Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Turkey can take a step forward by confronting its past

The Times - March 10th 2010

Sir

Norman Stone’s selective view of the Armenian genocide conveniently ignores the part played by religion. What he and other apologists for Turkey consistently ignore is that Pontic Greeks and Assyrians were killed in large numbers at the same time. These communities were never nationalist groupings taking part in an uprising against Ottoman Turkey and were not, therefore, killed in the fog of war.

Stone’s comments on Cyprus were particularly insensitive because its well-integrated Armenian community, having fled the Ottoman persecution to British Cyprus, were then forcibly expelled again from their homes in the north of the island after Turkey’s invasion in 1974.

Like the US Congress, the European Parliament believes that the mass killings in Armenia constituted genocide, as we now define it. Turkey would be far better off by confronting its past and making peace with Armenia by reopening its border with its neighbour and re-establishing diplomatic relations rather than waging a constant campaign of denial.

Charles Tannock, MEP
UK Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman