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April 22, 2005

When Will Turks Admit To The Armenian Genocide?

It has been 90 years since the Muslim Turks began their genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians, but the Turkish government still will not admit to that crime.

VARAZDAT was six when his family were driven from their home by Turkish troops in 1915. But even 90 years after Ottoman troops began the slaughter of up to 1.5 million Armenians, fear still flickers in his eyes.

As the family and 200,000 other Armenians fled east from their homes in Van, near modern Turkey’s eastern border, Turk and Kurdish forces opened fire from both sides. “They killed so many. Mothers threw their children in the lake. They said it was better to drown them than let the Turks have them,” Varadzat Harutyuniyan told The Times.

Turkey still denies responsibility, minimizes the number of Armenian dead, and paints the Turkish people as the greater victim. It is illegal in Turkey for anyone to claim that this genocide happened. It refuses to have diplomatic relations with Armenia and refuses to allow traffic across the border the two countries share. This unacknowledged genocide is one of many factors that stands in the way of Turkey’s admission to the EU – no less that 15 countries have demanded that Turkey do so before the EU allow Turkey to become a member.

How deep is this denial and refusal to acknowledge Turkey’s crime against the Armenians? Look at the high level denial of the genocide by a high level Turkish official.

On Wednesday the head of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Hilmi Ozkok, called on Armenia to drop the genocide allegations. The 1923 Lausanne Treaty, which established modern Turkey, “put an end to the baseless genocide claims politically and legally,” he said.

Yet in the end, this political claim cannot hide the historical truth of the murder of over 1 million people by the Turks. A treaty cannot deny the reality of photographs of Turkish soldiers posing with severed Armenian heads held (or stacked) as trophies. Until Turkey is willing to admit its historical guilt in the matter, there can be no allowing it into the EU.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa makes the case clearly.

“The truth must come out,” said Lech Walesa, the former Polish President, at this week’s conference. “It is a just claim of the Armenians that Turkey’s entrance into the European Union should come after admitting genocide.”

When will our president label what happened as genocide? When will he join other world leaders in making it clear that Turkey cannot be considered a member of the civilized world until it acknowledges the crime of its jihad against the Christian Armenians?





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