World press on an Islamic apology to Armenians (April 27, 2013)

"On April 24, the day that Armenians all around the world remember their Great Catastrophe – or their ethnic cleansing from Anatolia in 1915 – a very interesting piece appeared in Turkish daily Star. Its writer was Hakan Albayrak, a committed Muslim, even an “Islamist,” and a veteran of the Gaza Flotilla of 2010. And his headline was simple and blunt enough: “We have to apologize to the Armenians.” - the article by Mustafa Akyol published by the Hurriyet Daily News begins.

According to the author, "we cannot make excuses for the violent murders of thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of Armenians by Muslims. We should not see this as excusable. It would not be fair for the umma [faith community] of the Prophet of Mercy [Muhammad]".

"The roots of this gap lie in the different paradigms that these two largest camps in Turkish politics refer to: The Kemalists are the sentinels of Turkish nationalism, a secular ideology, which was also the driving force behind the ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Armenians in 1915. The Islamic conservatives, on the other hand, believe in the older paradigm that had allowed the Armenians to co-exist with Turks and Kurds for centuries, in line with Islam’s respect for “the People of the Book.” Their very Islamism, in other words, is what makes them more compassionate to Armenians" the article reads.

"Of course, not every Islamic figure is as bold and progressive on this issue as Hakan Albayrak. Yet still, his piece, and the support it has gathered among the conservatives, is a notable sign for the future. It signals that Turkey’s progress on the “Armenian issue,” just like in the “Kurdish issue,” will be spearheaded by Islamic minds more than secular ones." the author concludes.

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