Dispatches from Turkey: Meeting with Turkish President Gul


ANKARA, Turkey—Our delegation of nine commentators and journalists from the U.S. (including two Armenians) met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Fri., March 19. Also present at the meeting was the Turkish ambassador to the U.S., Namik Tan, who was recalled after the House Foreign Affairs Committee vote on the Armenian Genocide. During most of the 45-minute meeting held at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, the only two issues the president discussed or answered questions about were related to the Armenian Genocide and Iran.

In his introductory remarks, the president of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), M. Rifat Hisarciklioglu, said to the president: “One of the members of the American delegation, Khatchig Mouradian, speaks Turkish with an Istanbul accent, even though he wasn’t born in Turkey.”

After that, Gul was told that the two main topics consistently on the agenda during the delegation’s meeting were the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s Iran policy. He allocated a considerable amount of time to talk about Turkey’s official policies on those two issues. (We will publish a detailed report on Gul’s remarks later this weekend).

Answering a question by my colleague Emil Sanamyan, Gul said that Turks, Armenians, and others all experienced a great tragedy during World War I. He noted, “Millions of Turks were deported from the Balkans after living there for hundreds of years, and three million of them were killed in the process.”

At the end of the meeting, as photographers took pictures of the delegation, I approached President Gul, who greeted me in Turkish. I told him (also in Turkish): “I learned Turkish because my grandparents and other elderly women who were survivors of the Armenian Genocide used to speak the language. Armenians had nothing to do with the fate of the Turks in the Balkans, nor do they deny what happened to the Turks in the Balkans. Most of those who survived 1915 are dead now. But what do you say to the few survivors who are still alive and waiting for acknowledgment from Turkey?”

Gul insisted that he understands the pain and suffering of all those who were killed during the tragedies.

Minutes later, as I was leaving the hall, he added, “My best regards to the elderly.”

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  1. FrankM said:

    Whatever the suffering the Turks went threw does not sound anything like the things they did to us.

    I have never heard of any group of peope doing the kinds of things they did to us.
    I remember the stories I have heard from my family members
    How the Armenians in Kayseri were in line to get their heads chopped
    How evil can people get
    There was a women in Isantbul who survived the massacre and here neck was crooked.
    They chopped here head but it was partially chopped.
    She was thrown with the dead
    and somehow people saved her and she lived with a crooked neck.
    I dont know who saved her
    The thing I am trying to say is these people are sick .
    They have caused mental problems n our people
    Even to this day our youth is somehow mentally affected by these things

    It is important that they be punished
    Those who commited the crime are dead.

    The best punishment would be if we could throw them out of our soil.

    Guls phony tallk does not impress the Armenians

    With the help of American sodiers and the Russian sodiers and the Armenian soldiers we must throw them out of our country
    More that half of Turkey must be returned to Armenians

    As far as Konya and Izmir

  2. Armenian said:

    If Abdullah Gul was not Turkish, he would have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.

    Being Turkish, in Turkey under the Turkish Army and Turkish penal codes and taboos is what stopping him…

    • Araxi said:

      I have been thinking along those lines. He seems to be more humane than his counterpart Nazi Erdogan.

    • Hairenakitz said:

      If Obama & Clinton are the symbols of ‘acknowledgements’ in a western democracy, then I have no expectations from Turkish president! But believe all three will succumb and ‘acknowledge’ under proper Armenian political pressure!

  3. Pingback: Dispatches from Turkey: Meeting with Turkish President Gul … | Turkey Live

  4. Berge Jololian said:

    It is NOT the job of Armenians to “reform” Turkey, as desirable as that may be. We are not their psychiatrists or their nannies.

  5. christo said:

    If Mr. Mouradian read my comment on Memleketine Hosgeldin, he would understand the comment I’m about to leave. The last line of your article seems to either be an afterthought, or a last minute pitch in order to entice the reader to look forward to your next article. Speaking turkish is commendable, however, since your translation skills aren’t at their best, I would question the validity of that comment by the turkish president. In your opinion what does the word “respect” mean? Did he mean he respects them for being survivors? Or,he respects them for being sane after witnessing unspeakable horrors? Did he mean that he is sending his respects, because they have been denied a homeland, parents, siblings? Or did he mean he respects them for enduring denial year after year for the past 95+ years?
    I’m sure many of us are amature psychologists, however, some of us were trained as profilers and my question to you is the following? How was his demeanor when he made that comment? What tone of voice did he use when he made that comment? Was he rubbing his nose while he made the comment? Were his hands scratching his privates? Why, did he make that comment as you were leaving the room? Why couldn’t he face you and look you in the eyes as he made those supposed comments? What was the point for you Mr. Mouradian to include that alleged comment that you overheard as you were leaving a room packed with many individuals? I would even go as far as when was the last time you took a hearing test? To me this alleged comment is an attempt by you to gain some favors from your turkish hosts! Mr. Mouradian, are you another one of those American Armenians who has been wined and dined by their turkish hosts, and in return you have embarked on a futile mission to pacify the Armenian diaspora?