I have checked gravity several times and asked the people I spoke to today if, in fact, they are imaginary. I had Delal slap me around a few times to make sure I was awake, and I encourage you all to double check this news as soon as you finish reading to ensure that I am not under the influence of some kind of hallucinogen, but it does indeed seem that one of the AKP’s members of Parliament—right, the same guys who brought you mass arrests of just about everybody—apologized for the Armenian Genocide. Here in Turkish.
His name is İsmet Uçma and he’s a super conservative AKP founding father from Ordu.
|İsmet Uçma of Ordu--what that boy say?|
Okay, he didn’t use the G word—he did say, however, that it was ‘the exile of a race’ and blamed the Committee of Union and Progress (the government at the time). He went on to say even crazier things like, ‘Their pain is our pain. We need to open the borders with Armenia and give the Armenians peace of mind and comfort. From the Deportations to the Diaspora, from the issue of compensation to Sabiha Gökçen, we need to display an approach to many issues that rethinks the old cliches. The ones who made the Armenians and all our country men suffer in those days was the Committee for Union and Progress. Those responsible for all of these things are not us, but the CUP. However, we must be able to say that ‘we apologize for certain things that you went through in our mutual past.’ This apology I personally make for the ‘Race Exile’.
When asked what the Deportations were he said, ‘If you were to confuse the struggle against the PKK with the struggle against a whole people, then something tragic would occur. You cannot explain. We must look at the Armenian bandits who conspired with other countries and our Armenian compatriots driven into exile differently. The CUP saw them as one and made all the Armenians pay the price. There are other examples of deportations in history, but people who are deported must not even suffer so much as a nosebleed on the journey. Was this true of the Armenian Deportations? No.’
And finally, most startling of all considering my previous posts on Hrant Dink….
‘Sabiha Gökçen was an Armenian orphan from Bursa. She was Mustafa Kemal’s adopted daughter. You took that child, raised her and made her into a pilot. But you raised her in such a way that she could bomb Dersim later in life.’
Of course, the BDP’s Sırrı Sürreya Önder was more direct (and probably a bit more sincere--in Turkish here), but this is no surprise. What was a surprise was that he said it in a press conference with the Turkish Parliament—something that would have gotten him assassinated or at the very least, arrested, a couple of years ago. ‘We joined the demonstration in Taksim to commemorate and mourn the Armenian Genocide and share their pain. Such things happened on our soil. The CUP committed a great massacre which everyone in the world calls a genocide. Like their bodies, their cultural and material goods were pillaged. By defending ourselves with excuses like ‘Our grandfathers didn’t do it’, we become accomplices in the crime of murder.’ He went on to say, ‘As a member of the HDK (People’s Democratic Congress) and a member of parliament, I recommend that April 24th be set aside as day of sharing our grief and pain.’
And the times, they are a changing. I hope.