PARIS—Turkish Embassy in France sent a diplomatic note to France over the latter’s decision to include the Armenian Genocide within France’s secondary school curriculum, protesting the move and accusing France of using “fake documents” in the textbooks, reported Today’s Zaman.
In the note, sent to the France’s Foreign and Education ministries, Turkey demanded in that the French authorities revise what they call “objective” data provided in the textbooks. The letters also called into questions the text of telegrams sent by then Ottoman minister Talat Pasha that prove the mass killings of Armenians were done in a systematic and deliberate way. The embassy said the telegraphs were fake.
The Armenian Genocide section in the French textbook include material from a book by Aram Andonian, an Armenian from İstanbul, titled “The Memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish Official Documents Relating to the Deportation and the Massacres of Armenians,” which is also known as the “Talat Pasha telegrams” and was originally published in 1920.
Andonian was deported during the Genocide, and wrote in his memoir that with the assistance of Naim Bey in Aleppo, he published the telegrams of Talat Pasha, which outline the systematic plan to annihilate the entire Armenian population.
Ankara’s letters also warned that the section in the French textbook will “inflame hatred between the two nations.”
Last week, notorious Genocide-denying Turkish Minister of EU Affairs said Turkey doesn’t know what Genocide is, claiming, once again, that there was never a Genocide in Turkey’s history.
Egemen Bagis comments came during the opening ceremony of an educational facility, where he also expressed his opposition to a decision in France to include the Armenian Genocide as part of French public school curriculum.
“If only all countries’ past had been simple and transparent just like Turkey’s past. No genocides have occurred in Turkey’s history. What’s genocide? Turkey doesn’t know what genocide is,” Bagis told the Milliyet daily.
Bagis claimed that Turks are proud of their history and forebears.
France announced that it has included a chapter about the Armenian Genocide in secondary school textbooks, which will be used across the country.
Bagis was quick to voice Turkey’s “strong protest” over this decision urging Paris to not test bilateral relations “once again,” reported the Hurriyet newspaper.
“I call on the French authorities to intensify efforts to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict in the framework of OSCE Minsk Group rather than distort the historical facts,” Bagis said.
Chairman of the Turkish Parliament’s powerful education committee Navi Avcı told Today’s Zaman in a recent interview that “the erosion of French culture and the shift toward the radical right in French politics that started with Sarkozy continues to have a negative impact on the French education system.” “I just hope that sensible French intellectuals will raise their voices against this kind of provocative move that will plant seeds of hate in the minds of young people in France,” he added.
The embassy also attached a detailed historical report on the 1915 events in its letter to the French Education Ministry. It claimed that two books, referenced in the chapter of the French textbooks include fake historical documents and Armenian activists whose academic credentials are unknown.
The Turkish Embassy stressed in the letters that French citizens of Turkish descent will be negatively affected by the inclusion of the section.