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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

    Originally posted by TomServo View Post
    A particularly nasty article about Kars and its connections to Armenia by Norman Stone.
    One wonders if there is a secret handbook they consult.

    Like the "Kars occupied one of the essential strategic places, connecting Anatolia with the Caucasus, and invaders – Urartian, Armenian, Byzantine, Ottoman – had to have it." bit. I've seen the identical line a number of times before. One of the most ridiculous was in the form of a statement that Ani is not an Armenian city but an Urartian one since Urartians were there first and the Armenians are just invaders (that was in the Global Herritage Fund's secret report on Ani - one of its staff members almost got dismissed for giving me a mere glance at it. I wish I had paid more attention to its contents than that mere glance - it is still a secret, unreleased report. It is full of lies and propaganda so they could get permission from Turkey to take control of Ani - which they wanted so that they could get access to millions of dollars of funds from European and Japanese foundations They got the control - but not the money since the global recession started).

    And of course, they never call the current lot of Turks "invaders" - everyone is an "invader" except the actual invader!
    Last edited by bell-the-cat; 03-15-2013, 01:58 PM.
    Plenipotentiary meow!


    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?


      14:57, 10 April, 2013

      YEREVAN, APRIL 10, ARMENPRESS. Turkish website touched
      upon the issue of nationality of prominent Armenian medieval architect
      of the Ottoman Empire Sinan and stated that nobody tells anything
      about the Armenian identity of the famous architect, of whom both
      the Ottomans and the Turks were proud about.

      As reports "Armenpress" the website stated that the chief architect
      of the medieval period of the Ottoman Empire Sinan was born in an
      Armenian family in a small town called Agırnas near the city of
      Kayseri in Anatolia. At the age of 22 Sinan was conscripted into
      Ottoman service as a son of Christian. He is the first Armenian,
      upon whom the title of Pasha was bestowed.

      Among other things the Turkish website stated: "Nobody was worried
      about Sinan's Armenian origin in the Ottoman Empire. But after the
      establishment of the Republic of Turkey the Turkish "scientists",
      who suffer the complex of inferiority, opened his tomb to discover
      whether he was a Turk or not."

      Sinân ~Bgâ was the chief Ottoman architect (Turkish: "Mimar")
      and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II,
      and Murad III. He was responsible for the construction of more than
      three hundred major structures and other more modest projects, such
      as his Islamic primary schools. His apprentices would later design
      the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Stari Most in Mostar and help
      design the Taj Mahal in the Mughal Empire.

      The son of a stonemason, he received a technical education and
      became a military engineer. He rose rapidly through the ranks to
      become first an officer and finally a Janissary commander, with the
      honorific title of aga. He refined his architectural and engineering
      skills while on campaign with the Janissaries, becoming expert
      at constructing fortifications of all kinds, as well as military
      infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges and aqueducts. At
      about the age of fifty, he was appointed as chief royal architect,
      applying the technical skills he had acquired in the army to the
      "creation of fine religious buildings" and civic structures of all
      kinds. He remained in post for almost fifty years.

      His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, although his most
      famous work is the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul. He headed an extensive
      governmental department and trained many assistants who, in turn,
      distinguished themselves, including Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, architect of
      the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. He is considered the greatest architect of
      the classical period of Ottoman architecture, and has been compared
      to Michelangelo, his contemporary in the West. Michelangelo and his
      plans for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome were well known in Istanbul,
      since Leonardo da Vinci and he had been invited, in 1502 and 1505
      respectively, by the Sublime Porte to submit plans for a bridge
      spanning the Golden Horn.
      Hayastan or Bust.


      • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

        Yes, Armenpress, I am sure is truly representative of the Turkish media.


        • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

          Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
          April 27 2013

          World press on an Islamic apology to Armenians (April 27, 2013)
          27 April 2013 - 3:27pm

          "On April 24, the day that Armenians all around the world remember
          their Great Catastrophe - or their ethnic cleansing from Anatolia in
          1915 - a very interesting piece appeared in Turkish daily Star. Its
          writer was Hakan Albayrak, a committed Muslim, even an `Islamist,' and
          a veteran of the Gaza Flotilla of 2010. And his headline was simple
          and blunt enough: `We have to apologize to the Armenians.' - the
          article by Mustafa Akyol published by the Hurriyet Gaily News begins.

          According to the author, "we cannot make excuses for the violent
          murders of thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of
          Armenians by Muslims. We should not see this as excusable. It would
          not be fair for the umma [faith community] of the Prophet of Mercy

          "The roots of this gap lie in the different paradigms that these two
          largest camps in Turkish politics refer to: The Kemalists are the
          sentinels of Turkish nationalism, a secular ideology, which was also
          the driving force behind the ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Armenians in
          1915. The Islamic conservatives, on the other hand, believe in the
          older paradigm that had allowed the Armenians to co-exist with Turks
          and Kurds for centuries, in line with Islam's respect for `the People
          of the Book.' Their very Islamism, in other words, is what makes them
          more compassionate to Armenians" the article reads.

