Ömer Engin LÜTEM
April 29, 2014
Armenian Diaspora organizations have reacted negatively against Prime Minister Erdoğan’s message regarding the events of 1915. Demanding that Turkey recognize the claims of Armenian genocide, these organizations have found the expression of condolence to be insufficient. Some of these organizations have interpreted the expression of condolence to be a new form of denialism, while others have alleged that this was an attempt to go against the commemoration events held on April 24 of this year and especially the events that will be held on the upcoming centenary of 1915.
In spite of this, a few well-known figures in the Diaspora have expressed that they found the message to be important and meaningful.
With regard to the reaction of the Armenian government, President Sargsyan has heavily criticized Turkey based on claims of genocide during a speech he made for April 24. He then went to Prague to attend the European Union Eastern Partnership high level meeting and continued his criticisms against Turkey during his speech. As such, he has attempted to disregard Erdoğan’s message by not mentioning it.
Some second level officials of the Armenian government have expressed their opinions about the Prime Minister’s message and have made negative statements similar to the Diaspora organizations.
With regard to other countries, the stance of both the press and political officials are generally positive. However, President of France François Hollande has mentioned that the message was not sufficient.
It is not surprising that the Prime Minister’s message that expresses condolences and contains expression of good will towards Armenians has been met with negative reaction from both the Diaspora and also Armenia. It was already evident that Armenians, who so to speak dream of “defeating” Turkey in 2015, would not accept any initiative that will restrain them in their pursuit of their goals. However, this message is addressed more to third parties, meaning to the peoples and governments of other countries, rather than to Armenians. From this perspective, it will be normal for some countries - which experience problems due to the Turkey-Armenia disagreement and which for this reason are ready to support a resolution – to view Erdoğan’s message as being capable of establishing a new beginning and thus to support it. Meanwhile, it should not be expected for Armenia’s extreme stance to gain acceptance in a time when Armenia has rejected the European Union Partnership.
Armenia will require the assistance and support of not only the Diaspora but also of other countries for the activities it is preparing for 2015. In this framework, it is highly probable that Armenia will bring itself harm rather than benefit by continuing to reject Turkey’s wishes and suggestions for reconciliation.
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