From now on in Turkey one can speak aloud about the Armenian Genocide of 1915 without being afraid of criminal prosecution. On June 29 , the Turkish parliament approved amendments in the criminal code that excluded two points from article 305 which is entitled"offences against fundamental national interests of Turkey". The first point prescribed punishment for calls for the withdrawal of the Turkish Army from Cyprus and the second point that was excluded from the text of the article prescribed legal persecution for the mentioning of Armenian genocide.
Scholars Petition President of Armenia on Behalf of Jailed Ph.D. Candidate More than 200 academics from the United States, Armenia, Turkey, and elsewhere have signed an open letter to the president of Armenia expressing their"grave concern" at the arrest and detention of a Ph.D. candidate from Duke University. The student, Yektan Turkyilmaz, a Turkish citizen, was arrested on June 17 as he was leaving Armenia for Turkey with about 100 secondhand books he had legally purchased. Mr. Turkyilmaz is a candidate for a degree in cultural anthropology, and his dissertation is to be called"Imagining 'Turkey,' Creating a Nation: The Politics of Geography and State Formation in Eastern Anatolia, 1908-1938."
At a time when Turkey exerts efforts to pose as model or example for the neighbouring countries, a Turkish professor tries to justify the Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks. Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.12.04) reported from Konya that Prof. Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu, chairman of the Turkish History Society, has stated that foreign population statistics openly and clearly refute Armenian allegations that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottoman Turks.
French President Jacques Chirac reaffirmed his country's position that Turkey should review its history and acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Chirac deliberately used the word"genocide" and when the reporter asked to clarify"genocide or tragedy," Chirac said"genocide," adding that the fact is a law in France, adopted by the parliament.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the speaker of the French parliament Jean Louise Debre Thursday to leave the question of a Turkish genocide of Armenians to historians, the Anadolu news agency reported. Erdogan reportedly told Debre that the French parliament should not pass resolutions calling on Turkey to recognise massacres of Armenians during the First World War as genocide."If their historians have claims our historians also have claims," Erdogan reportedly told Debre.
The US may use the Armenian Genocide as a trump for pressuring Turkey in the issue of Iraq, says Milliyet (Turkey). This concern is due to the 2005 commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Armenia and many countries and to the fact that many European parliaments are considering Armenian Genocide recognition.
Pressure from Turkey has resulted in the removal of a reference to the Armenian genocide from a German school curriculum, reports said Wednesday. The eastern German state of Brandenburg has eliminated half a sentence on the Armenians included in ninth and tenth grade history classes after a Turkish diplomat complained to state Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck, the newspaper Die Welt reported.
The Belgium Senate Justice Commission yesterdaywithdrew a bill proposing fines and jail terms for people who deny the Armenian genocide allegations. The Armenian lobby was shocked by the decision. 'We finally decided to withdraw the proposal because we need to consider the issue more seriously," Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is reported to have said.
The Middle East Studies Association is protesting the decision of the rector of Bosphorus University to cancel an academic conference entitled, “Ottoman Armenians in the Period of the Empire’s Collapse.” These actions violate the academic freedom and human rights of Turkish scholars, a number of whom are members of our association.
A Turkish university facing accusations of treason has postponed a conference that offered a platform to academics questioning a national policy that denies any World War One genocide of Armenians. The conference, due to start on Wednesday at Istanbul's Bosporus University, was organized as Muslim Turkey faces mounting pressure from the European Union to accept that mass killings of Christian Armenians starting in 1915 was genocide.
Saudi authorities have dealt a crippling blow to hopes of Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said on Thursday that Turks had never committed genocide throughout their history. Arinc, who is currently in Australia on an official visit, met Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Replying to questions of the A.A correspondent following the meetings, Arinc said, ''I expressed Turkey's regret over recognition of allegations regarding the so-called Armenian genocide in some countries. Bitter events occurred during the World War I. However, Turks have never committed genocide throughout their history. Not national parliaments but historians should deal with such events.''
Countries which have officially recognized the so-called Armenian genocide will face retaliation from Turkey, warned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Erdogan added that"Their decisions will have an adverse effect on international diplomacy." He argued that the 15 nations which have recognized the genocide did so without using any documents or information and cannot be supported by any solid evidence."We will make a similar decision regarding their pasts after studying the documents. Our decisions will be based on historical documents and information. We will take this step" Erdogan warned.
