The Armenian Massacre: Turkey’s “genocide plan”
ANALYSIS – A hundred years passed since the death of nearly 1 million and half Armenians – without counting the other minorities who knew the same fate – and the issue remains a debate for Turkey. Pope Francis himself did not hesitate to use this term of International Law, “genocide”, to refer to this massacre, despite Turkey’s reaction. In an interview for “Vatican Insider”, Aram I, Catholics of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Silicy who lives in Lebanon, gives an analysis which clearly describes its peaceful but clear position.
“Turkey’s reaction to the words of Pope Francis about the Armenian genocide betrays Turkey’s attempt to hide and blot out a planned massacre for which there is conclusive documentary evidence”, explains the Armenian Catholicos facing Turkey’s hostile reaction to statements by Pope Francis.
According to the Armenian Catholicos, “enough proof” exists showing that this “first genocide of the XXth Century – according to the expression of John Paul II repeated last Sunday by Pope Francis – did take place. This proof, adds the Bishop, consists of “historical evidence, documents, eye witnesses, personal accounts of diplomats of the time, historians and in majority not Armenians. They have written, discussed and published and publicly expressed themselves in respect to these tragic events and all of them refer to a genocide”.
According to Turks, the term “genocide” cannot be used to designate a massacre inflicted to Armenians, because this term of Intentional Law appeared only in 1948. The Catholicos, considering this argument, points out however: “OK I understand that. It was 1948. But the word is not important, it is the intent that is important and the intent of Turkey was genocidal. The intention was to exterminate the Armenian people, to erase from history and from the map the name Armenian and Armenia (…). There is enough proof that clearly indicates that what happened against the Armenian people was a genocide in the real sense and the juridical sense of the word”.
The Catholicos does not believe either in the Turkish argument according to which the statements by Pope Francis would feed up the tensions between Islam and Christianity. “They are putting deliberately these things in a wrong, debatable and dangerous context. I’ll tell you why. What happened against the Armenians, the genocide, was not because the Armenians were Christians. This was part of the pan-Turkish (1) ideology, of politics and plans of the Young Turks. And the Armenians were a major obstacle in terms of realizing their pan-Turkish policy. They wanted to bring all these nations and countries of common Turkish ethnicity and culture together, under one pan-Turkish umbrella. And the Armenian persons were an obstacle. So they organized this crime, this genocide, because of that. Religion was not a factor. Now they are using religion in order to create this sensitivity between Christianity and Islam. That is not acceptable.
Christians tragedy in the Middle East and the concern of the Church visible unity
The Armenian Catholicos concluded the interview by referring to the tragic fate of many Christians in the Middle East, to the role which the Christians of the West can play to protect what remains of Christians, and to the ecumenical movement so dear to his heart. “Like the Armenian Church, we have been from the very inception of the Armenian Church a broad-minded Church, a flexible Church. We are a Church that really believes in ecumenism and the visible unity of the Church” (…). I discussed with him (Editor’s note, with Pope Francis), I said that for many reasons, our Churches, all the Churches, and particularly the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were much institutionalized. The institution kept the church with frozen boundaries. I said: the Church being essentially the community of faiths, it is vitally important that we take the Church beyond its walls.”
Translation and resume by Firas Abedrabbo
(1)Pan-Turkishsm: is a nationalistic ideology born in the XIXth century seeking to reinfore the links between Turkish-speaking peoples, to uphold their unity within the same State. This concept was rendered public by certain trends of Young Turks and more particularly by Enver Pacha