Tag Archives: Ottoman empire

A Slight 500 Years Late, But Amends Made!

In August, 1492 as Columbus got ready to sail the ocean blue, the last ship carrying Jews into exile from Spain preceded his departure. After 500 years, the Spanish government decided it was time to acknowledge the crime committed against Jews in their nation. The civil code has been amended to grant citizenship to members of Turkey’s Sephardi Jewish community whose ancestors left their Spanish homeland in search of security within the Ottoman empire. According to the new code, Jews of Spanish origin are considered a “special case.” They will be granted Spanish citizenship without having to endure a two year residency requirement. Sephardi Jews living in Turkey simply have to produce a document issued by the Chief Rabbinate which attests to their Spanish origin five hundred years ago.

It is estimated over 100,000 Spanish Jews opted to enter the Ottoman empire where they were granted citizenship by the government. Many Turkish Jews will undoubtedly obtain Spanish citizenship because it grants them the rights of a citizen in the European Union.

A bit late, but certainly a humane approach to dealing with an ancient crime.

Turkish Bigots Refuse Acknowledging Genocide

A group of Turkish intellectuals offered an apology to Armenians for the genocide committed committed against their ancestors by the Ottoman empire. The genocide has been documented over and over by historians but most people in Turkey prefer believing in the fairy tale that a minority Armenian population somehow was able to overwhelm the Turkish army and carry out a genocide against well armed men who had modern weapons. Nationalists rose to the “challenge” by insisting it was the Armenians who were the culprits. Nationalist Movement deputy, Erzurum Zeku Ertugay insisted, “A stain of shame like genocide has never taken p lace in the history of the Turkish nation.”

As the petition says: “I cannot conscientiously accept the indifference to the great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, and its denial. I reject this injustice and, acting of my own will, I share the feelings and pains of my Armenian brothers and sisters, and I apologize to them.” Well said and mature.

Turkish Citizens Apologize To Armenians

A group of Turkish intellectuals have decided it is time for the people of their nation to apologize for the tragic events of 1915 when hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed by orders of the government of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish group is asking other people to sign the petition which reads as follows: “I cannot conscientiously accept the indifference to the great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915 and its denial. I reject the injustice and acting of my own will, I share the feelings and pains of my Armenian brothers and sisters, and I apologize to them.” The initial effort is asking intellectuals to sign the petition before posting it for others to sign. The emphasis in the petition is for individuals to apologize rather than make it a government apology.

Armenian leaders welcomed the petition, but believe the wording is not clear. As Ayetkin Yidiz, of the Confrontation Association pointed out, “It’s a good starting point, but not enough. Firstly, what do they mean by ‘great disaster.’ Let’s name it, it is genocide. secondly, the state has to apologize.” The Armenian reaction is well stated. At some point, the Turkish nation has to make a public apology as did the German government for the Holocaust. Secondly, the Turkish government must then initiate in education an Armenian Genocide curriculum so future generations will finally know the truth.

An American Turk Defends Turkey

Vural Cengiz, a Turkish American offered a vigorous defense of Turkey and condemned House Resolution 106 which deals with Turkish genocidal policies toward Armenians. He argues “How could two million people be collected when only one million existed” in 1915. He then goes on to blame America for many problems impacting Turkey including the Bush I Gulf War which cost Turkey “billions of petro dollars.” Cengiz points out there is evidence Kurdish rebels who are attacking Turkish forces possess American made weapons. “Now Turks are not only called national enemies, but enemies of humanity?” He argues under the Ottoman Empire all nationalities lived in peace and were able to keep “their religious beliefs and values.” Armenians, he claims, aided Russia which was an enemy of the Ottomans and “were punished for their killings and betrayal.”

We print this harangue because it illustrates the emotional and distorted feelings of those in Turkey who are upset at H.R. 106. The Resolution places the onus of killing Armenians on the Ottoman government, not the subsequent Turkish government. It is interesting Mr. Cengiz claims Armenians gave “aid” to Russia and were then “punished for their killings and betrayal.” Ordinarily, if people in a nation offer aid to enemies, those engaged in such activities are punished, not others. He actually admits Armenians were “punished.” There is not a single word of explanation regarding pictures which have been published of dead men, women, and children whose bodies lie in pits. It is time for the people of Turkey to take a history lesson from Germany. The German people have admitted responsibility for the Holocaust, offer wonderful programs about the horror to children in school to ensure the past is honestly confronted, and have provided compensation to Holocaust victims. If Germany could confront its past, why not Turkey?