Anti-Armenianism Alive and Well in Turkey
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  • WigWag

    “The clearest takeaway from Sunday’s demonstration is that the push to have foreign governments take a position on the massacre of Armenians almost 100 years ago has created a counter-push in Turkey that features ugly brands of Turkish nationalism, pan-Turkism, and anti-Armenianism.” (Via Meadia)

    I can’t see why it matters at all whether the advocacy of the Armenian-Genocide resolution in France or elsewhere has created a “counter-push.” What Via Meadia calls a “counter-push” has existed for decades; long before the recent French activity on the subject. Refusal to acknowledge that the Ottoman Empire in its dying days committed genocide against the Armenians is the one thing that unites both secular and religious Turks; Kemalists are outraged at the suggestion that Turks were responsible for genocide and so are Erdogan acolytes and members of the religious parties in Turkey.

    The only Turks who have expressed any willingness at all to come to grips with what their kinsmen did in the early part of the 20th century are certain Turkish intellectuals like Omar Pamuk and Taner Akçam; both have effectively been exiled from Turkey. The Turks attempted to try Pamuk for a crime reminiscent of treason; it was only his celebrity that saved him. If Akcam returned to Turkey at best he would be jailed; at worst he would be murdered.

    As repulsively as the Turks treated the Armenians; it doesn’t have to be a stain that prevents the nation from moving on; after all, Germany has acknowledged its behavior and moved on.

    Nor does the fact that the Armenians were victims of genocide absolve them from the sorry parts of their own past. For generations Armenians were vitriolic Jew haters and the Armenian Church instigated pogrom after pogrom against innocent Jews. Ironically, the Ottomans were far more humane to the Jews than the Armenians ever were.

    Another irony that should not be overlooked is that the Kurds, who as a population have experienced bitter discrimination at the hands of both the Kemalists and the Erdogan Government, were as complicit in the Armenian Genocide as the ethnic Turks were.

    The world is a complicated place; no group of people is all good or all bad. Every nationality has plenty to be proud of and plenty to be ashamed of.

    But the truth is the truth; in the early part of the 20th century with the assistance of the Kurds, the Turkish Government then in power committed genocide against its Armenian population.

    The fact that there is a group of genocide deniers parading in downtown Ankara changes nothing.

  • Jim.

    I wonder if Putin has ever meditated on uniting the Orthodox and liberating Constantinople…

  • Will they ever love us in that part of the world again? When I back-packed through in the early 1960’s Americans were virtually untouchable. In every peasant’s hut was a picture of Nasser and JFK. But that was a long time ago.

  • Richard

    @Wig Wag, in an otherwise excellent comment you write: “For generations Armenians were vitriolic Jew haters and the Armenian Church instigated pogrom after pogrom against innocent Jews. Ironically, the Ottomans were far more humane to the Jews than the Armenians ever were.“ Please provide the evidence for this.

    Armenians like other peoples have their dark moments but I am unaware of “pogrom after pogrom against innocent Jews“.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    No one is more critical of a civilized man than the civilized man himself. The civilized man invites criticism, and considers it carefully, as nothing is more important to the civilized man than the truth. The uncivilized on the other hand, take insult at the smallest criticism, and will commit murder on those who gain say them. “Islamic Culture is uncivilized”

  • WigWag

    Richard (March 2, 2012 at 7:03pm), for more information on the pogroms perpetrated by the Armenians against the Jews I recommend the two volume work by Stanford J. Shaw entitled “History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey”.

    Shaw was an interesting character. He was a Jew himself and he did not believe that the Ottoman’s committed genocide against the Armenians. Nevertheless he was very much of a main stream historian. He got his Ph.D. from Princeton, collaborated for a time with Bernard Lewis, taught for years at Harvard and UCLA, received grants for his work from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and finished his career teaching in Turkey.

    Interestingly while in Turkey he was the subject of an attempted assassination (a bomb was left at his door); the perpetrators were never discovered but it was presumed to be the work of either radical Armenians or radical Muslims who had been offended by his work.

    Presumably because he was Jewish he had a particularly intense scholarly interest in the status of Jews in the Ottoman Empire and he goes into some detail in his books exploring the relationship between the Armenians and the Jews. He describes several pogroms perpetrated by Armenians against Jews and he documents how they were instigated by the Armenian Church.

    Alas none of his books are available for the Kindle. I found his two volume series on the Ottoman Empire very enlightening but to be fair it received a fair amount of criticism.

    Perhaps you will be able to find it in your public library and decide for yourself if you find his description of Armenian-Jewish relations convincing.

  • WigWag

    By the way, in my post on March 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm I made a dumb mistake.

    The author’s name that I mentioned should be Orhan Pamuk not Omar Pamuk. Mr. Pamuk wrote what to my mind may be the greatest work of fiction in any language in the past 15 years, “My Name is Red”

    It is available for the Kindle and it is incredible.

    Anyway, sorry for the mistake.

  • Kris

    The clearest takeaway from Sunday’s demonstration is that the push to have foreign governments take a position on the massacre of Armenians almost 100 years ago has created a counter-push in Turkey that features ugly brands of Turkish nationalism, pan-Turkism, and anti-Armenianism.

    I am sure this passage was meant to be purely descriptive, but it almost reads as prescriptive: Don’t bring up the genocide or those easily excitable sorts might respond in an unfortunate manner.

  • Kris

    “We didn’t massacre the Armenians, and if they keep bringing it up, we’ll massacre them again!”

  • A

    Wig Wam: None of Dr. Shaw’s accolades assure us that he was entirely disinterested in his presentation of “history,” or that he didn’t have a politicized view. Believe me, as a professor, I assure you that whatever work we do, we do with plenty of biased interest, and we are often backed up by the at least equally biased interests of the institutions that fund or otherwise support us. Several instances in your own explanation above warrant closer examination of the validity of Dr. Shaw’s view, not least of which is the fact that it is ONE VIEW — one very interested, politicized, biased view. Where are others? Please, please be more careful with out-of-hand remarks when you accuse a people of having been responsible for “pogrom after pogrom” based on one book you’ve read. Where is the actual, historical evidence, as there is against the Turks?

  • Aram

    Todos recuerdan las masacres de 1915, 1500000 fueron asesinados por el imperio turco-otomano, ya se van a acabar los intereses de EEUU, en la primera que den un paso en falso se le van a caer ya van 97 años de historia, la diaspora armenia no deja de trabajar contra los derechos humanos, donde estan los inmigrantes turcos por el mundo?? vor shun turke imana haye mish kach gue mena!

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