08/31 Zaman: Şensoy warns Israel could be hurt by genocide debate

Şensoy warns Israel could be hurt by genocide debate

Though the Turkish government is strongly opposed to any congressional action by the United States, the Turkish Jewish community has nothing to fear -- but Turkey’s relations with Israel and the US would probably not survive such a resolution unscathed, said Turkish Ambassador to the US Nabi Şensoy in remarks to the New York-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

“I cannot really dismiss that if this resolution does pass, there will be certain impacts on certain relationships. There is no doubt about it,” Şensoy was quoted as saying in an interview with the JTA this week.

Last week, the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reversed its long-time policy concerning the killings of Anatolian Armenians in the early 20th century and said the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks “were indeed tantamount to genocide.”

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.

Şensoy also voiced uneasiness over certain emphasis by the ADL on concerns over safety of the Jewish community in Turkey. “I’m very disturbed to hear this kind of remark coming from anywhere. They seem to be forgetting the history of Turks and Jews, which goes back at least 500 years. We’ve always had the best of relations between Turks and Jews and the Turkish Jewish community is part-and-parcel -- and an integral part -- of the Turkish community,” he said.

Similar remarks reflecting Ankara’s uneasiness on the same point were delivered by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman last week when he reacted against the ADL statement. “The Jewish community in our country is a part of our society and there isn’t any particularity that they should fear concerning developments related to the Armenian allegations,” Bilman said.

“We are expecting the American Jewish organizations to be neutral about this. Although we’re aware of the fact that this is a very sensitive issue for the Israeli people and the Jewish community, what we have to seek is the truth,” Şensoy told JTA.

ADL complains about The Jewish Advocate

An article penned by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman and published in a Boston newspaper, The Jewish Advocate, on Monday was widely interpreted in Turkey as an apparent show of determination in the ADL’s stance, vowing that they will “not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future.” The fact that Foxman’s article was published after he last week sent a letter addressing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying that the ADL has huge respect for the Turkish people and has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation, led to that particular interpretation.

Yet, ADL directors told Turkish officials that the article by Foxman was actually posted to The Jewish Advocate as of last week, not after Foxman’s letter to Erdoğan, a senior Turkish diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Today’s Zaman on Thursday. The same ADL directors expressed uneasiness over the choice of the newspaper to publish the article as if it were a brand-new article and asked the newspaper to remove the article from their Web site, the same Turkish diplomat said.

The diplomat reiterated Ankara’s expectation of a “rectification” of their statement by the ADL. Earlier this week, when asked by Today’s Zaman 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. 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,” he said.


Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=120856