Armenian-American special interest groups have recently launched a congressional campaign to pressure Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into retracting her statement on the French legislative bill criminalizing denial of the so-called Armenian genocide. Commenting on this legislation, Clinton accurately indicated that it was compromising free speech and that the issue is a matter of historical debate by scholars.
The World War I-era atrocities in the Ottoman Empire were never tried under a competent tribunal; the intent to exterminate Armenians was never established; no court verdict characterizing these events per the nonretroactive 1948 U.N. Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide was issued. Furthermore, according to a renowned 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 that the intercommunal warfare atrocities were a genocide is only “the Armenian version of the history.” Over 518,000 Turkish civilians were also massacred during World War I by the paramilitaries of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
I join members of the Pax Turcica Institute to oppose the Schiff-Dold letter and to support Clinton’s just view on freedom of expression and against legislating history.