If Turkey were to open its border with Armenia, and the two established
diplomatic and trade relations, Turkey would still be a threat to
[ad id=”1838″]Turkey would be a threat even if it were to acknowledge the Armenian
genocide, pay reparations, and return stolen Armenian property. And the
threat to Armenia would remain even if it someday regains its homeland
which now lies in eastern Turkey.
Why? Because Turkey’s belligerent policies towards Armenians, its
pan-Turkic goals in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and its neo-Ottoman
ambitions pose essentially the same dangers today as at the time of the
genocide. And they show no sign of ever changing.
Aside from a general awareness of the genocide and present-day Turkish
hostility, however, many Armenians and others are unfamiliar with key
details of past and present Turkish policies. Consequently, they
underestimate the dangers that Armenia faces.
Even the commonly held view that “in 1915 the Young Turk regime
committed genocide against Armenians in Turkey” is dangerously
The genocide actually lasted through 1923, five years after Turkey’s
defeat in WWI. Two regimes conducted the genocide: Ottoman Young Turk
and Kemalist. The latter, of course, founded today’s allegedly “modern”
Turkey. And the genocide took place not only in “Turkey” but also,
ominously, on what was and is today the territory of the Republic of
Turkifying and Islamizing the remnants of its empire was a key reason
that Turkey destroyed its indigenous Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek
Christians during WWI (1914-18). But Armenians and Armenian soil also
lay just across the border, in the Caucasus region of the Russian
empire, directly in the path of Turkey’s genocidal pan-Turkic jihad.
Turkey committed genocide against those Armenians too, and ripped large
chunks of territory from the new Armenian Republic, which had just been
reborn from Russian Armenia.
Azeris — Turkey’s blood brothers then and now — also conducted
large-scale massacres of Armenians in the Caucasus in WWI and through
After Turkey’s defeat in 1918, Turkish forces under Kemal (known later
as Atatürk) continued the genocide in the Armenian Republic through
1920 and in Turkey through 1923.
Like Turkish leaders today who lie and deceive, Kemal publicly
professed peaceful intentions toward Armenia. Secretly, however, he
told his commanders that it is “of the utmost necessity that Armenia be
both politically and physically eliminated.” Kemal, too, lopped off
chunks of Armenia. Though it resisted heroically, only a Soviet
takeover in December of 1920 saved Armenia from annihilation.
These facts are relevant to the perils that Armenia faces today because
of Turkey’s pan-Turkic and neo-Ottoman foreign policies.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkey has
established ongoing relationships with Azerbaijan and Central Asia’s
new “Turkic-speaking” countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan,
and Uzbekistan. Turkey has invested billions of dollars and established
Turkish schools and universities in these countries. Turkey’s President
Gül declared that “Kyrgyzstan is our ancestral homeland” while visiting
that country’s International Atatürk-Alatoo University.
Turkey hosts major gas and oil pipelines originating in Baku,
coproduces weapons with Azerbaijan, and trains Azeri troops. In Turkic
solidarity with Azerbaijan, Turkey has injected itself into the
Artsakh/Karabagh conflict by closing its border with Armenia for two
decades. The Turkish-Azeri axis — termed “one nation, two states” —
harks back to its assault on Armenia during the genocide. One hundred
years has changed nothing. Turkey remains enamored of Turkic blood
In the former Armenian province of Nakhichevan — now part of Azerbaijan
and emptied of its Armenians — Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and
Kyrgyzstan recently signed a treaty creating the Cooperation Council of
Turkic Speaking States.
Let’s be clear. Only Soviet control of the Caucasus and Central Asia
from the 1920’s to 1991, and Russian and Chinese dominance since then,
have thwarted Turkey’s pan-Turkic goals.
For several decades, of course, Russia and China have possessed nuclear
weapons. Turkey has not. Imagine what an arrogant, genocidal Turkey
would have perpetrated by now had it possessed nuclear weapons. Turkey
could still, unfortunately, acquire nuclear weapons or other WMDs.
Turkey’s dangerous imperial goals today also include “neo-Ottomanism.”
Turkey regards itself as the leader of not only its former colonies in
the Middle East and Balkans but also the entire Muslim world. Turkey is
investing heavily in those regions.
Its Education Ministry recently released multi-media material that
shows Armenia, Cyprus, and parts of Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iraq,
and Syria as being part of Turkey. Turkey claimed it was just a mistake.
“You are the grandchildren of the Ottomans. It will be the Ottomans who
will make the world tremble again. If the Ottomans do not come back,
the unbelievers will never be brought down to their knees.” A Turkish
clergyman thundered those words to a frenzied Turkish rally in Belgium
two decades ago.
