Taking Grassroots Activism to the Next Level

Change we can believe in?

December 12th, 2008 by

by Aleek Kahramanian

Gul-Sarkisyan: real change or just another Turkish ruse?With 2008 coming to an end, it is only natural to look back and remember noteworthy events – Obama’s victory, eight Olympic gold medals for Michael Phelps in Beijing, a warming of Turkey – Armenia relations. Yes indeed, times are a-changing.

Or, are they?

Take the Turkey-Armenia case, for instance. This past September, Turkey’s president Abdullah Gul accepted an invitation from his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan to watch a soccer match between the two countries. It was a bold move for Armenia – a victim of genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turkish authorities from 1915-1923 and a Turkish government imposed blockade since 1993. Sargsyan’s invitation could bring about greater regional stability and peace – if the Turkish Government emerged as an honest negotiating partner.

And that’s a big if.

Immediately after Pres. Gul returned to Ankara, his Foreign Ministry team was fast at work issuing statements that, with this new “soccer diplomacy” in progress, countries worldwide should refrain from speaking about the Armenian Genocide – threatening that speaking the truth about this crime against humanity would somehow upset the delicate negotiations.

Just today, the Turkish Parliament “urged the parliaments of third party countries not to disrupt the process of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia with efforts to recognize the 1915-dated events as “genocide”. “Politicians and parliaments cannot judge history, ” said Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan.

And what about the vicious media attacks against a handful of Turkish scholars who issued an apology for the “great catastrophe” committed against the Armenians? And, Pres. Gul’s announced plans to pressure Israeli President Shimon Peres to enlist the support of U.S. Jewish groups against Armenian Genocide legislation – forcing the victims of Holocaust to become complicit in genocide denial?

So what’s really going?

Could it be that Team Turkey is simply concerned that real change in the United States – the election of a President committed to ending genocide in Darfur and calling for Armenian Genocide recognition – would further isolate Turkey in its genocide denial?

Or, perhaps Team Turkey, through the pretense of warmer ties with Armenia, seeks simply to cover up the fact that its European Union accession efforts are floundering due to an unwillingness to bring about real human rights reform, stop the cultural and economic repression of the Kurds, or end their occupation of Cyprus.

One thing is certain. After 93 years of Turkey’s genocide denial, it’s tough for international observers not to be cynical about Turkey’s commitment to truth and human rights.

And the Gul Administration’s actions since his much-hyped visit to Armenia just reinforces the point.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us
  • Google

This entry was posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008 at 9:20 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply