EDITORIAL: The Lexis of Genocide ‘Denial’

“Denial”. The word that has been on Armenian lips ever since our near-annihilation in the early 20th century and the perpetrator’s relentless attempt at quashing all evidence of it. The 5th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder pushes this word back into the news as we are expected to believe that the laws of the Turkish state justly tried his murderers.

The Republic of Turkey once again finds itself denying certain freedoms and implementing a false democracy – something which Dink constantly called public attention to. Zaman Daily stated that “This verdict proves once more that in this country the law exists to protect primarily the state and not the individuals.”

The estimated 20,000 people who flooded the streets of Istanbul on January 19th proclaiming “We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians” most definitely have something to say about the verdict, insisting that the case went deeper than only those convicted. The murder was an example of racism and Turkish hatred against Armenians, but we Armenians should be careful to not return this negativity. The Turk that marched from the streets of Taksim Square shouting “We are all Armenian” is not the same Turk that committed Genocide 97 years ago. We are increasingly witnessing a new mentality take hold in the mind of the average Turk: that which pushes not to refute Turkish history but rather to seek the truth and embrace their wrongdoings.

Dink was an advocate of democracy. The new generation of Armenians in the Diaspora should believe in the Turks for not all are like Ogun Salmast or Yasin Haysal, but if Turkey is to take real steps towards democracy and acknowledgement of its past, however dark, it will come from its people. The coming year should bring about new developments as Turks are becoming ever more aware of and vocal against the undemocratic acts their government commits. They are beginning to open their eyes up to their country’s history, as proved by their activity regarding the online Armenian Genocide “I Apologise” petition, which collected thousands of signatures from those citizens. Unsurprisingly though, knowing Turkey’s reputation for repressing freedom of speech not least by the likes of Article 301, this petition was soon shut down.

We should not forget it is the Turkish Government that refuses to accept the Armenian Genocide, not the Turkish librarian, fishmonger, teacher or salesman. Hrant Dink’s assassination, with its suspicious circumstances, was seen by Armenians as the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian Genocide, and it is with the help of the Turkish people that we expressed to the world the gravity of his murder. While Turkey’s courts have consigned the case to the history books by classifying it a simple homicide, we and many Turks believe there are deeper forces at play linking it to the country’s government. With such thoughts the Turkish people assist us in maintaining the pressure on the Turkish government for just acknowledgement of their past. Case not closed.

— Vahe Boghosian, AYF London

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