Finally…U.S. Recognition

Franz Werfel, Raphael Lemkin and Henry Morgenthau Editorial, 26 April 2021

«A Campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.» Ambassador Henry Morgenthau (Telegram, July 16, 1915)

«The old sporadic fanaticism of religious hatred had been skilfully perverted into the cold, steady fanaticism of national hate.» Franz Werfel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933)

«Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? Hitler (1939)

«It [Genocide] happened to the Armenians.» Raphael Lemkin (CBS News 1948)

President Joe Biden’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide received widespread global coverage and reaction from Armenians and non-Armenians. Senior politicians, the media, organizations, institutions, think tanks, pundits, and political parties reacted in a diverse manner to the historic declaration. Canada’s and America’s national newspapers (“The Globe and Mail” and “The New York Times”) commented on the significance of Biden’s words. Below is’s take on American recognition. The impact sequence is not weighted in order of importance.

  1. It will hurt Turkey’s economy
  2. A weaker economy might make Erdogan less aggressive
  3. Although the Turkish political elite was unanimous in their denunciation of Mr. Biden’s words, the statement will create divisions in the Turkish body politic. It makes unavoidable for some Turks to wonder about their government’s version of the Genocide. Hope against hope: it might encourage democratic forces to acknowledge the Genocide
  4. We –in Armenia and in the Diaspora needed a psychological boost after last fall’s catastrophe
  5. It will worsen American/Turkish relations
  6. For a long time, the Genocide was considered “ancient” news thus of no interest to the media. It makes the Genocide news again
  7. It could encourage some fence-sitting nations to recognize the Genocide
  8. It might make Turkbaijan circumspect about getting aggressive or threatening
  9. It made Armenia of news interest rather than be dismissed as “a small, remote, ex-Soviet state in Southern Caucasus.”
  10. It will hurt Turkey’s image. In recent years, Ankara has spent millions to improve Turkey’s image
  11. It might discourage tourism to Turkey. Tourism represents 12% of the economy
  12. In one-on-one relations, it would encourage non-Armenians to condemn Turkey and argue with Turks who deny the veracity of the Genocide. This could be particularly acute in Europe where there are millions of Armenian Genocide-denying Turks.
  13. It would discourage political apparatchiks, misguided technocrats, Soros-ites, “modern thinkers”, and “reconciliationists” in Armenia from pursuing defeatist “peace” projects with murderous Turkey and Azerbaijan
  14. Non-Armenian book publishers will be more open to publishing books about Armenia, Armenians, and the Armenian Genocide
  15. It brings back to the fold Armenians who had given up hope about our chances of gaining U.S. recognition or any success of Hye Tadd
  16. It tells Armenians that when we work together, we can impact global politics
  17. It rewards nations, starting with Uruguay, which recognized the Genocide long ago. It tells them their recognition was just, right, and politically savvy. It might bring these countries closer to Armenia and to the Armenian Diaspora
  18. It could save time in our interactions with non-Armenians when we are introduced. Knowing about our tragedy, their approach–no matter the subject or work at hand–would start on a positive note
  19. It is a huge defeat for the Turkish lobby in Washington
  20. Armenians–especially its Diaspora–will gain international admiration for their victory over a powerful Turkey which has threatened nearly a dozen nations in the past decade
  21. The recognition might enable Armenia to pursue a legal process to prohibit the denial of the Genocide by law
  22. It has the potential of making Armenian Genocide study part of U.S. school educational curricula and expand Armenian Genocide studies at universities
  23. Its timing might be a signal to Turkbaijan that the U.S. will not tolerate genocide and thus make sure Erdogan never again repeats genocidal talk
  24. The Turks will become anti-American
  25. Encourage more than a dozen nations/states that lived under the Turkish yatagan sword for centuries to get together and form a common front…sort of the Union of Nations that Recognize the Unspeakable Turk

Negative Impact of Biden’s Declaration

  1. Drive Erdogan into Putin’s arms. Yes, the pair are close, but they can get closer. Such a friendship would not be beneficial to Armenia
  2. To compensate for the hurt it caused to Turkey, America might offer gifts to Erdogan and forgive future aggressions
  3. Turks might make life more difficult for the Armenians of Turkey
  4. Turkey might incite and bribe political Islamists, Jihadists, and other criminals to destroy Armenian properties in Syria and Lebanon in addition to threatening/hurting Armenians in those two countries
  5. Having recognized the Genocide, America might believe it had “delivered the goods” and should not be expected to do more such as demand compensation, restitution from Turkey
  6. What’s the value of recognition when it doesn’t include compensation, restitution, and the return of Armenian lands? The criminal is convicted but is not sentenced. Without accountability, the acknowledgment is hollow and meaningless
  7. The statement condemned the Ottomans but not Turkey although Turkey has benefited from the Genocide and has always maintained its successor of the Ottoman Empire
  8. The statement by-passed the fact that the Armenian Genocide is not ancient history but a daily Turkish and Azerbaijani threat to Armenia. Only a few months ago, Erdogan talked about completing the work earlier Turkish generations had left unfinished
  9. For payback, Turkey might encourage Azerbaijan to intensify its threats and aggression of Armenia
  10. Some Armenians might think we have won and that we shouldn’t invest any more time to the Genocide
  11. We have to be circumspect about too much speculation, including indulging in skepticism: we would be like the fisherman who while sleeping haggles about what price he would charge next day for the fish he hasn’t caught or put in another way: counting the chicks before the hen has laid the eggs

But first, let’s celebrate. We have waited a l-o-n-g time for this day. Let’s not count the teeth of the gift horse. Let’s also thank the 30 states, the 49 U.S. states, and scores of jurisdictions from Brazil to Spain to France to Italy that have supported us in our campaign to gain recognition for the Armenian Genocide.

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