Agos, April 23rd, 1996

23 April is a very important and bright day in the history of a nation that emerged from decades of suffering. It is the day on which the rallying cry of ‘Sovereignty rests unconditionally with the nation’ was engraved on the wall of the Parliament Hall. And it is the heritage of such a day which is entrusted to a child named ‘life’ and to the future. It is the date on which the Turkish nation had its most intelligent foresight. How beautifully are the words ‘future’ and ‘child’ thus brought together. And what a masterful idea of not limiting 23 April to Turkey only but sharing it, for years to come, with the whole world. May it be a happy day for Turkish children and all the children of the world.


24 April is a very important and dark day in the history of the Armenian nation which was then ‘dispersed’ to the four corners of the world. If a couple of Armenians get together they will immediately grab banners and take to the streets. What is the cause of all this, why do these people take to the streets on 24 April?

The day is April 24, 1915. Early in the morning Armenian intellectuals, writers, artists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and parliamentarians are taken one by one from their homes, especially in Istanbul. They are taken away never to return. Well, this date marks the beginning of the ‘historical Armenian tragedy’, which commences a few days later throughout the Ottoman Empire.


Who can understand this and how? I don’t know, but to be both Armenian and from Turkey; to experience the holiday of 23 April with all its fervour and to partake in all the grief of the following day! How many people experience such a dilemma on the surface of this planet? This is neither easy to understand, nor to explain.


I hope no one experiences this dilemma ever again. How can 23 April be experienced with more fervour? How can 24 April be erased from memories? In fact, neither of these are unsolvable questions. If 23 April is going to be for all children, I say, let it be for children of Armenia too, in some way. Invite them too to these celebrations. Reconcile the children; have them meet each other. Don’t limit this to 23 April, include 24 April as well. Let these days be prolonged; include the whole month of April, include the whole spring season. Let’s say you can’t do that, existing hatreds are too much of an obstacle for it; then leave the world to children; they can handle it; just keep out of their way, that’s all.


I have a special affection for 23 Aprils. This date is also the day my wife and I got married.

Our nuptial night took place on the night between 23 April and 24 April. This was the time we gave life to our first child.

Neither 23 nor 24 April.

Perhaps that moment is 23.5 April.