As for the Turkish media, even those which seem against the current Islamist power, they applauded this press conference held in the presence of the Turkish Culture Omer Çelik as a victory of the Turkish lobby in the European capital against the Anatolian diasporas which are preparing to commemorate next year the centenary of the genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians of 1915.
Because the Turkish minister has intelligently trapped the diasporas by saying: “Anatolia is the cradle of innumerable civilisations, an open-air museum. We want to make known the Anatolian culture as a whole, complete and not divided into compartments. The Armenian culture is one of its parts. They are the veins of one body.”
Some exhibitions, perhaps some musical representations will be, according to them, sufficient to show to the European public that the Armenian, Assyrian, Greek veins of this body always remain as alive as the Turco-Islamic vein in today’s Turkey.
Well… What about the genocide and deportation of the millions of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek citizens a hundred years ago?
Why today exist in Turkey only a few tens of thousands of the descendants of these autochthone peoples of Anatolia, peoples that already existed there before the arrival of the Turks in “this cradle of innumerable civilisations”?
Is Anatolia of today really “an open-air museum” or rather “an open-air cemetery” of innumerable civilisations whose creators were exterminated or deported a century ago?
What about the oppression and extermination of the Kurdish and Yezidi peoples: Koçgiri, Seyh Said, Agri, Dersim and Roboski?
What about the Sunni tyranny on the Alevi community?
During the press conference, in answer to a question concerning the centenary of the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, International Europalia President Jacobs de Hagen said that it is a simple coincidence of dates and insisted that Europalia wants to be “apolitical”.
Whereas all the democratic forces of the world prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first genocide of the 20th century, Turkey’s Neo-Ottoman and Islamist leaders still persist in the negation of this ashamed crime committed by the Ottoman Empire on the lands, which are the motherland of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks.
The regime’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently declared at the Turkish Parliament that it is impossible for Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide that is allotted to their ancestors and to the Turkish nation. (armenews.com, November 7th, 2014)
Besides, shouldn’t the Europalia administrators take into consideration the situation of the human rights and the freedom of expression in a country selected as partner of the festival? It is enough to look at the latest reports of NGOs such as Amnesty International, Reporters without borders, Human Rights Watch, European Federation of Journalists and Committee to protect journalists.
And retrograde and scandalous declarations of the president of the Turkish Republic? (Le président Erdogan, roi de la polémique, AFP, 27 novembre 2014)
To honour such a regime by devoting Europalia, is it really an apolitical act?
Let us not forget that the decision of the Board of directors of International Europalia on May 23rd, 2013 to devote Europalia 2015 to Turkey already caused reactions as it was the case in 1995.
Indeed, as underlined by the Libre Belgique of May 28th, 2013, Europalia had to stop in March 1995 the organization of 1996 edition devoted to Turkey because of the “Turkey’s lack of respect in program to cultural diversity, including Kurdish dimension”.
See also Dogan Özgüden’s article entitled “Europalia ’96: festivities of shame?” ("Europalia ’96: festivités de la honte?” Le Soir, 23 décembre 1994.)
After the new attribution of Europalia to Turkey, the President of the Armenian Community of Belgium, MR. Michel Mahmourian, launched the following appeal:
“It is obvious that the choice of the year 2015 is neither in random nor on the initiative of the Belgian part. If to invite Turkey is already in itself debatable – let us recall that in 1995 the federal government opposed the invitation of Turkey for political reasons – we cannot remain without reaction to the choice of the year 2015. So let us react, not only for the reason that 2015 will be the centenary of the genocide of the Armenians but also of the beginning of the annihilation of all the Christians of the Ottoman Empire. This is why we bring together with us the Greeks and the Assyro-Chaldeans, and request the support of other ex-Ottoman minorities who are against Turkish official position.” (http://www.info-turk.be/419.htm#Europalia)
In spite of this warning, the Belgian authorities persist in honouring a negationist regime without any reserve.
Whereas, for co-organizing the festival they could insist that Turkey solemnly recognize the genocide of 1915 and be engaged in the reparation of all the consequences of this crime against humanity.
What was not made by the Belgian leaders is made in Turkey by the democratic forces despite all risks.
A recent example:
Kurdish deputy Sebahat Tuncel of the Party for a democratic society (HDP) submitted to the Turkish Parliament a bill requiring the recognition of the genocide of 1915 as well as massacres made against the Kurds and Alevis at the time of the republican period.
Tuncel invites the President of the Republic to offer apologies at the Turkish Parliament to the victims of these crimes against humanity. She also requires that the archives of Turkish State be opened, that April 24th be proclaimed as a "day of commemoration" and that moral and material damages be compensated by the State.
Shouldn’t the Belgian authorities and the Europalia administrators show courage like this Kurdish political woman who is always under the menace of reactionary forces, and require the recognition of the genocide of 1915 by the Turkish State before the implementation of the program of the festival?
If they really want to be “apolitical”!