Turkish Leaders Going Berserk with Anti-Genocide Obsession

4/14/2005 5:00:07 AM

Turkish leaders are literally going out of their minds; desperately searching for any and all possible ways to counter the commemorations of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Of course, it would have been much simpler and more honest for them to simply face up to their own history and to tell the truth. Unfortunately, that seems to be asking too much!

Last week, the Turks found a new ploy: holding a parliamentary hearing on the Armenian Genocide. This was a very unusual hearing. They invited three Turkish Armenians to testify. These Armenians knew full well that whatever they say, can and will be used against them. Two of the three managed to say as much as they could under the circumstances, and they were chastised severely for "speaking like Diaspora Armenians!" The third Armenian was a total sell-out. He probably did not want to take a chance with his life! Not surprisingly, no one interrupted his speech.

The Turkish leaders’ obsession with the denial of the Armenian Genocide totally blinded them to the fact that by holding such a sham hearing, they were, first of all, undermining their own interests. For years, Turkish officials have reacted with disdain toward the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by other countries, by saying that historians should deal with this issue rather than politicians. Now that their own parliament has held a hearing on this issue, the Turks have unwittingly accepted the Armenian Genocide resolutions adopted by the legislatures of more than a dozen countries, as well as the European Parliament, the United Nations, and other international organizations.

To make matters worse, during the past couple of weeks, various Turkish officials have made aggressive statements that further publicized the commemoration of

the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Here are some examples:

Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said in Ankara on March 22: "I launch a call to countries who became a tool of the Armenian allegations: Either you account for what you have done, or prove the allegations [on the Armenian Genocide]." In the same speech, Gul foolishly asked: "If it [genocide] had happened, so why the Armenian churches still exist? Why there are Armenian citizens in Turkey?" For a diplomat, Gul is amazingly ignorant of the fact that the UN defines genocide as the killing of a people "in whole or in part." Genocide does not mean that all the members of a race have to be killed in order to commit genocide. Otherwise, according to Gul’s definition of genocide, the Holocaust also does not qualify as genocide, since there are still Jews living in this world, and even in Germany! In addition, we don’t need to remind Gul about the destruction of hundreds of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian churches in Turkey, which is cultural genocide!

Threatening more aggressive actions against the Armenian "claims," Gul said the Turkish Parliament would hold a special session this week to announce a new action plan. Interestingly, he now backs away from the Turkish government’s announced intention of taking the Armenian issue to the United Nations. One of his advisors must have finally reminded him that the U.N. already dealt with this issue back in 1985 and categorized the Armenian Genocide as a genocide! Fearing more embarrassment at the U.N., Gul said: "The U.N. may make mistakes in voting. Individuals raising their hands to vote may vote wrongly based on political gains and interests. History has many examples of voting that proved to be fallacious." Too bad. Gul wisely sidestepped another humiliating experience for Turkey!

No to be outdone by Gul in displaying his nationalistic credentials, the Turkish President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, sternly warned the Europeans last week that Turkey would not bow to European Union pressure to recognize the Armenian Genocide, as a condition of joining the EU. Armenians, in conjunction with the majority of Europeans who oppose Turkey’s EU membership, have to make it crystal clear to the Turks that they would do everything in their power to prevent Turkey from joining the EU, unless it recognizes the Armenian Genocide and make appropriate amends for it.

Significantly, all of these developments on the Armenian Genocide have taken place weeks before a single Armenian commemorative activity has been held. Once the worldwide commemorative events start, the Turkish leaders would probably go totally berserk!