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JOURNAL NUMBERS

Facts and Comments

Retired Ambassador Ömer Engin LÜTEM*
Review of ARMENIAN STUDIES, Number 10, Volume 4 - 2006

 .&À €="justify"> This article will assess the bilateral relations between Turkey and Armenia during the first six months of 2006. Furthermore, some developments pertaining to Armenian genocide allegations that took place in Argentina, Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, the United States, the Czech Republic and Poland will be examined. Thirdly, certain attempted infringements on the freedom of expression in the United States regarding the Armenian Question will be discussed.

Key Words: Turkey, Armenia, Argentina, Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, the United States of America, the Czech Republic, Poland, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdullah Gul, Robert Kocharian, Vartan Oskanian, President George W. Bush, President Chirac, Francois Hollande, Douste-Blazy, Genocide.

Öz: Bu makalede 15 ?ubat – 15 Haziran 2006 tarihleri aras?nda Türkiye ile Ermenistan aras?ndaki ikili ili?kiler ile Ermeni soyk?r?m iddialar? hakk?nda Arjantin, Kanada, Fransa, Belçika, Hollanda , Bulgaristan, Amerika Birle?ik Devletleri, Çekoslovakya ve Polonya’daki baz? geli?meler ele al?nacakt?r. Üçüncü bahis olarak da Ermeni sorunu ba?lam?nda Amerika Birle?ik Devletleri’nde baz? ifade özgürlü?ünün ihlali giri?imlerinden bahsedilecektir.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Türkiye, Ermenistan, Arjantin, Kanada, Fransa, Belçika, Hollanda, Bulgaristan, ABD, Çekoslovakya, Polonya, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Abdullah Gül, Robert Koçaryan, Vartan Oskanyan, George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac, Francois Hollande, Douste-Blazy.

I. TURKEY-ARMENIA BILATERAL RELATIONS

During the first half of 2006 we are examining the Foreign Ministers of the two countries did not meet. The last time they had met was in New York in September 2004. That means that as of end of June 2006 the foreign ministers of the two countries have had no contact for 22 months. The Armenian side avoids a fresh meeting of the two Foreign Ministers, saying that such meetings are aimed to convince the world that negotiations are taking place between Turkey and Armenia, that such meetings yield no results, and that Turkey is committed to defend Azerbaijan’s interests. However, what they think in reality is obviously that as the European Union shares their demands from Turkey (reopening of the border and establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries) and that these demands would probably be met by Turkey during the EU negotiations process; there is no need of meeting of the Foreign Ministers. In fact, Foreign Minister Oskanian openly says that they expect the EU to put pressure on Turkey on these issues. He reiterated that at a press conference he held in Washington in early April.[1]

Despite this lull in official contacts there are news reports indicating that Turkish and Armenian officials have met from time to time.[2] Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nam?k Tan has said, in reply to a question during his weekly press conference, that after receiving President Kocharian’s reply[3] to the Turkish Prime Minister a negotiating process was initiated at the level of the Foreign Ministry deputy undersecretaries to determine whether there is common ground on which bilateral relations could make progress. He indicated that three rounds of such meetings have taken place and that preparations are under way for the next round. Meanwhile, press reports make it clear that at the rounds held until now disagreements ensued mainly from the “genocide” issue and that the Armenian side wants this problem to be privately discussed among historians at conferences rather than between the authorities.[4]

In reaction to the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman’s statement, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gegam Garibjanyan said that at that moment they were not dealing with such issues, that meetings were held between the two sides last year but not this year; and that the Armenian side’s stance is known by everybody. He pointed out that Armenia seeks unconditional reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border, establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and recognition of the Armenian “genocide”.

Foreign Minister Oskanian said on that subject: “There is nothing secret in these meetings.[5] The talks between the two states were not initiated by the letter of the Turkish Prime Minister (Erdo?an). Meetings were held before that.”[6] Thus he tried to create the impression that the latest contacts were insignificant. Oskanian has acted in this manner because negotiating with Turkey behind closed doors conflicts with the impression the Armenian overnment had given its people who were convinced that the government was pursuing a hard-line policy of not making any concessions when dealing with Turkey.

There is another reason as well for the Armenian Government’s reaction to the revelation that talks have been held between the two countries. Obviously the Armenian Government is wary of the possibility that the European Union bodies would see these talks as a positive development and ease – partly if not totally—the pressure it puts on Turkey to have the Turkish-Armenian border reopened and the “genocide” recognized.

During the period we are examining, officials of the two countries have made certain statements on the existing problems.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül focused mostly on the genocide allegations. In a statement he made to a Spanish newspaper, El Pais,[7] Gül reiterated the Turkish position regarding the genocide allegations. He explained that in Turkey it is not a crime to use the expression, “Armenian genocide”. He stressed however that the genocide allegations were a lie, a propaganda effort, and that no such genocide had occurred in reality. He pointed out that during World War I the Armenians had staged an uprising and that the Ottoman Government had to take measures. He expressed regret over the loss of human lives. He stressed that it would not be right to speak of genocide nearly a hundred years later. However, he added, incidents of the past could be studied and that the Turkish archives were open.

On another occasion, in reply to a question posed to him by a deputy at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM)[8], the Turkish foreign minister said that a number of EU countries had passed resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide allegations. These decisions are entirely of a political nature and they are not legally binding, he said. The European Parliament’s 1987 decision on the so-called Armenian genocide too was of the same nature, and, in fact, the case an Armenian organization opened against Turkey at the European Court of Justice on the basis of that decision was rejected by the Court on the grounds that the European Parliament decision in question was political rather than legal, he stressed.[9]

Meanwhile, Armenian politicians have commented on the existing problems with Turkey quite frequently. Given below is a summary of the highlights of these statements:

During the Armenia-EU Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Meeting, President Kocharian reiterated, “Armenia is ready to establish partnership with Turkey without any preconditions”.[10] To those not familiar with the details of the issues at hand, the term “establishing partnership without any conditions” sounds pleasant indeed. However, in reality it involves some serious hazards. This is because if, without putting forth any preconditions, Turkey established relations with Armenia and reopened its border with that country, Armenia, having resolved its problems with Turkey without making any concessions, would consider it would be all right to continue refusing to recognize Turkey’s current borders and to make further genocide allegations. Furthermore, since there would be no reason for it to be wary of Turkey anymore it would start acting in an even more intransigent manner on the Karabagh issue.

In a message he issued on the April 24 “Victims of the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day” Kocharian said, “Ottoman Turkey and its successor carry full responsibility for that crime (the Armenian “genocide”). Since the Republic of Turkey is the successor of the Ottoman Empire it is obvious that the Armenian president has directed an accusation at Turkey.

Relocation of the Armenians began in 1915 and ended in 1916. Therefore, the responsibility for the relocation lies with the Ottoman governments of that time alone. And, legally, the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist with the proclamation of the Republic in Turkey in 1923. Turkey is the successor of that empire in the legal domain but not in the political one. This is because the Ankara Government brought the Ottoman Empire to an end after bitterly denouncing many of its policies. Also, from the legal standpoint it is impossible to direct accusations at Turkey due to the relocation of the Armenians because the Republic of Turkey was nonexistent at the time the relocation took place and, also, because all the problems that had emerged during the World War I were resolved with the Lausanne Treaty.

This situation causes an impasse for the Armenians since it is not possible for them to hold anybody responsible for the relocation of the Armenians. Those who took that decision and those who implemented it have all been dead – since quite a long time. The Ottoman Empire ceased long ago and there is no state in existence that could possibly be held responsible, that is, a state that might accept the genocide allegations, pay compensation and cede pieces of land to Armenia. To get out of this impasse the Armenians have tried to hold the Republic of Turkey responsible for the relocation of the Armenians. To overcome the problem caused by the discrepancy in the dates they have tried to present the “relocation period” as 1915-1923 rather than 1915-1916, claiming that the consequences of the relocation had spanned many years after 1916. However, this argument is inconsistent since it was not the Republic of Turkey that took and implemented the relocation decision. Later, the Armenians sought new arguments. This time they put forth the claim that as long as there were those that “negated it” the “genocide” continued. According to that argument the Republic of Turkey is “responsible for the genocide” because it “negates the genocide” and, for that reason, Turkey must first recognize the “genocide”, then pay out compensation and, finally, give land to Armenia.

The source of this bizarre, illogical argument is certain Armenian writers in the Diaspora. Meanwhile, so as not to create a fresh dispute with Turkey the Armenian government has mostly remained silent on the issue of “holding Turkey responsible for the relocation”, sometimes breaking its silence to make oral comments to the effect that Turkey cannot be responsible for the relocation. Contrary to the Armenian president, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Oskanian and Deputy Foreign Minister Kirakosian indicated, in their April 24 speeches this year, that they do not hold the Republic of Turkey responsible.

Kirakosian gave an interview to daily Zaman, saying, “We do not think that the Turkish people are responsible for the 1915 incidents. The culprit was the Turkish administration of the time.”[11] Foreign Minister Oskanian, meanwhile, told the Armenian TV, “I cannot repeat this often enough: Armenians are able to distinguish between the perpetrators and today’s Turkey.”[12] In short, the foreign minister and his deputy have stated that Turkey is not responsible at all for the relocation phenomenon. Their statements which conflict with those of their country’s head of state must have resulted from a lack of coordination and, in the final analysis, it is the words of the head of state that are valid.

Kocharian’s attempt -for the first time- to hold Turkey responsible for the relocation, can be interpreted as a sign indicating that the Armenian policy towards Turkey will toughen and that the genocide allegations especially will intensify.

