And After Recognition?

Did you hear? The Turks fessed up! They solemnly, somberly, and sullenly admitted the Ottoman Empire organized and committed the Genocide resulting in the deaths of 1,500,000 million Armenia’s, its own subjects. President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and even Constitutional Court Chief Justice Tulay Tugcu, flanked by the puppet-master Pashas jointly declared the dawning of a new era of warm relations with Armenia. The decades of acrimony and hate are over. Economic prosperity though trade, tourism, and translations of culture can now bring Armenia’s and Turks back to the warm pre-Genocide relationship they shared. All is nectar and gilt.

For days and weeks, there’ll be dancing in the streets, from Yerevan to Tehran to Beirut to Athens to Marseilles to Paris to New York to Boston to Montreal to Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. And why not, it’s been almost a century and we got what we wanted, a confession from Turkey. We can now get on with our lives. Free at last from grandm/pa’s burden. Whew!

Really? Izzatso? What we wanted, huh?

No one seems to have noticed the barely masked smirks on their faces as Turkey’s leaders walked off the stage.

They think they’re off the hook by pinning the blame for the Genocide on a state they claim no longer exists. But it does! It is the Republic of Turkey. This is just the first Turkish slight-of-hand. The bigger one is the total evasion of the issues of reparations and restoration of lands, both to individuals and to the Armenian state. All properties owned by Armenia’s as of 1915 should be returned to the owners’ descendants or the Armenian Apostolic church, as applicable. In cases of the complete extinguishing of a family, the property should go into a land trust administered by representatives of the Armenian nation. The same applies to reparations for movable property.

Of course none of this happened. But its day is coming and it’s closer than we might expect. Let’s not get caught off guard in the same way as we did by the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

We must clearly enunciate the totality of our just deman’s. We must stand by them firmly. This is not just a negotiating position. Our friends must know this, as must Turkey, the legal successor state to the Ottoman Empire. Turkey is culpable. Much analysis and fleshing out, in modern terms, of our deman’s is necessary. Let’s get on it and generate the necessary intellectual undergirding for our success in realizing our dreams.

Let this serve as a motivator for better political action on and around this year’s Genocide commemorations.


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