Latest:

Akcam: Turkey and the Armenian Ghost

click for more

The Armenian Weekly publishes the full text of a talk delivered by Dr. Taner Akcam (Clark University) during a panel on ‘Overcoming Genocide Denial’ organized by Fordham Law School’s Leitner Center for International Law and Justice on Dec. 4. Speakers included Akcam, Gregory Stanton (George Mason University), and Sheri Rosenberg (Cardozo Law School). Akcam originally wrote this text as the preface of the book: La Turquie et le fantôme arménien (Turkey and the Armenian Ghost) by Laure Marchand and Guillaume Perrier, to be published in France in March 2013 (Actes sud), and, hopefully, soon in the US.

Empty chairs in Mush (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian)

Empty chairs in Mush (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian)

“Why do we Turks continue to deny the genocide?”

Or, stated another way, Why do we Turks feel like lightening has struck our bones whenever the topic is brought up?

I’ve been dedicated to researching the subject of the Armenian Genocide since 1990, more than 20 years. This question keeps getting asked over and over again with unerring consistency. The question is a simple one, but as the years have passed my response to it has changed. At first, I tried to explain the denial through the concept of “continuity,” namely, governmental continuity from the Ottoman Empire through the Turkish Republic. Another way of formulating this thesis might be by titling it, The Dilemma of Making Heroes into Villains.” The argument is very simple: The Turkish Republic was actually established by the Union and Progress Party (Ittihat ve Terakki), the architects of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The founding cadres of Turkey were essentially Union and Progress members. And so, a significant number of the founding cadres of Turkey were either directly involved in the Armenian Genocide or they enriched themselves by looting Armenian properties. But these individuals were also our national heroes—they are the founding fathers of our nation. If Turkey acknowledges the genocide, we would have to accept that a number of our national heroes and founding fathers were either murderers, thieves, or both. This is the real dilemma.

Those individuals, as we were taught in school, were men who “created our nation and the state out of nothing.” They define who we are. This is true not only for the early generation of the Turkish nation, but also for the opposition movements of the country, including the largest wave of a democratic-progressive movement Turkey had ever seen: the 1968 student protest movement. The representatives of this wave and its political organizations strongly identified themselves with the founding cadres of the republic. They called themselves, in analogy with the founding fathers, the second “Kuvayi–Milliyeciler” or “national front,” a specific term that we use only to define our founding cadres. This strong identification with the founding fathers was not particular to the progressive ‘68 generation. It has been true for any of the groups active in Turkey: nationalist, Islamicist, or other right wing circles.

In other words, in order to accept the genocide, in our present state, we would have to deny our own national identity, as it exists today. That is a very difficult task, an almost impossible one, and very destructive. Instead of dealing with the identity crisis and the emotional and political fallout that will result from accepting the genocide, think about it: Wouldn’t it be so much simpler to just deny it?

I started to modify my response to the question “Why do Turks deny the genocide?” over time. I added one more reason for Turkish denial. It is also a very simple argument. If Turkey accepts that the genocide took place, it will be obligated to pay reparations. The argument has some wider consequences than whether the events of 1915 should be termed “genocide.” Let’s assume that 1915 was not genocide, and imagine that the Union and Progress Party had deported the Armenians from a cold, mountainous, and infertile area to a sunny warm and fertile region; pretend, in other words, that the Armenians had been dispatched to Florida. However, everything that these people owned was confiscated in the process and not a single penny was paid back to them. Even if you refuse to accept the events of 1915 as genocide, you have to accept the fact that the country of Turkey today was formed on the seizure of Armenian assets, and now sits on top of that wealth. As a result, if you accept and acknowledge that something unjust happened in 1915 in Turkey, you have to pay back compensation. Therefore, in order to avoid doing that, denying genocide outright makes a whole lot of sense.

I have continued to add some additional factors to explain Turkish denials, such as the phenomenon that occurs when you repeat a lie. Even in ordinary daily life, how easy is it to reverse yourself once you’ve told a lie? The lie about genocide has a history of decades and has become calcified. A state that’s been lying for 90 years can’t simply reverse course. Even when you know you’re telling untruths, they acquire the veneer of reality after so many years.

But these points are only useful for explaining why the state has continued to deny the genocide. As the years passed, I started to write that the term “Turkish denial” was inadequate for fully explaining the situation. I questioned the validity of the use of the term “Turks” to reflect a homogeneous entity that defines not only the people of Turkey but the state of Turkey, as well. I suggested making a distinction between state policy and the attitude of the people of Turkey towards genocide. I argued that the term “denial” was adequate in explaining state policy, but not that of society. The attitude of society should more accurately be portrayed as one of ignorance, apathy, fatalism, reticence, and silence, rather than denial.

Turkish society is not a monolithic block, and can be considered analogous to a train. It’s made up of lots of different cars, and each car represents a different sub-cultural ethnicity with a different attitude towards what happened in 1915. I’ve stated many times that a large portion of Kurds, Dersimians, and Alewites have accepted the reality of what happened in 1915, and that the real problem is that these different groups have not been able to express their thoughts on it in a way that was forceful, firm, and especially written. I used the terms silence and avoidance not only in the sense of a single attitude that is jointly held by all segments of society, but also to mean not openly taking a stance toward the official state narrative. One has to accept that all of these distinctions are important, and perhaps vital, to understanding the development of civil society in Turkey today, but that they are still not enough to explain why denialism is such a dominant part of the cultural landscape in Turkey.

So, my thinking has begun to change, yet again, recently. I don’t mean to say that my previous explanations were necessarily incorrect. Just the opposite: I still believe that these factors play a major role in the denial of the Armenian Genocide. However, I have now started to think that the matter seems to have roots in something much deeper and almost existentialist, which covers the state as much as the society. The answer to the question seems to lie in a duality between existence and non-existence—or, as Hamlet would say, “to be or not to be.” I believe our existence as a state and a society translates into their—Christians in Anatolia—non-existence, or not-being. To accept what happened in 1915 means you have to accept the existence of them—Christians—on Turkish territory, which is practically like announcing our non-existence, because we owe our being to their non-existence. Let me explain.

In order to provide more clarity, I would like to introduce Habermas to the topic. Habermas points out that within the social tissue and institutions of societies resides a “secret violence,” and this “secret violence” creates a structure of communication that the entire society identifies with.[1] Through this way of “collective communication,” the restrictions and exclusion of certain topics from public discourse are effectively institutionalized and legitimized. What is meaningful to note here is that this structure is not imposed on the society by the rulers, but is accepted and internalized by those who are ruled. There is a silent consensus in the society.

I would like to borrow another term from author Elias Siberski to shed some light on this condition–“communicative reality” (die kommunikative Wirklichkeit). Siberski uses this term to describe a very important characteristic of secretive organizations.2 According to Siberski, secretive organizations create an internal reality through a method of communication that is totally different from the real world. The situation in Turkey today resembles this very closely. As a society, we are like a secret organization. Since the establishment of our republic we have created a “communicative reality,” which sets out our way of thinking and existence over “state and nation.” It gives shape to our emotions and defining belief systems, or, in other words, our entire social-cultural net of relations. In sum, the things that make us who we are or at a minimum who we think we are. What is important to note is the gap between this “communicative reality” and actual reality.

In the end, this “communicative reality” has given us speakable and unspeakable worlds, and has created a collective secret that covers our entire society like a glove. It has created one big gigantic black hole. We are, today, a reality that possesses a “black hole.” This existence of a huge “black hole,” or the possession of a “collective secret,” or creation of a “coalition of silence”—these are the terms that define who we are… We simply eradicated everything Christian from this reality. This is how we teach Ottoman history in our schools, this is how we produce intellectual-cultural works about our society.

My opinion is that the secret behind the denial of the Armenian Genocide, or the unspeakableness of it, lies somewhere in here. What happened in 1915 is Turkish society’s collective secret, and genocide has been relegated to the “black hole” of our societal memory. Since the founding of the Republic of Turkey, all of us, rightists and leftists, Muslim, Alewite, Kurds, and Turks, have created a collective “coalition of silence” around this subject, and we don’t like being reminded of this hidden secret that wraps around us like a warm, fuzzy blanket. The reminders have an annoying irritating quality and we feel confronted by a situation that leaves us unsure of what to do or say.

Because, if we are forced to confront our history, everything—our social institutions, mentalities, belief systems, culture, and even the language we use—will be open to question. The way a society perceives itself is going to be questioned from top to bottom. As a result, we don’t appreciate the “reminders.” We view reminders as “force,” and react quite negatively to them. All of us, rightist and leftist, search for excuses, but we together seem to be crying out, as if in chorus, “Here we are minding our own business, not bothering anyone, when you appeared out of nowhere. Where did you come from?” It is as if we, as a nation, are making this collective statement: “If you think we are going to destroy the social-cultural reality we created with such great care over 95 years, with one swipe of a pen, think again!”

The Armenian Genocide is a part of a more general framework that is directly related to our existence. The republic and the society of Turkey today have been constructed upon the removal of Christians—the destruction of an existence on a territory that we call our homeland. Since we have established our existence upon the non-existence of another, every mention of that existence imparts fear and anxiety in us. The difficulty we have in our country with speaking about the Armenian issue lies within this existence-non-existence duality. If you’re looking for an example that comes close to this, you don’t need to look far: The history of the Native Americans in the U.S. bears similarities.

So, I think we have to reverse the question: The central question is not why Turkey denies the genocide, but whether we the people of Turkey are ready, as a state and as a society, to deny our present state of existence. It seems that the only way we can do that is by repudiating how we came to be and by creating a new history of how we came to exist. Are we capable of doing that? That’s the true question.

 

Notes

[1] Jurgen Habermas, “Die Ütopie des guten Herrschers,” in: Habermas, Kultur and Kritik (Frankfurt a.M., 1973), p. 386-7.

2 Elias Siberski, Untergrund und Offene Geselschaft, Zur Fragen der strukturellen Deutung des sozialen Phaenomens (Stutgart, 1967), p. 51.

 

68 Comments on Akcam: Turkey and the Armenian Ghost

  1. avatar john the turk // December 15, 2012 at 11:04 am // Reply

    Mr. Akcam
    Why do not you take a few of your Armenian buddies and show up on Tv in Turkey from time to time against scholars from the Turkish universities then truth may be exposed and People will debate about your claim

    • “show up on Tv in Turkey ”

      so he can be murdered ?
      shot in the back of the head like Hrant Dink ?

      “scholars from the Turkish universities”

      why don’t your so-called scholars take a few of their denialist buddies and come to a Western country. Let them try to publicly explain away the disappearance of 2 million Armenians from their homeland. Try to explain away the Genocide of Assyrians and Greeks.

    • john the turk…. do you not have ears?… do you not have eyes?…do your own research…. approach some Armenians and ask them where did their ancestors come from, and how is it that they can’t trace their family tree back more than 2 generations? They will most likely name a Turkish village or city as where their ancestors have come from.. and list all the relatives that perished during the Genocide…They will tell you what happened…. What really happened,… and not what state backed, Turkish University educated, intentionally left ignorant supposed scholars can tell Akcam.
      Have you ever wondered why there is so little information in the Turkish History books about the years 1914-1919 ish? There is only silence for those years in the academic Turkish books.. Those years have been intentionally submitted to the collective amnesia of the Turkish people… Those years however, are very much alive in the minds of the Armenians…. All you have to do is do your own research and start asking regular Armenian folk, or Turks/Kurds who live on the outskirts of Turkish cities…

    • Katia K: you are trying to reason with a brick wall.

      John the Turk is a dyed-in-the-wool denialist.
      In his own backyard, he is less shy about spewing his denialist venom.

      Here is one sample of his prose from the Turkish online TZ:

      {john the turk , 01 November 2012 , 18:31
      Mr. Cengiz I was really upset when i heard that Hrant Dink was killed and I became interested in the fake Armenian genocide subject. I even thought for a while that the Armenian genocide may be a reality but after I have done my own investigation, I am convinced that The Armenian genocide was fabricated by Armenians in order to take revenge from Turks. Basically, Armenian got what they deserved, They tried to plot a huge land grab from Turkey but ultimately failed then they were frustrated by their idiocy and failure and fabricated the Armenian genocide. I can clearly see that you are heavily influenced by Taner Akcam as you take the Haci Halil story from him in order to appeal to the human mind however, Taner is not somebody to give him credit as he is paid by the Cambazian family and Zoryan institute so this piece is another failed attempt to resurrect your fake genocide}

    • Dear Avery, you are very wrong in your belief that if Mr.Akcam travels to Turkey he will be murdered. You need to open your eyes to the truth, it seems your hate for Turks is binding you.

      First and foremost, Mr Akcam was in Turkey to attend Mr Dinks funeral and has traveled to Turkey many times after that. There are many intellectuals that openly state that what occured in 1915 is genocide and there are many that don’t accept it.

    • Dear Coskun:
      Hrant Dink was intimidated and threatened for years before the murder was actually carried out. It did not happen at once.
      If Mr. Akcam keeps travelling to Turkey and keeps publicly angering the Turkish nationalists, it will happen.
      If it is so safe in Turkey, why did he escape to the West and is still living here ? Why is Orhan Pamuk living in US ?

      Nationalist Turk Police officer Yakup Kurtan who had his picture taken with Ogün Samast, murderer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, holding the Turkish flag after the offence was promoted to Deputy Chief of the Malatya Police. Not fired. Not demoted. Promoted.

      Pretty much everybody in Turkey who has opened their eyes to the truth knows that Samast was a patsy and the real organizers of the Dink murder are protected by the Deep State.

  2. Very well stated, but this brings up another dimension – perhaps we should more accurately term Turkey and Turkish society’s stance on 1915 less as a denial, than a deeply ingrained DEFENSE of genocide?

  3. John the turk suggestion is brilliant, if only John the turk can persuade his government to alllow such a scholarly discussion to take place without censorship. The turk govt. will not allow such a discussion from taking place.

  4. Interesting! But the dilemma remains to be tackled at some point.
    There’s no undoing of what’s happened – whatever they call it.
    At this day and age – an honest compromise arrangement could be the way out. The process requires the opposing parties plucking up the necessary courage for adding some water to their wine.

  5. gentlemen- (not you john the turk, i’m sorry, could you not have found a more creative name, perhaps like john the pain.)
    we have mountains of evidence, as one of your contributors stated that there is enough to fill one of the rooms at the louvre in paris, even though these are
    rather very large rooms, you would need at least 2 or 3 of these beautiful,
    ornate rooms to store the evidence that was painstakinly gathered over decades.
    i think we should all agree that any more proof gathered might be a bit repeatitious at best. therefore my question is and always has been, why is our case not taken to the HIGH COURT AT THE HAIGUE. this has got to be done immediately, why was it not done in the past. is there a legitimate, legal reason,
    why we are holding back. there are billions of dollars owing to armenians by the
    turkish state, land has got to be given back. i believe there should be more impute on this.
    it is time that we zero in on this and put all our efforts in acceptance of this file by the high court. this should be priority one.
    i hope someone will write in to tell us why this is possible or impossible. if it is impossible, what do we have to do to make it come true.

    • Gerard,

      I am no expert in this, but given the fact how low Turks can go, I believe they can interfere with the court decision and direct it in their favor. All courts and all governments are corrupt. The difference is at which level corruption exits: in developed Western countries corruption exist at higher levels, very refined methods are used to cover it up. That is the reason why most of the common citizens do not feel it or are not affected. In developing countries, post-Soviet countries corruption starts from lower levels therefore common citizens get affected. In short, I do not believe that ICJ will make a just decision on AG. Turks will use all their influence to prevent it from happening. This is my personal opinion I am sure many people will have differing views.

    • I agree with Sella:

      ICJ can be intimidated, bribed, bought.
      Look at some of their cases and decisions: it is pure politics.

      Some small fry from Serbia are indicted as war criminals, but giant war criminals such as GW Bush and Tony Blair are considered statesmen, and walk around free.

      The French Assembly and the French Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of Criminalizing Genocide denial in France, yet a few Tucophile and/or bribed French Constitutional court judges adjudged it unconstitutional.
      And if you doubt they were Turcophile Anti-Armenians or were bribed, ask yourself this: how can an identical law already on the books about the Jewish Holocaust be constitutional but the one about the (Armenian) Genocide not be.

      Turks and their European allies will pull all stops to have ICJ rule for the Turks.
      Do not believe Muslim Turks have allies in Christian Europe ? Think again.
      Christian Denmark allows Muslim Turks to mount an exhibit to present ‘their version’ of the Armenian Genocide.
      Yep, ‘their version’.

