28 Ap. 2010 - AUSTRALIA : Recognising the Armenian genocide is the final frontier
Thank journalist Ms Natasha Robinson of The Australian, for covering the issue of the Armenian Genocide in her recent article!
Robinson brought attention to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 through an interview with survivor Thaddaes Panikian, and detailed the very real link between the ANZACs and victims of the Armenian Genocide.
CLICK HERE TO READ INTERVIEW
Recognising the Armenian genocide is the final frontier
• Natasha Robinson
• From: The Australian
• April 24, 2010 12:00AM
JUST one day before the Gallipoli landing, Turkey's empire opened a front in another war.
It was April 24, 1915, and in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, 250 Armenian intellectuals were rounded up and arrested.
Within 10 days, reports were reaching the US that as many as half a million Armenians had been slaughtered in a calculated campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Turkish government.
As hundreds of Australians who have travelled to Turkey prepare to mark Anzac Day in ceremonies at Gallipoli on Sunday, there is growing pressure at home for the federal government to recognise the Armenian genocide, in which it is claimed up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed.
Labor politician Maxine McKew, whose seat of Bennelong has a large Armenian population, recognised the genocide in a speech in parliament last month.
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Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, whose grandfather was Armenian, told The Weekend Australian the Rudd government should recognise the Armenian genocide immediately, as had 20 countries including Britain, France and Switzerland.
"The relationship between modern Turkey and Australia will always continue to be influenced by the unresolved matter of the Armenian genocide," he said.
But Mr Hockey said there was no doubt Turkey "would seek retribution against Australia should we join with other principled nations in recognising the genocide".
The Turkish government strongly disputes that the events of 1915-23 amounted to a genocide.
The second secretary at Australia's Turkish embassy in Canberra, Umut Ozturk, labelled the claims "a systematic campaign of defamation carried out by Armenian lobbying groups living in various countries all over the world".
"Any recognition or any resolution accusing the Turkish nation of a crime that it has not committed is unacceptable," Mr Ozturk said. "The allegations are totally groundless and baseless.
"In the international law, the Armenian allegations of genocide fail to meet the minimum standards of proof required by the UN conventions."
But the documentary evidence of the persecution of Armenians during WWI exists even in Australian archives -- much of it from the observations of Australian prisoners of war.
Australia's living survivors of the Armenian persecutions are now very few. It is thought there are only three Armenian migrants who lived through the period 1915-23 still alive and living here.
One of those survivors is Thaddaes "Matthew" Panikian, who turns 100 on Monday and was a young child during WWI.
Mr Panikian spoke to The Weekend Australian yesterday from his home in Marrickville, in Sydney's inner west.
He has few direct memories of the massacres and deportations of 1915-23, but he does remember his teachers documenting the horrific events occurring around them in his home town of Malkara, near the Bulgarian border.
"Our friends, they were all telling their story, and the teachers were taking notes," he said. "Those who survived, it was like a miracle.
"It is difficult to talk about. All the prominent people from our city were exiled. The rich, and the prominent people. You know what it means, exiled? It means executed. It's strange that, still, they are denying it was genocide."