On the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2005, Mehmet Ali Birand, a prominent Turkish commentator, wrote an article in Hurriyet urging the Turkish public to be prepared for the upcoming “Armenian tsunami.”
Earlier this month, the Turkish newspaper Gazete Kars published a
similar editorial titled, “The Armenian preparations for 2015,” alerting
Turks of the approaching 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in
2015, and advising them to take effective counter-measures.
The editorial reflects how closely Turks are following Armenian
preparations for the genocide centennial and how anxiously they are
weighing the impact of the forthcoming Armenian activities on Turkey.
The lengthy column reports that Armenia and the diaspora are
expanding their joint campaign against Turkey on the eve of the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The article warns that “Armenians
through their lies will raise the entire world to its feet,” and
suggests that “the Republic of Turkey immediately put into action all
its resources and take preemptive measures to bring to naught this
Gazete Kars complains that Armenians are “tarnishing Turkey’s
reputation by launching powerful attacks on 40 fronts. To counter these
attacks Turkey must take far greater defensive and offensive measures.
There is not a single minute to waste. The world is swallowing their
The editorial proceeds to outline the activities of notable
individuals and organizations in preparation for the genocide
centennial. The newspaper specifically mentions Prof. Taner Akcam,
filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the French and Armenian governments, Berlin
University, and Hayk Demoyan, the director of the Genocide Museum in
Armenia, who is quoted as saying, “the struggle for genocide recognition
must be combined with an understanding for restitution. … We must
pursue legal avenues to assign responsibility for this crime.”
Gazete Kars also lists the Armenian National Committee of America,
Armenian National Institute, Zoryan Institute, and Gomidas Institute as
organizations that have succeeded in bringing the Armenian Genocide to
the attention of scholarly and media circles worldwide. Prominent
Turkish novelists Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak, who have bravely
condemned Turkey’s distortions of the Armenian Genocide, are accused of
enjoying the backing of “Diaspora Armenian lobbying organizations.”
The Turkish newspaper reports the formation of a central coordinating
committee in Yerevan on April 23, 2011, to prepare the program of
activities for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The
committee, chaired by Armenia’s president, convened its inaugural
meeting on May 30, 2011.
The Turkish editor then focuses on my articles, wrongly identifying
me as “Ara” Sassounian, publisher of the California Courier. I am quoted
as saying that “demanding genocide recognition is no longer useful for
Armenians. On the contrary it is harmful. Turks are happy that we are
satisfied with this demand. What we should demand is justice.” It
continues, “When he is asked what does justice entail, he explains that
it means financial, moral, and territorial restitution.”
The Turkish writer further elaborates on my views: “Sassounian
believes relations between Armenia and the diaspora are not perfect, and
that it is imperative to have a common understanding, especially on
issues related to ‘Hay Tad’ (the Armenian Cause). Sassounian also
believes that more serious results could be achieved by bringing
together Armenians living in 100 countries under the umbrella of a
Diaspora Parliament composed of 350 representatives.”
Gazete Kars concludes its editorial by outlining some of the Armenian
activities planned for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide:
1) Prepare publications in seven languages: Armenian, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
2) Produce films and documentaries, organize concerts and exhibitions, and publish books and scholarly materials.
3) Enlarge threefold the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan.
4) Create a central coordinating committee.
5) Organize media conferences, establish contacts with press agencies
in 89 countries, and invite diasporan TV and radio journalists to
Armenia in advance of the 100th anniversary.
6) Using modern technology, publish e-books in various languages, and
establish contacts with academic and cultural figures, media, and civil
society, and international organizations conducting genocide research.
7) Produce an Armenian Genocide film with well-known Indian director Shekhar Kapur and Puerto Rican screenwriter Jose Rivera.
Since Turks are expecting a flurry of activities for the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians should do everything
possible not to disappoint them!
The editors of Gazete Kars do not seem to realize that Armenians in
fact welcome Turkish attempts to counter the upcoming genocide
centennial activities. By doing so, the Turkish side would be helping to
publicize the Armenian Cause beyond what Armenians are capable of doing
on their own.