Difference between revisions of "Robert Fisk"

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Sondag (Londen) Onafhanklike
+
Independent on Sunday (London)
16 Oktober 2005, Sondag
+
October 16, 2005, Sunday
  
Boek: Die Getuies in die vreemdeling;
+
BOOKS: WITNESS FROM THE SAVAGE ZONE;
Tate, Robert Fisk, Oorlog Civilization 4 £ 25
+
THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION BY ROBERT FISK FOURTH ESTATE £25
  
Vir 尼尔阿舍尔松
+
by NEAL ASCHERSON
  
 
...
 
...
  
Dit is 'n baie lang lys, sodat die skerp politieke Fisk
+
This is a very long book, allowing Fisk to interleave political
'N ontleding van die onlangse geskiedenis en die werklikheid, sy geskiedenis, avontuur
+
analysis, recent history and his own adventures with the real stories
Sy belangstellings. Die lyding van die gewone mense
+
which concern him. These are the sufferings of ordinary people under
Tirannie of die gruwelike misdaad, kan die oorlog vermy word. Fisk verslae
+
monstrous tyrannies or in criminal, avoidable wars. Fisk reported the
[[]]-[[ Iran-Irak Oorlog], die Golfoorlog in 1991 [[Palestina]] onrus
+
[[Iran]]-[[Iraq]] war, the Gulf war of 1991, the [[Palestine]] intifadas, the
Soos die Verenigde State [[Afghanistan]] en die voortsetting van die Taliban, het hulle
+
Taliban rule in [[Afghanistan]] and its sequel as the Americans and their
Landing in 2002, die koning van Saddam Hussein in Irak en terrorisme
+
allies invaded in 2002, the terror regimes of Saddam, the Shah and
Ayatollah bloeding [[Algerië] Islam en godsdienstige fanatisme
+
the ayatollahs, the frenzy of bloodshed in [[Algeria]] as Islamists and
Kompetisie tussen die veiligheidsmagte, "natuurlik" onskuldige mense vermoor
+
security forces competed to slaughter the innocent, and " of course "
[[George W. Bush | Bush]] Blair in die oorlog in Irak en die gevolge daarvan. Heza goed
+
the [[George Bush|Bush]]-Blair war against Iraq and its outcome. His chapter on the
1.915 [[Armeense volksmoord]] ontkenning en ontwyking, en nie kwaad bly
+
1915 [[Armenian genocide]], still unpardonably denied and evaded and not
Slegs [[Sirië], en sy beroemde verslag oor die hervatting van Turkye], het hy skielik ontdek
+
only by Turks, revives his famous report from [[Syria]] when he stumbled
Gewig (sien uittreksel hierbo) Margada graf.
+
across the mass graves at Margada (see extract, above).
  
 
...
 
...
 
----
 
----
Sondag (Londen) Onafhanklike
+
Independent on Sunday (London)
16 Oktober 2005, Sondag
+
October 16, 2005, Sunday
  
"Hier in Turkye, dood te maak nie, bring die hele gesin
+
'THE TURKS BROUGHT WHOLE FAMILIES UP HERE TO KILL THEM'
Robert Fisk oor die Armeense volksmoord beskryf sy terugkeer na die perseel;
+
ROBERT FISK DESCRIBES HIS RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE ARMENIAN MASSACRE;
Tate, Robert Fisk, Oorlog Civilization 4 £ 25
+
THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION BY ROBERT FISK FOURTH ESTATE £25
  
Robert Fisk
+
by ROBERT FISK
  
  
Robert Fisk terug na die omgewing van die konserwatiewe skare
+
Robert Fisk recovers after being beaten by a mob on a road near
Quetta, Pakistan, in 2001, Mara Hussein / AP verband
+
Quetta, Pakistan, 2001 HUSSEIN MALLA/AP
  
Die impak van die lug, been, sag, claylike en hoe
+
Exposed to the air, the bones became soft and claylike and flaked
Gaan in ons hande, die spel, ten slotte,
+
away in our hands, the last mortal remains of an entire race of
Hulle sal so gou onderdruk word in Turkye verdwyn
+
people disappearing as swiftly as their Turkish oppressors would have
Hopelik kan ons hulle vergeet nie. Soos baie Armeniërs vermoor in 50.000
+
wished us to forget them. As many as 50,000 Armenians were murdered
Die veld gestuur vanaf 12 minute voor die moord
+
in this little killing field, and it took a minute or two before
Elson, ek is groot genoeg om ons standpunt te verstaan
+
Ellsen and I fully comprehended that we were standing in a mass
Store. Vir Margada naby die Siriese woestyn, "as tien duisende
+
grave. For Margada and the Syrian desert around it " like thousands
Wat is 'n stad in Turkye en Armenië, Auschwitz
+
of villages in what was Turkish Armenia " are the Auschwitz of the
Armeense van die eerste in die wêreld, ek het vergeet om plek Wed
+
Armenian people, the place of the world's first, forgotten,
Monument.
+
Holocaust.  
  
