Friday, November 10, 2006

Your Comments on BBC

Your Comments on BBC
Atrocities are a despicable part of the human condition. The fact that this becomes a dispute of countries is our desperate clinging to individual national identities, when in reality we are guilty of these dark tendencies as a race, regardless of perceived borders and nationalities. Politics and nationalism are an awful, fetid excuse for turning our backs on the plight of other human beings. Therein lies our shared eternal shame.
Michael Ringstrøm, Dane living in Helsinki, Finland

If one can feel pride in the actions of their ancestors, one can very well learn to feel shame of guilt for their doings. To be able to do both shows good character. Both Turkey and Armenia need to openly discuss what happened - let it be known widely what happened and how both nations were to blame, if that is the case. Only then can the truth come out. For reference, see (I think) John Stuart Mill's thoughts on free speech and the marketplace of ideas.
Abhi K. Jain, Washington, DC, USA

Let's not forget that this is yet another stage in the systematic campaign waged by Armenians in their efforts to carve territory from and have damages paid by Turkey: Armenian terrorists assassinated or maimed many Turkish diplomats in the '70s and '80s (taking the cue from the Palestinians) in an effort to raise awareness on their claims using terrorist tactics. Now they have carried their campaign to a political platform. They know very well that although it is true there were many deaths in those years from both sides, it was not a genocide or even an attempt at it. It was a relocation campaign which went awfully wrong and caused deaths of scores of thousands of people of both Turkish and Armenian origin.
Mustafa Eric, Toronto, Canada

Europe should accept responsibility for Kosovo and Rwanda before it inteferes with Turkish and Armenian history and also sort out the mess theyve created in Afghanistan and Iraq. Us Turks as a nation are muture enough to sort out our own problems within our own time.
Osman Celikden, Milton Keynes, UK

My grandfather lost his wife and children during genocide in 1915. He was a genocide survivor and he told us the horrors of that time. Armenian genocide is an undeniable fact of history and Turkey considering itself as a developed and democratic country has to admit it sooner or later. The documnted proofs are everywhere and most of all in Turkish archives. Unpunished crimes led to new ones as Hitler told comfortably in 1939, "After all, who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?"
Ani Mouradian, Vancouver, Canada

I do not think that it is a good idea to make light of historical guilt because the present-day citizens of the guilty country did not take an active part in the genocide, oppression or subjagation of entire peoples. Should you feel bad about what the Britons did in Kenya? Yes! You should. Because you are reaping the economic and social benefits of colonization every day when you wake up and go to work. You have your job and your status because someone in your country 10, 20, 100, years ago destroyed an African's or Indian's ability to make a living independent from foreign taxes and regualations.
Jennifer Diaz, San Francisco, California, USA

History is what big powers made of. "The Armenian issue" was manipulated by France, Russia and Britain to serve their causes during WWI, and is still being manipulated for domestic or foreign ineterests. That is exactly what hinders the relations between Turkey and Armenia from growing. History should be investigated by historians and the result should be respected by all.
Raşit , Ankara, Turkey

Being a German born in the sixties I know what it is like being held responsible for the atrocities committed by my country under the NAZI-regime. In school we were taught, not to forget our past, which I absolutely agree with. What I do not agree with is, that this undoubted guilt is used by others to pressure Germany to "be silent" when breaches of human rights ("Guantanamo bay", "Palestine", ...) are commited now. Another point: Yes, I agree, Turkey has to admit the atrocities on Armenians, whether you call it genocide or not. Turkey has to become more democratic, but give them some good will as well. Don't push them in a corner. If the Allied had done that after WW2 Germany would probably not be the democratic state it is today.
Dieter Kybelksties, Milton Keynes, UK

The Turkish government needs to grow up, accept the criticism like most other western governments, and it will all go away except as an interesting academic problem.
Kenzo, Toronto, Canada

People can debate the particulars, but the pain of admitting to the dark side of humanity may be too much for some to bear. I do beleive though it is a positive step for healing and not just in this case, but in all conflicts, inner and outer.Alex Terzian, Ann Arbor, USAFor an excellent study of the reasons behind Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide see Turkish scholar Taner Akcam¿s new history, ¿A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility¿, reviewed in this week's The New Yorker magazine. Akcams shows that the founders of the modern Turkish Republic were so close to those that committed the acts that admitting to it would be admitting that modern Turkey country was founded by war criminals.
Richard Elliott, Montreal, Canada

