Turkish Americans to march in Washington DC to urge Armenia and Armenian diaspora for reconciliation on 1915 events.
“The Peace and Solidarity Walk” which will be organized by Turkish American Steering Committee (TASC) on April 24, will begin in front of the White House and end at Turkish Embassy in Washington.
Last year more than 5 thousand demonstrators joined the event urging United States to support reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia over historical dispute. Demonstrators, which also included Turkic Americans and members of Muslim communities, protested Armenian claims that Ottoman Empire commited a genocide against Armenians during relocation of Armenians due to security concerns in World War I.
On April 24 Armenian diaspora organizations in US will also organize events regarding 1915 incidents. Armenian organizations plans to hold a protest demonstration at New York’s Times Squre during which they will reiterate messages of hatred and enmity towards Turkey urging the country recognize Armenian historical thesis regarding the tragic incidents.
Ankara acknowledges that past experiences were a great tragedy and that both parties suffered heavy casualties, including hundreds of Muslim Turks. Turkey also agrees that there were certainly Armenian casualties during World War I.
According to the Armenian claims, 1.5 million of their kinsmen were killed from 1915 to 1917 under an Ottoman Empire campaign of deportation and murder.
Rejecting the genocide label, Turkey states that 250,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia during World War I.
Turkey’s position on Armenian allegations
Turkey has long been facing a systematic campaign of defamation carried out by Armenian lobbying groups. The Armenian diaspora has lately increased its organized activities throughout the world for the recognition of their unfounded allegations in regard to the events of 1915 as “genocide” by national and local parliaments.
Turkey is of the view that parliaments and other political institutions are not the appropriate for a debate and pass judgments on disputed periods of history. Past events and controversial periods of history should be left to the historians for their dispassionate study and evaluation. In order to shed light on such a disputed historical issue, the Turkish Government has opened all its archives, including military records to all researchers. Furthermore, Turkey encourages historians, scholars and researchers to freely examine and discuss this historical issue in every platform. In order to have an objective and complete analysis of the Turkish-Armenian relations, the Armenian archives should also be opened and made available to the public and researchers. For reaching the truth, historians must have access to all related archives.
In this respect, in 2005, Turkey has officially proposed to the Government of Armenia the establishment of a joint commission of history composed of historians and other experts from both sides to study together the events of 1915 not only in the archives of Turkey and Armenia but also in the archives of all relevant third countries and to share their findings with the public. Unfortunately, Armenia has not responded positively to this initiative, yet. Turkey’s proposal is still on the table.
If accepted by Armenia, Turkey’s proposal for setting up a Joint Commission of History would also serve as a confidence-building measure paving the way for a dialogue towards normalization of relations between the two countries.
Dozens of Turkish diplomats and family members as well as Turkish citizens have either been assassinated or wounded in attacks perpetrated by Armenian terrorists during the 1970s and 1980s.