The Protocols: Turkey’s Fourth Line of Defense


The Protocols are the most recent obstacle in our century-long quest for truth, justice, and security for the Armenian nation, for, let there be no mistake, Turkey’s denial of the truth of the Armenian Genocide, represents, at its heart, the obstruction of both the justice that is deserved, and the long-term security that is required by all Armenians.

For us, as Armenian Americans, the Protocols represent our last hurdle to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

These accords are Turkey’s desperate last stand to block its international isolation as a denier of this universally acknowledged atrocity.

More broadly, the fact that Turkey has needed to resort to the Protocols marks the beginning of the end of Ankara’s failed attempts to consolidate the fruits of its crime; its merciless drive to cement in place the dominance it so brutally imposed during the Genocide.

The battle over the Protocols is also the end of the beginning of the Armenian struggle to restore the core elements of viability stolen from us through genocide; to roll back the injustices visited upon our nation and, in so doing, secure a safe and enduring future for the Armenian nation.
Winning this battle – defeating the Protocols – as we must and will, will mark a major step forward in this long quest.

Placing the Protocols in the context of this longstanding struggle helps us to better understand the reasons behind Turkey’s creation of these accords and its ongoing reliance upon them to advance its denial agenda.  We can do this by looking back upon just how far we have traveled on the path toward the realization of the Armenian Cause:

  • Forty-two U.S. States, 12 NATO allies, and the European Parliament have recognized the Armenian Genocide.
  • All the top leaders of the Executive and Legislative branches of the U.S. government are on record recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and are coming under increasing moral and political pressure to honor their pledges to deliver official U.S. recognition of this crime.
  • Despite decades of Turkish government-funded academic onslaughts, a rock-solid consensus has emerged among genocide scholars and the academic community about the urgent need for Turkey to abandon its denial campaign.
  • The New York Times, Associated Press, and many other major media outlets have, despite millions spent by Turkey on public relations, adopted the practice of accurately reporting the Armenian Genocide.
  • Public school systems and universities throughout America are teaching the Armenian Genocide, and a broad-based coalition of human rights, ethnic, and faith-based groups have taken a stand against Turkey’s denials.
  • At the civil society level, the American people and the nations of Europe have accepted the fact of the Armenian Genocide, even if all their leaders are not yet ready to reflect this consensus in their governmental decision-making.  The process of aligning the official policies of these countries with the views and values held by their populations takes time, but is moving forward at a steady pace.

It’s clear that the very viability of Turkey’s denial strategy is today rightfully under attack from all sides.  Its foundations are failing.  The wall of lies it has built has started to crumble.

Most of Turkey’s allies, much like those of South Africa in the 1980s, are running for cover.  A small handful, such as the Sudan’s genocidal regime, embrace Turkey, bound, as they are, by a common thread of death and denial.
Ankara is today cornered and alone, having run up against a determined Armenian nation, and isolating itself by pursuing an ultimately untenable campaign to impose upon the international community a morally offensive and profoundly anti-Armenian policy of genocide denial.

Our progress in this struggle – the Hai Tahd (Armenian Cause) movement – has been marked by our ability to force three major retreats by Turkey over the past several decades.

We have, as a nation, overtaken Ankara’s first three lines of defense: silence, lies, and threats.  We face today, its fourth, the Protocols.

How did we reach this point?

  • We overcame Turkey’s silence, its first line of defense – a strategy that worked for the better part of the first five decades after the genocide – through a rebirth, in 1965, of activism and protests.
  • We overcame Turkey’s lies, its second line of defense, by fostering, through independent historical research and honest intellectual inquiry during the 1970s and 1980s, the growth of an academic consensus that has fatally undermined, in any serious setting, Ankara’s ability to rewrite the history of the Armenian Genocide.
  • We then overcame Turkey’s threats, its third line of defense, in part through our own growing political power over the past two decades, but also as a result of Ankara’s loss of the leverage over U.S. decision-makers due to its increasingly independent policies on Israel, Iran, and the region.  Together, these factors have combined to diminish Turkey’s ability to simply bank on a strategy of strategic blackmail to block U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

As these lines of defense have collapsed, Turkey has fallen back to a fourth line of defense: The Protocols.
Instead of remaining silent, outright lying, or leveling threats, Ankara is today forced to make the shaky case that an American moral stand – along the lines of President Obama’s repeated pledges – would somehow harm Turkey-Armenia relations.
It’s their same strategy of denial, but using a different and desperate tactic.
This is their last stand, one that they are taking directly in response to the progress of our long struggle for truth, justice, and security.

Viewed in this light, the Protocols are not a sign of Armenian weakness, but rather proof of our growing political strength.  They are not a marker of Turkish success, but instead a symbol of their three successive failures to bury the Armenian Cause.

As Armenians, rather than focusing on our frustration with the weakness displayed by the Armenian government and its diaspora allies, we should move forward aggressively, inspired by the knowledge that it has been our willpower and activism that has driven Turkey’s back against the wall; that has forced Ankara into three major retreats.  We will, in the end, overcome these Protocols and breach Turkey’s last line of defense against the truth, justice, and security owed to the Armenian nation.

