August 7, 2011
The Jihad Against the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek ChristiansBy Janet Levy
In Germany, where Holocaust denial is punishable by up to five years in prison, Stuttgart University recently capitulated to pressure from resident Turkish Muslims and canceled an event entitled, "Persecution, Expulsion and Annihilation of Christians in the Ottoman Empire 1912-1922." Ironically, this occurred in a country that was forced to confront its own genocidal past, educate its population and pay restitution to victims. University officials explained that they wanted to "remain neutral" on the subject of the nearly 100-year-old, well-documented Turkish massacre of more than two million Christians. Citing neutrality in the face of crimes against humanity is deeply troubling, particularly in light of Germany's Holocaust past and the missed opportunity represented to educate students about genocide and potentially prevent its recurrence.
Equally troubling is Turkey's continued denial and banning of information about these crimes, not only within its own borders, but, as exemplified in Germany, within other countries as well. In contrast to Germany where laws since the end of World War II seek to prevent a Holocaust from ever happening again, the Turkish government under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, passed in 2005, makes it a crime punishable by up to two years imprisonment to insult the Turkish state. This provision prevents any public commemoration or consideration of the Turkish Muslim atrocities committed against Ottoman Christians.
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