What about Turkey and the ADL’s calls for a historical commission to study the events of 1915-1923?

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman has been quoted numerous times endorsing Turkey’s call for a historical commission to examine the events of 1915. In an August 23, 2007, press release, ADL National Chair Glen S. Lewy and Mr. Foxman encouraged Armenians to “respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission,” adding that “there is room for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days.”

On September 27, 2007, after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Mr. Foxman reiterated that Armenians should respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission "to investigate what happened in the past."

According to the ADL’s own web page, this type of proposition is genocide denial in its most insidious form: “On the surface, Holocaust deniers portray themselves as individuals and groups engaged in a legitimate, dispassionate quest for historical knowledge and ‘truth’ [yet] seek to plant seeds of questioning and doubt.”

The IAGS labeled Turkish calls for a joint historical commission of Turkish and Armenian scholars “propaganda,” not scholarship. In an October 5, 2007, letter to Congress, the IAGS further described this proposal as a “red herring [that] would only serve the interests of Turkish genocide deniers.”

Please refer to Appendix 2 for a full text of the IAGS letter to the US Congress.

In their June 13, 2005, letter, the IAGS told Turkey’s prime minister that “scholars who advise your government and who are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled institutions are not impartial [and] such so-called ‘scholars’ work to serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide.”

Further, independent Turkish writers, scholars, and historians, including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk and Professor Taner Akcam, who write about the Armenian Genocide are charged with “insulting Turkishness” under the notorious Article 301 of the penal code and face trial and death threats.

Finally, these proposed commissions to examine the Armenian Genocide are no different from last year’s Holocaust conference in Iran that the ADL rightly condemned. Mr. Foxman was quoted as saying, “We believe this type of Holocaust denial has no place in the family of nations, and that it is essential for European and world leaders to condemn this conference and everything it stands for.”