Posted by How the Turks see it from 64-66-217-73.stkn.bigvalley.net (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, February 26, 2002 at 4:24PM :
The Holocaust and the Armenian incidents
The statement recently delivered by Rivka Cohen, Israeli Ambassador in Yerevan to the effect that no similarity could be found between the Holocaust and the Armenian incidents, caused great reactions. Cohen apparently said that the Holocaust was unique in history and could not be compared to any other incident since it had been a pre-planned act aimed at destroying a nation.
The Armenian Foreign Minister canceled his trip to Israel while the Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesman found Israel's approach as a country, which went through genocide itself, very "interesting".
Following a similar incident caused by the British Ambassador in Yerevan last year, the British Embassy in Ankara issued a similar press release but Armenia did not react as harshly as it did to Israel, since Israel's stance on this issue carries a great moral importance for the Armenians. It is well known that Foreign Minister Shimon Perez does not recognize the Armenian incidents as genocide. Almost all Israelis, perhaps with few exceptions, share the same opinion with Perez.
1948 Genocide Convention was drafted in view of the Jewish Holocaust. Article 2 of this convention defines genocide, as the intentional destruction of a group as such i.e. without any grounds such as a struggle for land or independence. This intent to destroy the members of a group only because they belong to this group emerges in the final stages of a racist hatred like anti-semitism.
However, the Armenians revolted several times firstly for autonomy then for independence since the 1860s. They carried out their struggles by resorting to terrorism often with their secret revolutionary organizations. They attacked the Turkish armies in the back in collaboration with Russia during World War I. They massacred Turkish civilians. They wanted to create an independent motherland in the East Anatolia through ethnic cleansing. (Don't they pursue the same aim now?) The relocation, which turned into a tragedy in certain respects, was carried out in order to prevent these threats.
On the other hand, Prof. Dadrian claims that the Armenian rebellions were a reaction to the Ottoman oppression; that all Christian subjects were also rebelling against the Empire and that Turks include the battlefield losses in the number of civilian casualties in order to exaggerate the total.
This simple logic has nothing to do with the law since the reasons of the rebellions are not important. The fact that the others were also rebelling is not important, either. The repression of the rebellion for autonomy or independence and the existence of collaboration with the enemy are reasons which fall outside the scope of the Convention. Those who rebel or collaborate with the enemy are legally considered as a political group. The political groups are not protected by the Convention. In case the civilians of this group are killed, the crime constitutes another category.
Moreover, the number of Turks, who died during these incidents, is greater than the number of the Armenians. In fact, both the Armenians and we take these figures from the German sources. Accordingly, some 2.5 million Turks died during the World War I. We lost 500,000 people in the battlefields. Over half of the remaining 2 million died in East Anatolia. This fact was also confirmed by the Armenian delegation which attended the Paris Peace Conference. Prof. Dadrian claims that the death of the Turks and Muslims was brought about by epidemics, starvation and hard geographical conditions. It is strange to claim that the Armenians could never die because of the same reasons but necessarily killed by the Turks.
Consequently it is easy to understand Israel's objection in this case.
Approaching the genocide in terms of human rights, rather than law, in a meeting in London, Dr. Mark Levene said that there happened around 50 genocides between 1950 and 2000. In another words, he considered the incidents, which resulted in an important number of civilian deaths, as genocide. With the same approach, there must have been another 50 genocides between 1900 and 1950. Some 100 genocides in a century! Dr. Levene implied that the first genocide of the century was the Balkan wars. The ethnic cleansing made against Turks in the Balkans could thus be recognized as genocide.
Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok wrote on Feb. 14 that the international court accused Milosevic personally rather than the entire Yugoslav nation. We sometimes forget that the law had already dropped the 'state responsibility' in genocide.
The Armenian case is continuously losing grounds.
-- How the Turks see it
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