Armenian Solidarity with the Victims of All Genocides
Nor Serount Cultural Association, and Seyfo Centre
Unprecedented collaboration between Armenians, Assyrians and Kurds on Genocide day in the UK parliament, London.
(Establishment of a Permanent People's Commission on 'Reconciliation after the
Anatolian Genocide' proposed)
The irresistible ethical arguments for the recognition of the Anatolian Genocides as
the only ground for Reconciliation between the victim groups and the Turkish state,
was articulated by scholars on Genocide Day in the House of Commons, London.
Sabri Atman of the Seyfo Centre delivered a passionate interpretation of the
Assyrian trauma at the continuing denial of the Genocide of their nation. Sara Aziz,
also of the Seyfo Centre, put the case for the criminal penalisation of Turkey under
international Law. Ruth Barnett expounded on the psychological effects of Genocide
denial illustrating the complexities of traumatisation.
Gregory Topalian, concentrating on the Armenian experience, addressed the issue of
possibilities of reconciliation, based on recognition alone, and how some historians
may adversely affect this process. Desmond Fernandes showed that Genocide still
continues in Turkey, and that Denial owes much to US, Israeli and UK realpolitik.
Professor Khatchatur Pilikian showed in his address, 'A bird’s eye view on the
phenomena of Genocide and the Armenian experience of it', that Genocidal intent of
the Turkish state can be traced back to 1878.
Some of the speakers emphasised the universal significance of Genocide Day,
reflecting the increasing adoption of the 24th April as a day to dwell on all
Genocides. Professor Pilikian, in this vein, claimed that the annual deaths from
hunger of 14.6 million constituted 'the unmentioned Genocide'.
The organiser proposed the establishment of a Permanent People's Commission (to be
based in London in co-operation with UK politicians) on the Consequences of the
Genocides perpetrated by the Turkish State, to focus on the search for
Reconciliation based on truth and honesty. He also reminded the conference of the
brutal murder of three Christians in Malatya almost a year to the day, as a reminder
that Christians, as well as other minorities, are still living under a sustained
threat in Turkey.
Messages of support were sent from:
- The Halabja Centre London; The Kurdish Museum, London;
- The Foundation For The Kurdish Library and Museum, Stockholm
- Ms Rosie Malek Yonan, Los Angeles
- Mr Ragip Zarokulu, Istanbul
- Dr Tessa Hofmann, Berlin;
- Canon Andrew White, Baghdad
- Barzoo Eliassi, Kurdish Ph.D. Student, The Department of Social Sciences, Mid-Sweden University
- Martin Blecher, member of the Israel Group in Sweden
- Sukran Kavak, a Kurdish journalist, Sweden
- Shoresh Rahem, International Affairs for the Kurdistan Student Association and Kurdistan Youth Freedom Organization
- Hediye Guzel, Press secretary for the Left wing party, Sweden
- Gurgin Bakircioglu, Stockholm
- Haydar Isik, Germany
The meeting was chaired by Mr Andrew George MP, Mr Daniel Rogerson MP, both Members of Parliament for parts of Cornwall.
It was also supported by Mr John Marks, on behalf of Baroness Cox, Rev Stuart
Windsor, of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Mr Andrew Stonestreet of the Foundation
for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East and The Halabja Centre, London.
Two Ministers at the Foreign Office, the Rt Hon. Jim Murphy MP (minister For Europe)
and Lord Maloch-Brown, sent their apologies to the conference for their unavoidable
absences. The book by Taner Akcam, 'A Shameful Act' was given to Mr Andrew George to be presented to the Minister for Europe. This was a gift from The Armenian-Turkish Studies Group of London.
Attendees were encouraged to buy the book by Kemal Yalcin, 'You Rejoice My Heart'
(Taderon Press). The following quote from Mr Yalcin was read to illustrate the
'I bow to the memory of the Armenians and Assyrians who lost their lives on the road
of deportation through planned killings. That is the greatest pain of our century,
the stigma on the face of humanity. Your pain is my pain. As a Turkish writer, I beg
forgiveness from you and mankind ...'
Excerpts from the speeches:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am an Assyrian! I am an Assyrian who lives in Sweden and
have relatives and friends living in many other countries, as refugees, desperately
missing their hometowns and villages.
I am an Assyrian who seeks strength from a piece of stone smuggled out from his lost
hometown and kept as the most precious item in his home.
I am an Assyrian who has come here to tell you about the Assyrians who, along with
Armenians, were subjected to a genocide in 1915 within the Ottoman Empire by the
Assyrians once lived in their hundreds of thousands in the cities, towns and
villages which are geographically located in the east and south-east regions of
Then came the 1914- 1915 genocide which targeted Armenians and Assyrians.
The elderly Assyrians who witnessed the Assyrian genocide still remember a saying
they heard from some of those who got involved in carrying out the genocide: 'Red or
white, an onion is an onion; it has got to be chopped up'. Meaning: A Christian is a
Christian, whether Armenian or Assyrian: he has got to be killed ...'
We, Assyrians, have gone through a very traumatic experience. SEYFO opened in the
souls of Assyrians deep and painful wounds which are waiting to be treated. We lost
more than half of our population. It is now the time for humanity to hear and do
something about it. International recognition would not take away the pain deeply
rooted in our souls but would help us feel that we are a part of the humanity which
could not go to the rescue of our grandparents ...
We are still hurting but what we are after is not hate or revenge. What we want is
recognition and reconciliation.
