29 08 2007 - British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group
|Press Release Armenia Solidarity
Nor Serount Publications- Armenian Genocide Trust
email@example.com and aappg.bazil@btinternet,com
House of Commons Library distributes misleading briefing documents
The Defence and International Affairs Section in the House of Commons Library in the UK Parliament has issued two documents (ref: 2006/4/13-IADS) and ref: 2007/6/62-IADS) intended as a 'research
resource' for MPs. A number of MPs have declined to sign Early Day Motion 357 urging the British government to recognise the Armenian Genocide on the basis of these documents. This EDM has already
attracted 160 signatories, a high level in all parties excluding the Conservatives.
The documents suffer from significant deficiencies and should not be used when considering this important issue, such as There is no mention of the House of Commons own evidence in The Blue Book,'The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Miscellaneous No 31 (1916)' and the many thousands of documents by non-Turkish and non-Armenian witnesses who were present at the time, nor the Joint
Declaration of Great Britain, France and Russia of May 1915.
Denialist propaganda is quoted verbatim.
References from Turkish sources are mostly from official sites such as their Foreign Ministry whereas those from the Armenian side consist of websites run by private individuals.
False historical information is provided from partisan sources.
An example is "They [the Armenians] armed themselves and spearheaded a massive Russian invasion of eastern Anatolia" fails to mention that the Russians were responding to the incursion of the Turkish army into
their country. A second example is "Where Ottoman control was strong, Armenians went unharmed. In Istanbul..." ignoring the fact that the Armenian Genocide of 1915 started in the capital with the round-up, deportation and murder of all the Armenian leaders and intellectuals, the anniversary of which is commemorated each year on 24 April.
The potential strong reaction of the Turkish authorities if Armenian Genocide resolutions are passed by the US and Britain is given prominence and linked with France's experience, though no mention is made of the fact that trade with France is at the same
level as before their recognition. There are no counter arguments relevant to today's political landscape such as facilitating the
opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey, the resumption of diplomatic relations and commercial trade between the two countries consistent with international treaties, the lessening of tension and
military build-up in the South Caucasus, the removal of a potential impediment to Turkey's accession to the EU and so on.
In the British section, there is no mention that both the National Assembly of Wales and Edinburgh Council have recognised the genocide, or that the Armenian Genocide has been included in a main podium
speech during the Newcastle Holocaust Memorial Day in 2007.
Finally and the one that is most striking, there is not one mention of the views of international independent historians. Whereas the government (and the documents) takes the view that there is no
unequivocal evidence that proves that genocide was intended and carried out, the most eminent historians including those in the UK have exhaustively researched this topic and have reached the opposite
These documents must be withdrawn forthwith: they are selective in the information they provide and misleading. They argue the case for the
government position whereas MPs require a briefing that allows them to assess this policy and come to their own decision. In particular they support the government's pretence that their judgement of historical events should prevail whereas Prof Israel Charny and his colleagues in the International Association of Genocide Scholars wrote to the
Turkish Prime Minister in 2005 in the following terms:
"We note that there may be differing interpretations of genocide - how and why the Armenian Genocide happened, but to deny its factual and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in
propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims, and erase the ethical meaning of this history."
To remedy this mis-information, please consult the proceedings of "The House of Commons Armenian Genocide Conference" which details
Ø the solid stance for recognition by the most reputable of independent international scholars (pages 16 and 31)
Ø British historians nailing their colours to the recognition mast (pages 7, 9 and letters from page 40)
Ø scholars in this country increasingly exposing the dubious arguments of the denialists, mostly connected with the Turkish authorities (pages 9 and 21)
Ø a better exposition of the Republic of Armenia's policy (page 20)
Ø the support from the UK Muslim Public Affairs Committee (page 42)
Ø a bibliography (page 45) that the House of Commons Library
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