Turks Identify Themselves as Perpetrators of the Genocide

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By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

May.12, 2004

While April 1915 spelled a national disaster for the Armenian people, who would have thought that 89 years later, the Armenian Genocide would still haunt the Turks?

To the dismay of the Turkish government, several major developments last month reminded the Turks that they cannot escape the consequences of the crime committed in 1915:

- Five more U.S. states (Montana, Idaho, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Louisiana) acknowledged the Armenian Genocide this month, bringing the total number of such U.S. states to 36;

- The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on April 21, expressing "its extreme regret" that "a monument was erected in the yard of a Catholic Church in Krakow, Poland, on April 17, 2004, with an inscription that reads 'Armenians were the victims of genocide in Turkey in 1915;' "

- The New York Times issued an internal guideline stating that henceforth it would refer to the Armenian Genocide as such without any denialist qualifiers;

- Thousands of articles were published in newspapers throughout the world, referring to the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and covering the commemorative events on that occasion;

- Both Presidential candidates in the United States issued solemn statements on April 24. Pres. Bush recognized the mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians without using the word genocide, while Sen. Kerry called it genocide and urged the international community to recognize it;

- One of the most significant developments for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide occurred in Canada on April 21. With a vote of 153 to 68, the Canadian Parliament officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, despite strong Turkish opposition.

Hundreds of articles on this subject were published in Canada and Turkey on the Parliament's vote. The Turkish Ambassador and the Turkish communities in Canada and the United States engaged in a massive lobbying campaign trying to block this initiative. Afterwards, the Turkish government threatened that the vote would have serious economic repercussions on Canada, meaning that Turkey could cancel major business contracts with Canadian companies.

There was, however, one key observation missing from all of these news reports, editorials and commentaries. While wildly lashing out at Canada, the Turkish government does not seem to have paid close attention to the text of the resolution which reads as follows: "This House acknowledges the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity."

Nowhere in the text is there a mention of Turks or Ottomans as the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. Why are the Turks then, so vociferously complaining about this resolution? Simply because the Turks know all too well - better than anyone else - the crime that was committed by their ancestors. That knowledge must weigh heavily on their collective guilty conscience. This resolution is not blaming them for committing any crime. Under these circumstances, the Turks are simply identifying themselves or accusing themselves of committing genocide against the Armenians.

There is no more damning evidence of the genocide committed by the Turks against the Armenians than their own acknowledgment or confession of their guilt.

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