Wednesday 25 April 2018 Last Update: 07:43 PM

“Turkey is Unaware of the Seriousness of Armenian Issue”

Published: 02-13-2016

“I am not of the opinion that the Armenian issue is understood seriously in Turkey.”

Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) President Mehmet Toy maintains the studies as prioritizing the benefits of Turkey. Mehmet Toy, who has a lot of articles, along with the contributions to Turkish American society, he has five books in his major branch and video tutorials.

By “Turkish Forum & World Turks Union”, he was recognized as one of the most successful Turkish professionals in 2014 due to his contributions to Turkish-American Community. We talked about the activities of ATAA for upcoming period and we made an interview about Armenian issue with Dr. Mehmet Toy.

Dr. Mehmet Toy underlined that as ATAA, they were preparing for 36th Annual Turkish American National Leadership Conference and he said that they would continue to their activities in terms of the benefits of Turkey under the subject of Armenian issue. On the other hand, Dr. Toy indicated that the awareness level of turkey should be raised about this subject and referred to the importance of transferring Turkish thesis about Armenian issue to the world.

Macintosh HD:Users:safiyesensoy:Desktop:mehmet toy:mehmet-q0-kasim-2013-bethlehem.jpg You are doing your duty as ATAA President since July 2014. Can we get information about the studies during your management? Otherwise, last year was the 100th anniversary of so-called Armenian issues and Armenian Diaspora was very active. In 2016, what kinds of developments are waiting us in terms of struggling with Armenian Diaspora and their unfounded claims? In this context, what are your predictions regarding this year?

Mehmet Toy: We have been obliged to perform a busy schedule since I began to work since July 2014. As you know, the reason of this schedule is that April 2015 was the 100th anniversary of Armenian issue. For this reason, Armenians were making arrangements seriously. But until then we had no preparation for this subject neither in Turkey nor abroad. After ruminating over this subject, we started to give seminars throughout America. Including New york, New Jersey, Chicago and Ottawa and Toronto cities of Canada, I guess that we gave 24 seminars in various places of America. In these seminars, I, Gunay Evinch, Professor Michael Gunter, Justin McCarthy and Mehmet Perincek gave speeches. Armenian people, who are the followers of ANCA, joined to these meetings. They strived to stop our seminars in various states as North Carolina and Arizona but they didn’t succeed. These seminars continued in 2014, April 2015 and after then.

On the other side, in April 2015, we were required to give a seminar in Washington DC and a steering committee was constructed for this program. I approved being co-president of this committee. All associations in Washington DC came together in order to march. I guess that, according to the numbers of some friends, 5000-7000 people came together to constitute a big crowd. Everybody helped us to combine this crowd together. Nearby ATAA, other organizations like Turkish Cultural Center in Washington DC, associations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and MUSIAD also helped for this organization. My friends and I gave speeches in some mosque in New York and New Jersey in order to inform people. The friends, who came from other societies, could work with us. Turkish people, who live in various states, transformed to Washington DC by buses. Also, the representatives of Muslim associations in America accompanied us in this march. In addition to this march, we had to struggle with the decisions of many senate and congress in the places like Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Illinois. Alongside ANCA supporter Armenians, Greeks also claimed that Turkish people had carried out genocide and worked to issue a decision in their senates and congress and they got succeed in some states. And we had to write letters to the members of these senates and congress one by one. As a matter of fact, we called them one by one. These works took a lot of time. But we could work with very big Turkish community in every region. Powerful union has ingenerated. We can say this positively. Besides that, we saw our deficiencies.

A display saying ‘Turks killed 1.5 millions of Armenians.’ was positioned at Lincoln Tunnel between New Jersey and New York. We couldn’t pre-estimate this. Although I called Weehawken Mayor in person and our struggles in order to pry that display off, it wasn’t’ pried off. But in contrast with this, when Armenians were marching in California we put our own writings on small modal planes and flied these planes which were refuting them. A few of our friends took a stand against the crowd of Armenians who are supporters of ANCA. Further to these activities, we had to struggle with some universities in and out of Turkey and corporations like Starbucks. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) newspaper published an article that accuses us with Armenian genocide. We sent a letter against that article and requested a meeting. We copied our counter writing to the president and other leaders of the university. Likewise, we wrote to the management of Starbucks.

