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      Rebel Against My Turkishness

Rebel Against My Turkishness   24/01/2007

Rebel Against My Turkishness

by Taner Akçam

I am a Turk. Hrant was an Armenian. I am a writer at Agos.  Hrant was Agos. Hrant had one ambition only which was to end the hatred,  malice and grudge between the Armenians and the Turks and both nations to  live together in peace, respect and harmony.

 Hrant and Agos were like the blossoming flower on the Turkish  prairie. They picked that flower and threw it out. Who was shot was not  only Hrant, it was at the same time Turkey's reputation. That is so  true. But we have to ask ourselves that the attack has an agenda geared  towards our domestic politics. The goal is to install feelings of guilt  in our collective unconscious. The real victim was not Hrant Dink, it was us, as usual: Our peace, our stability, our happiness, our unity, our  integrity, our conscience that has long forgotten disturbance and shame.  So they trained the 17 year old well not to miss the target but who killed this target were the ones behind this intention.

 Hrant was not killed with one bullet, but was targeted and killed  slowly day by day. On January 5, he said "Taner, I am very scared.  Their intent is planned well to Agos and myself. They called me over to  the Istanbul Governor's Office to threaten me. They told me that they  will make me pay for what I have done. All threats to Agos and me started after this incident. 2007 will be a very bad year. They will  come onto us. We have been pointed at. We have become easy targets.  They left us in the middle to be hunted down as if the hunting season has  started. With their politics, press and lawmakers they created this  atmosphere and condemned us with it."

 Hrant was not killed only by the 17 year old, but was killed by  the ones who condemned him as the enemy to the Turks. He was killed by  those who made him suffer because of Article 301 in front of the  courthouse doors, who did not have the courage to change Article 301, he  was killed by the ones who called him to the Governor's Office to  threaten him instead of protecting him.

 Let's not cry but lower our heads. Look at our own hands. How are we to clean the blood off of those hands. You, the publishers,  writers, who are in shock after Hrant's death, open your old newspaper articles, check out what you had written about Hrant, what you had said  about Hrant, there you will see the killer, you will see the killer in  the court orders relating to Article 301. Decide what you will do to the  Governor's deputy who called Hrant and threatened him.

 Hrant was targeted as the Armenian who insulted Turkishness and  was slain. Hrant was shot because he said Turkey had to face its  history. The hands who shot him were the same hands who shot Hrants in  1915, who cut the Armenians' throats in the desert, their message is  "Yes, we did it in 1915 we'll do it again in 2007." The ones who shot  Hrant think they shot him in the name of the Turks. The same way the  ones who shot Hrants in 1915. They think killing is being Turkish.  Being Turkish is to see others as enemies and kill them. Instead, those  are the ones who are their own enemies. They are the ones who are  ruining Turkey's reputation.

 This is why we are acting now. We want to recover the Turkish  name and take it away from the killers by the slogans of "we are all  Hrants" "we are all Armenian" We are the voice of the Turks, the  Kurdish, the Alevi, the pure, and the Muslim. We are the voice of Turkey  screaming for justice.

 Being Turkish or Armenian should be a respected and not dirtied  by the hands of killers. We will be proud of being Turkish when we call  those killers, killers. Today we are trying to do this. We know that we  are good when we say we are all Armenians. We know we will be proud when  we call the killers, murderer. We are sending an important message to  the world today by saying we are all Hrants, we are all Armenians. The  killer and killers have no involvement with being Turkish and Turkey.  The real Turks are the ones who are calling the killers, murderers and  shouting the slogan "We are all Armenian." Who are united as one and  distant from the killers of Hrant. This is the message to 1915.

 We will not accept Hrant's killers as real Turks and we feel the  same for the killers of 1915. The ones who worship his killers are the  same ones who worship the killers of 1915, namely, Talat, Bahaettin Sakir  or Dr. Nazim.

 We the Turks, by shouting "We are all Hrants and we are all  Armenians," telling the whole world that we will not abandon Turkey and  the Turkish people in the hands of killers, and will not let the Turkish  reputation be insulted by murder and hatred towards the Armenians.

 We should be able to say the catastrophe of 1915 remains to be a  crime committed in our name, it remains to be a crime against humanity  and human plurality committed in the name of 'Turkishness.'

 As we accept Hrant's murder a shame, we should accept the murders  of 1915 the same, as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. We are condemning this  murder as many others have, and there were Turks, Kurds, Alevis and  Muslims condemning the murders of 1915. As well as condemning the  murders of 1915 of Bogazliyan Mayor Kemal, or the religious leader  Abdullahzade Mehmet Efendi, or Talat Pasha, Enver to Bahaettin Sakir, Dr.  Nazim, Diyarbakir Mayor Resit, and will not accept them as Turks.

Keep in mind, in 1915, there were Ankara Governor Mazhar, Halep  Governor Celal, Kastamonu Governor Resit, Yozgat Governor Deputy Cemal,  Kutahya Mayor Ali Faik, Der-Zor Mayor Ali Fuat as well as the soldiers,  commanders, 3rd Infantry Commander Vehip Pasha, Trabzon Garnizon  Commander Avni Pasha, Miralay Vasfi, Yozgat Commander Salim. Today,  Trabzon has one murderer Ogun Samast. But in 1915 Trabzon had murderers  such as Governor Cemal Azmi, Ittihatci Nail from Yenibahce as well as  Turks against those such as Chief of Police Nuri, businessman Ahmet Ali  Bey, Customs Officer Nesim Bey and Trabzon senator Hafiz Mehmet Emin Bey  who said he saw Armenians being loaded into boats and slaughtered and  drowned but he couldn't do anything about it.

 Today, Turkey and the Turks have to make a decision and a  distinction between the two kinds of Turks that exist and existed in the  past.

 Today, the world is watching us with respect and the wall of  distinction between the real Turks and the barbaric generation of the  past and future. We are building the wall between the Turks and the  killers and we are able to name the murderers. We have to show this  acceptance and courage for 1915 too not only for today's incidents.  Hrant wanted this from us. He used to say "I love the Turks and Turkey,  I feel lucky to live with the Turks." We need to build the wall between  the killers and the Turks. This is how we should face our history. We  are calling Hrant's killer, the murderer, not the Turk and as such we are  facing our history. We will only face the world with pride if we build  the same wall between the Turks and the killers of 1915 and condemn those  murderers.

 My scream is the scream of Turkey itself. It is the scream of a  Turk who lost Hrant, his soul brother, his Armenian friend, his brother.  Let us take our nation back from the murderers and shout all together "We  are all Hrants, we are all Armenians."

 This scream is the only answer to the ones who want to create the hatred between Turks and Armenians.

 * History Professor at University of Minnesota, Radikal Newspaper January 24, 2007


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