• Friday, September 23, 2005 - Page 5 _


Israel Charny   (Israel) 

First Vice-President Gregory H. Stanton (

Second Vice-President Linda Melvern (

Secretary-Treasurer Steven Jacobs (USA)  

June 16, 2005

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

TC Easbakanlik
BakanlikirAnkara, Turkey  

FAX: 90 312 417 0476 

Dear Prime Minister Erdogan: 

We are writing you this open letter in response to your call for an “impartial study by historians” concerning the fate  of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.        

We represent the major body of scholars who study  genocide in North America and Europe. We are concerned that in  calling for an impartial  study of the Armenian Genocide  you may not be fully aware of the  extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention.  We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades. The scholarly evidence reveals the following:        

On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens – an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. The rest of the Armenian population fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years.       

The Armenian Genocide was the most well-known human rights issue of its time and was reported regularly in newspapers across the United States and Europe. The Armenian Genocide is abundantly documented by thousands of official records of the
United States and nations around the world including Turkey’s wartime allies Germany, Austria and Hungary,  by Ottoman court-martial records, by eyewitness accounts of missionaries and diplomats, by the testimony of survivors, and by decades of historical scholarship.       

The Armenian Genocide is corroborated by the international scholarly, legal, and human rights community:       

. 1) Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined the term genocide in 1944, cited the Turkish extermination of the Armenians and the Nazi extermination of the Jews as defining examples of what he meant by genocide.      

. 2) The killings of the Armenians is genocide as defined by the 1948  United Nations  Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.       

. 3)  In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars,  an organization of the world’s foremost experts on genocide, unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.

. 4) 126 leading scholars of the Holocaust including Elie Wiesel  and Yehuda Bauer placed a statement in the New York Times in June 2000 declaring the “incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide” and urging western democracies to acknowledge it.       

. 5) The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (
Jerusalem), and the Institute for the Study of Genocide (NYC) have  affirmed the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.       

. 6) Leading texts in the international law of genocide such as William A. Schabas’s Genocide in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000) cite the Armenian Genocide as a precursor to the Holocaust and as a precedent for the law on crimes against humanity.

We  note that there may be differing  interpretations of genocide—how and why the Armenian Genocide happened, but to deny its factual and moral  reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims, and erase the ethical meaning of this history.         

We would also note that scholars who advise your government and who are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled institutions are not impartial. Such  so-called “scholars” work to serve the agenda  of historical and moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish Parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide. In preventing a conference on the Armenian Genocide from taking place at
Bogacizi University in Istanbul on May 25, your government revealed its aversion to academic and intellectual freedom—a fundamental  condition of democratic society.         

We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and equal participants in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust. 

Approved Unanimously at the  Sixth biennial meeting of THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GENOCIDE SCHOLARS (IAGS)June 7, 2005, Boca Raton, Florida

Contacts: Israel Charny, IAGS President; Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide, 972-2-672-0424; encygeno@mail.com

Gregory H. Stanton, IAGS Vice President; President, Genocide Watch, James Farmer Visiting Professor of Human
Rights, University of Mary Washington; 703-448-0222; genocidewatch@aol.com
Traduction en français de la lettre ouverte

There Is No Peace Without Justice And No Justice Without Peace
I HAVE A DREAM - Martin Luther KING - August 28 1963 - Washington D.C.