Turkey does not want '1915 incidents' to be a political issue but a subject for
discussion for historians. The 1915 genocide has become an issue for Turkey only
after various countries started to recognise it. It is now time for Britain as well
to recognise the 1915 Assyrian, Armenian and Greek genocide. Britain was one of the
witnesses to the Armenian-Assyrian genocide. She cannot and must not close her eyes
to the facts just because she thinks recognising it would adversely effect her
economic and political relationship with Turkey. The sooner Turkey recognises the
1915 genocide the better. Better for Turkey, better for the Armenians and Assyrians.
Some weeks ago Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Israel's Knesset,
and said in Hebrew, 'The Holocaust fills us with shame. I bow my head before the
survivors and I bow my head before you in tribute to the fact that you were able to
I wonder when will a Turkish Prime Minister apologize to the victims of the 1915
I wonder when will a Turkish Prime Minister learn the genocide victims' languages
and apologize to them in their languages?
I wonder when will a Turkish Prime Minister realize that the best way to build a
future together, is recognition
It is clear from Ottoman documents that 1915 deportations and massacres were not
only directed against Armenians. The general plan was to homogenise Turkey by
getting rid of the non-Muslim peoples, which in the end resulted in 2 million
Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks being deported from their homelands or massacred.
Assyrians consider the violations against the Christians during WWI as a genocide as
it fulfill the criteria of the Genocide Convention of 1948. Turkey can still be
penalized for its crimes as history showed during the Neurenberg Tribunals and
International Common law makes it possible to penalize these acts.
Assyrians, as European citizen, demand from the EU to confront Turkey with its past.
Genocide does not stop when the deliberate mass killing ceases. There is an eighth
stage of denial, which continues until the details of what happened are faced,
publicly acknowledged, responsibility owned and collective mourning of the loss to
humanity and memorialisation at the killing sites take place. Without these
psychological processes, closure is not possible. Therefore, denial is incompatable
with reconciliation and both the survivors and the perpetrators cannot ‘move on’
while denial persists. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Aftermath of the Armenian
Genocide: Young Turks today are trapped, by learning only the distorted history
peddled by their elders, into subservience to their law against ‘insulting
Turkishness’. The parallel is that Armenians are trapped by the disbelief and
sidelining they receive widely in the world as a result of Turkey’s heavy-handed
pernicious and persisting denial. Neither side has been able to escape this trap;
both need the ‘family of nations’ to acknowledge and publicise ‘the truth’....
Denial means re-traumatising the survivors. They experience it as a further attack
on their group, an attempt to kill their loved ones a second time by trying to wipe
out their memory – as if they had never even existed. Of course this is exactly what
the perpetrators intended to do. The survivor group, already humiliated and
debilitated throughout the developing genocide, are left with crushed self-esteem
which denial or simply the absence of validation of their experiences, bruises even
further. Their humanity has been attacked, plundered and robbed and they are not
able to function as fully human until this trauma is processed..
The perpetrators are also traumatised in a different way. They too are not fully
human. They abdicated a part of their humanity when they breached the taboo against
killing their fellow humans. As every military General knows, ordinary men need
special training to turn them into soldiers capable of killing ‘the enemy’. The
trained capability to kill does not, however, protect them against trauma, and many
leave the services with post-traumatic disorders. The aim of war is to win and
defeat the enemy. The aim of genocide is to annihilate the target group to the last
man, woman and child. The training for this demands a structural change in
configuration of the psyche – a sort of becoming sub-human through diminishing or
erasing empathy, tenderness and compassion or banished them into the ‘other half’ of
a double life, as Jay Lifton describes in The Nazi Doctors. Their humanity can then
only be reclaimed by facing and owning responsibility for their murderous actions.
Many avoid this by hiding behind the claim of ‘doing their duty’ and obeying orders.
The traumatisation of the bystander group is perhaps the hardest to understand and
to quantify; yet it is the most important in that failure of the majority bystanders
to act is what creates the impunity that encourages further genocide. With two world
wars and over 50 genocides in the 20th century, there can hardly be a single family
in Europe that does not carry unprocessed trauma in its family history of the last
three or four generations. Perhaps this has contributed to the current focus on the
cult of the individual (everyone wants and even expects to become a celebrity) and
demands for human rights without acknowledging the responsibilities that so with
them. Self-gratification has become increasingly a priority over empathy,
compassion, dialogue with and understanding of others. When it comes to ‘standing up
to be counted’ in the service of ‘truth’ we tend to hide in the group and close
The French anthropologist, Rene Girard, claimed that a group or society that
purchases its own togetherness at the cost of innocent suffering demonstrates its
degeneracy. My thesis is that genocide denial erodes the very core of civilisation.
What is beyond doubt is that the Armenians DID suffer a genocide and two historical
and impartial international conferences on the issue HAVE decided that it was
genocide. Therefore, all of the mealy mouthed letters that MPs send out from this
House suggesting that we “leave it up to the historians”, are disingenuous to say
The historians HAVE made up their minds, so that formulaic excuse no longer counts
Twenty two countries including France and Germany, and forty US States have adopted
resolutions recognising that the Armenian Genocide was a genuine historical
occurrence. Several international organisations have determined that the term
‘genocide’ can be applied to “the Ottoman massacre of the Armenians between 1915 and
1918”. Among the organisations recognising the Armenian Genocide are the
International Association of Genocide Scholars and the United Nations Sub-Commission
on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Meanwhile, 53 Nobel
Laureates have also recognised the fact. So it might well be asked; what on earth is
stopping the government of the United Kingdom from doing the same? ...
Germany is a modern democratic State with a relatively liberal outlook. Germany has
admitted its crimes, and paid for them through a collective guilt, which it can be
argued is still ongoing, and financially. How many of these things have the modern
Turkish State conducted?
The conditions are ripe for enquiry in the modern German State, but this is far from
the case in Turkey. What is Turkey afraid of? A study of the Armenian Genocide is
far more problematic than that of the Holocaust because the Perpetrator State is
still intent on manipulating the truth and stifling the quest for free enquiry,
whether the victim is Armenian, Assyrian or Kurd .....
The Genocide that occurred in the Ottoman Empire is still denied by the Turkish
State, and access to the documents that have not been destroyed are only open to
pro-Turkish scholars, or as Armenian Genocide historian Ara Sarafian has
experienced, are drip fed in order to prevent any serious research being done ...
The great Welsh politician, founder of the NHS and champion of the underdog, Aneurin
Bevan, was the originator of the phrase “This is My Truth, Tell me yours”. The
battle over the historical truth of the Armenian genocide has created two ‘truths’,
and as long as Turkey refuses to acknowledge the fact that their massacre of
Armenians a) occurred, and b) constitutes genocide, reconciliation cannot possibly
However, I am not as pessimistic as some regarding the shift in the public
consciousness in Turkey, and I honestly believe that recognition of the Armenian
Genocide is not as distant as it once seemed. There have been plenty of positive
incidents in the last decade that suggest the quest for recognition may soon be
realised. Once that has been achieved, reconciliation is the next logical step, and
the victims of the Armenian Genocide can then finally rest in peace.
Desmond Fernandes, Author of The Kurdish and Armenian Genocides: From Censorship and
Denial to Recognition? (Apec, Stockholm):
In recent years, … even as there has been greater international public recognition
of the Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, Kurdish and ‘Other’ genocides (as a consequence of
concerted initiatives by concerned individuals, Armenian, Assyrian, Greek and
Kurdish communities and other people and organisations interested in exposing and
confronting international genocidal crimes), certain governments, politicians,
academics and lobbying groups have mobilized (and often collaborated with each
other) to engage in denialism of these “events” due not to genuine uncertainty about
the fate of these targeted “peoples/groups”, but to advance cynical personal and/or
nationalist and/or geopolitical/economic/ideological agendas …
Thomas O'Dwyer, writing in Ha'aretz … has commented upon the manner in which, “not
for the first time, we have witnessed the State of Israel's complicity in the lie
... This is political expediency at its most morally bankrupt. Tripping over itself
in its stupid defense of the untenable Turkish position [which denies the Armenian
genocide], the Israeli Foreign Ministry has again and again played an active role in
suppressing even discussion of the issue ... What is shocking is that there should
be any question whatsoever of Israel denying the murder of a nation ... Turkey's
denials of the Armenian massacre will not endure - but the memory of Israel's
refusal to speak out against the denial just might”. To Rabbi Kenneth I. Segal,
spiritual leader of the Beth Israel Congregation in Fresno, California, “a
‘political stench’” has, indeed, “emanated from the role played by the Israeli
Embassy in the United States in the matter” …
Larry Derfner [has] also noted the following in The Jerusalem Post: “What does the
State of Israel and many of its American Jewish lobbyists have to say about it[?]
... If they were merely standing silent, that would be an improvement ... Israel and
the US Jewish establishment may say they're neutral over what happened to the
Armenians … but their actions say the opposite. They've not only taken sides,
they're on the barricades ... Ninety years after the Armenian genocide, there is a
decent Jewish response to the sickening behavior of the State of Israel, the
American Jewish Committee and [many] other US Jewish organizations: Not in our
The Israeli academic Yair Auron argues that “the Israeli government’s abetting of
Turkey’s denial is not only a ‘moral disgrace’, it also ‘hurts the legacy and
heritage of the Holocaust” … To Robert Fisk, we need to be aware that “the holocaust
deniers of recent years - deniers of the Turkish genocide of ... Armenian Christians
in 1915, that is - include Lord Blair” … Concerning the British government's stance
over the matter, it is, in Fisk's view, based upon “a cynical premise by the Blair
government, namely that it could get away with genocide denial to maintain good
relations with Turkey”. R.J. Rummel remains critical of the manner in which, “for
political reasons, the [US] State Department refuses to ... even acknowledge that
the genocide took place” … What is even more shocking about the US official State
Department position is that its own genocide analyst in its Legal Department
privately would appear to be clearly convinced that what occurred was genocide …
Despite this type of private acknowledgement, however, the US government officially
and publicly asserts a denialist position …
The US government and many “establishment” figures, it should be noted, have a habit
of refusing to acknowledge certain past and ongoing genocides. Those genocides, for
example, that might be seen to embarrass the US government and perceived
geostrategic and economic “pivotal” client states’ governments, such as Turkey. It
is in this political context, as Edward Herman has observed, that “establishment
politicians, media, and [establishment] intellectuals use the word genocide with
great abandon, but with a hugely politicized selectivity” that we must be
Genocide was used often to describe the “killing fields” of Pol Pot, but not the
killing fields of Vietnam where the United States ravaged the country, killed many
more people than did Pol Pot, and left a destroyed country and chemical warfare
heritage of hundreds of thousands of children with birth defects ...
The word was never used in the US mainstream to describe Indonesian operations in
East Timor, where the invasion of 1975 and murderous occupation killed off between a
quarter and a third of the population …
The word genocide is rarely if ever applied to Turkish ethnic cleansing and
massacres of its Kurds, and in fact Turkey was mobilized to participate in the
78-day NATO (de facto US) bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999, supposedly to
terminate “genocide” in Kosovo, although Turkey’s attacks on its local Kurds were
far more deadly than any pre-bombing-war Yugoslav violence against the Kosovo
The obvious explanation of the varying word usage is that Turkey was a US ally, and
its ethnic cleansing and killings were facilitated by greatly increased US (Clinton
administration) military aid, just as Indonesia’s violence in East Timor was greatly
helped by greater US (Carter administration) aid to the killer state.
Yugoslavia, on the other hand, was a US target …
The word genocide … is never used in the mainstream to describe the “sanctions of
mass destruction” that are credibly estimated to have killed over a million Iraqis.
The establishment institutions have avoided all but passing mention of the numbers
dead, and they suppress even more completely the evidence that the killings were a
consequence of deliberate actions, including the US and British use of the sanctions
system to block the import of medicines and equipment to repair water and sanitation
systems that were destroyed with full recognition of the disease-threatening
It [also] remains a power-out-of-the-gun truth that … the United States can commit
blatant aggression with only slightly delayed UN accommodation, and it and its
clients don’t aggress, ethnically cleanse, or commit genocide.
Consequently, they are NOT adequately held to account for international genocidal
crimes. In Turkey's case, as already noted, internationally respected genocide
scholars such as Tove Skutnabb-Kangas point out that Turkey remains in breach of 2
articles of the United Nations' Genocide Convention … For geo-political reasons, the
US, UK, and German governments, particularly in the post-Second World War period,
due to NATO linked agendas, ‘post-9/11’ and other geostrategic and economic
concerns, have not only chosen to not recognize any [Kurdish] “genocide”, they have
been complicit and instrumental in facilitating this very genocidal process. It is
important to note that complicity in genocide is identified as a major international
crime by the 1948 Genocide Convention … [Moreover], according to Cengiz Çandar, the
Turkish journalist, Turkey continues to practice cultural genocide against the
Armenians in Turkey. According to the internationally respected Turkish
investigative journalist Ahmet Kahraman, currently in exile, the Turkish state
continues to engage in cultural genocide of Armenians, Kurds and Greeks. And yet,
despite this, from the US and UK governments who supposedly stand for “human
rights”, “humanitarianism” and a commitment towards speaking out against 'genocide',
there is no condemnation or serious examination or appraisal of these “genocide”
charges that have been levelled, just as there is no serious appraisal or
“recognition” of the past Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek genocides. Or, indeed,
serious appraisal or “recognition” of the genocide in Vietnam, or Iraq (under
sanctions, or after). The list goes on ...
Concerning the question:
Do the UK and US governments hinder the process of reconciliation by their one-sided
pro-Turkish government stance?
I think they do. Reconciliation cannot meaningfully take place even as cultural
genocide continues, and the Turkish state refuses to acknowledge its own ongoing and
past genocidal policies and practices, that themselves derived “inspiration” from
the even earlier – also denied (alongside with the US and UK governments) -
genocidal phase under late Ottoman (CUP) rule. As Andrew Kevorkian has commented:
What is eminently clear is that there is a genocide of the Kurds going on (since
about 1925) ... But, as long as Turkey can lie about the Kurds, with American
support, the genocide will continue - like an inexorable spreading cancer.
And with a genocide continuing in its many manifestations against Kurds, Armenians
and 'Others', there is little chance of reconciliation developing meaningfully ...
Professor Khatchatur Pilikian:
A bird’s eye view on the chronological history of the genocide of the Armenians
reveals the following:
a) PREMEDITATION & CONCEPTUALISATION
Kâmil Pasha (1838-1912) was to become Sultan Abdul Hamid’s Prime Minister four times
over. A statement penned by Kâmil Pasha was cited in the prestigious Armenian
periodical of the time Pordz (Trial, Attempt), in Tiflis=Tbilisi, in 1879. It
graphically confirms a premeditated genocidal concept, even, mind you, before the
emergence of the Armenian political parties, later accused by the Young Turks as the
Casus Belli=war involvement, of their genocidal deed. The Ottoman Grand Vizier
“Thus, we must eliminate, leave behind no traces of that Armenian nation. And to
accomplish this task, we are lacking in nothing; we have all the means we
need--Kurds, Cherkez, governors, judges, tax-collectors, police, in short
everything. We can declare a religious war--waged against a nation that has no arms,
no army, and no defender, whereas, in contrast, we have one of the greatest and
richest states of the world as our comrade-in-arms and the guardian of our Asian
b) PRELIMANARY IMPLEMENTATIONS
Kâmil Pasha’s conceptualised genocidal premeditation was put into an operational
program during 1894-1896 at Sassun, Van, Zeitun and Diarbekir, resulting in the
massacre of 300,000 Armenians, 3000 villages were burned and “tens of thousands were
forced to flee their native land into all corners of the earth...”
