Turkey: Armenia

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 27th February 2007.

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Photo of Anne Snelgrove Anne Snelgrove PPS (Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State), Department of Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to the Turkish authorities to encourage them to instigate an investigation into the actions taken against Armenians in 1915-16.

Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We regularly discuss the issue concerned with the Turkish and Armenian authorities, including when the UK's Special Representative for the South Caucasus visited Turkey in January. We welcomed the Turkish Government's offer in 2005 of an impartial investigation by historians into the events of 1915-16. The Armenian Government suggested a commission to consider this and all other bilateral issues. Regrettably, there is no agreement between the parties thus far on how to take this forward.

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E Danielyan
Posted on 12 Jun 2007 11:49 am (Report this annotation)

Here are some excerpts from the letter of the International Association of Genocide Scholars to the Prime Minister of Turkey on this subject:

"We represent the major body of scholars who study genocide in North America and Europe. We are concerned that in calling for an impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention. We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades.

The Armenian Genocide is corroborated by the international scholarly, legal, and human rights community:

1. Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined the term genocide in 1944,cited the Turkish extermination of the Armenians and the Nazi extermination of the Jews as defining examples of what he meant by genocide.
2. The killings of the Armenians is genocide as defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
3. In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, an organization of the world's foremost experts on genocide, unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.
4. 126 leading scholars of the Holocaust including Elie Wiesel and Yehuda Bauer placed a statement in the New York Times in June 2000 declaring the "incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide" and urging western democracies to acknowledge it.
5. The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem), the Institute for the Study of
Genocide (NYC) have affirmed the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.
6. Leading texts in the international law of genocide such as William A. Schabas's Genocide in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000) cite the Armenian Genocide as a precursor to the Holocaust and as a precedent for the law on crimes against humanity."