Israel Charny (Israel)
Gregory H. Stanton (
Linda Melvern (
Steven Jacobs (USA)
June 13, 2005
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
FAX: 90 312 417 0476
Dear Prime Minister Erdogan:
We are writing you this open letter in response
to your call for an “impartial study by historians” concerning the fate of the Armenian
people in the
We represent the major body of scholars
who study genocide
On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens – an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. The rest of the Armenian population fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years.
The Armenian Genocide was the most
well-known human rights issue of its time and was reported regularly in
newspapers across the United States and Europe. The Armenian Genocide is
abundantly documented by thousands of official records of the
The Armenian Genocide is corroborated by the international scholarly, legal, and human rights community:
1) Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined the term genocide in 1944, cited the Turkish extermination of the Armenians and the Nazi extermination of the Jews as defining examples of what he meant by genocide.
2) The killings of the Armenians is genocide as defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
3) In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, an organization of the world’s foremost experts on genocide, unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.
4) 126 leading scholars of the Holocaust including Elie Wiesel and Yehuda Bauer placed a statement in the New York Times in June 2000 declaring the “incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide” and urging western democracies to acknowledge it.
5) The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (
6) Leading texts in the international law of genocide such as William A. Schabas’s Genocide in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000) cite the Armenian Genocide as a precursor to the Holocaust and as a precedent for the law on crimes against humanity.
We note that there may be differing interpretations of genocide—how and why the Armenian Genocide happened, but to deny its factual and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims, and erase the ethical meaning of this history.
would also note that scholars who advise your government and who are affiliated
in other ways with your state-controlled institutions are not impartial. Such so-called
“scholars” work to serve the agenda of
historical and moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish
Parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide. In preventing a conference on
the Armenian Genocide from taking place at
We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and equal participants in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust.
Approved Unanimously at the Sixth biennial meeting of
THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GENOCIDE SCHOLARS (IAGS)
June 7, 2005, Boca Raton, Florida
Contacts: Israel Charny, IAGS President; Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide, 972-2-672-0424; firstname.lastname@example.org
Gregory H. Stanton, IAGS Vice President; President, Genocide Watch, James Farmer Visiting Professor of Human Rights, University of Mary Washington; 703-448-0222; email@example.com