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Turkey advised on rejecting Armenian genocide claims

Professor Justin McCarthy, an American citizen who has written books on the people of the Ottoman Empire, says, ‘The Turks did not commit genocide’ but did not take up other claims

During a press meeting organized as a preliminary to a conference yesterday evening with the participation of experts and bureaucrats, retired ambassador Nurver Nures said foreigners would be told, ‘The Armenian genocide issue has reached such proportions because of inappropriate and unfounded claims’

Yesterday Istanbul was the site of a conference dealing with late Ottoman history and the controversial question of the Armenian genocide. Organized by the Democratic Principles Foundation (DID), the conference — actually the preliminary meeting before the one to be organized the same evening — focused on tactics and strategies to demonstrate to the world that the Armenian genocide did not happen.

During a press briefing organized as a preliminary to the evening conference where experts and bureaucrats participated, retired ambassador Nurver Nures said foreigners will be told that, “The Armenian genocide issue has reached such proportions because of inappropriate and unfounded claims.”

The luminaries at the meeting were Professors Andrew Mango and Justin McCarthy. Both Mango and McCarthy have produced copious literature in their fields, Mango on Turkey and McCarthy about the Ottoman empire and the Balkans.

McCarthy, whose last book is called “Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire,” participated at the meeting as an expert on the events between Armenians and the Ottoman authorities during the First World War and maintains with regard to the legal resolution of the French Parliament that an Armenian genocide did happen in 1915 that these were “fabrications and lies.”

‘Hate campaign’

Mango, a British journalist and academic who worked at the BBC for 14 years as director of the France and southern European section, and whose most recent book “Ataturk” appeared last year, argues that “a campaign based on rancor and hate” was in operation which was also “very effective and well-organized.”

Mango focused his speech on detailing this campaign, assessing its chances of success and giving strategic advice. He said that, “We are trying to propagate the correct version and hope to succeed one day,” and expressed optimism over multiculturalism in particular and time in general acting against what he called a racist effort against Turkey.

‘Turkey did not commit genocide’

McCarthy, whose books entitled “Muslims and Minorities” and “Death and Exile” have been translated into Turkish, and who is known as a competent figure with regard to the fate of minorities — and of course Armenians — during the First World War, asserted point blank that “Turkey did not commit genocide.” It was noteworthy that while he suggested that the goal of research should not be propaganda but truth, he did not comment at all on the accuracy of the countervailing claim that the Turks maltreated the Armenians, and whether the policy was a genocide or a massacre or even something less, the Turkish side was implicated in a questionable affair.

McCarthy suggested that Turkey regarded the declaration of its cause to the world as a long term affair which would include opening the Turkish archives, an issue which often comes up to the disadvantage of Turkey. He suggested that Armenians also had important archives about that time and urged them to be opened to researchers.

On a further note concerning the credibility of archives, McCarthy pointed out that the archives of Great Britain during the second and third decades of the 20th century were destroyed or nonexistent, suggesting that the coherence and availability of archives should not be taken for granted for European countries.

The meeting ended with more questions and suggestions by the speakers about how Turkey can make its case clearer to the world.

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