In the latest instance, in an interview he gave to a TV channel[13], commenting on the statements of some Turkish figures on non-recognition of frontiers with Turkey by Armenia Foreign Minister Oskanian said that there is nothing of the kind in the RA Constitution. There is just a reference there to the Declaration of Independence saying about the historical past and values. There are no dangerous clauses for Turkey in it. Oskanian added that Turkey is not ready to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. On the other hand he pretended that the issue of frontiers is regulated by a Protocol on diplomatic relations establishment. Saying that “Turkey wants us to make statement, while we do not know if they are ready for diplomatic relations with Armenia.”

We have to clarify some points to ensure that the Armenian Foreign Minister’s words will be fully understood.

Article 11 of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed in Armenia on 23 August 1990 says: “11. The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.” The article in question not only upholds the genocide allegation –which Turkey definitely rejects— but also declares that Armenia would strive to have that allegation internationally recognized. Furthermore, by referring to Eastern Anatolia as “Western Armenia” it indirectly states that Armenia is not recognizing Turkey’s territorial integrity. And the Armenian Constitution has taken as a basis the national goals cited in the Declaration of Independence.

Armenia’s persistent refusal to recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity is based on the Declaration of Independence and the Armenian Constitution. As long as these provisions exist it will be quite difficult for any Armenian government to officially recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity. This is also the reason why Armenia has been refraining from giving official notification to the effect that it is recognizing the 13 October 1921 Kars Treaty which delineated the border between Turkey and Armenia – the treaty that was signed by the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.

As mentioned above, Armenian foreign minister has said that the protocol that would establish diplomatic relations between the two countries would solve the border problem as well. One understands that the two sides would also declare in this protocol that they were recognizing one another’s territorial integrity. However, it would always be possible to claim afterwards that this part of the Protocol was contrary to the Declaration of Independence and to the Armenian Constitution.

It is no secret that the Kocharian administration has been trying to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey immediately while leaving the “demands for territory and compensation” issue to future Armenian governments. According to that policy today Armenia can recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity but in the future under favorable circumstances, the Protocol can be abolished by Armenia on the grounds that it is against the Armenian Declaration of Independence and the Armenian Constitution. Then territory and compensation can be demanded from Turkey.

This scenario, which does not seem realistic at all, is obviously aimed at ensuring establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey while appeasing the Armenian extremists such as the Tashnaks with the argument that Armenian territorial and compensation demands on Turkey are only being suspended, not dropped altogether.

Meanwhile, it must be noted that though many parts of the Armenian Constitution were amended last November the constitutional provisions involving the Declaration of Independence has remained intact. In other words, the Armenian practice of calling Eastern Anatolia “Western Armenia” still continues.

It is obvious that Armenia’s statesmen have been displaying an increasingly negative stance towards Turkey. This is starting to make an impact on the Armenian public opinion. Turkey is now being criticized more frequently than in the past, sometimes in the most unexpected fields. For example, the Armenian Consumers’ Association has recently intensified the “boycott the Turkish products” campaign it had launched in 2001.[14] Chairman of the association, Armen Pogosian, has said, “We should start boycotting Turkish goods in the Armenian market. This is, first of all, a problem of our national dignity, and then an economic issue. Turkish goods meet consumer standards and it is impossible to isolate fully the Armenian market from Turkish goods. Our citizens should understand that they should not buy some products, despite it is cheap, as it touches upon dignity of any Armenian, who remembers history of his people.”[15] It can be seen that the Armenian Consumers’ Association call for a boycott of Turkish goods is based, unfortunately, on racial hatred and not on economic considerations.

The results of the opinion poll conducted on 4 April 2006 constitute another example. Of the 1,000 youths polled, 90 percent claimed that Turkey’s recognition of the “Armenian genocide” and Turkey’s “returning the captured Armenian lands” should be preconditions for establishment of normal relations between Turkey and Armenia. Only 4 percent of the youths polled wanted Armenia to establish normal relations with Turkey without such preconditions. Six percent did not volunteer an opinion on this subject.[16]

Yet, the Armenian government itself is not putting forth any preconditions for the establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey and for the reopening of the common border. This highly extremist stance of the young people has obviously resulted from the intense propaganda activity directed against Turkey. Since today’s youngsters are tomorrow’s leaders it is obvious that Turkey-Armenia relations will be problematic in the future as well if the Armenian youths continue to embrace this kind of mentality.

II. DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO THE GENOCIDE ALLEGATIONS

During the period we are examining, no state announced it was accepting the Armenian genocide allegations. Some states reaffirmed former decisions on that subject. In three countries parliaments’ motions were presented in an attempt to make “negation of the Armenian ‘genocide’ as a crime”. While Bulgarian Parliament rejected a motion envisaging recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide, President Bush’s April 24 message again refrained this year using the word ‘genocide’.

1. Argentina

During the period we are examining the Argentinean Senate turned out to be the only parliament to declare support for the Armenian genocide allegations. On 19 April 2006 the Argentinean Senate issued a statement in which it denounced the “genocide” perpetrated against the Armenians, expressed solidarity with the relatives of the victims of the “genocide” and regret over the systematic denial of the “genocide”, and urged the international organizations to review their activities to defend human rights and to prevent crimes against humanity.[17]

This made Argentina the country that has adopted more decisions on the Armenian genocide allegations than any other country in the world. The Argentinean Senate had passed its first resolution on this issue in 1993. That was followed by a ten-year lull but since 2003 it has regularly passed a decision regarding the Armenian “genocide” every year. Furthermore, in 2004 Argentina enacted a law envisaging that in schools, including the universities, students should be taught about the Armenian “genocide” and that April 24 should be marked as the Armenian “genocide” commemoration day.

It is not easy to explain why the Argentinean Senate is displaying so much interest in this issue. Even in countries with a sizable Armenian minority (such as the Russian Federation, France and Lebanon) the number of resolutions adopted on the Armenian allegations is less than half the number of similar decisions taken in Argentina.

2. Canada

In March 2004 Stephen Harper was elected chairman of Canada’s newly established Conservative Party. After the general elections he became Canada’s prime minister on 6 February 2006. About two months later he triggered a crisis between Turkey and Canada by making controversial remarks.

After striving for years the nearly 70,000-strong Armenian Diaspora in Canada had managed to elicit decisions supporting the Armenian genocide allegations – from the Canadian Senate in 2002 and from the Canadian House of Commons in 2004. However, out of consideration for the country’s relations with Turkey, a succession of Canadian governments had decided that these decisions were not binding on the Canadian government. Canadian Armenians had tried (and failed) to persuade the government to recognize these decisions.

However, Stephen Harper, about two months after this nomination, said on 20 April 2006 in reply to a journalist’s question on the genocide allegations, “That was a vote held in the last Parliament. As you recall, Parliament passed that resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Our party supported that resolution and we continue to recognize that parliamentary resolution.”[18]

Furthermore, the prime minister sent a message to the Armenian National Committee of Canada, which is a Tashnak affiliated organization, to mark the “anniversary” of the “Medz Yeghern which means the Big Disaster in the Armenian language and is the term Armenians employ to mean genocide. He said, “I would like to extend my sincere greetings to all of those marking the sombre anniversary of the Medz Yeghern. Ninety-one years ago the Armenian people experienced terrible suffering and loss of life. In recent years the Senate of Canada adopted a motion acknowledging this period as ‘the first genocide of the Twentieth Century’ while the House of Commons adopted a motion that ‘acknowledges the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity’. My party and I supported those resolutions, and continue to recognize them today. We must never forget the lessons of history, nor should we allow the enmities of history to divide us. The freedom, democracy, and human rights enjoyed by all Canadians are rooted in our mutual respect for one another.”[19]

Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Canada Vagarch Ehramjian said that “truth and justice will prevail over short term economic gains or political expediency. The Prime Minister’s statement is a clear message to the despots of the world that Canada and the free world will not tolerate genocide and ethnic cleansing.”[20]

Canada’s House of Commons marked April 24 as the Armenian “genocide” commemoration day, with House members from various parties making speeches in support of the Armenian allegations. Foreign Minister Peter MacKay too made a speech in which he reiterated the views the prime minister expressed in his April 24 message to the Armenians and “then the Speaker of the House invited the members of the House to observe a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide”.[21]

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 25 April 2006 in reaction to the Canadian Prime Minister’s remarks. The ministry expressed regret over those remarks, pointing out that although the Armenian genocide allegations have been proven to be groundless Prime Minister Harper had presented them as if they reflected historical facts. That is a gravely prejudiced attitude and such remarks would not contribute to the climate of dialogue between Turkey and Armenia while adversely affecting the Turkey-Canada relations, it stressed. The ministry went on to recall that in the past Armenian terrorists had killed and wounded Turkish diplomats in Canada. Unilateral distortion of the tragic incidents of the past for the sake of political gains would not serve the purpose of creating a common future for mankind on the basis of peace and cooperation, it said. With that statement the ministry reiterated Turkey’s proposal for creation of a joint commission consisting of Turkish, Armenian and other historians that would examine the historical facts pertaining to the 1915 incidents on the basis of archival material.[22]

That statement made no reference to potential measures Turkey could adopt against Canada while a newspaper said that a decision was taken to ban the Canadian companies from making bids for the construction of a nuclear reactor (in Sinop) due to the aforementioned stance of the Canadian government.[23]

The Armenian issue drew attention for some time from the Canadian press when Turkish Ambassador in Ottawa Aydemir Erman was recalled to Ankara briefly for consultations and when Turkey withdrew from the Mapple Flag air force exercises taking place in Canada.

The Canadian government can hardly be said to have benefited either on the domestic political scene or internationally from recognition of the genocide allegations.

