March 5 2010
Angry Turkish PM recalls ambassador over genocide classification
By R. C. Camphausen.
Minutes after US lawmakers voted to define the mass killings of
Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide, the angry Turkish PM
recalled his ambassador and warned this could potentially harm
relations between the two NATO allies.
"Denial is the final stage of genocide" is a quote by Gregory Stenton,
president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. The
quote has been published in an excellent article called State of
Denial from 2008, to be found on the association’s website. Then as
now, Turkey perceived a classification as genocide for what happened
in Armenia as a threat to its identity. In 2008, the country lobbied
extensively in order to influence the outcome, and it succeeded. The
committee then, and president Bush as well, hid their thoughts behind
public statements saying that one could not correctly judge the
situation as it was then.
Turkey was appeased. Yet this time around, in 2010, Turkey is angry
because a similar committee of US lawmakers has voted 23 to 22 for a
classification as genocide, saying that Turkey has to live up to its
history just as Germany has done.
According to France 24 quoting Reuters, what has happened now is this:
NATO member Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States for
consultations after a vote in a U.S. congressional committee on
Thursday branded the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks
In a statement, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also said he
was seriously concerned that the non-binding resolution would harm
This although the vote is more or less symbolic, as it is non-binding,
but Turkey does fear that president Obama may make good on his
campaign promise: "As President I will recognize the Armenian
Genocide." As candidate he said this on Jan. 19, 2008, and the waiting
is now for what he will say in 2010 as the president.
The above cited article State of Denial makes for very good reading,
as it exposes that Turkey has spent significant amounts of money on
lobbyists and dissident scholars to promote his own version of the
events, which denies that the 1915 massacres and deportations were
genocidal ethnic cleansing. In the Turkish view, it simply a war in
which errors were sometimes made.
However, most scholars and historians are in full agreement that more
than a million Armenians were exterminated, others forced to flee into
permanent exile. And that is exactly what the recent committee agreed
At present, there are a mere 20 nations in the world who also
recognize the Armenian genocide. Israel is not one of these, yet it
seems that public and official opinion are presently changing on the