Point and counterpoint on killing of Armenians in Turkey

The Sept. 26 article, "In Turkey, a first-ever debate about Armenian mass killings" prompts a response. 1) as the article notes, the Turkish government refuses to officially acknowledge the genocide of 1.5 million Armenian Christians under the last Islamic caliphate. 2) sales of Hitler's Mein Kampf are reaching an all-time high in Turkey. 3) Turkey's Environment Ministry recently changed the scientific names of three animals found on its territory to remove references to Kurdistan or Armenia. 4) the Turkish army is occupying part of Cyprus, a European Union country. 5) if Turkey joins the EU it will no longer have any need for a strategic relationship with Israel. 6) the Middle East Media Research Institute documents extraordinary levels of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism prevailing in Turkey. 7) given much of the Turkish population's animosity towards Israel and America, it is not too hard to envision an anti-America and anti-Israel bloc forming around Turkey within the EU. 8) Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch parliament member, has conclusively shown that Muslim women are taken from Europe to Turkey (and Morocco) to be killed in the name of family honor. In sum, Turkey is certainly not a European country.
Arun Khanna
Visiting professor of finance
Butler University
Indianapolis, Ind.

It is not only the ultranationalists, or the ill-behaved tomato throwers, who find this debate about the Turkish-Armenian conflict of almost a century ago objectionable. The scholarly panel itself leans heavily on those defending the Armenian claims; and the source and financial backing of the conference is also suspect - believed to be coming from the Armenian diaspora abroad.

The majority of the Turks are puzzled and irritated at the fact that even after the Malta trials after World War I that the British set up to try over 140 Turkish dignitaries for war crimes (at the end of which no proof was found that the Turks tried to eliminate the Armenians for their race or religion), this charade has to go on. After all, the Armenians had an army and weaponry and attacked Turkish civilians. This was a tragedy that affected both groups.

The Turks are also annoyed that while Turkey is criticized for stifling such pro-Armenian debates restricting freedom of speech, Switzerland has detained a Turkish labor leader and might jail him because he said that the Armenians were involved in a civil war and what happened was not genocide. What about freedom of speech for the Turkish side?

Furthermore, while Europe and the US hash up events of the past century, they sweep under the rug Armenia's unlawful occupation of neighboring Azerbaijan at the present.
Erkin Baker
Alton, Ill.

Dues help unions protect workers

Regarding the Sept. 28 article, "Should union dues back political causes?": As a Democrat, I am very much afraid that the unions will lose their power if the Republicans win on this referendum question in California. Unions used to get their power from the ability to strike, but that is only effective when the employers cannot just run out and hire more workers.

By using the vote, workers can retain some power. All those workers who don't want to contribute have benefited from union protections, anyway. Without unions, employers could avoid paying a living wage and giving any benefits.
Evva Holt
Placerville, Calif.

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