Regarding the domestic political scene one could say that the Canadian Armenians would now be more likely to vote for the Conservative Party in the next election. However, the next election is over three years away. Meanwhile, no one should expect the Canadian Turks to vote for the Conservative Party in the next election. So, there will be votes gained and votes lost.

Regarding international politics, it would only be normal that Canada’s relations with Turkey would regress. If the effects of that regression would be felt in the economic field as well, that could entail serious losses for Canada.

As a gesture of conciliation, the Canadian Foreign Minister has praised Prime Minister Erdo?an’s proposal for creation of a joint commission of historians with Armenia, saying that he would urge the Armenian authorities to accept this proposal.[24] However, since, together with the both houses of the Canadian Parliament, the Canadian government has already acknowledged the Armenian genocide allegations, it does not seem logical that they would now support the creation of a commission of historians that would investigate whether the 1915 incidents had been a genocide.

3. France

In 2001 a law was passed in France in recognition of the Armenian genocide allegations. Not content with that law, the French Armenians had demanded that those rejecting their genocide allegations should be punished. Some French deputies had drafted a number of motions to this effect but these had not been included in the National Assembly’s agenda since these were merely individual attempts. Meanwhile, a group of renowned French historians had called for abolishment of those French laws (the 2001 law, for example) that deliver judgment on historical events. That too had rendered more difficult enactment of a law criminalizing the “negation” of the “genocide”. However, despite these developments, the French Socialist Party did table a motion to this effect.

The French Socialists acts in this manner mainly because of the difficult situation the country’s ruling party is in. The French government has not performed successfully enough either economically or in the realm of social services. President Chirac has lost prestige to a significant extent. The UMP, the ruling party, is suffering from a certain turmoil, or, to put it differently, instability, caused by these failures. The Socialists want to make use of this situation to wear out the government if not to bring it down. The motion in question is as much a blow to the government as it is an attempt to give satisfaction to the Armenians. The Socialists have obviously calculated that during parliamentary debates the government would, whether it wanted to or not, reject the motion out of consideration for France’s relations with Turkey; and that this would wear out the government since the French public opinion is not sympathetic towards Turkey.

The French Socialist Party presented on 27 April 2006 the following motion that was to be incorporated into the 2001 law that acknowledges the Armenian genocide allegations: “Article 2: Those who negate the occurrence of the Armenian genocide of 1915 by using any of the methods cited in the Article 23 of the Freedom of Press Law dated 29 July 1881, will be punished according to “Article 24 bis” of the same law.” In other words, those publicly denying that the Armenian “genocide” had happened (by, for example, publishing an article or making a speech) would face a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 45,000 Euro.

In a statement he issued on this subject Chairman of the French Socialist Party François Hollande stressed that lately there has been an increase in activities aimed at negating the “Armenian genocide” and that, for that reason, negators of the “Armenian genocide” should be punished.[25] The activities he was referring to was the march some 3,000 Turks had staged on 18 March 2006 to protest erection of an Armenian “genocide” monument in Lyon.[26] On 18 April graffiti written in Turkish appeared on the monument. Considering the fact that almost every day hundreds of marches are staged in France where there is an abundance of graffiti, there is hardly anything extraordinary about Turks staging a protest march or about a few words being scribbled on the monument.

The motion in question drew strong reactions from the Turkish public opinion. As if the accusation that Armenians had been subjected to a genocide was not grave enough, now an attempt was being made to ensure that those who say, “The Armenian genocide never happened,” would be given prison sentences and ordered to pay heavy fines. The Turkish public opinion found that totally unacceptable. These reactions included calls for extreme measures that would hardly benefit anybody: There were calls for a boycott of French goods and the suggestion that a monument should be erected in Ankara on the street where the French Embassy is situated. Curiously, no one in Turkey spoke up to support the French motion even indirectly.

In fact, to the surprise of everybody, certain Turkish intellectuals who had embraced the Armenian genocide allegations actually criticized the French move. It was thought that it would have been more logical for them to support the motion just as the Diaspora Armenians --whose views they share-- have done. Nine Turkish academics that had organized or participated in the conference held at the Bilgi University in September 2005 (where only the Armenian views were defended and expression of the counter-views was not permitted) issued a statement in which they said that they shared the pain of the Armenians. Then they proceeded to point out that the French motion would harm the “process of questioning the history and the common memory” and that it would prevent free discussions in France, making a similar and all the more powerful impact on Turkey.[27] In an interview he gave to Le Monde, Halil Berktay, one of the persons that signed the statement, said that if the motion were to be passed the Turkish Parliament could retaliate by passing a bill criminalizing recognition of the “genocide”.[28]

Regardless of what its real purpose was, that statement had a positive aspect in that it showed that everybody in Turkey, including those who believed that a ”genocide” had taken place, were united against the French motion. Not only the Turks and the French but “third party” academics too became involved in the public discussions on the French motion.[29]

Guenther Lewy, the author of the book, “Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide”, said, “Parliaments should discuss the laws and not history… I oppose the existence of such laws wherever they are… such laws could have functioned in Germany after the World War II, but they are not needed anymore.”

Andrew Mango, the author of the book, “Atatürk”, said, “Such a law is unlikely to be exercised in my country, Britain. Britain even allows you to deny the Jewish Holocaust because we highly appreciate the speech freedom.”

Let us come to renowned Dutch historian Prof. Eric Zürcher considered the French bill objectionable in two aspects: Primarily politicians should avoid writing history; and the use of the word ‘genocide’ is a hindrance to any research being conducted on the events in 1915. He said that the recognition of the Armenian genocide allegations cannot be made a condition for Turkey’s entry to the European Union. ‘What France did in Algeria, Belgium in Congo and the Netherlands as well in the Far-East, have never been discussed by the EU; so then why Turkey?’”

Ara Sarafian, a British historian of Armenian origin, too pointed out that enactment of the bill would disrupt Turkey-EU relations and cause nationalism to rise in Turkey. The debates in Turkey on the Armenian question could come to an end because of it, he said. He recalled that there were the Algeria and Ruanda cases in France’s past. So, he said, France should face up to its own past.[30]

Israeli historian and diplomat Elie Brnavi too opposed the bill, saying that efforts to dictate historical facts by enacting laws would be unacceptable. He pointed out that if the bill were to be passed the Armenians would rejoice whereas Turkey-France relations would receive a blow and those circles in France that oppose Turkey’s EU membership would use that law.[31]

Turkish authorities had a strong adverse reaction to the motion. Press reports said that, sending a letter to President Chirac, the Turkish President of the Republic stressed that dealing with issues related to history was a task for historians and not for politicians. The bill in question would go against the freedom of thought and expression cherished by France as well, he said. He pointed out that disruption of the friendship between the two countries due to this situation -which that was not compatible with the historical facts- would be contrary to the interests of the two countries.[32]

TBMM Speaker Bülent Ar?nç wrote a letter to Jean-Louis Debré, the speaker of the French National Assembly, to underline the role France had played in the application of the fundamental human rights and to point out that the bill in question would go against the freedom of expression.[33]

Having invited the representatives of the major French companies doing business in Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told them on 9 May 2006 that the bill in question was delivering a blow to the freedom of thought and expression and asked them to strive to prevent its enactment. Otherwise relations between the two countries would be disrupted, he said. The prime minister went on to say that in Turkey the archives were open but that Turkey’s positive approach was not eliciting a similar response from Armenia. The visiting businessmen promised to do all they could.[34] Indeed, it was announced that the chairman of the Turkish-French Chamber of Trade sent a letter to President Chirac for this purpose.[35]

Furthermore, the prime minister met with President Chirac in Vienna in the course of the EU-Latin America summit and expressed the uneasiness the bill had caused in Turkey.[36] It has been claimed that Chirac told him that France would display the sensitivity required in the face of Turkey’s concern, that he even spoke about the possibility that this issue would not even be put on the agenda during the French National Assembly’s May 18 session.[37]

When he met his French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy during the NATO meeting in Sofia Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül made his reaction known by asking him, “How can there be freedom of thought like this? If the president, the prime minister, were to come and expressed their views would you arrest them?” Douste-Blazy merely said that the bill did not reflect his government’s stance.[38] Later, in a statement he made in ?zmir, Gül said that everybody should act with a sense of responsibility on this issue. It would be wrong to plunge the Turkey-France relations into jeopardy with petty domestic political considerations, he added.[39]

Turkish authorities summoned the Turkish Ambassador to France Osman Korutürk to Ankara for consultations “for a brief period”.

On 9 May a four-member TBMM delegation that included Mehmet Dülger, chairman of the TBMM Foreign Affairs Committee, went to France and discussed the bill in question with high-ranking officials including Speaker of the National Assembly Debré. Dülger referred to the possibility of French goods being boycotted and French companies not being invited to bid for official projects in Turkey. His words received a lot of press interest in France.[40]

Turks living in France and the Turkish associations had not done much to prevent the enactment of the 2001 law with which France acknowledged the Armenian “genocide”. Five years later, some of these associations are now more active, seriously trying to prevent the new bill. They have staged campaigns to gather signatures, petitioning against the bill. Their officials have met with the leading members of the Socialist Party. They have staged demonstrations around the premises of the French National Assembly.

