Chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), MP of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Ahmet Berat Conkar’s interview with APA
– 44 members of the US Congress once again brought up the bill on the so-called Armenian genocide. This year, the Armenian lobby is again working hard for President Barack Obama to use the word “genocide” in the conventional 24 April message. What actions is your commission taking in this regard?
– We have been dealing with these things systematically and consistently, not just because 24 April is approaching. The TBMM chairman is on a visit to the US and is explaining the issue in an unbiased way at his high level meetings there. The assembly chairman will explain this issue to the leaders of other countries which have interest in this matter in his visits to these countries. In our visits to foreign countries and when we have guests from other countries, I as well as members of our commission explain this issue from historical point of view. Apart from our efforts within bilateral relations, we also are trying to shed light on realities regarding this matter at other international organizations, too.
– Your systematic and consistent work may have been the reason those who try to bring up this issue failed to cause cry…
– We are carrying out these activities together with the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Those who think of using this issue as a tool for pressure on Turkey are mistaken to hope that Turkey will stay silent. Turkey is stating to the world its just position on this matter cold-bloodedly and will continue its efforts in this regard. We are quite complacent. If you remember, back in 2005, former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed in his letter to the Armenian president to leave this issue to a group of commission comprised of historians to research it objectively, assuring that Turkey will accept any report prepared by the commission. Unfortunately, Armenia has not responded to this proposal since then, clinging on its subjective position against Turkey, which seeks peace and tranquility in the region is complacent about this issue too. We are against political authorities of countries adopting decisions on historical issues. Turkey is the successor of the Ottoman Empire for which archive work was the most important issue. All our archives are open. Anyone can familiarize themselves with any material in this regard. We want to live in peace and tranquility with our neighbors. This relies on allowing scientists to research historical events and building a future based on more positive opinions, rather than exerting pressure on Turkey with absurd historical claims. We warn those countries intending to use this against Turkey that all of your unjust and subjective positions will cause damage to bilateral relations. I mentioned this issue during a recent meeting with the chairman of US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Robert Corker. Mr. Corker told me that he is also of the opinion that this issue must be researched by historians. And political organizations should avoid making decisions in this regard. The committee chairman also said he would do his utmost to impede the issue of “genocide” to be included in the Senate’s agenda. We want the issue to be considered sincerely, objectively and fairly. Among the regional countries, Armenia needs to understand it very well, because it is hindering the restoration of peace, prosperity and stability in the region by keeping Azerbaijani lands under occupation. If we look to the future with optimism, Armenia should withdraw its troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories, and theNagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved justly within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
– On January 15, the Turkish and Azerbaijani presidents stated that they would jointly celebrate the historical victory in the Battle of Canakkale against imperialists and invaders. Turkey invited a number of leaders around the world to the event dedicated to the Canakkale Victory. How will the TBMM Committee on Foreign Relations will celebrate April 24 – the Canakkale Victory?
– The statements issued by both countries’ presidents were a positive step. The Canakkale Victory was the best response to those who attempted to split our country at the instigation of imperialists when the Ottoman Empire was fighting on several fronts during the First World War. Of course, we will do our best to hold the event in accordance with the real spirit of the Canakkale Victory. The Turks have suffered much more than the Armenians in the painful events that took place during the last periods of the Ottoman Empire. The upcoming event on the 100th anniversary of the Canakkale Victory will be the right place to go forward with positive thoughts and feelings, leaving behind pains. How can we forget 100 thousand Turks who were killed by Dashnaks at the instigation of the imperialists? We all had experienced the painful events that took place there 100 years ago. How can we build the future based on positive feelings and thoughts by indexing the painful events that happened 100 years ago?
– Despite of several positive steps taken by Turkey, the Armenian diaspora and Armenian authorities have not abandoned the negative thoughts. Is it possible to believe that that the Armenian authorities will accept the messages of peace that will be issued in Canakkale?
– By analyzing the current situation in the region, we see that accepting the messages of peace will be in favor of Armenia. The Republic of Turkey is the successor of the Ottoman Empire. Along with the Armenians, the Turks had also faced painful events that happened 100 years ago. However, if Armenia does not abandon its negative thoughts about Turkey or contribute to the restoration of peace, prosperity and stability in the region by liberating Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, the history will give an objective assessment to it. I reiterate that Turkey will not change its strong and objective position against the accusations of the Armenian diaspora and Armenian authorities.