ARD-clarification

Clarification from the ARDchairman (ARD: German TV station) Peter Boudgoust about the propaganda-accusations coming from Turkish citizens, communities and organizations concerning the documentation »AGHET – Ein Völkermord« (English: »AGHET – A Genocide«).

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your letter concerning the documentation »AGHET – A Genocide« shown on our TV station ARD.

Regretfully I notice, that you have the impression that the usage of the term »genocide« caused a storm of protest within our Turkish citizens. This opinion though, is not shared by all Turks, which the solidarity-demonstration with more than 200.000 people in Istanbul, after the murder of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, shows impressively. After broadcasting »AGHET« the ARD received a lot of Emails from Germans with Turkish descent who said that they found »AGHET« very important and necessary.

The international historical scholarship takes the Armenian Genocide as demonstrated. This Genocide and the following Holocaust lead to the development of the »Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, CPPCG« which has been decided December 9th, 1948 as Resolution 260 A (III). Hence, the UN didn’t just proscribed the Armenian Genocide according to international law, it furthermore classified it as a crime.

Raphael Lemkin (consultant of the UN and essential author of the CPPCG) created the term »Genocide« in the first place because of the annihilation of the Armenians and the Holocaust. This is also shown in the documentation »AGHET«.

A historical, political and juristic analysis, which classified the events 1915 very clearly as Genocide, thus exists for a long time. This was adopted in the national law and in the international jurisdiction for the Genocide-convention. As demanded for the future by you in your letter, the different positions have already been minuted objectively in the documentation »AGHET«.

The official Turkish evaluation of the events 1915 are presented detailed in »AGHET«, amongst others with remarks of high-ranking Turkish politicians like the ones of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or assistant prime minister Cemil Cicek. The statements of these politicians are clearly based on the official Turkish evaluation of the historical events 1915 for example on the ones of the institute for strategic questions in Ankara.

»AGHET« documents carefully researched a crime which was organised and commited 95 years ago by the authorities of then Young Turkish regime. The reports and documents are undeniable, their authenticity is incontestable and also confirmed by the TGD (Almanya Türk Toplumu)-chairman Kenan Kolat on the Turkish website of the TGD.

These documents, amongst others, come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, the American National Archives, the Library of Congress and archives in France, Denmark, Sweden, Armenia, Russia and Turkey. The military archives of Turkey, though, are still not publicly accessible.

Besides, Turkey is in possession of the microfilms of the German, diplomatic, original-documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin for more than 10 years. These microfilms however, have not yet been translated into Turkish and consequently are still unapproachable for the Turkish historiography, the Turkish historians and the general Turkish public. Down to the present day there was no reaction from Turkey concerning this enormous German evidence.

Furthermore the documentation »AGHET« thematizes the complicity of the German Empire, back then ally of the Ottoman Empire and depicts a differentiated presentation of the behaviour of the Turkish population during the Genocide. Repeatedly it is underlined that the Turkish people in its entirety can certainly not be held responsible for the crime. The documentation points out that numerous Turks (officers, mayors, District Administrators and more) refused the instructions of the government on the annihilation of the Armenians but mostly remained unknown in Turkey. »AGHET« emphasizes their civil courage and bravery while trying to save Armenian countrymen from deportation and death.

Thus »AGHET« conveys an absolutely balanced view of the historical, as well as current debate from international and Turkish side – from former Turkish ambassador in Germany and in the UN, Volkan Vural, who asks Turkey to apologize due to the facts and the history, to US president Barack Obama, who recognised the Armenian Genocide in 2007 as a senator. Also the point of view of an German politician with Turkish roots has been taken into consideration by the interview with the federal chairman of the party »Bündnis 90/Die Grünen«, Cem Özdemir.

The ARD and NDR are obliged to present an objective and extensive view over the international, European, nationwide as well as country- and region-related events in all essential areas of life. We’ve fulfilled this mission also with the documentation »AGHET – A Genocide«.

Yours sincerely
Peter Boudgoust

ARD-chairman
SÜDWESTRUNDFUNK
70190 Stuttgart