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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jive Turkey

posted by on October 17 at 0:41 AM

Obviously, the resolution is unfortunately timed (about a century too late), and obviously the situation on the ground in Iraq is pressing, but goddamnóshouldn’t this bit of semantics matter, especially now? Turkey is going to withdraw its support (which could mean not just pulling troops but also maybe raiding Northern Iraq to clash with the Kurdish Workers Party) if the U.S. House of Representatives acknowledges what we all know about their ugly past? How is that acceptable? And how craven do the reps on both sides sound when scurrying for cover? And, oh yeah, how many Armenians have to have been slaughtered because they were Armenians for it to be called a genocide 92 years later? Even by the country that committed it? Even a noted German leader understood this one (well, allegedly).

RSS icon Comments

1

Pelosi had gone bonkers.

Now US foreign policy is facing backwards in time.

God, how smart in this world with so many problems in the NOW.

Is modern Turkey still part of the Ottoman Empire? Just joking.

Posted by Essex | October 17, 2007 3:35 AM
2

If were going to start condemning every bad act from every country committed over their history we might as well forget about congress doing anything else for a few years.

Maybe we can pass a useless resolution condemning all bad acts at once and get it over with. Once we appease the hippies with a that kind of pointless platitude maybe they'll shut up for a bit and we can get some real work done.

Posted by Giffy | October 17, 2007 7:18 AM
3

Lets have a cry-off between Ellen Deneneress and Chris Crocker

Posted by Crying Game | October 17, 2007 7:24 AM
4

I'm with Giffy @2 for maybe the first time ever. What does a resolution do anyway?

It reminds me of those exercises in government that they encourage grade schoolers to do sometimes, where they draft a bill and get the governor to sign in a new state butterfly or something equally benign. At least that has a teaching component.

Posted by Tizzle | October 17, 2007 8:02 AM
5

Traffic is stupid.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 17, 2007 8:02 AM
6

Wank, wank, wank, wank.

Posted by p | October 17, 2007 8:05 AM
7

What I want to know is, why was this resolution put forward this year, anyway? The victims, and most of their children and grandchildren, are dead. What help does this give them?

Posted by Greg | October 17, 2007 8:06 AM
8

This whole issue just shows the extent to which System of a Down controls our foreign policy.

Posted by Gabriel | October 17, 2007 8:09 AM
9

There are actually survivors still alive and living in this country. Not sure about the timing of this resolution, but these sorts of resolutions are sometimes meaningless, sometimes an easy deliverable to a particular constituency at home for a particular member, or sending a bigger message, in this case to the White House -- or maybe Turkey?

I'm not sure why they would send this particular message to a tone deaf and blind administration or to one of our few allies at a very precarious time. I guess our new Democratic majority is also a bit tone deaf. They could have done this resolution the first day they convened for the 2009 session.

This resolution is probably the culmination of someone's life work, but timing is everything, right?

Posted by ahava | October 17, 2007 8:19 AM
10

One problem is that the Armenian genocide was committed under the multi-ethnic Ottoman empire with extensive participation of the local Kurdish populations. The political entity Turkey was created from the ground up a number of years after this under a completely different military and political leadership, contrary to the will of the Ottoman government that remained following defeat in WWI.

Leaving aside the effort by Turkey to present all history of the Turkish ethnicity as generally good, it has to seem like a very calculated insult to modern Turkey for the United Staes to go out of it's way to condemn the acts of the Ottoman state a hundred years later.

[The Turks are also wondering why their NATO ally, the United States, can't work with them to counter Iraq based Kurdish groups killing Turkish soldiers and citizens in Turkey when the United States itself has labeled these Kurdish groups terrorists.]

Note: the United States had a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide of Native Americans in settling the American West and we ARE the same country. Now that would be a relevant condemnation.

It is a immense tragedy for the Armenians of Anatolia. But followed shortly thereafter by the defeat and dismemberment of the Ottman empire and the vicious Turkish-Greek war in the early 20s, I'm just not sure the right parties to condemn or their direct descendants exist anymore.

In any case, I think it was bat shit crazy for the US congress right now to go out of its way to pursue this symbolic effort to aid the Armenian grieving process.

Posted by mirror | October 17, 2007 8:22 AM
11

While I can see the symbolism to this resolution, I agree with the above comments that it seems completely unnecessary.

If Turkey invades northern Iraq and we don't protect them, it will be just like the first gulf war where we promised to protect the Kurds if they fought....yeah, that turned out well for them. Not to mention that the Kurdish area is one of the few safe areas in Iraq right now.

The fact that Turkey would even consider taking action now against the PKK is fucking bullshit. We need to create a Kurdish state, after we make the Palestinian one. Because face it, since when have we let *any* country decide our nation building strategy? We already have our noses in the middle east, lets just fuck that pony to a new level.


Posted by Original Monique | October 17, 2007 8:23 AM
12

Hell, Congressmen are currently drafting an official apology for U.S. slavery (not making this up folks), which will of course diffuse all racial strife in the country so we can finally build that city on a hill, right? Can I get an amen?

During his presidency, Clinton contemplated it, and then backed off. While symbolic acts can lead to conversation and reappraisal (and one hopes, change), frankly don't we have some very pressing real problems (massive debt, huge credit crisis, festering wars) that deserve our unobscured attention?

Posted by andy niable | October 17, 2007 8:34 AM
13

It's not genocide unless a ridiculous bunch of stuffed shirts says it's genocide, 90 years later.

