Having fallen out with its friends for a while due to the ongoing problems with its neighbors, the Turkish nation has finally found happiness with the latest developments. Through our considerable efforts, requests and encouragements, the Israel-Turkey and Turkey-Russia relations that we have long wished to be restored finally have been. In the same vein, the statement, “We will take new reconciliatory steps in our relations with Egypt and Syria, as well,” made by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim last week, was very promising. It was the sign of an anticipated and long-awaited period.
What about our Armenian brothers and sisters? In the wake of all this progress, will there not be an attempt to build bridges with the Armenians that are our friends and citizens? There will surely be. Unity is the destiny that certainly awaits these two peoples.
The First World War, during which the world went through an astonishing frenzy and total eclipse of reason, led to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, altered the borders of many countries, and turned into a shameless arena for not only massacres, but also foul propaganda. Forced to wage war in a vast geography extending from Africa to the Middle East, from Anatolia to the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire also waged a horrible war in its own territory against its own fellow citizens, the Armenians.
The Armenian-Turkish war, which was fought within the Ottoman borders, was one of the biggest disgraces in history, during which the both sides made grave mistakes. Both sides were led by an erroneous ideology through the materialistic and racist incitements of a certain insidious groups. The atrocious war pitted two sister nations against each other, and both sides sustained terrible loses.
All of those who died in that war were Ottomans. Armenians and the Turks, who were the citizens of the same country, were forced to fight each other. Many years later, the mass graves that belong to the same period were opened and these graves were found to hold the bodies of both the Turks and the Armenians. This is horrific, gruesome and tragic, because this was a foul war in which dark groups acted in their self-interest. Every time the details of a war are uncovered and scrutinized, we always come upon horrific scenes that reflect the atrociousness of it. Thus, countries refrain from keeping the account of the past and bringing the perpetrators of wars to book.
Otherwise, NATO would not exist now, nor would the European Union that reunited the England and Germany. The Japanese could not live in the US, or the Algerians in France, or the Jews in Germany.
During the First World War, the English exploited the Armenian issue as a major propaganda campaign against the Ottomans.
The English Foreign and Commonwealth Office establishing “the War Propaganda Agency” in the Wellington House building in Buckingham Gate, London, in 1914, in the first sign that the course of the war would be shaped by propaganda activities.
From that date forward, this office has come to be known as the Wellington House.
The main goal of the propaganda activities carried out by the Wellington House was to distribute provocative publications to the detriment of Germany and the Ottoman Empire. In order to win over the US, which was leaning towards the Turks, to their side, the English deep state of the era launched a defamation policy aimed at the Ottoman Empire.
To that end, the Wellington House had certain well-known writers and politicians, the English historian Arnold J. Toynbee in particular, publish many books, articles and brochures. The most famous among them was The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916, known as the Blue Book. This book introduced the Turks in such a fallacious and hateful manner that, even though the information offered in the book was refuted with scientific evidence, the information still wasn’t excluded. In the wake of the war, Toynbee visited Turkey as a journalist to investigate, and he could not hide his bewilderment when he realized that nothing was the way he had been informed, and that the Turks had sustained heavy losses as well. He accepted that the Blue Book was written for propaganda purposes, and this time wrote a book that introduced the Turkish people in a positive light. However to this day, the Blue Book is yet to lose its validity.
In the following years, the English government issued an apology to Germany acknowledging the fact that the propaganda produced by the Wellington House was based on aspersions; yet, despite the appeals lodged by Turkey at the government level, Turkey never received a similar apology.
Hovhannes Kajaznuni, whose name was frequently mentioned among the aspersions cast in the Blue Book and who became the next leader of the Armenian Dashnak Party and the first president of Armenia, stated in his speech at the Dashnak Party congress in 1923 that, at that time, some Armenian groups revolted under the influence of Russia, that both sides sustained losses, that Dashnaks established a dictatorship and that the Armenian terrorism was initiated with an aim to win over the Western public. He indicated that Turkey was acting in self-defense against all these activities.
According to him, there was none other to blame then the Dashnak government.
Not only the propaganda against Turks, but actually the Armenian-Turkish conflict as well was a provocation of the English deep state. Both sides fell for this provocation, and making a grave mistake, two sister nations fought against each other. This is a horrible picture. A brutal, gruesome war was waged; but this was not genocide.
Armenians had always been one of the most prized parts of the Ottoman Empire.
In Turkish history, they had always been on the forefront of politics, arts and science. A substantial number of the Ottoman pashas were Armenian. During the prime ministry of Ali Pasha, the Ministry of Public Works was Armenian. Ohannes Gümüşyan was another Armenian who ran the Ministry of Public Works in the Ottoman Empire.
There were also other Armenians who ran the ministries of commerce, forestry and mines. The Ottoman Parliament of 1876 included 46 non-Muslim parliament members, nine of whom were Armenians. In the parliament established following the declaration of the constitution, there were 11; and in the parliament of 1914 there were 12 Armenian parliament members. Four of the aforementioned Armenian parliament members were the members of the Hunchakian Party, and two were members of the Dashnak Party. In the parliament of 1908, there were 13 Rum and five Jewish parliament members.
Throughout Ottoman history, the Armenians came to be known as “Millet-i Sadika” (the Loyal Nation). Thus, the events of 1915 were nothing but a grave mistake made by two sister nations who fell for the provocations of the English deep state.
For so long, the Turkish government has been trying to provide evidence that the 1915 incidents were not genocide but a bilateral conflict. The request made by the Turkish government to analyze the documents that belong to that period was rejected by various lobbies that reside in the West.
This scheme that was designed to drive a wedge between the both countries can only be frustrated through the efforts of Turkey.
The anguish of the past should immediately be compensated for. Speeches emphasizing the fact that Armenians are our brothers and fellow citizens should be addressed urgently and persistently, and the Armenians who once left Turkish lands should be unconditionally readmitted to Turkey.
Efforts such as reopening the Akdamar church after a period of 95 years should be increased, and more places of worship should be set up for the Armenians. More bilateral talks should be held on the government level, the peace talks should not remain unfulfilled, and the Armenia-Turkey border should be reopened posthaste, and visa and passport requirements should be abolished.
Our Armenian brothers and sisters have always been the ornaments, the beauty and color of Turkey. It is our desire to once again live together with these beautiful and high-class people. Their presence will make Turkey an even more beautiful country.
Love should be the definitive prerequisite for Turkey in its relations with its neighbors and friends. The relations that are based on politics and self-interest are easily affected by even the most insignificant complications and quickly become as instrument to politics. In order to prevent this, it is imperative to strengthen our bonds with Israel through love and friendship, and rejuvenate the sense of brotherhood with Armenia developed by our mutual history.
It should not be forgotten that love is more powerful and profound than the insidious schemes of the shadow groups. In this regard, a great responsibility falls on the Turkish government and the Turkish people.
Here is to hoping that this new period will bring about the reconciliation of our Armenian and Jewish citizens that were forced to leave our country.