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Turkish liberals should back Erdogan's message to Armenians

Turks should come to terms with the Armenian genocide, recognize the momentous step taken by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and embrace the legacy of the many Turkish officials who saved Armenians from death.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) as he arrives a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3N1W3
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My piece last week for Al-Monitor, "How I faced the Armenian genocide," sparked reactions in the Turkish media, especially after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a day after my article was published — issued an unprecedented condolence message to the victims of the Armenian genocide. Turkey’s polarization has reached such an insane level that even an issue like the 1915 tragedy, which is supposed to unify, is easily overrun under its weight.

A telling example is the reactions faced by Amberin Zaman, Turkey correspondent for The Economist and fellow Al-Monitor contributor, for sharing my article on social media. Here is what happened, in her own words, from the Turkish daily Taraf: “Rasim Ozan Kutahyali, who is known to be close to Prime Minister Erdogan, penned an article for Al-Monitor, where I also contribute, in which he called the 1915 events genocide and said that those who deny it make him nauseous. I shared his article on Twitter late on April 22 with the note 'A good piece.' Many people were infuriated. In their view, I had 'betrayed' my profession by 'polishing up' someone who did not deserve it. Moreover, they believed Kutahyali had written the piece on Erdogan’s orders — to dupe foreigners.”

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