnic cleansing of the Christian communities in Asia Minor and Constantinople without so much as an apology is a crime by weak incompetent EU leaders who are paving the way for the destruction of Europe.

Additional proof came when EU leaders came together to finalize the draft of the EU constitution when Turkish leaders who aren't even members showd up and demanded that that Classical Greece and Roman law be strcken from the original draft as the foundation of Europe. A EU without it's European heritage is what Turkey wants.

Turkey claims secular but has managed to cleanse virtually all Christianity from it's path.

Merry Christmas

Genocide Acknowledgment: A Dead End?

enocide Acknowledgment: A Dead End?

Genocide Acknowledgment: A Dead End?

[April 24, 2005]

Worldwide Armenian political demands on Turkey have always included land, restitution, and Genocide acknowledgment. Over time, however, the demand for acknowledgment has eclipsed the other demands.

In view of the obvious obstacles the land and restitution issues have faced, that's understandable.

Genocide acknowledgment is different. Armenians, and many non-Armenians, have readily rallied around such a straightforward and relatively non-aggressive demand. Moreover, a Turkish confession - apparently a mere sentence or two - has seemed achievable.

Suppose, therefore, that Turkey 's Prime Minister announced today that " Turkey acknowledges that 90 years ago, during a time in which both Turks and Armenians were murdered, some individuals in the Ottoman regime committed genocide against Armenians. Let us and Armenia now begin a new era."

Dead End

Would that really heal our collective psyche? Would it be sincere and signify a genuine shift in Turkish attitudes? Would Turkish organizations and individuals cease their Genocide denial? Would the remaining survivors and their descendants receive restitution/reparations?

Would Armenia 's security be measurably enhanced? Would Turkey open its border with Armenia ? Would it end its pan-Turkic thrust - similar to the one that spawned the Genocide - into the Caucasus and Central Asia ? Could Armenians resettle in Anatolia/Western Armenia? Would Armenia recover even small amounts of that territory?

That the likely answer to each question is "No" should cause us to rethink our emphasis on acknowledgment. Among the political scientists doing that are Dr. Simon Payaslian, Nicolas Tavitian MS, and Dr. Khatchik Der Ghougassian (Armenian Forum, Vol. 2, No. 3,

Rethinking Acknowledgment

The "essential component" of "historic Armenian lands," says Payaslian, has been "redefined as, or totally replaced by, recognition." Western countries' "commemorative statements that ignore the territorial issue should be rejected."

He lists four goals of acknowledgment: territory, emotional healing, restitution, and enhanced international standing for Armenia . Only the last, Payaslian concludes, is realistically achievable through acknowledgment.

He is troubled by "the lack of public debate" on the "purposes and problems" of "Genocide recognition."

So is Tavitian: "Striving for genocide recognition has long been a reflex rather than an action toward a goal ... Armenians should rethink their approach."

However, acknowledgment could be a "security guarantee" for Armenia if it can "transform Turkey [and] the West's understanding of Armenia 's security."

The quest for acknowledgment, Der Ghougassian believes, maintains "vigilance against the Turkish threat." Acknowledgment might be a "first step" towards "normalization of relations." Nevertheless, "A response to the Genocide must deprive Turkey " of the land it took in the genocide.

Clearly, then, we need to rethink the pursuit of acknowledgment. If not, we may regret it.

Land and Restitution

The European Union (EU), which Turkey aspires to join, is asking Turkey to recognize the Genocide. Suppose Turkey complies.

The EU and the US would likely conclude, since the land and restitution issues are not now prominently on the table, that Armenians had received everything they had asked for. For Armenians to subsequently try to drag those two issues into the spotlight would be difficult. And, as argued above, acknowledgment alone is unlikely to benefit Armenia much anyway.

Worse, an educated guess is that the West would accept a sham acknowledgment, such as " Turkey regrets the wrongful murder of Armenians in 1915 by the old Ottoman regime."

Frankly, acknowledgment, in the absence of the restoration of Armenian rights, may be undesirable. The pursuit of acknowledgment, rather than acknowledgment itself, helps to maintain a strong defensive posture against Turkey and is a valuable tool to keep Armenia 's foe off balance.

Placing restitution and territory near the front of our agenda, therefore, serves two purposes. First, Turkey is unlikely to issue an acknowledgment at all, for fear of the consequences. Second, if an acknowledgment does come, Turkey and the West would less able to close the book on the Armenian case.

In the meantime, efforts are underway to undermine the restitution and land issues.

State Department Trap

John Evans, the US Ambassador to Armenia , and David L. Phillips, a State Department consultant and moderator of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC), recently toured the US gleefully claiming that Armenians cannot ask for restitution or land from Turkey .

They cite a 2003 "report" sponsored by TARC. The report affirmed the factuality of the genocide, but deviously asserted that the UN's1948 Genocide Treaty cannot be applied retroactively to 1915 and that "legal, financial, or territorial" claims are invalid.

Indeed, Phillips hints that four years ago it was he who arranged for President Robert Kocharian to tell Turkish TV that Armenia will not press for restitution or territory.

This, then, is the trap being laid for us: the US, and possibly Turkey , may someday issue a Genocide "acknowledgment", but Armenians must abandon all claims, particularly territorial ones, against Turkey .

Why is America worried about Turkish territory? Because the State Department, not to mention Europe and Israel , regards eastern Turkey as a vital path to the Caspian Sea region's oil and gas. By disposing of Genocide acknowledgment and trashing Armenian land claims, the State Department hopes to both protect eastern Turkey and more easily penetrate the Caucasus .

The Future

Genocide acknowledgment is a vital, and perhaps permanent, weapon in Armenia and the Diaspora's arsenals. It must not be dealt away cheaply.

Armenia and the traditional Diasporan political parties should immediately place land and restitution alongside, or close to, the acknowledgment demand.

Realistically, of course, Armenia cannot recover territory anytime soon. Still, that territory is vital for long-term security. For example, Armenia requires a secure path to the Black Sea and, therefore, to Europe and Russia . Needless to say, to attain that goal, Armenia must become much stronger. (See "The Armenian Land Question: Misunderstood Terrain," Horizon Weekly, September 6, 2004.)

Recovering territory and obtaining material restitution someday will heal our wounds more than all the Turkish acknowledgments in the world. Notice, for example, that as Armenians now control Karabagh and the surrounding territory, the repression and massacres that Azerbaijan inflicted on Armenians in the last 100 years take a back seat.

Winning, therefore, is the best revenge, though we will always honor those who perished and suffered in the Genocide.

Lastly, we need to better educate ourselves about land and restitution. Genocide related commemorations, lectures, and conferences should emphasize the ongoing geopolitical consequences of 1915: loss of historic lands and individual and historical property, and an adversary that remains committed to a dangerous, pan-Turkic philosophy. Younger generations, particularly - by nature action-oriented - crave such meaty political issues.

And if Turkey never acknowledges the Genocide? Security, and the restoration of rights and the Armenian homeland are more important.

David B. Boyajian

The author is an Armenian American freelance writer  

Friday, October 13, 2006

Prove Hitler wrong

Prove Hitler wrong

Remember Ottoman Turkey's slaughter of Armenian Christians

WORLD Magazine
October 23, 2004
Page 52

By Marvin Olasky

Editor's warning: This article contains graphic material.

VAN, Turkey -- As Turkey moves toward eventual membership in the
European Union (see Madisonian Turkey from this week's issue), this
Muslim nation should also come to grips with a terrible crime that has
gone largely unpunished.

Armenians, many of them Christian, lived in this area of what is now
eastern Turkey for about 2,000 years. Despite suffering massacres in
1894 and 1895 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, they still numbered
well over 1 million in 1914. Ten years later only scattered handfuls
were left.

Adolf Hitler used what is now called the Armenian holocaust as his model
for an even greater holocaust. Ottoman Turks developed techniques later
used by the Nazis, such as piling 90 people into a train car with a
capacity of 36, and leaving them locked in for days, terrified,
starving, and often dead.

Hitler was even more impressed with how the Turks got away with
genocide. When Hitler on Aug. 22, 1939, explained that his plans to
invade Poland included the formation of death squads that would
exterminate men, women, and children, he asked, "Who, after all, speaks
today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

In recent years some have. Books such as Peter Balakian's The Burning
Tigris (HarperCollins, 2003) tell of the Armenian tragedy in a way that
also helps us to understand radical Islam. That's because the key
incitement to massacre came on Nov. 14, 1914, when Mustafa Hayri Bey,
the Ottoman Empire's leading Sunni authority, urged his followers to
commence a jihad: One pamphlet declared, "He who kills even one
unbeliever . . . shall be rewarded by Allah."

The jihad proclamation received wide dissemination. When a priest asked
a Muslim army officer how he could participate in killing several
thousand Armenian women, Captain Shukri's answer was simple: It was
jihad time, and after the murders he could "spread out my prayer rug and
pray, giving glory to Allah and the Prophet who made me worthy of
personally participating in the holy jihad in these days of my old age."

The Ottoman Turk government set up and paid special killing squads. The
Ministry of the Interior gave instructions to "exterminate all males
under 50, priests and teachers, leave girls and children to be
Islamized." Historians and journalists have estimated that Turks killed
800,000 to 1 million Armenians in 1915 alone, and an additional 200,000
to 500,000 over the next seven years.

Here in Van 89 years ago, provincial governor Jevdet Bey gained the
nickname "the horseshoe master" because he nailed horseshoes to the feet
of Armenians. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to Turkey,
described in 1918 testimony of torture he had heard: "The gendarmes
would nail hands and feet to pieces of wood--evidently in imitation of
the Crucifixion, and then while the sufferer writhes in his agony, they
would cry, 'Now let your Christ come help you.'"

Aurora Mardiganian, the only member of her family to survive, told of
killing squads that planted their swords in the ground, blade up, at
intervals of several yards. Killers on horseback each grabbed a girl,
rode their horses at a controlled gallop, and tried to throw the girl so
she would be impaled on a sword: "If the killer missed and the girl was
only injured, she would be scooped up again until she was impaled on the
protruding blade."

The silent film Ravished Armenia, based on Aurora Mardiganian's account,
caused a U.S. sensation--but British officials demanded before showtime
in London the deletion of a scene of Armenian women being crucified.
Miss Mardiganian agreed that the scene, which showed the women being
crucified on large crosses with their long hair covering their nude
bodies, was inauthentic.

The scene was inaccurate, she said, because the crosses in the film were
large, but in reality they were little and pointed: "They took the
clothes off the girls. They made them bend down. And after raping them,
they made them sit on the pointed wood, through . . ." Americans, she
said, "can't show such terrible things" (and I can't write about them in
full detail).

After the World War ended in 1918 several Turks, including "the
horseshoe master," were executed for war crimes. Hundreds of
perpetrators went free, and to this day Turkish textbooks cover up the
slaughter of Armenians, as they also cover up the slaughter of Greek
Christians in western Turkey during that same era.
Prove Hitler wrong. Governments are to wield the sword to bring justice,
so remember Armenian and other victims of governments that killed their
own people, and thank God that the United States has worked to protect
innocent people in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Genocide Scholars Call on Turkey to Acknowledge Armenian Genocide


-- ANCA Welcomes Open Letter by Leaders of the
International Association of Genocide Scholars

WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)
has welcomed an open letter by leaders of the International
Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) calling on Turkey to end
its campaign of denial of the Armenian Genocide and urging the
Turkish government to accept responsibility for this crime against

The open letter, dated April 6th and first reported by Bloomberg
News on April 14th, was signed by Robert Robert Melson, the
President of the IAGS; Israel Charny, Vice-President of the
Association, and; New York Times Best-Selling author Peter
Balakian, who holds the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor
of the Humanities at Colgate University. These scholars wrote in
response to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's call for an "impartial
investigation" of the fate of the Armenians in Turkey in 1915.

"We very much appreciate the strong leadership, academic integrity,
and moral clarity of professors Melson, Charney, and Balakian in
challenging Prime Minister Erdogan's cynical attempt to force an
artificial debate on an issue that is thoroughly documented and
universally accepted - except by the few remaining academic
mercenaries in the service of Turkey's state-controlled
institutions," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.

Speaking on behalf of the "the major body of scholars who study
genocide in North America and Europe," the authors of the letter
noted that the "Armenian Genocide is abundantly documented by
thousands of official records of the United States and nations
around the world including Turkey's wartime allies Germany, Austria
and Hungary, by Ottoman court-martial records, by eyewitness
accounts of missionaries and diplomats, by the testimony of
survivors, and by decades of historical scholarship."

The letter went on to stress that, "there may be differing
interpretations of genocide - how and why the Armenian Genocide
happened, but to deny its factual and moral reality as genocide is
not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to
absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims, and erase the ethical
meaning of this history."

"We would also note that scholars who advise your government and
who are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled
institutions are not impartial. Such so-called "scholars" work to
serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation when they
advise you and the Turkish Parliament on how to deny the Armenian
Genocide," the letter continued. "We believe that it is clearly in
the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and
equal participant in international, democratic discourse to
acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the
genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and
people have done in the case of the Holocaust."

Commenting on the letter, Hamparian added: "Clearly, the
international pressure is growing on Turkey, and Ankara is finding
itself increasingly isolated in its campaign of genocide denial.
Unfortunately, rather than following the post World War II German
model of accepting responsibility - as suggested in this letter -
the Turkish government has responded, internally, by outlawing
discussion of the Armenian Genocide - through Section 306 of their
new penal code, and, abroad, in the form of aggressive, but
increasingly transparent, efforts to deny the truth, engage in
diversionary tactics, and escape justice for its crime."

The full text of the letter is provided below.



President: Robert Melson (USA)
Vice-President: Israel Charny (Israel)
Secretary-Treasurer: Steven Jacobs (USA)

Respond to: Robert Melson, Professor of Political Science Purdue
University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA

April 6, 2005

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
TC Easbakanlik
Ankara, Turkey
FAX: 90 312 417 0476

Dear Prime Minister Erdogan:

We are writing you this open letter in response to your call for an
"impartial study by historians" concerning the fate of the Armenian
people in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

We represent the major body of scholars who study genocide in North
America and Europe. We are concerned that in calling for an
impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully
aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on
the Armenian Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition
of the United Nations Genocide Convention. We want to underscore
that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian
Genocide but it is hundreds of independent scholars, who have no
affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries
and nationalities and the course of decades. The scholarly evidence
reveals the following:

On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk
government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its
Armenian citizens ~V an unarmed Christian minority population. More
than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing,
starvation, torture, and forced death marches. Another million fled
into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged
from its homeland of 2,500 years.

The Armenian Genocide was the most well-known human rights issue of
its time and was reported regularly in newspapers across the United
States and Europe. The Armenian Genocide is abundantly documented
by thousands of official records of the United States and nations
around the world including Turkey's wartime allies Germany, Austria
and Hungary, by Ottoman court-martial records, by eyewitness
accounts of missionaries and diplomats, by the testimony of
survivors, and by decades of historical scholarship.

The Armenian Genocide is corroborated by the international
scholarly, legal, and human rights community:

1) Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined the term genocide
in 1944, cited the Turkish extermination of the Armenians and the
Nazi extermination of the Jews as defining examples of what he
meant by genocide.

2) The killings of the Armenians is genocide as defined by the 1948
United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide.

3) In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, an
organization of the world's foremost experts on genocide,
unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian

4) 126 leading scholars of the Holocaust including Elie Wiesel and
Yehuda Bauer placed a statement in the New York Times in June 2000
declaring the "incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide" and
urging western democracies to acknowledge it.

5) The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem), the
Institute for the Study of Genocide (NYC) have affirmed the
historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.

6) Leading texts in the international law of genocide such as
William A. Schabas's Genocide in International Law (Cambridge
University Press, 2000) cite the Armenian Genocide as a precursor
to the Holocaust and as a precedent for the law on crimes against

We note that there may be differing interpretations of genocide -
how and why the Armenian Genocide happened, but to deny its factual
and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but
in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the
victims, and erase the ethical meaning of this history.

