Open letter by CHP members of the Turkish Parliament
Open letter sent by former CHP (Republican People’s Party) members of the Turkish Parliament to the German parliamentarians on the project of resolution on Armenian genocide allegations.
“Dear members of the German Parliament,
In connection with a project of resolution presented to the German Parliament on Armenian genocide allegations, we would like to bring to your attention the following:
Turks and Armenians lived together in peace and harmony throughout centuries. Quite a number of Armenians had important positions in the Ottoman administration. There were Armenian ministers, members of parliament, ambassadors and high-level officers.
During the First World War, responding to an appeal of Tsar Nikola II, approximately 150.000 Ottoman citizens of Armenian origin joined the Russian forces invading Eastern parts of Turkey.
These Armenians attacked supply roads and storage facilities of the Turkish army and Turkish towns and villages, killing a great number of civilians including women and children.
In 1915 the Ottoman government, upon the demand of commanders of the Turkish forces in the Eastern Front, decided to move Armenians living in combat zones to safe places of the Empire.
A great number of Turks and Armenians have lost their lives during this period. According to the Turkish archives, during the same period 519,000 Turks have lost their lives, most of them being killed by armed Armenian groups. French journalist Jean Schlicklin in his book “Angora”, published in 1922, reports that one hundred Turkish villages were burned and their inhabitants massacred by the Armenians. There are various estimations about Armenian casualties. French writer Pierre Loti, in his letter to the Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, asserted that Armenian claims were grossly exaggerated.
During the First World War, the allied propaganda agencies, most particularly British Propaganda Ministry, Wellington House, have presented these confrontations as Turkish atrocities practically without any reference to Turkish victims of the Armenian atrocities. These wartime propaganda materials are still in use by the Armenian lobbies to justify their claims of genocide.
Ovannes Katchaznouni, the first Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Dashnak Party, in a speech delivered in April 1923, blamed not Turks but his own party for wrongdoings during this period.
The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1948 sets forth the definition of genocide and stipulates that only persons charged with genocide shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction. Therefore Armenian allegations cannot be justified by parliaments who are not entitled to make a judgment on these claims.
British Foreign Office Secretary Baroness Meta Ramsay of Cartvale addressing the House of Lords on 14 April 1999 said “… in the absence of unequivocal evidence to show that the Ottoman administration took a specific decision to eliminate the Armenians under their control at the time, British governments have not recognized the events of 1915 and 1916 as “genocide”.
Sixty nine American historians, including Prof. Bernard Lewis, Justin McCarthy, Stanford Shaw, Dankward Rustov, published a statement in New York Times and Washington Post on May 19, 1985, arguing that “…much more remains to be discovered before historians will be able to sort out precisely responsibility between warring and innocent and to identify the causes for the events which resulted in the death or removal of large numbers of the eastern Anatolian population, Christian and Muslim alike.”
On December 17, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Switzerland violated the right to freedom of speech by convicting Doğu Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Workers Party, for having publicly denied the existence of any genocide against the Armenian people. The Court pointed out that a consensus was difficult to establish in relation to matters which cannot be historically ascertained with absolute certainty, especially in view of the fact that genocide is a very specific and narrowly defined legal concept requiring a high threshold of proof. The Great Chamber of the Court confirmed the essence of this decision on 15 October 2015. The French High Court, in a decision taken on January 8, 2016 stipulated also that the parliaments are not qualified to take any decision on genocide allegations.
The Armenian genocide allegations are apparently aimed to cover their atrocities against the Turks during the World War I as well as the killing of Turkish diplomats in 1970’s and 1980’s by Armenian terrorist organization ASALA. The Armenians occupied 20% of Azeri territories together with Nagorno Karabagh forcing 1 million Azeri to leave their homes and attacked Hodjali on 25-26 February of 1992 killing 613 Azeri civilians, including woman and children. They are now trying to hide these tragic facts by repeating over and over their claims about the events of 1915.
Historic events should not be used for political purposes of today and history should be left to historians, as suggested by the Turkish Parliament in a letter to the British House of Lords and Commons on April 13, 2005.
In the light of the above-mentioned facts and legal arguments, we expect from German Parliament to refrain from making a judgment on the events of 1915, which would disregard the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and French High Court. We believe that such a decision would seriously damage Turkish-German relations as well and harm the national feelings of the Turkish people.
26th of May 2016 ”
Bizim Anadolu / Notre Anatolie / May 28th 2016