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Why does Turkey not belong only to Turks?

2016-01-10 Vicigo

The territory which is called Turkey today is a land that has comprised diverse people since ancient ages. As Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, it is better to mention the territory as Anatolia that is used specifically to refer to the Asian part of today's Turkey.

Anatolia has been a region full of diverse nations - ethnically and religiously. In spite of the several invasions that it had witnessed, the land never lost its diversity until the establishment of Turkish nation-state in the beginnings of 20th century. Apart from the people who could not survive the modern times, there have been varied ancient nations who have been living in the territory.

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The diverse population in Anatolia

The most known of them are Greeks, Armenians, Kurds and Syriac people. Though their starting dates of the settlement in the region might coincide with different times, they share a significant feature: They had been living in Anatolia before the territory was invaded by distinct empires such as Ottoman Empire of which continuation is today's Turkey. Thus, it can be understood that those four nations had settled down the region - dating back BC - before the Turks who came to the Anatolia from Asia.

Unfortunately, these nations, who contributed to the today's Turkey in terms of architecture and culture, are exposed to different treatment by many. Not only their existence is being denied but also they are not seen as one of the ancient people of today's Turkey. It is sad that those distinct nations, who once had kingdoms or republics- Armenian and Greek - in this land, are not accepted like Turks in terms of being one of the core 'citizens' of the territory. 

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Kingdom of Armenia and Pontus in Anatolia between 65BC and 115AD

Besides, it is important to note that those people did not migrate to today's Turkey. They had already been there when several other people including Seljuks and Ottomans invaded the land. It is obviously seen not only in the historical documents but also in maps. It is evident how the territory of today's Turkey had had regions called Armenia and Kurdistan. In fact, the existence of those nations were admitted during the Ottomans and who were much more tolerant to 'the others' unlike today.

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Armenian and Kurdish regions in Anatolia which are the historical homelands of the two nations

Therefore, isn't it pointless to deny the fact at the present when it was not in the past? How can the majority of the Turks can ignore the truth? and most importantly, how can Turks be more tolerant to the country's distinct people when one of the most famous politicians states 'either love it or leave it'? 

In short, will Turks learn to 'share' the country with those who have been living in the territory? Will they give up the general perception of 'one nation, one state'? That is hard to answer as it depends on the person. Nevertheless, I do not want to lose my hope as it is the only thing that provides many to bear the fragile situation in the country nowadays. 

Wishing the days without denials..




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