BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
It has been ten months since I complained about OPS (other people’s stupidity), so please bear with me on this gripe session. I also ask your forbearance regarding Wanna-Be-Sultan President Erdoğan’s prominence in my pieces of late. Among his many flaws is being an attention-whore, and I have fallen into the trap of feeding that desire. I promise to stay away from him for a while after this.
But, for now, we lead with Erdoğan. He has manipulated Turkey’s electoral system to overturn an election. What’s really outrageous about this case is that not only did his party lose (the Constantinople mayoral) election, but that loss was confirmed with a recount! Now, there will be a new municipal election there. The winning party has agreed, despite initially considering a boycott. You see, Erdoğan couldn’t stomach the reality that he has lost his strongest base of support, the city which gave him his political start. He has taken the cry-baby approach. But never fear, even though his party may still lose in the June 23 election now set, he will come out smelling like a rose. Why? Because, he will claim to have “defended the rights of the people” by battling against (in reality non-existent) election fraud. (Does that remind you of anyone else?) Then he will pompously announce that since the people have spoken “without fraud” in June, he will abide by the outcome.
Erdoğan’s been busy on more than just the electoral front when it comes to foolishness. In this example, he used Turkey’s foreign ministry as his mouthpiece. When Kourken Yanikian’s remains were transferred from California and reinterred in the Republic of Armenia, an announcement condemning this development emanated thence. You’ll remember that Yanikian was the first Armenian, back in 1973, to assassinate Turkish diplomats. The Turkish government asserted that it “constitutes a crime of promoting terrorism and it is unacceptable under any circumstance.” Hmmmmm, let’s see. How would one describe naming streets after mass murderers, in this case Talaat Pasha? Oh, yeah, how about – “it constitutes a crime of promoting genocide and it is unacceptable under any circumstance.” Have these people no shame, or are they just so tone deaf as to how ridiculous they make themselves look?
But Erdoğan’s not the only head of state with authoritarian proclivities whose temerity is endless. U.S. President Trump also fits the bill. I have long remained quiet about his antics, but the last few weeks have witnessed a crescendo of his lawlessness. He is having his minions break the law, e.g. not turning over his tax returns to congress upon its demand, as is plainly stated in the law. Others, he sends forth to misrepresent reality to shore up his support among those who like him and his policies, e.g. representing the Mueller report as an exoneration when it is obviously damning. If you need convincing, see the letter signed by current and former prosecutors, some 600 in number as of this writing, that says anyone else found to have acted in the way Trump did would have been prosecuted.
And then we have Israel’s arms sales to Azerbaijan. I understand that any country wants to make the most of the economic sectors in which it leads. Israel’s arms industry is among the best in the world. But it is also a country that knows what it means to live with neighbors whose pose a constant and serious threat. It is composed of people who have survived genocide. In these respects, it is very much like the Republic of Armenia. Israel no doubt remembers the complaints it filed when the U.S. would sell advanced weaponry to the likes of Saudi Arabia (until, of course, the two struck up an unstated alliance which eventually saw them supporting ISIS/Daesh). Under these circumstances, it is nothing short of obscene that Israel continues to arm Azerbaijan.
The final gripe is about Russia. The bit of fake news that their propaganda system generated targeting Adam Schiff and his “agreeing” with Saudi Arabia to take the latter’s money to support passage of an Armenian Genocide resolution in congress came at our, Armenians’ expense. In their haste to embarrass Schiff who is going after Trump for his dealings dealings with the Russians during the 2016 campaign, the Russians made Armenians in the U.S. look bad, too. This is unacceptable behavior on the part of a country which badly needs the Republic of Armenia as an outpost. Not that Adam Schiff deserves that kind of abuse, either, since he is simply carrying out his duties as a sitting member of the House of Representatives.
What are your gripes? Please let us all know. Some of them may spur discussion and advance the Armenian cause.