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      Turkey Sinks into More Turmoil

Turkey Sinks into More Turmoil   17/03/2005

Leaders Try to Keep Country Afloat As Turkey Sinks into More Turmoil
 
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The Turkish State is sinking into more turmoil with every passing day.
Several members of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s ruling Justice and
Development Party have resigned from their parliamentary seats in recent
weeks. The Party has been accused of corruption and receiving funds from
suspicious sources overseas. The press, feeling somewhat shielded by the
European Union, is more brazenly exposing the scandals associated with the
government and is using harsher tones in criticizing the Prime Minister’s
shortcomings. In the midst of all this internal turmoil, the government is
trying to overcome the many obstacles facing its quest for membership in the
European Union, while nervously attempting to quell the Armenian demands on
the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Turkish newspapers have
published literally hundreds of articles on the Armenian Genocide in the
past couple of weeks alone. This has become such a burning issue within
Turkey that judging from the volume of ink on this subject, one would think
that the genocide had just taken place, rather than a century ago. Turkish
officials are getting more and more apprehensive as April 24 is approaching.
The EU is further squeezing the Turks by demanding that they face their
bloody past and improve their present legal system and behavior.

Here is a sample of the issues covered by the Turkish media in the past few
days:

The Turkish Ministry of Ecology and Forestry announced that it has decided
to delete the words “Kurdish” and “Armenian” from the names of the “Kurdish
fox” and the “Armenian sheep.” The Ministry said that the names of these
animals were threatening the unity of the Turkish State! It is amazing that
a country with the second largest army in NATO is feeling threatened by a
couple of animal names. What’s next? Are the Turks going to change the names
of some food items fearing that they may endanger Turkey’s national
security? There must be an enemy lurking behind every bush!

There was a worldwide outcry at the televised scenes of the Turkish police
brutally beating the female demonstrators participating in a protest march
during the International Women’s Day in Istanbul earlier this month.
European officials said they were shocked by these scenes of excessive use
of force. Instead of chastising the police, the Prime Minister criticized
the women in the march and blamed the Turkish media for reporting the
beatings. One Turkish newspaper said in a banner headline, “joining Europe
will be tough with this mentality.” The European Parliament promptly passed
a resolution stating that it “strongly condemns the police brutality in
Istanbul” and asked the EU to conduct an investigation. Some EU officials
questioned the readiness of Turkey to start negotiations for joining the
European Union.

Prominent Turkish commentator Semih Idiz wrote that the Turkish government
had not even implemented the Hatti Himayun reforms it had proclaimed in
1839, let alone those being adopted nowadays to comply with the EU
requirements. Going even further, Idiz said that the Young Turk revolution
of 1908, “hailed by Turks, Armenians and Greeks alike,” deteriorated into “a
modern-day ultra-nationalist tyranny under which all of these peoples of the
empire suffered greatly and without exception.”

Last week, Prime Minister Erdogan and the leader of the main opposition
party, at a joint press conference, called for Turkish and Armenian
historians to study the “events of 1915.” This is yet another clever ploy by
the Turkish side - similar to TARC. This suggestion would kill three birds
with one stone: it would distract the attention of the public away from
domestic turmoil, appease the EU, and undermine the Armenian demands on the
90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Many non-Armenians along with some Armenians mistook the Turkish
announcement as a gesture of goodwill, hoping that the “historians” would
prove the facts of the genocide to the Turks, leading to a long sought out
recognition.

Fortunately, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, having learned from
the lessons of TARC, did not fall for this Turkish trick. He immediately
dismissed this suggestion. “The historians have already said their piece and
it is now up to Turkey to determine its attitude,” he said. “It is not a
question for historians. They have already done their work…. But since
Turkey denies this, this has become a political issue and so needs a
political solution,” Oskanian said.

The Armenian Genocide is an established historical fact. It is an insult for
any Armenian to be asked to prove it. The Turkish leaders know full well the
extent of the crimes committed by their ancestors. They just don’t want to
admit their country’s criminal past. If the Turks are sincere about wanting
to study what happened in 1915, they had 90 years to do it.

The whole world knows what happened in 1915. We do not need any more
investigations. There is no doubt about the Turkish guilt. The only thing
that remains to be discussed is the appropriate penalty for having committed
genocide!


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