Turkish Writer Shames Ankara For Denial of Armenian Genocide
Turkish Writer Shames Ankara For Denial of Armenian Genocide
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
An increasing number of Turks have been acknowledging recently the facts of the Armenian Genocide and openly expressing their sympathy toward the survivors of the horrible crime committed by their ancestors.
However, no one should jump to the conclusion that the Turkish government is getting close to recognizing the Genocide. The Turkish leaders are becoming more, not less, recalcitrant in their refusal to face the facts of their bloody history. Not only are they denying that their ancestors committed genocide, but, incredibly, they are blaming the Armenians for killing millions of Turks! Furthermore, Prime Minister Erdogan is shamelessly calling on those countries that have already acknowledged the Armenian Genocide to apologize to Turkey! The Turkish parliament has even adopted new laws that criminalize the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
There is a simple explanation for this wide divide between the Turkish people and their government. Turkey is not a democracy. The citizens of Turkey have very little influence on the policies of their government.
The following very touching article by Ahmet Altan, a righteous Turkish writer, reflects how much Turkey must evolve before it can be classified among the ranks of civilized European nations. This article, translated into English, is simply titled “Genocide.” It was posted in Turkish on www.gazetem.net on May 9:
* * * * *
I would like to ask you a very simple, ordinary question. Would you wish to have been an Armenian in 1915? No, you wouldn't. Because you now know that you would have been killed.
Please stop arguing about the number of murdered or the denials or the attempts to replace pain with statistics. No one is denying that Armenians were murdered, right? It may be 300,000, or 500,000, or 1 million, or 1.5 million. I don't know which number is the truth, or whether anyone knows the exact number.
What I do know is that there are dead people and suffering behind these numbers. We forget that we are really talking about human beings when we are passionately debating the numbers. Those numbers cannot make us understand the murdered babies, women, the elderly, the teenage boys and girls.
If we leave these numbers aside, and if we allow ourselves to hear the story of only one of these murders, I am sure that even those of us who get enraged when they hear the words "Armenian Genocide" will feel the suffering and have tears in their eyes. Because they will then realize that we are talking about human beings.
When we hear about a baby snatched from a mother's lap and killed by being smashed against the rocks, or a youth shot to death beside a hill, or an old woman strangled by her tender neck, even the most cold- hearted among us will be ashamed to say, "Yes, but they killed Turks too."
Most of these people killed no one. These people became the innocent victims of a crazed government -- established on murder -- whose ruthlessness is only matched by its incompetence. This bloody insanity was so barbaric that we can neither take pride in nor be a part of. This was a slaughter that we should be ashamed of, and, if possible, share in the pain.
I understand that the word "genocide" has a damningly critical importance, based on the fact that the Armenians, leaving aside the tragedy of their ancestors, continuously exclaim, "Accept the Genocide," and similarly, the Turks, while acknowledging that hundreds of thousands were killed, say "No, it was not at all a genocide."
And yet, this word is not that important for me, no matter how significant it is in politics and diplomacy. What is more important for me is the fact that many innocent people were killed so barbarically.
When I see the shadow that this great tragedy casts on our times, I see another great injustice done to the Armenians.
Our guilt today is, not allowing the Armenians even to grieve for their cruelly killed relatives and parents. Which Armenian living in Turkey today can openly grieve and commemorate a murdered grandmother, grandfather or uncle?
I have no part in the terrible sin committed by the Ittihadists, but the sin of not allowing grief for the dead belongs to all of us today. Do you really want to commit this sin?
Is there anyone among us who would not shed tears for a family attacked and killed at home in the middle of the night, or for a little girl having lost her mother is left all alone in the hell called "deportation," or for her white-bearded Armenian grandfather shot to death?
Whether you call it genocide or not, hundreds of thousands of human beings were murdered. Hundreds of thousands of lives were extinguished.
The fact that some Armenian fighters also killed some Turks cannot be an excuse to mask the truth from our eyes.
Every human being of conscience is capable of grieving for the murdered Armenians, Turks, and Kurds. If you ask me, we all should. Babies died; women and old people died. They died tormented, crying and horrified.
Is it really so important for you what religion or race these murdered people had?
Even in these terrifying times there were Turks who risked their lives trying to rescue Armenian children. We are as much the children of these rescuers as the children of the murderers.
Instead of siding with the barbarism of the murderers, why don't we side with the rescuers' compassion, honesty, and courage? There are no more victims left to be rescued today, but there is grief to be shared and supported. What's the use of a bloody, warmongering dance around a deep pain?
Forget the numbers, forget the Armenians, forget the Turks. Just think of the babies, teenagers, women and the elderly with broken necks, slashed bellies, and mutilated bodies. Think about these people, one by one.
If nothing moves in you when you hear a baby wail as her mother is murdered, I have nothing to say to you. Add my name then to the list of "traitors."
Because I am ready to share with the Armenians the grief of so many people killed. Because I believe there is something yet to be rescued from all these meaningless and callous arguments. That something is called "humanity."
Back To Harut Sassounian