Turkish unions have published paid advertisements titled “Appel a Nos Amis Français” (Appeal to Our French Friends) in a number of French newspapers such as Le Monde and Le Figaro to underline the hazards of the new law proposed by the Socialists. They have called for a withdrawal of the bill. [41]

In Turkey various groups demonstrated against the bill. Followers of the Workers’ Party (?P) staged a demonstration in front of the French General Consulate in ?stanbul.[42] In Ankara similar demonstrations were staged by the ?P, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Turkish Labor Confederation (Türk-??), and the Kemalist Thought Association in front of the French Embassy.[43]

A number of Turkish journalists and members of Parliament announced that if the controversial bill became law they would go to France where they would publicly state that the Armenian “genocide” had not happened. They said that if the French courts convicted them they would apply to the European Court of Human Rights, have these verdicts reversed, and then seek compensation. As the official reactions in France, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Denis Simonneau merely said, “We are very attentive to the Turkish authorities’ reactions on this issue.”

Armenian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Vladimir Karapetyan expressed his country’s appreciation of the bill which envisages punishments for those negating the Armenian “genocide”.[44]

In this context the Turkish press made frequent references to the close economic ties that exist between Turkey and France, noting that the annual trade volume stood around 10 billion Euro, with French exports to Turkey amounting to 6.3 billion Euro and Turkish exports to France to 3.7 billion Euro. It was pointed out that the two countries have formed especially close ties in the automotive industry.[45] Meanwhile, there were also calls for a boycott of French goods if the bill were to be passed.[46]

Members of the French National Assembly had a mixed reaction to the bill in question. While some dignitaries such as National Assembly Speaker Debré[47], Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Hervé de la Charette[48] and Socialist Party Parliamentary Group Chairman Jean-Marc Ayrault[49] took a stance against the bill, few Socialist Party figures (other than Socialist Party Chairman Hollande and his immediate circle) actually spoke up in favor of it.

The ruling party, UMP, on the other hand, refrained from determining a specific party line on this issue, leaving its members free to vote as they want.

Announcing his stance on this issue a few days before the parliamentary debates, President Chirac said that he had noted with emphasis on various occasions the need for Turkey to engage in some “memory exercise” in the framework of “adoption of European values”. He said that the Armenian question was a sensitive issue that required cool-headed thinking with a sense of responsibility.[50] The fact that the president did not make any reference at all to the bill triggered the speculation that he was against it.

The bill presented by the Socialist Party to criminalize negation of the Armenian “genocide” was debated at the French National Assembly by employing “niche parlementaire”, a procedure that ensures speedy debates. When the debates reached time limit, Assembly Speaker Debré intervened, bringing the session to an end by saying that the bill was being suspended until a future date to be determined later. Thus the bill could not be put to a vote. It seems that the
soonest it can be put on the agenda once again is in fall 2006.

The rapporteur and five of the six members of Parliament who took the floor during the debates, spoke in favor of the bill. The sixth one (Marc Laffineur) opposed the bill on the grounds that history should not be written by passing laws. It is not possible for us to give here all of the views expressed about the bill in question. We will only give a summary of the speeches we consider to be more significant than the others, that is, the speeches made by the rapporteur and the foreign minister. We will also provide some explanatory information about certain issues referred to in these speeches.[51]

The rapporteur, Christophe Masse, began by saying that the bill was drafted after the “negating” demonstrations triggered by the inauguration of the Armenian monument in Lyon on 24 April 2006. He said that the law passed in 2001 had drawn the line on the quarrels regarding “history and memory” on the Armenian issue. What he meant was that since the 2001 law recognized the Armenian “genocide” nothing could be done on this issue anymore. He said that the absence of an international court decision on the Armenian “genocide” would not prevent restriction of the freedom of expression. He said that a century ago neither the notion of international justice nor the notion of genocide had existed anyway. Then he claimed that in our day Armenia is unable to bring this issue before the International Court of Justice because that would require Turkey’s consent. And, finally, in an effort to justify the restrictions envisaged by the bill in question, he argued that the Human Rights Convention had introduced certain restrictions on the freedom of expression.

First let us discuss the rapporteur’s argument that since a law was enacted in 2001 there is nothing left to do. If laws do not fit the facts they get changed. In fact, the 2001 law is one of those that the group of French historians have listed as laws that should be abolished because these deliver judgment about historical events.

Coming to the rapporteur’s argument about that the “absence” of any decision by an international court on the Armenian “genocide”, it must be noted that in 1919 the Ottoman Empire demanded creation of a commission consisting of the representatives of neutral countries to look into the Armenian allegations. If that commission had been formed and if it had accused some persons of committing acts of violence against the Armenians obviously a court would have been set up to try those persons. The British obstructed the creation of an investigation commission consisting of the representatives of neutral countries. Furthermore, the British attempted to try the Ottoman officials themselves but the British prosecutor could not find sufficient evidence. In short, it is not a valid excuse to say that no international court had been in existence a century ago. If there had been a will to this effect such a court could easily have been set up.

Let us come to the allegation that in our day Armenia is not applying to the International Court of Justice because Turkey would not give its approval for such a move. The rapporteur is obviously not adequately informed on this issue. Article 9 of the 1948 UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide says, “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.”

According to this article, Armenia can apply to the International Court of Justice without Turkey’s consent. It can say that Turkey is responsible “for acts of genocide or for any of the acts cited in Article 3”. The rapporteur fails to mention one point: Since the relocation of the Armenians took place in 1915, that is, before the Genocide Convention was signed, there is no way the Convention can be applied to these incidents. Therefore, the Court would not comply with Armenia’s demand. Only if Turkey voluntarily told the Court it was accepting the retroactive application of the Convention to the 1915 incidents that the Court might agree to consider that case -- but it would have no obligation to do so. This is the legal situation. Meanwhile, in reality, Armenia has refrained from making any announcement that would indicate that it would or might take this issue to the International Court of Justice. There is a widely held conviction to the effect that Armenia is carefully avoiding taking legal initiatives.

The first issue Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy dwelt on was that the National Assembly laws that deliver judgment on historical events. He pointed out that recently a consensus had been reached to this effect at the Assembly (when reference to the “positive role” played by France in the colonies was removed from the text of a bill).

Douste-Blazy went on to say that Armenian and Turkish historians could create a common memory, and that would be the best guarantee of a normal relationship to be sustained between the two sides. (When he talked about a “common memory” the French minister obviously meant “Armenian and Turkish historians interpreting the facts in the same manner”.) The minister said that work to this effect had already begun in Armenia and in Turkey and that this should be welcomed and supported. The bill could harm these efforts, he warned. Endorsing the bill could have negative consequences not only for a potential reconciliation between the Turks and the Armenians but also for French interests, he noted. Saying that there are dark pages in the history of every nation, he stressed that, therefore, one had to face up to one’s past and engage in a “memory exercise”. He pointed out that this is not an easy task at all. Then he said that though Turkey should acknowledge the painful periods of its past, today’s Turkey was not responsible for the incidents of the final days of the Ottoman Empire.

Douste-Blazy went on to point out that in Turkey examination of the archives has been facilitated, that a conference bringing together historians and intellectuals with a variety of views was held in Turkey last September to pave the way for an objective examination of the terrible incidents of 1915-1916, that it is believed that the conference, supported by Ankara, constituted a turning point on the Turkish people’s recognition of that tragic period in their history, that, in the meanwhile, there emerged in Turkey new dynamics towards establishment of a dialogue with Armenia, that in order to facilitate resolution of the disputes it would be useful to encourage contacts between the two countries, that the Turkish authorities suggested last year a joint study of history with Armenia, and that France supports such efforts.

Douste-Blazy noted that France was a friend of both Armenia and Turkey, and that France has had a strong, close and consistent relationship with Turkey for a very long time, having formed bonds with Turkey in the fields of economy, culture and science over the years. He stressed that France shared the same views with Turkey in the realm of international relations. Turkey’s efforts for modernization and for a dialogue should be supported and France should not encourage Turkey to become inward looking and to develop an authoritarian nationalism, he stressed.

The French foreign minister said that enactment of the draft would be perceived as an unfriendly gesture by the majority of the Turkish people and would weaken French influence in Turkey and in the entire region. Also, he pointed out that Turkey, who achieved 7 percent growth in 2005, is a partner of primary importance for France. He noted that a great number French companies operate in Turkey and that there is a cultural, scientific and artistic affinity at stake. He urged the deputies to act with a sense of responsibility and reject the motion. To sum up, the French foreign minister reminded the deputies that parliaments should not pass laws on historical issues and asked them to reject the bill on the grounds that passing the draft would harm the “questioning of the history” process which he claimed was underway in Turkey and, also, because that would be perceived as an unfriendly act in Turkey and French economic interests would be harmed.

We are not going to focus on certain erroneous assessments Douste-Blazy made in his speech. We think that the commendable aspect of this speech is that the minister has openly and correctly said that if the bill were to be passed that would be perceived as an unfriendly act by Turkey and that he implied that this would harm French interests. The suspension of the bill for some time has prevented a major crisis in Turkey-France relations at least temporarily.

What will happen when the bill re-appears on the agenda in fall? That would depend mainly on the extent of the clout the French government would be wielding in the French National Assembly at that time. It seems that the lower house would definitely uphold the bill if the French government continued to be in a weak position as it is now. However, the bill would have to clear the Senate as well to become law. And it seems that this would not be easy at all. If the Senate made even the slightest change in the text the draft would have to be debated anew at the lower house. In that case, it may be sent back and forth between the lower house and the upper house (as was the case during the 1998-2001 period) and, in the course of that shuttling process, it may be enacted at an unexpected moment. It is understood that in such a case Turkey would take certain restrictive measures involving general relations in an attempt to have the law altered. However, it would be out of the question for France to alter a law shortly after it was passed. Most probably France would try to respond to Turkey’s restrictive measures within the context of the EU, slowing down or halting the Turkish accession to the union. Thus, there would be an escalation in the negative developments in the Turkey-France relations.

