Illegal Armenians are threatened to be shipped out of the country. Personally there have always been Armenians, Jews and Greeks in my life. That is the beauty of being from Istanbul. The city has been touched by so many diverse ancient and beautiful cultures. My High School had a strong student body of Armenian, Jewish and Greek kids. We grew up not knowing our differences. One of the best friends of my child hood is Armenian.
I did not grow up to think of her or any other of my Armenian, Jewish or Greek friends as minorities or someone who is different than me. Naturally, that has not changed and I cannot bring myself to think of Armenians as different. Our historical or cultural backgrounds might be different but one does not think of such details about their child hood friends.
Later in life I also have had Armenian maids who came from Armenia. They are the ones under threat right now. Not the ones I personally know as they are married to Turkish men, therefore legal.
* Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the BBC that of 170,000 Armenians living in Turkey “70,000 are Turkish citizens”.
“We are turning a blind eye to the remaining 100,000… Tomorrow, I may tell these 100,000 to go back to their country, if it becomes necessary.”
Thousands of Armenians, many of them women, work illegally in Turkey. Most do low-skilled jobs such as cleaning.
Still it is terribly disturbing that anyone would have an issue with a bunch of cleaning ladies who left their home, went abroad trying to make ends meet. The cruelty behind picking on them is beyond comprehension. On a political arena some big shot people agree or disagree on how to address events of the past. Why should these women have to suffer as a result of their dispute?
The similarities of the cultural behavior is what makes these maids part of the household. I have been spoiled by Armenian maids/aunties and I cannot think of them as foreigners. The ones I have known so far are women of a certain age, who have grand children, but still need to work and have come to Turkey to do house work. They are very mothering, bake nice cakes and know how you like your coffee the way a family member would. They are more involved with the house than one would expect of a maid. Their firm attitude, combined with the sweetness and the way they demonstrate ownership over simple household matters has always made me feel very close to these women. It has always felt much more personal than an employer, employee relation given that we live under the same roof.
These details might seem irrelevant but I felt the need to write about these to make a point that 100.000 immigrants is not some random number. We are talking about human beings, who have established lives in Turkey, not to mention that they touch other’s lives not as laborers but as human beings that we share moments with.
The Prime Minister of Turkey has positioned himself as a humanitarian by strongly opposing what he calls cruelty in Gazza.
Given this positioning, one can not grasp him as one, to go after a bunch of cleaning ladies to make a political point. The pen can be mightier than the sword. However Turks are not experts at using the pen as means of defense. Historical events are being evaluated by many. Turks do not come from the tradition of explaining themselves to other nations. Mainly because as an Emporium they did not really have to bother. Historically European Emporiums or Kingdom’s had many alliances mostly through marriages. The Spanish princess would grow up to be the wife of the English King; thereby the Queen of England or the Austrian Princess became the Queen of France. Europeans are used to working out issues and explaining or justifying themselves to their neighbors. Turks however had expanded the Ottoman Empire through invasion. The attitude of resolving disputes through reasoning is just not part of the tradition. I believe that is one of the reasons Turks are not the best at expressing their side of any story. It is a state of being thorn between explaining or ignoring those accusing thereby giving them, the message that they are not being recognized as an authority on the matter. It is not only Turks that act with old habits. When accused of not acting Humane, China told the US President off, by simply saying “Check your own backyard!” (Implying the on going torture carried out by Americans at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp) After decades of poverty, the historical ruler attitude came back, just like that.
In this age presentation is everything I suppose. The British Empire used to be the Empire where the sun never sets. They ruled over so many areas that the Empire’s territory literally covered every time zone around the globe. The French had colonized many regions in Africa and the Middle East. I do not think that neither the French nor the British colonized these countries by kindly asking for permission to exploit those lands and their gold or diamond mines. One would assume that some blood was shed. Possibly entire areas of the same ethnic and national background. For some reason it is not considered genocide. Probably because their intention was not to wipe that nation or people of a certain ethnic background off the map, but while invading they killed many of the same nation.
