While scholars say it was not possible to call the events in 1915 as `genocide,’ they stress that Turkey has not done enough to refute Armenian claims.
Turkish deputies have started a two-day conference on the Armenian allegations by criticizing Turkey’s activities on the subject stressing that very little has been done so far.
The Chairman of the Union of Turkish Parliamentarians (TPB) Zeki Celiker, in his opening remarks in Ankara yesterday, said Turkey had to respond to Armenian claims using very solid documents and evidence. Stressing that while Turkey’s responses to allegations have been only cosmetic so far, Celiker said Armenians have written many books and made many documentaries based on total lies and fake documents. He added that the TPB plans to produce a scientific study on a topic which is extremely important for Turkey’s future generations. Celiker said Western countries have been treating the Armenian issue in a hypocritical way. “The West wants historians decide on history when the subject is about them, but when it is Turkey, they see no problem to make decisions in national parliaments.” said Celiker.
Another speaker at the “Turkish-Armenian Relations In the History” conference was the speaker of Parliament Omer Izgi. Categorically denying Armenian claims, Izgi said there was no scientific evidence that proved the so-called genocide. “There is no problem in terms of international law as the Lausanne Treaty is in effect,” said Izgi.
Prominent scientists and historians namely Professor Ilber Ortayli, Professor Turkkaya Ataov, Professor Taner Timur, retired ambassador Kamuran Gurun along with their Armenian counterparts have joined the conference.
What all Turkish scholars agreed on was the term genocide could not be applied to the events in 1915. Stressing that Armenians supported Russian, British and French armies during World War I as they tried to invade Turkey, historians said the forced emigration decision was made only after Armenians started killing local muslims in a bid to support the invasion of Russians. It was stressed that no Armenians in Istanbul, Edirne or Bursa were forced to move or change their location while the forced emigration was only carried out in eastern Turkey where local Armenian gangs supported Russians.
Meanwhile, the Armenian lobby in the U.S. has written a letter to American President George W. Bush in which they called on him to refer to the events in 1915 as “genocide” during his speech on April 24. One hundred members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Bush urging him to keep his promise of recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide. Bush had promised during his presidential campaign that he would recognize the “so-called” genocide if he was elected president.