G-word not so easy

Günal Kurşun

It is really not an easy word to say for an ordinary Turkish citizen, after all the negative propaganda they receive at school. When we say “genocide” in Turkey, “Jewish genocide” or “Holocaust” is automatically understood, as the Armenian genocide is non-existent according to our official history education. Therefore, we can use the term “G-word” for it, as it will require some more time to let go of the policy of denial. I have traveled to many countries in the world and wherever I go, I have faced this part of our history, for which I don’t want to carry the burden. I have not done anything bad to anyone in my life and I have no relationship with the perpetrators of this crime. Dink believed the term had a political meaning rather than a historical one, and he was strongly critical of the Armenian diaspora’s strategy of pressuring Western governments into officially recognizing the label of genocide. He believed that the diaspora Armenians should be able to live free of the weight of historical memory. Indicating that a show of empathy would have nothing to do with accepting or refusing the genocide, Dink called for dialogue, saying, “Turkish-Armenian relations should be taken out of a 1915-meter-deep well.” Besides this view, another culturocide, meaning “cultural genocide,” is going on. In Muş, an Armenian church in the Kale neighborhood that had been deemed public property since 1923 was sold to the Söylemez family in 1958. The Söylemez family kept the property until 2012. Since there was no community to care the building, its roof was demolished. Only four walls are standing now. In 2012, a Cabinet decision declared the Kale neighborhood as an area of urban transformation, and expropriated the parcel on which the church was located. The family applied to the court and decided to suspend full demolishment until the final decision. In my opinion, Armenians have to stop talking about the issue. We — Turks, Kurds and all Anatolians — have to defend their rights. Whatever an Armenian talks about this issue, it is taken as a “victim defending their rights” and it has a minimal effect. I believe it would have a greater effect if the other side were to defend their brothers’ and sisters’ rights. On its eighth anniversary, I once again condemn the murder of Dink, and call on security forces to shed light on this assassination. We all know that it was not limited to a few 17-year-olds, especially after seeing a photograph of the assassin flaked by smiling Turkish police and a gendarmerie officer in front of the Turkish flag. Charles Aznavour says in his brilliant song “Ils sont tombés” (They Fell), “In that summer of strife, of massacre and war, their only crime was life, their only guilt was fear.”