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Turquie : Ouvrons les fosses communes
Publié le :

Info Collectif VAN - www.collectifvan.org - Le Collectif VAN vous propose cette traduction d’un article paru en turc dans le journal Hurriyet du 12/02/07. « Le très négationniste Prof Yusuf Halacoglu », directeur de l’Institut d’Histoire Turque (TTK), affirme avoir accepté les conditions du Prof David Gaunt concernant les fosses communes. Vous trouverez, après l’article de Hurriyet, le Communiqué de Presse (en anglais) du scientifique suédois qui semble beaucoup plus mesuré et circonspect… Quant à l’assassinat de Hrant Dink, on ne s’étonnera pas outre mesure que « le très négationniste Prof Yusuf Halacoglu », fasse parler un mort de la manière la plus éhontée qui soit.

Ouvrons les fosses communes
Hurriyet - 12 Février 2007

Sefa KAPLAN

D’après les affirmations parues dans la magazine ‘Nokta’, il existe des fosses communes arméniennes dans la commune de Nusaybin de la ville de Mardin.
L’expert en matière de génocides à Sodertorns University College en Suède, le Prof. David Gaunt, a prétendu que ces fosses communes appartenaient aux Arméniens ou aux Assyriens massacrés et il a porté la question devant le Parlement suédois.

En réaction à cela, le directeur de l’Institut d’Histoire Turque (TTK), le Prof Yusuf Halacoglu a fait un appel au Prof. David Gaunt et aux autres scientifiques intéressés par la question et il a proposé d’ouvrir ces fosses communes. Ayant reçu une réponse favorable à sa proposition, le Prof. Halacoglu a déclaré :

« Le Prof. David Gaunt a dit qu’il serait heureux de collaborer à l’ouverture des fosses communes à Mardin-Nusaybin, seulement il exigeait certaines conditions : il voulait une totale liberté d’action lors de ces fouilles. En outre, il exigeait d’avoir la possibilité de discuter avec les habitants qui pouvaient avoir des informations sur ces fosses communes. Il voulait pouvoir entrer dans la grotte où est sensée se trouver une de ces fosses communes, sans se heurter à des obstacles administratifs. Il souhaitait aussi voir les autres fosses communes supposées dans les alentours. Nous avons accepté toutes ces conditions. Nous avons même dit que nous étions prêts à subvenir aux besoins de leur délégation et nous avons proposé le mois de mars, la période la plus convenable pour les fouilles. Nous sommes en attente de leur réponse »


CELA SERA UNE PREMIERE

Le Prof Halacoglu a souligné que, si on découvrait qu’il s’agissait de sépultures arméniennes ou assyriennes il était prêt à présenter ses excuses. Et dans le cas contraire, il attendrait des excuses de la part du Prof.David Gaunt. Il a précisé que c’était la première fois qu’une fosse commune serait ouverte en présence de scientifiques étrangers. Le Prof. Hallacoglu a invité aussi les scientifiques d’autres pays et en premier lieu d’Arménie.

Le Prof Halacoglu a rappelé que le Prof Gaunt avait soumis une motion à l’approbation du Parlement suédois concernant les fosses communes de Nusaybin, afin de pouvoir créer une commission indépendante constituée des historiens et des médecins experts dans leur matière. Cela permettra l’identification des squelettes et la découverte des causes de leur décès. Le Prof.Halacoglu a déclaré que la vérité allait ressurgir grâce à ces fouilles.


LE DECES DE DINK EST UNE PERTE

Le Prof Halacoglu a précisé que le décès du rédacteur en chef du journal Agos était contre les intérêts de la Turquie et il a jouté : « Quelque soit la raison qui l’a poussé à tuer, celui qui a tué Hrant Dink a causé le plus grand tort à la Turquie. Hrant Dink savait que les pays occidentaux étaient en arrière-plan de l’affaire arménienne et il avertissait les Kurdes en disant ‘Nous on s’est fait avoir, ne tombez pas dans le même piège.’ Je voulais l’inviter à l’Institut d’Histoire Turque pour qu’il donne une conférence. C’est une perte pour la Turquie. »

© Traduction du turc: S.C. pour le Collectif VAN

------------------------------------------------------------

La réponse du Prof David Gaunt

Press release: Mardin Mass Graves Revisited
February 12, 2006
David Gaunt

In the Autumn of 2006 villagers in Kuru (previously known as Harabe Baba) between Mardin and Nusaybin discovered a mass grave in a cave. They identified the victims as “Armenians from 1915” and added that they had found similar mass graves previously. A few photographs were taken and Ülkede Özgür Gündem wrote an article as did the journal Nokta. Both interviewed me on my opinion as I had written a book about massacres in this region. I suggested that the mass grave might be that of the victims of one of several massacres documented by contemporaries. There was documentation of killings of people taken from nearby Dara, Nusaybin, and Mardin as well as of the last remnants of a deportation column that had started in Erzurum. The sparsely settled area where the mass grave had been discovered is on the line of ancient defence works and underground storage rooms dating back to Roman times. It was turned into a killing field during the summer of 1915. With great probability the cave should contain Armenian, but with some likelihood also Assyrian-Syrian and Chaldean, victims. But only a site investigation could tell.

