Genocide allegations as political instrument

Published 07.06.2016 00:57

A number of parliaments around the world have adopted similar laws on the Armenian genocide issue, so one can say the international community has already made its decision about the matter. Laws are being adopted in parliaments, which are political institutions, so it is also a fact that talking about the Armenian genocide is essentially political.

In 2004, Dutch parliament adopted a law mentioning the "genocide issue," but Germany has directly qualified the events of 1915 as genocide in the declaration adopted by its parliament.

The genocide debate is indeed an issue, and a very complicated one. We know that many crimes against humanity were perpetrated against innocent people during World War I. The international community, however, seems to forget about all other crimes and focuses on this single event. Adopting these resolutions has little to do with upholding human values.

When parliaments express their views by adopting official declarations and laws, it becomes impossible to discuss the matter, as the denial of genocide is also considered a criminal offense. This closes the door to further discussion and research. One can only guess that the archives in Russia, Germany or the Vatican are full of documents on the Armenian genocide issue, or on World War I in general, but they remain inaccessible. Maybe adopting these laws aims at preventing discussion on these sources.

These parliaments believe that labeling the events of 1915 as genocide will improve Turkey's democracy. It is true that Turkey has to face its past to become a more democratic country, but pressure from the outside world only makes things harder. The pressure is seen as antagonism by people in Turkey, and instead of carrying out a coolheaded discussion about history, people tend to defend every mistake in their common past. This attitude makes most Turks try to defend the governments of the final decade of the Ottoman Empire, which were not particularly good governments. The rulers of the time had made many mistakes indeed, but because of the resolutions of recognition of the 1915 Armenian incidents as genocide, today's Turks feel as if they have to defend these rulers.

Foreign pressure only exacerbates Turkish nationalism, so people in Turkey do not feel the need to look at the historical events from a human perspective. They see these debates solely as a political instrument. This is because relations between Turkey and Armenia are still problematic.

Genocide recognitions put relations between Turkey and the West under unnecessary pressure, as well. Maybe that is exactly what is expected from these laws. People who adopt these laws know perfectly that these exacerbate Turkish nationalism and make it impossible to discuss the matter quietly in Turkey. So, one of the purposes of these resolutions could be to prevent Turkey's democratization. The declaration adopted by Germany emphasizes the need to improve relations between Turkey and Armenia, but precisely because of this declaration, these two countries will continue to antagonize one other.

In brief, one must say that these kinds of resolutions are not constructive. Turkey always reacts the same way and feels that these laws are unjust. One cannot say that those behind these resolutions have good intentions for Turkey. They clearly try to sabotage relations between Turkey and the EU and between Turkey and Armenia. That is why the genocide debate is nothing more than a foreign policy instrument for them without any humanitarian dimension whatsoever.

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