In parallel met die konsentrasiekampe van Auschwitz is nie vry nie. Vrees is die koning van die stand van die [[Turkye] '
+
The parallel with Auschwitz is no idle one. [[Turkey]]'s reign of terror
Armenië en die Armeense poog om te vernietig
+
against the Armenian people was an attempt to destroy the Armenian
Kompetisie. Byna 1,5 miljoen Armeniërs doodgemaak is. EN
+
race. The Armenian death toll was almost a million and a half. While
Turks en Armeniërs in die Marron van sosiale behoeftes
+
the Turks spoke publicly of the need to 'resettle' their Armenian
Bevolking, "sê die Jode in Duitsland in Europa"
+
population "as the Germans were to speak later of the Jews of Europe"
In Turkye, die ware bedoelings van die Regering is baie duidelik.
+
the true intentions of the Turkish government were quite specific.
September 15, 1915, byvoorbeeld, 'n koolstof van hierdie dokument
+
On 15 September 1915, for example " and a carbon of this document
Daar is, sê Minister van Binnelandse Sake Turkye, [[塔拉特帕夏]], kabel 1
+
exists " the Turkish interior minister, [[Talaat Pasha]], cabled an
Hy [Aleppo]] in die kantoor [. "Julle het gehoor
+
instruction to his prefect in [[Aleppo]]. 'You have already been informed
Die Regering het besluit om heeltemal vernietig al ...
+
that the Government... has decided to destroy completely all the
Mense wat in Turkye, moet hul teenwoordigheid word
+
indicated persons living in Turkey... Their existence must be
Beëindiging, maar 'n tragedie, en kan nie
+
terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard
Let wel: ongeag van ouderdom, geslag, godsdiens en gewete.
+
must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience.'
  
Dit is absoluut 1941 Himmler, die SS-SS is nie 'n moordenaar? Hier
+
Was this not exactly what Himmler told his SS murderers in 1941? Here
Oor Margada berge, het ons, saam met die res
+
on the hill of Margada, we were now standing among what was left of
Die "mense". En Bogedakai bank met wat
+
the 'indicated persons'. And Boghos Dakessian, who along with his
Ons 5-jaar-ou neef, Hagop bygedra het tot die Hubble
+
five-year- old nephew Hagop had driven up to the Habur with us from
Klas Deir - Zur Siriese stad wat al die drama
+
the Syrian town of Deir es-Zour, knew all about those 'tragic
Maatreëls. "Dood van 'n Turkse familie het daartoe gelei dat dit hier. Dit
+
measures'. 'The Turks brought whole families up here to kill them. It
Gaan voort vir 'n paar dae. Hulle reël die man das
+
went on for days. They would tie them together in lines, men,
Kinders, vroue, honger, siekte, die meeste van die meer duidelik. Toe
+
children, women, most of them starving and sick, many naked. Then
Hulle het hulle in die riviere, berge, foto's
+
they would push them off the hill into the river and shoot one of
Hulle het. Die dooie liggame van ander mense af, dan is dit aan hulle te verdrink nie.
+
them. The dead body would then carry the others down and drown them.
Dit is die goedkoopste manier. Die koste is slegs 'n simbool.
+
It was cheap that way. It cost only one bullet.'
  
== Jy praat nonsens, Mr Ambassador ==
+
== You're talking nonsense, Mr Ambassador ==
 
Robert Fisk:
 
Robert Fisk:
  
Jou stem, Mr Ambassador
+
You're talking nonsense, Mr Ambassador
  
Dit is die reuk van die dood - die dood Armeense blyk dat 'n nuwe diplomatieke oopgemaak argiewe
+
All the while, new diplomatic archives are opening to reveal the smell of death - Armenian death
  
Geplaatst: 20 Mei 2006
+
Published: 20 May 2006
  
Turkye se ambassadeur in die hof 'n brief van die St James, vir my,' n paar dae voor aankoms, was 'n memorandum gestuur skuddings deur die siel. "Jy" Armeense volksmoord "is gemaak in 1915 in Oos-Anatolië, beteken dit:" O, sê Kim Alptuna. "Ek dink jy verstaan nie die reëls van die gebeure ..."
+
A letter from the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of Saint James arrived for me a few days ago, one of those missives that send a shudder through the human soul. "You allege that an 'Armenian genocide' took place in Eastern Anatolia in 1915," His Excellency Mr Akin Alptuna told me. "I believe you have some misconceptions about those events ..."
  
Ja, indeedy, dink ek, Dodi, naitda. Ek is absoluut in 1150 만 'm nie Armeense wreed gemartel tot die dood deur die Ottomaanse Ryk in 1915, het hul doelbewus verkeerde eienaar,' n man met 'n mes gesteek en verkrag en geskiet hul derm ppaenaetjigwa meisies make-up en honger, dood optogte en hul kinders vermoor het. Ek het 'n paar van die oorlewendes -' n leuenaar, wat die manne en vroue, die Britse ambassadeur in Turkye, as jy glo in - ek, foto's Duitsland foto's nou, ek glo dit moet genoem word A. Wegner het die dapper slagoffer was opgedra aan die afval houer. So het die moed het om te bel om iemand aan te loop in 1915, Turkse nasionaliste vir hul diplomate, die Ottomaanse owerheid beveel dat al die lêers van die Christelike bevolking is gedood.
+
Oh indeedy doody, I have. I am under the totally mistaken conception that one and a half million Armenians were cruelly and deliberately done to death by their Turkish Ottoman masters in 1915, that the men were shot and knifed while their womenfolk were raped and eviscerated and cremated and starved on death marches and their children butchered. I have met a few of the survivors - liars to a man and woman, if the Turkish ambassador to Britain is to be believed - and I have seen the photographs taken of the victims by a brave German photographer called Armen Wegner whose pictures must now, I suppose, be consigned to the waste bins. So must the archives of all those diplomats who courageously catalogued the mass murders inflicted upon Turkey's Christian population on the orders of the gang of nationalists who ran the Ottoman government in 1915.
  
Ons sal nie antwoord nie, die Duitse ambassadeur gesê wat jy geskryf het dieselfde uitwerking? "Jy het die volksmoord wat plaasvind in die Oos-Europese Jode, 1939 en 1945 .. Ek het 'n paar dinge wat jy ..." Natuurlik, is hierdie brief van die Ministerie van Buitelandse Sake veroordeel die Duitse ambassadeur in Berlyn, misleidend vir die publiek dink - selfs Tony Blair bang is in hierdie geval - ongeag of dit advies en sal teruggetrek word, die Europese Unie sanksies geplaas moet word in Duitsland verklaar.
+
What would have been our reaction if the ambassador of Germany had written a note to the same effect? "You allege that a 'Jewish genocide' took place in Eastern Europe between 1939 and 1945 ... I believe you have some misconceptions about those events ...' Of course, the moment such a letter became public, the ambassador of Germany would be condemned by the Foreign Office, our man in Berlin would - even the pusillanimous Blair might rise to the occasion - be withdrawn for consultations and the European Union would debate whether sanctions should be placed upon Germany.
  
Dit moet egter president geïnteresseerd Alptuna. Hy is nie die Europese Unie lande - net wil word Eerste Minister - die vrees vir die bestuur, wil graag deelneem aan 'n paar maande in die Verenigde Koninkryk van die Armeense Monument Remembrance Day is voorkoming.
+
But Mr Alptuna need have no such worries. His country is not a member of the European Union - it merely wishes to be - and it was Mr Blair's craven administration that for many months tried to prevent Armenian participation in Britain's Holocaust Day.
  
Ontvangs van 'n helder LED liggies, ek vinnig, Mr Alptuna karakters Turkye burgers, wat sê: Ek wie is ek om te sien meer vreemd, die verteenwoordiger gesê het, glo dat baie min mense weet, dankie, dat Armenië is baie sleg vir mense wat hulle nader land het sy eie geskiedenis. So hoekom, waarom, vra ek myself, Parys, Beiroet en ander stede, soos sy kollegas Alptuna is nog te koop?
+
Amid this chicanery, there are a few shining bright lights and I should say at once that Mr Alptuna's letter is a grotesque representation of the views of a growing number of Turkish citizens, a few of whom I have the honour to know, who are convinced that the story of the great evil visited upon the Armenians must be told in their country. So why, oh why, I ask myself, are Mr Alptuna and his colleagues in Paris and Beirut and other cities still peddling this nonsense?
  
