10 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 26

From Mr Osman Streater Sir: Anthony Daniels's article reporting on

his visit to Istanbul goes further than the whole of the rest of the British press put together to explain some of the Turkish case against Armenian genocide accusations. Here in Britain, as many Turks and pro-Turks have learnt during recent weeks, any attempt to do so has been met with the response that we must all be a load of David Irvings.

Write to point out that the League of Nations in 1919 counted 900,000 Armenians alive and well in Turkey out of a prewar population of under 1.5 million? You're clearly the type who maintains that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Dare to mention the fact that the Blue Book of 1916 on Armenian atrocities was produced by the same Wellington House wartime propaganda effort that gave us the German Terror in Belgium, with its lurid 'descriptions' of German soldiers competing to see who could skewer the most Belgian babies on his bayonet? You'll be denying the Holocaust next.

And so on. Of course, in private it tends to be different. 'You don't know what that Armenian lobby is like,' says a weary journalist. 'Just leave it alone and it will scion go away,' advises a friendly professor of politics.

Osman Streater

London NW3