American historian Justin McCarthy says genocide allegations binds Armenians together because "they define themselves by this pain and suffering. Turks will be subjected to a tremendous amount of pressure on the centennial of the 1915 incidents"
ANKARA – American historian Justin McCarthy says Armenian allegations of genocide in 1915 continue to make it difficult for Turks to tell their own history of the tragic period at the end of the World War I.
McCarthy said in an interview with AA reporter in Ankara on Wednesday that he was researching the suffering of Muslims in the war, but the allegations of genocide compelled him. "I was trying to find out the population of Armenians in Anatolia before and after World War I. As a result, I found that a large number of Turks were killed. How were these Turks killed, as they were not involved in the war? Between 2.5 and three million Muslims were killed in the war. I had never thought about writing about the Armenians, but the issue chose me while I was working on the Muslim history.”
McCarthy says, "The reason for the Armenians to sustain their claims after all those years is so simple. If you keep on teaching your children hatred, they will grow up with hatred and their hatred will also continue growing.” McCarthy said the Armenian diaspora believes that they benefit from their allegations; that they will be paid compensation and make territorial claims on the Turkish towns of Kars, Erzurum, Bitlis and Van.
McCarthy argues, "Their claim is false, but they still believe it. Just as Americans of German and Irish origins call themselves American, the Armenian diaspora fear their next generations will forget their historical identity and identify themselves with the country where they live. Therefore they keep their allegations alive to bolster their integrity. They have never heard anything good about the Turks, therefore they think Turks are evil."
McCarthy said, "Finally, Turks have started to assert their historical truths against the Armenian allegations, which they were not doing until twenty years ago. Turks have to work hard to remove these prejudices. These prejudices will not be removed quickly and easily, because the other side has been working to sustain these prejudices for a century. It would take a long time because a Christian won't believe a Muslim just as a Muslim won't believe a Christian so easily and that is quite natural."
McCarthy emphasized that despite such trends, the world is not united against Turks on this matter, because the European Court of Human Rights recently exonerated Dogu Perincek, leader of Turkey's Labor Party, for his words regarding the 1915 incidents. He describes that as a good change.
McCarthy said propaganda and new legislations could be seen in the international arena on the centennial of the 1915 incidents next year. "Turks should be prepared to endure huge pressure. However, I think the situation will calm down afterwards, because the current situation cannot continue forever. 100 years is a long time. If you gather all of the Armenians from Armenia, France, England, America and all around the world and replaced them in their six claimed Anatolian provinces, the Muslim population would remain twice as large.”
Justin McCarthy has authored books titled “The Muslims and Minorities: Population of the Ottoman Anatolia and End of the Empire", "Death and Exile: Ethnic Cleansing of the Ottoman Muslims" and "Population of the Ottoman Peoples and End of the Empire.”
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