Scholars in Turkey Change Conference Venue....
A group of academics planning to hold a conference on the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire has decided to skirt a court order banning the event by changing the venue, an academic official said Friday.

The conference deals with one of the most sensitive issues of Turkey's history, the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks at around the time of World War I. An Istanbul court on Thursday ruled the meeting, which was originally scheduled for Friday at Bogazici University, had to be canceled. The court demanded details on how the scholars were chosen and asked for the credentials of all those intending to participate.

But Aydin Ugur, president of Istanbul Bilgi University, said the conference would be held Saturday morning at Bilgi. He said the court's order was directed at two other universities, and had ``nothing to do with Bilgi.''

Turkish academics and European Union observers have insisted that the Armenian conference is not only a chance for Turkey to face one of the most sensitive issues in its history, but also a test of Turkey's willingness to permit free speech and open academic discourse.

The European Commission on Friday condemned the Turkish court ruling, saying it deplored ``this new attempt to prevent Turkish society from freely discussing its history'' and that it would make note of it in a Nov. 9 progress report on Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.

Ugur said at a news conference Friday that the Turkish court's demand to review academic credentials of conference participants ``threatens every serious academic institution.''

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