Not a genocide debate; a power struggle - ÖZLEM ALBAYRAK

Not a genocide debate; a power struggle

Let me phrase my last words at the beginning: even though I personally think that we do not have to defend the sins of the Committee of Union and Progress, I do not think the Armenian deportation law they passed was aimed at genocide. Because I think these questions in particular need to be answered: “If the main goal was to carry out genocide, why weren't the Armenians massacred where they were, and were forced to move?” or, “If what happened amounted to genocide, why weren't the Armenians located outside of the Eastern Anatolian region forced to move, and not massacred?”

Please take a look at the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, which stipulates “intention” for the killing of a societal group or a part of it for the legal definition of genocide:

“Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

If all racial, ethnic or religion-based massacres were to be named as genocide without having the intention for it, then we should call all of such incidents including the Dersim incident where tens of thousands of people were killed and children were forcefully taken away from their families to be given to military officers, the massacres committed against Bosnians during the Bosnia War, and what Israel does to Palestinians and what is currently going on in Myanmar and Syria as “genocide.” We cannot say so even though some of them are in fact genocide and were carried out in a deliberate and systematic manner to cause extinction to a race or ethnicity, because the global community does not accept the killing of around ten thousand people in Srebrenica in a single night, and the raping of thousands of Bosnian women by the Serbs that they claim occurred during “combat conditions.” Likewise, what the Palestinians are subjected to is also not considered genocide, because they claim that Palestinians are “terrorists.”

Myanmar? Myanmar does not even have any value. Nothing happens there anyways and the global community ignores by saying, “Who killed who? We never heard about it.”

Of course by mentioning these, I do not mean to say let's not differentiate between the right and the wrong, or not stand on the side of the truth. My saying these does not result in my articulation of the state's official thesis statement. Because when the AK Party was in power in 2013, a piece I wrote about Sevag Balıkçıyan (05/04/2013-Yeni Şafak), -who is one of our Armenian citizens- entitled “The Sevag Balıkçıyan Issue, I said “… If you have a heart inside your chest and if that heart that you carry has an established scale of justice and fairness, and in this scale, unjustly killing a person regardless of his/her race, gender and religious belief equals to killing humanity as a whole, it is impossible for you to not be disturbed by the Sevag Balıkçıyan incident…” I think these remarks probably depict a better picture showing from which stance I evaluate issues.

The issue with expressing Armenian genocide allegations is this: before the memorials for Armenians were erected, and those legislations deeming it a crime to say “genocide did not take place,” and before those statements were made, it is evident that this issue has long been detached from the point of “proving-disproving it”. Since no foreign expert, activist or historian regarded it as necessary to study the Ottoman or Armenian archives (the Armenian archives are strictly closed), it is also evident that this issue has gotten away from the “wrong-or-right” evaluation and has almost become a tool for international perception management for the strong. But the condolences message conveyed by then Prime Minister Erdoğan last year, on the road to share the pains which was the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic was rather significant. Davutoğlu's speech this year should have also been significant. However, it seems as though the expectations of the Diaspora, which believes it is stronger than Turkey in terms of lobbying, anticipates turning the religious relevance advantage into a profit war more than that. But I am not quite sure if they will reach their expectations in this way, by having “pressure” enforced. For this is nothing but laying stones of revenge on the path called “respect for the pain.”


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