Mouradian Delivers Talk on Genocide Justice in Ankara (Full Text)

ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)–On Jan. 19, Armenian Weekly Editor Khatchig Mouradian delivered a talk in Ankara, in Turkish, on justice for the Armenian Genocide during a panel discussion held in memory of Hrant Dink.

Mouradian delivering his speech.

Below is the English version of the talk.

For the Turkish version, click here.
For the French version, click here.
For the Eastern Armenian version, click here.
For the Western Armenian version, click here.
For the Arabic version, click here.
For the Farsi version, click here.


How did Turkish come to me?

I did not learn it to add one more foreign language to my CV.

Turkish came to me the day I was born–I had not asked for it, yet I could not reject it either.

It came to me in the voice of my grandmother.

For you, Turkish is the mother tongue. For me it’s my grandmother’s language.

My grandparents survived the genocide and ended up in Lebanon with practically nothing. They rebuilt their lives from scratch, and gave my parents the gift of life.

And when I was born, they gave me one of the few things they were, in fact, able to bring with them from Kilikia: the Turkish language.

For you, Turkish is the language of parental love.

For me, it is the burden of death and dispossession.

My Turkish has memories of death and dispossession from Adana, Kilis, Konya Eregli, and Hasanbeyli. The villages and towns of my grandparents.

And today, for the first time, I speak that language from a podium.

Today, for the first time, I return that gift of death and dispossession to the lands it came from.


Six years ago on this day, I woke up in Boston with an early morning call from my mother in Lebanon.

She gave me the devastating news.

At that moment, the only thing I could do was sit down and write this letter:

Dear Hrant,

I believe by now, the water found its crack; you found in the great beyond those whom we lost 92 years ago.

Hrant, I have some favors to ask.

Embrace Krikor Zohrab for me. Tell him I have been reading and rereading his short stories ever since I discovered them.

Give Daniel Varoujan my best. Tell him he enlightened my youth with his poems, and he continues to inspire my soul.

Hrant, do not forget to chant songs of survival with Siamanto.

Tell them they are on our bookshelves, they are on our classroom tables, their words are on our lips and in our hearts.

And tell them I believe–I’m sure you do, too–that one day, they will be on the bookshelves, classroom tables, lips, and hearts of Turks as well.

One day their statues–and yours–will also adorn Istanbul.

Do not forget to pray with Komitas, and tell him that one day, Armenian women will sing again in those villages.

Please find my grandparents. Tell them we carry their names and their love to the land they never left, the land we never saw.

Hrant, kiss the blessed foreheads of each and every victim of the Medz Yeghern of 1915.

Tell them we shall continue to walk on the road of their dreams. Because their dreams are our dreams.

Tell them we shall make the deserts flourish with the scent of their memory.

Tell them that from Talaat to Samast, we are survivors.

Tell them we are all Zohrab, Varoujan, Siamanto, Komitas, and Hrant.

Khatchig Mouradian


I had written, “Tell them we are all Zohrab, Varoujan, Siamanto, Komitas, and Hrant.”

Years passed. Yet I still have not reconciled myself with the “We are all Hrant Dink, We are all Armenian” mantra that thousands in Turkey chanted at Dink’s funeral, and hundreds of writers repeated in the months and years that followed.

Speaking at a Dink memorial event a few days after his assassination, I was not simply pointing out the obvious when I said that no one is Hrant Dink. I only saw one man—lying bullet-ridden, face down, on the sidewalk. He was alone. Where were all the other Hrant Dinks then?

After that fateful day—out of guilt, anger, or resignation, I do not know—many in Turkey who knew Hrant became more vocal. And many who hadn’t known him now did, and their lives were affected profoundly.

Yet, despite the outpouring of emotion and ink, despite the outrage in Turkey and beyond, and despite the incessant repetition of “We are all Hrant Dink, We are all Armenian,” Hrant is no less alone today than he was six years ago on that sidewalk.

Because justice is the only true cure for that loneliness.

And the individuals responsible for the crime have not been apprehended.