Prof. Em. Dillon (1854-1933), the Irish linguist and journalist, visited Turkey in
1895. He asserted:
“It is already proven that the pillage and the massacres of Sassun is the
deliberately organised act of the Sublime Porte, an act planned in advance
meticulously and executed mercilessly . . .”
c) PREPARATORY/TACTICAL EXECUTIONS
Kâmil Pasha was still around, writing and publishing his “history” books when the
massacres at Adana in Cilicia of April 1909 resulted in 30,000 Armenian deaths. The
latter was indeed the ‘maiden performance’ of the Young Turks relishing in the
prospects of their racist Panturanic vision. An eyewitness of the Adana massacres,
Helen Davenport Gibbons wrote:
“This massacre was more terrible than those in the days of Abdul Hamid . . . Those
Armenians who had succeeded in escaping the first carnage are now destroyed. Adana
has become a veritable inferno.”
It was in Salonika that the conference of August 1910 of “Ittihad ve Terakke”, the
party of the Young Turks, took the macabre decision to Turkify by brute force the
diverse multi ethnic nations constituting the Ottoman Empire. On October 1911, the
same party’s conference, again in Salonika, reconfirmed their ominous decision of
racist cleansing of minds, and land cleansing by massacres.
On July 27, 1914, the government of the Young Turks started conscripting Armenians,
before the First World War broke out, to deplete the Armenian nation of its
able-bodied male population who were herded into amele tabourou=labour battalions,
eventually to order them to dig their own mass graves…
On August 2, 1914, the Young Turks decided to create, out of its Teshkilati
makhsusa=special formation, a new structure to deal with ‘interior matters’, to
start and implement their proto-Nazi party conference decisions.
On August 6, 1914, a secret agreement between Turkey and Germany promised Caucasus
(including Eastern/Russian Armenia) to Turkey.
Until December 1914, before Ottoman Turkey’s declaration of war on the Entente
powers (November 5), 200,000 Armenian civilians, mostly women, the elderly and
children already were uprooted and decimated, not counting the imminent tragedy
prepared for the 300 thousand conscripted Armenian male population. Few thousand
Armenians had managed to flee and reach Russian occupied Eastern Armenia. Many of
them served in the volunteer regiments of the Tzar fighting in Western so called
Turikish Armenia. An estimated 300,000 Armenians fought with the Entente powers in
Europe and the Middle East including Palestine--a classic example of cannon fodder
of 600,000 Armenians obliging their lives, country and all for the Imperialist
appetites of both the Entente and the Central powers.
The First World War set the stage for the Final Solution.
d) STRATEGIC EXECUTIONS / FINAL SOLUTION
Kâmil Pasha’s faithful disciple Nazim Bey Selanikly (1870-1926), the executive
secretary of the Young Turks Central Board, spelled out the Ittihadist genocidal
creed to his comrades-in-arms, early in 1915, during a Central Board meeting
presided over by comrade-brother Talaat:
“It is imperative that the Armenian people be completely exterminated; that not even
one single Armenian be left on our soil; that the name, Armenian, be obliterated. We
are now at war; there is no more auspicious occasion than this; This country must be
purged of all non-Turk elements”.....'
When serving as Editor in Chief of Documents on British Foreign Policy, Prof. W. N.
Medlicott, Stevenson Professor of International History, University of London, tried
to assess the enormity of the Armenian cultural loss. On September 14, 1974, Prof.
Medlicott wrote: “Hardly less tragic than the actual destruction of life has been
the disruption of an age-long cultural and religious heritage and the loss of an
ancestral home tenaciously defended for over 2000 years. It is well that these
events should be recorded and that we should pay a tribute to the courage of the
survivors of the massacres and their descendants, scattered though they now are
throughout the world.”
The basic question remains. Few months away from the 60th anniversary of the UN
Convention on Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, what kind of a
world are we living in?
For decades, UNESCO has been warning the world that the greatest shame of the
current civilisation is the fact that thousands of children die of hunger every
single day. Today that number has reached the staggering 14.6 million per annum. In
other words 44,000 children die of hunger alone each day of the year. Can there be
any doubt that this is also the unmentioned genocide of humanity, ongoing and an
authentic one at that, which surely is the outcome of our own socio-economic and
industrial military system, now coined with cynical panache as Globalisation,
whereby tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, each averaging at least 20 times the
destructive power of a Hiroshima bomb, are already in deployment all around the
When genocides, torture, poverty and wars are justified as “human nature” or as a
historical and economic necessary evil, nay even as historical inevitability of “so
called” clashing civilisations, then and there silence acquires an obscene eloquence
in support of inhumanity-sheer Barbarism of Total Terror.
In the words of Nazim Hikmet, the Turkish poet laureate of UNESCO 2002:
Insanlar ey, nerdesiniz? Nerdesiniz?
Where art thou, oh, humanity? Where art thou?
Unless, of course, humanity at large will ‘rage against the dying’ of its dreams and
refuse to become cannon fodder for the ‘Profane Patrons’ of Genocide: Mammon, Racism
and Terror, thus guarding its deeds of tolerance and justice, fair share and good
care, compassion and conscience—the true wealth of the world, hence the health of
EXCERPTS OF MESSAGES:
Canon Andrew White - President of the FRRME:
Blessings from Baghdad
I am so sorry that I have been unable to be with you today for this most important
meeting. It is so important as in our life time there has still been genocide. The
Genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians has never even been recognised. So many of
the families of my people here in Iraq fled to Iraq to find sanctuary in the
violence and Genocide of the Ottoman Empire. Both Assyrians and Armenians were
killed in their masses.
I have dedicated my life to the work of reconciliation. Forgiveness is indeed the
only thing that will prevent the pain of the past from determining the future, but
to have forgiveness and reconciliation you must have recognition of the evil deeds
of the past. We have had clear recognition of the evil past of Germany and even the
Rwanda’s but Turkey still refuses to acknowledge past massacres of the Armenians and
the Assyrians. To me that is totally unacceptable and unforgivable. They want to
join the EU; people say how a can a Muslim nation be part of the EU. I have
absolutely no problem with that but I do have a huge problem with the nation of
Turkey not recognising the genocide of it past.
My prayer is that this horror will not indeed be committed again, thank you all for
taking this most important issue so seriously.
Ragip Zarokulu of the Human Rights Association, Istanbul Branch:
Today, 24th of April, is worldwide recognised as the date signifying the Armenian
Genocide. Only in Turkey it indicates a taboo. The Turkish state mobilises all its
resources to deny the meaning of this date. At diplomatic platforms Turkish
officials and their advocates claim that they recognise the “big tragedy” and they
only object to its being named as a “Genocide”. That’s not true. At every occasion
in Turkey not only the Armenian Genocide, but also the great agony of the Armenian
people is denied and attempts are made to justify the genocide.
It was only last month that during a Symposium on the Armenian-Turkish relations the
denialist official theses were voiced one after another, offending the Armenians in
Turkey and elsewhere and insulting the memory of their grandparents. Lies were told
in the name of “science”, like “Armenians have always sold their masters”,
“deportation was a means of crisis management”, “death toll of deportation is
comparable to the death toll of flu epidemic in England that time”, “there is no
other people as noble as the Turkish nation in the world, it is impossible for them
to commit a genocide”, and many more, humiliating a people who was one of the most
advanced in science, art, literature, and in all other aspects.
Denial is a constituant part of the genocide itself and results in the continuation
of the genocide. Denial of genocide is a human rights violation in itself. It
deprives individuals the right to mourn for their ancestors, for the ethnic
cleansing of a nation, the annihilation of people of all ages, all professions, all
social sections, women, men, children, babies, grandparents alike just because they
were Armenians regardless of their political background or conviction. Perhaps the
most important of all, it is the refusal of making a solemn, formal commitment and
say “NEVER AGAIN”.
Turkey has made hardly any progress in the field of co-existence, democracy, human
rights and putting an end to militarism since the time of the Union and Progress
Committee. Annihilation and denial had been and continues today to be the only means
to solve the problem. Villages evacuated and put on fire and forced displacements
are still the manifestation of the same habit of “social engineering”. There has
always been bloodshed in the homeland of Armenians after 1915. Unsolved murders,
disappearances under custody, rapes and arrests en masse during the 1990’s were no
surprise, given the ongoing state tradition lacking any culture of repentance for
past crimes against humanity.
Similarly the removal of a public prosecutor and banning him from profession just
for taking the courage to mention an accusation against the military, a very recent
incident, is the manifestation of an old habit of punishing anybody who dares to
voice any objection to the army. And today’s ongoing military build up of some
250,000 troops in the southeast of Turkey is the proof of a mindset who is unable to
develop any solution to the Kurdish question other than armed suppresion.
Turkey will not be able to take even one step forward without putting an end to the
continuity of the Progress and Union manner of ruling. No human rights violation can
be stopped in Turkey and there will be no hope of breaking the vicious circle of
Kurdish uprisings and their bloody suppression unless the Turkish state agree to
create an environment where public homage is paid to genocide victims, where the
sufferings of their grandchildren is shared and the genocide is recognised.
Today we, as the human rights defenders, would like to address all Armenians in
Turkey and elsewhere in the world and tell them “we want to share the pain in your
hearts and bow down before the memory of your lost ones. They are also our losses.
Our struggle for human rights in Turkey, is at the same time our mourning for our
common losses and a homage paid to the genocide victims”.
Rosie Malek-Yonan, Author of The Crimson Field and Board of Advisor at Seyfo Center:
The absence of the negotiation of world peace is the single greatest threat to
humanity and the future of a violent-free world.
In order to achieve freedom from war, we must examine the actions that continually
create the cycle of anger and hatred as the catalyst to any conflict between
World peace will always remain a distant thought when reconciliation in the
aftermath of genocide is not at the forefront of all discussions of human rights
violations relative to those crimes.
When we perpetually allow the practice of genocide and holocaust and consent to the
denial of such actions to linger for decades as in the case of the Assyrian,
Armenian and Pontic Greek Genocide, we are in essence consenting to denial as a
compromise. Denial is not compromise.
To the survivors and the children and grandchildren of the survivors of the
Assyrian, Armenian, and Pontic Greek Genocide of 1914-1918 in Ottoman Turkey and
northwestern Iran, there is no valid justification for the renunciation of facts.
With the acknowledgement of past and present genocides we can slowly begin to mend
the broken bridges that may ultimately lead the human race to eradicate bloodshed
and violence among nations of this world. But so long as we turn a blind-eye to
these killings, we are sanctioning the ongoing slaughter such as today’s modern-day
Assyrian Genocide occurring in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 war.
A formal pronouncement by the Turkish government of the Assyrian, Armenian, and
Pontic Greek Genocide will bring closure to not only the survivors of the genocide,
but also to the Turkish people in that the nearly century-old hatred can begin to
give way to human solidarity. Anything short of that will surely continue to
threaten all hope of peace.
