But Is The Sentiment Genuine?

Yesterday I commented on Turkey’s recalling of their ambassador in face of a House resolution calling the Armenian Genocide an actual genocide (read the resolution here). The post pulled a good number of anonymous responses that tried to create excuses that either fell into the “what about the others that have suffered?” or the “they deserved it” categories as a defense for Turkey.

The second point has been based merely on accusations that have not been backed up by any links or citations. It is not even conjecture and, barring evidence to support such claims, is easily dismissed as propaganda. Besides, the non-binding resolution does nothing to blame the current Turkish government for what happened, though it does shed light on Turkey’s denial of the events even occurring and attempt at white washing their own history.

The first point is a bit more touchy and understandable, yet fails in the face of “two wrongs don’t make a right”. If an error has been made in one area, is it wrong to try and correct a similar area elsewhere? When someone says “what about the others that have suffered?” you’re absolutely right. That others have suffered the same should be addressed as well. Certainly that might keep us busy for a long time to come, but we should not ignore it. That we haven’t addressed every human atrocity over the last 100 years is unfortunate, but that does not mean we should avoid addressing any of them. One thing at a time. This time it’s Armenia.

One point the comments failed to make against the resolution is the political one.

Why now?

Many see this as a political ploy by Democrats in Congress to slow bleed our military in Iraq and force an early withdrawl. As the CNN article noted:

Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposing the resolution, and said the backlash threatened by Turkey could disrupt “America’s ability to redeploy U.S. military forces from Iraq,” a top Democratic priority.

Turkey, a NATO member, has been a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and a conduit for sending supplies into Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that good relations with Turkey are vital because 70 percent of the air cargo sent to U.S. forces in Iraq and 30 percent of the fuel consumed by those forces fly through Turkey.

U.S. commanders “believe clearly that access to airfields and roads and so on, in Turkey, would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes and the Turks react as strongly as we believe they will,” Gates said.

Bagis said no French planes have flown through Turkish airspace since a French Parliament committee passed a similar resolution last year.

This massacre occured 90 years ago. Why are we only now drafting resolutions calling it a genocide? Certainly they’re overdue, but if this is happening merely as a method of draining our efforts in Iraq, is the sentiment really genuine? Are the Armenians and Ottoman Christians who suffered merely to once more be political pawns?

I find myself torn. On one hand, a genuine recognition and discussion of what happened needs to occur. It was our failure to remain involved and care about the Armenian genocide that inspired Hitler’s plans in Europe.

Yet to remember what happened and recognize it merely to score a backdoor political victory on an unrelated issue is disengenuious and does nothing but dishonor the memory of those who suffered through these horrible events.

A recognition and discussion of the Armenian genocide needs to occur, especially within Turkey itself. But if this is merely an opportunity to grand stand on an issue that no one cared about until they realized the political victory it could achieve on an issue they can’t seem to win when facing it head on then it is a disservice not only to our soldiers in Iraq but the Armenian people.

If it is not happening for the right reasons is it worth happening at all?

Turkey Still Denying Genocide

Turkey has recalled its ambassador in protest of a House resolution that recognizes Turkey’s massacare of Armenians for what it was: genocide. The Armenian Genocide saw the Ottoman Empire kill anywhere from 500,000 to 1.5 million Armenians and Ottoman Christians during forced round-ups and deportations, measures that are thought to have inspired Hitler. What happened needs to be recognized, whether or not Turkey wants to face it’s own history.

UPDATE: The issue was large enough to be front page news at the time and pull American’s into the international community. See New York Times articles from the era, using the search terms “armenians massacre”.

The History Place has a summary of the 1915-1918 events.