2755) Turkish-Armenians, Time To Talk

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com The cover of No. 262 Le Monde 2 Magazine", 20 February 2009

In a morning of winter stambouliote a mourning crowd came out to collect and drop bundles of flowers on the sidewalk just in front of the newspaper Agos. At the exact spot where, two years ago, Hrant Dink had collapsed, face against the ground. At the window of the newspaper, the Turkish player Halil Ergün makes a heartfelt tribute to . .
his friend and "brother, son orphan orphan of a people." Faces torn by grief, family and loved ones of murdered Armenian journalist in January 2007 to the jockey ranks first by shaking elbows. Hundreds of anonymous eyes reddened follow, brandishing the famous black panels on which are written: "For Hrant, for Justice", or "We are all Armenians".

Found in the march of the Armenians of Istanbul, of course, confused since their spokesperson to the heart has been silenced, killed by three bullets in the head by a fanatical and idle youth of 17 years, Ogun Samast. There are also members of other minorities, Greek and Kurdish activists from left, fellow control or ordinary Turks. Two years after the murder in broad daylight in the center of Istanbul, the emotion that gripped Turkey does not go out. Hrant Dink is not the first intellectual murdered in the country. But without doubt one too many.

A few days later, on 23 January, slogans and posters are out again, in the court of Besiktas in Istanbul. That's where Samast on trial, the author of the fatal gunshots with his alleged accomplices, all members of violent groups and nationalists from Trabzon on the Black Sea. As at every hearing, friends of the journalist to show a fair trial. This trial River, mired in the cumbersome procedure, long since lost all credibility, according to lawyers for the Dink family. Only the performers were concerned, even though a formal report has highlighted the numerous "omissions" committed by the Turkish police and protection in high places which were enjoyed by the murderers. During the investigation, for example, the camera records video of branch nearby Agos have mysteriously disappeared.

After the arrest of Ogun Samast, the police had posed proudly with the young murderer, a Turkish flag in their hands. And despite numerous requests from plaintiffs and the obvious links, the Hrant Dink case has still not been closer to that of the ultranationalist Ergenekon cell also considered since October 2008. This parallel network composed of military, magistrates, lawyers, journalists and mafia, acting at the heart of government, is suspected of planning assassinations and bombings in order to destabilize the country and prepare the ground for a coup.

For the nationalist movement and part of the press, Hrant Dink became the man to kill. The days preceding his death, he did not hide his anxiety. The day before, he had sent it to liberal daily Radikal: "I feel worried and anxious as a dove, but I know that in this country, people do not doves. They can live in the heart of cities, warmer human crowds. Not without fear, of course, but with how much freedom. " This man of peace, generous and fragile, was one of the most committed intellectuals on the front of the democratization of his country, Turkey.

Anatolian Armenian, born in 1954 in Malatya, Hrant Dink grew near Istanbul in an orphanage linked to Armenian Patriarchate which was later confiscated by the Turkish state. Involved in the leftist movements in the 1980s, he was one of the first Armenians to loudly defend the rights of his community, secluded in fear and silence.

This fanatical commitment to reconcile Turks and Armenians Agos was born (the path, Armenian), in 1996. A small weekly bilingual Turkish and Armenian, mounted with some friends. "Hrant has started saying he had to share our opinions, not only in Armenia but in Turkey, to reach the general public. Express our pain, our sorrows, our identity. But our joy and our culture, Karin tells Karakasli, close to university Armenian Dink, who was part of the original nucleus of Agos. He wanted to revive the Armenian culture in Turkey and support the democratization of the country. Being politically, without making any concession on the Armenian identity. He repeated that the Armenians give up on themselves do not protect them. 'Open up and express your fears! ", he told us."

In his Gazette column, Dink spoke all topics without detours. For example he published the texts of historians as Turkish Taner Akçam or Halil Berktay, who speak openly about the Armenian massacres of 1915 as genocide. He also criticized the approach to a frontal part of the Armenian diaspora, to appeals by the Turkish democrats. "The pathological form of the relationship between Turkey and Armenia is now a clinical case," he wrote in 2004: Armenians suffer from trauma and the Turks of their paranoia. As long as they are not cured of the disease in which they are struggling desperately (perhaps this is not true for the Turks), Armenians can not rebuild their identity on a sound basis. Finally, it is clear that the "Turkish factor" is both the poison and the antidote of Armenian identity. " Some took to a madman. Others for a dreamer. "When Hrant they saw on television, telling his sentence, with tears, the Turks began to see an Armenian man and to have empathy," remembers Karin Karakasli, moved.