Dr Tessa Hofmann, Chairperson of the Working Group Recognition – Against Genocide, for International Understanding (AGA):
The Armenian Genocide Day Conference poses a demanding and challenging aim. The
recognition of historic facts – Truth – and of justice is the precondition of any
reconciliation and lasting peace, if the ultimate crime of genocide was committed. The comparative study of genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries reveals that again and again
survivors and their descendents need legal justice in order to re-establish trust and the capability to come to terms with their fate.
The case of the Ottoman genocide against 3.5 million Christian citizens is unique in
the duration and obstinacy, displayed by official Turkey in the refusal to acknowledge
the states crimes which were committed during the last decade of Ottoman rule. The refusal to
come to terms with this past and to take responsibility for the murder and destruction of
Non-Muslim ethnic groups in the process of building a Turkish nation-state have long ago turned
into severe obstacles for democratization and regional stability in international
relations. To help Turkey to overcome her self-imposed deadlock means the contrary of a policy of eye-closing and palliation. It means the exploration of the roots of nowadays hate towards
ethnic and religious minorities.
We hope that the Conference will be able to explain the necessity of such standards
to the political decision-makers in the United Kingdom and thus will immediately contribute
both to justice and reconciliation.
Foundation For The Kurdish Library and Museum in Stockholm, Sweden:
The new Turkish Republic which has been rebuilt on the remnants of the Ottoman
Empire, has to confess once all the history of Turkish legacy of their ancestor. It
is not possible for Turkey to accept parts of Turkish history and reject the other
historical occurrences. The genocide of Armenians is a historical fact and whole
world knows who committed thesecrimes. It is time once for all for Turkey, for the
candidate of EU membership, to confess all events in Turkey's and Turks history.
This is necessary for making the peace and democratic progress secured in the whole
region and in the entire world.
Barzoo Eliassi, Kurdish Ph.D. student at the Department of Social Sciences of
The transition from the multicultural Millet system of the Ottoman Empire to the
Republic of Turkey created an ocean of killing in the name of a threatened Turkish
nation. It is not an exaggeration to compare the Nazi extermination of the Jews with
the systematic Turkish mass murder, or aptly put, the genocide against the Armenians
during the First World War. The Turkish governments have been denying this event and
labelled it as a conspiracy against the existence of the Turkish state. Any demand
on raising and debating this issue of genocide and atrocities against the Armenians
is seen as an external threat that attempts to undermine the political authority of
the Turks over the Turkish history. History books in Turkey see surely this genocide
in other terms and legitimatize it in the name of the Turkish nation and its right
to existence and its right to use any means to protect itself from internal and
external “threats”. Using any means included also the genocide of the Armenians, an
evil crime that Turkish history has to pay back to its victims through recognition.
Martin Blecher, member of the Israel Group in Sweden:
Today our thoughts go to the one and half million that were killed in Ottoman Empire
in 1915-1916. Our thoughts also go to the children and grandchildren of the
survivors who have witnessed the horror by survivors passing their story along. The
Jewish people and our Armenian brothers have experienced one Holocaust upon us ...
We deeply sympathize with the Armenian nation and encourage them to continue their
search for national justice. It is our responsibility to forget in order to live in
the present and move along the path that leads to peace. It is also our
responsibility not to forget and to tell the story that once were told to us.
Sukran Kavak, a Kurdish journalist in Sweden:
The legal definition of genocide was found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. But the crimes of genocide
were committed much earlier then this legal definition. The world failed to stop the
genocide of the Armenians during and after the First World War by the Ottoman
Empire. To honour the hundreds of thousands of victims and their relatives, the
crimes against the Armenians must be acknowledged as genocide by the world. To not
recognize this is a further crime and insult against the victims, the survivors and
the whole Armenian people.
Shoresh Rahem, International Affairs for the Kurdistan Student Association and
Kurdistan Youth Freedom Organization:
When I came to Sweden at the age of eight, I learnt about Kurdish history through my
family. The Swedish history classes were limited to the European countries and those
who Europe had relations with. Few people knew that there was a Kurdish genocide in
Iraq during 1980's. Neither did we study that more than one million Armenians were
victims of genocide in Turkey. There is nothing we can do today to get back the
victims of the genocide. But we must inform and acknowledge the crimes so that it
will not be repeated, but also to honor the survivors to the victims that they are
not forgotten. To know that a crime of genocide has been committed but to deny it is
another serious crime. Therefore, I see as my obligation to the Kurds and to our
friends, the Armenians, not to keep quiet about the crimes of genocide as my
teachers and the politicians did when I grew up.
Hediye Guzel – Press secretary, Left wing party, Kurdish origin:
Reconciliation must be the leading star, when discussing the Armenian genocide. This
awful genocide has also affected the Assyrians/Syrians and Chaldeans in the Ottoman
Empire. But reconciliation must be founded on truth, not on manipulation of truth.
Without true and honest historical research and approaches, we will never reach this
goal. We must not hesitate to use the right words about happened in the Ottoman
Empire 1915 and the following years. We cannot be afraid of truth! And we cannot
deny or hesitate as the Turkish republic does.
The genocide in the Ottoman Empire is a trauma not only for the Armenians, the
Assyrians/ Syrians and the Chaldeans, it is also a trauma for the Turkish people.
Nationalist and chauvinist institutions and forces in Turkish society which deny the
genocide prevent and punish people who recognize the genocide of 1915. They stop the
development of reconciliation and peace of a whole society. With a recognition of
what happened in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire, hatred and bitterness can disappear and
reconciliation can be reached.
