THE COMMEMORATION OF ARMENIAN TRAGEDY...THE DAY AFTER

Hurriyet Daily News
April 23 2015

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By the weekend, we will have left the big day behind; the 100th
anniversary of the World War I killings of Armenians at the hands of
the Ottomans will have been marked.

By the weekend, both Turks and Armenians will be looking at a balance
sheet. How many countries have called it genocide, or refrained from
using the term? How many world leaders attended the commemorations
in Armenia? How many abstained?

Suppose Armenians end up tremendously happy about the result or
disappointed about it. Suppose Turks end up satisfied about their
damage control efforts or frustrated and angry about the end result.

What exactly will have changed?

"Our biggest problem is to have structured our policies with Armenia
upon claims of genocide. There is just one date we wait for the whole
year: April 24. Which countries will use the word genocide? What
will the U.S. president say? At the end of December [each year] the
Turkish foreign ministry starts focusing on that. Initiatives take
place to stop resolutions that will recognize it as genocide. All
of this stops on April 24," Unal Cevikoz, a former ambassador, told
daily Hurriyet last week.

"If the word is not used and there are no reasons to react to certain
countries, we relax by April 25 and we do nothing until next January,"
said Cevikoz who was previously Turkey's envoy to London.

He suggests Turkey needs to endorse a healthy policy towards Armenia
as of April 25, 2015, to avoid experiencing similar stress each year.

Indeed, both Turkey and Armenia should start thinking about "what
now?" as of April 25. Armenia can opt to continue on capitalizing
on its gains. But the hope of an increase in the number of countries
who recognize the Armenian tragedy as genocide leading to a radical
change in Turkey's policies will prove futile.

Similarly, on the part of Turks counting on Turkey's clout as a
regional and international actor to counter Armenian efforts is not
going to make this problem go away.

April 25 should not be a day where, after looking at the balance sheet,
both sides close the dossier until next year.

It would have been unrealistic to expect a new initiative for
reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey while the former was
preparing for the 100th anniversary and the latter for general
elections.

After leaving the commemorations behind, the formation of a new
government in Turkey following the June 7 elections should provide
a new fresh start of negotiations between the two sides. This time
though, past mistakes should be avoided and a formula found to include
indirectly both the Azerbaijan and Armenian diaspora in the picture.

Meanwhile, independent of the process with Armenia, the Turkish
government should continue to take all the necessary steps to improve
the conditions of the Armenian community in Turkey, while contact
with the Armenian diaspora should be intensified.

Despite some highly irritating individual statements from Turkish
officials recently, the Turkish government officially accepted the
sufferings of the Armenians last year, and this year it will be
represented in the commemoration at the Armenian patriarchate.

This might appear as insufficient for certain circles. But it should
not be underestimated. The genie is out to push Turkey to face some
of the dark pages of its history. It will be impossible to push the
genie back.

April/23/2015




From: A. Papazian