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CRAG E-Alert - 3 February 2005

Dear Friends & Supporters:

The theme and tenor of the enclosed piece in the Journal of Turkish Weekly is an interesting development that shows some pressure on the issue of the Armenian Genocide within Turkey.

A discussion - even a parliamentary one in any democratic country - is meant to begin with an open mind! If the outcome is not a whitewash, it might even be helpful for all parties. But the message of this piece unfortunately seems to define the messenger too, and the attitude with which issues are dismissed is at the very least not EU-friendly. They underline a state of mind and highlight the real concerns of many parties as expressed time and over again.

Read on the following piece compiled and prepared by Jan SOYKOK on 3 February 2005 for the Journal of Turkish Weekly. Or else log on: http://www.turkishweekly.net

If any academic or considered rebuttal is made available to CRAG by its friends and supporters, we are willing to post it on the website too.

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The Turkish Grand National Parliament's committee for harmonisation with the European Union (EU) has announced that it will investigate allegations by Armenians that the Ottoman Empire committed acts of 'genocide' against its Armenian citizens during World War One.

Ali Riza Alaboyun, the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee, said that some Armenian groups have agreed to the discuss the issues and settle the Armenian genocide claims that have been levelled at Turkey by many groups and organisations.

"I do not believe that in our history there is anything to be ashamed of" Alaboyun said. "There is lack of information. We shall take the initiative in hand and have an unbiased assessment of events occurring away from us" he added.

Onur Oymen, a member of the opposition Republican People's Party who also sits on the committee, said that Armenians distribute publications targeting Turkey on the genocide claims and that Turkey should make sure to send out material refuting the allegations.

There is a vivid debate in Turkey about Turkish-Armenian relations. Many Armenian books have been translated from Armenian and other languages, including the pro-Armenian ones. However Turkey does not accept the Armenian allegations about the 1915 Events. According to Turkey there was a war in 1915, and the Armenian armed groups attacked the Ottoman Armies. 500,000 Muslims (Turkish and Kurdish) were killed by the Armenian armed groups. The ultimate aim of the Armenian nationalist groups was an independent Armenia in Eastern Anatolia. Dr. Nilgun Gulcan from ISRO said "Armenian citizens were not loyal to their own state."

Gulcan told the JTW:

"Thousands of Armenians changed their nationality and became Russian citizens. In Eastern provinces they attacked the Ottoman Armies and Muslim villages. Even they helped the occupier Russian armies. Apart from the war curcumstances there was a severe clash between the Kurdish and Armenian villages. Many were killed in these conflicts. In Van Province, the Armenians rioted against the Ottoman State and killed thousands of Turkish and Kurdish women, children and old people. They declared a city-state. When the Russians came to the city they dreamed of a greater Armenian state. However the Ottoman forces recaptured the city and put an end to the Armenian dreams. It is true, many Armenian civilians died. However the reason was not a genocide. The bad weather conditions and war curcumstances hit the Armenian civilians, and like the Turks and Kurds many Armenians lost their lives. No one could blame the Ottoman Government for genocide or mass killings."

Nilgun Gulcan said the real problem is lack of cummunication and the Armenian diaspora: "Diaspora prevents dialogue between Turkey and Armenia" added Gulcan.

"You can easily discuss the problem in Turkey. Armenians, Americans, British, etc. can question Turkish history. However no one can question Armenian history. Armenians first must question their own history. They must ask themselves how many Turks and Kurds killed their grand parents? Who killed 500,000 Muslim civilians?" added Dr. Gulcan.

Dr. Nilgun Gulcan also examined the Western World's attitude vis-a-vis Turkey and Armenians:

"Armenian forces occupied another European state's about 20 per cent territories. More than 1 million Azerbaijanis have been refugees without any assistance from the West. The US and the EU states bombed Serbia for its mistakes in Kosova and Bosnia. Iraq was occupied when it occupied Kuwait. However no one did anyting angainst the Armenian occupation. Now 1/5 of Azerbaijani country is under Armenian occupation. And Armenia does not recognise Turkey's national borders. Yerevan encourages Armenian separatist movements in georgia. And the EU and the US discuss the events happened almost a century ago. In Khojally Armenians did a genocide. But no one discuss Khojally but the 1915 events. France says Turkey cannot enter the EU without questionin its history. It is strange. The EU and France do not question its current policies, but they can ask Turkey to question its past.The past has been abused, and the real intenations are curtailed with history.

Armenians do not want to discuss 'genocide' allegations...They do not accept any debate about the past...Armenian politicians do not want to withdraw their soldiers from Azerbaijani territories...They do not recognise Turkey's national borders...They take no step in peace process ... They refuse to question their history...

They just accuse... they blame... they ask... they just want from Turkey... They accuse Turkey... They accuse Azerbaijan... They accuse Georgia... They accuse the US... They accuse the EU... They accuse anyone, but themselves... It is a strange game, no one can understand, including the Armenians."

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