Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Yusuf Selcuk Ateskan
As Turkish students in southern California, we do mourn for both Armenian and Turkish people, who perished during continual warfare before, during and after World War I. However, we do not accept the distortion of the historical facts to promote hatred toward a nation. We believe that these allegations are unjust accusations to a nation represented by hundreds of millions of people in the world and particularly for the Turkish community in southern California. Armenian extremists use distortions to offer one-sided misrepresentations of the events that took place between the Turkish and Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I. They claim that the Ottoman Empire instigated a policy of genocide against its Armenian citizens, but scholars have proven that these allegations are not based on historical facts but on myths, fake documents and forgeries. Despite the heavy pressure, most American scholars refuse to regard the events as genocide. Sixty-nine American scholars specializing in Turkish, Ottoman and Middle Eastern studies published an open letter to Congress in the New York Times and Washington Post on May 19, 1985, disputing Armenian characterizations of the events of World War I. They concluded that what the Armenians claim to be genocide is in fact inter-communal warfare, perpetrated by Muslim and Christian irregular forces that victimized both sides. Focusing on Armenian suffering alone and dismissing Turkish suffering is simply unscholarly and incorrect. Armenian extremists, who were not capable of proving their case in legitimate ways, resorted to terrorist acts. Armenian terrorists assumed the responsibility of 70 bombings, 39 armed attacks and occupations in 21 countries, including the United States, between 1973 and 1995. Fifteen of the 110 terrorist acts took place in California, the second most Armenian-populated region in the world. Armenian terrorists bombed UCLA professor Stanford J. Shaw’s house in 1977. Professor Shaw had to go into hiding after other harassment and disruptions of his class at UCLA. Apparently, freedom of speech exists only if one agrees with the Armenians. Shaw was just one of the academicians who were threatened, harassed, assaulted or attacked by Armenians because of his views against the alleged Armenian genocide. Bernard Lewis, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, agrees with Professor Shaw. He said, “There is no evidence of a decision (of Ottoman government) to massacre. On the contrary, there is considerable evidence of attempt to prevent it.” Since Armenian allegations lack the support of academic evidence, Armenian lobbies try to legislate their version of history by forcing the U.S. Congress to pass resolutions acknowledging their claims. We believe that the proper position for the Congress and other legislative branches to take on this and related issues is to encourage full and open access to all historical archives and not to make charges on historical events before they are fully understood.We expect that the debate should be continued by independent historians who specialize in the subject, not the politicians. Armenians and Turks are living together as one in Turkey. For instance Kirkor Ohanoglu, a student of Armenian descent, competed in a soccer match between elementary school students and the Turkish senators that commemorated Children’s day in Turkey and scored the goal of the Children’s team, which shows that both groups can get along. Armenians have their own schools, newspapers and churches in Turkey. We are concerned that the commemorations turn into demonstrations of hatred toward Turkey and Turkish people.We hope that the blind hate of extremist Armenians is not transferred to their next generation and that neither community lives through those horrible times again.
31/03/05 09:33

1 comment:

spystan said...

I am a Greek national, historian and researcher. The last thing I want is to acquit Turkey from its responsibilities. BUT, the 1915 events in Anatolia, DO NOT, in any way, constitute a genocide, unless we redefine the concept of genocide to include all wartime atrocities. Actually, the Ottomans, whose empire was one of the most glorious in the history of mankind, never would had committed crimes of genocide. But the Ottoman Turks were in several occasions victims of genocidal behavior, in Asia Minor and elsewhere. Unfortunately many a racial interest group misuse historical evidence to serve their own political causes. And the world public opinion can easily been mislead, but not for long, hopefully. The Turkish people should not feel responsible for any such crime. They are not to apologize to anybody. On the contrary. There exist quite a few instances where the Ottomans (and later Turkish nationals) have been victims of racial crimes and genocides. The Ottomans were proud and tolerable, both as individuals and as a nation. Actually, many peoples that are today in existence, including their national and ancestral traditions, should be very thankful to the Ottoman Turks. And this includes Greece. History is been written and nobody can defy it. Turkey today should be very firm about these events.