ANKARA: Milliyet: ‘Genocide’ And The Armenian Reaction

MILLIYET: ‘GENOCIDE’ AND THE ARMENIAN REACTION
TAHA AKYOL

Turkish Press
April 27 2009

US President Barack Obama`s statement was the harshest yet since
Ronald Reagan. No, he never said `genocide,` but his statement was
harsh, unilateral and accusatory. More and more academic journals
call the incidents of 1915 a genocide, and 17 countries have done
the same. Obama also contributed to this rising tide of academic
and political pressure on Turkey. He said everything but that one
word! This isn`t just about our moral and historical stature. There
are also Armenian nationalists` political calculations behind the
allegations! Even if certain intellectuals and politicians think
they`re acting out of `humanitarian` feelings, in the end they become
a tool for such spiteful calculations.

As this tide has been rising worldwide for tow decades, what should
we do? There`s no ready or easy prescription, but there are two paths:

Develop our relations with Armenia and decrease the tension which feeds
the `genocide` claims. The Armenian nationalists realize this, and
so are fighting the latest `consensus` reached by Ankara and Yerevan.

Work to set up a joint historical commission to make people realize
that not only Armenians, but also Muslims, suffered terribly, and
thus the genocide allegations are both one-sided and wrong. That`s
why the diaspora and Armenian nationalists from Armenia oppose
such a commission. So Hrant Markarian, leader of coalition party the
Armenian Revolutionary Federation, said that if the consensus includes
a commission, moves on Nagorno-Karabakh and recognition of Turkey`s
territorial integrity and its current borders, Armenia should break off
the talks. Markarian even mentioned eastern Anatolian in the context
of `saving western Armenia.` But if the consensus process continues,
it would help spur Armenia`s economy.

Turkey`s interests require developing relations with Armenia,
but Azerbaijan has long kept a distance from the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Turkey on the Cyprus issue for its
own interests. It would be wrong to provoke things by raising these
issues. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev is bowing to domestic politics by
closing down a Turkish mosque; maybe he wants to dispel the impression
that Azerbaijan hasn`t registered a protest. He might be even planning
to raise the price of natural gas. I don`t think that he would go so
far as to cut off the Shahdeniz gas or sabotage the Nabucco project
and thus oppose Turkey and the entire West. When positive developments
on the Karabakh issue come from the Minsk Group in a few months, I
hope Aliyev will be better able to see what a positive role Turkey
has played. Turkey should be very careful on the Azerbaijan issue
and avoid getting drawn into a debate.

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