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ANKARA: Deputy Raises Eyebrows With ICJ Proposal

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  • ANKARA: Deputy Raises Eyebrows With ICJ Proposal


    Today's Zaman
    Jan 31 2008

    Veteran Turkish diplomat Þukru Elekdað has said Ankara and Paris
    could jointly take an almost decade-old French parliamentary decision
    recognizing the controversial World War I-era killings of Anatolian
    Armenians as genocide before the International Court of Justice
    (ICJ) in order to determine whether the century-old incidents can
    be accurately categorized as acts of genocide according to a related
    UN convention.

    The controversial decision bluntly stating that "France publicly
    recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915" was made in January 2001,
    leading Ankara to launch strong protests of Paris, including the
    cancellation of a number of major projects with actual or potential
    French involvement.

    In October 2006 the French parliament approved a bill that made it
    a crime to deny that the Ottoman Turks committed "genocide" against
    Anatolian Armenians during World War I, despite Ankara's protests
    and a warning that this would "poison" the deeply rooted relations
    between the two countries. Later in the year, the Turkish military
    announced that its ties with France had been suspended after the
    French legislature's approval of the so-called genocide bill.

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Elekdað's
    proposal presented in Paris following talks at the French parliament
    as part of a Turkish parliamentary delegation has so far never been
    voiced as an official stance by Ankara. Foreign Ministry officials
    approached by Today's Zaman briefly stated yesterday that this
    should be considered a personal view of Elekdað, who was formerly an
    ambassador to the United States.

    "We can go to the ICJ with France and ask whether the law adopted
    in France in 2001 is in compliance with the agreement in 1948 and
    whether the 1915 incidents constitute genocide," Elekdað was quoted as
    saying by the Anatolia news agency, in an apparent reference to the
    1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
    Genocide. He noted that the delegation shared this view with French
    lawmakers during their talks.

    Head of the Turkish delegation Yaþar Yakýþ, a former foreign minister
    and chairman of Parliament's European Union harmonization commission,
    said Turkey has no official policy on taking the Armenian issue to
    the ICJ. He, however, added that certain studies on the issue have
    been conducted at the Foreign Ministry.

    Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered
    in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.

    Turkey categorically rejects these claims, saying that 300,000
    Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife
    that emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in
    eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops who were invading
    Ottoman territory.

    --Boundary_(ID_aIG0BfaXb/3PXX+mn6o5qA) --