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The Herald (Glasgow) January 14, 2005



SCOTTISH Armenian Association: Women's Auxiliary - A meeting was held when the report for 1904 was presented.

During the year, pounds-126 had been forwarded to Marash in support of 21 Armenian orphans. Industry and selfhelp are fostered among the boys and girls who take their share in the daily routine of work in the orphanages. The orphans are, of course, brought up as Christians.

City leader sparks row by backing claim of genocide By GARETH ROSE

The Scotsman 16 Aug 05

COUNCIL leader Donald Anderson has become embroiled in an international row over whether the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during the First World War was genocide.

Armenia has called for an international investigation into whether the massacre was ordered by the Ottoman Empire which ruled Turkey in 1915.

Turkey has always insisted the people died during civil unrest while its authorities attempted to deport them.

Councillor Anderson first became involved in the issue when the Capital hosted a Holocaust Memorial Day in 2003.

But now, the city leader plans to go one step further and put forward a motion to the council in October recognising that "it was indeed genocide".

The proposed motion has been welcomed by Armenians in the Capital.

But the move has raised the ire of the Turkish community in Edinburgh and Councillor Anderson has also received complaints from the Turkish ambassador, who has pointed to the fact that history accepts many Turkish people died at Armenian hands.

In a letter to the ambassador, Cllr Anderson said: "Having researched this issue, I am in no doubt that the Armenian community suffered a genocide at the hands of the Ottoman regime.

"There are substantial eyewitness accounts that are well documented and there is, I believe, wide support for the view that the historical evidence is robust and compelling for genocide.

"You mention in your letter that atrocities were carried out against Turks by the Armenian side and undoubtedly this is true. There were atrocities on all sides of what was an extremely bitter period of ethnic conflict. However, this was not genocide and was not state-sponsored."

He added: "As council leader I have to advise you that I am convinced of the need to support recognition for what I believe was genocide.

"I would encourage you as ambassador for a great and dynamic country to reconsider your position."

The council leader was asked earlier by the Armenian community if the city would host a commemoration service to mark the 90th anniversary of the deaths, which was held on April 24.

Armenian Dr Hagop Bessos, 55, of Marchmont Road, Edinburgh, today said Edinburgh's recognition that genocide took place would be a "significant" step.

Dr Bessos, who is chairman of the Scottish branch of UK organisation the Campaign for Recognition of Armenian Genocide said: "It would be very important for Edinburgh City Council to recognise what happened was genocide."

Dr Bessos, whose parents survived the massacre, added: "Many countries across the world already have done. The UK and the US are the principal ones which have not."

A total of 15 nations, including Switzerland, Russia and Argentina, classify the killings as genocide. France, which has a large Armenian population, passed a law officially recognising the events as genocide in 2001, cooling relations with Turkey and scuppering a major arms deal.

The disagreement is also seen as the biggest stumbling block facing Turkey as it attempts to join the European Union.

But far from backing down, Turkey has remained defiant.

Murat Toruntay, chairman of the Turkish Association, said: "There are two sides to the story and I am pleased Cllr Anderson is prepared to listen to both. I was in Turkey recently and it was being talked about. The government does not accept that it was genocide."

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CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL, LABOUR GROUP MOTION, at Full Council Meeting of 17th November 2005

"This Council notes that a number of Parliaments around the world have recognised, as genocide, events that began in Anatolia in 1915, including,most recently, an 82% vote in favour of recognition in the European Parliament on 28th September 2005. Council also notes that recognition was acknowledgedwhen Edinburgh hosted the UK's Annual Holocaust Memorial Day in 2003.

Council recognises that atrocities and tragedies occurred on all sides in the conflicts which began in 1915, but supports the view that the Ottoman actions against the Armenian community did constitute genocide.

Council welcomes Turkey's application for membership of the European Union and supports dialogue and reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples. Council does not support the view that genocide recognition should be made a condition for membership of the European Union'.

At the Full Council Meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council on Thursday, 17th of November 2005, the Council carried a Labour Group Motion proposed by the Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Donald Anderson, and seconded by Councillor Chris Wigglesworth, supporting the view that the Ottoman actions against Armenians during the period 1915 onward did constitute genocide.

At the said meeting of the Council, held at City Chambers, deputations from both the Turkish and Armenians sides were invited to attend the Council meeting and present arguments for and against adoption of the Motion.

Three deputations from three Turkish organisations presented arguments against the motion through their respective three speakers. The two Armenian deputations that followed the Turkish presentations were from the Campaignfor Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG) and from the Armenian Community & Church Council of Great Britain (ACCC). The speakers from the Armenian deputations were Dr Hagop Bessos, Chair of the Scottish Committee of CRAG,who presented a personal family testimony of the genocide, Dr Donald Bloxham, lecturer of History at the University of Edinburgh and author of a recent book on Ottoman Armenians and the Genocide, who presented the historical argumentsin favour of passing the Motion, and Dr Harry Hagopian who concluded with both the legal and political arguments in favour of the Motion and against any allegations at denial.

Despite en-bloc opposition to the Motion by the Conservative Group in the Council, the Motion was carried with 29 votes in favour against 16 - a majority of 13 in favour of the Motion. The votes supporting the Motion were from the Labour and Liberal Democrat Groups.

CRAG, the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and its Scottish chapter headed by Dr Hagop Bessos, have been painstakingly working on this Motion for the past year. During 2005, and despite considerable political difficulties, CRAG has also been busy with a set of commemorative activities across the UK marking the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.


Hurriyet, Turkey Nov. 24, 2005

Speaking at a weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan has criticized the approval by the Edinburgh City Council last week of an Armenian bill concerning the so-called genocide allegedly committed by the Ottomans calling the decision "groundless and divorced from reality".

Tan stressed that in spite of Turkish officials' efforts and the Turkish people's campaign to prevent such an initiative, the council had still passed the bill supporting biased Armenian allegations.

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