VITAM IMPENDERE VERO, IVVENALIS

The United States, Armenia, and Turkey

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The Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP aka “The Young Turks”) controlled Ottoman Empire in the years of 1915 – 1923. An estimated 1 to 2 million Armenians were slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks at this time, and it is reprehensible for Turkey and others to deny this with lame excuses, such as the following:

“The Armenian claim that they were victims of a premeditated genocide does not ring true, however. Rather, what appears more likely is that there was an honest, though inaccurate belief among the Turkish leaders that they were faced with a widespread and coordinated Armenian uprising from within at the very time their state was in mortal danger from without.”

So-called Armenian Genocide

“Armenians suffered a high mortality. But one must likewise consider the number of non-Christian dead. The statistics tell us that more than 2.5 million Anatolian Muslims also perished.”

Armenian Issue Revisited

And I think President Theodore Roosevelt puts the situation in the proper context in relation to American values:

“the failure to deal radically with the Turkish horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense; and because when we now refuse to war with Turkey we show that our announcement that we meant “to make the world safe for democracy” was insincere claptrap.”

President Theodore Roosevelt, Oyster Bay, May 11, 1918

Of course we don’t need to go to war with Turkey today, but if our words are to be taken seriously and not considered “insincere claptrap” we need to stand up against those who deny atrocities like the Armenian Genocide. One way of doing this is by officially recognizing and condemning the horrific actions.

But what about our relationship with Turkey? Doesn’t this come at a bad time considering the role that Turkey plays in the Global War on Terror?

Well, yes, it does come at a bad time. It would have been more prudent of the US if we had recognized the genocide years ago, as it is not a new controversy at all, and the cowardice of US politicians has prevented an official recognition many times. Regarding Turkey’s role in the GWOT,

If Turkey is truly going to be one of the good guys, they need to stop denying the fact that the first genocide of the 20th century was committed by Turkish Islamic extremists.

18 responses

  1. vermontdave

    Mr.P,
    You’re right in the sense that American politicians have vacillated on this issue.

    I don’t understand why the Turk people won’t accept the crimes of their great-grandparents.

    The Armenian population had a deliberate campaign of eradication directed at themselves.

    The fog of history should quiet things, but in this case it doesn’t.

    Go figure.

    October 13, 2007 at 8:31 pm

  2. The fog of history should quiet things, but in this case it doesn’t.

    Actually, if you look at the genocide in Rwanda, the Hutus immediately denied that they had committed crimes against humanity. Many of the same excuses were made, such as “it was a civil war” (which is one of the reasons why we shouldn’t say that ethnic cleansing in Iraq is merely a “civil war”) or “they were plotting against us.”

    The U.S. would be a sham if we did not recognize the genocide, especially since we sent aid to the region at right after it happened and there are photographs and other documents which show that Armenian civilians were targeted or starved to death.

    October 13, 2007 at 10:17 pm

  3. trajan75

    The Tuirkish state of today isn’t the Ottoman state.
    Therefore Turkey should admitt the genocide.
    It was a different regime.

    October 13, 2007 at 10:40 pm

  4. Trajan,

    That’s why it’s so suspiscious, if they are not willing to admit that it happened it seems like they are covering up for the Ottoman regime.

    October 13, 2007 at 10:59 pm

  5. Hasan

    The Armenian bill has nothing to do with the past, and everything to do with present politics.

    The American house of representatives had the same evidence 100 years ago, as it does now. One wonders why it took so long for it to realize it was a genocide. Did even Roosevelt actually call it a genocide?

    October 14, 2007 at 9:30 am

  6. Good post.

    October 14, 2007 at 1:49 pm

  7. The American house of representatives had the same evidence 100 years ago, as it does now. One wonders why it took so long for it to realize it was a genocide. Did even Roosevelt actually call it a genocide?

    Roosevelt didn’t call it a genocide because the word wasn’t officially used until after the Holocaust. You can learn more about what constitutes a genocide here:
    http://www.preventgenocide.org/law/convention/text.htm

    Hasan, present American politics?

