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Letter to the Editor - Journal of Turkish Weekly - 7 June 2005

Dear Madam / Sir :

I refer to the article by Dr Sedat Laciner entitled Armenian Diaspora in Britain and the Armenian Question (1 June 2005).

Let me start off by commending the author for the time, research and information he has put into his article. I must admit that I had already read it in its longer version quite some while ago. However, since a few vital elements are missing whilst others are out-dated, I would suggest that it might perhaps benefit from serious updating in some factual areas to render it more suitable for 2005.

However, where I encounter a serious problem is the way Dr Laciner tackles the hub of the title - i.e., the Armenian Question / Armenian Issue as official Turkey euphemistically terms the Armenian Genocide. Much as the Armenian youth of the UK wish to be depoliticised - and so they should, like many other younger generations within the European Union - the author commits the mistake of concluding that this means they are disinterested in Armenian issues.

On the contrary, my own interface with cross-sections of the 'younger' Armenian society Europe-wide would suggest that one does not exclude the other, and it is moreover misleading to infer overall that Armenian radicalism is damaging 'the Armenian national interests by deepening the hostility between the Armenian and Turkish people'.

In my opinion, what is harming the development of peaceful and mutually beneficial relations is the official Turkish attitude that refuses to stare the truth in the face, admit the Armenian Genocide in order to recognise it, and move on into the 21st century. Turkey, and its official spokespersons, are now not only engaged in an unrelenting and costly war of denial with Armenians and Europeans about the Armenian Genocide, they have also opened a front with many of their own Turkish compatriots both within Turkey and world-wide who are speaking out about the miserable chapter of Armenian-Turkish relations under Ottoman rule during WWI.

Once Turkey faces up to the facts, stops shouting items off the agenda or legislating discriminatory laws that flout a Eurocentric understanding of 'freedom of expression', or even cancelling conferences, banning authors and dragging publishers into court because they do not fit into their definition of Turkish nationalism, the sooner the two peoples would start building viable bridges.

That is what Dr Laciner's article could have done - rather than question for the umpteenth time the historical veracity of the Armenian Genocide and cast aspersions over the a blotted page of history. I pray and hope that this would happen in the not-too-distant future.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Harry Hagopian - International Lawyer

Executive Consultant - Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG)

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