Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance

27 May 2023


The Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATAA), representing the Australian-Turkish community, expresses its profound disappointment in the recent motion adopted by the Tasmanian Parliament titled, “Genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks.”

We find the Parliament’s timing and priorities questionable, particularly when pressing issues such as the cost-of-living crisis, increasing homelessness, and a declining education system are demanding immediate attention and resources.

While we stand firm in acknowledging the suffering of all communities who endure tragic experiences, we believe in maintaining a balanced, impartial understanding of historical events and strictly adhering to international rule of law.

Genocide, as defined by the European Court of Human Right Grand Chamber decision in 2015, is a strictly legal and historical term. Notably, there is no competent international court that has delivered a verdict on the actions of the Ottoman Empire.

The retrospective application of the term carries serious legal implications, even for Tasmania itself, considering its own history with the First Nations people of the island. As pointed out by Prof. Philippe Sands of Harvard Law School in his 2021 address, the loose application of the term can lead to numerous complexities in understanding historical events.

We urge against the politicisation and dilution of this term which may result in undermining its intended meaning and impact. The selective recognition of tragedies as displayed by the Tasmanian Parliament raises questions on its commitment to principles of fairness, equity, and justice.

As descendants of the tragic years surrounding WWI, we are in no way attempting to belittle the suffering endured during that period. We remember all those who suffered, equally.

The ATAA believes that a holistic understanding of history is critical to truly honour the victims and learn from the past. It is a testament to the principles of justice, equality, and respect that we stand for, and that we believe in, as members of a diverse Australian society.

We invite constructive dialogue about the potential implications of this motion on Tasmania’s multicultural society.

About the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance

The Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATAA) is an organization that represents the Australian-Turkish community. It is committed to promoting a balanced understanding of historical events, advocating for fairness and respect for all communities, and fostering constructive dialogues on issues of concern.