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.

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