The elections in Turkey on April 16 reversed what one expert called the country’s 100-year experiment in democracy and cemented the fact that successive Turkish governments will continue to deny the Armenian Genocide.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of architecting a Turkey in the 21st century based on its barbaric Ottoman past won narrowly during Sunday’s referendum, effectively giving him carte blanche to continue his persecution of minorities and violent breach of human rights. The stage is being set for a repeat of the 1915 events, as once again world powers turn a blind eye to this situation.
Here in the United States, the new administration’s actions, or lack thereof, raises the uncertainty over any official action regarding the Armenian Genocide, despite bi-partisan Congressional calls on the Trump administration to recognize that crime.
The passage of a resolution last June in the German Budenstag that not only recognized the Armenian Genocide but also highlighted German complicity in its genesis brought Europe a step closer to advancing justice and human rights in the face of resistance by Turkey and the United States.
Having said that we are far from proclaiming victory on this front. Other world events, such as the war in Syria, are shifting the balance in the region and affecting the posturing of world powers toward Turkey.
At the same time, the tenuous and fragile situation on the frontlines of Artsakh following last year’s “Four-Day War,” continues to threaten the security of Armenians in Armenia and Artsakh. At the same time, the international community’s refusal to properly condemn Azerbaijan for its heinous actions, only emboldens Baku—and by extension Ankara—to continue its barbaric policies toward Armenians.
Outside of world capitals and power centers, however, a new wave of Armenian Genocide recognition has emerged, continuing a trend that started in 2015, with the centennial, when major media outlets in the United States and around the world began urging Turkey to recognize the Genocide. This, coupled with the pope’s reaffirmation of the Genocide not only in 2015 at the Vatican, but also during his visit to Armenia in June 2016, as well as an urgent interest by members of the entertainment community has created a groundswell—and even more popular—of support for the just recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
This year, the premiere of the film “The Promise,” which was produced by Kirk Kerkorian’s Survival Pictures, has turned the conversation from denial to absolute recognition, with Hollywood A-listers lending their voice to the cause of advancing justice for the Armenian Genocide.
The climate that efforts like “The Promise” have created, and the resulting crescendo on social media, should not take the place of activism and the proper articulation of our just demands, which include reparations and restitution for the crime of the Armenian Genocide, the advancement of which requires recognition by Turkey, which can be hastened by the United States stepping up.
On April 24, Armenians around the world will commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, with most Diasporan communities focusing their protests at Turkish embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions. The target of our demands is the Turkish government and we must continue our demands for justice.
World events, especially developments in the region, have raised the urgency of Genocide recognition and advancement of justice. Each and every Armenian must pledge to fight for this not just on April 24 but every day of the year in order to guarantee that the just aspirations of the Armenian people are realized.