The Hague: Genocide Question Continues To Dog PvdA


NIS News Bulletin, Netherlands
Oct 3 2006

THE HAGUE, 04/10/06 – Labour (PvdA) is not yet free of the Armenian
genocide question. Various media again cast doubts on the position
of prominent MP Nebahat Albayrak yesterday. Meanwhile, PvdA Senator
Erik Jurgens has proposed dropping the ban on Holocaust denial.

The PvdA broke with candidate MP Erdinc Sacan last week. He is not
running in the 22 November general elections because he refuses to
recognise the genocide perpetrated by Turkey on the Armenians between
1915 and 1917. Albayrak, the highest-placed candidate on the PvdA
list after front-runner Wouter Bos, is however still refusing to
provide clarification of her position.

According to Elsevier magazine, Albayrak has been unavailable for
comment since last week, when she "reduced the debate" to a question
of definition in an interview with Trouw newspaper. Alabayrak said
it is not possible to take a clear position because the historical
sources are "polluted."

Elsevier says Albayrak is propounding the position of the Turkish
government, as expressed by the Turkish ambassador in a letter
to evening newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The diplomat said in this
yesterday that "historians are divided on how the events should be

According to Elsevier, there are virtually no independent academics
that doubt that the term ‘genocide’ is appropriate. "In the
Netherlands, a report appeared as early as 1918 by a committee of
very eminent politicians which spoke unequivocally of the ‘systematic
slaughter’ of 800,000 Armenians in Turkey."

While Turkish PvdA members are not committing themselves for now
on the question, it has already led to turmoil within the Christian
democratic (CDA) party. A group of 30 Turkish CDA members protested
at last weekend’s party congress against the forced departure of two
CDA election candidates due to their denial of the genocide.

According to the Turkish ambassador, CDA candidates Ayhan Tonca and
Osman Elmaci were wrongfully removed from the election list. Their
position "cannot be described as a denial of a proven genocide,
but rather as non-acceptance of the one-sided allegation by the
Armenians." The Turkish parliament on Monday awarded Sacan, Tonca
and Elmaci the distinction of ‘honorary parliamentarians.’

Prompted by the debate on Turkey’s Armenian genocide, PvdA Senator Erik
Jurgens is urging the abolition of the ban on denial of the Holocaust,
the genocide of around six million Jews by the Nazi regime. "It
comes under freedom of speech, unless somebody is inciting to racial
hatred," in his view. Equally, denial of the Armenian genocide is
not punishable, according to the Senator, who is also a member of
the Council of Europe parliament.

Professor Ton Zwaan of the University of Amsterdam, specialist in
genocide studies, said yesterday in Trouw that "Albayrak, unhampered
by any knowledge, has made a series of dubious statements which are
closely related to negationism and denial politics. The question is
how she and her party think they will get away with this."


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