04 May 2006

627) Just a few naive questions on the 'Armenian genocide'

At a symposium held in Kayseri recently Turkish Armenians' Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan II wisely argued that it's unethical for both Armenians and Turks "to ignore each other's responsibility or completely put it on the other side although responsibilities weren't equal in the brutal consequence." He then criticized the great powers of the time, ranging from France to the U.S., since they bore a responsibility as well..

What might be the responsibility of the great powers that the patriarch touched upon? And what is its relevance today?

During his visit to Ankara two weeks ago, Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller, in response to Turkish criticism regarding the Polish Parliament's recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide, said that the decision neither has a binding impact on his country's foreign policy nor reflects the view of his government. Supposedly the decision wasn't one taken against Turkey. Since a number Polish citizens with Armenian roots have carried out significant duties in Poland, the Polish Parliament considered the decision moral compensation for Armenian suffering and pain stemming from the 1915 tragedy.

The foreign minister's statement begs one simple question: Is the Polish Parliament's decision indeed so apolitical?

Just as was the case when the U.S. public TV network PBS a short while ago aired a controversial documentary on the so-called Armenian genocide but gave little opportunity for scholars supporting the Turkish thesis to have a say, every defensive attempt by Turks are zealously blocked by Armenian diaspora organizations.

If our Armenian friends are so sure that our arguments are baseless why are they so hesitant about giving us a chance to fall flat on our faces?

A memorial in Lyon, France honoring those killed in the so-called Armenian genocide was vandalized just a week before it was to be unveiled, which, as The New Anatolian's Nazlan Ertan two days ago wrote, has created a fertile atmosphere for the new law that would punish genocide deniers with time in prison.

Who might the vandals be? Some men with moustaches, as some circles are trying to portray, or teenagers being paid in a dark alley by a guy in a suit?

As of today the number of U.S. states that have passed resolutions supporting the Armenian allegations has reached 36 in total.

Why then are we heartened on April 24 every year to see that the U.S. president, whoever he is at the time, has avoided using the term "genocide" in his message to Armenia and the Armenian Americans? Are these resolutions passed by U.S. states, on the other hand, just like the controversial movie "Midnight Express," a sign of anti-Turkishness? As our U.S. friends do about "The Valley of Wolves Iraq," shall we complain about it as well?

George W. Bush, in his presidential message this year, interestingly expressed his willingness to strengthen Armenia's inclusion in the Euro-Atlantic family.

Doesn't the U.S. president or other Western leaders realize that the biased Western stance towards the Armenian claims, in turn, is accelerating the Turkish people's alienation from the West?

TNA recently published a striking news story entitled "New measures to fight Armenian claims." Due to the fait accompli of the Armenian diaspora, a high-level and unnamed Turkish source ironically asserted that sometimes even the foreign ministries of some countries find out, much to their "surprise," that their parliament took a decision on the matter. Supposedly Venezuela was a good example. Its Foreign Ministry officials discovered that a resolution supporting the Armenian allegations was passed in their Parliament only after it was condemned by Turkish diplomats. The way these resolutions are passed is also worth considering. In several cases previously such drafts were brought to Parliaments during late evening sessions when the number of deputies present was very few indeed.

This leaves us scratching our heads, wondering why the Turkish diplomats in Venezuela didn't inform their colleagues before the law was passed. Or are such arguments merely another reflection of our diplomats' professional kindness?

Last, but not least, why doesn't Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, instead of making speculative speeches that further divide the public, convene Parliament on his own initiative to formulate a national declaration, to be signed by all political parties in and outside Parliament, reaffirming that the Armenian allegations are unacceptable and Turkey is ready to pay the consequences of its alleged "denial" whatever they are? Why do opposition parties, in turn, make this national cause simply another matter of domestic polemics and populism despite the fact that they're equally responsible?

Can nobody see that the Turkish people won't forgive those who are trying to attribute a grave moral flaw to them?

Cem Oguz

04 May 2006



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