ANKARA: Armenians and Turks Speaking the Language of Love

Armenians and Turks Speaking the Language of Love

Zaman Online, Turkey
Feb 16 2005

“He looks at the tree – does not see the tree – sees himself
Looks at the road – does not see the road – sees himself
Looks up – there are stars in the sky
And looks at the mirror – does not see himself
Says hi”

Armenian poet Zahrad, whose real name was Zareh, proves in his poem
that not seeing anyone else except ourselves prevents us from seeing

I got acquainted with a young man sitting next to me while I was
going to the United States. His family was sitting on the other three
seats just next to him. After he spoke a few words, he said that he
was an Istanbul Armenian and the conversation deepened: “I used to
hate Turks while living in Turkey. My family sent me to a university
in the U.S., as they did not want me to get involved in the events.
This is because I used to begin talking by saying, “I am an
Armenian,” and I used to take offense at everything and suspect

While talking to G., who was frustrated by thinking that the
privileged ones were Turks, I perceived how much he felt himself like
a Turk. It was not a racial effect but a cultural effect in meaning.
He told me how he has been saved from the hatred feeling in the
United States: “I had an opportunity to obtain information for the
first time. The U.S. structure, that consists of different races and
cultures softened me a lot. For the first time, I learned from the
intellectual structure here that the claim of the [so-called]
Armenian genocide was not true as I had thought.”

That is, a foreigner did not do what official history did. I wonder,
how patriotic is the nationalism, which has not been able to explain
this? He speaks Turkish with his son. His pretty one-year-old
daughter cannot speak, yet. His wife also came to Istanbul and she
admired it. In short, the family speaks Turkish not Armenian. It is
very obvious that we swim in a pool of a joint culture. The family,
that cannot do without coming to Turkey several times a year,
recently discovered Bodrum. Saying, “I live in California, what will
I do with the sea?” G. is now a buff of Bodrum. He adds that although
one of his Armenian friends in the U.S. was born there, he speaks
Turkish with his grandmother.

“The presence of some fanatical Armenians did not lessen the love for
Anatolia,” says G. He also says that he became a good religious man
after the birth of his son.

After one or two weeks I met an Armenian from Ferikoy in Santa
Monica. Arte settled there 18 years ago. He does business with China
and Korea. And he adds, “China is so rich that it can feed the entire
world.” I tell him about my impressions, “China: The Sleeping Giant,”
I wrote in 1992, and he makes the following explanation on textile,
“The U.S. textile industry, which opened its doors to Korean and
Chinese textile, has collapsed. ”

Arte often comes to Istanbul because he says that he misses it and
tells me one of his memories: One of our friends died. Two men were
waiting near the coffin while the deceased was lying on the musalla
[the stone on which the body is placed for washing before being put
in the coffin, according to Islamic rites]. Then it was my turn and I
began waiting. The only Armenian friend of my Turkish friend was me.
Then my friends made fun of me. They said, “Go to the mosque and
pray.” I said, “Yes I can, what is wrong with that? Is our God not
the same? What happens if I enter a mosque and take out a cross? I do
not consider myself a stranger.”

How many Turks are there who consider themselves strangers to this
culture? Is it important that this attribution was made by a writer
or something else? They are the ones who dogmatize without getting up
from their seats, and travel to the cities in their country under
police escort, they are not much of my fellow citizens like those

“The white whale swims freely and opens the way with the grudge of
Captain Ahab,” says writer Moby Dick. With his hatred Ahab hangs on
the back of Moby Dick. The wound cannot be healed with hatred in the
name of veracity. Children of this culture know how to embrace each
other in spite of the official history.