Think about that slowly. . .

Turkey is upset about the resolutions in the United States and Sweden regarding the alleged Armenian Genocide. Logical reaction from Turkey? Threaten to deport 100,000+ Armenians because it worked out so well the first time and all.

“There are currently 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Only 70,000 of them are Turkish citizens, but we are tolerating the remaining 100,000. If necessary, I may have to tell these 100,000 to go back to their country because they are not my citizens. I don’t have to keep them in my country.”

Turkey will always be haunted by the fact that Turks “settled” land that has been occupied for thousands of years by many other peoples with various religions. Worse still for the Turks, they are still around and the Turks are in complete denial about it. In some ways, their problem is similar to Israel where the very identity of their state is inseparable from ethnicity (and in some ways religion) and yet a big percentage of the population in territory under their control is not only foreign, but was there first. They haven’t made much progress thus far and its very uncertain as to when or if they ever will.

About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
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17 Responses to Think about that slowly. . .

  1. Richard says:

    The Turkish authorities inflate the figures quite a bit. A recent study found at most 12,000 citizens of Armenia in Turkey:

    This is in addition to the approximately 50,000 ethnic Armenians who are Turkish citizens and who are the remnants of a community of 2 million prior to WW1.

  2. Dan says:

    “because it worked out so well the first time and all” you are talking about the “alleged” Armenian Genocide ??
    Now, who lives “in complete denial about it” if not you ??!

  3. Chirol says:

    Both Curzon and I have discussed the alleged genocide here numerous times before. Search the archives as I dont feel like going at it again here. Simply put, attacking people who aid an invading enemy is not genocide. There was no aim to eliminate Armenians as was the case w/ jews in WW2.

  4. Richard says:

    “There was no aim to eliminate Armenians…” – you mean deporting an entire population of men, women and children to a dessert, killing many of them on the way and the rest on arrival, confiscating their property, and then covering it up, was not genocide. Call it “race extermination” as Ambassador Morgenthau did, or a “holocaust” as Churchill did or “genocide” as Lemkin did in coining the word as he contemplated the fate of the Armenians, its impossible to say the aim and the result was not their elimination.

  5. Tex says:

    Richard, does it ease your guilty Western conscience when you say “Turks did it too”?

  6. Peter says:

    Cyprus called. It wants the top part of its island back.

  7. ElamBend says:

    Putting aside my opinions on the treatment of the Armenians by the new Turkish state, this whole episode is an action of short-term thinking on all sides.
    On the Swedish and US side, no strategic purpose was advanced by these resolutions. The Turkish state however continue to disappoint. Had they simply ignored these resolutions or given them a terse statement and a complaint to the ambassadors of the countries, it would have passed. Instead they draw attention to it by acting so petulantly. However, the most recent statement is short-sighted and idiotic to the extreme.
    One year ago, the Turkish state was on the verge of an historic agreement with the Armenian state. This served the current regimes goal of expanding Turkish influence among their neighbors (Iraq, Syria, etc), hedging against rivals (Russia in this case, as well as Iran).
    Up to this point, I had been impressed with the current governments ability to work diplomatically and spread influence. (less impressed with their systematic mini-war against the military under the guise of crazy conspiracies). However, after this, I am inclined to think they were working with the wind at their back and were essentially getting lucky. Perhaps they’ll rebound from this.

  8. Chirol says:

    ElamBend: Thank you for actually contributing to decent discussion here. Turkey-Armenia is one of these issues that immediately induce rants and ridiculousness. Additionally, I completely agree with you.

  9. Curzon says:

    Reading other articles on this, it appears the issue was the “illegal” Armenians in Turkey. I don’t think this applies to the legal Armenian nationals resident in the country.

  10. Chirol says:

    Curzon: I don’t think that really matters. It’s a incredibly thoughtless statement to make and would be an even worse policy move no matter the status of said Armenians.

  11. I’ve never understood why this is an issue for Turkey. Why don’t they just basically say, “Yes, this horrible thing was done by the government of the Ottoman Empire. They were immoral and corrupt and we overthrew them. What they did had nothing to do with modern Turkey,” or words to that effect.

