2102) Cohen's Turkey Stance A Puzzler

Unless he changes his mind, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is about to sack his budding reputation as a human-rights crusader. And he'll do it with a vote against a resolution to officially label as genocide the World War I era massacre of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Turks.

His stance on a resolution with broad bipartisan support is an unfortunate yet avoidable deviation from socially conscious positions Cohen has selected to stake out in his first year as a congressman.

Wendi C. Thomas

And it calls into question whether Cohen is the principled politician he portrays himself to be.

Not two months into his new job, Cohen introduced a bill to apologize for Jim Crow and slavery. After decades of representation by a black man with the last name of Ford, this move undoubtedly scored points with any black voters who wondered if a white congressman would have their best interests at heart.

In August, he withstood fire from some local black ministers against his support of a hate-crimes bill that would protect gay men and women, which had to play well with a liberal base worried that he'd cave under the pressure.

Cohen aborted an attempt to join the Congressional Black Caucus -- a politically savvy, if slightly silly, move to bolster one of his favorite assertions: He's so liberal, he might as well be a black woman.

But he's not. He's a Jewish man, which makes his denial of the 20th century's first holocaust unconscionable, says Dany Beylerian, whose grandparents survived the Armenian genocide.

Denial, Beylerian says, is the last stage of genocide. It thwarts complete mourning and inhibits healing.

Adolf Hitler, Beylerian points out, admired the Turks' systematic slaughter of Armenians and the absence of any punishment after the killing stopped. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Hitler is quoted as saying in 1939. Just a few years later, his "final solution" had killed six million Jews.

But never mind the compelling moral arguments. All that matters, according to Cohen, is that supporting this resolution would rile a key ally in the Middle East.

"I regret whatever happened," he says, careful not to label the "whatever" as genocide, "but this is not the right time."

Military officials have said that passage of House Resolution 106 could threaten the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq, which rely on supplies trucked through Turkey.

Despite opposition from the Bush administration, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the nonbinding resolution Wednesday. It's expected to come before the full House within weeks.

Turkey's already stomping its feet; it has told its ambassador to come home and is threatening to withdraw support for the Iraq war.

Cohen has other reasons to mollify Turkey, not the least of which is the $256 million in goods Tennessee exported there in 2005.

Turkey is Memphis in May's honored country for 2008. That month, the U.S.-Turkey Study Group, a passel of leaders from both countries, will convene here. "I've got to factor in that I'm their host," Cohen says.

Under the guise of Southern hospitality, Cohen will bow to the arm-twisting Turkey exacts on all who broach the Armenian issue.

In Turkey, where Hitler's autobiography "Mein Kampf" is a bestseller, the democratic government is still struggling with the concept of free speech; Article 301 makes it a crime to insult "Turkishness." Suggesting that the Turkish government is guilty of genocide qualifies as such an insult. Article 301 has been a sticking point between Turkey and its attempts to join the European Union.

The government maintains that blood was shed on both sides and that the death tolls have been hugely inflated.

Among scholars, though, "there's about as much debate about the Armenian genocide as there is about the Holocaust," says Beylerian, a graduate of Rhodes College.

In the early 1900s, U.S. ambassador Henry Morgenthau witnessed what was happening in what was then the Ottoman Empire and described it as "racial extermination." In 1915 alone, The New York Times wrote 145 stories about the massacres.

With historical evidence on his side, Beylerian expected at least a neutral reception when he and nine other people of Armenian descent met in August with Cohen.

Instead, the group was shocked to hear Cohen suggest that Armenians started a rebellion -- the same denialist arguments Turkey advances.

As Ara Hanissian, a local doctor also at the meeting, listened to Cohen, he wondered, "How could something factual be so offensive?"

"He was suddenly a cold, real political kind of guy," says Beylerian, an inventor and diplomatic consultant who supported Cohen's congressional campaign. "I was deeply saddened that he took this position.

"We didn't ask him to go against the majority. We didn't ask him to go against his party. We didn't ask him to sponsor the legislation -- we asked him to be the 227th co-sponsor."

Cohen sees no contradiction between his bold introduction of the Jim Crow apology, his staunch support of the hate-crime bill and his refusal to join his party and the majority with the Armenian genocide resolution.

"I don't think there's any corollary," he says. The first two affect his constituents; keeping Turkey calm is a matter of national security.

Cohen acknowledges that his failure to back the resolution could cost him votes, even though Beylerian estimates there are fewer than 100 people of Armenian descent in Memphis. But if people remember that Armenia is recognized as the first Christian nation in the world, the political fallout could be severe.

"He has transformed from a sensitive historian-civil libertarian into a heartless pragmatist in a mere nine months," says Hanissian, whose grandmother escaped the massacres by fleeing into the hills.

"To waver so dramatically from such strong positions on human rights smacks of hypocrisy."

By Wendi C. Thomas thomasw@commercialappeal.com October 14, 2007


Posted by Allie on October 14, 2007 at 2:24 a.m.

Um... while I disagree with Cohen's argument, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate a moment and point out that placing the welfare of people who are still alive over the welfare of those long dead isn't "heartless pragmatism." It could quite reasonably be argued that making a purely symbolic statement which will result in actual, not symbolic, deaths, is more heartless. I suppose not wanting people to die is "pragmatism," but it hardly counts as unprincipled.

Posted by stop on October 14, 2007 at 2:51 a.m.

Cohen began his courting of Turkey long before their threats for reprisal in Iraq. Cohen was in Turkey 5/25/07 to 6/1/07 at which time the deal was made to host the U.S.-Turkey study group. The "protect the troops" argument was after the fact and a clever response from Cohen. Note that he received Gunther Lewy's book (a know denialist and highly criticized tome) during the trip. Very disingenuous but clever. No one wants to put the troops in harm's way. A simple look at a timeline of Cohen's interaction with Turkish representatives reveals his motivation for opposing this resolution.

See below:

Two new organizations started operations to help promote Turkish American interests in the US. Lincoln McCurdy, TCA President talked to TUKROFAMERICA.

The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) is an educational charitable organization based in Washington, DC, with Lincoln McCurdy serving as its president. TCA’s primary objective is to educate the general public and other interested parties.

In carrying out its mission, McCurdy and TCA’s Vice President Guler Koknar work closely with other Turkish American organizations in the US in educating their members on the US political system whereas in Washington, DC, TCA maintains a dialogue with the leadership of the Congressional Turkish Caucus about educating Members of the US Congress on issues that are important to Turkish Americans. TCA, for example, has provided a grant to the Congressional Study Group on Turkey to organize seminars about US-Turkish issues and visits to Turkey for congressional members.

In May of this year, a trip to Turkey was organized for six members, most of whom had never before been to Turkey so that they may gain better information about the country. The bi-partisan group included Representatives Edward Whitfield (R-KY), Co-Chair Congressional Study Group on Turkey, Dan Burton (R-IN), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Stephen Cohen (D-TN), Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL).

According to McCurdy, all the members were positively impacted by their Turkish trip. Another trip is currently being planned for minority members of congress to visit Turkey where they will also participate in a special program on the Mediterranean Coast about the ancient Lycian Confederation and its contributions to the American Constitution. Regarding issues of importance to Turkish Americans, McCurdy says that TCA has been active in informing congressional members on the importance of having balance in foreign policy debates. As part of its education program, TCA has provided copies of Guenter Lewy’s book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey—A Disputed Genocide, that presents a balanced perspective of this controversy to members of congress.

Posted by stop on October 14, 2007 at 2:56 a.m.

Let's see. Turkey began its threats for withdrawing aid to the U.S. in October,2007, when they viewed the House Foreign Relations committee vote was imminent. Here, however, is an article from the CA in June, 2007.
Was he thinking of the troops then?

Cohen seeking Turkey meeting

Bartholomew Sullivan

Saturday, June 2, 2007
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., hopes that he succeeded in getting a major conference on U.S.-Turkey relations to come to Memphis during next year's Memphis in May International Festival.

Cohen returned Friday from a fact-finding trip to Turkey underwritten by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Washington think-tank, and the Association of Former Members of Congress. He was reached by phone at the airport in Chicago.

He said he learned a lot about issues roiling Turkey, but that the "most productive thing" was persuading the U.S.-Turkey Study Group to come to Memphis next year. That would mean a large group of Turkish and American politicians, academics and business leaders would come to town, with a substantial economic impact.

"Memphis in May, as I understand it -- and it may not have been announced yet, but as I understand it -- Memphis in May is going to honor Turkey next year," he said. "I was promoting Memphis on the trip ... and I believe we're going to be able to bring the Turkey-U.S. Study Group to Memphis during Memphis in May."

Cohen said he was lobbied by both sides on a resolution pending in Congress to condemn what some call the Armenian genocide of 1915. And he learned about the rights of the Greek, Armenian and Jewish minorities in a country that's more than 95 percent Muslim but whose government has been struggling to retain its secular convictions.

He met with the Armenian patriarch, the Greek patriarch and the chief rabbinate and visited the Blue Mosque, as well, he said.

In meetings with politicians and business leaders, he said he was told that Turkey hopes that Iraq remains one country, mainly because of Turkey's experience with the PKK, a Kurdish independence movement operating in the western parts of Turkey and in northern Iraq demanding a Kurdish state in the region.

Washington correspondent Bartholomew Sullivan can be reached at (202) 408-2726.

Posted by stop on October 14, 2007 at 3:05 a.m.

From the article, one can conclude that

1. Cohen became cozy with Turkey as early as May, 2007.
2. By his own admission, his hosting of the Turkish delegation is playing a role in his tacit approval of genocide denial.
3. The threats of reprisal from Turkey (and hence the placing of the troops in harm's way) began in October, 2007, five months after his trip to Turkey.
4. 226 of his colleagues feel that genocide denial is inappropriate whether the perpetrator threatens the U.S. or not.

Posted by bigking on October 14, 2007 at 3:30 a.m.

I agree with stop.

The Greek community has reacted with similar consternation to the sudden friendship Memphis and Turkey has seemingly struck. The Greeks were recipients of a similar attempt at extermination by the Turks in Asia Minor. The Pontic massacres by the Turks around the same time in Asia Minor took the lives of around 350,000 Greeks living in that region. It's ironic that Turks, some of the most innovative terrorists (and some argue jihadists) of the last 100 years are now viewed as our "friends". This friendship is despite threats of reprisal if our country merely recognizes by a non-binding resolution what scholars view as the first genocide of the 20th century. The Greeks have no love lost for the Turks, who also perpetually deny that any massacres befell the Greeks. It is easy for Cohen to hide behind the stance of not putting troops in harm's way (no one wishes this). The Greek community has been following this issue closely and I agree that Cohen's buddying up with the Turks came long before Turkey's threat for reprisal (several months). I ask the readers to call Cohen and ask him why he would forsake his Orthodox Christian constituents' interests for a relationship with a country that tried to wipe Christianity off the map in the very lands where it began.

Posted by bigbopper on October 14, 2007 at 3:45 a.m.

My initial reaction was somewhat similar to Allie's but upon further reading, my conclusion is similar to stop's above. I remember when they announced Cohen's trip to Turkey, and it struck me as odd, since I am loosely familiar with the Armenian Genocide issue (I had an Armenian roommate in college). He was a descendant of a genocide survivor, like most Armenians from Western Armenia are since most of the Armenians there were killed.
It frustrated him that his people's genocide was consistently denied in the U.S., which he attributed (correctly) to the strategic importance of Turkey (incirlik) to the U.S. and its influence that this conferred.
When I read that the Genocide resolution passed the house committee, I was pleased.

