Turkish Turbulence

If you were to believe what’s been emanating from Turkey’s well-honed propaganda machine, you’d be convinced that the government of the Republic of Armenia (RoA) is ready to give away the farm (literally, in terms of Western Armenia) to the denialist successors of Talaat.

While there’s no denying that where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire, the degree to which the Turks pounce on, misconstrue, and distort RoA officials’ utterances is a skill well honed by the sultans’ and pashas’ political progeny. Remember, Turkey, whether in its Ottoman or pseudo-republican form, has survived, and occasionally thrived, for the past three centuries by being a master scammer. The Sublime Porte (as it was laughably referred to) was able to play off the European powers against one another. Ataturk, successive “elected” governmen’s, and the Turkish military have continued that artful dance, even doing well in the tensest days of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War.

This degree of skill makes our representatives look like Keystone Kops by comparison. How many times will RoA officials be put in a situation of having to “explain”, “clarify”, or outright reject Turkish assertions about what they’ve said, especially behind closed doors? When will they see it is those closed doors that are the source of their public embarrassmen’s, courtesy of the Turks spin machine. When will they stop playing with the fire of selling out on Genocide recognition, reparations, and return of Armenian lands? When will they understand all this?

On the other side of the table, when will the Turkish government understand that no matter how many wisps they whip into whirlwinds, their denial and stonewalling on Armenian deman’s just digs them deeper into a political/diplomatic/human rights hole? When will they see that Armenian unity of purpose on these fundamental deman’s will not be riven by their attempts to divide — Armenia vs. Diaspora — and conquer us yet again? When will they understand a fundamental Armenian reality: no portion of the nation, no political entity, no government, no organization, no matter how large and seemingly representative, is in a position to negotiate away our fundamental rights to restitution?

Another thing the RoA leadership must realize, a fact known all too well to their “partners” in “football diplomacy”: the only reason Armenia has Turkey’s ear is the Diaspora. The ever-increasing pressure on Turkey generated by continuing Diasporan’successes in convincing parliamen’s and presidents to take up the torch of Genocide recognition is what has driven Turkey’s desperate dash to Yerevan in hopes of undercutting the momentum of this recognition. Note what was attributed to Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian by the Turkish media– commen’s questioning the relevance of more countries recognizing the Genocide. Why do you think that might be? The RoA denigrates the Diaspora’s activity at its own peril.

Let’s keep up our decades long efforts. Let’s also continue to enlighten our homeland’s governmental representatives as to the rules of the publicity game that they, along with most former Soviet-ruled countries, have a very poor sense of.

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