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28 11 2007 - First Nationwide Turkish Survey Reveals Millions of Turks Support Genocide Bill
Harut Sassounian
First Nationwide Turkish Survey Reveals Millions of Turks Support Genocide Bill
Posted November 26, 2007 | 12:39 PM (EST)
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations recently featured on its website a reference to "the first nationwide public survey" conducted in Turkey on the Armenian Genocide and the congressional resolution on this issue. The poll was carried out earlier this year by "Terror Free Tomorrow" in collaboration with Istanbul-based "ARI Movement" and U.S.-based "ARI Foundation."
The survey showed that 78% of Turks oppose the congressional resolution on the Armenian genocide, while 7.4% support it. Turkey's leaders may be happy that the majority of Turkey's citizens oppose the resolution, but they conveniently overlook the fact that the 7.4% who support it represent more than 5 million Turks who believe that the U.S. Congress should recognize the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, another 8.5% or close to 6 million Turks have a neutral position on this issue.
When asked their reason for opposing the genocide resolution, only 36% said that it was because they did not believe that a genocide occurred. This means that almost two-thirds of Turkey's population opposes the bill for completely different reasons: 42% said they mistrusted the impartiality of the U.S. Congress, while 18% preferred that historians make that judgment.
The most amazing finding of the survey was that fully 50% (2.5 million) of Turks supporting passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution justified their approval by saying that "Turkey should recognize the past wrong of its genocide against Armenians;" 13.7% said that "Turkish recognition of the Armenian genocide will help reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia," and 26.1% said that "The U.S. Congressional resolution is not binding law and will not affect official American policy toward Turkey."
When asked if the approval of the resolution would improve or worsen the respondents' opinion of the United States, 73% of the Turks said such an act would worsen their opinion of the U.S. This is not surprising at all, since a recent Pew Research Center poll showed that 91% of the Turks already disliked the United States. What is shocking, however, is that 4.5% of those surveyed, which translates into more than 3 million Turks, said that the approval of the genocide resolution by the U.S. Congress would improve their opinion of the United States! Another 22% or 15 million Turks said that congressional approval would not affect their opinion of the U.S., did not know or did not answer.
When asked if Turkey should refuse to assist the U.S. war effort in Iraq if the Armenian resolution were to be adopted by the U.S. Congress, 83% of the respondents said they would oppose any cooperation with the U.S., while 8.5% or close to 6 million Turks said they would still support the U.S. in Iraq.
In response to another question, 78% said that they would favor taking action against the U.S. for adopting the genocide resolution (boycotting American products, demonstrating against the U.S., voting for candidates opposed to the war in Iraq). However, 11% or 7.5 million Turks said they would take no action against the U.S. for adopting the genocide resolution. Another 11% had no answer or opinion.
Another shocking answer was given by the Turkish respondents when asked why the U.S. Congress may approve the Armenian Genocide resolution: 42% said because of anti-Muslim feelings in the United States, 31% said due to domestic U.S. politics, and 12% or the equivalent of 8.5 million Turks said because "the Armenian Genocide is a proven historical fact!"
The results of the survey are not surprising. The overwhelming majority of the Turkish public, after being fed by their leaders a steady diet of lies on the Armenian Genocide for more than 90 years, naturally is bound to disbelieve that such barbaric acts were committed by their ancestors. However, the real news revealed by this survey is that, despite all the years of brainwashing, millions of Turks not only refuse to believe their government's denialist propaganda, but have the courage, at a great risk to their own safety, in "face-to-face" interviews, to acknowledge publicly that the Armenian Genocide is a fact and that the U.S. Congress must approve the Armenian Genocide resolution.
The long years of political advocacy for the international acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide seem to be bearing fruit not only around the globe but also within Turkey itself, despite that country's draconian laws which ban any reference to that crime. The news reports of these efforts, fueled by the Turkish government's extensive denialist measures, have created a massive amount of information on the Armenian Genocide which is reaching large segments of the Turkish public for the first time. The above Turkish survey shows that outside pressure is gradually making Turks face the dark and ugly chapters of their past.
