Latest:

Akgun: The Virtue of Apologizing

click for more

By Mensur Akgun

The following article, translated for the Weekly by Ara Arabyan, first appeared in its original Turkish in the Istanbul Star on Feb. 25. Akgun teaches foreign policy at Marmara and Kultur Universities. He is also the top foreign policy consultant at the Turkish Foundation for Economic and Social Studies (TESEV), a think tank in Turkey.

Akgun: Perhaps for the first time in our history, the state apologized to its citizens for the Dersim massacres in the 1930’s. Irrespective of motivations, Prime Minister Erdogan took the first step toward making Turkey a more livable place.

Speaking at a ceremony in Berlin on Feb. 23, German Chancellor Angela Merkel apologized on behalf of Germany to the families of those Turks who had been subjected to racist attacks. German newspapers published this apology on their front pages, and Germany once again faced up to its past and acknowledged its mistake.

That same day, President Barak Obama apologized to the Afghans—in reality, all Muslims—for the burning of Korans on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Germany’s offense was taking the murders of Turks in Germany lightly and failing to see the racist violence behind it. America’s was its attack on sacred values.

Nonetheless, the leaders of both countries exhibited great virtue and common sense by apologizing. And now there will be one less problem in U.S. relations with the Muslim world. In the meantime, Germany will make peace with millions of Turks, some of whom are German citizens and some guest workers, and will become a more livable place for both Turks and Germans.

A similar process has been under way in Turkey. Perhaps for the first time in our history, the state apologized to its citizens for the Dersim massacres in the 1930’s. Irrespective of motivations, Prime Minister Erdogan took the first step toward making Turkey a more livable place.

His words have helped us to reopen the dark pages of Turkey’s history and to understand the scale of the massacres that were committed. Today, very few people can argue that what happened in Dersim was a simple operation to suppress a rebellion. No one can argue that disproportionate force was not used.

The state could have also acknowledged that the mindset that dreamed of staging another coup only a few years ago—that had no compunctions about killing its own people in order to realize such dreams, that organized a raid on the Council of State and sponsored the bombing of newspapers—also mistreated the Armenians in the early years of the 20th century.

One would hope that the tragedy of 1915 could be discussed independent of its legal label, and that the state would express its regrets for what unfolded in post-empire Turkey, for taking these events lightly, and, in particular, for offending the sensibilities of its Armenian citizens during all these years.

However, the recent intervention of the French Parliament and Senate reversed this process and resulted in the return of the prefix “so-called” with every mention of the word “genocide.” Just when Turkey had started to discuss its past, it slid back into denialism, and the innocence of our ancestors are again reiterated at the highest levels.

Now, sky-high posters and announcements in newspapers on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Khojali massacre attribute epithets to Armenians that they do not deserve. Through some blanket analogy, this campaign implies that all Armenians are liars; Turkey’s Armenians are also incriminated for in the massacre.

The truth is that, just as I am not responsible for the crimes committed by Mehmet Ali Agca or anyone else, it makes no logical or legal sense to blame all Armenians for crimes committed by some Armenians. It is true that a major massacre occurred in Khojali in 1992 and that the perpetrators of that act must be punished. However, that does not require vengeance on or the incrimination of all Armenians.

Today, Turkey is one of the world’s most influential countries. It has a say about the problems in its own neighborhood. Its political model and process are used as examples. As such, Turkey has to make peace with itself without delay and adopt a tone that befits its grandeur. This is essential if Turkey wants to criticize others for their lies and wants to be seen as credible when leveling criticism.

103 Comments on Akgun: The Virtue of Apologizing

  1. It is always very painful the killings, massacres & loss of life of innocent, unarmed civilians whether they were Meshketian Turks, Azeri or Armenians. However one thing is very clear that this happened during WAR & not during peace time .Khojali loss of life was the end result of war unlike the massacres of Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad of Armenian civilians.

  2. Oh, so all one has to do after a genocide is to “apologize” for it? Does that strike you as equitable?

    You kill 1.5 million people, you take their homes, property, heritage, and homeland, and all you need do to atone is issue an offhand apology? In what form should this apology come – a Tweet?

  3. {“…it makes no logical or legal sense to blame all Armenians for crimes committed by some Armenians. It is true that a major massacre occurred in Khojali in 1992 and that the perpetrators of that act must be punished. However, that does not require vengeance on or the incrimination of all Armenians.”} writes Mensur Akgun.

    Above is a classic sample of the massive Anti-Armenian disinformation campaign that started a few years ago by Azeris and has become refined and is gathering steam. Clearly Azeris and Turks have started a well coordinated campaign of disinfo-assaults on Armenians. It is quite ingenious: demonize Artsakh’s Armenians (in the eyes of the West) and thus prepare the ground for eventual military assault. Second, blunt the 100th Anniversary of AG by conflating it with the Khojali tragedy.

    Let’s take a look at the cleverly phrased, deliberate mis-statements of Mr. Akgun:

    {“It is true that a major massacre occurred in Khojali in 1992”}
    No, it is not true at all. Massacre implies premeditated, planned killing of people for no reason – just to murder.
    Azeri civilians were killed by Armenian bullets, true. But there was no premeditation. Those killed were killed because they got caught in a crossfire in an active hot battle zone.
    It is also not clear how many of the killed civilians were killed by Armenian bullets. One group of fleeing Azeri civilians took a wrong route and were fired upon by Azer troops mistaking the former for Armenian troops.

    {“ the perpetrators of that act must be punished.”}
    What “perpetrators” of what “act” ?
    “Punished” for fighting in a war that Azeris themselves started “ ?

    How about punishing some Azeri leaders for the charge of Depraved Indifference, at the minimum, for leaving their civilians in a hot battle zone despite the undisputed fact that NKR Authorities gave weeks – weeks (!) – advance notice to Azeris to leave the area, and were provided a safe corridor to evacuate.
    There is very strong circumstantial evidence that elements in the Azeri leadership had a hand in setting up the Khojali tragedy.
    There is very strong circumstantial evidence that those killed in the crossfire were dragged away by Azeris themselves and later mutilated.
    How about punishing the perpetrators of those acts ?

    And Mr. Akgun, before you Turks start bloviating about alleged “crimes”, advocate for punishment of real crimes committed by Azeri leaders, who by the way, are still freely walking around in Azerbaijan.

    What crimes you ask ? Sumgait (1988); Kirovabad (1988); Baku (1990) – premeditated, planned, organized massacres of Armenian civilians in time of peace.
    There are lots more major criminal acts committed by Azeris against Armenians. But this will suffice for now.

    • avatar Seervart // March 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm //

      Dear Avery,

      I am so glad that you spoke about this and set the records straight. I have read the true facts on other occasions as you yourself well know it, that NKR Armenian authorities gave weeks notice to the Azeri government to have their people evacuate by the safe corridor that was provided to them, and I also read it from knowledgeable and well provided sources that it was the massacres was the outcome of one of their (Azeri) government officials who was responsible for the thousands of the civilian Azeris deaths during the Khojali incidence. The entire responsibility lies on the Azeri government and none others.

      I thank you Avery also for mentioning that during peace times the Azeri mobs who were perpetrated by the Azeri authorities went into all the Armenian civilians’ houses and barbarically mutiliated and murdered them one by one as well as on the streets of Baku in daylight. The year was 1990. As well as in Sumgeit in 1988 and Kirovabad in 1988, exactly as you have truthfully and rightfully mentioned it.

  4. Its a horrible incident, if civilians die in a war. This is also the fact with Khodjali. But we should not forget that the Arzachi forces informed the Khodjali Municipality about the planned attack one day before it happened. The Armenians also informed about the Corridor between Khodjali and Aghdam.
    So why did the Aseri army and the Municipality not do anything to save their civilians when they were warned ?

  5. “One would hope that the tragedy of 1915 could be discussed independent of its legal label, and that the state would express its regrets for what unfolded in post-empire Turkey, for taking these events lightly, and, in particular, for offending the sensibilities of its Armenian citizens during all these years.”

    “As such, Turkey has to make peace with itself without delay and adopt a tone that befits its grandeur.”

    The first step is to overcome the delusion of ‘grandeur.’ Humility is a necessary component of a sincere apology.

  6. “However, the recent intervention of the French Parliament and Senate reversed this process”

    So I guess the implication is that we should stay silent?

    It is not the problem of Armenians, the international community, or anybody of sound mind that (some) Turks are not mature enough to handle it when other countries tell the truth. It’s the responsibility of the Turkish government to eradicate the reflexive nationalism in its country, NOT of the rest of us to accommodate this primitive mindset by staying silent.

    Enough is enough.

    • “Just when Turkey had started to discuss its past, it slid back into denialism, and the innocence of our ancestors are again reiterated at the highest levels.”

      I think he is voicing his frustration. The French bill caused people in Turkey to more openly discuss what they call a “so-called” genocide. He is saying that for the first time Turks were questioning the past, discussing it, and the French courts did not allow the bill to stand. As a result, The Armenian Genocide debate once again became a “so-called” Armenian genocide debate.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm //

      So the Turks can now blame the French for their inability to deal honestly with history:

      “We were so close to admitting to it, but then the French ticked us off with that stupid bill which was so insulting… Who are they to tell us what we can or can not say? And the Armenians run all over the place trying to turn everyone against us. Have you ever seen a more self-pitying group of people? How long are they going to keep this going? When will we have suffered enough for them?”

    • Boyajian, John: I misinterpreted the comments by Mr. Akgun. I agree with both of you.

  7. Dave, tell me what do you expect from a country with some dozen Intellectuals, millions of grey wolves and a leader, who not long ago declared he would always fight a Kurdish State, even if it would be settled in South America.
    This country is rapidly sliding to the right – Its a pity that the West, including the States is only regarding its economic success. Morale and ethic values are long
    forgotten. Governments and Individuals are only on a worldwide egoistic trip.
    Its a shame, but reality !

  8. avatar Hairenakitz on YouTube // March 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm // Reply

    Akgun: The Virtue of Apologizing &/or The virtue of Denial

    This article by ‘Akgun’ is in essence a broad misrepresentation of facts.
    An opportunistic comparison between selected past and contemporary (non Turkey related) events and astutely discarding others (Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad massacres)

    Originally in Turkish language, I believe such articles are sponsored by the Turkish government for its own public feed.

    This is another evidence of Turkish fear of the ‘Centenary of Armenian Genocide’, the ‘Centenary of Turkish Denial’ and irreversible damage to Turkish image worldwide prior to the ‘Centenary of Turkish Republic’.

    • avatar Hairenakitz on YouTube // March 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm //

      Such articles by top foreign policy consultant (at the Turkish Foundation for Economic and Social Studies) would not have been written (though with reservations) in the absence of French Bill and similar initiatives by our Diaspora and Armenian cause lobbyists around the world.

      Hence, its more fruitful for us to multiply and diverse our collective efforts in voicing our rightful claims in all those fields where other countries have to push Turkey to conform with norms of humane society which they try very hard to adhere, while the time is right.

  9. Of course, killing a million and a half unarmed civilian people (men, women, children, elderly) during wartime is just a part of collateral damage…. This is the usual level of logic in some Davutoglu circular brainset. Only Goebbels seems to rival the convolution levels. Oh wait, they were “transported” and “moved”… It just never ends does it?

  10. Pressure on Turks to confront Turkey’s history is universally lauded as a worthwhile goal. I have believed this for years. But let us suppose the Turkish state and culture accept that a Genocide of unimaginable barbarity occurred, and that the state has systematically murdered Christian subjects and dissenters for over seven generations. Then what? Will the Azeris and Turks be one iota less inclined to commit Genocide IV?

    I believe the pressure should remain and we should educate Turks. But defending Armenia from attack and it’s people from murder is a more urgent priority. The Turks will do themselves a bigger favor than us if they apologize.

    • Will the Azeris and Turks be one iota less inclined to commit Genocide IV?

      Can’t speak for Azeris, but I would say yes for Turks. Since Turkey’s independence, Genocide denial has been the main issue between Turkey and Armenia. It has lead to Turkey and Armenia not opening their borders to eachother, among other, major problems. Let’s say Turkey comes to term with genocide, in that case I would see no reason for Turkey to not tolerate Armenia and even open its borders. I’m not saying the two countries will be good friends or anything, but I think basic civility and tolerance would be there. With Turkey and Armenia the source of conflict is 97 years old, with Azerbaijan and Armenia the conflict is still ongoing, and it feels like Azeris are just waiting for an excuse, any excuse, to attack. This makes things a bit more complicated.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 6, 2012 at 12:30 am //

      RVDV, I don’t mean to sound like a 15 year old girl, but the conflict between Turkey and Armenia is waaay more than 97 years old and is soooo still ongoing! I know you try very hard to be fair, to see things through Armenian eyes, but if you don’t know this, you don’t know jack!

      The conflict between Turks and Armenians isn’t simply about the events of 1915, or the events of Adana or the Hamidian massacre’s. The ‘events’ are only the manifestation of the real root problem. The conflict between Turks and Armenians at root is about dignity and security and the fact that Turks have a hard time allowing Armenians (or Greeks, or Assyrians, or Kurds) to have theirs without feeling threatened themselves.

      An apology would go a long way toward showing that Turkey is willing to view Armenians with respect, but only reparations will restore their dignity and begin to balance security between the two nations.

    • Boyajian: First off, I appreciate the humor :).

      But on a serious note, you are absolutely right. My poor word choice no doubt came off as ignorant. The AG was the manifestation of the real, underlying problem. BUT, Greece and Turkey for example, a bloody history here as well, have nonetheless have had improving foreign relations, and despite many outstanding issues- Cyprus in particular, have had a general lack of hostility in past years- earthquake diplomacy, etc. As big as issues like Cyprus are, they are no Armenian genocide. If Turkey goes the way of Germany and apologizes and pays reparations, I see no reason for why Turkey- Armenia relations shouldn’t become somewhat normalized. This was the point I was trying to make (though I admit I did it poorly)- if, and once the AG “issue” is resolved, though there will always be bad blood, there will be no real reason to not normalize relations somewhat.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 6, 2012 at 10:55 am //

      RVDV, naive maybe, but not ignorant. Remember the now defunct ‘Protocols?’ Armenia was willing to normalize relations with no preconditions (much to the disappointment of Armenians in the diaspora), but Turkey was unable to commit to this due to her wish to show ‘solidarity’ with her Azeri cousins. In other words, the Armenian side came to the table willing to lay all baggage aside in order to establish a groundwork based on mutual respect. Turkey was unable or unwilling to reciprocate. I will leave it to you to ask yourself why that is? I would love to know how you answer this. Personally, I think it is all for the best, but if viewed as a pilot test of Turkey’s intentions toward Armenia, it is very telling.

    • “Genocide denial has been the main issue between Turkey and Armenia. It has lead to Turkey and Armenia not opening their borders to eachother, among other, major problems.”

      NO, NO, NO. This dishonest framing has to stop, from everybody. This is NOT a two-sided conflict with mutual culpability. The Armenian border is OPEN. The Turkish side is CLOSED.

      Come on, RVDV.

    • Alex: my mistake. I thought the Armenian border was closed as well, because if you open you borders to someone I thought that would mean you recognize the border- which wouldn’t make sense considering Armenian land claims. That was my thinking- I guess I was wrong. Wasn’t trying to say both sides share culpability.

      Boyajian: I really don’t know why Turkey dropped out of the protocols. We do get a majority of our natural gas through Azerbaijan- so perhaps threats by Azerbaijan combined with an insincere effort to normalize relations combined? I know it’s a bad excuse, but I can’t think of any legitimate reason.

  11. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 6, 2012 at 12:58 am // Reply

    Armenians should maintain their cool.All facts are in place since their-great Ottoman Turkey´s Military Tribunals condemned the Trio Talaat,Enver and Jamal pashas for masterminding the Armenian Genocide to death.The Trio escaped from being shot or hanged -conveniently-no doubt helped by their then ¨deep state¨..none the less being executed by the Armenian Avengers.One of whom after being caught and being thoroughly judged at Berlin German court,declared innocent!!!!
    Other such important facts abound,no doubt about that. It is the nature and evil in the character of the fascist leaders and majority of the brainwashed followers of these that no easy solution can be found for bringing the two sides to a compromise. Unless superior powers that are , such as the U.s. GB,France,Russia and other such put simultaneous pressure to be brought on the Gov.t of great Turkey. And since latter do not seem to bother about that and are busy competing with ea other ,the case cannot be resolved.
    Armenians would be better off if instead of placing their hope on others,helped themselves to get totally organzied and prepared for eventual confrontation like one above commented, -if not on the West of present R.of Armenia , to East of it, w/little brother, Azerbaijan. Again a very unlikely occurance, since ENERGY issue is involved at that .
    But again ,as arm build up continues in latter adversary country and that by ¨supposedly¨ presently estranged ally of great Turkey, Israel,more likely for igniting breakout of war against Iran,yet another speculation.Again very unlikely,since the powers to be are actually against any such warfare,endangering flow of precious oil via BTC ,Turkey and on to EU markets etc.,
    Thus the status quo is there to stay for the time being playing with the nerves of those who cannot stand such clumsy maneuvres by the Trio(now) g.Turkey Israel and Azerbaijan directed , no , not Finland or Timbaktu…but Iran,and Ermenistan ..the perrenial adversayr of turco Azeris….
    I believe I have randomly ventured a bit too far.But better be prepared for all eventualities ,than to stay put and hope for best. Since, no other neighbour of Armenia,or further away state is so much antagonistic towards us Armenians and our reduced Republic of Armenia than these two.Excuses for both Great Turkey and Azeristan are easy -for them-to find and ignite the conflict.Especially so, if one of the powers supports the desire by the (European State of Israel) to attack Iran..
    And now my last comment to throw more light on latter speculation.
    A misconception , amongst Armenians and possibly Iranians and Arabs has been the wrong assumption that Middle Eastern Jewery are those who populate present stxate of Israel…
    Whereas this is totally erroneous. Population of latter is near 100% composed of European,Rusian. N.and s. American and many other such, rather than those who lived and still live in the Middle East. Most of the Jews that used to live in M.East immigrated to Europe,the americas and elsewhere, they did not come to live in a socialist like Israel mainly populated as above described.Thence Israelis are a totally different species of Jews .Poles , Czchs, Russian, German Enmglish ,you name it .They are mentally as well as culturally very much like latter ,rather than the imagined, downtrodden jewry of the Middle eastern countries often referred to as Yahoodi , Jihood etc., by turk or Persian and arab alike..
    that is why they act more like a Euro State than a Middle Eastern one…
    best to hasgcoghin

  12. avatar Talat Ibrahim // March 6, 2012 at 1:05 am // Reply

    Khojali loss of life was the end result of war unlike the massacres of Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad of Armenian civilians.

    Oh great, now I can use this excuse when mentioning what happened to Turkey’s Armenians during 1915. It was not just war, but a world war so I guess my conscience can be clear.

  13. avatar Talat Ibrahim // March 6, 2012 at 1:09 am // Reply

    but only reparations will restore their dignity and begin to balance security between the two nations.

    Reperations is not going to happen. I have met Turks who don’t deny the genocide took place like my self and I always ask them should Armenians be given land as a compensation. To date not one Turk has said yes to this, including myself.

  14. avatar Grish Begian // March 6, 2012 at 2:06 am // Reply

    Wolfgang, that was a really good question, the answer buried within Heidar Aliev, dead father of Mr. Ilham Aliev,..that KGB traitor, where even Kremlin and Brezhnev kicked him out of their circle, due to his sever corruption habits, a power hungry man a blood thirsty vampire, oil worshiper, and mafia gang leader, who secretly smuggling Caspian caviar businesses, for millions of dollar, a person who orchestrated Armenian pogrom in Baku, Samgait and Kirovabad, who could easily speak Armenian language, a person, who would sacrificed not only Azeri Turks but Armenians as well, just to have a grip over a weak Azerbaijan… this is why Khojali was a good opportunity for him to create and steal the power out of his powerless opponents, and he did succeed, while he was alive nobody dared to talk about Khojali until he was dead…now this new oil man, who is running his sheikhdom knows how to forge the truth and screw Azeri Turks, in order to maintain his holy power over his tribal people, hire sniper specialists for his demoralized soldiers, cover up Khojali and hide the truth from his own people, dump 613 dead innocent Khojali civilian blood over the shoulder of NKR few hundred freedom fighters!! After all he learnt few tricks from his old KGB man, although he can not be a godfather like his beloved daddy, but at least he can hide the truth from his own people!!! I won’t be surprised, a day will come where he will be killed by his own soldiers like Gaddafi in a water sewer!! The only thing, that I am afraid of, if he smells turmoil in his beloved sheikhdom, he may unleash a war against Artsakhi Armenians to cover up his father guilt, just like a “little Hitler” in Caucasus, teaching his people how to hate Armenians, while he is running oil business for extra cash for his friends and family!!

  15. Is identity theft considered as crime in turkey?

  16. Talat Ibrahim
    No one knows for sure what form the reparations might take. That can be negotiated when the time comes in a less hostile atmosphere when parties might be more forthcoming to each other than they are now. We cannot jump too forward in advance of events But, the first step towards reconciliation is an unambiguous, official apology by the Turkish government. I believe it’s not going to happen anytime unless there is a profound change in the way of thinking of Turkish public. Here, of course Turkish intellectuals have an important role to play, that is if they have the courage and the will to do so.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 6, 2012 at 11:11 am //

      Talat Ibrahim, I agree with Arshag. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First there must be an acknowledgment and an apology. The future holds unknown possibilities for fair-minded, courageous Turks.

  17. Talat, you should know the difference between massacres in time of peace & killings/massacres during war of 2 opposite fighting forces. For example Sabra & Chatila Palestinian camps’ massacres were during peace time & the Khojali ones were during war.
    Your conscience should be clear as you personally have not committed a crime against us the Armenians. Why should you take the blame for the murders committed by your ancestors? Instead if you honorably believe as you write ‘Turks who don’t deny the genocide took place like myself ‘ then you have to work for peace between our two nations. We hold your government responsible as the rightful inheritor of the Ottomans.
    Reparations will happen whether I/you want it or not. It’s common sense. All those people who lost property, money, paintings, land & so on during the 2nd world war have recovered them. That’s a precedent.

    • Precedent by definition precedes whatever it is precededent for.

      I can assure you that there will be no reperations as long as Turkish Republic exists. There can only be unilateral gestures, and by that I mean substantial gestures by the Turkish government and people, but it s hard to see how that can happen in the face of so much hate and animosity.

    • avatar Random Armenian // March 8, 2012 at 2:20 am //

      Murat,

      You may be right about the psychology of reaction, but this animosity (not necessarily shared by every Armenian), did not develop in a vacuum. The Turkish government, since it’s founding, fanned the flames. Since it’s founding, it made 1915 a taboo subject, made allies fall silent and forget about what they knew, fought tooth and nail about open discussions, made Armenians and other minorities fall in line using fear, and made it clear it did not want to reach out to the survivors scattered around the world. Turkey’s active attempts to make this history be forgotten has kept it alive for Armenians. From our perspective, Turkey has been preventing our wounds from healing.

      Recent changes in Turkey over the past 10 years are still seen through this fog of history and reforms necessary for EU membership . There is deep distrust and skepticism in everything the Turkish government does towards Armenians and with good reason.

  18. Another thought about these words:

    “One would hope that the tragedy of 1915 could be discussed independent of its legal label, and that the state would express its regrets for what unfolded in post-empire Turkey, for taking these events lightly, and, in particular, for offending the sensibilities of its Armenian citizens during all these years.”

    I admire Akgun for asserting that Turkey could/should separate the legal label debate from a simple expression of regret and acknowledgment for its role in the suffering of the Armenian people. I agree that such a move would be more fitting of a nation which views itself as a leader in its neighborhood. Turkey could acknowledge the events and its own failures in how it has handled the issue for the last 97 years and then rightfully allow the international community to debate the proper label. After all, regardless of what you call it, the facts don’t change: the ancient indigenous Armenian population of Asia Minor was wiped out by the direct and indirect actions of Turkish leadership.

    If you can’t apologize for this and for adhering to an injurious policy of denial for 97 years, than you can hardly speak of ‘grandeur’ befitting the current landlords of this historic geographical crucible of culture and faith. The land and its history may conjure up majestic imagery, but the action of its current caretakers toward the indigenous people is nothing but thuggery.

    • “…and that the state would express its regrets for what unfolded in post-empire Turkey”

      Boyajian:

      don’t be too quick to admire Mr. Akgun.
      The deliberate choice of the word “regret” vs “apologize” advertises his Denialist agenda very clearly. The purpose of the article is to obfuscate: appear to be reasonable, while planting the Denialist meme (e.g. “the tragedy of 1915″: ‘tragedy’ ? as in Genocide, Mr. Akgun ?)

      “Regret” has no legal ramification. “Apologize” does.

      (one reason Israel adamantly refuses to “apologize” for the deliberate killing of 9 Turks on Mavi Marmara: they offered to issue a “regret”, which Turkey refuses to accept)

      Note: since the article is translation from Turkish, there may have been mistranslation. I do not know if those two words in Turkish are close enough to be mistranslated.

    • Avery: regret and remorse are fairly similar words, and could be mistranslated. Apology: özür dilemek, regret: pişmanlık or üzüntü. Completely unrelated words.

    • Thanks for the clarification RVDV.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm //

      Valid criticism Avery. ‘Apology’ generally includes ‘regret’, but ‘regret’ doesn’t necessarily acknowledge responsibility as ‘apology’ does.

    • Avery:

      Thanks for the clarification. It is so easy to be manipulated by careful wording.

      Of course, regret or disappointment are significantly weaker than apology. We regret, we are disappointed that things turned out a certain way. We wish so much it didn’t happen, really, but it’s nobody’s fault, not ours.

      We apologize implies that, at least to some extent, we feel guilty for what happened. There’s something we did that was wrong.

  19. avatar Random Armenian // March 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm // Reply

    I didn’t know where to post, but this thread is as good as any.

    http://news.am/eng/news/96201.html

    Anyone know how a copy of this book can be gotten? It needs to be translated and put online to demonstrate the hatred being indoctrinated into students by the Turkish government.

  20. {“NO, NO, NO. This dishonest framing has to stop, from everybody. This is NOT a two-sided conflict with mutual culpability. The Armenian border is OPEN. The Turkish side is CLOSED.”}

    Well said Alex:

    Everyone on our side must be vigilant (like Alex).
    Lot’s of clever little word tricks being tried out on us: to see which ones pass the sentinels and get planted. If it takes root, it becomes the new, manufactured reality.

  21. avery,

    you ermeni people hate us turks but still want turkey to open its doors for you .

    why?

    • Apologize for insulting the Grandmother of a certain Armenian poster first.
      Apologize with genuine contrition.
      And promise not to do it again.

      After you do, I may answer you.

      you know I made you apologize to Ms. Nanore for libeling her.
      you know I will never forget..
      do the right thing: apologize and withdraw your insult.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 7, 2012 at 11:58 am //

      We are not banging the doors to be let in. We are fighting for justice. Open your eyes, your minds and your hearts and the doors will naturally follow.

  22. Necati,

    Because you, turkish people, stole our identity and assume that you are the rightful owners of those lands. If you were a real turk you would look like the rest of the turkic people. For example, like Mongolians :)

    • avatar Random Armenian // March 8, 2012 at 1:28 am //

      I think Mongols are not part of the Turkic people. I’m not 100% sure but I think they might not count as part of the Turkic world.

  23. Necati, I don’t hate Turks, but I do hate the ignorance you and some of your like minded buddies freely display here. Stop being a hatemonger. You have my pity.

    • Boyajian,

      you can hate me ..it is natural after having spent long time among hateful armenians such as avery..

      you are one of the “few” armenians here i feel warm.
      from the style of your comments , i see you, in fact , have a good heart contrarily to the most of armenians .

    • How about the ignorance and hateful and racist attitudes of others, and you can start with the above.

    • I agree with Murat here.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 7, 2012 at 11:04 am //

      Murat, I think you miss AR’s point: Who is a Turk? He challenges the whole concept of “Turkishness.” I don’t think his intent is to be racist, but to ask ‘Turks’ to deal realistically with a manufactured national identity and to come to terms with themselves.

    • I agree with Boyajian’s interpretation of AR’s post.

      First: despite the insinuation, looking like a Mongolian is not derogatory at all.
      Mongolians are fine, beautiful people. I don’t see anything in AR’s post that even hints at being insulting.

      Second: In 2010 when Turkish FM Davutoglu was visiting Uygurs of China, he famously said: “We are visiting the land of our ancestors”.
      Again, Uygurs are handsome people, but they do have Asiatic (Mongolian) features. Was Davutoglu insulting his own people by stating by inference that his ancestors looked Asiatic ?
      Was he being ‘ignorant’, ‘racist’, ‘hateful’ ?

      Third: we can accept fair criticism from someone like RVDV.
      However, someone like Murat lecturing us on anything is too rich – the proverbial ‘pot calling the kettle black’.

      Someone who calls the Armenian Genocide “manufactured history” has forfeit the right to criticize Armenian posters here.

      You have written @AW that Armenian Genocide is “manufactured history” have you not, Murat ?
      You have written @AW that AG is a “myth”: have you not, Murat ?

    • Necati,

      Hatred of Armenians is far more common in your society than in Armenia or among Armenians.

      Your school textbooks teach children to hate Armenians. Just last week you marched among those who regretted there were no Hrants around to kill. Your youth, who should be the most humane, are seen holding signs bragging Armenians will be buried at Ararat. Your police laugh under the blood red flag of Turkey with the killer Samast. His hat became required headgear.

      Your national hatreds are obscene and explicable only to Nazis, your brothers in murder. Yours is a culture of death.

  24. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 7, 2012 at 11:49 am // Reply

    ¨you want Turkey to open its doors for you¨..
    Hell no!!! it was the formula concocted up by the Trio representing the powers, Sec.Clinton, FM,Lavrov and EU,javier Solana ,that IMAGINED and still do, that they could thus achieve p e a c e between great Turkey and Armenia(Armenians)…
    business is being conducted by those on both sides of the border since more than half doz. yrs..there is no boundary for BIZ people nowadays,anywhere!!!
    How can we desire friendship or Borders (closed anyway by great Turkey)open,when there is no diplomatic representations on both sides.Which in extension implies THOSE COUTNRIES ARE UN FRIENDLY.Not on our side!!!
    We are a humanitarian people not anti humanitarian.Witness only a week ago Demos at Taksim and over many turkish towns….
    Do you kid? of course not,I for sure know you do not, but yoiu still beleive that Armenians can be taken in…

  25. Boyajian & Avery,I believe the best way to put into words is:
    “I am responsible for what I write, however I am not responsible for what you understand”.

    • There really is no misunderstanding, is there? I thought it was crystal clear. Not the first time or last.

      A Turk is who calls himslef a Turk by the way. Why not ask “who is an American”? I can see why folks so obsessed with race, ethnicity and eye color and hair would have a hard time with this simple fact. I invite you all to this century!

    • avatar Boyajian // March 8, 2012 at 1:26 am //

      Murat you are not as clear as you might think. It is not racist or hateful to seek justice for the destruction and hijacking of one’s heritage. You need to be more tolerant of the anger Armenians express over the lack of justice they have been forced to endure for 97 years.

      Also you haven’t really dealt with the question that AR raises:

      Aren’t Turks of today more like Armenians and Greeks and Assyrians and Kurds, etc., than they are like their central Asian ancestors?

      If that is the case, couldn’t one question something that is essentially a ‘misnomer’ which leads to glorifying a ‘Turkishness’ that is really an amalgam of things assumed, subsumed and adopted from others? I’m not saying that Turks brought no culture of their own with their conquests, but it is no secret that they ‘actively’ co-mingled gene pools with those they conquered and were patrons of the arts/crafts of the indigenous peoples of the empire. Didn’t Ottomans freely claim imperial ownership of all that was within the empire? Isn’t this need to glorify ‘Turkishness’ based less on shared ethnicity than it is on a myth of a grand imperial past and the identity crisis created by the collapse of the empire? Further, wasn’t the modern Turkish identity partly ‘manufactured’ out of a need to meld together many diverse groups of Balkan refugees with ‘Anatolian’ Turks as the modern nation was being built upon the remnants of the fallen empire? Further still, isn’t it plausible that a new Turkish chauvinism was forged in an attempt to distance the nation from the sins and failures of the leaders of that ruined empire? Isn’t it beneficial to look at all these factors in order to better understand who is a Turk today?

      Am I completely wrong here?

  26. Aplogy without reparations for the Armenian Genocide is neither fair nor enough. Not at all acceptable for the magnitude of the crime that was committed by the CUP Ittihadist government of Turkey from 1915 thru 1923. Then within 10 years the Turks banning all the grown up Armenian orphans left from the said Genocide that they cannot return to their homes, their lands, their crops or their homeland.

  27. Murat: I blame my fall from grace on you and kill your whole family. Everyone except say your son. I then proceed to take your house with all of your possessions, and then live in it. For some reason, other people just let me get away with murder because I have something to offer the rich and powerful people who could have possibly punished me. Meanwhile, through the years, your son and grandson spend their lives trying to bring my crime to light, and since they can’t bring back the dead or punish me- since i am dead, they ask for your house and possessions to be returned to them, along with compensation for their dead family. Meanwhile, my family has grown to be rich and successful and claims the house in which they still live in was always there, and that they have no recollection of a Murat once owning the house or being murdered- while the house they live in still have remnants of you still in it. Rather, they offer to let the past be the past, and offer to move on.

    AND, ON TOP OF ALL THIS, your ancestors who seek justice, are the ones spewing hate. Makes almost too much sense.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 8, 2012 at 10:54 am //

      Kudos to you RVDV. You laid it out clearly enough that any fair minded person should easily understand the analogy. The willfully blind are another story…

    • Just stop embaressing yourself, really!

    • Murat: nice response, lol.

    • Unfortunately, my “nicer” response was filtered out twice. You are lecturing somone who has his ancestors on both sides ethnically cleansed and massacred. I do not need to imagine your scenarios! Armenians seem to know more about your history than you do. As I said, time to get off that high horse and stop embaressing yourself.

    • And you are attempting to lecture someone who continues to face persecution in his own country. Armenians have their own account of history, and I have my own. But somethings are not up for debate and somethings do not depend on your point of view. We call these things facts. Armenian genocide: fact. Turkish Invasion of Cyprus being justified: debatable.

  28. Murat-ik,

    Perhaps you have a point when you ask who is an American?

    But I want to remind you that there is a difference between
    an American and a NATIVE AMERICAN. Whatever happened to NATIVE AMERICANS was wrong. Americans have admited it and compensated them. No compensation can bring those innocent peoples lives back. But it happened. Next time you try to compare yourself with an American, try to compare your balls with Americans’ balls. Americans were brave enough to acknowledge what they did to them and paid reparations. There are places all over USA that are called NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATIONS. NATIVE AMERICANS live there and enjoy a special status. In their reservations they are SUPERIOR to you and me, which means there are things that they can do but you and I can NOT. If you can imagine turkey recognizing ARmenian Genocide, then paying reparations, then creating areas where ARmenians will have more rights than turks and if you can be brave enough to talk about it, then feel free to compare yourself with AmeRicans. If you can’t then find a mirror and ask yourself …

  29. Murat-ik,

    You have just been invited to the 3rd millenium and the zodiac of the Aquarius.

  30. RVDV,

    Just because you so easily agree with Murat-ik, you too have been invited to the 3rd millenium. Make sure you bring a mirror with you.

  31. “There can only be unilateral gestures”…
    A lot of the properties, churches, land, etc… belong to the Armenian Patriarchate & its charity foundations in Istanbul. In 2011, some of these confiscated properties in Istanbul were returned back by the government & through courts. Isn’t this a precedent? Legitimacy comes through rights & not tolerance or gestures.

    • Exactly. More of this is bound to happen.

      But NOT to correct a historical (pre-Republic) wrong or as a gesture. This is simple law and justice of the current Republic. This is about correcting wrongs against Turkish citizens. These are NOT gestures but obligations.

      A proper gesture, the kind I meant, would be offering pilgrimage rights and ease to all Armenians overseas for example. It would be government, federal or local, buying some of the remaining old Armenian homes and structures and trying to bring back old Armeinan communities to life in Turkey. It would be giving citizenship to the descendants. It would be to give them rights to buy and sell and settle etc..

      You can appreciate how far we are from such fantasies currently.

  32. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm // Reply

    I like that very much Murat!!!
    You are as yet in THE CLOUDS!!!
    don´t you know ARMENIANS FOUGHT TOOTH AND NAILS at Sardarapat in 1918 ( and prior to that in the mountains of westtern armenia , as Fedayees, to ge rid of the Turkish yolk/yataghan?
    WE carved our little Independent Armenian Republic the first one then,which your country officcially had to recognize..and then through 70 yrs of Communist rules,.which we indeed preferred to the Turkish uneducated regime and yolk..
    Yes we (just like you as of then) are smart enough to adapt not only to communist but Maoist, Maarxist ,social Democrat Anglo Saxaon whatever type of rule that would let us BREATH FREEDOM???
    aND YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO ASK US TO BACK TO iSTANBULLA, OR OTHER SUCH TURKISH infested areas ,and be your ¨Raya¨
    again? which you promise to give us back homes,churches etc., (ACTUALLY OURS TO BEGIN WITH, usurped by your forefathers…and live there happily with people who have NOT AS YET OFFICIALLY ASKED FORGIVENESS and offered to compensate not the wasy you like it to be AGAIN UNDER YOUR BLOODY FLAG???keep it for your own people please,
    Even K u r d s are fed up with your rule and vie and crave to get rid of your osmanli type rule..
    Redst assured you will never see the day when Armenians will come to live UNDER YOUR FLAG /RULE…come to visit their nacestral lands and churches monasteries like Aghtamar and sourp Giragos ? why not ,after all this gives us the chance to PROVE TO THE ENTIRE GLOBE THAT ARMENIANS BUILT THESE AND LIVED THERE…CONTRARY TO THE LIES OF HYOURS FASCIST GOVT. THAT ARMENIANS NEVER WERE THERE..
    COME COME, STOP ACTING LIKE YOU DID NOT KNOW ALL ABOVE..
    OR ARE HOPEFULL THAT YOU CAN DECEIVE US ONCE MORE????
    kEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED AND FLY IN THE CLOUDS..
    CAREFULL THOUGH, YOU MIGHT SUDDENLY FALL OVDER AND WAKE UP AND SEE THAT YOU ARE ON TERRITORY THAT IS A R M E N I A N AND PARTIALLY IN BETWEEN US AND WHATEVER WILL BE LEFT OF TURKEY,A K U R D I S T A N …

  33. avatar Random Armenian // March 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm // Reply

    Some more news on that schoolbook that was being distributed in Istanbul’s Kartal district.

