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Sedat LAÇİNER, Asst. Prof. Dr.
11 December 2006 - Turkish Weekly
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!â%Ğ@="justify">"Dear Sarkeesian,

You are saying that you are the son of survivors. Interestingly most of the Armenian Diaspora in Lebanon, France, US, Canada and elsewhere are son or daughter of the survivors, or they are the survivors. It is really strange. If the Turks massacred 1,5 million (even 2,5 million Armenians for some), how many Armenians left in 1915? It is strange, because if the Turkish people could have increased its population as the Armenians have done since 1915, Turkey's population would have been about 350 million right now. I mean please re-calculate the Armenian population and be sure how many the Turks killed during the First World War.

Second, all killings are not genocide. There are many crimes. Murder, massacre, genocide etc. Turkish Government and majority of Turkish people accept some Armenian killings. Even some Turkish historians accept that the number of killed Armenians was about 100,000. According to Turkish archive documents about 900.000 Armenians were forced to immigrate to another province of the Empire and about 200-250.000 Armenians were killed or died due to the natural reasons (bad whether, epidemic, famine and other war reasons) and communal clashes. Turkish documents also say that more than 520,000 Muslims were massacred by the armed Armenians. Some historians increase the number to 2 million. When I look at the memoirs of the 'survivors' it is understood that many of them were 4-10 years of children in 1915. It is really difficult to rely on memoris of a 4 year old child to name the 1915 as 'genocide'. It was difficult times, it was really difficult times for a child. But not time of a genocide... Some 'survivors' say that their fathers were 'fedayin'. 'Fedayin' means 'hero' for many Armenians but 'terrorist' or rioter' in the Ottoman documents. At least we have to accept that 'fedayins' are political and killing the armed political activist does not make an event genocide.

I respect your bad memories in Anatolia, and most of the Turkish people have no problem with the Armenian people. That's why more than 70,000 Armenia Armenians prefer Turkey, not Armenia or diaspora, to live and work.

You accuse in your letter Turkey of being "religiously fanatic" and you blame Turkey for "closing the Armenia borders" when Armenian forces occupied the Azeri territories.

First you should keep in your mind that Turkey is a secular country and no Turkish politician accept such a claim. Second, even the OSCE and the Eurpean Union clearly declared that Armenia is a occupier country in Karabakh and other Azeri towns. And it should withdraw from these territories. Turkey closed the borders not for the religious reasons or ethnic solidarity. According to Turkey and international law no country should and can change the existing borders by force. More than 1 million Azeris became refugees and they cannot return to their houses for more than 10 years. If you are the son of a tragedy you should understand most these people. And if you are speaking about a genocide, you should understand most the Hocali Massacre (if not Genocide). It is really strange that Armenian people are very sensitive about the past tragedies but not the most recent tragedies. For example they can support Armenian terrorism against the Azeris and Turkey Turks. They never mention tragedy in Chechnya or genocide committed in Algeria and other Africa countries. They do anything for their own interests, but they never recognize any other 'genocide' for not to anger the great powers. Turkey stick keeps its territorial borders with Armenia, yet the airplanes carry thousands of Armenians to Turkey every week. I mean the air gates are fully open between these two countries. The reason for closed borders is not only the Karabakh and other occupied Azeri territories: Armenia does not recognize Turkey's national borders and call Eastern Turkey as Western Armenia. Imagine, if Turkey does not recognize Armenia's territories and if it claims all Armenia territories Turkish, how Armenia could establish neighborly relations with Turkey.

You wrote in your letter "Turkey's courts are full of journalists and their only crime was mentioning the Armenian Genocide". It is not true. The only journalist now in court is Hrant Dink, and no one has any doubt that the verdict would be in favor of Mr. Dink. And I should remind that the reason is not mentioning 'genocide' term but insulting Turkishness. Turkey's bookshops and libraries are full of pro-Armenian books. Many Armenian so-called genocide literature have been translated to Turkish languages and some Turkish professors defend the Armenian thesis in Turkey. Even Turkish State pay these lecturers in Turkish state universities. People from different approaches, including Taner Akcam can make debate on Armenian issue on Turkish TV and radio stations. And many people may defend opening the Armenian borders on TV and newspapers. There is highly lively debate on Armenians in Turkey right now and no body has been in prison for that. But it is now impossible to speak for a Turkish man or woman about Armenian issue in France, Armenia and Switzerland. Armenia Government event arrested a young Turkish historian. His only 'crime' was being Turkish. I think you have very wrong impressions about Turkey and we, as the JTW, invite you Turkey to see whether your perception is true or not. Don't worry, Turks do not eat Armenians.

Finally, you say that "Turkey denies". Turkey does not deny anything. Turkey rejects the Armenian claims, that's all.

And you say "if you are sure for your claims, we should discuss and find the truth": However Armenia has strongly rejected Turkey's call to establish a history commission to search the claims. Turkey tries to explain its opinion about the issue but the Armenians try to silence Turkey and Turkish people all around the world. Armenians try to harm Turkish interests everywhere and they hope Turkish people may open the borders. Armenia is a very tiny country, has no importance for big Turkish market. Turkey does not need Armenia for economic reasons. But Armenia is surrounded by more than 100 million Turkish people (Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran Turkish peoples). Armenia has no natural sources and no way to open sea. The past years proved that Armenia needs Turkey. Neither Russia nor the Diaspora can help Armenia under these circumstances. However the diaspora continues to abuse the past tragedies for its own identity problems. Diaspora attacks Turkey, and Armenia pays the price, and I have no doubt that the diaspora Armenians will continue their Armenian Cause till the last blood drop of Armenia Armenians. Why do not try to understand a EU member Turkey is crucial for survive of Armenia. The only country which can help Armenia is Turkey. Ter-Petrosian had realized this simple truth and he was solving the problems. That's why Tashnak and Russians attacked and collapsed the Petrosian Government. Now Kocharian is only speaking about the genocide hate and always undermining Turkish interests in France, Canada or Netherlands.

Please think about it, if Turkish people and Government hate you and your nation, why they make great efforts to be friends."


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