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Sedat LAÇİNER, Asst. Prof. Dr.
05 March 2007 - Journal of Turkish Weekly
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Unfortunately, Turkish-Armenian relations are being controlled by the discussions about Turks and Armenians who died nearly a century ago instead of being related with the living people of the two societies.

!stry’. Many people from the Armenian Diaspora owe their reputation and authority to this problem and gain income from the conflict between Turks and Armenians. Armenia, which was established in 1991, unfortunately has contracted this disease. Currently, no one can ask questions to Kocharyan about the economy, democratization, the Karabakh issue or any other current or vital Armenian problems, but ‘genocide’. Whenever he is in trouble, Mr. Kocharyan always repeats the Armenian claims against Turkey; not only when he is in the country but also when he is in abroad. Before anybody to be able to ask questions about the Azeri territories under Armenian occupation for more than a decade, he says that “Turks massacred us in 1915 and now they may do the very same thing again.” When they ask about the democratization and the economic growth of the country his answer is ready again “We are besieged by the Turks that is why our country cannot develop.”

Lately, the hottest issue among the radicals in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora is Hrant Dink’s murder. Dink was an Istanbul Armenian and an intellectual. For several times, I had the opportunity to meet him face to face and the ones who know the matter deeply will admit how superficial it would be to relate Dink’s death with the Armenian issue. This is a job of the gangs, who call themselves ‘deep state’ and are against the democratization and the EU process in Turkey. Besides, most of the victims of the assassinations are of the Turkish origin. As a matter of fact that Dink is the only Armenian victim in political murders in the Republican history.

Another regrettable dimension is that those, who Hrant Dink had fought against all of his life, is trying to make politics through Dink’s death. The some of the radicals in Armenian diaspora try to abuse his death to deepen the Turkish-Armenian problem although Dink made all possible efforts to close both peoples when he was alive. The Diaspora blamed Dink of being a betrayer and a servant of Turkey.

In 2004, on the last week of November an international meeting was held in Marseille, in France. In this meeting, the tension increased between Turkey’s Armenians and the radicals of the Armenian Diaspora. Being humiliated by the Armenian Diaspora, Etyen Mahcupyan and Hrant Dink blamed the radicals in the Diaspora of making politics through the corpses and not wanting a resolution in Armenian issue. Mahcupyan and Dink advocated that Turkey’s EU membership would be a key factor for the resolution of the Armenian issue and they claimed that the Diaspora had not changed and was afraid of any step that would be taken by Turkey.[1] Mahcupyan summarizes the meeting as follows:

“I said that “You are resisting against Turkey trying to become a member of the EU; which means that in fact, you are resisting against the Armenian genocide to be recognized.” They got angry. I continued as “You would be relieved if no Armenians had left in Turkey since it would only be your voice to be heard. You still prefer to make politics through the corpse. However, the politics should be made through the live people.” And I added that “The Armenians in Turkey are aware of everything.” Up to now, it was impossible to hear the voice of Turkey’s Armenians in international meetings. Due to this fact, it was being perceived that there was a monolithic, a total Armenian opinion. In this meeting, the rigid and sick attitude of the Armenian Diaspora was revealed once again. Since the resistance of the Diaspora on Turkey’s membership to the EU not only contradicts with the interests of Armenia but also against the interests of Armenians in Turkey.”[2]

Dink, being one of Turkish Armenians and the chief editor of the AGOS weekly newspaper, attended to the meeting and blamed the Armenian Diaspora of failing to change[3];

“Change is something that draws everyone behind it and becomes determinative. In fact, this is the most important blessing of the humankind. The ones, who say that some people cannot change – which Diaspora claims that Turkey has not change – are in a big mistake. However, the world and Turkey is changing and the Diaspora should participate in this and support Turkey’s change and democratization process. Today, the Diaspora should ask itself what is the meaning of the carried on campaigns against Turkey’s EU membership by the Armenian Diaspora in Europe, particularly by the Diaspora in France. Because this membership process definitely changes Turkey and if the “Armenian Genocide” problem to be resolved, this would be in the framework of this process. Accordingly, blocking this process, in a way means blocking the resolution and preventing Turkish people to question their history and to see the truths. The Diaspora should primarily think about the future of the Armenian world. And the future of this world is closely related with the security and the future of Armenia. The aimed objective should particularly be this and the Diaspora should reorganize all of its demands in this context. Thus, nowadays it is the common sense that the Diaspora needs the most.”

His criticisms on Diaspora do not stop here. Mr. Dink stated that the Diaspora had built the Armenian identity on Turkish hostility and he defined this situation as “the poison in the Armenian blood”. In accordance with Dink’s opinion, Armenians by building their identity on Turkish opposition was only poisoning themselves and neglecting the most important parts of the Armenian identity. He was insisting that Armenian identity should have been built on Armenia and the Turkish hostility “should be replaced with the noble ties that would be established with Armenia”. In fact, he promoted the whole relations with Armenia only for the possibility of evolution of a new approach. While being accused as a betrayer Dink took the risk of being not-wanted-man not only in Turkey but also among Armenians.

Dink was accusing the Diaspora of “making politics through the corpse” in Marseille Conference. Unfortunately, the Diaspora insists on this habit and now they are making politics through the Dink’s corpse.

By the way, it should be noted that the ‘Armenian Issue Industry’ on the Armenian side creates a similar industry here in Turkey and this would result in the problems to become permanent and never to be resolved.


[1] Sefa Kaplan, ‘Rahatız Diye Üzülmeyin’, (Do Not Be Disturbed Because We are in Comfort), Hürriyet, 30 Kasım 2004; ‘Diasporaya Sağduyu Daveti’, (Common Sense Call for the Diaspora), Agos, 26 Kasım 2004.

[2] Sefa Kaplan, ‘Rahatız Diye Üzülmeyin’ (Do Not Be Disturbed Because We are in Comfort), Hürriyet, 30 Kasım 2004.

[3] ‘Diasporaya Sağduyu Daveti’ (Common Sense Call for the Diaspora) , Agos, 26 Kasım 2004.

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