As a child I always wondered if it was possible for Armenians and Turks to be friends. As I get older and wiser I can say that the question is not answered so quickly with a yes or no. It is a topic that my mother and I always discuss, and she always says the same story. She used to have a student who was Turkish. That student told her that she went on a date with an Armenian guy and, when he found out she was Turkish, he stopped his car and told her to get out. I feel that what the guy did might have been a bit extreme. He could have at least asked her if she accepts the Armenian Genocide before kicking her out. I know that there are many Turks that speak the truth, for example Ragip Zarakolu who was just released from jail.
I remember during the Grassroots conference in 2011 Ayse Gunaysu spoke, and her story gave me hope that there are Turks out there who know and speak the truth. I wish I could say that the numbers for the ones who speak the truth are more, but sadly that is not so. The problem is that these numbers are not enough to give the Armenian people hope in any way. If the number of Turks who accepted the Armenian Genocide increased, there would be more serious talks of being friends. Since the Turkish government is so against that, it seems almost impossible at this point. We cannot ask the people who are taught at a very young age what the ‘truth’ is to change their opinion.
I have been reading articles this whole week about relations between Armenians and Turks. As April 24th comes closer, the more absurd some articles get. It is easy to assume that it will never be all perfect between the two countries. What I do believe is that unless Turkey admits to their crimes from 1915, Armenians should not take any friendly talks seriously. Something that my parents always taught me as a child is to accept the mistakes I have made because the more I lie the easier it will be to slip up. Turkey will have to face the truth one day. Let’s just hope it is soon!