Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Armenian genocide, implications for today’s Turkey



Above is another good documentary from Al Jazeera, this time on the Armenian genocide – Grandma’s Tattoos –  made by Suzanne Khardalian, who ventures to understand the causes of her grandmother’s difficult personality – who she recalls as a cold, bitter woman, a ‘living corpse’– and in so doing is confronted by the revolting ordeal endured by Christians, particularly Christian women, as Turks took the opportunity of a collapsing Ottoman empire to implement their very own Final Solution. 

It’s worth stressing that the question of the Armenian genocide is not just a matter of historical accuracy. I strongly maintain that the mentality that encouraged Turks (and Kurds) to dehumanise and attempt to exterminate Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians in Anatolia continues to exist in Turkey. We know this not only because of the wealth tax (varlik vergisi) and forced labour camps of the 1930s and 1940s; the Constantinople pogrom in 1955; the ethnic cleansing of Imvros and Tenedos; and the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus; but because Turkey refuses to broach these issues honestly, make amends or criticise itself over these outrages. Indeed, what is the denial of the Armenian genocide if not a continuation of that very same genocide? Genocide is not just about the physical extermination of a people, it’s an attempt to wipe out its history and collective memory – which is, of course, what Turkey – today’s Turkey – is attempting to do by lying about the events of 1915.

Essentially, what I’m saying is this – and this is a guiding principle of this blog – is that Turkey is a fascist country – the so-called liberalisation and democratisation of the last decade is a hoax – and that Greece and Cyprus need to accept this truth and develop suitable policies in response.