Letter: Unmentioned history

It is disappointing to see that the DI puts a propaganda article on a controversial subject on its front page. In the article “Campus remembers Armenian Genocide” (4/25) the grave accusation of “genocide” is made without mentioning the fact that during the same period (1915-18) hundreds of thousands of Turks and others were killed or relocated in the same area by the armed Armenian militia, the very reason why the Ottoman State decided to relocate the Armenian population in eastern Anatolia. This fact alone is sufficient to dismiss the “genocide” label from this tragic relocation event.

The Wikipedia article cited has an official warning stating, “the neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed.” Most of the claims by Armenians are already shown to be either simply wrong or extremely exaggerated Turkey has opened the Ottoman archives to scholars years ago. Obviously, this would not be the attitude of Turkey if there were really a “genocide.” Yet in the article these “genocide” claims are presented as indisputable facts and anybody who is looking for the truth is condemned with “the denial of genocide.”

Moreover, the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 by fighting against the Ottoman government. Therefore, calls to “punish” the current Turkish Republic and blaming it for events predating its existence are difficult to understand.

As members of the Turkish student community at UIUC, we are sorry for the tragedy of Armenians and extend our sympathies to their descendants. When we talk about human suffering we should not categorize people according to their ethnic origin. It was a period of suffering for everyone. Unfortunately, these tragedies are often used for political gain and, in the process, to incite hatred against people of Turkish origin. Few people know that dozens of Turkish diplomats were killed by the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA during 1970s and 80s because of this unfounded hatred.

We believe as students of UIUC that we should look at the past objectively in order to build a peaceful future for our children, not with the goal of perpetuating hatred for whatever reason.

Burak Guneralp

graduate student

Turkish Student Association of UIUC