The office of the Turkish prime minister has made a crucial break from all past approaches to the issue of the Armenian genocide. From now on, one single authority will be tasked with dealing with all claims related to genocide.
In Turkey, there are currently a variety of institutions, centers and offices that deal with Armenian claims, including the Armenian desk in the Turkish Historical Society, certain departments within the General Staff, universities, foundations and many others.
These institutions have been active for years, issuing a significant number of publications that all have something bizarre in common: they address no country but Turkey. That is, they don’t confront the claims of the Armenian diaspora that is active in all corners of the globe. Instead, they attempt to influence Turkish public opinion with claims such as: “These men are lying, don’t believe them. In 1915, they slaughtered us.”
Result: a huge nothing
And what have we achieved with all of this work so far? A huge nothing. The Armenian diaspora has been effective in its activities in European and US research centers and universities. They have produced work of professional quality, including a number of attractive publications and hundreds of well-designed websites.
Because most of our publications address only our own people and do little more than promote ourselves to ourselves, nobody really cares about them abroad. The work being done our universities and organizations is not taken seriously, as they merely follow the state’s line of “we didn’t do it, they did.”
Nobody reads the leaflets and books that our embassies try to distribute, as they are written in the boring propagandistic style of the 1960s. Even if somebody were to read these leaflets, nobody would understand them given that nothing is said about what actually happened in 1915. They consist of unnecessary, long-winded and obscure defenses.
This is why the prime minister’s office’s decision to unite all activities related to the Armenian issue under one authority is a very important move — albeit a late one.
Let us not forget that over the next three years, the Armenian issue and the claims of the diaspora against Turkey will change significantly and take on a different perspective. The diaspora has spent years preparing from the 100th anniversary of the deportations that took place in April 1915. A number of widely diverse activities are being planned, especially in the diplomatic arena. They will work hard to push the United States and many other countries to acknowledge that the events of 1915 amounted to genocide, and they will most likely succeed.
Finally, we noticed
The office of the prime minister’s decision to create a single authority means that we have finally noticed the Armenian preparations for this date. The biggest impediment this new authority will have to overcome is the “more royalist than the king” mentality it will encounter along the way.
We don’t have a single publication that is taken seriously in academic circles abroad. The prevailing mentality whereby we brag about ourselves and hold fast to the mindset of “we didn’t do it, they did” — and worse, our inability to understand the disgrace of reducing the events of 1915 to counting corpses — must be abandoned. If not, Turkey’s headaches over the next three years will be much more painful than ever before.