As long as the Turkish state denies the genocide of 1915 it will be caught in the
past. We have to look at the future and leave the past. To reach peace and harmony
between people, it is necessary to see the truth and condemn the genocide.
Haydar Isik, Germany:
I am an Alevi Kurd! Where we lived there were no mosques. In my childhood I admired
the ruins of the Armenian churches in the area. Though their walls had crumbled the
domes supported by the columns still stood. The marvelous pictures painted on them
could still be seen. My birth city was called 'Kizilkilise' or 'Red Church' in the
Kurdish language [it probably had a Syriac or Armenian name before]. But later like
other Kurdish names the Kizilkilise was changed to 'Nazimiye' by the Turkish
My childhood was affected by two important historical events. One was the Dersim
massacre of the Kurds in 1937/38 , when 70,000 of them were killed by the Turkish
army which still is very fresh and sorrowful in my mind. The other was the Armenian
Genocide, of 1915-16 by the Turks which exterminated one and half million Armenians
and a half million Assyrians. During the winter months I often heard about the
sorrowful fate of our Armenian neighbors and it made me cry.
To achieve racial supremacy in Anatolia, the Turkish regime wiped out first the
Armenians and Assyrians and then the Kurds. General Kazim Karabekir, who had
participated in the killing of the Armenians and Assyrians once had said: 'le yandan
zo zo lari, doenuence de lo lo larin isini bitirecegiz.' 'We will exterminate the
Armenians with an invasion to the east, on our way back we will do the same with the
It was always the strategy of the Turks to kill or drive out the country first the
Christian Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks to turn the country into an Islamic
nation, then to carry out similar genocide and ethnocide against the Kurds. To
accomplish this Turkish rulers promoted hatred and incited one people against the
other ... The Kurdish feudal chieftains became instrumental in carrying out these
The Turkish regime used sunni tribes in Northern Kurdistan who lived side by side
with the Armenians and Assyrians in Mesopotamia to implement its policies. The
Aschirets (tribe) which lived in Van, Urfa, Agri; Mus and Bingöl were known as
Hasenen, Cibran, Zirkan, Sipkan, Zilan, Milan etc.. These Aschirets were a minority
of the Kurds. The Aleviti Kurds, the yezidis and the rest of the sunni Kurds
provided no assistance to the Turks.
A minority of Kurds was used to kill Christians to prove their loyalty to Turkey and
Islam. Today's Kurds see the massacre of the Armenians [and Assyrians] as a shame on
Kurds. I am ashamed that Kurds were involved in killing their neighbors in such
In the shadow of the 1ST world war, during the rule of Pascha Enver Talat and Cemal,
Turks organized the Christian pogrom in Anatolia and Mesopotamia with the approval
and knowledge of Germany. It was the first genocide in human history that was
carefully planned and carried out. However one needs to see the other side of the
coin also. The rag-tag brigades, recruited by Turkey out of 36 Kurdish tribes, which
were used to massacre the Christian were also incited against the Alevi and the
yezidie (moslem) Kurds.
The regiments were formed exclusively out of the sunni tribes in Northern kurdistan
which means, the young Turkish regime (Ittihat Terakki) intentions were to incite
one section of the Kurds against the other according to the principle of 'divide and
conquer'. Consequently animosities between Sunni and Alevi Kurds continues to this
The Hamidiyeh regiments was also used against the Kurds to undermine the Kurdish
aspirations for independence. Their Attacks against the Armenians, Assyrians or
Kurds remain a blemish in the history of the Kurds. Nothing holds back the Kurdish
descent bandits who attacked Armenian villages yesterday and killed countless people
from killing their own. One has to ask: is it just for anyone to kill other human
beings because someone orders them to do so?
Yes, the story of humanity is full of such events. About 50 years ago, German
fascism massacred the Jews in industrial fashion. They believed that their victims
deserved to die! ...
Now Turkey is using Kurds to fight their compatriots. Like the Hamidiyeh brigades of
the past which killed 100,000 of their own people, Kurdish gangs have been equipped
to fight against the Kurdish liberation movement, which fights for liberty and
well-being being of the Kurds living in the mountains.
The same mentality which massacred the Armenians and the Assyrians yesterday, is
responsible for the killing of the Kurds today. The Kurds in Dersim provided
protection for their Armenian neighbors despite pressure from the Turks, however
such kindness cost them dearly when Turks massacred them in 1937/38, partly for that
Turkey is a country of various people, Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians and other
minorities. Although Turkey has signed almost all the international treaties
including: The 'General Declaration of the Human Rights', the 'European Convention
of Human Rights', the 'CSCE treaty' , which promises Equal Rights,
Self-determination, and rights of minorities to teach their mother tongue, Turkey
has denied such liberties to its non-Turk[ish] citizens, yet it wants to join the
The Armenians were exterminated by the policy of Turkey in Anatolia. We, the Kurds
would like to live peacefully together with our neighbors, Armenians, Assyrians and
Turks in a country, where the sound of the church-bells and the call of the Muezzin
can be heard side by side. We are not any more the Kurds who were used as tool by
Turkey to exterminate their Christian neighbors. We are ashamed and would like to
make amend and do well - From: 'Confessions of an Honest Kurd: The Assyrian &
Armenian Genocide, Past and present' - Translated from the German Language.