The path traced by Hrant Dink and Agos has not closed with his death. Quite the contrary. The image of his body lying on the sidewalk and covered with a white cloth which did not exceed the soles of his shoes has been an accelerator of history. On the day of his funeral, a human tide of more than 100 000 people descended on the streets, chanting: "We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians!" Words deemed unspeakable by Turkish nationalists. "We had the support of the Turks. For the first time, we felt the citizens of this country," says Aris NALC, Istanbul Armenian and editor of Agos. Around the coffin, people have discovered and unexpected friendships are formed. In this procession, many Armenians from the Diaspora, invited by the Turkish government for the funeral, visited Istanbul for the first time and discovered the existence in Turkey, a community of people capable of empathy.

"Perhaps had we need a martyr?" Asks Robert Kopter young Armenian Agos editorial. The work of consciences in any case has led to an unprecedented petition, launched in late December 2008. Four Turkish intellectuals close to Hrant Dink and the newspaper decided to publish a short call, the first person singular. "My conscience can not accept the remains indifferent to the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, and it denies. I reject this injustice, and for my part, I share the sentiments and sentences my Armenian brothers and sisters and I ask forgiveness. " Cengiz Aktar, Ali Bayramoglu, Ahmet Insel and Baskin Oran are quickly joined by 200 intellectuals and artists, then by Turks 30 000 signatories of the petition on the website. Of course there are the attacks of hackers, the petitions against-nationalists who in turn demanded an apology from the Armenians. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also asked: "Why should we apologize?"

"But 30 000 people asking for forgiveness ... We can no longer ignore," comments Cengiz Aktar, director of European Studies at the University Bahçesehir. In the premises of the Hrant Dink Foundation, alongside the offices of Agos, Bayramoglu Ali agrees: "The important thing is that the Armenian issue has become a subject of heated debate in the Turkish political and social process. There is politicizes around this subject. Now we know that something happened. " Flanked by a bodyguard, like other intellectuals, after the death of his friend, Ali Bayramoglu now entitled to a second guardian angel to protect him. The plans of his house and sketches were found in Ibrahim Sahin, a former head of special forces of the police, arrested in connection with the investigation into the Ergenekon network. "But this is not because of threats that we will be silent," adds Ali Bayramoglu. We need a meeting with our own history. Toucher to 1915 is touching the taboo of the Turkish identity. C ' is so that democratization can proceed. "

This petition, entitled "özür diliyorum", "we ask forgiveness," moves the lines. Some Turkish side, challenge the use of the word forgiveness. Further, the Armenian side, focus on the absence of the word genocide. But dialogue is established. "We agreed not to use the word genocide, which prevents any discussion," says Ali Bayramoglu stating that personally, he has no problem using the word. Otherwise we would not even have 1 000 signatures. " "We must understand that here, using the word genocide is to build a wall with the Turks, notes Robert Kopter. If the goal is to change Turkish society, we must maintain dialogue."

In another, the Turkish court did not in this campaign through forgiveness. Complaints have been filed against its initiators for "insulting Turkish identity" in the name of the famous Article 301 of the Penal Code which has been used against dozens of intellectuals and journalists since 2005, and removed a few months ago. But prosecutors did not respond. Sign of a slow evolution of mentalities. Undoubtedly, the opening of negotiations for Turkey's accession to the European Union in 2004, authorized new hopes and released statements on the Armenian issue.

In late 2005, when a group of intellectuals, including Hrant Dink, decided to convene in Istanbul, an academic conference on the theme of "Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire", the meeting disturbed. The Minister of Justice Cemil Cicek, speaks of a "coup de knife in the back." The ultranationalists revile the "traitors to the nation" and still speak of "remnants of the sword" to describe the survivors of the massacres ... In Turkey, the word "Armenian" is still in the mouths of many, an insult. But, as noted in the daily Radikal in the days following the conference, "the term genocide was spoken publicly in Turkey and the earth continues to turn." The gap was open.

Forgiveness 30 000 Turks began to soften the perception of the Armenian diaspora. A handful of intellectuals in turn used to say "thank you to the Turks who seek forgiveness." Among them, the Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, author of Ararat (2002), French director Patrice Leconte and actor Serge Avedikian, the origin of this text [read the blog]. It is also the message of the Armenian intellectual Jean Kéhayan in a "Letter to my Turkish brothers," published January 5 in Libération. "If we want the Turkish state apologized a day, not by breaking the jaws of the Turks that we will do so while upholding democracy," explains Ali Bayramoglu. Hrant Dink said nothing else. Especially when protests against the project in France, criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide. An against-productive, according to Turkish democrats. "I would go in France claim that there was no genocide, then repeated Dink. And returning to Turkey, I will explain that it actually was."

At the state level too, it's time to relax. The year 2008 marked a turning point in trade between Turkey and Armenia, with the highlight of the trip very symbolic of the President of the Republic of Turkey Abdullah Gül, September 6 in Armenia for a soccer match between national teams of both countries. The two heads of state, side by side in the stands, broke a taboo. The Turkish national anthem was played in Yerevan, in the old stadium Hrazdan, dominated by the black arrow to the Memorial of the Armenian genocide. A group of activists opposed to the Turkish army, "the young civilians", had also made the trip to attend this historic meeting that would have excited Hrant Dink. Delay His daughter was also in the stands. "This event has not eliminated the genocide, he did not deny either. He returns much less my father. It is only a door ajar. Let it all," she later wrote in agos.

Thanks to the "football diplomacy", the two neighbors are cold in the process of restoring diplomatic relations. Already routes have been restored in recent years and 40 000 Armenians from Armenia working in Istanbul. "We are close to the standards," said the beginning of February the President of Armenia, Serj Sarksian. According to observers, this process could lead fairly quickly on reopening the border.

Closed since 1993 in Ankara to protest against Armenian support for the secession of Nagorny Karabakh, a province of Azerbaijan mostly populated by Armenians, the Armenian-Turkish border remains desperately close. On both sides, people breathe. To reach the Turkish city of Kars to Gyumri its twin, the Armenian side, which lies a mere 40 km, it now more than ten hours by road, via Georgia.

On the issue of genocide, the denial of the Turkish State slowing. The administration has now asked not to speak of "alleged genocide" or "Armenian allegations", the official, but "events of 1915." Departments of education of Armenia have opened this year in two universities. "We should not necessarily seek a form of sincerity, said Ali Bayramoglu. But what is important is that they are forced to change."

It's the wind of freedom blowing in Turkey which is also the cause. In recent years, art projects calling for dialogue and introspection history are multiplying. A picture book of the Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran, the depth of Mount Ararat, the story of a trip from Yerevan to Los Angeles via Paris to discover the Armenians. The document Fethiye Cetin, lawyer of the Dink family, telling in the book of my grandmother discovered his Armenian origins, the publications of the publishing house Aras, Turkish and Armenian, and the film by Serge Avedikian We drank the same water, released in France last May and planned and discussed in late 2008 in a festival of short films in Istanbul. Photographic exhibitions, concerts, festivals ... The proliferation of these initiatives has marked this period of rapprochement.

In the drafting of Agos, bereft of its founder, Hrant Dink is omnipresent. His office has been patinated as he had left, filled with ornaments and pictures. Portraits and events posters decorate the walls of the newspaper. The fellow travelers have taken up the torch, led Etyen Mahçupyan. This big bearded guy is sad to look at his small desk, TV permanently connected to the channel racing. "He is my brain and I am his heart," said Dink on it. The two men shared everything, starting with their passion for horse racing. "We called five or six times a day, says new editor. It's very hard to say it's gone. Agos But without, it would have been harder still. For this, when they asked me to take over, I did not want to accept but I have not had the choice, "he says.

In his misfortune, the newspaper experienced a second youth, has expanded its readership (he is from 6 to 000 copies), has become known outside the Armenian community and abroad. In English and French are in preparation. More importantly, a younger generation of Turkish Armenian décomplexée matures and prepares to assume the legacy of Hrant Dink. "When I started working at Agos, my mother was afraid for me, she wanted to protect me. Today, I can not say everything I do, smiles columnist Robert Kopter, 31 years. But Now, we are more and more courageous. We young people want to claim our rights and freedoms, have Turkish friends at university and more trade with the Turkish society and the Diaspora ... " And bring down the last taboo.

Guillaume Perrier
2 THE WORLD | 20.02.09 | 21 February 2009 by Stéphane / armenews
Forgive Us To Exist, By Ara Toranian 21 February 2009, Ara / armenews
For the first time in many years, a French weekly, Le Monde 2, has to devote its "one" to a subject on the Armenians. Under the title "Turkish-Armenians, the time for dialogue," the journalist Guillaume Perrier, reflects the acceleration of history which has led the murder of Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007 in Istanbul. A movement that has essentially resulted in the emergence on the Turkish political scene, a real opposition to the purely formal speech to the denial of genocide against Armenians. This positive reaction is driven by Turkish intellectuals, alia resulted in a petition-event, "apologize to the Armenians for the great disaster of 1915 and its denial." Forgiveness is the word pronounced. But, sorry if I have not heard the word genocide is not. As we said a journalist of Armenian Agos cited in this article, to "not make a wall with the Turks. If the goal is to change Turkish society, we must maintain dialogue, "concluded he. Or, if that is the goal.

But we forgive him and to exist even if not invited to this debate, the French Armenian community with representative bodies which, while sharing the laudable desire to change Turkish society, is faces other problems, more immediate. And the first of them is to end once and for all with the denial of the Turkish state and its affidés in the French Republic. A law was passed on 12 October 2006 by the National Assembly. Its ratification is still waiting to be put on the agenda of the Senate. Before working for Turkey's development, we would do well here to work for a better functioning of our republican institutions.

Moreover, and here things become more serious as far is it legitimate to welcome the progress being made in Turkey, provided their instrumentalisation fighting against the Armenian community of France is unacceptable. And it is here referred to the views of Hrant Dink against the law penalizing the Armenian genocide, the author of this article did not fail to mention. Is he back? This positioning Dink was purely circumstantial. It was related to difficulties in its struggle in Turkey. To be heard in this harsh society, marked by ultranationalism to make his speech audible, Hrant Dink had to compose, to make concessions, to give collateral. In short, of doing politics. Just as, in the same spirit, our four Turkish intellectuals avoid the word "genocide" in their petition. Hrant Dink Why else would he have been meddling in the affairs of France, in addition to speak out against the struggle of Armenian brothers?

Why, for example, the management of News from Armenia, who is honored to be among the most ardent supporters of this law did not Dink criticized for his positions? Why on the contrary it has always widely opened its columns and why was she even invited to participate in a debate in Paris, in the period when it was voted? Dink had the knife to her throat. These concessions were related purely tactical priorities and emergencies of his activism, much essential, and we pick the fruit. He died some time after the hands of the Turkish nationalism he fought from within, and eventually get him. So please, we do not talk the dead! Especially against their own side. That one does not weigh the same trebuchet, the situation of Armenians in Turkey and the Armenians in France.

Should we remember that the vast majority of French who thanked the Turkish intellectuals in a request-response to their initiative, support the law criminalizing denial of the genocide? This is particularly true of its initiator, Serge Avedikian or Patrice Leconte, cited by Guillaume Perrier as the champions of dialogue Armenian side.

We can not put up any kind Armenian Democrats eager to talk with the Turks, an extremist diaspora, contracted on the past. There are however very much a movement to prevent any new international law on the genocide of Armenians, both in France and especially in the USA, following the appointment of Barak Obama on the recognition of historical fact by the America, first ally of Ankara.

The diaspora is the direct descendant of the crime of crimes. It is the universal legatee. Their mobilizations have helped break the silence, overcome taboos, and lead to multiple recognitions for genocide, a dynamic that affects directly or indirectly the head and the heart of Turkish society and its evolution allows.

The Armenian community of France is pleased that through his fight Turkey begins to reclaim its history. This is all the evil that it desired. It can only wish for the decline in Turkish ultranationalism and reconciliation on the basis of fair between Ankara and Armenia, so that these countries can develop normally and build a peaceful future. More importantly, she no longer wants to be faced, where she lives now, where the exodus not paid, a denial which is the continuation of genocide by other means.

That Turkish intellectuals dealing with Turkey. Mille bravos. This is just the beginning, continue the fight! We take care of France, our present, and future of our children. And we say: for here, for now and for later: never again! The diaspora does not revive, it was symbolic form, what we experienced the victims of genocide - which were probably the only ones that can legitimately grant a pardon to the executioner, but that nobody has ever asked.

Ara Toranian
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