          "Of course, not every Islamic figure is as bold and progressive on
          this issue as Hakan Albayrak. Yet still, his piece, and the support it
          has gathered among the conservatives, is a notable sign for the
          future. It signals that Turkey's progress on the `Armenian issue,'
          just like in the `Kurdish issue,' will be spearheaded by Islamic minds
          more than secular ones." the author concludes.

          Hayastan or Bust.


          • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

            Originally posted by TomServo View Post
            A particularly nasty article about Kars and its connections to Armenia by Norman Stone.

            I only recently came across this article from The Guardian, which discusses Stone's tantrum after the (retired) British Ottomanist Colin Imber gave one of his texts a negative review.

            Stone actually dismissed the review based on Imber's low sales ranking. Gawd.

            I know Imber has also been unkind to Justin McCarthy's revisionist effluvia. It's nice that there are actually scholars of Ottoman history who don't feel like they have to tow the Turkish line. And it's really cool that Imber was defended by Earthsea author Ursula K. Le Guin!
            Last edited by TomServo; 05-09-2013, 11:29 PM.


            • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

              "Bearing Witness to the Lost History of an Armenian Family" - Exhibition in Istanbul.

              An exhibition about a family forced to leave their home
              26 May 2013 /RUMEYSA KIGER, İSTANBUL

              Armen T. Marsoobian is a professor of philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University in the US and teaches several courses including American philosophy, aesthetics, moral philosophy and genocide issues.

              He is also a descendant of an Armenian family who lived in Anatolia for generations but were forced to leave their home and properties or be killed.

              İstanbul's Tophane neighborhood is currently home to an archival exhibition featuring the family history of Marsoobian's relatives between 1872 and 1923. Titled “Bearing Witness to the Lost History of an Armenian Family: Through the Lens of the Dildilian Brothers,” the show consists of the records and photographs of the members of the Dildilian family who documented their lives in Sivas, Merzifon and Samsun and the surrounding areas of Anatolia in a period that was full of suffering for Armenians.

              Marsoobian's uncles, Humayag and Ara Dildilian, tried to write down the family's story but they died before finishing it, and all the documents, letters and memoirs passed down Armen; it took him 20 years before assembling them into this exhibition.

              From shoemaking to photography
              Tsolag Dildilian's father, Krikor, was well known for the shoes he made that were “as light as a butterfly” in Sivas, and many prominent figures including Governor Memduh Mehmet Pasha, who later became the minister of the interior, bought his shoes. Tsolag, however, did not want to continue with his father's profession since he was passionate about photography. Photographer Mikael Natourian from İstanbul joined Tsolag in Sivas to open a photography studio, and the two men took turns to visit villages and towns to take photographs.

              Moving to Anatolia College in Merzifon
              When the studio's fame reached the American Anatolia College in Merzifon, they were asked to photograph students and staff. After a while, Tsolag was asked to be the school's official photographer and moved to Merzifon with his family. This was a time the Armenian communities were suffering from constant massacres in the region, but the family was protected due to their association with the school. Tsolag also took shots of people, places, events and rural landscapes in Merzifon, some of which were turned into postcards. Tsolag's brother, Aram, who had an amputated leg, assisted him.

              World War I and 1915
              In 1914, there was no graduation ceremony at the school because after the war broke out, eight Armenian and Greek members of the faculty were drafted and the number of the students was halved. A year later, many Anatolian Armenians were killed and their villages plundered. Armenian soldiers in the army were disarmed and then forced to help with road construction and transportation before being massacred, or just left to starve or freeze. Also in İstanbul, the intellectual and political Armenian elite were arrested and then shot. After a while, the deportation of Armenians from Anatolia began. Males were separated and killed, and the women and children were led towards the Syrian desert. Throughout their journey, women were raped and abducted to become maids, or died due to starvation or disease, their bodies dumped on roadsides and in rivers.

              The Dildilian brothers were saved because state officials used them to take photographs of prominent figures and events in Sivas and Merzifon. One day, a military officer warned Tsolag about the danger for his family and that same day they went to the municipality and converted to Islam in front of the mufti.

              Founding the Orphanage
              After World War 1, Aram went to Samsun and was horrified by the sights he saw: homeless orphans all around the city. He began to take pictures of them and wrote numerous letters to people he knew to build an orphanage for them. There were about 2,500 orphans in Merzifon at the time. The brothers photographed them and helped to organize a school for them.

              Leaving home
              In 1921 the school was shut down amid the massacres of Greeks and Armenians in Merzifon. Aram got the assurance of the Near East Relief officials to transport all the orphans to Greece. The Dildilians also decided to leave their homeland on the same ship.

              The exhibition features information taken from Tsolag and Aram Dildilian's and their niece Maritsa Der Medaksian's journals, photographs of family members that the brothers took in Sivas, Merzifon, Samsun, Konya and Amasya over the years, along with memoirs of the Anatolia College faculty and photo archives of the school.

              “Bearing Witness to the Lost History of an Armenian Family” will run until June 8 at the Depo in İstanbul's Tophane neighborhood. For more information, visit
              Plenipotentiary meow!


              • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?


                Hurriyet, Turkey
                June 6 2013

                GERARD J. LIBARIDIAN

                When the AKP and Erdogan came to power in Turkey in 2002, there
                were reasons to think that they would correct the state policies
                for dealing with history, particularly regarding the treatment of
                Armenians by the Ottoman government during the First World War.

                Since their political philosophy is derived mainly from religious
                concepts rather than secular statism and nationalism, Erdogan and
                the AKP could have denounced those policies outright. In fact they
                could have pointed out that it was extreme statist and nationalist
                ideology, rather than Islam, that was responsible. He could have saved
                that dimension of Ottoman legacy that was tolerant by rejecting the
                extremist policies of the wartime Committee of Union and Progress
                (CUP) government as inimical to Islamic values; and if CUP policies
                can best be characterized as genocide, so be it.

                When Erdogan came to power, he was much more open in his treatment
                of the Armenian issue; he wanted to leave history to historians. This
                was an opening, since the Turkish state had always dictated historical
                narratives down to every schoolbook.

                The two protocols signed by Turkey and Armenia in October 2009 that
                aimed at the normalization of relations between the two countries
                had an indirect but clear reference to a joint study of the genocide
                issue. It appeared that Erdogan, with support from Gul, wished to
                move forward.

                Even more significantly, in 2011, Erdogan apologized for the massacre
                of civilian Kurdish subjects in 1938 and 1939 in Dersim/Tunceli. The
                idea and gesture of an apology itself are more important than the
                details. No Turkish leader had ever apologized for an atrocious policy
                or crime that the Ottoman or Turkish state had ever committed against
                its own subjects. Additionally, Erdogan or Davutoglu have used the
                term genocide for situations that are far less sinister than what
                happened to Armenians in 1915.

                Hence, instead of denying genocide, Erdogan could have opted for
                another method: The genocide of the Armenian people was committed
                by the CUP in power. And in committing that crime, the CUP was not
                acting as a Muslim government but rather as primarily a power-hungry
                clique that had taken over the government illegally in the name of a
                particular vision and used religion only to help make their policies
                work and "seem" sanctioned by the dominant religion, Islam. This is
                a perfectly legitimate political argument as well as a historically
                valid one.

                Prime Minister Erdogan could have made that argument and resolved an
                extremely thorny issue; he would have gained international respect
                both from governments and from civil societies in a large number
                of countries it relates to. But that is not what has happened, not
                yet anyway.

                By declaring that Muslims, by definition, could not commit genocide -
                as was the case regarding Sudan and Darfur - Erdogan might have thought
                he was saving Islam. In fact, by exempting authors of genocide who
                happen to be Muslims from that charge, Erdogan is making critical
                discussion, and historical analysis, irrelevant; and in doing so,
                he is creating more problems for the religion he is trying to save.

                However, this is not first time that blinders have covered the eyes
                of a Turkish leader - no matter how liberal or reformist. The Armenian
                issue is, indeed, the blind spot of Turkish leaders' vision.

                When CUP came to power in 1908, it had two options. The first was
                dealing with the social and economic issues raised by Armenians. The
                second option was to see the Armenian Question as a foreign plot,
                therefore, subject to justifiable repression. The Young Turks started
                with the first and ended up opting for the second. The result was
                what happened in 1915.

                When Erdogan came to power, he too had options: he could have seen the
                Armenian issue as a matter integral to Ottoman and Turkish history,
                a revision of which history being necessary to better pursue the
                democratization of the country; or, to continue the state policies
                on this issue as if it is a foreign-inspired conspiracy fueled by
                imperialists' designs to break up Turkey.

                Erdogan gave signals opting for the first; the question is, has he,
                too, ended up with the second option?

                * Gerard J. Libaridian is a historian who served as senior advisor
                to the first president of independent Armenia, between 1991 and 1997.

                This article is an abbreviated version of the original article
                published in Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ).


                Hayastan or Bust.


                • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                  Originally posted by Artashes View Post
                  Thank you Hayayrun.
                  I am agreeing with you 100%.
                  I hope you understand that I was being facetious when I said an Armenian's word is no good.
                  My post that you quoted was and is 100% in agreement with what you said.
                  I feel many on this forum need to hear the words you spoke to get an --- honest --- and accurate understanding of the preponderance of those who call themselves turks.
                  Thanks for your input.
                  Sincerely Artashes.
                  Dear Artashes,

                  I am in fact positive surprised and also happy, because I got 100% support and agreement from you.
                  God bless you
                  Thank you

                  Sincerely Hayayrun from Munic
                  Turks are very proud until now, that they brutal slaughtered at 1915-17 almost 3 000 000 christians in the otoman empire.


                  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                    Artashes is still in hibernation mode in Alaska and probably he is out hunting and beyond any communication range, let alone internet.....he will contact us once he returns to base.

                    There is an Armenian in every part of the planet and the cosmos, like an ambassador.....Artashes is our representative in Alaska.
                    B0zkurt Hunter


                    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                      Did you guys know Abdullah calan is Armenian? Azeri Wikipedia says so:

                      It's like, sourced and everything.