We would also note that scholars who advise your government and who
are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled
institutions are not impartial. Such so-called "scholars" work to
serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation when they
advise you and the Turkish Parliament on how to deny the Armenian

We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people
and their future as a proud and equal participant in international,
democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a
previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just
as the German government and people have done in the case of the


Robert Melson
Professor of Political Science
President, International Association of Genocide Scholars

Israel Charny
Vice President, International Association of Genocide Scholars
Editor in Chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide

Peter Balakian
Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities
Colgate University

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Templates for Gross Denial of a Known Genocide: A Manual

emplates for Gross Denial of a Known Genocide: A Manual

As everybody knows, the Turkish government denies the Armenian Genocide, so do most of the people who live in Turkey.
This will be easy for Turks to deny it and much easier for non-Turks to understand the pshychology of denial.

Israel Charny outlines the tactics of denial in "Templates for Gross Denial of a Known Genocide: A Manual," in The Encyclopedia of Genocide, volume 1, page 168.

1. Question and minimize the statistics. Turks will argue that less than 1 million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire, thus 1.5 million people could not get killed.

2. Attack the motivations of the truth-tellers. Say that Armenians are Russian spies and they speak of Genocide to harm Turkey.

3. Claim that the deaths were inadvertent. Turks will say that Armenians were deported to other places for their own good.

4. Emphasize the strangeness of the victims. Turks will continue to call Armenians gavurs (non-believers), who owned Turkey's economy.

5. Rationalize the deaths as the result of tribal conflict. Deniers will say that Turks also died, it was a civil war.

6. Blame "out of control" forces for committing the killings. Turks will say there was a war and the government could not watch the bandits who killed Armenians.

7. Avoid antagonizing the genocidists, who might walk out of "the peace process." Turks will "prove" that by speaking of Genocide, Armenians make hatred among the Turkish and Armenian governments.

8. Justify denial in favor of current economic interests. Turks will say that Armenian Genocide's recognition will be an economic threat to the world.

9. Claim that the victims are receiving good treatment. Turks say that Armenians were protected by their Ottoman government in 1915.

10. Claim that what is going on doesn't fit the definition of genocide. Turks say the term "genocide" was coined in 1944 and the Armenian killings did not match the word.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

EU-Turkey & the Armenian Genocide- Part I

Written by Dr Harry Hagopian
Monday, 24 October 2005
Audere est Facere!
Calls on Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide;
considers this recognition to be a pre-requisite for
accession to the European Union; European Parliament
Resolution (28 September 2005).

Image Across much of Europe, the last ten months have
been buzzing with discussions about the Armenian
Genocide. This is not solely because Armenians
worldwide have been commemorating in 2005 the 90th
anniversary of the genocide. Nor is it necessarily
because this gruesome chapter in early 20th century
history awoke the collective conscience of the world
toward recognition. Rather, it is largely due to the
ongoing negotiations regarding Turkey's accession to
the EU. It is inevitable that Armenians, and their
supporters across the Union, have been pressuring
Turkey to come clean on the chapter of their history
that deals with the 'Armenian Question' during WWI,
and have repeatedly requested from their governments
to include the recognition of the genocide as a
precondition in their discussions for Turkish
accession to the EU. Consequently, this Armenian
position has become congruent with that of the
European Parliament as evidenced by its latest
Resolution of 28th September in Strasbourg.

On 3 October 2005, the EU and Turkey finally signed a
negotiating framework that would allow formal talks
and screening processes to begin on Turkish membership
of the European Club. There was the obligatory
last-minute brinkmanship, with Austria demanding the
insertion of an additional clause that referred to
privileged partnership rather than full membership.
However, this objection was overcome with a Croatian
compromise, and the question now is to explore what
happens in the next ten to fifteen years when
negotiations between the EU and Turkey cover the 35
chapters (including judiciary and fundamental rights
as well as justice, freedom and security, in chapters
23 & 24 respectively) and Turkey's need to adapt its
political, economic and social system in such a manner
that it implements 80,000 pages of EU laws. This,
after all, is the EU-Turkey political dossier today,
and the critical period in the years ahead will decide
between an EU that insists upon the candidate country
Turkey to accept the acquis comminautaire of the Union
or a Turkey that dictates more or less its own terms
of accession to the EU.

Principle 6 of the EU Negotiating Framework for Turkey
clearly stipulates that the advancement of
negotiations will be guided by Turkey's progress in
preparing for accession. Such progress would include
the Copenhagen criteria (with the stability of
institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law,
human rights and respect for and protection of
minorities) as much as Turkey's 'unequivocal
commitment to good neighbourly relations and its
undertaking to resolve any outstanding border disputes
in accordance with the United Nations Charter,
including if necessary jurisdiction of the
International Court of Justice'. Olli Rehn, European
Commissioner for Enlargement, told the European
Parliament earlier that "the start of the negotiations
will give a strong push for those in Turkey who want
to reform the country to meet the European values of
rule of law and human rights; they are also a way for
the EU to have leverage on the direction of these

But let me recap for a moment. On 22nd September, I
attended a conference in Brussels entitled December
2004-October 2005: Has Turkey changed? During the
final plenary session, the discussions led to the
unavoidable conclusion that the EU Commission was
doing its utmost to justify the start of accession
talks despite an implicit admission that Turkey had
not yet met all the criteria for the start-up of
negotiations. This EU position could prove
disconcerting if it were to accentuate the yawning
chasm between the political decisions adopted by the
EU institutions (namely the Commission and Council)
and the European population across the whole Union.
After all, a recent Eurobarometer poll revealed that
only 35% of EU citizens support Turkish membership,
and yet the EU institutions are not heeding to the
concerns of their constituencies but are proving why
the 'disconnect' is growing alarmingly larger between
an institutional and bureaucratic Union and its
peoples. In fact, this phenomenon became abundantly
evident when France and the Netherlands rejected the
EU draft constitution on 29 May and 1 June 2005
respectively as an instrument - with much merit, I
still maintain - that was nonetheless being imposed
upon the European peoples without adequate
consultation, coherence, transparency or feedback. (To
be continued 25/10/05)

Dr Harry Hagopian

EU-Turkey & the Armenian Genocide-Part II

Written by Dr Harry Hagopian
Tuesday, 25 October 2005
(Previous) Audere est Facere!
Calls on Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide;
considers this recognition to be a pre-requisite for
accession to the European Union; European Parliament
Resolution (28 September 2005).

II. But what about the Armenian Genocide in the
overall context of EU-Turkey dossier?

Image There have been quite a few developments within
Turkey that have highlighted the inherent paradoxes of
the Turkish mindset on this human rights issue. There
has also been a tug-of-war between progressives and
reactionaries on the one hand, and between the small
minority of Turks openly addressing the issue of the
genocide and an ignorant or fearful majority who
maintain the denial that has typified Turkey for the
past 90 years.

One of the most prominent issues in the past few
months that highlights Turkey's non-EU credentials to
date as much as its paranoia about the Armenian
Genocide, is the case of Orhan Pamuk, one of Turkey's
most acclaimed contemporary writers. On 1st September,
a district prosecutor indicted Pamuk under Article
301(1) of the Turkish penal code for having 'blatantly
belittled Turkishness" by his "denigrating" remarks.
Pamuk's crime was to have given an interview in the
Swiss Tages Anzeiger newspaper on 6th February
stating that Turkey was responsible for the deaths of
1 million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds during WWI but
that nobody within the country dared speak about this
genocide. If convicted at his trial that starts on
16th December, Pamuk could well face up to three years
in gaol. Article 301/1 of the Turkish penal code
states that 'a person who explicitly insults being a
Turk, the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly,
shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a
term of six months to three years … Where insulting
being a Turk is committed by a Turkish citizen in a
foreign country, the penalty shall be increased by one

This case came almost at the same time as that of
Hrant Dink, editor of the bilingual Agos magazine who
received a suspended six-month sentence in Istanbul on
7th October for writing a column that allegedly
insulted Turkey, and for telling an audience in 2002
that he was not a Turk but an Armenian of Turkey.
According to PEN International, fifty writers,
journalists and publishers currently face trials in
Turkey. The International Publishers' Association, in
its deposition to the UN, has also described the
revised Turkish penal code as being 'deeply flawed'.
It is questionable how a country such as Turkey that
has ratified both the UN International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) could flout the
fundamental freedom of expression and continue to
enforce a penal code that is contrary to such
universal and EU-friendly principles. No wonder
therefore that Fethiye Cetin, Dink's lawyer, averred
that the ruling against her client showed how little
had changed under Turkey's new criminal code, despite
international and internal pressures.

