Friday, May 23, 2008

Turkish official's claim about closed Armenian archives denied

May 24, 2008
The Armenian Reporter
by Armenian Reporter staff
Halacoglu put his foot in his mouth again!
The archives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) through 1925 are open to scholars, confirmed Tatul Sonentz-Papazian, who took responsibility for the archives in Watertown, Mass., in the late 1980s. His statement came in response to a campaign by the head of the ultranationalist Turkish Historical Society, Yusuf Halacoglu, to raise doubts about the Armenian Genocide by claiming that Armenians are suppressing certain records.

"The Dashnak archives in Boston are very important. They contain the answers to many of the questions asked today," Mr. Halacoglu said, according to a May 20 report in the Turkish daily Hurriyet. "The Dashnaks were until now saying that they cannot open their archives because they do not have the money to catalog it. So I said: 'We will give you whatever money you need, just as long as we can have the archives opened.' However, there was no response."

In a phone interview with the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Sonentz-Papazian said that the cataloguingof the archives through 1925 was in fact completed in 1995. Those archives, which include thousands of documents from Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and ARF bodies in the rest of the world, have been microfilmed and have been available for the scrutiny of scholars, Mr. Sonentz-Papazian said.

The archive has been used by various scholars including historians Houri Berberian, Vincent Lima, and most recently Dikran Khaligian.

Five thick volumes of documents from the archives have been published to date. The first four were prepared by the late Hratch Dasnabedian. The fifth was prepared by Yervant Pamboukian. Mr. Pamboukian told the Reporter that he is working on the sixth volume. He added that the entire microfilm collection is being converted to a digital format by an outside contractor.

In the Hurriyet article, Mr. Halacoglu is quoted as saying that he offered $20 million to the ARF to facilitate the cataloging and opening of the archive. "I asked historians Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser to convey this proposal to our colleagues there."

Reached by the Reporter, Mr. Sarafian denied having been asked to convey such a proposal. "This is obviously a publicity stunt," he said. "Halacoglu thrives on such publicity." He added, however, that issues remain with the accessibility of other Armenian archives outside Armenia.

Mr. Sonentz-Papazian said that he had seen Mr. Kaiser only a month ago and no such proposal had been conveyed.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Genocide Denial Robs us of our Humanity

Mayıs 15, 2008
Haber: Politika

The recent debate on Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) decision to develop a Grade 11 ‘Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications’ curriculum, which has been approved by the Minister of Education in Ontario, unleashed a sophisticated and deceptive campaign to discredit the curriculum and the TDSB. Any rational, responsible person would applaud the teaching of our students the catastrophic effects of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. That Turkish Government agents and lobbyists are campaigning to deter TDSB from introducing this extremely valuable course is dismaying, but not surprising. The well-funded and aggressive efforts by Turkey to deny the Armenian Genocide have been so prevalent in Turkey and around the world that they have become infamously known as “an industry of denial.” The motives and methods of these history-distorting efforts are well documented and studied by Holocaust and Genocide scholars, historians, educators and psychologists.

The Turkish denial machine employes falsehoods, innuendo, unsubstantiated accusations and revisionist historical discourse to promote its version of history.

What happened during the TDSB Program and Services Committee’s meeting in Toronto on January 16 is another demonstration of the extent the Turkish nationalists will go to silence anyone who does nor share their revisionist narrative of history. The Turkish representatives tried to intimidate and to silence such prominent Canadians as Prof. Frank Chalk, director of the Montréal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies; David Warner, former Speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly; Leo Adler, prominent criminal lawyer and human rights advocate; and Hon. Jim Karygiannis, MP, who attended the meeting to show their strong support for the curriculum and the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the Grade 11 history course.

To try to curtail freedom of expression of any Canadian and to taunt them with abuses and profanities is shameful and a threat to democracy. The scene was reminiscent of the trials of many righteous Turkish individuals who in recent years have challenged the Turkish Government for its denial of the Armenian Genocide and who have been silenced under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

It looks like The Turkish nationalists are trying to import that anti-democratic modus operandi to Canada.

