- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 26, 2009

There are a number of problematic assumptions in Julia Duin’s column “Is Islam able to apologize?” (Culture, Thursday).

The conflict between the Ottoman Muslim population and Christian Armenians both before and during World War I was not a religious conflict. It was a nationalist conflict over the same territory.

Armenian nationalism was secular and heavily influenced by anarchist and socialist movements in Russia. It sought to carve a land from the Ottoman Empire by allying itself with the European colonial powers. To interpret this conflict as religious and wanting Islam to apologize is wrong and ignores the fact that the Young Turks involved in this confrontation were also very secular. Moreover, there is no churchlike institution to issue an apology.

While everybody is talking about tolerance and dialogue, it is a mistake to think of the Turkish-Armenian conflict as a religious one. Did the pope apologize for what happened to Algerians under the French colonialists?

M. HAKAN YAVUZ



Department of political science

University of Utah

Salt Lake City

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