Turkish Embassy in Washington Counsels ‘Civility’ to Mirror-Spectator


The Armenian Mirror-Spectator has received a protest letter from the Turkish Embassy, dated June 28, 2011, regarding the publication of the obituary of the late Vergin Mazmanian, who was a vocal witness of the Armenian Genocide until her last breath at the age of 103.

It seems that one statement in that obituary has touched some raw nerves at the Turkish Embassy, as evidenced in the letter, which we have reproduced here below. Rauf Alp. R. Denktas, counselor and spokesman for the embassy, finds “reckless and irresponsible” the statement in the obituary that at one point Ms. Mazmanian had been harassed by the Turkish Embassy.

It is very good news that Turkish Embassy monitors Armenian publications by paid staff members and reacts immediately to statements which contain “falsehoods” in their judgment.

Ms. Mazmanian is no longer alive. Common sense dictates that criminals have more reason to falsify facts than their victims. But, Mr. Denktas goes further to counsel us “to promote civility.”

Turning back the tables, we are entitled to ask how much of that “civility” did the Turks exercise in murdering Ms. Mazmanian’s parents, along with 1.5 million Armenians?

They certainly may regret that Vergin was left alive to embarrass the Turks for the rest of her long life.

Counselor Denktas goes one step further from “educating” us on “civility” and opens a more loaded issue by stating: “It [the statement] could further frustrate efforts by Turks and Armenians to reconcile their complex relationships and reignite the open hostilities some Armenian activists committed in the past against Turks and their representatives in Massachusetts and around the US.”

The reference is transparently directed to some frustrated Armenian youth who had taken the law in their hands to avenge the Genocide through some individual acts of violence.

We stand far from endorsing terrorism in civilized countries, but on balance, what the Turks committed against Armenians in murdering an entire nation and usurping its historic homeland, far outweighs the understandable acts of some young people.

Thirty five nations and counting have hurled the accusation at present-day Turkey. “That you committed a genocide against Armenians and there is still blood on your hands.”

President Barack Obama himself advised Turkey, right in the Ankara Parliament, that it has to face its dark pages of history.

Therefore, rather than dispensing “civility” advice to us, it is incumbent upon official representatives of Turkey to initiate the promotion of “civility” themselves by admitting the heinous crime that they perpetrated against Armenians.

Below is Mr. Denktas’ letter, reproduced verbatim, in tradition with the Mirror-Spectator’s tone of civility.

 

To the Editor:

Your June 23 obituary of Vergin Mazmanian paints a vivid picture of a woman, born in Amasya, Turkey, who was obviously vibrant and much loved by her family and community. Turkey is also saddened by her passing.

I was struck that the obituary offered an utterly false accusation that the Turkish Embassy had once harassed Ms. Mazmanian. Including this falsehood in the story is reckless and irresponsible. It could further frustrate efforts by Turks and Armenians to reconcile their complex relationship and reignited the open hostilities some Armenian activists committed in the past against Turks and their representatives in Massachusetts and around the US.

The best way to honor the memory of remarkable people like Mazmanian is to promote civility.

Unfortunately, this article falls short of that principle.

— Rauf Alp. R. Denktas
Counselor, Spokesman
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
Washington, DC