Sunday, June 28, 2009


Just back from Ankara, helping to launch the Turkish translation by Ara Sarafian of the Blue Book of 1916 on the Armenian Genocide, see

Also from Hurriyet:


Jun 26, 2009

ANKARA - The Turkish and uncensored edition of the book "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915 ?xC4;~^ 1916," which was earlier criticized by the Turkish authorities for being a wartime fabrication, has been released in Turkey.

The book, also known as the "Blue Book," was originally published in 1916 in English by the British parliament, and delves into the 1915 and 1916 incidents that resulted in the expulsion of many Armenians from Anatolia. The central thesis of the book was the argument that starting in 1915, Armenians were subject to a policy of mass
annihilation in the Ottoman Empire.

The inauguration of the Turkish version of the book was held Friday in Ankara with the participation of Lord Avebury from the House of Lords and Ara Sarafian, a British historian of Armenian origin.

"Years ago, the Turkish Parliament demanded from the British side to withdraw the book but the British parliamentarians asked for dialogue with the Turkish side on the issue. No response came from Turkish Parliament. The publication of the Turkish edition of the book is a milestone in a historical sense for Turkey and I believe a new era for dialogue will be created after this book," said Avebury.

"The Armenian genocide is the only issue that couldn't be acknowledged and solved in the world history but I am sure the book will contribute to the solution of the issue."

Book creates controversy The book, compiled by British politician Viscount James Bryce and historian Arnold Toynbee, has been criticized by the Turkish authorities for being a compilation based on forged documents. In 2005, Turkish Parliament likewise sent a petition to the British parliament, asserting the book was a wartime fabrication and had no supporting documentation. The publisher, Turkish Pencere
Publications, which published the first Turkish version of the book in 2005, was also ruled to pay a fine.

Coming to the conclusion that Turkish Parliament was not properly informed about the book and wasn't entirely aware of the content of the book, the British parliament initiated the publication of its Turkish version and the Gomidas Institute published the Turkish translation of the uncensored edition of the Blue Book in an effort to launch a new dialogue process between the sides on the issue.

Sarafian said with the book the Turkish official thesis on the issue had been opened for discussion.

"The Turkish edition of the book is such an exercise in an effort to re-engage the Armenian issue within a more democratic and open Turkey," he said. "I hope that at least some deputies of the Parliament will reconsider their collective position on the Blue Book and distance themselves from it."

The book was also sent to all deputies in Turkish Parliament and the necessary permission was taken to distribute it to the bookstores in Turkey.

While there we also had useful discussions with the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Democratic Society Party (DTP).

No comments: