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House votes to recognize Armenian genocide 2019


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Intermountain Jewish News
Nov 7 2019
Ilhan Omar isn’t the only hypocrite on Armenia

Last week’s overwhelming vote by the House of Representatives in favor of a resolution condemning the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 represented a breakthrough. Hard as it may be to believe, the vote was the first time a chamber of Congress officially designated the mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians as an act of genocide.

For decades, legislators have ducked the issue because telling the truth about what happened deeply offends Turkey.

The Turkish republic that emerged from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire has always regarded the discussion about what happened to the Armenians as an insult. Ankara has always rejected any admission of responsibility or apology.

For decades, Turkey has spent vast amounts on lobbying and spreading disinformation about the history of the Armenian genocide — all aimed at forcing those who interact with the Turks to choose between affirming a historical truth and good relations with a member of the NATO alliance.

That formula worked for them for quite a long time. But the steady drift toward authoritarianism by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its vicious hatred of Israel have lost it friends in the US.

The Turks’ recent attack on the Kurdish people in northeastern Syria after getting a green light from the Trump administration has reduced the number of their friends in Washington to only a handful. So it was little surprise that the Armenian motion passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support by a 405-11, with three members voting present.

Most of the attention about that vote was centered on one of those who abstained: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Since Omar has spent a disproportionate amount of her time since being elected last year lecturing the world about human rights, her unwillingness to extend the same sympathy that she devotes to the Palestinians to Armenian victims didn’t escape notice.

While we are all used to hypocrisy in politicians, this is Olympic-level mendacity of the sort that ought to shame her into silence. She made it worse by echoing Turkish propaganda, issuing a statement that spoke of wanting an “academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics,” as if there were any doubt about what has been documented to have happened.

Even worse, she seemed to think it wrong to single out the Turks for genocide.

Her squeamishness about condemning Turkey without mentioning every other crime against humanity in the last several hundred years also brought to mind her single-minded support for the BDS movement, which attacks Israel for boycott and destruction.

She believes that the one Jewish state on the planet must be punished, though remains notably silent about the human-rights violations on a massive scale that take place on a regular basis in Islamic countries such as Iran.

The fact that she had a friendly meeting with Erdogan also makes it clear that her talk about disdaining “geopolitics” is hogwash.

But while Omar has taken a deserved shellacking from supporters of Israel and even a scolding from left-wing outlets like The Nation, she’s not the only one who has had a blind spot when it comes to Turkey.

At the top of the list right now is President Donald Trump. His willingness to give the Turks a green light for attacking the Kurds in northeastern Syria was indefensible.

The Republican Party has stuck with Trump because he has governed like a conservative, benefiting many of their beliefs and programs; plus, they despise the Democrats trying from day one to destroy him.

Still, his sympathy for Turkey was a bridge too far for almost everyone in the GOP, as the votes on resolutions on Syria and the Armenians showed.

There are limits even to that demonstration of principle since the Senate’s reluctance to take up the House’s Armenian resolution shows that it doesn’t want to set up a confrontation with Trump, who would be unlikely to sign the document if passed.

Democrats, on the other hand, have no standing to squawk about Trump. They did nothing to protest the fact that President Barack Obama publicly stated that Erdogan was one of his favorite world leaders. He appeased Erdogan as much, if not more, than Trump.

Samantha Power, Obama’s Ambassador to the UN, wrote in The New York Times criticizing Trump. Although she won a Pulitzer Prize for writing about the responsibility to protect defenseless populations from genocide, she did nothing to promote that issue or to act against mass murder in Syria during her time at the UN.

Yet the list of hypocrites on Armenian genocide would not be complete without mentioning the role of the pro-Israel community in the past.

As long as Turkey was friendly with Israel, Jewish groups swallowed their principles and didn’t join with the Armenian community in spite of their rhetoric about the Holocaust and the need to stop future genocides.

Former Anti-Defamation League head Abe Foxman took a lot of heat on the issue. But he stood his ground because he considered preserving good relations between Israel and Turkey — the first Islamic country to recognize Israel, added by its strong military and economic ties in the past — was more important. Sticking with the Turks seemed to aid the Jewish state’s ability to defend itself against threatened genocidal attacks from Iran.

But Erdogan, who is a vocal supporter of Hamas, and has repeatedly slandered and denigrated Israel, changed all that. As he gained total power in Ankara, supporters of Israel, including Foxman, realized that there was no point continuing to kowtow to the Turks’ irrational refusal to tell the truth about their history.

As bad as it may be for those like Trump, who don’t grandstand about their devotion to human rights, to turn a blind eye to Erdogan’s historical revisionism, it’s even worse for Omar. Every time she opens her mouth about the Palestinians, she should be reminded by her fans in the liberal media that people who support anti-Semitic movements like BDS and yet are indifferent to Armenian genocide have no standing to pose as defenders of human rights.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).

https://www.ijn.com/ilhan-omar-isnt-the-only-hypocrite-on-armenia/

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Al-Monitor
Nov 8 2019
Turkish government fears compensation claims for Armenian genocide
Orhan Kemal Cengiz November 8, 2019
RTS13OF7-870.jpg
REUTERS/Murad Sezer
A human rights activist holds carnations and a banner that reads: "Genocide! Beg forgiveness!" during a demonstration to commemorate the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey, April 24, 2017.

Every time a new country is about to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide, Turkey reacts harshly. Yet its harsh reaction and diplomatic rows have not prevented more than 30 countries from recognizing the Armenian genocide. From Germany to Brazil, Russia to Switzerland, the countries recognizing the Armenian genocide cover almost the whole world in terms of geography and political alliances.

However, Turkey has perhaps expended the most energy trying to prevent the United States from recognizing the Armenian genocide. The Turkish state annually pays millions of dollars to US lobbying firms every year to avoid official recognition of the Armenian genocide.

So far, successive Turkish governments have succeeded in preventing American presidents from uttering the g-word. But this year, the United States came close to joining the countries recognizing the Armenian genocide. The US House of Representatives adopted a nonbinding resolution Oct. 29, officially recognizing the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917 as genocide.

As expected, the decision prompted angry reactions in Turkey, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan setting the tone by calling the resolution “worthless,” stating that “a country whose history is full of the stain of genocide and slavery neither has the right to say anything nor to lecture Turkey.”

Turkey staunchly rejects calling what happened in 1915 genocide or a crime against humanity. According to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted in 1948, the forced “relocations” of the Armenians resulted in mass killings that constitute genocide. The convention defines genocide as "acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group," including "killing members of the group" and "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part."

The "relocation" of the Armenians in 1915 perfectly matches the latter clause of the convention. In contrast to official Turkish claims, historical evidence shows that Armenians were intentionally forced into terrible conditions.

Talat *****, the Ottoman interior minister at the time, is considered the architect of the Armenian genocide. ***** was aware of the consequences of sending the Armenians to the Deir ez-Zor region, which is now a part of Syria. In a 1914 speech to parliament, ***** explained why they did not send Greeks in Turkey to this region: “Migrants … if we were to send them there and scatter them in the desert, they would starve to death.” But the same *****, just 10 months after the speech, decided to resettle Armenians in the Deir ez-Zor region.

The drafters of the UN genocide convention were aware of what happened to the Armenians in Turkey, and they wished to describe these events as genocide. Raphael Lemkin, who first coined the word genocide and helped draft the convention, even stated in an interview that he became interested in genocide "because it happened to the Armenians, and after the Armenians, Hitler took action …”

It is clear that the Armenian genocide influenced Lemkin's creation of the term. Consequently, he included the patterns he saw in these historical cases in the definition of genocide. In this way, it is futile to discuss whether there was an Armenian genocide, as the term was literally created to describe what happened to the Armenians in 1915.

Yet the question remains: Why is Turkey so afraid of the genocide label in the case of the Armenians? There is no single overarching explanation for Turkey's longstanding denials. One explanation is that being associated with genocide can hurt a nation’s pride. But some recent developments point to other concerns.

In a November 2019 interview in Karar daily, former parliamentary speaker Cemil Cicek said that the US Congress' move could have wide repercussions. “Armenians of Turkish origin have been filing reparation cases against Turkey for a while," he said. "The latest decision of the US House of Representatives on genocide, in one way, has fulfilled the demands of the Armenians in the political dimension … From now on, the courts might not justify their decisions by saying the matter should be left to politics … The Armenians now may seek to ensure a ruling from the higher court in favor of reparations, thinking that the current political climate in the United States might lead to some results to their advantage … Such a reparations decision can create problems for Turkey, which would take hundreds of years to overcome.”