LES banoneseoneun, byvoorbeeld, die Ambassade van die huidige Turkye, volgens die plaaslike nuus, Frans L "Kennis" is na u gestuur, "SOI - dissan (sogenaamde) Armeense volksmoord" en waarom die moderne staat van Armenië in reaksie op die geskiedenis van Turkye nie probeer, Inc " komplekse aantreklik 1915 event.
+
In Lebanon, for example, the Turkish embassy has sent a "communiqu " to the local French-language L'Orient Le Jour newspaper, referring to the "soi-disant (so-called) Armenian genocide" and asking why the modern state of Armenia will not respond to the Turkish call for a joint historical study to "examine the events" of 1915.
  
Inderdaad, Armeens president Robert van die lande is nie om dieselfde rede, antwoord, die Joodse gemeenskap in die wêreld, maar dit is die Monument, die keuse vereistes, is die antwoord dieselfde eerste president, 'n ongekende toewyding, internasionale misdaad - is die dood van miljoene belediging was vermoedelik die slagoffer wees.
+
In fact, the Armenian president, Robert Kotcharian, will not respond to such an invitation for the same reason that the world's Jewish community would not respond to the call for a similar examination of the Jewish Holocaust from the Iranian president - because an unprecedented international crime was committed, the mere questioning of which would be an insult to the millions of victims who perished.
  
Tog, is Turkye voor te berei om te appelleer. In Beiroet, hulle dink aan die ramp in 1915, die Britse troepe, Gallipoli van die Franse, Australiese en Nieu-Seeland in die hande van die weermag, die Turkse leër was talle slagoffers. Alle - insluitend Turkse soldate - baie mense eokroseo Dardanellen Straat met die dood van die vierde. Die Turkse ambassade in Beiroet reg Gallipoli Oorlog gebaar van nasionale versoening, vriendskap en wedersydse respek vir mense wat veg het in ag geneem. Very nice probeer. Maar die bloedige Gallipoli VSA, is Brittanje, Frankryk, Australië, Nieu-Seeland, in die moord van tien duisende van die programme - en die Turkse - vroue en kinders nie ingesluit nie.
+
But the Turkish appeals are artfully concocted. In Beirut, they recall the Allied catastrophe at Gallipoli in 1915 when British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops suffered massive casualties at the hands of the Turkish army. In all - including Turkish soldiers - up to a quarter of a million men perished in the Dardanelles. The Turkish embassy in Beirut rightly states that the belligerent nations of Gallipoli have transformed these hostilities into gestures of reconciliation, friendship and mutual respect. A good try. But the bloodbath of Gallipoli did not involve the planned murder of hundreds of thousands of British, French, Australian, New Zealand - and Turkish - women and children.
  
Maar die vlek op die oomblik. 'N stel "definisies, Turkye, in 1915 en aansienlike rekord van die moord op hul eie die regering se standpunt uit te daag: Verkope Ahmed Sijinaolan, 哈利勒贝尔 Keita maklik Ek het Grant, Lagepuzha Lu en ander vereistes van die vernis, die demokratiese proses in Turkye "chip die duisternis, hulle help om die Armeniërs doen, is om te kyk. Tog, in die 11.915, al is hulle "verkeerd" en "tragiese" en "sien om die lyding van die Armeense volk."法特玛格杰克 Dr Universiteit van Michigan, is die stryd teen die gruwels van die Ottomaanse Ryk, Turkye gebore is, en die meeste wetenskaplikes Armeense opposisie risiko's. Maar sy is teen ook die gebruik van die woord "volksmoord" - dit erken die geldigheid, maar waarom - "politieke", waardeur die studie.
+
But now for the bright lights. A group of "righteous Turks" are challenging their government's dishonest account of the 1915 genocide: Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran, Halil Berktay, Hrant Dink, Ragip Zarakolu and others claim that the "democratic process" in Turkey will "chip away at the darkness" and they seek help from Armenians in doing so. Yet even they will refer only to the 1915 "disaster", the "tragedy", and the "agony" of the Armenians. Dr Fatma Gocek of the University of Michigan is among the bravest of those Turkish-born academics who are fighting to confront the Ottoman Empire's terror against the Armenians. Yet she, too, objects to the use of the word genocide - though she acknowledges its accuracy - on the grounds that it has become "politicised" and thus hinders research.
  