No one is Hrant Dink. Even Hrant Dink was sometimes not himself, because one cannot fully be oneself—as a public intellectual and, more importantly, as an Armenian—and get away with it in Turkey, where the pressure to tone discourse down, to criticize and lament within limits, to applaud the most insignificant act of dissidence as the paragon of heroism is overwhelming, insurmountable.

No one, then, is Hrant Dink, and no one, by the way, is Armenian.

Speaking in Istanbul on April 24, 2010, to a group of intellectuals and activists, the one message I tried to convey was the impossibility to share, feel, and understand—and, in the greater scheme of things, its unimportance.

The Turkish national economy (milli ekonomi) was built to a considerable extent on the violent dispossession of Armenians. The power asymmetry between Turkey and Armenia today is a product of that dispossession. And the burden of dispossession makes words of sharing, feelings, and understanding ring hollow, no matter how genuine they are.

But there is a way forward. A true engagement with Armenians begins from the point of utter dispossession and humiliation—on the sands of Der Zor.

And a true engagement begins from the point of turning the language of dispossession into a language of justice.

Let us not talk about a shared past and how we all eat the same food.

The road to peace is not more dolma, it is justice.

Let us not ask everyone to become friends with Armenians or with Hrant.

Here in this hall, in this country, and around the world, Hrant and Armenians have many friends.

But asking others to open their eyes and acknowledge the suffering of Armenians can never be enough.

What is necessary is justice.

So today, I return the language of death and dispossession to you.

And instead, in the name of my grandparents, Khachadour and Meline Mouradian, Ardashes and Aghavni Gharibian, I demand a language of justice.

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Khatchig Mouradian is the Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress and a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He also serves as Co-Principal Investigator of the project on Armenian Genocide Denial at the Global Institute for Advanced Studies, New York University. Mouradian is the author of The Resistance Network: The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarianism in Ottoman Syria, 1915-1918, published in 2021. The book has received the Syrian Studies Association “Honourable Mention 2021.” In 2020, Mouradian was awarded a Humanities War & Peace Initiative Grant from Columbia University. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming book on late-Ottoman history, and the editor of the peer-reviewed journal The Armenian Review.
Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Latest posts by Dr. Khatchig Mouradian (see all)


  1. If he delivered a talk on Armenian Genocide justice in Ankara in Turkish, and Turkey did not try to silence it, then Turkey may be getting closer to admitting to the Armenian Genocide. Turkey is suppose to be getting into peace negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. It will be interesting to see, what the outcome will be. I think Turkey is starting to realize more that not everyone who lives there is Turkish.

  2. Khatchig, thank you for your courage. I hope your demand for a language of justice was heard. I hope too that Armenians worldwide will one day witness the age-old adage, “Actions speak louder than words.”

  3. Dear Khatchik Mouradian,
    Your above outburst-if I may say so- for JUSTICE is truly an outcry COME FROM THE MOUTH AND SOUL OF ALL ARMENIANS WHO HAVE EITHR LOST DEAR ONES-like self, my grandfather and oldest uncle on Death March to Der el Zor…or theirs has been escape from the Medz yeghern and survival.
    I wish, I only wish a tenth of your audience there in the heart of today’s great Turkey will resonate into the fabric of other Turks ,as many as possible and somehow,the ERMENI , the downtrodden ermeni will be upheld as INNOCENT VICTIMS of their ancestors and make all of the Turkish people come to grips with Reality. Finally, I wish you best and hope when back stateside,at the editorial offices of Hairenik,they will hand over to you my emails.Three of my detailed reviews-suggestions.
    Otherwise I shall email them to you again a week or so from now,hoping you go over them.
    Best Rgds,
    Gaytzag Palandjian

  4. “The road to peace is not more dolma, it is justice.”
    “But asking others to open their eyes and acknowledge the suffering of Armenians can never be enough.”
    “What is necessary is justice.”

    Exactly, Khatchig, exactly so. Thank you for saying it so eloquently for all of us.

  5. Սիրելի Խաչիկ ՛ Յուզմունքով Երախտապարտուջեամբ եւ Հպարտութեամբ կարդացի անգարա-ի մէջ տուած ճառախօսութեանտ .Այնգան սիրտս լի է ուրախութեամբ աչքերս արցունքով , մանաւանդ երբ կարդացի նամակտ Հրանդ Տինկ-ի ուղղուած .հազար Յարգանք կը խոնարհիմ Ձեր նուիրական անցին Օրհնեալ ըլլան Ձեր Ծնողքը: Ձեր եւ Մեր Նայատակները վստահ եմ թէ երկինգէն իրենց գոհունակութեան եւ աղօթքներով Օրհնութիւններով կը ժպտան եւ կ՛ըսեն ճանապարհտ միշտ բաց ,եւ Աստուծոյ Օրհնեալ Ձեռքը միշտ Ձեր վրայ ըլլան Լաւագոյն Մաղթանքներս Բարով Վերադարձիտ դէպի տուն սիրելիներուտ անվտանգ.

  6. Thank you Khatchig for doing this and sharing it with us.
    This is what we all need and demand. Not friendship (which will come once reconciliation based on justice is achieved). Not diplomacy and certainly not ‘protocols’. No more, “We understand but…Armenians also killed Turks” excuses, nor, “There was a war going on, and people died on both sides…” Enough of that! We need pure and simple justice, apology and retribution. Only then we can be the good neighbors, only then we can play the human card of ‘we have shared the same land, food and water’. Then how come we do no share the same fate? Who decided that the fate of Armenians should be away from their lands, dispersed all over the world from Argentina to Lebanon, from California to Australia…
    Who caused that uprooting along with our spiritual and physical demise, certainly not the fact of having shared the ‘same lands and water’? Indeed justice should address all these questions.
    On a personal level, when I was asked to give an interview on Turkish Radio, RTI in Paris in Turkish, (in 2003), the interviewer, a Turk, was surprised at the level of my command of Turkish. And strangely enough, my response to him was that it was natural since this was my ‘grandmother tongue’. “My ‘mother tongue’ is Armenian and my ‘grandmother tongue’ tongue is Turkish,” I said to him. For indeed, like Khatchig, I too have learned to speak Turkish ‘through osmosis’. And indeed, it was the language of death, of dispossession and of cursing, “Geberesice türkler”, as my Genocide-surviving grandmother, daughter of Father Ghevont Gemijian of Kaiseri, hanged at the onset of the Genocide, would say every now and then when she remembered the terrible atrocities they had been through. However, she never instilled hatred in me despite everything. Just a sense of justice and a passion for demanding retribution. I continue her journey today, without hatred, but as the rightful descendant of the wronged, I demand justice in a clear voice, in her name, and in the name of our millions of martyrs. Justice and retribution first, and may be only then, reconciliation.

    • Another soulful article …
      From Nora Armani…
      Expressed without hate…
      Explaining what we suffered…
      And still… till justice shows
      it rays from the blue sky


  7. Dear Khatchig,
    I applaud your action and fine words, and I never met Hrant Dink but whenever I read about him, and/or what he wrote about Armenians, or, when I watch his interviews with Turkish journalist on You Tube, I feel like I have known him always in my life. On human level it is a decent thing to do to bring healing even to your bloodiest enemy “Turks”, and it is a nobility to bring healing especially to your own people. When it comes to justice for the martyr, recognition is what is ask from Turkish Government to acknowledge this horrific event what Armenians suffered and what was committed in 1915 as “The Genocide of Armenians”. This is the best recommendable solution to an event that took over 1.5 million Armenian lives, and an event that took place in history close to hundred years ago, there is nothing to ask for exchange, no land, no money, and no more lives. I believe strongly on the words of Hrant Dink, what Turks did, made us sick, and made them sick as well”. My thoughts are in memory of Hrant Dink.

  8. Thank you in the name of my grandparents, Nigol (pen name , “Lato”) and Pailoon Chebookjian Mooradian, who were Armenian Genocide survivors and former staff of The Hairenik.

