Armenians Should Thank Erdogan for… NOT Recognizing the Genocide

Harut Sassounian

BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement on the ‘events of 1915’ released in nine languages last week was a major propaganda coup for Turkey, generating worldwide publicity. The announcement was so cleverly crafted that it fooled many in the international community — and regrettably, some Armenians — into believing that he came close to recognizing the Armenian Genocide or at least took ‘an historic’ step in the right direction.

In reality, Erdogan’s statement was nothing more than rephrased denial or old wine in a new bottle. Carefully avoiding the term ‘Armenian Genocide,” he conveniently borrowed Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s deceptive terminology of ‘shared pain’ and ‘just memory,’ words that sound conciliatory, but actually equate the murderers with the victims. The Turkish Prime Minister’s reference to millions of Turks and others who also died during World War I is an insult to the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. Millions of Germans also perished in World War II, but no one in their right mind and good conscience would equate their deaths with the extermination of six million Jews!

Erdogan’s call for a “joint historical commission to study the events of 1915” is another worn out and shrewd delay tactic. If Turkish officials are sincere in wanting to learn the facts of the Armenian Genocide, all they have to do is review the extensive documentation available in their own archives as well as studies conducted by countless historians and genocide scholars around the world. Why did the Turkish government wait for almost 100 years to show an interest in researching this topic? Why are some of the most sensitive Ottoman archives still kept under lock and key, not to mention those that were shredded long ago?

I have written many times for several years that:
1. Despite Turkish denials, the Armenian Genocide is a recognized fact by the international community and there is no need to wait for Pres. Obama, Prime Minister Erdogan or anyone else to acknowledge it.
2. Genocide recognition cannot right the wrongs committed by uprooting and decimating the Armenian people. A more appropriate objective would be to seek justice through legal channels, demanding restitution, both financial and territorial.
3. The Turkish offer for ‘reconciliation’ is nothing but a sinister ploy to bury the past with a meaningless acknowledgment and apology. True reconciliation is achieved by undoing the enormous damage inflicted on the Armenian nation.
It is imperative that Armenians remain vigilant and not be deceived by fake Turkish offers of reconciliation. Between now and April 24, 2015, the Turkish government will probably announce many more publicity stunts to win over the sympathy of the international community and minimize the damage to Turkey’s already tarnished reputation by accusations of genocide.

One such Turkish plan is Davutoglu’s cynical statement that the Armenian Diaspora is also Turkey’s Diaspora! There have been media reports that the Turkish government is preparing to grant citizenship to the descendants of former Ottoman subjects, including Armenians. Surprisingly, some naïve Armenians are fooled into thinking that this is a positive step! Just imagine settling in one of the towns of Turkish-occupied Western Armenia or Cilicia as a citizen of Turkey, and having your sons drafted into the Turkish military to ‘defend the Turkish nation’ and take part in the invasion of Kessab or Aleppo or even Armenia! How about being jailed, under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, because you made the mistake of speaking about the Armenian Genocide to one of your Turkish neighbors!

Erdogan’s real intent in issuing his April 23, 2014 statement is to undermine the worldwide Armenian efforts to seek justice as they prepare for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

The fact that the State Department and some European officials reacted positively to Erdogan’s statement is an indication that this was a coordinated attempt to provide cover for the Obama administration and European countries not to deal with the Armenian demands on the genocide issue, using the excuse that Turkey’s leaders are in the process of reconciling with Armenians.

Armenians should resist the pressures by third parties to abandon the pursuit of their historic claims. The views of the US government or the EU on Armenian demands from Turkey should be irrelevant. Armenians should be the masters of their own fate and not allow other nations to dictate what is acceptable or unacceptable to them in the pursuit of their national interest.

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12 Comments

  1. Danoog said:

    Harout is right again. It is way past time for Armenia to fight Turkey in the world courts. At this point that is the only way for Armenians to receive justice.

  2. Berge Jololian said:

    Genocide acknowledgment without accountability is hollow and meaningless – it is worse than denial.

    No amount of apology or acknowledgment will ever be sincere or enough – it is Genocide Acknowledgment with *Accountability* that matters.

    The Turks have not only murdered humans, destroyed an ancient culture, civilization and rewritten history, the Turks continue to legitimize the act as well as the racist ideology that led to the act.

    Genocide Acknowledgment with Accountability. Land . Reparation . Restitution

  3. eddy said:

    One of the latest ugly and racist statements of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on PBS reads more or less as fallowing: ” There was no Armenian Genocide because not all Armenians were exterminated”-

    US administration must have warned Ankara to take “some action” otherwise it would be to late- In reality nothing has changed leading members of late Ottoman government itself did admit in Ottoman Parliament that Armenians were killed systematically in mass- therefore Erdogans Statement is a big step backward and nothing but the denial and justification of Armenian Genocide – beside this still Erdogans friend- the president of Azerbaijan- is complaining about the right of self-determination and the existence of second Armenian state- Karbakh Republic- while he regards himself the President of Turkey, justifying the Armenian Genocide for Turkey , where Aliyev in a rude manner speaks of “one nation two states” and still confusing Turkey with UN security council

  4. Sergik said:

    Can please somebody tell me why we have to wait for Turkey to recognize the Genocide before we claim our land and damages? Why don’t we claim it right now?

  5. GB said:

    Mr. Turk Oghloo, you are poisoning Turkish public, because you are politically motivated herd leader!.

    Denial is a psychological defense mechanism, that helps a person avoid a potentially distressing truth.

  6. Vindicated Man said:

    The validity of Woodrow Wilson’s Arbitral Award is not dependent on the Treaty of Sevres. It’s final, binding, has no expiry, and offers no right of appeal. Upon the signature by the independent arbitrator, it entered into force. It has never been superseded legitimately by any other document or decision. Soviet republics were not legitimate subjects of international law. This means that the present de jure Turkish border is defined by the said Award. It’s high time it was put on the table. Land is the only compensation.

    • Vindicated Man said:

      Forgot to add property in that land, as well as an interest-compounded penalty related to the illegal possession of the foreign land and property. Then there are personal financial damages, e.g. compounded interest on money in bank accounts (at a reasonable rate of interest, any amount gets multiplied by a factor of 1,000). In addition to the land and property, total actual financial damages are in the order of trillions. Let’s start and press this home, the status quo is unacceptable.

  7. hayastan said:

    1926 August 1: In an interview with the Los Angeles Examiner, Atatürk stated that the remainders of the Young Turk government should be held accountable for the Armenian Genocide. “These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse, from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule”, he said.[4][5]
    1934[edit]

  8. Garo Yeghichian said:

    No one in the world trust this inhumane( turks like Daoudoglou or Erdogan) people.AS Mr. Harut Sassounian
    said,they want to grant Turkish passport to the dispora armenians who survived the Armenian Genocide.
    WHO WANT TO BE IN TURKEY OR WHO WANTS TO BE A TURKISH SUBJECT?

  9. Sokimag said:

    Well said Mr. Sassounian! Erdogan wants to undermine the Armenian Genocide recognition. We, Armenians, must not accept any kind of condoleances unless it respects these 5 points:

    1) Official state recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey

    2) Financial reparations

    3) Territorial land is given back to Armenia: ALL of Eastern Turkey from sea to sea. We should demand as much as possible.

    4) Guaranty of security of Armenian citizen in the state of Turkey

    5) Stop the ongoing support of Azerbaijan concerning Artsakh.

    Turkey will never accept those demands, so we must make sure to fight back as much as possible until all those conditions are respected.

    • Berge Jololian said:

      Genocide Acknowledgment with Accountability. Land . Reparation . Restitution

      Artsak is land. Nakhichevan is land. Ararat is land. Ani and kars, etc ..

  10. Pingback: The Passive Condoning of the Armenian Genocide | Fordham Political Review

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