Letter to the editor

  • 2005-01-06
  • Sanivar Kizildeli, Ambassador of Turkey to Latvia
Dear Sir,
In your Nov. 25 - Dec. 1, 2004 and Dec. 16 - 22, 2004 issue, The Baltic Times argues that since Turkey has not acknowledged the "genocide of 1915" the EU should not include Turkey as a "European" country.

I am writing you not to express our indignation at the distasteful and racially prejudiced cartoon accompanying the editorial on your Dec. 16, 2004 issue, but to bring your attention to some basic facts that are overlooked in the editorial. The Baltic Times fails to mention that the tragic events that took place during the displacement of Armenian citizens from the war zones to other parts of the Ottoman Empire had been triggered by rebellious, hostile acts by armed Armenian gangs that had been collaborating with the Russian occupying forces to dismember the empire.

The editorial also claims that the incidents have been well documented and includes thousands of eyewitness accounts. At the end of the first World War, the defeated Ottoman Empire was totally occupied by the Western powers, all its archives were researched and its leadership was apprehended, exiled to Malta and tried. During this entire ordeal, the occupation powers, despite every effort displayed, had not been able to provide solid proof that the tragic events that resulted in the great loss of life among all parties involved, was an act of genocide.

Genocide is a well-defined crime with very important legal implications. Without providing evidence, accusing a whole nation of such a crime is unjust, biased and does not represent objective journalism.

Turks today have no animosity toward the Armenian nation. Turkey was one of the first countries recognizing Armnia's independence in 1991. I believe that the real friend of Armenia, rather than fuelling hatred and animosity toward the Turks, should encourage reconciliation between these two nations.