Armenians, Just as Bulgarians, Should Demand Compensation from Turkey

BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN

Bojidar Dimitrov, Bulgaria’s Minister in charge of the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, stirred a hornet’s nest at the start of the new year by threatening to block Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU), unless it paid billions of dollars in compensation for Bulgarians who were forcefully displaced during the Ottoman era.

Dimitrov said Turkey owed Bulgaria $20 billion for expelling hundreds of thousands of ethnic Bulgarians in 1913. The Republic of Turkey, which was founded in 1923, had assumed the obligations of the Ottoman Empire and agreed to make reparations in a 1925 treaty. However, thus far, Bulgaria has received no compensation from the Turkish government.

“Turkey is surely able to pay this sum, after all, it’s the 16th largest economic power in the world,” Dimitrov said, capitalizing on a statement that Turkish officials often make, bragging about their country’s economic strength!

Dimitrov disclosed that the payment of compensation as required by the 1925 treaty is one of Bulgaria’s three pre-conditions in order not to veto Turkey’s admission to the EU. The other two pre-conditions involve energy and water management issues.

Veselin Ninov, a Bulgarian government spokesman, confirmed to the EUobserver on January 4, that Dimitrov’s announcement represented official state policy. He revealed that the dispute was being handled by a “Bulgarian-Turkish intergovernmental working group” and that Prime Minister Boyko Borissov would raise the compensation issue during his upcoming visit to Turkey.

Turkish officials reacted quickly and harshly! Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, repeating the same baseless accusations that Turkish leaders often make regarding the Armenian Genocide, alleged that the Turks suffered as much as the Bulgarians during that period. According to Zaman newspaper, Davutoglu warned that Bulgaria’s demands for compensation might harm bilateral relations, although, he confirmed that the two countries have been discussing “issues relevant to the mass transfers of Turks and Bulgarians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.”

Bulgarian officials immediately backed down realizing that an open confrontation with Turkey on this issue may not be as beneficial to them as quiet, behind closed doors negotiations. Bulgaria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marin Raykov sought to downplay Dimitrov’s demands by stating that his country did not make Turkey’s EU bid conditional on the resolution of the compensation issue for displaced persons. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Borissov rebuked Dimitrov, threatening to fire him should he make a similar statement in the future without first consulting him.

Minister Dimitrov quickly apologized in order to retain his job. Press official Veselin Ninov, however, was not as fortunate. He was fired for endorsing Dimitrov’s earlier statement.

For the time being, Bulgaria’s leaders may find it premature to openly link their demands for compensation from Turkey to its bid for EU membership, even though many Bulgarians have persistently demanded such reparations for decades. Consequently, this issue is bound to remain on the agenda of the two countries, undermining Turkey’s oft-stated claim that it has zero-problems or disputes with its neighbors.

Despite Prime Minister Borissov’s disclaimer, Bulgaria has now added yet another wrinkle to Turkey’s bid for EU membership which is becoming increasingly elusive. Already several European countries such as France, Germany, Holland, and Austria strongly oppose Turkey’s EU membership bid. Greece and Cyprus would not allow Turkey to join the EU, unless its troops withdraw from Northern Cyprus. Furthermore, it would be impossible for Turkey to join the EU without fulfilling one of its key requirements — open borders with all neighboring states. Turkey, thus, cannot become an EU member, unless it opens its border with Armenia, independently of the fate of the Armenia-Turkey Protocols.

Beyond the obstacles in joining the EU, Turkey is swamped with a large number of lawsuits filed against it in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Should it refuse to compensate Bulgaria for the 1913 refugees, it is likely to face more legal troubles.

However, Turkey’s record on winning lawsuits in the ECHR is not very good. It has already lost several major court cases for its occupation of Northern Cyprus. Also, Greek and Armenian minority foundations in Turkey have successfully recovered through the ECHR some of their real estate assets that were confiscated decades ago.

Encouraged by these successful lawsuits, Armenians living in Turkey and throughout Europe should seek legal redress through the ECHR for their countless losses suffered during the Genocide. Claims could be filed for the loss of personal property, bank accounts, real estate, monuments and churches.

No peace without justice!
No reconciliation without restitution!

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18 Comments

  1. Zeta said:

    Turkey shoud never be allowed to join anything!  Not the EU not the UN not any decent  human organization.  This is an entity that has been responsible for the slaughter of milllins of Christian  Greeks, Assyrians, Bulgarians, Serbians, and Armenians.  How dare Turks  show their bloddy faces  to the world!  The bones of our ancestors  await justice.

    No justice no peace!

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  5. hrair said:

    Here we go again. Mr. Sassounian, wasn’t the New York Life fiasco a lesson to you and us????? Now what is it that you are encouraging the 3 stooges (the prince of Ethiopia, The Drunk, and the other stooge) to initiate? They not  only got pennies on the dollar but I would say pennies for every million. I’m sure you were jumping for joy and ecstatic of their negotiation tactics and settlement. I’m sure that was a precedent in reaching that settlement which was worth over a few billion dollars. The attorney that should have represented that case should have been Larry H. Parker. At least, he got that poor guy 1.2 million dollars and he was still alive! Then again, maybe Wally can represent the Turkish government just like he represented New York Life behind the scenes and have us reach a a “fair” settlement. Maybe, this time we could settle for say 25,000,001.00??? then again, the Bulgarian will get upset for short changing their settlement. Let it go, no one elected you to represent the diaspora, and neither did the diaspora choose these jokers to represent up to get compensation from the government of Turkey. Just like Catholicos Aram I said,” I am responsible for my people and I will fight for their claims…”  We should wait for a generation of Armenians that are dedicated nationalist instead of narcissistic attorneys who are quick to settle for their personal gains and profits. Let me remind you THIS IS BLOOD MONEY!!!!

  6. Gayane said:

    Great Article..

    Great suggestion about filing lawsuits .. everyone that suffered during the Genocide should rise and demand everything back..

  7. Robert said:

    Gayane,

    I couldn’t agree with you more!! Now, how would it be organized? My grandfather was one of the survivors, along with what survived of his family members, relatives , friends and neighbors, from the genocide committed by dashnak Armenians against innocent Turks, as well as others, in Van, Kars, Erzican, Erzurum, etc. How will my family, and the families of the other survivors of this genocide by the dashnaks be compensated? All told, there are families of some 2.5M Moslems and non-Moslems victims who will need to file for compensation. These people all lost their lives as a result of the dashnak atrocities. So, do we file in the US, in Yerevan, at the UN? I believe that to pay full restitution would probably bankrupt Armenia though. How will they work out the legal papers for everyone to sign, the compensatory payments, etc.? Could we file suits against ANCA, ARF, AYF and other dashnak branches to gain monetary awards? Don’t forget, there are still the family members of the genocide committed once again by the dashnak Armenian army against the Azerbaijani civillians in 1992. They also will demand restitution. How about the family members of the victims of the dashnak Armenian terrorists during the 1970’s and 1980’s? They’re going to want in on this also. Please keep us posted as to the best time to file and where. The amount that we demand will be in the billions of dollars! I certainly hope that Armenia and all of the Armenian organizations will be able to come up with all of that money, especially after the historical commission officially verifies our claims (as the full truth of what really transpired comes out) when they present their final report!  

    • hrair said:

      You must be experimenting with acid, or some hallucinogens, the 60’s are over my Feerend!!!. Just wondering “Robert”(a common azeri first name).  Your proposal is interesting. However,  a mathematical formula is necessary in order to calculate a monetary compensation that would satisfy your claims. Let’s exhume these mass graves (hopefully they were not disturbed by the army of the republic of turkey), and conduct DNA tests. IF there is the slightest shred of bone that has any  trace of Familial Mediterranean Fever then we can deduct that they are Armenian. Since, no righteous turk could be buried with a giavour.  (Do the math!). Then again, your still insisting that they are turks! OK, here is the problem with your claim, since, the Germans were your allies, where are their detailed documents showing that the Armenians perpetrated these killings? They sure left us thousands of pages of documents in the German and Austrian archives. Secondly, how come there are no autobiographies, biographies, novels about these “turks” being massacred by Armenians??  Surely, out of 22 million turks there were some who were literate enough to compose maybe even a note about these so called killings???? Oh yeah that’s right, turks were not allowed to speak a foreign language other than turkish according to the caliph of Islam prior to 1923.
      Good luck with your claim!

      • Gayane said:

        Robert!!

