Reasons to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide
Oral History Item Type Metadata
I think it's, first of all, important for the Turks. You cannot develop a healthy national identity, a healthy national culture, without dealing with the skeletons in your cupboard. There's no way. What did my grandfather do, you know, or my great-grandfather? Am I from a family that forced Armenian children into their homes, kidnapped them and then raised them as Turks? Maybe I am an Armenian originally? These are things that you -- once you face them, you have overcome them.
And I don't think that a civilized community of nations can exist without recognizing the fact that murders, mass murders, have been committed. This is true not only of the Armenian genocide. But you see, the Germans after the war recognized -- as a state, as a society -- that they committed, or German society committed, the murder of the Jews. This is a healthy development. If this was followed in all other cases, we would be in a much healthier position then we are, because the opposition to legislation against genocide comes in part from this fear of "What will they find in my own past?" And I think that that is a very important element.
Well, you see, people or countries that support the position of the present Turkish government on this are allies for political reasons or military reasons. If these reasons disappear, and it is sad to say so, only then, I think, will they remove their opposition to the recognition of the Armenian genocide. But, you know, a society doesn't exist only of governments or parliaments. It also exists in the media and literature and so on and so forth.
So in the meantime, I think we can do a great deal to recognize the danger of genocide: not only regarding the Armenian case, but regarding, for instance, the Cambodian case, regarding other cases of this kind. So, again, we will not turn this warning into a precedent, but rather this precedent into a warning.