Turkey Angered by Genocide Conference Held in Prague
PRAGUE — The Turkish Embassy in the Czech Republic has complained to a local non-governmental organization about an international conference on genocides and the 1915 Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire in particular, highlighting the resistance in Musa Dagh.
The Prague-based Research Center for Archeology of Evil held the conference in the Czech capital on June 18-20 as part of a project designed to combat racism and xenophobia through raising public awareness of crimes against humanity.
Simon Krbec, head of the center, said Turkish Embassy officials invited him and his colleagues to a meeting the day after the conference finished its work. “We were asked why we chose, as they put it, a controversial issue such as the Armenian genocide for the conference,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “They tried to explain that they are not happy with this content of the conference, especially considering the fact that from their point of view we did not invite some Turkish researchers to that conference.”
“We replied that we are not dividing historical research into some national or opposite sides, that we follow the mainstream of research on genocide studies in the world,” Krbec said. “We said that, for example, the International Association of Genocide Scholars recognized the Armenian genocide as genocide. So we don’t see a reason to invite some Turkish researchers.”
“They provided us with books about their version of what happened in the Ottoman Empire and they invited us to Istanbul to study their archives,” he added.
During the conference Armenia’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Tigran Seyranyan, delivered opening remarks reflecting on Franz Werfel’s novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, and noted that on every April 24 the Armenian community of the Czech Republic pays its respects to this great novelist.
The Ambassador also reflected on the Armenian Genocide’s international recognition process and briefed the discussants on the Turkish government’s denialist policy in this regard.
Afterward, thorough presentations were delivered on the Armenians’ self-defense in Musa Dagh, the Armenian Genocide, and official Ankara’s continuing policy of denial.
Also, Andrew Goldberg’s documentary entitled “The Armenian Genocide” was screened.