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24.6.16

The AFP and the Two "Theses" of the Armenian Genocide

Seta Papazian
Translated from French by Vartan Matiossian 

Every time that it is about the mass murder of 1915, the AFP is distinguished by frequently adding quotation marks to the word "genocide," including those cases when it does not correspond to any citation in the text. When it could content itself by stressing that Turkey persists in its denial, AFP chose to release, in detail and without caution, the falsified history, bitterly defended by the Turkish state. The communication agencies – commissioned by Ankara and Baku with millions of dollars – dreamed it and AFP graciously took it upon itself.
Do you imagine a double presentation of the Shoah "according to the Jews" and "according to Faurisson" every time that the annihilation of the European Jews is touched in the press? The sheer evocation of this hypothesis creates shudders. 
It is the exercise that makes AFP in the information disseminated – including the English language – about the Armenian genocide, given a sizable boost to the Turkish "Faurisson" denounced by Pierre Vidal-Naquet in The Assassins of Memory.
The worst has been done in its dispatch of June 21 about the visit of Pope Francis to Armenia:
"La Turquie n’accepte pas que des Etats étrangers reprennent la thèse des Arméniens, selon lesquels 1,5 million des leurs ont été tués entre 1915 et 1917, dans un « génocide » à la fin de l’Empire ottoman. Elle affirme qu’il s’agissait d’une guerre civile dans laquelle 300 à 500.000 Arméniens et autant de Turcs ont trouvé la mort" [Turkey does not accept that foreign states adopt the thesis of the Armenians, according to whom 1.5 million Armenians were murdered between 1915 and 1917, in a "genocide" at the end of the Ottoman Empire. It affirms that it was a civil war where 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and a similar number of Turks died.]
"Thesis." The word has been cast. On behalf, without any doubt, of an impossible equilibrium of information between executioners and victims, the AFP makes from a genocide widely documented the object of a debate between two "theses" that would be equally valid.
Thesis A: according to the descendants of the survivors, it is a genocide; thesis B: according to the heirs of Talaat Pasha (the Turkish "Hitler"), it is collateral damage of a "civil war": the conclusion à la carte is left to the discretion of the reader. Out with the work of international historians who have widely studied and determined the facts.
If they do not have the vocation of substituting historians, journalists nevertheless are called to be informed about what they talk about, and to inspire from the advancements of academic research. It is already sixteen years since 126 international researchers, specialists of the Shoah, published a petition in the New York Times, where they categorically affirmed the qualification of genocide for the Armenian case. These are conclusions shared by dozens of European and even Turkish specialists, as well as by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), which particularly gathers famous Jewish American or Israeli researchers. 
Relying on these works, the parliaments – like those of France or Germany – dare to oppose the state denialism of Turkey, despite the weight of the latter within NATO, and ignore the law of markets and geopolitics.
Among historians, only dispute the characterization of genocide those academics who have no knowledge of the subject but become heralds of Ankara and Baku for motivations that elude us, as well as some researchers who exchange their professional ethics for subsidies generously distributed to finance their revisionist works. The case of the forced resignation of American historian Donald Quataert perfectly illustrates the pressures and finances played abroad under the aegis of the Turkish state. 
Although the French state – which recognized the Armenian genocide in 2001 – is represented within the Board of Administration of Agence France Presse, the latter prefers to model its editorial policy on the denialist phraseology of a foreign country that has no need for its help: Turkey already benefits – despite of its more and more totalitarian drift – from many compromises. It is the case of the United States, Great Britain, and the Vatican: these three states, whose archives have plenty of implacable testimonies about the planned extermination of the Armenian people, tarnish themselves in circumlocutions trying to avoid the use of the term genocide in order not to offend Turkey and its ally, Azerbaijan.
Pope Francis itself would reflect this June 25 at the memorial of the genocide in Erevan by abstaining to pronounce the word genocide that he had cited, meanwhile, in April 2015. Following the example of Obama, who has always broken his promises on the question, it is feared – unless he affirms once again his independence from the Curia – that the Holy Father will content himself by talking of Medz Yeghern ("Great Crime" in Armenian), a symbolic definition that has the immense advantage (for Turkey) of not having any juridical dimension…
In a nutshell, the Young Turk government of 1915 is nothing else but a Daesh [Arabic acronym of ISIS] that has succeeded and whose descendants try to impose – in the name of realpolitik – their deadly and mendacious law to the entire world.
At the time when all German deputies of Turkish origin (a total of 11) – including a majority of women – have unanimously voted on June 2, 2016, and with danger of their live, for a resolution recognizing the genocide perpetrated in 1915 against the Armenians and the other Christians of Turkey, at the time when the Bundestag has condemned the co-responsibility of Germany, ally of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, and while Turkish and Kurdish democrats have courageously engaged for several years – in Turkey itself  – in this combat for memory and truth, can Agence France Presse – national and world-famous organ that represents de facto the ensemble of the French press, and whose dispatches are widely picked up by a majority of the media – make the choice of persistently offering a masterful echo chamber to the state historiography of a Turkey perpetuating the genocide by its urbi et orbi denial?

"La Regle du Jeu" (laregledujeu.org), June 24, 2016

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