On December 3, 2012, California State Assemblymen Mike Gatto and Katcho Achadjian (representing part of Santa Barbara County) introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 2 “Relative to Armenian Genocide.” Influenced by an ethnic lobby, AJR 2 seeks for the California Assembly to legislate an allegation of a crime against humanity without any court investigation, trial, or judgment. The bill improperly applies the legal term “genocide” to describe World War I era interethnic strife in the Ottoman Empire, and calls upon the U.S. Government and Congress to do the same.
The WW I atrocities in the Ottoman Empire were never tried in any competent tribunal and the intent to exterminate Armenians was never established. No verdicts were issued interpreting these events in terms of the 1948 United Nations Convention on Prevention and Punishment oGenocide. Furthermore, the International Court of Justice — a primary authority to determine applicability of the ‘genocide’ term — has never opened ca ase or drawn conclusion on the mentioned allegations.
According to a renowned American expert of Ottoman history, Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton University, there was no “deliberate preconceived decision of the Ottoman government” to eliminate Armenians and the claim of genocide constitutes only “the Armenian version of history.” During the same period of WW I, over half a million Turks, Kurds, Azeris and other civilians were mass murdered by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation forces in Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, in an attempt to carve out a mono-ethnic Armenian state.
AJR 2 fails to reflect on these sufferings, instead squarely accusing Turkish nation of a grave crime without any legal ground. Commenting on a similar “Armenian genocide” legislation in French Senate, later dismissed as unconstitutional by France’s highest court, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the Turkish-Armenian issue is a matter of historical debate by scholars.
I join all Americans of Turkic descent, members of the Pax Turcica Institute, to oppose AJR 2 and to reject any deceitful historical narrative legislated under the influence of ethnic special interests.