Confession and repentance - SÜLEYMAN SEYFI ÖĞÜN

Confession and repentance

The struggle continues: Most recently a session was held in Germany, “certifying” that Turks committed the genocide of Armenians at the beginning of the last century and Turkey (Turks) were condemned. Turkey's response was harsh and it continues to oppose the decision. Germany is a country in which 3 million Turks reside and that has strong economic ties with Turkey. On the other hand, if such genocide did actually occur during World War I, then Germany, which was an ally of the Ottoman Empire, would have acknowledged such an incident. Therefore, it can be said that the Armenian genocide would have been a “practical,” “real” and “unique” rehearsal for Germany, which committed the Jewish genocide during World War II. But it seems that the German parliament has taken this risk. It seems that instead of burdening itself with such a crime against humanity, it is trying to find itself a partner in crime.

The most critical point here is that this text, which accuses Turkey, was put together by parliamentarians of Turkish origin who hope to “integrate” into the society. A strange dance of the “integration” and “assimilation” terms is dominating world public opinion. If you are powerful and dominating, you have the right to “kindly” request integration from the foreigners. If you aren't, you are accused of “assimilation.”

But, I believe the most important point lies deep down in religious and cultural differences. If these differences are not taken into consideration and the necessary conclusions are not drawn, then such sentences cannot put Turks into shape and make them repent. To put it more clearly, if such sentences continue to take place, Turks' reaction will become sharper. And even if all the evidence was against Turkey, then under no circumstances will you be able to make Turks accept such sentences.

“Facing” history and new generations “embracing” tragic incidents is a secular response of Christian belief and culture. Christians aimed to make all humanity partners in the “original sin” and then “Christ's pain.” This urge was secularized in the modern world. “Historical sins” replaced the original sin and “historical pains” replaced Christ's pain. The “confession” sessions at churches were replaced by the secular sessions of intellectuals and parliamentarians. Let's say Turkish and Armenian parliamentarians joined German parliamentarians during the vote and the Turks “apologized” repeatedly. I am sure German parliamentarians would have applauded this theatrical play.

I would like to draw attention to a strange point: Modern law believes that crimes are individual. Meaning if direct participation cannot be proved, then no one can blame another. Therefore modern law should not accept that groups of people, whose ancestors are accused of committing a crime, are held liable for the crimes of their ancestors. This does not have a provision in Turkish beliefs. Islam “individualizes” sins. “Confession” and “repentance” are theologically two very different things. While the first involves a middleman and expression, the other has no middleman and involves introversion. It is near impossible to introduce “repentance” to a culture that has adopted “confession.” The integrated German parliamentarians should have understood and remembered at least this much.


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