Tag Archives: Armenia

Will Turkey Shoot Itself In The Foot?

Turkey’s consideration of a cross border incursion into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels and its threat to retaliate against a US House of Representative Resolution on the Armenian genocide may well turn out to be a case of shooting oneself in the foot. According to a diplomat quoted in Zaman, these decisions ‘will in the long run affect Turkey’s political and economic reforms, isolating itself from the world.” Prime Minister Erdogan is threatening to retaliate if the Resolution passes, and states “if such an action is chosen, whatever the price, it will be paid” while Chief of the Army, General Buyukrant says America’s action will cause damage “that cannot be repaired.”

Perhaps, it is time for the Turkish government and people to examine long term consequences of hasty actions. An invasion of northern Iraq would result in a dramatic rise in oil prices which will probably infuriate members of the European Union and threaten an invitation to become a member. The United States is quite capable of finding alternative ways to supply its forces in Iraq. IN 1947, the people of France and Great Britain put away their hatred of Germany(a nation that killed thirty million people) and joined with them in peaceful solutions to economic recovery. Making prideful boasts sounds wonderful on Monday, but what happens on Friday when consequences of one’s threats result in action by others? What if Turkey turned the tables on everyone by indicating its desire to appoint a joint Turkish/Armenian committee to investigate past events and develop new educational programs for people in Turkey and Armenia geared towards ending hatred?

The Innocence of Turkey?

It is apparent my comments concerning the Armenian resolution before Congress have aroused the ire of many readers. Most of the comments accuse Armenians of engaging in a “massacre” of Turks. One can only assume these writers refer to Armenians who served in the Russian army which fought against Turkey in World War I. There certainly is a difference between soldiers fighting against other soldiers other than soldiers shooting civilians. Certainly, for the most part, the initial years of World War I did not entail mass killing of civilians by either side despite extensive British propaganda concerning Germans killing thousands of Belgians. Belgian civilians were killed, but there was no sanction by the German government for the killings. To those who claim Armenians engaged in a “massacre” of Turks, it would be helpful if they (a) identified the Armenian government authority that authorized such killings; (b) presented evidence of any order from an Armenian military authority authorizing such killing, (c) presented information as to the dates of the alleged killings.

I still believe Germany’s method of confronting the Holocaust has value for people in Turkey. German education does not focus on “blaming” Germans of today who had nothing to do with the Holocaust. It examines the Holocaust to ensure people are sensitive to brutality and committed to ensure it never again will happen. I do not believe there is responsibility on the part of a person living in 2007 for the actions of ancestors. The House Resolution does not blame any contemporary citizen of Turkey for what happened in another country at another time. Do contemporary Turks believe nothing happened to the Armenians? Why not join with Armenian organizations to create a joint Armenian/Turkish Committee devoted to peace education? In that way, focus is away from the past and deals with the present.