The Armenian Genocide and current developments in Turkey

By Haydar Isisk* (trans. Tony Kahve)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I greet you sincerely and would like to begin by an extract from David Kherdian's book called “In the Shadow of the Crescent.” It was published in Germany by the Peri publishing house. It reads as follows: “Even if we are divided by force, we still remain one family. If one of us dies, undoubtedly something dies in all of us. But if only one of us survives then we will all live through that survivor. No happiness emanates from disaster. What the Turk does is insanity. You may get serenity one day followed by disaster the next. We must wait and see as to which gate God will reveal to us. i  hope that the avenue which is about to open in front of us will also bring us back. Whatever happens you must return.”

These are the words of a grandmother of a large and prosperous Armenian family in the Anatolian town of Afyon, before she was deported to the Syrian desert.

Firstly, the young men were conscripted into the army, shortly after the deportations begun.

At this point, I would like to note that the only survivor of the family in the desert town of Deir Zor was a child called Veron. Indeed, under these circumstances, even if he could return to Afyon, there was no longer any one there to greet him. The land of Anatolia and the Syrian deserts became the grave of 1.5 million Armenians. Incredibly, even their graves could not be in their motherland. Their remains merely gained the attention of scavenging animals. This is the greatest humanitarian crime committed against the Armenian nation during the first quarter of the twentieth century. It is a Genocide. Consequently, the mass barbarism must be seriously questioned. The responsible element must face its history. Bypassing the issue is sanctioning Genocide, thus opening the gates of new Genocides. Claiming that we committed no such crime and that they committed such crimes against us does not hide the reality.

Anatolia's ancient people have felt the death of 1.5 million Armenians, thus something has also died within those Turks and Kurds who consider themselves human beings.

Anatolia was a land populated with Armenians at every sunrise, with them it was a beautiful land. Where are our Armenian neighbours today? Why can't these ancient people of Anatolia return to their country? Why shouldn't the present day sunrise greet them as it used to? Previously, despite religious differences, the Turk, the Armenian, the Assyrian and the Syrian as well as the Kurd were one family. The Armenian man was enriching Anatolia with art and culture. You have to think for a moment that if this Genocide had not taken place couldn't all Anatolians still pursue a prosperous life jointly? Doesn't the answer to this question reflect the words of the old women that: “What the Turk does is insanity”? Indeed if this insanity had not been committed the peoples of Anatolia today would still have coexisted prosperously.

The Armenian people were the true owners of certain regions of Anatolia and were the true wealth of those regions. What did the destroyers of this wealth truly gain in their single-minded disease incorporating a frenzy of Pan-Islam and racist Pan-Turkism? The reality is that now they are unable to wipe away the Armenian blood which stains their foreheads permanently. Now, which ever door Turkey knocks on there appears the Armenian Genocide.

The Kurds also became the triggers and revolvers of this genocide. I never forget the statement made in 1956 by a Muslim called Sofu Hasan from the town of Mush. “We were told that the Armenians were to attack the mosque. We, however, acted rapidly and quickly gathered them. I know that I killed five Armenians with one bullet”.

Sofu Hasan believed he was conducting the orders of former Caliphs. He would pray profoundly for the day when he would be received by God. The important point to comprehend here is that the spirit of Sofu Hasan has now entered the AKP the ruling party in Turkey. AKP believes that it has inherited the Ottoman past, and does not recognise the Genocide, this means that it is sanctioning it.

During the late nineteenth century, 36 Kurdish clans were organised into special brigades by Sultan Abdul Hamid in order to eliminate the Armenians. Thus the Kurds became the instruments of that government. Today, however, 75 members of the Grand National/Assembly fortified with a number of ministers have become the triggers against the Kurds. The Kurdish brigades of the past are the shame of the Kurdish people.

One Armenian survivor of the Genocide describes his experience as such: “Our deportation column gradually got smaller, partly because numerous children were killed or kidnapped. One night we were approaching a caravanserai, fifteen of the surviving children rushed to a well next to the buildings in order to drink water. The officer in charge believed that their true intention was to escape. Consequently, two gendarmes were sent after them. They were promptly put in a line and shot. They were between 8 and 12 years old.(Erlebnisse, Therese Lehmann, Haupt p8, Donat & Temman Veslag)

Unfortunately, the nature of these events is most heart breaking. Sadly, even today we live in a state that the Turkish police, in front of the TV cameras, will break the arm of a child and viciously beat women and children. The Turkish soldier will happily decimate the bodies of the guerrillas he has killed. Such violence demonstrates once again the murderous continuity emanating from the Committee of Union and Progress and its extension the Kemalist regime.

This ideology [based on Turkism] incorporates cultural elimination, thus Armenians are unable to survive in Anatolia. Murder of Hrant Dink was also committed by the same insane psyche. The same insanity is now attempting to eliminate the Kurds. AKP and its generals have spread their war throughout Kurdistan. Turkey must apologise to the Armenians and promote the principles of peace and equality with the Kurds; otherwise it cannot survive by a policy of permanent murder. Turkish politicians should get on their knees at the Genocide Monument in Yerevan and ask for forgiveness. Just as Willy Brandt did in Warsaw for the Second World War crimes.

What has happened to the Armenians should never be forgotten. Anatolian people must be told the truth. Personally I have been threatened numerous times due to the articles I have written about the Armenians. But as a human being it is my duty to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. At every opportunity, I present articles and continue to make speeches. Thus, I convey my support to the Armenian people and wish them all the success.

Armenian Solidarity with the Victims of all Genocides, UK

The above article was sent to the Armenian-Kurdish Conference, held in Britain, 08-09 July 2008 (Read here about the Conference)