HAMBURG, GERMANY — On January 11, 2011, a heated nomination campaign ensued to be listed as a candidate within the Left Party for Hamburg‘s State Assembly to be held on February 20th. The cause of the internal party squabble was the denial of the Armenian Genocide, pitting the State Assembly Member of Turkish origin Mehmet Yildiz against ethnic Armenian candidate Toros Sarian. Although State Assembly Member Yildiz in the end fended off his main challenger, Mr. Sarian was content, having brought up the Armenian Genocide issue to the forefront of the Left Party’s attention.
Prior to this campaign Mehmet Yildiz had been a denier of the Armenian genocide. Yet during the contested campaign, on the issue of recognizing or denying the historical accuracy of the Armenian genocide as brought up by Mr. Sarian, Mr. Yildiz to ensure his continued candidacy acknowledged that “Turkey committed genocide against the Armenians and should accept the crime.” He added “Claims of the Armenian genocide have been examined, vetted and have been agreed as conclusive and definitive by historians. Turkey should look at Germany and the massacres of Jews in the Second World War as an example by accepting its prior wrongdoing and pay compensation.”
Toros Sarian is a historian and an active member of the German-Armenian community, he contributes regularly to Massis Weekly with his articles.