France leads the way for Britain and America - 19 January 2001
London, 19 January - The Committee for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG) and the British Armenian Community have welcomed with satisfaction yesterday's unanimous vote in the French Assembly to recognise the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Hratche Koundarjian, press and information director, said: "The French Assembly, by passing this Bill unanimously, have sent a message to Turkey and the rest of the world, that the Turkish government must come to terms with its past and recognise that it did commit and was responsible for the heinous crime of genocide beginning in 1915. France has affirmed that it will not waiver in the face of threats or reprisals on the fundamental issue of genocide."
Nowhere in the simple one-line language of the Bill, are the words "Turkey," "Turkish" or "Turks" mentioned. All it says is that "France publicly recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915." Therefore, Mr Koundarjian continued, "if a French citizen was unacquainted with his country's history, he could well assume that it was the French who killed the Armenians. Thus, the anger over this Bill calls attention to their crimes more than would have been the case."
The Turkish government's decision to recall its ambassador from Paris is a clear indication of the Turkish belief that it can threaten countries, parliaments and governments as part of its international campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. This escalation in Turkey's indignant campaign is symptomatic of its international standing as a regional bully. President Clinton last year caved in at the 11th hour to prevent the passage of an Armenian Genocide Resolution, last October, in the U.S. House of Representatives after Turkey threatened to deny America and Britain the use of airbases in eastern Turkey, which America and Britain use to patrol the Iraqi no-fly zones.
CRAG Chairman Dr. Rostom Stepanian, stated, "The French people should be proud of their political institutions, based on the values of liberty, fraternity and equality, and France shown that, unlike Britain, it is a country that does live up to its principles".
· Nearly 2-million people were murdered beginning in 1915.
· In March of last year, 126 Holocaust Scholars, Chairs of Universities and specialist on the Genocide, at the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Scholars Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, affirmed in a petition that the Armenian Genocide is an "incontestable historical fact and accordingly we urge the governments of Western democracies to likewise recognise it as such."
· The British Governments policy is that the Armenian massacres do not constitute genocide, which it denies at the bequest of Turkey.