Editorial: Acknowledging The Armenian Genocide


MONTREAL GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARDMore from Montreal Gazette Editorial
Board Published on: April 23, 2015 Last Updated: April 23, 2015 4:22

People lay flowers at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial
in Yerevan on April 21, 2015.


One hundred years ago, on April 24, 2015, an organized campaign of
persecution, torture, deportation, slaughter and annihilation was
unleashed against Armenian Christians living in what was then the
Ottoman Empire.

Over a period of more than two years, 1.5 million Armenian men,
women and children were killed in what has widely been recognized by
historians, many governments and the community itself as a genocide.

Displaced survivors were forced to begin new lives in countries around
the globe, including Canada. But though they have long since picked
up the pieces and built thriving communities, Armenians still bear
the scars of these century-old atrocities.

In Montreal, where the Armenian community is about 45,000 strong
and boasts three vibrant schools, the genocide remains a source of
affliction. Many witnessed the trauma of parents or grandparents. For
younger generations, the stories of their ancestors have been passed
down in such heartbreaking detail, it’s almost as if they exist in
living memory.


The crimes against humanity perpetrated against Armenians are felt
on a very personal scale: by individuals; within families; among the
community as a whole. But it is also some of history’s most urgent
unfinished business as Armenians have struggled over the last century
to have the cruelty that began in 1915 recognized as a genocide.

Turkey, the modern-day incarnation of the Ottoman Empire, has
steadfastly refused to acknowledge it as such — and has managed to
pressure many of its allies to refrain from doing so, as well.

Only in recent decades has the tide has begun to turn. Uruguay was
the first country to call the slaughter of the Armenians a genocide,
in 1965. Quebec, with its large Armenian diaspora, first did so in
1980 and a memorial to the tragic events was dedicated in a Montreal
park in 1998. Canada acknowledged the genocide in 2004. Pope Francis
recently labelled the campaign against Armenians “the century’s first
genocide.” Austrian parliamentarians this week joined in characterizing
the persecution as a genocide, and Germany is expected to do likewise
on Friday. But U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to stop short
of using that term.

Turkey now admits the historic suffering of the Armenians during the
waves of violence unleashed as the empire crumbled. But it attributes
the brutality to civil strife in a time of war and categorically
rejects it was part of a state-sponsored policy.

This is most unfortunate and disappointing. Not only does Turkey’s
abject refusal deny Armenians the truth and justice they crave to
help them heal, it aggravates their suffering by forcing them to
constantly fight to have the historical record set straight. Denying
genocide also signifies a failure to come to terms with events that
trigger mass bloodshed, atone for it and prevent such barbarism from
happening again.

If there is a silver lining in this situation, it is that many ordinary
Turks are parting ways with their government to acknowledge past
wrongs and make amends. These individual efforts are encouraging in
that they show a century of misinformation and minimization of the
genocide within Turkey have not succeeded in burying the past.

The grief and loss of Armenians, both personal and collective, cannot
and must not be silenced, nor should painful historical truths be
avoided. Rather, they must be acknowledged by all humanity.


How Arabs Reached Out To Armenians Amid 1915 Massacre


Yahoo! News – Maktoob
April 24 2015


Beirut – As Armenians and Turks mark the centenary of the disputed
events of 1915 – what Armenians claim was “genocide” and Turks insist
were counterinsurgency measures – a number of events have taken place
to commemorate the tragedy and give voice to the families impacted.

But little has been said of the role played by Arabs in addressing
the humanitarian disaster that ensued as tens of thousands of refugees
and orphans streamed out of Anatolia.

“The Arab role in helping the Armenians during [these events] is very
much understudied,” Reverend Paul Haidostian, president of Hagazian
University and an Armenian scholar, told Al Jazeera.

“It started with individual Arabs, especially tribal leaders from the
Syrian desert, [who] tried to save the Armenians who were forced on
their death marches,” he explained. “They tried to help in any way they
were able to; either by adopting the orphans or feeding the people –
trying to save them somehow.”