Mirror is right. This is a disaster. The US Senate has no business in the matter at all; it's a question for historians. Of course it was genocide, but right now Turkey is the center of the universe -- the Europe question, the Iraq question, the whole Middle East and radical Islam question.

This isn't about "appeasement"; the government that committed the genocide is long gone. The Ottoman Empire was, in it's declining years, er, century, a shithole of immense proportions. But what is to be gained by this resolution? Justice? I don't think so. This is a huge disservice to those in Turkey who are trying to stay modern.

Posted by Fnarf | October 17, 2007 8:35 AM
14

I agree with mirror and Fnarf on this one, but I did have a cold thought about the timing. Could this be a cynical attempt by the Democratic leadership to make the occupation of Iraq impossible by cutting off US access to Turkish military bases? But then I realized that the Democrats are 1) not that evil, and 2) not competent enough to achieve that level of scheming, and 3) not really sure they want to end the war anyway.

Posted by Cascadian | October 17, 2007 9:04 AM
15

It's all just a distraction from the War. Which is kind of funny, since it may backfire and actually fuel more bloodshed in Iraq (and Turkey).

Goddamn System of a Down!

Posted by BillyBob | October 17, 2007 9:10 AM
16

WHAT the FUCK.

Posted by Nick | October 17, 2007 9:25 AM
17

politically, turkey is becoming more religious, more islamic. just as israel's strike in lebennon hurt the moderate's cause, so does this resolution -- even if justified. will will drum up more support for the islamists in turkey, and for their war with the kurds.

turkey does have a problem with the kurds. both ideologically and regionally. there is rasism there, and there are what can only be considered military squirmishes (if not terrorism).

a kurdish state does not solve these problems -- and if you want to see turkey really get upset with us watch them when/if we suggest that.

the resolution (i've read it) reads like a breif history text, with two policies at the end. both are benign, involving historical materials and the pres to mention in an address (if i understand correctly). it is unfortunate that modern turkey is so upset by a resolution that does nothing but note what people who used to live in that area under a different government did.

Posted by infrequent | October 17, 2007 10:09 AM
18
Posted by infrequent | October 17, 2007 10:12 AM
19

Since Turkey is so hot to join the EU, why can't we let Europe deal with this?

Anyway, I do think the Turks a bunch of whiners. Just blame it on the Ottomans. And, don't even get me started about the Chinese bitching about the Dalai Lama's Medal of Honor.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 17, 2007 10:16 AM
20

@18
infrequent

thanks for the link to the resoltuion. You are right. It appears fairly benign, but there are implications...

For example clause no. 6 "The chief organizers of the Armenian Genocide, Minister of War Enver, Minister of the Interior Talaat, and Minister of the Navy Jemal were all condemned to death for their crimes, however, the verdicts of the courts were not enforced."

This clause implies that the newly created country of Turkey tried these top organizers but then did nothing. My reading indicates that all three of the top instigators had already fled to Europe and were tried in absentia. Talaat and Jemal [Djemal] were assasinated in Berlin in 1922 by Armenian activist/assasins. Enver Pasha was killed in Central Asia in 1922 trying to organize a pan-Turkish movement and resistance to the take over by the Bolsheviks of the Csarist colonial holdings in Central Asia.

The resolution would clearly make someone believe the Turkish government of the new state of Turkey just let them wander around Istanbul freely after their conviction and death sentence.

The resolution has other similar odd aspects to it.

Anyway, all of us and our congress people would do well to learn more about the break up of the Ottoman empire and its implications for our current situation in the Middle East. Certainly, one can't understand the intense insecurities of Turkey without understanding what happened then.

Posted by mirror | October 17, 2007 11:20 AM
21

Mirror, no one could possibly understand Ottoman politics early in the last century better than the collection of brilliant scholars on the US House of Representatives. Do you think any congressman even was consulted during the writing of the amendment? It was written by lobbyists, like everything else they do there.

Posted by Fnarf | October 17, 2007 1:30 PM
22


First of all, the Turks were gonna invade Iraq, w/or without the Resolution. They'd already killed hundreds of Kurds before the Resolution was on the table. Second of all, what happened to all the macho Americans who say we can't be pushed around by bullies, but we are okay to being bullied by Turkey for passing a "symbolic resolution" about something that happened almost a hundred years ago? Does time really erase history? How many years will it take for people to forget 9-11? Why will it be any less significant decades from now than it is today? How would the families' victims feel if it were used as a pawn for another country's political agenda? Now, finally, ask yourselves this. If the Genocide were such an "insignificant" event in history, why have Armenians spent the last 100 years using it in their poetry, songs,artwork, and dance? Why do they build monuments to this tragedy? Why do they go so out of their way to do the "un-pc" thing? Why does a tiny, blip of a Christian country in the midst of moslem countries, dare to even stand up to Turkey, the U.S.'s ally? Why would it put so much on the line to promote, as Turkey callse, it, "a fabrication." Apparently, there is more to the story than what our American media reports. Finally, "modern" Turkey is the same Turkey that allowed Hrant Dink to be murdered. Dink begged the Turkish police for protection, yet they did nothing to keep him from being shot in broad daylight. To add salt to this wound: the murderer posed for pictures with the arresting officers. Ottoman Turkey? 'fraid not. As for someone's "question" about Turkey being part of Ottoman Turkey, this can only be answered by its condemnation of the crimes Ottoman Turkey committed.


Posted by resolution supporter | October 21, 2007 2:18 PM

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