The Turkish ambassador is set to end his vacation two weeks early to return
to Israel and register Turkey's concerns about the Anti-Defamation League's
statement that Turkish actions toward the Armenians from 1915-1918 were
"tantamount to genocide," *The Jerusalem Post* has learned.
The decision to send Namik Tan back on Thursday came at a high-level meeting
at the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara on Wednesday. Turkish Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also expected to call Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert in the coming days to discuss the matter.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling the ADL statement
"unfortunate," and said Turkey expected that the statement would "be
ADL National Director Abe Foxman issued a statement Tuesday saying that
Turkey's actions against Armenians "were tantamount to genocide," in a
dramatic reversal of a long-standing policy.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said that to describe the events
during WWI as "genocide" was "without historical and legal basis," and that
contrary to the ADL's claim, there was no consensus on this matter among
"We see this statement as an unfortunate one that is unjust to the
Holocaust, which has no precedent, and to its victims. And we expect it to
be corrected," the statement read.
Israel's Foreign Ministry had no comment on the matter, which both Israeli
and Turkish diplomatic sources privately admit could strain bilateral
One Turkish official said the fact there was no reference in the Turkish
Foreign Ministry statement to Israeli-Turkish relations was a message to the
Jewish state not to change its policy on the genocide issue.
Israel's position on this matter was last formally articulated in March,
when the Knesset shelved a proposal for a parliamentary discussion on the
Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri, speaking on behalf of Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni, said at the time: "As Jews and Israelis we have special
sympathy and a moral obligation to commemorate the massacres that were
perpetrated against the Armenians in the last years of Ottoman rule. The
State of Israel never denied these terrible acts. On the contrary, we
understand fully the intense emotional feelings aroused by this, taking into
consideration the number of victims, and the suffering of the Armenian
Ben-Yizri also said Israel understood that this was a "loaded" issue between
the Armenians and Turks, and that Israel hoped "both sides will reach an
open dialogue that will enable them to heal the wounds that have been left
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also took the ADL to task for suggesting that
the organization's change of policy could place Turkey's Jewish community in
"The Turkish Jewish community is part and parcel of our society, and there
is no reason for them to have concerns," the ministry said in its statement.
The ADL had said a US Congressional resolution on the genocide issue would
be a "counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between
Turks and Armenians, and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and
the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the