1633) The Politics Of Saying 'Genocide' Communication Between LA Times & Ataman Atlas

Dear Friends,

Have a read of the below article published in the LA Times and my communications with Mr Welch below that.


The Politics Of Saying 'Genocide'

More than 90 years after the Armenian genocide, the U.S. is deadlocked in a humiliating linguistic debate.

By Matt Welch, MATT WELCH is The Times' assistant editorial pages editor.
April 22, 2007

ON TUESDAY, President Bush will be obliged, by law, to wrap his double-talking mouth around one of the most curiously persistent debates in modern geopolitics: Whether to call a 92-year-old genocide a "genocide."Every April 24 since 1994, the U.S. president has delivered a proclamation honoring the people Congress has declared to be "the victims of genocide, especially the 1 1/2 million people of Armenian ancestry who were the victims of the genocide perpetrated in Turkey between 1915 and 1923." And every year since 1994, the U.S. president has managed to do it without once uttering the G-word.

It's a ritual of linguistic realpolitik in deference to the massive objections from Washington's important NATO ally, Turkey. But 2007 may be the year that the cop-out finally blows up in a president's face. What was once the obscure obsession of marginalized immigrants from a powerless little Caucasus country has blossomed in recent years into a force that has grown increasingly difficult to ignore. In 2000, the Armenian issue helped fuel one of the most expensive House races in U.S. history; two years ago, it turned a mild-mannered career U.S. diplomat into an unlikely truth-telling martyr.

Now the question of how to address these long-ago events is having an impact on next month's elections in Turkey. What's more, Congress appears poised to vote on a resolution urging the president to say the words "Armenian genocide" when observing the awkwardly named "National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man" on April 24 — the date in 1915 when the Ottoman predecessors of modern Turkey launched the genocide by rounding up 250 Armenian intellectuals for eventual execution.The resolution won't take effect on Tuesday. The Bush administration, ever mindful of its delicate relationship with Turkey (especially with a war in Iraq next door), takes the bill so seriously that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned in a joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) that it could "harm American troops in the field."

The lobbying has been successful enough that the House has delayed its vote until after this year's April 24 commemoration. But passage later this year would still be an enormous blow to the White House.Why is this hairsplitting exercise over a single word — in a nonbinding resolution, no less — reverberating so strongly more than nine decades later? The easy answer is that there has been a confluence of mostly unrelated events. Democrats took control of Congress in January and are spoiling for a fight, especially one that can paint Bush's foreign policy as hypocritical. The president, after all, used "genocide" as a justification to topple Saddam Hussein before, during and after the war against his regime, and the United States has not hesitated to apply the word to the crisis in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have died since 2003. Across the Atlantic, the Armenian question — especially Turkey's offensive laws against "insulting Turkishness," which have been used to prosecute even novelists who create fictional characters questioning the government's denialist position — has become one of the main lines of attack against Turkey's bid to become the first majority-Muslim country to join the European Union.

Most of the 15 countries that have officially recognized the genocide are European (with Switzerland and France even going so far as to pass over-the-top laws making it a crime to deny the genocide).Then there was the January murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in broad daylight on a busy Istanbul street. Dink's assassination, at the hands of a Turkish nationalist, shocked the world and led to a wave of anxious introspection in Turkey. Yet Ankara quickly — and disastrously — concluded that the proper response was to redouble its losing campaign to prevent foreign governments from using the G-word.High-level Turkish ministers were dispatched to Washington over the last few months to warn that the resolution in Congress could force them to close the crucial U.S. Air Force Base at Incirlik and could imperil relations at a tipping-point moment for the Middle East. (The exact same argument was used by President Clinton in October 2000 to convince then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert to withdraw at the last moment a similar bill, introduced by then-Rep. James Rogan (R-Glendale), who was fighting a losing battle against Democratic challenger Adam Schiff in an $11-million race.)

For Turks, the genocide is taboo for a host of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that it occurred at the time of the founding of modern Turkey under Kemal Ataturk, a man so sainted that insulting his memory is still punishable by jail. So the battle continues, year after year. Earlier this month, Turkish lobbyists successfully scotched a United Nations exhibit on the 13th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide because it dared refer to the "1 million Armenians murdered in Turkey." "Every time they try to censor discussion of the Armenian genocide," a New York Times editorial observed, "they only bring wider attention to the subject and link today's democratic Turkey with the now distant crime." Turks even helped water down a U.S. Senate resolution condemning Dink's murder.Yet this flurry of recent developments doesn't adequately explain the enduring potency of the recognition issue.For that I will defer to the most recent U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans: "In the real world," Evans told a packed Beverly Hilton hall of diaspora Armenians in February, "when an official policy diverges wildly from what the broad public believes is self-evident, that policy ceases to command respect."

Evans, a career, keep-your-head-down foreign service type, surveyed the available literature on the events of 1915-23 before taking the Armenian post in September 2004 and concluded that the U.S. position of avoiding the word "genocide" diverged so wildly from the historical consensus that it undermined Washington's moral authority.He attempted to budge the policy from behind the scenes, but when that failed he took a page from a man he knew well from his pre- and post-communist postings to Prague — former Czech President Vaclav Havel and decided to publicly "call things by their proper names."So in February 2005, while speaking in California, Evans said: "I will today call it the Armenian genocide. I think we, the U.S. government, owe you, our fellow citizens, a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem." For that remark he was recalled from his post so that Washington could get back to the business of evading the historical truth.President Bush won't say "genocide" on Tuesday. In the words of Condoleezza Rice, the administration's position is that Turks and Armenians both need to "get over their past" without American help. But this issue won't go away. Watching Rice's linguistic contortions in response to harsh congressional interrogation by Schiff, who has become the Armenians' great House champion, is profoundly dispiriting; it makes one embarrassed to be American.

Of all issues subject to realpolitik compromises, mass slaughter of a national minority surely should rank at the bottom of the list. Hitler reportedly said, just before invading Poland, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" It's a chilling reminder that forgetting is the first step in enabling future genocides. Yet Hitler was eventually proved wrong. No temporal power is strong enough to erase the eternal resonance of truth.


Your welcome for the links but there is so much more out there, ever thought what the Armenians in Turkey have got to say have a look at their web site http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/ there is so much information but to us Turks it appears that the “Western” (how I hate to use that word) seems to “Censor” that is never puts forward the Turkish case. As you would well be aware being a learned person that the Offence of Genocide is a very serious and heinous criminal offence. Why has there been no conviction of any Turkish Official Ottoman or otherwise for the crime of Genocide or akin to Genocide. This is a matter, which ought to be resolved in a Court of Law or properly convened Tribunal. The Republic of Armenia as well as many other nations like France, Switzerland and the U.S. could take the Republic of Turkey as the successor State of the Ottoman Empire to any number of International Tribunals, but they haven’t why is that ? That is because the requisite evidence does not exist, that is the Turks with the intent of exterminating in part or whole their Armenian citizens.

You see PBS and most media in the West do censor the Turkish side there is a very professional documentary produced entirely by an independent American Martin Callaghan named “ The Armenian Revolt” they will not air it and the Armenian Diaspora do all within their power to censor the Turkish side. The media give effect to that censorship by never stipulating the full facts of the matter, ala the Malta Tribunals the precursor to the Nuremberg Trials. The difference being out of the 144 Ottoman Officials arrested by the British and incarcerated on their island colony of Malta were never charged with any criminal offence let alone tried. After two and a half years approximately of an exhaustive inquiry by Lord Curzon ( a man known to loathe the Turks) he asked the US government of the day to assist with any evidence or information and the response came back that they had none. Yet these facts and many more are never published, however, the proven forgeries of the Armenians are continually put before the public as if it were the truth like a broken record with the intention of “Manufacturing Consent”. So much so that individual Turks have got together to show that it’s not a Turkish Government conspiracy by placing full page adds in your newspaper and the New York Times (again another media outlet which is Anti Turkish) to put to the wider public the facts of the matter.

Even when the first Prime Minister of the Armenian Republic states that it wasn’t a genocide in his speech and subsequent book the Western Media take no notice. How much more independent evidence do we have to provide.


From: Welch, Matt Matt.Welch@latimes.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
To: Ataman
Subject: RE: The Fallacious Armenian Genocide claims

There is a difference between "censoring" someone and not agreeing to "put in an editorial" that supports their views. (We have, and will continue to, publish Op-Eds that are much more aligned to your point of view than to mine.) I'll continue to seek truth where I can find it, and thanks for the links.

Matt Welch Assistant Editorial Page Editor, Los Angeles Times 213-237-7330

-----Original Message-----
From: Ataman Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007
To: 'Welch, Matt'Subject: RE: The Fallacious Armenian Genocide claims

Dear Matt,

If you appreciate my position and agree to censor nobody and continue searching for the truth, why don’t you put in an editorial about the Turkish case facts and all. Have a look at the web site http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/ it has references to documentary evidence. Further why do you state,

"Hitler reportedly said, just before invading Poland, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" It's a chilling reminder that forgetting is the first step in enabling future genocides. Yet Hitler was eventually proved wrong. No temporal power is strong enough to erase the eternal resonance of truth.”

When you well know that comment attributed to Hitler is fictitious. What about the Malta Tribunals and so much more have you ever looked at what the Turks have to say for themselves ? Or is it easier creating bogeymen of Muslim nations.


From: Welch, Matt [mailto:Matt.Welch@latimes.com] Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 6:20 AMTo: Ataman
Subject: RE: The Fallacious Armenian Genocide claims

Dear Ataman,

I appreciate your position, censor nobody, and continue seeking the truth.


Matt Welch Assistant Editorial Page Editor, Los Angeles Times 213-237-7330

-----Original Message-----
From: Ataman Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 3:23 PM
To: 'Welch, Matt'
Subject: RE: The Fallacious Armenian Genocide claims

Dear Matt,

The information is not new for those who truly seek the truth and do not attempt to censor the case for the Turks, and it’s hard to be respectful under continual attacks by the media.


From: Welch, Matt Matt.Welch@latimes.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
To: Ataman Subject:
RE: The Fallacious Armenian Genocide claims

Dear Ataman,

Unlike you, I will respectfully disagree. Thanks for writing, and bringing new information to my attention.


Matt Welch Assistant Editorial Page Editor, Los Angeles Times 213-237-7330

-----Original Message-----
From: Ataman Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 3:16 PM
To: matt.welch@latimes.com
Subject: RE: The Fallacious Armenian Genocide claims

Dear Mr Welch,

When will the Media and journalists such as yourself develop a conscience, and speak the full truth for once in your lives. Although I am not a medically trained Doctor I am led to believe most journalists possess the character traits of a socio – path. Have a look at what a former Australian Ambassador had to say about the fallacious Armenian Genocide claims. His letter was published in The Australian Newspaper if ever you want to search for the truth. And I quote,

“Mr. George Karagiannakis's letter (2/6/94), making all sorts of incredible allegations against Turkey in regard to its domestic and foreign policies, should not be allowed to go unanswered.

It is not possible in the space of a few lines to answer all of his allegations. However, in fairness to the truth, the following points must be made:

The 'facts beyond credible dispute' to which he alludes are in fact based largely on fictions to justify unrealistic ambitions or failures in the past to achieve totally unrealistic goals.

Whilst it is true and sad that many Armenians lost their lives in their own bid for territory, what is not recognized is that the Armenians themselves inflicted as much damage as others in the hostilities of that time, goaded on by some Western powers for their own selfish and geopolitical objectives.

The Turks had no deliberate policy of genocide at any stage, only the removal of Armenians from the front line with Russia, where they were collaborating with the Ottoman Empire's enemies and were thus a threat to its security.

The Kurdish issue is more complex. Two points are relevant:

The PKK, like IRA, is a terrorist organization, SUPPORTED MATERIALLY BY THE GREEKS AND ARMENIANS, with the stated objective of destabilizing Turkey. It has so far assassinated over 10,000 people in Turkey. It has no justifiable claim to represent the Kurdish people.

Most Kurds are integrated into Turkish society. About one-third of the Turkish Parliament is of Kurdish origin. This illustrates the absence of discrimination.

As for Cyprus, if any genocide or ethnic cleansing has taken place, this has always been carried out by the Greeks. The abortive coup of 1974, organized by EOKA and Greek colonels, aimed at elimination of the Turkish Cypriots from the Island. Turkey intervened to protect them and prevent Enosis. Since that date, the island has been peaceful and free of bloodshed.

Turkey has consistently supported a fair and reasonable settlement on Cyprus, but one that gives the Turkish Cypriots a secure future and equal political and social status with the Greek Cypriots.

The real problem between Greece and Turkey is Greece's reluctance to give up its Megali idea, that is, the recovery of the territories occupied by the Byzantine Empire, which finally fell to the Turks in 1453. All the many conflicts between Greece and Turkey over the past two centuries have been initiated by Greece. Your correspondent's reference to bloodied Turkish history is therefore clearly wrong, except in the fact that in the past three Greek-initiated conflicts, the Turks gave the Greeks a severe hiding, which partly accounts for the large fall in numbers of Greeks in present-day Turkey.

Regarding persecution. the Ottomans had one of the most tolerant policies towards non-Turks of any empire of its day. The three communities of Jews, Greeks and Armenians were virtually autonomous within the empire.”

P. F. Peters

Former Australian Ambassador to Turkey
(The Australian, June 9th, 1994)

Further still, have a look at what Justice Brian Sully of the Supreme Court of NSW had to say about the media and I quote,

“A Sully serve for sullied media, law reformers
by Richard Ackland SMH
March 30, 2007

Talk about blowing a gasket. One of the state's senior trial judges, Justice Brian Sully of the NSW Supreme Court, retired last week with a finely honed tirade from the bench. He'd been on the court for 18 years and clearly there was a lot to unbottle on valedictory day. His targets: law reformers, bureaucrats and the vile media.

Here's a few of his slices about the rotten press: "The media, as we know, react with savage vindictiveness to any attempt to apply to them those standards of transparency and accountability that they are insistent on applying to other people … The media are not a constitutional arm of government … To suggest that [they are] is legal fiction, a political subversion and a moral absurdity. The media are major money-making cartels. They are not knights in shining armour. Their agenda is power. Their strategy is fear and their tactics are a combination of ridicule, sometimes of the most savage personal kind."

It got better. The media deal in lies and worse, "finely calibrated half-truths"; they fuse fact and opinion, and there's been a campaign in recent times in the Sydney metropolitan media "which in my time has never been surpassed for the persistent, wilful and vicious mendacity with which it has been conducted".

It's about time the Bar Association did something about it, the steaming judge declared. It should take the fight to the media by insisting they say not what they are against, but what they are for.”

I couldn’t agree more with His Honour. You are a pathetic individual with no morals whatsoever in the manner which you report.



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