‘Armenian “genocide” resolution vote wrong’

March 09, 2010, Tuesday/ 17:20:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
A member of the European Parliament has criticized the vote by the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee to label the treatment of Armenians in 1915 “genocide” at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, saying politicians in Europe and the US should not prejudge the outcome of research by historians on what happened in eastern Anatolia nearly a century ago.

“Both the US and the EU have backed the welcome moves to set up a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia to try and establish the truth about the tragic and large-scale wartime deaths almost a century ago,” British Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, the party’s European justice and human rights spokeswoman and vice-chair of the European Parliament delegation to the United States, said in a statement released yesterday. Turkey and Armenia signed protocols in October to normalize their relations and agreed on the establishment of a board of historians to study events of World War I, which Armenians claim amount to genocide. “It makes no sense” Ludford said, “for outsiders in Europe or America to wade in with hobnail boots and prejudge the outcome of that sensitive exercise.”

Saying that the fact that there were deportations, which involved atrocities and deaths of many Christian Armenians, was not in doubt, Ludford stated that there is a need to better study the precise actions, the 1915 war context and the extent of reciprocal killings of Muslim Turks. Stating that the resolution passed by a narrow margin, the MP said she hopes that in those circumstances wisdom will prevail, with congressmen heeding the call of US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to bring this to a vote by the full House.

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