1274) Problem is not between Armenian and Turkish People

Mr. Wally Sarkeesian's Open Letter to Dr. Sedat LACINER: On Laciner's article "The Armenian Bill in France Parliament" . . .

"It is apparent from your article, "The Armenian Bill in France Parliament" that the financial retribution you are most worried about is not Turkey's recognition of the Armenian genocide. Since I am not a historian but simply the son of survivors, allow me to venture off the political spectrum for a moment. Both Christian and Moslem countries throughout the past centuries have committed horrific crimes including genocide however, the response to the crimes have been quite different. Firstly, Christian Germany committed crimes against the Jews and various other "minorities." They have not only recognized this as a genocide but have also compensated the Jewish community with hundreds of billions of dollars. In fact, Israel would not have come into existence without Germany's financial support.

Secondly, Moslem Turkey is playing this ridiculous game of denial, distorting of facts and threats of boycotting the countries who recognize the Armenian genocide. In fact, if it was not for Christian Europe, and the Christian United State of America, the Turkish economy would totally collapse. Therefore I ask the Turkish government, how many countries can you afford to boycott?

On top of all this Turkey is still begging to become a member of the EU. How interesting.

Let me provide you with yet another example of how religion continues to play the same role it did in 1915. When the USSR collapsed, Armenia and Azerbaijan conflicted about Karabagh. Turkey immediately closed borders with its Christian neighbor, Armenia, YET not a single Christian country has ever closed its borders nor have they boycotted Turkey or Azerbaijan. The problems we are facing with Turkey is its religious fanaticism. I hope you are aware that many Turkish citizens recognize and feel remorse about the tragic genocide that occurred at Turkey's hands but due to the government's lack of responsibility they are fearful of speaking out. I read Turkish online news papers I yet want to see single news paper use the word Armenian Genocide without attaching the word "so called Armenian Genocide" Turkey's courts are full of journalists and their only crime was mentioning the Armenian Genocide.

So please stop this convoluted, misleading and threatening propaganda you are projecting onto your audience. Be conscious of history and urge your government to do what the other respectable empires did, admit your crimes and move on. I hope you understand that the French boycott is entirely in vain. France has a GDP of $1.822 trillion (2005 est.), Turkey's boycott will not put a dent in the French economy, it will simply hurt the Turkish people. Moreover, there are over 10 million Armenians like myself living in Diaspora. Each and everyone of us has a story to tell about our mothers, fathers, and grandparents who were massacred, tortured and orphaned due to the massacre that took place at the hands of the Turks in 1915.

Remember the problem is not between Armenian and Turkish People it was not caused by Turkish people then therefore will not be resolved by Turkish people today it was done by government then it has to be resolved by Government today. In-fact the most older Armenian survivors that I had the opportunity to question them they tell hundreds of stories how there Turkish neighbors hide them in there farms in the day time and help them escape in the night to avoid the mass massacre by the Government then,

Again, I urge you to look at the historic actions of Turkey against the Armenians and ask yourselves, how much longer can we go on denying what is so plainly obvious. Denial is not the answer and you might even find that the Armenian community will be less hostile towards its victimizers providing the first steps to a more peaceful relationship."

Regards from USA

Wally Sarkeesian

Dr. Sedat LACINER's Response to Mr. Sarkeesian:

"Dear Sarkeesian,

You are saying that you are the son of survivors. Interestingly most of the Armenian Diaspora in Lebanon, France, US, Canada and elsewhere are son or daughter of the survivors, or they are the survivors. It is really strange. If the Turks massacred 1,5 million (even 2,5 million Armenians for some), how many Armenians left in 1915? It is strange, because if the Turkish people could have increased its population as the Armenians have done since 1915, Turkey's population would have been about 350 million right now. I mean please re-calculate the Armenian population and be sure how many the Turks killed during the First World War.

Second, all killings are not genocide. There are many crimes. Murder, massacre, genocide etc. Turkish Government and majority of Turkish people accept some Armenian killings. Even some Turkish historians accept that the number of killed Armenians was about 100,000. According to Turkish archive documents about 900.000 Armenians were forced to immigrate to another province of the Empire and about 200-250.000 Armenians were killed or died due to the natural reasons (bad whether, epidemic, famine and other war reasons) and communal clashes. Turkish documents also say that more than 520,000 Muslims were massacred by the armed Armenians. Some historians increase the number to 2 million. When I look at the memoirs of the 'survivors' it is understood that many of them were 4-10 years of children in 1915. It is really difficult to rely on memoris of a 4 year old child to name the 1915 as 'genocide'. It was difficult times, it was really difficult times for a child. But not time of a genocide... Some 'survivors' say that their fathers were 'fedayin'. 'Fedayin' means 'hero' for many Armenians but 'terrorist' or rioter' in the Ottoman documents. At least we have to accept that 'fedayins' are political and killing the armed political activist does not make an event genocide.

I respect your bad memories in Anatolia, and most of the Turkish people have no problem with the Armenian people. That's why more than 70,000 Armenia Armenians prefer Turkey, not Armenia or diaspora, to live and work.

You accuse in your letter Turkey of being "religiously fanatic" and you blame Turkey for "closing the Armenia borders" when Armenian forces occupied the Azeri territories.

First you should keep in your mind that Turkey is a secular country and no Turkish politician accept such a claim. Second, even the OSCE and the Eurpean Union clearly declared that Armenia is a occupier country in Karabakh and other Azeri towns. And it should withdraw from these territories. Turkey closed the borders not for the religious reasons or ethnic solidarity. According to Turkey and international law no country should and can change the existing borders by force. More than 1 million Azeris became refugees and they cannot return to their houses for more than 10 years. If you are the son of a tragedy you should understand most these people. And if you are speaking about a genocide, you should understand most the Hocali Massacre (if not Genocide). It is really strange that Armenian people are very sensitive about the past tragedies but not the most recent tragedies. For example they can support Armenian terrorism against the Azeris and Turkey Turks. They never mention tragedy in Chechnya or genocide committed in Algeria and other Africa countries. They do anything for their own interests, but they never recognize any other 'genocide' for not to anger the great powers. Turkey stick keeps its territorial borders with Armenia, yet the airplanes carry thousands of Armenians to Turkey every week. I mean the air gates are fully open between these two countries. The reason for closed borders is not only the Karabakh and other occupied Azeri territories: Armenia does not recognize Turkey's national borders and call Eastern Turkey as Western Armenia. Imagine, if Turkey does not recognize Armenia's territories and if it claims all Armenia territories Turkish, how Armenia could establish neighborly relations with Turkey.

You wrote in your letter "Turkey's courts are full of journalists and their only crime was mentioning the Armenian Genocide". It is not true. The only journalist now in court is Hrant Dink, and no one has any doubt that the verdict would be in favor of Mr. Dink. And I should remind that the reason is not mentioning 'genocide' term but insulting Turkishness. Turkey's bookshops and libraries are full of pro-Armenian books. Many Armenian so-called genocide literature have been translated to Turkish languages and some Turkish professors defend the Armenian thesis in Turkey. Even Turkish State pay these lecturers in Turkish state universities. People from different approaches, including Taner Akcam can make debate on Armenian issue on Turkish TV and radio stations. And many people may defend opening the Armenian borders on TV and newspapers. There is highly lively debate on Armenians in Turkey right now and no body has been in prison for that. But it is now impossible to speak for a Turkish man or woman about Armenian issue in France, Armenia and Switzerland. Armenia Government event arrested a young Turkish historian. His only 'crime' was being Turkish. I think you have very wrong impressions about Turkey and we, as the JTW, invite you Turkey to see whether your perception is true or not. Don't worry, Turks do not eat Armenians.

Finally, you say that "Turkey denies". Turkey does not deny anything. Turkey rejects the Armenian claims, that's all.

And you say "if you are sure for your claims, we should discuss and find the truth": However Armenia has strongly rejected Turkey's call to establish a history commission to search the claims. Turkey tries to explain its opinion about the issue but the Armenians try to silence Turkey and Turkish people all around the world. Armenians try to harm Turkish interests everywhere and they hope Turkish people may open the borders. Armenia is a very tiny country, has no importance for big Turkish market. Turkey does not need Armenia for economic reasons. But Armenia is surrounded by more than 100 million Turkish people (Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran Turkish peoples). Armenia has no natural sources and no way to open sea. The past years proved that Armenia needs Turkey. Neither Russia nor the Diaspora can help Armenia under these circumstances. However the diaspora continues to abuse the past tragedies for its own identity problems. Diaspora attacks Turkey, and Armenia pays the price, and I have no doubt that the diaspora Armenians will continue their Armenian Cause till the last blood drop of Armenia Armenians. Why do not try to understand a EU member Turkey is crucial for survive of Armenia. The only country which can help Armenia is Turkey. Ter-Petrosian had realized this simple truth and he was solving the problems. That's why Tashnak and Russians attacked and collapsed the Petrosian Government. Now Kocharian is only speaking about the genocide hate and always undermining Turkish interests in France, Canada or Netherlands.

Please think about it, if Turkish people and Government hate you and your nation, why they make great efforts to be friends."



11 December 2006, Resource : Turkish Weekly

"Dear Sedat,

Thanks for your reply.

I welcome the opportunity to visit you and Turkey to see the country and those things you mention, I would also love the opportunity to see where my father was born being that it is now located in Turkey. I will take your word on the Armenian literature that is available in Turkey but I would love to read some of them outside of Istanbul in Anatolian region?

I would like to begin this dialog by asking you some questions of my own and then I will respond to your questions.

1- I am curious at what age you were taught about the Armenian Massacre. All the research that I have done demonstrates that the curriculum in the public schools do not mention the Armenian issue. It is not until you become an adult and are subjected to alternative publications.

2- As you are aware Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize winner admitted the massacre of one million Armenians. How come the Turkish government is not privy to these facts? Do you think he is falsifying the information

3- Just look at information from Turkish Weekly archives. The articles in the archives claim that there were Armenians Senators, Ministers and Civil Servants during the Ottoman Empire. What happened to them? Is there any Senators, Ministers or civil servants in today’s Turkish government?


4- Do you believe that over 50 governments around the world including 38 states of the US recognized Armenian Genocide without any foundational proof? Is it simply just a rubber stamp without any fact? Why would they do that?

5- I would also like to extend to you a similar offer of travels. Please travel to any country of the world where there is an Armenian community I will be happy to join you. Go to the Armenian churches or community center and I guarantee you that you will find that 95% of there roots stem back to land now claimed by Turkey. They will all speak of stories from there relatives about the massacre. I guarantee this so much that if this is false I will pay for all your expenses. Just for your information after over 90 year of the massacre today still most Armenian in the Diaspora they refer to each other by the city where there parents or grand parents where born not where they where borne even though some for example if Hagop was born in Iraq and his father was borne in VAN they call him VANEZY Hagop not Iraqzy Hagop from Iraq. Just to tell you how much Armenian in the Diaspora is attached to there ancestral land…

6- The last questions I have for you is, do you really believe that Armenians in the Diaspora are fabricating the genocide? I recognize that you admit that there were Armenians massacred at the hands of the Turks but you still deny the atrocity is genocide. Please let me provide you with Article 2 of the Geneva Convention, straight from the website of the United Nations. This should clarify the dispute as the statement is VERY clear.

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


Now about the 70,000 Armenians working in Turkey compare that to the million of Turks working in the EU, does this mean Turkey is a bad country or the Turkish population is dwindling? Why have they left Turkey?

About the Armenia population declining; I have no idea where you are getting this information. In fact last September was the first time I visited Armenia and I expected to see a third world country. I was pleasantly surprised to see the monumental progress they have made in last 15 year despite a major earthquake, and a war with Azerbaijan, shortage of fuel as well as the hostile environment at the two borders Turkey and Azerbaijan. In the last 5 years Armenia’s economy has grown 12% every year and Yerevan is becoming a little Paris with tourists from all over the world. I even had hard time finding a hotel because they were all booked. I plead with you to stop providing misleading information about Armenian statistics. Yes, when USSR collapsed they lost most of there manufacturing industry. Armenian had to come out of the wreckage and build a country pretty much from scratch. Please do not worry about Armenia’s population with the last 15 years as a testament to Armenian people capabilities; they will build the entire economic infrastructure. If there is one good thing about Armenians it is that they are great entrepreneurs.

About Karabagh: When the USSR occupied Armenia, Azerbaijan and other countries it was to keep the Moslems happy. They too carved Armenia and gave it to the Azeri to keep the Moslems populations in USSR happy. When the USSR collapse occurred, the Armenians in Karabagh did not want to be part of Azerbaijan just like the people in KOSOVO they declared there independence, it was the Azeri who sent there mighty military, tanks and all to crash down the Karabagh Armenians. Unexpectedly to the Azeri, the 100,000 brave Karabagh Armenians not only repelled the Azeri’s military force but with simple shot guns they also occupied extra Azeri territory as a buffer zone. It was not the Armenians who began the war in the first place and so please let us stick to Armenian and Turkish issue.

You also claim the Armenians in Diaspora are boycotting Turkish products and I have not found that to be true, in fact I have a bowl of Turkish dried figs on my kitchen table.

From my recent visit to Armenia, as well as my consistent monitoring of the Armenian press, I have not seen any objections to the Turkey becoming a member of EU. In fact, if I am not mistaken, the Armenian President has publicly stated that he supports Turkey’s entrance into the EU but I am not 100% sure.

To answer your last statement, firstly, through all our discourse I have never mentioned that the Turkish people hate Armenians neither Armenian people hate Turks in contrary even during the massacre Turkish people helped there fellow Armenian. They are unhappy with the Turkish government but not the Turkish people. Also, you mentioned that the Turkish people are making great efforts to be friends again with the Armenian people like Orhan Pamuk. It is the Turkish government that has caused such hostilities between the two nations. Karabagh would have been the best opportunity for Turkey to have played a positive leadership roll but instead they simply dismissed the situation and closed its borders.

Turkey could have played a good neighbor roll and solved the issue of Karabagh instate they close the borders build gas pipeline from Azerbaijan by passing Armenia through Georgia, and now building rollway in same way by passing Armenia, do you really think these are the great efforts by Turkish government to establish a good friendship despite objections by all EU members and US show me one of these great effort have Turkish government done?

I strongly believe that we must keep the communication and dialogue open between people like your self and Armenian Diaspora like my self and others however; we cannot do it by just throwing dirt back and fort in to each other face and mixing one issue with other you are making this is though it is a Franco Turkish issue... Any dialog and or discussion must lead to some where…

One thing I can assure you as an individual Armenian in Diaspora this issue will never go away whether present Turkish government or future government they have to deal with it you just cannot go on boycotting other countries.

I look foreword one day meeting you face to face and hopes your next articles will be more toward bringing these two people together then dividing them it start with good people like your self who has great tools to achieve it...

Have a nice day…."

Wally Sarkeesian
The US

Copyright © 2005
Journal of Turkish Weekly


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