RELATED: Vox Pops: Commemorating the Armenian massacre


After the Turks deported the Armenians in what have been called
“death marches” to Deir Ezzor in Syria and the deserts in Iraq,
areas considered to be predominantly Muslim-inhabited, many survivor
accounts describe how Arabs offered help and shelter.

“When Armenian communities were able to reach cities like Aleppo,
one task was to try and reunite with each other, find the orphans and
bring them back [into the communities],” Haidostian said. Through
contacts and word of mouth, many Arab families who had adopted the
orphans returned them to their communities. “This was a very common
theme; that the orphans would be ‘lost’ for a few years and then they
would find their way back to their families. It happened to thousands
of Armenians.”

Not all orphans were so lucky. Some fell victim to the massacres
at the hands of the Turks or Kurdish tribesmen. Orphanages in the
provinces set up by the Turks for Armenians who had lost their parents
introduced Turkification programmes, where they would force children
of non-Turkish ethnicity to convert to Islam and change their names
to Turkish ones.

In other cases, Armenian children would be adopted by Arabs and
fully integrated into the Arab-Muslim way of life. “There are of
course children who would be adopted but were not able to save their
Armenian identity,” Haidostian said. “The point is their lives were
saved, though.”

In the period leading up to the mass killings, the Turks reportedly
used religion as a cover to justify committing atrocities against
the Armenians. There are reports of preachers urging Turks to attack
and drive out Armenians, claiming they were against Muslims. Ethnic
minorities, especially non-Muslims, were forced to live as second-class
citizens, obliged to pay “jizya” – protection money – for being
non-Muslim. This is the same tax being levied today by the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant against Christians in the areas they
control in Syria and Iraq.

“The Turks wielded religion as an instrument … but it certainly
was not a religious issue,” Vera Yacoubian, executive director of
the Armenian National Committee in the Middle East, told Al Jazeera.

“First off, there were many Arabs who faced the same fate as the
Armenians at the time. The Turks were pushing a pan-Turkic agenda,
not a Muslim one.”

Arab religious figures condemned the use of religion by the Turks,
issuing fatwas and decrees calling on Arabs to help the Armenians. In
1909, a Turkish mufti issued a religious ruling urging Turks to kill
Armenians. Sheikh al-Bishri of al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo – one of
the world’s leading Islamic institutions – issued a counter-fatwa,
calling such acts un-Islamic and urging Muslims to protect minorities.

This was reinforced by another decree issued by the Sharif of Mecca in
1917, calling on Arab Muslims to protect Armenians: “What is requested
from you … is to protect everyone who may be staying or living in
your quarters or neighbourhood or among your tribes of the Armenian
Jacobite community.”


RELATED: Armenian immigrants look for a better life in Turkey


Following the end of World War I and the subsequent collapse of
the Ottoman Empire, Armenians settled in the newly drawn up Arab
countries with relative ease, gaining citizenship and equal rights. But
assimilation for them was more of a challenge due to the linguistic
and cultural differences.

Lebanon was more difficult than others initially, as Lebanese Muslims
were not so keen on having another Christian minority settle into
the country, afraid it would upset the sectarian balance.

“It was the French mandate that helped the Armenians in Lebanon,”
Yacoubian said, adding that for political reasons, the French were
keen on boosting the number of Christians in the country – leading to
unease amid other Lebanese sects. “Yet once they saw the Armenians
were not an economic burden and were actually helping the country,
the tensions eased.”

In other countries, such as Syria and Iraq, Armenians were treated
as equal citizens – in some cases better than other minorities –
and allowed to maintain their identity through the establishment of
Armenian schools and universities.

“Unlike the Kurds and the Assyrians, the Armenians never had
any territorial demands, so were not seen as a possible threat,”
Yacoubian said.

Today, Armenians live across the Middle East in very distinctive
neighbourhoods; street signs and stores are written in the Armenian
language, and people speak Armenian as fluently as Arabic. Accounts
from the 1915 massacre are passed down from generation to generation,
and commemorations take place every year without any interference
from governments.