With those Turkish manoeuvres, Orhan Pamuk and Hrant
Dink have joined a long list of cognoscenti and
literati such as Kemal Tahir and Fakir Baykurt who
have been muzzled by the state for expressing their
viewpoints. Numerous international bodies, such as the
Commissioners of the US Helsinki Commission, have sent
letters to the Turkish Prime Minister calling upon him
to authorise the dropping of charges against the
writer. In an Opinion in the Turkish Daily News, Semih
Ydyz wrote critically, "Anti-EU forces that are using
the legal system to bound people like Orhan Pamuk and
Hrant Dink may believe they are doing a great service
to the country. They don't realise, however, that they
are doing the opposite ... They are exposing the
outmoded system of thought for what it is and forcing
progressive Turks to rally around principles like
respect for freedom of thought".

This Turkish imbedded sense of nationalism, dissimilar
to patriotism, was manifested again in the deferrals
of an international conference entitled Ottoman
Armenians in the Period of the Collapse of the Empire:
Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy.
Many people, from the Turkish Minister of Justice to a
lawyer from one of the districts of Istanbul, tried
twice to cancel this conference. However, it finally
took place at Bilgi University in Istanbul on 24th
September. As the Economist wrote in an article
entitled Too soon for Turkish delight on 29th
September, "For Turks who want a European future,
there was a dollop of hope last weekend, when brave
historians managed to hold a conference in Istanbul to
discuss the fate of the Ottoman Armenians. It was the
first time Turkish pundits were permitted to challenge
publicly the official line, holding that the mass
deportation of Armenians in 1915 did not amount to a
conspiracy to kill them. As participants read out
letters between the 'Young Turks' then ruling the
empire, a rapt audience was left with no doubt that
hundreds of thousands of Armenians were deliberately
slain". In the words of Halil Berktay, coordinator of
the history department at Sabançi University and
participant at the conference, 'This is a country of
more than 70 million, with a strong nationalist past;
there are strong forces opposed to the European Union,
to democracy and opening up'. Berktay added that 'the
question of what happened in 1915-1916 is not a
mystery, it's not like we know just 5 percent, so the
question is not finding more evidence. The question is
liberating scholarship from the nationalist taboos …'

Fatma Muge Goçek, a sociologist at the University of
Michigan and advisor to the conference, said that
'Turkey has to confront its history, and the fact of
the violence of 1915 and 1916, and lack of
accountability, sanctioned more [state] violence'.
Equally, Elif Shafak, a social scientist and renowned
novelist whose works include The Flea Palace and who
recently captured the cultural voices of Turkey in
Street of the Cauldron Makers (Kazançi Yokushu),
published an editorial in the Washington Post on 25th
September entitled In Istanbul, a Crack in the Wall of
Denial. She wrote, "I also got to know other Turks who
were making a similar intellectual journey. Obviously
there is still a powerful segment of Turkish society
that completely rejects the charge that Armenians were
purposely exterminated. Some even go so far as to
claim that it was Armenians who killed Turks, and so
there is nothing to apologise for. These nationalist
hardliners include many of our government officials,
bureaucrats, diplomats and newspaper columnists. They
dominate Turkey's public image - but theirs is only
one position held by Turkish citizens, and it is not
even the most common one. The prevailing attitude of
ordinary people toward the 'Armenian question' is not
one of conscious denial; rather it is collective
ignorance. These Turks feel little need to question
the past as long as it does not affect their daily
lives". Shafak concluded her editorial about the
conference, "Whatever happens with the conference, I
believe one thing remains true: Through the collective
efforts of academics, journalists, writers and media
correspondents, 1915 is being opened to discussion in
my homeland [Turkey] as never before. The process is
not an easy one and will disturb many vested
interests. I know how hard it is - most children from
diplomatic families, confronting negative images of
Turkey abroad, develop a sort of defensive
nationalism, and it's especially true among those of
us who lived through the years of Armenian terrorism.
But I also know that the journey from denial to
recognition is one that can be made".

As Begle, another Turkish historian and a contemporary
of Selim Beligir, opined much along the same lines
during the conference in Istanbul, "The younger
generation in Turkey knows nothing about the events in
the early 20th century and the reason is the
educational system. [] The Armenian Question is one of
the darkest pages of our history, and naturally no one
wants to admit it. People who want to revisit and
discuss the problem gave gathered in this university".
Another speaker at the conference, historian Fikret
Adanir, stated outright that the killings constituted
genocide whilst Cengiz Candar, a prominent columnist
for the Bugun newspaper in Turkey wrote, "The
judiciary is one of the most reactionary and backward
institutions in Turkey, and the illegal [court]
verdict reflects the inherent problems. [] But the
fact that we are discussing this is ample evidence to
be optimistic". (To be continued 26/10/05)

EU-Turkey & the Armenian Genocide-Part III

Written by Dr Harry Hagopian
Wednesday, 26 October 2005
(Previous) Audere est Facere!
Calls on Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide;
considers this recognition to be a pre-requisite for
accession to the European Union; European Parliament
Resolution (28 September 2005).

III. Could things be shuffling forward at long last in

Image A letter from the International Association of
Genocide Scholars, published in the International
Herald Tribune (France) on 23 September 2005,
re-affirmed the well-established facts of genocide.
The letter underscored 'that it is not just Armenians
who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the
overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide:
hundreds of independent scholars, who have no
affiliations with governments, and whose work spans
many countries and nationalities and the course of
decades'. It added unequivocally, 'We believe that it
is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and
their future as proud and equal participants in
international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the
responsibility of a previous government for the
genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German
government and people have done in the case of the
Holocaust'. Rebutting the claims of those historians
who deny the genocide, the letter had harsh words
toward Turkey. It said, 'We would also note that
scholars who advise your government and who are
affiliated in other ways with your state controlled
institutions are not impartial. Such so-called
"scholars" work to serve the agenda of historical and
moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish
parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide'.

With the incontrovertible evidence in the German and
Austrian archives of WWI (allies of Turkey) confirming
the genocide committed against Armenians, as much as
in the archives of the US (neutral at the time, with
no axe to grind) and Britain (with the HMSO Blue Book
written by the British historian Arnold Toynbee in
1916 ), it is time for Turkey to halt its tiresome
denial and thereby pave the way not only for a cleaner
EU-bound slate but also for improved relations with
Armenia and for stability in the Caucasus region.
Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is admittedly a
moral imperative, but it also helps improve state
relations, and carries with it the weight of
geopolitical and democratic considerations. Just like
the recent spate of resolutions from various EU
Parliaments, and following the two Resolutions of 15th
September by the US House International Relations
Committee (H.Res.316 and H.Con.Res.195), it is high
time to stop the brusque manifestations of a misplaced
ideological nationalism that spells denial. Turkey
must not only legislate reforms and submit them to the
EU as evidence of progress, but it should also
implement them on the ground. Legislation =
implementation. Otherwise, criminal justice and
judicial systems would remain steeped in decades of
nationalist ideology, reinforced by an authoritarian
constitution, and could betray any reformist
government's best intentions.

In a Commentary entitled Turkey's missed appointment
by Pierre Lellouche, Chairman of NATO Parliamentary
Assembly, and published in the French Liberation
newspaper on 26th September, Lellouche wrote, "The
European public, especially in France, expected -
again rightly - a gesture from Turkey in connection
with the Armenian genocide of 1915 and relations with
independent Armenia. Turkey can indeed say that such a
gesture is not mentioned - and I regret the fact - in
the conditions expressly set by the European Council.
But we cannot build the future on a denial of history
and a negotiation of past crimes, even if they were
committed by previous generations and under a
different political regime, in this instance the
Ottoman Empire. There is no point in evading
responsibilities towards History: better to
acknowledge, to mend and to be reconciled. Germany
fully realised this following 1945 and that is what
made possible its involvement, with equal rights, in
European building".

