LOS ANGELES, California — Over 130,000 Armenians marched through the streets of Hollywood and Los Angeles on Friday to remind the world of their calls for recognition of the genocidal killing of 1.5 million of their people 100 years ago. The Turkish government has refused to recognize it as such.
The march ended at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles. But their final destination was just the beginning of a series of, at times, violent acts between the Armenian and Turkish sides, where names, bottles of water, and raw eggs were flung. Police officers were present and ready to intervene in case chaos erupted, and news reporters at the scene were told to keep away from the crowds, as flying objects might injure them.
A Turkish protester named Kutsal Kocer told Breitbart News that she “definitely does not” recognize the event which took place 100 years ago as a genocide, a sentiment that was echoed by the group of approximately 100 like-minded people.
“We used to live peacefully with Armenians [until] they got guns from the Russians to attack us. So how would an American feel if Mexicans today got guns from Cubans and attacked Americans?” She too refuted the 1.5 million figure as being inflated and suggested instead that 600,000 Armenians were killed.
Breitbart News: At what number, then, does it become a genocide? There are prominent banners and signs calling the killing of 600 Azerbaijanis by Armenians in Khojaly in 1992 a genocide.
Kutsal Kocer: Numbers do not define genocide. What defines genocide is that you have to have an intent to kill a nation, like the Jews were killed by the Germans just because they were Jewish.
Dr. Metin Mangir, who heads the Public Relations Committee of Turkish Americans in California, said that the Pope “interjecting himself” and calling it a genocide was wrong but that he still has respect for him with regard to other things that he has done. Mangir was supportive of Turkey’s decision to recall the ambassador to Turkey from the Holy See.
A press statement was issued by his group. Part of it read, “Of course we as Turkish Americans empathize and mourn for Ottoman Armenians of Eastern Anatolia who suffered in 1915. We also mourn for the 523,955 Muslims, Jews, Kurds massacred by Armenians prior to May 1915.” The release goes on the state that “Ottoman government decided to relocate ONLY the Armenian population of Eastern Anatolia.”
Dr. Mangit told Breitbart News that he follows the Turkish narrative that 1.5 million is an inflated number and also suggested that 600,000 Armenians had actually been killed; their execution, he said, was not intentional. “What I object is calling it genocide because genocide means it was intentional.”
Breitbart News: There are Turkish historians that are coming out and saying that the Armenians dressed up as Turks and killed their own people.
Dr. Mangit: There are misrepresentations on both sides.
The Turkish people “are a proud people,” and Turkey will not recognize the Armenian tragedy as a genocide until a court or tribunal deems it as such, a Turkish protester named Mehmet Tazabay told Breitbart News. He said, “A concept as big as genocide cannot be formed by public opinion. It has be done by the court of law. Historians, a competent tribunal has to decide on that. And we have been saying that for tens of year now.”
Dr. Mangit said, “It is improper, especially for a government official, to call it a genocide.” He said that he mourns for hundreds of thousands of Armenians that have been killed but refuted the 1.5 million figure, suggesting that “Armenians are just pulling numbers out of [the air].”
When asked if he recognized the Holocaust as a genocide, he said he did.
The difference is that in the Holocaust, Jews were living very peacefully in Germany. They didn’t do anything [wrong]. Whereas Ottoman Armenians revolted against their own government and sided with the attacking Russian forces against their own government — that’s called treason. That’s the difference. That’s what they’re hiding, and that’s what upsets me.
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