(Speech in Calgary, Canada, 2013)
The Armenian Genocide did not start nor did it end in 1915
At this stage, the factual veracity of the Armenian Genocide is no longer a real issue.
It is therefore time to take the subject to another level, and to start reflecting upon the effects, implications and consequences of this duly established Crime against Humanity.
By virtue of all principles of Law and Justice, there cannot be a crime, without consequences. Such a concept is simply inexistent.
Those consequences present two main components : punishment and compensation.
The punishment is based on two considerations : justice and deterrence.
Justice is the way the crime is condemned and the victim rightfully vindicated, while the deterrence factor aims at preventing recidivism, the repetition of similar crimes.
As for the notion of compensation, it is an additional obligation incumbent upon the party which bears the responsibility of the crime, aimed at reversing and rectifying, as much as possible, the prejudice, damages and loss inflicted upon the victim.
The subject of the Armenian Genocide has to be addressed on the basis of these legal and moral foundations.
The actual crime at hand, in its most active phase, is not limited to the genocidal events of 1915, but it has started at least in 1895, and it does continue up until this date.
After five centuries of less direct methods, the first period of the campaign of physical annihilation of Armenians on their native and historic lands, in its most direct, violent and bloody stage, has started with the atrocities of Sultan Hamid II, in 1895 and 1896, in Western Armenia; the second period : under the regime of the Ittihad Movement, in 1909 – in Cilicia – and in 1915 in Western Armenia; the third period : from 1918 to 1920, in the Armenian Caucacus, which includes notably the territories of the current Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, where the invading Turks attempted to pursue and complete their genocidal plans; the fourth period : from 1988 to 1992, in Bakou and in Artsakh, where the Turks of Azerbaidjan reactivated the genocidal campaign against the Armenians; as for the fifth period, it is still ongoing, to this date….
The ideological and state continuity between Ottoman Turkey and current Turkey is not only obvious and apparent considering the similarity of their flags, but is goes much deeper, indeed.
Furthermore, the implementation of the Armenian Genocide did not start nor did it end in 1915, but it continued after that date under the regime of the various subsequent Turkish governments, and it still continues, it is still actually in process, by so-called “modern” Turkey.
This situation can be clearly demonstrated and proven by the following, undeniable and objective facts, realities and events.
. When Mustafa Kemal came to power in Turkey, one of his first actions was to put an end to the judicial prosecution of some of the main perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.
. The subsequent Turkish governments officially transported to Turkey, will all due honors, the remains of those same murderers of a whole nation on its ancestral lands.
. It is in 1943 that Adolf Hitler remitted to Inonu, the immediate successor of Mustapha Kemal, the remains of Mehmed Talaat, the main designer of the Armenian Genocide.
These “relics” are solemnly conserved in a magnificent marble mausoleum situated in beautiful Istanbul, as monument of official Turkish pride and glory; it is visited up until this date by ill-informed tourists, who take nice pictures of it, to post them on their Facebook pages.
. One of the main boulevards of the current capital of Turkey, Ankara, bears the glorious name of that same Mehmed Talaat, up until this date.
. It is in 1996 that the remains of another high ranking planner and executioner of the Armenian Genocide, Enver Pasha, made the trip from Centrak Asia to Turkey, to be officially buried there, with all due honors.
. Up until this date, in those lands and territories which constitute the ancestral homeland of Armenians, all traces of Armenian presence, existence and rights continue to be deliberately destroyed and annihilated, on all levels : material, abstract, spiritual, psychological, physical, incorporeal, factual, legal, moral, cultural, religious, historic, linguistic, etc. Etc.
The Armenian Genocide is still ongoing.
. Up until this date, Armenians remaining in Turkey are subjected to continuous persecution, criminal pressures, gross violation of rights; as evidenced notably with the cold-blooded murder, on a sidewalk of Istanbul, of Hrant Dink, despite the fact that this journalist, this totally pacifist intellectual, considered himself as a true and faithful citizen of Turkey, and was aspiring to some kind of a reconciliation between Turks and Armenians. If they assassinated even such a person, let us imagine what they want to do to an Armenian who would have any minimal claims of justice.
.Up until this date, there is a massive population in Western Armenia, on the Turkish side of the current border with the rest of Armenia, who is hiding its Armenian origins, who is hiding its Christian religion, by fear and terror.
Turkey has encouraged, supported and collaborated with the numerous genocidal crimes committed by the Azeri Turks, from 1988 to 1992, against the Armenian population of the Caucasus : Baku, Soumgait, Kirovabad, Kedashen, Artsakh;
The same, in Nakhitchevan, this region of Armenia fully and directly bordering the current Turkish, where the Azeri Turks, not satisfied enough with the forceful evacuation of the totality of the Armenian population, in 2005, directed their genocidal rage and hatred towards the tombstones of an ancient Armenian cemetery, destroying and throwing them all in the Arax river.
In the past 22 years, the fundamental position of Turkey against the Republic of Armenia is expressed not only by political aggression but also by military plans and actions, as a direct continuation of the plan of extermination of all Armenians and any Armenia.
Regarding the military actions, we are not referring only to the actual invasion, projected by Turkey around 1990, at the wake of the reestablishment of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia, and which would have been the direct continuation of what Musutapha Kemal had attempted in 1918.
Beyond that project, on a real and practical, military level, there was an invasion of Armenia by Turkish soldiers, in 1992, in Itchevan, a region situated at the North-East of the Republic of Armenia.