Indeed, a powerful challenge was put forward by
Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian at an
International Conference on the 90th Anniversary of
the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan on 21st April.
Entitled Ultimate Crime, Ultimate Challenge, his
closing address included the following set of
Armenians were one of the largest minorities of the
Ottoman Empire. Where did they go? Is it possible that
all our grandmothers and grandfathers colluded and
created stories? Where are the descendants of the
Armenians who built the hundreds of churches and
monasteries whose ruins still stand in Turkey? Is US
Ambassador Henry Morgenthau's account of the
atrocities that he witnessed a lie? Why was a military
tribunal convened at the end of WWI, and why did it
find Ottoman Turkish leaders guilty of ordering the
mass murder of Armenians? How does one explain the
thousands and thousands of pages in the official
records of a dozen countries documenting the plans to
exterminate the Armenian population of the Ottoman
Empire? If it wasn't genocide and they were simply
'war time deportations' of so-called rebellious
Armenian populations near the eastern border with the
Russian Empire, as Turkish apologists sometimes claim,
why were the homes of Armenians in the Western cities
looted and burned? Why were the Armenians of the
seacoast towns of Smyrna and Constantinople deported?
Boatloads of people were dumped in the sea - is that
what deportation is all about? Could rounding up
scores of intellectuals on a single night and killing
them be anything but premeditation ?

In a study entitled Eight Stages of Genocide by
Gregory H Stanton, Vice-President of the
International Association of Genocide Scholars and
President of Genocide Watch, originally written in
1996 at the US Department of State and presented in
1998 at the Yale University Center for International
and Area Studies, he wrote that "denial is the eighth
stage that always follows a genocide" whereby the
perpetrators deny that they committed any crimes, and
often blame what happened on the victims. Once Turkey
assumes its responsibility to recognise the genocide,
we could perhaps witness the beginning of a fresh dawn
for Armenians and Turks alike, and perhaps also a
narrowing of the huge gap that separates our EU
political institutions from our day-to-day realities.

In an article entitled Turkey's Memory Lapse: Armenian
Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On in the German
Spiegel International (Online) on 25th April, Bernhard
Zand wrote:
Confronted with more and more Armenia resolutions in
European parliaments, opinion is growing among some
that Ankara's position on the Armenian issue could
ultimately endanger its prospects for EU membership.
Although there is no formal requirement that Ankara
recognise the murder of the Armenians as "genocide,"
politicians including French Foreign Minister Michel
Barnier have made clear comments in that direction. "I
believe that when the time comes, Turkey should come
to terms with its past, be reconciled with its own
history and recognise this tragedy," he said. "This is
an issue that we will raise during the negotiation
process. We will have about 10 years to do so and the
Turks will have about 10 years to ponder their
answer." Recently, Germany's conservative Christian
Democratic Union, filed a resolution on the
Turkey-Armenia issue in its own parliament, the
Bundestag, where it will be discussed this week and
voted on in June.

Many of the accomplices to the Ottoman war crimes
nevertheless fared well in the Turkish Republic,
founded in 1923. Surprisingly, Atatürk himself, spoke
with such openness about the crimes that his comments
could be enough to land him behind bars today. In
1920, in parliament, he condemned the genocide of the
Armenians as an "abomination of the past" and pledged
to dole out severe punishments to the culprits.

As Harut Sassounian opined in a Commentary entitled
Armenians should Squeeze Concessions Out of Turkey
During EU Negotiations in the California Courier on
13th October, "The interest of Armenians requires
that, on the EU issue, Turkey remain a bridesmaid, as
long as it refuses to pay the dowry to become a

Once recognition by Turkey of this human rights
travesty occurs, and the sacrifices of well over one
million Armenian men, women and children during the
period 1915-1923 are marked with closure, we could
underline with conviction the maxim audere est facere
- to dare is to do - in the sense that we dared
together to overcome the physical, psychological and
historical traumas of a painful and stolen past.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Genocide Study Trap

The Genocide Study Trap

By David B. Boyajian

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently asked Armenia to agree to the creation of a Turkish and Armenian commission that would study the murder of Armenians in 1915 to determine if it constituted genocide.

President Bush liked the idea. So did German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis.

The Turkish members of such a commission would, of course, never consent to a finding of genocide. The result, therefore, would be a "hung jury," exactly the kind of ambiguity that Turkey is looking for.

Fortunately, at least for now, President Robert Kocharian turned Turkey down. He suggested, instead, an "intergovernmental commission" that could discuss "any issue."

What many individuals and countries are unaware of, or deliberately ignoring, is that the mass killings of Armenians have already been the subject of a number of studies conducted by third party organizations.

Verdict: Genocide

In 1985, the United Nations Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities issued a genocide study that is sometimes referred to as the Whitaker report.

"The Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916," stated Paragraph 24 of the report, is an example of "genocide." Furthermore, it "is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire."

The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, sitting in Paris in 1984, impaneled a jury of Nobel Prize recipients and distinguished experts in international law from around the globe. Its conclusions, published in "A Crime of Silence: The Armenian Genocide," sliced Turkey to pieces:

"The extermination of the Armenian[s]…through deportation and massacre constitutes a crime of genocide...within the definition of the [UN Genocide Treaty of] 1948."

Furthermore, "By virtue of general international law" and the UN's 1968 "Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutes of Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity", the jury determined, "no statute of limitations can apply" to Turkey's crimes.

Nor can Turkey use "the pretext of any discontinuity in the [1915 vs. current Turkish] state" and so "must recognize officially...the consequent damages suffered by the Armenian people."

Another study, requested by the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC), was released in 2003. TARC itself was, of course, controversial and ill-fated. Nevertheless, the study, facilitated by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), concluded that the 1915 murders "include all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the [UN Genocide Treaty of 1948]."

(In view of TARC's US State Department sponsorship, it was to be expected that the report also alleged that the 1948 Genocide Treaty is not retroactive to 1915 and, consequently, Armenians cannot assert land or reparations claims against Turkey. In any event, for the reasons cited by the 1984 Tribunal and others, the report is wrong about Armenian claims and implicitly acknowledges that, conceding that it did not consider " law").

Genocide Games

Were there to be another study, Turkey, the US, Europe, various business interests, and perhaps Turkish friends such as Israel and Pakistan, would covertly try to bring about a judgment of "no genocide" or "we are unable to arrive at a decision." The study would also emulate the TARC report by trying to relieve Turkey of liability.

The West, after all, wants to shield eastern Turkey from Armenia claims as that territory is the only land bridge to the oil and gas rich Caspian Sea basin that bypasses Russia and Iran.

Even during the Cold War, international political pressure corrupted a UN report on genocide. The report's Paragraph 30, issued in 1973, had stated that the Armenian "massacres" were considered "the first genocide of the 20th Century." Turkey objected and was supported by the US, Austria, France, Iran, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, and others. During the ensuing years, Paragraph 30 was removed.

Just last year, a United Nations report on the mass killings in Darfur, Sudan decided they might not be "genocide." Even the US had, grudgingly, termed them genocide. The report may have been the victim of clandestine international influence.

Still, let's suppose that a new study were to reaffirm that Turkey committed genocide.

Turkish Tricks

Regardless of what it may promise now, Turkey will almost certainly reject a verdict of genocide. It has, after all, brushed aside every previous study that affirmed the factuality of the Genocide.

Even if it were to accept such a verdict, Turkey would retreat to its well-known fallback position: "Modern" Turkey bears no legal responsibility for the actions of "Ottoman" Turkey.

Turkey's pathetically obvious game is to keep asking for new studies until it gets one that concludes there was no genocide. That would be bad news for Armenians. Western nations would pronounce the Genocide issue dead.

The Diaspora's Job

Besides, should we be trading our dignity and rights for what is likely to someday be an ambiguously-worded, half-hearted statement of guilt by the Turkish government?

Even a sincere genocide acknowledgment's value is questionable as, by itself, it is unlikely to heal Armenian wounds or change Turkish policy toward Armenia.