In attendance were his admirers: Necmettin Erbakan, soon to be Turkey’s
Prime Minister and the latter’s protégés, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s current Prime Minister and President.
Far from renouncing its bloody Ottoman past, such examples illustrate
that Turkey embraces and wants to recreate it. Consequently, its
threats against Armenia must never be taken lightly.
During the Artsakh/Karabagh war, Turkish President Turgut Özal
repeatedly threatened Armenia. Armenians, he warned, “had not learned
the lessons” of WWI — that is, the genocide.
According to Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, former Greek ambassador to
Armenia, U.S. and French intelligence sources confirm that Turkey was
poised to invade Armenia in 1993. Ruslan Khasbulatov, a Chechen who was
Speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet and an opponent of Russian
President Yeltsin, had secretly given Turkey the go-ahead to invade
Armenia if he toppled Yelstin. Fortunately, Yelstin survived the
If not for the Armenian-Russian alliance of these past two decades,
Turkey and Azerbaijan would have jointly attacked Armenia, with
Despite Turkey’s hostile record, some Armenians have fallen victim to
the constant drumbeat of propaganda that Turkey is “reforming.”
Some even believe that acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide would
be tantamount to Turkey’s having “reformed.” That’s absurd and a
An acknowledgment, which would almost certainly be incomplete,
insincere, or reversible, could psychologically disarm Armenians into
letting down their guard. By not owning up to the genocide, therefore,
Turkey may unwittingly be doing Armenians a favor.
Turkey’s actual record is one of repression, followed by mass violence,
interspersed with so-called “reforms.”
In the 19th century, large-scale massacres of Armenians, particularly
those of the 1890s, followed Ottoman “reforms” such as the Tanzimat
(anti-discrimination decrees). The Young Turk “reform” revolution of
1908 — cheered in the beginning by Armenians, Greeks, and other
national groups — was followed by the 1909 Adana massacres, the 1915-23
extermination, and genocidal attacks on Russian Armenia and the
Republic of Armenia.
Then along came the new “reformed, modern” Turkey of 1923. It
confiscated Armenian property, destroyed Armenian churches, and
Turkified Armenian city and village names. In 1943, Turkey unleashed
its malicious Capital Tax program against Armenians, Greeks, and Jews.
Later came the devastating Istanbul riots of 1955. Did we mention
Turkey’s massacre of Greek Cypriot civilians and ongoing occupation of
northern Cyprus? The death squads and torture chambers? The repression,
deportation, and massacre of Kurds and other minorities, and the
jailing of dissidents and journalists?
All the while, we are told that Turkey is “reforming.”
In addition to Turkey’s policies, its political leaders pose a danger
because of what one may term Turkish Political Personality Syndrome.
This syndrome is on full display today in “modern” Turkey’s constant
threats, chest-beating, belligerence, malignant narcissism, hypocrisy,
extortion, despotism, cruelty, crudeness, lies, broken pledges, and, of
course, the use of violence. One cannot think of even one positive
Turkish political quality.
The countless victims of Turkish violence down through the centuries
are proof of Turkish leaders’ disordered state of mind.
There is little indication that either Turkey’s policies toward
Armenians or their leaders’ disorder will ever change. Indeed, they may
grow more threatening.
Yet, Armenians still hope that Turkey will change. How to make them
aware that the Turkish threat is here to stay?
Young people will, of course, become the adults who conduct the
political, economic, cultural, and military affairs of Armenia. They
must be equipped intellectually and psychologically to deal with Turkey.
From a young age, Armenian students must study — but not in Turkish
schools — Turkish history, geo-politics, and language, and their
application to present-day Armenian-Turkish relations.
The Turkish political personality and its violent and deceitful
tendencies must be dissected and understood.
This is not easy, for two reasons. First, Armenians are bombarded by
pro-Turkish and “reconciliation” propaganda from around the world and
even by some Armenians. Second, we Armenians are unlike Turks and often
have difficulty understanding their political culture.
Ultimately, future generations of Armenians will have to choose whom to
believe. Will it be the allegedly “reformed, modern” Turkey? The
international media that kowtows to Turkey? Countries that historically
have betrayed Armenia?
Or will Armenians learn from the past and the hard-earned wisdom of
Their decision may determine whether Armenia lives or dies.
David Boyajian is a freelance journalist. Many of his articles are
archived on Armeniapedia:
http://armeniapedia.org/wiki/David_B._Boyajian[blog_list style=”def” display=”specific” category=”null” specific=”1864″]