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Myopic view of complex episode hurts Turkish-Armenian relations

RE “TURKEY’S denial” (Op-ed, March 9): The opinion offered regarding this complicated episode of World War I, in which millions of Ottoman citizens of all religions and ethnicities vastly suffered, only discourages current relations between Turks and Armenians.

Chris Bohjalian disregards a deep history of 800 years of coexistence, cultural tolerance, friendship, and mutual respect between the two nations, and turns a blind eye to the very complex nature of this issue.

The radicals among the Armenian diaspora are intolerant toward any different opinion. Their narrative, based on demonizing and disrespecting memories of millions of Turks, categorically labels any fair attempt to accurately understand this period as denial. Yet, contrary to Bohjalian’s opinion, there is neither political, legal, nor academic consensus on the description of the events of 1915.


Turkey fully understands and respectfully recognizes the sufferings of Armenians. As publicly stated by President Recep Erdogan on April 23, 2014, we hope that our peoples, who share similar customs and manners, will be able to remember together their losses in a decent way. The spirit of the age necessitates looking for ways to build a common future beneficial to all, rather than living in the disputable memories of the past.

Bohjalian’s views on the Battle of Gallipoli commemorations are problematic as well. April 25 is traditionally observed as Anzac Day, a day of war remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders, and the day prior has been established as an international day of remembrance for more than a decade in Turkey for the joint ceremonies held jointly by what were once enemy states. This joint commemoration epitomizes not only the great sufferings and losses of all nations, but also constitutes a vivid example of the spirit of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative undertaken by Turkey and Spain.

Our desire to share in the pain, to heal the wounds, and to re-establish friendship between Turks and Armenians remains sincere.


S. Ömür Budak
Consul general
of Turkey in Boston