Ten Suggestions For Turkey To Face Its Own History

Hayk Demoyan

BY HAYK DEMOYAN

The landmark decision made by the Lower House of the French Parliament on criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial provoked an impressive and harsh reaction from Turkish political circles illustrated the aggressive tone  in their rhetoric. Indeed, the French law with all chances to be affirmed by Senate sounds like an anathema for Turkey, a country which desires to ascribe itself a new role and activities as a regional power with ambitious projects.

Once again the Turkish leadership faced enormous humiliation and reacted very nervously realizing that the French bill may create a domino effect for new recognitions of the Armenian Genocide and criminalization of the denial of the Turkish atrocities committed during the WWI. Ankara’s disappointment is doubled since the state-sponsored denial campaign and face-saving proposal for establishment of the commission of historians are in limbo.

Thus, as a substitute, Ankara has launched a new campaign of sympathy which is intent on putting forward such or similar proposals from the mouths of foreign leaders. Despite the fact that the very idea of the commission of historians and accusation that Armenia has territorial claims from Turkey is already proven to be a bluff, some leaders in order to please panicked Turkish officials willingly became victims of Turkish tricks. It is especially bizarre that the Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey states “the historians would then contribute to discussions with their findings”, (Swissinfo, December 26, 2011). It is clear that Turkey wants to take from dead protocols what is desired, and avoid the unpleasant responsibilities. The idea fix of the Turkish side is to make Armenian Genocide a subject for endless debates at the same time ignoring historical facts and academic findings on the subject, which has long concluded  that Armenian Genocide is a classical example of state organized genocide, a statement made primarily by Rafael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer who coined the term genocide and gave legal explanations to it back in 1944, thus paving the way for Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Recently Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the main obstacles to Turkey to become “one of the world’s most powerful states is that it can’t face up to its past, history, taboos and fears” (Asbarez, November 23, 2011). Like a mantra Turkish leaders and government-associated intellectuals do not stop dealing with its own past via a common practice called – escaping from the truth via denying what happened. The very idea of the commission of historians which is clearly political rather than academic offer is intended to be a trap, striving to receive the rejection of the Armenian side, and at the same time to get a positive stance towards this idea from the world. This goes hand in hand with nervous attempts of the Turkish side to blame on victims for committing mass killings of Turks, a trick, which is very common approach in almost all genocidal crimes and attempts to justify perpetrators.

On November 23, 2011, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while referring to the Dersim killings of Kurds back in 1930s, said “the most tragic incident of our near past.” While apologizing for Dersim killings Ankara consciously or not slightly linked itself with the Armenian Genocide since many of those who were massacred in Dersim and surrounding territories were Armenian survivors of the Genocide (committed by Young Turks and Kemalist forces between 1915-1922), who found refuge among friendly Kurds. Another shocking confession by the Turkish prime minister: “…It is a disaster that should now be questioned with courage. The party that should confront this incident is not the ruling Justice and Development Party [AK Party]. It is the CHP, which is behind this bloody disaster, who should face this incident and its chairman from Tunceli.” (www.eurasianet.org, November 23, 2011). Leaving aside political connotations of the statement one could say that while criticizing the Republican People’s Party (RPP) led by Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, Erdogan again points to the Armenian Genocide crimes as well, since many leaders who joined Kemal Ataturk’s team were members of the Ittihadist party, and directly were involved in decision making and perpetration of the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, during the Dersim crimes the RPP was the sole party in the country, as was Ittihad ve Terakki during the WWI when the Genocides against Armenians and other Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire were being committed.

I would like to set a symbolic roadmap for the Turkish side on what should be done before rising the issue of necessity of the discussion of the Armenian Genocide and better preparation for discussion of unpleasant and intentionally hidden pages of the Turkish history.