German historian Wolfgang Burgdorf supported the proposal of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on formation of an Armenian-Turkish commission for the Armenian Genocide investigation, Speigel online reported. In his words, Turkey should abandon the principle of defense and take the initiative. “It should invite Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora for investigating the events of 1915-1915 closely to the historical reality,” he stated.
Prof. Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu, the Chairman of the Turkish History Society (TTK), said on Wednesday that scientists could be criticized, but could not be stopped by courts, when commenting on the investigation launched regarding the statements he made in Switzerland that the Armenian genocide allegations were baseless, AA news agency reported. Stating that the Armenians were manipulated by western imperialism, Halacoglu said, ``you can`t expect two nations (Turks and Armenians) that lived together for 850 years to become enemies suddenly. There are circles which provoke this (enmity). You can see how they were organized in French archives, how they are used by the Brits, and how Russians used them as spies. If I were an Armenian, I would sue Britain, France and Russia in international courts.``
Turkey's new criminal code was supposed to be a crucial part of its efforts to bring itself in line with European norms. Instead, it stumbles from one controversy to another. Last autumn, voices were raised over plans to criminalise adultery. The centre of attention now is an article that looks as if it sets the courts loose on anyone describing the 1915 mass expulsion of Ottoman Armenians as a"genocide".The Armenian genocide issue usually drops off Turkey's agenda immediately after April 24th, the date that has come to mark the start of the 1915 massacres. That it is still there this year is largely due to the decision of a Swiss court last week to open an investigation into a Turkish historian,Yusuf Halacoglu, accused of denying the Armenian genocide.
Switzerland came to decision on the detainment of the head of the Association of Turkish Historians Yusuf Ghalachogly for public denial of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of last century. The legal proceedings were initiated last spring when during a scientific conference Ghachalogly questioned the fact of the Genocide and stated that the “activity of the Swiss juridical bodies and the resolution of the Belgian parliament mean that Europe judges not people but the Turkish State.” Meanwhile Swiss historian Andre Egne said that if Ghachalogly fails to prove his statements he can be detained. To note, according to Article 261.2 of the Swiss Criminal Code the person, who shows disrespect for the fact of Genocide and for the victims of this crime against humanity can be sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment and should pay a penalty amounting in 5 thousand Swiss franks, IA Regnum reports.
International pressure on Turkey to recognise the 1915 massacre of more than one million Armenians as genocide is mounting on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the start of the killings. As Armenians worldwide prepare to commemorate the murders tomorrow - amid hopes that the US president, George Bush, will use the term genocide for the first time to describe the massacres - Ankara faced growing calls to own up to the slaughter.
After the European Union called for all the national archives of the period of World War I to be opened for an investigation into the history of the Armenian genocide, Armenian President Robert Kocharian has informed the Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he accepts Erdogan's proposal to form a committee comprised of historians and other experts to study the incidents of early 20th century. Kocharian implied that the past could not be discussed without taking into consideration today and tomorrow. In his letter, Kocharian did not use the term ''genocide.''
Typhoid, the Russians, imperialism and Kaiser Wilhelm II in far away Berlin -- all were responsible for the mass deaths of Anatolian Armenians. At least that's the case if you read the official Turkish history books. According to the Turkish version, the only group that didn't bear any responsibility were the Ottomans, the great-grandfathers of modern-day Turkey, which is now on the cusp of joining the European Union. On Sunday, Armenians all around the world remembered the 90th anniversary of the start of the genocide. This year brought the last decennial memorial in which survivors of the crime, one of the worst of the past century, will still be alive to attend.
Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian on Monday added his voice to official Yerevan’s rejection of a Turkish proposal to jointly study the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and determine whether they indeed constituted a genocide. He said Turkey should instead establish diplomatic relations and reopen its border with Armenia without any preconditions. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called last month for the creation of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians that would look into the validity of each party’s position on the tragic events of 1915-1918. The Armenian government turned down the offer, saying that its acceptance would call into question the very fact of the genocide.