Action Alert; violence threatens Armenian Genocide Monument in Netherlands (3/3/00)

Please find below:

(1) A letter by the American Hellenic Media Project (AHMP) concerning efforts to stop the dedication of an Armenian Genocide Memorial in the Netherlands;

(2) Press release, protest form letter, and contact information regarding the Memorial from the Armenian National Committee, European Delegation.

(Recipients of this e-mail are strongly urged to e-mail their concerns to the contact information below)


To the Honorable Mrs. D. Van As-Kleijwegt:

We applaud your municipality's decision to construct a memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Yet we are disturbed to hear that pressure from the Turkish Government and threats of violence to destroy the memorial have led to statements questioning the fact that the Armenian Genocide was in fact a genocide.

As well-stated by Stanley Cohen, Professor of Criminology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem:

"The nearest successful example [of "collective denial"] in the modern era is the 80 years of official denial by successive Turkish governments of the 1915-17 genocide against the Armenians in which some 1.5 million people lost their lives. This denial has been sustained by deliberate propaganda, lying and coverups, forging documents, suppression of archives, and bribing scholars. The West, especially the United States, has colluded by not referring to the massacres in the United Nations, ignoring memorial ceremonies, and surrendering to Turkish pressure in NATO and other strategic arenas of cooperation." -- Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 20, No. 1, Winter 1995, pp. 7-50.

The systematic extermination of Asia Minor's ancient Armenian population by the Turkish state is not only one of our century's imponderable evils but a historical fact.

The Armenian Genocide was the most dramatic human rights issue of its time and was reported regularly in newspapers across the United States. It has been abundantly documented by Ottoman court-martial records, by hundreds of thousands of documents in the archives of the United States and other nations around the world, by eyewitness reports of missionaries and diplomats, by the testimony of survivors, and by eight decades of historical scholarship. The United Nations, the European Parliament, the Association of Genocide Scholars, the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem), and the Institute for the Study of Genocide (New York) have unequivocally reaffirmed that the extermination of the Armenians by the Turkish government was a genocide.

When Raphael Lemkin coined the word genocide in 1944, he cited the 1915 annihilation of the Armenians as a seminal example of this, humanity's most inhuman act.

Giving in to pressure to cover up or deny our century's first Genocide due to political reasons or threats would undermine the very purpose of the memorial and would insult the memories of these more than one million victims, as well as constitute yet another victory for both the perpetrators and the deniers of past and future genocides.

Remembering the Genocide should not be viewed as a hostile act to Turkey despite the enormous resistance and culture of denial encountered by those trying to do so. Such a commemoration should be viewed as an act ultimately of friendship and guidance, as a seed of progress towards a Turkish state that may in time come to recognize and reconcile itself with this horrific chapter of its history, a reconciliation that will enable it to mature ethically and politically, and finally enable it to be genuinely welcomed into the fold of civilized nations.

Whether Armenian, Turk, Rwandan, Greek, Christian, Muslim, Jew -- in the name of all of humanity we ask you to stand fast to your convictions and declare openly and unequivocally that the memorial you are constructing is in commemoration of the terrible and tragic reality that was the Armenian Genocide.


P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq. Executive Director
American Hellenic Media Project
PO Box 1150
New York, NY 10028-0008

The American Hellenic Media Project is a non-profit organization created to address false historical revisionism and genocide denial in the media and the academic community regarding Armenian, Hellenic, Eastern Christian, Balkan and other histories.


15 Rue du 24 avril 1915
69150 Décines - Charpieu
Tel: 33 4 78 49 42 97
Fax 33 4 78 49 90 42

Lyon 22 February 2000
Press release


Grey Wolves Threaten to Destroy the Monument

In the wake of and intense round of political pressure from Turkish diplomats in the Netherlands, and fueled by growing anti-Armenian rhetoric from the Turkish government, the "Grey Wolves," a Turkish right-wing and racist organisation, has threatened to destroy an Armenian Genocide memorial recently approved by the Assen municipality in the Netherlands.

A group linked to the Grey Wolves demonstrated recently in front of the Assen town hall, demanding that the municipal authorities rescind their authorization for the construction of the memorial. The group announced publicly, and for the record, that if the construction of the monument goes forward that they will destroy the memorial upon its completion.

The February 18th issue of the newspaper De Drents Courant reported that:

"Turks in Assen have threatened to destroy the Armenian stone crucifix monument, once it is in place. The Turkish ambassador as stated that the monument could damage the relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands."

Apparently, under these threats of violence, the Assen municipality's official responsible for city monuments has declared that the city had authorized a monument commemorating Armenian deaths between 1910 and 1920, not necessarily a memorial indicating municipal recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The European Delegation of the Armenian National Committee urges all organizations and individuals who stand for human rights and against the denial of genocide to support the monument project in Assen. Specifically, the ANC-EU urges these groups and human rights advocates to write to Assen's Mayor, Mrs D. Van As Kleijwegt, and encourage her not to give in to Turkish pressure and to ensure that the word "GENOCIDE" remains on the memorial.

Send your messages to:

-Mrs D. Van As - Kleijwegt
Mayor of City
Postbus 30018
9400 RA ASSEN - The Netherlands
TEL. 31 592 366 911 FAX. 31 592 366 595
E-Mail :

City official in charge of monuments
9405 LA ASSEN - The Netherlands
TEL. 31 592 366 911 FAX. 31 592 366 595
E-Mail :

Sample text:

Dear _____________:

I am writing to encourage you to take a stand against the denial of crimes against humanity by ensuring that the Assen memorial clearly identifies the crime of genocide committed against the Armenian people.

As a believer in human rights, I respectfully urge you to resist the shameful efforts of the Turkish government to pressure your municipality into denying the historical truth and the suffering of an ancient nation.

I am sure that you agree that Turkey - which has among the world's worst human rights records and imprisons more journalists than any other country - is in no position to lecture either you or the good people of Assen about human rights and tolerance.

Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.


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