I absolutely agree with Agos that recognizing 1915 is not only about the past, but also about the future of this country. It is also about seeking justice for the endless victims of the tragedy. As Agos indicates, the solution lies in dialog between Turks and Armenians -- not in declarations from third party politicians, who only exploit this matter for their political interests. As Agos stated, Turkey is already in the process of confronting its past crimes through the coup and Ergenekon cases. But without recognizing what happened in 1915, this process could never be called complete. I respectfully bow before the Armenian victims who suffered deeply and those who lost their lives in 1915, and I leave the floor to Agos and their meaningful piece:
“The reason why we don’t want to forget the things that happened 97 years ago is not only a matter of paying our tributes to the innocent souls that were lost, but also because of our firm belief in another future… The deeper meaning that lies in the prominent minstrel Hovhannes Tumanyan’s words “Abrek yereğek, payts mez bes çabrek” (Live long children, but don’t live like us), refers to the responsibility of building a peaceful future. Attaining a firm cognition on how the people, the nature and the civilization were all exterminated in 1915 is a sine qua non for such a responsibility.
“While remembering 1915, we take strength not from our desire for punishment or revenge, but from our wish to collectively get rid of the chains of the past. For what will eventually emancipate us is the truth. They intimidate people by saying, “They call our grandfather murderers!” but those who bear responsibility are not Turks, Muslims or Kurds. For it is not people who commit genocides, but the mindset. Just like the Nazis, the İttihat mentality, did actually sacrifice both the victim and the perpetrator; the ones who lost their lives were gone, but those who remained became sick. What made the successor governments an accomplice to this deep-rooted crime has been the systematic policy of forgetting and denial.
“In fact, we are not any longer debating what happened in 1915 in Turkey. Everyone debating on this subject knows that, in this very dark year and the ensuing years, hundreds of thousands of people were uprooted from their homes and were never able to return, with a great majority of them lying somewhere in some corner of Anatolia or in Syrian deserts without a tombstone. They also know that many people had to convert their religions to be able to survive and sought shelter in Muslim families... Nowadays, these facts are only countered by the obdurate argument, “No one can ever dare to say that we committed genocide!” As if, the use of any other word could lessen all that happened...
“As 2015 drawing near, we witness some efforts that are made to drag Turkey to a more nationalistic ground and we are concerned about it… As long as Turks and Armenians fail to see how the third parties hypocritically exploit this issue and fail to make a collective effort to solve their problems together, we will have to live with all these concerns for a very long time. It’s inevitable.
“Turkey remembers the truths about her republican history, though very late and with strings attached. Turkey is settling her accounts with the coup d’état, massacres and the crimes committed by the state. The Ergenekon trial, the Sept. 12 trial, the Feb. 28 investigation, the inquisition of what happened in Dersim in 1938. Each and every one of those bears historic importance. Should these cases be handled in due process, they all have the potential to take the country on a brand new path. When we take a closer look to these trials and investigations to better understand their significance, we can see that all groups in Turkey -- Turks and Kurds, Muslims and Alevis -- has fallen victim to the practices of the state. Even though each group maintains its tendency to put forward its own victimization, a holistic look into politics indicates that it is the founding ideology that lies beneath the root cause of all these victimhood.
“…Without securing cognition about what happened in 1915, we may get as close to the doorsteps of the new Turkey, but we cannot get through it.”