Thursday, April 22, 2004

And now, here we go...

Turkey has reponded yesterday's parliamentary vote to recognize the Armenian genocide.

Turkey condemns Canada's Armenian genocide vote

OTTAWA - Turkey condemned as "narrow-minded" the decision by Canada's House of Commons to recognize as genocide the mass killing of Armenians during the First World War.

"Some narrow-minded Canadian politicians were not able to understand that such decisions based on … prejudiced information, will awaken feelings of hatred among people of different [ethnic] roots and disturb social harmony," a statement from Turkey's foreign ministry said.

Canada became one of only a few nations to recognize the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as genocide when the House of Commons late on Wednesday reversed Ottawa's stated policy on the issue by passing a private member's bill.

Canada's official position to date has been that the deaths constituted a "tragedy" rather than the purposeful extermination of minority Armenians by the then Ottoman Empire during the First World War.


Armenian-Canadians greeted the vote with elation, but Turkish-Canadian observers reacted angrily.

Armenian-Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, whose film Ararat was about the subject, said: "What is amazing is that it's law, and it's something that we can tell for generations to come."

But Kevsai Taymaz of the Federation of Turkish-Canadian Associations insisted: "It was a terrible time and both sides lost lives, it wasn't a genocide."

Liberal MP Hedy Fry, who supported the motion, said it was important to note the atrocities took place under the Ottoman empire, long ago replaced by a modern Turkish state.

"I think it doesn't mean we've broken ties with the current regime in Turkey. They are our colleagues, they are our NATO allies. They are a moderate, Muslim government and I think we need to work with them," Fry told The Canadian Press.

I'm sorry, Turkey, but WHAT? No one is holding present-day Turkish citizens accountable for the actions of their ancestors. It would be just as rediculous to condemn all Turks for the Armenian genocide as it would be to condemn all Germans for the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis and their sympathizers during World War II. I don't think anyone needs to be so reactionary.

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