Since it would punish the expression of views that go against the Armenian genocide allegations, the French bill basically aims for a breach of the freedom of expression. Yet, freedom of expression is one of the fundamental principles of the European Declaration of Human Rights. Article 10 of the Convention says that everybody has the right to express his views and that this entails the freedom of conscience and the right to receive and to provide information or ideas. Saying that the Armenian “genocide” never happened is an act that is in the realm of the freedom of conscience.

The same article determines the situations where the freedom of expression can be restricted. In brief, these entail national security, preservation of the territorial integrity and public security, continuation of the public order, crime prevention, and some personal rights and issues. The Armenian genocide allegations do not fall into any of these categories of restriction.

Article 33 of the European Declaration on Human Rights says that any party to the Convention can apply to the Human Rights Court against another country that is also a party to the Convention – due to any alleged breach of the provisions of the Convention.

Accordingly, if the bill gets enacted Turkey will be able to apply to the Human Rights Court. Furthermore, people to be sentenced to jail or ordered to pay fines under that law would be able to sue France under Article 34 of the Convention.

From the political aspect the important point is that if Turkey opened such a case Turkey would not have to take measures in the realm of bilateral relations while France would have to maintain normal relations with Turkey since the issue would then be before the judiciary.

Let us stress that Turkey would stand a strong chance of winning this case if it prepared properly for it.

4. Belgium

In Belgium a law passed in 1995 envisions prison sentences from eight days to one year range as well as fines of up to 5,000 Euro for those that deny the Holocaust or play down its significance or try to justify it. In the past the Armenian circles in Belgium had tried hard (but failed) to bring the alleged Armenian genocide as well under the scope of the law in question.

More recently, the drafting of a bill to this effect in France, has caused this issue to be revived in Belgium. Walloon Liberal Party Senator François Roelands du Vivier (who always protects Armenian interest) and Ms. Christine Defraigne have presented a bill to this effect to the Belgian Senate.

The bill puts three “genocides” under the scope of the law passed in 1995: The “genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Young Turks regime during the World War I”, the genocide perpetrated by the German National Socialist regime during the World War II and the genocide perpetrated by the Hutu regime in Rwanda in 1994. It stipulates that “other genocides or crimes against humanity” would have to be acknowledged by an international court for them to be placed under the scope of this law. Furthermore, it introduces the principle that the “negation of the genocide” must have been perpetrated for the purpose of discrimination or incitement to hate, or with the purpose of debasing a person or persons because of his or their nationality, race, ethnic roots or religion. The sentences the motion envisions are the same as in the penal law: prison sentences in the eight days to one year range and fines of up to 5,000 Euro.[52]

The efforts made in the past to expand the scope of the 1995 law to cover the Armenian genocide allegations as well, had met with difficulties because, for these allegations to be recognized, it was deemed necessary to have a court decision to this effect. And no such court decision existed. The latest bill seeks to overcome this difficulty by naming directly and at the same time providing a definition of the Armenian “genocide” -- by referring to “the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Young Turks regime during the World War I”.

Another significant aspect of the bill is that it specifies the “genociders” but not the “victims”. Indeed, the words “Armenian”. “Jewish” and “Tutsi” are conspicuously absent from the draft. This is probably to allow for future claims about “genocides” having been committed against some other groups as well. This way they would be able to claim in the future that the Armenians were not the only group subjected to a “genocide” by the Ottomans, that the Assyrians, Caldeans and Pontians too had been subjected to genocide by the Ottomans. And, in the case of the Germans, it would be possible to claim that the gypsies too had been subjected to a genocide.

Judging by past experience it can be said that the bill is not very likely to be passed. However, if the similar bill presented to the French National Assembly became law that would boost the Belgian bill’s chances.

5. Netherlands

The Christian Union (ChrtistenUnie) Party which has three seats in the 150-seat Dutch Parliament, presented to Parliament on 1 June 2006 a bill that envisages up to one-year prison sentences for persons deliberately denying a genocide or a crime against humanity with the purpose of delivering an insult or in order to incite hatred. Ms. Tineke Huizinga, who presented the motion with a speech, listed the Armenian “genocide” among the crimes that would come under the scope of the motion.[53]

Fadime Örgü, a Dutch parliamentarian of Turkish origin, said that the bill would be blocked during the stage of parliamentary committee debates. Even if it cleared the committees its adoption by the parliament floor would still be difficult, she pointed out. She said that as the Dutch Turks they would never permit the draft to become law.[54] Meanwhile, there are reports indicating that members of the Dutch Parliament have recently been bombarded by e-mails forwarded especially by the Turks who oppose the Christian Union bill.[55]

The Dutch Parliament had passed on 21 December 2004 a resolution in which it demanded that during the talks to be held with Turkey towards EU membership the “Armenian genocide issue” should be clearly and consistently brought up. Thus it had acknowledged the Armenian genocide allegations. Now what is at stake is punishment of the “negators” of “genocide”. The Christian Union move has obviously been inspired by the bill presented to the French National Assembly.

Under normal conditions a bill restricting the freedom of expression such as this one should not get much support in the Netherlands. However, the Armenians’ ability to arouse feelings of pity must not be underestimated. Also, if the French bill gets enacted that will definitely clear the path of the Dutch bill.

6. Bulgaria

Together with 12 deputies of his party, Bulgaria’s ATAKA Party Chairman Volen Siderov has presented to Parliament a draft resolution that would acknowledge the Armenian “genocide” and make April 24 the commemoration of the genocide victims day on the grounds that the Armenian “genocide” had great significance for Bulgaria since the Ottoman Empire had “committed genocide against the Bulgarians too.” The draft says that Bulgaria has been tardy in acknowledging
“this genocide”.

ATAKA is a party of the extreme right that has carried into today’s Bulgaria the racist ideologies that had been valid in Central Europe in the 1930s, managing to get enough voter support to win parliamentary seats. As can be expected it has taken a stance against all communities in Bulgaria that are not ethnic Bulgarians, especially against the Turks. It is only normal that this party joins hand with the militant Armenians and, in this context, with the Tashnaks, since it shares the same views with them in the realm of racial hatred.

The Rights and Freedoms Movement, a member of the ruling coalition whose members are mostly Turks, opposed the ATAKA move and the draft was defeated with 81 votes while 55 deputies voted in favor of the draft and 33 deputies abstained.[56]

A considerable section of the Bulgarian people suffer from a deep-rooted anti-Turkism. Bulgaria was granted independence in practice in 1878 due to Russia’s strategic calculations rather than Bulgarian people’s efforts. After the independence, the Bulgarians had to be turned into a nation. For that purpose, two factors were used. Firstly, the idea that “a much bigger Bulgarian state had existed in the past and modern Bulgaria should regain the boundaries of that old state” was propagated. Secondly, it was argued that under Ottoman rule the Bulgarians were kept in an undeveloped state, that they were subjected to atrocities and that their population diminished. In order to fulfill its Greater Bulgaria dreams, Bulgaria took part in the Balkan Wars and in the two world wars. It met with defeat on all these occasions. Thus the Greater Bulgaria dream came to an end but the anti-Ottomanism survived, turning into hostility towards the Turkish minority in Bulgaria.

The Turkish minority was subjected to discrimination and pressure and this constituted the main problem between the Turkish Republic and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, due to the pressure exerted on them, many Turks had to migrate to Turkey. During the 1950-1951 and the 1968-1978 periods Turks migrated to Turkey in great numbers. To bolster his own position (with the conviction that Turkey would not be able to intervene) President Zhivkov launched in late 1984 a policy of forceful assimilation of the Turks remaining in the country. In this framework the Turks were forced to adopt Bulgarian names. They were banned from speaking Turkish, listening to Turkish music and wearing traditional Turkish clothes. The few programs aired in Turkish language by the regional TV and radio channels were scrapped altogether. A newspaper and a magazine published in Turkish in part were closed down. Turkey referred to Bulgaria’s stance at all international organizations. Furthermore, it reduced its bilateral relations with Bulgaria to a bare minimum. Turkey’s efforts pushed the Zhivkov Administration into a difficult position and, as a result, they opened up Bulgaria’s border with Turkey in May 1989 and permitted the Turks (who were resisting the Bulgarian attempts to assimilate them) to migrate to Turkey. The confusion created by the migration of three hundred thousand of Turks weakened Zhivkov administration which failed at the same time to maintain good relations with the Soviets. Protests staged by the human rights defenders and the environmentalists in the country, caused Zhivkov to be toppled in November 1989.

The Communist government that succeeded the Zhivkov Administration discontinued the measures aimed at forceful assimilation of the Turkish minority. Turks became quickly organized, founding a political party that opened its doors to the ethnic Bulgarians as well. This party, which calls itself the Rights and Freedoms Movement, has used its around 10 percent vote wisely, taking part in the government from time to time as is the case currently.

The draft resolution acknowledging the Armenian “genocide” may be put forth anew after some time. This is because there is the possibility that the number of deputies supporting the draft -currently 55- will go up. Some of the 33 deputies who abstained may decide to support the draft in a future vote. Also, some of the 71 deputies that did not take part in the voting process may support the draft in a future vote. Bulgaria is expected to become an EU member by the end of 2007. If that happens Bulgaria may feel freer to act regarding Turkey. For this reason, in the future as well as now, the stance taken by the Rights and Freedoms Movement will be decisive. If the Rights and Freedoms Movements continues to categorically oppose such moves, drafts of this kind would not stand a chance – as long as the current Bulgarian government remains in power. If, on the other hand, the Rights and Freedoms Movement acts in an hesitant manner or decides not to take part in a potential new government, that would boost the chances of the aforementioned draft.

