By: Shahan Goenjian
Gaining recognition of the Armenian Genocide from the United States and Turkey is the most pressing issue of the worldwide Armenian community today. Ideally, with this recognition Armenians would receive reparations for the land, lives, and opportunities lost.
The United States federal government has not yet officially recognized the Armenian Genocide because of its political ties with Turkey. Turkey is a large commercial power and an ally in the hazardous Middle East. The US military is also allowed to have air bases in Turkey. To look at the situation without sentiment, good foreign relations with Turkey is important for the United States to maintain its hegemony. However, the Turkish government is unwilling to acknowledge the genocide in any respect and actually takes great offense to its recognition – as made evident by their withdrawal of their ambassador to France in response to France’s recent legislation which criminalizes genocide denial.
More than just 1.5 million lives were lost in the Armenian Genocide. Lands that had been cultivated and sanctified by our people and our churches for thousands of years were stolen. Some whole families were erased from history and others were left to start anew in orphanages and foreign lands. This was all motivated by extreme nationalism of the Young Turks, founders of the Republic of Turkey, and could be likened to fascism – fascism that later fueled Nazi Germany’s Holocaust. However, Germany has already long apologized for their predecessor’s actions in political and social realms by releasing public apologies and providing Jewish survivors with monetary reparations. If Turkey has any intention of joining the European Union they should follow the Germans to salvage the remaining honor and justice they still have.
Turkey’s position in this conflict is shameful not only of themselves but of humanity as a whole. The founders of the Republic of Turkey were responsible for organizing the genocide and yet they got away scotch free, and Turks even praise those founders as modern heroes. Their government’s denial shows extreme ignorance and an unwillingness to engage in honest, open debate. If one were to analyze the Turkish state in the way one would analyze an individual, Turkey would be deemed sociopathic – for not only their government, but hundreds of Turkish Facebook groups, take pride in and mock the genocide against the Armenians, showing no remorse or conscience. The Turkish government cannot be trusted until they confess to their crimes and pay due reparations. It should be the duty of the worldwide Armenian community to raise a voice against inhumanity and help put an end to the genocides being committed around the world today in places like Darfur, Uganda, Burma/Myanmar, and Chechnya.