After that, we learned that TUSIAD and Bogazici University would hold a conference about Armenian issue and Istanbul Bilgi University would follow them right after. The people, who attend the conference, were the opponents of Turkey. Thereupon, I wrote to TUSIAD and Bogazici University and demanded that two ideas should be represented equally. TUSIAD answered me, Bogazici University didn’t even answer. And they held the conference. As the results of our correspondence, Istanbul Bilgi University management renounced the conference. But one month later, we got the news that the conference would be organized in Bogazici University. I corresponded with the rector of Bogazici University and required that they should cancel the organization or the people, who defend Turkish thesis, should be attached to the conference. I said that if Armenians made 3 people speak, I could send 3 people who support the counter view. I wanted them to organize the conference fairly. I also said that if they could repeat this in Armenia, I would support them all the way. They didn’t answer my letter and I demanded the resignation of the rector.

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What I want to say is the understanding of this issue is not serious in Turkey. When we marched in April 24th, I wished that people in Turkey would also march and oppose their thesis. We cannot see any support from Turkey and in some universities, the opposite of our thesis are being tried to support. It is so sad to see the backstabbing of Turkey by its own children.

As being parallel to these activities, we initiated a project called Bright Future Project. The aim of this project is building an online system that would teach their history, culture and language to Turkish American society. We are working with Baskent University from the mid-cycle of 2014. We laid projects in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington DC in 2015.

These projects appealed to people in the ages between 8-12 and 13-above including Turkish education. Approximately 8-10 people attended these projects in every region. We got positive feed backs.

In 2016, we are planning to test a few trials and we will start these trails from the end of this year. This course will be put into practice in 2017. It took a long time to construct this system and prepare the lectures. We are hopeful from this project. What are you priorities in the upcoming period as the activities of ATAA?

Mehmet Toy: This year, our subjects are different. Kurdistan workers’ party (PKK) violence is extremely serious and supported by Russia. Russia attacked to Turkmens in Syria and violated Turkey’s air space. These are distressed topic for Turkey. As being aware of this, we are the ones who wrote the first declaration to Russia. We wanted that the world community should react this event, so we published it.

By the way, we are following PKK events seriously. We started a petition to curse the terror. As you know, 1128 academician published a notice as the promoter of terror. I wanted to say that how this notice is wrong as an academician by starting a petition. This petition still continues.

Eventually, we are very sensitive to terror events in Turkey. We want to warn the society perpetually about these subjects and do our best to support Turkey with their struggle against terrorism.

Between the dates 25 – 27th February, we have 36th Annual Turkish American National Leadership Conference. We consumed extreme energy for this conference. We believe that it will be an effective conference. As we do every year, we will begin to this organization with congressional visit. In the first day, we come together with the members of congress and tell them our thesis. We will be doing the same thing this year. After that, we direct to Turkish American relations. In these panels, we invited the names as Turkish ambassador of USA John Bass, USA ambassador of Turkey Serdar Kılıç and the old ambassador of America in order to discuss our topics in a detailed way.

We invited guests from different organizations in order to discuss different perspectives and tell PKK events and also the events in Syria in respect of Turkish American relations.

In 2015 and January 2016, two important things happened. European High Court accepted the legitimacy of Dogu Perincek. The court explicitly indicated that Armenian events could not be genocide. Besides, in January 8th 2016 France Constitutional Council decided that the denial of the Jewish massacre Holocaust would actually be considered as a crime and whether an act is genocide or not could only be determined by an authorized court. The council also declared that the legislative and executive organs didn’t have the authority to determine anything as crime against people. In other words, the right to say something like this only belongs to the court. Besides, in January 29th 2001, the effects of the law, which was defined 1915 events as genocide and was accepted by the parliament of France, were removed with this decision. This decision also made the laws invalid that considered the denial as crime. Thereby, these two court decisions disproved the thesis of Armenians. We published a text about this subject. We will send it and tell or thesis to all the members of the congress and everybody one by one.

In our annual conference, we will also discuss the election in USA and how we can make contributions to these elections as being Turkish Americans. We will discuss about our relations with media and how we can work in an effective way as the associations. I guess we will talk about my departure from steering committee and its co-presidency. Besides, we will have panels to tell the stories of successful Turkish businessmen in America and our successful women will also have panels. Our works are generally in this manner.Macintosh HD:Users:safiyesensoy:Desktop:mehmet toy:mt2-jacket-g1.JPG In the recent period, can you make evaluations about Turkish American relations in terms of the Syria politics of America?

Mehmet Toy: Turkish American relations are multi dimensional and friendly relations. The basic deficiencies of both countries are democracy, civil liberties and counter terrorism. As being Turkish people,we struggled against terrorism from 1975 to 1983. 26 Turkish diplomats were murdered by ASALA. Since 1984, PKK terrorism claimed lives over 40,000 in Turkey. America encountered with the terrorism in a very serious way in 9/11/2001. After that, Al-qaida and now, ISIS exist as a terror. This terror is effective both in Turkey and Europe and America. When we look at Turkey, Turkey has to struggle against PKK terror since 1984 and also Russia that supports terrorist organizations. To cap it all, Turkey has to struggle with the refugees over 3 millions. Under these circumstances, these two friendly nations should stand against these terrorist organizations and Russia. America should not consider democratic union party (PYD) as a good organization for their fights against ISIS. The connection of PYD with PKK is obvious.

