ARMENIAN-TURKISH CONTACTS IN HISTORY:
A PANORAMIC LOOK
(UP TO END OF 19th CENTURY)*
We are always inside the history.
One thousand years is a tangible period of history. There are not so
many peoples on the Earth, which have a 1,000-year-old history of
neighborhood. Armenians and Turks are just among those few groups of
However, the history of the neighborhood of Turks and Armenians has
another peculiarity, which makes it unique in many respects. It is a history of
neighborhood of the peoples, whose relations were effected by a terrible
catastrophe, such as genocide.
It is not accidentally that I use word catastrophe. Genocide is a large-
scale catastrophe, which distorts the process of normal development of not only
the victim-people, but also of that, who sullied itself by participating in this
terrible crime because of the ill will of its rulers.
"It is a dark spot on the forehead of my people," said Ahmed, one of the
heroes of the novel "Romantika" by the well-known Turkish writer Nazim
Genocide factor lays a great responsibility on us, historians. As we are
not only "inside the history," as Karl Jaspers wrote in the last century, but also
to some extent create it by our professional activity, that is, interpretation of
historical reality. That is why, a quiet study of the history of the neighborhood of
our peoples without surplus emotions will contribute to creating such conditions
when it will become possible to start the uneasy way of overcoming the
negative consequences of genocide, and I believe in it.
I have chosen the factor of existence of Armenian statehood as a
criterion for panoramic review of the main periods of history of our peoples'
interaction. Just the statehood of Armenians, as the 1,000 years history of
various Turkic peoples in Asia Minor is, factually, the history of uninterrupted
Thus, the neighborhood of Armenians and Turks processed in two forms: