Armenian Genocide news from diaspora in France and Argentina

May 31, 2010

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It is a national holiday and time to honor the war veterans who served to protect and defend the United States in wars. Yesterday, in France, a Khachkar commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide was inaugurated in Versailles, France. Armenian-French singer, Charles Aznavour unveiled the Khachkar at the ceremony. In France, on April 24th French-Armenians remember not only all those who lost their lives during the Armenian Genocide, but also all the Armenians who gave their lives for France in war.

The US and France have the largest Armenian populations in the Armenian diaspora.  In Argentina, home of the third largest population of Armenians (descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors), protests to prevent a bust of Kemal Ataturk from being erected in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, were successful leading to Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan canceling his visit to Argentina.

Many Armenians from Marash live in Argentina. My grandfather was from Marash (he eventually settled in New York). He survived the massacre carried out by Kemal Ataturk in 1920. Not only does Turkey deny the Genocide, the Turkish Government also asserts that Ataturk was not responsible for any of the massacres. However, that is not true.

Read the related articles in the news:

Khachkar commemorating Armenian Genocide victims unveiled in Versailles
Public Radio of Armenia | May 31, 2010

Erdogan cancels visit to Argentina: Kemal Ataturk bust not to be erected in Buenos Aires | May 31, 2010

Thoughts about Armenian Genocide denial

April 12, 2010

In his Slate article, Christopher Hitchens writes:

“April is the cruelest month for the people of Armenia, who every year at this season have to suffer a continuing tragedy and a humiliation. The tragedy is that of commemorating the huge number of their ancestors who were exterminated by the Ottoman Muslim caliphate in a campaign of state-planned mass murder that began in April 1915. The humiliation is of hearing, year after year, that the Turkish authorities simply deny that these appalling events ever occurred or that the killings constituted ‘genocide’.”

But, the more I read, the more I’m beginning to think that the Turkish government is humiliating its own countrymen and further damaging its country’s reputation in the eyes of the world. Armenians don’t need Turkey to validate our history. We know what happened, as does most of the world.

The problem is that denial of the Armenian Genocide is hurtful and harmful. It is my sincerest wish that the remaining Armenian Genocide survivors could hear Turkey’s apology in their lifetime. But, that is not realistic. Especially, as long as nations, including the United States, Great Britain and Israel continue to look the other way as Turkey continues its multi-million dollar annual campaign to spread disinformation. The leaders of the world must muster up their moral courage and stand up to Turkey (as President Obama had promised he would when he was Senator Obama).

Read Hitchen’s article:

Shut Up About Armenians or We’ll Hurt Them Again—Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s latest sinister threat
Slate | April 5, 2010

Prime Minister Erdogan tells Charlie Rose Armenian Genocide “is completely a lie” (Dec. 2009)

December 16, 2009

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was interviewed by Charlie Rose on December 8, 2009.

Here is the excerpt from the Charlie Rose interview transcript discussing the Armenian Genocide and relations with Armenia  (You can find this segment of the interview at approximately 39 minutes into the show)

CHARLIE ROSE: Speaking of the Armenian church and that, there is now
an agreement between Turkey and Armenia. What is necessary in order to —
what more evidence does history need with respect to the genocide?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: Let me first of all say that you say of
genocide, speak of genocide. I would be sorry to hear you say that. I can
say very clearly that we do not accept genocide. This is completely a lie.

I invite people to prove it. I wrote a letter in 2005, and I said
that this is not up to politicians. It is up to historians to look into
this. We have opened our archives. We have all the documents there. And
in our archives more than one million documents were already looked at.
Today it’s even more than that. And we have opened the archives of the

And I asked the Armenian side to open their archives and let third
countries have documents. We made a call for that too so that people could
look into all of these documents and we could all decide and see what’s
going on.

But it’s — this is not about lobbying and going to politicians and
asking them to take certain decisions. This is not really the way to go.
Something like this is really not possible, and there is no truth to it.

CHARLIE ROSE: Did President Obama bring it up with you? Has he
discussed it with you?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: I have spoken with him, yes. Of course, this
most recent normalization process between Turkey and Armenia was important.
This was the context in which we discussed these issues.

And let me say to the normalization process. It was Turkey that
initiated the normalization process. It was Turkey that took upon itself
the risk.

We believe in ourselves. What we would like to see is for this
normalization process to go forward. And in that it’s important that we go
into that and the Karavak issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia be resolved.
There is an occupation. We have to solve that problem.

There are three countries involved — United States, the Russian
Federation, and France. The Minsk (ph) group, why hasn’t it solved the
problem in the last 20 years? The problem has to be solved.

And once that problem is solved then that region will be a region of
peace. Why? Because once the problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia is
solved, that hatred is going to dissipate. There is the decision of the
United Nations Security Council which will be implemented. And the
problems between Turkey and Armenia will definitely be resolved. I believe
in it.

But at the moment, you have the U.S. Congress here, and the U.S.
Congress doesn’t have direct relations with our region. We are there in
that region. We have direct relations. We have direct issues. And it’s
the Turkish parliament who has to make a decision on this agreement between
Turkey and Armenia. They have to approve it.

And of course, the Turkish parliament too is very sensitive about this
issue. And if the positive developments that we would like to see do not
come about, then I do not believe that our parliament will have a positive
result as a result of its deliberations. We will have a secret ballot, but
I don’t believe that without any other positive developments there will be
a positive outcome…

Watch the full interview on (search Erdogan).

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