April 24 marks the anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire 102 years ago. However, the Empire’s successor state Turkey continues the genocide up until this day and Turkey is arguably in the process of committing the crime of genocide against Kurds in Turkey as well as in Syria.- Turkey’s genocide …is contemporary, here, now, this minute, ongoing, in Syria, as much as Turkey continues to commit most serious rights violations against the millions of (allegedly non-existing) Kurds in Turkey. If there is a takeaway message from this saddening anniversary is that the policy and practice, regardless of what one wants to call it, continues minute by minute, and year by year
by Christof Lehmann, NSNBC:
Although the official figures are disputed, the Ottoman Empire’s genocide resulted in the death and/or displacement of some 1,5 million Armenians. Turkey’s official position is that it never committed the crime of genocide. Likewise, the official position held by the majority of Turkish lawmakers and public servants is that Kurds (in Turkey) don’t exist. The designation “mountain Turks” is commonly used – even though Turkey sees no problem in denouncing “Kurds” in Turkey and Syria for terrorism while Turkey maintains good relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.
Turkey’s political power as well as its importance as a NATO member can according to many analysts be recognized in the fact that only 23 countries, so far, officially recognize the Armenian genocide. Recognition of the genocide usually results in the suspension of diplomatic relations (at least for a while) and other retaliations. Threats against individuals, including rights activists, artists and other public personalities who recognize the genocide are not uncommon either.
The tragic events that took place 102 years ago, whether one wants to designate them as a genocide or not, are still highly explosive. The argument that history following World Wars 1 and 2 was primarily written (dictated) by the victors and that the post-war historical narratives are aimed to scapegoat the vanquished holds some validity, especially when history books are based on sloppy historical science or propaganda.
However, even recent / contemporary history clearly shows that Turkey’s oppression of (arguably genocide of) Armenians continues and that Turkey’s NATO allies, at the very least are “selectively blind”.
2014 When Armenians in Syria (and Armenia) Woke Up To The Ugly Truth About Turkey and NATO.
In March 2014 the Syrian government stressed that Turkey has regularly facilitated the entry of armed terrorist groups into the Kessab area in Syria’s Lattakia province. An Armenian M.P. who visited Syria was calling on the world to wake up to the fact that thousands of extremists have crossed the Turkish- Syrian border and that missiles were fired from the Turkish side of the border. Armenians, who have long been looking at NATO as an ally and partner realize that the war on Syria, including the renewed ethnic cleansing of Armenian Christians in Syria is part of a long-term NATO strategy.
Syria’s Minister of Information, Omran al-Zoubi denounced the Turkish government of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for regularly having facilitated the entry of armed terrorist groups into the Kessab area in the Lattakia province of Syria. Omran al-Zoubi stressed that the fighters which are crossing the border are not Syrians, but groups of foreign fighters, armed and trained by Turkey, Gulf-Arab, and core NATO member states.
The Turkish MP, Mehmed Ali Ediboglu, visited the border crossing at Yayladagi after heavy clashes erupted in the region on March 21, 2014. Ediboglu stated that the Turkish military allows and controls insurgents moves while they are crossing the border to and from Syria. After Turkish F-16s shot down a Syrian fighter jet over Kassab before,, nsnbc spoke with eyewitnesses in Kassab, who reported about the presence of Turkish special forces operation on Syrian territory in cooperation with the Turkish backed terrorist brigades.
Armenians, who have long looked at NATO as an ally and partner, were waking up to the stark reality that core NATO member states, including Turkey, USA, UK and France, hold responsibility for the engineering of the war on Syria, which was planned long before the first protests erupted in 2011. Statements like that of the former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, who said on nation-wide TV, that top-British officials contacted him more than two years before the first protests to ask whether he would like to participate in ousting the Syrian government with the help of “rebels” had not previously made their way into the Armenian media. The former French Minister of Foreign Affairs appeared in a TV interview with the French TV Channel LPC, saying:
“I am going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me, that they were preparing something in Syria”.
Dumas continued, indicating that the subversion and invasion of the Syrian Arab Republic with the help of “rebels” was primarily a British plan, while he carefully avoided implicating himself and France, saying:
“This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister of Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I am French, that does not interest me”
“This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned… in the region it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance”.
“Consequently, everything that moves in the region…– and I have this from a former Israeli Prime Minister who told me ´we will try to get on with our neighbors but those who don´t agree with us will be destroyed. It is a type of politics, a view of history, why not after all. But one should know about it”.
Armenian M.P. Calls on World to Wake UP. Arman Sahakyan, an Armenian M.P. who was among a group of Armenian delegates who visited Damascus that month in March 2014 to study the problems of Armenians in Kessab and the Lattakia province issued an appeal written by ethnic Armenians in Kessab. The appeal calls on Armenians and people across the world to wake up to the reality of the situation, saying:
“On Mother’s Day, March 21-2014, our beautiful town (Kessab) was brutally attacked by Al-Qaeda extremists And Al Nusra front that is linked to Al Qaeda. with the blessings and full military and logistical support of the Turkish government.
The appeal stressed that thousands of extremists crossed the Turkish – Syrian border towards Kessab, adding that missiles were fired from Turkey and that residents attempted to defend the town which now is in the hands of the foreign fighters.
The residents of Kessab call on all Armenians and and all of humanity to realize that the Erdogan government stands behind the military campaign, the ethnic cleansing, and the massacres. The Armenian P.M. Arman Sahakyan, and Kessab residents call on the UN and governments of other countries to take action to protect the people in Lattakia province before it is too late. In an emotional appeal, conveyed by the Armenian M.P., the Kessab residents stressed:
All we want to do, is live. If you ignore this, we all will die a horrible death at the hands of these terrorists, by being butchered in cold blood like many other Armenians in Aleppo, Yacoubiyeh, Ghenemiyeh, and around Syria.
Foreign Fighters, not Syrians: The appeal confirmed and substantiated previous reports about foreign fighters and mercenaries, paid by Turkey, GCC, and core NATO member states, as being the main force behind the war on Syria. The appeal stressed:
Those who you call rebels are extremists who came to Syria for jihad with many nationalities in it like Afghans, Chechen, Saudis etc. Kessab and all of Syria, saw them and were attacked and killed by them. The media can`t hide the truth forever. You can’t manipulate the lives of people forever. Those who you call rebels, were targeting and attacking civilians. Wake up, please.
The town of Kessab then in the hands of the foreign fighters. The Syrian Arab Army has launched a military campaign to dislodge the mercenaries. It succeeded after months of operations but the gains have since been reversed by more Turkish – backed “rebels”.
The liberation was extremely complicated due to the presence of Turkish F-16 fighter jets over the area and Turkish special forces which were fighting alongside the foreign fighters and direct artillery, missile and tank fire against Syrian Army positions.
Turkey’s genocide, if there ever was one, is contemporary, here, now, this minute, ongoing, in Syria, as much as Turkey continues to commit most serious rights violations against the millions of (allegedly non-existing) Kurds in Turkey.
If there is a takeaway message from this saddening anniversary is that the policy and practice, regardless of what one wants to call it, continues minute by minute, and year by year.
CH/L – nsnbc 24.04.2017