One of the political reflexes, which came up simultaneously with the efforts for adapting to the EU and the new political party’s pursuit of breaking the guardianship system, was the “confrontation with history”, “memory exercise” and the “political and communal discovery of the non-Muslims”.
Even though; the point arrived at is still far from being enough; the alteration in the mentality field seems to take many years. Severe traumas, like Dink’s murder, are happening; it would be a mistake to underestimate the ground covered in this matter.
We left behind a 10-year period, which started with the “Armenians in the 19th Century” symposium (in which Hrant Dink has a special place in the sense of name and efforts) that caused great crises in 2005.
This line, which extends from returning the foundation’s goods to the acceptance of 1915 at the state level (at least as a tragedy), states three meanings.
The first one is removing the historic heavy loads off of the country’s back by confronting, being purified and re-structuring the national identity.
As for the second one; it’s to fulfill a historical and political debt against humanity and Armenians.
Also, the third and the last one; it is the production and mobilization of legitimacy by the memory query, which started in the community, as it embraced politics.
Actually, an ethical and communal memory query, or in better words, a community sits at the heart of all the critical moves that had been taken in this matter during the 10 years in Turkey.
Last year, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s condolence text on April 24 regarding the 1915 incidents were in a sense a continuation of a story and the reflection of a communal state of legitimacy on politics.
In that text, as well as repeating the official thesis related with 1915, Turkey was actually making a breakthrough with the following sentences;
“Like any citizen of the Ottoman Empire, it’s the duty of mankind to comprehend as the Armenians commemorate the sorrows they’ve experienced in that period and share that sorrow. Expressing different views and opinions related with the 1915 incidents freely is a necessity of a pluralistic perspective, democracy culture and modernity (….) May the Armenians, who’ve lost their lives under the conditions at the beginning of the 20th century, rest in peace, and hereby we are sending our condolences. We are also remembering all the Ottoman citizens, who’ve lost their lives in the same period under similar conditions, with respects, regardless of their ethnical and religious root…”
That text was actually starting with the following statements;
“April 24, the day that carries a special meaning for our Armenian citizens and all the Armenians in the world…”
April 24 is not just another day. Armenians name the 1915 incidents as “genocide” and they commemorate that on April 24. Even though Turkey refuses this locution, it knew what this day meant for Armenians, and thus, was making this indirect emphasis with the last year’s condolences.
In this regard, 2015 is a special year. It’s the 100th year of 1915, a tragedy, a slaughter or genocide. It will have more influence than any other, and, it will be a big commemoration year that has a symbolical meaning.
Then, what will Turkey and the state do?
What will be Turkey’s move after last year’s condolence text?
Actually, we are already observing the hints of an “equalization policy”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is conducting intense lobby activity. The Perinçek case, which dug through the negationizm rule, has a crucial importance in the sense of the state’s thesis. The postponement of the 100th official commemoration of the Çanakkale War from March 18 to April 24, the day before April 25 when Anzacs celebrate it, is pointing at the effort of increasing agendas.
On the other hand, the other move, which is the continuation of the condolence, had already been taken.
We think that Davutoğlu’s statement, which had been published on the Prime Ministry website a couple of days ago, on the occasion of Hrant Dink’s death anniversary, will be replacing the state’s actual statement.
The following expressions summarize that text;
“Having already underscored the inhumane consequences of the relocation policies essentially enforced under wartime circumstances, including that of 1915, Turkey shares the suffering of Armenians and, with patience and resolve, is endeavoring to re-establish empathy between the two communities. We will press ahead with resolve to give due recognition to the Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey and to those Armenian personalities who made inestimable contributions to Ottoman/Turkish culture. Our desire to share in the pain, to heal the wounds and to re-establish friendships is sincere. Our course is set towards a horizon of friendship and peace.”
This is how it should be.
However, more is needed to reach these objectives….