Commentary: A step forward in recognition of Armenian genocide

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

An encouraging small sign emerged this week in the decades-long Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide: A group of Turkish intellectuals published a letter of apology for the World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey.

The apology, posted on the Internet, reads in part: "My conscience does not accept that [Turkey] remain[s] insensitive toward and deny the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected in 1915. I reject this injustice, share in the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers, and apologize to them."

It isn't the official recognition of the genocide that Armenians have long sought – in fact, the apology doesn't use the word "genocide." But making the gesture comes at some risk to the signers – others have been prosecuted for similar statements, and Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian journalist, was killed in 2007 for expressing the truth.

And truth it is: Some 1.5 million Armenians were murdered in the waning years of World War I and thereafter, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed. The killings were planned and orchestrated, the 20th century's first genocide. Armenians and others who value truth and justice have sought recognition of those crimes for years.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.

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