I agree that it is bizarre that Cohen has become so friendly with Turkey, given its dreadful human rights record. I also agree, as the CA article suggests, that Cohen's relationship with Turkey, which greatly predates the recent concern regarding the protection of our troops, is the real motivator of his lack of support for this resolution. Shame on him for voting for hate crime protection but voting against recognition of the ultimate hate crime: genocide. It makes you wonder what his true motivations are for his human rights legislation.

Posted by bigbopper on October 14, 2007 at 4:15 a.m.

It looks like our human rights defender got hammered by the Turkish lobby way before the concern for the troops arose. So genocide is O.K. if it helps us "have good relations" with our guests in May.

Genocide resolution tests Turkey’s K Street clout (Oct. 10, 2007)

Following visits to Ataturk’s Mausoleum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in the Turkish capital of Ankara, members of Congress in May sat down for a series of meetings with top Turkish officials, including the Speaker of the national assembly, the deputy chief of the Turkish General Staff and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In every meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen said, U.S. lawmakers heard the same message: Oppose a congressional resolution that defines the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the early 1900s as genocide, perpetrated by Ottoman Turks.

Government officials “were constantly saying to vote against the resolution. Constantly,” Cohen, a freshman Democrat from Tennessee, said. “The Turkish government doesn’t want it passed.”

Hosting American officials — three privately sponsored trips, two of which were staff-only, have visited Turkey in the last six months — is just one piece of a furious campaign the Turkish government and its supporters have used to try to turn Congress against the resolution.

One delegation member said the trip was his fourth this year.

Cohen, the freshman Democrat who visited Turkey in May, said he, too, likely would vote against the measure.

Cohen said he has always heard what happened to Armenians referred to as genocide. “Whatever happened was awful,” he said.
“It is important that we have good relations,” he said. Cohen is trying to convince the Congressional Study Group on Turkey to meet in Memphis next year, which would draw a number of Turkish and American officials to his district."

Posted by jarrodsj on October 14, 2007 at 4:38 a.m.

It's one thing to apologize for "Jim Crow and slavery", that's our own country; it's entirely another matter to pick at a 100 year-old scab with a present and erstwhile ally, such as Turkey. In the first instance, we are tidying our own house, but in the second, we are conducting foreign policy. Additionally, the political pandering by Cohen appears to be a slippery slope that should make us all uncomfortable.

Which friendly nation will we pick a fight with next? Japan, for their treatment of Koreans in WWII? Surely there are hundreds, or perhaps thousands of Koreans in Memphis that demand an apology from the Japanese? How about the Japanese lying to their children in their school texts about the real reasons for WWII, unbounded Japanese militarism -- aren't we going to punish them for that? How about the Japanese government's removal from school textbooks all references to their forcing Okinawans to kill themselves rather than surrender to the Americans in WWII? How about the Japanese government cover-up concerning the 1937 massacre in Nanking, China, which was denounced in June of this year by nearly 130 Japanese MPs as a Chinese fabrication?

Ms. Thomas, where is your mention of the Clinton administration's successful effort to force the US Congress to shelve a nearly identical resolution in 2000? And why do you think both the Clinton and Bush administrations have opposed the former resolution and its current derivative?

From the NY Times, Oct. 20, 2000:

"Minutes before the House was to vote on a measure condemning the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey 85 years ago as genocide, J. Dennis Hastert, the speaker, withdrew the resolution tonight, citing President Clinton's warnings that a vote could harm national security and hurt relations with Turkey, a NATO ally."


"A spokesman for the Turkish Embassy, Namik Tan, praised Mr. Hastert's decision, saying, ''This is what should have happened.''

So did the [Clinton] White House, which marshaled an all-out campaign to kill the measure, enlisting the president's top foreign and military advisers, the joint chiefs of staff and various national security experts."

Posted by bb on October 14, 2007 at 5:20 a.m.

Jarrodsj -- why don't you read up before embarrassing yourself? See below, bozo.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Japanese Military's "Comfort Women" System

In 2007, Mike Honda of the United States House of Representatives proposed House Resolution 121 which stated that Japan should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner, refute any claims that the issue of comfort women never occurred, and educate current and future generations "about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the 'comfort women'."[46] Honda has stated that "the purpose of this resolution is not to bash or humiliate Japan."[47] However, the Japanese embassy in the U.S. stated that the Resolution was erroneous in terms of the facts and that it would be harmful to the friendship between the US and Japan .[2]

On July 30, 2007, the resolution passed through the House of Representatives after half an hour of debate in which there was no opposition voiced.[48] Honda was quoted on the floor as saying, "We must teach future generations that we cannot allow this to continue to happen. I have always believed that reconciliation is the first step in the healing process."[48]

Posted by bb on October 14, 2007 at 5:29 a.m.

Jarrodsj, it seems that you support this gag order from Turkey on our right to discuss the Armenian genocide. Your position clearly suggests that we outsource our morality and foreign policy to Turkey -- a country that denies a genocide (just like Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust), a country that has rampant anti-Semitism, and a country that, according to the PEW Reserach Center, is the most anti-American country today. Your position is Un-American.

Posted by bb on October 14, 2007 at 5:43 a.m.

Tom Lantos on Slavery, Armenian Genocide.

Yesterday CNN reported that "Lantos, the only member of the House who is a Holocaust survivor, says passage of the resolution would also help to bring a moral dimension back to U.S. foreign policy.

"One of the problems we have diplomatically globally is that we have lost our moral authority which we used to have in great abundance," Lantos said. "People around the globe who are familiar with these events will appreciate the fact that the United States is speaking out against a historic injustice. This would be like sweeping slavery under the rug and saying slavery never occurred."

Posted by cjohan763 on October 14, 2007 at 5:50 a.m.

Now we know, Cohen is insincere on issues of human rights. Great job bringing this to light, Wendi!

Posted by bigking on October 14, 2007 at 6:06 a.m.


"Hate crimes are a way of saying that you better not get out of line or you'll end up in the bottom of the river. We've got to stand up to that"
Rep. Steve Cohen, August, 2007

Genocide is the ultimate hate crime, and it is apparently o.k. if it is committed by an "ally", especially one for which “It is important that we have good relations,” he said. Cohen is trying to convince the Congressional Study Group on Turkey to meet in Memphis next year, which would draw a number of Turkish and American officials to his district."

Translation: hate is bad some times, o.k. at others.

Posted by bigking on October 14, 2007 at 6:20 a.m.

"Violence aimed at any group is wrong. And if it's aimed at a group to intimidate, it's even more wrong."
Rep. Steve Cohen

Isn't genocide a hate crime? Apparently not to Cohen, if it means being a bad party host.Was he thinking troop protection thoughts when he was on the junket to Turkey in May, trying to swing the Congressional Study Group on Turkey to come to Memphis? Did he find it puzzling why the Turks were so persistent on denying the genocide during his brief trip? Did he not sense something may be up when he was handed a book by a known genocide denialist?

Is it O.K. to be anti-hate and soft on genocide?

Posted by bigking on October 14, 2007 at 6:32 a.m.

Perhaps at one of the Memphis in May parties we can ask why Turkey denies how it tried to eliminate Christianity from Asia Minor. Though widely viewed as a result of ultra-nationalism, the Armenian Genocide is viewed by some (esp. those at Jihad Watch) as part of an organized jihad against Christianity (which was there first). I find it odd that anyone is happy to jump to the defense of a country that 1. if not invented, certainly innovated at terror 2. consistently denies that it committed crimes against humanity 3. has made it illegal and subject to incarceration if one mentions the word "genocide" in reference to Armenian of Greek massacres in the early 20th century.

Ask Cohen what kind of "ally" threatens the U.S. with reprisal for a non-binding resolution merely recognizing a wrong, and which tried to murder all Christians in their country, denying that it ever occurred. My fellow Greeks are disgusted by this revelation of Cohen's shenanigans.

Posted by bigbopper on October 14, 2007 at 6:44 a.m.

I agree with bigking

"In every meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen said, U.S. lawmakers heard the same message: Oppose a congressional resolution that defines the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the early 1900s as genocide, perpetrated by Ottoman Turks."

Apparently Turkey's lobbying efforts worked. Did Cohen think his schmoozing with Turkey would get past his simple-folk constituents back home? The CA didn't help his cause by trumpeting his lobbying trip as if it should have been a source of pride.

"Memphis in May, as I understand it -- and it may not have been announced yet, but as I understand it -- Memphis in May is going to honor Turkey next year," he said. "I was promoting Memphis on the trip ... and I believe we're going to be able to bring the Turkey-U.S. Study Group to Memphis during Memphis in May."

Message from Steve: genocide/hate crime is bad only if it doesn't insult a party guest.

The "troop protection" claim is disingenuous.

Posted by stop on October 14, 2007 at 6:59 a.m.

Cohen stopped short of impersonating an African American when he was trying to enter the Black Caucus earlier this year. His hate crime showdown with the Black ministers in August found him as a staunch gay rights advocate. Now he's a neocon pragmatist. Has anyone seen the movie Zelig? Zelig is a movie by Woody Allen in which the protagonist "Leonard Zelig (played by Woody Allen), is a man who has the ability to change his appearance to that of the people he is surrounded by. For example, if he is among doctors, he transforms into a doctor, if around overweight people, he quickly becomes heavy himself." Cohen is a political Zelig and his positions should be perused very carefully and independently.

Posted by bigbopper on October 14, 2007 at 7:12 a.m.

I can see how these guys must feel. Could you imagine having a politician recite Holocaust denial rhetoric to a roomful of Holocaust survivors and their descendants? Sick stuff. I like the Zelig analogy; great movie.

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 7:59 a.m.

June 13, 2005
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
TC Easbakanlik
Ankara, 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:

part two to follow

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 8:01 a.m.

...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.

part 3 to follow

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 8:02 a.m.

... 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


June 7, 2005, Boca Raton, Florida

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 8:08 a.m.

To my Greek-Americian and Armenian-American friends in Memphis, kudos for your exposing how lobbying efforts from foreign interests have sway with our politicians. In Cohen's case (based on his biography and what you have posted above), his departure from what seems to be a consistent ideology is most peculiar. The letter I posted is widely available on most discussion groups/bulletin boards and illustrates the lack of equivocation that real scholars have regarding this issue. It is humorous that a U.S. politician with even passing knowledge of the issue would accept Lewy's book (as cohen and his fellow junketers did) as a gift. This is to the Armenian genocide what Ahmadinejad's writings are to the Holocaust. That your resident civil libertarian in chief was the receiver of this, is even more ironic. Keep up the good work on your efforts. Justice will prevail.

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 8:50 a.m.

"The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."

-George W. Bush 2-19-2000

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 8:54 a.m.

"The millions of deaths, the gas chambers, the inhuman crematoria, and the thousands of people who somehow survived with lifetime scars are all now part of the conscience of history. Forever must we remember just how precious is civilization, how important is liberty, and how heroic is the human spirit.

Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it — and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples — the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten."

Ronald Reagan 4-22-81

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 8:57 a.m.

