Sunday, May 29, 2005

Academics plan new conference on Armenian issue

Critics of postponement claim Turkey shot itself in the foot

The postponement of an academic conference questioning the official Turkish view on the events of 1915 and the Ottoman Armenians caused controversy in Turkey even before the participants had a chance to express their views.

Critics of the conference, who say it would give a trump card to the Armenian diaspora, and those who support it on grounds of freedom of speech and thought stand along an irreconcilable divide.

“Nothing has damaged the Turkish thesis on the Armenians more than the postponement of the conference,” Metin Münir wrote in his column in Vatan newspaper. He said it also hurt Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's suggestions to form a joint Turkish-Armenian commission to shed light on the issue.

“Turkey did what it knows best: shot itself in the foot,” Münir concluded.

Postponing the conference would hurt Turkey's image as a democratic country at a time when membership talks with the EU are scheduled to start in October, circles against halting of the conference believe.

Turkish think tank Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) said the postponement, under pressure and threat as organizers claimed, is not compatible with democracy, the rule of law or freedom of thought.

Read the rest of the article on Turkish Daily News

No comments: