Hollande Criterion May be Key to Armenian Issue

AL-Monitor – The Pulse of the Middle East
Dec 21 2012

Hollande Criterion May be Key to Armenian Issue

French President Francois Hollande holds the key of Algiers before a
walk in the street in Algiers December 19, 2012. Part of his trip was
to try to heal wounds left by a bloody war of independence half a
century ago. (photo by REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

By: Erdal Safak. Translated from Sabah (Turkey).

You can’t achieve anything by trying to keep it secret, by forgetting,
or even worse, by denying something like the 132-year-long shackling
of Algeria under a system of diabolical injustice and savagery. To
accept the realities and to expose them is an obligation. That is why
archives must be opened to historians.

This was the essence of French President Francois Hollande’s speech to
the Algerian parliament. To summarize in one sentence, Hollande says,
`France acknowledges the massacres it carried out in Algeria but is
not apologizing.’ In other words, `Yes to acknowledgement, no to
apology.’ He ended the subject: `Come, let’s leave it to historians to
determine the facts.’

This Hollande criterion could be a key to solving the issue of of
Armenian deportations, a heavy burden that exhausts Turkey.

What about Turkey saying: `’Turkey, Armenia and other countries that
have documents related to the deportations period should open their
archives. A mixed commission of historians should be set up. This
commission should have full access to all archives…’

But there has been no positive response to this call from Armenia or
friends like Germany, Britain, France, Russia or the US, all of which
have a substantial number of documents related to that period.

Why does Hollande want archives to be opened to historians? Because a
major part of French documents on Algeria’s independence war is under
lock, per French regulation that sensitive documents related to the
security of the state cannot be made public for 50 years.

Similarly, Algeria is not opening its archives to historians. Both
sides were brutal, both sides massacred in that war. Isn’t the lack of
response to Turkey’s call to `let everyone open their archives’ a
result of the fact that everyone had guilt in the Armenian

Hollande had been following a consistent attitude to Turkey’s possible
membership in the EU. He always had one condition: `Turkey can’t enter
the EU unless it recognizes the Armenian genocide.’

Fine, let’s agree to his condition with his own formula: `Yes to
acknowledgement, no to apology.’

But to acknowledge, facts must be uncovered first. This requires
opening the archives.

Then, let’s ask all the powers of that era, led by France, `Are you game?’