7. United States of America

US president George W. Bush issued on 24 April 2006 his traditional message to mark the “Armenian Commemoration Day”.

This year too the president refrained from using the word “genocide” when referring to the relocation of the Armenians and this triggered criticism from the Armenians. The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) which represents mostly affluent Armenians and prefers to have good relations with the administration, issued a statement in which it mildly criticized the president, pointing out that he failed to keep the promise he had made to “acknowledge” the Armenian “genocide” during the 2002 election campaign.[57] Meanwhile, recalling that over 200 members of Congress had urged the president to acknowledge the “genocide”, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) which is a Tashnak Party organization, said, “The president ignored the counsel of the one hundred and seventy-eight Representatives and thirty Senators who had written letters urging him to properly characterize the Armenian genocide.” It said, “President Bush failed, once again, to honor his pledge to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as a ‘genocide’ in his annual April 24 remarks…candidate W. Bush, campaigning for votes among Armenian voters in the Michigan Republican primary, pledged to properly characterize the genocidal campaign against the Armenian people…His Administration has consistently opposed legislation marking this crime against humanity.”[58]

Prompted by the Armenians, 31 US senators and 178 members of the US House of Representatives had sent a letter to President Bush, asking him to use the word “genocide” in his annual message. These included John Kerry who was President Bush’s rival in the last presidential election and Senator Hillary Clinton, the wife of Bush’s predecessor Bill Clinton.[59] Meanwhile, the president’s brother John Ellis Bush who is the governor of Florida issued a statement in which he said, “Ottoman Turks were responsible for a mass extermination of an estimated one a half million Armenians…Armenians were victims of genocide.”[60]

The president’s 2006 message is quite similar to last year’s message.[61] As in last year’s message the word “annihilation”, which is almost synonymous with the word “genocide”, has been avoided. The terms the US president used this year included “mass killings”, “horrible tragedy”, “a terrible chapter of history”, “tragedy for all humanity” and “forced exile”. Except for the last one it would be difficult to say that these terms fit the relocation of the Armenians.

As in previous years President Bush has claimed that one and a half million Armenians had been killed en masse or subjected to “forced exile”. This number, which he had cited in his previous messages too, is in line with the Armenian propaganda that one and a half million people had died during the relocation. The death toll cannot have been so high because the total number of Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire hardly amounted to one and a half million. However, one has to bear in mind the fact that the US president’s message is of a political character rather than scholarly. Since this figure (one and a half million) satisfied the Armenians while practically no objections came from Turkish historians he obviously saw nothing wrong in citing that figure.

One part of the message is quite interesting. President Bush said in his message, “We praise the individuals in Armenia and Turkey who have sought to examine the historical events of this time with honesty and sensitivity.” That is not a reference to the hundreds of Turkish academics and writers who believe that the relocation of the Armenians was not a genocide and who have been trying to prove that point scientifically. The persons he is referring to are the some thirty people, mostly staff members of universities set up by foundations, who had come together at Bilgi University premises last September to voice their pro-Armenian views.

Another significant part of the message is the part in which President Bush refers, as in last year’s message, to an analysis made by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), saying, “The analysis by the International Center for Transitional Justice, while not the final word, has made a significant contribution toward deepening our understanding of these events.” To be able to understand these words we have to look back a little. The ICTJ is a private judicial establishment that is not known much even in America. The Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) which has been abolished by now, had asked the ICTJ whether the UN Genocide Convention would apply to the 1915 incidents. The ICTJ said in its report that the Convention could not be implemented retroactively, and, that, therefore, it would not be not possible to demand land or compensation from Turkey. However, the ICTJ went on to make further comments in the report to reply to another question that had not been posed to it. It “prophesized” that if the UN Convention could be implemented retroactively the 1915 incidents would have been deemed a genocide. In short, the ICTJ seemed to be developing a formula which can be described as, “Let Turkey acknowledge the ‘genocide’ and let Armenia, in turn, not demand any land or compensation from Turkey.”

The fact that the US president has referred to this hardly significant establishment in his reports in two years in a row indicates that the US State Department embraces this formula. The Armenian government who is not strong enough to obtain land or compensation from Turkey, might opt for such a solution if it could silence the Tashnaks, a coalition partner. However, such a formula cannot be valid from Turkey’s standpoint since it does not fit the historical realities; the Turkish public opinion is extremely sensitive to the genocide allegations; and, with no exception all Turkish governments have categorically rejected the genocide allegations.

Probably the most important part of the message is the part that says, “We encourage dialogues, including through joint commissions, that strive for a shared understanding of these tragic events and move Armenia and Turkey towards normalized relations.” In a letter he had sent to President Kocharian on 14 May 2005 Prime Minister Erdo?an had suggested creation of a commission consisting of the historians and other experts of the two countries “to shed light on a controversial period of history”. President Kocharian had suggested, in his reply, an inter-governmental commission that would discuss all of the existing problems between the two countries.[62] The Turkish initiative thus proved fruitless since it became obvious that the Armenian president was giving priority to issues such as reopening of the common border in an effort to push the historical issues into the background. Referring to this issue in his 2005 message President Bush had cited “Prime Minister Erdo?an’s new proposal for creation of a Turkish-Armenian joint commission”. In this year’s message too he referred to this issue, stressing that the USA supported dialogue between the two countries, via joint commissions or otherwise. However, this time he did not mention the fact that the proposal in question had come from the Turkish prime minister. This may have resulted from the unfavorable climate a Hamas leader’s (Meshal) visit to Ankara last February has created in Washington.

In short, this year’s message was not much different than last year’s. Naturally, it is not easy to find new terms or issues about the genocide allegations and Turkey-Armenia relations every year. For Turkey the main thing is for the US Administration to strive to adopt on the genocide allegations the kind of stance that would not cause hard feelings in any quarter.

8. The Czech Republic

On 4 April 2006 a conference was held on the Armenian “genocide” at the Czech Republic’s parliament. The event was organized by the Armenian Club in Prague and Jaromir Stetina, a member of the Czech Senate from the Greens Party.

Those taking part in the conference were ardent champions of the Armenian genocide allegations, namely, Vahank Dadrian, Ms. Tesa Hoffman and Ms. Hilda Chobanian together with a journalist named Yelda Özcan who was presented as “a Turkish historian living in Germany who would present the Turkish view”. Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian too was present.[63] Also taking part in the conference, former Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky of Slovakia recounted his experiences about the Slovak Parliament acknowledging the “genocide”.

During the conference the well-known Armenian allegations were voiced. Meanwhile, Kirakosian made comments along the following lines: “Armenia is ready to negotiate and cooperate with Turkey without any preconditions; however, it would never give up its policy towards winning international recognition for the genocide.” His words are interesting since they show that even if the relations between the two countries improved Armenia would continue to make genocide allegations.

Senator Stetina said that, following the example set by the Slovak Parliament, they would draft and present to the Czech Parliament a document envisaging recognition of the “genocide”.[64]

The conference was held under the auspices of the Czech Republic’s former President Vaclav Havel.[65] Havel did not take part in the conference but, in a speech he made at a meeting of the Council of Europe education ministers shortly after the conference, he drew a lot of attention by “equating the mass killings of Armenians by Turks 90 years ago to the slaughter of Jews in World War II.”[66] The current President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, on the other hand, had said during an interview he gave during the last week of March that it was useless to put the events of the past on the international agenda once again, that he did not think Turkey’s recognizing the Armenian “genocide” would do anybody good, and that holding Turkey responsible for a historical event was meaningless.[67]

Since these differences of view between the two presidents exist among the Czech politicians too it is not possible to say what would happen when Jaromir Stetina presents to the Czech Parliament a bill envisaging recognition of the Armenian “genocide”.

9. Poland

We had stated in the past that the Polish National Assembly had unanimously adopted on 19 April 2005 a resolution acknowledging the Armenian “genocide”.[68]

That came as a great disappointment to the Turkish public opinion since the people in Turkey have great sympathy for the Polish people due to certain myths about history. The move showed that these feelings were not mutual.

This issue was raised during Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller’s visit to Ankara in April. At a press conference he held together with his Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Gül expressed Turkey’s concern. He stressed that the issue should be taken up by historians and not by politicians. He recalled that Turkey had made a proposal to this effect but could not get a positive reply from Armenia.[69]

During his visit to Deputy Parliament Speaker Sad?k Yakut, the Polish foreign minister said that the Polish Assembly has passed the resolution in question in line with the demands of the Armenians in the country. The resolution is not “binding”, is not anti-Turkey, and it does not reflect the views of the Polish government, he stressed. Meller also said that he had told FM Gül that that he was ready to undertake a goodwill mission in order to bring together Turkish and Armenian historians to work on this issue[70]. Also, in a statement he made to a journalist he said that he would suggest that to Yerevan during a visit to Armenia in June.

Meller left the foreign ministry in mid-May and was replaced by Ms. Anna Fortyga. It is not clear yet what kind of stance the new minister will take on this
issue.

III. ATTEMPTS TO VIOLATE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN THE USA

During the period we are examining two attempts were made in the USA to violate the freedom of expression regarding the Armenian question. Firstly, after a documentary prepared by the PBS company on the “genocide” was aired the Armenians and their supporters launched a campaign to prevent panel discussion during which the counter-views too could be expressed. Secondly, attempts were made to prevent two Turkish retired ambassadors from giving lectures on the
Armenian question. The two had traveled to the USA for this purpose.

1. PBS Television’s “Armenian Genocide” Documentary and the Panel

As can be discerned from its name the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a TV station operating on a public service basis in the USA. In other words it is a non-profit organization but it is not official. It has contracts with 348 local TV stations and thus has viewers in large numbers in the USA.

