Chile Proves Genocide Recognition Is Based on Truth, not Lobbying
by Harut Sassounian June, 2007
Ever since 1965 when Uruguay became the first state to recognize the Armenian Genocide, a growing number of countries and international organizations have followed suit, despite tremendous political and economic pressure from the Turkish government.
It would seem that Turkish officials are running out of excuses trying to explain to their people why so many countries are acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, since for 90 years Turks have been told that nothing whatsoever happened to the Armenians in 1915. The latest excuse concocted by Turkish leaders is that the "powerful Armenian Diaspora" has compelled more than 20 countries, the European Parliament, the United Nations and scores of other organizations and scholars to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In view of Turkey's massive resources, its membership in the Conference of Islamic States, the Council of Europe and NATO, it is ridiculous for Turkish officials to contend that their country is less influential than the small Armenian communities in many of these countries. With the second largest army in NATO, Turkey readily throws its considerable weight around and resorts to all possible means to impose its will on countries near and far. Amazingly, Turkey even dares to threaten and blackmail the State of Israel and the only superpower in the world -- the United States -- in the process of attempting to block their acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
In reality, most of the countries that have recognized the Armenian Genocide have very small Armenian populations, who are far outnumbered by Turkish immigrants, such as Belgium, Holland, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden, Lithuania and Germany. Another good example is Chile which recognized the Armenian Genocide last week despite the fact that there are less than one thousand Armenians living in that country. The Chilean Senate, in a unanimous decision, called on its own government to adhere to the report adopted in 1985 by the United Nations Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities which recognized the Armenian Genocide. If, as the Turks claim, just a handful of local Armenians were able to secure the votes of every member of the Chilean Senate, where were the officials of the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Ambassador of Turkey? They must have been in a coma!
Could it be that Turkish leaders simply neglected to tend to their country's foreign policy as they were feuding with each other over the next parliamentary and presidential elections? Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, as a candidate for President, may not have had the time to pay attention to what was transpiring in far away Chile. Maybe the Turkish public, instead of electing him President, should demand his dismissal along with that of the Turkish Ambassador to Chile. Amazingly, even after several Armenian news outlets announced, days in advance of the vote, that Chile was considering the adoption of a resolution on the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish Foreign Ministry and its envoy in Chile continued to remain in a comatose state and took no action to block its adoption.
Of course, once the Chilean Senate unanimously adopted the Armenian Genocide resolution, Turkish officials woke up from their coma long enough to express their routine disappointment. "We consider the Chilean Senate's resolution to be an attitude casting a shadow over friendly relations between the two countries," the Turkish Foreign Ministry menacingly announced.
Turkish officials do not seem to realize that each time they threaten to disrupt relations with a country that has just recognized the Armenian Genocide, they are further isolating themselves from the international community. If this trend continues, Turkey would run out of countries to have diplomatic relations with.
Since Turkish politicians are pre-occupied with fighting and suing each other over the upcoming elections, while plotting a military incursion into Northern Iraq (Kurdistan), this may be an opportune moment for Armenians to introduce Armenian Genocide resolutions in the parliaments of several countries simultaneously, such as China, Japan, and Zimbabwe.
No matter how much Turkey threatens and how many millions of dollars it spends on foreign lobbyists, at the end of the day, the truth will win out.
Lobbying, whether by Armenians or Turks, can have a limited and temporary impact on the outcome of most political decisions. It is not possible to whitewash a lie and hide the truth forever. As the popular saying goes: "You cannot fool all of the people all of the time!"