04/14/2021 Armenia (International Christian Concern) – Armenian historians have submitted a request for the United States’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide via an open letter to President Biden. Few countries officially recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide, the United States included, due to attempts to preserve good relations with Turkey. In December 2019, the United States Congress passed resolutions to recognize the genocide, though at the international level does little in condemning Turkey’s role.
Turkey long denies that the 1915 events were genocide, despite the systematic ethnic cleansing of around 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. The genocide and its expulsion of Armenian Christians and their identities began what is the ongoing pan-Turkism rhetoric. By officially recognizing the 1915 Armenian Genocide, the United States and other countries can take stronger action against Turkey and Azerbaijan for the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War and further attempts to cleanse the region of ethnic Armenians. For more background on the Nagorno-Karabakh War, read ICC’s report here.
The open letter to President Biden by Armenian historians is as follows:
April 14, 2021
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JOSEPH ROBINETTE BIDEN
Dear Mr. President,
This appeal from historians of Armenia does not intend to prove the obvious facts of the Armenian Genocide. These incontrovertible facts have long been known to the civilized world, including the American scientific community. Our sole concern today on the eve of April 24 is the persistent and baseless denials by the Turkish Government that provides a carte blanche for perpetrating new genocidal actions. The most recent such episode was committed with the extensive participation of international terrorist groups against the peaceful Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey, a NATO member state with advanced powerful weapons and terrorism links, behaves as a serial killer in Nagorno-Karabakh since it has not been held accountable for its previous crimes against humanity and civilization. Turkey’s sinister actions, combining western technology with medieval manslaughter methodology used by terrorists, remind us that the accusations brought by the three Entente Powers — Great Britain, France and Russia — in their statement of May 24, 1915 condemning the Turkish State for its crimes against humanity and civilization, are still relevant to our days. Therefore, the serious accusations against Turkey by the Entente Powers, later joined by the United States during WWI led by Pres. Woodrow Wilson of blessed memory, remains unclear and unimplemented from a legal point of view thus serving grounds for new atrocities.
Turkey, the perpetrator of the still unpunished mass crime of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century, deceitfully maneuvers among the world powers for one hundred years to avoid responsibility for genocidal acts committed not only against Armenians, but also targeting Greeks and Assyrians. Moreover, the Turkish leaders, outside of the international community’s control and suffering from arrogance, just like leaders of Nazi Germany, constitute a threat not only for Armenia, but also its neighbors and the entire civilized world.
The Turkish phenomenon of an unpunished criminal currently is being manifested also through the annihilation of cultural and religious centers of its victims and systematic substitution of historical memory of the region’s nations by exploiting its gigantic propagandistic state machine, spreading falsehoods in a massive scale reminiscent of Goebbels’s propaganda.
In recent years, we as historians of Armenia have written many books describing the Machiavellian schemes of Turkey attempting through all means to mislead the international community and prevent using the term “Genocide” in your forthcoming annual proclamation on the occasion of April 24. The latest example of such falsehoods concerns the groundless statement that no judicial rulings recognizing the Armenian Genocide exist and distorted interpretations of the Genocide Convention adopted in 1948. The truth is that the Armenian Genocide was first recognized by the Ottoman courts in their rulings during 1919-1920. Moreover, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide although adopted in 1948, a few years after the Holocaust, nevertheless Raphael Lemkin included in the definition of the genocidal acts not only the crimes committed during the Holocaust, but also the crimes fixed in item ‘e’ of Article 2 of the Convention, i.e. forcibly transferring children of the group to another group, which did not take place during the Jewish Holocaust. This is a criminal act unique to the Armenian Genocide, i.e., the definition of the Convention of December 9, 1948 includes a crime element committed solely during the Armenian Genocide, therefore it cannot omit this historical fact that it served as a foundation just like it cannot omit the Holocaust just because it was committed before 1948.
The two biggest crimes perpetrated against humanity and civilization during WWI and WWII — the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust — have set up clear red lines for peaceful co-existence on the planet in the 20th century constituting an inseparable part of mankind’s legal conscience. Their protection and prevention of new genocides first of all depends on the guarantor of freedom and human rights across the world — the will and determination of the United States of America.
The decisive condition for preventing new genocidal aspirations by Turkey, a state that committed bloody crimes against its neighbors in the vast region stretching from the Balkans to the Armenian Highlands, and enforcing the honoring of its international obligations lie in overcoming the Turkish phenomenon of impunity for the Armenian atrocities based on Hitler’s cynical words: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” and recognition of the Armenian Genocide in an unrestricted and definitive manner. Only through calling that crime by its clear legal term — genocide — it will be possible to stop ignoring Erdogan’s genocidal aspirations by other irresponsible representatives of the international community and even encouraging a Munich Agreement style politics. All approaches other than the facing off of the criminal with his victims as well as a real reconciliation will contribute to further encouraging and expanding the dangerous ambitions of Erdogan who has become the Middle East’s new Hitler through systematic concealing of truth and justice.
In this historical moment, the souls of innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide as well as other millions who experienced a similar pattern of violence and sufferings are praying to hear from you the term GENOCIDE in your annual proclamation on the occasion of April 24.
The Historians Association of Armenia
Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences
The Department of History, Yerevan State University
Institute of Armenian Studies, Yerevan State University
The Department of History, Armenian State Pedagogical University
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