Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Turkey and Genocide

Congress is torn over whether or not to formally declare the forced relocation and slaughter of Turkish Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Empire early last century genocide:

A proposed House resolution that would label as "genocide" the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the Ottoman Empire has won the support of a majority of House members, unleashing a lobbying blitz by the Bush administration and other opponents who say it would greatly harm relations with Turkey, a key ally in the Iraq war.

All eight living former secretaries of state have signed a joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warning that the nonbinding resolution "would endanger our national security interests." Three former defense secretaries, in their own letter, said Turkey probably would cut off U.S. access to a critical air base. The government of Turkey is spending more than $300,000 a month on communications specialists and high-powered lobbyists, including former House speaker Bob Livingston, to defeat the initiative.

How are things with Turkey right now exactly?

Turkey's ruling party decided Tuesday to seek parliamentary approval for an offensive against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, a move that could open a new front in the Iraq war and disrupt one of that nation's few relatively peaceful areas.

Some make the argument that such a resolution will only strain relations between the U.S. and Turkey, which denies that the genocide was in anyway systematically instigated or conducted by Turkish officials. For my part I say, if not now, then when? When Turkey is no longer a valuable ally to us in a region which is of prime national security importance to us? When exactly would that be?

Genocide is genocide, and Turkish official policy is still to deny that such genocide took place. This is inexcusable a century years after the event, after we've seen fit to condemn the Nazi Holocaust over and over. A resolution is only a resolution, and it will change neither what happened nor the modern Turkish response to it. But it will indicate our displeasure with nations that attempt to rewrite their history out of nationalist pride, embarrassment, or shame. History should be left to historians, but nations should be willing to stand in moral judgment of each other when circumstances warrant. Until Turkey is willing to accept the full scale of what happened, they should not expect the citizens of the United States in the form of their representatives in Congress, to standy idly by, silent.


adam said...

I wholeheartedly agree.

sblizz49@gmail.com said...

It would be hypocritical for us as a nation to set back and point to Turkey accusing them as committing genocide years ago. America has genocidal blood on her hands as well. What did we do to the Native Americans in the US? We as a country need to accept the full scale of what happened and make sure that everything that happened is taught in every American school. When was the last time you visited a Native American Territory?
Turkey is a very important ally to the US and trust me, we can’t afford to loose them.

Nat-Wu said...

Well, two of us are Native Americans, and the third one agrees that this is an absolutely necessary action by the United States to recognize the fact that there was a genocide. Turkey doesn't need to feel threatened by having the truth stated.

The US as a nation has some sins to atone for, but as far as most of us indigenous people see it, the problems that Indians have with the government are an internal matter of the US. We will always stand with our nation against outsiders, and we don't want to be used as an excuse for other nations to ignore or commit genocide.

This is my own personal opinion, but the idea that we can't afford to lose (not loose) has been an excuse for us accept as necessary the existence of dicators and tyrants. And yet the historical record is showing us how much of an error that is every time. No, we don't absolutely need Turkey.

adam said...

Two more things on this:

1) Turkey has never said it was the "right time" for this, and they never will

2) The last of the genocide survivors are dying off, so it's not going to matter as much in a few years

sblizz49@gmail.com said...

OK here we go. I have lived abroad for the last six years working for the military. My job has taken me to Turkey as well as other countries many times. You cannot begin to imagine the strategic importance of countries like Turkey. As a veteran with 20 years of service I don’t think we’re ready to go out on a limb as a country. We can’t afford to. Our military is strung out, and as a civilian, I work with soldiers and see it every day. Women and contractors take up the slack of the lack of men who avoid this obligation. As we enjoy freedom with no worries, visiting places like Duncan Donuts and focusing on events that occurred 100 years ago, our soldiers continue to die on a daily bases.
If we hold every country accountable for every evil thing they did almost 100 or 200 years ago, we would run out of allies and trust me, more of our soldiers will die. Having strategic allies is probably not important to you because you are not directly affected, but as a soldier you would be.
I am not a Native American, I am a Black American and I don’t even want to touch the slavery issue, which was wrong but it happened. Living and being educated “outside” as well as “inside” our country has provided me with a different aspect of “who we are” and “where we are going” as a country. There is allot happening in this world that will affect us as a nation, we need to wake up. If you take my right flank, I become vulnerable.