Lantos (a Holocaust surviror)said: "People around the globe who are familiar with these events will appreciate the fact that the United States is speaking out against a historic injustice. This would be like sweeping slavery under the rug and saying slavery never occurred."

Cohen should look to his Democratic leaders for guidance as to why the slavery and genocide issues are related.

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 9:06 a.m.


At the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches Convening at St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 3-7, 2000, one hundred twenty-six Holocaust Scholars, holders of Academic Chairs and Directors of Holocaust Research and Studies Centers, participants of the Conference, signed a statement affirming that the World War I Armenian Genocide is an incontestable historical fact and accordingly urge the governments of Western democracies to likewise recognize it as such. The petitioners, among whom is Nobel Laureate for Peace Elie Wiesel, who was the keynote speaker at the conference, also asked the Western Democracies to urge the Government and Parliament of Turkey to finally come to terms with a dark chapter of Ottoman-Turkish history and to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This would provide an invaluable impetus to the process of the democratization of Turkey.

Below is a partial list of the signatories:

Prof. Yehuda Bauer
Distinguished Professor
Hebrew University
Director, The International Institute of Holocaust Research
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Prof. Israel Charny, Director
Institute of the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem
Professor at the Hebrew University,
Editor-in-Chief of The Encyclopedia of Genocide


Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 9:08 a.m.

Prof. Stephen Feinstein, Director
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota

Prof. Saul Friedman, Director
Holocaust and Jewish Studies
Youngston State University, Ohio

Prof. Herbert Hirsch
Virginia Commonwealth University

Prof. Irving L. Horowitz
Hannah Arendt Distinguished Professor
Rutgers University, NJ

Rabbi Dr. Steve Jacobs
Temple Sinai Shalom
Huntsville, Alabama
Associate Editor of The Encyclopedia of Genocide

Prof. Steven Katz
Distinguish Professor
Director, Center for Judaic Studies
Boston University

Prof. Richard Libowitz
Temple University

Dr. Marcia Littell
Stockton College
Exec. Director, Scholars' Conference
On the Holocaust and the Churches

Franklin Littell
Emeritus Professor
Temple University

Prof. Hubert G. Locke
Washington University
Co-founder of the Annual Scholar's Conference
On the Holocaust and the Churches

Dr. Elizabeth Maxwell
Executive Director of the International Scholarly
Conference on the Holocaust, London, England

Prof. Erik Markusen
Southwest State University, MN

Prof. Saul Mendlowitz
Dag Hammerskjold Distinguished Professor
of International Law
Rutgers University

Prof. Jack Needle, Director
Center for Holocaust Studies
Brookdale Community College
Lincroft, NJ

Dr. Philip Rosen, Director
Holocaust Education Center of the Delaware Valley

Prof. Alan S, Rosenbaum
Dept. of Philosophy
Cleveland State University

William L. Shulman, President
Association of Holocaust Organizations City University of New York

Prof. Samuel Totten
The University of Arkansas
Assoc. Editor of The Encyclopedia of Genocide

Prof. Elie Wiesel
Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities
Boston University
Founding Chairman of the United States
Holocaust Memorial Council
Nobel Laureate for Peace

I hereby declare that the originals of these one hundred and twenty-six signatories are on file in my office. All affiliations supplied are for identification purposes only.

Dr. Stephen Feinstein, Director,
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota

Posted by DirtyHarry on October 14, 2007 at 10:15 a.m.

My question is why House Democrats are wanting to introduce this measure now? This is an issue that's almost a hundred years old and now they want to voice their displeasure of it? Where were they 10 years ago? Or twenty or thirty?

This is simply an attempt to hamper the Bush Adminstration's efforts to secure peace in the Middle East, especially Iraq. Democrats have failed at all other attempts to stop the war so now they'll try to disrupt things by irritating Turkey, a key ally, and the only Muslim democracy. The Democrats just never quit when it comes to trying to lose a war...

Posted by thisoneaint on October 14, 2007 at 10:46 a.m.

this one is really easy to figure out.certain people always want to be the perpetual victim. they cant have competition if it was christians being exterminated. they have to corner the world market on sympathy.just more zionist propaganda.

Posted by lexus130 on October 14, 2007 at 11:06 a.m.

Dr. James Catchings experience passed up the limited experience of Mr. Edmund Ford, Jr. many years ago. He has a record of accomplishment, not merely a degree.

Willie has a PHD and 60% of the voters did not want him as mayor. Mr. Ed's life experience is mostly with his nose in a book. That is not a qualification for being a member of the city council although it does beats some of the trash that has been elected to those seats, many of whom are now convicted felons and shortly another Ford will join that list.

The big onus is that this city does not need another Ford in office. To, don't some of you worry that the source of Mr. Ed's tuition might have resulted criminal transactions that he should have been aware of.

A better bet is Dr. James Catchings who already has a PHD and a proven and scandal free record as a school principle, a man with experience in managing personnel and city assets.

Further, Dr. Catchings has a record of accomplishment far better than tutoring young children in ways to beat a test.

Let's face it, Mr. Ed has a long way to go before catching up with the experienced Dr. James Catchings.

For instance, a bit of Dr. Catchings background:

First African American president of Memphis Education Association

One of the First African Americans on Tennessee Education Association Board of Directors

Director of Community Communication and Stabilization Federal Project

Director: "Keep Our Public Schools Strong" Program

Chairman: Memphis Effective Schools Project

Officer: Memphis Public Schools Principals Association

Past President of Memphis Regional Lung Association

The voters of District 6 need a council person that will be looking after their interest.

Posted by stavros on October 14, 2007 at 11:13 a.m.

Why now? Dirty Harry?

Because there is a Speaker who is aware of human rights issues and our position of moral authority in the world. The latter has eroded, much due to our deeds in Iraq. She's trying to restore it.Much of the Republican senior leadership agrees including the House Republican Policy Committee
Chairman, Chief Deputy Minority Whip, and the Ranking Members of the Rules,
Education and Labor, Judiciary, and Armed Services committees. Better question to ask: Why does a "key ally" want to harm its friend? The rest of the world has heard Turkey's hollow threats over and over and are not impressed. Look at France's trade with Turkey (tripled since law passed to make it illegal to deny armenian genocide there). Turkey knows it needs us more than we need them. Even Bush knows Turkey needs to confront this issue if it is to have a prayer to enter the EU. Confronting it now will help Turkey's cause. It's like confronting an alcoholic to help him or her not to self-destruct.

Posted by curlyqlink on October 14, 2007 at 12:09 p.m.

Cohen's all about money. I expect we'll be get used to his peculiar flip flops as he gets deeper into his term and various lobbyists get cozy with him.

Posted by curlyqlink on October 14, 2007 at 12:16 p.m.

Cohen's all about money. I expect we'll get used to his peculiar flip flops as he gets deeper into his term and various lobbyists get cozy with him.

Posted by bigking on October 14, 2007 at 12:19 p.m.

I suppose Cohen thinks that Memphians are too simple to figure out how inconsistent he's being, especially after frolicking publicly around Istanbul with all of the other Turcophiles. Thanks to Bart Sullivan for trumpeting this in June. Maybe Cohen thought the part about how the Turks tried to eliminate all of Christianity from Anatolia and continue to deny this would slip past all us plain folk in Mempho. Can't wait until barbecue fest. Think the Turks will have a booth to explain how denying its attempt at exterminating all Christians living in Turkey is a sign of a friendly ally? Looking forward to coming back in town for the Q and A in 5/08.

Posted by conkies on October 14, 2007 at 2:22 p.m.

What the Turks did to the Armenians in 1915 was horrendous. It was the equivalent of the Holocaust. BUT, why are the Democrats humanitarians all of a sudden? What ulterior motive could the Democrats have for bringing this up now? Was there some groundswell movement from the "people" that led them to introduce this? What, oh what, are the lefties up to? Hmmm...

Posted by cjohan763 on October 14, 2007 at 5:40 p.m.

Conkies, again, this resolution has BIPARTISAN support. This means that both Democrats AND Republicans support it equally.

This is what Congressman Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor in Congress, said yesterday:

"One of the problems we have diplomatically globally is that we have lost our moral authority which we used to have in great abundance. People around the globe who are familiar with these events will appreciate the fact that the United States is speaking out against a historic injustice. This would be like sweeping slavery under the rug and saying slavery never occurred."

Posted by cjohan763 on October 14, 2007 at 5:48 p.m.

Countries that have passed similar resolutions: SWITZERLAND, ITALY, FRANCE, ARGENTINA, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, RUSSIA,Etc Etc.

For 20 years both Republicans and Democrats have made promises to pass this legislation yet have not kept their promises. This is not new. There is never a good time to affirm the truth, especially in the face of such virulent denial.

Our European allies will no longer respect the moral authority of our foreign policy if we chose to help Turkey deny a genocide. Regardless, since when does the United States let a genocidal country dictate history? shame on them. And more shame on Cohen for supporting them.

Posted by kevorkkalayjian on October 14, 2007 at 7:21 p.m.

The House Foreign Relations Committee vote 27/21 on H. R. 106, acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, is a giant step forward for a more perfect democracy here in the United States of America and in the context of our image in the world both for our allies and for our adversaries.

This is the greatest gesture of love and respect to the Turkish people. Our NATO brother-in-arms should know that, just as David Kaczynski brought his brother Theodore John Kaczynski (The Unabomber) to justice, America will not stand idle for deniers of Genocide.

It is a shame that the present administration still opposes this important human rights achievement. It is a disgrace that there are still people amongst us who see no harm in denying a crime for profit.

This administration and its supporters marched into the White House as the defenders of the faith and the family values, they turned up to be a pack of wolves ready to sell America’s honor to criminals.


Kevork Kalayjian

Posted by sevanup on October 14, 2007 at 7:52 p.m.

Denying the Armenian genocide

Was there an Armenian genocide during World War I?

While it was happening, no one called the slaughter of Armenian Christians by Ottoman Turks "genocide." No one could: The word wouldn't be coined for another 30 years. But those who made it their business to tell the world what the Turks were doing found other terms to describe the state-sponsored mass murder of the Armenians.

In its extensive reporting on the atrocities, The New York Times described them as "systematic," "deliberate," "organized by government" and a "campaign of extermination." A Sept. 25, 1915, headline warned: "Extinction Menaces Armenia." What the Turks were embarked upon, said one official in the story that followed, was "nothing more or less than the annihilation of a whole people."

Foreign diplomats, too, realized that they were observing genocide avant la lettre. American consular reports leaked to the Times indicated "that the Turk has undertaken a war of extermination on Armenians, especially those of the Gregorian Church, to which about 90 percent of the Armenians belong." In July, U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau cabled Washington that "race murder" was underway - a "systematic attempt to uproot peaceful Armenian populations and . . . to bring destruction and destitution upon them." These were not random outbreaks of violence, Morgenthau stressed, but a nationwide slaughter "directed from Constantinople."


Posted by sevanup on October 14, 2007 at 7:54 p.m.

Another U.S. diplomat, Consul Leslie Davis, described in grisly detail the "reign of terror" he saw in Harput and the corpses of "thousands and thousands" of Armenians murdered near Lake Goeljuk. The mass deportations ordered by the Turks, in which hundreds of thousands of Armenians were crammed into freight cars and shipped hundreds of miles to die in the desert or at the hands of killing squads, were far worse than a straightforward massacre, he wrote. "In a massacre many escape, but a wholesale deportation of this kind in this country means a longer and perhaps even more dreadful death for nearly everyone."

Other eyewitnesses, including American missionaries, provided stomach-clenching descriptions of the "terrible tortures" mentioned by Morgenthau. Women and girls were stripped naked and raped, then forced to march naked through blistering heat. Many victims were crucified on wooden crosses; as they writhed in agony, the Turks would taunt them: "Now let your Christ come and help you!" Reuters reported that "in one village, 1,000 men, women, and children are reported to have been locked in a wooden building and burned to death." In another, "several scores of men and women were tied together by chains and thrown into Lake Van."

Talaat Pasha, the Turkish interior minister who presided over the liquidation of the Armenians, made no bones about his objective. "The government . . . has decided to destroy complete all the indicated persons" - the Armenians - "living in Turkey," he wrote to authorities in Aleppo. "An end must be put to their existence . . . and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to conscientious scruples."

Was there an Armenian genocide during World War I? The Turkish government today denies it, but the historical record, chronicled in works like Peter Balakian's powerful 2003 study, "The Burning Tigris," is overwhelming. Yet the Turks are abetted in their denial and distortion by many who know better, including the Clinton administration and both Bush administrations, and prominent ex-congressmen-turned-lobbyists, including Republican Bob Livingston and Democrats Dick Gephardt and Stephen Solarz.


Posted by sevanup on October 14, 2007 at 7:55 p.m.

Particularly deplorable has been the longtime reluctance of some leading Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to call the first genocide of the 20th century by its proper name. When Andrew Tarsy, the New England director of the ADL, came out last week in support of a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, he was promptly fired by the national organization. Shaken by the uproar that followed, the ADL finally backed down. The murder of a million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1915, it acknowledged Tuesday, was "indeed tantamount to genocide."

Now the other organizations should follow suit. Their unwillingness to acknowledge that the Turks committed genocide stems from the fear that doing so may worsen the plight of Turkey's beleaguered Jewish community or may endanger the crucial military and economic relationship Israel has forged with Turkey. Those are honorable concerns. But they cannot justify keeping silent about a most dishonorable assault on the truth. Genocide denial must be intolerable to everyone, but above all to those for whom "never again" is such a sacred principle. And at a time when jihadist violence from Darfur to Ground Zero has spilled so much innocent blood, dissimulation about the jihad of 1915 can only aid our enemies.


Posted by sevanup on October 14, 2007 at 8 p.m.


The Armenian genocide is an incontestable fact of history. Shame on anyone who refuses to say so.

Jeff Jacoby's column appears regularly in The Boston Globe.

August 23, 2007

Posted by sevanup on October 14, 2007 at 8:14 p.m.

"Many victims were crucified on wooden crosses; as they writhed in agony, the Turks would taunt them: "Now let your Christ come and help you!" Reuters reported that "in one village, 1,000 men, women, and children are reported to have been locked in a wooden building and burned to death."

Should you guys in Memphis bring this up at one of the Memphis in May parties Cohen's going to host?
That probably won't play too well with your Church folk.

Posted by sevanup on October 14, 2007 at 8:37 p.m.

According to Jacoby's article, Cohen is enabling jihadists, old-school ones that killed with crucifixes and torches. How does that mesh with his hate crime speech?

I guess he didn't really mean it when he said:"Violence aimed at any group is wrong. And if it's aimed at a group to intimidate, it's even more wrong."
Rep. Steve Cohen

How about, Mr. Steve, if it is aimed at a group in order to exterminate it? Is that a loop-hole that ya found?

Posted by jarrodsj on October 15, 2007 at 3:23 a.m.


Unfortunately for you, your name-calling only serves to erode your credibility. And for you to compare a single resolution on Korean "comfort women" to the genocide of tens of thousands of Chinese misses the point. The denials of war crimes by the Japanese leadership continues to the present, as I pointed out, and yet the only outrage is directed at the Japanese for compelling women to act as unwilling conscripted concubines? And what result occurred from Rep. Honda's resolution? Let me clue you in:

"Two weeks ago, the Washington Post reported that Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato had sent a strongly worded private letter to House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, warning that the resolution could have a sharply negative effect on U.S.-Japan relations.

Kato warned that passage "will almost certainly have lasting and harmful effects on the deep friendship, close trust and wide-ranging cooperation our two nations now enjoy."


As for calling me un-American, you might clump in your hero Bill Clinton into that category as well, since he was the first to see to it that the first resolution regarding this matter was torpedoed, in 2000.

It seems liberals relish in their enthusiasm for criticizing our allies, but are silent when it comes to admonishing America's real enemies.

The hobbled 11-percenter Democrats never miss a chance to conduct foreign policy from their ivory towers. They consistently seek to undermine the achievements of career diplomats in the State Department and our elected leaders of the executive branch.

Posted by b4brian on October 15, 2007 at 6:28 a.m.

What would Nikki Tinker do?

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 6:35 a.m.

Acknowledging The Armenian Genocide

October 15, 2007

America has moral and strategic purposes in denouncing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as a horrendous genocide perpetrated by Turks.

The facts are not in dispute. Ample documentation shows that for two years, hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians were forcibly marched out of their towns and villages, killed, starved, and crucified until death as part of a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign by the Young Turks government of the dying Ottoman Empire. Twenty-two countries, including those of the European Union — which Turkey aspires to join — have marked those events as genocide.

For Americans, the moral imperative is intuitive. Which Greek, Jewish, Italian, Irish, Hispanic, or black American in this kaleidoscopically diverse nation of immigrants — all touched in one way or another by discrimination — can look in the mirror and say, "It's okay with me to kill people because of their religion, ethnicity, or origin"?

In that sense, the American Congress, which occasionally rises above its partisan instincts, was right to draft the resolution condemning the Turkish massacre nine decades after the fact. The Congress should now vote it in.

The American government's strategic imperative to do so is even more compelling, regardless of the protests by Turkey and the Arab world.

Turkey lives in a region where many governments and terrorist groups are actively engaged in a variety of ethnic cleansings. These are directed especially but not exclusively at the 20 million Arab Christian minorities. Another 50 million people, including some 20 million Kurds living in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey are sitting ducks; not to mention the Druze, Yazidis, Bahais, Maronites, Christian Palestinian Arabs, and Sudanese Africans, all of whom are in the process of being killed or evicted from their places of origin right now.

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 6:38 a.m.

These ethnic cleansings guarantee the obsolescence of American interests and Western interests in the greater Middle East.

Arab Christians of the Middle East, to cite one minority, have acted ever since the late 18th century as the cultural bridge upon which civilizing Western influences have crossed into the Arab Muslim world. Works of literature, politics, and the grand civic values of Western civilization were translated, adapted, and implemented largely by those minorities, which thrived until the early 1950s in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq.

Protecting what is left of those Christians and the even larger groups of other ethnicities is not charity work but is essential for preserving Western interests. Indeed, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, in protesting Western pressure to own up to the massacres of Armenian Christians in 1915 threatened on Saturday to go after the Kurds in northern Iraq. Four years after the war in Iraq began, the fanatical Shiite majority government there has waged an ethnic cleansing war of its own, targeting both Sunni Muslims and Iraqi Christians. It has been savagely successful. Half of Iraq's entire Christian minorities of 2 million — who represent 5% of the 25 million Iraqis, are now out of the country altogether, refugees looking for a new home.

In Lebanon, the combination of Hezbollah and Syria have set their sight on cleansing that country of Maronite Christians and their other Western allies as a new civil war looms.

In the grand scheme of modern Middle East history, the entire concept behind the Arab and Muslim world's rejection of Israel is premised on Israel's identity as a "Jewish state." It is a rejection grounded within the notion of ethnic and religious cleansing. Now that Turkey has become an ascending democracy run by an Islamist party, it is imperative that Turkey signals its accord with the broader Western project of civil society and respect for minorities. That is why Turkey's friendship and its NATO affiliation should come second to its assumption of responsibility for past crimes against humanity. The future is a reflection and a continuation of the past.

Indeed, not only should Turkey issue its mea culpa to Armenian Christians, but move energetically to eliminate from its laws all discrimination against the Kurdish minority, their language, and full participation as Turks.

The American president, the State Department, and the Pentagon were short-sighted to oppose Congress on this Armenian issue just because we need Turkey as a transit point to Iraq. The whole idea of going to Iraq was to create long-term interests in stable, civil, multicultural societies across the greater Middle East.

Posted by randellp on October 15, 2007 at 6:48 a.m.

This happend 92 years ago. I agree it was a horrible event like many other's in the world that has taken place since man crawled out from the premordial slime. But why now is it so the Demacrats can prove how bad the war is? Is it to have the Republicans have egg on their face one more time? Yeah I think this is their reasoning. But by doing so they are placing in danger every single American that is laying their lives on the line for this country. 75% of all supplies into Iraq come through Turkey. If the house votes on this and passes it then Turkey has threatened to stop allowing those shipments. This may be politcal blackmail but this time we should back down.

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 8:46 a.m.

The measure has broad bi-partisan support.Many of the co-sponsors are leaders of the Republican party. This isn't a democrats vs. republicans issue. If you want to help Turkey advance, push your congressman to vote for the resolution. Turkey will never be accepted as a legitimate candidate for EU membership if it continues with its position. The holocaust started about 70 years ago. Does that make it insignificant today?

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 8:50 a.m.

Also, look at the timeline for Cohen's actions. His Ankara junket was 5 months ago. He was recruiting Turkey to come to Memphis at that time. The threats for threatening not to support the war effort from Turkey came a couple of weeks ago. We're going to honor a country with a dismal human rights record, who tried to eliminate Christianity (crucifying many of the victims) from its place of birth. Bow to hollow threats vs. do the right thing. You decide.

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 9:04 a.m.

"The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."

-George W. Bush 2-19-2000

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 9:06 a.m.

"Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it — and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples — the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten"

Ronald Reagan

Posted by bab57 on October 15, 2007 at 11:20 a.m.

Allie said: Um... while I disagree with Cohen's argument, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate a moment and point out that placing the welfare of people who are still alive over the welfare of those long dead isn't "heartless pragmatism." It could quite reasonably be argued that making a purely symbolic statement which will result in actual, not symbolic, deaths, is more heartless. I suppose not wanting people to die is "pragmatism," but it hardly counts as unprincipled.

I agree. Voting against this issue to keep our soldiers safe isn't the same as voting in favor of genocide.

The genocide happened, and no resolution is going to change that. We are more likely to affect a positive change in Turkey if we maintain diplomatic relations than if we do not.

Posted by feminaformosa on October 15, 2007 at 12:09 p.m.

For all of you who are saying "Why now?"- legislators have tried numerous times to pass this in the past. This isn't a new thing, but it's made the mainstream press because it now has an actual chance to pass. So to you, it may seem that it is coming out of nowhere, but in reality, the attempts to pass this resolution have been around for a long time.

People keep saying that it's "not a good time." Well, it's never a good time. People said that during the civil rights movement too. Sometimes you just do the right thing because it's the right thing.

Wendi, thank you so much for writing a column about this. There aren't many Armenians in Memphis anymore (there used to be quite a few), but this is really a human rights issue, not an Armenian issue. In Turkey, it is a crime to even suggest that there was a genocide!

