Friday, September 28, 2007

Different priorities on different sides of Atlantic

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Sylvia Tiryaki
Sylvia Tiryaki talks about the Armenian Diaspora not willing to listen to Patriarch Mesrob II. The simple fact is that Turkey is using both the Turkish community and Armenia as hostages to force the Diaspora drop their pursuit of the recognition of the Genocide of Armenians by the rulers of the Ottoman Empire.

The Diaspora knows when Turkey is sincere and will respond to its advances accordingly. For example the Aghtamar church restoration was a fiasco as far as I am concerned because Turkey mishandled it and lost a major opportunity for rapprochement. You do not get liked when you lock Armenia out of regional development and blame the stance of the Diaspora on the genocide recognition. I hope Sylvia Tiryaki gets the drift.
Not writing in line with the rhetoric of the Armenian Diaspora (basically American - and French) regarding Turkish-Armenian relations usually leads to a flood of unwanted reactions.

Empirically speaking, some of the "feedback" is unpleasant, some of it very unpleasant, some very insulting and full of hatred. However, all the e-mails [which for instance have labeled me as a person maximally stupid, uneducated, primitive with the "Ottoman medieval mentality," and also cursed me in such vulgar ways that this paper would have to blush if even the "most innocent" of those invectives was written here] had one thing in common: Their "authors" were from states like California or Florida.

Well, I must admit, that at the time when I started receiving all this "attention" I wasn't much interested in the demographic composition of the federal states. I just believed that both Turkish and Armenian people could highly benefit from a potential reconciliation. Although I have learnt "enough" about the demographic compositions since than it remains perplexing why considering the establishment of the amity in the Caucasian region (or elsewhere) more important than any pushing of the "Armenian genocide denial bills" through creates such volatile reactions.

Yet, this "who doesn't play with us plays against us" mindset of the powerful Armenian lobby in the United States seemed to play a role also a few days ago when Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan), the spiritual and religious leader of the Turkish Armenian Orthodox community, was visiting the States. Patriarch Mesrob II, who is of course deeply concerned with the relations between Armenians and Turks, wholeheartedly supports the reconciliation through intercultural and inter-religious dialogue between the two. It is needless to say that the unilateral campaigns for the adoptions of the "Armenian genocide resolutions," like those currently pending both in the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States, don't set a healthy ground for mutual rapprochement.

A blow to dialogue

Be it as it may, Mesrob II's speech titled "The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken" which was scheduled to be delivered at the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University has been indefinitely postponed, reportedly as a result of the Armenian U.S. Diaspora's pressure.

Apparently, people who didn't want him to speak in the U.S. about the necessity and possible ways of understanding between the two peoples don't desire any healthy dialogue. Or at least its continuous absence doesn't disturb them. And indeed, why should it? Why should those living in the U.S. mind the nature of the relations between Turkey and Armenia?

However, things look different from the other side of Atlantic. So are the priorities. Thus it might not be too far stretched to presume, that had the presentation by Mesrob II been scheduled in Armenia, it wouldn't have been canceled. Basically because breaking the impasse between Turks and Armenians is desired by many living in the region where the reconciliation is more than needed.

According to polls, the good relations with their neighbors – that would naturally result to the inclusion of Armenia into the regional structures and its development – are the priority for the majority of Armenian Armenians. And this doesn't necessarily correspond with the primary agenda of those living on the other side of the Atlantic.

* Sylvia Tiryaki can be reached at

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



Post a Comment

<< Home