THE ISSUE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IN THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT
It is known that the issue of the Armenian Genocide has it certain place on the Turkish political and academic agendas, and the “academic” circles work by the order of the state. In the issue of the denial of the Armenian Genocide the most active state institution is the Ministry of Foreign affairs but there are certain structures which work in this direction in other state institutions either.
The Turkish Majlis is one of those grounds where the deputies (among whom there are former diplomats too) simply repeat official and false theses. At the same time the parliament sponsors and spreads the “academic” literature which denies the Genocide.
In April 2005 the proposal on forming a joint commission of the Armenian and Turkish historians was discussed and approved in the Turkish parliament. It was followed by the letter of the Turkish prime-minister Erdogan addressed to the Armenian president Robert Kocharyan. That was an attempt to make an impression that the idea of the commission of the historians is backed not only by the ruling party but also by the whole political field.
Since 2007 new element, which changed the former uniform atmosphere to a certain degree, has been added to the discussions of the Armenian Genocide in the Turkish parliament. This is mainly connected with the oppositional Kurdish party of democratic society (currently Peace and Democracy Party), a group of members of which expressed the ideas which sometimes differ from the state stance. The Kurd parliamentarians who are mainly elected in the eastern parts of Turkey are well aware of the crimes committed on the territory of the historical Armenia (by their ancestors either). And it is remarkable that one of those deputies made the following self-confessing statement: “Our childhood passed listening to the stories about 1915”. And this idea has two meanings – the witnesses and participants of the Armenians Genocide sometimes told about it with pride and in rarer cases with the feeling of guilt.
The issue of the Armenian Genocide was rather actively discussed in the Majlis in 2009 at the hearings in the parliament after the conclusion of the Armenian-Turkish protocols. As it was expected the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu tried to present that sub-commission stipulated in the protocols and dealing with historical issues would discuss the issue of the Armenian Genocide.
At the session of the Turkish Majlis on October 21, 2009 the speech of the deputy from the oppositional Kurdish party of democratic society Selahattin Demirtas, in which he presented the views of his party, was interesting. He made some rather interesting statements thus receiving hard critics of the ruling JDP and oppositional People’s Republican Party and National Movement Party. Thus, according to Demirtas “There is one century-long issue in the Armenian-Turkish relations. In 1915-16 the then Young Turks’ regime systematically carried out the policy of annihilation of none-Muslims in order to Turkishize and Islamize Anatolia”. Turning to the policy of the denial formed in the republican Turkey, the Kurd deputy said: “What happened to the Armenian people at that time was not reflected in the history books, textbooks published by the Ministry of Education, as if it had never happened. Thus, anti-Armenian hostility was imparted in this society”. Stating those realities Demirtas said that a stiff political and ideological perception of the Armenian Genocide had been formed in Turkey. He underlined: “It is our duty to state from this rostrum about the reality we know”.
There are rather interesting developments round the Armenian Genocide which go in two directions in the Turkish parliament now. The first is connected with the figures who fiercely struggle against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. As a result of the parliamentary elections, which took place this year, three “Armenologists” who are well-known for their anti-Armenian activity and “academic” studies denying the Armenian Genocide, became the members of the parliament. Those people are the representative of the National Movement Party, historian, the former president of the Turkish Historical Society Yusuf Halacoglu, the analyst from the same party Sinan Ogan and the representative of the ruling Justice and Development Party, historian Sayit Sertcelik. By the way it is mentioned that the latter is the only Turkish historian who speaks Armenian.
After the aforementioned persons became deputies, it was expected that the struggle against the Armenian Genocide in the Turkish parliament will intensify and those very deputies would use the European rostrum to spread their false theses. And as a first step the falsifier of history Yusuf Halacaoglu came forward with an initiative to establish anti-Armenian group which would carry out lobbyist activity especially on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015. According to Halacaoglu that group should be non-partisan and include all the three “Armenologists” as well as the representatives of the Republican People’s Party of Turkey. The only exclusion is the oppositional Kurdish party – according to Kalacaoglu they are ready to include Kurd deputies: “if they say the truth”. It is planned that the Parliamentary group will coordinate Turkey’s activity in struggling against the Armenian Genocide. Halacaoglu believes that they“have to start taking measures from today and know what to do”.
It should be mentioned that Halacaoglu discussed the issue of establishment of the group with the speaker of the Majlis Jemil Cicek who expressed readiness to help him. By the way this was expected as the speaker of the Turkish parliament, in his turn, is considered to belong to the radical anti-Armenian wing of the Turkish political figures and he is one of the “godfathers” and adherents of the well-known articles 301 of the Criminal Code for what he received “Jemil 301” nickname.
Alongside with all the aforementioned among the representatives of the oppositional Kurdish party deputies who make rather daring statements come forward. E.g. quite recently the deputy of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy party Altan Tan turned to the Armenian topic at the conference in Mardin and stated: “The Amenian Genocide took place in 1915. I use word genocide as a political figure and I want it to be fixed”. Later on in his interview to the Armenian newspaper “Agos” in Istanbul, Tan even more detailed his statement saying that the Young Turks had mainly been responsible for the events in 1915, but there had been many Kurds who took part in the Genocide: “One cannot say that all the Kurdish people participated in the Armenian Genocide, but the Kurdish leaders bear responsibility for perpetrating the Genocide”. It should also be mentioned that Tan used to be the member of pro-religious Prosperity Party but in his statement he also accused Muslim clergy for their stance in regard to the Armenian Genocide.
Thus, we can state that in the Turkish social and political life the developments round the issue of the Armenian Genocide, which on the one hand demonstrate the elaborated and consecutive struggle of the Turkish political machine against the Genocide and on the other hand prove the unsoundness of that policy grounded on the falsifications, continue.
Another materials of author
- ABOUT THE EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS OF TURKEY’S ARMENIANCY[12.07.2012]
- ON MANIFESTATIONS OF SELF-ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMENIANS IN TURKEY[29.05.2012]
- THE ISSUE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AND MODERN TENDENCIES OF TURKEY’S POLICY[14.05.2012]
- THE STUDY OF THE ISSUE OF ISLAMIZED ARMENIANS IN TURKEY: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS[12.04.2012]
- ON SOME TENDENCIES OF CONTEMPORARY TURKISH HISTORIOGRAPHY[17.11.2011]