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 It’s elementary: Turks committed genocide

 Source : The Boston Herald
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It’s elementary: Turks committed genocide 9.12.2005
By Warren Tolman and Dikran Kaligian


The recent lawsuit challenging the teaching of the Armenian Genocide as genocide purports to be a defense of First Amendment rights. What it actually is, despite all protestations to the contrary, is yet another attempt by the Republic of Turkey to distort history, this time in the curriculum of Massachusetts public schools.

The Turkish government has spent millions of dollars and the better part of 90 years denying that the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey committed genocide by murdering over 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. It has endowed chairs at Princeton and Georgetown, and has convinced defense contractors and other U.S. companies doing business in Turkey to lobby Congress to defeat any bill mentioning the Armenian Genocide.

Today, despite majority support in the U.S. House and a 40-7 vote in the House International Relations Committee, Speaker Dennis Hastert refuses to schedule a vote on an Armenian Genocide resolution. However, the House has already gone on record calling the Turkish actions genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996. The European Parliament and 15 other countries have done the same.

Thirty-eight states have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Because it has consistently lost in the political arena, Turkey has opened up a new front in the federal courts. This lawsuit was initiated by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, an organization founded and funded by Turkey to act as its proxy in this country. It has attacked a curriculum guide prepared by the state Department of Education after the Legislature unanimously voted for a law requiring that cases of genocide and human rights violations — including the Armenian Genocide, the Great Hunger in Ireland, the slave trade and the Holocaust — be taught.

This lawsuit attempts to create the impression of a “controversy” among historians over the events of 1915. This controversy has been wholly concocted by Turkey and its PR firms.

For decades, Turkey, despite having one of the world’s worst human rights records (including systematic torture and repression of Kurds) has used its strategic and geographic position to try to force other nations to accept its distorted version of the history of 1915-1923.

Turkey is trying to gloss over the worst parts of its record in order to gain acceptance to the European Union. Because the European Parliament has decided that it should not be admitted until it accepts responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, Turkey must resort to lawsuits and compromised scholarship.

Before World War II, Hitler, when pressed on whether he could pursue his plan for exterminating Jews, rhetorically asked: “After all, who remembers the Armenians?”

The education of our students is too important for it to be distorted by a foreign government using American courts to clean up its bloody history. Just as we would not allow teaching by those who would deny the Holocaust, we must not allow teaching by those who would deny or somehow forget the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.    


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