I grew up with the following phrase, which my now-dead father used to whisper often into my ear when I was a child: "My son, these Armenians are incapable of being true men...."
I was naive. Very naive. Even when the father of one of my best friends was killed by an Armenian terrorist in Madrid, I still held onto my beliefs. Even when I saw that not a single Armenian tear was shed for one of our many diplomats killed in Western capitals, I still didn't sway from my naive beliefs.
When I learned that one of these Armenian killers wasn't even a full adult yet, one of these same friends of mine said "You see, that's it. Is the Armenian society as a full even adult?" He then went on to add:
"The Armenians live in a society that has been prevented from maturing. The time has come to ask this question: I wonder if the Armenian society, which turns its own character problems into violent acts against others, is a society which remains immature in order to carry out these acts?"
I was always told this by those around me: "Of course some Armenians can change, but the other Armenians? Never."
Yes, my whole life has passed hearing these things about Armenians.
OK, let's leave this idiocy behind and return to reality. My own now-dead father in his whole entire life never said anything about Armenians to me. And not just Armenians; he also never said a bad word about the Bulgarians, despite the fact that he had escaped from Bulgaria to Turkey with just his life. I never heard anything like "Those Bulgarians will never be men. They are killers who will never change" from him. This, despite the fact that we lost many many relatives in the Balkan Wars. Also, my friend whose father was killed by ASALA terrorists in Madrid actually never said anything bad about Armenians either. To the contrary, he put extra effort into strengthening the bonds between Turks and Armenians living in Turkey. And we, as a society, when putting our murdered diplomats to rest after their deaths, spoke only of "ASALA terror," not of the Armenians.
But then where did I come up with the disgusting first part of this column today? Well, I did not make it up. I read it in a column by Zaman newspaper's Etyen Mahcupyan. In other words, in a column by the new general editor of the Agos newspaper. Not only this, I read it only days after one of the biggest funeral ceremonies this country has ever participated in. After the most sincere songs ever sung for someone for whom we mourned were sung. What I wrote above, in the first part of this column, was exactly what Etyen Mahcupyan wrote in his column, with one difference: instead of writing about Armenians, he was writing about Turks. The main point of his article was that "Turks can never change...." And so, I decided to write my today's column just to show how incorrect this perspective is. I also apologize to all the Armenian citizens of this country who I know love this country as much as I do. I am sure they were made uncomfortable by the tone of the start of this column. And for that reason, I think it's necessary that the Armenian intellectuals in this country use a more careful style from now on in their writings.