By Hambersom Aghbashian
Serkan Engin is a Laz poet from Turkey ( born in 1975 in Izmit-Turkey). He was influenced by his parents to study at Navy Military Lycee but was dismissed from Navy Military High School in 1995 because he was undisciplined. He then studied at technical high school in Kocaeli University, and now he is a vigorous antimilitarist. His poems have been published in more than fifty literature journals in Turkey and he has also published a poem manifest in a literature journal in 2004, “Imagist Socialist Poetry.” He also tried to start a new poetry movement in Turkish Poetry. Serkan Engin has also published numerous articles in literature journals about literary theory according to his poetry movement. His poems have been published in “The Tower” Journal, Poetry’z Own and Mediterranean Poetry in English. Also his poems have been published in one of the major philosophy and poetry journals of Japan named Shi to Shisou in Japanese.(1)
On 23 Oct. 2014 and under a title “Never Again” Serkan Engin wrote “Why am I talking about the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocides in Turkey? Why would I get myself into trouble? Am I stupid? I’m talking about these genocides, because this is an obligation from my conscience. This is an ethical duty for me as an honest and honorable intellectual. This is my debt and obligation to humanity. I want to talk about all these genocides perpetrated my Turk ancestors, because in Turkey you must declare the truth loudly, against the lies of the so-called official history. I refuse to be “proud of” my ancestors who raped little girls, burned children alive, enslaved women and brutally slaughtered millions of innocent people.I refuse to shout “How happy is he, who says I’m a Turk” every morning in school playgrounds. I reject the education system which tells our children a racist motto like “One Turk is equal to the whole world”.(2)
According to www.panarmenian.net (March 17, 2014), Paper Boats of Poetry website published an article “The Insufferable Shame of Being a Turk” by Turkish poet Serkan Engin.”I am a socialist Laz poet from Turkey. My mother is Turkish so my mother tongue is Turkish, but I prefer to consider myself as a “Laz” like my father’s ancestors, because I am ashamed of my Turkish ancestors from my mother’s side of the family. I refuse to consider myself as a “Turk”, because my Turkish ancestors were perpetrators of genocides at the end of the Ottoman Empire and at the beginning of the Turkish Republic. 1,500, 000 Armenians were brutally murdered by Turkish and Kurdish people under the orders of Ottoman generals. Turks and Kurds have killed their own neighbours, raped their little girls, burned alive little children and women and grabbed the Armenians’ money and properties. Also thousands of Assyrians and Chaldeans had been murdered in their own homelands like Armenians by the Ottoman government during this genocide period,” Engin says in his article.(3)
Under the heading “ In the Name of Humanity” Serkan Engin wrote on Oct.15.2014 “ I am trying to change the wrong perception about Armenians and Greeks in Turkey, which have been established by the lies of the official ideology. I am trying to show the awful truths of our history to the Turkish youth, so that we can erase the defaults of racist education in Turkey. We are taught that “One Turk is equal to the whole world,” arising from Fascist-Kemalist ideology, which has forbidden the existence of all ethnic identities that are not Turkish.” He added “ As the son of a Turkish woman, I accept and recognize the realities of the Armenian Genocide. Although I personally had no participation in this violent crime, I apologize to all the Armenian victims and kneel down in front of you in the name of humanity. Not only do I apologize for the Armenian Genocide, but I also apologize for the Holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, and every other genocide perpetrated by the conscienceless humans of our world. I believe that we shall overcome this hatred and lack of conscience someday.”(4)
On Sept. 2, 2014, ArmenaPress wrote “ The Turkish poet Serkan Engin published an article titled (Genocide in the name of Allah) in the Dispatch International website .” According to Armenpress he mentioned that “ The wholesale extermination of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Nestorians, and Pontain Greek during WWI has been aptly described as (Christians Genocide).The perpetrators of the massive atrocities were Muslim Turks and Kurds spurred on by the Turkish Ottoman government.”(5)
Under the title “ Turkish writer ready to speak up about Armenian genocide at the cost of his life and freedom, Armenpress wrote on Oct.24, 2014 “Turkish writer Serkan Engin considers it an obligation from his conscience to talk about the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocides in Turkey.This is an ethical duty for me as an honest and honorable intellectual. This is my debt and obligation to humanity. I want to talk about all these genocides perpetrated my Turk ancestors, because in Turkey you must declare the truth loudly, against the lies of the so-called official history. I’m the child who shouts The Emperor is naked . I’m devoting myself to the truth at the cost of my life and freedom, because I want to create and increase awareness about these atrocities, so that similar crimes against humanity won’t be perpetrated again.
I refuse to be proud of my ancestors who raped little girls, burned children alive, enslaved women and brutally slaughtered millions of innocent people.” (6)
*Laz: An ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia, being a people of Iberian or Georgian stock. The Laz were initially early adopters of Christianity, and most of them subsequently converted to Sunni Islam during Ottoman rule of Caucasus in the 16th century.