Nagging Doubts Persist

Keghart.com team editorial, 31 May 2010

They tell us Turkey is changing for the better.
They tell us Turkey is becoming a vibrant secular democracy.
They tell us the bad old days of the fascist generals are gone.
They tell us 200,000 Turks turned up at Hrant Dink’s funeral in early 2008.

Keghart.com team editorial, 31 May 2010

They tell us Turkey is changing for the better.
They tell us Turkey is becoming a vibrant secular democracy.
They tell us the bad old days of the fascist generals are gone.
They tell us 200,000 Turks turned up at Hrant Dink’s funeral in early 2008.

 
Turkish publishers are putting Genocide books on the market. This year Genocide commemorations received the widest Turkish media coverage ever. There was a groundbreaking two-day symposium on the Genocide in Ankara this year. None of the speakers was a Genocide denialist. The speakers talked even about confiscated Armenian property, reparations, and how to confront the past. In mid-April, at the International Poetry Festival in Istanbul, a poet from Armenia won a prize for his poem about the Genocide.

We are not deaf or blind. We want to see Turkey change. We have an interest in seeing a progressive Turkey. For one, an enlightened Turkey is more likely to face the country’s Armenian Question: the Genocide, reparations and restitution. An enlightened Turkey would also liberate Turks from centuries of obscurantist, corrupt and despotic regimes which have bred racism, violence and religious fundamentalism.

But we have nagging doubts. While Turkey seems to be changing, it’s still true that:

–Turkish Penal Code Article 301 re ‘insulting Turkishness’ remains in force –Ankara not only denies the Genocide, it has intensified its anti-Armenian propaganda campaign —Ankara continues its chock hold on Armenia by blockading that tiny, landlocked country, and demanding that we hand over Armenian Artsakh to usurper Azeris
–Ankara is arming and training Azeris against Armenia and Artsakh –Ankara continues the Turkification of Armenian toponyms and the destruction of Armenian monuments –Ankara’s oppression of Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, and other minorities continues unabated, while the Turkish Army illegally occupies a large part of Cyprus.

Armenians also wonder about the much-ballyhooed Turkish democracy. Despite its seeming independence, we suspect the Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s government remains in power because the cunning generals have allowed him slack: the covert strategy is to allow Erdogan make brave statements and thus persuade Europeans that Turkey is democratic and thus deserving of membership in the European club. Last year’s Protocol Tango with Armenia had the same goal: to qualify for EU membership, Turkey has to have open borders with all its neighbours.

In light of the openness in the coverage of the Genocide in Turkey in the past year, Armenians are naturally asking themselves: “Are the righteous, democratic, humanist Turks being used by Ankara to improve its creds, to impress Barak Obama and the Western world? Armenians also wonder how representative and influential are the enlightened Turks who raised their voices and shouted “We are all Hrant Dink” at the funeral of the Armenian journalist. Ragip Zarakolu, Orhan Pamuk, Taner Akcam, Sait Cetinoglu, Mehmut Konuk, Fikret Baskaya, Baskin Oran, Mahir Sayin, and Asli Comu are people we are eager to know and to befriend. However, this handful of intellectuals, writers and scholars is not representative of 12-million-inhabitant Istanbul, just as the biggest city of Turkey is not representative of Turkey.

It’s said there are four, if not, five Turkeys. There is Erdogan and his fundamentalist Moslem followers; there is the military and the far-right terrorist Ergenokon; there are the impoverished and largely illiterate Anatolian masses; there are the minorities which make a third of the country’s population; and then there is the outwardly-Europeanized Istanbul metropolis. This Turkish bifurcation makes genuine Armenian-Turkish negotiations a tough challenge. Who matters? Who should we talk to?

Erdogan makes Armenians nervous. The man is not only a fundamentalist Moslem, he is also a nationalist. He can be intemperate, hectoring, arrogant, and threatening. Erdogan, who is busy these days, like Pegasus, flying hither and thither, declaring Turkey to be the bridge between East and West, between North and South, between Islam and Europe, between Israel and the Arabs, between America and Azerbaijan… can better utilize his time by overhauling the Turkish educational system. For starters, he should push for the publication of history textbooks, which dare tell the truth to Turks, especially to the new generation. Erdogan should start by scrapping the mythical ridiculous history dictator Mustapha Kemal foisted upon Turks. Lies such as “alleged-Genocide”, “Armenians were fifth-columnists who collaborated with the Russian enemy” and “ungrateful Armenians wanted to tear Turkey apart” should be tossed into the dustbin of history. We realize that in the face of centuries of denigration (“Bloody Turk”, “Sick Man of Europe”)—particularly in the West—Turkish leaders and ruling classes had to overcompensate by inculcating among Turks the belief that they are super special—superior to other races, such as Armenians, Arabs, Greeks, Bulgarians… The hilarious Kemal fantasy-historiography claims that the Turkic race is the father of humanity and that most of humanity’s greatest inventions were ACTUALLY fruits of Turkish genius!

For far too long, Turks have been fed lies by their government and their educational system. To transform the brave efforts of the Istanbul intellectuals into a nation-wide movement, Ankara has to come clean and tell the truth. We realize that this is not an easy task: decades of orchestrated deception can’t be erased in a few years. Millions of Turks know little or nothing about Armenians, let alone be aware that Eastern Turkey was Armenia for nearly 4,000 years. It’s high time revisionist Turkish scholars and historians were allowed to tell the truth about Turkey’s history. To gain credibility and respect, Turkey has to discard its fantasy history. The longer Ankara delays this vital project, longer will Turkish psychic ills continue to fester the Turkish body politic, culture and society.

“Once bitten, twice shy” is an eloquent axiom. Armenians have been bitten and …burned more than once by Turkish government’s mendacity—be they the sultans, the Young Turks, Kemal and then his idolatrous followers. Nearly a century ago our trust almost resulted in the extinction of our nation. As much as we want to trust the “new” Turkey, we need concrete, credible, meaningful proof of its good intentions.

Related Articles:

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What Davutoglu Fails to Understand


 

5 comments
  1. Keghart.com’s editorial

    It is a brilliant editorial and everyone should read it. Let’s hope that those broadminded Turks and intellectuals also read it and to achieve that every reader of the Keghart website should send it to their Turkish friends. After all there are many Armenians who attended all the conferences on the Genocide lately in Turkey. But again, I believe that our only solution will come from within and not from outside especially not from the West.

    Unfortunately, nowadays people who are really blind and sick of this "sad communist era" syndrome, explain very wrongly all that is happening on the International political  agenda, and I do not understand why are they waiting from the States and especially from Israel to ""recognize"" our Genocide?

    What difference will this make? A country like Israel, nowadays is using genocidal means to exterminate a whole Palestinian people and we are waiting and ""begging" them to recognioze us. Why are we so submissive a nation? And about the United States, why are we begging them to recognize when all the documents of the Armenian Genocide was there and is still there in their archives..

    Shame on us again and again.  We are not and will never be the followers of Haig, Dikran and all the great leaders that we had in our history.

  2. ERDOGAN, O HIPÓCRITA

    Assunto de Hoje na Mídia internacional: o cruel Ataque de Israel EAo em prol dos ativistas palestinos de Gaza. DECLARAÇÃO de Erdogan: "A Ação de Israel e terrorismo de Estado ". Veja Quem est tãoFalando á de Terrorismo! Justamente o Primeiro Ministro de Estado genocida hum! Como PoDE elemento atirar A primeira pedra? E Israel, FICA Como, agora, com SUA absurda com uma Aliança Turquia? Obviamente, Por terra cai. Em suma, Estadosgenocidas e terroristas acabam se reconhecendo Outro AO UM. São dignos hum do outro. Enquanto isso, Quero informar EAo Amigos daí o extraordinario Feito conseguido Por Nossos Irmãos Que da Argentina, AO saberem Que Erdogan, Durante SUA Visita a Buenos Aires, Ontem, dia 31 de maio, Iria inaugurar busto em homenagem a UM um Kemal Ataturk, mobilizaram-se rápidamente e das Autoridades argentinas conseguiram cancelassem Que o Evento, ofensivo à Dignidade da comunidade Armênia. Resultado fantático: Erdogan, Diante disso, cancelou uma Visita Aquele País. Como tal Fato Não É noticiado Pela Mídia, submetida AO "Lobby turco" Tenho uma grata Satisfação de dar-lhes ESTA grande notícia, constitui Que, certamente, número com tapa "Luva de Pelica" não arrogante Erdogan.
  3. Who needs whom?

