Turkey’s prime minister needs to relocate himself to humanity instead of threatening to expel Armenian workers in response to international recognitions of the WWI genocide.
Angry with parliamentarian moves in Sweden and the US to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide as such, Turkey’s leader, prime minister Erdogan, has threatened to deport (and international media are surprisingly reporting it) what he counts as 100,000 citizens of Armenia working without documentation in Turkey.
Like his predecessors – and much of Turkey’s nationalist base – Erdogan has been denying that the deportation and mass killings of Ottoman Turkey’s indigenous Armenians, that reduced the number of the Armenian community from 2 million to a few thousand, was genocide. His even more radical colleagues even refuse to accept the deportations as such by using the term “relocation” instead. Here are a few rhetorical questions for him.
Mr. Erdogan, don’t you see how your unhealthy reference proves that your predecessors – who you claim couldn’t commit genocide because Muslims, let alone Turks, are incapable of that crime – could have easily exterminated an entire community (that had been one of the most loyal and the most industrious in an empire they hadn’t consented to being a part of) during a world war when you are threatening to deport their descendents – who are the indigenous people of Turkey and have as much right – if not more – to live and work in that country than you or your family do – for mere nonbinding western resolutions?
Mr. Erdogan, don’t you know that the thousands of illegal Armenians in Turkey are there because, in part, your government has helped worsen their lives by blockading already landlocked Armenia – a country unsustainable even without your blockade since it has no access to sea or other resources thanks to the genocide your predecessors committed in western Armenia with a follow-up war against the tiny first Republic of Armenia which was made even tinier after you stole more land from it?
Mr. Erdogan, don’t you know that most of Armenia’s residents are descendants of genocide survivors whose indigenous lands your predecessors stole, whose families your predecessors raped and killed, and who want nothing from you but a mere courage to recognize historic injustices?
Unfortunately, Mr. Erdogan, you know all of the above. You helped restore one of Turkey’s most beautiful churches in historic Armenia (alas, thousand others are wiped out or in ruins) a few years ago; so maybe you have some heart. What you don’t know is where to find courage – and help your mislead society do the same – to depart your factory of history and deport yourself back to humanity.
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