Turkey diary: Some final thoughts
By Jasmeet Sidhu
Over the past couple of days I have received many emails (some cordial, some not so much) about my earlier post on meeting with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The level and intensity of the response compelled me to write a follow-up post.
The purpose of this blog as designed by senior editors charged with training and development at the Toronto Star, was to provide a forum for student interns and student journalists to write and share their experiences, both within the journalism world and their activities outside of it.
I was invited to write about my experiences in Turkey this past month to provide an exploratory perspective on the country and the issues the country is facing based on the people I was fortunate enough to meet while there -- all with the full disclosure that I am still a student and still learning the various topics that I brought up in my post.
Referring to my post on the Armenian genocide, I first want to clarify that I am by no means questioning whether the horrible events of 1915 took place -- I wrote the blog because I felt that it was interesting to share the strong standpoint that members of the Turkish government were putting forward, vastly in contrast to much of the international political community and academic consensus on the issue.
When I wrote in the post about the urge to do more research after the meeting and to become your own critic of events, I was speaking for my newfound curiosity to sit down with several books on the topic, and to try to understand how and why the Turkish government continues with their narrative and disbelief of the genocide despite the strong scholarly evidence and the consensus of the international political community, documents and books that I wanted and would like to read in the coming months.
Finally, there is an error I would like to correct from the original post - there have been several governments around the world that have officially recognized the Armenian genocide, including Canada, with this link providing the list of countries as one commenter kindly provided.
Having now returned to Canada after a month in the country, I maintain that Turkey is one of the most interesting and dynamic countries moving deeper within the 21st century, and extremely beautiful, from the mountains of Cappadocia, the ancient mosques of Istanbul, to the ruins along the Mediterranean coast.
I am looking forward to watching how the country navigates its position along the traditional East-West divide in the international political community, and how it chooses to handle the various domestic issues it is facing, with the military, women and gay rights, and with ethnic minorities.
Jasmeet Sidhu is a graduate of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. She worked for the Star in the radio room last summer, and writes a blog for the Star on climate change, where she covered the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen. In mid-June she will join the Star's summer intern program. Follow Jasmeet on Twitter.