Cicek is referring to the 2010 case of Alex Bakalian, an American of Armenian descent, who, alongside others, sought $65 million in damages in a US court related to the 1915 genocide, as well as a judgment stating that Turkey could be tried in US courts for genocidal actions under the Ottoman Empire. Bakalian also demanded compensation for the land that he says was confiscated, territory that also includes parts of the Adana Incirlik base allocated to the US Air Force.

A US judge dismissed the case in 2013 under “the political question doctrine,” which says certain questions should be handled by the executive branch, meaning that first the US government would have to label the events of 1915 a genocide and then the US courts would proceed accordingly.

In his interview, Cicek hinted that the political question doctrine could be deemed solved with the recent House resolution.

However, in August, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit also rejected the compensation demands of Bakalian and others, stating that the statute on land grab claims expired.

Regardless of whether such cases have any chance of success after the House resolution, such developments and their echoes resonate in Turkey, where the government is seriously concerned that the US recognition of the genocide may prompt demands for compensation domestically. Turkey's rigid protests against genocide resolutions are intended to avoid such demands being directed toward Turkey.

orhanbw.jpg

Orhan Kemal Cengiz is a human rights lawyer, columnist and former president of the Human Rights Agenda Association, a Turkish NGO that works on issues ranging from the prevention of torture to the rights of the mentally disabled.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/turkey-united-states-ankara-worried-about-genocide-bill.html

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/turkey-united-states-ankara-worried-about-genocide-bill.html#ixzz64il358zf
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Armenpress.am

Garo Paylan delivers statement on recognition of Armenian Genocide in Turkish parliament

994565.jpg 12:52, 8 November, 2019

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 8, ARMENPRESS. Ethnic Armenian lawmaker of the parliament of Turkey Garo Paylan delivered a statement on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide during the parliamentary debate of the 2020 state budget draft, his Office told Armenpress.

“Before 1915 Armenians were living on these lands – in Isparta, Mersin, Adana, Trabzon, Tigranakert, Bursa, and one in every five in this country was Armenian, but now we even can’t fill a stadium if gather. Of course, we didn’t evaporate. A great disaster took place, which, unfortunately, we deny with an abjuration policy and refuse to talk about it for already 104 years.

Look, other parliaments talk about that, but we say let them not talk. Let the material relating to this region be talked about in this region. If there is a parliament in the world that should talk about it, that is Turkey’s Grand National Assembly because we are the sons of these lands”, Garo Paylan said.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

 

 

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/994565.html?fbclid=IwAR0HHe2NB3_K78DikmeiDvREt3rq6k9ZKXONPC4IfsJXMkuR1WWCkkA_tZE

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As predicted now it's Senate's turn to use AG as a stick, what else is new with US government!

JAM News

Nov 14 2019
Armenian Genocide recognition resolution won’t reach US Senate vote
JAMnews, Yerevan
November 14, 2019

Senator Lindsay Graham, one of Donald Trump's closest associates, exercised his right and blocked the adoption of the resolution.

US Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has blocked the resolution on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which was adopted on October 29 by the US House of Representatives.

405 congressmen of the House of Representatives recognized the massacres of Armenians at the beginning of the last century in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, only 11 congressmen spoke out against the resolution.

Moreover, the resolution was supported by both Democrats and members of the US Republican Party.

Reaction to US House recognition of Armenian genocide in Armenia, Turkey, world

The document was supposed to go through the Senate, where, were it to be approved, the resolution should have been signed by the president.

However, Republican Lindsay Graham, considered one of Donald Trump’s closest associates, blocked the adoption of the resolution.

 

The Armenian Genocide referee to the massacre in Ottoman Turkey in 1915. Before that, about two and a half million Armenians lived on the territory of the Ottoman Empire. As a result of the killings and mass deportation, more than half of them died.

The tragic events in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century have been recognised as genocide and condemned by influential international organizations, including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the World Council of Churches. Among the countries that recognized the Armenian Genocide, Canada, Argentina, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Russia, Belgium, France, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Greece, Cyprus, the Vatican, Germany, Lebanon and 48 US states.

Turkey categorically does not accept such a formulation of the events of those years.

 

Until now, US presidents, including Donald Trump, in their official speeches, speaking about the events of 1915, have not used the word “genocide”.

49 out of 50 US states officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, but at the federal level, the process has always slowed down at some point

Graham’s explanations and the Senate reaction

Senator Lindsay Graham, who heads the Senate Legal Committee, explained that he blocked the resolution immediately after meeting with Turkish President Erdogan at the White House. According to him, he slowed down the resolution “not because of the past, but because of the future,”

“I just met with Erdogan and President Trump and talked about the problems that we face in Syria due to the military invasion of Turkey. I hope that Turkey and Armenia can solve this problem together.”

