Turkey’s Armenians Demand Erdogan’s Apology

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

To minimize the damage caused by his threats to deport Armenians working illegally in Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with what his office called the leader of the Armenian community in Turkey on March 26.

Except, that person does not represent the Armenian community nor its institutions.

Berdos Sirinoglu, the president of the board f trustees of the Armenian Holy Savior Hospital, told reporters after talks with Erdogan that no good could come out of bringing up what happened a century ago and that there were losses on both sides as Turks and Armenians fought “among friends.”

“This was 100 years ago. There is no point in digging further into the past. I cannot understand why some people try to keep it [the debate] open,” added Sirinoglu, who said his own grandfather died in the 1915 events. “There is no need to call the events genocide either.”

Angered by these statements and the apparent effort to unilaterally represent and speak for the Armenian community of Turkey, the relatives of slain journalist Hrant Dink kicked off a petition Tuesday distancing themselves from Sirinoglu and his comments.

The petition entitled “We live in a different Turkey,” has received wide support and prompted a wave of protests by Armenians in Turkey, who say that Sirinoglu and his vice-chairman Herman Baloyan, who also attended the meeting, do not represent or speak for the community.

“Sirinoglu is not the leader of Turkey’s Armenian community,” said the petition announcement, reported the Istanbul-based Agos newspaper.

Sirinoglu “is the president of the Holy Savior Hospital and that position does not give him the right to make announcements on behalf of the Armenian community. Thus, Sirinoglu’s announcements only reflect his personal opinions. We expect those who are creating confusion in the community to immediately correct their mistakes,” added the announcement.

Sirinoglu also said the Armenians felt safe in Turkey and that they had no complaint to that effect. “Those people who have been away from their country for a long time should come and see Armenian property and schools, they should see how Armenians live in Turkey and then they should decide,” he said.

“Hearing Sirinoglu’s announcement that ‘Armenians feel safe in Turkey. Have you ever heard any complaints from them?’ prompts us to think that perhaps we live in a different Turkey,” the protest petition said.

“Sirinoglu may feel safe in this country. But, that’s a lie,” added the petition, which goes on to stress that Armenians in Turkey are subjected to racial and ethnic discrimination and are being used for political goals.

“We expected Sirinoglu to remind the prime minister of the murder of Hrant Dink three years ago and demand that those responsible are brought to justice,” emphasized the announcement.

Srinogu said most of the 1.5 million Armenians who were living in Anatolia when the killings began had migrated to other countries — Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the United States, France and others. “I am not saying nothing happened, but there is no benefit in digging deeper into the past. If we do this, our future will remain in the dark,” he said.

The protest petition blasted the efforts by Sirinoglu to deny the Armenian Genocide, stressing that the only way to confront the past is to face it.

In his remarks, Sirinoglu went as far as taking the blame for the inflated figure of 100,000 announced by Erdogan in his threat.

“We gave the figures to the prime minister. Since he trusted us deeply, he did not check it with other sources. We apologize for this,” said Sirinoglu, adding that the correct figure was about 20,000.
“Sirinoglu’s apology for the inflated figures raises suspicion. We believe that all of this was staged and a coordinated effort to portray the Turkish government as a benevolent entity,” said the protest petition.

“We condemn the prime minister’s announcement and express that we do not share Bedros Sirinoglu’s views,” said the petition, which also called on Erdogan to issue an apology.

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5 Comments

  1. Garot5 said:

    It is very common for Turks and its allies to deny the Genocide. However, if someone who is claiming to be a Armenian leader or representative denies the Armenian Genocide, there is only one word describes that person “TRAITOR”.

  2. Thomas said:

    Mr. Sirinoglu is leaving a lie, I feel for you my fellow “Hayrenagitsner” I cannot believe he had lost his grendfather in the GENOCIDE. This man brings shame to our nation.t

  3. sarkis seropian said:

    sayin erdogan dogru söyle. sende ve hep turk milleti biliyour soykirim olmustur. allahi seversen, insanlara aciyorsan dogru konus yetsin artik bu nefret.

  4. AKMS said:

    Sirinoglu….First of all your last name speaks for itself. Secondly your statement for us “Armenians not to dig to deep in the past”, to me this statement tells me that you like to keep your head hidden in the sand.

    So why don't you keep your head where it belongs and stay out of our way.

  5. Karen Mkrtchyan -India said:

    I think now I know how Sirinoglu (His name is not of an Armenian either) became so RICH……I DON’T count him as an Armenian…Maybe his parents were, he isn’t. Look at the way he like an ass says that his grandfather died during the events of 1915…He uses the word “DIED”….How did he die? Was it a cause of Heart Attack, did he meet with an accident or had a natural death because of old age?…Who knows? So the word DIED should be replaced with MURDERED or MASSACRED or at least KILLED…Does he seem to care at all? Erdogan knows politics…There had to be a reason for Erdogan to visit him out of all the Armenians living in Turkey….And the reason is the above article and Sirinoglu's disgusting statements…Well whatever he is, he surely can't be a LEADER …What a joke…..That too of the Armenians who have tirelessly been fighting for justice…? Erdogan is such an ass that he thinks with his butt and not with his brains. Oh I forgot…….I don't think he has any, so he can be justified for doing that….But the problem here is not Erdogan, coz he is kind of doing his job by denying the ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, but a person saying he is an Armenian, and “claiming to be the leader” says we should forget what happened, deserves to be skinned alive….Please don't count him when u count the number of Armenians living in Turkey….He is not an Armenian……NOT ANYMORE….

    And a question to Sirinoglu….- Respected “LEADER”, if the Turks today robbed you of all the MONEY u possess, would u ever forget that? If a person became a cause of your poverty, would u ever forgive him? And let's say your grandfather who as you claim “died” during the events of 1915 had possessed a lot of wealth and today you come to know if the Armenian Genocide is acknowledged ( and it will be one day), you will get your grandfather's money back. Would you still consider it unnecessary to fight for justice? I DON”T THINK SO….And what's the reason? Well MONEY …Money…Money…..That's all u need…Money just makes you become a traitor!!!!…And right now, u r one…Take all the money you need, but just remember, all the money that has come from the Turkish Government will one day GO BACK TO THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT…..Thanks for making yourself an ass…Now go and count your money….And may the soul of your grandfather who “died” when Turks and Armenians fought “among friends” rest in peace….W are fighting for the Recognition of something called a GENOCIDE and not a FIGHT…Maybe u need to find out something about your grandfather's death. Are you sure he wasn't bitten to death during a friendly fight? Just think for sometime…And I don’t mean about your money…think about your pitiful life. Idiot….

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