Sunday, January 28, 2007

Will anything change?

In the last few days I’ve been engaged in discussions of if anything will change in our relations with Turkey due to the murder of Hrant Dink?

Though most of the people I’ve spoken to want to have friendly relations with Turks and Turkey, very few believe that the Turkish or Armenian side are really ready for them.

First let me start out to say that I am all for relations, but have a real problem having friendly relations without Turks and Turkey coming to terms with their past. Yes it will be traumatizing for the nation, but I can’t imagine it being more traumatizing for them then the trauma my grandparents had when most of their family members were slaughtered violently and everything their families had worked for was suddenly taken from them and they were marched off into the desert to presumably die.

On the 19th, I wrote a log titled “Another victim of the Armenian Genocide.” This log had some very interesting comments from both Armenians and also a Turk named mersenne_twister.

From what I gathered of mersenne_twister writings, this is liberal Turk who had a great deal of respect for Hrant and mourned his loss. mersenne_twister views presumably represents the best we Armenians can hope for, though mersenne_twister admits to being the minority in a land of ultra-fascists nationalist.

mersenne_twister admitted that the ultra-fascists nationalist are in control of the country and the APK Government are not nationalist, but are liberal Islamists who want to integrate with the EU and although they are conservatives, their actions with EU are seen by the military & nationalists as betrayal. So the governing party doesn't have a strong hand as well and right now all the opposition parties are becoming more nationalistic to get them off the senate.

mersenne_twister interpretation of Hrant Dink was that he was not for “genocide” and that he was a supporter of PEACE and understanding between Turkey and Armenia. Though he was for peace, from what I’ve seen of Hrant, he was for Turkey to come to terms with it’s past Genocide of the Armenians and for this reason he was being charge with article 301.

mersenne_twister goes on to say that it's Turkey who has to go a step forward because of the constant denial in the past, but the Turkish people are so deeply brainwashed about the issue, most of them think that the whole world is conspiring against them.

mersenne_twister stated that unfortunately the political system in Turkey does not really give the individual any chance to speak up, that's why Hirant was killed as well, so whenever you mention something about resolving the feud with Armenia, these fascists label you as traitors almost immediately and most of the common people don't know beyond the official history that's taught in class. mersenne_twister states that “individually I don't have any power apart from speaking and now I've got to be careful about even that.”

In terms of mersenne_twister personal view on the Genocide and remember, this is coming from a liberal common everyday Turk states the following:

“I don't think It will be easy to make them even think about possibilities, most of the people here know that massacres happened then, but either they feel that there was a war and it had to be done (which is kinda true although it IS surely a systematic massacre which has gone way over the top.) and the Armenians killed many Turks as well. That's because most of them never care to read a history book, and even if they read, they read a Turkish historian like Hacaloglu, who support the official thesis, and Mr. Berktay & co. who are notable history professors who don't support the official thesis are not allowed to speak, and most of the newspapers conspired that they were traitors as well.

I don't know what will happen, even if the whole world agrees that it's a genocide, most of the people here will still think it's a conspiracy against the Turks as they always say the only friend of a Turk is Turk, and stuff like that would get the nationalists even more powerful, which unfortunately would make this country unendurable.”

“and if you wanna know my ideas about the 1915 issue, calling it genocide would be anachronistic, because there wasn't the term for it, and obviously the concept wasn't there too. it was during the WWI and in that era & especially during the war time, disinformation by Ittihad & Terakki, no possible communication with parts of the country, resulted in a terrible catastrophe like this, but the term genocide, I don't know man frankly, no one living here would want to be labeled as a nation that wanted to kill all Armenians,”

“A possible Genocide or Ethnicide is a very harsh term, and the term itself is causing all the problems. I know how you feel about your past, and I'm sorry and the blame is on Turkey for not resolving this problem and issue an apology or give back belongings. but today at this point, the problem is not easily to be resolved because it's based on perceived differences, the same event is believed to be two different things by two different camps. Armenians believe it's a genocide (because of years of talking and reading), and the Turks say it's not possible to be genocide (because of propaganda).

As I said forcing Turkey to agree a genocide is not gonna work as it will make nationalists go even madder. I think the best solution is to get Turkey to open the border to Armenia so both Eastern Turkey and Armenia would benefit. The relations would be neutralized, then Turkey will issue a formal apology on behalf of the Ittihad Terakki regime. Maybe Conferences together talking about the events, exhibitions etc. to form ties between two nations takes place.

However the word "genocide" connotes a much too powerful image, which would shatter the common Turks' understanding of the world and traumatize it that's why even if the US agrees that's a genocide, I think common people here would not agree with it and I think it's not the best way to get a heartfelt apology.”

Now you have to ask yourself that if a common everyday educated liberal Turk has the perceptions as stated above and the majority of the population in Turkey today are ultra-fascists nationalist who are trying to prevent membership to the EU, what hope is there for opening boarders, signing into peace deals and living happily ever after?

I can certainly tell you that Turkey is going to have to come to terms with her past and it’s not going to be up to her to decide if what happened in 1915 (according to mersenne_twister before the term or concept of Genocide was invented, thus it could not have happened) was Genocide. It’s going to be up to Turkey and it’s population to come to terms with what the world labels what happened in 1915.

Bottom line is that Hrant Dink went into a tunnel that he could not see the light at the end, but believed there had to be a light. He had hoped that something good would come from his journey, but at the end of that tunnel he found that the lights were off and no one was interested in hearing what he had to say. Article 301 (which represents the majority of Turkey) handed down a verdict of death to Hrant and the 17-year-old ultra-fascists nationalist carried out the sentence.

It should also be noted that Hrant should have known better as to what awaits him for the work he was doing. His first-cousin Noubar Yalmian, who was also a writer and activist, was run out of Turkey, hunted down in Holland by MIT (this is the Turkish CIA) agents and killed in November of 1982.

The world will talk about Hrant’s murder for a month (if that) and then all will be forgotten, with a few of us trying to keep the fire going, but no one will be listening or interested in what we are says as usual.

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