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mer Engin LTEM, Retired Ambassador
28 April 2006 - ?KSAREN
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! face="Verdana" s6NOT ONLY THE OTTOMANS BUT ALSO TURKEY IS BEING ACCUSEDAt the root of the Armenian question rests the allegation that the 1915 Armenian relocation amounts to genocide. r of the Armenians sent to Syria returned in the year 1919. Accordingly, it is the Ottoman Governments that relocated and brought the Armenians back whereby only these governments can be held accountable for this occurrence. With the proclamation of the new Republic in 1923 the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist. Legally speaking, Turkey is the successor of this Empire. Politically speaking, however, this is not the case.  As a matter of fact, the Ankara government brought an end to the Ottoman Empire after vehemently criticizing many of its policies.

Today, it is still not possible to hold anyone responsible for the Armenian relocation for those who took and implemented this decision have passed away long ago. As the Ottoman Empire no longer exists there is also no legal person who can be held accountable for these events. The Armenians sought a  new culprit to overcome this situation and to this end the Turkish Republic was chosen.  On the unfounded premise that the consequences of the relocation continued for many years, it was presented not as corresponding to the years of 1915-1916, but as encompassing the period from 1915-1923. Yet due to this lacking consistency, a new argument was sought and the rather odd claim that as long as there existed deniers there too existed genocide was advanced. Accordingly, Turkey is to be held responsible for “genocide” because it denies this. Apparently, for this reason, Turkey is to firstly recognize the genocide and subsequently pay reparations and thereafter give land to Armenia.

This odd reasoning - or more so lack of reasoning- derives its source from some of the Armenian historians and writers who possess a rather broad imagination. In contrast, to avoid the development of further controversy, the Armenian government has remained silent on the issue of Turkey’s  responsibility and at times oral statements have been made on how Turkey will not be held accountable thereof. In fact, on the occasion of the 24th of April, The Foreign Minister Oskanian and  Vice Minister Kirakosian have issued such statements.

In an interview for the Zaman Newspaper, Kirakosian stated how it was the Turkish Leadership of the time that was responsible for the events of 1915. Also, in a statement addressed to the Armenian Television, Foreign Minister Oskanian expressed that the “Armenians are able to distinguish between the perpetrators and today’s Turkey”. In short, the Foreign Minister and his deputy have voiced that the Turkish Republic does not bear responsibility for the relocation.

In contrast, in a message issued on the 24th of April, contradicting the Foreign Minister and his Deputy, President Kocharian, by stating that “Ottoman Turkey and its successor carry full responsibility for that crime” attempted to accuse the Turkish Republic.

With these words, Kocharian tried to hold Turkey accountable for the so-called genocide for the first time. These statements can be viewed as a sign that Armenia shall pursue a more heavy-handed policy towards Turkey and that genocide allegations shall increase. 


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