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Turkey Marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Turkey marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day by becoming the first predominantly Muslim country to screen the iconic holocaust documentary, Shoah.

The screening of the legendary nine-hour documentary on the Jewish Holocaust on Turkish state TV was a key part of Turkey's observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

By video link-up from Paris, Shoah director Claude Lanzmann addressed a ceremony in Istanbul's Neve Shalom Synagogue on Thursday, the eve of the Holocaust commemoration. The meeting was attended by high-level state officials, who joined members of the Jewish community. Lanzmann says the screening in Turkey of Shoah has special significance.

"This is [a] pioneering event, the consequences that Turkey will be followed by other Arab countries and one day by Iran, I am sure," said Lanzmann. "And I want to salute the determination, [the] courage of the people of Turkish television."

It is the first time the film is being shown on state television in a predominantly Muslim country. The screening is part of the French-based Aladdin project that seeks to build greater understanding through culture between Muslims and Jews.

Aladdin director Abraham Radkin says the film is important in raising awareness among Muslims about the Holocaust.

"Over the past 60 years, the Muslim world [has] been excluded from history learning in other parts of the world," said Radkin. "So we are trying to fill a gap, a knowledge gap, and we hope we can promote relations between Jews and Muslims and remove some of the misunderstanding."

That view is shared by Turkish Jews attending Thursday night's ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This woman says Turkish people are not sufficiently aware about the Holocaust.

"I don't think so. If you think about the whole of Turkey, I don't think so," she said. "So everybody should know about it, because it should repeat again."

In 2003, the Neve Shalom Synagogue, where the Thursday-night ceremony was held, was hit along with another synagogue by simultaneous truck bombs, killing 27 people. The attacks were blamed on a Turkish al-Qaida cell. The synagogye was also attacked by gunmen in 1986. Twenty-two Jews were killed.

Observers say anti-Semitism in Turkey, fueled by Israel's treatment of Palestinians, remains a concern.

Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul's Bahcesehir University was instrumental in persuading Turkish state TV to screen Shoah. He says the broadcast is important for Turkey.

"There [are] a lot of misjudgments about Judaism, about the lack of knowledge about European Jews, what happened to them in the Second World War," said Aktar. "Turkey was a neutral country and didn't know about much about all of this. Turkish public needs to be informed about atrocities of the 20th century."

Turkey's broadcast of Shoah comes as diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Israel remain high. Israeli commandos in 2010 killed nine Turkish citizens seeking to break by sea Israel's economic blockade of Gaza. Turkey's decision to screen Shoah is seen as part of its policy to separate its differences with the Israeli government from the Jewish people.

The documentary's screening also comes as Ankara is embroiled in a diplomatic fight with France over Turkey's denial that its Ottoman rulers committed a genocide against the country's Armenian population during World War I. Earlier this week, the French Senate passed a bill that makes it a crime to deny Armenian genocide claims.

Shoah's French director Lanzman, who condemns the law, believes the screening of films like his is effective in helping countries to face up to their past.

"I [am] absolutely sure that this is [a] first step and that the day when [they] will decide to deal themselves with their own past, they will do it, and they don't need anybody with a gun behind them," he said.

Turkey's broadcast of Shoah has already drawn praise both at home and abroad. The move is seen as an important step in supporting Turkey's small Jewish community but also, observers say, a shrewd diplomatic move by the government.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Turkey-Marks-International-Holocaust-Remembrance-Day--138212329.html

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Here I thought Turkey was finally going to admit and apologize for their own ethnic cleansing they committed. whistling.gif

No, they slammed racist France for passing legislation that makes the denial of genocide - including that of Armenians by Ottoman Turks - a crime. That genocide must somehow not have actually happened.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16660058

20 January 2012 Last updated at 13:02 ET

Turkey asks France to throw out genocide bill

Turkey's foreign minister has asked the French Senate to reject a bill criminalising genocide denial, as it moves closer to becoming law.

Ahmet Davutoglu said the passing of the bill would leave a "black stain on France's intellectual history".

Turkey froze political and military ties when the bill was passed by the National Assembly last month.

France recognises the mass killing of Armenians in Ottoman times as genocide - a description Turkey rejects.

Armenians say as many as 1.5 million people were slaughtered or died of starvation and disease when they were deported in 1915-16.

Ankara says closer to 300,000 people died, and that Turks were also killed as Armenians rose up against the Ottoman Empire when Russian troops invaded eastern Anatolia, now eastern Turkey.

More than 20 countries have formally recognised the killings as genocide.

'Political interests'

Senators are due to debate the bill on Monday and are likely to approve it despite advice from one of their own committees this week.

Under the bill, those publicly denying genocide would face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (£29,000: $58,000).

About half a million ethnic Armenians live in France and their vote is considered important in the presidential election this spring.

There are suspicions in Turkey that the bill is aimed at wooing this electorate.

"We invite each French senator to stop for a while and think beyond all political interests," Mr Davutoglu said in televised remarks.

"We expect [President Nicolas] Sarkozy, his party and the French Senate to respect European values before anything else," he said.

President Sarkozy sent a conciliatory letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, released by the French embassy in Ankara on Friday.

"I hope we can make reason prevail and maintain our dialogue, as befits allied and friendly countries," he wrote.

He added that the bill was "in no way aimed at any state or people in particular".

The fate of the Armenians under the Ottomans remains a sensitive issue inside Turkey.

On Thursday there were large demonstrations to mark five years since the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Mr Dink, shot dead outside the Istanbul offices of Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, had angered Turkish nationalists by using the term "genocide".

Edited by Why_Me

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"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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*** several posts removed for TOS violation "Make comments in a Post either direct or implied toward another member that are purposely designed to upset, antagonize, make fun of, belittle, harass, insult, or otherwise instigate an argument that takes away from the personal enjoyment of the Service by other users." and personal bickering *****


Bye: Penguin

Me: Irish/ Swiss citizen, and now naturalised US citizen. Husband: USC; twin babies born Feb 08 in Ireland and a daughter in Feb 2010 in Arkansas who are all joint Irish/ USC. Did DCF (IR1) in 6 weeks via the Dublin, Ireland embassy and now living in Arkansas.

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