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Massis Weekly Denial of an Ugly Past is Holding Turkey Back


									  NOVEMBER 13, 2010                                                       Massis           Weekly                                                                      3
           Denial of an Ugly Past is Holding                                                      Armenians of Malatya Association
                     Turkey Back                                                        By Orhan Kemal Cengiz                       after the stuffed cherry leaves of
                                                                                        Today’s Zaman                               Malatya were served, Ankine Evyapan
By Colin Tatz                               invented their sometimes daily conver-                                                  spoke about Malatya poet Rupen
Sydney Morning Herald                       sations with the major perpetrators,              There is certainly a huge differ-     Voperyan and presented examples of
                                            Talaat Pasha and Enver Pasha, and lied      ence between knowing and feeling            his poetry.”
       The idea that Australia was born     to besmirch Turkish honour. Another         something. I had known for a long                  The news story continues with
as a nation on Gallipoli’s shores is now    is that the dozens of Australian PoWs,      time that there was a huge population       an interview with Hosrot Kölevitoglu,
deeply cemented in our history books        isolated and often grossly maltreated       of Armenians in Anatolia and that they      one of the founders of the association.
and national psyche. We are about to        in remote villages rather than in camps,    had been scattered to every corner of       Mr. Kölevitoglu also tells us a lot of
see the annual holding of hands by the      deliberately faked the photographs and      the world.                                  interesting things about Turkey and
former combatants on Armistice Day,         invented the atrocity stories they                But seeing and feeling it is a        Malatya, a city in eastern Anatolia.
when thousands will visit the “sacred       brought back home. They assert that         completely different experience.            Let’s lend an ear to his words: “In
site”. Turks and Australians will join in   the special Turkish military courts-              Watching the presentation of an       Malatya, which was once called ‘Little
understandable commemoration but            martial held in Istanbul in 1919 only       Armenian friend on the commemora-           Armenia’ along with Sivas and
less comprehensible celebration; and        sentenced several perpetrators to death     tions in Mexico was such an interest-       Erzincan, there were 33 churches until
friendship societies will become tear-      in absentia and imprisoned some 30          ing experience for me when I was            the 1990s.”
ful and lyrical during this anniversary     others for war crimes only because of       taking a course in Canada on genocide.             As I was reading this sentence I
of the shedding of brotherly blood.         duress from the Allies. The best expla-     I saw the pictures of Mexican Arme-         remembered the words of the murder-
       But intruding on this mourning       nation is that the Turks did precisely      nians, mourning for their losses in         ers in the Malatya massacre in 2007.
ritual is the growing world recognition     what they were recorded and filmed as       Anatolia. It was really hard to believe     The suspects claimed that there were
of the Ottoman (and, later, Kemalist)       doing, for which their own tribunals        these men wearing these huge Mexi-          40 house churches in Malatya run by
Turkish genocide committed between          convicted them.                             can hats were possibly my old neigh-        Christian missionaries, but the truth
1915 and 1922. Some 26 nation states              We are approaching a serious          bors. On the other side of the world,       was there was only one church and a
and more than 50 regional govern-           junction: the path to Gallipoli grows in    they were still living with old and         tiny group of Christians. I can’t help
ments, including NSW and South Aus-         scale and traffic each year, but so does    painful memories from my country.           but wonder whether the history of
tralia, formally recognise the Turkish      the avenue to official recognition that     During such moments words are not           Malatya had anything to do with the
attempts to annihilate 3 million Arme-      what occurred was genocide, one in          sufficient to describe what one feels.      creation of this hysteria about Chris-
nians and possibly 1 million Pontian        so many ways the prologue to, and           Only art, a picture, a poem or a sculp-     tians. Anyways, let’s continue to read
Greeks and Christian Assyrians. At          template for, the Holocaust less than       ture could possibly express what you        this interesting interview:
least 1.5 million Armenians were killed     20 years later. Sooner rather than later    feel.                                              “Armenians used to work as tai-
by bayoneting, beheading, bullets,          the US Congress will find the numbers             I felt the same unexplainable feel-   lors, coppersmiths, tin makers, milli-
butchering, crucifixion, drowning, el-      for the two-thirds majority needed for      ings when I visited Yerevan. It was so      ners, watch producers, potters and in
ementary gas chambers, forced death         recognition. The British government         interesting to hear how these people        construction and they used to be in-
marches, hanging, hot horseshoes,           won’t be far behind. More Australian        were referring to their roots. They         volved in artisanship as well as agricul-
medical experiments, and other un-          states will follow and, inevitably, an      were from Kars, from Agri, Van and          ture and animal breeding. … Still in
printable atrocities.                       unwilling (and very unhappy) federal        so on. They were still identifying them-    many places, they continue living in
       Turkey is totally dedicated, at      government will have to do so. Our          selves like this.                           their homes by concealing their identi-
home and abroad, to having every hint       dilemma will be profound.                         I remembered all these things as      ties or disguising their religious be-
or mention of an Armenian genocide                There is, of course, a way for-       I was reading an interesting piece of       liefs. … In our childhood, they spoke
contradicted, countered, explained,         ward: an admission of truth about the       news in the Turkish-Armenian weekly         about ‘sövketten’ [deportation] when
justified, mitigated, rationalised,         events; a genuine opening of all the        Agos. The title was “Armenians of           we were away, but they would imme-
relativised, removed or trivialised. The    Ottoman archives to obviate the old         Malatya Association has been estab-         diately stop speaking when we ap-
entire apparatus of the Turkish state is    Turkish chestnuts about “awaiting the       lished.” Two photos accompanied the         proached.”
tuned to denial, with officers appointed    verdict of historians” and “Armenian        news coverage. In one of them an                   I also learned from this interview
abroad for that purpose. Their actions      revolutionaries engaged in civil war”;      elderly woman crying, out of happi-         that there are 4,000 Armenians from
are spectacular, often bizarre, and with-   an offer of regret, or apology, even        ness and nostalgia, I guess.                Malatya living in Istanbul now. Mr.
out distinction between the serious         one leavened by a limitation on repara-           While I read it many other things     Kölevitoglu added that they have re-
and the silly, including: pressures to      tions. That way Turkey can more             came to mind. But first let’s read this     ceived positive feedback from the lo-
dilute or even remove any mention of        readily enter the European Union and        interesting news piece together: “A         cal press in Malatya.
the genocide in the Armenian entry in       the comity of nations. But the hysteri-     new organizational model has been                  Turkey needs to hear the stories
the Encyclopaedia Britannica; threats       cal and obsessive denialism of the          adopted by Armenian society in recent       of Armenians. Their stories are the lost
to sever diplomatic relations with          Batak massacres in Bulgaria in 1876,        years. They have begun to establish         piece of our history. Five or 10 years
France over the latter’s parliamentary      the 200,000 Armenians dead at the           organizations to keep alive the memory      ago, these associations could not have
declaration that there was such a geno-     hands of Sultan Abdul Hamid II be-          of the battle wounds of 1915, and the       been established in Turkey. They would
cide; replacing the Turkish Prime           tween 1894 and 1896, the 1.5 million        cultures and traditions that were torn      have been met with millions of legal and
Minister’s Renault with an inferior Rus-    dead at the hands of the Young Turks        from their roots in Anatolia in order to    bureaucratic obstacles. I am glad we
sian limo; Sydney Turks demanding that      from 1915, will always get in the way       pass them on to future generations. …       have come so far. But I also hope that
the broadcaster SBS pulp its 25th anni-     of “normal” relationships.                  MalatyaHAYDer, the foundation of            one day Turkey and Turkish people will
versary history for twice making pass-            Even if today’s Turkey decided        which was officially announced with a       have enough self-confidence to con-
ing reference to an event they claim        to become more rather than less secu-       press statement last week, organized        front our past. In this sense, the estab-
“never happened”; and, more recently,       lar, more West-oriented, less cosy with     their first ever event at the Kumkapi       lishment of these kinds of organizations
frenetic Turkish efforts to stop a memo-    Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in a jihadist     Sirp Harutyun Church on Oct. 23,            is very important. They encourage us to
rial to the dead Assyrians in the western   worldview, more willing to address its      Saturday. About 400 Armenians from          open the eyes of our hearts. I welcome
Sydney district of Fairfield.               past in relation to Christians generally,   Malatya attended the dinner to support      the Armenians of Malatya Association
       Explanations abound. One is that     the juggernaut of the denialism indus-      the management board. … That evening        and wish them all success.
Turkey is the victim of the single          try is such that it simply cannot stop.
greatest conspiracy in world history,             The machine has developed its                                 Armenia Fund Telethon
with states such as Belgium, Brazil,        own mind, its own convulsive and
Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hol-        reflexive responses. Turks see geno-        Continued from page 1                       Telethon broadcast will also be shown
land, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland,      cide as a blot on their escutcheon and                                                  on AABC (384), HighVision (381) and
                                                                                        and Washington.
Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzer-          honour; they see themselves as decent                                                   Horizon Armenian TV (385) channels.
                                                                                              In Southern California, the Tele-
land, the Vatican and Wales conniving       people, and decent people don’t com-                                                    The live 12 hour webcast can be viewed
                                                                                        thon can be viewed on KSCI Channel
to falsely brand Turkey as a genocidaire.   mit genocide. Wrong. “Decent people”                                                    at
                                                                                        18, KVMD, ARTN/Shant and
Another is that somehow 11 million          — like Americans, Canadians, Bel-                                                             In Armenia, the Telethon can be
                                                                                        USArmenia networks for full 12 hours.
Armenians around the globe have sub-        gians, Italians, Germans, Austrians,                                                    viewed for full 12 hours on H1, Arme-
                                                                                        In the Glendale/Burbank/Pasadena/La
verted the truth, history and dozens of     Spaniards and Australians — have all                                                    nia, Shant and Yerkir Media networks
                                                                                        Canada areas in addition to ARTN/
nations to “frame” innocent Turkey.         done just that.                                                                         beginning 20:00.
                                                                                        Shant (388) and USArmenia (386), the
Yet another is that witnesses — such as
British historians Arnold Toynbee and            Colin Tatz is a visiting fellow
Viscount Bryce, German missionary Dr        in the College of Arts & Social
Johannes Lepsius and German medico          Sciences, Australian National Uni-
Armin Wegner, the American ambassa-         versity. He is the author of With
dor to Turkey Henry Morgenthau and          Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on
his Swedish diplomatic colleagues —         Genocide.

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