D.L. PHILLIPS’S DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF THE TURKEY-ARMENIA PROTOCOLS
The event which brought the end of the Commission is that upon Phillip’s proposal, the ICTJ (International Center for Transitional Justice) was asked whether or not the 1948 UN Genocide Convention could be applied to the 1915 events. In the ICTJ’s response, it was indicated that the 1948 Convention cannot be applied retroactively and therefore compensation and territory could not be claimed from Turkey. But ICTJ also addressed an issue which was not asked from them and expressed that if the UN Convention was applied retroactively, then the 1915 events would be considered as genocide. Since this response also implied that Turkey would not pay compensation or give territory if it recognizes the Armenian genocide allegations, it had drawn the objections of its Turkish members. On the other hand, the Dashnak Party, which had no members in the Commission, was not at all pleased with this response which did not take into consideration their territorial claims and passed an order to a jurist named Alfred de Zayas to write a report indicating that the 1948 Convention may be applied retroactively. Righteously, Phillips was held responsible for this event which caused displeasure on both sides and the Commission disbanded when it was no longer able to continue with other members.
The talks in the Commission were confidential. In 2005, by writing a book entitled “Unsilencing the Past”, Phillips disclosed these talks and tried to settle accounts with some of its members.
Meanwhile, President Bush had expressed in his 24 April statements in 2005 and 2006 that the analysis of ICTJ, while not the final word, has marked a significant step towards reconciliation. Therefore, it has been understood that the formula of “not paying compensation or giving territory if genocide is recognized” put forth by Philips is also supported by the US Government and they are probably inspired by it.
On the other hand, the governments of Turkey and Armenia have preferred to avoid “Track Two” activities which are out of their control.
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