Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Article excerpt

Turkish discrimination

From Mr A. Kevorkian

Sir: If Anthony Daniels (`Turkey shoot', 3 February) wants to say kind things about the Turks, he is free to say them, but it would have been hoped that he would do so without bringing in the Armenians. After all, the new French law (which seems to have bothered him and his Turkish friends) - `France publicly recognises the Armenian genocide of 1915' - manages to talk about the Armenians without any reference to Turkey, Turks, Turkish. (Indeed, if a Frenchman was unaware of his country's history, he could be excused for thinking that it was the French who killed the Armenians and were now acknowledging the fact.)

Mr Daniels repeats, unabashedly, the Turkish nonsense that `the Armenians had lived happily with the Turks for hundreds of years'. If being a second-class citizen in your own 3,000-year homeland, being taxed twice (once by the Turks and once by the Kurds), being killed in repeated massacres, having children stolen, and many more crimes, are the Turks' (and Mr Daniels's) idea of 'happily', I dread to think what they/he would describe as 'unhappy'.

Mr Daniels says he cannot understand why some people don't like the Turks. Perhaps it is because, for the past 200 years, Turkey has achieved the worst human-rights record of any nation in the world. For two centuries Turkey has butchered, killed, massacred or otherwise ethnically cleansed and mistreated the Albanians, the Arabs, the Armenians, the Bulgarians, the Cretans, the Cypriots, the Greeks, the Jews, the Kurds, the Macedonians, the Maronite Lebanese, the Montenegrins, the Romanians, the Serbs, the Yemenis. (If I have omitted any group, I apologise.) The death toll runs to many millions. That some of these peoples are Muslim shows that the Turks - whatever may be said about them - are indiscriminate in their choice of victims.

Mr Daniels also enjoys playing the numbers game, much loved by the Turks. Allow me, also. In 1914 there were 2,140,000 Armenians living in their Anatolian homeland. In 1921 there were no Armenians living in their homeland: about 1.5 million had been killed, the rest ethnically cleansed. That, Mr Daniels, is genocide.

Andrew Kevorkian

London W1

From Mr Osman Streater

Sir: Anthony Daniels's article reporting on his visit to Istanbul goes further than the whole of the rest of the British press put together to explain some of the Turkish case against Armenian genocide accusations. Here in Britain, as many Turks and pro-Turks have learnt during recent weeks, any attempt to do so has been met with the response that we must all be a load of David Irvings.

Write to point out that the League of Nations in 1919 counted 900,000 Armenians alive and well in Turkey out of a prewar population of under 1.5 million? You're clearly the type who maintains that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Dare to mention the fact that the Blue Book of 1916 on Armenian atrocities was produced by the same Wellington House wartime propaganda effort that gave us the German Terror in Belgium, with its lurid 'descriptions' of German soldiers competing to see who could skewer the most Belgian babies on his bayonet? You'll be denying the Holocaust next.

And so on. Of course, in private it tends to be different. `You don't know what that Armenian lobby is like,' says a weary journalist. `Just leave it alone and it will soon go away,' advises a friendly professor of politics.

Osman Streater

London NW3

Tweed or Weed?

From Mr Conrad Black

Sir: Bruce Anderson's otherwise excellent article (Politics, 20 January) states that `President Lincoln's party was also the party of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed'. Almost from its founding in 1789, and certainly from its incorporation in 1805, Tammany Hall was the executive committee of the Democratic party of New York City, and William Marcy Tweed was a Democrat from his political beginnings in the 1830s until he was extradited from Spain and sent to prison for corruption, where he died in 1878. …

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