    It really IS an excellent article (and I voted 5).

    There is only one point to be made: Keghart seems to believe that Turkey is chocking Armenia’s development (or maybe choking it) by closing the border. This is because it has been repeated so much (mostly by the American government) that it is taken for granted and very few stop for a minute to think.

    In actual fact Armenia is better off as it is. Of course it is nice to have normal borders with all neighbors, but that does not automatically provide any material gains. What can an open border (with Turkey) give Armenia? A shorter distance for imported goods (and thus cheaper ones)? The difference is some 500 Kilometers for Yerevan (and 0 for Goris, Ghapan and Kajaran) out of a distance of 3 to 5 thousand Km for European goods. And (For Turkish goods in Gumri), have you ever bought Turkish ware?

    Turkey has not managed to isolate Armenia all these years, as the Americans would like you to believe. There is Iran (and even Georgia) for overland journeys and air traffic for the rest. Armenia does not export bulky material so sea is not all that important – and even if it were, Turkey could not be much of a help.

  4. I am in full agreement with

    I am in full agreement with all the points you have raised. Turkey can never be trusted with the present political setup which is anything but democratic. Armenian Politicians which are presently running the show in Armenia sadly are not capable of handling this agenda, they are all for quick fix quick money, as we can all see they are all festering their big pockets at the expense of the public.
  5. EL TURCO ERDOGAN Y LA RCA ARGENTINA ( su vuelta a casa )

    La cancelación de Viaje de Erdogan Argentina ¿Es El Precio de la ONU Pagar Turquia Genocidio

    POR SASSOUNIAN Harut

    N Con satisfecho Su neo-otomana Políticas de dominación regional, ha Turquia extensor largo Decidido Su Influencia de las Naciones Unidas y lo ancho, UNO de Las Cuatro Esquinas del globo.

    MIENTRAS hace Incursiones Que en El Mundo Islamico, Pretendiendo sin simpatizar Contexto El Sufrimiento Palestino, Turquia ha alienado de la ONU a Israel, Su Socio Político y militar de los Datos larga, y Sus Aliados de la OTAN.

    Por Alentado Gran Su publicidad Reciente visita de la ONU Contexto Irán El Presidente de Brasil, y ansioso párr contrarrestar Creciente Reconocimiento del Genocidio Armenio Por los Países de Sudamérica, El Primer Ministro Erdogan Sí embarcó La Semana Pasada Su imprimación en Viaje a Argentina, Brasil y Chile.
    En El Camino allanando PARA QUE la visita, El Embajador de Turquia en la Argentina ha trabajado diligentemente Con Las Autoridades Locales párr permitir Una Erdogan, "" ministros Acompañado Por y Siete "hombres de negocios de 300, párr inaugurar la Instalación del busto de Kemal Ataturk Importante es la ONU Parque de Buenos Aires.

    En Respuesta a Los esfuerzos de cabildeo del Embajador de Turquia, la Comunidad Armenia Contraataque pecado Lanzo local, poniendo Atención Social de Anuncios en dos Periódicos Más Importantes Que no funcionários y pidio Buenos Aires de la Ciudad párr honrar Una Ataturk, culpándolo Por la Continuación del Genocidio iniciado Por El anterior Régimen de los Jóvenes Turcos. Armenios También Sí opuso Una La visita de Erdogan, acusándolo de encabezar negacionistas gobierno de la ONU.

    Buenos Aires Los funcionários respondieron positivamente uña de Las preocupaciones de Armenia, debido Una Vínculos cordiales de Larga Con La Comunidad de Datos locales. Por Instancia de instancia de parte Otra, en Los Últimos Años, El Gobierno de Ciudad Publicado habia dos libros de texto Genocidio Armenio Sobre el la, Que Se utilizan en Las Escuelas de la Ciudad. Es Importante destacar Que Estós libros incluyen referencias al Papel de Ataturk en La Continuacion de las Actividades de Sus predecesores genocidas.

