December 22, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell

ANCA Statement on Recent Efforts in Turkey to Confront the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America released the following statement today regarding the recent efforts by Turkish civil society and individual Turkish Parliamentarians to call national attention to the systematic annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government from 1915-1923.

“The efforts of those courageous parliamentarians and historians in Turkey who have placed the Armenian Genocide center-stage must be commended,” stated ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth S. Chouldjian. “By the same token, the campaign by Prime Minister Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to quash honest discussion of the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 must not be rewarded. Silence by the international community will be misinterpreted by Turkey’s leadership as support for their genocide denial agenda. Only by formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide can the U.S. and democratic countries around the world send a clear message that they stand with the voices of truth in Turkey.”

In recent weeks, an internet petition, titled “I Apologize”, initiated by three Turkish scholars and a journalist and backed by over 200 Turkish intellectuals, was signed by over 13,000 before it was forced off-line. It recognized the “great catastrophe” committed against the Armenian people, but fell short of properly characterizing the centrally planned and systematically executed campaign of deportations, starvation and murder of 1.5 million Armenians as ‘genocide.’ The effort received a strong backlash from Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and a host of top Turkish Parliamentarians who have equated the petition supporters to betrayers of the Turkish state.

Yesterday, several Turkish Parliamentarians called for an official apology for the Armenian Genocide – a move that was rebuked by their colleagues leading to a scuffle on the floor of the Turkish Parliament.

For more information regarding recent Turkish civil society efforts to encourage Turkey to face honestly with their genocidal past, see the links below.

Following are some key news articles of interest regarding the topic:

Turkish MP Urges Parliament to Apologize to Armenians
http://www.asbarez.com/index.html?showarticle=38101_12/22/2008_1

Turkish Intellectuals Issue Apology to Armenians
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ikxRWtRogs-ANIfnqNImf2lFBLBAD953AJBG1[retired site]

Turkish PM Scorns Armenia Apology
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7788486.stm

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