Letter: Out of Asia

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AFTER having described my book, Between Marx and Muhammad: The Changing Face of Central Asia, as a 'monster tome' Robert Fisk (Review, 3 April) attacks me for 'a disgraceful glossing of the 1915 Armenian Holocaust . . . in which the Armenians are portrayed as bringing about their own destruction'.

It is obvious from the title that I am dealing with only those former Soviet republics that have the option of following Islam. Since this choice does not apply to Armenia or Armenians, I have kept them out - except where they impinge on the on-going Nagorno Karabakh conflict involving Azerbaijan and the Armenians living in Karabakh and outside.

Fisk has drawn the above startling conclusion from a single sentence which is an elucidation of the preceding statement: 'The description of Armenia by Arsalan Demirbey, a pan-Turkic intellectual, as a 'dagger in the heart of the Islamic world', aptly summed up the popular Turkish feeling.' Fisk seems to have let his passion distort his vision.

Dilip Hiro

London W5