Since it would take volumes to categorically reply to Turkish lobbyists’ falsehoods, I would like to address some of their revisionist historical discourse. We will note their false suggestions and then offer the factual corrections.

Introduction of the curriculum would incite hatred against Turkish children.

It is claimed that if such a curriculum is introduced it would “create hatred against Turkish children.”

Despite Turkish lobbyists’ allegations, there’s absolutely no shred of evidence from any authority–government or educational–that Turkish school children have been bullied by their Armenian classmates in Canada. Raising fears that mentioning the Genocide of Armenians would result in the persecution of Turks is a red herring intended to plant fear among educational institutions in Canada.

Most Armenians and Turks overwhelmingly distinguish between the perpetrators of the genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and people of Turkish descent today, wherever the latter may live. The January 19 commemoration of the first anniversary of the assassination Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Ottawa by a group of Armenians and Turks, who are members of the Turkish-Armenian Dialogue Group of Ottawa, is the best illustration of this attitude. Mr. Dink was assassinated in front of his Istanbul office by a member of a nationalist Turkish political group.

It is also possible to teach that genocide is wrong without teaching hatred of the perpetrators. One can explain their motivations and why they were wrong. One can explain the destruction and the suffering they caused. This is being done successfully in our current educational system where the Holocaust is taught without blaming contemporary Germany or Germans.

After a decade of teaching about the Armenian Genocide in schools in 12 American states (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, and California), there has not been a single registered or documented incident of “bullying, hate, and racism” against Turkish children.

Many righteous Turks during the Armenian Genocide risked their lives to save their Armenian neighbours, friends, and business associates. Furthermore, we value the many Turkish intellectuals, historians, journalists and over 12,000 German-Turks who, despite death threats, persecution, and prosecution challenged the official narrative of the Turkish government on the Armenian Genocide and asked the Turkish government to come to terms with this sad chapter of its history.

Here is what the German Turks wrote:

“What we have learned at school (Turkish) is a forgery of history.” They asked the Turkish Government to repent for the crime of Genocide which “we feel morally obliged to end their (Armenians) disillusions and agony”. Furthermore, the association asked for “international condemnation of the crimes committed against the Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian-Greeks.”

While official Turkey denies its responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, Turkish intellectual Taner Akçam wrote in the Turkish newspaper Yeni Binyil (October 1, 2000):

“The manner in which the Armenian question is being discussed is in itself indicative as to what is the main problem of our country. We do not possess the culture affording open debate about mass murders. We are devoid of the moral foundations which enable us to damn such crimes. One needs to have a sense of sorrow in order to be able to speak of the great human tragedies; but we do not possess such a sense of morality. Look at the things that have been written about this topic. In them you don’t find a single sentence, a single word that recognizes the tragedy.”

When Turkish children learn about these righteous Turks, they can be proud of the way these people acted. They will be absolved of any responsibility. As renowned writer Ahmet Altan stated in May 2005: “I have nothing in common with the terrible sin of the past Ittihadists [the government of the day]… instead of justifying and arguing on behalf of the murderers, why don’t we praise and defend the rescuers’ compassion, honesty, and courage?”

Historians are disputing the Armenian Genocide.

After 92 years and numerous history books, government documents (British, French, United States, and even then-Turkish allies Germany and Austria), photographs by war correspondents, massive coverage by Western journalists, missionaries and NGOs, and documentary films, we maintain that it’s redundant to try to prove what has been proven countless times. After all, would anyone demand that a historians’ committee be formed to question whether the Holocaust took place?

The Turkish Government agents cite the same half-dozen historians and writers to back their allegations. Practically everyone listed has taught history at institutions where their chair has been funded by the Turkish government. These historians have close relationships with the government of Turkey; have privileged access to Turkish historic archives and are provided with frequent all-expense paid trips to Turkey. The publication of their books are often funded by the government of Turkey.

Many genocide scholars have questioned the credibility of these half-dozen historians.