Lebanon, where Armenians hold six parliamentary seats, is the only
Arab country to have formally recognised the “Armenian genocide”. The
others, keen on not disturbing the delicate relations they hold with
Turkey, have stopped short of formal recognition, but support the
Armenians in their right to commemorate the events of 1915.

“I can’t say this enough; if it wasn’t for the Arabs, especially in
Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, we would not have an Armenian diaspora today,”
Yacoubian said.


Charles Aznavour Pays Tribute To The Memory Of Armenian Genocide Vic


15:44, 24 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

World-famous French Armenian singer Charles Aznavour paid tribute to
the memory of Armenian Genocide victims at Tsitsernakaberd Memorial
in Yerevan.

Earlier today Armenia held a commemoration ceremony attended by the
Presidents of Russia, France, Serbia, Cyprus and delegations from
tens of countries.


Canada Designates April 24 As Armenian Genocide Memorial Day


01:36, 25 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted Motion M-587 today. This
important motion calls on this and subsequent governments to honor
the victims of all genocides by recognizing the month of April
asGenocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month. The motion
was introduced by MP Brad Butt.

With this motion the House

(a) re-affirms its support for

(i) the Holocaust Memorial Day Act,

(ii) the Armenian genocide recognition resolution adopted on April
21, 2004,

(iii) the Rwandan genocide resolution adopted on April 7, 2008,

(iv) the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day Act;

(b) calls upon the government to honour the victims of all genocides
by recognizing the month of April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation
and Prevention Month; and

(c) acknowledges the associated commemorative days of

(i) Yom ha-Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), as determined by the Jewish
Lunar calendar,

(ii) Armenian Genocide Memorial Day on April 24,

(iii) Rwandan Genocide Memorial Day on April 7,

(iv) Holodomor Memorial Day on the fourth Saturday in November.


Demanding Recognition Of The Armenian Genocide


by Lucy DerTavitian


The author’s great-grandparents, who perished in the Armenian genocide.

If you can …

Imagine a monument dedicated to Hitler in the heart of Berlin. Picture
yourself passing a statue of the brutal dictator as you stroll down
Nowy Swiat in Warsaw. See yourself dropping off your 6-year-old at
Hitler Elementary School. Envision people running into the Hitler
Missionary Community Church on the doorsteps of Brandenburg Gate to
light a candle for the all the Nazis who died during World War II.

Imagine our history books omitting the Holocaust.

Replace Hitler with Talat Pasha, and that is my reality.

Talat Pasha, the main architect of the Armenian genocide — the man
responsible for the systematic annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians,
is revered in Turkey today as a national hero. Monuments stand in
his memory, streets carry his name, mosques uphold his legacy, and
public schools turn a villain into a hero.

Talat Pasha’s extermination order reached my grandfather’s home in
Malatya, Turkey, in April 1915. His mother, with her newborn in hand,
was taken away from their home, never to be seen again. Her image
never left him. His father was murdered because he refused to convert
to Islam. An apprentice of my great-grandfather’s had tricked the
oldest of the siblings into handing over the massive family wealth.

When she realized that she had been deceived, she suffered a stroke and
died. She was 15 years old. In order to save themselves, the remaining
four children, ages 3 to 12, converted to Islam. My grandfather Kevork
became Bakeer. Knowing that conversion meant only temporary relief
from death, they escaped to Aleppo, Syria, and spent the remaining
years of their childhood in an orphanage.

The weight of the Holocaust is shared by all of mankind — as it
should be. The ultimate crime against humanity is not simply Jewish
history; it is the history of any ethical citizen of our planet. And
like the Holocaust, the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides are
crimes against man as well, and must be borne by us all.

