Rep. Pallone Challenges Turkey’s Genocide Hypocrisy

WASHINGTON–Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Friday sharply criticized Turkey’s hypocrisy in leveling human rights charges against Israel even as it continues to deny the Armenian Genocide and strengthen its ties to the genocidal Sudanese regime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"If Turkey wants to move closer to the West it should practice some self-reflection on its own history regarding the Armenian Genocide and help to end the Genocide in Darfur," the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman’said Friday in a speech on the House floor.

Pallone called the attention of his colleagues to increasingly strident Turkish attacks on Israel, including menacing, even threatening, remarks by Prime Minister Erdogan, as well as a recent Washington Post report that a Turkey-based non-governmental organization has initiated a probe to investigate if war crimes and genocide were committed by Israel during the recent Gaza Conflict.

Commenting on these developmen’s, he noted that, "For a nation that for 94 years has practiced wide-spread genocide denial of the killing of one and half million Armenia’s, hypocrisy runs deep today in Ankara."

The New Jersey legislator stressed that, "the Turkish people need to step back and question their skewed understanding of genocide. Look in the mirror, look at your own history, come to terms with the fact that 1.5 million Armenia’s died and when contemporary genocides, like Darfur, take place it must be denounced."

He added that Turkey, rather than denouncing the Darfur Genocide, has actually strengthened its ties to Khartoum.

"Last year, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warmly welcomed Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir to Ankara," he said. " Yet, Al-Bashir continues to preside over a genocidal regime responsible for the deaths of 300,000 Sudanese people in the Darfur region of the country."

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The full text of Congressman Pallone’s statement is provided below.

On Saturday, February 7th, the Washington Post reported that a Turkish Islamist-oriented human rights group, the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples, known as Mazlum-Der, initiated a probe to investigate if war crimes and genocide were committed by Israel during the recent Gaza Conflict.

I was startled to read that Mazlum-Der plans to investigate 19 Israelis including Prime Minster Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for orchestrating genocide.

For a nation that for 94 years has practiced wide-spread genocide denial of the killing of one and half million Armenia’s, hypocrisy runs deep today in Ankara. Last week I expressed my concerns regarding Turkey’s recent rash of anti-Semitism, but this probe is going too far. Israel did not commit Genocide, but this has not stopped Ankara’s Chief Prosecutor from launching this war crimes probe.

The probe out of Turkey will investigate Israel’s actions in the Gaza conflict to see if they amount to "genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity." If the prosecutor finds evidence against the Israeli leaders, under Turkish law, they can be detained if they enter Turkey.

The absurdity of this probe and the fact that Turkey is issuing it must be exposed. Israel did not commit Genocide. Israel was not attempting to eliminate the Palestinian people. Israel was protecting itself from the hundreds of bombs Hamas has been shooting into its cities.

Mazlum-Der has no ground to stand on. Turkey has no ground to stand on. Neither this NGO nor the Turkish government has ever attempted to discuss the truth of the Armenian Genocide. Nor has Turkey or Mazlum-Der taken action against the present genocide that continues to rage in Darfur.

While Israelis are defending themselves against constant attacks from Hamas, Mazlum-Der insists this is genocide. How can this organization accuse Israel of committing genocide when it has yet to categorize the thousands of killings in Darfur as a genocide? The Turkish people need to step back and question their skewed understanding of genocide. Look in the mirror, look at your own history, come to terms with the fact that 1.5 million Armenia’s died and when contemporary genocides, like Darfur, take place it must be denounced.

But instead of denouncing it, Turkey’s relationship with Sudan is strong. Last year, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warmly welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Ankara. Yet, Al-Bashir continues to preside over a genocidal regime responsible for the deaths of 300,000 Sudanese people in the Darfur region of the country. Today, 2.7 million Darfuris have lost their homes since the conflict and now live in internally displaced persons camps. While all of this happens, President Gul of Turkey has said that the situation in Darfur adds up to a "humanitarian tragedy" caused by economic difficulties.

This watering down of state sponsored government killing is an affront to the thousands who have perished in Darfur. And yet a Turkish organization is investigating genocide in Israel?

President Gul greeted the Sudanese leader with a military guard of honor only bestowed on Turkey’s closest allies. While the international community fiercely works to contain al-Bashir’s government, Turkey embraces it. Both governmen’s have a long history of genocide denial.

The Republic of Turkey has had 94 years to recognize the Armenian Genocide perpetrated on their soil in 1915. Like the Sudanese government, the Turkish government’s state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of the Armenia’s in the early twentieth century left one and half million Armenia’s tortured, murdered, and displaced. Yet to this day the Republic of Turkey continues to deny the slaughter of the Armenia’s ‘s instead launching an absurd investigation into Israel.

If Turkey and its NGOs want to take a stand against Genocide they should not be pointing at Israel, nor should Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan be threatening Israel with commen’s like, "Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents." If Turkey wants to move closer to the West it should practice some self-reflection on its own history regarding the Armenian Genocide and help to end the Genocide in Darfur.

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