It cannot be considered normal for a century old event to take hostage the present and future of two neighbourly and close peoples to such an extent. Today, not many people remember the fact that Armenians and Turks had very close social relations wherever they were, up until the assassinations of the Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorist organizations and the subsequent genocide propaganda.
In order to reinstate such an affinity, there is a need for a dialogue process, respect for different views and efforts to instil empathy. This is how a path for abridging the Turkish and Armenian discourses on the basis of “a just memory” could emerge.
Believing that this is possible, Turkey proposed the establishment of a joint historical commission composed of Turkish and Armenian historians, and other international experts, to study the events of 1915 in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and third countries. The findings of the commission might bring about a fuller and fairer understanding of this tragic period on both sides and contribute to normalization between Turks and Armenians.
There is a separate need for establishing a constructive discourse in line with the spirit of the age that will eliminate prejudices and dismantle the preconceptions of the culture of conflict with a view to focus on the future.
President Erdoğan’s message of condolences was issued with such conviction on 23 April 2014,during his term as Prime Minister, and it was an important milestone. The message centered on the respect for the lives lost in the events of 1915, prescribed focusing on the future while studying the historical facts on the basis of a just memory, emphasized the importance of staying away from offending narratives and approaching different views with empathy.
IT IS OUR HOPE AND BELIEF THAT THE PEOPLES OF AN ANCIENT AND UNIQUE GEOGRAPHY, WHO SHARE SIMILAR CUSTOMS AND MANNERS WILL BE ABLE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT THE PAST WITH MATURITY AND TO REMEMBER TOGETHER THEIR LOSSES IN A DECENT MANNER. AND IT IS WITH THIS HOPE AND BELIEF THAT WE WISH THAT THE ARMENIANS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY REST IN PEACE, AND WE CONVEY OUR CONDOLENCES TO THEIR GRANDCHILDREN
Turkey continues with this sincere discourse and takes further steps to give it a further meaning. In this respect, cherishing the memory of the Ottoman Armenians and protecting the Armenian cultural heritage is a primary aim. During the liturgy in memory of the lives lost in 1915 organized by the Armenian Patriarchate of İstanbul on 24 April 2015, the Republic of Turkey, for the first time, was represented at ministerial level. Every year, the President sends messages to the liturgy.
LET ME REITERATE THAT WE ARE COGNISANT OF THE SORROWFUL EVENTS EXPERIENCED IN THE PAST BY THE ARMENIAN COMMUNITY AND THAT I SINCERELY SHARE YOUR PAIN. PLEASE REST ASSURED ALSO THAT OUR HEARTS REMAIN WIDE OPEN TO THE GRANDCHILDREN OF THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ALL AROUND THE WORLD.
It is disappointing to see that those steps taken for friendship and normalization have not been reciprocated by Armenia so far.
In the final analysis, the only approach befitting this era would be facilitating ways for reconciliation, putting focus sincerely and humanely on to the future and replacing feelings of hatred and revenge embedded in the minds and hearts of young Armenians with concepts of mutual understanding and empathy.
Once the terrorist groups attained their aim of propagating the claims of genocide and introducing them into the global agenda by terror, Armenian radicalism moved on to the next stage. The world now had an “Armenian Question” that evoked curiosity and was unexplored. Now it was the time to build a narrative/discourse based solely on emotive Armenian historical narrative on occasion with the use of forged documents/photographs. In order to support this narrative, highly questionable methodology and exaggerated or dubious memoirs were also used.
THE WORD “DENIAL” IS USED INTENTIONALLY TO PREVENT OPPOSING DISCOURSE AND CONSEQUENTLY A DEBATE.
The Armenian narrative defines the events of 1915 a priori as “genocide” by putting the historical background and the concrete facts aside and also by completely ignoring the legal aspect. The narrative that revolves around genocide, gives both visibility to the Armenian thesis and also immunity/incontestability by almost canonizing the case.
Adopting the Armenian narrative is imposed as being politically correct, and any opposing approach is branded as “denial “and is suppressed by criminalization. Whereas, in its nature a claim can be questioned yet not “denied”. The word “denial” is used intentionally to prevent opposing discourse and consequently a debate.
The radical Armenian circles published countless documents centering on the Armenian discourse and presented the 1915 events to the global audience from their one-sided view. Many of these publications are in fact different versions of a few questionable main sources.
MANY OF THE DESCENDANTS OF THE VICTIMS OF THE EVENTS OF 1915 AND THE FOLLOWING YEARS –ESPECIALLY THOSE IN THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA – CONSTRUCT THAT IDENTITY AROUND THE PERCEPTION THAT THEIR COMMUNITY HAS BEEN THE VICTIM OF GENOCIDE.
The “genocide” claim is often used as a political tool in the hands of the politicians to their political goals.
Turkey does not deny that Armenians suffered terribly and many lost their lives. The deaths of millions of Ottoman Muslims in the same era, so often ignored in Western historiography does not constitute a reason for condoning or belittling the deaths of Armenians. “Fire burns the place where it falls”.
However, insisting on genocide as the only way to define the events of 1915 by ignoring historical facts, the wartime conditions and the law is an inappropriate way to honor the memory of lives lost. It also prevents Turks and Armenians from getting together to reconcile.
To accept Armenian views unequivocally, in order to demonstrate solidarity with this group that has experienced past suffering, ignores the grievances that were experienced by other nations and demonizes Turks unfairly.