After the first news was spread, authorities cordoned off the cave and only some government agencies had access. Finally in December the site was closed off and the opening was buried. The head of the Turkish Historical Society (TKK), Professor Yusuf Halaçoglu challenged my suggestions and insisted that the bodies found were from Roman times. Thereafter he made many statements to the press challenging a Swedish delegation to investigate the site. This intensified after a debate in the Swedish parliament on December 12, 2006, which was based on reports in Turkish press (not upon my initiative, as some mistakenly believe).

In mid January 2007, I sent up a trial balloon to see if there was any substance to the TKK statements and I proposed to start negotiations on making a joint investigation. It was apparent that the only way any independent scientist would have to study the grave was through some sort of collaboration with the TKK. I am fully acquainted with its abysmal track record on the Armenian-Turkish issues and was, and still am, very hesitant. We had not progressed further than discussing the possible dates for an initial planning meeting, when Hrant Dink was assassinated. I immediately put these negotiations on ice. Apparently, however, the TTK is very hot to pursue this matter and today has gone to Hürriyet revealing the very small amount of progress we had up until the assassination and making some further provocative and totally inappropriate statements.

This investigation of the mass grave must be seriously planned. If the TTK wants to rush in and do an incomplete job in a hurry, there will be no reason for me to continue negotiations. For the sake of legitimacy alone, the TTK cannot expect to do the investigation all by itself and use the independent researchers only for PR-purposes in attempts to influence public opinion. Today I sent the following letter to Dr. Halaçoglu and proposed again a date for a meeting in Mardin. I envision a long scientific investigation with international co-operation. This first meeting can only begin the process of identifying the long lost victims in that mass grave.

FAX :

Türk Tarih Kurumu
Ankara, Turkey

Dear Prof. Halaco?lu,

Many thanks for your letter of January 17 to which I have not until now had opportunity to answer. I am sure that you realize that the assassination of Hrant Dink on January 19 made the situation for discussions about the mass grave difficult and most of our colleagues, including myself suddenly had many other things on our minds.

I was somewhat surprised to see from today’s Hürriyet and even from the TTK homepage last Friday, that you have begun to give information to the press even though we had only just started the preliminaries in what must be a long scientific investigation. I suggested a date for a meeting in Mardin to take the first steps and to make the first look at the mass grave. Unfortuately, these dates did not fit into your schedule, and you suggested some alternative dates. These proved impossible for me because of my teaching burden and prior engagements. May I propose a meeting in Mardin on 23-25 April?

What we still need to discuss are very heavy and difficult issues such as the budget, the size, qualifications and composition of the investigation team, the co-operation of local universities for offices and for adequate storage of the remains during the investigation, the organization for the search for DNA among people whose ancestors might be in the grave. Perhaps I overstate my position, but for clarity it will be impossible for us to call this a joint effort, and it risks the legitimacy of the whole enterprise, if the TTK takes on all responsibility for the investigative work and the independent researchers are kept at arms length, until there is a press conference.

To my pleasure, I see that we are agreed that there should be complete media transparency. While I am on the subject of transparency, please correct me if I am wrong, but I have reason to believe that there have been several Turkish government delegations that have already inspected the grave. You made statements yourself, so I assume the TTK participated. It would be very useful for our common planning if you could send over copies of whatever material there is in whatever form, which has already been assembled. I would take this as a sign of good collegial relations between professional historians who are about to begin a joint venture and, of course, it would greatly speed up the process of negotiations.

The Hürriyet article does contain a misunderstanding. I did not take any initiative to the Swedish parliament discussion of the mass grave. But some of the parliamentarians did read articles in the Turkish press in which I was interviewed and they used that information. I am sure you know that only a member of parliament can introduce a debate.

I see from the Hürriyet article that you have publicly offered to apologize to me in case your conviction about the mass grave is proved wrong. Please, you do not need to do this for me and I don’t understand the necessity of your odd promise, which seems more suited for film-version samurai warriors than down-to-earth researchers. In scientific circles we are daily confronted with new interpretations, new facts, new materials, new techniques and unexpected results – and as scientists we learn from them and are not embarrassed by new knowledge. As fellow historians, I believe that our first priority must be to pay our respect to the past and honour the memory by identifying whoever is enclosed in these long lost graves whatever ethnicity they happen to have had.

Stockholm 2007-02-12

David Gaunt, Professor of History
Södertörns University College
SE-14189 Huddinge
SWEDEN

Toplu mezar? açal?m



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