Posted tagged ‘Turkey’

Scholars and Politicians Part II: Turkey

April 27, 2010

So what is the situation of Armenian Genocide recognition in Turkey?

Well it is common knowledge, and is much discussed. It’s taught by details in the nations schools, and most people have on opinion on it. What’s taught however are apologetics and counter-arguments, and the opinions they have is similar. Basically:

“It was a war, many died. The Armenians had to be deported and relocated for security reasons. It was messy, and many died of famine and bandits”

The Turkish community is sadly still stuck at stage eight .

I blame this deadlock on what I blame most political deadlocks on, treating politics like a football game. We wear our colors, cheer and support our team, hope to score. In this situation the mentality has resulted that any positive step toward genocide recognition is a great loss for the Turkish people, and must be battled tooth and nail.

But there are people bucking the trend, people who know that Turkey or Armenia can’t  move forward unless these issues are solved with an objective view.

“Thirty thousand Kurds have been killed here, and a million Armenians. And almost nobody dares to mention that. So I do”- Orhan Pamuk, Feb. 2005

Pamuk, the world famous Nobel-laureate writer, pride of the Turkish community, was suddenly demonized, prosecuted, rallies amassed to burn his books. He had shamed the team, scored an own goal.

“There are Turks who don’t admit that their ancestors committed genocide. If you look at it though, they seem to be nice people… So why don’t they admit it? Because they think that genocide is a bad thing which they would never want to commit, and because they can’t believe their ancestors would do such a thing either.” -Hrant Dink

Dink had a special ability, to see through the two polarized societies. To understand their psychologies, to sympathize. He was a healer. He knew that the endless obsession by the Armenian Diaspora with this cause was hurting them more than helping, making them incapable of building functioning societies, societies that try to look forward instead of looking back.

On January 19, 2007 Dink was assassinated by an overzealous schoolboy. His funeral couldn’t have been more shocking to the skeptical Armenian Diaspora. Over a hundred thousand Turkish civilians marched together holding placards saying “We are all Armenian” “We are all Hrant Dink” in Turkish, Armenian and Kurdish.

If there are people that fed-up with what is being done in their name “for them”, then there is hope for us all…

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Scholars and Politicians (Part 1)

April 24, 2010

Here’s a map of the countries that have recognized the Armenian genocide:The dark green are the countries that have recognized the Genocide (20 of them)

The light green are countries where there are parties or regions who have accepted the genocide. (For example 44 states in the US,  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the UK)

I used to look at that map, and start the strategic thinking. Good progress in Europe and the Americas, but the key countries are just a touch away. Of the Arab countries we only have Lebanon (Syria has made the very diplomatic position of providing everything until it can’t be that it hasn’t accepted, without officially recognizing). But most can’t recognize because Turkey is too major a geopolitical power to annoy.

Obama is going to address the Armenian community tomorrow, and he’s either going to say “Genocide” or “Massacre”. Years of works by activists, lobby groups, petitions, boycotts from both sides of the fight depend on one of those two words.

But this year, I’ve been thinking. Is what we are doing right? Trivializing the hundreds of thousands of victims into a pawn in the political game? Lobbying for governments who don’t really care about us and just use our cause to pressure a nation it wants under control.

What do I care that Germany, France and Italy accept? Where did it get us? It didn’t give us more legitimacy, because the Armenian Genocide is already legitimate enough a cause. All major genocide scholars recognize it happened. Even the word “genocide” was coined by Raphael Lemkin to describe the suffering of the Armenians.

Oh no all that map means nothing to me, and I don’t need recognizing by anybody, except that one little Middle-Eastern country, the one who started it all…