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19 11 2008 - European Parliament: Groundbreaking Conference on the massacres of Dersim, despite the pressures from Ankara‏
Madame, Monsieur,
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European Parliament
Groundbreaking Conference on the massacres of Dersim, despite the pressures from Ankara
The European Armenian Federation highlighted the genocidal tradition of Turkey
For the first time in its history, the European Parliament welcomed a great conference on the massacres of Dersim (Turkey, 1937-1938). This conference was organised on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of these events and on the initiative of the “company for resistance” (Gesellschaft für Wiederaufbau) and of the MEP Feleknas Uca (Confederal Group of the European United Left, Germany), under the support of her political party.
This conference was a huge success and was attended by more than 200 participants including European citizens and natives of Turkey. The complete program of the day will soon be available here.
Among many speakers, Hilda Tchoboian, the president of the European Armenian Federation underlined the continuity of the genocidal tradition of Turkey whose identity was built on the negation of the other. She recalled that at the time of the Armenian genocide, Dersimis – contrary to other Kurdish tribes – had abstained from any attacks towards the Armenian populations and sheltered and protected them; about 40,000 people had been saved and today, one out of four Dersimis have Armenian ancestry.
The full text of Hilda Tchoboian’s speech (in French) is available on the European Armenian Federation website.
This conference – and in particular the presence of two town representatives of Turkey - Serafettin Halis, deputy of the province of Tunceli and Songül Erol Abdil, mayor of the town of Tunceli (Dersim) – caused a great agitation in the Turkish press, in particular by their remarks on the genocidal tradition of Turkey. The presence of Hilda Tchoboian to this conference was also interpreted by Ankara like a proof of “the will of the European Parliament to dismember Turkey!” During the conference, the lecturers and organisers revealed that Ankara carried applied intense pressure to prohibit this conference from taking place.
The conference revealed to Europeans that Turkey is not and never has been homogeneous on an ethnic or linguistic point of view. The Kurds, Dersimis, Zazas and innumerable other minorities have all their own identity and collectively they compose the majority of the Anatolian population.
“Turkey has never admitted this diversity of population and tried to deny it by committing different mass crimes. It is also this reality which Turkey wants to hide from its own population and other States” concluded Hilda Tchoboian.
The conference was concluded by a Joint Declaration signed by Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Assyrian-Chaldean organisations, representative’s of populations who have all been oppressed or massacred by Turkey. This declaration is available here.


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For immediate release
Wednesday 19 novembre 2008
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