Ankara to foster strategy to counter ADL position on genocide of Armenians
EJP Updated: 23/Aug/2007 18:01
ANKARA (EJP)—The recognition of the World War I-era killings of Armenians
as genocide by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has shocked
Turkey, which is now trying to overcome this by taking compensatory
measures, the Turkish Daily News writes Thursday.
The ADL is an advocacy group aiming to stop the defamation of the Jewish
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has told Israeli Ambassador Pinhas Avivi that
Turkey is "disappointed" over ADL’s remarks.
"We see this statement as an unfortunate one that is unjust to the
Holocaust, which has no precedent, and to its victims. And we expect it to
be corrected," the foreign ministry said.
The Israeli embassy has released a statement in which it said that there is
"no change" in the Israeli government’s stance regarding the issue.
Experts and advisors to the Turkish government held a meeting with diplomats
at the foreign ministry in Ankara on Wednesday to determine a strategy "that
will win back the hearts of Jewish Americans," Turkey’s English daily said.
According to diplomatic sources, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
might try to engage in phone diplomacy to convince the Jewish lobby.
"The strategy is to convince the ADL first, and if we cannot do that then
Turkey will try to counter the Jewish lobby in the U.S. This cannot be a
blank acceptance for Turkey," said a Turkish diplomat.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ADL’s director Abraham Foxman said
that the killings of Armenians by the Turks "were indeed tantamount to
genocide," days after the organisation fired a regional director for taking
the same stance.
"We were not expecting such a decision. Last week, they fired the director
who used [the term ‘genocide’]. What I understood is that after the director
was fired, a discussion started in the ADL. We were in contact with the ADL
two days ago," said an expert on American-Turkish relations quoted by The
Turkish Daily News.
The decision might negatively influence Jewish votes in the US Congress
since there are more than 100 Jewish Americans in the House of
Representatives, the expert said.
"If they insist on defining the period as genocide, then Turkey will take
necessary steps against that. Of course we will not identify the Turkish
Jewish community with the American Jewish one. We will also get in contact
with Israel to understand the reasons behind the decision," the source
Since the Jewish lobby is seen as an important political tool for Turkey’s
policies in Washington, Ankara avoids making non-diplomatic statements in
reference to the Jews.
Ankara fears that the US will recognize the events of 1915-1919 as genocide,
and is also concerned about its impact on bilateral relations.