08/25 Turkish Daily News: Call by Peres softens ADL's stance

Call by Peres softens ADL's stance on Armenian genocide
Saturday, August 25, 2007

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Friday called on Armenia to accept a Turkish proposal to establish a joint commission to study the 1915-1916 incidents, in a move to balance their recent decision on the recognition of Armenian genocide after pressure from Israel. “We must encourage steps to create an atmosphere in which Armenia will respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission to assist the parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences,” said the ADL, in a written statement issued by Glen S. Lewy, the ADL's national chair and Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director.

The ADL sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late Thursday to express its sorrow over the developments. “We have never wanted to put the Turkish people and its leadership in a difficult position. I write to you with the feelings of deep sorrow that I caused in recent days,” Foxman said.

“They have sent a letter to us underlining that they share our sensitivities... And they confirmed that they will continue supporting us like they did in the past,” Prime Minister Erdoğan said Friday. He also said the ADL had rectified the mistake it committed by sending the letter.The ADL stated Wednesday that they have decided to recognize the incidents that occurred during World War I as genocide. The ADL's statement angered and worried Ankara that was already engaged in a diplomatic struggle to prevent the passage of a resolution in the U.S. Congress recognizing the Armenian genocide. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talked to Israeli President Shimon Peres Thursday asked them to use their influence on the Jewish organizations. Peres reportedly called Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director, after his conversation with Prime Minister Erdoğan. Then this new statement by the ADL followed early Friday. “The force and passion of the debate today leaves us more convinced than ever that this issue does not belong in a forum such as the United States Congress,” the ADL said. The ADL emphasized that the proper role of those who deeply believe the controversy must be resolved is to promote and support Turkey and Armenia in efforts to bring them together to begin the process of reconciliation. “Although independent scholars may have reached a consensus about the genocide, in an effort to help accomplish the reconciliation there is room for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days. The ADL and the American Jewish community should focus their attention on supporting efforts to urge Turkey and Armenia to make this happen,” said the ADL.

Kamhi's letter to Foxman Meanwhile a prominent Turkish Jewish businessman Jak Kamhi sent a letter to Abraham Foxman Thursday and criticized the ADL's decision to recognize the Armenian genocide. “If the ADL would listen to wiser and more neutral words it would not make such a grave mistake,” Kamhi said. He pointed to the Turkish hospitality extended to the Jews escaping from Europe during the Ottoman Empire era and said, “I believe you will be doing your best to correct this unfortunate situation.”

Source: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=81789