U.S. ARMENIANS RAMP UP CALLS FOR TURKEY TO MAKE REPARATIONS
By Alex Dobuzinskis, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Daily News, CA
May 1 2006

Demanding justice for a 1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire,
Armenian-Americans in April protested and held vigils to call for an
end to mass murder.

Tied to those actions was the demand for an apology from the Turkish
government, which denies a genocide occurred. Protesters renewed those
calls throughout the month, but a simple apology for the deaths of
an estimated 1.5 million people wouldn't be enough for many in the
Armenian community.

They want land and reparations, demands Turkey has ignored.

"Just admitting to the crime would only be half the equation," said
Zanku Armenian, spokesman for the Armenian National Committee of
America's western region. "When there's a crime, there has to be a
consequence to it in order to deter future such crimes."

Armenians lived in what is now eastern Turkey for centuries before
being driven out in 1915, so they expect Turkey to transfer some of
that land to neighboring Armenia.

Taking a cue from Germany's payment of more than $60 billion to Jewish
Holocaust survivors, Armenians say Turkey should pay reparations, too.

Turkish officials show no signs of bowing to the demands.

"Did the American government officially pay billions of dollars as
reparations to the Indians?" said Engin Ansay, Turkey's consul general
to Los Angeles.

Armenia and Turkey should be trading goods, not barbs, Ansay said.

"If we have a dialogue with the Armenians and we normalize the
relations, the borders are open and the Armenians have access to
the Turkish ports, they will make at least $2 billion a year," Ansay
said. "So in 10 years they make $20 billion out of it. ... That is
so much more than any reparation amount."

At an annual protest last Monday in front of the Turkish consulate
in Los Angeles, the crowd of about 3,000 demonstrators didn't support
more trade with Turkey.

In fact, they carried signs calling for a boycott of Turkish goods.

One protester carried a sign that read "Ararat Belongs to Armenia,"
referring to a mountain with religious and national significance to
Armenians that is visible from Armenia's capital city but sits just
beyond the border - in Turkey.

Glendale school board member Greg Krikorian, who is of Armenian
descent and stood with the protesters, echoed the demand.

"We've been walking (in demonstrations) for years, from Los Angeles
to New York to Detroit to Boston to Washington, D.C.," he said. "We
not only want recognition of the genocide, we demand Mount Ararat
back and our homeland back."

For Jews, accepting reparations from Germany proved controversial
for years, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon
Wiesenthal Center. Some Holocaust survivors considered the payments
"blood money" and refused to take them, but payments were a help to
others, he said.

"There's no question that part of the price tag of, if you will,
the re-emergence of Germany into the family of nations is they had
to find a way for reparations and restitutions to the survivors."

Many Armenian-Americans expect the same from Turkey.

"The loss is irreparable. It's a destruction of an entire nation and
all its cultural and material possessions on the land on which it had
lived for 3,000 years, and I don't think you can put a price on that,"
said Richard Hovannisian, a professor at University of California, Los
Angeles, and chairman of modern Armenian history at the school. "What
I do believe is that there have to be certain acts of contrition and
restitution on the Turkish side."

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress