[First published September 26, 2005] I’ve gotten more email from Turks or Muslims asking how I could make such a damning claim that Turkey committed genocide. I write back that they’ve been brainwashed.
Turkey did murder about 2,000,000 Armenians and 350,000 Greeks, the first such extensive genocide of the last century (the first was the German slaughter of 65,000 Herero in Namibia in 1904). I know, I know, my figure of Armenian’s murdered far surpasses the 1,500,000 most often given by Armenian and genocide scholars, but they are only counting that period during WWI when the Young Turks were in power. I included the post war period when the Nationalist under Atatürk continued the genocide of Armenians and added the Greeks, and so mentioning Atatürk enrages Turk students the most. After all, he is a hero to Turks and the father of modern Turkey.
There is no doubt this genocide occurred. Genocide scholars, without exception, agree on this, the relevant documents were generated by two court trials, there is voluminous reports from the American ambassador and other diplomats in Turkey, and refugee reports are consistent on this. Nonetheless, Turkey has succeeded in casting doubt on the genocide. Their story is that the Armenians were in rebellion and siding with Russia, which invaded Turkey during the war, and besides which they had killed many Muslim Turks, which they did. Thus, what is interpreted as genocide was an attempt by the Young Turks to subdue the rebellion, and deport Armenians away from the border with Russia.
Then there are the American academic experts on Turkey who agree with Turkey that there was no genocide, but in effect a civil war. But, one has to be careful with these people. Often they are doing research on Turkey under Turkish grants or support, and second they can be denied access to the Turkish archives. Its inner reaches are only available with government permission.
And with sorrow, I must add that the American State Department refuses to recognize this genocide even though our ambassador at the time, Henry Morgenthau, reported extensively on it. We know this because he wrote a book, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story , in which he detailed the genocide. In spite the of documentation that must fill a significant area of the State’s archives, why does it continue to deny what every researcher with the exception of Turkey’s sycophants know, and even what Congress is now considering as a concurrent resolution recognizing the genocide (go here)? Real politics.
Our relationship with Turkey is considered important, and being on the northern borders of Iraq and Syria, a Turkish support is critical, especially it swallowing the acerbic pill of autonomy for the Iraqi Kurds under the proposed Iraqi constitution — for Turkey a bad example to their own near 14 million Kurds (about 20% of the population). Repeatedly, the State Department has refused to recognize genocide, or even democide. Not by Turkey, not by Nazi Germany, not by Stalin, not by Mao, not by Pakistan (in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh), not by the Pol Pot, not by Rwanda, not by Serbia, not by Hussein (in his slaughter of the Kurds, often with poison gas), and at first, not of Sudan. Secretary Colin Powell did recognize this genocide, but notice that it is not part of the current vocabulary.
Real politics is always the dominant consideration. I’m tempted to call this the let-them-die policy that there are considerations that are more important then the lives of hundreds of thousands and even millions. State gets away with this because there is little general recognition of how much democide, and its component genocide, is carried out by dictatorships, and what a significant impact on these thug regimes and this awful practice America could have by calling such mass murder what it is, and pointing a trembling, outraged finger at it.
Link of Day
: A website museum of material on the genocide
Links I Must Share
Turkey avoided a damaging row with the EU on free speech at the weekend when a conference on the Armenian genocide was finally held in Istanbul after the organisers circumvented a court ban.
Amidst rumours of his imminent flight from Nepal, King Gyanendra abruptly cancelled his scheduled visit to New York for the UN General Assembly meeting. . . . Kathmandu civil society’s opposition, spearheaded by the Citizen’s Movement for Democratic Peace, has unambiguously adopted the slogan of republican democracy.
The last throes of another monarchy and birth of democracy.
China announced a fresh crackdown yesterday on the internet amid further revelations of a plan by Hu Jintao, the president, to suppress dissent.