Monday, September 12, 2011

We Demand An Apology

No not the demand by Turkey that Israel apologize for defending itself during the Gaza flotilla, but the one being demanded of Turkey by the Armenian community.
US Armenians, pressing for a court decision against Turkey for violating the property rights of Ottoman Armenians during World War I, have complained that the Turkish government has ignored a lawsuit brought against Turkey in a Los Angeles court.

Plaintiffs argue that Turkey seized land belonging to their relatives when its owners fled Anatolia during what Armenians call a genocide campaign. The land in the southern province of Adana, which is now occupied by the İncirlik Air Base used by the US military, was then sold without the permission of the Armenian owners, according to the lawyers of the plaintiffs. The complaints target Turkey and two Turkish banks, the Central Bank of Turkey and Ziraat Bank.

Turkey had 60 day to answer the complaint, which expired on Aug. 19, 2011, but it has so far refused to answer. Lawyers for the plaintiffs announced that on Sept. 6 the Turkish government is in default for ignoring the lawsuit.

The default notice was entered on Sept. 1, 2011. The Central Bank of Turkey and Ziraat Bank, on the other hand, requested and were given an extension to respond to the complaints by Sept. 19.

“The US Department of State had sent a diplomatic note to Ankara warning that the country is bound by law to defend itself against the lawsuit,” said Vartkes Yeghiayan of the Yeghiayan Law Firm, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

Lawyers claim by refusing to respond Turkey risks having the court rule against it in absentia and add that damages could be as high as $100 million. Lawyer Günay Evinch, who is representing the two banks in the case, said on Friday that Turkey's refusal to respond to the Armenian complaints indicates that Turkey sees it as a matter of sovereignty.

“Apparently, Turkey is refusing to appear before the court to prevent another country from judging its history, in protection of its sovereignty,” lawyer Evinch was quoted by the Anatolia news agency. Evinch also noted that the handling of such a fragile case by a state court is controversial because this indicates that Washington has given up its rights to shape foreign policy to a state court.

The Armenian Genocide refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was implemented through wholesale massacres and deportations, with the deportations consisting of forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees. The total number of resulting Armenian deaths is generally held to have been between 1 million and 1.5 million. Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Greeks, and some scholars consider those events to be part of the same policy of extermination.

This was the first modern genocide and the first genocide of the 20th Century.  Hitler used it as a justification of the Holocaust:
Unsere Stärke ist unsere Schnelligkeit und unsere Brutalität. Dschingis Khan hat Millionen Frauen und Kinder in den Tod gejagt, bewußt und fröhlichen Herzens. Die Geschichte sieht in ihm nur den großen Staatengründer. Was die schwache westeuropäische Zivilisation über mich behauptet, ist gleichgültig. Ich habe den Befehl gegeben — und ich lasse jeden füsilieren, der auch nur ein Wort der Kritik äußert — daß das Kriegsziel nicht im Erreichen von bestimmten Linien, sondern in der physischen Vernichtung des Gegners besteht. So habe ich, einstweilen nur im Osten, meine Totenkopfverbände bereitgestellt mit dem Befehl, unbarmherzig und mitleidslos Mann, Weib und Kind polnischer Abstammung und Sprache in den Tod zu schicken. Nur so gewinnen wir den Lebensraum, den wir brauchen. Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?
Translation into English:
Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command—and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad—that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?
It is time for the world to acknowledge and remember the Armenians.

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