        We all do respect, and I have to say you truly have the guts to mention how the Armenians slaughtered and caused the Genocide of Muslims and non-Armenians.. I can’t blame you because brainwashing is what Turkey is good at..and unfortunately you fell the victim of that. . However, I am not dismissing the fact you probably have a family member who got killed during this horrible time; however rest assure it was not because the Armenians planned and executed a mass murder of your people… and i dont’ want to burst your bubble, but i dont’ think your claim will pass in court.. it would be much better if once and for all, you and others like you finally open up and understand what truly happened and not live in state of make belief lives.. i do feel for you, i truly do…

        Hope one day Lord Jesus Christ will come in your life and change the way you view this whole matter..

        Gayane

    • hrair said:

      Just another wake up call, the so called “historical commission” is for you so that you would wake up from your so called amnesia in order to face the truth and compensate the Armenian diaspora NOT the Republic of Armenia for the 3R’s.  Get off our land!
      P.S. You underestimate us Armenians we are the wolves in sheep clothing. (By the way the nationalist songs that you listen to were composed by Gomitas Vartabed) even the lyrics are Armenian!!!  (how pathetic)  The latin letters that were substituted from Arabic were invented by an Armenian. We’ve  waited 95 years, and we could wait another 95 years. But, in the meantime go ahead build up your economy, we are in no hurry.  We have all the time in the world, now can you afford to wait or are you willing to wait it out? Look at yourself in the mirror and look at yourself real hard in the mirror and just wonder where are your oriental features, and maybe you might realize that the blood running  in your veins are Armenian, Greek, Assyrian or even Arab! Come to terms, come back to your roots and think outside the box that you think feel so comfortable in, because,  it’s too dark and you are suffering from claustrophobia. Your utopia was just a fabrication.

    • hrair said:

      Here is a quote from a turkish “historian” spinner regarding the ARF. “the Dashnaks wanted and independent Armenia, independent of Russia, whereas other Armenian organizations  were espousing a Pro-Russian Armenia”  The Armenian Question by Mim Kemal Oke p.87! STOP DRINKING SO MUCH KOOL AID!

    • hrair said:

      I’m sure I’ve taken too much time from the editors at Asbarez. As I was stating earlier, regarding your fabricated state, even your glorious leader ataturk (in reality not even a turk) made the following comment. “history can never deny the existence of a nation, our eastern provinces are to contribute to Armenia and the area around Adana and Kozan is to be named Cilicia, and become a part of Greater Armenia” The Armenian Question, p.187 by Mim kemal Oke. Even your glorious leader admitted that those lands belong to Armenians, let me know when you are your tribe is ready to relocate to the steppes of Mongolia!

  8. Mego said:

    Robert one of these solutions is  the German – Israel  compensation method , if  Yerevan should pay it should be as much as Tel-Aviv did to the Natzi Germans, that the Jews killed defending themselfs up to date , which is  nothing , and  this style of German-Israel compensation should be implemented in Gaza ,Lebanon, Sudan, Bulgaria,Greece,the Kurds, Artsakh,and then will see whose bankrupt. 

  9. Frank said:

    Robert if you people didnt come to our lands from Mongolia we werent going to have dashnak,hnjank and all that stuff.
    You brought hatred to our people.
    We are full of love and you guys attacked us over and over again
    We were there from day one.

  10. Vlad said:

    Turkey is an international pariah! They offend even their closest allies (the US, and Israel) with their nationalistic propaganda, and they refuse to take responsibility for all the trouble they have caused in the past, and for their crude behaviour of the present. They cry to Europe about being “treated unjustly” yet they have been linked to genocide by multitudes of observors at the beginning of the 20th Century, and the beginning of their current state. They talk about their economy, but ignore the poverty in their nation. They talk about discrimination in Europe, but discriminate against their minorities (Kurds!). They claim to want peace, but they attack the Kurds in Iraq, and use their military jets to fly over Greek Islands. They hold out their hands for peace to Armenians, yet they then say that they will anull any concessions they make in the treaty. Turkey should not be in Europe, and Turkey should not be held in any high regard by the US (especially after the spy scandal last year). Turkey should be left to its own devices to survive without economic or military aid… Then lets see how well they cope.

    • Gayane said:

      Vlad I could not agree with you more.

      Turkey SHOULD not, WOULD not, or CAN NOT join the civilized group of countries, UN.. They should be banned from being able to join until they admit to what they have done almost 100 years ago to Armenians and all other minorities.. WIthout this, they should not be allowed to even think about joinging The UN..Bastards…

      G

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