Unfortunately, the State of Israel, a nation comprising daughters
and sons of Holocaust survivors, refuses to acknowledge the Armenian
genocide. Yet the contributions of Jewish scholars and intellectuals
to the Armenian cause have been significant. In fact, it was this
brutal chapter of Armenian history that propelled Polish-Jewish legal
scholar Raphael Lemkin to coin the term genocide. Veteran journalist
Robert Fisk has reported that the German officers, who trained the
Ottoman soldiers during World War I, were later transferred to Soviet
Russia in 1942 to kill Jews. And according to historian Edna S.

Friedberg, Franz Werfel’s 1933 novel on the Armenian genocide, “The
Forty Days of Musa Dagh,” inspired resistance among Jews in Warsaw.

When former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outrageously
questioned the validity of the Holocaust, his remarks were,
rightfully, met with swift and sharp condemnation from European and
American leaders. Anything less would have been seen as a despicable
acquiescence to his hateful speech. Yet, year after year, Israeli and
American leaders refuse to recognize the Armenian genocide. According
to Article 3 of the Genocide Convention, complicity in genocide
is a punishable crime. The U.S. and Israel are signatories of that

Politicians and scholars alike have widely acknowledged the historical
facts of the Armenian genocide. The events have been studied thoroughly
and the outcome is unequivocal. It was genocide. Even those who shy
away from using the word in fear of Turkish reprisal do not question
the validity of the term.

Today, it is a denial by name alone.

In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama declared, “America deserves a leader
who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds
forcefully to all genocides.” A year later, President Obama told the
Turkish Parliament that he had not changed his views on the events
of 1915; however, he failed to use the word “genocide” for fear of
repercussions to U.S. military bases in that country.

As a professor, Samantha Power dedicated a significant portion of
the proceeds from her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “A Problem From
Hell,” to the Armenian genocide. As U.S. ambassador to the U.N.,
Power is prohibited from using the word genocide when speaking about
the atrocities of 1915.

An article published by Roger W. Smith, Eric Markusen and Robert J.

Lifton in the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies demonstrated how
the Turkish government is aware that the events of 1915 constituted

There is a reason why Lemkin dedicated his life to coining and defining
the word. Genocide, unlike its synonyms — massacre, atrocity, mass
murder — holds a distinct legal definition, one that was created
not merely to punish but to prevent future genocide.

“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” —
Adolf Hitler

This is not recognition for the sake of recognition; it is recognition
for the sake of accountability. Accountability lies at the root of
justice. Without it, justice is built upon pillars of sand.

Today, this bloody past is a crucial part of my Armenian identity. I
wish it were not, but Turkey’s systematic denial of the Armenian
genocide has placed the duty of accountability directly on my

I often wish I could rid myself of the anger that the injustice of
denial arouses in me, but then I remember all the other injustices
in the world and how badly I need my anger.

I am not talking about a hateful, misguided and collective anger. That
kind of anger would deprive me of the same humanity that the likes
of Hitlers and Talats tried to rob from mankind. I am talking about
a guided and just anger that keeps us accountable to the pursuit
of justice and keeps away that subtle, yet persistent sense of
compunction that results from inaction. In this downward-dog-bending,
constant-bliss-flowing, positive-energy kind of society that I live
in, anger has gotten a very bad reputation.

At the end, governments may lack the moral scruples to use the word
genocide, but their citizens do not. Today, a growing number of Turks
place themselves in danger in order to help their Armenian brothers
and sisters carry the burden of genocide. Instead of rewriting Ottoman
history, they are righting history, and in doing so, they establish
the foundation for a truly strong, just and democratic Turkey.

It is time to crumble the monuments to evil.

Lucy DerTavitian writes for Lebanese television. She is the former
host of KPFK 90.7 FM’s SWANA Radio.


President Of Cyprus: Armenia And Cyprus Are Victims Of Impunity


13:54 24/04/2015 >> POLITICS

We are here today with many leaders to participate together with
the Armenian people in commemoration of the Centennial of Medz
Yeghern, and it is natural, that Armenia and Cyprus, hand in hand,
are condemning the perpetrators of genocide, said Nicos Anastasiades,
the President of Cyprus speaking at the Armenian Genocide Centennial
commemoration event on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd.