Up until this date, on the same border, the region of Tavoush is under almost daily attacks by Azeri Turks, including deadly sniper fire.
And we are not talking yet about the actual Artsakh front. Itchevan and Tavoush, currently under Turkish fire power, are officially part of the Republic of Armenia.
On the Artsakh front, during the past 12 months only, there has been an average of at least 500 violations of the so-called ceasefire, each week.
Specifically, as merely an example, from April 7 to April 13, 2013, the Azeri Turks have fired over1500 shots from various caliber weapons towards Armenian positions.
[attacks of the same magnitude and much more have continued systematically, since the date of this speech and up until the day when these lines are being read, and they will continue, for a long time, still; in April 2016, they culminated to a large-scale offensive by the Azeris, a full reactivation of the war by the Turks of the Caucacus; they were defeated, again; but Armenian incurred a considerable number of casualties, including civilians who were deliberately targeted; duly documented war crimes were committed by said Turks, again; the bodies of two elderly persons were notably mutilated, in their living room, etc.]
Each and every one of those shots is linked to the project of annihilation of Armenians and any Armenia.
Each and every one of those 1500 shots, in one week only, constitutes the continuation of the Armenian Genocide.
The blockade inflicted by Turkey upon Armenia, for the past 20 years – and counting -, being expressly and directly related to the war in Artsakh, is an act of aggression of military nature. And since its purpose is to crash the resurgence of any Armenia and thus any future for Armenians, that blockade is also a way to continue and complete the Armenian Genocide.
During the past decade and today, the pride and nostalgia of Turkey towards its past has reached a maximal level, being implemented within the explicit and official state ideology and actual policy.
The doctrine of Mustapha Kemal aimed at least to camouflage the reality under some cosmetic changes.
Current Turkey does not want to even fake it, anymore. Its islamist regime openly and proudly declares itself as the legitimate and worthy successor of Ottoman Turkey.
Today’s Turkey has established and is currently implementing, openly, at the state level, a systematic campaign and policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide.
The official organism in charge of this campaign is named Talaat Pasha.
Up until this date, starting from all the state structures and with the active participation of numerous civil bodies and organisations, including notably academic circles, deploying immeasurable means, efforts and resources, on a priority basis, today’s Turkey is conducting this campaign of denial of the Armenian genocide.
By doing so, it is establishing its current and ongoing complicity with this universal Crime initially perpetrated by Sultan Hamid II and the Ittihad party and perpetuated by all the subsequent Turkish governments, up until this date.
But it is not just a matter of complicity after the fact.
On moral, political, legal and factual levels, these current actions by Turkey constitute a direct participation to the genocide itself.
It has been duly established by all experts that the denial of genocide is an integral part, an essential component of the genocide itself.
It constitutes the continuation, the perpetuation of the Crime.
After the physical and material destruction – which is the initial phase of the Genocide -, it is an on-going and permanent effort to annihilate even the memory of the victims – which is the final stage, the finishing touch, of the Genocide – .
This denial is also a current and immediate aggression against the survivors of the Genocide, since it claims that they are simply liars, and that the unspeakable suffering they witnessed and endured is imaginary.
It is also an actual, present and continuous attack against the descendants of the victims, since it makes a mockery of their pain, it qualifies their mourning as false, it insults them in their grief and deprives them from any closure.
Finally, it is an attempt to evade any consequence whatsoever of the Crime, thus, basically, “getting away with it”, while providing a magnificent example and encouragement to all the future perpetrators of genocides.
Genocide becomes the perfect Crime, with its ultimate stage of perpetration : genocide-denial.
Consequently, by virtue of all principles, today’s Turkey bears the responsibility of the Armenian Genocide. And this responsibility is based not only on the well-established notion of State Continuity, but it is generated, activated and aggravated by current and ongoing policies, plans and actions.
If this Genocide remains unpunished, and if its effects, as much as possible, are not reversed or compensated, then it will create a notion which does not exist in the modern civilized world : a crime without any consequences.
How can it be possible to allow a party responsible of a crime to keep the direct proceeds of its crime, to enjoy them, to benefit from them.
How can it be conceivable to generate a precedent where a crime is rewarded;
a precedent that establishes that crime does pay.
Here again, the problem is certainly not limited to past genocidal crimes.
If such a precedent is established, it will be a green light for all future genocides.
Turkey will serve as an ultimate model for any other State considering to commit a genocide, a reassurance, an encouragement to just go ahead with it.
In light of all these observations, we realize that the Armenian Genocide is not, unfortunately, just a distant, abstract and historical subject, but is a current and immediate issue, and a clear and present danger.
We are therefore gathered today not to commemorate some ancient and distant historical fact, the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, but to denounce the continuation of that Crime against Humanity, and to reaffirm our determination to put an end to it, and to reverse all its reversible consequences.
Armenians not only have the right to seek and pursue Justice for the Armenian Genocide, but that is their also their duty and obligation.
Considering that one of the essential purposes and objectives of demanding justice for a crime against Humanity is to prevent and to forbid their repetition, anywhere, anytime, and against any collectivity, anyone who does not pursue the Armenian Cause up until its ultimate completion shall be responsible for any future genocides and crimes against humanity.
And this crucial burden is also on the shoulders of the Armenians themselves, generation after generation.
Considering the universal dimension of our struggle, our duty to pursue it fully and perpetually is not only towards our martyrs, but it also towards the entire Humanity.
We do have to govern ourselves accordingly.
Cambridge, April 24, 2013