Ömer Engin LÜTEM
2 May 2014
Some Armenian circles have found it insufficient that Prime Minister Erdoğan expressed his condolences towards the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives during the events of 1915. In general, it was indicated that Turkey should accept the allegations of genocide, and sometimes it was asked to apologize.
There is neither an expression, nor sign, nor even a hint in the Prime Minister’s message that he will recognize the genocide allegations or apologize for the events. In any case, since according to international law it is necessary for either a special national court or an international criminal court to decide whether or not an event constitutes genocide, and since no such decision exists, recognizing the allegations of genocide is out of question. With regard to an apology, it is necessary to be responsible for an event or act in order to apologize. Since the Republic of Turkey was established eight years after the events of 1915, it is in no way responsible for the relocation of Armenians. In this respect, the most that can be morally done today for the events of 1915 is to express condolence, which has already been done.
A topic that must focused on in this regard is that the Armenians were not the only ones to experience the “events that had inhumane consequences” during the First World War. Turks and other Muslims too were subjected to “inhumane” events due to the attacks of the Armenians during this war. It has been proven by published Ottoman archival documents that the total number of Muslims killed by Armenians gangs in Eastern Anatolia between the years 1914-1920 is 518,000. (See: Documents on Massacre Perpetrated by Armenians, edited by Yusuf Sarınay, The Turkish Republic Prime Ministry General Directorate of State Archives, 2001). Additionally, it is beyond doubt that it is an “inhumane” incident that Turkish diplomats posted abroad were martyred by Armenian terrorists in 1970s and 1980s, just because they were representing Turkey.
If it is intended to reach reconciliation and peace between the Turkish and Armenian nations and states, it is required to accept that all sides have had pain and casualties, and to show respect to them. For this, it would be quite pertinent for Armenia to convey condolences, representing all Armenians, for the Muslims massacred during and after the First World War in Eastern Anatolia and to the martyred diplomats.
On the other hand, it has created a discomfort for the Turkish public that Armenia has continuously defamed Turkey, accused it, and demanded compensation and land from it. Conveyance of condolences by the Armenians would eliminate this discomfort to a great extent and would lead to an easier path to reconciliation.
Lastly, it is beyond doubt that new steps expected of Turkey in the reconciliation process would materialize much more smoothly in the case of an expression of condolences.
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