Press Release - Call for UK Recognition of the Armenian Genocide to further, 'Real' Human Rights in Turkey
British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group
& Nor Serount Publications
Call for UK Recognition of the Armenian Genocide to further real Human Rights in Turkey
Turkish and Kurdish democrats and human rights activists called for change in British Policy on the Armenian Genocide to promote Human Rights Reform in Turkey. At the invitation of Armenia Solidarity, the British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group & Nor Serount Publications on Wednesday, 2nd of May 2007, in the House of Lords, in the UK parliament, they addressed a meeting on British recognition of the Genocide of the Armenians to wider Human Rights issues in Turkey. The meeting was sponsored, chaired and moderated by the Rt Hon Baroness Park of Monmouth.
Ragip Zarakoglu, Turkish author, human rights activist and publisher, characterised Turkey as a 'security state' despite essentially cosmetic changes to some legislation. Notwithstanding changes in names of the courts, the same mindsets in the legal processes were delivering unchanged judgements contrary to the long-term interests of the people in Turkey and their progress towards democratisation.
Recognition of the Armenian Genocide and respect for the Kurds are two important steps that would facilitate real changes needed within the country. Denying the realities of history was the rallying point for ultra-nationalists who were encouraged by the silence of the USA and Britain. This reflected badly on the standing of these countries as it demonstrated double standards compared to the way they approached other human rights issues. The number of Islamists in Turkey was relatively low but the policies of other countries was making them more influential, for example by allowing to attack democrats. The paradox is that Europe is apprehensive of ultra-nationalists yet creates conditions for them to thrive.
Murat Aktas, the Kurdish journalist and political sociologist, referred to the deep-rooted long-standing attitudes in Turkish society that had to be confronted. There is a culture of xenophobia against non-Muslims including Christians and Alevis, and tendency to humiliate anyone not of Turkish origin. Hrant Dink's assassination and other extra-judicial killings gave the message that the ultra-nationalists can kill when they want to in pursuit of their objectives. This is not just a Turkish problem but one that involves all humanity.
According to British author Desmond Fernandes, British parliamentarians should be clear that denial of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey is linked to the repression of non-Turkish minorities. Britain could not continue with its current attitudes of facilitating denial in the face of the unequivocal statements of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and persuading Turkey to move on this would lead to true democratisation and relief from the current state oppression. Britain has a special role because of its contemporaneous judgement that there had been crimes against humanity*.
* May 24, 1915 Joint Declaration of Entente/Allied Powers -- Russia, France & Great Britain:
"In view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, the Allied governments announce publicly…that they will hold personally responsible…all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres."
Guerre 1914-1918, Turquie, 887. Armenie, 1, (May 26, 1915).
FO 371/2488/51010 (May 28, 1915).
British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group - Tel 01494 816 757, email@example.com
Nor Serount Publications - Tel 020 8997 1200, firstname.lastname@example.org