Last year a documentary film titled “Armenian Genocide” was made by renowned director-producer Emmy winner Andrew Goldberg.[71] The roughly onehour documentary is understood to contain all elements of the Armenian propaganda concerning the so-called genocide.

Andrew Goldberg, has personally stated that, of the cost of the film ($ 650,000), 90 percent was met by Armenian sources and the remaining 10 percent by the Jewish organizations in the USA.[72] Meanwhile, let us note that Andrew Goldberg had worked for the Armenians in the past as well, producing a documentary titled “Armenians: A History of Survival”.[73]

The PBS did not hesitate to buy the documentary. According to its spokesman, Lea Sloan, the PBS is an establishment that “acknowledges and accepts” that the “Armenian genocide” had happened.[74] However, obviously to offset the one-sided nature of the documentary, the PBS wanted the airing of the documentary to be followed by a 30-minute panel where the Turkish and Armenian views would be discussed.

Peter Balakian, a writer of Armenian origin who is understood to have served as an adviser for the documentary, sent a letter to the PBS on 28 November 2005, objecting to the plan to organize panel discussions.[75] According to Balakian such panels would be held in case of programs that are not “balanced” whereas the “Armenian Genocide” documentary reflected the views of the parties concerned in a balanced manner. Balakian also argued that the Armenian “genocide” was not “in dispute”, that there existed a consensus to this effect in the world. Thirdly, he claimed that it would be ethically wrong to give equal weight to the views of those “denying” the “genocide”. However, the PBS insisted that the panel should take place.

The panel was held on 6 February 2006 and it was filmed so as to be shown on 17 April following the “Armenian Genocide” documentary. Taner Akçam, Peter Balakian, Prof. Dr. Justin McCarthy and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ömer Turan took part in the panel, with the last too expressing the counter view.

The Armenian circles in the USA launched a campaign to prevent the airing of the taped panel discussion. In this framework, they mobilized four US congressmen, the top four of those that have been protecting the Armenian interests in the US Congress.[76 These persons wrote to congressmen, asking them to send letters to PBS President Wayne Godwin to persuade him to drop the plan to air the taped panel discussion. They even provided the suggested copy of such a letter. This text said, in brief, that despite the Turkish government’s effort “to obscure and alter history”, there was no serious academic dispute about the “Armenian genocide” and it asked Godwin “that you reconsider the decision to include genocide deniers on your panel.”[77]

The letter was signed by 26 members of the House of Representatives not counting the original four members. Two senators (Boxer and Ensign) too sent Godwin similar letters[78]. Let us recall that the US House of Representatives consists of 550 members and that the US Senate has 100 members. Also to be considered is the fact that the Congressional Armenian Caucus has over 150 members.

Meanwhile, some US-based Armenian organizations urged the Armenians to send letters and e-mail messages to the PBS to ensure that the taped discussion would not be aired. The Turks in the USA too sent letters and e-mail messages to the PBS in great numbers.

The PBS made its stance known all too quickly. Jacoba Atlas, co-chief of the channel in charge of the programming services, said (in her reply to Steven J. Dadaian, the Western Region chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) which is a Tashnak organization) referring to the calls for non-airing of the panel discussion, “You have likened our decision to following a documentary on the genocide of Jews during WW II with a panel of Holocaust deniers…, the comparison is not entirely analogous. Germany has fully accepted responsibility for the Holocaust, paid reparations, made apologies, met with survivors, and teaches about it in its schools. As you know, this is not the case with the Armenian Genocide. Turkey’s official position on this chapter of history is a key part of the controversy that the documentary and the panel discussion see to examine.”[79] In the days to come too the PBS executives did not alter their stance despite the pressure coming from the members of Congress, the press and individuals.

On 17 April a great part (93 percent) of the 348 channels that have contracts with the PBS broadcast aired Andrew Goldberg’s “Armenian Genocide” documentary around 10 p.m. The ratings were above that hour’s average. 60 percent of these 348 channels aired the panel discussion around 11 p.m. after they showed the documentary. The ratings were half the average for that hour. TV stations based in big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington simply did not broadcast the panel discussion whereas those in Chicago and Houston did.[80]

The US administration did not become involved in the quarrel on whether the documentary and panel in question should be aired or not. In fact the political regime in the USA would not permit that. Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman for the US State Department, said, “This is a TV program. If you want to watch it, you watch it.”[81]

Turkey’s view was made known via a statement issued by the Turkish Ambassador to Washington Nabi ?ensoy, on 18 April 2006 which explains the Turkish stand on the Armenian question in an excellent manner. The text of this statement is reproduced in the “Recent Documents” section of our Review.

An analytic approach to the issue leads to the following findings: First of all one sees that the “Armenian Genocide” documentary was made with propaganda purposes considering the way it treats the issue, the past experiences of the producer-director, the fact that it was financed by the Armenians and, also, the fact that it was broadcast in April when the Armenian genocide claims reached a peak.

The PBS could not reject that film though it was a propaganda tool. This can be explained as the PBS being wary of the Armenians. However, since the film is nothing but propaganda, the PBS tried to balance that program off by organizing a panel discussion – most probably to be able to defend itself in court.

The panel discussion in question triggered vigorous reactions from the Armenians. They launched a big campaign to prevent it from being aired. Here, the significant thing was that half of the panelists were supporters of the Armenian views. In other words, those demanding that the panel be banned, were, in fact, trying to impose “censorship” on Balakian and Akçam as well though these two have been avidly supporting the Armenian views.

In dealing with this issue the ANCA, a Tashnak organization, came to the foreground while the other big Armenian organization, the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) preferred to stay away from the limelight. This is a sign indicating that some of the Armenians in the USA, mostly the well-to-do circles, wanted to keep away from that quarrel. The same tendency can be observed among the American politicians as well. No more than two senators and thirty House members took part in the campaign launched to have the members of Congress send letters to the PBS. These are small numbers indeed and they show that the Armenian initiative has not been approved by a great majority of the Congressmen.

Most significantly, that move was an attempt to breach the freedom of expression. An attempt was made to “silence” four panelists on the grounds that half of them were “deniers”. In such a situation, while trying not to cancel the panel discussion, even the PBS did not openly announce that not broadcasting the discussion would be a violation of the freedom of expression. Instead, it put forth some other arguments. The PBS must have used that tactic so as not to agitate the highly aggressive Armenian lobby in the USA. However, such evasive attitudes would not suffice to protect the freedom of expression. This is because, unaware of the fact that they are violating a universal value, the Armenians will think it is all right to act in such an extreme manner in the future as well.

2. The Ambassadors’ Lectures in America

Here is another case of the Armenians violating the freedom of expression in the USA: The lecture to be given at the University of South California (USC) by two retired Turkish ambassadors was prevented.

Together with the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM) Chairman retired Ambassador Gündüz Aktan, I went to the USA to give lectures on the Armenian question in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago during the 19 March – 2 April 2006 period. We held briefings for the Turks in the USA and gave lectures at the University of Columbia in New York and the Georgetown University in Washington. We were scheduled to give a lecture at the University of South California in Los Angeles as well. The event had been announced and the invitations had been sent out. Before we set out for that city we received the news that the lecture had been cancelled. Despite that we went to Los Angeles where we took part in some other activities on our program. In this framework we staged a briefing for the Turks and made speeches at a luncheon organized for us by the World Affairs Council where some Armenians too were present.

As can be guessed, the lecture at the South California University was cancelled at the instigation of the Armenians. On 22 March Steven J. Dadaian, the Western Region chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) which is a Tashnak Party organization, sent a letter to the university’s Center for Public Diplomacy which was organizing the lecture, saying, “Aktan and Lütem are notorious deniers of the Armenian Genocide…have the extraordinary task of turning the victims of the first genocide of the 20th century into the perpetrators,” that they “plan to argue the Turkish government’s official position that there were no massacres of the Armenians,” and that “even if there were massacres, the Armenians deserved them” and these “were not Genocide”.[82]

Dadaian went on to claim in his letter that, “the facts surrounding the Armenian Genocide are not in dispute. The Armenian Genocide has been recognized by the United Nations, the United States government and even the Ottoman courts who convicted the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide in absentia. The fact that the USC is going to provide a forum for Turkish foreign agents to deny historical facts by making outright false statements is disturbing and a violation of your own Code of Ethics.”

Dadaian went on in the following manner: “USC has an Armenian-American student body of over a thousand students whose families are the direct descendants of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Turks and now officially denied by the Turkish government. This panel will undoubtedly be considered an extremely offensive event which disrespects the rights and dignity of not only your students but to all the hundreds of thousands who are the victims and surviving children of the Armenian Genocide.”

The letter ends with the words, “if USC chooses to proceed with this program, our organization will be forced to take further action to protest the University.”

We have focused on this letter in order to show our readers how aggressive and bigoted the Diaspora Armenians, especially the Tashnaks, can be.

There is another case that exemplifies that kind of behavior. The speech Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül made in Los Angeles at a conference organized by the World Affairs Council was protested by some 2000 demonstrators outside the hotel. The demonstration was organized by the ANCA.83 Here, it must be noted that the minister’s speech was not on the Armenian question. It was on security and Turkey’s strategic role and relations in Eurasia. Obviously a Turkish politician’s arrival in California is enough reason for the Armenian protesters to stage demonstrations regardless of the issue the politician would discuss. This is basically racist behavior.

Let us return to our main subject. The letter the ANCA sent to the University was full of errors and unfair accusations. Neither Mr. Aktan nor I have ever said on any occasion that the Armenians who died during the relocation had been guilty. We never said that no Armenian massacres had taken place during the relocation. And we did not say that those that were killed had deserved that. Our real position is as follows: Unfortunately, certain deaths did take place during the relocation though in much smaller numbers than alleged by the Armenians. However, according to the 1948 UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide those incidents were not genocide.