  9. Brave Khachig
    Brave in pen
    brave in spirit …
    Brave by every word
    We must define your name…

    Brave Khachig…
    Carve your khatch-kars …
    As our forefathers did…
    Your sold phrases
    Are real swords
    Will never hurt any one
    but will shine like the sun-rays


  10. Khatchig, thank you for keeping the spirit of Hrant Dink alive with your powerful and moving tribute! My ancestors from Musa Ler, Kaisaria, and Marzvan embrace you as well.
    “Please find my grandparents. Tell them we carry their names and their love
    to the land they never left, the land we never saw.”

    also..tell them that their great grandchildren born and raised in the US not only speak fluent Armenian, but like yourself, also demand that everyone speak the language of justice!

  11. I was moved before, but now I’m shaken and moved.

    I think i’m going to frame or laminate your letter “Dear Hrant” and hang it in my home for all to see.

    I admire your courage for doing all this.


  12. I am very inspired by the depth of your thinking and your commitment to meaningful action. Your message was powerful…. direct, clear, focused and addresses the core of who we are. The memory of our survivor generation( for many of us our grandparents) is an infinite source of motivation to pursue justice.
    Thank you. Our cause is not about apologies or food or even shared existence. It is about justice. Your metaphor is brilliant.
    Why is it that a nation dispersed randomly after the crime can produce patriots like Khatchig and others some 3 or 4 generations later? This is what the Turks, the deniers, have never understood. The diaspora lives for justice. Our grandparents and parents knew their mission. I can only imagine the voices of inspiration that have guided you in your journey…. Voices that will be heard!

  13. Thank you Khatchig.

    Thank you for taking Krikor Zohrab and Daniel Varoujan home. Thank you for speaking truth to power. Thank you for your intestinal fortitude. Thank you for your heart, your mind and your soul.

    Thank you for inspiring and empowering so many of your generation, and those before you and those destined to follow in your example of courage in the face of adversity, conviction in the face of injustice and honesty in the face of unaccountability.

    In death, our beloved Hrant Dink will someday rest in peace beneath the earth he claimed in life, due to your courageous utterances on the very soil, nourished by the blood of its Armenian inhabitants for centuries, and never more senselessly than between 1915 and 1923.

    Your presentation in Ankara has brought to life the notion of “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

    Hrant Dink you need not be, becaue you are KHATCHIG MOURADIAN.

    Thank you for being Khatchig Mouradian, the voice of your grandparents and the grandparents of so very many of us, and indeed the voice of the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the 20th Century’s greatest unanswered crime against humanity.

    In Solidarity,
    Garo Ghazarian

  14. Very well done Khatchig. A terrific piece!

    Neither football nor dolma diplomacy will work. Justice is the ONLY panacea.
    President Sarkisian needs to read this.

  15. Mr. Muradian
    If you read the foreign Ministry website, you will have a crystal clear idea about Justice you are talking about


  17. Dear Khatchig,
    I read your brilliant speech with great sadness and admiration. It seemed you spoke so eloquently from every Armenian’s heart. However, I was immediately struck with a sense of great fear. With so many laws still in the books in Turkey making mere words “against national securiy” punishable by a prison sentence, and so many little boys still running around with guns in their hands, was this a wise action? I know I am fearful and I am cautious, but I have good reason. Every decade since the 1870’s we Armenians have thought that things would better, and every decade we have had our blows. It didn’t start or end with 1915. Let’s study the history and for God’s sake let’s be a bit more cautious. I pray for you safe return home. You have a lot more work to do here.

  18. Յուզմունքով եւ Հպարտութեամբ կարդացի, ընդունիր Լաւագոյն Մաղթանքներս, սիրելի Խաչիկ

  19. Has any of the Armenian leaders directly or indirectly responsible for such a catastroph ever faced the music?

    Ottoman leaders responsile for inflicting undue hardships and mistreatment of Armenians during Tehcir have been taken to courts, have been jailed and many executed. Others have been hunted down and murdered.

    Has any fedayeen, any of the armed thugs ever called to account for their murderous deeds? I don’t know of any. Which Armenian has been ever punished even for recent massacres in Karabag? Whole region has been cleansed of all Azeri inhabitants, but not a single person found responsible.

    How inappropriate to lecture others about justice Mr. Mouradian. Take look at a mirror first please.