Addressing the audience of international and community leaders gathered
in the ceremony, including the Presidents of Armenia, France, Russia
and Serbia, President Anastasiades underlined that participation in
the commemoration event is in pursuit of keeping alive the memory of
that unspeakable crime and paying tribute to the millions of martyrs
that were massacred 100 years ago.

“We are obliged to declare and make an address that impunity
cannot prevail. And in this understanding we are making an appeal of
solidarity. Armenia and Cyprus are victims of impunity, our histories
are intertwined,” President of Cyprus said in his statement.

Speaking of the role of Cyprus in sheltering those saved from the
genocide, President Anastasiades said:

“The Cypriots take pride in the fact that the grandchildren and
children of those refugees are important and active members of our
society, who are keeping and protecting their origins with dignity…

Recognition of those events in no ways hinders the role of nations in
their further international affairs. And in this regard I welcome the
decisive stance of President Sargsyan. It is indeed the right time
for historical facts to be acknowledged since that will pave the way
for the normalization of relations with your neighboring country and
undoubtedly will strengthen the international peace.”

In conclusion, President Anastasiades remarked: “International
environment is replete with challenges, protracted conflicts, threats,
economic crises and political instability. Remembrance of the Medz
Yeghern and paying tribute to those who survived is crucially important
for the Armenian people and Armenian Diaspora today, and the entire
humanity bears that responsibility. We remember and demand.”


Lammert On The 100th Anniversary Of The Armenian Massacre


President Norbert Lammert (c) German Bundestag/Melde

On Friday, 24 April 2015 in the Bundestag, President Norbert Lammert
classified the deportations and massacre of the Armenian people as a
genocide. Due to their own experiences, he said, Germans can encourage
others to face their history: “self-critical commitment to the truth
is essential for reconciliation.” This involves admitting the shared
responsibility of the German Reich for the crimes, he continued.

Introductory statement to the debate on the deportation and massacre
of the Armenian people 100 years ago, 24 April 2015


The next item on the agenda deals with a highly significant historical
event with lasting consequences, not only for relations between the
neighbouring countries of Turkey and Armenia. Our debate today in
the Bundestag has already attracted a great deal of public attention
through its inclusion on the agenda.

Genocide is a crime defined under international law as acts committed
with the intent to “destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial, or religious group, as such”. What happened in the midst of the
First World War in the Ottoman Empire, before the eyes of the world,
was a genocide. It was not to be the last of the 20th century.

This makes our obligation all the greater, out of respect for the
victims and due to the responsibility we bear for the causes and
effects, to neither suppress the memory of, nor play down, these

We Germans are in no position to lecture anyone about how they should
deal with their past. Yet due to our own experiences, we canencourage
others to face their history, even when it is painful: self-critical
commitment to the truth is essential for reconciliation. This involves
admitting the shared responsibility of the German Reich for the crimes
committed a century ago. Although the leaders of the Reich were fully
informed, they did not exert their influence; the military alliance
with the Ottoman Empire was more important to them than intervening
to save people’s lives.

The recognition of this shared guilt is vital for our credibility in
the eyes of both Armenia and Turkey.

Beyond the facts, history demands interpretation, making it
inevitably political. This conflict may be seen as lamentable, but
it is unavoidable – and it needs to take place in Parliament. The
unparalleled experiences of violence in the 20th century have ensured
that we know there can be no real peace until the victims, their
relatives and descendants experience justice: through remembrance of
the events.

Today, too, people are the victims of persecution for political, ethnic
and religious reasons, including thousands of Christians. By accepting
well over a million refugees, Turkey is providing huge humanitarian
assistance, which is too seldom honoured and puts some in Europe to
shame. In no way whatsoever do we forget this willingness to take
responsibility in the present when we call for an awareness of also
taking responsibility for the country’s own past.