Now is the moment for all Armenian Americans to work as a team in pressing our advantage and breaking down the last barriers to U.S. recognition – by both the U.S. Congress and President Obama.

With developments moving so quickly, it’s vital that you join with us today on the front lines of this great struggle for the honor, the security, and the future of the Armenian nation.

Here’s how:

If haven’t already written your U.S. legislators, please send your letters today.  If you’ve already written, follow up with a phone call.  If you’ve already called, urge friends and relatives to get involved, and then get in touch with your local ANCA chapter to learn how you can do more (write for contact information).

Get wired into the Armenian Cause by taking these quick and easy steps:


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  1. Jeff Kopecksi said:

    I guess you haven’t been reading the news for the last 2 years. Things have changed, a lot, Turkey is not cornered in any way, in fact it never had more options and opportunities before it. Turkey has its own foreign policy and chasing after it with a determination. It doesn’t really matter if the US passes the genocide law or not. Erdogan flat out on denied it on TV, and International Community knows where Turkey stand. You can clearly see the consequences in the relationship with France. Turkey cut all military ties with France immediately, avoided doing business with France, cost them over $10b in business and not to forget, Turkey is keeping French companies out of all the  regional projects. Times are crucial for the west and without the support of Turkey things can get really ugly in pretty much all fronts, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the list goes on. I don’t think any time soon Armenians will be able to corner Turkey and achieve a century old claims. My two cents.

    • Papken Hartunian said:

      “…a century old claims.”
      What about possibility of disintegration of Turkey? What about Armenians discovering new weapons based upon new technology? It is national duty of every Armenian to demand actively the Armenians’ homeland from Turkey.  Turkey and all Big Boys need security and peace in the region, not necessarily justice.  As long as West needs East’s energy, we must use this window to assert our demands and to be ready otherwise.

  2. John said:

    Great article! We must also change the myth that telling the truth of  the Armenian Genocide is somehow bad for the U.S. That myth was created by a few neo-cons in the state department to protect a few select interests. We all know whose interest those are. HOW ABSURD. Second, can another political system be created in Armenia, funded by the diaspora to liquidate the oligarch system? I find through out history many cases where certain Armenians betrayed the whole for purely self interests, as is going on today. I view them as the enemy as well.

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  4. Papken Hartunian said:

    “Turkey has fallen back to a fourth line of defense: The Protocols.”
    The protocols are not a line of defense of Turkey, they are a line of attack against of all Armenians’ dignity and national interest. They are modern way of genocide.  Once Armenians adopted these protocols, in time they will lose their values including their identities, which in turn they will lose the power of protection of their national interests.

  5. Murat said:

    Let there be commission of historians to decide wether there has been a so called massacre of the Armenians. No one should be surprised for contrary result.

    Let there be a comission of historians to show how Armenians killed innocent peasant Turks in the region with the help of English and the French.

    Let there be truth!!!

  6. Mego said:

    Turkey is not too far from handing us the gift we  have been waiting for ,  the Turkeys have been playing many games on many fronts, eventailly they will have to  deliver more than a lip service ,at least to the Palestinians , they will be forced to supply turkish missiles bought from thier denialist brother Israel  to Hamas, just as Iran supplies hezballah ,their doomed if they do  or if they go back begging Israel’s forgivness and mercey , by the way if France lost $10b,  turkeys  lost the E.U. whose the biggiest looser ?
    Lets keep the turkeys cornered.

  7. Ergun Kirlikovali said:

    Turkish PM Erdogan Warns Armenian Court Ruling Could Derail Protocols (Hurriyet)

    If Armenia really wants a way out of bankruptcy, isolation, hardships, corruption, violence, and poverty, the protocols offer a golden opportunity. Armenia’s government should treat this unexpected “kiss of life” from Turkey with utmost respect, without trying to dilute and modfy their content and scope via thinly veiled bureaucratic tricks, as no one is being fooled.

    Armenia, with its wishy-washy approach to protocols is forcing the limits of patience. Armenia should show sufficient political will (by approving the protocols after making a positive move in Karabakh) and be rewarded for it; or stay the old course and be relegated to a distant and irrelevant province of Russia.

    • Papken Hartunian said:

      “the protocols offer a golden opportunity. Armenia’s government should treat this unexpected “kiss of life” from Turkey..”
      Please, put the Turkish golder opportunity in your own pocket. Armenia does not need your protocols. In fact, by doing so, Armenia becomes the conspirator of Turkey who has committed the first Genocide of the 20th century. It is shame even to shake a Turkish hand who denies the genocide of Ottoman Empire against Armenian nation. That is right, now Armenia is a powerful nation-state and some people are unhappy. Remember, you are a Turk. May be you have forgotten about what a Turk mean. I suggest consult the Webster Dictionary.