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By Edmond Y. Azadian
While the Turkish government has been trying to convince the European Union and US leaders that Turkish-Armenian relations have been improving, the same authorities are initiating a new campaign to deny the Genocide and not only to add new fuel to the denialists’ fire, but also to go a step further and actually represent the victims of the Genocide as its perpetrators. Only the perverted Turkish Government machinery can concoct such a monstrous design. This time around, the culprits are not right-wing extremists, but the government itself. This is how the Turkish public opinion is shaped and then when the hour of truth arrives, the Turkish officials use the pretext that the government cannot take bold actions, because Turkish public opinion has to be a consideration — a public opinion which had been distorted and shaped with the news and commentaries fabricated by the very same authorities.
Recently, the Armenian community in Turkey became the target of such a perverted action by the government. Indeed the High Command of Turkey’s military forces had commissioned the making of a documentary, titled "Sari Gelin," with the subtitle "The Truth about Armenian Allegations."
Before going any further, we have to note that the Turkish army controls all aspects of life in that country. The unelected army brass has given itself a mission to defend the principles of Ataturk and the Turkish constitution. Under that guise, the army has full control of all phases of society, including politics and education. Elections are held only to demonstrate to the West that Turkey is the only Muslim country which practices democracy. But in case the elected officials veer from the military’s charted course, the army leaders intervene (mostly with a coup) to "restore" Ataturk’s principles. That very same military brass has sent the movie to the Ministry of Education, which in turn has forwarded it to all the schools — including the Armenian schools. The Ministry of Education has also sent accompanying instructions that the movie must be shown to the students and that a report should be filed with the ministry, signed by the principals.
The movie contains atrocious scenes, where supposedly Armenians are murdering Turks. The directors of the movie have not realized that even high school students have enough common sense to ask how could a defenseless minority commit such crimes at the time, when the big guns were in the hands of the Turkish state? They might ask what weapons the Armenians would use, since all their weapons, including crude knives, had been confiscated by the authorities.
The viciousness of this project lies in the fact that they are not only preaching to the majority-Turkish population, but also to Armenian students, whom they want to intimidate and in whom they want to create self-hate and doubt. Some of the Armenian parents have even questioned the impact of such a movie on 12 million Turkish students. The critics have expressed the fear that the movie can inflame latent hatred among the larger populations towards the Armenians.
This kind of cynical action indicates that Turkish mentality has never changed over the centuries. In the past, the Ottoman Government used to snatch the healthiest children from Christian families, indoctrinate them with Muslim fanaticism and conscript them in the Jeniseri Army, which became the most ferocious force persecuting the minorities. This very same diabolic intent is behind this project: to turn the Armenian youth against their own identity.
The movie has touched raw nerves in the Armenian community and the Turkish news media, triggering a hot controversy. Many newspapers reacted negatively to the government’s rash decision. The newspapers Taraf, Radikal and Milliyet severely criticized the government action. They were joined by the teachers’ union and an influential organization called TARIH VAKFI.Emboldened by the media reactions, the Armenian community took a courageous stand. On February 16, all the principals of the Armenian schools, the Patriarchate’s representatives and several lawyers convened at the Nazar Shirinoglu Hall in Ferikoy to discuss the issue and to take an appropriate stand. In a defiant mood, the educators gathered and decided unanimously to challenge the Ministry of Education’s order and to resort to legal action, in case the ministry decided to mete out punitive measures.
In the meantime, 500 Armenian citizens signed an appeal, which was sent to the Prime Minister Erdogan, asking him to rescind the ministry’s order.
Istanbul Armenians are usually known to be docile and peaceful community, shying away from any controversy. Therefore, this sort of rash and brutal policy, has led to the creation of political awareness and courage in the community. In the face of the rising tide of protest, the ministry has backed down, issuing an announcement that the movie was not intended for the students, but was sent to the teachers as an extra educational material. Of course, the original orders indicated otherwise.
The denialism is a tool in the hands of the Turkish government. They seem to have determined to continue denialism to the very bitter end. For Armenians in Turkey and around the world it is an uphill battle against the denialists’ policy of the Turkish government. But the wall of silence is cracking, paving the way for the Turkish government to abandon denialism and to opt for a more honest and honorable policy. That, of course, cannot happen until the Turkish public is properly educated.
Once again, this was a cynical attempt to doing the very obvious, which generated more reaction than the Turkish government had anticipated.


Il sito è curato dall'Arch. Vahé Vartanian e dal Dott. Enzo Mainardi;
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