Turkish Intellectuals Acknowledge The Armenian Genocide on TV Program

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier


(Part III and end)

This is the third and final article on a lengthy video in which two Turkish Intellectuals are advocating the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Republic of Turkey. The discussion took place in 2015 on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The conversation between Erdogan Aydin and Aydin Chubukchu is in Turkish with English subtitles on the video. The name of the one hour and 37 minute-long program is Tower of Babel. The title of the program is “Facing the Genocide.” The Turkish discussion was translated and subtitled in English by Ohannes Kilicdagi, PhD. Here is the final segment of the excerpts from that discussion:

Moderator: “A question from the TV audience: ‘There are those in this country [Turkey] who are more Armenian than Armenians….’”

Aydin Chubukchu: “It is wrong to say that genocide was carried on Turks. It is true that they died massively. They died in the war as soldiers. Turkish people rather died at the front where their state sent them: In Gallipoli, Sarikamish, Yemen…Suez, Galicia….”

Moderator: “We cannot call these [Turkish] deaths genocide.”

Aydin Chubukchu: “Of course, we cannot. They died in the war.”

Erdogan Aydin: “For example, the Jewish genocide took place in Germany. Almost three times more Germans died than Jews. But one cannot evaluate them under the same category and express condolences for both.”

Moderator: “You mentioned the Germans who died in the Second World War.”

Aydin Chubukchu: “The one died in the clash of two armies, the other was civilians massacred by a state. It is not the same thing. Of course, Turks died, millions died. True. But they died in battles. There is no state massacring them in Turkey. As for ‘being more Armenian than Armenians’ -- right. If the Armenian people are oppressed and silenced, I will be more Armenian than Armenians and try to be their voice. If somewhere the Turkish people are oppressed and silenced by a state then I will be more Turk than Turks and defend them. I will be more Alevi than the Alevi and defend all who are silenced: Circassian, Kurd, Arab, Assyrian. I will be more Armenian than Armenians, more Assyrian than Assyrians to give them voice. This is not an insult. If that person asking the question is trying to insult me by saying ‘more Armenian than Armenians,’ it is my honor to stand in solidarity with the oppressed people.”

Erdogan Aydin: In answer to a question regarding the role of Germany in the Armenian Genocide: “They [Germans] played an essential role, but we should be careful not to give the impression that the [Armenian] genocide was carried out by the Germans.”

Moderator: “You say this does not acquit our Ottomans.”

Erdogan Aydin: “Exactly, because the annihilation of Armenians was part Islamization and Turkification of this land, beginning before the war. The policy of Islamization and Turkification of this land, meaning the cleansing of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians served the purpose of Germans who then made the Ottoman Empire and Enver Pasha their collaborators, so that they would use a wider area of influence against Russia and also please their collaborators. While pleasing the Turan dream of their allies, Germany would use the whole Ottoman land for its own system of exploitation…. The war was seen as an opportunity for the elimination of distinct domestic groups. The Ottoman sovereigns of the time aimed two main goals when they entered the war. First is the founding of a Turan Empire from the Adriatic to the China Wall leaning on the Germans, through their war mechanism. Secondly, the war provided them an extraordinary free hand, as no one could interfere in their domestic affairs. So, on this rare occasion, they aimed to clean all distinct identities from Anatolia…. This project is also the reason for sending millions of Ottomans, Turks and Muslims in the first place, to their deaths. So the responsibility of the deaths of Turks, in the question you asked, also belongs to those following Turanism as Talat and Enver. The responsibility for the annihilation of the whole Armenian population, kids and youth, also belongs to Talats and Envers…. We should also underline that Armenians had been organized here 3,000 years before Turks came from Central Asia…. It is said that they [Armenians] were sent away from war zones. No! This is an absolute lie. Besides the war zone, they [Armenians] were exiled from places such as Adapazar, Izmit, Bursa, Eskishehir…. An approach that is based on the state but not the people and their rights cannot generate democracy and justice. Similarly, people who do not imagine fatherland with the rights of those living there but as a piece of soil with a sovereign cannot produce real wealth and justice. If we could carry our land into the future with Armenians who had been there before us, we would see how much they, as a people who constructed European-like cities 100-150 years before, would increase our material wealth. If they were still here in Turkey, we would have a higher rank in the unjust global income distribution. If that people were here today, and we could oppose all powerholders, Turk, Armenian, Kurd together, murders in Soma and Torunlar would have not happened. So, facing the Armenian Question calmly means to re-explore patriotism, our history, wealth, democracy, justice and humanity. It seems we should repeat to our friends, authors, professors, academics who try to cover it as ‘deportation’ that those who were deported were ordinary people (pregnant women, children, the elderly), but not armed people. We should repeat that our friends and neighbors were deported, our humanity and conscience with them. Unfortunately, we continuously talk about the state and its right in a country where they do not exist. But the state is a mechanism of sovereignty with no conscience and morality. Humans have conscience, morality, feeling of solidarity, and their struggle for rights. Democracy is a system where the state is the weakest and the human is the strongest…. Some of our friends ask about documents. We should also be freed from document fetishism. The most important document is the absence of a whole people which once was one of the essential elements of this land. There cannot be any document bigger than this. Moreover, a power which was cold-blooded enough to do such inhuman things, deported, eradicated, exiled a people, would not leave a document saying ‘I deported and annihilated you.’ But we can already infer many conclusions from existing documents….”

Correction: In the previous two articles, I had mistakenly transposed the names of the speakers Erdogan Aydin and Aydin Chubukchu.


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