‘Just Memory': Davutoglu Urges Armenians to Deny the Genocide

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu


BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in an academic paper published in the Turkish Policy Quarterly, urges Armenians to take “bold steps” to usher in a “new era” of relations with Turkey and Turks predicated on the infamous “condolence” statement made by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The “bold steps” Davutoglu is advocating is for Armenians to deny the Armenian Genocide and adopt Turkey’s version of history, which has recently been rebranded to included phrases such as “shared pain,” which in Davutoglu’s mind will foster a concept he calls “just memory.”

The more than 10-page article, entitled “Turkish-Armenian Relations In The Process Of De-Ottomanization Or “Dehistoricization”: Is A“Just Memory” Possible?” squarely puts the blame on the Armenian Diaspora for what he calls perpetuating the status quo, which he says hinges on recalling tragedy and thus creating “unjust memories,” and urges a resolution of the Turkish-Armenian issue via a new understanding of history that will promote “just memory.”

[Ironically, this piece was published one day before the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a measure which would hold Turkey accountable for destroying Christian–among them Armenian–religious sites].

“The greatest injustice that has been visited on both history and the peoples in question is setting aside the shared history of the two peoples and the previous rich centuries, and beginning instead only with traumatic events like war and conflict, or reconstructing the previous centuries by making these traumatic events the center of everything,” Davutoglu argued.

“The ‘unjust memory’ created around the events of 1915 constitutes the most important example of this phenomenon as it mortgages the shared past and future of the Turks and Armenians,” Davutoglu wrote, urging open and continuous dialogue between the two sides.

“The ‘just memory’ concept that we have frequently employed during this process is critically important. In order for Turks and Armenians to understand what each of them has experienced, it is essential that they respect one another’s memory. For the Armenians, 1915 was a year of relocation during which exceedingly great tragedies took place. The years prior to and after 1915 were also a time of tremendous tragedy for the Turks in Anatolia. It was at this time that Turks fought for their very survival in the Balkan Wars, at Çanakkale, and in the War of Independence. Actually, this was a time of ‘shared pain,’” Davutoğlu explained.

The Turkish leader argues that Erdogan’s April 23 “condolence” statement should serve as the foundation for further steps.

“Erdoğan’s message of condolence should not be seen as a conjunctural step. It should be seen as a prelude for transformation of minds and memories because this is not only an offer of condolence but also a sincere invitation to all parties to ensure a common future based on lasting peace,” he wrote.

Davutoglu’s recipe for this “new era” of understanding is for Armenians to collectively deny their own history–including the Armenian Genocide–so that Turkey can continue its criminal policies of oppression and state-sponsored murder without impunity.

Essentially, what Davutoglu is suggesting is that we all hold hands and sigh and collective “oops” and move forward.

From this writing one can also conclude that Turkey’s intentions in entering the dangerous protocols process was not to establish relations without pre-conditions, but rather to perpetuate the almost century-old denialist policies and to ensure that Azerbaijan’s rights were protected.

“The aim of the Protocol process between Turkey and Armenia in 2009 has been to establish good neighborly relations between Turkey and Armenia, to eliminate exploitation between the two peoples based on past suffering, and to resolve the problems between the two countries by preserving Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” wrote Davutoglu.

This should serve as proof that Turkey was not in the protocols process as a “good neighbor” but one who architected this plan to advance its own agenda. The Armenian government must immediately and unequivocally remove its signature from the doomed protocols and not parrot the US’s “ball is in Turkey’s court” line to score nebulous points with US leaders. Hilary Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices” clearly asserts that the protocol process was conceived to advance Azerbaijan’s energy interests as way to weaken Russia’s influence over Europe.

While our immediate reaction to this might be that Davutoglu is perpetuating Turkey’s state policy of denial–which he is–this and Erdogan’s “condolence” statement are dangerous steps by official Ankara ahead of the Genocide centennial.

As Harut Sassounian wrote in his column, which was published in Asbarez several weeks ago, US and Turkey have been colluding on their respective April 24 statements. So, the State Department’s immediate embrace of Erdogan’s announcement as a positive step should be viewed dubiously as the US is doing it utmost to refrain from recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

This, coupled with Davutoglu’s reiteration of a position he articulated two years ago, that Ankara looks at and treats all ethnic groups that once lived in Anatolia as the Turkish Diaspora should sound an alarm that that the Turkish state is systematically attempting to whitewash the Genocide ahead of the Centennial.

Davutoglu also reiterates his intention to dialogue with Armenian Diaspora representatives, who he asserts are part of the Turkish Diaspora to establish dialogue. In a column last month, I, once again, alerted our readers about the dangers of falling prey to such efforts, the most recent of which took place at the University of California in Irvine.

While we can reject Davutoglu’s policy statement as delusional and an extension of Turkish denialist propaganda, there are other forces at play who seek to undermine the efforts of the Armenian Nation in its pursuit for recognition of and justice for the Armenian Genocide.

It is high time for the government of Armenia to step in and with concrete points counter this policy, instead of uttering asides such as inviting the Turkish president to Armenia on April 24. That cannot be the policy of a government that is bound by the Constitution to advance the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the just aspiration of the Armenian nation.

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33 Comments

  1. Mani said:

    In Turkey, “Just” means denial of any fact that is against Turkish interests. For example the Armenian Genocide is “not just” because it happens that several million Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks were brutally annihilated en-mass by the Turkish Government in a Genocide. In Turkey killing and annihilating the Armenian race from their ancestral lands and erasing their existence is “not Genocide” and should be “equated” with Turks killed during wars in a !!!”just memory”!!! (quote unquote)

    Likewise in Darfur, there was no “Genocide” because according to Erdogan and the Turkish Government, the Turks or muslims cannot commit genocide.

    However on the other hand, when a few hundred Turkish Uyghurs are killed in China, when a few Azerbaijanis die by Azerbaijani forces who wanted to topple President Mutalibov, when a few Turks die inside Germany, or any person “desirable to the Turkish Nation” then it is a clear ‘genocide’.

    Davutoglu! Siamanto our great Armenian poet, wrote a word that fits you and your types well. “O human justice LET ME SPIT IN THY FACE”!

    And that same Siamanto was murdered in the Genocide of 1915 at age 35, killed by your murderer grandparents and his bloodthirsty thug buddies.

    Now take your “just memory and GET LOST” Fascist!

  2. Danoog said:

    This is the equivilant of O.J. Simpson asking the Brown and Goldman families to feel sorry for him.

  3. Meghrig said:

    He knows that the genocide happened he just won’t admit it.
    Khelke garne gudagor^^

  4. Hratch said:

    It would be helpful if the full translated text of his academic paper is published. As far as his suggestion is concerned, it would be unrealistic to believe that after so many years of denying they’re just simply going to come out and admit to everything. It is human nature to try to save face and gradually admit to their wrong actions. But as with anything, there must be a gradual process of breaking the ice. Even though we know they are guilty, we must play along and encourage them to slowly take responsibility. It simply counterproductive to automatically reject and demand full acceptance. That kind of approach will only assure our continued ‘White Genocide’ (սպիտակ ջարդ) for the next 100 years. For those who are not familiar with the term, it’s the threat of assimilation of the Armenian diaspora within the local population of the country where they were eventually forced to emigrate.

  5. uranussonof said:

    “Essentially, what Davutoglu is suggesting is that we all hold hands and sigh and collective “oops” and move forward.”

    TRANSLATION

    we butchered you for turning to christ, if you would just forgive us we can move forward, please do not pay attention to the sword i am holding behind my back, no it’s not to hurt you with, it’s a sign of peace.
    now if you would just hold my blood covered hand, we can get to where we are going.

    END TRANSLATION

    i don’t want to hold hands, i don’t even have any hands to hold, thanks for genociding all those wonderful hands i could of held that had no blood on them, just kindness in their hearts and meekness in their wills. i want my dead ancestors back. this isn’t fair, i don’t want to hear life isn’t fair anymore from anyone when i see everyone working to make it unfair, stop it. turkey needs to repent, repay that’s all there is to it.

    STOP SERVING THE GOD OF MONEY IE JUPITER

    PEOPLE GOTO JUPITER TO GET MORE STUPIDER <—- STOP IT.

  6. Vindicated Man said:

    Yeah, but honor Woodrow Wilson’s Arbitral Award first. Nobody’s naive.

