Today's Zaman, Turkey
May 8 2013


Turkey denounced on Wednesday the passage of a motion in the
parliament of New South Wales, Australia that acknowledges Armenian,
Syriac and Greek genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

The New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Council, the upper house of
parliament, passed a motion recognizing the alleged Syriac and Greek
genocides and reaffirming a 1998 motion recognizing Armenian genocide
claims on May 1. The lower house, the Legislative Assembly, passed a
similar motion on Wednesday.

Referring to last week's motion, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in
a statement that Turkey harshly condemns the measure, which it said
has no basis in reality.

The statement noted that the motion was accepted in a group meeting
that did not involve all members of parliament. `This is enough to say
that the Legislative Council passed the law in a very unserious and
unreliable environment, which is, in fact, a very sensitive issue,'
the statement notes.

While in 1997, the NSW Assembly passed a motion recognizing the
genocide of the Armenians, on Wednesday, May 1, the Legislative
Council recognized that from 1914 to 1923, Greeks and Syriacs were
subjected to qualitatively similar genocides by the Ottoman

The Foreign Ministry's statement says that a decision that relies on
prejudices was accepted under the pressure of extremist ethnic lobbies
and adds that history won't be rewritten by this law.

The NSW Legislative Assembly recognized the Armenian genocide claims
in a unanimous motion in 1997, which was followed by a motion in the
Legislative Council in 1998.

The motion passed last week recalls that the Armenian "genocide" was
already recognized and says that the upper house now recognizes that
"Assyrians and Greeks were subjected to qualitatively similar
genocides by the then Ottoman Government between 1914 - 1923."

Syriacs are an ethnic community with members who sometimes also refer
to themselves as Assyrians or Arameans.

`The ties between Turkey and Australia have a strong background, based
on robust friendship dating back to the Çanakkale battle and will not
be affected by a motion that has been accepted under pressure. However
the negative reflections are also inescapable,' the Foreign Ministry
statement says, announcing that `the people who are involved in these
attempts cannot come to Turkey and be involved in the Çanakkale
ceremonies.' The statement also says Turkey expects Australian
authorities to take serious measures to eliminate hate speech towards
Turks and Turkish identity, which is unacceptable by Ankara, in due