06 April 2005

Ankara Should Admit to Armenian Massacres

By Giragos Kouyoumdjian- Kuwait City

(Originally published in Kuwait's Arabic language daily "Al Qabas" on 26th March 2005, then appeared in the 31st March 2005 issue of English language daily "Kuwait Times").

The ninetieth anniversary of the well-known massacres against the Armenians during WWI on 24 April 1915 by the Turks will be in few days.

Ninety painful years have passed since that sad day that began with orders from some oppressive rulers to arrest prominent Armenian dignitaries who lived within the Turkish empire in preparation for killing them and begin the annihilation of the entire Armenian population which was occupied by the Ottomans for more than 700 years.

Many gruesome stories speak about the way the leaders were liquidated including members of parliament, lawyers, writers and creative personalities who played major roles in the interest of the Turkish government in international arenas for decades, and how they were brutally killed. Some were killed with picks breaking their heads and there were those who became hysterical out of fear when their offices were stormed while composing music using pianos.

As for the Armenian people as a whole they faced the first genocide in the twentieth century. They were forcefully removed from all cities and towns where they lived in Armenia which was under the Ottoman empire east of Anatolia, as well as those who lived in the state's cities, particularly in Istanbul where a large Armenian community lived. All those were forced to
vacate their homes under various excuses that were believed by the European community, which brought up the rights of minorities, including the claims and trick that the Armenians must be moved from tension areas with the Russian forces east of the empire to safer areas.

They were able to achieve their Turanian expansionist goals by scattering the people who formed the majority in that sensitive border area and repatriating Turks instead. They also occupied additional strategic sites such as the summit of Ararat Mountain, where Noah's ark rested, which is known to be Armenian and mentioned in all geography and history books.

I do not wish, in this limited area, to narrate historical events that became well known by all and recognized in many major countries such as France, Italy, Canada and other European and American countries, as well as small countries (that we consider great) such as Lebanon and Uruguay, rather I wish to concentrate on the regretful phenomena of the stubbornness of the
modern Turkish government of denying the events on the international level and not recognizing the right of Armenians for compensation and turn the Armenian page for ever, and look for a new relation built on cooperation between the two people who are linked with 800 years long friendship and neighbourhood.

The current Turkish government denies the massacre and does not wish to make up with its past, rather contrary it resorted to a campaign against the Armenians by reversing facts and promoting the idea that the Armenians are the aggressors and they killed the Turks during that time.

They began giving lectures at the official level internationally without any regard of the ethics of credibility. They published images of mass graves claiming they were made by Armenians to distort facts.

Who can believe that an occupied and oppressed people for many centuries, just like other people under the Ottoman rule can harm the empire's subjects, and that this empire with all its glory cannot protect its citizens from the unarmed Armenians. This is a failed attempt to deceive the free people of the world, who know the truth for a century, headed by the Arab people and the Europeans.

Grandchildren of the Armenians who are convinced with the culture of brotherhood and peace seem to say that they are ready to reconcile if Turkish authorities returned their moral and material rights. They say that the Turkish government should also recognize the massacres their ancestors inflicted on the Armenians. The Turks should show noble wishes to negotiate
with the Armenian state. I believe that a courageous initiative by the Turkish government at this particular time will be a realistic, wise and very effective and will make a difference on Turkey at the European level.

I do not believe that the European community will accept to admit Turkey to Europe's club before it provides enough knowledge and civilized maturity besides other matters including the importance of admitting mistakes as an establishing member have done, namely Germany, who admitted openly the killing of the Jews by the Nazis, the ancestors of the current civilized
Germans, who respectfully stood in front of the monument of Jewish victims in Poland represented by Chancellor Schroeder, as well as the courageous statement by the German President in Israel about his country's responsibility for the Holocaust. That apart from the billions of German Marks paid to the Jews after WWII as compensations.

This is what the international community and Armenian people expect from Turkish leaders: a respectful stand in front of the monument commemorating one and a half million victims in the Armenian capital and a similar statement by the President. So will he do that?

The Turkish Ambassador in Kuwait was quick to respond with the known official views of the Turkish government, without forgetting to add how caring Turkey has been toward Armenia and Armenians! This is what H.E. Sakir Fakili wrote in the 3rd April 2005 issue of the "Kuwait Times", in the "Letters to the Editor" section:

Dear Mr. Alyan,

I have read the article entitled "Ankara should admit to Armenian massacres" published in the "analysis" page of the "Kuwait Times" on March 31, 2005. Although it is stated that "all articles appearing on that page are the personal opinions of the writers and Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein", I would like to make a correction. I believe,
while the "views" in the article can be the personal opinion of the author, historical and current "factual errors" cannot be considered so.

Therefore, I will not elaborate on the views and political analysis of the writer regarding Armenia, its status in the region and its relations with the neighbouring countries. I must, however, correct the author when he bases his analysis on unfounded claims regarding history and the present, and omits certain facts.

The author says "... rather I wish to concentrate on the regretful phenomena of the stubbornness of the modern Turkish government of denying the events on the international level and not recognizing the right of Armenians for compensation and turn the Armenian page for ever, and look for a new relation built on cooperation between the two people who are linked with 800 years long friendship and neighbourhood".

Turkey's attitude towards Armenia, like any other country, has always been one of dialogue and resolution of issues through diplomacy. As a matter of fact, Turkey recognized Armenia in December 1991 as a sovereign and independent state and has extended a helping hand to this newly independent state in economic problems. It was again Turkey, the leading country in the
establishment of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, who invited Armenia to become a member to the said Organization. Turkey, sincerely, aims at friendly relations with Armenia and demonstrates this approach at every occasion.

In this regard, HE Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey and HE Deniz Baykal, leader of the major opposition party in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, made a joint call to the Armenian side recently in order to form a joint commission, composed of Turkish as well as Armenian historians and scholars in order to conduct a research in the
Ottoman and related states' archives. The Armenian side's reply was indeed noteworthy. Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanyan stated that the events of 1915 were duly researched by historians and the only step to be taken was Turkish Government's recognition of the so-called genocide.

The Armenian side is very well aware of the fact that there is no single document proving that the Ottoman Rule of the time ordered a massacre or so-called genocide. Turkey is of the opinion that all this should be dealt with by the historians. I wonder how come Armenia, instead of making use of historians and experts, politicizes this issue, and to whose interests it serves. It is interesting to note that, so far Armenian Government has not disclosed a single page of its archives. We do not have claims for the lives lost in the hands of the Armenian militia who collaborated with invading powers during World War I. We are able to differentiate between a genocide and a civil war and call them to drop their expectations from Turkey to accept something that has not happened. Turkey forms its relations with its neighbours on logical and rational basis, and believes it is to the interests of all.

On the other hand, I indeed wonder which country would be as willing as Turkey to build good relations with a neighbour that has territorial claims taken in its Constitution. It is not Turkish attitude that is "hostile" as the author claims. On the contrary, Turkey has been the country that has called on developing good relations through dialogue. If there is hostility, it is Armenia who occupies about 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory in contrary to the UN resolutions.

See Arabic version of this text in the "Media" section (on your left hand)"Armenian subjects in Arabic language" (www.azad-hye.com)

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