ANKARA (Marmara)–The Prime Minister of Turkey Receb Tayyip Erdogan reportedly issued a confidential decree on July 3 banning the use of the term “sozde” (alleged or so-called in Turkish) when referring to the Armenian Genocide.
The news of this “secret” directive was made public on July 19 by Turkish “Ulusal Kanal” TV and its website and reposted on several other news sites since then. Turkish denialists reacted angrily to this decree, accusing the Prime Minister of undermining their efforts against the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.
Turkish officials and reporters never fail to refer to the Armenian Genocide as the “so-called” or “alleged” genocide, thus casting doubt on the mass killings of Armenia’s by the Turkish government from 1915 to 1923. According to Erdogan’s decree, henceforth the Armenian Genocide should be described in official statemen’s and public discourse as the “events of 1915” or “Armenian allegations regarding the events of 1915”.
The Prime Minister’s office has reportedly sent this decree to all state institutions, including all ministries, governors, mayors, universities, courts, and the General Chief of Staff.
Erdogan is said to have stated in his decree that he was taking this action on the basis of a resolution adopted by the Council of Europe in February 2005. This probably is a reference to a recommendation by several Turkish non-governmental organizations in February 2005 to “cleanse Turkish textbooks of xenophobia and ultra-nationalism”.
The proposal was the result of a three-year study funded by the European Commission. Ulusal Kanal explained that the Council of Europe had called on Turkey to refrain from using certain disparaging words and phrases in referring to Armenia’s and Greeks in Turkish textbooks,