Posted by MemphisTigers07 on October 15, 2007 at 12:38 p.m.

Why should everyone be forced to apologize? Genocide is not right, but if the apology is forced, then it isn't meant.

Posted by turdferguson on October 15, 2007 at 12:42 p.m.

Shouldn't we first apologize to the American Indians for our own acts of genocide?

Posted by jarrodsj on October 15, 2007 at 12:54 p.m.

How ironic that Mr. Cohen is caught up in his party's dragging up of an old resolution that was shelved in 2000 to pick a fight with our ally Turkey, the same party that promotes the genocide of millions in our own country, euphemistically labeling it "the right to choose".

Perhaps since Turkey is 95 percent Muslim, Democrats will now commission a cartoon for publication in the Congressional Record, portraying Turk in a turban slaughtering Armenians?

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 1:12 p.m.

This is long overdue. Look at your murderous ally's denial of help with the Iraq war in 2003 and tell me if they are a reliable friend.

Posted by txamac on October 15, 2007 at 5:03 p.m.

we condem an awful action of almost a hundred years ago, but we still kill our unborn children, and call it a right, am I missing something? Like the unborn have an more choice than the groups that were persecuted 92 yrs ago.

Posted by bebo17 on October 15, 2007 at 5:41 p.m.

Dear posters, I am oft quoted in this article by Wendi, and would like to clarify/add the following:

Congressman Cohen claims that House Resolution 106 -- the Armenian Genocide Resolution -- would threaten our troops in Iraq.

This resolution is an affirmation of the American role in its humanitarian effort during the Armenian Genocide. It does no threaten our troops --Turkey does.

When I met with Congressman Cohen in August, I explained to him that Turkey has a tendency to use theatrics and bluff as foreign policy tools, just as it did with other countries that passed similar resolutions.

And this is precisely what happened.

Turkey is now spending millions of dollars with PR firms and lobbying powerhouses to sway American public opinion with theatrics and fear-mongering tactics. Expect more in the coming days.

Turkey's tantrum reaction is unbefitting of a US ally -- especially an ally with such a record of unreliability.

In 2003 The Turkish Government rejected a US request to use its territory for the invasion of Iraq. Our military used contingency plans and shifted the war effort to other parts of the region. It was determined then that Turkey cannot be counted as a reliable ally.

In 2005 Defense Secretary Rumsfeld blamed the inability to gain permission to invade Iraq through Turkey for the surge of the insurgency that our military faces.

Analysts from both the US and Turkey agree that the US can now do without Turkey, but Turkey cannot do without the United States. The economic and political costs to Turkey of cutting off American access are too great to even consider.

What we are witnessing now is outrageous. Turkey wants to impose a gag order when it comes to our right to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. In essence, by acquiescing, we would be outsourcing our morality and foreign policy to Turkey. This is unacceptable.

I have pleaded with Congressman Cohen to do the right thing and support Res. 106 ever since he took office. Unfortunately while on a trip to Ankara he has fallen victim to the denialist Turkish propaganda. I believe he was misled into denying the Armenian Genocide and misled about Turkey's role as a reliable ally. This is unfortunate, for he has access to the top analysts of the US government as well as to the knowledge of honest, self-respecting historians.

I believe he can still do the right thing and maintain his commanding record as a proponent of civil rights and human rights. I trust he will stand by his principles. Otherwise he will be perceived as inconsistent and insincere. He will also be known as a genocide denier, and I doubt Memphis would like to be represented by such views.

FYI, I supported Cohen. And I support his endeavors in Congress -- from slavery apology to Gonzales impeachment procedures.


Dany Beylerian

Posted by bebo17 on October 15, 2007 at 5:55 p.m.

One more thing --

This resolution has broad, bipartisan support. It is NOT about President Bush and it is NOT about Democrats vs. Republicans. It is about doing the right thing.

Posted by thinker on October 15, 2007 at 6:10 p.m.

First of all I’d like to say it’s really demoralizing for me to read all above. I’m one Turk and I think you comment about us here. I’m one teacher and studied American Culture& Literature also the English Literature at University. I know my history-as far as I can-and I also try to understand what is happening in world. I think all these comments on Turkey and Turkish people are so cruel! Did any of you visited here and met many of Turkish people and saw our way of life? And our way of thinking abt all matters of the world? I’m sure you have some knowledge from historical sources and also from your friends though I respect what you think I don’t approve your attitude towards the people whom you really don’t know. We have a multicultural society we don’t say what happens in past is passed; we say why all these debates upon such a critic subject of massacre has started after all these years? As Americans are you the judge of the world? If so pls consider all kinds of Genocides including African American’s (Indian Tribes killed during the settlement of the US.) and also the Atomic Bombs, innocent people killed in Iraq (I don say Iraq or Saddam was innocent), the slaughter of Jewish people in Germany and also in Italy, the racist slaughters in African Tribes and all the events took place in injustice. My first question is this: if the US is the judge of the world pls handle all kind of injustice in past. Of course we can count several reasons for the events which happened in past but the problem starts here: why this historical event has been so important after several decades passed over it? Yes, Armenians symbolizes the roots of Christianity but we also hear from our grandparents that ‘we used to live happily with our Armenian neighbors and we were good friends all the time’ if you listen the real residents they were happy about their friendship and they never mention such kind of arguments. I myself had Armenian neighbors. All these works are done to serve some political games. We deal with many difficulties as a country. We are in very important lands geopolitically –in the middle of Asia, Europe and Arabic area- and it makes us suffer for ages. In past if our ancestors ‘tried to wipe Christianity off the map in the very lands where it began’ than why they didn’t make any assimilations through the lands they conquered in Europe? If they would have done so, there wouldn’t be any Christian living around there, they’d have killed all! How this Genocide claims can be equal with Holocaust?

Posted by thinker on October 15, 2007 at 6:11 p.m.

Why everything starts with the world war while one empirement was ending and new republic was establishing. Have you ever heard that a lot of Islamic groups were killed with their rebels against modern republic administration? What do you expect; can there be any war without blood? Millions of our people also died in these stupid world wars! I hate all kind of wars and blood personally. I don’t think the matter is about religion or race the matter is about politics. May be someone is searching for bloodshed or the revenge of something. I really don’t understand. Also I don’t understand why we have so many enemies although we lived centuries here in these lands in peace. Now the Kurdish people in demand of new government in Turkey fighting against Turkish Military forces and by this -‘war’I consider- many people of our soldiers and Kurdish people die. And again they claim there is a discrimination what is this? Who is making discrimination? You demand one new country in the lands of one republic, fight and kill people than say there is discrimination! Where is the logic? I have several Kurdish friends living happily in well-fair; the problem here is how you look at the problems! Who cares what we suffer from? As a folk we never have any kind of hate of any nation or religion but I don’t understand why in political area they want to show us as racist militants of Jihad? In society we live all together with believers of many religions and also the non believers. Who is the most Anti- American country? If so why do we have the departments of American Culture and Literature at our universities? If we’re the enemies of US why we have the military support of US in our country? If we consider some of the Americans still think we’re riding camels on the desert country with black veils, what we’re going to think about the people whom don’t know anything about our society and country? As an intellectual majority we are not feeling hate, we only think they don’t know anything about us!!!

Posted by stop on October 15, 2007 at 7:05 p.m.

This is not

1. a demand for an apology
2. a condemnation of acts done by modern Turkey

This is

1. a recognition in the public record of a terrible injustice and an attempt at closure of an open wound.
2. a statement of fact that shows our "ally" that we oppose their (modern Turkey)country's denial of this fact.

Posted by bigbopper on October 15, 2007 at 7:58 p.m.

The Decider is in town today for supper. Someone should ask him why he is backing down from a country that is threatening us and is threatening to invade another country where we have a strategic interest. I thought the USA wasn't supposed to give in to intimidation. That's the American way. Bush and Cohen make strange bedfellows.

Posted by b4brian on October 15, 2007 at 8:27 p.m.


Posted by jungster on October 15, 2007 at 10:17 p.m.

Great journalism Ms. Thomas, excellent fact checking and very logical arguments (!)

"In Turkey, where Hitler's autobiography "Mein Kampf" is a bestseller..." Yes, of course this must be real sign-off genocide-makers.
Fact: Israel is and remains to be one of the largest trading partners of Turkey including tourism. I wonder why they are not worried in visiting Turkey. During the middle ages, it was the Ottoman Empire that opened up it's land to Jewish settlers from Spain that were deported because they were Jewish.

"Among scholars, though, "there's about as much debate about the Armenian genocide as there is about the Holocaust," says Beylerian, a graduate of Rhodes College."...Of course this gentleman should know, at the end of the day he is a graduate of Rhodes College.
Fact: It is interesting that Ms.Thomas did not bother to talk to anyone else but two gentlemen with Armenian-background to deliver her first international policy article as far as I know. Well there is always a first.

Lastly, Turkish government has already recommended an international conference on this topic - turns out there is a significant number (in millions) of Turkish and Kurdish people slaughtered by the Armenian militia that sided with Russia during world war I.

I would recommend the further reading for anyone who is interested in the topic to read both sides of the story and understand that this was not about Muslim vs. Christians, which Ms.Thomas tried to portray but about control of land.

"Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922" by Justin McCarthy

"The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide" by Guenter Lewy

Posted by stavros on October 15, 2007 at 10:25 p.m.

August 18, 2007

by Rachel Karapelian and Alan Dershowitz

... has struck an important chord in the historical and global struggle for human rights. Moreover, it reopened a deep wound for the Armenian people, whose nation was devastated, half their population murdered, and the remainder deported in what was the first genocide of the 20th century.

The tragedy is compounded by the denial by Turkey itself. In 1915, Henry Morganthau, then US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, worked tirelessly to bring the genocide to the world's attention and warned the US secretary of state that "a campaign of race extermination" was occurring against "peaceful" Armenians....

"deliberate" "policy of extermination." Thousands of eyewitness accounts, official government documents, and photographs buttress the historical truths....

The Association of Genocide Scholars and the community of Holocaust scholars, as well as numerous others, have written that this horrific event was genocide.

In 2000, 126 leading Holocaust scholars -- including Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel -- published a statement in The New York Times that sought both to "affirm the incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide and urge Western Democracies to officially recognize it."

The matter is not subject to interpretation. In recent decades, the Armenian genocide has been referred to as "the forgotten genocide" and to understand it is to note that it was the template for the genocides that followed: the Holocaust, Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and today in Darfur. Adolf Hitler famously said in 1939 upon the commencement of his own "final solution:" "Who now remembers the Armenians?"

For any organization or official to believe that there are differing sides to the Armenian Genocide is as much an outrage as it would be for Germany to say that the work of Jewish scholars, witnesses, and victim testimonies represented merely the "Jewish side" of the Holocaust. To deny genocide victims their history and suffering is tantamount to making them victims again.

Justice and memory demand that we recognize the Ottoman Turkish genocide against the Armenians for what it was: the destruction of a large part of an ancient and vibrant community as well as the horrible model of what Hitler did to Jews and what the janjaweed is doing to the victims of Darfur...

To assure that "Never Again" remains more than an aspiration we must all join together to proclaim the truth, no matter how painful or difficult.

Posted by stavros on October 15, 2007 at 10:46 p.m.

Jungster, you're cute. Check the facts yourself.

