Some Turks Question Turkey’s Longstanding Position on Armenian Genocide
The magnitude of the post-coup crackdown led some Turkish people to question the official narrative about some controversial issues of the past.
As another year turned on, with diaspora Armenians desperately seeking to secure the recognition of the events from the country they saw as responsible for the mass atrocities, the definition of what happened in 1915 during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire has still been a matter of political and diplomatic controversy. To master the historical narrative, both sides are jostling to persuade the international audience to accept their account of the events.
To Armenians, the Ottoman Empire executed a premeditated plan to extirpate its Christian citizens. To Ankara, the capital of the successor state — the Turkish Republic — the 1915 episode must be seen in a larger historical context, from a world-historical event — World War One -and what happened was a multifaceted story.
Simply put, the main thesis of the Turkish side is that a lot of Armenians suffered and died, not result of a deliberate genocidal campaign, but because of defensive measures of the Ottoman authorities to blunt separatist Armenian militias’ collaboration with the advancing Russian troops in the eastern Anatolia. In that effort, Istanbul saw the relocation of its Armenian population as an essential measure to safeguard its eastern flank and to preemptively thwart any potential rebellion by militias that would paralyze the Ottoman war-making abilities and jeopardize its territorial integrity.
Not only Armenians suffered, but also Muslims as well. So goes the official narrative. This angle has held water since the foundation of the republic. For Armenians, it was pure denialism.
But the stirring of change and contours of new thinking on the part of some Turks appear in the offing. As Armenians all around the world commemorate their loss and remember the tragic events on every April 24, the day of the Ottoman decree to relocate a more than million Armenians in 1915 from all parts of Anatolia to Syria, some Turks have a change of heart on the matter that has been regarded by the national security…