I grew up listening to my grand-grandmother's horror stories fleeing from massacres committed by Armenian. She lost two sisters, two brothers, and her father when they were immigrating from Erzurum to Amasya during WWI. They lost all their belongings on the way, and arrived their final destination in starvation. This is all because Armenian militia (backed by the French and Russian Army) attacked women, children and elderly Turks that Turkish soldiers left at home when they went for war fronts in the East, West, North and South. Only a small fraction of Turkish National Archives are posted on the internet and I can trace the real stories of ancestors (via my surname), and the pain and suffering they've gone through under Armenian attacks. I am sorry for the losses that Armenian immigrants on their way to Syria, but otherwise we would be mourning of a wiped out Turkish population in the Eastern Anatolia today. And, it is not only the Armenian who lost thousands of people in this war, but also the Turks. Let the historians speak before using this as a political yoke on modern Turkey.
Koray, England

In my time living in Europe, The USA and parts or Asia, I noted that countries that were once "Great Powers" have a much more "Prickly" form of Nationalism and I think Turkey with it's Ottoman legacy fits into this camp. The roots of the Armenian question and how the Turkish State has dealt with it are complicated by Turkey's need to see it's self as living up to it's historical greatness. The "great power" legacy that Turkey sees itself as part of prohibits any real ability for the Turkey to climb down from it's moral high ground. Put another way, I can imagine the US at some point banning certain types of behavior for "insulting American values" ( think of the flag burning debate) but I have a very hard time imagining a Brazilian or a Canadian law that would prosecute people for offences to the National identity... after all what identity would you insult?... perhaps the character of the football or ice hockey teams? I think it would be invaluable for Mr Mardell to develop this concept of "Wounded National Identity" tied to "Great Power" status and it's role in perpetuating old conficts and creating new ones. Mike, Minneapolis, USA

It is about time Turkey faces her atrocities towards the Armenian people. I am not saying they should be put through the same insane guilt-trip the world (especially the State of Israel) and even worse German politicians put us Germans still through. But the Turkish government has to admit that the genocide against the Armenian people happened - even if this crime was committed by a predecessor regime - the Osman Empire.
Tom, Berlin, Germany

One distinction of the Armenian situation from other atrocities is that it clearly was a defensive measure gone awry. If the Armenians were not attacking Turks or consorting with Russia in their aspirations for an independent nation, there would have been no order to evacuate them. This is in sharp contrast to the holocaust. Western nations practice imperialism throughout their history with impunity. Turkey is not a Christian nation and politically weaker than the Europe or America; therefore it poses an easy target. Condemning this moderate Muslim country makes it vulnerable to exploitation by fanatical Islam or western hegemony and undermines the influence of the Turkish moderates who want to believe in Europe¿s progressive agenda. What is better for today¿s Armenians, allowing them to relish in their revenge, or helping Turkey develop into a modern country which gives them full protection and equal rights under the law?
Deniz Kiral, Chicago, USA

Why does Turkey doesn't want to recognize the Armenian Genocide? Because as part of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, they will also have to compensate Armenians with the return of the stolen lands, properties and money. The sum is so large that the Turkish economy may collapse and their federal buget will go bankrupt.
Grigor Hakobyan, Phoenix, Arizona (USA)

Oscar Wilde once wrote: "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious." Just look around the world today and you will clearly see this in effect. You really don't need to look too far from Canada to see this happening. This is present in other Turkish laws, example "insult to Turkishness" meaning your not allowed to critize your own goverment or their handeling's of subjects/events. This is the goverments way of dealing with their peoples critics. Repress with fear of reprisal. No Goverment was ever perfect, and no goverment will be. To bring light to the past is the only way to understand history, and if you cannot learn from 200,000 - 2,000,000 murders, why proceed to the future as history has a tendency of repeating itself, Armenian or not! "Our true nationality is mankind."
H.G. Wells Casey Hendriks, Toronto Canada

David Whitman wrote: "Much of Turkish music, architecture, cuisine and art have Armenian roots. If the Turks admit to the Armenian Genocide, they fear to lose a large part of what they believe is Turkish identity" This comment is a perfect example of the condescending westerner attitude that drives Turks like myself into burning rage and prevents the Turkish-Armenian issue from being discussed in a healthy manner. This non-ending desire to degrade, insult and undermine the Turkish culture and history, and employing lies and exaggeration to do so must STOP! Saying that much of Turkish culture is rooted in Armenian culture and that our identity fear is the reason of denial is malicious! FYI Armenians still call many of their musical instruments and dishes by their original Turkish names. Now, how can anyone blame Turks for swaying into "prickly" nationalism?
Ceylan Yuksel, Istanbul, Turkey

When the term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1943, the purpose was to describe what had happened to the Armenians in Turkey. So please do not put the word genocide in quotation marks when you refer to the Armenian Genocide.
Alexander Nazarian, Indianapolis, USA

I feel that the main reason that Turkey is rejecting the word ''genocide'' is because of the fact that many sources show that similar number of Turks were slayn by Armenians and Russians in the region during the same period. I grew up in Turkey, and when the subject came up and there were elderly people from the south eastern parts of Turkey in the room; stories were told about the dozens of relatives that were killed and torched in front of their eyes and bodies piled up and and spat on by Armenian rebels used to be their friendly neihgbours not so long ago. The incidents in the period are furthermore not excepted as genocide because most Turks feel that they were stabbed in the back by the Armenians who turned to Russia and France as soon as they saw weakness. Afterall the two people lived side by side in harmony for hundreds of years and the ethnic Armenians had even better social and economic status in the old Ottoman empires eastern anatolia than the poor Turkish farmers. I am in no way denying the claim that a large number of Armenians were brutally slaughtered by the Ottomans but I find it peculiar that the Turkish request to let historians from both countries put their documents on the table and start a debate is firmly blocked by the Armenians.
Rauf Berent, Lund, Sweden

Turkey is proof positive of the George Santayana quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."Heidi, Washington, DCAs an American, I would compare this to slavery or the treatment of American Indians. Those were certainly morally reproachable and reprehensible acts. But I had nothing to do with them. I like to think that if I had lived during those times that I would have been on the side of right, rallying against the oppressors. As such, I do not feel that expecting modern day people, so far removed from the events themselves, to feel guilt about something they had no part in and no control over is ridiculous. The world should always recognize! the atrocities of the past in an effort to move on to a time in which similar situations do not exist, but no one should be made to feel guilty for the sins of their ancestors.
Nick Hussong, Chicago, United States of America

Turkey should not be allowed to join the EU until it admits and apologizes it committed a genocide, and it pays restitution to the victims, just as Germany did to the Jews.S.Dastan, Tehran, IranI wonder whether acknowledging the wrongs done in the past opens up the question of the way Armenians are treated now. I also wonder if it calls into question a sense of Turkish identiy as a Moslem nation with a secular government. Where would the Armenians fit?
Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA

I don't blame young generation of Turks not knowing the truth about that time. They surely have been raised with the propaganda that the massacre was all Armenians make. I myself was raised in the Soviet Union and up to the breack up of USSR strongly believed that it was the best system in the world. Yet, with all the abilities that Internet has to offer there are thousands ways to dig in to archives and find out the truth on what really happened in 1915. Unless the truth is revealed and accepted the dark past of that era will always hunt Turkey and won't let move on.
Laura Kirakosian, USA

To agree with many posters and with the author, I would also cite fierce, proud nationalism as the cause of Turkey's reluctance to admit to what happened between 1914 and 1918. Perhaps Turkey fears that admitting to this will reduce its chances of becoming an EU member. However, I see a much larger problem with admitting a country into the EU which denies key historical facts, detrimental or not to the social and opaque construct that is its nationalistic pride. The persecution of any people by any country should be admitted and researched, NOT to point a finger of blame, but to realize our mistakes, and work towards progress in the future.
Maria Stavropoulos, NYC, USA

I think most countries have something they would like to forget. There are too many to mention. So lets not be too hard on the Turks.ursula foster, gretna, va usaIt's probably best not to take the French position of somewhat needlessly antagonizing the Turkish on this issue. Certainly Turkey committed a campaign to drive out the Armenians in the first 20 years or so of the last century. However, there is plenty of blood to go around. Just before that same time, Belgium and France were killing millions of Central Africans in a quest for ivory and rubber. In some parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth there were bounties being paid for dead natives. Russia was committing pogroms against its Jewish population. The U.S. was crushing the last American Indian resistance to the colonization of the Wild West. Japan was ruthlessly expanding in China and Korea. And within countries that were the victims of Western colonization, there was a tolerance of local/tribal/clan depredations against other local groups. The truth that nobody wants to admit is that just about all the nations we live in were built and had their borders, religions and ethnicities built by conflict with other nations and peoples. Being an American I am surrounded by the ancestors of people who were forced out of their home countries and ended up coming here. I think that the best we can do is to try to accept that a lot of bad things happened in the past and try to be more civilized in the future.
Steven Kraft, San Jose, CA