From the Associated Press
ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Turkish bookshops have a best seller, but some of them are hesitant about giving it too much display.

It's "Mein Kampf."

The popularity of Adolf Hitler's book, filled with anti-Jewish diatribes and dreams of world domination, is puzzling some Turks. Does it reflect rising anti-Semitic or anti-Western sentiment in Muslim Turkey? Or anger over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and the war in Iraq? Is it a backlash against the country's moves to join the European Union? Or does it simply offer a cheap thrill?

At least two new Turkish-language versions are out in paperback and selling for as little as $4.50, but they could run into legal trouble. They were printed without the permission of the Finance Ministry of the German state of Bavaria, which was given control of Hitler's estate after World War II and is keen to suppress the book.

German diplomats in Turkey have been told to explore court action. "The book 'Mein Kampf' should not be reprinted," says Bavarian Finance Minister Kurt Faltlhauser. "The state of Bavaria administers the copyright very restrictively to prevent an increase of Nazi ideas."

Last month the ministry said it was seeking legal action to stop the book's publication in Poland.

Posted by stavros on October 15, 2007 at 10:47 p.m.

"Mein Kampf" _ meaning "My Struggle," was written in the 1920s and has long been widely available in Arab countries, but no increase in sales has been noted there lately. So Turkish analysts are hard put to explain why tens of thousands of copies have been sold here in recent months.

Lina Filiba, executive vice president of Turkey's 25,000-member Jewish community, called it "disturbing."

She said price and media attention were major factors, but also pointed to a "worrying trend" of anti-Semitic publications such as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" being sold even in bustling department stores.

"Metal Storm" by Orkun Ucar and Burak Turna, a novel imagining a war between Turkey and the United States, is Turkey's top seller. Conspiracy theory books sell well and the press is extremely critical of the United States and Israel.

Filiba tied the phenomenon to the European Union's Dec. 17 decision to open membership talks with Turkey, a move long sought by Turkish governments but unpopular among those who fear it will expose their country to permissive European influences.

Posted by stavros on October 15, 2007 at 10:48 p.m.

"I think there's an increase in anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-foreigner feeling that has paralleled Dec. 17," Filiba said.

Umit Ozdag, writing in the daily Aksam, worried that Turks feel ill-treated by the West and are anxious as ethnic Kurds in Turkey and neighboring Iraq are increasingly assertive. Some Turks, he wrote, are finding comfort in Hitler's claims that Germany lost the first world war because of the Jews.

"Turks think they are being exploited. They are angry with the demands of the European Union and United States. But those who anger them the most are Kurdish nationalists," he wrote. "Turks who think they're are being stabbed in the back read Hitler. That is a ... very dangerous development."

At least two publishing houses, Emre and Manifesto, have released cheap versions of "Mein Kampf."

Oguz Tektas of Manifesto said it had sold at least 25,000 of its print run of 30,000.

"It has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Our only aim was commercial," Tektas said.

Esin Aka of the D and R bookshop chain said Thursday that the Emre book, released five weeks ago, was No. 2 this week, after "Metal Storm." Senol Bilginan of the Bilgi store in Ankara said it was No. 3.

"The price is of course low. And the fact that it has been ordered confiscated in some countries also helped," he said. "Everyone is buying it ... Young people have an intense interest."

Still, it's not always easy to find. One D and R shop in Istanbul buried it on a low shelf. The Dost bookshop in Ankara put it on a high shelf, where the cover featuring a saluting Hitler couldn't be seen. The manager said he was selling about five books a day and added he deliberately didn't put it on the best-seller shelves.

"I saw the book on TV and got curious about Hitler's life and decided to buy it," said Asli Ugur, 20, a university student.

She also bought a book about Che Guevara.

Posted by stop on October 16, 2007 at 12:13 a.m.

On his trip to Turkey, Cohen was brainwashed.

"In every meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen said, U.S. lawmakers heard the same message: Oppose a congressional resolution that defines the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the early 1900s as genocide, perpetrated by Ottoman Turks.

Government officials “were constantly saying to vote against the resolution. Constantly,” Cohen, a freshman Democrat from Tennessee, said. “The Turkish government doesn’t want it passed.”

So he opposed it.

Posted by stop on October 16, 2007 at 12:38 a.m.

Also, all of Turkey's threats against countries that have passed resolution to date have rung hollow with the exception of its breaking military ties with France. That's analogous to breaking military ties with Erkel from Family Matters.

Also, Cohen's denialist stance is illegal in Switzerland, so he should keep his comments to himself there if doesn't want to end up behind bars.

Reuters, The Associated Press
Published: March 9, 2007

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: A Swiss court found a Turkish politician guilty Friday of denying that mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 amounted to genocide, the first such conviction under Swiss law.

Posted by memphisbiz on October 16, 2007 at 6:34 a.m.

Hi, I'm Steve Cohen and I want to go to Washington to speak truth to power.

Disclaimer: Unless said truth involves a potential Memphis in May country or FedEx and their labor relations.

Posted by bebo17 on October 16, 2007 at 9:59 a.m.

For those interested in learning more about the Armenian Genocide you can contact "Facing History and Ourselves," a nationwide organization with a Memphis Branch. The offices of Facing History in Memphis are located at CBU. Their website is www.facing.org.

Posted by AmericanWoman on October 16, 2007 at 10:46 a.m.

I support Steve Cohen's decision. Not only were the Turks stretched thin fighting in WWl, they had an armed rebellion within their own country at the same time -- by the Armenians. There was much bloodshed on both sides. There are plenty of documented facts concerning this, start by looking up the history of Armenians in Van, Turkey and what happened there during WWl. Most Memphians don't know anything about this...educate yourselves please. And for those Armenians posting here...the time must come when you realize and admit to yourselves that your people residing in Turkey at that time were not guiltless. Certainly innocent people were killed, but that is war. The US bombed two cities of innocent people during WWll. Let it go...move on.

Posted by stop on October 16, 2007 at 11:45 a.m.


The International Association of Genocide Scholars would disagree with you. As would have Raphael Lemkin, who coined the word "genocide". Nice try, though.

Posted by thinker on October 16, 2007 at 12:11 p.m.

Commoon I'm not one terrorist, you all speak about 'us' here and with all my sincerity I wanted to share my feelings. why are you so intolerant for different thoughts? And with only one side of thinking and ignorance what you'll gain?
Who is threatening you and is threatening to invade another country where you have a strategic interest? Are we threatening you by war or stg? Ok than use our country for anything you want and we'll accept whatever you want. Are we slaves or stg.? If you call the war in Iraq a strategic interest this idea is interesting itself! Of course we can also have 'strategic'actions like U.S. I said my people are being killed here, we're suffering from these terrorist attacks I see nothing is meaningful for you! If your people die it's terrific what if the OTHERS!!???

Posted by bebo17 on October 16, 2007 at 12:31 p.m.

Dear AmericanWoman:

Archival historians as well as honest, self-respecting historians will tell you that the Armenian population of Van was not engaged in rebellion, but was victim of sadistic Turkish policies at the time. But even if the rebellion theory was true, was not our very American independence based on a rebellion? How about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising? Your argument amounts to revisionism and is a textbook case of demonizing the victims. Wishing you well, Dany.

Posted by fdxjettech on October 16, 2007 at 2:29 p.m.

I dont know about all that.....but Im sure I can figure out a way to blame all of this on Willie Herenton....;)

Posted by AmericanWoman on October 16, 2007 at 3:38 p.m.

I'm laughing at your post, fdxjettech :-)

1. First of all I want to apologize to "thinker", who is obviously a Turk writing from Turkey. Nobody has answered your posts. You bring up excellent questions and make sound statements. I wish the readers and posters would do some soul-searching when reading your posts. Unfortunately, there are many Americans who think the US is the center of the universe, for example, the committee's remarks about the US needing to reassert itself as the moral leader of the world. HA! How self righteous!!

2. Junkster, you wrote: Lastly, Turkish government has already recommended an international conference on this topic - turns out there is a significant number (in millions) of Turkish and Kurdish people slaughtered by the Armenian militia that sided with Russia during world war I.

I would recommend the further reading for anyone who is interested in the topic to read both sides of the story and understand that this was not about Muslim vs. Christians..."

Right on both counts!

3. Bebo17: Your analogies of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the American Revolution are meaningless; there is no comparison between any of the three!

I am not revising history nor am I demonizing victims. Here is some history:

"When the Russians and the Turks became enemies at war in 1914, the Armenians sided with the Russians. As soon as word spread that the Armenians were massacring Moslem Turks and Kurds and were setting up an Armenian government in Van, the Young Turks passed a law to disarm and deport them. This turned into the 1915-1916 migrations and massacres of Armenians, and was followed by counter-massacres of Muslims by Russo-Armenian forces occupying eastern Turkey n 1917-18."

Eleanor Bisbee, "The New Turks," University of Pennsylvania, 1951, p. 49

"I am informed, on good authority, that Russia is already commencing her usual intrigues among the Armenians of Asiatic Turkey. Russian agents are being sent into the provinces inhabited by them with the object of stirring up discontent against the rule and authority of the Porte. A Russian party is being formed in the capital amongst the Armenians, which already includes some leading and influential members of that community."
Sir Henry Layard, British Ambassador, in a July 14, 1878 message to British Foreign Secretary Lord Salisbury (British Foreign Office 424/72, pages 160-161, No 211)


"The aims of the revolutionary committees are to stir up general discontent and to get the Turkish government and people to react with violence, thus attracting the attention of the foreign powers to the imagined sufferings of the Armenian people, and getting them to act to correct the situation."

Graves, the British Consul in Erzurum, reporting to the British Ambassador in Istanbul, on January 28, 1895. British Blue Book, Nr. 6 (1894), pp. 222-223

Posted by bebo17 on October 16, 2007 at 5:51 p.m.

Dear Ms. Americanwoman:

Pr. Deborah Lipstadt is a proponent of the Armenian Genocide resolution. Surely you have heard of her. Here is what she has to say about the likes of you:

“… It is doubtful that we shall witness in the near future a plethora of instances of outright denial. But subtle, and consequently more dangerous, theories continue to appear. The course of this development and the nature of the theories, however pseudo-scientific they may be, must be fully examined.

We need not waste time or effort answering each and every one of the deniers' contentions. It would be a never-ending effort to respond to arguments posed by those who freely falsify findings, quote out of context and simply dismiss reams of testimony because it counters their arguments. Unlike true scholars they have little if any respect for data or evidence. Their commitment is to an ideology and their 'findings' are shaped by it.

However, there is a critical difference between debate and analysis. To debate them is to give their theory the imprimatur of a legitimate historical opinion. It is far better to analyze who these people are and what it is they are trying to accomplish. Above all, it is essential to expose the illusion of reasoned inquiry that conceals extremist views. It is only when society - particularly that portion of society committed to intellectual debate -comprehends the full import of this group's intentions that we can be sure that history will not be reshaped and recreated to fit a variety of pernicious ulterior motives.

Posted by bebo17 on October 16, 2007 at 5:53 p.m.