      What European country would allow Neo-Nazis to display their version of the Jewish Holocaust ?
      When you have found an answer to that, you will also realize why it will be a waste of time at best, and disastrous at worst to go to ICJ.

      Even in the unlikely event that ICJ rules for Armenians, it will be an empty ‘victory’. Turkey welcomed indicted war criminal Sudanese Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir with open arms: how many European nations did anything about it ?

  6. There is no ‘claim’ to be debated here, because there are just facts and the facts do not support the Turkish position. Arguing with well paid Turkish propagandists who masquerade as ‘scholars’ will only result in the same outcome: blame the victim. Turkey is the only spot on earth where they can insist on perpetuating a lie, a farce, a fiction, a myth regarding 1915, as if no one else saw what happened. You don’t even need Armenian testimony, of which there is plenty on record, since there are volumes of eye-witness reports that attest to what took place and why. The CUP waged war against millions of the country’s own citizens….with massive atrocities that spanned the entire territory of Anatolia and since that time, Turkey has considered its remaining Armenians as outsiders – despite the fact that their roots go far, far deeper in Anatolian soil than any Turk’s, who – as invaders – really have no authentic roots in Anatolia at all.

  7. Very well said Mr. Akcam, however their are many other issues that nobody brings about after the 1st World War, Those are that an illegal revolutionary took over the newly found Turkish Republic, whom was Kemal Attaturk. The legal Turkish Government recognized the Sevres Treaty signed in August of 1920 by not only their signing but by Armenia and 16 other nations. Kemal got together with another revolutionary whom took over Czarist Russia named Lenin and together they crushed Armenia and divided their territories between them. That Sevres Treaty is still a valid treaty today and it would be appreciated if you would discuss this important treaty since the treaty gave back 40,000 square miles of territory to be united with Russian occupied Armenia. These are serious questions that must be brought up with the world powers as well as the United Nations. We understand that why Turkey does not want to recognize its Genocide of the Armenian people because of Land Returns & Reparations which is the number one factor that must be settled for the Armenian People.

    • “…an illegal revolutionary….”

      lol, an oxymoron. Can there ever be a LEGAL revolutionary? What was Kemal to do, seek the Sultans permission before embarking on an armed insurrection?

  8. First of all: my gratitude to the AW for publishing this lecture in its entirety, and to the courageous Taner Akcum for presenting it.
    In this season of good-will, we should perhaps extend some Christian charity to uninformed Turkey Johns and find a way to help them to understand and accept the reality of Taner’s lecture. You see, John, not only can you not speak about genocide on your television, without article 301 kicking in, but Turkish intellectuals, like Taner, cannot even freely discuss it in their universities.
    The following event occurred in 2005. There are many more sites with this info.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post%E2%80%93Armenian_Genocide_timeline

    •May 25: A conference about “Ottoman Armenians during the Decline of the Empire” focusing on the “Armenian Genocide” to be held in Bosphorus (Boğaziçi) University of Istanbul, Turkey is postponed by the administration of the Bosphorus University (one of the three organizers) due to the remarks in the speech of Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek in parliament.
    “This is a stab in the back to the Turkish nation. This is irresponsibility”, the Anatolian News Agency quoted Cicek as saying at a parliamentary debate. “We must put an end to this cycle of treason and insult, of spreading propaganda against the nation by people who belong to it”, he added

    I hope so much that Santa will bring John the Turk one of Taner’s many books. His last one was The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire; Princeton University Press 2012. The research in this work is simply astonishing. Check your university catalogues and see if they have purchased this work. If not, make sure they order it. It would be interesting to know if Bosphorus University has it.

    Bedros: Genocide doesn’t just “happen.” Genocide is planned. What was done to us is called genocide, and the terminology cannot be “watered” down.

  9. Does anyone know if Mr Akcam has any opinion of reparations, or is his intent merely to present the truth of the Genocide primarily?

  10. John,
    Did you even read the article, or do you prefer just to use the same inane comment over and over again? Yes, Prof. Akcam has been on Turkish TV, where he has been bullied by the so called academics. Their behaviour was absolutely boorish and undignified. Why would he want to repeat the experience. When Turkey learns how to respect its intellectuals maybe we can talk about such a discussion. In the meanwhile, truth has already been exposed, Turkey can keep its lies.

  11. avatar Svetlana Swanson // December 15, 2012 at 8:10 pm // Reply

    It is a matter of education, and improvement to the degree whereby, the average Turkish citizen will be knowledgeable enough, responsible enough, and mature enough to say to his fellow Armenian “Come we invite you back to the land that we took from you, cultivate it, and make your culture flourish the way it is supposed to. We cannot give you everything that we took from you, but let us start from here. Come be the owner of your land!”
    When the average Turkish citizen is cultured, and endowed with decency to utter those words and mean it, The Armenian Genocide issue might be resolved for all parties involved.

    • Svetlana, even if Turks come to accept the Genocide …. Can you give me one example where any country, any whatsoever, said that the things you say Turkey should say, i.e., Here it is, come and take the land I currently own? What country on Earth would ever do that, based on historical allegations that go back over 1000 years ago? What, should the Hungarians find the people who lived there before their ancestors came from Asia and say, here it is take this land back, even though we have been owning it for more than thousand years!

      Such unrealistic expectation by Armenians literally make it impossible for ANY resolution to take place between Turkey and Armenians. Again, what country on Earth would give up its territory?!!!

    • Kerim,

      No wonder you think as a descendant of originally nomadic tribes: “land we currently own”, “take the land”, “owning the land”, “giving up territory”, etc., i.e. a mentality typical for an alien invading nation. Rarely would a sedentary nation use such terms.

      First, what do you mean by “historical allegations”? You mean to say that the fact that terrorizing Seljuk nomads intruded Asia Minor 1000 years ago is still an allegation? If it’s an allegation, then where were the Turks before that?

      Second, Armenians don’t seem to base their cause on the invasion of Seljuk Turks 1000 years ago. This millennium-long invasion only supports the argument that Turks were never autochthonous to the region. But our major demand is based on the ugly fact that’s only 100 years old.

      Third, land is not owned by the ones who invaded it. As poster Boyajian put it elsewhere, “the land belongs to those who lived on it, owned property on it, grew crops on it, tended sheep on it, built houses and churches and businesses on it, wrote songs and books about it, worshiped on it and created art drawn from the soil, rock, flora and fauna found there.” I now firmly believe that Turks will never make it given their immaturity and the alien character of their appearance in Asia Minor.

      I don’t believe that, given their immaturity, false national pride, and distortive interpretation of history, Turks will voluntarily repent, pay reparations, and restitute the land. But I do believe that under certain circumstances they can be forced to do so. Especially for Turks: “forced” doesn’t imply explicit projection of military force. Changing geopolitical circumstances and priorities have the potential to re-shape the geopolitical landscape of a particular region. In our turbulent region one modification can bring about a chain reaction affecting other countries.

      It’s a primitive mentality of Turkish denialists or armenophobes that reparations and restitution for genocide are to happen overnight and in the form of voluntary secession of land. But we know it’s more complicated than that. Time is on our side. Armenians have been around for 4000+ years and mere 100 years passed from the genocide is like a drop in the ocean for us.

    • Kerim, Armenians lived on these lands continuously for 3 to 4 thousand years. The Seljuk invasion of 1000 years ago didn’t change that. We were integral members of the Ottoman empire until WWI. Only after the immoral forceable expulsion and massacres of the Armenian Genocide did our existence on our homeland cease and survivors hide as Turks or Kurds or scatter around the world. Our quest for justice has little to do with ‘historical allegations that go back over 1000 years ago’, but with the CRIME committed by the CUP government less than 100 years ago.

      You don’t like ‘such unrealistic expectation by Armenians’ but you forget that in the full scope of world history, 100 years is like blinking your eyes. Turks have amnesia for this period of their history, but Armenians remember and are not going to let 1.5 million murders go unpunished. What’s unrealistic or unreasonable about that? Would you do less for your ancestors? Why shouldn’t Turkey pay for having benefited from this crime for almost 100 years.

      In civilized societies, murder and theft are punished and victims receive justice.
      The Treaty of Sevres was an attempt to provide a just solution. It may still happen.

  12. love your idea John the turk, yes, let’s see TV debated on Turkish tv, and each party will be able to speak their minds or stories without fear….and there will be a lie detector as well,,,,,,, I’d like to see that

  13. Thank you Mr. Akcam for putting it so succinctly for all to see.
    Your conclusion however, leaves the reader in an unachievable conundrum….

  14. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 16, 2012 at 10:26 am // Reply

    My conclusion w/ref. to above article by Prof Taner Ackcam.
    His efforts w/rgd to the Armenian Genocide to present it in a very special format is tantamount to a very efficient,Highly qualififed Criminal Defense Attorny:
    To begin with he has chosen a title which hardly is representative of a (now) state/nation people ,the Republic of Armenia Armenians(I am one) and its enormous well advanced Diaspora.That of a the ¨Ghost¨ Armenians.
    Indeed he employs it as thought of by his country´s present chieftains….
    But it also -even though slightly- leaves that impression for the non-Armenians here or anywhere, that these Armenians are referred to¨(or thought of) by present great Turkey citizens as such…
    No Mr. Ackcam you have to do better and come again this time upgrading both R.of Armenia and Armenian Diaspora.
    As Dr. henry Astarjian has referred to us(it is not there anymore ,above) ¨The Armenian Phoenix ¨ risen from the ashes….
    We definitely deserved to be referred to as Armenians of the Independent Republic(s) of Armenian/Artsakh Nagornyi Karabagh!!!!!and a Well adevanced Diaspora(not yet well re-organized as to me)But we shall…
    ======================================================
    Mr. Ackcam can best be considered a s a very efficient and highly qualified Criminal Defense Attorney trying very hard to have his client cleared as much as possible from charges,in order to pay the least of the penalities!!!!
    No dice!!!! Mr. Ackcam,we are there as a quite lively state/nation(s) and a pretty big Diaspora with unlimited POSSIBILITIES,not yet well harnesssed to the vehicle,shall we say..
    We are determined-that´s for sure-to carry on our struggle for worldly recgonition of our Genocide and to bring out long overdue real CASE to the international instances for a FINAL JUST JUDGEMENT.
    Which definitely will entitle us to claim for first of all.
    A.Blood Money, B. return of all confiscated mobile and real propeerties,such as churches schools, hospitals,(what remains of destroyed Monasteries) etc., plus indeed huge areas of arable lands and C. A proper re-distribution of community and -in extension -national lands that lawfully is ours.
    Latter may take time to be resolved,but it is there,Your people cannot haggle and bargain on that.The k u r d s also must bow out from lands that are Armenian by boundaries drawn at Sevres.We may ,however reconsider a bit of that for the Kurd´s future Kurdistan.
    This is the whole picture Mr. Ackcam and though we appreciate your efforts re concilliation that wise,we cannot give inany more to general Turkish machinations.

    • Mr. Palandjian, the use of the term ghost doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers you. I think of it like Dicken’s ‘ghost of Christmas past.’ We Armenians are not ghosts, but our memory and our demand for justice is like an unwanted spirit calling Turkey to take a more honest appraisal of itself. Let’s hope Turkey will eventually receive the message.

  15. so how did Taner Akcum go to Hrant Dink’s funeral without being murdered himself?

    Bodyguards.

  16. Unfortunately in Turkey, any intellectual, who speak about the truth of Armenian Genocide , “other Turks” label them traitors or “bastards”. This scenario is going on in the last 98 years by those fanatic and illiterate Turks.

    last year demonstration against Armenians, “You are all Armenian, you are all bastards” proved again that turks do not have desire to be part of Europe, but stay first class Muslim, Middle Eastern nation. I wonder how these people wants to join European Union, where their intellectual people and liberal minded journalists, either get killed or get arrested and persecuted in the name of Turkish holy code of 301!!

    • avatar Freddy Krueger // December 21, 2012 at 3:08 am //

      It is the Islamists who are pushing the EU bid and the Kemalists who want to stop the EU bid. Sometimes people are mixing up the facts. Also, the EU has nothing to do with Democracy but in essence, Communism under a Free Market guise. Why do you think people call the EU the EUSSR? Because it is a socialist high-tax super empire.

  17. I wonder if Habermas’s theory of collective communication as “the restrictions and exclusion of certain topics from public discourse are effectively institutionalized and legitimized” can also be applied to the topic of gun control in the United States. The freedom to bear arms being a founding reality of the republic. Just a thought…

  18. avatar PeaceOnEarth // December 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm // Reply

    Very Simple solution…. simply withdraw from Western Armenian territory and there will be Armenian Government replaced, then GOD will bless in heavenly peace and harmony.

  19. Kerim – you seem to forget that while Turks conquered the land, they never really owned it. Stolen it, is much more accurate and the statute of limitations never runs out on stolen goods. If Turkey can try to pressure museums around the world to return ancient (Greek) artifacts that were taken out of Anatolia (often, given away by the sultans as gifts), on the premise that they belong where they were created….then guess what? You never owned any of the land – ever. You, meaning the Turkish republic, stole it from the Greeks and the Armenians, not 1000 years ago, but less than 100 years ago. Many Armenian families still have property papers and deeds for their land, just as Palestinians do in Israel. I suspect you support every single Palestinian land claim, so why would you not support Armenian land claims? Here’s the deal…apologize, return all land to its rightful owners, including Incirlik among others, and then maybe, just maybe Armenians will discuss forgiving you, but that’s a very big maybe. Turkey has alot of blood on its hands….in some countries, like Saudi Arabia, those hands would be cut off for a single theft. Maybe that’s what is truly needed….a good dose of Islamic justice….so, Turkey needs to lose a hand, at the very least.

  20. Very well stated and highly relevant to this discussion:

    http://cphpost.dk/commentary/opinion/opinion-trouble-armenian-genocide

  21. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 17, 2012 at 12:08 am // Reply

    Ah Perouz…I’m afraid you did not grasp my above hints as to Mr. Akcam.
    He is a good Turk*both ways….i.e, while he does admit the attrocities brought upon us by his ancestor Govt.s,he cannot resign BEING A TURK none the less.
    And the great Turkey knows that if anything happened to him, they would not have him or another one or two to broker -in future- any acceptable deal w/rgds to Disputes between Armenia /Armenians and republic of Turkey….
    You and all others either have forgotten or just do not know that another also important person such as Orhan Pamuk is left free to walk in Istanbulla- though they made a lot of fuss,when he openly admitted to the armenian genocide.Why…simple,ANOTHER PERSON LIKE DR.AKCAM….that can be instrumental to show to the unrelenting French or Americans*in future.
    Also yet another peerson Jemal Pasha’s grandson that has visited Armenia and tzitzernakapert!!!!!!
    Thesee are necessary overtures and maneuvres by great Turkey…
    They will thus have more room to bargain if and when the few super powers by and by attend to our pleas and also DEMANDS!!!
    You forget how when before NK war broke out-after Pogroms in Baki ,Sumgait thousands and thousands or Armenians took to the streets in Yerevan and Diaspora community country capitals of cities like NY…….
    We may yet resort to that as well.But I insist that we first file the CLAIM FOR BLOOD MONEY at the appropriate international instances.

  22. As usual Turks like Kerim like comparing unrelated things in order to present their side of the argument, in the absence of any defense to their implementation of genocide.

    Ms Swanson: your approach may seem reasonable from a neutral perspective, but it is with giving the present-day Turks the benefit of the doubt, which (to my understanding) the Armenian nation (collectively) is not willing to do. I am assuming with your suggestion that by the Turks saying “Come be the owner of your land”, this means under Turkey, not Armenia, and I really don’t think any Armenians would go for this. I seriously doubt we will ever trust Turkey again.

    Imagine this scenario. The majority of your family (Armenian) is killed by another family (Turk) and your house confiscated, and to resolve the matter, a court (world community) tells you go visit the murdering family who is now living in your former house and “work things out”. This is a major insult to our nation anytime someone takes this position. At the Nuremberg trials, did they tell the Jews and Nazis to “work things out” together? This is how the “court” – the world community – has failed our nation, and why many of us are convinced that we can only get our rights, lands and justice back with our own guns. We prefer diplomacy and we are doing our best using it, but it is not working. Not only do we not have friends in the world, but the world community is also not interested in justice for our nation.

    Kerim: at the moment we may not be a match for Turkey militarily, but this is only because the EU and USA say so. As long as your neighbor exists, and says you are a genocidal country which stole its lands and killed its people, you will never rest assured with your crime, and this stain will be with your nation and collective consciousness forever.