  7. Fredrick Fuller said:

    The problem is following the “oops” and moving forward is falling off the edge of a cliff to our death.

  8. Dino said:

    If turkey thinks it is maligned on this issue and if it believes the historical facts are on its side then turkey should take the bold foot forward and take Armenia to the International court of justice and clear up this matter once and for all, but the turks are just cowards like they have always been. The turks have been causing so much of the misery in southwest Asia ever since they showed up on their little horses with their yellow complexions and slant eyes from the steppes of central Asia. Today they are in league with Saudi Arabia and the terrorist jihadists trying to take over Northern Syria and North western Iraq. turkey has quietly laid claims to Aleppo, Der Zor and Kirkuk. After all, they need the living space ever since Sultan erdogan told the country that they need to have more children. If the Shiites and Alawites win, goodbye Sunnis, it’s a long walk to Arabia, because after this misery nobody would want to live together. It looks like the 21st century may belong to the Iraqi Shiites, Alawites, Iranians, Kurds and Armenians. Thank you davitoglu/erdogan well played.

  9. Jda said:

    A question we should ask Turks who acknowledge our pain, as they put it is: what do you know about such pain? Who killed us? Why? What methods? Of whose orders? What efforts did your leaders make to stop murder and save ours? Who killed our Ottoman soldiers!

  10. Michael Mirakian said:

    On behalf of my grandparents, whom I never had the pleasure of seeing and enjoying,and my parents for the torturous life they suffered because of Mr Davutoglu’s grandparents and government I say “DROP DEAD”
    The Turks suffered because of their own doing — they chose war! The Armenians were tortured and killed simply because they were Christian Armenians. Long before 1915 the Turks were always giving the Armenians trouble.

  11. GeorgeMardig said:

    Davutoglu’s ‘just memory’ can’t be based on ‘Unjust memory’

  12. Areg said:

    The Armenian Genocide has been haunting the Turkish government for the past 99 years and if Davutoglue wishes to call it just a memory let him advocate it to his own Turkish people who know the difference between Memory and Genocide.

  13. Ararat said:

    The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is a poisonous snake of the worst kind. Realizing that his predecessors had miserably failed, through lies and fabrications as well as bribery and blackmail, for nearly a century to convince the world that genocide never occurred, that it is no longer feasible and practical to pursue the old tactics but the time has come to be more creative and invent new ideas to look conciliatory and forthcoming on the surface but in actuality to plot a scheme to not only try to take the Armenian Genocide off-course but to steer it in a whole new direction.

    I believe this Turkish snake has come up with empty phrases such as “just memory” and “shared memory” for the following reasons:

    1. To falsely portray, to the outside world, the genocidal Turks as open and conciliatory.

    2. By doing so, to deceive and to look falsely benevolent and humanitarian to its ill-informed and institutionally-brainwashed anti-Armenian public.

    3. To try to water down Turkey’s genocidal crime so as to diminish the significance and the enormity of this crime in attempts to avoid consequences associated with the crime of genocide and to get away with mass murder.

    4. To push the so-called “shared history” in attempts to move the focus away from the 1915 pre-planned, government-sponsored and systematic extermination of the Armenians in order to put to rest any future Armenian demands to want to live in their ancestral homeland free of Turkish occupation.

    5. To avoid at all costs the liberation and reunification of the six Western Armenian provinces with Armenia currently under Turkish occupation.

    To top it all off, only a despicable sneaking snake of Davutoglu’s magnitude would equate the deaths of Turkish soldiers as a result of their pursuits in recapturing lost territories in the Balkans and sneak attacks on Tsarist Russia ,as part of their voluntary entrance into WWI, to the deaths of 1,500,000 innocent Armenian men women and children. Any tongue that speaks and equates these two must be cut out and all fingers that write such filth must be cut off.

  14. Ruby Minas said:

    No wonder in Iran they call the turks “Torkeh Kha’rr” meaning donkey turks or dump asses
    Davutoglu is a plain example. Look at his face!!!

  15. Kira said:

    You, davoutoglu and your ilk are the only things that I deny. You people are an abomination in this world.

  16. David Dilanchian said:

    Davutoglu and other Turkish leaders do not know their own history, they say we are ok bugger the rest. like the Germans face your doings.

  17. Garo Yeghichian said:

    Armenians they don`t need advice fom Mr. Davutoglu.He can keep his advice to himself.And if he can`t talk
    he must learn how to shut up.

  18. Robert said:

    Funny… I have always thought that the concept of ‘just’ is connected with the word ‘truth’. Davutoglu seems to disagree in that as the article mentions, he wants a transformation of memories. How about we start with the truth Davutoglu and then what’s just naturally follows?

  19. Suren said:

    What a bunch of crap, someone should tell them to stick this idea where the sun don’t shine.

  20. Edward said:

    Davitoglu tries to tie his country’s revolution to the Armenian genocide to continue justifying Turkey’s denial of our history. However, there is a significant difference between Turkeys role in the Balkan wars and Armenians who lived in their homelands. Turks suffering in the Balkans was justified because the Balkans were subjugated by Turks and suffered as a results. Turks deserved what they got there. But, for Armenians it was a who other story: Armenians, were also natives of our historic lands for thousands of years like the Balkans, but finally the Turkish defeat from the Balkans made us their prime targets.
    We lost not only 1.5 million during genocide, but also up to 500000 in the Hamidian massacar, big chunk of our historic lands, and majority of our population became diaspora.

    What Davitugloo says is not a sign of his unique understanding and perspective that sheds light to the truth for Armenians to wake up to. It is rather a curve ball with codes which are typical of Turkish politician and their supporters.

    In conclusion, We must keep vigilant and not raise the peace flag up so quickly. This is another trap designed to brain wash the Armenians to give into this idea of century old Turkish denial of our past. This means we will have to just drop the education of the subject matter, giving up the reparations, and forgetting the truth that lead innocent Men, women, children to die by systematic methods. It will mean that Turks will no longer be responsible for the crimes of their ancestors so that the criminals can continue to be glorified.

  21. Dr.Hermon Mihranian said:

    Look who is talking. How can Armenians forget the cruality of the Ottoman Empire. Almost 2 million Armenians were killed. The Turkish government must recognize the Armenian Genocide and return the Armenian Lands to Armenian.

  22. edward demian said:

    Take heart my people. The dismembering of Turkey is upon them. Today, the Israeli government has announced to the American government that “Kurdish independence is a foregone conclusion”. That means a large part of Turkey will become Kurdistan. A Kurdistan with Oil. It is the beginning of the end for Turkey.

  23. Edward said:

    Judge says, despite the evidence and the victim’s loss we must consider the serial killer’s lose as well because the serial killer had family problems and suffered as a result. Therefore, the victim is not really a victim of the serial killer, rather the victims are both the serial killer and who he killed. The serial killer and the family of the victim both share loses. Turkish politicians think the world is full of idiots to buy their crap.

  24. Hratch Babikian said:

    By the Way there is NO shared history you freaking Liars. only the violent one that the Turkig peoples Came to the Armenian Lands in the 11th Century from southern Russia , northern China Mongolia,dajikistan ,turkmanistan, nomadic barbarians , end up in Armenia annihilating everything they passed on their way. TURKEY did not even exist till the 11th century, how is this possible that the Christian world has gotten such a case of amnesia .
    THIS has Been their history since their existence , and now the world is listening to them ? why? because they own the way the “world ” needs to get through to the middle east =oil .if the US did not the oil Turkey would be shit out of luck .moderate islamic country MY ASS .

  25. adrine said:

    Don’t know how to say this, but, this dude actually admitted to the genocide, or else, how in the world
    could he ask us to forget and move on?
    Forget what Davutoglu?
    My great grandparents and family perished and I am supposed to just forget?
    As Ouranos is my witness, I will one day see Turkey vanish right in front of my eyes
    We Armenians are Japhets and our God is Christ, i.e. ouranos, uranus , charios, etc.
    This time around, Ouranos will not let us down. Just wait and see. Since Ouranos is our father, our mother is Sophie, our earth. We all need to know who are our heavenly, parents. That is how we will save ourselves. Wake up! Our bloodline is ancient and fantastic, that is why we were murdered.
    Stop sending your energy to the false god, Saturn, aka Satan, aka Santa, etc.

  26. Pingback: Sarkisian Rejects Davutoglu’s ‘Just Memory’ – Horizon

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