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groong-tdn: Elekdag´s museum proposal against Armenian claims

Elekdag’s museum proposal against Armenian claims

By Ayla Ganioglu

Turkish Daily News

Saturday May 3, 2003

– CHP’s Elekdag says an Anatolian Culture and Civilizations Museum should be
opened against the Armenian Assembly of America’s preparations to open an
“Armenian genocide museum” in Washington

– Elekdag stresses that this museum should tell people that the Christians
and the Jews maintained their own cultures, occupations, religions and
traditions and lived in peace in Anatolia for centuries

Retired Ambassador, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul
deputy and Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee member Sukru Elekdag
suggested that the Turks should open an “Anatolian Culture and Civilizations
Museum” in Washington against the Armenians’ preparations to open a
“Armenian genocide museum” in this city.

Elekdag said that the legal research put forth that Turkey did not have an
opportunity to prevent the opening of an “Armenian genocide museum”. “In
this case, the most appropriate way would be to open an “Anatolian Culture
and Civilizations Museum” (AKMM) in a distinguished district of Washington
in order to promote the culture, history and civilization of our country and
discard the negative effects of the Armenian genocide museum,” Elekdag

Expressing his proposal at one of his addresses to Parliament, Elekdag
mentioned his opinions on this issue to the TDN.

Elekdag said that AKMM’s leading goal would both promote Turkey and refute
Armenian claims indirectly. He added that the main theme of the museum would
be to exhibit the Turkish arts, culture and civilization in Anatolia during
the course of time.

Elekdag stated that the AKMM might put forth the traditional tolerance of
the Turks. He said that the Ottoman Empire’s welcoming of Jews, who had
escaped from the tyranny of Christians and the Inquisition, might be given
place in the museum.

According to Elekdag, samples of how the Muslims, Christians and the Jews
maintained their own traditions of culture, occupation, religion and justice
in Anatolia for centuries should be found. He stressed that the Ottoman
Empire’s tolerant attitude toward religious beliefs should also be displayed
at the museum.

“The AKMM should reflect the humanism of Yunus Emre (Sufi poet), who
considered the 72 nations in the same point of view, and the humanism of
Jelaluddin Rumi (Mevlana, great Sufi philosopher), who said ‘Come, come,
come… Whatever you are, it does not matter,” Elekdag said.

Elekdag noted that the Armenian propaganda was based on the claim that the
Ottoman Turks mistreated the non-Muslims and the Armenians during the course
of time. “Placing this issue on a ground of Christian-Muslim clashes with
this approach is an effort to win the support of the Christian world in the
first place.”

Emphasizing that the facts were just the opposite to the Armenian claims,
Elekdag said that an era of confidence, freedom and welfare had started for
the Armenians, who escaped the tyranny of the Byzantium after Sultan Mehmet
II conquered Istanbul (Constantinople) in 1453.

“The Armenians were organized under the name of Millet (nation) in the
Ottoman Empire and their patriarch became the spiritual and material leader.
Istanbul became a focal point of attraction. The Ottomans appointed the
Armenians, which they viewed as millet-i sadika (loyal people to the Ottoman
Empire), to top state posts and top missions of the civilian administration.
The names of hundreds of Armenian officials were listed in roles such as
minister, pasha, prosecutor, ambassador, governor, judge and undersecretary
in the yearbooks of the Ottoman state. In the last period of the Ottoman
state, Gabriel Noradungyan was foreign minister, while Agop Pasha was the
minister responsible for the Treasury,” Elekdag said.

Elekdag suggests that all these may take place visually in the AKMM in the
framework of the Ottomans’ understanding of tolerance and equality toward
non-Muslims. He believes that the AKMM may be opened easily if it’s financed
through grants, but underlines that a foundation should be set up in Turkey
to realize the museum project with the moral support of the Turkish

“The real mission of this foundation will be to put forth the museum
project, provide financing opportunities, inspect during the opening phase
and take measures to provide the efficiency and renewal of the museum after
it’s founded,” he added.

Elekdag stated that it would be appropriate for Turkish officials to consult
the Turkish American Associations Assembly in Washington and the federation
in New York on this issue.

Armenian Genocide Museum

CHP’s Elekdag said that the Armenians living in the U.S. decided to open a
“Armenian genocide museum” in 2000 in order to strengthen their propaganda
against Turkey. He said that the developments showed that the preparations
for the museum have come to the final stage.

Elekdag noted that the Armenian Assembly of America bought a pompous
building, which is two blocks from the White House and started restoration
work as of that date. He added that the Armenian President Robert Kocharian
and Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church Karekin II visited
the museum under construction and blessed it.

Pointing out that the designers of the museum expect 250,000 visitors to the
museum per year, Elekdag said, “The museum will play an active role in the
smear campaign of opponent lobbies in the U.S. against Turkey. It will also
become a factor that would poison the American people against our country.”

Elekdag believed that the scientific surveys carried out in the U.S. showed
that the American public had deep prejudices against Turkey despite the
half-century alliance between Turkey and the U.S. He stated that this mostly
stemmed from the intense and systematic smear and humiliation campaign
carried out by the Greeks, Greek Cypriots and Armenians against Turkey since
the beginning of 20th century.

“This situation is the basic factor that prevented the Turkish-U.S.
relations from stabilizing. It’s certain that the opening of a genocide
museum will further damage Turkey’s image in the U.S, thus exerting negative
pressure on bilateral relations,” Elekdag said.

Ankara – Turkish Daily News


In Elekdag’s interview published on the TDN dated April 27, 2003, the second
use of the word ‘genocide’ in the answer of Elekdag to the first question
was mistakenly used. It should be ‘massacres’. We apologize for any

“This incident, which is attempted to be recognized as ‘genocide’, is not
related with this concept since the Ottoman government had never given a
decision, plan or will to carry out systematic massacres against the
Armenian nation or annihilate them.”

Yorumlar kapatıldı.