Frankfurter Allgemeine, Germany
Feb 11 2005

Reference to genocide to be added
State retracts decision to eliminate notation

11. Februar 2005 F.A.Z. Weekly. The eastern state of Brandenburg has
withdrawn its decision to remove a passage in a history lesson that
refers to the killings of more than 1 million Armenians by the Turks
in the early 20th century.

The state's premier, Matthias Platzeck, made the announcement on
Tuesday after he met with Armenian representatives in the state
capital of Potsdam. Beginning next school year, the history lesson
for the ninth and 10th grade will once again include a reference to
the killings, but it will also contain other examples of genocide.
Previously, the killings of the Armenians were listed as the only

In explaining the latest decision, Platzeck said it would be wrong to
list just one example of genocide. The view was shared by the state's
education minister, Holger Rupprecht. In a newspaper last week,
Rupprecht defended the decision. "The reference was removed because I
and the premier consider it to be a mistake to list Armenia as the
sole example of such a controversial subject."

The issue is an extremely sensitive one between Armenians and Turks.
Armenians say 1.5 million people were killed between 1915 and 1923 as
part of the Ottoman Empire's campaign to push them from eastern
Turkey. Turkey maintains the Armenians were killed as the empire
fought civil unrest.

As a result, the Social Democrat Platzeck faced pressure from both
the Armenian and the Turkish representatives. The first change was
announced in late January two weeks after Turkish General Counsel
Aydin Durusay raised the issue.

The decision set off a wave of criticism from parties in the state,
including at least one member of the Social Democrats, who demanded
that Platzeck reverse the decision. Sven Petke, the general secretary
of the Christian Democrats in Brandenburg, said the removal of the
passage had hurt the state's reputation. "It was not the reference to
the genocide on the Armenians that communicated a wrong image. It was
the unjustified removal," Petke said.

Armenians joined the criticism as well. This protest resulted in
Tuesday's meeting, which was attended by the Armenian Ambassador
Karine Kazinian. Kazinian expressed her satisfaction with the change.
"The key issue is that that genocide and everything associated with
the things that happened then will be discussed clearly," she said.

Platzeck denied previous reports that he had bowed to Turkish
pressure and noted that discussions with the Education Ministry had
been conducted months ago.
Brandenburg is the first of Germany's 16 states to use a textbook
that discusses the subject of genocide in the 20th century.