May 15, 2000
To the Editor:
Stephen Kinzer deserves praise for overcoming his paper’s reluctance to lend credence to the 1915-1918 genocide of 1.5 million Armenians (“Turkish Region Recalls Massacre of Armenians”, May 10).
However, given the overwhelming documentary evidence on this terrible chapter of Turkish history, Mr. Kinzer and the Times’ continued unwillingness to acknowledge that a premeditated genocide did occur casts a dark shadow on the credibility and reputation of both.
Turkey has made an industry of denying its responsibility for what is widely recognized as the first genocide of the 20th Century through “deliberate propaganda, lying and coverups, forging documents, suppression of archives, and bribing scholars” -- as was stated by Hebrew University Criminology Professor Stanley Cohen.
On April 24th, marking the Genocide’s 85th anniversary, Israeli Education Minister Yossi Sarid announced that the Armenian Genocide will be studied in his country's schools alongside the Holocaust. Jerusalem's Holocaust Memorial officially welcomed Sarid's announcement, recognizing that the Genocide could only aid in teaching about the atrocities suffered by Jews in World War II.
As Mr. Kinzer noted, Turkey continues to deny the fact of the Armenian Genocide to avoid reparations like those paid by Germany to Holocaust survivors and their families. Yet he neglected to mention a closely related reason why Turkey is so averse to owning up to its dark past. Along with Armenians, Turkey would have to compensate a long list of other groups as well; Assyrians, Kurds, Cypriots, Pontian Greeks and others have all suffered premeditated genocides or violent ethnic cleansing campaigns at the hands of the Turkish state in this century.
Matthew J. Stowell
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 inaccuracy and bias in the media and encourage independent, ethical and responsible journalism.