Turkey’s DC Envoy Angered by Jewish Group’s Genocide Recognition

Turkey's new ambassador to Washington Serdar Kılıç


WASHINGTON—In a tersely-worded letter, Turkey’s new Ambassador in Washington, Serdar Kılıç, accused the American Jewish Committee of being “unfair, insulting and patently out of touch with realities” when the group issued a statement on April 23 recognizing the Armenian Genocide and urging Turkey to face its history.

Kılıç wrote the letter to David Harris, the executive director of AJC on April 24. Asbarez obtained the letter, in which the Turkish Ambassador expresses “our extreme disappointment and regret with the statement issued yesterday by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in which the tragic events of 1915 are unjustly labeled as “genocide.” We reject the AJC statement in its entirety.”

Headquartered in New York and with governmental affairs offices in Washington, the AJC was established in 1906 and has grown to become a global advocacy group. On April 23, the AJC issued a statement honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The Turkish Ambassador goes of to reiterate official Ankara’s denialist position that Armenians were not the only victims during the “final years of the Ottoman Empire,” and cites Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s now infamous “condolence statement” on April 23.

Kılıç also cites notorious Genocide denier Bernard Lewis, quoting a passage from his book, “Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian,” in which he argues that Armenians staged a rebellion and accordingly were killed.

“Ambassador Kılıç’s letter reflects a growing disdain on the part of the Turkish government toward the Jewish American community’s moral stance against Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“This remarkably disrespectful diplomatic correspondence confirms what we have always known, namely that the Turkish government has, since day one, viewed its relationship with the American Jewish Committee – and, more broadly, its political connection to the Jewish American community’s moral standing on issues of Genocide – as a cynical alliance aimed at blocking U.S. support for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” added Hamparian. “Now that the AJC has taken a truthful stand on the Armenian Genocide – a principled position consistent with the views of Americans of Jewish heritage and faith – they are angrily attacked and insulted by the Turkish government. From Ankara’s perspective, the depth of this relationship was clearly only denial-deep.”

Below is the complete text of Ambassador Kılıç’s letter:

Dear Mr. Harris,
I am writing to you to express our extreme disappointment and regret with the statement issued yesterday by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in which the tragic events of 1915 are unjustly labeled as “genocide.” We reject the AJC statement in its entirety for the following reasons:

To begin with, the final years of the Ottoman Empire were indeed a tragic period; however not only for the Armenians but for all the people that made up the Empire. The AJC statement in this respect, while trying to capitulate on the sufferings of the Ottoman Armenians, reflects a one-sided and biased account by turning a blind eye to the sufferings of other ethnic and religious communities during the aforementioned period. Our fundamental objection to your statement in this context is branding the 1915 events as genocide, which is a specific crime, clearly defined by 1948 Convention. According to the Convention, only a competent international tribune is authorized to pass a judgment as to whether a specific act constitutes genocide. Such a court decision exists in the cases of the Holocaust, Rwanda and Srebrenica, while no decision exists for the events of 1915.

Turkey acknowledges the fact that the relocation of some of the Ottoman Armenians actually resulted in tragic consequences. As a matter of fact, only yesterday Prime Minister Erdogan acknowledged this fact and offered his condolences to the grandchildren of the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives in 1915. In his statement, Prime Minister Erdogan called on the Armenian leaders to work towards building a common future together, instead of turning our equally painful history into a matter of political conflict.

The call in AJC statement that “history must be faced” is a message that Turkey fully concurs with. Indeed, we have expressed our readiness to face our history and to that end proposed the establishment of a Joint Historical Commission as a concrete reflection of this position. Scholarly research to be carried out by Turkish, Armenian and international historians would play a significant role in shedding a more fair and just light on the events of 1915.

Furthermore, the nature of the 191 5 events is freely and widely discussed in today’s Turkey, unlike the case in Armenia, where the issue remains a dogmatic taboo that prevents the Armenian side from accepting our Joint Historical Commission proposal. On the other hand, contrary to what you suggest in your statement, our archives, hundreds of thousands of documents including this period, are also open to all researchers around the world.

