ISTANBUL: French Bill And Readers’ Comments


Today’s Zaman
Jan 31 2012

I have just read that the French bill to criminalize the denial of
Armenian genocide has been brought before the French Constitutional

The bill has provoked hot debate not only in Turkey but across
the globe. In my article (“French bill again”) that was published
by Today’s Zaman last week attracted quite fervent reactions from
readers: some support me, some criticize and some have brought new
perspectives on the subject. Sometimes we columnists need to give
the floor to our readers. In this context, I would like to share
some comments from my readers that I have received through emails,
Facebook, Twitter and from readers’ comments posted under my column
on In order to fit them into my space, I have
shortened some of them; I apologize in advance to my readers if my
shortened versions cause the loss of some sense from their comments.

Here they are:

>From Vahe: “This is a solemn moment for all Armenians who long suffer
from Turkey’s denial and the silence of those countries who were
observers at the time of the genocide.”

>From Ararat: “Turkish leaders and politicians are insincere
opportunists. Each and every Turkish government over the years has
acted and reacted [in] the same manner in regards to the Armenian
issue. Every time this issue has come up anywhere they have tried to
buy their way out of it. They have never tried to have a dialogue with
their victims.” From Jack: “Turkey was given a chance at immense US
expense to clear the matter in 2009. It chose not to do that. Okay,
things will remain as they are and in about 15-20 years the last
Armenians will leave Turkey insuring a pure Turkic country forever.

Congratulations.” From Mani: “Yes, Orhan, perhaps Sarkozy is trying to
hit a few birds with one stone. He is a politician after all. However,
we all know and I think you agree that Sarkozy in this case is not
the main relevant issue. The denial of the Armenian genocide by Turkey
is HURTING Turkey more than if it was to admit to it and open to the
reality of taking the path of truth and justice. If anything, Turkey
should take Germany as its model and the civil path that Germany took
after the Holocaust and murdering millions of people.”

>From Anastasia: “Orhan, referring to your article about the
French bill, I would like to go even further and say that Armenians
themselves should oppose the bill because: 1. They have a moral duty
towards their forefathers to protect them from being used by a mean
political opportunism; 2. Coercitive legal measures are of no use for
a progress in denialists’ consciousness … nor do they contribute
to the redemption of the victims, since the authors of the genocide
do not recognize and assume their crimes; 3. Instead of focusing on
denialism and criminalization of denialists, they would better turn
their attention to positive actions and give their support to those
brave and honest people in Turkey, who serve their cause; [and] 4.

Finally, Armenians have to get rid of a static vision of Turkish
politics, or at least appreciate all this preparatory work, done by
journalists, intellectuals, etc. towards the awakening of the public
opinion in Turkey. If this preliminary work is not accomplished,
the Turkish government cannot recognize Armenians’ massacres as
a genocide.”

>From Ralph: “How can Orhan Kemal Cengiz, of all people, conflate
and confuse distinct issues — unless the subject has disturbed
him beyond sense. The premeditated and meticulously orchestrated
massacre by the Young Turk ‘junta’ of the Armenians of Anatolia,
by various means, not least the death march (one copied by Tito)
fully fits the definition and intent of racial genocide. This is quite
distinct from French political ‘conspiracy’ — as claimed by many —
to ‘use’ the issue to garner votes from the French Armenian diaspora
(if indeed this is the sole motive — doubtful. Surely some/many
proponents and supporters of the bill are sincere). Above all,
the fact remains that modern Turkey, and apparently the majority
of the citizens of Turkey, have failed dismally to come to terms
with the dreadful events of 1915 perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish
authorities, nationalist and racist and murderous, of that time, many
of whom became protagonists and prominent figures in the founding
and evolution of the Republic of Turkey. Most bewildering is Orhan’s
claim that the French bill, come law, to make denial of the Armenian
genocide a criminal offence, obstructs Turkish recognition of this
genocide. This is nonsensical. …

The French bill, whether to be approved by the president or not,
should encourage the people of Turkey to demand the same in their
own Parliament, to acknowledge the truth and bury the lie Turkey has
lived for almost a century. Let the citizens of Turkey be set free from
this dreadful denial of one of the greatest crimes of recent history.”

There are so many other brilliant, thought-provoking comments, but
my space has allowed me to only quote this much.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS