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04 December 2007

2227) To The Honourable Nobel Laureates by Nurver Nures, Ambassador (r)

I warmly welcome your initiative dated 5 April 2007 calling for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and share sincerely your concern on this matter. Please bear with me, your call needs various adjustments which I . . will attempt to elaborate here below. But first a brief self- introduction.

I am a Turkish citizen, a career diplomat, retired after 40 years of active service including ambassadorships in various capitals and Deputy Under Secretary in charge of Turkey’s bilateral relations at the Foreign Ministry. Yes, I also covered Turkey-Armenia relations.

To begin with, I wish to put aside the case of Hrant Dink to whom you make a passing reference. Turks consider late Dink’s assassination as a horrendous and unpardonable act. They will not feel relieved until the criminal(s) is brought to justice and receive the maximum penalty which the culprit(s) deserves.

Esteemed Nobel Laureates,

The Nobel has given to you a well deserved ultimate recognition for the outstanding contributions you have made to the progress and well-being of the entire humankind. We as people can only admire, applaud and make use your achievements. But obviously ultimate recognition implies ultimate responsibility in public life; indeed this becomes imperative when you indulge in political appeals involving highly contentious issues beyond national borders. Sincerely said, your prestigious signatures do not have the luxury to be a victim of disinformation, no matter how lofty the objective might be.

Your forward looking suggestions of confidence building measures (CBMs) hardly pose any problems for Turkey but should rather be addressed to Erivan. The core of the problem lies right here: Still unreconciled with its history, Erivan is hostage of the past and unfortunately buried there; can not therefore move forward to respond to your CBMs. In this context, the Armenian diaspora, the militant arm of the Armenian side in the US, projecting nationalist sentiments including politicking in the Congressional circles, is not being helpful to Erivan which fears not to appear less nationalistic and demanding than its kinship. Hence the two have become captives of one-another; and the over-all status quo perpetuates. This upsets the political climate in southern Caucasia and gives excuse to Russia to anchor in Armenia. Today Caucasia bordering Turkey is a powderceg…

Despite the absence of diplomatic relations with Armenia and the closed border, Turkey has moved considerably in the frame of CBMs. While I can give the account on this score, Turkey’s advances can be easily verified by the Foundation through a simple investigative research. This might be a more reliable source for you.

As to allowing “basic freedoms” we are well aware that Turkey has various short-comings, some are vestiges from the Ottoman times, which ought to and must be eliminated and soon. Can we together turn now our sight to the backyards of the West: Denigrating Turkey and Turkishness has nowadays become a common language, anti-Semitism surfaces intermittently, Islam constantly despised and equated with fundamentalism, Muslims discriminated, migrants/foreign workers debased and abused and many endure as outcasts in ghetto-like quarters, unbelievable but fermenting, albeit at turtle pace, Christian solidarity under “Armenian genocide”. Evidently there is plenty of work to be done in the backyards, who claim to be spotless, before Turkey is justifiably targeted.

Distinguished Nobel Laureates,

In your call, with some circumstantial observations you conclude in a sophisticated diplomatic language that “… some of the (Ottoman) perpetrators…. possessed….. genocide intent.” and point out that there exists “…. a huge gap in perceptions over Armenian genocide.” I must underline here that from a legal perspective there is a vast difference between possessing “genocide intent” (How you have ever established that “intent” is a puzzle to me!?) and actually committing genocide. Here mere intent can not be a cause for criminal verdict unless “intent” is put into action. The fact is, there never was Armenian genocide; the “gap” you mention is irrelevant, actually redundant.

In the ethnic sectarian set-up of the Ottoman Empire Armenians were a most trusted and hence administratively privileged community, occupied highest positions in the Government, lived peacefully in co-existence with the Ottomans (later Turks) for almost a millennium. Here emerges a question which I still fail to answer! If the Ottomans (Turks) had the intension of genocide and wiping out its trusted community, the Armenian subjects, why would the Empire wait for so long to undertake such an act when at times in the past it was one of the major actors shaping the flow of history on the European stage? The fact is we lived a long rewarding life with Armenians and can live happily for another millennium. We have no grievance, nor vengeance, nor ill-feelings toward Armenians. I have visited Armenia as a senior Turkish diplomat about five times and feel convinced that similar sentiments are shared by the masses in Armenia. Already some 34 thousand Armenians, having crossed the “closed” border, are gainfully employed in Turkey. As an ordinary citizen this makes me happy.

In your rich world of knowledge you are doubtless excelled in your respective fields. I have the pleasure to attach herewith the statement by 69 American Scholars and Historians published on 19 May 1985 and a declaration by 700 French Scholars and Historians released on 13 December 2005 respectively for the public in America and France. True, there undersigned are not Nobel Laureates but all are concerned global citizens, some reknown and respected worldwide, if I may add.

“Armenian genocide” is a myth, a fabrication, a grand deception of the militant, die-hard Armenians. On this ground how can one explain their continuous zealous anti-Turkish campaign focused on genocide? Here is my answer: Armenian diaspora in the US is more than an ordinary lobby; it is a vast machine, a conglomerate well integrated into and exploiting extensively the American society; even better, a holding company funded by very large sums and serviced by tens of thousands of individuals who rely on the holding company for subsistence. (Attached a brief write-up regarding the Armenian lobby). “Armenian genocide” campaign is their “bread-basket”, especially the employees. If the campaign drops the holding can hardly survive, employment will be jeopardized, daily earnings will seriously fall if not evaporate completely. Therefor at all costs, keep fueling “Armenian genocide”…! What a pity…!

Finally, I am very surprised to see that your call is totally silent on the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan lands, Nogorno Karabagh, where 1.5 million Azeri’s were forced out from their homes and became refugees in their own country. This is an outright political crime and a major human tragedy. I simply can not believe that any Nobel Laureate would close eyes to the misery of those refugees. Can there be a hand behind the appeal who intentionally overlooked this despicable aggression? I witnessed such acts, and not so rarely, in my long career. (By the way Armenia an Turkey are two states but one nation.)

Lastly, opening the border to Armenia is not a major problem for Ankara. Turkey’s borders are open practically to all the states. The Republic of Armenia must first see that you can only choose your friends, but not your neighbours; that is Armenia and Turkey are destined, in fact obliged to live together and in mutual respect. Moreover Armenians will have to reconcile with their history as we Turks are in peace with our past, enduring that dramatic transformation from a vast Empire to the present republic. With this understanding Erivan should renounce its hostile policy vis-à-vis Turkey and the neighbors in South Caucasia. In case you wonder, Erivan knows well what that hostile policy is and can brief you for its own interests and for the sake of peace, stability and progress in the region. “Glasnost” is the recipe.

Esteemed Nobel Laureates,

I beg you to accept this not as recrimination. It is a letter of good-will and partly in memory of the late Kevork Oksuzian, a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin, my school-mate at American Robert College in Istanbul and later apartment-mate at Columbia University in New York, a trusted abiding friend, a true benevolent gentleman whose memory I will cherish forever. If he were alive, I hope and believe that he would have endorsed this response.

Please note that I would in no way excuse myself if I have offended you by any of my remarks. Thank you very much for letting me share my views on a subject highly distressing. Do note that I stand by all the points made hereby and remain open to any comment and inquiry. In the light of the above, I wonder whether you might wish to approach on this matter to Erivan. The prestige of the signatures raises my hopes in this respect. Thank you again.

Kindly accept, Honourable Nobel Laureates, my deep respects along with my assurances of highest esteem.

Nurver Nures
Ambassador (r)
27 September 2007