ISTANBUL (Reuters)–Turkey’s Jewish community said on Friday that inclusion of other “so-called genocides” in the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain would be disrespectful to Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust.
This weekend’s ceremony–the first Holocaust Memorial Day to be held in Britain–is intended to honour victims of the Holocaust during World War Two when six million Jews as well as gypsies–homosexuals and some other persecuted groups were killed in Nazi concentration camps.
But the ceremony has been dogged by controversy over whether Armenia’s will be invited to mark the genocide of 1.5 million of their countrymen in 1915 at the hands of Ottoman Turks. Victims of more recent genocidal slaughter in Bosnia and Rwanda will also be commemorated in the British ceremony.
“We stress that the genocide of six million Jews in the Holocaust in World War Two should not be compared to any other event and should not be overshadowed by so-called genocide claims,” the Turkish Jewish community said in a statement issued from the office of the chief rabbi of Turkey.
The statement said inclusion in the British ceremony of “so-called genocides or claims unconfirmed by historians” was disturbing to Turkish Jews.
“This comparison is considered disrespectful to the souls of the six million victims (of the Nazi Holocaust).”
Britain’s Home Office (Interior Ministry) has said an invitation was issued to 15 representatives of the Armenian community but a Turkish embassy source in London said Turkey had received assurances as recently as Wednesday that Armenia’s would be excluded.