Prime minister’s Armenian advisor

Published 12.11.2014 02:15

A common view is shared among the Armenian diaspora and the intellectuals of the Armenian community nowadays: "It is a tactical move for Turkey's prime minister to appoint an Armenian as his chief advisor with the 100th anniversary of the 1915 incidents approaching. Moreover, it is obviously a move for the denial of the Armenian genocide." Like many other aggrieved minority communities, a vast majority of Armenians feel assured that the world revolves around their own issues. This view is also common among the Kurds. They think all the initiatives of the government are directly related to them, regardless of what the government does. And they interpret the government's actions accordingly. Consequently, Davutoğlu's assigning of me as the chief advisor has drawn the attention of many Armenians to my Armenian identity. What really matters for them is not the advisor's political tendencies, but the fact that an Armenian was appointed. One is naturally obliged to ask this question when looking from this perspective: Why did the prime minister choose an Armenian? Then you have to answer it as part of the definitions of Armenian identity. In this way, you inevitably make a remark that manipulates Armenian identity. And most of the Armenian intellectuals in Turkey are desperately wallowing around this vicious circle. As soon as you define the others based on what you have been subjected to, you can assume that all the deeds of the others are done for or against you.

Giving prominence to the identity of an Armenian advisor also has another interesting outcome: If this advisor was really chosen for his Armenian identity, then he is supposed to act like an Armenian and his deeds will be evaluated from a criteria that accords with his Armenian identity. Those with this perspective are not even aware that they have a somewhat racist perspective since expecting me to unconditionally act like an Armenian is not, in principle, different from a negative implementation conducted against me since I am Armenian.

The fact is, one does not become more or less Armenian just because he is appointed as the chief advisor. Moreover, when my case is considered, it cannot be said that you are against a proper Armenian. In this case, we are talking about a man who has never considered himself as part of the community in social terms, and a man who has never stood out as an Armenian, with his identity defining him. The matter comprises of contributing to the creation of a shared wisdom and influencing the government that, as much as possible, is working among a major reform process and is in a tangle of serious issues that are waiting to be resolved.

Being an Armenian only refers to a trivial sphere within the overall mission. If we attempt to list the issues Turkey needs to resolve, the Armenian "issue" or "genocide" is only in the middle of the list. And my duty as chief advisor is giving advice to promote democratization while paying the required amount of attention to each subject. Expecting me to pay more attention to that issue than it really deserves in terms of the current and future conditions of Turkey might lead to disappointments.

In the meeting where Davutoğlu offered me this position, the word "Armenian" was not mentioned once and the prime minister did not imply that he would charge me with a specific duty. On the contrary, he focused on the general picture and needs of Turkey. For some, it might be hard to accept but this is the reality: There are many people in Turkey who are not trapped within their ethnic or religious identities and sometimes life can bring some of them together.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Disclaimer: All rights of the published column/article are reserved by Turkuvaz Media Group. The entire column/article cannot be used without special permission even if the source is shown.
However, quoted column/article can be partly used by providing an active link to the quoted news. Please click for details..