10 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 26

Turkish discrimination

From Mr A. Kevorkian Sir: If Anthony Daniels (`Turkey shoot', 3 February) wants to say kind things about the Turks, he is free to say them, but it would have been hoped that he would do so without bringing in the Armenians. After all, the new French law (which seems to have bothered him and his Turkish friends) — 'France publicly recognises the Armenian genocide of 1915' — manages to talk about the Armenians without any reference to Turkey, Turks, Turkish. (Indeed, if a Frenchman was unaware of his country's history, he could be excused for thinking that it was the French who killed the Armenians and were now acknowledging the fact.) Mr Daniels repeats, unabashedly, the Turkish nonsense that 'the Armenians had lived happily with the Turks for hundreds of years'. If being a second-class citizen in your own 3,000-year homeland, being taxed twice (once by the Turks and once by the Kurds), being killed in repeated massacres, having children stolen, and many more crimes, are the Turks' (and Mr Daniels's) idea of 'happily', I dread to think what they/he would describe as 'unhappy'.

Mr Daniels says he cannot understand why some people don't like the Turks. Perhaps it is because, for the past 200 years, Turkey has achieved the worst human-rights record of any nation in the world. For two centuries Turkey has butchered, killed, massacred or otherwise ethnically cleansed and mistreated the Albanians, the Arabs, the Armenians, the Bulgarians, the Cretans, the Cypriots, the Greeks, the Jews, the Kurds, the Macedonians, the Maronite Lebanese, the Montenegrins, the Romanians, the Serbs, the Yemenis. (If I have omitted any group, I apologise.) The death toll runs to many millions. That some of these peoples are Muslim shows that the Turks — whatever may be said about them — are indiscriminate in their choice of victims.

Mr Daniels also enjoys playing the numbers game, much loved by the Turks. Allow me, also. In 1914 there were 2,140,000 Armenians living in their Anatolian homeland. In 1921 there were no Armenians living in their homeland: about 1.5 million had been killed, the rest ethnically cleansed. That, Mr Daniels, is genocide.

Andrew Kevorkian

London W1