False Friend, Tiresome Threats

Arpiar Petrossian, Tehran, 30 August 2014

The below article was submitted to Keghart.com by Arpiar Petrossian as comment (Caviar Diplomacy vs. Dedication). Because of its comprehensive look at a disturbing phenomenon, we've decided to publish it as an article.–Editor.

You are so right! Especially about the politicians’ difference of view with that of boy scouts.               

Hardly would anyone doubt it. Yet for a whole century (99.25 years, to be precise) we have kept preaching the politicians on our rightfulness and the answer –if any – has been: “Yes of course, my dear; but after all, the Turks are our allies; Turkey is the only steady regime in Near/Middle East [usually: ‘a sea of turmoil’], a west leaning secular democracy among Islamist dictatorships and a major trade partner of the west, especially of the U.S. Do you expect us to offend and alienate them?” 

Arpiar Petrossian, Tehran, 30 August 2014

The below article was submitted to Keghart.com by Arpiar Petrossian as comment (Caviar Diplomacy vs. Dedication). Because of its comprehensive look at a disturbing phenomenon, we've decided to publish it as an article.–Editor.

You are so right! Especially about the politicians’ difference of view with that of boy scouts.               

Hardly would anyone doubt it. Yet for a whole century (99.25 years, to be precise) we have kept preaching the politicians on our rightfulness and the answer –if any – has been: “Yes of course, my dear; but after all, the Turks are our allies; Turkey is the only steady regime in Near/Middle East [usually: ‘a sea of turmoil’], a west leaning secular democracy among Islamist dictatorships and a major trade partner of the west, especially of the U.S. Do you expect us to offend and alienate them?” 

The whole argument is another misinformation provided by Turkish (and lately Azeri) lobbies – not to politicians, mind you, (they are usually convinced through more persuasive means) but to the general public who stomach it as a justification. While keeping up our informative campaign on both the Genocide and Gharabagh, we should underline the fact that neither Turkey nor Azerbaijan is much of a prize for the west; they are more of a burden.                              

Let us have a look at the major points of the arguments usually put forward:

Ally of the west (?):

Turkey is the only NATO member in open and manifest enmity with another member. It hopes to become an EU member while occupying half of another member’s land.  Its foreign policy has not always been in line with the interest of the west, as demonstrated by Mr. Erdogan’s lexicon reserved for Israel. Yes, there are some (rented) American military bases in Turkey. But then, Guantanamo does not make Cuba an American ally. Azerbaijan – despite its caviar diplomacy – buys its armament from Russia.

A steady regime (?):

Since 1960 there have been four military coups in Turkey, plus a civil war that lasted from 1978 to (the cease fire in) 2013. Of course the government calls it “pacification acts against terrorists”! Azerbaijan also had its share of military coups: one that brought the Aliev dynasty to power in 1993 and two that failed to topple it.

Secular (?):

Turkey started out as an Islamic Caliphate. After Ataturk got things his way in 1922, it became an anti religious (especially anti Islamic) state, as a means of modernization. “Anti” not in the sense of being basically against, more as a prefix, like anti-pope, anti-hero, anti-matter etc. meaning “of the same nature though in the opposite direction”. Now it is fast becoming an anti-anti-religious place, where the president says publicly that women should not laugh in public and where there are plans for building mosques on land confiscated from Armenians – like the days of Ottoman caliphs. Despite caviar’s dubious status at being halal (sturgeons, you know, have no scales), Azerbaijan has been a proud member of OIC since its independence.

Democracy (?):

Up to 1950 Turkey was officially a one party system. afterwards, each of the four military coups were followed by a period (1.5–3 years) of military rule. Even under “civilian” rule, the military has been bombing their own villages. Just a few months ago when scandal broke out about Erdogan’s financial activities, quite a number of judges and prosecution authorities were summarily arrested and fired. Later Erdogan was elected president, in elections judged by OSCE as not all that transparent and fair. Only one of Azerbaijan’s presidents, Ilcibey, is sometimes referred to as “democratically elected”.

Major trade partner (?):

It’s supposed to be an irresistibly convincing argument. Neither Turkey nor Azerbaijan is included in Wikipedia’s list of 16 major trade partners of the US. Nor are they mentioned among the 58 whose topmost partner is the US. They are not included in Canada’s top 10 partners. Turkey ranks 16th at trade with Germany. Neither are anywhere to be seen as importers of Australian goods and services and Turkey is only 22nd as an exporter to Australia. EU is somewhat different: Turkey ranks 6th among its customers, but with a balance of only 25 billion Euros for 28 nations.  The list can go on and on. In short, it indicates that Turkey and Azerbaijan desperately need the west whereas the west can well do without them (caviar and all).

Alienation(?):

This is a blackmail Turkey has often used – especially since the cold war: “If you do this or that, especially if you recognize the Genocide or befriend the Armenians, you won’t be seeing anymore of me; and then… woe and shudder!” This has been repeated so much and so often – both by Turks and their beneficiaries — that everyone, even many Armenians, believe they mean business. In actual fact it is a bluff. Experience shows there is a clear cut and repeating pattern: first the ambassador is summoned to Ankara and the Turkish government makes all kinds of noise, at the top of their lungs. Then, in about no time at all, they are back—hat in hand. Then they(and their younger brothers) start spending huge amounts on their Armenophobic lobby (good for the host!). Just look at Argentina, Canada, France, you name it. And let us not forget that the majority of EU members recognize the Genocide, yet Turkey is trying    so hard to join it.

Won’t somebody, please, tell these to Americans and those nations that are wary of hurting the Turks’ feelings?

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