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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 www.ArmeniaFund.org 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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