    • Mr. Hagop, there are many points I found quite interesting in your post, but one that really surprised me was that you wrote Turkey is strong because of the EU and US. Was it not the US that imposed the treaty of Serves on Turkey with Wilson’s Armenia? Is it not the EU, that rejects Turkish membership, has an arms embargo in place and undermines Turkish self rule by putting its nose in places that it does not belong. So I ask you how is the US and EU making Turkey strong?

      However, I do agree with you on the fact that Turks and Armenians must solve their differences through diplomacy. To much blood has been shed already and there is really no need to prolong our differences for another 100 years.

    • Well said Hagop.

    • Coskun, how much aid does Turkey receive from US, NATO, Europe?

    • “Coskun, how much aid does Turkey receive from US, NATO, Europe?”

      Dear Boyajian, Turkey received no significant sums of foreign aid dollars from the U.S. in 2012. NATO is a mutual defence organization, where participating countries aid one anothere whether in the fight against terrorism or violent extremism, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria or against the proliferation of WMD, participating countries are obliged by the treaty to stand side by side to tackle the many common threats and challenges of our times. And finally from Europe, I am presuming you mean the EU. Turkey has received 860.2 million Euros for the year 2012. These were for the IPA assistance to Turkey implemented under decentralised management according to the five IPA components available to Candidate Countries and builds on assistance provided to Turkey under the previous financial instruments, the MEDA Programme (1996-2001) and the Turkey pre-accession assistance instrument (2002-2006). As you can see the sum of aid received from the West is really nothing when you take into account Turkey’s population and economy.

  23. I appreciate the scholarly insight and personal insight of Taner Akcam. If we are to move beyond the emotion and frustration of justice denied, then we must understand the mindset of the criminals and the psyche of the succeeding society.
    Consider the evolution of Taner’ assessment of the genocide and its denial from a man who,has dedicated his professional life to sharing the truth. His comments on the fact that denial justifies the very foundation of the republic is very powerful. It explains the deep complexity of why we are where we are in 2012.
    Why is this important? Armenians, in general tend to be very impatient, with scholarly work on the genocide, unless it leads to immediate results. This is understandable given the impact of the our 97 years of justice denied. Taner’s work is a gift in that it influences on a daly basis the thinking of third parties and is scholarly work ensures that the truth is not denied but studied.
    It is vitally important in 2012 that our people remain filled with knowledge on the genocide and its implications. It is not enough to display emotion and outrage.
    We must teach ourselves and our children so that we can represent our nation in the honorable quest for justice.
    Take the time to appreciate this scholar, Taner Akcam, a Turkish man with the courage , intellect and commitment to teach the truth. What an excellent role model for us as Armenians.

  24. A lot of ad hominem, and yet my question remains unanswered … What country on Earth would do what you expect Turkey to do? Give up its land?

    @John, you interpret my question based on what you think of my ancestry. Does one even need to take you seriously? For one, I disagree with Avery, for example, a lot. But at least he is being reasonable in producing proofs or disproofs … Posters like you, on the other hand, are just lookig for an opportunity to pour our your hatred onto anybody that even sounds like a Turk. I, for one, am not a Turk. As to whether or not I belong to the land where I live, this is not fod some randome Armenian to decide. As I have cited on this site, there are scitifit genetic evidence showing that Azeris belong to Caucaus no less than any other nation living there. So, pleas stop your self-serving empty talk.

    So, once again, I repeat: what country on Earth would give up 30% of its land just to “make it right”?

    As for definition of who owns what land, I dont think any court would ever say, well, it belongs to the people who have written songs about it, or who have crops on it. Take your house. It is owned by who a rule of current law says it is. CURRENT TURKISH LAND IS TURKISH LAND. For over thousand years, it has been Turkish land, with Armenians living on it. Just consult any map at the time or now. Imagine if your definition was the right one. Then Russian maps would dwindlge, and instead it would have hundres of different “real lands”.

    Also, who exactly owned these “Armenians” lands before you owned them? And how did you get to take them over? Did you not also use force, or did you perhaps conquer it with roses and nice songs? Whether you or we like it or not, it is a matter of historical reality: IN THE PAST, the land changed hands by military force. Dont pretend that Turks are somehow barbarians for doing so. I am sure your ancestors had done the same, as had anybody else’s ancestors too. How do you think your Tigran built his short-lived empire? With Armenian duduk? No, with sword and bow.

    • Kerim 100 years ago Turks had Balkans and Middle East, there was another Turk like you with same kerim name, who claimed OTTOMANS are for ever!! The faith of your beloved Turkey is up to Europe and Russia and US how to divide, Armenians don’t have to do anything!!

    • Listen, Kerim. I interpreted your question based on your ancestry because there’s a dichotomy in the mentality of a representative of an autochthonous nation and a representative of an allochthonous nation. Rarely would sedentary Armenians use such categories as “land currently owned”, “land taken”, “territory controlled”, “territory to give up”, etc. My interpretation was to help you understand that our view on land ownership is different. Nor nomadic Turks and their offspring Azeris, land is owned by the ones who invaded it and physically exterminated the natives. For sedentary Armenians, land is owned by the ones who lived on it, grew crops on it, and developed a unique culture and civilization on it. If you think this shouldn’t be taken seriously and is an empty talk, than it only shows the flaws of your education or mentality.

      I don’t claim that it’s for me to decide whether the Azeris lived on the lands they live now. I simply repeated what general history knows: Azerbaijan (or Atrpatakan, as ancient Armenians have called it) historically was the province of Persia, never Turkic until the invasion of Seljuk Turks and Mongols in the 11th and 13th centuries AD. Never was there a separate Turkic ethno-national group called “Azerbaijanis” until the creation of a country called “Azerbaijan” in 1918. Your “scientific” genetic evidence cannot prove something that never took place in history. How can Azeris belong to the Caucasus no less than any other nation living there, if there never was such distinct ethnic group as “Azeris”? The genetic similarities may indicate only the following: that after the invasion of Turkic nomads into the area there were certainly intermarriages, rapes, abductions to harems, forced religious conversions, etc. with the natives that affected the genetic composition of the Turks and Azeris. But it cannot prove that Azeris actually BELONG to the region. If they belonged to the region, show us a single map, a single ancient chronicle, a single archival record, a single manuscript that’d show or describe the existence of any Turkic group in the Caucasus before the 11th century AD.

      Your definitions and excursions into history are as ridiculous as your claim that Azeris belonged to the Caucasus. The court wouldn’t say that the land belongs to the people who have written songs about it or who have grown crops on it. But the court will certainly look into the reason why the people who have written songs about it or who have grown crops on it currently do not reside on it. The Wilsonian Arbitral Award, an equivalent to the court judgment, did exactly that: it had determined that most of the traditional Armenian lands stolen by the Turks as a result of mass physical annihilation of the Armenians, must form the Republic of Armenia. Armenian lands are current Turkish lands only by default. No need to repeat how Turks came into possession of those lands.

      Your chronological examples are no less ridiculous. For instance, “for over thousand years it has been Turkish land with Armenians living on it.” First of all, where did the Armenians come from to live on those “Turkish” lands? Secondly, chronologically, it’d be correct to say “for over four thousand years the land has been Armenian, Greek, and Kurdish, with Turks living on it only for about a thousand years as a result of invasion”. That’d be more accurate.

      The question “who exactly owned these Armenian lands before you owned them?” belongs to the same realm of mentality exhibited by an originally nomadic nation. For nomads, I guess it makes a perfect sense to ask “who owned the lands before”? They seem to be unable to understand that there are certain peoples on the face of the Earth that are autochthonous in origin, that is, indigenous to a place, rather than descended from migrants or colonists. Kerim, do you understand this? Historians point out that Armenia was formed as a result of amalgamation of local, repeat: LOCAL, tribes inhabiting the proto-Armenian federation of Urartu. In other words, a nation was formed on a particular place of habitat, not as a result of alien nomadic incursions into the area. For such a nation to form, there was no need use force (against whom?!).

      I don’t disagree with you on the matter of historical reality that in the past the lands changed hands by military force. But acquiring lands by force and physically exterminating whole native populations are two different things. In the latter, Ottoman Turks are, no doubt, unexcelled barbarians.

      Tigran the Great built his empire by force, no doubt about that, either. But there’s no single historical record of him, or other Armenian kings, mass annihilating the native populations. In fact, chronicles show that instead of annexing conquered lands and making the inhabitants his subjects, Tigran would install local kings and do no more than collect taxes to lessen resistance from them. Tigran would also invite artisans and craftsmen from local populations to build the capital and other cities of his empire. No case of genocidal annihilation of the locals was ever registered in the Armenian history. For genocidal annihilation of innocent people, brutal and merciless military invasions into the lands of others, colonization of the native populations, stealing of culture, traditions, and lands of others, please see history of Turkey.

  25. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 18, 2012 at 12:03 am // Reply

    This man Kerim conveniently forgets that Armenians for millenia, lived on those lands*indeed alongside Arya Kurds.Why do I use word Arya,indeed to distinguish them from neighbour conquerer Mogul Tatar, Seljuk Turks-a different specy of mankind-Armenians were to have stayed there like the k u r d s …
    But how come they pulled the disappearing act*evaporated to the skies…
    No Kerim , they were EVICTED ,their properties confiscated,etc., etc., etc.
    I ‘m tired and cannot like Father said debate and discuss with the “Cabeza de Turcos”” spanish saying meanign hard headed Turks….go check it out..
    However not very much used thse days in Spain business is business with great Turkey. Last LAND WAS CHANING HANDS, IT WAS HOUSING K U R D S THAT I KNOW OF NOT TURKS!!!! 18 MILLIONS OF THEM!!!!
    cAN THESE BE DISLODGED TO SAY THE sYRIAN DESERTS OR THROWN -DUMPED INTO THE BLACK SEA…. think about that please.
    As to above boyajian trying to persuade me convince me the word “Ghost is harmless” he errs.As the impression it leaves omn ordianry Turks and/or non Turk Euro Ams or any other nations that are ignoratn of the Armenian Genocide,it DOES MAKE A TREMENDOUS IM[PRESSION that Armenians are “Ghosts”” non existant only as spirits hoveriung over us…
    No dear Boyajian we need to spell the words clearly not as hints that are harmfull, anyway you turn it. I beg to differ.

  26. Kerim,

    I can answer your question loud and clear. When a thief, a bank robber, steals a million dollars from a bank and is caught he is not only made to return the stolen money in full but he is also given a harsh sentence for his crime with hard time in prison. There are no statutes of limitation on his crime no matter how long he gets to keep the stolen money and no matter how long he evades the authorities. The stolen money is no more his now than it was not his before he committed the crime.

    In the Turkish case, not only a robbery was committed but millions of innocent people lost their lives in the commission of the Turkish crime. As such, the Turks must be forced to not only return the stolen property (assets, territories, etc.) in full but they should also be punished under the full extent of the law, including capital punishment.

    You are obviously a Muslim so you should already know what they do to even petty thieves in some Muslim countries, not to mention to those who commit crimes in the process. Therefore your question was mute but you got your answer after all.

  27. Yes……….!

  28. I think we all must acknowledge that nothing changes easily or quickly, everything takes time. The issue of Armenians in Turkey falls into this category. The fact that Turks at all levels are discussing 1915 at all is a great start. It is now appearing in the Turkish media, academics and intellectuals are openly discussing the disappearance of the Armenians, Turks are being reminded of their 1000 year long, side-by-side relationship with Armenians and that many, many Turks have Armenian lineage in their family, as well as historic past. This is all good – as two peoples, we are very entwined, like it or not. But, as I see it, this is only a start. Armenians cannot and should not expect quick results or changes in this realm. As Prof. Akcam outlined very clearly, the institutional bias against Armenians is almost 100 years old and has become deeply ingrained. Change is difficult and painful, for sure, but it can happen. And, we are seeing the very first signs of this, thanks to a major change at the very top of Turkish political society. We need to acknowledge that the power structure inside Turkey has shifted. Those who worked very hard to suppress the official memory and discussion of Armenians, while preserving the racist legacy of the CUP, have been exposed and discredited. We are learning that Armenians may actually have more friends in Turkey than we all realize. The glacier is starting to melt. If we want this positive mood to continue, it may behoove all of us to become more open and learn how to engage more positively with Turkey. Hopefully, Turkey will learn the same lesson with regard to Armenians, and return more of what was taken, and with Armenia, by opening its border and establishing open diplomatic relations. It can be done, especially if these small steps lead, over time, to an official apology for past wrongs. Who knows, maybe that will be Turkey’s gift to Armenians in 2015? Remember, many roads can lead to the same destination…. let’s not close any path in the meantime.

    • Karekin, you need to be very careful with expressions like “Turkey’s gift to Armenians in 2015”. We expect no “gift” from the Turks. We expect what rightfully belonged to us and was taken from us as a result of mass extermination of our people andtheft of our ancestral homeland. Let Turks make “gifts” to themselves by revisiting their history and learning what kind of barbarous people their predecessors were.

  29. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm // Reply

    Hold it there John
    You and perhaps a few others sometimes unconsciously use word ¨exterminated¨. You these others are not probably aware that we were< NOT EXTERMINATED¨
    There was a huge TRY by Ottoman Turkey,Kemalist Turkey and recently even Inonu Turkey to completely eradicate Armeniasn from their ancestral Land.
    Unsuccessful!!!
    WE are in Istanbulla that ERMENIS STILL EXIST,plus indeed those converted forcefully into islam or scared to be slaughtered…
    But living alongside the 16/18 million k u r d s on Western Armenia.
    So i ask you to use the word TRY alongside the exterminate…please.
    ==========================================================
    As to Land, this land issue again come to us from the old ¨Shkola¨Russian for Schooling people amongst us….
    like Turks have repeatedly repeated not only here but in their press etc., LAND IS NOT GIVEN, it is taken ,occupied etc.,
    We must be patient as to recuperation of at least part of our Weswtern armenian territories.Question of time…Patience.But indeed one of our Demands. What is tangible, reasonable and realizable is pushing hard for BLOOD MONEY.This has precedents and we can win that quite easier.
    Please think in that direction.Our Armenian BAR Association in cooperation with our political party reps. and historians can prepare the FILE and Lodge it at the appropriate instance ,say within net year 2013.Which gives the JUDGES TWO years time to pass sentence on it!!!!

  30. John, the word ‘gift’ was used in a tongue in cheek manner….not in the sense of a true gift. I doubt any such gifts will arrive on Armenia’s doorsteps any time soon. We all know Turkey’s PR machine is workng very hard to squelch the truth that Armenians need and want to tell, and have every right to talk about regarding 1915. So, for public consumption in the US and Europe, there are small concessions given here and there, with lots of fanfare for the (not so independent) press and the cameras. The idea is to placate Armenians and come across as a nurturing, compassionate country, but we’ve been down this road with Turkey many times in the past and know how they play one hand while hiding the other. It always ends in disaster for Armenians, unfortunately. Leopards never change their spots.

  31. John, ok, now I see. Even though I disagree with you, I can see your reasoning behind expecting a certain line of thought from a “Turk” based on a historical common psyche. Yes, it is even a clever line of thought. The problem is, it does not jibe with reality. I for one am not a Turk, and trust me, as an Azeri, the complex/mindset of a conqueror is the last thing we are suffering from. Azeris did not come from Mongolia, but Mongolians did. And the scientific genetic evidence I cited shows that the modern Azeris are genetically not materially dissimilar from other Caucasian people. This is a fact. Do we have some Mongolian blood, sure, but from the genetic perspective it is extremely minor. To put it roughly, being 1% Mongolian does not make one Mongolian. What these genetic evidence shows is that if we took the parents of a modern Azeris, and went back to their parents, etc, etc., you would end up with someone still in Caucasus. Of course, everybody came from somewhere at some point (even Armenians), and everybody today has genes from various geographies. The scientific evidence is that in this regard a modern Azeri is no more foreigner to Caucasus than our neighbors. We have simply been assimilated. What do you think happened to many Armenians? I bet a large chunk of current Turkish population come from Turkified Armenians. Does that mean that these former Armenians came from Mongolia and you should expell them from there? Simply put, there were never enough Mongolians to totally replace all the local populations of the currently Turkic countries. Assimilation, rape – yes, rape – did occur. This was quite common back then. And I am sure this happened to Azeris no more than it has happened to Armenians, or to any other nations during that time frame.

    And there is a distinction between nationhood and genetic pool. As a nation, yes, Azeris are a relatively new nation (and this too is fact), assuming you call ~500-1000 years a new history. But this does not mean that people who today call themselves Azeri are new to Caucasus. And this too is a scientific fact.

    Regarding your comment that Turks stand out in terms of committing a genocide, and somehow Tigran and other historical conqueror were more humane …. This too is untrue. First of all, Armenians did live under Turkish rule for over 1000 years with relative peace before 1915. And if you have read world history, you must know how cruel the times were, the worse the more you go further back in time. Genocides were pretty common. I would bet that your Tigran committed one too to some poor people too. The fact that there is presumably not as much evidence as the Turkish crimes of 1915 …. This is a dishonest comparison. Of course, there is going to be less evidence the further you go back in time. E.g., 100 years versus 5000 years?

    I understand your feelings about Armenians Genocide. But those feelings do not license you to exaggerate and distort everything else to make its perpetrators look the most evil thing the world has ever seen. Because the world has seen a lot. Even the God in Bible was a genocidal one (considering what he did to the Egyptian children). And the Muslim God is even worse.

    • I think, Kerim, you constructed your tiny little world in which you’d feel comfortable to live. This is exactly what the whole “nation” of Azerbaijan and your pseudo-scientists do: they invent a history of a never-before-existed nation.

      Yes, Seljuk Turks and Mongolians intruded our area, which you ridiculously call “came”, not Azeris. Where were the Azeris then? Have they been living in the Caucasus? I very much hope you wouldn’t parrot the sheer idiocy of the distortionist Azeri historians that Christian Caucasian Albania was the proto-homeland of the modern-day Azeris?

      The “scientific” evidence you cited shows mostly linguistic not genetic similarity of the Azeris to the native Caucasus people. I am tired to repeat that whatever similarity may be found is not indicative that just like the native Caucasus peoples, Azeris were indigenous to the area. With their roots in Mongolia, Turkic tribes (Seljuks) and then Mongols invaded the area and throughout the centuries intermixed with the native populations, mostly through barbarian methods: forced marriages, mass rapes, abductions to harems, religious conversions, etc. Does this make you NATIVE to a particular region? You take as a starting point the intrusion of Seljuks and Mongols the amalgamation of which with the natives produced the nations of modern-day Turks and modern-day Azeris. But, Kerim, before the intrusions of the 11th and the 13th centuries by those nomadic warriors, where were the Turks and Azeris? Were they called Turks and Azeris? In which chronicles? On what maps?

      Everybody today may have genes from various geographies, but it doesn’t disprove the fact that there are autochthonous nations and there are allochthonous nations. However hard you try, you will find no evidence whatsoever that there were any hints of the existence of Turks or more so Azeris in Asia Minor and the Caucasus before the intrusions of your forefathers from the Mongolian steppes. You have not “simply been assimilated”. You intruded the area inhabited by indigenous peoples by means of explicit military conquest and then intermixed with the locals, borrowing their civilizational traits: language, script, religion, music, cuisine, etc. And now you call yourselves “no less native” than the locals? Nice. A typical TurkoAzeri mentality. A mentality of an alien nation attempting to prove that it’s been in their current place of habitat for as long or at least long enough as the indigenous peoples.

      This is what you try to do. This is what your whole “nation” of Azeris and Turks try to do. Ain’t gonna work.

      Yes, a large chunk of current Turkish population may come from Turkified Armenians, but those Armenians were given a life-or-death choice if they didn’t convert. You bring up as “examples” primitive, unsubstantiated comparisons.

      Yes, there were never enough Mongolians to totally replace all the local populations of the currently Turkic countries. But the amalgamation of Seljuks and Mongolians plus their intermingling with the local population produced the “nations” of Turks and the Azeris. Does this amalgamation and intermix make you NATIVE to the place of your current habitat?

      Rape was quite common back then, you say? Even some 20 years ago in Sumgait your ilk gangraped Armenian women and teen girls. What does your “scientific” theory say about genetic similarity in this with the behavior of your Seljuk/Mongol barbarian ancestors?

      “Azeris are a relatively new nation”. LoL at “relatively”. 500-1000 years does not pertain to the Azeris. Turks, perhaps. But Azeris as a nation never existed. Persian Azerbaijanis did. But modern-day ones only exist from 1918! You call this “relatively”?

      Regarding Tigran the Great. Repeat: there are no historical evidence whatsoever that he or any other Armenian king has committed atrocities against any local population at the level of barbarity and the extent of savagery as the Ottoman Turks. You termed this “untrue”. Prove it! You cannot say: “I would bet”. For a person who cites “scientific” sources it is not acceptable to say “I would bet”. Only a few nations throughout the human history have committed genocides. Genocides were not “common”. And Turks are, without doubt, ones of them.

      Any genocide perpetrator is evil, not just Turks. The difference of others from the Turks is that many of them had a civilizational ability to repent!

  32. Kerim – the key difference between the native American genocide (500 years ago), the holocaust and the Armenian genocide is the way they are addressed by the perpetrators today. In the US, we can freely and openly discuss the fact that the European invaders decimated the native population. We have images of native Americans on our coinage, many states still have names derived from the original Indian languages, there has been an apology issued to native Americans by the government, as well as continued compensation to the remnants of the tribes. As you know, Germany has bent over backwards, both psychologically, educationally and financially on behalf of holocaust survivors. What exactly, has Turkey done on behalf of Armenians who survived their horrific reign of terror? Has it issued an apology, which costs nothing? Has it offered anything of true substance? Giving back stolen goods, such as Akhtamar church, while very nice, doesn’t count since the murdered congregants will never return for the single, once a year badarak in ‘the museum’. So, while a proper atonement doesn’t necessarily require the return of 30% of Turkey (though that would be great), there are lots of things that can be done if Turkey sincerely wants to make amends to the descendants of its former citizens. It may be difficult for Turkey at this point in history, to change its behavior, considering that it’s been treating Armenians like dirt for such a long time, but this change is exactly what is needed. Turks have forgotten how their country was elevated with civilization and culture by its Armenian citizens over the course of a thousand years. Their most important architectural monuments were created by Sinan, your most famous Armenian. How ungrateful can anyone be? Don’t Turks have any sense of shame for what they’ve done? If not, they need to feel that shame deeply, if there is to be any substantial change in this dynamic.

  33. avatar kerim@mail.ru // December 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm // Reply

    Karekin, I agree with you. I guess it is easy for me to do so, because I am not a Turk.

    But consider this too when you present such high lofty expectations from Turkey. What other country besides Germany has acknowledged a genocide? The US has never coined the treatment of Indians as a genocide. And remember that Germans were forced to “repent.”

    If we hold Turkey to this standard, why not demand that Russia, France, Britain, Japan, and all other powers come forward and acknowledge their own crimes from 100 years ago.

    • “If we hold Turkey to this standard, why not demand that Russia, France, Britain, Japan, and all other powers come forward and acknowledge their own crimes from 100 years ago.”

      Because unlike the people in the rest of those nations, guess what religion Turks belong to? And unlike Turkey, those nations are currently a stronger force in the world. And apparently, if you name some of your states and cities after the native people you committed genocide against, that makes it ok. Also, if your intentions are pure- like fighting for liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it makes it okay for you to fight for freedom while still enslaving Africans (while no where else in the world slavery was based solely on skin color). However, just because the western nations are hypocrites- it doesn’t mean they’re wrong about the Armenian genocide. Just like Erdogan isn’t wrong when he rightly called the Israeli President a baby killer even though Erdogan’s government has done similar things to the Kurds- remember the “accidental” bombing that killed 25 or so civilians?

    • did Christian European nations condemn and adjudge as ‘Genocide’ the massacre of 10,000 Bosnian Muslims by Christian Serbs ?

      how many Muslim countries have recognized the Genocide of Christian Armenians (and Christian Assyrians, and Christian Greeks) by Muslim Turks ?
      Approximately 4 million Christians murdered Muslims.
      By Muslim Turks. And their Muslim Kurd helpers.

      (and remember RVDV: we already discussed Lebanon: no, it is not a Muslim state)

    • CORRECTION: Approximately 4 million Christians murdered BY Muslims.

  34. which Muslim leader of what Muslim country claimed that there could be no Darfur Genocide, because, supposedly Muslims are incapable of committing Genocide ?

    which Muslim leader of what Muslim country warmly welcomed an indicted war criminal into which Muslim state ?

    which Muslim countries took the lead in pushing for and indicting the Muslim leader of which country accused of committing the Darfur Genocide ?
    which Christian countries took the lead in pushing for and indicting the Muslim leader of which country accused of committing the Darfur Genocide ?

    • Touche Avery, Touche.

      However, to address your above post- how many Jews killed by Christians? how many natives killed in colonized lands by Christians? Like I said, I’m not saying France shouldn’t be telling Turkey to face up to its own history, I’m just saying that they and other European nations should hold themselves to the same standard they are holding us. Save the Germans, no one else killed more than 2+ million like the Turks did. However, isn’t taking even one innocent life for no reason worth apologizing for and repenting? Events don’t need to fall under “genocide” for you to apologize for them.

  35. avatar necati genis // December 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm // Reply

    Talk, talk, talk…
    How about a little work? Your country is starving and people come to Turkey illegaly to work .

    • Because Armenia is stuck between 4 MUSLIM COUNTRIES like IRAN, GEORGIA, AZERBAIJAN AND TURKEY, of course we lost all our land AND RESOURCES, THATS WHY ARMENIA DOES NOT HAVE A WAY OUT TO DO BUSINESS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES. NO IMPORT OR EXPORT IS AVAILABLE. Thats why Armenians go to other countries including Turkey to work BECAUSE THEY MURDERED AND SLAUGHTERED ALL ARMENIANS NOW WHATS A SHAME TO CALL US TALK TALK TALK YOU EVIL NECATI GENIS

    • Necati,

      Please do not make an impression that your country is a prosperous one. Guess who are cleaning the most dirty areas in Western Europe? Your countrymen.

      As to those Armenians who immigrate and illegally work in Turkey-your country encourages them to immigrate and illegally work there, so that your politicians can use that card against Armenia. Your politicians will never admit it, but they know what they are doing.

    • “Please do not make an impression that your country is a prosperous one. Guess who are cleaning the most dirty areas in Western Europe? Your countrymen.

      As to those Armenians who immigrate and illegally work in Turkey-your country encourages them to immigrate and illegally work there, so that your politicians can use that card against Armenia. Your politicians will never admit it, but they know what they are doing.”

      Dear Sella,

      Let me begin by, what is your understanding of prosperity? Greece is a member of the EU, would you label Greece prosperous? Where youth unemployment is at its highest level ever and they are in a fifth year of recession. Turkey on the other hand has made tremendous economic achievements in the past 10 years. It has tripled its gdp per capita since 2001. And there is not one substantiating fact for the government of Turkey to encourage illegal Armenians coming to Turkey for work. They choose to come there to have a better life forthemselves and their families back in Armenia.

      And now to the most bogus part of your statement. “Guess who are cleaning the most dirty areas in Western Europe.” The reason there are Turks in Europe is because they were asked to go there as guest workers because Europe depopulated its working population in WW2. Those people worked hard, just like the Armenians in the US and elsewhere so their children would not have a better life. And just like Armenians in the US and EU, the children of those Turks have made something of themselves. Today we have people like Cem Ozdemir, Fatih Akın, Sibel Kekili and Ekin Deligöz because of the hard work of their parents. There is nothing wrong with earning a decent and honost living for your children’s future.

      Forum like Armenian Weekly should be a proactive convention where Armenians and Turks work together to build a future where the two peoples are not enemies, but partners. It is high time Turkey accept that there was a genocide and apologize and it is time Armenians come to realize that territorial compensations is out of the question. I hope one day this dispute is solved between our to peoples, but for the foreseeable future unfortunately I am not hopeful.

    • Dear Cokun,

      Thank you for your clarification.

      I was not referring to the Turks who immigrated to Germany after WWII, but the ones that immigrated in recent years. But, since you touched upon post WWII immigration of Turks to Germany, I want to say a few things since I lived in that country. A lot of them do not speak German, the once that do, speak with heavy Turkish accent, with plenty of grammatical mistakes and are rather illiterate. They simply refuse to integrate and are abusing welfare system. Most of them are very loud, if you are at the bus or train stop waiting for your train to come you will be bothered by them. As a young female, I was more than once bothered by Turks in the city. If you are just standing by yourself and waiting for a train or a bus, or are sitting in the train and reading a book, a Turk would appear and start a conversation, ask your phone number, your nationality etc. And they do not understand a simple NO or a polite rejection. No German or any European men ever did it to me, just Turks. And, no, I do not look Turkish, they never mentioned I might be one, so it cannot be a reason for them to approach. The Turks that I met from Turkey were much more polite, respectful and educated, but they all were there to either get their PhD or worked as physicians. Having said all these, I do not meant that there are not educated Turks among those post-WWII emigrant’s offspring, but given the number of years they have been living in that country, their progress is rather poor. For example you cannot compare them with Armenians in France who are genocide survivors.

      Being part of EU does not mean a country is prosperous. Greece was a prosperous country, but not any more. Many Eastern European countries in EU are not prosperous countries. I know that Turkey made a tremendous economical progress, but I give very little credit to your country. Billions of stolen dollars from the properties, and wealth generated of murdered Armenians, Greeks and other nationalities are being pumped into your country. The Inkrink base, alone that brings billions of dollars to your country was build in a land that was confiscated from Armenians. Your country earns billions of dollars by selling the cultures of the people they have long exterminated. And lastly, multiple genocides committed by your country ( Ottoman empire I consider to be your country) freed a lot of land and made your country a strategically very favorable country. If they did not annihilate all the Armenians, Pontiac Greeks maybe they could have kept some of their ancestral land like Balkan people did and your country won’t be so important to harass everyone around. Honestly, I think any nation with that much stolen property and wealth, with that favorable location would do well economically.

      There are facts that your government is encouraging Armenians to come to Turkey and work illegally. I know from those Armenians, that in many cases when police checks their documents and finds out that they are Armenians whose visas have long expired just lets them go as opposed to some other nationalities who get deported. Erdogan more than once publicly announced that his country was feeding 100.000 Armenians (numbers he exaggerated ) as if those Armenians were on welfare in Turkey. Something that he likes to ask ”If we are enemies why those Armenians are coming to Turkey?”. As if those Armenians care who is their enemy and who is not. If they cared they would go to Russia and make their living without being labeled ”illegal workers”. And why not, your country with brother Axerbaijan use some of those Armenians to spy on Armenia. I posted a link a while ago showing how three traitor Armenians got arrested in Armenia for spying for Axerbaijan. And, they are not alone.

      I said before Turkish apology without restitution and return of our cultural sites and some of our ancestral land means very little to nothing to me. I would actually say nothing.

    • Sorry I meant Incirlik base and not Inkrink base.

    • Double sorry for misspelling your name, Coskun.

  36. to necati- i really have to answer this and attack your ignorance.
    if you are going to talk about armenians working illigally in turkey, well at least
    they are smart and bring some intelligence to that backwards country.
    i travelled in turkey and the illiteracy was overwelming. on another note, do you
    know how many turks illigally work in france and germany, and try to get on a boat to england, why don’t you find out,
    the numbers won’t be pleasant. i met one that couldn’t speak french, was lost,
    no papers and i tried to help him, i felt sorry for him, yes i did help him. that’s the way us armenians are. we do not have a mean streak and massacre innocent people. look at turkish history, it’s full of red, like your flag. otherwise be a magician and disappear.
    do your homework before you ramble on.
    talk, talk, talk.

  37. The whole debate about the Armenian Genocide has moved on – but Akcam seems rather stuck in the 1980s, concerned only with the dinosaurs within today’s Turkey society and with the attitudes of a segment of the Turkish diaspora which is also still stuck in the 1980s. He thinks it wise to realise that Turkey is not a monolithic block, yet fails to understand that INDIVIDUAL Turks are also not monolithic blocks – each person in Turkey has multiple and sometimes conflicting attitudes and interests. Acceptance by them of the fact of the Armenian Genocide cannot imply a blind acceptance of an Armenian pressure-group version of it, or any acceptance at all of associated Armenian political demands. Also, any eventual acceptance of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey will have no obligation to “pay compensation”. No compensation (either monetary or territorial) will ever be paid by Turkey. I don’t know why Akcam continually brings up this spurious hope of a pot of gold at the end of Turkey’s genocide acceptance.
    However, a lot of AG-related money is floating around; it comes from assorted vested-interest ngo’s, politically-motivated EU grants, pseudo-academic “institutes”, and various private “foundations”. The worst part of this growing genocide recognition industry is its exploitation and destruction of Armenian monuments in Turkey. Surp Khatch church on Aghtamar, Surp Kirakos in Diyarbekir, the anonymous church in Edremit, the Surp Astuatsatsin chapel in Van, the fountains at Havav, virtually the whole site of Ani, all have been ruined as historical monuments thanks to political “restorations” inflicted on them by assorted Turks and Armenians as they latch on to them like parasites and use them to make money or status or propaganda.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

*