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Pride hinders recognition

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  • Pride hinders recognition

    Refusal to acknowledge Armenian genocide
    For the Turkish state, and many Turks, to admit their forebears committed
    genocide is something they will not even consider
    BY MATTHEW MCALLESTER
    Newsday Staff Correspondent

    November 29, 2006, 3:13 PM EST

    ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all
    Turkey, was silent for a second.

    He had just been asked by a reporter if he acknowledged that the Armenian
    genocide happened.

    "Uhhhh," he said, "I acknowledge that people were killed." He was silent
    again. "Many people lost their lives."

    More uneasy silence followed.

    This from a man whose paternal grandfather was the only one of six ethnic
    Armenian brothers to make it back to Istanbul after being, as he put it,
    "deported to the Syrian desert" in 1915. They were among more than a million
    ethnic Armenians who suffered a similar fate at the hands of Ottoman Turks:
    They were rounded up, deported to concentration camps and, for the most
    part, killed.

    "So severe has been the treatment that careful estimates place the number of
    survivors at only 15 percent of those originally deported," the U.S. consul
    in Aleppo wrote to the State Department in 1915 in a dispatch quoted in a
    recent article in The New Yorker magazine. "On this basis the number
    surviving even this far being less than 150,000 . there seems to have been
    about 1,000,000 persons lost up to this date."

    What Mesrob II, who will meet the visiting Pope Benedict XVI today in
    Istanbul, could not or would not say was that the Turks of the then-Ottoman
    Empire committed genocide against the Armenians who lived in modern-day
    Turkey. For the Turkish state, and many Turks, to admit their forebears
    committed genocide is something they will not even consider, and it makes
    many Turks extremely angry even to suggest the genocide happened.

    Authors and journalists, including Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk,
    have been prosecuted for suggesting it took place. But for the 65,000 ethnic
    Armenians -- mostly Orthodox Christians -- who live in this country of 70
    million Muslims, to speak publicly of genocide would not be just brave, but
    potentially suicidal.

    "Probably the state wouldn't do anything directly except make some
    statement" if Mesrob was to say there had been a genocide, said Murat Belge,
    one of Pamuk's publishers and an organizer of an unprecedented conference
    last year in Istanbul about the genocide.

    "Very likely he would be assassinated by some fascists," continued Belge,
    who was himself prosecuted under a controversial law last year for writing
    critical articles about a court's ban on the conference. "The Patriarchate
    would be burned down. A lot of Armenians would be shot in their daily
    lives."

    Mesrob, in an interview at the well-guarded Armenian Patriarchate in
    Istanbul, said many different peoples, governments, political parties and
    even his own Armenian Patriarchate should share the blame for what happened
    in 1915. He said he believed the best way for Turks and Armenians to
    reconcile is for Turkey to open its border with Armenia and for the two
    countries to encourage exchange visits and other ways of generating mutual
    sympathy.

    "It's not a matter of being silent about the issue," he said. "It's a matter
    of how can you make friends with someone. Do you from the first moment
    simply confront the person?"

    If it's not silence, then it's a pragmatic sort of self-censorship. Growing
    up, Mesrob's father never talked to him about what happened to the previous
    generation, he said. "I think they didn't want us to be at odds with our
    Muslim neighbors."

    That parenting method continues today among the ethnic Armenians in Turkey,
    Mesrob said. "We don't tell our children about historical problems so they
    won't face problems."

    The Turkish government's position on the events of 1915 is that the people
    who died in the region at the time died as a result of inter-ethnic
    fighting, disease and hardships caused by war.

    More than 20 countries have officially recognized the genocide, as have a
    majority of the 50 states in the United States, including New York. It is
    long-standing State Department policy not to refer to the events of 1915 as
    genocide; many critics of this policy see it as a politically expedient way
    of avoiding alienating a crucial American ally.

    Most Western historians agree the genocide happened. Last year, the
    International Association of Genocide Scholars wrote to Turkey's prime
    minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about it, concluding: "We believe that it is
    clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud
    and equal participant in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge
    the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian
    people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of
    the Holocaust."

    Such an acknowledgement will not come easily or quickly -- if at all.

    "Until the 1980s there was a total loss of memory," said a Turkish political
    powerbroker who requested anonymity because of the topic's sensitivity.
    "Nobody talked about this. It was the policy of the omnipotent state not to
    talk about anything negative."

    Last year's conference in Istanbul and a growing concern about the issue
    within Europe -- a recent French law makes it a crime to deny the genocide
    happened -- have moved Turkey slightly closer to coming to terms with its
    past.

    "The skeletons are there and they have not vanished," the Turkish
    powerbroker said. "Now we are going to open the cupboard."

    If Turkey is to gain entry to the European Union, it likely will have to
    acknowledge its actions in 1915 -- although Turkey accepting the word
    "genocide" could forever remain a sticking point.

