Armenian Historians Turn down Turkish University Invitation

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian historians turned down an invitation to participate in a conference on the Armenian genocide that is to take place March 15-16 at Istanbul University.

Invitations were sent to Lavrenty Barseghian–the director of the Yerevan-based Genocide Institute–Ashot Melkonian–the director of History Institute–an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences–and Ruben Safrastian–head of the Turkish Studies division of the National Academy of Sciences-affiliated Institute for Oriental Studies.

They explained their refusal by saying that speakers invited to the conference deniers who present the fact of the Armenian genocide as a "war tragedy."

"We have nothing to discuss with people with such views. The fact of genocide is a reality and we are not inclined to discuss it. Turks are again trying to question this historical fact and also the resolutions of 19 countries–which have officially recognized it. There is no need to again prove this historical fact," Melkonian said–adding that US-based Armenian historians Richard Hovhannisian and Ruben Adalian–who were also invited–have turned down the invitations.

Safrastian said the conference will try to examine whether "the massacre of Armenia’s in the Ottoman empire constitutes the crime of genocide as defined by the relevant UN resolution." Melkonian added that Istanbul University is one of the most nationalistic educational institutions in Turkey and is trying to drag Armenian historians into fruitless debates over whether the Genocide did occur or did not.

Armenian historians suggested in their written response to Istanbul University that a TV connection be organized through the Euronews TV channel between Yerevan and Ankara so that the world may listen to Armenian and Turkish argumen’s.

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