The reason why Turkish people do not accept it is because they do not believe that it was genocide. If you know that you are not a thieve, would you accept being one? If there is compelling evidence that it happended, why is then international community (including Armenia)is so much against an international team of historians to investigate? After all, would you convict one party on the say so of the other only, without looking at all the evidence? What is that people supporting the Armenian view of point so afraid of?
Yusuf Kaya, Glasgow/UK

Europe's history as we know it is full of genocides. France, Germany, Britain, Serbia, etc. have all been involved in horrible crimes. Forcing Turkey to admit to something which is not yet proven will make Europeans feel better about themselves. Why not allow free debate and go to the Ottoman, Turkish, Armenian and Russian archives? Turkey opened its archives, but why Armenia or Russia haven't? Who is hiding what?Pelin Cos, EnglandHistorical guilt, whether acknowledged or not, is pretty much an irrelevance. What is important is whether we learn any lessons from the past and looking at world events during the past 100 years it would seem that we have not. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Rwanda, The Balkans Saddam Hussein and today's Iraq, Somalia, Indonesia, Palestine, the list of places where unjustified killings has been done as a result of differing ethnicity, differing views is endless. All it proves is that man is a violent, irrational and unfeeling species.Dave, London, OntarioThe historical record does not clean the hands of Turks, but it certainly dirties the hands of Armenians sufficiently as to scare them away from taking any part in actual scholarly examination. Turkey is being blackmailed with the denialist tag to accept a denialist claim. Turks and Kurds were massacred too. Will Armenia recognize this?Levent, Mersin TurkeyThe story shared about Canik Capur itself, once villager now tourist, suggests that the situation in Turkey goes beyond questions about historical guilt. Is it any surprise that Armenians want public acknowledgment of the wrongs done against them, when the moral and spiritual significance of the killings is exacerbated by modern day discrimination? What does Turkey have to lose by granting public aknowledgment? As the author indicates, it seems that nationalistic pride has clouded the vision of many countries in this position. A good dose of humility and compassion, from the leadership on down, would be refreshing.
Alec Smith, Wheaton, IL - USA

Well, before France goes pointing fingers at otehrs, it should apologize for colonialism, and algerian "massacres". That is not to say that turkey should not acknowledge whatever happened, but first we have to establish what happened and then have them acknowledge it. I think you will probably find that atrocities were committd on both sides. An objective look into the matter will perhaps yeild a solution that satisfies both parties and nobody should try to influence the proceedings with a stupid law like a France is trying to do. zafeerah, chicago, USAHow convenient that as Turkey gets closer to becoming a part of the EU, we remember what happened over a century ago. There are far more important issues at hand, in the world today, that are far more pressing than the admittance of guilt to something that happened nearly a century ago. Get over it. What's happened has happened. Every group of people has been persecuted, and all those same groups have done, or will do persecuting of their own. Historical-Guilt is a ridiculous notion, and a digusting one as it is conjured up for political reasons only!!
Ezra, Toronto, Canada

Once reconciliation between Armenians and Turks starts, we will hear more loudly about so many Turkish people who actually endangered their lives to save Armenians. Please understand, the wound for all Armenians is too deep to let it go - will you expect someone with broken legs to run? True reconciliation of two peoples is necessary to heal those wounds. And in this case that should start with honest facing of the past and not denying it.
Mike Arazyan, Toronto, Canada

Why is Europeans so concerned with events of 100 years ago that they legislate and enforce opinion yet are unable to reach any form of consensus on Rawanda/Kosovo/Darfur? Living in the past?
Mike, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Ottoman courts sentenced and punished some of Ottoman citizen by reason violence against some armenians during their leave of Anatolia.They were thinking revenge and this was unacceptable.Ottoman courts sentenced to some turkish people.Because some events was not undercontrol of Ottoman State after Armenian gangs massacres.Serhan, TurkeyCould we even imagine European integration with Germany if Germany refused to accept its responsability in the Shoa? Why should it be different with Turkey?
Pedro Bensaúde, Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal

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