Turkish Republic rather than Turkish intelligentsia ought to apologize to Armenians

Besides the quests of national identity there is also an internal struggle going on in Turkey for future of the country that has fallen into the clutches of Kemalism and can in no way get out of them.

The quests of national identity led Turkish intellectuals to an, at first glance, highly unexpected action. For the last few days the entire world press has been exclusively writing about confessing «butchers», remorse, duty before your offspring - in a word, about anything with reference to Turkey. Such burst of interest towards the Turkish nation could also be observed 2 years ago, when Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul. People then carried placards saying "We are all Hrant Dink", "We are all Armenians". And now Turkish intellectuals call for apology to Armenians for the killings in the Ottoman Empire in the years of the World War I.

PanARMENIAN.Net - However, as always, the word "genocide" is not uttered. On the one hand, the movement "Armenians, forgive us" is, logically, aimed at touching the most sensitive cords of the Armenian nation, who might unexpectedly accept the apology as if nothing had happened. On the other hand, the appeal to apologize to Armenians is highly criticized by not only nationalists, which was quite predictable, but also by a part of the society who consider such kind of statements to be halved. "It is a good starting point, but not enough. Firstly, what do they mean by saying 'Great Catastrophe'? Let's name it. It is genocide. Secondly, the state has to apologize," said Aytekin Yildiz, Coordinator of the Confrontation Association. However, in its confession the Turkish nation cannot be considered to have reached the point of calling a spade a spade until Article 301 of the Criminal Code of Turkey is revoked. Under the present circumstances any of those more than 5000 signatories can be taken to court ant moment. By the way, it is exactly what the retired diplomats suggest now.

Ex-ambassadors severely criticized the internet campaign of public apology to Armenians for the events of 1915 and consider that Turkish intelligentsia should not apologize to the Armenian nation for the Genocide. The diplomats issued Monday a statement in which they characterized the campaign as "unfair, wrong and unfavorable for national interests." According to the Hurriyet Daily News about 60 retired ambassadors and diplomats signed under the statement. "Such an incorrect and one-sided attempt would mean disrespecting our history and betraying our people who lost their lives in the violent attacks of the terror organizations in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, as well as during the formation of the Republic," says the statement signed by Sukru Elekdag and Onur Oymen. Authors of the statement also remind that Armenia has rejected Turkey's suggestion on forming a commission of historians to investigate the events of 1915.

The diplomats' letter, as well as the nationalists' threats to punish the intelligentsia representatives, in our opinion, suggest that the Government does not intend apologize. Besides the quests of national identity there is also an internal struggle going on in Turkey for future of the country that has fallen into the clutches of Kemalism and can in no way get out of them. Even the Islamist party of Gul and Erdogan is still unable to outweigh the influence of the Joint Staff on the country's policy. Prime-Minister Erdogan is a pragmatic and he perfectly realizes where the military will finally lead Turkey to, but he is still unable to stand against them. Thereupon, the online petition of the intellectuals may play a great role. According to Antonio Ferrari, Journalist of the Corriere della Sera and author of an article about the online petition of the Turkish intellectuals, Prime-Minister Erdogan and President Gul's silence on the apology campaign can be regarded as their interest in the initiative, directed to intimacy between Turkey and Armenia.

The only «oddity» in all this story is that the petition has not been signed by Orhan Pamuk, Taner Akcam, Elif Safak, Ragip Zarakolu - those who for publicly mentioning the Armenian Genocide were brought to trial under Article 301 and were forced to leave Turkey.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan / PanARMENIAN News
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