ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—A founding member of Turkey’s ruling AK Party called the Armenian genocide a “geno-deportation” and “personally” apologized in an interview with the Turkish daily newspaper Radikal.
İsmet Uçma, a member of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, added: “Their pain is our pain.”
The parliament member noted that although the Committee of Union and Progress was responsible for what happened, he personally apologized for the suffering of the Armenians during what he called the “geno-deportations.”
Uçma said that although violence was indeed employed against the Armenian deportees, what happened to the Armenians was not genocide, but a “geno-deportation,” the violent deportation of an entire ethnic group, because if the perpetrators wanted to commit genocide, “annihilation methods employed by the Spanish and Portuguese in South America, or those employed by the Americans against Native-Americans, or the Germans against the Jews would have been used.”
The very annihilation methods that Uçma was referring to were indeed employed against the Armenians.
Asked about reparations, Uçma said that he finds land demands absurd, although he noted that no one should live is someone else’s house. In this context, he said, the government’s initiative to return some confiscated property to non-Muslims was a positive step.
The Turkish government has promised to return less than 10 percent of properties confiscated since the 30’s from non-Muslim minorities. No properties confiscated during the Armenian genocide have been returned.
Kurdish Parliamentarian to Push for Commemoration Day
In a more meaningful gesture, and according to reports, Kurdish Parliamentarian Sırrı Süreyya Önder is working on bringing a motion declaring April 24 a “Day of Mourning and Sharing the Pain of the Armenian victims of 1915.”
Önder is a member of the pro-Kurdish BDP in Istanbul. He is a filmmaker and columnist who was elected into parliament in 2011.