I'm sure every Armenian in the world has thought about this matter at least once. The day of recognition is coming, and now the enormous fault lines and cracks in the Turkish government's denial campaign, as well as the slow opening up of the topic in Turkey, the issue of reparations becomes ever more relevant.
The first question is whether, when they apologize for the genocide, AND the century of denial which followed, whether they themselves will have the decency to offer up reparations. The easy ones of course are cash, Mt. Ararat and Ani. But I'm sorry, for me, that's not quite enough. Massive lands, property and culture were stolen from us, and of course the lives which can never be returned. Some non-Armenians have said that it was "a long time ago" and we should forget about reparations. I'm sorry, but if someone keeps spitting on a victim for a century, I consider that a continuation of the crime, keeps it present, and should NEVER be rewarded by absolving them of responsibility. Governments today should not learn that they only need to deny the truth long enough, and they'll get away with an insincere "I'm sorry", just like we're in kindergarten. If you are sorry, you show it with reparations, not empty words.
So what do I want exactly? Well, to go back to the argument that "it was a long time ago", that much is true - and everybody knows it. At this point the reparations need to be both realistic and fair (fair to us, and meaningful to Turkey). Having had this conversation with a lot of people, it seems to me, land has to change hands. We got royally screwed out of a massive homeland, which I've traveled across, and the loss is unimaginable. But, since there are now no Armenians left there, what lands are returned can be totally up for negotiations, and how much land is obviously up for negotiations. So yes, back to what most people seem to agree on. Armenians need to be given a land corridor to the sea. A port. Let it no longer be landlocked. So basically, we need the land leading to Hopa, and some coastline on either side of it.
Whatever land does change hands however, as part of the reparations, the current residents need to be given new homes in Turkey proper - a minority issue should not be created. Some people have acted like this is the worst thing that has ever happened. I want to point out that China has relocated over a MILLION people because they built a big dam. Turkey has relocated hundreds of thousands, if not a million Kurds simply to make areas easier to patrol. This is not such a big deal.
Aside from the lands I mentioned, they should also return the island of Akhtamar, and perhaps an enclave in Cilicia like Musa Dagh. And finally, in addition to all this, I think EVERY single Armenian monastery should be rebuilt by the Turkish government, exactly to what it was before the genocide, and a standardized monument placed where churches used to stand, as monuments to the people whose presence has otherwise been erased off the face of the earth.
So there you have it, I've listed all the minimum reparations I think are only fair.
Now it's funny, most Turks won't admit the real reason many of them won't admit to the genocide. Fear of having to give back lands. I can't tell you how many Turks I've encountered who after arguing with me that there was no genocide, and clearly losing, end up saying to me flat out... "And if there was one? So what? You're not going to get any lands back". Unbelievable. If you believe there was a genocide, wouldn't you want to make things right as much as is reasonable? In any case, if you pull out a good map of Turkey, and look at what I'm talking about land-wise, you'd also notice that while this land would finally end Armenia's dependency on the Turkic nation for contact with the world (a position they have demonstrated they are not capable of being in without abusing it), it would not even make a scratch in the massive size of Turkey. On an ordinary globe, the amount of land we're talking about is virtually only as wide as the lines indicating countries borders.
Another huge issue is going to be who will negotiate with the Turks on behalf of Armenians. The Armenian government? Diaspora leaders? The church? All of the above? I'm sure that with the current state of the Armenian government, many if not most Diasporans - the descendants of the genocide, will be hesitant to trust the Armenian state with this matter. Can you imagine an Armenian taking a bribe in order to agree to lesser reparations? Until the corruption issue here is tackled with some success, I don't know if I would want the Armenian government to represent the genocide victims, or even to govern any new lands...