The speciousness of the deniers' arguments, rather than the arguments themselves, demands a response. The insidious way in which denial enters the mainstream debate - often disguised as relativism- must be fully exposed as it is crucial, ultimately, to an understanding of the deniers' influence. These are not simply arcane controversies between scholars or, in this case, pseudo-scholars. In the words of the historian Donald Kagan, the past and, more importantly, our perception of the past, have a powerful 'influence on the way we act in response to our problems today. What historians and others say happened and what they say it means. . .makes a great difference'. Relativists and deniers are well aware of this. It is not by chance that one of the fathers of American Holocaust denial, Harry Elmer Barnes, believed that history could serve as a 'means for a deliberate and conscious instrument of social transformation'.

History matters. Adolf Hitler's rise to power was facilitated by the artful way in which he advanced views of recent German history that appealed to the masses. It did not matter if it was a distorted view; it was one which appealed to many people and, more importantly, explained their current situation. David Duke has tried to modify his personal history as well as the history of the United States and his region. That which he has been unable to reshape, he and his followers have declared irrelevant. On the eve of the election for Governor of Louisiana, one of his supporters remarked in a television interview: 'What do his views on Jews and Blacks have to do with this election?' Though the interviewer did not respond, the answer was obvious: it was, simply put, 'everything'.

The deniers hope to achieve their goals by winning recognition as a legitimate scholarly cadre and by planting seeds of doubt in the younger generation. Only by recognizing the threat that denial poses to reason and the pursuit of truth, will we expose denial for what it truly is and ultimately refuse any shred of legitimacy to it and its purveyors.”

Deborah Lipstadt
Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs Inc. Briefing

No. 20 February, 1994.

Posted by AmericanWoman on October 16, 2007 at 8:40 p.m.

Perhaps Bebo and stavros should stop quoting others in long cut and pastes and think for themselves...you both are merely echoing other's opinions, like sheep...or lemmings...I could quote my grandmother's elementary school geography book which denies the existance of disosaurs...

Posted by jarrodsj on October 16, 2007 at 9:05 p.m.

I have to say Mr. Cohen is on the right side of this issue, though probably for the wrong reasons. He sides with opponents to the resolution mainly because of Turkey's Memphis In May stance next year. "I've got to factor in that I'm their host," Cohen says. Meanwhile the Democratic leadership, demonstrating why their approval ratings are at 11 percent, see this as a back-door route to thwarting our war efforts in Iraq, by disrupting the supply chain.

Pat Buchanan has a good background article on this too, entitled "Unfit For Command". An excerpt:

"That Armenian-Americans wish to have their holocaust recognized is understandable. But that Democrats could not put off that request -- for Congress to officially charge Turkey with genocide, 90 years ago -- is not.

For what was the necessity for the House to take this sensitive moment in U.S.-Turkish relations to rub our allies' noses in century-old sins by equating their fathers with Hitler and Himmler?"


Posted by jungster on October 16, 2007 at 11:24 p.m.

Read the article on this paper from Zack McMillan posted on Sunday, Oct 14th.


The same topic but with very different take on it. Contrary to folks who have "enlightened" themselves directly from 10,000 miles (read Armenian and Greek lobbyists) he has actually been there in person and lived there and experienced the outrage that all the Turks have poured in at the assassination of Hrant Dink - a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist -.

From the article:

Yet it is important to remember that Dink had also challenged Armenians from around the world to abandon their own hatred and intolerance.

"Do away with your fixation on hostility against Turks," he once wrote. "This is a poison."

What Dink sought most, according to his friends and colleagues, was to create dialogue and to open minds. When lawmakers in France introduced a bill that would make it a crime to deny that Turkey committed genocide against Armenians, Dink vowed to travel to France and be among the first to break the law.

Such a law, he said, "will be hurting not only the European Union, but Armenians across the world. It will also damage the normalizing of relations between Armenia and Turkey. What the peoples of these two countries need is dialogue, and all these laws do is harm such dialogue."

And final words think before you judge...

Posted by stop on October 16, 2007 at 11:53 p.m.

Zack's article was soooo sweet! He left out this little chestnut. This little warm 'n' fuzzy was known two full days before his article was published:

Istanbul Sisli court has sentenced the editor of Agos Turkish-Armenian newspaper, Arat Dink (Hrant Dink's son), and publisher Sargis Seropian to a year in prison. Arat Dink and Sargis Seropian stood trial under article 301 for “insulting Turkishness.”

Taking into account that Dink and Seropian are convicted for first time, the court postponed execution of the verdict, Turkish media reports.

Arat Dink and Sargis Seropian were accused for a re-publication of Hrant Dink’s interview where called to recognize the Armenian Genocide. “It’s absurd and dangerous that definition of a historical fact as Genocide is perceived as insulting Turkishness,” Hrant Dink said at his first trial in June 2007.

Hrant Dink was gunned down outside his newspaper premises in Istanbul on January 19, 2007 by Ogun Samast, 17.

Lovely people.

Posted by AmericanWoman on October 17, 2007 at 8:47 a.m.

Bebo..why are you cut and pasting an article about deniers of the Jewish Holocaust???
I do not deny the Holocaust.
You and others have not addressed the 2 quotes from above that I posted, which were written by the British living in Turkey AT THE TIME trouble was brewing. Please explain why these two men would write such things if they weren't true? I will post them here again for your convenience.
"I am informed, on good authority, that Russia is already commencing her usual intrigues among the Armenians of Asiatic Turkey. Russian agents are being sent into the provinces inhabited by them with the object of stirring up discontent against the rule and authority of the Porte. A Russian party is being formed in the capital amongst the Armenians, which already includes some leading and influential members of that community."
Sir Henry Layard, British Ambassador, in a July 14, 1878 message to British Foreign Secretary Lord Salisbury (British Foreign Office 424/72, pages 160-161, No 211)


"The aims of the revolutionary committees are to stir up general discontent and to get the Turkish government and people to react with violence, thus attracting the attention of the foreign powers to the imagined sufferings of the Armenian people, and getting them to act to correct the situation."

Graves, the British Consul in Erzurum, reporting to the British Ambassador in Istanbul, on January 28, 1895. British Blue Book, Nr. 6 (1894), pp. 222-223

Posted by ube on October 17, 2007 at 12:27 p.m.

I am German and live in Turkey for many years now. I think there is a consnsus in Turkey, that what happened was a genocide.

I also think though, that there is a consensus in Europe, and Turkey, that this resolution is an internal US American conflict that some Americans try to solve via foreign policy issues. Which is ugly and wrong.

Posted by AmericanWoman on October 17, 2007 at 2:18 p.m.

New York Times article - support for bill wanes:

Posted by stop on October 17, 2007 at 5:05 p.m.


Let's all rejoice and be proud of how we have backed down from intimidation from our so-called ally. Go have a jaegermeister and celebrate.

Posted by Trenches on October 17, 2007 at 6:16 p.m.

Hypocrisy needs to end now!

Armenians were siding with the Russians during the first world war. Doing their best to inflame ethnical hatred by killing Kurds. Kurds retaliated in kind. Area was in the brink of a civil war on top of the first world war. What were the Ottomans suppose to do?

Declare war on the villages who were supporting Armenian militia who was stabbing Turkish armies in the back. Ottomans in their history never directly executed coordinated mass attacks on civilians. They fought the enemy armies in the field or the leadership in the political courts. Armenians attempted to take advantage of the war to start a civil war that could have led to their independence. Like Balkan countries did before them. But regrettably(at least to them) it didn't go the way they planned, their pals Russians had a revolution and we won at Gallipoli (By the way Ottomans did not even have the resources to treat their own wounded and sick we lost almost as much troops to these factors both in Gallipoli front and the Russian front ( a whole ill equipped army died from the cold). What was the Ottoman solution was it Jewish ghettos, pogroms, gulags, or pales? No with the resources avaliable ARMENIAN population who was helping the enemy was relocated. Many of their numbers died during the march but we lost hundreds of thousands of our people to the First World War and the independence war that followed it.

What needs to be done is to redefine the term Genocide. It's only a political token used by the west whenever it suits their needs nothing more. Just think of Bremen and Tokyo fire bombings. Those are deliberate acts of targeting civilians to break enemy morale. So is the 10 year embargo on Iraq costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

My suggestion is for you to urge the western nations to look within before looking out. If we go through the history of the empire states when compared western empires Ottomans are practically innocent.

Also why do you think a whole nation is still after 75 years fighting tooth and nail to prove that the events the western victors of the wars are claiming to be genocide are in reality end result of a direct engagement of Armenians in war against the Ottomans.

Non-binding excuse is not going to stick because the ethnical paranoia and fears instilled in Turks who lived with others peacefully for centuries was violently severed by the same empire states that are trying to include a once glorious empire in their list of malicious evil doers.

Posted by stop on October 17, 2007 at 7:25 p.m.

Interesting view of history, trenchmouth. The International Association of Genocide Scholars would disagree with your take. Look 'em up.

Posted by stop on October 17, 2007 at 7:59 p.m.

Recognize Armenian Genocide
Taylor Alfonso
Issue date: 10/17/07 Section: Opinion

Most people have accepted that politics and politicians are corrupt. But just for kicks, here is another example of continued injustice and lack of morals in our government.

According to an article published in the October 11 edition of The Los Angeles Times,
President George W. Bush, eight Democrats and 13 Republicans oppose a House bill calling for the U.S. to recognize the mass murders of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

From 1915-1917, the Ottoman Empire committed deplorable, horrendous acts against the Armenians, a minority population in the Empire. They were not considered minorities because there were few in the population, but due to their religion.

Aside from various acts such as mass rape, the use of concentration camps, deportation, confiscation of property and murder, it is widely accepted that the Ottoman Empire's goal was to terminate the Armenian race.

In "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Respon-
sibility," Taner Akcam, a historian teaching at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide
Studies at the University of Minnesota, argues that the genocide occurred as a response to the Ottoman's fear of losing their power.

The Empire focused its vengeance on the Armenians whom they considered a threat.
Akcam states that the Ottoman Empire sought a "deliberate extermination" of the Armenians. He cites that the Ottoman Interior Ministry's goal was to keep the Armenian population between five or 10 percent of the Empire's population.

Thankfully, the measure passed in the House, but it must still be passed in the Senate.

It is disturbing that there is opposition to the bill at all. According to the Los Angeles Times article, Bush and those opposing the bill are fearful of losing their ally, Turkey.

If the bill is passed, the U.S. airbase in Turkey may be threatened. "Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror," said Bush.

It's not just Bush who has opposed a bill like this. Former-President Bill Clinton also aggressively advised against a genocide resolution when he was in office in 2000.
Understandably, the government wants to keep its allies and keep its air bases secure.

But how horrible must our situation in the Middle East be if our government is scared to officially recognize that there was genocide in 1915. Even in 2007 genocide still exists-it's happening in Darfur.

This resolution must be accepted by our government in order to let other countries know that the extermination of races is unacceptable.

It's not as if government officials don't agree that genocide occurred, there is overwhelming evidence proving it, but they will not recognize it. What's worse, losing air bases in Turkey, or ignoring genocide?

Posted by kbell58 on October 17, 2007 at 8:46 p.m.

So now people are denying the Ottoman Empire (Muslims) tried to exterminate the Armenians (Orthodox Christians)??? According to my family history - my great grandmother fled her country, Armenia, to escape certain death. You can try to revise history all you want but people lived it and past the stories down.

We are cowering down to the pressure from the Muslim world. Turkey will attack the Kurds whether we pass this resolution or not. As soon as our back is turned on Iraq, Turkey will invade.

