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Review & Outlook - 12/02/2009

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TRILOGIES

TURKEY, ARMENIA, AND THE TERRIBLE TRUTH

Or

ERDOGAN, OBAMA, AND DECEMBER 7


Armenian News Network / Groong
December 3, 2009

By Raffi K. Hovannisian

YEREVAN, ARMENIA


Turkey has always had its share of decent folks.

One close example is the righteous family who, during the great
genocide and national dispossession of 1915, risked its own to save my
grandmother Khengeni from certain death in the coastal town of Ordu.
The stories of thousands like them have not been told because of the
Turkish state's official dialectic of denial.

Apart from the remnant 50,000 of the established Armenian community,
at least two million people in today's Turkey draw lineage from an
Armenian grandparent who was orphaned, stolen or saved--but in all
cases turkified--in the killing fields of Ottoman-occupied historic
Armenia. Voiceless and in another kind of denial, these progeny of
mixed marriages are only now taking their first tentative steps in
search of their real identity.

In the wake of Hrant Dink's still unsolved assassination by Turkey's
deep state and its racist speech laws, a new class of conscientious
and independent-thinking Turks has begun to form amid a belated
realization that Turkey can never graduate to the free world unless it
faces the unprecedented evil in its historical closet. Still far from
the mainstream, these brave new Turks know that their republic was
founded not only on the deaths of millions of Armenians, Assyrians,
Greeks and Kurds, but more viscerally on the systematic and complete
erasure of the Armenian nation and its civilization from their
ancestral heartland. They deserve full faith and credit in their
quest to liberate their country from nearly 90 years of false
pretense, fraudulent education, and exclusivist nation-building.

				* * *

That is why the world's movers and shakers have little ground for the
kind of euphoria that they have widely been deploying to applaud the
recent signature by the Turkish and Armenian governments of two
protocols that promise, upon parliamentary ratification, to lead to
Ankara's ultimate agreement to open diplomatic relations with Yerevan
and then to lift its long-standing blockade against it.

Superficial and feel-good formulations about the historic import of
this development, whether they issue from Washington, Brussels or
Moscow, seem purposefully to hide a few fundamental truths.

The current Armenian administration has no legitimate public standing
to speak in this seminal matter on behalf of the Armenian people.
Having come to power in 2007-08 through fraud, forgery, and the blood
of scores of citizens, it now seeks to shore up its legitimacy deficit
by reference to foreign-policy offerings which sound good to Western
ears but which in fact seek surrogate rewards for authoritarian
demeanor. Once again, the `international community' has moved
dangerously to trump democratic principles and due process by its
strong-armed resort to problem-solving geopragmatism.

The current Turkish administration is the successor to the Young Turk
government that premeditated and executed the Armenian genocide and
the corollary killing of homeland under the cover of World War I. It
is the successor to the Kemalist movement which in 1920-21 entered
into a creative complicity with Russia's Bolsheviks to overturn US
President Woodrow Wilson's arbitral award respecting Armenia's de jure
frontiers through their occupation and partition of the
newly-independent Republic of Armenia; to delimit a de facto boundary
between Soviet Armenia and Turkey which amounted to a surgical
usurpation of most of the Armenian patrimony; and to alienate the
Armenian territories of Karabagh and Nakhichevan to Soviet Azerbaijan.
This was the precursor to Molotov-Ribbentrop a generation later.

The Turkish-Armenian draft protocols presently being considered and
congratulated include references to asserting the illegal de facto
border without simultaneously resolving issues of redemption,
restoration, and return which arise from the underlying crimes against
humanity: both the Genocide and the ensuing Turkish-Russian
conspiracy. Hence, they are ab initio invalid, immoral, and
impolitic.

Most unfortunately, the papers on the table, as well-intentioned as
they might be, and the PR posturing and point-scoring associated with
them do not constitute the basis for a full and enduring regulation of
the Turkey-Armenia relationship and a truly historic reconciliation
between their peoples. They are pleasant--and deceptive--window
dressing and nothing more.

				* * *

When Turkey, Armenia, and the community of nations grow up to the
gravity of the watershed challenge at hand, they will shift their
gears, deliver on democracy and the rule of rights, and confront and
correct history and its legacies of injustice. In this spirit, and
far from positing resolution on Mountainous Karabagh as a precondition
to Turkish-Armenian normalization, they will ultimately recognize its
God-given, legitimate right to post-stalinist decolonization, liberty,
and sovereign statehood.

And only in this way will we forge and then witness the region's first
post-genocide partnership.

Now is the time for the distinguished Turkish prime minister--and the
American president whom he is set to visit shortly in Washington--to
grasp that this is the final solution. Not the other one.


--
Raffi Hovannisian, who represents the opposition Heritage party in
Parliament, was independent Armenia's first minister of foreign
affairs.

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