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More on ethnic Turks

Reader comment on item: Ban Islam?
in response to reader comment: Then who are really the so called Ethnic Turks?

Submitted by Concerned Buddhist (Lithuania), Sep 19, 2007 at 03:59

It is true that many ethnic Turks in Turkey have Greek, Armenian or Syrian roots, however whether you like it or not they do not conceive themselves as anything else but ethnic Turks. A Turk is still Turk whether his ancestors were Turks from Central Asia, Greeks, Tatars, Arabs, Syrians, Persians, Armenians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Croatians etc. I really hope that one day Turks will become more aware about their non-Turkish ancestors and more open to the cultural heritage of peoples that lived in Anatolia before Turkification, but it does not signify that they will cease to be Turks.

As for Turkish relations with Greece, they were settled by the treaty on mutual exchange of populations and through Lausanne treaty, so that biggest unregulated problem now is the Cyprus problem. Greeks cannot claim any "return to their own lands" in Anatolia since they themselves accepted the mutual population exchange. As the treaty of Lausanne effectively closed the Armenian issue and established definite eastern borders of Turkey, I do not think that either Armenians could hope to have any chance to return to lands belonging to Turkey. What Greeks and Armenians could really claim, are the damages for the invasion in Cyprus and the damages for incidents with Greek and Armenian minorities after 1923. Probably Armenians can have some hopes for pressing their issue about the Genocide and if Turkey finally yields to international pressure, for claiming compensation from Turkey as the heir of the Ottoman empire.

There are however some problems with Armenian claims about Genocide. Turks can retort that Armenians have already taken their revenge from Turks and that their current pretensions for the recognition of Genocide is only the mask for territorial claims . During 1916-1918 when Eastern Anatolia was occupied by Russian Army and later in 1918-1920 when Kars region was administered by the shortlived Republic of Armenia, Armenian troops in Russian army and irregular Armenian militias indeed treated Muslims of Eastern Anatolia very harshly and it is not difficult to understand why. However, by taking revenge, Armenians seriously compromised their moral position.


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