Turks Degrade Genocide Victims, Again

The 10 writers

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

An Ankara-based group calling itself the Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) is planning a ceremony on April 24, during which the names of 10 Armenians, among them Siamanto, Daniel Varoujan, Krikor Zohrab and Rouben Zartaryan, will be added into the list of slain journalists in Turkey.

In reporting this news, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, identifies these pillars of Armenian literature as “journalists of Armenian origin who were killed in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.”

The truth of the matter is that the aforementioned individuals, whose writings defined a generation and became, perhaps, first-person accounts of the Sultan Hamid Massacres in the tale end of the 19th century, were rounded up by the Ottoman Turkish government, and on April 24, 1915 were massacred as the beginning sparks of the Armenian Genocide.

To bundle these first victims of the Genocide, along with other journalists who were killed as part of Turkey’s intolerant attitude toward journalists is an affront to their legacy. They were not killed for being “journalists,” but rather were part of the first wave of murders of intellectuals, writers and leaders, which was part of the systematic plan to eliminate the Armenians’ leaders in order to gain easy access to the rest of the Armenian population and carry out Genocide.

ÇGD’s leader, Ahemet Abakay, claimed that the inclusion of the names was long overdue and explaining to Hurriyet that the omission was inadvertent, since they did not possess the necessary information.

“I wish we had the information before and had taken this radical step before. We, the Turkish people, unfortunately do not know anything but what the official history has told us. The truth was hidden from us,” Abakay told Hurriyet.

Whether Abakay and his group are part of a newly-formed movement in Turkey that believes the recognition of the Genocide is important, or whether this is a ploy to whitewash the Genocide, the fact remains that the aforementioned individuals cannot be compared to other Turkish journalists—among them Hrant Dink—since they were, for all intents and purposes, the first victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Classifying them in any other category is an insult to their memory and the perpetuation of the Turkish government’s efforts to deny the Genocide and take responsibility for the actions of the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenian community in Turkey has a responsibility to address this injustice and not allow a group to destroy the legacy of such pioneers as Siamanto, Varoujan and others.

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16 Comments

  1. Seervart said:

    We are not surprised by the Turkish government’s actions; they are continuously in denial, lying, re-inventing history and thus the Turkish Genocide to the Armenians is continuing to this date. It hasen’t ended yet, as denial is the last phase of the Genocide.

  2. Ed said:

    Do Turks really not realize that the entire world sees their denial as cowardice?
    Every nation knows it was genocide, knows the Turks know it, but try to evade it.
    Every person of every nationality I’ve spoken with over the decades says the same thing;
    “They are cowards”

  3. Aydin said:

    Cynical article…I congratulate Ahmet Abakay and his organization to stating the following: “I wish we had the information before and had taken this radical step before. We, the Turkish people, unfortunately do not know anything but what the official history has told us. The truth was hidden from us”… and his efforts to honor these journalists along with many Turkish journalists may be murdered by the government action, including Hrant Dink…This is new and very courageous, in Turkey, raising further hopes for a reconciliation we need to achieve. How can anybody question the veracity of this article? Sad…

  4. aram said:

    Please do not blame the the majority of Turks for not acknowledging the genocide against the Armenians by the previous turkish governments, because they have not been told of it by (genocide) ensueing turkish
    rulers. Should we (Armenians) energize the Turks and Armenian who are disseminating that knowledge?

  5. Random Armenian said:

    Ara Khachatrouian,

    Let’s not get so easily insulated until we know more what this organization is trying to say. Yes those Armenians pictured above were killed for being Armenian and that’s a distinction between the other victims. But these Armenian authors were also singled out because they were a voice of the Armenian community and needed to be silenced before the real plan was put into effect. There is an overlap here with the other journalists who have spoken up against the Turkish government and paid dearly. I not going to be so easily insulted by someone who says “… do not know anything but what the official history has told us. The truth was hidden from us,” until I know more about the motives of this person.

    Seervart,
    What exactly are you reacting too? The Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) does not sound like it’s part of the Turkish government.