  12. chirol says:

    Chris S: You make a good point. However, since Turkey is built on land taken from numerous other groups, all of who still live there, Turkey wants to avoid giving legitimacy to any claims made on its eastern territory since there are indeed many legitimate ones.

  13. Guest469 says:

    Perhaps Germany should expel her population of Turkish non-citizens too?

  14. Ted says:

    First, love the site. I really appreciate all of the regions and ideas that your blog covers. Its always a pleasure to read.

    I believe that Turkey is being overly stubborn about the whole issue. I’m not sure if genocide is the right term, but Turkey needs to own up to what was generally a massacre. Otherwise, relations with Armenia are never going to normalize. Owning up to what happened might open the floodgates to other groups who want recognition, but realistically I don’t think Turkey would lose anything besides a little pride. I don’t see Turkey dissolving anytime soon, not after its survived this long against rebellious Kurds. As you have mentioned in this blog, its power and influence are only growing.

    I generally agree that other countries have no right or policy logic to be defining history they had no part in. Still, if I were Armenian, I would definitely try to pressure other countries to acknowledge what I considered an atrocity. As for American-Turkish relations, I would be extremely surprised if this relationship, built on various strategic commonalities, could be broken by calling these killings one word over another. Either way, Turkey is much more illogical to let this issue interfere with its relations with so many other countries. Accept it and move on.

  15. Chris S: You make a good point. However, since Turkey is built on land taken from numerous other groups, all of who still live there, Turkey wants to avoid giving legitimacy to any claims made on its eastern territory since there are indeed many legitimate ones.

    Oh, fair enough. They can just do what we do with people whose land we stole: ignore them as much as possible and let them build casinos. :D

  16. Virgil Tibbs says:

    Chirol: you need to do a little more research on the matter: the Turks had a great deal to fear from Armenians, many of whom served in the Ottoman army. I saw a great (Armenian-funded) documentary about it on PBS. This has no relevance to the Jews (capitalised) during WW2.

    For the record: I’m half-English, half-Turkish. Note the order. What happened was what we would now call genocide. The Turks tried to wipe out as many Armenians as they could with forced marches or outright murder.

    Richard, Tex and Peter all have axes to grind. Go and grind them somewhere with more trees.

    Chris Swanson: I agree with elambend that Turkey seems childish and backwards in not owning up to the mass murder committed by its people. However, the “Armenian issue” is a matter of faith among Turks. It happened right at the Turkish Republic’s birth. The Turks are still coping with the loss of their empires, but not doing it well. Do it well, admit all of your mistakes and current weaknesses and people will pile on the opprobrium, as people now do to the English. Despite their bad faith, the Turks at least still have a national myth of greatness. In the UK, we’ve abandoned everything great we ever achieved, cast it away. Is this better? I don’t know.

    Chirol: I would love to know more about “legitimate” land claims in eastern Turkey (whatever that means). Do you think you could come up with an unbiased account of them? I don’t. Sorry.

    For the record: it was genocide, by the modern definition. Does it matter now? The Turks are as guilty as the Armenians of failing to let go. You’ll say, “That’s terrible, millions lost their lives,” and maybe so. But it’s time for the Armenians to forget it and for the Turks to forget it too. It was a long time ago and it does no one any service to keep harping on about it. Why Congress wants to bring the matter up again is beyond me.

    The effort required on each side will be equal. The Turkish state will not admit to genocide, despite the evidence. The Armenians will not pipe down despite the genocide affecting the current descendants not one iota. Relations suffer in the meantime. It could go on forever and it wouldn’t really matter. To be absolutely realistic about this, Armenia has to give Turkey a reason to care. It’s difficult to think of one.

  17. Safety Neal says:

    Virgil Tibbs, I think you too glibly dismiss the impact of this history for the people involved.

    There’s a body of literature examining transgenerational trauma and community trauma that studies the impact of genocide, war, and mass rape on the descendants of the afflicted people.

    Yael Danieli’s 1998 book, “International Handbook of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma” is a cornerstone of this body of literature and Chapter 12 specifically details Armenian oppression and its effects on Armenians today.

    Here’s a link to the Google Books preview of the “International Handbook of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma”: