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CRAG E-Alert - 31 May 2005

Dear Friends & Supporters:

Following the cancellation of the Bosphorus conference in Istanbul last week (covered by the CRAG d-base e-alert of 26 May 2005), we paste hereunder the news release by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS):

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INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GENOCIDE SCHOLARS

WE WHO SERVE AS THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GENOCIDE SCHOLARS PROTEST AND CONDEMN THE CANCELATION OF THE HISTORIANS CONFERENCE ON THE ARMENIAN QUESTION IN TURKEY BY THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT AS A MAJOR VIOLATION OF BASIC STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN THE FREE WORLD.

AT LONG LAST, TURKISH ACADEMICS AND INTELLECTUALS, SPONSORED BY THREE HONORABLE UNIVERSITIES, WERE SCHEDULED TO CONDUCT A CONFERENCE IN WHICH THE HISTORICAL REALITY OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE WAS TO BE EXAMINED BY MANY OF THE PARTICIPATING LECTURERS.

THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY IS UNDERSTANDABLY STRUGGLING TO WIN ITS POSSIBLE ACCEPTANCE AS A MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, AND IT IS IN THIS CLIMATE THAT MANY TURKISH INTELLECTUALS HAVE MOVED COURAGEOUSLY TO ADDRESS THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, A TRUTH WHICH IS STILL PUNISHABLE BY TURKISH LAW.

FOR THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT TO CANCEL THE CONFERENCE IS A SHAMEFUL STEP AND A SETBACK TO TURKEY JOINING THE FREE WORLD IN ITS GROWING STANDARDS OF HISTORICAL TRUTH AND RESPONSIBILITY.

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GENOCIDE SCHOLARS CALLS ON THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY TO ALLOW FULL AND FREE DEBATE AND ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP ON THE FATE OF THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE IN OTTOMAN TURKEY IN 1915-1923.

(SIGNED)

ROBERT MELSON, President, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University

ISRAEL W. CHARNY, Vice-President, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Professor of Psychology and Family Therapy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

STEVEN L. JACOBS, Secretary-Treasurer, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Alabama

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As you can read from the news release, and previous CRAG e-alerts, the Turkish Parliament re-addressed some of the provisions of its reformed Penal Code, but speaking about the Armenian Genocide still remains an offence that is punishable under Turkish law.

Perhaps you might choose to express your concern about the cancellation of the conference and / or the unamended provision in the Turkish penal Code to:

Amnesty International (UK): sct@amnesty.org.uk, with copy to press@amnesty.org.uk

Human Rights Watch (UK): hrwuk@hrw.org, with copies to crawshs@hrw.org and shahu@hrw.org

Your own MP in your constituency at: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

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Most of the news items, messages or documents that CRAG shares with you on its data-base can also usually be found on the CRAG link at www.accc.org.uk (with regular updates) or www.24april.org for background events. CRAG remains thankful to the ACCC Webmaster for keeping the CRAG page up-to-date, and welcomes all constructive and helpful comments.

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