Ek stem saam met simpatie. Waarom eerlike manne en vroue is beter as die Turks-en Turkse nasionalisme, die moontlikheid van swaar? Meer vrae, meer mense is bekend vir sodanige vereistes moet word afgeskaf. Alputuna voorsitter vir my geskryf het - 'n heerlike vakansie - Armeense oë, "daar is geen oortuigende bewyse" die eis dat die volksmoord is nie gehoorsaam te ondersteun. Hy het bygevoeg: "volksmoord, dit is 'n duidelike wetlike definisie van etiek, gestig in 1948, jy weet, die Verenigde Nasies se Konvensie oor die wet van die see. Tog het die president Alputuna weet - hy natuurlik, ek sê nie, maar - Raphael Lemkin, die Joodse, Armeense bloed spesiale aandag aan die definisie van massa-moord muise.
+
I have some sympathy with this argument. Why make the job of honest Turks more difficult when these good men and women are taking on the might of Turkish nationalism? The problem is that other, more disreputable folk are demanding the same deletion. Mr Alputuna writes to me - with awesome disingenuousness - that Armenians "have failed to submit any irrefutable evidence to support their allegations of genocide". And he goes on to say that "genocide, as you are well aware, has a quite specific legal definition" in the UN's 1948 Convention. But Mr Alputuna is himself well aware - though he does not say so, of course - that the definition of genocide was set out by Raphael Lemkin, a Jew, in specific reference to the wholesale mass slaughter of the Armenians.
  
En dit alles terwyl die opening van nuwe diplomatieke argiewe, op die webwerf in die weste van die reuk van die dood - dood van die Armeense -. Ek, byvoorbeeld, aanhalings, een van Denemarke in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog is 'n nuwe ontdekking van die Turkse eerste minister Hu Jintao in hierdie hoofstuk. "Turkye aktief is en met opset moeilik om die Armeniërs uit te wis mense besef," Carl het geskryf Wandel op 3 Julie 1915. Karput 48 uur Bishop "bestel Aleppo te verlaat binne die later al wat ek weet, en vergesel hom na Urfa Diyarbekir ... Bishops, wat in Angola plaasgevind het tussen die slagoffers van die Armeense geestelikes word, oor die 1700 families van dié wat gedood word tydens dieselfde lot ... .... .. oor 6000 mense is gedood op die pad ... selfs hier in Konstantinopel (nou Istanboel), het Armeniërs ontvoerde in Asië te stuur ... "
+
And all the while, new diplomatic archives are opening in the West which reveal the smell of death - Armenian death - in their pages. I quote here, for example, from the newly discovered account of Denmark's minister in Turkey during the First World War. "The Turks are vigorously carrying through their cruel intention, to exterminate the Armenian people," Carl Wandel wrote on 3 July 1915. The Bishop of Karput was ordered to leave Aleppo within 48 hours "and it has later been learned that this Bishop and all the clergy that accompanied him have been ... killed between Diyarbekir and Urfa at a place where approximately 1,700 Armenian families have suffered the same fate ... In Angora ... approximately 6,000 men ... have been shot on the road ... even here in Constantinople (Istanbul), Armenians are being abducted and sent to Asia ..."
  
Verder verhoog. Maar nou is ek hier Alptuna saad karakters: "Trouens, die lewe van die Armeniërs in Istanboel en die Armeense deportasie en so aan ... in die Ooste." Hier, sodat die mense nie die waarheid praat. Kopenhagen Wandre laat president? St James Court, of Turkye?
+
There is much, much more. Yet now here is Mr Alptuna in his letter to me: "In fact, the Armenians living outside Eastern Armenia including Istanbul ... were excluded from deportation." Somebody here is not telling the truth. The late Mr Wandel of Copenhagen? Or the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of St James?  
  
(()) Kopieer
+
{{copy}}
  
== == Artikels
+
== Articles ==
Die Wit Huis] in die [ontkenning van [die holocaust
+
*[[Holocaust denial in the White House]]
[[Kategorie: Nie-Armeense | Inligting Fisk, Robert]
+
[[Category:Non-Armenian Individuals|Fisk, Robert]]

Latest revision as of 01:43, 18 May 2010

Independent on Sunday (London) October 16, 2005, Sunday

BOOKS: WITNESS FROM THE SAVAGE ZONE; THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION BY ROBERT FISK FOURTH ESTATE £25

by NEAL ASCHERSON

...