There was no intent to destroy or annihilate the Armenian population since many Ottoman Armenians, including those residing in the capital of the Empire, were not relocated. Using the frequently cited but extremely flawed analogy of the Holocaust, this would be tantamount to the Nazis taking a decision to annihilate all Jews but yet taking no steps against the Jews living in Berlin, which was inconceivable. Bernard Lewis, in his book entitled “Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian,” explains in breadth the basic differences between Holocaust and the 1915 events; including the fact (i) “that the Ottoman Armenians were involved in an armed rebellion, whereas the Jews were not, but were attacked solely because of their identity” and (ii) “that the persecution of Armenians was mostly confined to endangered areas, while the Armenian populations in other parts of the Ottoman Empire, notably in big cities, were left more or less unharmed.”

It is also disappointing to note that the AJC, while referring to Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, has failed to mention Srebrenica, which was also termed as genocide by the International Court of Justice, and instead has decided to label the historically, politically and legally contentious events of 1915 as genocide. We sincerely hope that this is not a reflection of an Islamophobic viewpoint on this issue.

In view of the foregoing, we find the AJC statement unfair, insulting and patently out of touch with realities. It seems that the AJC follows a different agenda and is reluctant to acknowledge Turkey’s position and all the steps we have hitherto taken on this issue. That such a step comes from the leadership of a community which was welcomed by the Ottoman leaders in the 16th century and was protected from the Holocaust during WWII further aggravates our disappointment with your latest statement.

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19 Comments

  1. Hratch said:

    Turkey is causing more harm to itself by ranting about AJC’s statement. It is just another pressure ploy to get them to play within the rules. Nothing much will materialize from this decision.

    • Artin Djerdjerian said:

      Right,, Dumbo people still waiting that Israel recognizes Genocide ?????

  2. Shant Melkonian said:

    Let’s introduce David Harris and the AJC crowd to Abe Foxman and his ADL clan! Let’s also have Mr. Harris speak at the Israeli Knesset twice a year… On the other hand, it may well be a ‘show-casing’ strategy on AJC’s part. I’ve come to learn not to ever trust any Zionist entity!

  3. L. Nalbandyan said:

    i look forward to seeing more and stronger Jewish support of Armenian Genocide recognition.

  4. Ararat said:

    This statement is a typical Turkish nonsense written by a Turkish scumbag. This idiot is trying to accuse the AJC as Islamophobic for speaking the truth about the Armenian Genocide while he is trying to tell the AJC this is not the way to treat us, the Turks, who saved you by giving you refuge from the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century. In other words, never mind the truth, you wash our back we will wash yours meaning If you do us a favor we will do you a favor.

    These Turks will never change. It is very interesting how they have started to quote their Prime Minister Erdogan’s carefully-worded insincere and empty speech in attempts to water down the enormity of the Armenian Genocide and try to make it look like just an ordinary event in their recent history that not just Armenians but everyone else went through.

    These Turks are truly repulsive, deplorable opportunistic hyenas. For nearly a hundred years they fabricated all sorts of lies until they ran out of them, such as the killings never occurred to it was a rebellion to they died of diseases to others did it to it was a civil war and so on, and all of a sudden they seem to have had a moral epiphany that Armenian killings did indeed occur but that it can’t be called a genocide because not only, according to the very same Prime Minister Erdogan, there are Armenians still living in Turkey but that the Armenians of Istanbul were spared.

    Would the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan dare to make a similar statement about the Jews that what happened to them can not be called a Holocaust because there are Jews today living in Germany and other places? Someone should tell this Turkish imbecile that 250 prominent Armenians and community leaders were arrested in Istanbul and secretly killed and that if others in this city were not deported to their deaths was because Istanbul was full of foreign embassies and ambassadors and to subject the Armenians there to what they subjected other Armenians in all other parts of the empire would have been suicide because they would soon have been discovered and their genocidal plans exposed.