Graham added that senators “should neither sugarcoat nor rewrite history.”

Senator Robert Menendez, a senior Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, answered Graham:

“Are you so scared of Turkey? Which of us is a superpower? I’m thinking that in the end Turkey doesn’t determine what decisions the US Senate should take. ”

These statements were made after a meeting between Trump and Erdogan on November 13 at the White House. During the briefing, the Turkish president called the resolution adopted on October 29 “offensive to the Turkish people.”

What’s happening and why – expert opinion

Political scientist Suren Sargsyan believes that various factors influenced the blocking of the resolution. One of them is a desired improvement of US-Turkish relations:

“After the Trump-Erdogan meeting, relations between Turkey and the United States can go a completely different way. Rapprochement may occur during this year, as the meeting was warm.

“This means that in many issues, approaches will change. Relations will develop as relations between two strategic partners. In the near future, we will probably see an improvement in their relationship.”

At the same time, he emphasized that the global anti-Turkish sentiment has not yet passed:

There are still open questions for the American public and political circles. These are the issues of the Russian air defense systems that Turkey has acquired. This is a big problem for the United States and for NATO partners.”

As for Graham’s decision itself, according to the political scientist, the senator “made it clear that if the resolution is passed, the United States will have problems in Syria and Turkey will not help the United States.”

The political scientist says that even now there is an opportunity to carry out the resolution further:

“The leader of the Republicans in the Senate has the right to remove the veto from the resolution. But this requires great political will and strong support from senators. Then the resolution will have a chance. But it will take a lot of time.”

Suren Sargsyan says that now the Armenian lobby has a difficult task – to ensure that Graham removes the veto:

“If he is against the resolution, he can simply vote against it, and not block the resolution in the Senate. He will follow this path if he receives strong support from other senators.”

Why the House of Representatives earlier adopted the resolution

The US Congress has lingered for years over the recognition of the Armenian massacre because of fears of deterioration in relations with Turkey’s NATO ally.

Armenia: how genocide went from taboo to national rallying point

Bundestag used the word “genocide”

The accelerated consideration of the resolution was caused by the deterioration of US relations with Turkey. The situation was influenced by several factors:

• Turkey’s military operation against the Syrian Kurds, who were key allies of the Americans in the fight against ISIS. And all this happened after Donald Trump suddenly announced his withdrawal from Syria.

• Turkey’s decision to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems [anti-aircraft missile system designed to destroy air attack weapons], despite US discontent.

Moreover, its supporters did not hide the geopolitical context of the adoption of the resolution.

On the day the Turkish operation in Syria began, Congressman Ted Lew, who represents the district where many Armenians live, wrote on Twitter that now is the time for the United States to recognize the Armenian genocide.

Dutch parliament recognizes 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide despite opposition from government

Moreover, immediately after the vote on the genocide, the deputies of the House of Representatives, again overwhelmingly, supported a bill urging Trump to impose sanctions against Turkey.

The bill proposed sanctions against senior Turkish officials, including the Minister of Defense, to block the assets of Turkish officials and impose sanctions against Turkish banks.

https://jam-news.net/armenian-genocide-recognition-resolution-wont-reach-us-senate-vote/

 

 

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RAW STORY
Nov 14 2019
WATCH: Trump looks on as Turkey’s Erdoğan denies the Armenian Genocide ever occurred

Bob Brigham

President Donald Trump looked on as Turkish President Recep Erdoğan denied the Armenian Genocide during a joint press conference at the White House.

Trump allowed Erdoğan’s visit despite Turkey’s ethnic cleansing of America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria.

Onlookers were shocked that Erdoğan did this in front of the president and multiple Republican senators.

Watch the video at https://www.rawstory.com/2019/11/watch-trump-looks-on-as-turkeys-erdogan-denies-the-armenian-genocide-ever-occurred/

 

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Those nomads created your alphabet so that you can communicate, introduced the printing press so that you can print, built your mosques so that you can worship, built your palaces and buildings so that you can live in it, introduced theater so that you can enjoy art, gave you almost most of the trades so that you make a living, gave you tons of Doctors to cure you, gave you accountants to keep your government in order, gave you linguists so that you get educated, gave you civil servants so that your government can operate, I can go on further but you get the picture by now! You shameless SOB erDOGan don't forget that your ilk came from the Asian steppe with their goats and that's what you knew until you met the civilization on our native lands and appropriated it and made it yours. I'm sure you knew all this, just like an insecure little man that you are who can't face his true history needs to revise it in order to feel important. If you are truly looking for a nomad, look no further than yourself in the mirror there you will see one.

