TODAY.AZ / Voice of Diaspora

Azerbaijani-American Organizations express regret over the U.S. Congressional Committee's attempt to legislate history

06 March 2010 [12:40] - TODAY.AZ
On March 4, 2010, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to endorse the resolution H252, calling for the recognition of the World War I killings in Eastern Anatolia as "Armenian genocide". The resolution adopted in the committee by a narrow margin vote of 23-22 attempts to legislate history and impose a one-sided interpretation of it under the influence of ethnic special interest groups.

The House Resolution H252 unfairly accuses Turkish nation of carrying out a premeditated genocide against the Armenian population of Ottoman Empire during the World War I. Article Two of the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide, adopted some three decades after World War I and non-retroactive in its application, describes genocide as carrying out acts intended "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".

According to a prominent genocide scholar Guenter Lewy, the Ottoman government's decision to relocate Armenians away from Eastern Anatolian front lines was due to the organized warfare launched by Armenian forces fighting on Russian side against Ottoman Empire, and did not constitute a premeditated program of extermination.

The alleged intent  of Ottoman Turkish government to eliminate Armenian population cannot be established due to non-deportation of Armenian communities of major Ottoman cities like Istanbul, Izmir and Aleppo. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of Turks  and Kurds, for whom no recognition was ever extended, also perished in Eastern Anatolia at the hands of Russian army and Armenian forces during the same period of time. Other experts on the regional history, including Bernard Lewis, Stanford Shaw and Justin McCarthy, also rejected the deliberate and one-sided labeling of these historical events as "Armenian genocide".

The H. Res. 252 also derails the Turkish-Armenian rappochement as well as the related Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process in the Caucasus region. Since 1993, Armenia forcibly occupies 20% of the territory of neighboring Azerbaijan and nearly 1 million Azeri Turks, displaced by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, are unable to return to their homes. Furthermore, Armenia refrains from recognizing the 1921 Kars Treaty thus refusing to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The historical revisionism embodied in H.Res. 252 under the pressure of ethnic-interest lobby is not only wasteful at a time when numerous other challenges are facing our nation requiring the attention of U.S. Congress. It also bring damage to the U.S. foreign policy in the volatile Middle East and serves to reward the counter productive and non-compromising position assumed by the Republic of Armenia against a key U.S. ally, Turkey.

AAC and ASA join Azeri- and Turkic-Americans in thanking the 22 House Representatives who voted against H. Res. 252 in the Foreign Affairs Committee. We call upon all U.S. legislators and foreign policy experts to help the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement by letting the two sides resolve their historical woes without interference, and instead focus their efforts on speedy and peaceful resolution of conflicts in the Caucasus region.


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