13 June 2007

1746) The Reply Of Turkish Scholars To The Call Of Nobel Laureates

An appeal calling for tolerance, contact and cooperation between Turks and Armenians, signed by 53 Nobel laureates of various fields, was issued on April, 9 2007 by The Elie Wiesel Foundation based in New York. The appeal calls for Armenians and Turks to encourage their governments to open the Turkish-Armenian border, generate confidence through civil society cooperation, improve official contacts, allow basic freedoms and to address the gap in perceptions over the “Armenian Genocide”.

On the initiative of The Institute for Armenian Research of The Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM), a reply to the said appeal was prepared signed by 86 Turkish scholars, writers and retired ambassadors the names of whom are to be found in the appended list.

The attached reply states, in summary, that the Nobel laureates call was received positively, is viewed as a doorway facilitating a process of dialogue between the two peoples and that fostering relations between civil society organizations constitutes the most appropriate way forward in this regard.

Regarding genocide allegations, the reply states that according to the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide for an event to qualify as genocide a competent court must establish the existence of special intent which has not been established with respect to the Ottoman Armenians and accounts to the contrary should not be seen as anything other than the practice of the freedom of expression.

On the issue of fostering and engaging in dialogue, calling attention to the official proposal Turkey made to Armenia regarding the establishment of a Joint History Commission, the reply stresses how organizations such as the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity could help foster the mutual exchange of views.

REPLY OF TURKISH SCHOLARS AND WRITERS TO “THE CALL FOR TOLERANCE, CONTACT AND COOPERATION BETWEEN TURKS AND ARMENIANS” ISSUED BY THE ELIE WIESEL FOUNDATION FOR HUMANITY

We, the undersigned Turkish scholars and writers, welcome the call of ‘The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity’ issued on April 9, 2007. We view this call as a doorway to opening a process of dialogue between Turks and Armenians and as a stepping stone which will work to keep that door open facilitating the culture of peace to bear fruit. We would like to state that we are willing to do our part to make positive contributions to this end.

It can not be refuted that Turks and Armenians have been living closely together under the Turkish Republic, as was the case during the time of the Ottoman Empire, as a result of which they have developed common cultural values. We believe these values may form the basis for the development of future relations.

We are cognizant of the great suffering endured by the Armenians, Turks and other peoples residing within the Ottoman Empire as a result of the tragic events of the First World War, and believe that all responsible individuals alike must actively engage themselves to preclude such suffering from being inflicted upon mankind once again. We are prepared to work constructively to this end. In this regard it should be noted that while acknowledging the loss incurred by a certain population it would be unfair to selectively neglect the irrefutably documented loss of another population residing within the same geography. We maintain that such dogmatic approaches and disregard for differing views lay at the root of the ongoing conflict of our day.

We evaluated the proposals expressed in the call issued by The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. We are of the opinion that increasing mutual confidence by fostering relations between civil society organizations shall constitute the most constructive way forward. We believe that the restoration of the Akhdamar Church and the participation of Turkish alongside Armenian officials to its opening was rewarding and hope that such contacts shall increase.

Air travel between Turkey and Armenia is open. The many citizens of the Republic of Armenia residing in Turkey as guest workers carries with it the potential of cultivating close friendship and ties between the citizens of both Republics. The border gate between both countries will surely be opened once those factors which led to it being closed are removed. No doubt, the clear and official affirmation on the part of Armenia to the effect that it recognizes the border between the two countries and does not demand that it be changed shall contribute to the establishment of official diplomatic relations. That part of Turkey’s territories is defined as Western Armenia in the Armenian Declaration of Independence raises concerns regarding Armenia’s possible future irredentist policies.

Turkey does not evaluate the tragic events of 1915 which befell the Ottoman Armenians as genocide as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. For an event to legally constitute genocide, a competent court must establish the intent to kill in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group solely because they were part of that group (dolus specialis). After evaluating various documents several academics, both Turkish and foreign, have arrived at the conclusion that the requisite genocidal intent was not present with respect to the Ottoman Armenians. We view that differing accounts expressed by a given committee or other groups on this matter should not be seen as anything other than the practice of the freedom of expression. We would like to declare that we are prepared to discuss this issue within the frame of joint committees together with Armenian historians and all those interested; we believe that engaging in dialogue is the only way forward to solve our outstanding problems. On this point one should not overlook how Turkey officially proposed to Armenia in April 2005, to establish a Joint History Commission comprising Turkish, Armenian and third party specialists for the purpose of conducting historical research on the events prior to and following 1915. To facilitate this proposal Turkey has made it known that all its archives have been opened. We have faith that organizations such as The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity shall help to establish forums where views can be mutually exchanged and welcomed whereby the level of tolerance and cooperation called for can be attained.