    I personally am not surprised at all for how hard these Turkish scums, wolves in sheep’s clothing, are trying to get away with the crime of genocide because what they are the most afraid of is not being labeled as a nation that committed genocide and be punished financially but rather they are terrified of having to give up occupied Western Armenian provinces for illegally occupying them as a result of the Armenian Genocide. I bet you anything if they are assured they would only financially be held responsible for their crimes and that there would not be any territorial claim, they would come forward tomorrow and put this behind them. Even then they would make the financial reparations not from their own pockets but from all the Armenian assets in billions of dollars they stole.

    The Armenians must never and ever trust the Turks until they are severely punished for the crime of genocide, the occupied Armenian provinces are returned and liberated and when the Armenian tri-color stands at the peak of the sacred Mount Ararat.

    • hidi said:

      **** My dear ARARAT., I say bravo to your comments., it is truly on the mark., and it also reflects my opinion and sentiments.., God bless free and prosperous Armenia…!!!!

  5. GeorgeMardig said:

    …… Turkish Ambassador goes of to reiterate official Ankara’s denialist position that Armenians were not the only victims during the “final years of the Ottoman Empire….. TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE ONE RIGHT.

  6. Areg said:

    Bravo to you AJC. As for Serdar Kilic, he can pack and go back to Mongolia.

  7. iskouhi said:

    from a Turkish diplomat, official Turkish denial of a Criminal State. we could not expect a different attitude!

  8. Garo Yeghichian said:

    Mr. kilic is trying to tell Mr.Harris(director of AJC) to deny the truth because the Turks help the Jewish people in the past?
    WHAT A PROPOSITION BY A DIPLOMAT.( YOU CAN IMAGIN HOW TURKS MENTALITY IS)

  9. Vindicated Man said:

    Turks must also be forced to honor other hard facts, like Woodrow Wilson’s Arbitral Award and Turkey’s criminal agreement with Bolsheviks that followed afterwards.

  10. Random Armenian said:

    This is the new tactic now. Pretend that the Armenian Genocide was never a taboo in Turkey and that it’s the Armenians that have something to hide. So infuriating.

    We need to handle this correctly because people will forget how Turkey has been denying 1915 since the beginning and will only see the “reasonable” arguments being made by Turkey today, such as “we’re ready to delve into the archives and learn what really happened.”

    “Furthermore, the nature of the 191 5 events is freely and widely discussed in today’s Turkey, unlike the case in Armenia, where the issue remains a dogmatic taboo that prevents the Armenian side from accepting our Joint Historical Commission proposal.”

    Wow. Just wow. So infuriating.

  11. jda said:

    Dear Serdar,

    So, so sorry. Didn’t mean to offend by helping the Armenians here, but we really are exhausted by Erdogan and his anti-semitism. We are just stepping up the pressure on you bit by bit. Gamats gamats as the Armenians say.

    By the way, old Boy – why in the Hell do you tolerate and encourage the yearly 4/24 Genocide Dance Party at the Embassy? Looks rather gamy, esp. the young man holding the pro- rape of Armenian women sign. I mean, I know in your “religion of peace” any man can rape or kill any Christian woman, [or his own daughter for that matter] but do you have to advertise it? Wot! Bad show, no dolma for you. You people really have to consider entering a new era, like maybe the 18th Century for starters.

    We at the Lobby have been warning you since 2005 where this whole Islamic AKP government thing was headed,and you keep ignoring us. That’s why we made friends with the Kurds too.

  12. Vartan said:

    The 5 points of Turkishness

    Trespass

    Murder

    Theft

    Rape

    Lie

    These are the core beliefs of that bastardized criminal race known as Turks

  13. Keyser Soze said:

    Turkey needs to release all of Armenia’s lands back to Eastern Armenia.

  14. Pingback: Turkey’s DC Envoy Angered by Jewish Group’s (Armenian) Genocide Recognition | Sbllock.net

  15. Mani said:

    A Turkofascist Kemalist denialist is angry at the truth being said? what else is new? Typical Nazi denialist answer.

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