Pretty Amazing, Again

Garen Yegparian


No doubt you read that Abdullah “Apo” Öcalan called on the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. You might not have thought much of it, but here’s why it’s so amazing.

Apo is serving a life sentence in the prison on İmralı island.

Flyovers or fishing in the vicinity of the island is prohibited.

This is the same island prison in which Billy Hayes, the American whose story became the film “Midnight Express”, was kept.

Apo just barely got away with his life due to European pressures after he was captured by Turkey and sentenced to death for his role as the main leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

He and the Turkish government are in negotiations now over the rights and future of Kurds in Turkey. Why would he want to irritate the government with something that is not directly beneficial to the Kurds?

Impressed yet?

Of course you could argue that this is just a ploy, a tactical move to strengthen his hand in the negotiations. Possibly. But, there’s more context.

Öcalan also marked the anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder, saying, “I greet the memory and the struggle of the precious child of the Armenian people, our brother Hrant.”

He’s also in touch with Kurdish members of Turkey’s parliament, and probably other Kurdish leaders. No doubt they coordinate their activities and public statements. They have been very forthcoming on issues of concern to Armenians and relationship building with us.

If you are inclined to see conspiracy and intrigue around every corner, then you will probably be dismissive of this little snippet of progress, but I see one more drop contributing to the ocean that we must fill to achieve our national goals.

Once again, as with anything regarding the evolving and chaotic politics of Turkey, we should watch, push, and support anything in any way that enables the 76-ish million people living in that country to acknowledge the horrible reality of our shared past. Once they get over the Genocide hurdle, then the emotional barriers will be gone, and it will become a matter of diplomacy, politics, and negotiations to get our reparations and lands.


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  1. Gurgen said:

    Sorry Garen, I normally like what you have to say and I respect your thoughts immensely but this one was funny. Your final comment about getting our lands and reparations have nothing in common with what Ocalan has to say or what 76 million Turks think. Neither of those things will give you the lands or reparations. What little you or any other diasporan Armenians really knows about the business of geopolitics is really quite sad. It’s been 100 years of dreaming such naive thoughts and I’m afraid it will be another 100 years if we continue like this. The ONLY thing that will give us our lands back (they can keep their reparations) is a militarily, economically and politically powerful Armenia. And this can only happen with our own discipline and stronger strategic ties to the only superpower who has common interests in seeing a weaker and fragmented Turkey – our ally Russia. Therefore I hope that our diasporan Armenians can finally pull their heads out of …. and start supporting Armenia financially and most importantly morally. No more negative press and Armenia bashing from our illustrious newspapers and journalists. More support for our brave warriors in our military and their families, and more respectful tones when talking about our homeland, regardless of her mistakes and flaws, all of which are transitory and expected from a new fledgeling republic in transition. And never forget that the ONLY thing which brought us pride and returned some of our historic lands back in Artsakh was not the thoughts or words of Turks, Azeris, Kurds or diasporan Armenians, but sheer brutal military force and a small province of Armenians with their ancient warrior mentality.

  2. Zareh said:

    Garen, no one will give you lands. Lands are not given. Lands are only taken. Please stop this naïveté.
    First we should make the present Armenia a superpower in the region. And that starts with economic development of the country. Stop emigration. Encourage immigration. What are Armenians doing in Europe. What are they doing in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. What are they doing in Spain ans Sweden. What are they doing in Harrisburg and Queens. They are being assimilated. Every day an Armenian marries an odar. Our children don’t speak armenian anymore. They have very little knowledge of our history. They don’t even know who the president of Armenia is.
    Let’s stop this nonsense about Turks giving us land. Let us preserve what we have. Let’s first teach our children their mother language. Our traditional political parties are on their deathbed. Very few new party members. The average age of the party members is above fifty if not sixty.
    We waste money building churches. We waste money building monuments. How many people go and visit our monuments.
    We need to keep our people in Armenia. We need to strengthen our army. Our national economy. Our moral values. Our inner core.
    I have so much to write. So much to….

  3. Hike said:

    No one gives lands but if you can change the mentality of a people the use of weapons may not be as neccessary..Govenments through their financial masters will change slowly through the bottom up principle..The Ocalan issue has it’s place and yes only force and diplomacy will penetrate the Egoic minds of man and continues vigilance against evil urges of man……….