    Egemen Bagis, foreign policy adviser to Erdogan, said in an interview that
    last year Erdogan made an offer to the Armenian president: Both countries
    would establish an independent investigative commission and open up all
    countries' archives in order to establish what happened.

    "No other politician in Turkey's history has ever said he is ready to face
    his own history," Bagis said.

    But when asked if he recognized that a genocide took place, Bagis responded
    quickly: "I don't.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Joseph View Post
    ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all
    Turkey, was silent for a second.

    He had just been asked by a reporter if he acknowledged that the Armenian
    genocide happened.

    "Uhhhh," he said, "I acknowledge that people were killed." He was silent
    again. "Many people lost their lives."
    Maybe if every Istanbul Armenian were, on sight, to boot the Mutafyan-poodledog firmly between his legs then perhaps he might stop his poodling (and it is not as if it would do Mutafyan lasting harm - he obviously is lacking certain anatomical parts down there). Though it is unlikely to happen, since those who would be required to swing the boot are equally under-endowed in the courage department (i.e. no balls).
    Plenipotentiary meow!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
      Maybe if every Istanbul Armenian were, on sight, to boot the Mutafyan-poodledog firmly between his legs then perhaps he might stop his poodling (and it is not as if it would do Mutafyan lasting harm - he obviously is lacking certain anatomical parts down there). Though it is unlikely to happen, since those who would be required to swing the boot are equally under-endowed in the courage department (i.e. no balls).
      I'm kinda surprised that nobody commented on this.

      Does that mean everyone agreed - Mutafyan deserves to be kicked where it hurts most.
      Plenipotentiary meow!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
        I'm kinda surprised that nobody commented on this.

        Does that mean everyone agreed - Mutafyan deserves to be kicked where it hurts most.

        I believe we do!
        General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
          I'm kinda surprised that nobody commented on this.

          Does that mean everyone agreed - Mutafyan deserves to be kicked where it hurts most.
          Was it not one of the Ottoman sultans who established the Constantinople Patriarchate in the first place?

          Why is he so outspoken anyway? He spent years at the seminary in Echmiadzin studying theology, Armenian history and whatnot so he cannot possibly be a denier. I wonder why Karekin II has not dissolved the Patriarchate or at least ousted Mutafian yet? I suppose he chooses not to mix politics with religion. Speaking of which, what do you guys think about the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon?

          Comment


          • #6
            Orhan Pamuk Welcomed with Placard "There Was No Armenian Genocide"

            PanARMENIAN.Net
            22.12.2006 17:30 GMT+04:00

            /PanARMENIAN.Net/ A conference titled "Orhan Pamuk and Literature"
            was held Sabanci University, Istanbul, December 21. It had been the
            first meeting of Orhan Pamuk with Turkish readers since he received
            the Nobel Prize, Milliyet reports.

            During the conference two students raised a placard which said
            "There was no Armenian Genocide". While Pamuk was calmly looking at
            them the audience gave a sharp reaction and the students had to live
            the conference.

            To remind, in an interview with a Swiss newspaper Pamuk said that
            30 thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were slaughtered in Turkey
            during World War I. Later, when receiving the Peace Award in Frankfurt
            he said, "I repeat, 30 thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were
            slaughtered in our state. I am consistent in my utterances."
            General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.

            Comment


            • #7
              The article below is actually kind of funny and pathetic. I can only imagine how idiotic those CD's are. Not to mention the fact no one will actually devote any time to view them.

              TURKISH OPPONENTS OF "FALSE GENOCIDE CLAIMS" SEND INFORMATION TO US LEADERS

              Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
              Jan 10 2007

              Erzurum, 10 January: Association to fight against false genocide claims
              (ASIMED) sent a multimedia CD to American President George W. Bush and
              the US Congress members, featuring an account of services committed
              by Turks to humanity throughout the history.

              The ASIMED chairman, Assistant Prof Savas Egilmez, speaking to Anatolia
              correspondent underscored Turks have made sacrifices all throughout
              history that set example to humanity.

              "We are not a nation that committed genocides but one that saved the
              victims of genocides. History is full of such examples and the whole
              world knows this," said Egilmez.

              Underlining the excitement of the Armenian lobby in the USA after
              the Democrats' victory in the elections and election of their
              supporter Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as the new Speaker of the House
              of Representatives, Egilmez said, "The Armenians started lobbying
              right after the elections to make it possible for the 'genocide lie'
              to be acknowledged by the American Congress. They aim to demand amends
              and claim land from Turkey after making the strongest country in the
              world recognize the so-called genocide."

              Reminding the remarks of one of the most important supporters of
              the Armenian lobby, California Congressman Adam Schiff, saying "our
              chances of getting the Armenian genocide draft accepted at the congress
              is the highest in 10 years", Egilmez said they started a campaign to
              inform members of the Congress and asked Turkish citizens to support
              the campaign and send e-mails to congressmen.
              General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.

              Comment

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