Hellenic Electronic Center

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Guardian UK 03/08/10

E-mail Print PDF
Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC)

A Non-Profit Organization Registered in the US

with 38,000 Hellenes as members and 36 Hellenic

associations in the US and abroad

March 10 ,2010
Stephen Kinzer's March 8 commentary "Turkey should pause before a mirror" reflects all that is
wrong with so called western journalism as it pertains to Turkey. The Turks committed Genocide
against the Armenians, this is an open and shut case not open to discussion with the ideological
heirs to the mass murderers who rule Turkey today. In addition, the Turks committed Genocide
against the Greeks and the Assyrians also. Mr. Kinzer's commentary is unethical owing to its
dishonest stance in favor of the Turkish dictatorship.
Mr. Kinzer mocks and ridicules the Greek communities of Constantinople and the islands of Imbros
and Tenedors, as well as the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus by pronouncing that Turkey is a
democracy. The systematic destruction of the Greek Christian minorities, the ongoing terrorist
attacks against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the closure of the Patriarchal School of Theology
prove that Turkey is no democracy. Turkey's brutal invasions of Cyprus resulted in the ethnic
cleansing of 200,000 Greek Cypriots but these victims of Turkish madness and terror have no value
for Mr. Kinzer and other Turkish quislings, anymore than the victims that came before them.
Turkey has no significance for the United States. That such a preposterous claim can be put forward
in the midst of overwhelming evidence showing the deep anti-American feelings in Turkey which
have been reflected in Ankara's refusal to assist Washington in Iraq and by the popularity of anti-American
films such as "Valley of the Wolves Iraq" demonstrate the utterly deceitful nature of journalists and
others friendly to Turkey, who willfully overlook that Turkey is a major threat to American security interests,
as well as refusing to admit that Turkey has been, and remains guilty of some of the most heinous
crimes against humanity that were perpetrated during the twentieth century.
Theodoros Karakostas

Turkey should pause before a mirror

Amid the finger-pointing, let's recall how Turkey helped push the US Congress committee toward its vote on Armenian genocide

Turkey protests

Leftist Turks shout slogans during a protest outside the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey, after a US congressional committee approved a resolution branding the 1915 killing of Armenians a genocide. Photograph: Burhan Ozbilici/AP

When a committee of the US Congress foolishly voted last week to brand as genocide the 1915 slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks, there was plenty of blame to go around. Ethnic lobbies, big-money politics and narrow-minded congressmen all played their part. Together they poked a gratuitous stick in the eye of a valuable friend. Once again America repeated its classic foreign policy blunder: do something that makes you feel good now, but that in the long run actually undermines American security interests.

Amid all this finger-pointing, however, it is only fair to single out one other culprit for this misguided vote: Turkey itself. After the vote, which was broadcast live on Turkish TV and followed as passionately if it were a World Cup match, thousands of Turks took to the streets in protest. They were right to be angry. As Turks try to figure out who brought this insult upon them, though, they should pause before a mirror.

Turkey has done three things that helped push the House foreign affairs committee toward its vote. First, despite signing a highly promising accord with Armenia last year, it has failed to close the deal. Relations between the two countries remain frozen, partly because of Turkey's insistence on tying normalisation to a withdrawal of Armenian troops from disputed Nagorno-Karabakh. The deal was to have included a clause assigning questions about the 1915 massacre to a committee of historians. If it had been signed and ratified, the genocide issue would be off the table – and probably off Washington's agenda.

Second, Turkey suffers from a creeping image deterioration in Washington. Some feel that Turkey has become too close to Iran, and resent the vigour of Turkey's opposition to sanctions on the Iranian regime – especially important since Turkey holds a rotating seat on the UN security council. These doubts might not have become as powerful if Israel, Turkey's old friend, had come to its rescue with lobbying help on Capitol Hill, as it has in the past. But Turkish leaders have sharpened their criticism of Israel lately, and the Israelis, seeking to show that they too have cards to play in this game, did not rush to help Turkey this time.

In considering not just the substance of its Middle East policy but the style in which it is presented, Turkey would do well to balance its relationships with Iran, Israel and the US more deftly.

Third and perhaps most profoundly, Turkey has brought itself to this point by its refusal to confront what happened to Ottoman Armenians in 1915. One reason Turks are so outraged at accusations made against their ancestors is that they have little access to the historical truth. Textbooks are distorted and politicians whip up nationalist fervor for votes. "Why are we trying to cover up this horrible crime, why are we trying to defend the murderers, to disguise their crimes, why are we squirming to keep truth buried, even at the risk of being humiliated?" the Turkish commentator Ahmet Altan asked in a column after the vote in Washington.

"If you feel humiliated, you should take a hard look at yourself and what you hide."

In the last few years, Turkey has emerged to play a new and highly promising role in the Middle East and beyond. As a successful Islamic democracy allied with the west, it can be a powerful force for regional peace – and, not incidentally, a uniquely valuable partner for the US. For Turkey to play the role it seeks as a broker and conciliator, though, it it must continue to mature politically and diplomatically. The vote in Washington should lead Turks to reflection. A final accord with Armenia, a more elegant way of balancing relations with Iran, Israel and the United States, and an end to denial of what happened in 1915 would dramatically improve both Turkey's global stature and its ability to help stabilise the world's most volatile region.

Copyright © 2023 Hellenic Electronic Center. All Rights Reserved.

HEC Sponsors

greece.org - US Website Sponsor
ehk.gr - GR Website Sponsor



Parthenon Marbles

Credit or PayPal

Enter Amount: