Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Armenian genocide

I found this link http://www.washingtontimes.com where the writer is a Turk and denies Armenian genocide.I found interesting the comment that 'Manuel' posted in regards to the article.

Read it here:

"oplu. I do know the background of the writer, she has written articles on this site as well as her Turkish Digest website as well having her articles printed in blatantly nationalist websites.
I am sorry you feel that way about Armenians, in my first comment I did not make any comments about Turks as a whole but only regarding the writer and the Turkish government. I am well aware of the fact that Turks helped save thousands of Armenians during the Genocide and they are risking their lives today by daring to talk about it and raising the issue in public. Your comments regarding all Armenians are blatantly racist - please read them again yourself.
The writer tries to use a quote by Winston Churchill regarding what constitutes a fanatic. If she had researched the subject properly she would have known that Winston Churchill referred to what happened to the Armenians as 'administrative Holocaust'.
The reason why Armenians are not warm to the subject of a joint commission is that only a handful of historians and the Turkish government believe it was not Genocide, but mainly because while it has suggested the commission it has quashed any debate on the subject in Turkey - Why - let there be open, honest, full debate on the subject in Turkey first - without the hatred and death threats towards those Turks speaking their minds? After over 90 years of distortion of facts in Turkey - it is only now that the debate has begun, Turkey should find out for itself what happened in 1915 openly and honestly - before suggesting a 'joint commission' .
Every time this debate is raised the question of Nagorno Kharabagh is raised - as if somehow the present has a hand in the past. Nachichevan and areas including Kharabagh were annexed to Azerbaijan from Armenia by Russia, thats why the population of kharabagh was predominantly Armenian ( and yes there were ethnic Azeris, and yes they were forced out and they should ultimately be given the right to return).
I agree there should be understanding and peace between the two neighbours, but it can only be done with acceptance of the truth. The book for which the Turkish publisher was imprisoned was called ' The truth will set us free' - about how the writers family was saved by a Turkish family it was a book on understanding and reconciliation, but as I said 301 was used to imprison the publisher. I don't believe the Turkish population is racist, just the Nationalists as well as prominent politicians, these are the people who sadly still control Turkey, and before you get angry at this comment let me quote you the Turkish Defense ministers statement made in a speech in Brussels last month (the heart of Europe) 'Turkey would not have been the country it is had the Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians....been allowed to stay' what does that say about the willingness of a 21 century modern country leadership say about that countries present ideology and willingness to look at history objectively?

Understandably being a Turk, the writer of this article would not like to admit that what happened in 1915 was Genocide.
No other choice has been left to Armenians around the world, but to ask the governments of the countries they live to recognize the Genocide, up until now there has been no debate on the subject in Turkey, the term 'Armenian' is still an insult of the highest order even used by politicians (used recently as last week against the president of Turkey). Sadly article 301 in Turkey is still used to prosecute anyone who uses the words Armenian Genocide, one assistant publisher has just been imprisoned for having published a book by an Armenian writer.
One myth I keep hearing especially in Turkish newspapers etc. is that the Armenian lobby group is very powerful, to put matters straight - compared to the tens of millions spent on US lobby groups by Turkey and the fact that any high ranking Turkish minister can pick up the phone and call his/her counterpart in the US ( as happened with Clinton at a previous vote) the Armenian lobby groups are no match. Instead of suggesting Mr. Obama should look into what happened in 1915, the writer should be advised to go back to Turkey and find out the facts for themselves, it is only now that they can research the subject there more freely. One of the reasons why debate has sprung up is because the Armenian diaspora has pushed the issue, if not Turkey would have buried the issue long ago just as it buried the million plus Armenians in 1915."
December 24, 2008 at 11:39 a.m.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Online apology for the Armenian genocide

After more than 90 years, Turkey is about to breaking a long-held taboo. An online petition, apologizing for the killing of Armenians in 1915, has been issued by prominent Turkish academics.

Watch the video here:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Convince Raphael Lemkin Otherwise!

Dec 10 2008

The Armenian Genocide has been officially recognized by Turkey,
United States, Great Britain, Israel and many more countries, but we
just couldn't see it.

By Vicken Babkenian, an independent researcher for the Australian
Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Sydney, Australia,
3 December 2008

It all began when I was cutting an Orange for my niece when she asked
me why the name Orange is both a color and a fruit. After doing some
research, I discovered that the root of the word Orange in the English
language is derived from the fruit. In other words the Etymology of
the color and the fruit is interconnected. No one can argue that the
fruit Orange is not Orange.

As someone who has studied the Armenian Genocide over a number of
years, I could not help but familiarize myself with the etymology of
the word Genocide. I discovered that the word genocide is from the
roots genos (Greek for family, tribe, race, a people, a nation) and
-cide (Latin - occidere or cideo - to Massacre, Kill, exterminate). I
looked up the word in the Oxford dictionary and found the definition to
be "the extermination of a race". I then recalled that this definition
of the word 'genocide' had been used by contemporary eyewitnesses,
diplomats, historians, journalists to describe what was happening to
the Armenians during WWI. Lord James Bryce in 1915 called it "the
Extermination of a Race" in a New York Times article. If the word
'genocide' had been coined before WWI, then that one word would have
been used, instead of the five words which mean the same thing.

I then conducted some research on Raphael Lemkin, "The founder of the
genocide convention" and on the genesis of the word 'genocide' which
he coined in 1944. In his manuscript titled "Totally unofficial",
Lemkin wrote:

"In 1915 . . . I began . . . to read more history to study whether
national, religious, or racial groups as such were being destroyed. The
truth came out after the war. In Turkey, more than 1,200,000 Armenians
were put to death . . . After the end of the war, some 150 Turkish
war criminals were arrested and interned by the British Government
on the island of Malta . . . Then one day, I read in the newspapers
that all Turkish war criminals were to be released. I was shocked. A
nation that killed and the guilty persons were set free . . . I felt
that a law against this type of racial or religious murder must be
adopted by the world"

I soon reached the conclusion that the word genocide is etymologically
interconnected with the tragedy of the Armenians, just like the word
Orange is to the fruit of the same name. The man who coined the word
genocide had in large part based it on the Armenian catastrophe. He
even stated on national television "that it happened to the
Armenians." I further realized that the legal term "Crimes against
humanity" which is affirmed by the U.N general Assembly was in the
main, derived and adopted from a declaration made by the Allies on
24 May 1915 with respect to the initiation of the wartime Armenian
Genocide, which they branded as a "crime against humanity." This
fact is acknowledged by the authoritative UN War Crimes Commission,
History of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and the Development
of the Laws of War.

I searched online to learn which countries had actually signed and
ratified the Genocide Convention. I discovered that most countries
in the world had done so, including the United States, Great Britain,
Turkey, Israel and so on. I concluded that by ratifying the convention
they had in fact recognized that the Armenian holocaust was in fact
a genocide.

Yes, I use the word 'holocaust' because that word was used to
describe what was happening to the Armenians during the Abdul Hamid
Massacres, Adana Massacres and the Armenian genocide by contemporary
writers. William Walker Rockwell in an article titled "the Total
of Armenian and Syrian Dead" in the New York Times Current History
February 1916, wrote "If the ghosts of the Christian civilians who
have perished miserably in Turkey since the commencement of the great
holocaust should march down Fifth Avenue twenty abreast there might
be a million of them ... for most of them will be women and children".

The Armenian genocide has been recognized by the majority of the
nations of the world and we didn't even know it. If those countries
who have ratified the genocide convention deny that the Armenians
were victims of genocide, then they should either terminate their
participation to the convention, or have the convention change the word
'genocide' to something else which is not intrinsically connected to
the Armenian slaughter.

Denying that Armenians were victims of genocide is akin to denying
that an Orange is Orange. It is insane and illogical. For those who
believe that what happened to the Armenians should not be termed a
'genocide', should have convinced Raphael Lemkin not to base the
word on what had happened to the Armenians. Unfortunately for them,
it is too late, by signing the genocide convention; most of the world
has already recognized the Armenian genocide.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Turkish intellectuals give personal apology for 1915 events

A group of Turkish intellectuals have apologized for the “great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915” but have fallen short of calling on the state to do the same.

A petition initiated by a group of intellectuals, including professors Baskın Oran and Ahmet İnsel, journalists Ali Bayramoğlu and Cengiz Aktar, personally apologizes for the events.

The group is asking other people to sign the petition, which reads as follows: “I cannot conscientiously accept the indifference to the great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, and its denial. I reject this injustice and acting of my own will, I share the feelings and pains of my Armenian brothers and sisters, and I apologize to them.”

The organizers of the campaign have underlined that first they will collect signatures from intellectuals and they will then open a secure Web site to collect signatures.

Oran pointed out that they had written the text for individuals since the tragedy was very human. “We are searching for human beings. We thought about urging the state to apologize but we decided to let individuals act according to their conscience. This call is for everybody,” he said.

The petition, which has already become the target of nationalists, has led to criticism from other intellectuals.

Aytekin Yıldız, the coordinator of the Confrontation Association (Yüzleşme Derneği), pointed out that the Armenian community was already aware of the fact that there are many people in Turkey of conscience, and the important thing was not to declare what is already known. “It is a good starting point, but not enough. Firstly, what do they mean by ‘great disaster’? Let’s name it, it is genocide. Secondly, the state has to apologize,” Yıldız pointed out.

Historian Ayşe Hür said apologizing is the duty of those who were responsible for the act, or for those who share their arguments. “It seems that a very elite group discussed that petition, because I learnt about this petition from the media and I was surprised,” she said, and added: “I approach these types of events as a scientist, as a historian, not as a member of the Turkish nation. For me, all these events were the fault of Turkish nationalism flourishing at that time, and personally, I don’t identify with it, so I do not feel the need to apologize personally.”

She also pointed out that the petitioners are concentrating only on 1915; however, she says there were events after and before. “There is a state tradition which legitimizes all these events and prevents any discussion about them. Firstly, the state has to ensure a suitable atmosphere to discuss all these things; then it has to apologize on behalf of the perpetrators and for itself, because it has legitimized their actions through the years.”

Another figure, a prominent intellectual who wanted to remain anonymous, said to apologize is not the responsibility of the individual but that of the state. He said Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül’s remarks at a speech he gave in November were not acceptable.

In that speech, the minister suggested that the “success” of the republic lay in the nation-building process. “If there were Greeks in the Aegean and Armenians in most places in Turkey today, would it be the same nation-state? I don’t know what words I can use to explain the importance of the population exchange, but if you look at the former state of affairs, its importance will become very clear,” Gönül said. He added that in those days, Ankara was composed of four neighborhoods -- Armenian, Jewish, Greek and Muslim -- and claimed that after the nation-building process, it became possible to establish a national bourgeoisie.

The Lausanne Treaty, signed in 1923, set in motion a population exchange between Greek Orthodox citizens of the young Turkish Republic and Muslim citizens of Greece, which resulted in the displacement of approximately 2 million people. The Armenian population that was in Turkey before the establishment of Turkish Republic was forced to emigrate in 1915, and, according to some, the conditions of this expulsion are the basis of Armenian claims of genocide.

05 December 2008, Friday