Ahval News

Nov 14 2019
Erdoğan says Armenians were nomads when deported by Ottomans in 1915
2019-11-14

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Armenians had been living as nomads when the Ottoman Empire started their mass deportation from Anatolia in 1915, the Voice of America reported.

Erdoğan, who met U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday at the White House, visited the Washington centre of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affair (Diyanet) later in the day.

The Washington visit of Erdoğan came after the U.S. House of Representatives last month voted in favour of a resolution that formally recognised the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a century ago as genocide.

Erdoğan said in his speech at the Diyanet centre that he had hoped the U.S. Senate would not follow the House’s move to recognise the Armenian genocide.

“For us, it is null and void. Those who want to put pressure on us by such decisions will eventually understand that they are wrong,” he said about efforts in the U.S. Congress.

“They used to travel in different places as nomads. The forced deportation took place while they were living the same way as nomads in Turkey,” Erdoğan said about the history of Armenians.

The first Armenian state dates back to Orontid dynasty, which ruled parts of today’s eastern Turkey in the 6th century BC.

In antiquity and the Middle Ages the area was ruled by a succession of Armenian dynasties, but the Armenian political independence was largely brought to an end by a wave of invasions and migrations by Turkic-speaking peoples beginning in the 11th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 2.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire, mostly concentrated in the six provinces of eastern Anatolia.

https://ahvalnews-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/ahvalnews.com/recep-tayyip-erdogan/erdogan-says-armenians-were-nomads-when-deported-ottomans-1915?amp&fbclid=IwAR2N3gbrnx7kvxrFJ5Fq1enWo5AkvzSqr2N35w9d2NCnZ42HkdswnjXlHwY

 

 

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New York Daily News
Nov 15 2019
Affirm the Armenian genocide
By Sarah Morgenthau
New York Daily News
FYFJYUGCLFBRTD344WPHZVB7KI.jpg
In this file photo, Huge crowds of Armenian Americans march during an annual commemoration of the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in Los Angeles Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

The House recently took a historic step, overwhelmingly voting in favor of passing the Armenian Genocide Resolution, which officially rejects Turkey’s denial of the genocide it committed against an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Gus Billrakis (R-Fl.) were instrumental in leading the House effort. Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden was a very early supporter of this bill, calling for its passage last July.

My great grandfather, Henry Morgenthau Sr., U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, spoke out repeatedly for the U.S. recognition of the genocide. He did this as a Jew and an immigrant from Germany who perhaps held a special sensitivity to what was going on in Turkey.

Morgenthau took it upon himself to go completely outside the bounds of diplomacy and perhaps legality and to use his influence and what he thought of as the moral authority of the United States to try to intervene directly in the policy of the Turkish government in exterminating the Armenian people.

1915 was long before the Jet Age of instant communication, much less Twitter, requiring ambassadors to take the initiative on diplomacy and truly represent the U.S. In a telegram sent to the secretary of state in Washington dated July 20, 1915, Morgenthau wrote “Deportations of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eyewitnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.”

ANJXLQTBCVHDXASEMWGHI5EQFM.jpg
A woman stands at the Tzitzernakaberd memorial to the victims of mass killings by Ottoman Turks, in the Armenian capital Yerevan, Armenia, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (Hakob Berberyan/AP)

I wish my great-grandfather were alive today to witness this first time a chamber of Congress has officially designated the 1915 mass killing of the Armenian people.

It is all the more important for us to press ahead and say enough is enough given that Turkey, a NATO ally, is today attacking the Kurds in northern Syria.

All who care about setting the historical and moral record straight must press Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to passage of the Senate version of the resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

The Ottoman efforts to annihilate the Armenians were used by Hitler to justify the extermination of the Jews. Just a week before invading Poland in September 1939, Hitler asked, “[w]ho speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?” Erdogan’s attack on the Kurds living along the Turkish-Syrian border is similarly justified in his mind by the Ottoman attack over a century ago.

Days after the House bill passed, Erdogan called the Armenian genocide “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to the Turkish people. We must stand for what is right against such a historical insult.

Morgenthau is the great-grand-daughter of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, a former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a senior political appointee at the U.S. Peace Corps under President Obama.

