Arab News, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
May 1 2014

Turkey, Armenia must let bygones be bygones

Harun Yahya


Last week Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan expressed sorrow
over the incidents involving Armenians that took place in April 24,
1915 during the Ottoman rule. This was the first time in the history
of the Republic of Turkey that any top official offered condolences to
the Armenians. This move has elicited a mixed response. On one hand it
has raised some eyebrows and on the other the Turkish-Armenian
community, the United States and the European Union welcomed the
gesture.

Let's go back to 1915 to paint an accurate picture of what had really
happened. There were various reasons, known and unknown, for the
discontent among the Armenians who had been living in complete harmony
with other communities in the Ottoman Empire.

However, a careful study would reveal that the materialistic
worldview, which is also responsible for the sorry state of affairs
around the globe, had penetrated the Ottoman lands and benefitting
from the weakening of the empire, racist tendencies grew stronger.

A kind of a chain reaction kicked off and pitted sister nations
against each other. Surely, there were sensible people in all
communities who urged calm. Indeed, Armenian President Sargsyan said,
"We would like to express our gratitude to the Turks who extended a
helping hand to their Armenian neighbors. We bless the memories of
those people who risked their lives and their families' lives to help
our citizens."

Interestingly enough, there are attempts to portray 1915 as a year of
hostility merely between the Turks and the Armenians. However, those
with such thoughts tend to forget that 1915 was the peak of the WWI.
The Ottoman lands were under occupation and Ottoman soldiers were
fighting against multiple enemies on multiple fronts in every part of
the empire.

>From east to west, north to south, the entire country was under
western occupation and the Turkish army lost 230,000 troops in
Gallipoli, 90,000 in Sarikamis and 40,000 in the then-Ottoman Arab
lands. Today, the graveyards of Turkish soldiers are located right
next to the graveyards of the occupying forces' soldiers and every
year, commemoration ceremonies are held together with representatives
of respective countries.

Neither the leaders of the Republic of Turkey nor the Turkish people
ever thought about holding those countries responsible for tearing up
their lands and causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.
They know that the tragic picture is a result of the horrible war that
no one wanted.

That's how the Armenian issue should be approached. Just like the
Armenians, the Turks lost many people during those horrible days of
the Armenian-Turkish conflict. Therefore, it would be a grave mistake
on part of some lobbies to take the well-intentioned condolences of
the Turkish premier out of context and interpret it to mean, "Turks
are the only party responsible for those crimes." Considering the fact
that both sides sustained heavy losses, it would be only appropriate
for the Armenian administration and the Diaspora to return the favor
and issue a message of courtesy along the lines of "we offer our
condolence for your losses, too." Otherwise, it would only serve to
offend the future generations of Turkey, seeing that only one side
expressed their regrets over the incidents while the casualties on the
other side were ignored. Singling out one party and holding it
responsible for everything would only hurt the peace process. Indeed,
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed the same concern
and said, "This is not a statement made under pressure. I hope our
peace-offering hand will not be left hanging in the air."

Armenians are a clever, honest and decent people. They will always
remain as one of the most prized communities of our nation. They have
always been known for their reliable, artistic and intellectual
nature.

It is a clear fact that there are some internal and external forces
that seek to separate this beautiful nation and our valuable neighbor
Armenia from us and it is also clear that they are trying to achieve
their goals by using the Armenian incidents as leverage.

Therefore it is imperative for Turkey and Armenia to lay greater
emphasis on their peace-loving, friendly and unifying recourse so that
such attempts prove futile.
To further strengthen ties, both countries should consider opening of
Armenian-Turkish borders and visa-free entries for their respective
citizens.

This is a transit system that both Turkey and Georgia currently apply
and with the inclusion of Armenia into this system, these three
countries will turn into one that are bound culturally, commercially
and in terms of human factors. As love grows between these three
nations, it is inevitable that Azerbaijan will eventually join it as
well.

If things go in this direction, it will not take much time when there
will be no land dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh
and the only thing left will be brotherhood.

We need to have more Armenians in our Turkish lands and they should
open schools in Turkey, spread their culture and contribute to our
common heritage. This will be the best answer to those who are trying
to provoke hostility between two nations.

We should not allow the mistakes of the past to prevent this beautiful
and strong union. The losses on both sides should be remembered
together and the past should be left behind to set an example for the
rest of the world where two countries build peace together.

- The writer has authored more than 300 books translated into 73
languages on politics, religion and science.

http://www.arabnews.com/news/563751


From: Baghdasarian