When U.S. President Joe Biden used the term “genocide” for the events that transpired in Ottoman Turkey in 1915, we were all outraged, and rightfully so. Turkey is sitting in the defendant’s chair as the sole culprit of the great miseries caused by the storms experienced by the conditions of World War I, which was a storm that tore the world to pieces. The Armenian Hinchak and Dashnak terrorist organizations’ dreams of massacre and division posed a great threat. Armenians were subjected to deportation by the policies of Turkey’s Committee of Union and Progress. Deportation is no easy feat: people forced to leave their homes and country; enormous sufferings endured.
But were Armenians the only ones who were deported? Muslims, Turks experienced the same – if not worse – in the Balkans and Caucasus. They too had to leave behind their homes and state. According to information provided by historians, about 4.5 million of them died en-route, from diseases and in gang raids. I am not trying to compare them in any way, but simply point out that the hardships that emerged as a result of the tremors and storms experienced during World War I (in fact, Muslims were also deported with the Russo-Turkish War) include not only Armenians but a vast social segment. The U.S., Europe, and other global powers need to realize this reality.
Muslims neither defined the great atrocities they experienced as a “genocide,” nor did they turn it into a grudge or fury. They did not attempt to build a future upon the agonies of the past. They built a new life for themselves in Anatolia. This is what the Armenians should have done as well. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s message addressed to our Armenian citizens is extremely significant in this respect: “With respect, I commemorate the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives under the tough conditions of World War I, and extend my condolences to their grandchildren… I also believe that building our identity solely on the trace of pain that history has imprinted on our souls is great injustice to the new generations as well. It is high time that we, as Turks and Armenians, show that we have reached the maturity to overcome all obstacles together.”
An understanding that accuses Turkey of genocide and condemns it to this is nothing other than an extension of global hegemony. The Armenian diaspora sustains its presence with this claim. Meanwhile, it is bringing about the rise of counter-nationalism and rage. It thinks that it can take Turkey hostage by globalizing an event that transpired between Turks and Armenians. Yet, this will only lead Turkey to make further compromises for the Western order and become more anti-Armenia. Intelligence, conscience or science don’t have any share in this. Neither the science of history nor documents will suffice to solve this problem. The necessity of intelligence and conscience prevail over anything else. Societies, politicians, administrators and intelligentsia need to speak with the words of intelligence and conscience.
Former Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Aliya Izetbegovic, who was dubbed as the "Wise King," had said, “You are defeated the day you resemble your enemy.” It makes no sense to utilize the genocides experienced by Muslims against these so-called genocide accusations. Galvanizing the people through grudges and rage is no solution either. The state and government need to develop international policies. For example, a committee comprised of historians, international relations experts and lawyers who work in this field alone, should be formed. However, these operations must be carried out with a mentality and rationality that transcend the discourse of the “Armenian atrocity.” Turkey must form the agenda by defending its presence in the world with rightful theories.
While striving to deal with these claims of a genocide, we must also defend the mutual interests of all the Muslims in Anatolia. Claims such as, “Kurds have taken over their properties and now they are supporting them,” are in a sharp contrast against Turkey. This is due to the fact that the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) is carrying on its policy as if it is a part of this global hegemony in question. It does not represent Muslim Kurds spiritually, ideologically, or in the world order. It works as the mouthpiece of the Armenian diaspora. Thus, the people will eventually make it feel that it is playing with the country’s existence. A political consciousness that has become so estranged from its country and nation will have to pay for this one day. It is now time to think, work, reason, and develop policies instead of hurling expletives, threats, and losing our heads with rage.