Jewish Editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Against Genocide Denial

show_image_NpAdvHover.phpArmenians are understandably distressed when they encounter statements that distort or deny the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and feel comforted when it is properly acknowledged. While they are quick to castigate the deniers, they rarely take the time to recognize those who speak the truth.

These thoughts came to mind as I was reading two truthful and bold articles on the Armenian Genocide — the first by a Righteous Jew, editor of the Intermountain Jewish News of Denver, Colorado, and the second by a Righteous Turk, commentator Burak Bekdil of Hurriyet Daily News.

The editor of the Intermountain Jewish News did not mince words, starting with the headline: “All that lying about the Armenian Genocide did not help.” He then proceeded to launch a frontal attack on Jewish organizations and Israel ’s leaders who have been playing immoral games with the Armenian Genocide, just to appease the Turkish government. Here are some excerpts from that powerful editorial:

“We could use the word ‘diplomacy’ or ‘politics’ or ‘ignorance’ or ‘objectivity’ or ‘fairness.’ In truth, there is only one word: lie. For many years, some national Jewish organizations lied about the Armenian genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during WW I. These organizations said it didn’t happen, or that it was a matter of ‘historical dispute.’

“…On the grounds that Israel had to maintain good relations with Turkey, these national Jewish organizations — not to mention Israel herself — accepted Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide, or said it was ‘disputed.’ Good relations with Turkey could only be purchased by acceptance of Turkey ’s lying about the Armenian genocide, we were told. It was disgraceful.

“…Lying about the Armenian genocide should not be part of the currency of Israeli — or American Jewish — diplomacy with Turkey . Israel and these national Jewish organizations should now see that, even pragmatically, the lying did not help. And morally? When it comes to genocide, diplomacy and politics have no place. There can be no denying, ignoring or low-prioritizing genocide. Israel and national Jewish organizations denied that principle — and this denial is now coming back to bite them.

“…Regarding genocide, posterity is enormously unkind. Today, even in Turkey the number of scholars who acknowledge the Armenian genocide is growing. Various counter-claims, denying the Armenian genocide, look ever more outlandish. Can you imagine anyone credibly claiming that the Warsaw Ghetto revolt in 1943 shows that the Holocaust was just a ‘civil war’ between the Jews and the Germans? That’s how ridiculous the ‘civil war’ characterization of the Turkish prosecution of the Armenian genocide is coming to look. Posterity, we repeat, treats genocide deniers very unkindly.

“…When bad people murder a whole population, good people must respond, as respond we must in Darfur today. When time passes and we look back on people who murdered a whole population, we must never allow that transcendent evil to be denied or downplayed because of diplomatic or political considerations. It’s wrong. And it won’t work.”

Liberal Turkish commentator Burak Bekdil’s article is just as powerful. Several years ago, he received a suspended 20-month sentence for writing an article that criticized the Turkish judiciary. Now, once again, Bekdil risks being thrown into jail, as article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it a crime to refer to the Armenian Genocide.

In his commentary, Mr. Bekdil is boldly suggesting that the Turkish government make a list of all its past crimes, adopt a resolution in Parliament led by the AKP party, and issue an apology to the victims! He specifically mentions “the Armenian Genocide” among Turkey ’s past crimes! Here is an excerpt from Bekdil’s daring article:

“First, let’s make a list of the Turkish atrocities of the past century. There is Dersim, of course. But for a start, I shall also propose the Armenian genocide; war crimes against Greeks during the War of Independence; pogroms and other violence against Greeks, Armenians and Jews during the earlier years of the Republic; the deaths of 40,000 Kurds as the only Turkish Nobel laureate once put it; and more Kurdish atrocities between 1984 to 2002. Of course, these sorrowful events can be multiplied endlessly and any other ideas are most welcome…. I would urge our pro-AKP liberals to pen a draft text in recognition of a full list of Turkish atrocities in the 20th century, decorated further with an official apology to the victims
and their relatives.”

Armenian organizations should pay tribute to these two righteous men for daring to condemn their own leaders and expose their lies on the Armenian Genocide!

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  1. Pingback: Jewish Editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Against Genocide … | armeniatoday

  2. Hairenakitz said:

    As usual we should thank Harut Sassounian for his bright & tireless efforts in many aspects of Armenian issues, including the Genocide recognition. It is wise to note that we are now witnessing outstanding changes in ‘at least’ English version of Turkish media. ‘Hurriyet’ has now many outspoken commentators like ‘Burak Bedil’, ‘Ertogrul Ozkok’ and others. With recent revelations about Kurdish massacre of Dersim in mid-1930s by the Kemalist regime, many commentators published articles relating to Turkish atrocities in 20th century, including Armenian Genocide.
    ‘Ertugrul Ozkok’ in a brave article called “If Dersim was a massacre, what was the other thing?” says:
    Let me make a confession here: I thought that it was one of the 28 suppressions of Kurdish revolts. But now I’m reading books about Dersim. But I haven’t been able to get one answer yet: How many people died in the Dersim incident?
    I have checked the figures; somewhere between 7,000 and 90,000 people were killed: The second question is this: If the killing of 7,000-90,000 is a “massacre,” according to even the most official voice, what then will we call the losses in the Armenian question?
    According to Armenian allegations, a total of 1.5 million were killed in 1915. But let’s say the death toll was 600,000. How many times more of those who were killed in Dersim? If the number of dead in Dersim was 7,000, it is 200 times more; if 90,000 then 17 times more. Yes, if the Dersim incident was a massacre, then what was the Armenian incident?
    Is it called a big massacre, a huge one or a tremendous mass-killing? As this question is posed to the top authority in Turkey, what will be the “official answer?” He will probably say “Don’t be hard on yourself. There is a universal term used for that and it starts with ‘so-called’….”