Editorial, 21 September 2013
A number of studies of genetics, in the past decade, including several by Armenian scientists, have concluded that the DNA of modern Turks has an extremely high percentage of Armenian DNA. Other geneticists say that less than 10% of Turkey’s population has Central Asian/Mongol origins and that 90% of Turkish ancestry is a genetic cocktail. Others have gone so far as to wonder whether most Turks of Turkey are acculturated Armenians (same genetic structure) and that Turks of Turkey are the only people in the world who have completely changed their genetic pool from Turkic to that of Asia Minor and the Balkans.
We have no idea as to the validity of the above research or conclusions. Even if the research is based on solid science, Armenians—and Turks—might well ask: “So what?” In the affairs of nations, genetics is not destiny. Politics, economics, culture, and values weigh heavier as identifiers. These drive state and national relationships between people, not genetics.
In the past decade Dutch geneticists have deduced that Jews of Israel, Arabs of Israel and Arabs of West Bank have similar genes. They said that Palestinian Arabs were Jews who had converted to Islam when the Arab armies of the Arabian Peninsula conquered the Middle East in the 7th century. Jews and Arabs gave short shrift to the Dutch findings: even if they are related, the alleged commonality of their genes couldn’t, wouldn’t impact their political relationship.
Byzantium had more than a score of Armenian emperors and countless military leaders. As far as the Armenian nation is concerned, they might as well have been Albanian, Macedonian or even Turk. Genetically Armenian, they acted Byzantine, thus mostly hostile to Armenians.
Celebrated “French” author Henri Troyat presented himself as an exiled White Russian who wrote biographies of Tsars and celebrated Russian writers. He revealed his Armenian identity (Tarassian) late in his life. He didn’t contribute anything to our nation…an Armenian who hid under the cloak of White Russian and wrote in French about Russian greats.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is half-Armenian, half-Russian. For all intents and purposes, he might be 100% Russian. He acts on behalf of Russia, as he should. Napoleon Bonaparte was Italian-born (real name Nabuleone di Buonaparte), but as a French emperor he invaded his homeland and looted Italian Renaissance art, including the “Mona Lisa”. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the head of the Allied armies in World War II, was of German origin. Irving Berlin, the man who wrote the iconic “God Bless America”, “White Christmas” and “Easter Parade” was a Jew born in Russia, and although some Americans believe Christopher Columbus was Spanish, the “discoverer” of America was Italian (real name Cristoforo Colombo) born in Genoa. Ataturk’s adopted daughter was an Armenian orphan. As a pilot in the Turkish air force, she bombed Alevis and Armenians in Dersim in the late ‘30s.
Andrei Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist, wrote: “Russian nationality is not about blood but abut spirit. The greatness of our people is to be sought in the inner development in its breath and soul…all those who feel themselves part of this heritage in spirit are true Russians.” Many Armenians would echo the same sentiments about their identity and might go one better and say: “Armenian is as Armenian does.” What matters is what we do; how we live.
Going back to the findings of the geneticists, no Armenian would be surprised to hear that many Turks have Armenian blood. Starting with the Turkic invasions of Armenia in the 10th century and continuing for the next thousand years—to be finally topped by the Genocide—Turks not only conquered and pillaged our land, they also looted our culture, and committed genetic theft through forcible conversion, through assimilation, by stealing Armenian women and girls, and by telling many Armenian orphans of the Genocide that their parents were killed by the Gavoor Armenians.
While Turks have Armenian blood (double entendre intended), Armenians have very little—if any--Turkish blood. Turkish genetic theft and Armenian endogamy explain why it is so. Unless coerced, Armenians—with few exceptions—don’t marry Muslim Turks.
We doubt that the geneticists—Armenian and non-Armenian—have a political agenda. However, their conclusions are prone to trivialization and to political exploitation.
Turkish propagandists could tell Armenians: “Since we are brothers, let’s bury the hatchet…”. Turkish propagandists might tell the world the Armenian/Turkish quarrel is fratricide, not genocide. Turkish propagandists might tell Armenians: “Stop calling us Seljuk and Ottoman brigands from Central Asia. We are as indigenous to Asia Minor like you.” Turkish propagandists might tell Armenians: “Why do you demand lands in Asia Minor? They are already yours. Turks, who are, in fact, Armenian, are living in the lands of our mutual ancestors…they are even fighting the trespassing Kurds.”
Only last year, Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, described the Armenian descendants of the Genocide as members of the Turkish Diaspora.
One thing about “Mehmet, My Brother”, it never pays to underestimate his chicanery and duplicity. He can’t be Armenian.