Armenians in the US attempted to take the notion of “genocide” to the UN by organising the forum entitled, “Genocide: Then and Now. Lessons Learnt in the 21st Century”. Political Affairs Assistant to UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, Ibrahim Gambari’s name was also mentioned at the forum co-organised by Armenian, Rwandan Ambassadors and the Armenian General Benevolent Union.
However, on discovering that Turkey was targeted at the forum, Gambari stated that his name was placed on the list of speakers by mistake, and declined from making a speech.
Director of Genocide Research at the Zoryan Institute, Prof. Vahak Dadrian, put forward that the Armenian massacre had begun with the death of 200,000 Armenians during the reign of Abdülhmit. Dadrian also claimed that militant Islamists systematically massacred Armenians living in Anatolia, between 1918 and 1920.
Türkkaya Ataöv, a Turkish Historian also attending the forum, took the floor and asked, “You say that you are referring to secret reports from German sources stating that Ottoman rulers gave orders for genocide. You claim that the documents have been seen. Who has seen these documents and where are they?” causing a stir.
The forum Chairman, New York Times journalist, Andrea Kannapell attempted to stop Türkkaya Ataöv from speaking. Ataöv responded to this by saying, “You are taking sides. Dadrian gave a 40-minute speech, but you do not want someone of the opposite opinion to speak”, then went on to describe the important place Armenians held in Ottoman society, holding government positions amongst many others. Following Kannapell’s second attempt to quiet Ataöv, a group of Armenians in the room began to scold him.
Directing his words at the Rwandan Ambassador, Ataöv complained, “This forum is just for show.” Türkkaya Ataöv declared that the purpose of the forum was to take this “supposed genocide” to a global platform.