    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-273759-investigation-launched-into-racist-book-distributed-in-istanbul-schools.html

  34. Legitimacy comes through rights & not tolerance or gestures.What’s ours is our legitimate right.

    • what is that yours ?

    • Necatik,

      Your physical appearance is ours, unless you look like a Mongolian. Have you forgotten already? The only thing that you have that does not belong to us is the turkish ego. You in particular are at a point of no return, because your ego has already killed you. Maybe you deserved it.

    • What is legitimate?

  35. avatar ragnar naess // March 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm // Reply

    I admire Akgun for asserting that Turkey could/should separate the legal label debate from a simple expression of regret and acknowledgment for its role in the suffering of the Armenian people. After all, Talat more or less confessed to CUP’s responsibioity. I agree that such a move would be more fitting of a nation which views itself as a leader in its neighborhood. Turkey could acknowledge the events and its own failures in how it has handled the issue for the last 97 years and then rightfully allow the international community to debate the proper label. After all, regardless of what you call it, the facts don’t change: the ancient indigenous Armenian population of Asia Minor was wiped out by the direct and indirect actions of Turkish leadership.

    • One Denialist (Norwegian) admiring another Denialist (Turk): surprise, surprise.

    • Ragnar,

      Why should there be any reference to a debate on the Genocide of the ChrIstians of the OE? It may not be settled in your dilettante mind, and so what? There are men your age with pulses who think Auschwitz was too small to burm 1M corpses. You belong among the deniers of both catastrophes.

      You’re out of your depth, and every time you write something you flatter yourself as a supposed expert who will lift the heathen.

      Does ATAA send you a bottle of raki every time you say something about the supposed debate?

    • Avery and JDA, would it make a difference to you to know that the above comment by Ragnar is a cut and paste copy of a comment I made on March 6, 2012 in this very thread? (Remember, Avery, that you counseled me not to admire Akgun too soon because you interpreted his comments as using subtle denialist language? I saw your point).

      Here is the quote as I wrote it on March 6th:

      ” I admire Akgun for asserting that Turkey could/should separate the legal label debate from a simple expression of regret and acknowledgment for its role in the suffering of the Armenian people. I agree that such a move would be more fitting of a nation which views itself as a leader in its neighborhood. Turkey could acknowledge the events and its own failures in how it has handled the issue for the last 97 years and then rightfully allow the international community to debate the proper label. After all, regardless of what you call it, the facts don’t change: the ancient indigenous Armenian population of Asia Minor was wiped out by the direct and indirect actions of Turkish leadership.”

      I am not sure why Ragnar did this, but clearly he plucked my comment and posted it as his own with minor changes.

      JDA, the international community has already determined these events to be genocide. My reference to allowing the’ international community to debate the proper label’ simply meant that genocide is an international crime and that it is not for Turkey to have the last word on this crime. However, there is nothing stopping Turkey from doing the decent thing and acknowledging its role in the suffering of the Armenians and extending an apology and regret.

    • No difference Boyajian.

      You are one of us. The same sentence written by one of our own and a Denialist is interpreted quite differently by me – because of the context, the background of the poster, the motivation of the poster, a lot of parameters.

      Ragnar is a Denialist.
      Ragnar has called us Armenians “inbreds” right here @AW.
      Ragnar has used language in reference to our exterminated ancestors normally used in reference to detritus, right here @AW.
      He gets no consideration.

      That is why what you wrote and what he plagiarized from you are interpreted and treated differently by me.

    • Boyajian,

      I think that when individual Turks admit the Genocide and admit the suffering of Ottoman Christians and the destruction of their places and history, they primarily do something good for their own country of which we are distant and conjectural beneficiaries. Unlike Avery, I don’t fault Akgun as a denialist because he does not say things the way I would. In that respect, I differ from Avery.

      I admire the Turkish apology-makers for their courage. But, what they do does little for Armenians.

      I have followed Ragnar’s posts here and elsewhere for a long time. So, my attacks on him go beyond any one post of his posts, as I am reacting to all of them.

      But I appreciate your bringing my double standard to my attention.

    • Mr. Akgun writes for a Turkish newspaper in Turkey. So his choice of words may just be a way of avoiding trouble for himself and his family. I’m sure you’ve heard of this Ergenekon business, still no ones knows exactly what is going on other than an “alleged coup plot.” This shows that all they need is a hint of a suspicion in Turkey to throw you in jail- if he came out and said what happened in 1915 was genocide, it either would not have been published or right now he’d be facing a serious lawsuit under penal code 301. I also think it’s wrong to write him off as a denialist from this one article.

    • avatar Boyajian // March 11, 2012 at 9:38 am //

      JDA, Avery, I wasn’t calling either of you out. I was just curious what your thoughts might be about this odd choice.

      I always enjoy what you each have to say because you both have a unique voice and strong sense of justice.

      RVDV, Akgun may have decided to couch his words carefully. Can’t say that I blame him, knowing the harsh retribution which falls on those who express too much sympathy for the Armenian cause in Turkey. Are you happy you don’t live there anymore?

    • Boyajian: I’m not sure. I left when I was so young, Ive never known anything but the US. So I wouldn’t say I’m glad, but if I had the chance to go back permanently I’d say no :)

    • Regarding Mr. Akgun:

      Read my post of March 5, 2012 above.
      Also read my critique of Boyajian’s post and her reply to me (March 6, 2012).
      Also read Gina’s post (March 6, 2012).

      Mr. Argun is no dummy: he is no run-of the-mill blogger.
      Read about his credentials in the article.
      He chose specific words and events, and omitted specific words and events – to shape a message.

      I stand by my evaluation of Mr. Akgun based on the article he wrote.

  36. Dear Avery,

    With both the Denialists that you have mentioned above it’s like the blind leading the blind. Only in this case, their souls are blind with infamy, falsity, perfidy, improbity, treachery, mendacity, deceit and corruption.

  37. For example,Hamshen area belongs to us…

    • come and take it.. can you ?

    • Then go and take it. Go and demand what is yours instead of writing about it here. Better yet, go to a court. That is what laws are for, no?

    • better , we come to Erivan… oki ?

    • Azeri warmongers also taunted Artsakh’s Armenians in 1988.
      Did’t turn out too well for them.

      In 1994 Azerbaijan’s President Heydar Aliyev was on the phone non-stop to Moscow, pleading his KGB buddies to save Azerbaijan from imminent collapse.

      After having completely destroyed the invading Azeri military, Artsakh’s Armenian Mountain Warriors were champing at the bit on top of tank columns – waiting for orders to push further into Lowlands Karabagh.
      Unfortunately, Moscow decided to ask Armenians to stop.
      A cease-fire was signed in 1994.

      As to Hamshen and Western Armenia: we will wait for Kurds to destroy Turkey from inside; we are in no hurry. Then we’ll work with Independent Kurdistan on how to make a mutually profitable deal regarding Hamshen and Wilsonian Armenia.

      And don’t count on your bloated, sclerotic TSK to save your bacon: PKK entered Turkey undetected not too long ago, engaged TSK in multiple locations, killed in action 24 TSK troops, and withdrew in good order.

      Israel is already working with PKK. You have more enemies than you can handle.
      Armenians will sitt back, have a glass of fine Armenian brandy, and watch Turks self-destruct. We are not going to get involved in any bloodshed: don’t get your hopes up.
      After you have have self-destructed, we’ll come in and take what’s ours.
      All legal.

    • Avery ,

      I think Armenia will not last that long to see what will happen in the near future..

      i think Armenia will disappear from the map soon..since nobody wants to live there and immigrate to Turkey..

  38. Necatik and muratic,

    The best way of taking is receiving, which is exactly what we are up to! The world will sympatize with us more when you give it to us vs. us taking it from you.

  39. What is it that you don’t understand Random Armenian? Don’t you want to have Western ARmenia back?

  40. ILLEGITIMATE is to rape, kill, kidnap orphans,ethnically cleanse, confiscate others 4000 years’ homeland, destroy their homes, churches, schools, monuments…in one word commit GENOCIDE.
    The opposite of above is LEGITIMATE.

    • By that definition, it seems there are no legitimate countries or states or nations. Now what?

      By the way, I am pretty sure YOU were not raped and pillaged and YOUR church and school etc. was not stolen or burned to ground.

      It is one thing to demand your home and another to demand a homeland. That is how worst wars and tragedies in history have started. You of all people should know.

  41. Because by committing Genocide my 4000 years homeland is confiscated & occupied…however it does not mean that it does not belong to me., or I stop belonging to her.
    At present I know very well that I cannot go & get her from the murderer & thief or go & live there…but it does not mean that I cannot dream about her, nor anybody can stop me from dreaming.
    I’m reborn from the ashes of Genocide & I fight for my cause peacefully. I’ve achieved a lot & will achieve more & more. Just look at the changes of your backyard…

  42. You’re most welcomed to Yerevan & I’ll meet you personally & take you for a tour around the country including Artsakh.Do not worry I’ll assure your safety & your safe return to Baku.

  43. avatar ragnar naess // March 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm // Reply

    Boyajian
    I thought your comment very good and in a kind of maverick impulse I just copied it along with a reference to Talat’s confession.Sorry if you find it unsuitable. Yes, Akgün’s text is a good start for Turks to come to terms with their history.—- I am sorry jda and Avery react so negatively to my input – -But again, yes, apology for what happened which certainly was an effect of the ittihadist policies, this kind of an apology is a good thing. And for a Turk it takes courage to say so. The development in Turkey is unfortunately not very positive at the moment.

  44. Ragnar, if you think it is fitting to re-post my words, I wish you would also see fit to re-post the paragraph that followed them:

    “If you can’t apologize for this and for adhering to an injurious policy of denial for 97 years, than you can hardly speak of ‘grandeur’ befitting the current landlords of this historic geographical crucible of culture and faith. The land and its history may conjure up majestic imagery, but the action of its current caretakers toward the indigenous people is nothing but thuggery.”

    I know it is not your style to speak too harshly about Turkey, but in my opinion the two paragraphs need to go together.

  45. avatar ragnar naess // March 14, 2012 at 7:54 am // Reply

    boyajian, jda and Avery

    yes,I might reproduce this second part of Boyajian’s passage also, but I prefer to say it in another way. I would never speak of the “grandeur” of Turkey or Norway or about any grandeur in the actions of Tayyip Erdogan or Norway’s prime minister today. When their talk is about sensitive political issues it becomes so saturated with tactics that I listen to ot only to make a diagnose. Top politicians hardly have grandeur. However, sometimes we see some positive development, and some times not.

    Unfortunately, the development in Turkey is moving backwards now, but the civil society is much stronger than before and we must have hope. Regarding the ‘official’ Turkish response to the challenge from the Armenians, the genocide research and the parliaments who adopt genocide resolutions, I see very little change in the way the “Armenian issue” is beign handled by official Turkey. The texts are defensive, putting the blame on Armenians, not adressing the issue at all, except that the literature that denies the genocide has become more to the point in the sense that traditional Turkish authors like Esat Uras in the 1950- ies tried to write history almost exclusively based on Turkish official documents, whereas Kamuran Gürün in 1985 also referred to some european consular reports, but selectively. However an historian like Kemal Cicek today refers much more to the consular reports of people like the US comsult Leslie Davis in Harput and US Consult Edward Nathan in Aleppo, and from reports of eyewitnesses. I still think he avoids too much the facts that really point to genocidal intent, but the fact of his using so much of these sources is a step forward.
    By the way, Avery and jda, Leslie Davis, in his “Slaughterhouse province” uses the expression that the ittihadists wanted to “dispose of the “Armenians”. This is written by someone who wrote honestly on the massacres, based on what he himself saw and heard from credible sources So, even if I am sorry that my choice of words hurt you, I feel you are exceedingly preoccupied with this. Are you sure you are not just using my words as an expedient excuse for not listening to my arguments? – Not to be negative, jda, I believe we had a good discussion on the question of application of the juridical concept of genocide to the Bulgarian case of 1877-78. I agree with you that the Turks in bulgaria were descendants of occupiers, but I still disagree with you that this fact has any juridical consequences for the application of any label to the events based on today’s international law.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

*