Having Admitted Complicity in Genocide, Germany Should Now Compensate Armenians

Harut Sassounian
Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN

Despite ‘Sultan’ Erdogan’s insults and threats, the German Parliament went boldly forward last week and recognized the Armenian Genocide. In retaliation, Turkey immediately withdrew its ambassador from Berlin.

The historic Bundestag resolution, adopted with a near unanimous decision (1 vote against and 1 abstention), is titled: “In remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire 101 years ago.” According to ARD television, 74% of the German population agrees that genocide was committed against Armenians. Another revealing survey cited by “Der Spiegel” magazine found that 91% of the German public does not trust Erdogan!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, fed up with Erdogan’s repeated blackmails, decided to put Turkey’s megalomaniac dictator in his place, while Pres. Obama has to muster the courage to do so! The German leadership had to fend off not only the Turkish regime’s attacks but also sharp criticism from many of the three million Turks living in Germany.

After the Parliament’s decision, Erdogan arrogantly declared: “We have nothing in our past to be ashamed of, but those countries that often accuse Turkey of ‘Armenian genocide’ have the blood of millions of innocent victims.” Turkey’s minister of justice Bekir Bozdag was just as brazen, as he told Germans: “First you burn the Jews in ovens, and then you come and accuse the Turkish people of genocide.” Erdogan and Bozdag must be reminded that Germany, unlike Turkey, long ago admitted the Nazi-era crimes, apologized for the Holocaust, and paid billions of dollars in compensation.

It remains to be seen if ‘big mouth’ Turkish leaders would dare to take punitive actions against Germany, besides the routine withdrawal of their ambassador, as they do each time another government acknowledges the Armenian Genocide. Should Erdogan decide to go beyond making empty threats, such steps would backfire on Turkey as Germany is its largest trading partner. Turkey’s economy is already in serious trouble after Russia banned the import of Turkish goods and discouraged its citizens from going to Turkey as tourists because of the downing of a Russian jet by the Turkish military near the Syrian border last year.

Turkish leaders have already damaged their country’s interests by making provocative and scandalous announcements which have helped to publicize worldwide the German Bundestag’s action on the Armenian Genocide. Thousands of newspapers, websites, TV and radio stations covered the German decision and the Turkish outbursts. It is noteworthy that the international media paid particular attention to the German Parliamentarians’ admission that their country, a military ally of Turkey during World War I, was complicit in the Armenian Genocide.

The New York Times and The Times of London, two of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, published powerful editorials on June 3 reaffirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide, supporting the German’s Parliament’s decision, and urging Turkey to confront its dark past.

In an editorial titled, “Yes, It’s Genocide,” The New York Times wrote: “… It was a genocide, the first of the 20th century…. The Armenians are fully justified in their quest for a historical reckoning…. President Obama, who as a candidate in 2008 pledged to recognize the events of 1915 as a genocide, has failed to do so…. The Germans, who have admirably confronted the terrible genocide in their own history, did the right thing in defying Mr. Erdogan’s threats.”

The London Times’ editorial, “Genocide Denial: The mass slaughter of Armenians needs to be acknowledged by Turkey,” was just as impactful: “The German resolution is right not only in its message but also in diplomacy. Turkish pique is regularly directed at allies who recognize the Armenian genocide. That response is worse than undignified and ahistorical: it is a denial of suffering on an unspeakable scale that poisons the politics of Europe to this day, and it needs to be challenged. The slaughter of Armenians was not, as Turkish apologists maintain, one of the unplanned but inescapable tragedies that happen in wartime. It was a specific campaign of deportation and mass killing by the Ottoman regime.… Modern Germany and its statesmen have expressed repeatedly their nation’s remorse for genocidal barbarism in the last century. It is long past time for Turkey to do the same.”

Having recognized the Armenian Genocide and acknowledged its own share of responsibility and complicity, Germany now has to make appropriate amends to Armenians, thus setting a venerable example for Turkey, not only in recognition, but also in restitution!

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7 Comments

  1. HERAYER said:

    TURKEY CAN NEVER HIDE FROM THE TRUTH OF COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST INNOCENT ARMENIAN MEN,WOMEN ,CHILDREN AND BABIES. TURKEY SHOULD HAVE THE COURAGE TO ADMIT TO GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS AND JOIN THE CIVILIZED WORLD. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE AND OPEN THE WAY TO RECONCILIATION.

  2. Jacque said:

    Mr sassounian
    Thank you for the article but I’ll be the third person here to say, don’t bite the hands that feeds you .
    I don’t know what you have in mind , but compensation from Germany should be the last thing you ask now.

  3. HERAYER said:

    Germany should compensate the Armenians, Germany was an ally of turkey during world war one it armed, built, and trained the turkish military, the German army was embeded as advisers and leaders in the turkish military Germany was very much aware of the orders given by the turks to kill and annihilate the innocent Armenian civilian population and it’s leadership and the murder of the Armenians and other christians in the turkish army.

  4. edward demian said:

    What the German Pope is doing for Armenia is worth far more than a few dollars. Did you read the headlines? 600 reporters applied to cover the Pope’s visit. That kind of prime time coverage is worth a lot of money. Outright demand for compensation is what the hungry Aparatnicks are waiting to get their hands on. What Armenia needs from Germany is the World famous Engineering and technical know how. German trade schools, German industrial facilities, for production of goods for export. Coal gassification technology, Cement kilns for production of powder cement for domestic and export. Polished Granite, Marble and other construction materials for export to the west. Automated dairies for production of cheese for export. Small well drilling riggs for individual agricultural wells. Tunneling and aqueduct engineering to irrigate farms an cropland. Solar power, wind power and hydro-power plants, that cater to the whole village needs. Road building machinery at subsidized prices, Technical help in setting up armaments and munitions production plants. All the money Armenia received from remittances would pale next to what a Germany with good will towards Armenia could accomplish for us. Beside, Turkey is watching. The example we set in our dealings with Germany, would be noticed. That state of animosity has to stop too. We have to get past our personal grief, rage, disappointment, and surge forward towards an illustrious future.

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