Ah, Turks and Armenians, move on!

tutorialendfI think we could use a bit of a flashback to an amazing column that I read this summer in the Turkish Daily News by the Muslim journalist Orhan Kemal Cengiz. This was, you may recall, a column titled "We Cannot Afford to Lose Our Armenians!" There is a reason that this genocide vs. "genocide" story is hot and refuses to fade very much. That reason? Because, in Turkey, it refuses to fade away. Why? The passions of faith and blood fade slowly.

Ask Hrant Dink.

That brave Turkish Daily News column -- click here for the earlier GetReligion post -- included then-fresh material about new threats against the Armenian community if it didn't stop trying to provoke public discussion of the genocide. The threatening letter was sent to Armenian schools.

Thus, we read in this "Last Warning and Ultimatum" that Turkish Armenians are trying to wreck the Turkish state.

The message also mentioned the murder of Hrant Dink: "... exclamations saying 'We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink' are examples of extreme chauvinism and summons for revolution. Do not forget that besides the Armenian citizens of Turkey, there are also Armenians from Armenia in our land, and they number over one hundred thousand. Both their addresses and their workplaces are well known. Henceforth we hope to see our Armenian citizens as advocates of truth, concerning the Armenian genocide or any other matter, and as defenders of the Turkish statehood.

"We shall keep an eye on how the Armenians are playing this role. Otherwise, the Armenians shall be those to lie in the grave and count how many Armenians and how many Turks there were in the 'ages long past'. This land has never pardoned treachery and shall not. Who does not stand for our paradise homeland is against us and shall be vanquished."

The text ends with the following words: "There is no defense line. That line is the entire territory. Anything else is just a trifle when the fate of the homeland is concerned. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ... This is the last ultimatum. It is not to be repeated."

... It is also quite thought provoking, isn't it, that this racist letter threatens Armenians with a total extinction if they talk about the Armenian genocide -- "Do not talk about genocide or you may be the victim of a new one!"

Oh well.

This is an old, old issue (Yada, yada, says Dana Milbank at The Washington Post). It is also, alas, a contemporary issue. Religion stories are often both.

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