MKs: ´We must recognize Armenian tragedy´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Moran Azulay Published: 06.12.12, 18:31)
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Knesset debates whether to recognize mass killing of Armenians by
Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide
The Knesset held a special session Tuesday on the mass killing of
Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I. "We must not
politicize this matter," said Knesset Speaker Rivlin, adding that in
spite of the sensitivity of the issue, there is no intention to blame
Turkey or the current Turkish government.
MK Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of the Meretz faction, who initiated the
discussion, said that in recent years "the Armenian genocide has been
swept under the rug" due to foreign relations concerns.
"Remembering and recognizing this genocide is our moral obligation.
However, the timing of the discussion is problematic, when it is used
for political bashing."
Recognition of the Armenian genocide by Israel would enrage Turkey
and further strain the already tense ties between the two countries.
For years, Israel has refrained from commenting on the matter for
fear of angering Turkey, which until recently was its closest ally in
the Muslim world. But as ties have frayed under the Islamic-oriented
rule of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israel appears
to be changing course.
Armenian Death March
The Armenian genocide remembrance day is marked every year on April
24. The mass murders by the Ottoman Turks were carefully planned and
executed during and after World War I. Hundreds of thousands were
sent to labor camps.
Finally, the Ottoman Turks chased the remaining Armenians from their
villages to Syria in a death march. Women, children and elderly
people marched for weeks without food or water, hunted down by
soldiers and criminals. During the marches thousands were perished,
murdered, raped and even burnt alive. In villages near the Black Sea,
the Turks put the Armenians on boats and drowned them.
Reports on the atrocities reached Europe and the US as early as 1915,
which immediately condemned the acts and blamed the Ottoman regime
for "crimes against humanity."
The Ottoman massacre of the Armenians was the first genocide of the
20th century, and remains the center of political debate. The Turks
continue to deny the genocide, claiming that the Armenians were only
transferred, and that deaths only occurred during the fighting
between the Armenians and the Kurds. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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