Christoph Bergner Claims - IF TITLED 'ARMENIAN GENOCIDE'

On June 16, the April 24 Group organized by the Central Board of Germany's Armenians held a dispute in Berlin to exchange thoughts on why the German Federal Parliament avoided the word "genocide" in its resolution.

The lawmakers -- Christoph Bergner from CDU/CSU, Markus Meckel from SPD, representative of Green Party Weishuhn -- were to express their opinions. Views of the participants rather varied: Prof. Otto Luchterhandt, for one, called Bundestag's resolution "schizophrenia", pointing out at the difference of words "massacres" and "genocide" in the title and in the confirmatory part. Opposing professor, the lawmakers said that Luchterhandt bears no political responsibility and that makes it easy for him to criticize. Bergner reminded of the appeal on Armenian Genocide submitted to Bundestag back in 2000 and said that the main reason why it was voted down was due to the "genocide recognition" expression. If the resolution bore the heading "genocide recognition", it would not be also accepted even by CDU/CSU. We could pass a law condemning the Genocide but that would be of no avail, representative of Christian Democratic Union said adding that we aim at establishing mutual trust between the two states and launching a dialogue to improve their relations.

The lawmakers stated that they understand that Turkey is simply gaining time and that they rely more on far-outer Turkish historians either in or out of the country. Asked whether the reason of eschewing the word "genocide" came because of the fear to lose votes of the Turkish electorate, deputies Meckel and Weishuhn gave no answer. Explaining why the Armenian Genocide issue appeared in the spotlight only a year ago, Christoph Bergner, head of the South Caucasian Faction of the Bundestag, said that he felt that a resolution should be adopted while visiting the region.

Allegedly, this step was directed firstly at establishing relations with Armenia , secondly, many EU states have already adopted resolutions on Armenian Genocide and avoiding would set Germany apart. Not less important was the fact that the Genocide issue can be a precondition for Turkey 's EU accession. If the resolution of Bundestag has no force of law what can it provide? The vital thing, the German side thinks, is that it opens doors for Genocide to enter history textbooks of German Federative Republic . It must be noted though that the education ministries of 16 German regions are independent in setting their curriculums. Journalist Raffi Kandian thinks that all federal states will include the Armenian genocide in their history textbooks following the example of the State of Brandenburg . Kandian also said that Germany 's self-condemnation in the resolution, being somewhat reserved, sends an appeal to its former ally Turkey to follow its example. Turkey is, certainly, very far from following in Germany 's footsteps. In April of 2005, a khachkar (cross-stone) was erected in Bremen in memory of the victims of Armenian Genocide. Giving in to Turkish resistance, mayor of the town, Henning Scherf (SDU), promised to organize an Armenian-Turkish dialogue. On June 30, an Armenian-Turkish dispute took place at the initiative of the mayor with the participation of Turkish consul-general to Hanover, Emine Birgen Kesoglu, Ali Syoylemezoglu, Mustafa Colak and from the Armenian side -- Raffi Kandian and Otto Luchterhandt. The dispute proved that the Turks of Germany are far from revising their history. Mayor Scherf said in his turn that the Germans occupied their place in civilized world after having criticized their history.

By Anahit Hovsepian in Germany