Turkey wins removal of Armenian genocide from German schools, report

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
January 26, 2005, Wednesday
10:34:20 Central European Time

Turkey wins removal of Armenian genocide from German schools, report


Pressure from Turkey has resulted in the removal of a reference to
the Armenian genocide from a German school curriculum, reports said

The eastern German state of Brandenburg has eliminated half a
sentence on the Armenians included in ninth and tenth grade history
classes after a Turkish diplomat complained to state Prime Minister
Matthias Platzeck, the newspaper Die Welt reported.

In a chapter entitled “War, Technology and Civilian Populations” the
school book text said “for example, the genocide of the Armenians
population of Anatolia.”

That passage has now been removed from school textbooks, the
newspaper said.

Platzeck met regularly with Turkish diplomats and was “steeled”
against their influence, the newspaper quoted him as saying. The
prime minister added that genocide was too important an issue to be
dealt with in just half a sentence.

“Brandenburg’s curriculum was the only one in Germany which up until
now included a reference to the murder of the Armenians,” said Die

Most historians say that between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians
were killed in 1915 and 1916 under the Ottoman Turks during World War
I. The Turkish government, which denies that a genocide took place,
speaks of 200,000 dead.

A Turkish embassy spokesman in Berlin declined to comment directly on
the report, but noted the initiative had come from the Turkish
consulate responsible for Berlin and Brandenburg – not from the
embassy itself.

Prime Minister Platzeck is a member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s
Social Democrats (SPD). Schroeder is a strong supporter of Turkey’s
bid to become a member of the European Union. Germany has almost two
million resident Turks – the biggest Turkish minority in the E.U.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which serves as junior
coalition partner in Brandenburg’s government, is infuriated over the
change to the state’s schoolbooks.

“The impression created is fatal,” said Sven Patke, the state CDU
secretary general.

The head of the Central Committee of Armenians in Germany, Schavarsh
Ovassapian told Die Welt the move was “a scandal.”

“It is depressing, if what’s in schoolbooks in Brandenburg can be
dictated from Ankara,” he said. dpa lm pb