December 22, 2008
Nurten Ural, President, ATAA
Hakan Dakin, Art/Media Director, ATAA
APOLOGY INSPIRED BY SELECTIVE MORALITY HURTS MORE THAN IT HEALS
ATAA deeply regrets the one-sided apology that is being circulated in the internet and media by some scholars in Turkey. The statement of apology, while correctly avoiding the use of the term "genocide" and, thus, draining the issue of much of its potency, is nevertheless, divisive more than unifying, showing sensitivity to one group of victims of World War One (Armenians) but not to others (Turks, Kurds, Circassians, Azeris, Jews, and others.) Such unfortunate display of selective morality inevitably dooms the apology to a act of political gesture, an anti-establishment statement tainted with self-promotion.
It is also argued that the statement of apology clearly indicates plurality in public opinion in Turkey, thus powerfully refuting the often repeated claims of intolerance to dissent in Turkey. It is added that this apology draws attention to the obvious lack of such plurality in public opinion in neighboring Armenia where the state's orthodoxy is enforced upon all. We note these arguments with interest, but nevertheless, do not find them sufficiently compelling to justify such a divisive, polarizing apology driven by selective morality.
The statement, though sensitive to Armenian losses, glosses over Muslim losses suffered due to the many bloody Armenian revolts, raids and massacres by Armenian revolutionaries, treason by Armenians joining invading enemy armies, and ubiquitiously calamitous wartime conditions ( such as hunger, epidemics, poor supplies or infrastructure, brigands, feuds, and other elements.) Turkish History Institute research reports close to 524,000 Ottoman-Muslims, mostly Turks, as having met their tragic ends at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries during WWI. Not to include these humans into an apology is to insult their silent memory.
Also ignored, sadly, were the Turkish victims of Armenian terrorism since 1973. More than 70 innocent Turkish diplomats, family members, and/or bystanders were ruthlessly murdered by Armenian terrorists like ASALA, JCAG, and others. At a time when the U.S. fighting a costly global war on terrorism, this irony is hardly lost on us or other peace-lovers.
Just as inexplicable is the blatant hypocrisy in the omission in the apology statement of the Azeri victims of the Hodjali pogrom committed by Armenian thugs in February 1992 and the more than a million of Azeri refugees who were forced by Armenian military (supported by Russian tanks and advisors) at gunpoint to flee their homes. Those Azeri women and children are still braving the brutal Caucasus winters and scorching summers in their flimsy tents for the 14th year in a row. Adding insult to injury has to be the fact that U.S. Aid to these unfortunate souls was blocked by intense political pressure from the Armenian lobby America. It is profoundly saddening and baffling to us why a few words of comfort could not be included in the "apology statement" for these Azeri refugees-in- their-own- country.
ATAA solemnly remembers all who lost their lives in the war years between 1912 and 1922, namely Turks, Kurds, Circassians, Jews, and others, in Eastern Anatolia, due to Armenian rebellions, terrorism, and treason; the Turkish diplomats who were assassinated since 1973 by Armenian terrorists; the Azeri victims of Armenia's aggression between 1992-1994; and the Azeri refugees created by the ethnic cleansing campaign waged by Armenia since 1992. Since they were all forgotten in the "apology" offered by a few ill-informed scholars and their supporters, we would like to include them in our apology to all the victims of Armenian aggression here. We share their pain and apologize to them for Armenians' inhumanity visited upon them.
There is no reason for the Republic of Turkey to apologize to any persons or countries for something that Turks have not done. After all, one doesn't apologize for defending one's home.