08/29 Zaman: Turkey expects ‘rectification’ as ADL insists on ‘genocide’ label

Turkey expects ‘rectification’ as ADL insists on ‘genocide’ label

In an apparent show of determination, the leader of the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has insisted that the organization made an appropriate decision by revising its policy concerning the killings of Anatolian Armenians in the early 20th century, vowing that they will "not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future."

An article penned by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman -- who last week said the killings of Armenians by Muslim Turks "were indeed tantamount to genocide" -- was published in a Boston newspaper, The Jewish Advocate, on Monday.

"While we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, we will not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future. We believe that we have been true to who we are in our approach. As long as ADL is an organization committed first to the safety and security of the Jewish people, we cannot in good conscience ignore the well-being of 20,000 Jews in Turkey. We will, however, continue to push the Turkish government in the right direction. We hope people of goodwill understand our perspective, but even if they do not, we deeply believe that we are being true to the core values of our organization which have served Jews and the broader society so well for many years," said Foxman in the article.

Following strong reaction from Turkish political leadership against the ADL's announcement, Foxman last week sent a letter addressing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying that the ADL had huge respect for the Turkish people and has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation. Foxman then expressed deep regret over what the Turkish people had to go through in the past few days since it agreed to recognize the alleged genocide, reversing a long-held policy.

"The letter was pleasing to us," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman told Today's Zaman on Tuesday. "However, the wrong step has not yet been corrected. We expect the ADL to rectify its statement because it is obvious that there is no consensus among historians on how to qualify the 1915 incidents, contrary to what the ADL has claimed," Bilman added.

When asked to elaborate on how a "rectification" could be made by the ADL, Bilman said the right address for consulting such controversial matters was historians and that the ADL should refer to historians after making such an assertive allegation and then review its statement. "The issue is not closed for Ankara until such a review and rectification is made."

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in a systematic genocide campaign by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, but Ankara categorically rejects the label, saying that both Armenians and Turks died in civil strife during World War I, when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops that were invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.


Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=120674