I don’t think that USA wants Turkey to be damaged as an ally of Turkey. Therefore, America should stand against these terrorist organizations with Turkey and during this period, they should not say that Turkey might sit at a table with them. How can you sit at a table with terrorists? Turkey sits at a table with PKK means that USA sits with Al-qaida in the past and ISIS today. Everybody knows that this is not the solution. America should demand from PKK to surrender. I declared my ideas about this subject in my letter that you published before.

One of the important conditions to restrain PKK terror in Turkey is happened if USA precisely demands from PKK to surrender and withdraws their support to PYD. The armaments given to PYD are pointed to Turkish security forces and civilian Turkish people.

If we come to the point of Syrian refugees, in the beginning, Turkey offered to constitute a security zone. If this zone was constituted, Turkey wouldn’t face with the number as 3 millions of refugees. People might locate into their own country. These refugees wouldn’t ride Turkey, western countries and USA, at the moment. Even though Turkey insisted, USA and Europe didn’t approach tot his offer and because of being inactive, they officially invited Russia to enter Syria. Russia attack to Turkmens and people against Esad seriously. Consequently, standing against PKK terrorism and Russia together is the essential thing. To solve the refugee problem, seeing that security zone is refused, then America and Europe do not have the right to say that the refugees do not come. At this point, a security investigation should be done and the entrance of terrorist groups should be prohibited. These rules must be acceptable for Turkey.

It is a major problem that Turkey has long boundaries and cannot provide security in these boundaries. Both USA and the allies of Turkey in Europe must support Turkey and study about how to provide the security in these boundaries in an electronic way. Therefore, the terror passing through the west can be prevented in a large extent. The terror threat expanded through America and there are fear and panic as dominant factors in the agenda of world public opinion. In this environment, can you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of being active like a civil initiative in USA?

Mehmet Toy: The majority of USA fears from the word of ‘Muslim’ in fact.The largest majority thinks like that. We can give the politics of Trump as and example, because it is the fact that many support him. ANCA works to create a perception that Armenian events are religious and says that Muslims carried out genocide against Christians. That’s why they take a big support. However, we must reveal that we are against all kinds of terrorism as Muslims. Therefore, we can say that we don’t think like that. This is one of the essential things that we must do. ATAA tried to do this as publishing a notice against the terror events in France and Turkey.

Macintosh HD:Users:safiyesensoy:Desktop:mehmet toy:mt-sept25-2014.jpg In the pervious days, we heard that you resigned from your duty as co-presidency of Turkish American steering committee that you run with Ibrahim Uyar. What is the reason of this decision?

Mehmet Toy: I worked in the steering committee in 2015. At that time, it was not an association. It was a committee. In many texts that we wrote, even to Starbucks, we used the names of these associations that we worked with as the steering committee in order to make their name and concentrate on our works. If we would send a notice to the lawmakers of any state, we published it by adding the names of the associations in the related state. I think that this situation registered in an effective way. As being both ATAA president and the co-president of the steering committee, there was no problem during my duty. People, who have different ideas, came together. I think I could offset a balance.

We succeeded in 2015. In 2016, it is offered that the steering committee should be associated and collected money for this reason. But this situation was a problem for the management of ATAA. The drawbacks about my presidency of two associations are asserted. After the meetings lasted a few weeks, I couldn’t constitute a majority to continue to co-presidency. As being a president, how can I perform my duty without taking the support of the majority in the board of management? I reported to the friends that this was not a good idea as writing a letter. I offered that they should renounce from being associated. I declared that if the steering committee is associated, we could still work together on the subjects we believe in. Finally, we stood together against the manifestation of PKK and ANCA in front of Turkish Embassy.

As being the administration of ATAA, we are not connected to any party in Turkey. Our party is Turkey. We have a point of view in terms of the benefits of Turkey and Turkish American relations, which constructed in an effective way. Even I am criticized because some of my thoughts. We can work and continue to work with anyone who think and struggle for the benefits of Turkey and put their party ideas away. Just because I left my duty as the co-president doesn’t mean that there will be a problem in the works of ATAA with other Turkish American associations. I believe that we will continue to work together in terms of the benefits of Turkey and Turkish American society. And I want to declare that I will put all manner of efforts for this.