It is difficult to find Native American’s in the States because almost the entire population was wiped off the map. Genocide or not? Yet, I do not hear the whole world talking about this sad event, or hear about other nations having their own voting systems on the issue. Ironically Americans or French are the strongest supporters of the declaration of Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks.
This reminds me of a snap shot from the movie featuring Jesus Christ’s life story. Everyone was ready to stone Maria Magdalena until Jesus said “Those who have not sinned shall throw a stone at her.” None could go on.
**“The government of Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces performed acts of genocide against Azerbaijani civilians on several occasions throughout the 20th century. The claims center on Azeri massacres in 1918 as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Human Rights Watch described the events in the Khojaly Massacre as “the largest massacre to date in the conflict”, and 30 from 636 members of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, recognized the “massacres perpetrated by the Armenians against the Azeri population from the beginning of the 19th Century” as genocide. “
Accordingly, Armenians brutally killed Azeri not way back in History but merely a century ago, yet the world does not gather to make a big issue out of it.
Those were the times. Somehow Turks killing while defending Ottoman territory as part of a war is considered an attempt to get rid of a certain nation. It was cruel. Those were times that every strong nation was cruel, as they are today. Aside from the fact that it was not only Turks who were cruel, which does not necessarily translate into genocide given that the nature of every war is cruel, at the time many Turks had been killed by Armenians. The Ottoman was loosing power; therefore territories ruled over were seeking outside support to rebel and part from the Empire. Defending land by oppressing rebellious acts was how things worked at the time. The intent was not to go after a specific nation such as Armenians but simply to defend the territory.
**“However, according to some interpretations, such as that of the Prior of the Franciscan monks living in the region of where the events happened, claims this was not an act of genocide and that it was a two sided battle: “when they advanced victoriously under the protection of the Russian Army, the same spectacle occurred as in the year of 1915, but that time it was the Turks who got it in the neck. Wherever the Armenians found a Turk he was mercilessly hacked down, wherever they saw a Turkish Mosque it was plundered and set on fire. Turkish quarters went up in smoke and flames just like the Armenian quarters. You are presently about to travel round the country and you will still be able to follow in the footsteps of war: Bayburt, Erzincan, Erzurum, and Kars. You will still see smoldering heaps of rubble; you will still smell blood and corpses, but it so happens that these were Turkish corpses.””
I wonder if the Chinese reaction will in the future become another one of the many famous, wise, Chinese proverbs. “Check your own backyard!” I have a feeling that if persistently campaigned every year, all the Empires of the time can be proven guilty of genocide somewhere in the world and maybe even in more than one region, given the same logic is applied.
Many people in XYZ part of Africa belonged to the same tribe! How many did you have to kill before you could colonize them? Ok, you’ve killed this many of the same nation so we can assume that you wanted to make sure that ethnicity went extinct through your killings! Thereby you have committed genocide.
Keep saying the same think every year at a certain date and in a few years you can declare the French, the English, the Italian, the American …..This list can go on… guilty of Genocide.
Personally I oppose all killings and hope for more peaceful times everywhere in the world. One hopes that mankind would evolve in time. The fact that many nations including the Ottomans had been cruel invaders at the time, when evaluated by today’s norms is sad enough, how will it help to carry that grudge to these times? So far the only outcome is that the poor Armenian women, who work in Turkey, feel uneasy and worried that they might be deported. Having said that despite of the historical disputes almost every news anchor has expressed their opposition to the deportation of Illegal Armenians in the country and Turkish civil organization made protests on the streets against the idea. The people of Turkey do openly support Armenian presence whether legal citizens or illegal. There is no hatred on this end. As the illegal immigrants chose Turkey as a destination to work, one assumes there is not so much hatred on that end either. Then I cannot help but wonder who does it help to stir up dispute and provoke hatred among the two nations?