A group of Armenians in Turkey including writers and journalists have published a joint response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement on a television programme, during which he said, “… and the things, for instance, they said about me; one (that same mindset) said I was Georgian, then another, excuse my expression, in a far uglier manner, said I was Armenian…”
Signed by 16 prominent figures of the Armenian community, including Agos writers, the following is the full text of the statement titled ‘Yet we are beautiful…’:
“… and the things, for instance, they said about me; one (that same mindset) said I was Georgian, then another, excuse my expression, in a far uglier manner, said I was Armenian…”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
For ages, we were made to shout out, “I am a Turk”.*
(alright, you had that abolished)
We never thought what we were made to shout out was “ugly”. We found it “wrong”.
We never got angry and lost our temper over what they were ordering us to become.
We got angry over the fact that they were forcing us.
You may ask whether there are racists, “Turcophobes” among us. You bet.
As many as there are among every nation.
Yet we do not put those racists among us on a pedestal.
We do not polish them up and place them in the spotlight, saying, “They represent us.”
Just as we do not associate your words above with people who have, or will, vote for you, we have never perceived “Turkish identity” (or Kurdish, Circassian, Muslim etc. identity) as the source of the unjust treatment we have been subjected to for years.
As the Diaspora, on its own land, of a people subjected to Genocide, we live on, modest and apprehensive. Stop using us as bait on your fishing hook. Mind your own business.
Until we, Armenians, Greeks, Syriacs, Turks, Kurds, Circassians, Georgians, Alevis, Christians, Jews and Muslims, with our brothers and sisters whether today they vote for you or not, show that one day we can do better than you – mind your own business.
Anna Turay, Arat Dink, Aris Nalcı, Garo Paylan, Harutyun Özer, Karin Karakaşlı, Kenan Yenice, Hayko Bağdat, Nazar Binatlı, Nazar Büyüm, Ohannes Kılıçdağı, Rober Koptaş, Sebu Aslangil, Şake Yalçın, Tatyos Bebek, Yetvart Danzikyan
* Until 2013, a text known as ‘Our Oath’ that began “I am a Turk, I am right, I am hard-working…” would be collectively repeated by the student body at ceremonies held every morning at primary schools across Turkey.