Not only Dersim, let’s talk about Armenians too

Not only Dersim, let’s talk about Armenians too

Dersim (also known as Tunceli) is one of the bitterest incidents of our recent history.

To put it straight, it is the incident in the years 1937 and 1938 when the state of the Republic of Turkey poisoned, bombed and massacred thousands of its citizens “like rats” with the intention of putting up a barricade to the demands of the Kurds and their stance that meant rebellion.

Nowadays, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) government of the time is being made to sit in the dock. A series of accusations is being made that even reaches Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. What is behind this campaign is not the concept of “encountering history,” what lies behind it is cornering the opposition party.

Whereas, as a county, we need to face not only the Dersim incidents but our history. All countries, sooner or later, should encounter the dark parts of their past. They cannot avoid that. We, up to now, have always been shy about our past. We were not able to discuss with modesty and courage our past mistakes. We played the three monkeys.

What happened? Nothing. All the accusations are standing there, those who have lost their lives are there…

There is no way out but to face the mistakes we have made in our history and discuss our responsibilities.

The Armenian issue falls into that category. When a horrific incident stands there in the open, we cannot ignore it. By denying it, we can only fool ourselves. We can gain as long as we take this confrontation seriously. Let’s not play games. Let’s not sweeten the pill.

Can you please tell me, why are we afraid?

We cannot save ourselves by saying, “It was not us; the Ottomans did it.” The 100th anniversary of the Armenian incidents is nearing. If we do not take a step, then others will wrongly judge us and tag the crimes on us. We would be hurt in a much more bitter way.

Whereas, the opposite way round, the more we encounter our history, the more magnanimous our society will be. It will have more self-esteem and will attain peace of mind.

We do not gain anything by covering up, by denying, be it Dersim or be it unresolved murders. Let’s not forget that somewhere behind our minds there will always be the thought, “We must have done some things” and this thought will never go away.

Remember, Prime Minister Turgut Özal, years ago visited Algeria and apologized for not having supported the Algerian freedom war during the French colonial era.

What happened? What did we lose? On the contrary, we won.

Come, let’s leave aside domestic policy concerns and look at the incident from a wider angle.

Let’s encounter our past.

Syria will be left for Turkey to shoulder

I know. When they see this headline, the political power that manages the Syrian policies and the Foreign Ministry will say, “Not even close. You are misinterpretting.” Maybe, from their point of view, the diagnosis may be wrong but when looked from outside, it is not.

When you see the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest statements, Prime Minister Erdoðan’s criticism of the Western powers on grounds that they were not providing adequate support in the Syrian issue and when you read the news and comments in the international press, you face a completely different picture.

The leading role has been given to Turkey in the toppling of Bashar al-Assad. We may try to object to this fact, but, nevertheless, we have been categorized as such and we are doing whatever is necessary.

Not to lead into misunderstandings; Turkey is not given a role that it does not want. Ankara also wants Assad to leave. Moreover, the longer he stays in power, time works against Turkey. As the period gets longer, dangers and the probability of a civil war increase. This will have negative side effects on Turkey.

Well, is it so easy to topple Assad?

Will a Baath government be overthrown by Prime Minister Erdoðan’s statements?

No, this is not enough.

Turkey has some elements for sanctions but most of them carry risks. For this reason, there is a huge need for an international pressure mechanism.