Turkish Press
April 28 2005


Politics Defeated By History



Can Dundar, a columnist in Milliyet daily comments on the recent
developments between Turkey and Armenia regarding the Armenian claims
of genocide in his article titled ''Politics Defeated by History.''

Dundar writes in his article that Turkey has recently changed its
policy on Turkish-Armenian dispute and comments that ''at last Turkey
has realized that it can't stay deaf to the Armenian genocide claims
voiced in the world, anymore.''

''Turkey has launched a counter attack against those claims, started
to re-scan all of its archives and publish many documents on the
issue,'' Dundar says, approving those initiatives of Turkey.

Referring to the reply of Armenian President Kocharian to Prime
Minister Erdogan's letter, Dundar says ''in his reply to Erdogan's
proposal (of forming a joint commission) Kocharian said this would be
leaving the responsibility of bilateral relations to historians; and
instead, he proposed first of all to have normal diplomatic relations
between the two countries. Erdogan replied to that, saying 'we should
first sort out the historical problems', urging Armenia to open all
of its archives.''

Dundar comments in his article that ''these remarks of the two
leaders show that Turkey and Armenia changed their earlier positions.
Armenians, who had earlier urged Turkey to recognize the so-called
genocide first to normalize diplomatic relations, now wants to have
diplomatic relations with Turkey first and deal with the genocide
issue later. Turkey argues the contrary now.''

Dundar says this new policy (or counter attack) of Turkey has some
problems, too. ''Turkey's thesis of denying the genocide allegations
by investigating and publishing historical documents doesn't stop
various countries' parliaments from adopting 'so-called genocide
resolutions' one after another. However Ankara still try to comfort
itself saying that President Bush hasn't mentioned the word
'genocide,' but just used the word 'massacre' in his speech on April
24th. Turkey, which is far more behind Armenians in lobbying, can't
be successful in this new policy.''

''What is more important is that Ankara which has the chance of
eliminating or at least decreasing the influence of Armenian diaspora
by having direct relations with Yerevan, turns down this chance and
pushes Yerevan to assume the same stance as the Diaspora,'' Dundar
says.

''Challenge can sometimes be a good tactic in foreign policy, but a
permanent method that can yield fruitful results is to take brave
steps and prevent the past from being an obstacle for the future.
Starting diplomatic relations and opening border gates will both
start dialogue between the two peoples, and it will also decrease the
pressure of the world on Turkey. We need politicians who can take the
risk of a new start,'' Dundar summarizes his views in the last
paragraph of his article.