Only restitution and the return of Armenian land will ultimately bring a significant degree of satisfaction. Restitution means the recovery of, or in some instances compensation for, homes, farms, stolen assets, schools, communal property, and thousands of churches.

Quantifying the theft and material damage committed by Turkey is urgently needed. A starting point is published studies from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and more recent works by scholars such as the late Professor Kevork K. Baghdjian. Last year's successful prosecution of the New York Life Insurance Company by Armenians shows that headway can be made.

Geographic and demographic studies of eastern Turkey should also be undertaken. Future territory must include a Black Sea coastline so that Turkey and its friends can no longer block Armenian access to Europe and Russia.

We recognize that achieving all our goals right now is not realistic. In the meantime, Armenia must at least avoid anything that would make the future prosecution of claims more difficult.

Poor and preoccupied with Karabagh and the Turkish blockade, Armenia lacks the resources and public relations savvy to undertake a full defense of its rights against Turkey. Diasporan think tanks and political parties must, therefore, shoulder the burden. Is it not the job of political parties, after all, to uphold national rights?

But, first, we must not yield to the temptation for yet another study to confirm what we and the world have already proved: Turkey committed genocide against Armenians.

Now, let's move on.

David B. Boyajian is an Armenian American freelance writer based in Massachusetts

Conference Dedicated to 85th Anniversary of Severes Treaty

Conference Dedicated to 85th Anniversary of Severes Treaty

YEREVAN (Armenpress)--Parliament deputy chairman Vahan Hovhanesian (ARF) said today the failure of the Allied Powers to implement the Sevres Treaty in the wake of the World War I, was the major cause of instability and volatility in the region, and questioned the validity of the subsequent Moscow and Kars agreements.

He was speaking at a conference dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the Sevres Treaty, and organized by the Igdir and Surmalu compatriatic union.

The Treaty of Sevres between the Allied Powers and the government of Ottoman Turkey, was signed at the end of World War I. It abolished the Ottoman Empire, obliged Turkey to renounce rights over Arab Asia and North Africa, and provided for an independent Armenia, an autonomous Kurdistan, and Greek control over the Aegean islands commanding the Dardanelles. These provisions were rejected by the new Republic of Turkey, and the treaty was replaced in 1923 by the Treaty of Lausanne.

In August 1920, the Treaty of Sevres, signed by England, France, and Turkey, bound Turkey to recognize the independence of Armenia and the Wilsonian boundaries. The new Armenian state was recognized by most of the countries, including the United States. After the triumph of Mustafa Kemal, however, the Turks, with the support of Bolshevik Russia, again attacked the infant Armenian Republic.

On November 29, 1920, Armenia was declared a Soviet state.

On December 1, 1920 as the news about the Sovietization of Armenia reached Azerbaijan, Narimanov, the chief of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan, in a surprise move, declared that Azerbaijan would stop its claims on Armenian territories, and proclaimed Karabagh, Nakhichevan, and Zankezour, integral parts of Armenia.

However, just a day later, Narimanov's decree was revised: Nakhichevan and Zankezour were recognized as parts of Armenia, whereas Karabagh was given the right of self-determination.

Nonetheless, the strange alliance between the Turks and the Russian Bolsheviks played a fatal role in the final determination of borders. The Treaty of Alexandropol, signed in December of 1920 asserted the defeat of Armenia. Then in March of 1921, Turkey and Russia signed a mysterious Treaty of Moscow to tear Nakhichevan away from Armenia and to attach it to the Soviet Azerbaijan.

In summer of 1921, the Caucasus Office of the Communist Party of Bolsheviks held a number of sessions to resolve the issue of Karabagh. On July 4, the plenary session issued a decree confirming that it belonged to Armenia.

The next day, Stalin convened an extraordinary session and transfered Karabagh to Azerbaijan. The Treaty of Kars, signed in October of 1921, completed the carving-up of Armenia—and reducing its territory to 30,000 square kilometers.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nothing Personal / Among the deniers

Nothing Personal / Among the deniers

By Thomas O'Dwyer

If the victims of genocides cannot depend on the support of the descendants of the Holocaust - where on earth will anyone ever find truth and justice?

When this column started around three years ago, one of the first people I went to meet and write about was Prof. Deborah Lipstadt. She's the historian who had just won a place for herself in Jewish legend by demolishing once and for all - with the aid of the splendid British justice Charles Gray - the lies of Holocaust denier David Irving, who had sued her for libel and lost.

Lipstadt was full of praise for the way she had been sustained during the long court ordeal by a staunchly supportive media - after all, fighting neo-Nazi lies is for all human dignity and safety as well as for Jewish justice. How sickening therefore is it to watch the disgusting machinations of the Jewish state when it comes to its cowardly refusal to speak out stridently against the deniers of the Armenian genocide. If the victims of genocides cannot depend on the support of the descendants of the Holocaust - when on earth will anyone ever find truth and justice anywhere?

After a newspaper item appeared on Sunday saying that a government brochure mentioned that a "third generation survivor of the Armenian holocaust in 1915" would light a torch at the Independence Day ceremony, Turkish embassy hysteria went into its customary overdrive in protest.

In a remarkable act of craven capitulation to denial, the Knesset and government caved in and actually printed 2,000 new brochures for the ceremony. The revisionist version of history expunged the truth and replaced it with a description of the torch-lighter Naomi Nalbandian as a "daughter of the long-suffering Armenian people" and her grandparents as "survivors of historical Armenia, 1915."

The Ottoman Empire ethnically cleansed and murdered 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1918. The Turkish army drove hundreds of thousands of Armenians through the Der Zor desert where they died from hunger and thirst. What is more, the government sanctioned raids by Turkish soldiers, who destroyed whole Armenian villages, not sparing even the women or the children. The Armenian population was completely wiped out in Western Armenia. About 600,000 survived and now live in various countries of the world (including modern Armenia).

Modern Turkey continues to vehemently deny these crimes against humanity and fights ferociously around the globe to bury the historical facts. And again this week - and not for the first time - we have witnessed the State of Israel's complicity in the lie, because it is scared of upsetting its only friend in the Muslim states. This is political expediency at its most morally bankrupt. Tripping over itself in its stupid defense of the untenable Turkish position, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has again and again played an active role in suppressing even discussion of the issue.

"Outrageous," is how Deborah Lipstadt, the defeater of deniers, has described the Turkish denial. "The Turks have managed to structure this debate so that people question whether this really happened." Now shouldn't that sound familiar to any Jewish ear? A few months before she smashed Irving, Lipstadt was one of 150 scholars and writers who signed a Washington Post ad condemning Turkey's persistent denial of the Armenian genocide. Among the others signing was no less a person than Prof. Yehuda Bauer, the academic director of Yad Vashem. "We and many others have accepted the United Nations definition of genocide and there can be no argument about [the Armenian case] being genocide," he said at the time.

"I am an Armenian and I have no right to say what is my identity," said Nalbandian after the government and the Turks told her what she had really meant to say - and would say. She added: "They don't say to second and third generations of Holocaust survivors `don't say that,' do they?" What if the rest of the world behaved as cravenly in the face of Holocaust deniers as Israeli officials do in the face of the Turks?

During a similar row several years ago the then Armenian foreign minister said in an interview: "There is some discrepancy between Israel's words and their deeds on genocide. Israel has to show a moral authority since we have gone through a similar history and experience. What is shocking is that there should be any question whatsoever of Israel denying the murder of a nation. The sooner the Turks come clean, admit the crimes of their great-grandparents, and get it over with, the better for all humanity.

The British for many decades denied responsibility for the Irish potato famine that killed an estimated two million people and sent another two million into exile - because it was a natural disaster - although history recorded full well that the British were taking convoys of food out of Ireland under armed guard. It took Tony Blair to admit responsibility 150 years later, and apologize, to lay the shame to rest.

Turkey's denials of the Armenian massacre will not endure - but the memory of Israel's refusal to speak out against the denial just might. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" asked Adolf Hitler when persuading his fellow thugs that a Jewish extermination would be tolerated by the West.

