Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Memories of Genocide

Victims of the Armenian genocide

In a terrifying display of jihadist hatred and supremacism, Turkey has threatened to expel 100,000 Armenians from the country in response to the US branding the First World War killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks (which were part of a classical Islamic jihad, as I explained here) as "genocide".

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:

There are currently 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Only 70,000 of them are Turkish citizens, but we are tolerating the remaining 100,000. [Well, that's good of them! ~ Ed]

If necessary, I may have to tell these 100,000 to go back to their country because they are not my citizens. I don't have to keep them in my country.

But yesterday there was uproar in Armenia over the suggestion of deportations. Hrayr Karapetyan, an Armenian MP, condemned Mr Erdogan's remarks as blackmail. "The statement once again proves that there is an Armenian genocide threat in present Turkey, thus world community should pressurise Ankara to recognise [the] genocide," he said.

Karapetyan's observation that "there is an Armenian genocide threat in present Turkey" is well-placed. If Turkey was to deport 100,000 Armenians, this action would be disquietingly reminiscent of the events leading up to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century genocidal killings.

As Vahakn Dadrian, a leading historian of the genocide, writes:

Alleging treasonable acts, separatism, and other assorted acts by the Armenians as a national minority, the Ottoman authorities ordered, for national security reasons, the wholesale deportation of the Armenian population of the empire's eastern and southeastern provinces. This act resulted from a concerted drive by the military authorities, in collusion with the Central Committee of the Ittihad party, to divest Anatolia of its Armenian population under cover of the war...

The disguising of this order, ostensibly a wartime emergency measure of relocation, served to mask the planned execution of the Armenian population. The vast majority of the deportees perished through a variety of direct and indirect atrocities perpetrated during the deportations. (The History of the Armenian Genocide, p.219)

Thus, Prime Minister Erdogan's latest threat, whether intentionally or not, brings back horrific memories for the families of those Armenians who were callously murdered by the Ottomans during the genocide - a genocide which Erdogan himself refuses to acknowledge.

The Prime Minister should be made to apologise for his shameful comments immediately. I would like to see this demand for an apology come from Barack Obama.

I will not, however, be holding my breath.

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