Toronto Star, Canada
May 9 2006

Turkey recalls envoy to Ottawa
Angered at PM's Armenia remarks

But Egoyan lauds stand on genocide
May 9, 2006. 01:00 AM
GRAHAM FRASER
NATIONAL AFFAIRS WRITER


OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's decision to acknowledge and condemn the
Armenian genocide has been criticized by Turkey, which recalled its
ambassador to Canada in protest.

But it was saluted as courageous by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan.

Egoyan suggested the Conservative government has been able to take a
"surgical" decision on the issue because it was not encumbered by the
same international relationships as the previous Liberal government,
Egoyan told the Toronto Star.

"I think the opening of the Air-India inquiry is also a very
courageous decision, to make clear that any crime against humanity
will be dealt with, and not be forgotten," he said. "Strangely,
because the new government isn't burdened with allegiances, it's able
to move on these matters with a greater degree of expediency."

On April 19, Harper issued a statement on the day of commemoration of
Armenian genocide, extending his greetings to those who mark what he
called "this sombre anniversary of the Medz Yeghern," the Armenian
term for losses suffered at the hands of the Turks in 1915.

The decision by Harper is the latest in a series of changes in
Canadian foreign policy from that of the previous Liberal government,
after cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority, and labelling the
Tamil Tigers a terrorist organization.

Egoyan's 2002 film Ararat focuses on the killings that occurred in
1915, events that Turkey has always refused to acknowledge. The film
won five Genie awards.

Egoyan, who is of Armenian origin, was responding to the fact that
Turkish Ambassador Aydenir Erman is back in Ankara for consultations,
as the Turkish government ponders how to respond to Harper's
acknowledgement and condemnation of the Armenian genocide.

"There was a statement by the Prime Minister lending some support to
the Armenian claims of genocide," Turkish Embassy counsellor Yonet
Tozel told the Star yesterday. "We are taking all claims of genocide
very seriously. The ambassador is in Ankara right now, taking part in
meetings."

The Turkish ambassador to France has also been recalled for
consultations caused by the debate in the French National Assembly
that will make it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide.

In 2004, the House of Commons passed a motion acknowledging the
Armenian genocide and condemning it as a crime against humanity.
However, the Liberal government stressed it was not bound by the vote.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress