“If Turkey acknowledged the genocide, it would not lose anything. It would become a country that faced its dark history,” editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Agos newspaper Yetvart Danzikyan said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“In the government’s view, Turkey’s ancestors would never conduct a genocide – other countries do. What happened to Armenians fits with the definition of genocide. The fact that there was no defined concept of genocide in 1915 doesn’t mean it wasn’t one. No one actually blames Turks or Turkey as a country; the state itself internalizes it. Nobody is saying Turks or Turkey’s ancestors did it. However, the Committee of Union and Progress government of the time planned the genocide and carried it out. This is what we are saying. It wasn’t an aspect of the war going on back then as the government claims, it was planned. Name by name, district by district, Armenians were taken away. Even the number of Armenians to stay and to be taken away were clear,” Danzikyan said.
“Facing these would put Turkey in another [higher] league of countries in the world. Turkey should stop seeing the issue as an insult to the state, religion, and nation,” he added.
Speaking about the messages of condolences that government officials have sent to Armenians in the last two years, Danzikyan said: “It is a positive development. However, if you look at the content of the messages, you will see that the Turkish government wants 1915 to be memorialized the way it defines it. They refer to the war conditions of the time, implying responsibility also on Armenians, etc. As long as Turkish Armenians are okay with these arguments, they are the government’s friends. Others are the foes.”
“The messages are also unbalanced. One day [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan criticizes the commemoration ceremony in Yerevan. The next day he releases a message and has it read at the Armenian Patriarchate, sending his condolences to Armenians. He also changed the commemoration of the Gallipoli battle to April 24, making it a rival ceremony. He was in Canakkale himself [at the Gallipoli commemoration]; his message is at the patriarchate. What are we supposed to do with this?”