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ANCA: Turkish Govt Denies Dialogue will Lead to Genocide Recognition

Armenian National Committee of America

888 17th Street NW Suite 904

Washington, DC 20006

Tel: (202) 775-1918

Fax: (202) 775-5648

E-mail: anca@anca.org

Internet: www.anca.org

PRESS RELEASE

June 18, 2003

Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian

Tel: (202) 775-1918

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaking today at a Washington, DC press
conference, the Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry,
Ambassador Ugur Ziyal, dismissed the idea that dialogue between the
Turkish government and Armenians would ever lead to Turkish
acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA).

The June 18th “Newsmaker” briefing took place at the National Press
Club before a group of approximately forty reporters and others who
follow events in Turkey, including ANCA Government Affairs Director
Abraham Niziblian and ten ANCA interns. The title of Ziyal’s
remarks was “Mending the Rift Between the U.S. and Turkey.”

Following his prepared remarks, Ziyal fielded eight questions,
including two from representatives of the ANCA. Both dealt with
the implications for Turkish Armenian relations of Turkey’s ongoing
campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. Responding to these
questions, Ziyal first denied that there was such an event as the
Armenian Genocide, noting, as an aside, that his own grandfather
had assured him that nothing resembling genocide had taken place.

He then denied that the Turkish Foreign Ministry had recently sent
its Director of Intelligence and Research, Ecvet Tezcan, a vocal
Armenian Genocide denier, to the meet with Armenian Americans in
order to derail Congressional efforts toward recognizing the
Armenian Genocide. Ziyal made a special point of stressing that
neither dialogue nor “political pressure” would ever lead Turkey to
acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, for the simple reason, in his
words, that it did not take place.

“Ziyal’s dismissal of the idea that dialogue would lead to Turkey’s
acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide further substantiates our
view that the real purpose of the recent meetings arranged by the
Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Director of Intelligence and Research,
Ecvet Tezcan, was not true dialogue, but instead a cynical –
although transparent – effort to forestall Congressional steps
toward recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive
Director Aram Hamparian. “Ziyal’s stark, public, and repeated
denials of the Armenian Genocide demonstrate that the Turkish
government will – at any cost and through any means – seek to
continue avoiding its present day responsibilities for this crime
against humanity.”

In recent weeks, the Turkish government has escalated its Armenian
Genocide denial campaign. Among the steps it has taken was the
formal decree issued by Education Minister Huseyin Celik requiring
the teaching of Armenian Genocide denial to the next generation
of Turkey’s school children. Other steps include the Turkish
Embassy hiring of the Harbour Group public relations and lobbying
firm.

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