Colin Imber, in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, called Justin McCarthy’s work: “Junk food, junk bonds and now junk history … This is a cruel description, but one which is perfectly appropriate for a book which is carelessly written, is often misinformed, and shamelessly follows a Turkish nationalist agenda.”

Ton Zwaan, in de Volkskrant (Dutch newspaper) wrote: “Among bona fide historians McCarthy is known as one of the professional deniers, subsidized by the Turkish government.” Zwaan continued: “In a groundless, hazy and disorderly argumentation replete with half-truths and complete untruths, McCarthy attempts to persuade his readers that an Armenian genocide never transpired in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and 1916.”

Many Turkish historians, among them Taner Akcam and Muge Gocek, also questioned McCarthy’s research and trustworthiness.

Guenter Lewy is a well know revisionist. His work–from the killing of Roma Gypsies in the Second World War to the Vietnam War–is well documented. This is what the Journal of Genocide Research wrote: “Lewy’s . . . book which seeks not only to exclude the Nazis’ Romani victims from the Holocaust-which is not anything new-but goes a step further to say that they were not even the targets of attempted genocide. . . ‘The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies’ is a dangerous book.”

After reading Lewy’s biased article on the Armenian Genocide, Prof. Gregory H. Stanton, said: “I am appalled. It is such a blatant denial article . . . As you know, the evidence for the Armenian genocide does not just rest upon the three sources Guenter Lewy attempts to discredit. (He doesn’t even do a good job of discrediting those sources.) It also rests on literally thousands of eye-witness testimonies, eyewitness reports by diplomats and missionaries, and a mountain of other data. Lewy’s article is directly contrary to the official opinion of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, passed by unanimous resolution, declaring that the Armenian massacres were genocide, and that attempts to deny that fact have no basis in sound scholarship.”

Norman M. Naimark from Stanford University recently reviewed Guenter Lewy’s latest book for the jounral Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Naimark concluded that “… if Lewy wishes to maintain his claims to historical objectivity by using accepted judicial definitions of genocide, then the difficulty of finding direct evidence for the Young Turks’ premeditated planning of mass murder should not prevent him from concluding that genocide took place. At its core, then Lewy’s argument is illogical.”

The International Association of Genocide Scholars, in a letter to the Turkish Prime Minister labelled such historians as “scholars who advise your government and who are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled institutions are not impartial. Such so-called “scholars” work to serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish Parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide.”

One of the historians Turks often cite to buttress their denialist arguments is Bernard Lewis. Mr. Lewis has been convicted in French court for denying the Armenian Genocide. His flip-flopping on the Armenian Genocide is well documented. In an earlier version of his book, “The Emergence of Modern Turkey,” Lewis wrote: “A struggle between two nations for the possession of single homeland, that ended with the terrible holocaust of 1915, where a million and half Armenians perished.”

I have no intention to enter into a “my historian is more credible than your historian” contest here, although the number of international historians who acknowledge the truth of the Genocide of Armenians exceeds the names cited by Turkish lobbyists by a hundred fold. To mention just one group of 126 Holocaust scholars, among them Elie Wiesel, Yehuda Bauer, Israel Charny, Steven Katz, Steven Jacobs, and Irving L. Horowitz, who on March 9, 2000, issued a statement declaring that “The World War I Armenian Genocide is an incontestable historical fact and accordingly urge the governments of the Western democracies to likewise recognize it as such.”

The Turkish archives are open. Armenians refuse dialogue

One of the most disingenuous Turkish arguments is that Turkish archives are open and that Armenian archives are closed on the genocide issue. They use this argument to mislead and to divert attention from the real issue, the crime of Genocide. Furthermore, they try to imply that Armenians have something to hide and do not want to open their archives for inspection or to enter into a dialogue with Turks.

What is the truth?

In regard to the Armenian Genocide, there are four main Turkish sources of archives:

1–The Prime Ministerial Archives

2–The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) [the governing party in 1915] Archives

3–The Special Organization [the organization which carried out the Genocide] Archives

4–The Interior Ministry Archives.

According to the Istanbul Military Tribunal (1919 - 1921), which was established to try Turkish Government leaders who had ordered the implementation of the Armenian Genocide, most of the documents related to the latter three organizations have been either “stolen or destroyed.” During the trial, the Turkish persecutor in his indictment, stated: “Investigation of what had occurred reveals that important documents pertaining to this office [Special Organizations] …have been purloined.”

In the same indictment, he also stated that “all of the documents and ledgers of the Central Committee [CUP] have been purloined.” Furthermore, many witnesses during the trials testified that the documents of CUP had been removed by Central Committee member Dr. Nazim.

In regard to the Interior Ministry Archives, Aziz Bey (former director of General Security), revealed that Talât Pasha, the interior minister, prior to fleeing the country, took suitcases of documents, information and reports, and burned them.

The only archives which are open are the Prime Ministerial Archives. These archives are limited to a small group of selected historians who a priori have demonstrated their support of Turkish government’s genocide denialist narrative. Furthermore, researchers are allowed only 25 documents per day, which severely limits the ability to work there.

Recently, Mehmet Sait Uluisik, a German citizen of Turkish origin, was banned from entering Turkey to carry research in the Prime Minister’s Ottoman archives on the role of Circassians in the Armenian Genocide. The Circassians were armed and funded by the government of Turkey.

Thus to claim Turkish archives are open to scholars is inaccurate. The critical archives pertaining to the Armenian Genocide are not in the archives, while the available ones are of limited access.

The accusation that Armenians refuse to dialogue with Turks is another myth.

Numerous attempts have been made by the Armenian Government and the Armenian Diaspora to dialogue with Turks. These attempts have failed because of the Turkish Government’s intransigent and unreasonable conditions. The Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) is a prime example. Turkish and Armenian members of TARC agreed to submit the arbitration of the Armenian Genocide issue to a third party–the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). When ICTJ’s report concluded that what happened to the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey was a classic case of genocide and fulfilled four out of five conditions set by the UN Genocide Convention, the Turkish government pulled the plug on TARC by asking its Turkish members to withdraw from the commission.

In response to the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s letter to the President of Armenia, to establish a “joint group of historians… to study … the events of 1915,” Robert Kocharian, the President of Armenia, on April 25, 2005, replied by saying: “Your [Erdogan[ suggestion to address the past cannot be effective if it deflects from addressing the present and future, in order to engage in a useful dialogue, we need to create the appropriate and conducive political that context, an intergovernmental commission can meet to discuss any and all outstanding issues between our two nations.”

The Turkish Government did not respond to the Armenian Government’s positive approach to solve this issue. On April 11, 2006, the Foreign Minister of Armenia Vartan Oskanian, reminded the Turkish Government and the international community that “we remain amazed that a letter sent by president Kocharian to Prime Minister Erdogan… remains simply ignored because the Turkish authorities did not like the response contained therein, and do not wish to broaden the scope of dialogue beyond histology.”

More recently, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Armenian Parliament organized a conference in the Armenian Parliament on Turkish Armenian relations. Among the invitees were Turkish professor Yusuf Halacoglu (president of Turkish Historical Society), Sedat Laciner (director of International Strategic Research Institute), former Turkish Ambassador Omer Engin Lutem (head of the Armenian Studies Institute of the Eurasian Strategic Research Center), Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, and Dr. Can Paker (Turkey’s special representative for relations with the European Union). None of the Turkish invitees attended this important and unique conference. The Turkish side missed a golden opportunity to meet Armenian politicians, historians and scholars to discuss relations between the two neighboring nations.

The Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Tigran Torosian, voiced his concern that Turkey’s decision not to participate in the discussions would not contribute to dialogue between the two nations.

The above examples clearly show that Turkish government’s manipulative offer of dialogue with Armenians is akin to the neo-Nazis’ suggestion of an independent, objective historical commission to determine whether the Holocaust took place or the Flat Earth Society’s offer to hold an academic dialogue with National Geographic about the true shape of the earth.

If the Turkish Government does not allow its citizens, historians and intellectuals to freely discuss the issue of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, and prosecutes them under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, how can one take its offer of dialogue with Armenians and the creation of “historians commission” seriously?

The Canadian Armenian community does not bear any animosity towards the Canadian Turkish community. On the contrary, we sympathize with the members of the Turkish-Canadian community and Turks in general, particularly when they have been mislead for too long and denied their own history, by the Turkish Government.

We are hopeful the Turkish Government halts its campaign of falsification of history and focuses on the Genocide issue without hysteria, racism, nationalistic fanaticism and that the Turkish people will acknowledge the misdeeds of their predecessors and extend a hand of friendship to the Armenian people.

Ardash Amroyan

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Traveling across the peace bridges over closed borders

Monday, May 12, 2008
Başak Güneş Başat
I certainly welcome this kind of exchange people-to-people promoting understanding. In the same breath I wish to add that among those who visited Armenia there were no Turkish nationalists. However may be through these exchanges the message will get to the nationalists.
A travel agency recently organized the first-ever cultural tour to Armenia, with which Turkey has no diplomatic relations. “The hospitality was great,” one partıcipant said. “During our last dinner, Armenians sitting next to us in the restaurant joined us to dance.” The urbane group, however, could not avoid their hosts’ genocide claims and listened patiently to genocide stories

Despite sour relations between Ankara and Yerevan, a Turkish travel agency decided to organize a cultural tour to Armenia and mustered a group of 30 tourists for a 10-day trip to Turkey's neighbor to the east.

The visit, the first of its kind, was organized by Fest Travel, known for its cultural tours worldwide. “We have organized tours almost everywhere around the world,” said trip leader Faruk Pekin, who is also Fest Travel's general director. “This time, it was Armenia's and Georgia's turn.”

Since the borders between Turkey and Armenia are closed, the group flew to Georgia, then traveled to Armenia by bus.

“Although there are no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, we encountered no problems with visa procedures except for a few bureaucratic ones on the Armenia-Georgia border,” Pekin told the Turkish Daily News.

Turkey sealed the border in 1993 to protest Armenian forces' occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus, a de facto independent republic that is officially part of Azerbaijan.

The Armenians were pleasant and interested in their group, Pekin said.

“In one church, they opened the treasury room just for us,” he said.

After crossing the Georgian-Armenian border, the group visited the Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries, named world cultural heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Tour member Ertan Şerbetçi said he found the mountaintop churches and cathedrals the most fascinating parts of the tour.

He was also impressed by the trip's upbeat tone.

“We experienced nothing negative,” he said.” The conflict is not between the Armenian and Turkish nations.”

Fellow traveler Leyla Çizmeci said she was proud to take part in the agency's first cultural visit to Armenia.

“The hospitality was great,” she told the TDN. “At our last dinner, Armenians sitting next to us in the restaurant joined us to dance.”

Nonetheless, the urbane group could not avoid encountering Armenian genocide claims condemning Turks for the killing of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 and saying the whole world should recognize it as "genocide."

“The group patiently listened to stories of genocide,” said Çizmeci. “Talking and listening to each other is the way to get rid of prejudices, and such kinds of trips between two countries may help normalize bilateral ties.”

The greenery she observed throughout the tour and the Georgian and Armenian music that accompanied them on the bus made the trip an unforgettable 10 days, she said.

The tour of Yerevan included visits to the Matenadaran Museum of Ancient Manuscripts, Yerevan Square, Republic Square, Yerevan State University, the Haghtanak (Victory) Bridge, the state historical museum, the city concert hall and opera house and the parliament building.

After Yerevan, the group took in the Ejmiatsin Cathedral, Hripsime Monastery, Surp Guyane Church and Zvartnos Cathedral. The last stop was the Garni Temple and the Geghard Monastery, with its view of Mount Ararat.

