The Position of the Law Regarding the Resolution of this Two-Century Long Problem?

  1. During 1916 the Ottoman government tried one thousand three hundred and ninety seven (1397) persons in the employment of the state who had been negligent and co-operated with those who had attacked Armenian civilians during the relocations; sixty-seven (67) of those received the death penalty. The others received various heavy penalties. This begs the question as to how a state charged with “systematically massacring the Armenians” can subsequently punish those who had played a role in attacks on civilians.
  2. The decision of the United Kingdom: During the occupation of Istanbul after World War One, the armed forces of the United Kingdom arrested several prominent figures including leaders of the wartime Ottoman government and exiled them to Malta. An international court was established under the direction of a British judge named Woods with the purpose of trying these persons in relation to the Armenian issue. After an inconclusive two year search of the Ottoman, English, American, Egyptian and Iraqi state archives, the charges were dropped on 29 July 1921 given a lack of evidence. This decision is important because it was taken at a time when the Ottomans had been defeated. That is to say during a period when the events, witnesses and archival documents were in the open and the relevant foreign powers had access to them. No one who respects the rule of law can object to this. (See Attachment 1)
  3. The Decision of the European Court of Justice: An Armenian association based in France had opened a court case on the basis that as the “European Parliament had reached a decision that Turkey is committed genocide, Turkey’s admission to the European Union must be suspended.” In its 29 October 2004 decision, the European Court of Justice noted that the European Parliament’s 1987 resolution regarding the “Armenian Genocide” was political and had no basis in law.
  4. French Constitutional Court decision: The decision taken by the French parliament on the initiative of Patrick Deveciyan to consider denial of the “Armenian genocide” a crime was later annulled by the French Constitutional Court.
  5. Decision of the International Court of Justice the relocation cannot be considered genocide: In relation to a court case which Croatia instigated against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, the ICJ decided that the relocation of persons, even by force, cannot be considered genocide.
  6. European Court of Human Rights decision: the European Court of Human Rights in its decision dated 15.10.2015 regarding the Perinçek-Switzerland case noted that the forced relocation of Armenians in 1915 cannot be considered genocide in light of international law.

In spite of the decisions in the aforementioned court cases, the continued persecution of Turks in relation to this issue can only be summarised as a lack of respect for the law.

Two witnesses, two civilised statements

The leader of the Dashnak Committee and the Republic of Armenia’s first Prime Minister Hovhannes Kajaznuni in his 1923 report delivered in Bucharest to a Dashnak congress noted that:

“We were in the process of demanding an Armenia that would span from sea to sea (between the Black and Mediterranean Seas). In the end we fought relentlessly with the Turks. We died and also killed… we joined military operations. We were fooled and casted in our lot with the Russians. The deportations were both correct and necessary. We were unable to see the truth – we were responsible for the events which unfolded. The Turkish national struggle was just. Rejecting peace and taking up arms was our biggest mistake. The Treaty of Sèvres made us blind to reality. The basis of our rebellion was the dream of a ‘Greater Armenia’; we were oblivious to the fact that this has no basis in reality. The driving force of our rebellion was the Armenia promised to us by the Allied States.”

Dikran Kevorkyan, the head of Istanbul’s Kandilli Church Foundation, noted in 2007 that: “During the First World War the English, Germans and French and on the other hand the Russians used the Armenians as a pawn. The imperialist powers coupled with the actions of some Armenians in positions of responsibility caused these events. What could ASALA and the PKK have done without the support of imperialist powers? Turkey is the greatest country in the world where the Armenians live in tranquillity and in conditions suitable for the protection of their identity.”

Conclusion

The Armenian attacks and massacres which have relentlessly continued from the 1860s onwards cannot simply be restricted to discussions regarding the relocations of 1915 alone. Likewise, they cannot mask the necessity of coming to terms with those bearing responsibility for the lived tragedies.

The aforementioned legal judgements and the flow of history are in the open and cannot be hidden. Parliaments and national governments can neither act in the capacity of historians nor as courts of law – because judgement can only be passed by courts alone. A path which can re-affirm Turkish and Armenian friendship must be established as the Armenians have been exploited for two centuries. Armenians must also come to terms with their own history and abandon hatred of Turks. For their own part, the Turks have always shown themselves to be on the side of peace.

The drive to hold the baseless allegations of the Armenians on the public agenda does no service to the developing of positive relations between the neighbouring states of Turkey and Armenia. On the contrary, it contributes to a lack of trust and more than anyone, it is the Armenian people who suffer as a result of this.

Esteemed Member of the German Federal Parliament,

Seeing yourselves as representatives of civilisation, we are putting forth that politicians cannot pass judgement on issues which are the remit of courts of law; therefore we call on you to reject the baseless claims of the Armenians. We thank you for your understanding.

TOGETHER WE ARE THE TURKISH NATION MOVEMENT / ON BEHALF OF 632 ACADEMICS AND INTELLECTUALS

btmhareketi@gmail.com, https://www.facebook.com/birlikteturkmilletiyiz/