THE ISSUE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AND MODERN TENDENCIES OF TURKEY’S POLICY
As it is known struggle against the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide takes an important place on the foreign political agenda of Turkey. On the threshold of 2015 Turkey mobilizes all its old methods and adds new ones in both foreign and domestic policy.
Particularly, huge financial resources are put in printing, translation and spreading of antiscientific literature denying the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish “academic thought” tries to bring in circulation new “irrefutable” facts. E.g. it has been stated recently that new serious information concerning Malta trial has been discovered. According to some Anglo-American documents the Turkish officials who were responsible for perpetrating the Genocide and were kept in Malta were released free as “no proofs against them were found”. The fact that Turkish scholars present this “discovery” to the Turkish authorities as a serious argument is also proved by the fact that the Minister Egemen Bagis who is also the main negotiator with the EU recently visited Malta and stated: “Turkey was declared not guilty in connection with the 1915 events at Malta trial. The court acquitted the Ottoman officials who had been arrested in connection with the events which took place in 1915. The decision was taken by the British judge”. It is also stated that Turkey would use this “serious discovery” on international level as an argument proving “that there has been no Armenian Genocide”.
Let us mention that many Ottoman officials who arranged, perpetrated and were accomplices of the Armenian Genocide were arrested after World War I and part of them were taken to Malta. Later on, as a result of Kemalist movement spreading, the situation changed and Turkish criminals who were kept in Malta become a subject of political bargaining between Britain and Kemalist authorities; in particular, the exchange of British and Turkish captives took place. Many of those criminals returning to Turkey took major posts and became ministers, members of parliament, governors, etc. There are many facts proving that that they were released not on the legal but on the political assumption, and the characteristic style of British diplomacy and way of thinking are reflected in the report of a high-ranking British diplomat in which while speaking about the Turks who were released he said: “The less we talk about those people the better it is, but I did my best to clarify this rather delicate issue of why the Turkish exiles in Malta were released. I think that everybody would do the way I did. The members of parliament believed that one British captive is worth of one ship of Turkish prisoners. And that was the reason for exchange”.
The Turkish analytical circles are also actively involved in the struggle against the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and their activity and analytical works are, of course, in tune with the state policy. E.g. the director of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies Khatam Jabbarli expressed concern that the issue of the Armenian Genocide was more often discussed in the Turkish press and there were Turkish journalists who protected Armenian points of view and demanded from Turkey to apologize. As a fresh example the columnist of “Radikal” newspaper Orhan Cengiz is brought. Jabbarli concluded his article pessimistically for Turkey and mentioned: “The fact that such points of view are expressed in the Turkish press should be considered as a serious success of the Armenian propaganda”.
In the context of preparation for 2015 Turkey states that their enemy number one is the Armenian Diaspora and in the struggle against it Azerbaijan is also involved. They try form new power in the struggle against the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Armenian Diaspora – Turkish-Azerbaijani lobby which is particularly active in Europe and US. E.g. there is an organization in the United States with rather typical name – “Young Turks” – which organizes events “against Armenian lies”, “in the memory of the Turkish officials killed by ASALA”, “Khojalu events”. The “Young Turks” mention that they are supported not only by Azerbaijanis living in United States but also by Uzbeks, Turkmens, Uyghurs and representatives of other Turkic nations.
At the same time Turkey uses some concealed methods either. Several years ago the Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoglu commissioned Turkish diplomats to find in the Armenian communities segments which are ready for the “dialogue” and work actively with them.
It should be mentioned that in the struggle against the international recognition of the Armenia Genocide all the influential Turkish parties, despite their ideological orientation, are involved. Of course most part of the policy of denial is carried out by the ruling Justice and Development party but oppositional People’s Republican Party and National Movement party try to keep pace with it either. Thus, it was decided at the last plenary session of People’s Republican Party under the chairmanship of the leader of the party Kemal Kilicdaroglu to apply to the former Turkish diplomat and member of parliament Sukru Elekdag – one of the well-known falsifiers – to present a report on the “Armenian claims” and make proposals on how to oppose them. The party made an official statement that it is going to initiate a large-scale campaign against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. And the chairman of National Movement party Devlet Bahceli, during his recent speech in France criticized the well-known decision of the Senate and threatened the Armenian Diaspora. At the same time he called Turks to struggle “against the Armenian claims” with joint efforts”.
Alongside, the Turkish authorities try to combine their nationalist stance with the supposedly democratic steps and statements, which should be definitely considered as imitation. High-ranking Turk officials try to confine their steps within such abortive theses as “common pain”, “mutual losses”. Thus, prime-minister Erdogan during his recent visit to a book fair publicly bought “Armenians and Turks: Common Pain” book by Turkish journalist Taha Akyol, thus demonstrating as if he was interested in the subject. The most remarkable is that the chairman of the Turkish parliament Cemil Cicek participated in the symposium on “The first step towards sharing the pains and curing the wounds” organized by the Social-Democrat Party of Turkey the other day. Moreover, during his address at the symposium Cicek stated: “After World War I an exile took place, and as a result the Armenians with whom we used to live side by side for ages were forced to leave their motherland. We have common pains and first of all we should accept that”. In fact on the threshold of April 24 “Cemil 301” tries to put on a mask of tolerant European official.
Let us mention that though most of the non-governmental movements in Turkey are directed by the state, there are brave initiatives either. Among them Human Rights Initiative and “Say Stop to Racism and Nationalism”, which organized events in the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, can be mentioned. During the event arranged at Taksim square in Istanbul the soldier of the Armenian decent Sevak Balici who was killed on April 24 last year was remembered as a victim of the nationalism. The organizers sent two letters where they presented their stance and evaluations to the Catholicos of All Armenians and Cathalicos of Cilicia. It is remarkable that Human Rights organization choose rather symbolic place to honour the victims – the building of the Museum of Turkish Islamic Works, which in 1915 was a prison for the Armenian exiles. An important peculiarity of these events is that unlike, e.g. “We apologize to the Armenians” drive for signatures, here the Armenian Genocide term was used.
It should be mentioned that the number of people in the Turkish society who believe that it will be better to recognize the Armenian Genocide, apologize and thus free country from being a hostage its own policy is growing. And let us mention that those people are taking into consideration rather the interests of Turkey than pro-Armenian stance. At the same time the number of the Turks and Kurds who are ready to face their history is too small in Turkey – the organizers of “Say Stop to Racism and Nationalism” initiative think that it is impossible to change the public opinion in Turkey only with the forces of such leftist powers as they are.
Summing up, we would like to mention that the Turkish policy of denial on the one hand meets definite difficulties and on the other hand elaborates more hidden ways, includes other powers, which create additional obstacles for Armenia and Armeniancy on the way of international recognition of historical truth.
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 STUDY OF THE ISSUE OF ISLAMIZED ARMENIANS IN TURKEY: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS[12.04.2012]
- THE ISSUE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IN THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT [08.12.2011]
- ON SOME TENDENCIES OF CONTEMPORARY TURKISH HISTORIOGRAPHY[17.11.2011]