According to the LA Times and other sources, Turkey is threatening to “cut off cooperation with the United States on a number of security fronts” if a resolution currently before Congress goes through.
The resolution refers to the deaths of more than a million Armenians in Turkey around the time of WWI as a genocide. The Turks claim it wasn’t anything of the sort, and besides, a lot of other people got killed at the same time.
If millions of people got killed at the same time and it wasn’t a genocide, what term should be used to describe it? Is Stalin guilty of genocide for having millions slaughtered in the USSR? Are the settlers of North America guilty of genocide for what happened to the native population?
Apparently the Turkish sticking point is that they don’t think they targeted Armenians in particular. I haven’t seen any statistics that show how many people of other-than-Armenian descent were slaughtered at that time, and I doubt at this late date that entirely accurate figures could be obtained… but still, if the Armenians were the majority of the victims, I doubt any rational person could claim it was just coincidence that it happened that way. Since when have Bush & Co. ever really worried about what anyone else in the world thought of us? Why is it all of a sudden so important to appease the Turks, when Bush policies have already pissed off so many other nations in that area of the world (and elsewhere)? Those guys don’t give a crap. The cynical person should wonder whose palm is being greased, and by whom.
Do we claim that what happened during WWII wasn’t genocide because it wasn’t just the Jews who were the target of Hitler’s insanity? (My grandfather and all his family died in a concentration camp, according to family tradition, because they were “Polish intelligentsia.”) Do we claim that the deaths of a huge percentage of the native populations in the Americas from the time of Columbus up to recent historical times was not genocide because so much of it was the result of ignorance rather than deliberate malice?
It seems to this outsider that the solution would be to let the resolution pass. It harms nothing to acknowledge something that happened nearly a century ago. Telling the truth sheds light on the problem And the current Turkish government should respond to the resolution by saying “That was then. This is now. The people responsible are long dead and we should let them and their victims rest in peace. They have received whatever reward or punishment they deserved. All we can do at this late date is to assure the world that nothing like that will ever happen again.”
Won’t happen, of course. I suspect the Turks and the Bushes have way too much in common to be logical.