BY ARAM SUREN HAMPARIAN
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for contact information).
Get wired into the Armenian Cause by taking these quick and easy steps:
- Join the ANCA email list
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- Join LinkedIn’s Armenian National Committee of America group
- Become a member of YouTube’s ANCA Grassroots channel