Turkish Tan: Israel must get US Jews to back down

Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namık Tan has clearly expressed Ankara's expectation of Israel to "deliver" US based-Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the killings of Anatolian Armenian

Turkish Tan: Israel must get US Jews to back down

Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namık Tan has clearly expressed Ankara's expectation of Israel to "deliver" US based-Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I.

Remarks by Tan, who last week cut short his holiday in Turkey to return to Israel following the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reversal of its longtime policy by calling the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians genocide, came in an interview published in Monday's edition of Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post.

"Israel should not let the [US] Jewish community change its position. This is our expectation and this is highly important, highly important," Tan said, while noting that he understood that Israel's position had not changed.

Two separate resolutions are pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives urging the administration to recognize the killings as genocide. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress would seriously harm relations with Washington and impair cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US administration has said it is opposed to the resolution, but the congressional process is an independent one. In his message on April 24 -- the date Armenians claim marks the anniversary of the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire -- US President George W. Bush adhered to the administration policy of not referring to the incident as genocide.

"If you want to touch and hurt the hearts of the people in Turkey, this is the issue. This is the number-one issue. You cannot easily explain to them any change in this," said Tan, who has requested urgent meetings with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik to impress upon them the importance of this issue to Turkey.

In the eyes of his people, Turkey's strategic relationship with Israel was not with Israel alone, but with the whole Jewish world, the Turkish ambassador elaborated. "They [the Turkish people] cannot make that differentiation," he said.

Tan said he understood that the US-based Jewish organizations were just that, reflecting Ankara's awareness that there was no official link between those NGOs and the Israeli government. Yet, he added, "We all know how they work in coordinating their efforts [with Israel]."

Last week, Israel's President Shimon Peres felt the need to assure Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Israel has not changed its position on the Armenian issue. During a telephone conversation with Erdoğan last week, Peres reiterated the Israeli position that Turkey and Armenia should resolve the dispute on the nature of the killings of Anatolian Armenians through dialogue. According to Israeli media, Peres, during the same conversation, also noted that Israel does not control US Jewish organizations, which pursue their own agendas.

When reminded by The Jerusalem Post of quotes by Israeli government officials reiterating that Israel does not control American Jewish organizations, Tan firmly said he didn't accept that argument. "On some issues there is no such thing as 'Israel cannot deliver'‚" he said, adding that this was one of those issues.


Turkey's Jews in Israel deplore ADL move

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) reversal of its longtime policy by labeling the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians as genocide has sparked a harsh reaction from an umbrella organization of Jews who migrated to Israel from Turkey.

The Union of Jews from Turkey in Israel (Türkiyeliler Birliği/Itahdut Yotsei Turkia) deplored the ADL's move in a statement released over the weekend, saying that they have rejected comparison of the Armenian allegations with "the disastrous genocide applied by Nazis on Jews which has no precedent in the history of the humanity."

The statement penned by Momo Uzsinay, the organization's head, brought to mind the fact that US-based Jewish organizations have welcomed Ankara's initiative for resolving the issue via establishing a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 through usage of archives in Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries.

"Apparently, the ADL has now put its signature under such a reversal, which is a questionable decision with political motives and under the influence of concerns that it must adapt itself in line with certain circles who change their minds according to political goals," the statement said, noting that the ADL move came as a result of efforts of the Armenian diaspora. "Our reality is the fact that Turks do not have any intolerance toward minorities," it added.

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Last Mod: 28 Ağustos 2007, 13:35
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