This year's April 24, a date which Armenians anticipated with raised hopes and Turks waited for uneasily, passed without incident. It was expected that the symbolical significance of the centenary of the 1915 incidents would invite a much more radical atmosphere. No one should be deceived by the sharp replies that Turkish state authorities gave to Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin or German President Joachim Gauck. It must have been noted how these figures strove to balance their statements. Moreover, for several years, Turkey's official objection has been aimed at the interferenceof third parties in the matter, rather than attention being paid to the historical events of 1915. Because, when viewed from Turkey's perspective, statements about the "Armenian genocide" do not actually seem to concern what Armenians experienced 100 years ago. Quite the contrary, it is thought that such discourse is being used as part of the Western countries' current popular adversarial approach toward Turkey and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
In other respects, some justifications implying that "Armenians misbehaved as well," can still be propounded in Turkey concerning the 1915 incidents. However, such justifications imply the acceptance of what was done, rather than eliminating what the state did. A discourse of denial is no longer valid in Turkey. Although a great majority wants to honestly and truly accept what was done, no Turks accept the assessments that try to present them as some kind of Nazi equivalent. Indeed, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's remark of a "fair memory" is a message directed toward both parties. This suggests to Armenians and the world not to confine Turkey in a categorical fashion, while telling Turks that Armenians are not innocent in a categorical sense.
The AK Party government is ready to support this two-way discourse with concrete steps. The condolence messages that Turkey has offered over the past two years are part of this strategy and they essentially include a call for dialogue. It is apparent that the government's wish is to turn the whole Armenian question into a modality of "dialogue" among Armenians, Turks and Kurds. It is expected that, in this way, the Armenians' perspective will expand, and at the same time, Turkish people will gain more knowledge and do away with their preconceived notions about the past and the identities of others. Thus, the psychological environment will be more moderate.
However, the benefits of this discussion and normalization will not remain confined to this issue. The discussion of the Armenian question actually implies re-addressing the unionist period in all its aspects. Thus,conservative and nationalist segments will have the opportunity to reassess the past and to correlate it to today. For instance, they will find out that unionists took part in the Republican administration both personally and mentally and that the oppression of the religious was embraced by such groups. Furthermore, those who confiscated Armenian properties will become clear and it will not be surprising to see that almost all of them are from the secular segment.
The AK Party is annoyed by the fact that the Armenian question is a topic on the world agenda and that it is used to the detriment of Turkey. However, it will not be displeased if this question becomes the topic of Turkey's agenda and is used against the unionist mentality. Obviously, the background of such a discussion will benefit the ruling party in a period where the quest for a "new Turkey" is turned into an objective and a new constitution will be prepared. Because, while the AK Party desires to re-establish the Republic on a more pluralistic and legitimate basis, it also dreams of producing a new social integrity from a disintegrated community structure and to associate it with the Ottoman period before nationalism. If the Armenian question becomes "domestic," this path can progress much more rapidly.