People are not reluctant to talk about the genocides in Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia or the Holocaust. But when it comes to what took place in Turkey over 100 years ago, many take offense. Turkish officials declare awkwardly and viciously that their culture would never have committed genocide and hence refuse to accept the accusation. Still over one million Armenians, the world’s oldest Christians, were murdered.
On January 19, 2007, a well-known Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hirant Dink, was gunned down in front of his office in broad daylight. His killer was a 17-year-old young man who claimed that the journalist had insulted the honor of the Turkish people by speaking about the genocide. To this day, the killer hasn’t been prosecuted.
Politicians claim that Turkey’s past is as clean as can be and this sentiment is shared by most of the population. However, many European parliaments such as France, Sweden, and Switzerland have acknowledged the genocide against Armenians. The voices of those who demand that Turkey faces up to its past can no longer be ignored.
Turkey is a key NATO ally. It’s an important trading partner, and it’s the country that provides a bridge to the Middle East. Turkish leaders have used their strategic importance to deflect all discussions regarding their recent history. They have threatened to break off diplomatic relations and to cancel all arms contracts. That’s one reason why forcing them to accept an event that happened a century ago is not a priority for the leaders of Western nations.
Every year on April 24, thousands of Armenians from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the capital of Armenia. They mourn the victims of the annihilation that began on that same date in 1915. Their grief is mixed with pain and anger because they can’t understand why Turkey continues to deny what happened and they feel betrayed by a world that continues to accept Turkey’s lame version of the facts.
Turkish prime minister claims that there is no evidence to support that such a catastrophe took place. However, there are enough documents provided by eyewitnesses, doctors, diplomats, and journalists that give an accurate account of what took place. Reports can be found in diplomatic and military archives in Berlin, the United States, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Armenia. These records tell of a crime so great that it’s beyond human comprehension.