Lately, both from the members of the Diaspora and the Armenians in Armenia proper, one hears quite often the argument that just as the Holocaust the Armenian “genocide” is an “undisputable fact”. The Holocaust is indeed an undisputable fact because, before everything else, it has been acknowledged by Germany, that is, the perpetrator of the act; it has been recognized by almost all scholars; and it has been proven on the strength of the material evidence found i.e. concentration camps. The Armenian genocide allegations, on the other hand, are being categorically rejected not only by Turkey but also by Azerbaijan. A great majority of the Islamic countries could give Turkey their support on this issue should that be needed. In the academic world, some world-renowned scholars are convinced that the Armenians had not been subjected to genocide though they do point out that massacres had taken place in some places.

The Armenian militants say on every occasion that the UN has recognized the Armenian “genocide”. This is not true. In 1985 a report presented to a subcommittee of the UN Human Rights Commission had listed “the Armenian genocide” among the genocides perpetrated in the past. Thanks to Turkey’s intervention the subcommittee merely “took note” of the report. The usual process would have been for the subcommittee to uphold the report and to refer it to the Commission where it would be debated. If the Commission decided to endorse it, it could reach the UN General Assembly probably via the Economic and Social Council. The fact that the subcommittee contented itself with “taking note” of the report was, in reality, a failure for the Armenians. However, after some time, the Armenians began to claim that the UN had recognized the Armenian “genocide”, referring to the report in question. When the Turkish side disproved their argument, they remained silent for a while but in the end they put forth the same argument once again.

No US administration has taken a decision recognizing the Armenian “genocide”. Making that claim at a time President Bush has taken pains not to use the word “genocide” in his annual message, can only be described as audacity.

The Ottoman courts set up in order to try the war criminals (in line with the Entente Powers’ demand in the aftermath of the World War I) could not possibly have taken decisions “recognizing the Armenian genocide” because, at that time, the notion of genocide did not exist. These courts, called “Divan-? Harb-I Örfi” (Martial Law Courts), tried many people and convicted some of them for maltreating the Armenians. However, these courts failed to observe due process in general and they acted under political influence with the aim of purging the Unity and Progress Party figures. That brought dishonor on them in a short time and, in the end, they were abolished.

Let us come to the arguments Dadaian made when he tried to have the lecture cancelled. His contention that the lecture would be perceived as an insult by hundreds of thousands of people of Armenian origin, was meaningless. Speeches based on scientific data, speeches that do not contain accusations about anyone, cannot be considered an insult. Obviously Dadaian’s intention was to intimidate the executives of the University by referring to the presence of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in California. In fact, at the end of his letter he issues a threat, saying that if the University insisted on hosting the event the Armenian organization would take further action.

The substance of the issue is that two persons coming from Turkey to express their opinions on a specific subject have been prevented from speaking up. This is a violation of the freedom of expression in a country such as the USA that cherishes this.

As soon as it received that letter from Dadaian the University’s Center for Public Diplomacy cancelled the lecture. It is understood that the University took that decision mainly because it takes seriously the threats issued by the Tashnak organization. The truth is that the militant Armenians in California are not merely “sounding” aggressive. They resorted to violence in the past. The memory of the murders they committed is still fresh in the minds. The Turkish Consul-General in Los Angeles Mehmet Baydar and his deputy Bahad?r Demir were murdered by an Armenian in Los Angeles on 27 January 1973. Nine years later, on 28 January 1982, yet another Turkish Consul-General in Los Angeles, Kemal Ar?kan, was shot by the Armenians. In the early 1980’s, renowned historian Stanford Shaw was harassed by the Armenians at the University of California in Los Angeles due to his conviction that the Armenian “genocide” did not happen, A bomb was thrown at his house and he had to take shelter in Turkey due to security considerations. Currently, it is no secret that the crime rate is high among the Armenians in California, especially among those that have recently migrated there.

To conclude, it has been seen that the Armenians in California are using violence or the threat to resort to violence as a political tool. In fact, it was by using that tool that they brought about the cancellation of the lecture we had wanted to deliver.

 


 

[1] ABhaber, 2 April 2006.
[2] Noyan Tapan, 7 March 2006.
[3] Review of Armenian Studies, number 7-8, pp. 24, 25.
[4] Milliyet, 30 May 2006.
[5] PanArmenian, 8 June 2006.
[6]Regnum, 8 June 2006.
[7] An Armenews item dated 6 March 2006 quoting from the 6 March 2006 issue of Al Pais.
[8] Hürriyet, 1 March 2006.
[9] Review of Armenian Studies, Volume 2, No. 6, 2004, pp. 23-24.
[10] ARKA News Agency, 19 April 2006.
[11] Zaman, 25 April 2006.
[12] Armenia TV, 24 April 2006.
[13] Arminfo, 9 June 2006.
[14] Azg, 27 April 2006.
[15] ArmRadio.am, 25 April 2006.
[16] Milliyet, 12 April 2006 and Noyan Tapan, 11 April 2006.
[17] Azg, 23 April 2006.
[18] PanArmenian, 20 April 2006.
[19] Armenian National Committee of Canada, Press Release, 21 April 2006.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Armenian National Committee of Canada, Press Release, April 24, 2006. During the speeches made at the House, Karygiannis, a House member of Greek origin, referred to the region where Turkey is situated as “that part of the world” and to the so-called “Pontus genocide”. He posed Foreign Minister MacKay the following question: “Today there continues to be human rights violations against the Kurds and the Cypriots in that part of the world. When will the Prime Minister have the strength of his convictions and have his foreign minister officially recognize the Armenian and Pontian genocides committed by the Ottoman Empire?” The minister did not give a reply.
[22]
www.mfa.gov.tr Aç?klamalar, 2006 No. 63, 25 April 2006.
[23] Hürriyet, 25 April 2006.
[24] Anatolia News Agency, 9 June 2006.
[25] Le Monde, 29 April 2006.
[26] Agence France Presse, 18 March 2006.
[27] Radikal, 10 May 2006. The text of the statement, translated into French, appeared in daily La Libération on the same day.
[28] Le Monde, 18 May 2006.
[29] Zaman, 10 May 2006.
[30] Zaman, 10 May 2006.
[31] Cumhuriyet, 17 May 2006.
[32] Hürriyet, 11 May 2006.
[33] New Anatolian, 2 May 2006.
[34] Milliyet, 10 May 2006.
[35] Le Monde, 10 May 2006.
[36] Hürriyet, 12 May 2006.
[37] Hürriyet, 13 May 2006.
[38] Milliyet, 3 May 2006.
[39] New Anatolian, 12 May 2006.
[40] Le Monde, 10 May 2006.
[41] Hürriyet, Le Monde, 6 May 2006.
[42] Armenews, 12 May 2006.
[43] Hürriyet, 16 May 2006.
[44] PanArmenian.net 11 May 2006.
[45] Hürriyet, 13 May 2006.
[46] Sabah, 9 May 2006, Türkiye, 13 May 2006.
[47] Zaman, 11 May 2006.
[48] Hürriyet, 11 May 2006.
[49] PanArmenian, 12 May 2006.
[50] La Libération; Armenews, 18 May 2006.
[51] The information we give on these speeches are from the official records of the French National Assembly which were published on the Les Nouvelles d’Armenie en Ligne website (
www.armenews.com) on 18 May 2006.
[52] Armenews, 15 May 2006.
[53] Anp (Dutch Press Agency), 1 June 2006.
[54] Zaman, 4 June 2006.
[55] Anp (Dutch Press Agency), 1 June 2006.
[56] Zaman, 10 May 2006.
[57] Armenian Assembly of America, Press Release, 24 April 2006.
[58] Armenian National Committee of America, Press Release, 24 April 2006.
[59] Ntv, 23 April 2006.
[60] ARMENPAC – The Armenian-American Political Action Committee, 7 April 2006.
[61] Review of Armenian Studies, Number 7-8, pp. 38-40.
[62] Review of Armenian Studies, Number 7-8, pp. 24-25.
[63] Noyan Tapan, 6 April 2006.
[64] Armenews, 7 April 2006.
[65] Noyan Tapan, 5 April 2006.
[66] RFE/RL, 25 April 2006; and Jewish Telegraphic AGENCY, 26 April 2006.
[67]
www.soykirimgercegi.com 13 April 2006.
[68] Review of Armenian Studies, Number 7-8, pp. 29-31.
[69] Dünya online, 14 April 2006.
[70] Anadolu Ajans?, 13 April 2006.
[71] Canada News Wire, 10 April 2006.
[72] Mirror on Line, 12 April 2006.
[73]
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1279480/
[74] New York Times, 25 February 2006.
[75] California Courier Online, 9 February 2006.
[76] These persons were Adam B. Schiff, Frank Pallone, George Radanovich and Joe Knollenberg.
[77] Armenian National Committee of America, Press Release, 23 February 2006
[78] Asbarez, 6 April 2006.
[79] Armenian National Committee of America, Press Release, 29 February 2006
[80] Documenting and Debating ‘Genocide’, Michel Gatler, PBS Ombudsman, PBS.org. 23 April 2006.
[81] PanArmenian.Net, 27 February 2006.
[82] Armenian National Committee of America, Western Region, Press Release, 23 March 2006.
[83] ANCA Press Release, 24 March 2006.

 ----------------------
* Director of AVIM - oelutem@avim.org.tr
- Review of ARMENIAN STUDIES, Number 10, Volume 4 - 2006
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