Secretaries Albright and Cohen Should be Removed from Genocide Task Force
Posted November 20, 2007 | 08:18 PM (EST)
How hypocritical of Madeleine Albright and William Cohen, former Secretaries of State and Defense, to announce the formation of a task force on prevention of genocide, when two months ago they wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress against a resolution on the Armenian Genocide!
One would have thought that genocide denialists would not be the most qualified people to lead an effort on averting future genocides. Yet, this is exactly what happened last week.
Albright and Cohen shamelessly stood in front of TV cameras at the National Press Club in Washington on November 13 to declare that they are co-chairing a new "Genocide Prevention Task Force." The other members of the task force are Sen. John Danforth, Sen. Tom Daschle, Amb. Stuart Eizenstat, Michael Gerson, Secretary Dan Glickman, Secretary Jack Kemp, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Amb. Tom Pickering, Julia Taft, Vin Weber and General Anthony Zinni. This effort is jointly sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the United States Institute of Peace. The task force has five working groups dealing with early warning, pre-crisis engagement, preventive diplomacy, military intervention, and international institutions. It is expected to issue its report in December 2008.
Cohen told members of the media with a straight face that the task force is going "to look certainly to the past for lessons" in order to prepare a set of recommendations to the U.S. government on how best to respond to future threats of genocide. He stated that mass violence is "inimical to human behavior, to human decency, [and] to our sense of humanity....We can no longer live in a state of denial or willful indifference." These bold words are from a man whose company, The Cohen Group, is affiliated with DLA Piper, one of the major lobbying firms hired by the Turkish government, at a cost of $100,000 per month, to deny the facts of the Armenian Genocide.
As soon as the two former high-ranking officials finished delivering their opening remarks at last week's press conference, they were confronted by skeptical members of the press and Armenian activists who questioned their sincerity and pointed out their hypocrisy. This accusatory exchange was covered extensively by CNN, AFP, AP, and The Jerusalem Post.
Albright and Cohen were asked by a reporter: "How do you reconcile your work in trying to build a moral American sentiment, an unconditional consensus against genocide, when just very recently both of you signed letters urging America not to recognize the Armenian Genocide?" Albright, forgetting her earlier words about learning from the past, quickly shifted the mission of the group to the future. Carefully avoiding the term "Armenian Genocide," she acknowledged that "terrible things happened to the Armenians -- a tragedy.... While we were Secretaries, we recognized that mass killings and forced exile had taken place, and we also said that the U.S. policy has been all along for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia on this particular issue." She also said that her earlier letter to Congress against the genocide resolution merely questioned whether "this was an appropriate time to raise the issue." Secretary Cohen, in his turn, referred to the Armenian Genocide as "the human suffering that took place between 1915 and 1923." He said he was concerned that the Armenian resolution "might result in reactions on the part of the Turkish government that could place our sons and daughters in greater jeopardy [in Iraq]." The two officials gave evasive answers when another reporter asked whether they were advocating that "for political expediency purposes we shouldn't be taking action on future genocides because of what it could mean to U.S. interests."
A third reporter then pointedly asked if Albright and Cohen were in fact saying: "If our friends do it, it's not genocide; if our enemies do it, it is genocide.... If you are going to define genocide by who does it, not by what it is, your task force is in trouble."
Exposing his ignorance on the issue of the Armenian Genocide, Secretary Cohen said: "I don't know that the UN has declared that genocide occurred in the Armenian situation." He must not be aware that back in 1985 the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, by a vote of 15-1, adopted a report which included a section acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. "The experience of the Armenians does indeed conform with the UN Convention," a fourth reporter shot back at Cohen and added: "The two of you have personally worked toward ensuring that the United States government does not take a stand recognizing the Armenian Genocide. However, taking on this new role, how can you reconcile your positions and the U.S. foreign policy?"
Given their repeated attempts to block the reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide resolution, both during and after their tenure in government, Secretaries Albright and Cohen should be removed from the leadership of the Genocide Prevention Task Force. They have undermined their own credibility and lost the moral standing to speak on the topic of genocide. One cannot deny a genocide and then turn around and act as a defender of its victims. Furthermore, Secretary Cohen has a personal conflict of interest due to his firm's affiliation with a company that lobbies for Turkey against the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. This fact alone should disqualify him from membership, let alone leadership, of the genocide prevention group.

Annette M;elikian

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