Today’s Zaman: Knesset's political debate on 1915 event does not alter facts, Turkey says

Today’s Zaman: Knesset's political debate on 1915 event does not alter facts, Turkey says

Photo: www.wikipedia.org

Turkish diplomatic sources have emphasized that debate in the Israeli parliament over whether to recognize the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as an act of genocide will not affect Turkey's stance on the issue, adding that the debate does not alter the facts.

A Turkish diplomatic source told Today's Zaman the basic starting point for Turkey is that the events of 1915, or any other historical event, should be discussed by historians rather than parliaments. “Parliaments dealing with this issue do not bring any benefit. Additionally, this kind of step does not contribute to the process. It undermines the work of historians and both countries,” said the official.

The debate was initiated last Tuesday by an Israeli cabinet minister's remark that the Jewish state ought to change its policy and recognize the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as an act of genocide.

"I think it is definitely fitting that the Israeli government formally recognize the Holocaust perpetrated against the Armenian people," said Gilad Erdan, Israel's minister of environmental affairs.

Arieh Eldad of the ultranationalist National Union dismissed accusations that raising the issue now was ill-timed. "A few years ago people said we couldn't talk about it because of our good relations with Turkey. Now people say we can't talk about it because of our bad relations with Turkey," said Eldad, adding that when people are reluctant to address moral and ethical issues there is always a claim that the timing of such a discussion is wrong.

Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin denied the debate was related to deteriorating ties with Turkey, saying there was no intention to provoke Turkey. “The Turks will definitely be angry, but there is no intention to provoke, only to remember," he told Israel's Army Radio.

“Those who demand recognition of the massacre are not engaged in lobbying, they are simply seeking historic justice. The free world must learn these lessons so it won't happen again,” said Rivlin.