Turkey Tells Israel Not to Discuss Genocide

TEL AVIV, YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Chairman of the Turkish National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee Murat Mercan Thursday told the Israeli government that discussions on the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset can harm relations between the two countries.
The Armenian National Committee of Jerusalem announced last Wednesday that the Israeli Knesset had decided to defer discussion of the Armenian Genocide issue to its foreign relations and defense committee.
"The issue is very delicate for the Turkish public. We wouldn’t like discussions in the Israeli parliament," said Mercan as reported by the Trend News Agency.
"The position of the Israeli political establishment satisfies Ankara to a sufficient degree," Mercan said. "We met with Israeli President, speaker of Knesset, Premier and foreign minister. In all these meetings our delegation showed understanding toward the position of the Israeli government on this issue."
"We thank the Israeli government for their clear and reasonable approach to this problem," Mercan said.
Traditional argumen’s by the Turkish Government against discussions of the Armenian Genocide in legislative bodies have pointed to offers to the Armenian government by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to set up an international committee to study the "events" of the early 20th century.
"We simply explained to some Israeli politicians that there is no need to write a history based on a political bias which can harm the strategic partnership between Israel and Turkey," Mercan explained.
It’s impossible to foretell the result of the Armenian Genocide discussion in the Knesset, chairman of the Israel-Armenia group, Kadima’s Zeev Elkin said Thursday.
"The issue will be discussed. It’s already an achievement, as the Armenian Genocide has not been touched upon for the past 20 years in Israel. Turkish and Azeri lobbies reacted to the event quickly," he said.
The motion to have the discussion in the foreign relations and defense committee was made by Knesset Member Yosef Shagal, who is a settler from Baku. The chairman of the Knesset’s Armenian Israeli Caucus Zeyev Yelkin proposed that the matter be discussed by the education committee.
A debate last Tuesday on the process of hearings on the Armenian Genocide in the Israeli Knesset turned ugly as opposing members passionately debated whether to consider the discussion of the Genocide, following a landmark decision last week by the Israeli legislature.
"Certainly, the discussion will not result in a bill but in case of success, we can pass a declaration on the Armenian Genocide," Elkin said.
"There is an attempt to discuss the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset every year," he explained. "But, this time it was backed not only by the opposition but also by parties in the ruling coalition, As for me, I was guided by moral reasons because I know the history."
He said that a course on Armenian Studies is taught at Jerusalem University. The course includes Armenian history, the Armenian language and also the Armenian Genocide.
The Knesset decided on March 26 that a parliamentary committee will hold an unprecedented hearing on whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The decision to hold the hearing, which was proposed by Meretz Party Chairman Haim Oron was approved by all 12 members who attended the session.
In an open letter to the Israeli Knesset, the Jewish community of Armenia Tuesday urged Israel’s legislative body to "demonstrate reasonableness and adopt the Resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide," Mediamax reported.
During a press conference Thursday, Rimma Varzhapetyan, head of the Jewish community in Armenia told reporters that the issue comes up for discussion every year on the eve of the day of commemoration of the victims of the Genocide.
It’s high time for Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide, since the relations between the two countries–Armenia and Israel–are on a rather high level, she said.
She said the people of Israel accept the fact of the Armenian Genocide, and sooner or later the authorities of the country will recognize it.

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