TURKISH SCHOLARS AND WRITERS WHO SIGNED THE REPLY

Prof. Dr. Tahsin AKALP
Prof. Dr. Seçil KARAL AKGÜN
Prof. Dr. Şahin AKKAYA
Rtd. Ambassador Gündüz AKTAN
Prof. Dr. Ali AKYILDIZ
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gülşen Seyhan ALIŞIK
Prof. Dr. Deniz Ülke ARIBOĞAN
Assoc. Prof. Dr.Yavuz ASLAN
Assoc. Prof. Dr. İbrahim Ethem ATNUR
Prof. Dr. Yusuf AVCI
Prof. Dr. Süheyl BATUM
Prof. Dr. Taner BERKSOY
Prof. Dr. Süleyman BEYOĞLU
Prof. Dr. Gülay Öğün BEZER
Prof. Dr. Ali ATIF BİR
Prof. Dr. Naz ÇAVUŞOĞLU
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sadi ÇAYCI -
Prof. Dr. Mehmet ÇELİK
Prof. Dr. Kemal ÇİÇEK
Ercan ÇİTLİOĞLU
Prof. Dr. Sebahat DENİZ
Rtd. Ambassador Filiz DİNÇMEN
Prof. Dr. Uluğ ELDEGEZ
Prof. Dr. Vahdettin ENGİN
Prof. Dr. İsmail ERÜNSAL
Prof. Dr. Yavuz ERCAN
Prof. Dr. Ahmet ETÜCE
Prof. Dr. Suat GEZGİN
Prof. Dr. Müfit GİRESUNLU
Prof. Dr. Ufuk GÜLSOY
Prof. Dr. Nurbay GÜLTEKİN
Prof. Dr. S. Selçuk GÜNAY
Prof. Haluk GÜRGEN
Prof. Dr. Erhan GÜZEL
Prof. Dr. Yusuf HALLAÇOĞLU
Assoc. Prof. Dr.Oğuz İÇİMSOY
Prof. Dr. Mücteba İLGÜREL
Dr. Erdal İLTER
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mehmet İNBAŞI
Assoc. Prof. Dr.Kamer KASIM
Prof. Dr. Fahri KAYADİBİ
Prof. Dr. Mustafa KEÇER
Prof. Dr. Selami KILIÇ
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Murat KOÇ
Prof. Dr. Enver KONUKÇU
Prof. Dr. Kemalettin KÖROĞLU
Prof. Dr. Nuri KÖSTÜKLÜ
Prof. Zekeriya KURŞUN
Assoc. Prof. Dr.Sedat LAÇİNER
Rtd. Ambassador Faruk LOĞOĞLU
Rtd. Ambassador Ömer Engin LÜTEM
Prof. Dr. Nurşen MAZICI
Prof. Dr. Hasan MERİÇ
Prof. Dr. Özcan MERT
Rtd. Ambassador Tansu OKANDAN
Prof. Dr. Besim ÖZCAN
Prof. Dr. Hikmet ÖZDEMİR
Prof. Dr. Necdet ÖZTÜRK
Prof. Dr. Nihat ÖZTOPRAK
Prof. Dr. Bayram ÖZTÜRK
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilgehan PAMUK
Prof. Dr. Mesut PARLAK
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Said POLAT
Prof. Dr. Ömer Asım SAÇLI
Prof. Dr. Hüseyin SALMAN
Prof. Dr. Günay SARIYAR
Assoc. Prof. Dr.Sema SOYGENİŞ
Assoc. Prof. Dr.Orhan SÖYLEMEZ
Rtd. Ambassador Ömer ŞAHİNKAYA
Prof. Dr. Hale ŞIVGIN
Rtd. Ambassador Bilal N. ŞİMŞİR
Prof. Dr. Ahmet ŞİMŞİRGİL
Rtd. Ambassador Pulat TACAR
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Şükrü TEKBAŞ
E. Büyükelçi Sanlı TOPÇUOĞLU
Prof. Dr. Korkut TUNA
Prof. Dr. Muammer UĞUR
Prof. Dr. Sema UĞURCAN
Prof. Dr. Şafak URAL
Rtd. Ambassador Necati UTKAN
Prof. Dr. Mustafa Çetin VARLIK
Prof. Dr. Halil YANARDAĞ
Prof. Dr. Şenay YALÇIN
Prof. Dr. Emine YAZICIOĞLU
Prof. Dr. İbrahim YUSUFOĞLU
Rtd. Ambassador Erhan YİĞİTBAŞIOĞLU



ERAREN

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