The Turks may take this as an example. After all when the Swedish parliament passed the Armenian genocide resolution, they referred to, correct me if I’m wrong, to six different ethnic minorities in Turkey. The Lazs, Circassians, etcetera, all of them were subject to genocide. So that’s the Turkish fear of a national security concern that somehow Armenia would establish a president and would unravel the process of Turkey’s disintegration that somehow this would basically cost so much in terms of Turkey’s prestige, but also territorial and financial dimension. Therefore, you attach to this a kind of national security dimension and you disable it. Therefore you become unable to discuss the whole psychological dimension to empathize with Armenia, to empathize with the Armenian narrative because after all, if you give them an inch, it will unravel and you will lose everything. So the national security dimension that you mentioned, which is part of the political reality of Turkey and which is part of the traumatized mindset of Turkey, which is there with Armenia but also there with the Kurds is a big obstacle and it would really help if at the official level, somehow Armenia cold declare that when they refer to western Armenia, or when they refer to not Arabs, they don’t have territorial ambitions over Turkey. And this is a very big questions because when I went to Yerevan five years ago, I gave a speech very similar to this one, I came close to basically saying, “Look, I mean you know, I’m just an independent analystic [IB]. For what it’s worth, I would like to apologize for what happened in 1915.” So I read something very similar to this, I pulled out a petition and I gave a speech saying that Armenia should support Turkey’s EU membership, that Armenia should do what Greece did in 1999, which is becoming a supporter of Turkey’s EU membership. Instead of putting genocide recognitions and precondition for Turkey’s EU membership, Armenia should be supportive of democratization, freedom of speech in Turkey and that a European Turkey would be a country that would be more willing to apologize for what happened in 1915. And I thought I’d given a very progressive speech and I thought that my Armenian friends, when this was in the think tank and lots of Armenian students would appreciate that. They came to me and said, do you get high points for being such a progressive Turkish independent analyst.
We appreciate that, we really, again it’s a good speech, but you know what, an apology would not be enough. We really want the mountain. We really want compensation. You’re a big country, what is the meaning for you for Mount Ararat? For us, it’s our symbol, it’s our identity. When I heard that, I said to myself, my God, I have [IB] people here in the room with me listening to this. This will confirm their worst nightmare. I hope those young Armenians that I talked to do not represent the majority of Armenia because if there is this belief in Armenia that reconciliation with Turkey somehow would require Mount Ararat becoming Armenian territory or that Turkey would be strong enough to make such a gesture, this is not going to happen. But because there was such a reaction in that speech, to my speech, I always start thinking that maybe Turkey’s national security trauma and concern and paranoia has some validity. If this is coming from young Armenians, one can only think of basically people who have some anger and vengeance and who would like such things? [IB] basically territorial demands from Turkey. It would really help if Armenia could make a statement that they have no territorial ambitions over Turkey, that they basically do not want territorial or financial compensation. Because if there is a financial compensation dimension to this, this would only make it difficult for Turkey to come to terms with what happened in 1915.
Interviewer: Well I think, do we have time? We don’t have time. Thank you all for coming and thank Omer. Thanks to the Rumiforum for organizing this.