By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
“Especially as 2015 approaches, the pressure will increase. Turkey will, as it has done before, react harshly. It will utter threats, but they will remain ineffective.
“Do you know why? It is because the Armenians have gotten a significant part of the world to accept their claims of genocide.”
Who is speaking here? Is it a Diaspora Armenian bragging about progress towards Turkish recognition of the 1915 Genocide? That might seem most likely. But, no, these are the words of a Turkish journalist writing in the pages of the daily, Hurriyet. The article, titled, “We are surrendering ourselves to ‘genocide,’” appeared in the April 28 edition of the paper. Although Hurriyet is generally considered rather nationalistic, the commentator, Mehmet Ali Birand, is known as a liberal. He is not bragging. Quite the contrary: he raises the alarm that as the centenary of the Genocide looms, Turkey may finally be forced to acknowledge its occurrence.
The reason for concern he identifies in the circulation of a new book in Turkish, a hefty 1,000-pages-long, which presents irrefutable evidence of genocide. The book, issued on January 12, 2012 by Belge Publishing House, whose owner, Ragip Zarakolu, was recently put on trial on trumped-up charges, contains translations “into an extremely comprehensible and beautiful Turkish” of documents from the German Foreign Ministry archives during World War I. Wolfgang Gust, “the famous German journalist and writer,” put it together; first published in German in 2005, Birand tells us that it also exists in other languages. It is titled, Alman Belgeleri: Ermeni Soykirimi 1915-1916 (German Documents: Armenian Genocide 1915- 1916).
His assessment of the power of the documents is straightforward. “Without going into detail,” he writes, “if you read the book and look at the documents, if you are a person who is introduced to the subject through this book, then there is no way that you would not believe in the genocide and justify the Armenians. Even if you are an expert on the subject,” he adds, “or have researched what went on from the Turkish side, again, you will be confused. You will have many questions.”