Turkey Finds New Reason to Condemn Germany

(Combined Sources)–Turkey has new reason to vent its frustration over the manner in which various German circles have been treating the issue of the Armenian genocide. The German opposition Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) last week issued a statement calling for the immediate recognition of the genocide perpetrated under the Ottoman regime. Turkey’s Ambassador to Germany–Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik–immediately swung back by labeling the opposition as the "spokesman for fanatical Armenian nationalism." Now–Turkey has discovered that some Armenia’s are interested in converting German historian Johannes Lepsius’s home into an Armenian genocide museum.

Born in Potsdam–Germany in 1858–Lepsius–an evangelical pastor–was–from the onset–interested in documenting the persecution of Ottoman Armenia’s. After the first wave of massacres struck in the mid-1890s–Lepsius set up the Deutsche Orient Mission with the aim of assisting Armenian orphans.

In an attempt to publicize the atrocities–Lepsius in 1896 published "Armenia’s and Europe"–the first report documenting the large-scale massacres directed by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Soon after–the German philanthropist established the "Lepsius Foundation," and participated in the diplomatic conferences on the Armenian question in Constantinople–Paris–London and Bern.

During the first state of the genocide–Lepsius arranged to meet privately with Minister of War Enver Pasha–who disregarded the German’s pleas. Within the following year–Lepius authored and privately published "The Condition of the Armenian People in Turkey," copies of which were censored and confiscated by the German government.

Prior to his death in 1926–Lepsius took refuge in Holland–where he published yet another volume–"Germany and Armenia 1914-1918," in which he thoroughly documented German complicity in the Genocide. After the assassination of former Minister of Interior Talaat Pasha–Lepsius appeared as an expert witness on behalf of Soghomon Tehlirian.

Turkish officials have told the German Ambassador in Ankara that the move to establish the genocide museum could seriously impact the relations between the two countries.

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