Thursday, October 11, 2007

Turks Unhappy

The Turks, as you might imagine, are not happy about a House committee vote approving a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. As the CNN article points out, there's speculation that any House approval of the resolution could encourage Turkey to be less discreet in their reactions to Kurdish rebels hiding in northern Iraq. I question that. Turkey has had in the works plans to move into northern Iraq for months now, and I doubt their willingness or unwillingness to launch such attacks are strongly linked to political moves in the U.S. House. Turkish foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Erdogen assured reporters that "Turkey knows how to play hardball." Well, so do we, and perhaps we should make it clearer to Turkey that we are not afraid to call genocide genocide, and not afraid to protect our interests in northern Iraq.

UPDATE: Via Andrew Sullivan, here's a couple of people who disagree with this approach. First, David Boaz:

As the great grandson of genocide survivors, the grandson of genocide historians, and the son of Armenian repatriates — though writing, I’m afraid, without the sanction of the generations — I am insulted by that sticker. That Congress “finds” the genocide to be a fact makes the tragedy no more real than its refusal, so far, has made it unreal. Truth does not need a permission slip from the state.

And now, Rod Dreher:

Not everything that's true needs to be said, or said by Congress. I think we've learned a lot this decade about what can happen when the US acts on moral idealism without fully thinking through the real-world consequences.

As to Dan, no, truth does not need a permission slip. But neither should a statement of truth be so easily dismissed out of self-serving political interests. The circumstances were different yes, but let's remember that political calculation is also what made it difficult for the Clinton administration to admit that genocide was taking place in Rwanda.

As to Rod, I think we should avoid engaging in hyperbole. A statement that the Armenian Genocide was in fact genocide is not nearly the same as invading other countries premised on humanitarian motivations. True, the sad spectacle of Iraq and our unwillingness to admit to the world our own base motives for invasion, make it extremely difficult for America to speak with moral authority on matters like the crushing of dissent in Burma or the Turks unwillingness to admit to their own unpleasant history. But neither shall we begin to make up for such awful mistakes as Iraq by maintaining a convenient silence.

In permitting this resolution to go forward, we are not asking the Turks to make reparations for the genocide. We are not asking them to apologize. We are not asking them to repatriate long-ago dislocated Armenians. We are stating a simple truth. It is up to the Turks to decide what they wish to make of that.


adam said...

I 100% agree.

omEr said...

commenting a bit late but this is the exact new-world cluelessnes.

you are free to calling what ever you like to what happened to the Orthodox Christian Armenians. yet completely ignoring the deaths of the Moslem (mostly) Turks, Arabs and Kurds of the region in higher numbers at the same time is guaranting a double standard between Moslems and Christians.

Just because Turks did decided to shelf their murdered grandparents and look towards the future doesnt change the fact.

If your going to pass an Armenian Genocide bill pass something that recognizes Armenian attrocities as well.

Do u think that can ever happen even if all the historians agreed upon the fact? With all the Armenian lobbying, special interest groups?

And in such a system, not to mention the mess in Iraq does this senate have any moral ground to talk about such issues?