    I don’t think so.

    I’ve heard people say that America is controlled by Israel, but this is the first time I’ve heard someone claim that Armenians take precedence! Israel is against calling the Armenian Genocide a ‘genocide.’ Turkey has asked Israel to get the bill thrown out of the US Congress!

    Turkey expects Israel to “deliver” American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I, Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1188128150149&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    This bill is about doing what’s right, if we don’t recognize the systemic mass slaughter of an entire group of people as a genocide, then we need to get our priorities straight.

    October 14, 2007 at 4:25 pm

  8. Hasan

    I am very well aware of the fact that the word genocide was not invented until after the secondo world war, and that is precisely why I question its applicability. If the Armenian experience was indeed such an extraordinary and unique genocide, somebody would have invented a word for it then, and not waited 30 years for the Holocaust to happen.

    As for your statement about this bill being about doing what’s right. I could not disagree more. Since when does the US house of representatives have the right to legislate what occurred and what did not occur in history?
    Genocide is a very serious allegation, and nobody has a right to inict an entire country for it without going through the courts . After careful examination of what evidence have your representatives, most of whom cannot even point Armenia on the map, reached their conclusion? What right do these lawmakers have to act as judges?

    The passage of this genocide resolution is a disgrace. It constitutes a condemnation for a crime without trial and prosecution. It contravenes the principle of due process enshrined in the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution. Turkey has never been indicted with regard to the question of 1915.

    Unlike the USA, which cannot be held accountable for its continuing war crimes in Iraq as it is not under the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, Turkey is, and there is nothing that stops Armenians from applying to the ICJ for crimes committed against them or their ancestors.

    October 15, 2007 at 7:07 pm

  9. Hasan,

    The House isn’t dictating what did or did not occur, those are facts and are well documented (see the sources above). But rather, the House is doing what is moral right for the American people, namely recognizing the atrocity for what it was, namely genocide.

    As for your other complaint about the retroactive application of the term “Genocide” to the Armenian Genocide, this is nothing out of the ordinary. For example, we call Edgar Allen Poe an ‘alcoholic’ yet the term ‘alcoholism’ was not coined until Poe was already dead, and the coining of the term had nothing to do with Poe.

    Just because the proper term didn’t exist at the time, doesn’t mean that today we shouldn’t use the most accurate terminology.

    October 15, 2007 at 8:23 pm

  10. Muslims Against Sharia commend House Democrats and Speaker Pelosi for pressing ahead with an Armenian genocide bill. Republican opposition to the bill is pure manifestation of moral relativism.
    Muslims Against Sharia condemn Turkish government for refusing to acknowledge Armenian genocide and recalling its US ambassador in response to the bill.

    Source: AFP
    Post

    October 16, 2007 at 12:46 am

  11. Muslims Against Sharia commend House Democrats and Speaker Pelosi for pressing ahead with an Armenian genocide bill. Republican opposition to the bill is pure manifestation of moral relativism.

    Indeed, opposition to the bill, and all that it entails, is reprehensible.

    October 16, 2007 at 1:04 am

  12. Any time during the past 80 years would have been commendable. In the present poltical constellation it borders madness.

    October 16, 2007 at 5:22 pm

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  14. vermontdave

    This isn’t off-topic, it’s merely anecdotal.
    If anyone ever drove through New Britain, CT. on I-84 back in the 1970′s, they would remember the graffiti on an over-pass that read, ‘Armenia Lives’.

    I remember asking my parents what it meant and they told me it was like what happened during WW2.
    To me, as a child, that meant a lot.

    Turns out, I grew up in an area with a large Eastern Orthodox community.

    ps.
    I will never understand why it’s illegal to even mention this in Turkey.
    You can be prosecuted for even talking about it.

    October 16, 2007 at 9:10 pm

  15. Muslims Against Sharia Poll:
    Does Islam Need to Be Reformed?

    October 20, 2007 at 12:56 pm

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