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REBUTTING ERGODAN

 

 

 

DAVID L. PHILLIPS

Former Chairman, Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission

U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the White House on November 13, 2019. During their joint press conference, Trump was uncharacteristically silent as Erdogan went on a diatribe concerning Armenian Genocide, condemning the near unanimous Resolution in the US House of Representatives reaffirming the US record on the Genocide. Erdogan also dredged up the debunked proposal for a joint historical commission on Armenian issues.

Erdogan is an established denier of the Armenian Genocide, where 1.5 million Armenian Christians were slaughtered by his predecessors. His ties to ISIS and other enemies of the US should have disqualified him from the White House visit to begin with.

In the press conference, paradoxically, Erdogan both denied the Genocide and invited a “dialogue and debate” about Armenian issues. Dialogue sounds like a positive and worthwhile step. In this instance, however, it is another component of Turkey’s denial campaign. The purpose of dialogue cannot be to explore the truth of the Armenian Genocide. That fact is beyond question.

I chaired the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) from 2001 to 2004. TARC included former foreign ministers and prominent Turks and Armenians from around the world. It worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice to produce a legal opinion in 2003, which concluded that the events in the early Twentieth Century met the definition of Genocide: (i) More than one person died; (ii) Those who died represented a distinct ethnic, cultural or religious group; (iii) There was a pattern to events resulting in their deaths; (iv) The perpetrators knew that Armenians would die and therefore possessed the requisite genocidal intent. The genocide finding was confirmed by the Elie Wiesel Foundation and scores of Nobel laureates.

In 2009, Armenia and Turkey agreed to Protocols which would have normalized relations and established a joint committee to work on all historical and legal issues, aimed at normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey. Erdogan scuttled those agreements, casting doubt on his sincerity.

The Armenian Genocide was confirmed by sources of unquestioned integrity and credibility, including official dispatches from Ambassador Henry M. Morgenthau and cables from consular offices. Morgenthau reported, “When the Turkish authorities gave the order for these deportations, they were giving a death warrant to the whole race”. Raphael Lemkin, author of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, described genocide as “what happened to the Armenians.”

Erdogan wants a “constructive dialogue with the United States Congress.” However, Congress has already reacted to Turkey’s denial campaign by overwhelmingly approving House Resolution 296, which affirms the US record of the Genocide. HR 296 passed by a vote of 405 in favor and 11 against.

Dialogue does not mean denial, and there is no reason for another history commission when the results have been confirmed and reconfirmed many times over. Even President Trump has given a dictionary definition of the genocide and used the Armenian term for Genocide in his annual Remembrance Day statements on April 24.

Erdogan said that Turks were “hurt” by the passage of HR 296, while censoring and prosecuting Turks who take steps to come to terms with Turkey’s past. He has found that racism makes good politics. In 2007, the leading Turkish Armenian journalist working for reconciliation in Turkey was assassinated, in an unresolved murder with clear government and mafia connections.

There was nothing new in Erdogan’s recent remarks. Once again, he offered to open up the Ottoman archives and endorsed an academic debate between experts and historians. Proposing to open the archives is a ruse aimed at sewing doubt as to whether 1.5 million Armenians were actually killed. The main perpetrator’s own journal, as well as other documents, have been published, confirming the Turkish campaign to exterminate Armenians and other Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

Instead of giving Erdogan a platform for disinformation, Trump should have spoken forthrightly about the Armenian Genocide. The more Turks hear the mention of the Genocide, the closer they will come to accepting the Truth.

David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. He was Chairman of TARC from 2001 to 2004. His book,
Unsilencing the Past: Track Two Diplomacy and Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation
,(2005)
is an account of TARC’s work. Phillips is also author of
Diplomatic History: The Turkey Armenian Protocols
(2012).

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
Panorama, Armenia
Dec 9 2019
Ted Cruz: Senate passage of Armenian Genocide resolution ‘very likely’ in coming weeks

The passage of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in the US Senate is “very likely” in the coming weeks, Senator Ted Cruz told NBC’s Meet the Press.

“We are likely to finally acknowledge the horrific Armenian Genocide, which I have been fighting for years to do,” the senator said.

Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota blocked the resolution from being passed by unanimous consent in the Senate at the White House’s request on 5 December – the third time a GOP senator has done so since the House passed the legislation by a 405-to-11 vote.

The other Republicans who've objected to the bill are Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and David Perdue of Georgia. Graham launched his objection after meeting with President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the Oval Office.

 

 

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