20 September 2005
JTW Accepts Mrs. Ohannesian’s Open-Dialogue Call
It is not a secret. Journal of Turkish Weekly’s (JTW) approach on Armenian Issue is not shared by many Armenians. JTW has never named 1915 events as ‘genocide’. JTW argues that the 1915 events were communal clashes and a tragedy for Turks and Armenians under the First World War circumstances while most of the Armenians argue the reverse. We have received thousands of letters from our Armenian readers. And one of them was Mrs. Maral Der OHANNESSIAN.
We as the JTW are not happy with the current Armenian attitude regarding the Armenian issue. Baris Sanli, Nilgun Gulcan and Jan Soykok from JTW have labeled the Armenian approach as “shut-up-and-accept-it” approach and urged the Armenian side to construct a real dialogue environment.
Mrs. Maral Der OHANNESIAN first accepted this dialogue call and then challenged the JTW saying “I already made it clear to you that the Armenian approach regarding the Armenian Genocide is NOT as you described it: “shut up and accept. I accepted your (JTW’s) offer to have an Armenian-Turkish dialogue. I agreed to discuss with you the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide, even though such a discussion is offensive to the memory of the victims, and offensive to me personally as an Armenian and a third generation survivor of the Armenian Genocide."
Mrs. OHANNESIAN offers an open-dialogue between the JTW and herself.
We appreciate Mrs. OHANNESIAN’s good will. She is brave and ready to make a real contribution to Turkish-Armenian dialogue.
She says in her e-post:
“Once you claimed that Armenians’ approach is “shut up & accept”. I am ready to prove that is not the case, & I will suggest as a response to the offer that you made in your email saying “ I and the JTW is ready to play any role in such a co-operation and dialogue”, I suggest a one on one dialog, between you the Chief Editor of JTW & this ordinary young Armenian girl. I think that you won’t refuse such a dialog, if the initiative you made is really what you wish for! To make that dialog worth going through & so it won’t be a waste of your precious time nor mine; I will ask for a publication of that dialog in your journal, and as a result, if you manage to convince me of your point of view that is the Armenian Genocide is merely allegation, I will stop complaining about the credibility of your reporting & news. But if I manage to convince you that the Armenian Genocide is a fact, then it will only be fair & honest from your side to commit yourself to omit each & every _expression that JTW uses to cast suspicion on the fact of the Armenian Genocide, such as “ so-called” , “ alleged”, “disputed” & “ allegations” … etc.”
We (JTW) accepted the offer and we wish it will make contribution to a common understanding between Turkish and Armenian peoples. The JTW will publish Mrs. OHANNESIAN’s letters to the JTW and the JTW’s response to Mrs. OHANNESIAN. Thus the Armenian and Turkish approaches will really face to face.
If you have any comment on the letters, the JTW is ready to publish them. The first week’s letters:
MARAL DER OHANESIAN’S FIRST LETTER TO DR. SEDAT LACINER
From: Maral Der Ohanesian
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005 12:47:09 +0300
Subject: A Question !!
In your article titled " Briner: 1915 Events Should Be Investigated by Turks and Armenians" http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=17645, you reported the following :
(Turkish scientists have found many mass killing graves of Turkish villagers in Eastern provinces of Turkey. )
I was wondering how did the Turkish scientists made sure that the corpses in these mass-graves were Turkish , not Armenians’ . Specially when you admit that they were found in the Eastern Provinces which were known as The Armenian Villayets. I am sure that you are aware of the fact that there were Armenian population majority in those Villayets, therefore they were known as the Armenian Villayets.
Did they perform a DNA test to confirm that it was Turkish corpses, not Armenians’ ?!
I mean how did you make sure that they are not actually mass-graves for massacred Armenians ??!!
DR. SEDAT LACINER WROTE TO MRS. MARAL:
First of all we should accept that there are many Armenian graves in Turkey because the Armenians lived in Anatolia for more than 1000 years, and they continue to live in many Turkish cities and they have graves, churches etc. in Istanbul and in other towns. But you should understand that Anatolia is also home of other nations as well, including the Turkish people. And many of them were killed during the First World War by armed Armenian gangs. You ask how did the Turkish scientists made sure that the corpses in these mass-graves were Turkish , not Armenians’. First of all Turkish scientist make work on the areas near Turkish villages and according to memories of the elderly Turkish villagers. The old Turkish villagers tell their stories to the Turkish scientist and then the works are started. They also find belongings which prove that the graves are Muslim graves. Crescent symbols on the tobacco boxes and other religious symbols and materials show that these graves are Muslim
graves. Also ’sunnet’ is another proof.
You say "I am sure that you are aware of the fact that there were Armenian population majority in those Villayets, therefore they were known as the Armenian Villayets." However all the Ottoman and Armenian Church documents show that Armenians were not majority in any Eastern Province. They were not in majority even in any main town. I do not deny the fact of that Eastern Provinces are important for Armenians. The region is historically Armenian, but at the same time Turkish and Kurdish. The Muslim people were in majority during the Ottoman Empire despite of the great Armenian population. That was the reason of the Armenian tragedy. They tried to establish an Armenian state by forcing the majority to leave the region. I am sure that now you will argue that the Ottoman and Turkish statistics are not true. I can follow the same style and I may say the same for the Armenian documents. But I will not. Just compare the Armenian Turkish population. Now there are about 80 million Turkish in Anatolia and in Turkish diaspora in Western Europe while the Armenian population in whole world is less than 10 million. Even if we accept that more than 1 million Armenians were killed during the First World War, the Armenian population could not exceed the Turkish population in Anatolia. I am not trying to say that Anatolia was not a home for Armenians. It was and It always be. But Armenians should also keep in mind that Anatolia is also home for Kurds and Turks as well.
You also ask “Did they perform a DNA test to confirm that it was Turkish corpses, not Armenians’?!” I think they did once, and they called the Armenian scientists in a London meeting to come to Eastern Anatolia and make DNA tests. I was there when the offer was made. However the Armenian side rejected the offer and they said “there is no need to make any DNA test or anything because the reality is very vivid”. That is the problem. Some of the Armenians think that there is nothing to be discussed. Turks massacred the Armenians and Turks have to accept this sole reality and shut up. I am sorry but this is not a reasonable and acceptable style. Forgive me but you cannot solve any problem with this style. It is unfortunate that you may not harm Turkey or Turkish interest by just accusing. Even this style damages the Armenian interests.
We have to live with our pains and we should respect our pains. I respect Armenian pains and we, as the JTW, like to see Armenians and Turks in co-operation in any areas. I and the JTW is ready to play any role in such a co-operation and dialogue.