US Should Not Be Bullied By Turkey, Says Pallone

WASHINGTON–Armenian Americans are constituents who lost loved ones in the Genocide and the United States must honor their memory and not be bullied by Turkey, US Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said on Wednesday in a statement regarding a recently published book by a Turkish author that provides documentation of the disappearance of nearly one million Armenia’s in a two-year period.

"These are our constituents who lost loved ones in the Genocide. We must honor their memory and not be bullied by Turkey," said Pallone, the co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.

“Not only does Turkey deny the Armenian Genocide, it asks Americans to deny it as well. It asks the United States Congress not to honor the victims of the genocide,” said Pallone. “The Armenian Diaspora exists today because of the genocide. Why should Armenian-American voices be silenced? Why are the voices of those who want to end the vicious cycle of genocide being hushed? Why do we allow ourselves year after year to be threatened by Turkey?”

Pallone’s remarks come less than a month before the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, commemorated annually on April 24 as the first genocide of the 20th century. Earlier this month on March 17, Palone, along with Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), George Radanovich (R-Calif.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), introduced a resolution (H.Res.252) calling on the U.S. president to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.

“Before 1915, 1.2 million Armenia’s lived in what today is modern Turkey. By 1917, the number was down to 284,000 Armenia’s, said Pallone, commenting on a recent New York Times article reporting on a recently published book “The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha” by Turkish author Murat Bardakci.

“The book details Pasha’s methodical reordering of the disappearance of nearly one million Armenia’s in a two-year period. Pasha served as interior minister to the Ottoman Empire and helped orchestrate the Armenian Genocide. Like the Nazis, Pasha, kept detailed population figures of the Ottoman Empire’s Christian ethnic minority, the Armenia’s,” Pallone’s statement said, noting that Bardakci received the original lists of population figures from Talat Pasha’s wife, Hayriye Talat, in 1983.

Pallone’s statement also noted that the New York Times reported in November of 1920 that Talat Pasha would say “the only way to dispose of the Armenian Question is to kill the Armenia’s.”

His statement went on to note that “US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau made many courageous efforts to stop the ethnic cleansing of the Armenia’s, as well as alert Americans to the genocide that was taking place.”

Morgenthau, who dealt with Talat in Istanbul, believed strongly that he was fully responsible for the killings of the Armenia’s, Pallone added.

“These figures in Bardakci’s book provide further evidence that those who masterminded the genocide against the Armenia’s were obsessed with exterminating all the Armenian people,” the statement said, noting the resounding parallels between Talat Pasha’s meticulous figures and the records of Nazi Germany, which documented the 17 million victims, including the Jews who were exterminated during the holocaust.

“In aggregate, the Nazis kept 50 million pages of documen’s now available for the families of those who lost loved ones, scholars, and the public,” the statement added.

Unfortunately, Pallone noted, “Bardakci does not believe that the Armenian Genocide took place.”

“Like his government, he is an outspoken denier. However, he believes that Turkish people should be exposed to historical documen’s,” he said, adding that the Times article “astutely notes the chilling silence that swept over Turkey in response to these figures. Turkey needs to come to terms with its past.”

“It is with sadness that it may take the figures of the man who orchestrated the genocide to convince the Turkish government and the Turkish people that 90 years ago the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenia’s. I am hopeful that Turkey will soon unclench its hold on its people’s memory and openly discuss the Armenian genocide; Instead of using words like ‘alleged’ or funding a multi-million dollar lobby in the United States to distort fact,” Pallone said.

Pallone also noted that for Turkey to deal with its past and learn to heal it must constantly look back on its history. “It has taken a while, but Americans look back constantly on our own history. We question why we enslaved millions of Africans. We question why we slaughtered millions of Native Americans. We discuss it in our schools. We reflect on our history,” he said. “Doing this helps our nation deal with its past and enables us to learn and heal.”

Below is the statement in its entirety:

Recently, the New York Times reported on a recently published book The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha by Turkish author Murat Bardakci. The book details Pasha’s methodical reordering of the disappearance of nearly one million Armenia’s in a two-year period. Pasha served as interior minister to the Ottoman Empire and helped orchestrate the Armenian Genocide. Like the Nazis, Pasha, kept detailed population figures of the Ottoman Empire’s Christian ethnic minority, the Armenia’s.

Before 1915, 1.2 million Armenia’s lived in what today is modern Turkey. By 1917, the number was down to 284,000 Armenia’s. Bardakci received these original lists of population figures from Pasha’s wife, Hayriye Talat, in 1983. However, he waited to include them in his book until he felt Turkey was ready to receive them.

As the New York Times reported in November of 1920, Talat Pasha used to say, ‘the only way to dispose of the Armenia question is to kill the Armenia’s.’ As Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau made many courageous efforts to stop the ethnic cleansing of the Armenia’s, as well as alert Americans to the genocide that was taking place. Morgenthau, who dealt with Talat in Istanbul, believed strongly that Pasha was fully responsible for the killings of the Armenia’s.

These figures in Bardakci’s book provide further evidence that those who masterminded the genocide against the Armenia’s were obsessed with exterminating all the Armenian people. Talat Pasha’s meticulous figures brings to mind the Nazis who kept records of 17 million victims, including the Jews who were exterminated during the holocaust. In aggregate, the Nazis kept 50 million pages of documen’s now available for the families of those who lost loved ones, scholars, and the public.

Unfortunately, Bardakci does not believe that the Armenian Genocide took place. Like his government, he is an outspoken denier. However, he believes that Turkish people should be exposed to historical documen’s. Bardakci is correct that Turkey needs documen’s. This week’s Times article astutely notes the chilling silence that swept over Turkey in response to these figures. Turkey needs to come to terms with its past.

It is with sadness that it may take the figures of the man who orchestrated the genocide to convince the Turkish government and the Turkish people that 90 years ago the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenia’s. I am hopeful that Turkey will soon unclench its hold on its people’s memory and openly discuss the Armenian genocide; Instead of using words like ‘alleged’ or funding a multi-million dollar lobby in the United States to distort fact.

It has taken a while, but Americans look back constantly on our own history. We question why we enslaved millions of Africans. We question why we slaughtered millions of Native Americans. We discuss it in our schools. We reflect on our history. Doing this helps our nation deal with its past and enables us to learn and heal.

Not only does Turkey deny the Armenian Genocide, it asks Americans to deny it as well. It asks the United States Congress not to honor the victims of the genocide. The Armenian Diaspora exists today because of the genocide. Why should Armenian-American voices be silenced? Why are the voices of those who want to end the vicious cycle of genocide being hushed? Why do we allow ourselves year after year to be threatened by Turkey?

These are our constituents who lost loved ones in the Genocide. We must honor their memory and not be bullied by Turkey.

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