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CRAG E-Alert - 3 June 2005

Dear Friends & Supporters:

ISTANBUL CONFERENCE CANCELLATION

Following the cancellation of the Bosphorus conference in Istanbul last week (covered by the CRAG d-base e-alerts of 26 & 31 May 2005), we paste hereunder the Press Release by the Institute on the Holocaust & Genocide (Jerusalem):

1. PRESS RELEASE MAY 30, 2005

The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, Israel protests the Turkish Government's cancellation of an important scholarly conference on "the Armenian question" sponsored by a consortium of Turkish universities, which was to have been conducted in Turkish at one of the universities with an expected attendance of more than 700 registrants.

The program titles of many of the presentations made it very clear that many of the scholars addressing the conference intended to recognize the historical validity of what is known in history in the free world as "the Armenian Genocide."

They were going to do so despite the fact that current Turkish law prescribes jail sentences of several years for statements either about the Armenian Genocide or calling for Turkey withdrawing from Cypress. These speakers are loyal Turks who love their country and want to see it advance and grow. Several of them have written about the importance for Turkey itself to achieve a free society, with guaranteed academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of ideas; and thus also for Turkey to demonstrate its readiness to be accepted in the European Union.

Our Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem was perhaps the first in the world to hold an interdisciplinary, multiple ethnic conference on the genocides of all peoples when we convened the "First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide" in 1982. Six lectures out of a total of 300 at our conference were scheduled to deal with the Armenian Genocide. As reported in many stories in the New York Times and other world press, Turkey pressured Israel to remove these six lectures, the government of Israel shamefully complied, and when we refused to do so the government attempted with considerable use of government powers to close our conference down entirely. Fortunately, even when Israel errs, it is overall a genuine democracy, and our insistence on holding the conference including the
lectures on the Armenian Genocide could not be broken. The process of our resistance and success has been honored many times in articles and books by many writers ever since (for example, in the Yale Review).

The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide calls on all governments of the world to strive for a high level of accuracy, objectivity and transparency about genocidal massacres and genocides, including by its own peoples for many of our peoples in our shared Earth-world have committed genocidal atrocities against others. In the long run, the goal of human life, and all government, should be to protect human lives more and more.

Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem

Prof. Israel Charny, Executive Director
Prof. Yair Auron, Associate Director
Marc Sherman, M.L.S., Assistant Director

2. WEBLINK FROM GENOCIDE WATCH ON CANCELLATION

Fir further updates on this issue, you can log on the page posted by Genocide Watch at the following weblink:

www.genocidewatch.org/TurkeyArmeniaHistoriansConference.htm

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An open e-letter entitled GENOCIDE DISCUSSION CONTINUES IN TURKISH COURTS written by Ragip Zarakolu, editor of Belge Yayinlari publishing house and publisher of many books (including George Jerjian's 'The Turth Will Set Us Free' in the UK) was sent out from Istanbul on 17 May 2005.

Zarakolou refers to the lack of freedom of expression in Turkey and to the Turkish Penal Code {covered in previous CRAG d-base e-alerts}. Zarakolou's trial has now been postponed till October 2005. Two excerpts from his e-letter state:

" And today, there are individuals in Turkey's parliament clamoring for a clause to be inserted in the new Turkish Penal Code that will imprison anyone claiming the Armenian issue as genocide. It is really sad to see a human tragedy used as a political tool. It is a tremendous double standard.

Will the "let the historians discuss" approach of our president be realized by prohibiting and judging the opposing views? Without knowing the divergent tendencies and beliefs of the opposite views, how can a sound agreement be ensured and a common point established between these differing views? "

For technical reasons, we cannot print the whole e-letter in this d-base e-alert. Given that it has not yet been posted anywhere, CRAG is ready to send the said e-letter to anyone interested in the full version. Simply send us an e-request.

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For more updates on the Turkish Penal Code, and the controversies surrounding its reform, you can check ANN/Groong - for example: http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg114434.html

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For French speakers, four new books that might be of interest on the Armenian Genocide that show the planning behind those events:

Log on: http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg114410.html

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