Hence I do hope that the following tips could be very useful to follow:

1. It is an urgent need to revise the Kemalist heritage in the social and intellectual debates, especially in terms of lifting a Soviet-like ban on discussion of historical events and censoring memory;

2. It is urgent to eliminate Procrustean Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code on insulting the Turkish nation and give a real chance for Turkish academicians, journalists to express their opinions freely, with no fears of being punished for their opinions and judgments;

3. To enable Turkish and foreign researchers to conduct their studies freely, it is strongly suggested that Ankara open the Turkish archives fully, among them the archives of the General staff, declassifying those materials which are related to the hearings of the Turkish military courts in 1919-1922, which sentenced the main criminals responsible for perpetration of the Armenian Genocide to death;

4. It is necessary for Turkey to take real measures for the prevention of further destruction of cultural monuments of Armenian heritage or erasing the cultural markers under the pretext of their restoration. One more important gesture would be welcomed if Ankara orders the removal of Turkish flags from Armenian monuments, especially from those churches which were turned into military depots;

5. It is strongly suggested that the hatred and xenophobia against the Armenians and national minorities living on the territory of Turkey be removed from the Turkish textbooks. It is important also to cease any politically motivated denial campaign in Turkish schools;

6. Stop the financial activities in hiring scholars to deny the Armenian Genocide and while doing so denying the inseparable part of the Turkish history—the Armenian Genocide is not only part of Armenian history and memory, but also that of Turkey;

7. Accept internationally recognized and scholarly accepted definition for “tragic events of 1915” and recognize the crimes committed by Turkey in the past as Genocide and cease all attempts to deny it;

8. Consider the Armenian Genocide, as well as genocidal activities against other indigenous people of Anatolia, such as Greeks and Assyrians, as a shameful page of Turkish history and be ready to apologize without any reservations and semantic exercises;

9. While recognizing and apologizing for the committed genocidal crimes, Turkey must be ready for elimination of the consequences of genocide committed and undertake necessary measures to prepare Turkish society for such developments;

10. It would be a great step for Ankara to deal with the Armenian Genocide issue while accepting the following motto with four important notions: RECOGNITION, CONDEMNATION, APOLOGY AND ELIMINATION OF CONCEQUENCES OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.

In the end I would like to suggest several proposals on possible commissions which could be useful to and will enable Turkey to face with its own history. The following proposals would be important for further reconciliation of the Turkish society with its own history and memory instead of solely focusing on the questionable Turkish-Armenian commission of historians. Let Turkey set commissions in following areas:

a. Turkish-Armenian, Turkish-EU and Turkish-Syrian commissions on border issues;

b. Turkish-Cypriot commission on war crimes of the Turkish armed forces in Cyprus in 1974;

c. Turkish-Greek commission on compensation of Greek victims of the state organized pogroms of 1955 in Istanbul;

d. Turkey-NATO commission on training of Azerbaijani officers on the territory of occupied Northern Cyprus;

e. Jewish-Turkish commission on forcible exile and violation of the rights of Jews of Thrace in early 1930s;

f. Turkish-Kurdish commission on compensation as a result of forced resettlement of Kurdish citizens;

g. Turkish-Armenian commission on the elimination of the consequences of the Armenian Genocide

Is that enough until the centennial of the Turkish Republic in 2023? I think it is more than enough…

Hayk Demoyan is director of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute at Dzidzernagapert

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25 Comments

  1. Haro Mherian, Mathematician said:

    The author of this article had previously stated that Kamal Atatürk saved Armenian women and children during the 1915 Genocide. This author approved the Turkish-Armenian Protocols, and during Guls visit to Yerevan, he was involved in turning the lights off in Zizernagabert Genocide monument as a signal of friendship with turks. See Yergir Media archives for the prove. Who is he fooling now? Does he think we can simply forget what historically he stands for?
    Also, can any Armenian agree on whether this 10 minimalist and looser mentality steps are enough until 2023?
    Oh please, now that we want to get up from our 75 years sleep and are heading towards demanding the return of Western Armenian land (based on Wilson’s Arbitration), this author wants us to get back to sleep for another 11 years.
    Mr Demoyan, it is best for you to first of all apologize the Armenian Nation for the mistakes that you have committed. And then resign your post, since you have not fulfilled your duties. After your resignation, it would be best for you to persuade the Judiciary system of Armenia to enforce the same law that the French senate passed, and yes in Armenia proper.

    • Truthlover said:

      Haro Mherian

      Who is this person one will ask?

      An answer is: not a mathematician, but a sick man who supports another sick man and absolute looser called Armen Ayvazyan. The latter loves to hide himself beyond such persons with paranoiac behavior.
      It is stated thousand times the disinformation about the lights of Dzidzernakabert was spread by Turkish Hurriyet and Armen Ayvazyan was the first and only idiot who willingly duplicated Turkish propaganda tricks and continue serving Turkish propaganda till now. Why? Because he is absolute looser, but always wants to be a hero and get money from some sphyurqahays!
      As for Ataturk statement for your disappointment Armen Ayvazyan and you again just repeat the same Turkish misinformation published in Economist. The article again was authored by Turkish journalist. Demoyan said absolutely different thing, but… While doing this you and Ayvazyan you both show your illiteracy, dangerous illiteracy which became a part of the Turkish anti-Armenian propaganda machine.
      A question: Haro, were are you among those who gave money to Armen Ayvazyan’s after he lost 4000 USD gambling in Monte Carlo? I know one in Glendale who did it and now is very sorry for that.

      Shame on you!!!! Just shut up!!

      • shameover said:

        Truthlover

        Actually it was in Las Vegas couple of years ago, not in Monte Carlo. I confirm it. I gave 500 USD to him that time.

    • shameover said:

      Haro do not repeat Armen Ayvazyan’s pro-Turkish statements please. The story with lights and Ataturk is shameful lie spread by Doctor Armen Ayvazyan

      • shameover said:

        For your information

        The lie about Dzidzernakaberd lights first time was published in Turkish Hurriyet in September 2008. Armen Ayvazyan quotes Turkish sources in the video footage if you noticed.

        Ataturk story again is Turkish lie Armen Ayvazyan duplicates. The author of the story published in Economist is Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman, who distorted the words of Demoyan.
        Do not repeat Turkish propaganda and what Armen Ayvazyan says, please. It is very shameful.

  2. Alex Postallian said:

    I hope its not repealed.Give France credit exhibiting intestinal fortitude for a rightous cause.What does that say about my country U.S.When we get the two monkeys hussien obummer and errogence,OUT.we may have a chance.

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    • Arman said:

      My dear Turkish friend, it is not a question of smoking but rather, as Bill Clinton said it, inhaling……you and your Turkish tribesmen have been INHALING the wishfull state propaganda that the Armenian Genocide is a myth, and that Turkish history, as your “alpha wolf” Erdogan put it, is as clean and bright as the sun. Turks see themselves as strong wolves and they glorify the image of the wolf, which the “Grey Wolves” ultra-nationalist organization has modeled itself after, with the infamous “wolf head” sign they make with their hands and fingers. As powerful wolves, Altaic conquerors in the image of Genghis Khan and Attila, Turks have preyed on the indigenous peoples of the lands they have invaded, treating them as so many sheep to be conquered, exploited, sheared and ultimately devoured. Your Turkish mythology of the ancient Central Asian lands of Turan, with your sacred Mount Ergenekon, always depicts a wolf howling at a full moon at the foot of the mountain. As a pack of wolves idolizes the alpha male wolf, so has Turkish society idolized your Kemal Ataturk and your Erdogan as the great leader or Fuhrer, and a precious few are the Turks who think for themselves and have understood the Armenian Genocide happened. Be less like a pack of wolves and more like thinking, moral human beings. Find it in your humanity to admit the crimes of your grandparents, so that THEIR crimes stop being YOUR crimes. Remember that Turkey has committed the greatest crime by refusing to repent and clear their national consience. THE COVER-UP IS NOW WORSE THAN THE CRIME!!

    • mihran said:

      Setrap effendi i would gather you your smoking turkish prime quality tobbaco while reading so it didn’t brighten your mind to ask a better question…or may be you were affraid from the meteorite feedback you might get….

  4. Somebody said:

    interesting,

    calling 1974 incident as of the turks started, shows me, you are very one sided. For your information, read the british reports and the un reports regarding the cyprus massacres committed by the greeks. These are facts, there are no un and british reports regarding massacres done by turkish forces.

    And btw, whats next? demanind land from turkey? You armenians are lot more foolish then i could imagine.

    • Arman said:

      Your bloody friends the British have no credibility in the Cyprus issue….the Turks practically did the British’s bidding by invading in 1974…..why else would the British hide behind their “strict non-involvement” in July ’74??? They have their Turkish lackey doing their dirty work for them!!!
      In 1914 they annexed Cyprus outright, but in 1974 they claimed “strict non-involvement”???? These ruthless people have conquered half the world, boasting that “the sun never sets on the British Empire”…..and in 1974 they insisted on “strict non-involvement”???
      You can learn all about their “strict non-involvement” by watching Michael Kakoyannis’s documentary film “The Rape Of Cyprus” where I learned that so many Greek women were raped that Cyprus had to change tge abortion laws, and also over 1500 Greeks are still missing………. abducted and tortured by the Turkish army of barbarian Mongols, after which they “disappeared.”

    • ashot said:

      we will liberate our land and free our people you mongol..go back to mongolia..

      • Alex Postallian said:

        No,no, You have it all wrong. – -Listen—When the mongols inhabited Anatolia,they decided to go back, they left behind all their cowards,deserters,male contents,pychos, which was the nucleus of turkey today.

  5. Arman said:

    Don’t forget the “Bulgarian Horrors,” which was a massacre of between 10,000 and 15,000 Bulgarian villagers who were killed by the retreating Ottoman Turkish Army when the Balkans were liberated from Turkish rule. This is one more suggestion that needs to be added to Professor Hayk Demoyan’s list of crimes Turkey is guilty of.

  6. M.S.K. said:

    I don’t understand why Turkish leaders and their first lady won’t feel ashamed of their past. It has already been proven that Ataturk and his supporters were Criminals, uneducated, inhuman and use to hate Christians and Jews. What else to say? Shame on such uncivilized people trying to create a new
    otman empire and control the Middle East.

  7. Haro Mherian, Mathematician said:

    Use your own eyes and ears, watch this Yerkir Media footage (also ask the people that were gathered there, mostly ARF members, also ask Asbarez about the truth):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ftbYEc4lE4&feature=related

    Every word I have said in my comment is the absolute truth. And yes I am a mathematician whether we like it or not, And unlike Mr Demoyan, I did not get my PhD because my post required, I earned it by 10 years research on the Poincare Conjecture and was very close to solving it 5 years before Gregory Perlman.
    So Mr Truthlover and Shameover, this is the truth. Open your minds and start googling. Bluffing will not get you anywhere.

  8. Haro Mherian, Mathematician said:

    Lately we also heard claims that Mr. Barkhoudaryan, wants to grant Doctorates Degree to Mr. Demoyan, because his position requires such qualification. Some intellectuals in that meeting expressed their dissatisfaction, suggesting instead to replace Mr. Demoyan with a qualified Doctorate candidate (as is the normal procedure throughout the world).
    It seems to the current RoA officials that they have the authority to grant any person a PhD.
    If we continue like this for another 10 years, there will be no intellectuals left in Armenia. As my good old UCLA Professor Dr. Sanjian (God bless his soul) used to say: “Այսպէս ամէն ինչ խնամիացուած կ՚ըլլայ…”.

  9. Haro Mherian, Mathematician said:

    Now that Armenian Genocide cause found some successes in France, pressuring Turkey. The Armenian Republican Party (HHK) officials are trying to cash-in cleaning their hands and faces for their PR sale. Especially when the election in Armenia is around the corner. Mr. Demoyan’s failed and desecrated past is being pushed aside, labeling truth-telling scientists and intellectuals as “sick people”, “paranoiac behavior”, so forth and so on. Based on text-string comparison algorithms, I have pinpointed who TruthLover and Shameover is.
    Has anyone listened to what the HHK speaker, Mr. Shahnasaryan is preaching now. Well ask Mr. Demoyan, he knows better about fellow corrupts in the current ROA government. In any case, he certainly is one of them.

  10. Arshag said:

    Truthlover and Shameover
    I may not agree with all critical points that Mr. Mherian makes to this article, but what strikes me is that in countering his comment you bring the name of Dr. Ayvazian into discussion without any apparent reason and begin to attack him malignantly. I know Dr. Ayvazian personally and the allegations that you make about him are really shameful. Again, this is not te defend all viewpoint of Dr.Ayvazian, but from your and Shameover’s concerted reactions I feel you are not here solely for decent exchange of views.

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  12. truthlover said:

    Dear Arshag

    I am glad that you know Ayvazyan well. His a master of manipulation especially with using people against another people. I am sure he gor Soviet KGB training to do so. Sorry but you also are a victim of Armen Ayvazyan’s “patriotic” activities. This guy just keep repeating Turkish propaganda lies. Why? Maybe you have an answer?
    If so let me to know..

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