Posted by kbell58 on October 17, 2007 at 8:59 p.m.

From the AP:

Turkey authorizes possible raid into Iraq:


Our backs aren't even turned yet!

Posted by stop on October 17, 2007 at 11:17 p.m.

To Trenchmouth, thinker, Americanwoman, jarrodsj, jungster and all those falling all over themselves to defend our friend, Turkey:


Modern Turkey may not have done it, but they deny it. Ask them about whether these photo ops are real at Sunset Symphony.

Posted by jarrodsj on October 18, 2007 at 3:44 a.m.

GOP Moves to Label Roman Empire Genocidal

(2007-10-12) — In the midst of a push by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, to pass a resolution labeling the Ottoman (Turk) Empire genocidal for the death of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, House Republicans have introduced a bill condemning the Roman Empire for “the wholesale slaughter and domination of most of the known world from about 41 B.C. to 476 A.D.”

Rep. Pelosi, who often refers to her Italian heritage, called the GOP move “nothing short of a hate crime” and “a cynical effort by Republicans to overshadow what could be the first significant accomplishment of the Democrat Congressional majority.”

“The resolution to label the Armenians as victims of a Turkish genocide,” Rep. Pelosi said, “is not meant to antagonize one of our few allies in the middle east, and thus hamper U.S. efforts in Iraq, but is a genuine effort to hold accountable the long-dead perpetrators of this crime. We’re simply doing retroactively what the United Nations would have done if it had existed at the time.”

The Speaker said if the resolution passes, Democrats plan to push for sanctions against the Ottoman Empire, including a ban on sales of cavalry horses, Sopwith Camel fighter biplanes and Zeppelins.


Posted by stop on October 18, 2007 at 5:44 a.m.


Some of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide are still alive. You are poking fun at the genocide of 1.5 million Christian people.

Posted by stop on October 18, 2007 at 9:24 p.m.

To CA: I flagged jarrodsj's post for poking fun at genocide survivors and his post is still present. Please remove asap as this is indecent.

Posted by jarrodsj on October 19, 2007 at 1:27 a.m.


Ever heard of satire, you humorless pedagogue?

This particual satire pokes fun at the Democrats, not Armenians, which you would instantly recognize if you weren't so obsessed with convincing yourself that those that disagree with you are arguing whether the genocide took place, rather than the political consequences of passing this ill-timed resolution.

Posted by bebo17 on October 19, 2007 at 1:29 a.m.

Dear Americanwoman, you are free to deny any genocide. You are also free to celebrate along with David Irving the withdrawal of this bill. There will only be one major genocide left to deny after this one. Give it approx. 20 more years when there are no more Shoah survivors left. You can expect similar quotes as the ones you have posted, but they will be about Jews. For all I know you might be the one posting them. The David Irvings of the world will love you for it.

Posted by jarrodsj on October 19, 2007 at 1:33 a.m.

"Even Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch of the Armenian community in Turkey, has stated that his community is opposed to the resolution, correctly calling it the result of domestic American politics."


"Indeed, the Democratic Party she's [Pelosi] leading in the House has been trying for months to force a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq that could very well lead to genocidal civil war. This prospect has apparently not deterred her in the least."

(from another excellent Charles Krauthammer column...)


Posted by bebo17 on October 19, 2007 at 3:10 a.m.

jarrodsj, of course Mutafyan is opposed to the resolution. He would not be alive if he supported it. The last time an Armenian uttered a word about the Armenian genocide in Turkey he got executed point blank. But of course you've never heard of Hrant Dink, have you?

Contrary to how the media is portraying it, this resolution is not about Bush, Republicans, Democrats, etc.

This resolution is not about the war or our troops or Kurds or Jews or Israel, although that's how Turkey is trying to portray it. Turks have hired the top PR firms and lobbying groups to sway us into voting our fears instead of our convictions.

This resolution is about STANDING UP to genociders and genocide denial.

And there is never a bad time to stand up to genocide. Any genocide. Ever.

No one is trying to hurt Turks or Turkey or relations between Turkey and its allies. But we have the responsibility to stand up to genocide and genocide denial. Or else we've learned nothing.

Congressman Cohen wants to tie this issue with our biggest fears. He wants to keep you fearful about developments in the Middle East so that he can have 'Carte Blanche' to vote his real agenda. This is exactly what the Neocons did. This is exactly the same strategy. They tied 9/11 to Iraq, then they talked about WMDs and got us into this war, and they keep spinning the wheel ever since. Cohen's tactics are the same -- he wants us to vote our fears instead of our convictions. He's throwing our values to the wind.

Whatever happened to America??? Whatever happened to standing up for our values??? for standing up to blackmail???

We are guaranteed to lose the war - any war - with such cowering, duplicitous politicking.

Posted by bebo17 on October 19, 2007 at 3:50 a.m.

Read about the nasty lobbying efforts behind Cohen, Tanner, Murtha & Waxler.

October 17, 2007

An Ex-Leader in Congress Is Now Turkey’s Man in the Lobbies of Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 — Since leaving Capitol Hill in 1999, former Representative Robert L. Livingston has been the main lobbyist for Turkey in blocking Congressional efforts to pass an Armenian genocide resolution.

After succeeding twice before — and collecting more than $12 million in fees for his firm, the Livingston Group — he is pushing once again for his client.

In recent months, Mr. Livingston, a Louisiana Republican who was once speaker-designate of the House, has consulted with Vice President Dick Cheney and with Karl Rove, when he was still the top White House political strategist. He escorted Turkish dignitaries to Capitol Hill to warn that the resolution threatened to destroy a strong Iraq war alliance.

He made a phone call that helped persuade a Louisiana member to change his position and got other Republicans to remove their names from a growing list of co-sponsors. And he courted a powerful Democrat, Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, who earlier this year asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat, not to bring the measure up for a House vote.

Mr. Livingston has also showered money on House and Senate members, the National Republican Congressional Committee and other political causes. He and his firm gave more than $200,000 in campaign donations in the last election cycle, records show.

Posted by bebo17 on October 19, 2007 at 3:54 a.m.

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a nonbinding resolution condemning as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915. Ms. Pelosi, a strong supporter, promised Sunday to bring the matter up for a floor vote before Congress recesses in mid-November.

But this week, a surge of defections by members who backed the resolution showed that Mr. Livingston’s high-powered effort was gaining momentum.

As Turkey reacted angrily to the House committee action in the last few days, members began responding to arguments that the resolution posed a national security threat. Those arguments were put forth by the Bush administration, Mr. Livingston and another prominent lobbyist, Richard A. Gephardt, of Missouri, the former House majority leader and a Democrat.

The issue has pitted Turkey’s money and high-placed connections against a persistent and emotional campaign by Armenian-American citizens’ groups.

“The Turks have done everything they possibly could,” said former Representative Stephen J. Solarz, whose firm got $165,000 this summer lobbying for Turkey under an arrangement with Mr. Livingston. Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, a resolution sponsor, called Turkey’s lobbying “the most intense I’ve ever seen.”

Both Mr. Livingston, who opposed a genocide resolution while in Congress, and Mr. Gephardt declined to discuss their work for Turkey, referring questions to the Turkish Embassy.

But records filed at the Justice Department show Turkish expenditures since August 2006 of about $3.2 million for lobbyists and public relations firms. In Mr. Livingston’s case, the reports offer details of his lobbying efforts.

Mr. Gephardt, a senior counsel at the law firm of DLA Piper who retired from Congress in 2005, began working for Turkey in March under a yearlong contract worth $1.2 million. He has been criticized by Armenian-Americans because he previously supported Armenia and co-sponsored an earlier genocide resolution.

Mr. Gephardt now has concerns related to national security, said Michael Messman, a lobbying colleague of Mr. Gephardt.

Posted by bebo17 on October 19, 2007 at 3:55 a.m.

urkey has never mustered the intense grass-roots support in the United States that has been Armenia’s strength, with constituents pressing lawmakers to back the measure. Records show that Armenia has spent far less money on lobbying. Its largest expenditure went to the public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller, which earned about $300,000 from August 2006 to April 2007.

After Mr. Livingston resigned from the House in 1999 amid disclosures about an extramarital affair, Turkey retained the Livingston Group, his new bipartisan firm. It has built a large foreign practice, representing among others the governments of Azerbaijan, the Congo Republic and the Cayman Islands. More than a quarter of the firm’s income, which has totaled more than $71 million, has come from foreign clients, records show.

Mr. Livingston earned Turkey’s gratitude by helping stop two resolutions in 2000 and 2004. When Democrats took control of the House last year, Turkey continued to rely on him as its principal lobbyist, though it eventually brought in Mr. Gephardt’s firm. Reports on Mr. Gephardt’s activities have not been filed.

Mr. Livingston contacted Mr. Rove on Nov. 28, 2006, just after a Livingston Group lobbyist attended a weekend retreat at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia for key Congressional supporters of Turkey. In January, Mr. Livingston talked with a Cheney aide and prepared for Capitol Hill visits by Ambassador Nabi Sensoy of Turkey and other officials.

Posted by bebo17 on October 19, 2007 at 3:56 a.m.

Mr. Schiff, the California Democrat, introduced the resolution on Jan. 30, with 160 co-sponsors.

The next day, the records show, Mr. Livingston called Representative Bobby Jindal, Republican of Louisiana, a backer. Mr. Jindal promptly withdrew his name.

In December 2006, Mr. Livingston and an associate contributed $10,000 to Mr. Jindal’s campaign for governor of Louisiana. Mr. Jindal’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Livingston’s courtship of Mr. Murtha began in February. After a meeting with Mr. Livingston and another lobbyist from the firm, Mr. Murtha was among a group of members who met with Mr. Livingston, Mr. Sensoy and the Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gul. Long opposed to a genocide resolution, Mr. Murtha wrote Ms. Pelosi on Feb. 8 asking her not to allow a floor vote.

Mr. Livingston contributed $3,000 to Mr. Murtha’s campaign in February. A Murtha aide said the contribution reflects support for his record on the issue.

On April 24, the annual observance of the Armenian genocide, President Bush made a brief tribute to the dead, avoiding the term genocide. In Congress, attention focused on the Iraq war.

The resolution soon rebounded. Mr. Livingston made a concerted, though unsuccessful, effort to win over Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California, a Holocaust survivor and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Lantos had opposed a similar resolution in 2000.

Mr. Livingston took Turkish officials to meet Mr. Lantos, then met with him again on May 18. A Livingston associate gave $500 to his campaign in March.

Mr. Livingston met with Mr. Cheney on May 4, and an associate consulted a Cheney aide four times from July 10 to July 20.

Mr. Livingston continued to push lawmakers to change their positions. Representative Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, signed up as a co-sponsor on June 26, then changed his mind two days later after a call from the lobbyist.

Representative Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, withdrew his support on June 27 after meeting with Mr. Livingston, Mr. Jindal and a member of the Turkish Parliament.

Mr. Livingston’s logs end at July 31. His firm will file another report detailing activities up to and including the House committee vote in favor of the resolution. Since then, a Republican and a group of Democrats have dropped their backing.

Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.

Posted by Trenches on October 19, 2007 at 11:51 a.m.

Bebo17 come at us with subjective history at least. Pasting current articles in the media does not help your cause.

Google something similar to this please;


Source: http://www.CommercialAppeal.com Memphis Online


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