Turks Are Inadvertently Helping To Publicize the Armenian Cause
Harut Sassounian Commentary 2005 January
Who would have thought that 90 years after the Armenian Genocide, the Turks would still be haunted by the mass murders committed by their ancestors?
The Ottoman leaders thought that they had put an end to the Armenian Cause, once and for all, by deporting and killing the Armenian population of the Empire.
For a long time, it appeared that the Ottomans had succeeded, after all. A quarter of a century later, on the eve of his own genocidal campaign, Hitler noted that no one remembered the "extermination of the Armenians."
He, therefore, thought that he could carry out the Jewish Holocaust with impunity. Hitler's observation about the Armenian precedent to the Holocaust was accurate. For several decades, the world turned a deaf ear to the heart wrenching eyewitness accounts of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
Apart from Armenians, few people spoke about what took place in 1915, and even fewer cared.
On rare occasions when Armenians made even minor progress in bringing the Armenian Genocide to public attention through a book, article or remark made by a non-Armenian public official, the Turkish government would bring to bear the full weight of the state and the massive resources at its disposal to counter such assertions. Turkey allocated millions of dollars to hire lobbyists in Washington and paid millions more to historical revisionists to flood libraries worldwide with false accounts of what took place in 1915.
The Turks, however, never seemed to realize that their eagerness to counter every mention of the Armenian Genocide, no matter how minor, inadvertently brought more attention to this issue. Even false and anti-Armenian statements made by high-ranking Turkish officials, which were publicized by the international media, helped revive this "Forgotten Genocide."
To make matters worse for themselves, recently the Turks have embarked on their anti-Armenian Jihad with a renewed zeal. Having become aware that Armenians are planning to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Genocide this year, the Turks have driven themselves into an absolute frenzy, desperately looking for tougher measures to counter the Armenian observances which prominent Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand described as the approaching "Armenian tsunami." Here is a short list of actions announced by Turkish officials and historians:
- Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul announced last July the formation of a government task force that would promote the denial of the Armenian Genocide and counter the planned commemorative events on the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. At the end of December, Gul met with his advisors to plan the steps to be taken to counter the Armenian efforts;
- Hikmet Ozdemir, the Chairman of the Armenian Desk of the Turkish History Institute, announced on CNN-Turk on January 5th that his group would launch "a huge campaign" in February by publishing four volumes of documents disproving "the Armenian allegations." Ozdemir also suggested "the retrial" of Soghomon Tehlirian who was set free by a German court in 1921 after assassinating Talat Pasha, the mastermind of the Armenian Genocide. He spoke about organizing TV debates with Armenian intellectuals and symposiums in Turkish, European and American universities;
- Reuters reported on January 12th that Yusuf Halacoglu, the President of the Turkish History Institute, called for the establishment of an international commission of historians, under the auspices of the United Nations, to study the facts of the Armenian Genocide. He also disclosed that 7 mass graves would be uncovered this year to prove that "Armenians committed genocide against the Turks;"
- Several former Turkish officials suggested taking the Armenian issue to the World Court.
Armenians naturally welcome all of these Turkish efforts, no matter how repulsive and depraved they might be. The world as well as the Turks already know that genocide was committed against the Armenians. None of these Turkish disingenuous attempts at disinformation would dissuade a single soul anywhere in the world. In addition to wasting the Turks' time, money, and effort, these actions would only serve to attract international attention to the Armenian Genocide.
Furthermore, by expanding their efforts to cover up such a heinous crime as genocide, the Turks would be proving once again to the world that they are not yet ready to be included in the family of civilized nations. Germany would have never been accepted for membership in the European Union, had it not acknowledged the Holocaust. The Turks are only harming their own interests by continuing and escalating their denials and distortions!