The current Turkish government is not responsible for what happened
over 100 years ago, but it is responsible for what happens next. We
pay tribute to the fact that they are endeavouring to reach out to
descendants and neighbours at their own ceremony, and in particular
we pay tribute to the many courageous Turks and Kurds who for many
years have been working alongside Armenians towards addressing this
dark chapter of their shared history in an honest way: writers,
journalists, mayors, religious leaders. I am thinking of the winner
of the Nobel Prize for Literature Orhan Pamuk, of the journalist Hrant
Dink, who paid for his commitment to historical truth with his life.

They deserve our support. And they need it. Our debate today is
intended to contribute to this.


No Justifying Mass Killings Of People – Vladimir Putin


14:24 * 24.04.15

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the Memorial
to Armenian Genocide victims on the occasion of the 100th anniversary
of the Armenian Genocide.

He particularly said:

Dear friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan for his invitation
to participate in the commemorative events.

We sincerely sympathize with the Armenian people that experienced one
of the most appalling tragedies in human history. Over 1.5 million
civilians were killed and crippled, and over 600,000 were expelled
from their homes and were subjected to mass persecutions. Numerous
invaluable architectural monuments and spiritual holy places were
destroyed, ancient books and invaluable manuscripts were burned.

The entire world was shocked by the 1915 events and Russian perceived
them as its own grief. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians found refuge
in the Russian empire and were saved.

It was Russian diplomacy that had the violence against the Armenian
people internationally recognized. On Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Sazonov’s initiative Russia, France and Great Britain – the French
president has just recalled the fact – in their joint statement called
the events a crime against humanity and civilization.

The friendly Russian and Armenian peoples’ relations have always been
marked by special affinity and mutual support. It was the case during
the dramatic events a hundred years ago, during Great Patriotic War
and during the devastating earthquake in Spitak.

And we are mourning together with the Armenian people today.

In hundreds of Russian cities – I would like to stress it, dear friends
– in hundreds of Russian cities more than 2,000 commemorative events
will take place. Not only representatives of the Armenian community
which has about three million members, but also tends of thousands
of people of other national groups will take part in them.

Russia’s position remains unchanged: there is no justifying mass
killings of people.”


Obama Won’t Use The Word Genocide During Armenian Genocide Remembran


Latin Post
April 22 2015

By Rodrigo Ugarte ([email protected])

In spite of promises made during his first presidential campaign and
the hopes of the Armenian-American community, President Barack Obama
will not use the word “genocide” when referring to the massacre of
Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War One.

In a carefully worded statement released on April 21, Obama
administration officials confirmed the president would not be using
the word “genocide” when referring to the atrocities of 1915 at the
hands of the Ottoman Turkish government.

A White House press release explained Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben
Rhodes met with leaders of the Armenian-American community to discuss
what the president would say, as well as “the significance of this
occasion for honoring the 1.5 million lives extinguished during that
horrific period.”

“They pledged that the United States will use the occasion to urge
a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts that we believe
is in the interest of all parties,” the statement continued.

According to CNN, the two officials did not use the word “genocide”
in their statement to Armenian-American leaders.

“We know and respect that there are some who are hoping to hear
different language this year,” the officials said. “We understand
their perspective, even as we believe that the approach we have taken
in previous years remains the right one — both for acknowledging
the past, and for our ability to work with regional partners to save
lives in the present.”

The president’s decision to avoid referring to the killings of more
than 1 million ethnic Armenians as genocide is a strategic one. The
U.S. does not want to anger Turkey since American forces operate from
the country in its fight against Daesh, or ISIS.

Nonetheless, the president will send a delegation lead by Treasury
Secretary Jacob Lew to Armenia for the centennial commemoration to
be held on Friday, April 24, according to the White House.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Turkey’s Foreign
Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and, while the two discussed Daesh, Rice
also mentioned the Armenian Genocide.

“Ambassador Rice encouraged the Minister to take concrete steps to
improve relations with Armenia and to facilitate an open and frank
dialogue in Turkey about the atrocities of 1915,” a White House press
release stated.