  6. Alex Postallian said:

    Why would anyone want to live in turkey,a political SEWER ?

  7. Alex Postallian said:

    Why would anyone want to live in turkey,a political SEWER ? Now publish it.

  8. Krikor said:

    Turkish governent lives in a state of denial and propaganda of lies.They can run but they hide from thier bloody past

  9. Tamar said:

    I will actually play devil’s advocate in this situation… My initial reaction mirrored the author’s response and probably that of many Armenian who read the article. However, Random Armenian has a point in saying we do not know the motives of these Turks. Aydin also has a point by calling it cynical. For we ARE cynical when it comes to Turks, most especially those of Turkey and Azerbaijan… we have become so accustomed to being beaten down that we look for the dark corners in every room we enter. Insults we can take and we have been brought up rallying against that injustice. Yes, we are very cynical and yes, we do not look for the innocence in the actions of these individuals. This particular movement in Turkey might actually be pro-Armenian and might have little to no exposure to truth and resources on which to base their arguments. It IS a possibility, albeit a slight one, given past experiences…

  10. Papken Hartunian said:

    How many of us know about these heroes(martyrs)? Armenians must demand from Armenian Church to declare all victims of Armenian genocide to be titled saints. By the way, these martyrs have been murdered not just have been killed! There is a difference. One more thing. There are no Turks so called pro-armenian!

  11. Kiazer Souze said:

    I believe there are rightouse Turks, just as much as rightouse Germans during the first and second world wars. It appears as though they want to come forward. Let us not spit in their faces as they don’t deserve that and it would make us just as intolerant as those who murdered our ancestors purely for financial gains and other evil purposes. The friendship statue is a testament of that.

  12. anna said:

    Well, if you take the first person in the pictures, is Krikor Zohrab who estabilished “Masis” newspaper on 1892, in Istanbul. So, he is not only a writer but also a journalist. Most of them not only writing novels and poems were always working for numerous newspapers in Istanbul at that time.As you know they were real intellectuals.Maybe for that reason The Contemporary Journalists’ Association thinking like that. Please, do not jump to the conclusion so fast. Act little bit more maturely.Learn to appreciate sometimes even if you don’t like it.

  13. Random Armenian said:

    There may be another motivation here where this organization is trying to establish a history of violence against journalists in Turkey, starting from pre-republic days. In which case they would be using the genocide to emphasize what’s been happening to journalists in Turkey. I doubt that this is deliberate whitewashing. On the contrary it brings to public attention what happened on April 24, 1915.

    These days where there are major changes afoot in Turkey, we need to be skeptical and look at overtures from that country critically. But I think cynical knee-jerk reactions do not help matters. And believe me, I understand why those feelings of cynicism exist.

    A lot of authors also published in newspapers.

  14. Puzant said:

    Every dog has its day, I am 79 now even if I do not see it my children will, I am sure of that…

  15. arziv said:

    Of course there are “righteous” turks. One flight of a swallow does not herald the onset of spring. For every righteous turks , how many ” unrighteous” ones are there ? It helps little if the corner greengrocer Abdul Salal Soylem is a righteous one, when armies of Davotoglous, Erdogans,Guls , Gursels, Ecevit, Ozals, are myriads in their numbers and occupy lofty positions of state and they are very ” unrighteous” and armenophobes . The first thing the ” Young turks” ( the then righteous ones) did was to proclaim the unbreachable ” brotherhood between turks and Armenian”. Imagine what would have been the fate of Armenians if we had not been brothers of the turks ? Having said that , it is undeniable that there are many decent and innocent turks. ( I don’t like using the word righteous; it is a gramatical aberration, and it carries a stigma of apology, as if the whole world was inherently evil for the exception of the ” righteous” ones who keep on apologize for the sins of the rest of us mortals. )

  16. manooshag said:

    It is leaderships of a turkey who violated the ‘intelligencia’ of the Armenians tortured and slaughtered nearly 100 years ago – and, until today, it is the turkey’s leaderships who violate a turkey’s journalists. Democracy turkish style. Manooshag

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