Ashot Grigorian: It is Turkey's duty to recognize the Armenian Genocide
A seminar took place on May 9 in Salzburg which was organized by the "SALZBURG GLOBAL SEMINAR" authoritative organization. The Foreign Ministries of many counries including Austria, Sweden, Turkey, and UN officials took part in that seminar. The organizers invited Forum of Armenian Association of Europe (FAAE) Chairman Ashot Grigorian to attend the seminar who during the opening briefly presented the theme of the questions which he had prepared for the discussion including the present and the future of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols, the Armenian Genocide recognition by Turkey, lifting the blockade of the Armenian-Turkish border and the development of relations with the South Caucasus particularly with Azerbaijan. In his speech A. Grigorian said: "Based on the facts of the Genocide of 1915, in 1945 Raphale Lemkin drafted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Many European states have given the Armenian Genocide their political recognition. Turkey cannot bar the parliaments of democratic countries to give express their political position on this historical fact. It is the privilege and the right of freely and democratically elected parliaments. It won't be long before the majority of EU member states reproach Turkey for its denial of the Genocide. This too will hinder your EU membership. Do you not think that with statements such as that in 1915 more Turks died in the hands of the Armenians than the other way round merely brings a smile, if not laughter, to the faces of European politicians who are well acquainted with the Ottoman Empire's history? Many countries have withheld Turkish attacks and suffered under the aggressive policies of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish attacks reached as far as Austria and Vienna was surrounded by the Turkish army for a long time. You will not succeed in convincing anybody by your rewriting of the history and you make the situation more difficult. Genocide recognition is Turkey's obligation and it must own up to it, as did civilised Germany. This is the only way to satisfy the generations of a million robbed and murdered Armenians; generations that live in the Diaspora and whose purpose in life is to fight for their murdered ancestors and for justice. With time the number of these generations multiplies, as does the feeling of injustice. The solution to this problem lies with you. I ask you to appreciate one thing - the power of the Diaspora grows and the campaign becomes more powerful. Without recognition of the genocide Turkey will not be able to progress democratically and work peacefully. The Diaspora will find new opportunities to explain to you and make you come to terms with your past and by apologising for the terrible mistake you will secure a clear future. There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Turks in Turkey today that are the offspring of mixed marriages with Armenians. These Turks consciously, or perhaps even unconsciously, feel that your predecessors have been grossly unjust to the Armenians that were forced out of their homeland, deported and finally subject to genocide. These Turks will be the in the frontline of those demanding justice so that they too can live with clear conscience and in peace inside Europe. Solving problems by falsifications is ineffective and in fact impossible. Either you will appreciate this, and soon the Armenian and the Turkish people will resume neighbourly relations, or you will cause further tension in the South Caucasus and potentially war. The situation in the Middle East from Georgia to Iraq and Israel is already highly sensitive. It is true that Turkey's position here is truly great. Either Turkey will cause the situation to erupt and even escalate to a regional war, or it will continue its democratic path towards entering EU by firstly solving all the issues Turkey has been the cause of thus the solutions of which lie with Turkey alone. We believe in second way's being realistic."