However, the Armenian-American community has not accepted the
administration’s excuse and expressed their disappointment.

“President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace.

It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” said
Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of
America, CNN reports.


La Turquie A Perdu La Bataille De La Verite Autour Du Genocide Armen



Politologue a l’universite privee Sabanci d’Istanbul, Cengiz Aktar a
defraye la chronique en Turquie en signant en 2008 avec trois autres
intellectuels un fameux appel, “je demande pardon”, où il priait ses
compatriotes de reconnaître le genocide armenien.

A la veille des commemorations des massacres de 1915, il juge que
son pays a definitivement perdu la “bataille de la verite” autour
de ces evenements et se rejouit de la lente evolution de la societe
civile turque autour de ce qui etait encore, il y a quelques annees,
un tabou absolu.

Comment jugez-vous les violentes reactions de deni des autorites
turques ?

Je crois que la Turquie a perdu la bataille de la verite. Personne
ne croit a ce negationnisme primitif, le cadavre est tellement grand
qu’il ne rentre plus dans le placard.

Ce gouvernement ne peut pas aller au-dela de ce qu’a deja dit
Erdogan l’an dernier, en presentant ses condoleances aux victimes
armeniennes… et turques. C’est mieux que rien mais encore très loin
de ce qu’imposerait l’ampleur du crime commis en 1915.

Il a pourtant fait plus que tous ses predecesseurs pour faire tomber
les tabous autour de la fondation de la Republique mais il s’est
arrete en cours de route (…) il manque en Turquie un homme d’Etat
visionnaire qui accepterait d’aborder de front cette question. Pas
evident ! Le seul objectif du gouvernement turc en cette annee 2015,
c’est de limiter les degâts, d’en prendre le moins possible…

Tout ce que je peux encore attendre de lui, c’est qu’il n’empeche plus
le travail de memoire en Turquie. Certains s’y emploient toujours. Par
exemple, l’article 305 du code penal qui interdit l’utilisation du
mot genocide existe toujours, meme s’il n’est plus utilise.

Comment expliquez-vous ce blocage ?

“Il y a d’abord un deficit d’education. Les Turcs ne savent pas ce
qui s’est passe, pour beaucoup d’entre eux +Armenien+ est simplement
une insulte. Et quand il y a un peu d’education, elle est tellement
erronee, falsifiee que c’en est une honte.

On explique toujours ce qui s’est passe par ces quatre arguments
sans cesse rabâches : la revolte des Armeniens contre l’Etat,
leur collaboration avec la Russie tsariste, les provocations des
imperialistes et l’autovictimisation sur le thème +ce sont les
Armeniens qui nous ont massacre+. On ne va pas loin avec ca. Il y a
aussi la peur, très repandue parmi les Turcs, que les Armeniens vont
recuperer les biens et les terres qui leur ont ete voles en 1915. La
spoliation a une echelle inouïe est un des elements fondamentaux
du genocide.

Et puis surtout, il y a le fait que la Turquie moderne s’est construite
sur l’exclusion et l’annihilation des non-musulmans qui vivaient en
Anatolie. Remettre ca en cause, c’est remettre en cause les fondements
memes de la nation turque et, pour l’instant, c’est impossible.

D’où peut venir une evolution des esprits sur ce sujet ?

J’attends beaucoup de la societe civile turque. Les seminaires,
colloques, publications continueront a faciliter le travail de memoire
et de pedagogie sur ce qui s’est passe. Un recent sondage montre qu’il
n’y a que 9% des Turcs qui sont favorables a la reconnaissance du
genocide. Meme si on ne dispose pas des instruments pour s’en assurer,
je suis persuade que c’est beaucoup plus qu’il y a seulement cinq ans.

Les djinns sont sortis de la bouteille. L’evolution sera lente mais
elle se produira, j’en suis persuade.


vendredi 24 avril 2015, Stephane (c)armenews.com