The number of participants reflects the sizable demand that exists for visiting Armenia. Another tour is planned for the end of August.

“We also hope to contribute to building warmer ties between our two countries,” Pekin said.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Turk-Armenian Business Council not permitted to open branch in Istanbul

If Turkey's government is sincere shouldn't it not walk the talk? This is another evidence of its lack of sincerity.
A Turkish-Armenian business organization is not permitted to open a branch in Istanbul, in total contrast to the government’s willingness to restart political dialogue with Armenia.

While political leaders of both Turkey and Armenia debate ways to "open dialogue," an effort by a Brussels-based association of Turkish and Armenian businessmen has been told that even an Istanbul office for the nongovernmental organization is off the table.

The request began with Brussels-based Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council’s request last year to establish an office in Istanbul. But the request was quietly rejected by the Interior Ministry in February, the Turkish Daily News reports.

Kaan Soyak, co-chairman of the Council, confirmed that four Turkish members of the organization including himself applied last May to open the office supposed to connect the Turkey-EU network in order to foster business opportunities.

"We have received no response for nine months and in February, the Istanbul Governor’s Office sent a letter rejecting our request without any justification," Soyak said.

Until February, he continued, Turkish and Armenian members of the Council had the impression that the Interior Ministry would allow the opening of the office because at round-table discussions in the United States last November, Turkish diplomats heralded the government’s plans to allow the office. However, the letter from the Istanbul Governor’s Office was in total contrast to expectations.

The government’s rejection comes right after calls for dialogue with Armenia in the wake of the elections, a development that raised hopes for the opening of a new chapter in troubled relations.

The Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council is a nongovernmental network of Turkish and Armenian business leaders working since 1997 for the restoration of normal relations between Turkey and Armenia and for the reopening of their common border.

The two neighbors have had no diplomatic links after Turkey took Azerbaijan’s side in the Karabakh war and closed the border with Armenia. Ankara also opposes demands for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

! Reproduction in full or in part is prohibited without reference to «PanARMENIAN.Net».

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Armenian Orthodox leader urges world to recognize WWI-era killings as genocide

May 7, 2008
Jerusalem Post
Source: AP

The head of Armenia's Orthodox Church took part in Pope Benedict XVI's public audience on Wednesday and urged all countries to recognize that Turks committed genocide against Armenians early last century.

Karekin II sat at Benedict's side during the traditional weekly audience in St. Peter's Square - part of a visit to the Vatican that is the latest high-level contact between Catholic and Orthodox leaders.

Addressing a crowd of faithful assembled in the square, Karekin appealed "to all nations and lands to universally condemn all genocides that have occurred throughout history."

"Denial of these crimes is an injustice that equals the commission of the same," he said. "Many countries of the world recognize and condemn the genocide committed against the Armenian people by Ottoman Turkey."

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



Armenian National Committee of America
Eastern Region
122 W 27th St, Ste 412, New York, NY 10001
Tel. (917) 428-1918 * Email.


For Immediate Release ~ 2008-05-01
Contact: Karine Birazian ~


FRANKFORT, KY - The Armenian National Committee of America- Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) welcomed today a proclamation issued by Kentucky Governor Steven L. Beshear recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The "Bluegrass State" proclamation brings the number of states to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide to forty-one. The full text of the Kentucky proclamation is provided below.

The powerfully worded proclamation designated April 24, 2008, as "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide" in the state of Kentucky, noting that "recognition of the ninety-third anniversary of this genocide is paramount to guarding against the repetition of future genocides and educating people across the Commonwealth about the atrocities of these horrific events."

"Gov. Beshear's proclamation reflects the growing sentiments of U.S. government officials to speak with moral clarity on the Armenian Genocide," stated ANCA Eastern Region Director Karine Birazian. "The burgeoning Kentucky Armenian community's initiative serves as an inspiration to Armenian American activists across the U.S. to redouble efforts to end Turkey's gag rule on U.S. affirmation of this crime against humanity."

The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.




By Steven L. Beshear
Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

To All To Whom These Presents Shall Come:

WHEREAS, One and one-half-million Christian Armenian men, women and children were the innocent victims of a brutal genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915-1923; and

WHEREAS, The Armenian genocide has been recognized as an attempt to eliminate all traces of a thriving, ancient civilization over 3,000 years old; and

WHEREAS, Recognition of the ninety-third anniversary of this genocide is paramount to guarding against the repetition of future genocides and educating people across the Commonwealth about the atrocities of these horrific events; and

WHEREAS, Armenian-Americans living in Kentucky have greatly enriched our state through their leadership in various aspects of society;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, STEVEN L. BESHEAR, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, do hereby proclaim April 24, 2008, as


DONE AT THE CAPITOL, in the City of Frankfort this 28th day of April, in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Eight and in the 216th year of the Commonwealth.


Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


Monday, May 05, 2008

CBC Ombudsman Rejects Turkish Government's Denial of the Armenian Genocide

May 3, 2008
Armenian National Committee of Canada
It is a shame that Turkey resorts to denial tactics in order to project a clean image to the world. As said in this release “By its persistent policy of denial, the present Turkish Government is making itself automatically the inherent target of responsibility for the 1915 Genocide.”
Ottawa – A well-financed campaign to censor CBC Radio's ‘As It Happens’ program, orchestrated by the Turkish government and its agents, has been rejected by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Ombudsman Vince Carlin.

After a professional examination of the Turkish denialists complaint that CBC “did not give sufficient attention to Turkey’s official claim that the events of 1915 did not constitute a genocide,” Mr. Carlin said, “While not ignoring significant dissent from 'mainstream' views, the journalist must not distort the concepts of 'balance' by giving equal weight to any contending theory.”

The ombudsman added, “In the cases at issue, the preponderance of credible academic work has found that the Turkish government took deliberate action against the Armenian population and those actions fit what became the definition of Genocide.”

The ombudsman elaborated on the journalist’s ethical conundrum of “giving voice to those who deny events which were part of the historical consensus.” On this thorny issue, Mr. Carlin said, “the implications of such notion are evident when one thinks of giving substantial time to those who deny that there was a genocide directed against Jews during World War II.”

In the ombudsman’s view, “ while fairness and balance would impel journalists to be on the look-out for credible contradictory evidence, appropriate weight must be given to broad-based conclusion, in this case not only academic-based, but also endorsed by UN agencies and the Canadian Government.”

The CBC ombudsman concluded his findings by noting that “the concept of balance is not mathematical.” Accordingly, he found that “no violation of CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices in treatment of theses items.”

The latest campaign of silencing freedom of speech in Canada was launched after CBC's ‘As It Happens’ program interviewed United States Congressman Adam Schiff (Oct. 18, 2007), Turkish historian Taner Akçam (Oct. 12, 2007), and an official from the Toronto District School Board on the proposed Grade 11 Genocide Curriculum (Dec. 14 2007).

The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) cognizant of the campaign, responded to the Turkish government’s misinformation by making essential presentation (testimonies of historians' and scholars, books, and other relevant documents) to the ombudsman to refute the Turkish denialist fabrications.

Aris Babikian, Executive Director of ANCC, commended the CBC ombudsman's findings and conclusions. 'Once again CBC has demonstrated that it is not willing to compromise its journalistic integrity. We congratulate the CBC ombudsman and ‘As It Happens’ staff for not capitulating to the Turkish government’s propaganda machine, threats, intimidation, and bullying.”

“It is high time the Turkish government recognized that its Armenian Genocide denial policy is a bankrupt one and that Turkey can not muzzle freedom of the press and suppress freedom of expression in the civilized world, as it has done in Turkey,” Babikian said, urging the Turkish people to rise against the “Turkish Deep State” and utranationalists who are running the country's denialist policy.

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, President of ANCC observed that “By its persistent policy of denial, the present Turkish Government is making itself automatically the inherent target of responsibility for the 1915 Genocide.”