This is a very long book, allowing Fisk to interleave political analysis, recent history and his own adventures with the real stories which concern him. These are the sufferings of ordinary people under monstrous tyrannies or in criminal, avoidable wars. Fisk reported the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf war of 1991, the Palestine intifadas, the Taliban rule in Afghanistan and its sequel as the Americans and their allies invaded in 2002, the terror regimes of Saddam, the Shah and the ayatollahs, the frenzy of bloodshed in Algeria as Islamists and security forces competed to slaughter the innocent, and " of course " the Bush-Blair war against Iraq and its outcome. His chapter on the 1915 Armenian genocide, still unpardonably denied and evaded and not only by Turks, revives his famous report from Syria when he stumbled across the mass graves at Margada (see extract, above).

...


Independent on Sunday (London) October 16, 2005, Sunday

'THE TURKS BROUGHT WHOLE FAMILIES UP HERE TO KILL THEM' ROBERT FISK DESCRIBES HIS RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE ARMENIAN MASSACRE; THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION BY ROBERT FISK FOURTH ESTATE £25

by ROBERT FISK


Robert Fisk recovers after being beaten by a mob on a road near Quetta, Pakistan, 2001 HUSSEIN MALLA/AP

Exposed to the air, the bones became soft and claylike and flaked away in our hands, the last mortal remains of an entire race of people disappearing as swiftly as their Turkish oppressors would have wished us to forget them. As many as 50,000 Armenians were murdered in this little killing field, and it took a minute or two before Ellsen and I fully comprehended that we were standing in a mass grave. For Margada and the Syrian desert around it " like thousands of villages in what was Turkish Armenia " are the Auschwitz of the Armenian people, the place of the world's first, forgotten, Holocaust.

The parallel with Auschwitz is no idle one. Turkey's reign of terror against the Armenian people was an attempt to destroy the Armenian race. The Armenian death toll was almost a million and a half. While the Turks spoke publicly of the need to 'resettle' their Armenian population "as the Germans were to speak later of the Jews of Europe" the true intentions of the Turkish government were quite specific. On 15 September 1915, for example " and a carbon of this document exists " the Turkish interior minister, Talaat Pasha, cabled an instruction to his prefect in Aleppo. 'You have already been informed that the Government... has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons living in Turkey... Their existence must be terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience.'

Was this not exactly what Himmler told his SS murderers in 1941? Here on the hill of Margada, we were now standing among what was left of the 'indicated persons'. And Boghos Dakessian, who along with his five-year- old nephew Hagop had driven up to the Habur with us from the Syrian town of Deir es-Zour, knew all about those 'tragic measures'. 'The Turks brought whole families up here to kill them. It went on for days. They would tie them together in lines, men, children, women, most of them starving and sick, many naked. Then they would push them off the hill into the river and shoot one of them. The dead body would then carry the others down and drown them. It was cheap that way. It cost only one bullet.'

You're talking nonsense, Mr Ambassador

Robert Fisk:

You're talking nonsense, Mr Ambassador

All the while, new diplomatic archives are opening to reveal the smell of death - Armenian death

Published: 20 May 2006

A letter from the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of Saint James arrived for me a few days ago, one of those missives that send a shudder through the human soul. "You allege that an 'Armenian genocide' took place in Eastern Anatolia in 1915," His Excellency Mr Akin Alptuna told me. "I believe you have some misconceptions about those events ..."

Oh indeedy doody, I have. I am under the totally mistaken conception that one and a half million Armenians were cruelly and deliberately done to death by their Turkish Ottoman masters in 1915, that the men were shot and knifed while their womenfolk were raped and eviscerated and cremated and starved on death marches and their children butchered. I have met a few of the survivors - liars to a man and woman, if the Turkish ambassador to Britain is to be believed - and I have seen the photographs taken of the victims by a brave German photographer called Armen Wegner whose pictures must now, I suppose, be consigned to the waste bins. So must the archives of all those diplomats who courageously catalogued the mass murders inflicted upon Turkey's Christian population on the orders of the gang of nationalists who ran the Ottoman government in 1915.