    En Última Instancia, Lo Que El Colapso del Régimen causó turco FUE El Descubrimiento De Que El Embajador de Turquia habia Tratado de engañar Una Buenos Aires funcionários de la Ciudad. El habia afirmado falsamente Que No era de Más Que Pedir Permiso párrafo sustituir El Busto de Ataturk, Que habia Sido Supuestamente desaparecidas DURANTE Varios Años. El Embajador habia Pedido Una decisión de una instancia de parte Instancia Rápida Por funcionários de Dora de la Ciudad párr busto de Ataturk dio sin estudio DURANTE la visita del Primer Ministro a la Argentina El 31 de mayo.

    Luego!! De la revisión de las Demandas del Embajador de Turquia, Buenos Aires Los funcionários descubrieron Que Nunca habia habido pecado busto de Ataturk ESE ES parque. El busto era Que Faltan en Realidad de las Naciones, Unidas de El conocido Activista de Derechos humanos egipcio. Gran Comunidad Árabe de Argentina FUE Muy infeliz enterarse De Que El Embajador de Turquia, utilizando Pretextos Falsos, estaba tratando de sustituir El Busto Faltan Que Su héroe de las Naciones Unidas Con la amada de Ataturk.

    El Enviado de Turquia debe dora intencionalmente tergiversó Los Hechos, UNA sabiendas de funcionários de Ciudad Que La Que no estaria de acuerdo de aprobar El párrafo Una ley permite la Instalación del busto de Ataturk. El Embajador Trato de engañarlos MEDIANTE la Solicitud de Permiso de las Naciones, Unidas Solo Para sustituir a la "Falta" busto.

    De Entero de Cuando Erdogan Sí Que No Seria Una Instalación de busto de Ataturk, Pregunto El Presidente de Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, de HACER Caso omiso funcionários de Ciudad de Los Ángeles. Sin embargo, Kirchner explicó Ella Que No estaba facultada párr adoptar tal Medida, ya Que Buenos Aires Gobierno Autónomo habia ONU y cualquier intento de interferir en los locales de Los Asuntos violaría la Constitución Democrática de la Argentina.

    A Pesar De Que Erdogan es islamista de las Naciones, Unidas y no de las Naciones, Unidas admirador de Ataturk, El remedio no tenia Defensa Más Que "El honor" del Venerado Fundador de Turquia y héroe Nacional. De lo contrario, El Primer Ministro Han visto sometidos en Si Una casa de Espalda Ataque severo de los nacionalistas turcos y El Poderoso Ejército. Las Encuestas muestran Recientes Que Su partido (AKP), Por Primera Vez Que DESDE LLEGÓ AL Poder, ha Caído ligeramente Por Detrás de la Oposición kemalista Partido (CHP), Que podria significar Un Problema El Primer Ministro párrafo en Las Elecciones parlamentarias del Año Próximo . Estás en Circunstancias, Erdogan Sí violencia sin Obligado Cancelar tan pregonado Su Viaje a Argentina, despues de Brasil Visitante. No es Sorprendente Que El Ministerio de Exteriores turco denunció airadamente La Comunidad Armenia de la Argentina para socavar visita del Ministro de Crítica imprimación.

    ESTA es La Primera Vez Que El Primer Ministro de Turquia Sí ha visto obligada Una Cancelar Un viaje al Extranjero debido Una Vigilancia de la Comunidad Armenia Una. Servicios elogiados Argentino-armenios Deben Por Su activismo Eficaz. Las Comunidades armenias De Todo El Mundo debe Seguir pasos SUS Por la adopcion de Medidas jurídicamente adecuado párr causar la cancelación de las visitas de funcionários Los turcos, la anulación de los CONTRATOS Militares y Comerciales, y la Interrupción de las Relaciones Diplomáticas Con Turquia, incluyendo El Retiro de Sus embajadores.

    Los Líderes turcos Deben Recordar Constantemente de los Crímenes masivos cometidos SUS Por predecesores. Modificaciones apropiado MIENTRAS El Gobierno turco no reconoce El Genocidio Armenio y HACER, sin service debe obligados Pagar Las Naciones, Unidas y Alto Precio Político Económico en Los Años Próximos!

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