ANCA, EAFJD and Armenia’s Foreign Minister Condemn ‘State Policy of Intimidation’
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey convened a five-hour closed-door session of his High Advisory Board to discuss efforts to crackdown on activists and advocacy organizations engaged in securing the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
According to Anadolu news agency, Erdogan convened the meeting to formulate Turkey’s response to “groundless and anti-Turkey allegations regarding the events of 1915,” with his Communications Director Fahrettin Altun reiterating that Turkey would not allow the “seeds of hostility” to be sown through “distorted historical events.”
In a statement, Altun accused the “Armenian lobby” of exploiting the “challenging and painful era endured by all Ottoman citizens for the sake of political calculations through lies and slanders that were invented by various power groups.”
Altun said that during the meeting, “comprehensive steps were discussed to prevent the Armenian lobby from using 1915 events to defame Turkey and our nation and also the propaganda made by countries through unrealistic allegations that manipulate the issue with political calculations.”
The Armenian National Committee of America called Erdogan’s latest move “worse than genocide denial” accusing the Turkish leader of obstructing justice.
“What Turkey’s doing is far worse than genocide denial – as terrible as that is. Erdogan’s actively obstructing justice – consolidating the fruits of Turkish crimes, even as he renews his threats against Armenia’s security. It’s the continuation of genocide through other means,” said ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian.
“The fact that Turkish leaders feel comfortable announcing a renewed campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide speaks to the failure of the international community – including our own White House – to force Turkey to stop lying and start reckoning with its present-day responsibilities for this crime. The ANCA seeks to build on last year’s Congressional resolution by adding White House recognition – with the aim of isolating Ankara and ultimately ending Turkey’s obstruction of justice for this crime,” added Chouldjian.
The Brussels-based European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy called the move a crackdown on activists who are engaged in international Armenian Genocide recognition through civic activism and condemned the overt intimidation implied in Altun’s comments.
In a statement to European institutions, including the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the Council of Europe, the EAFJD urged them to take concrete steps in order to stop the dangerous xenophobic policy of the Turkish authorities, directed against the activists of the Armenian cause.
“This meeting is in fact the logical continuation of Erdogan’s statement in May this year where he threatened to fight against the ‘Armenian lobby’ which certainly includes in particular the committees of the Defense of the Armenian Cause worldwide (ANCs). It comes to prove once again that unfortunately the denial of the Armenian Genocide and the incitement of hatred against Armenians are a state policy in Turkey,” said the EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian.
“Now Erdogan’s government officially and openly decided to carry out a state policy of intimidation against those who advocate for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide worldwide. The Turkish authorities should know by now that intimidation against the activists of the Armenian Cause has never worked in the past, neither will it work in the future. This only gives a strong impetus to be even more active and continue joining our efforts in our pursuit of justice. This meeting however shows the true colors of Erdogan’s government once again and how far it can go to. The recognition, condemnation of the Armenian Genocide as well as reparations are a matter of global justice. Turkey has no chance but come to terms with its past – something that has been demanded by the parliaments of dozens of countries worldwide as well as by the European Parliament,” added Karampetian.
“The statements by the President of Turkey on justifying the Armenian Genocide and insulting its victims are not something new and are manifestations of hate speech which have an impact on the strengthening and maintenance of the atmosphere of xenophobia against Armenians in that country,” Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan said on Thursday in response to a question from an Armenpress reporter.
“The issue of the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide is not an Armenian-Turkish matter, it is an issue of Turkey and the international community. This is evidenced by Turkey’s numerous statements and actions over the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by this or that country. For us and for the international community the Armenian Genocide is a fact which has also served as a base for the development of the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the introduction of prevention mechanisms of genocides and crimes against humanity based on it. Denialism has no future, no matter who will package it and how. No matter how hard the Turkish authorities try to pressure the truth, the truth in any case has paved and will pave its way,” added Naghdalyan.