Of course there is one Turk you can quote who still commands almost reverential respect from his fellow countryman - Kemal Ataturk, the legendary founder of the modern nation. In an interview published on August 1, 1926 in The Los Angeles Examiner, Ataturk talked about the former Young Turks in his country: "These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule." When we have the word of Ataturk himself, we don't need to be accused of "pandering to the views of the enemies and haters of Turks" as one Turkish diplomat once wrote to me for daring to question the lie. I assume he meant the Kurds - who for decades "didn't exist" either in Turkish myth except as "mountain Turks."

The three rulers of Turkey as a triumvirate during the time of the genocide were Cemal Pasha, Enver Pasha and Talat Pasha. Of them, British Viscount James Bryce said in a speech on October 6, 1915: "The massacres are the result of a policy which, as far as can be ascertained, has been entertained for some considerable time by the gang of unscrupulous adventurers who are now in possession of the government of the Turkish Empire."

After the German ambassador persistently brought up the Armenian question in 1918, Talat Pasha said "with a smile": "What on earth do you want? The question is settled. There are no more Armenians."

Later, Prince Abdul Mecid, the heir apparent to the Ottoman Throne, said during an interview: "I refer to those awful massacres. They are the greatest stain that has ever disgraced our nation and race. They were entirely the work of Talat and Enver. I heard some days before they began that they were intended. I went to Istanbul and insisted on seeing Enver. I asked him if it was true that they intended to recommence the massacres that had been our shame and disgrace under Abdul Hamid. The only reply I could get from him was: `It is decided. It is the program.'"

Keep on denying, folks. But remember, the dead won't let you forget.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dead Reckoning; Holocausts vs holocausts

Dead Reckoning; Holocausts vs holocausts

The Independent (London)
August 5, 2000, Saturday


by Robert Fisk

In the spring of 1993, with my car keys, I slowly unearthed a set of skulls
from the clay wall of a hill in northern Syria. I had been looking for the
evidence of a mass murder - the world's first genocide - for the previous
two days but it took a 101-year-old Armenian woman to locate the river bed
where her family were murdered in the First World War. The more I dug into
the hillside next to the Habur river, the more skulls
slid from the earth,
bright white at first then, gradually, collapsing into paste as the cold,
wet air reached the calcium for the first time since their mass murder. The
teeth were unblemished - these were mostly young people - and the bones I
later found stretched behind them were strong. Backbones, femurs, joints, a
few of them laced with the remains of some kind of cord. There were dozens
of skeletons here. The more I dug away with my car keys, the more eye
sockets peered at me out of the clay. It was a place of horror.

In 1915, the world reacted with equal horror as news emerged from the dying
Ottoman Empire of the deliberate destruction of at least a million and a
half Christian Armenians. Their fate - the ethnic cleansing of this ancient
race from the lands of Turkey, the razing of their towns and churches, the
mass slaughter of their menfolk, the massacre of their women and children -
was denounced in Paris, London and
Washington as a war crime. Tens of
thousands of Armenian women - often after mass rape by their Turkish guards
- were left to die of starvation with their children along the banks of the
Habur river near Deir ez-Zour, in what is today northern Syria. The few men
who survived were tied together and thrown into the river. Turkish
gendarmes would fire a bullet into one of them and his body would drag the
rest to their deaths. Their skulls - a few of them - were among the bones I
unearthed on that terrible afternoon seven years ago.

The deliberate nature of this slaughter was admitted by the then Turkish
leader, Enver Pasha, in a conversation with Henry Morgenthau, the US
ambassador in Constantinople, a Jewish-American diplomat whose vivid
reports to Washington in 1915 form an indictment of the greatest war crime
the modern world had ever known. Enver denounced the Armenians for siding
with Russia in its war with the Turks. But even
the Germans, Ottoman
Turkey's ally in the First World War, condemned the atrocities; for it was
the Armenian civilian population which was cut down by the Turks. The
historian Arnold Toynbee, who worked for the Foreign Office during the war,
was to record the "atmosphere of horror" which lay over the abandoned
Armenian lands in the aftermath of the savagery. Men had been lined up on
bridges to have their throats cut and be thrown into rivers; in orchards
and fields, women and children had been knifed. Armenians had been shot by
the thousand, sometimes beaten to death with clubs. Earlier Turkish pogroms
against the Armenians of Asia Minor had been denounced by Lord Gladstone.
In the aftermath of the 1914-18 war, Winston Churchill was the most
eloquent in reminding the world of the Armenian Holocaust.

"In 1915 the Turkish Government began and ruthlessly carried out the
infamous general massacre and deportation of Armenians in Asia
Churchill wrote in his magisterial volume four of The Great War. "... the
clearance of the race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act,
on a scale so great, could well be ... There is no reasonable doubt that
this crime was planned and executed for political reasons." Churchill
referred to the Turks as "war criminals" and wrote of their "massacring
uncounted thousands of helpless Armenians - men, women and children
together; whole districts blotted out in one administrative holocaust -
these were beyond human redress."

So Churchill himself, writing 80 years ago, used the word "holocaust" about
the Armenian massacres. I am not surprised. A few miles north of the site
where I had dug up those skulls, I found a complex of underground caves
beneath the Syrian desert. Thousands of Armenians had been driven into this
subterranean world in 1915 and Turkish gendarmes lit bonfires at the mouths
of the caves. The
smoke was blown into the caves and the men were
asphyxiated. The caves were the world's first gas chambers. No wonder,
then, that Hitler is recorded as asking his generals - as he planned his
own numerically far more terrible holocaust - "Who does now remember the

Could such a crime be denied? Could such an act of mass wickedness be
covered up? Or could it, as Hitler suggested, be forgotten? Could the
world's first holocaust - a painful irony, this - be half-acknowledged but
downgraded in the list of human bestiality as the dreadful 20th century
produced further acts of mass barbarity?

Alas, all this has come to pass. When I wrote about the Armenian massacres
in The Independent in 1993, the Turks denounced my article - as they have
countless books and investigations before and since - as a lie. Turkish
readers wrote to the editor to demand my dismissal from the paper. If
Armenian civilians had been killed,
they wrote, this was a result of the
anarchy that existed in Ottoman Turkey in the First World War, civil chaos
in which countless Turks had died and in which Armenian paramilitaries had
deliberately taken the side of Tsarist Russia. The evidence of European
commissions into the massacres, the eye-witness accounts of Western
journalists at the later slaughter of Armenians at Smyrna - the present-day
holiday resort of Izmir where British sunbathers today have no idea of the
bloodbath that took place around their beaches - the denunciations of
Morgenthau and Churchill, are all dismissed as propaganda.

When a Holocaust conference was to be held in Israel, the Turkish
government objected to the inclusion of material on the Armenian slaughter.
Incredibly, Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel withdrew from the conference
after the Israeli foreign ministry said that it might damage
Israeli-Turkish relations. The conference went ahead, but
only in miniature
form. In the United States, Turkey's powerful lobby groups attack
journalists or academics who suggest the Armenian genocide was fact.
Turkish ambassadors regularly write letters - which have appeared in all
British newspapers, even in the Israeli press - denying the truth of the
Armenian Holocaust. No one - save the Armenians - objects to this denial.
Scarcely a whimper comes from those who would, rightly, condemn any denial
of the Jewish Holocaust.

For Turkey - no longer the "sick man of Europe" - is courted by the Western
powers which so angrily condemned its cruelty in the last century. It is a
valued member of the Nato alliance - our ally in bombing Serbia last year -
the closest regional ally of Israel and a major buyer of US and French
weaponry. Just as we remained largely silent at the persecution of the
Kurds, so we prefer to ignore the world's first holocaust. While Britain's
massive contribution
to the proposed Euphrates dam project in south-eastern
Turkey was in the balance, Tony Blair was not going to mention the Armenian
atrocities. Indeed, when this year he announced that Britain was to honour
an annual Holocaust Day, he made no mention of the Armenians. Holocaust
Day, it seems, was to be a Jewish-only affair. And it was to take a capital
"H" when it applied to the Jews.