What would have been our reaction if the ambassador of Germany had written a note to the same effect? "You allege that a 'Jewish genocide' took place in Eastern Europe between 1939 and 1945 ... I believe you have some misconceptions about those events ...' Of course, the moment such a letter became public, the ambassador of Germany would be condemned by the Foreign Office, our man in Berlin would - even the pusillanimous Blair might rise to the occasion - be withdrawn for consultations and the European Union would debate whether sanctions should be placed upon Germany.

But Mr Alptuna need have no such worries. His country is not a member of the European Union - it merely wishes to be - and it was Mr Blair's craven administration that for many months tried to prevent Armenian participation in Britain's Holocaust Day.

Amid this chicanery, there are a few shining bright lights and I should say at once that Mr Alptuna's letter is a grotesque representation of the views of a growing number of Turkish citizens, a few of whom I have the honour to know, who are convinced that the story of the great evil visited upon the Armenians must be told in their country. So why, oh why, I ask myself, are Mr Alptuna and his colleagues in Paris and Beirut and other cities still peddling this nonsense?

In Lebanon, for example, the Turkish embassy has sent a "communiqu " to the local French-language L'Orient Le Jour newspaper, referring to the "soi-disant (so-called) Armenian genocide" and asking why the modern state of Armenia will not respond to the Turkish call for a joint historical study to "examine the events" of 1915.

In fact, the Armenian president, Robert Kotcharian, will not respond to such an invitation for the same reason that the world's Jewish community would not respond to the call for a similar examination of the Jewish Holocaust from the Iranian president - because an unprecedented international crime was committed, the mere questioning of which would be an insult to the millions of victims who perished.

But the Turkish appeals are artfully concocted. In Beirut, they recall the Allied catastrophe at Gallipoli in 1915 when British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops suffered massive casualties at the hands of the Turkish army. In all - including Turkish soldiers - up to a quarter of a million men perished in the Dardanelles. The Turkish embassy in Beirut rightly states that the belligerent nations of Gallipoli have transformed these hostilities into gestures of reconciliation, friendship and mutual respect. A good try. But the bloodbath of Gallipoli did not involve the planned murder of hundreds of thousands of British, French, Australian, New Zealand - and Turkish - women and children.

But now for the bright lights. A group of "righteous Turks" are challenging their government's dishonest account of the 1915 genocide: Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran, Halil Berktay, Hrant Dink, Ragip Zarakolu and others claim that the "democratic process" in Turkey will "chip away at the darkness" and they seek help from Armenians in doing so. Yet even they will refer only to the 1915 "disaster", the "tragedy", and the "agony" of the Armenians. Dr Fatma Gocek of the University of Michigan is among the bravest of those Turkish-born academics who are fighting to confront the Ottoman Empire's terror against the Armenians. Yet she, too, objects to the use of the word genocide - though she acknowledges its accuracy - on the grounds that it has become "politicised" and thus hinders research.

I have some sympathy with this argument. Why make the job of honest Turks more difficult when these good men and women are taking on the might of Turkish nationalism? The problem is that other, more disreputable folk are demanding the same deletion. Mr Alputuna writes to me - with awesome disingenuousness - that Armenians "have failed to submit any irrefutable evidence to support their allegations of genocide". And he goes on to say that "genocide, as you are well aware, has a quite specific legal definition" in the UN's 1948 Convention. But Mr Alputuna is himself well aware - though he does not say so, of course - that the definition of genocide was set out by Raphael Lemkin, a Jew, in specific reference to the wholesale mass slaughter of the Armenians.

And all the while, new diplomatic archives are opening in the West which reveal the smell of death - Armenian death - in their pages. I quote here, for example, from the newly discovered account of Denmark's minister in Turkey during the First World War. "The Turks are vigorously carrying through their cruel intention, to exterminate the Armenian people," Carl Wandel wrote on 3 July 1915. The Bishop of Karput was ordered to leave Aleppo within 48 hours "and it has later been learned that this Bishop and all the clergy that accompanied him have been ... killed between Diyarbekir and Urfa at a place where approximately 1,700 Armenian families have suffered the same fate ... In Angora ... approximately 6,000 men ... have been shot on the road ... even here in Constantinople (Istanbul), Armenians are being abducted and sent to Asia ..."

There is much, much more. Yet now here is Mr Alptuna in his letter to me: "In fact, the Armenians living outside Eastern Armenia including Istanbul ... were excluded from deportation." Somebody here is not telling the truth. The late Mr Wandel of Copenhagen? Or the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of St James?


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