    • ‘Ottoman leaders responsible…’ & still Turkey refutes that the Ottomans committed the Genocide.
      Please tell your Turkish leaders that the responsible culprits were tried for this horrendous crime & ask them how could they still deny such a crime? They might listen to you.
      Artsakh has been liberated from decades of slavery.We did not start the war.Azeris started,we defended & won.

    • [Ottoman leaders responsible for inflicting undue hardships and mistreatment of Armenians during Tehcir have been taken to courts, have been jailed and many executed. Others have been hunted down and murdered.]


      Some Ottoman leaders responsible for “inflicting undue hardships and mistreatment” of Armenians, as you say, which the civilized world calls by their proper name: genocidal extermination of Armenians, were indeed taken to the courts in 1919-1920, but you conveniently omitted the fact that principal architects of the genocide: Talaat Pasha, Pipit Jivanshir Khan, Said Halim Pasha, Behaeddin Shakir Bey, Jemal Azmi, Jemal Pasha, Enver Pasha and others, had managed (or allowed?) to escape prior to sentencing, while others, such as Mustafa Abdülhalik Renda, who organized burning of thousands of Armenians alive in Mush province, later became the minister of finance and speaker of the assembly. So much for Turkish “justice”.

      You also omitted the fact that Ottoman politicians, generals, and intellectuals implicated in perpetration of the Armenian genocide, were relocated from Constantinople jails to the British colony of Malta, where they were held for several years while the prosecution was collecting evidence of their guilt. After Mustafa Kemal threatened that his government would execute all British prisoners in Turkish custody if the Turkish detainees were executed, the military court in Constantinople begun releasing criminals without trials. So much for Turkish “justice”.

      So it is not true that many perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide were executed. Most of those who were, fell from Armenian bullets in retaliation for the genocide.

      Fedayeens, as their very name should suggest you, were not the initiators of a planned and executed deliberate annihilation of the Turks. Armenian fedayeens were freedom- and resistance-fighters against Turkish oppression and physical extermination threats. When your whole nation is being barbarously slaughtered, you don’t sit idly. You fight.

  20. Turks in you- tubes they say, ” You hate Turks”…I say…

    Mr. Turk
    I am human
    I’m like you a human
    I was never born to hate anyone
    I want my people’s rights
    As you want yours

    I never lie
    I never curse
    I have honest genes…
    From well-known ancestries before Christ…

    Respecting everyone, giving their rights
    But I want everyone who killed my race
    To say, there was “Armenian Genocide”
    “Our forefathers killed your forefathers
    By many ways…with enjoyment…
    Confiscated their gold, their lands
    We left you in Arabian deserts…
    Without food, without cloths

    Goodbye Mr. Turk
    If you deny
    You are godless

    Written instantly
    January 27, 2013

    • Why you do not mention the Turks perished at the hands of Armenian?The whole world witnessed the armenian brutality and atrocity against the Turks in Hocali. You will always feel the brunt of ur brazen torture your ancestors have committed against Turks in the course of history.On the other hand many Armenians have been migrating Turkey to find peace and future for their kids.You just pour your hatred through your writings as if you were the defender of real Armenians living in Armenia.Everyone knows that the diaspora armenians just using the so-called genicide allegations to exploit armenians to abuse this issue for their personal wealth. If you wanna really help armeniand,you should settle in Armenia.Otherwise you cannot impress the laymen.

    • denialist nomadic savage Haluk (“….. the so-called genicide allegations”):
      Armenians do not deny they opened fire on Azerbaijani civilians in Khojali.
      In an active war zone. During a hot firefight.
      After giving Azerbaijan every opportunity to evacuate their civilians safely through a safe corridor.
      Do you know why Armenian soldiers opened fire on Azerbaijani civilians ? the cowardly Turkbeijani OMON thugs, hiding behind the skirts of Azerbaijani women, opened fire on Armenian troops.
      And nomadic savage: “Why you do not mention the Armenians perished at the hands of Turkbeijani ?”.
      Have you denialist East and Central Asian nomadic savages heard what happened to Armenian civilians in Sumgait (1988), Kirovabad (1988), Baku (1990) ?
      And who invited you nomads to invade our Armenian Highlands, murder their indigenous people and take their lands ?
      Avery, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

  21. My Sireli Khatchig,
    I kiss the hand of my Armenian “brother” and editor who bravely delivered the masterfully crafted talk. To Hrant Dink you spoke on my behalf for Krikor Zorob and Siamanto. I fortunately met Dink here in Detroit shortly before his death – He was warm and wonderful in his address to the audience. Khatchig, you are doing wonderful work on behalf of our “ausk” but I loved you the most when you said prayers for my murdered Apigian grandparents and aunts in the destroyed church in Keghi. Please return to Detroit soon so that we can again gather in my living room with devoted Armenians seeking justice to hear of your travels and revelations. Please return soon and know that we love and respect you for the work you are doing. My heart burns and longs for Armenian justice.

  22. “Armenians do not deny they opened fire on Azerbaijani civilians in Khojali.”

    What a shameless act…!

    Pay back time will come. I will be there.

    • Good: I will be there also.
      Then you will know what packback really feels like – AG denialist savage nomadic invader Turk.

    • and next time you quote me, make sure you include all the relevant parts:
      {“Do you know why Armenian soldiers opened fire on Azerbaijani civilians ? the cowardly Turkbeijani OMON thugs, hiding behind the skirts of Azerbaijani women, opened fire on Armenian troops.”}

    • Poor Turks, the perpetual predator who plays the perpetual victim..There is only one language your people understand: That’s the big stick. When some else has that stick the usual cowardly stance is taken. Such is the case after 20 years of Karabaghs liberation. And only one reason for that: The Armenian Army…

      Please be the first “brave Turk” to cross the border..Yeah i didnt think so.

  23. I applaud Mouradian’s speech as a cry for justice. It is eloquent and moving. I support the Armenian cry for justice. But in actual practice, to achieve justice implies fairly detailed considerations, with pro’s and con’s and deliberations as to what is needed for justice. But maybe Mouradian will present these more in detail later, hopefully with some new insights to share with us?

  24. I’m really proud as an Armenian reading Mouradian’s Talk of Justice.Proud because Armenians have so many intellectuals still knowing how to cry for justice in a voice that sounds alas unknown for Turks. The policy of deny is not just a brainwashing method for Turks. It’s showing completely the nature of a barbaric tribe that also has civilized representatives like Orhan Pamouk, Taner Akcham and many others… I my self have grand parents who experienced Armenian Genocide in that time and know people from Karabagh (which I prefer to name Artsakh)and what is more interesting for me is:How many Turks really know the real history or how many of them like to know it?
    Reading the comments I was interested what they are saying and how much they are educated for being enemy toward us. This deep hatred which I can’t understand and caused that barbaric non human acts is really something that should be understand, why still is continuing?
    Anyway I believe truth can’t be hidden for long time. Maybe the civilized world that is talking about the human rights (and in these very days we see that how acts in middle east), will someday remember the values of humanity.

  25. آقاي موراديان
    نگاهي دائمي داشتن به تاريخ وظيفة هر انسان است و شكافتن زواياي تاريك آن بر عهدة انديشمندان با وجدان
    هرانت دينك ها زندگي خود را در طبق اخلاص گذاشتند تا وجدان در خواب سياست مداران خود خواه را بيدار كنند
    مقالة شما و ترجمة آن در پيمان، پيغامي است رسا به تمام فارسي زبانان بيدار دنيا

  26. Armineh! God, I am tired of these Armenian tirades on the “barbaric tribe” (With their few elected examples of exceptions to the dismal tribal rule, as the European colonialists did towards the People they subjected), almost as tired as I am regarding the similar Turkish ones. Completely different Things are needed for the Turkish community as a whole to go honestly into their history and make amends….

  27. Dear Khachig – Your Ankara speech was brilliant, profound and deeply moving. I spent two hours dining with Hrant when he came to Washington and when he was murdered I felt the loss of a brother. May God bless him – and you…Ed Alexander

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