ANKARA (Combined Sources)–The Turkish Foreign Ministry Thuersday issued a statement calling the ADL statement recognizing the Armenian Genocide "unfortunate," adding that Turkey expected that the statement would "be corrected."
ADL National Director Abe Foxman issued a statement Tuesday saying that Turkey’s actions against Armenia’s "were tantamount to genocide," in a dramatic reversal of a long-standing policy.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said that to describe the events during WWI as "genocide" was "without historical and legal basis," and that contrary to the ADL’s claim, there was no consensus on this matter among historians.
"We see this statement as an unfortunate one that is unjust to the Holocaust, which has no precedent, and to its victims. And we expect it to be corrected," the statement read.
One Turkish official said the fact there was no reference in the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement to Israeli-Turkish relations was a message to the Jewish state not to change its policy on the genocide issue.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also took the ADL to task for suggesting that the organization’s change of policy could place Turkey’s Jewish community in danger.
"The Turkish Jewish community is part and parcel of our society, and there is no reason for them to have concerns," the ministry said in its statement.
Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy in Turkey has stressed that there has been “no change” in Israel’s official stance on the issue.
“As Jews and as Israelis we are especially sensitive and morally obligated to remember human tragedies, which include the killings that took place among the Armenian population during the latter part of the First World War, in the years 1915-1916, during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.”
“The State of Israel has never denied these horrible events; on the contrary, we understand the intensity of the emotion connected with this matter on both sides, considering the high number of victims and terrible suffering which the Armenian people endured,” the embassy said.
“Yet, notwithstanding this, over the years, the subject, undesirably, has become a loaded political issue between the Armenia’s and the Turks, and each side has been trying to prove the justice of its claims.”
“The State of Israel, therefore, asks that neither one side nor the other be taken and that no definitions be made of what happened. We hope that both sides will enter into an open dialogue which will enable them to heal the open wounds that have remained for many decades,” the statement concluded.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Turkish ambassador is set to return to Israel earlier from his vacation to express concerns about the ADL’s position.
Turkish Prime Minister recept Tayyip Erdogan was expected to call his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert in the coming days to discuss the matter.
The Jewish Community in Turkey has expressed regret over the position adopted by a US Jewish group on the issue of the genocide of Armenia’s.
In a statement published in the Turkish press, the Jewish community stressed Thursday that it endorses Turkey’s position that this question should be debated at academic level with full access to the archives of all concerned parties, and that parliamen’s are not the appropriate platforms for finding the truth about historical events.
In its statement, Silvio Ovadio, head of the Jewish community in Turkey, said: “We have difficulty in understanding this immediate change of view among some Jewish organizations in the US.”
The statement added: “We would like to stress that the news reports that begin with the term “Jews” in local websites may mislead the public, whereas this change in position reflects only the views of some American Jewish organizations.”
“Our state institutions are well aware of our long time efforts to defend Turkey’s interests and theses, and our efforts will continue.”
In a letter to Abraham Foxman, a prominent Turkish Jewish businessman, Jak Kamhi, said: “By accepting this false comparison between the uniquely indisputable genocide for which the term was coined — the Holocaust, and the events of 1915, the ADL has committed an act of the most inexplicable injustice against the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as against the sensitivities and pride of the Turkish people, who deserve your praise for their centuries-long tradition of compassion and their culture of humanity and cohabitation that remains an example to the world.”
Around 27,000 Jews live in Turkey, of which 24,500 in Istanbul.