I've always agreed with this. Mass ethnic slaughter on such a scale -
Hitler's murder of six million Jews - deserves a capital "H". But I also
believe that the genocide of other races merits a capital "H". Millions of
Jews - despite Wiesel's gutlessness and the shameful reaction of the
Israeli government - have shown common cause with the Armenians in their
suffering, acknowledging the 1915 massacres as the precursor of the "Shoah"
or Jewish Holocaust. Norman Finkelstein in his angry new book on the
"Holocaust industry" makes a similar point, adding
that the Jewish
experience - both his parents were extermination camp survivors - should
not be allowed to diminish the genocide committed against other ethnic
groups in modern history. Indeed, the very word "genocide" was invented for
the Armenians in 1944 - by a Polish-born Jew, Raphael Lemkin.

Nor can I myself forget the Armenian Holocaust. The very last survivors of
that genocide are still - just - alive, and several of them live in Beirut
where I am based as Middle East correspondent of The Independent. I have
read extensively about and, occasionally, researched the Jewish Holocaust -
my own book about the Lebanese war, Pity the Nation, begins in Auschwitz,
where I found frozen lakes filled with the powdered bones of the dead from
the ashpits of Birkenau. But the Armenian Holocaust has been "my" story
because it is part of the Middle East's history as well as the world's.
Only this year, I interviewed Hartun, a 101-year-old
blind Armenian in an
old people's home in East Beirut who remembered how, in the Syrian desert
in 1915, his mother pleaded with Turks not to rape her 18-year-old daughter
- Hartun's sister. "As she begged them not to take my sister, they beat her
to death," Hartun recalled. "I remember her dying, shouting 'Hartun,
Hartun, Hartun' over and over. When she was dead, they took my sister away
on a horse. I never saw her again." Hartun - after years of bitterness and
longing for revenge - was overcome with what he called "my Christian
belief" and decided to abandon the notion of vengeance. "When the Turkish
earthquake killed so many people last year," he told me, "I prayed for the
poor Turkish people."

It was a deeply moving example of compassion from a man whose suffering
those Turks will not admit and whose Holocaust we prefer to ignore. Stirred
partly by Hartun's story, I wrote an article for The Independent in January
of this
year on the "sublimation" of the Armenian genocide, its wilful
denial by US academics who hold American university professorships funded
by the Turkish government, and the absence of any reference to the
Armenians in the British Government's announcement of Holocaust Day. And,
yes, I referred to the Armenian Holocaust - as I did to the Jewish
Holocaust - with a capital "H". Chatting to an Armenian acquaintance, I
mentioned that I had given the Armenian genocide the same capital "H" which
I believe should be attached to all acts of genocide.

Little could I have guessed how quickly the dead would rise from their
graves. When the article appeared in The Independent - a paper which has
never failed to dig into human wickedness visited upon every race and creed
- my references to the Jewish Holocaust remained with a capital "H". But
the Armenian Holocaust had been downgraded to a lower case "h". "Tell me,
Robert," my Armenian friend
asked me in suppressed fury, "how do we
Armenians qualify for a capital 'H'? Didn't the Turks kill enough of us? Or
is it because we're not Jewish?"

There are no conspiracies on The Independent's subs desk; just a tough, no
-nonsense rule that our articles follow a grammatical "house style" and
conform to what is called "common usage". And the Jewish Holocaust, through
common usage, takes a capital "H". Other holocausts don't. No one is quite
sure why - the same practice is followed in newspapers and books all over
the world, although it has been the subject of debate in the United States,
not least by Finkelstein. Harvard turned down a professorial "Chair of
Holocaust and Cognate Studies" because academics objected to the genocide
of other groups (including the Armenians) being lumped together as
"cognate". But none of this answered the questions of my Armenian friend.
To have told him his people didn't qualify for a capital
"H" would have
been shameful and insulting.

A debate then opened within The Independent. I wrote in a memo that the
word "holocaust" could be cheapened by over-use and exaggeration - take the
agency report last year which referred to the "holocaust" of wildlife after
an oil -spill on the French coast. But I said that I still had no answer
worthy of the question posed by my Armenian friend.

One of the paper's top wordsmiths was asked to comment - a grammatical
expert who regularly teases out the horrors of definition in an imperfect
and savage world. He cited Chambers Dictionary, which stated that the
Jewish Holocaust was "usually" capitalised. And, said our expert on the
paper, "It is in the nature of a proper noun to apply to only one thing."
Thus there may be many crusades but only one Crusade (the Middle Ages one).
There may be many cities but the City is London. Similarly the Renaissance.

"There can be only one
Holocaust," he wrote. "Is the Holocaust really
unique? Yes. It was perpetrated by modern Europeans. Its purported
justification was a perversion of Darwin, one of the great thinkers of
modern Europe. Above all, in the gas chambers and crematoria it
manufactured death by modern industrial methods. The Holocaust says to
modern Western man that his technological mastery will not save him from
sin, but rather magnify the results of his sins. There have been acts of
genocide throughout history and some of them have killed more people than
the Nazis did, but we call the Nazi holocaust 'the Holocaust' because it is
our holocaust."

Must we, our grammarian asked, "commit grammatical faux pas and overturn an
accepted usage for which there is ample justification? Finally, where does
it end? Are, for instance, the crimes of Stalin against minority
nationalities in the Soviet Union not just as bad as the Armenian
slaughters? What of the
Khmer Rouge? Rwanda? The Roman destruction of
Carthage? Are these also to be 'Holocausts'? If not, why not?"

Powerful arguments, but ones with which I disagreed. The Jewish Holocaust,
I wrote back, should be capitalised not because its victims were European
Jews, or those of any other race, but because its victims were human
beings. Human values, the right to life, the struggle against evil, are
universal - "not confined to Europeans or one ethnic or religious group, or
involving those who distorted Darwin's theories of biological evolution".
It was, after all, The Independent's editorial policy that the world must
fight against all atrocities - a belief which underlay our demand for
humanitarian action in East Timor and Kosovo. This did not mean that I
regarded Timor and Kosovo as holocausts, but that we should never accept
the idea that one group of victims had special status over others. I spend
hours telling Arabs that they
must accept and acknowledge the facts of the
Jewish Holocaust, but if we are now to regard this as a specifically
European crime, as "our" crime, I have few arguments left. The Arabs can
say it is none of their business.

As for the question, "Where does it end?" Yes, what about Armenia? And
Rwanda? If Armenians are disqualified from a capital "H" because they only
lost one and a half million, what is Rwanda's sin of exclusion? Religion?
Race? Colour? When Armenians in Israel speak of their people's suffering,
they use the Hebrew word Shoah - which means Holocaust.

The Independent's editor suggested that we should debate these questions in
an article in the paper - this is the article - but the issues, of course,
remain unresolved. "Common usage" is a bane to all us journalists but it is
not sacred. It doesn't have to stand still. My father fought in what he
called the Great War - common usage which was later amended, after
1945, to
the First World War. Similarly, I believe, the Holocaust. In the aftermath
of my January remarks on the Armenian genocide, The Independent published a
denial of that same genocide by a Turkish Cypriot academic, in which we
printed the word Holocaust with a capital "H". The world did not end. The
Turks did not complain. Nor did any members of the Jewish community.
Indeed, only last year, a prominent academic at the Hebrew University's
Armenian studies programme in Israel talked of the Armenians and Jews
having "suffered holocaust".

In the meantime, Holocaust - or holocaust - denial continues. President
Chirac has declined to endorse the French parliament's acknowledgement of
the Armenian genocide and forthcoming Holocaust conferences have not
invited Armenians to participate. Mr Blair doesn't mention the destruction
of the Armenians. They don't count, literally. Common usage - and our
concern for Turkish
sensitivities - has seen to that, even though genocide
is anything but normal. Germany dutifully acknowledges its historical guilt
for the wickedness of the Jewish Holocaust. Not so the Turks. Armenians
accept that a few Turks - courageous, outstanding men - risked their lives
in 1915 to shelter their Armenian friends and neighbours, just as
"righteous gentiles" did for the Jews of Europe. But Turkey cannot honour
these brave men. Since the Armenian Holocaust supposedly did not exist, nor
did they. A holocaust rather than a Holocaust helps to diminish the
suffering of the Armenians. What's in a name? What's in a capital letter?
How many other skulls lie beneath the sands of northern Syria? Did the
Turks not kill enough Armenians?