Saturday, September 17, 2016

Turkey, a Blight Among Nations

"When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race."
"In their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact."
"[Theirs is a deliberate] campaign of race extermination."
Henry Morgenthau, American ambassador, Ottoman Empire, 1915
A picture released by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute dated 1915 purportedly shows soldiers standing over skulls of victims from the Armenian village of Sheyxalan in the Mush valley, on the Caucasus front during the First World War. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in a 1915-16 genocide by Turkey's former Ottoman Empire. Turkey says 500,000 died and ascribes the toll to fighting and starvation during World War I.
A picture released by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute dated 1915 shows soldiers standing over skulls of victims from the Armenian village of Sheyxalan in the Mush valley, on the Caucasus front during the First World War. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images
"The brutal treatment of the deportees, most of whom were made to walk to their destinations, made it apparent that the deportations were mainly intended as death marches. Moreover, the policy of deportation surgically removed the Armenians from the rest of society and disposed of great masses of people with little or no destruction of property."
Armenian National Institute, Washington, D.C.
Armenian genocide is 'fact of history and nothing to do with election' Armenia says up to 1.5 million of its people were killed during World War I by forces belonging to Turkey's former Ottoman Empire
"I decided to present his data [papers of Talaat Pasha, one of the Young Turks in charge of the Ottoman Empire, published by a Turkish journalist in 2011], as the official view of the Armenian Genocide according to Ottoman records... It has a column showing the Armenian population of different provinces in 1914 according to official Ottoman statistics, and it has a column that has been generated from the returns to the 1917 survey. Most of these missing Armenians were probably killed."

Raffi Sarkissian, co-chairman, Armenian Genocide Centenary Commemoration Committee. 
In April of 1914 the-then government of Turkey suspicious of Armenian allegiance, arrested two hundred Armenian community leaders in Istanbul. Their arrest went on to imprisonment but not for a very prolonged stay; they were mostly put out of commission when they were executed as traitors to Turkey. Echoes of that event can be seen in the mass arrests that have taken place in Turkey of those considered by Turkish authorities to be loyal to Methullah Gulen whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan views as a threat to his Islamist rule of the country.

In this modern era, a month ago a failed attempt at a coup instigated the ruthless crackdown on the followers of Gulen who was once a supporter of Erdogan until he became disenchanted with the virulent Islamist tack he was leading the country into. Mr. Gulen's disavowal of Erdogan's politics enraged the president of Turkey who views the self-exile as plotting against him, convincing himself that tens of thousands of civil servants of all stripes including police, military, justices, journalists are all attempting to undermine his authority.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to make Arabic-alphabet Ottoman language compulsory in high schoolsRecep Tayyip Erdogan  Photo: AFP

When the world's attention was diverted from an obscure corner of the world by the horrifying events of the First World War, Turkey felt free to dispose of its Armenian citizens by force-marching hundreds of thousands of men, women and children of all ages out of the country's borders, disowning them, leaving them to die of privation, illness and starvation in the process, and killing those who did not; an estimated total of one and a half million Armenians losing their lives. Turkey insists nothing of the kind occurred.

Turkey's leaders have a propensity to reach extremes in their denials; to even make mention of the genocide is forbidden by law. Those Armenians whose lives were forfeit were merely deportees. That they left Turkey by foot, with no provisions and no mechanical aids to their progress led them to they fall victim to unfortunate circumstances, and these were complex events that led to their unfortunate mass death, having nothing whatever to do with a Turkish plan for extermination.

That the Turks are Muslim and Armenians Christians is one of the complex circumstances of two ethnic groups living together under Ottoman rule. The Armenians have much in common with Jews; tending to be better educated and more financially well off than their Muslim counterparts. They also found much in common with Russia and at the time of the First World War, Turkey aligned itself with Germany. Turkey saw its Armenian population as a "wartime measure of military security" seeking a solution.

That solution was a forced death march through deportation. Massacres took place on the way with countless Armenians unable to defend themselves, simply shot while others became a helpless mass of famished humanity. And so, Armenians who for three millennia inhabited the highlands of their heritage lands, were forced to find a new home for those who survived. A small enclave was formed, Russian Armenia, by those who managed to evade the deportation proceedings. Late in 1920 the region was recognized under the Soviets as the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.

With the collapse of the USSR, the Armenian enclave was renamed to the Republic of Armenia. Armenian activists have long been involved in insisting that governments give recognition to their plight, acknowledging that they had experienced genocide before Nazi Germany undertook the systematic obliteration of European Jewry, Hitler reasoning that no one remembered or cared about the Armenian genocide, leaving him free to achieve his goal of freeing Europe from any Jewish presence.

Turkey's skill and determination in denying equality and the division of Turkey's geography to non-Turks is legendary. Its incessant quarrels with Greece over Cypress more than adequately describing Turkey's scorn for its neighbours. Recep Tayyip Erdogan's renewal of Turkey's blisteringly violent war with Kurds, the world's largest ethnic group whom European colonialist politics cheated of their own homeland, speaks volumes of Turkey's incapacity as a Muslim quasi-democracy bordering Europe to ever become a stalwart of human rights.

© Ruptly
© Ruptly
Turkish authorities accuse Kurdish militants of detonating a car bomb in the city of Van in the southeast of Turkey. 48 people injured, no fatalities confirmed.The blast took place around 200 meters from the city’s provisional governor’s office. No group has claimed responsibility for the assault.
Up to the present, 28 nations have chosen to recognize the Armenian genocide, sending Turkey into vicious spasms of rage. Those nations who have the courage to recognize the reality of history and Turkey's place in it have been threatened and slandered by Turkey. That Pope Francis has also chosen to speak of the Armenian suffering as a genocide simply confirms for Islamist Erdogan that the Christian and non-Islamic world is an enemy of both Islam and Turkey.

A Turkish army tank drives towards to the border in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 25, 2016. © Umit Bektas

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