NATO Parliamentary Assembly Reviews Armenian Genocide

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The Armenian genocide was on the agenda of a NATO Parliamentary Assembly seminar that took place in Armenia last week.

Addressing the NATO Rose-Roth Seminar held in Yerevan October 6-9–Halil Berktay–professor of history at Sabanci University–specifically said–"I say that the Genocide was committed. The only question is how to come to its recognition."

He suggested studying various approaches in order for Turkish society to first "realize" that genocide has been committed–"then to recognize it."

Otherwise–he warned that tension among nationalist forces in Turkey would escalate.

The Turkish historian also alluded to a proposal by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to create a joint commission of Armenian and Turkish historians to "examine the events of 1915-1918" and determine if they indeed constituted genocide.

Armenian leaders had categorically rejected that idea–saying that the Genocide is a proven fact that can not be disputed.

In an April letter responding to Erdogan–Armenian President Robert Kocharian wrote: "Your proposal to address the past can not be productive unless it addresses the present and the future as well." Kocharian stressed the two countries should instead form an "intergovernmental commission" to tackle this and other problems hampering their relations.

In his report to the NATO Seminar–Armenian Parliament Vice-speaker Vahan Hovhannisian echoed President Kocharian’s suggestions–and called Erdogan’s offer to "a clever attempt to fool the international community."

Speaking of Turkey’s aspiration to join the European Union–Hovhannisian said Turkish society is not yet ready to accept European values–including the ability to admit guilt. "Turkish society must first change itself," he stressed.

Hovhannisian commended Berktay’s clear position of qualifying the events of 1915 as genocide.

Sixty parliamentarians from 22 countries also discussed the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–among other topics at the Seminar.

The Rose-Roth program was launched in 1990–with the initial aim to strengthen the development of parliamentary democracy in Central and Eastern European countries.

Today–the Program also addresses regional security issues–particularly in the Balkans and the Caucasus.

The Assembly usually holds three Rose-Roth seminars each year–covering a wide range of subjects such as civil-military relations–regional security–and the fight against terrorism.

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