Impunity: Thy Name Is Turkey

Avedis Kevorkian,Philadelphia, PA  USA, 16 October 2009

It must be a wonderful feeling to be a Turk.

You can kill with impunity.  You can invade another country with impunity.  You can renege on agreements, promises, treaties with impunity.
 
You can defy the United Nations with impunity (and also be elected to its Security Council).  You can defy the Council of Europe with impunity. 

You can defy the European Union (which you want to join) with impunity.  You can defy the European Court of Human Rights with impunity. 

And, the list goes on.

Avedis Kevorkian,Philadelphia, PA  USA, 16 October 2009

It must be a wonderful feeling to be a Turk.

You can kill with impunity.  You can invade another country with impunity.  You can renege on agreements, promises, treaties with impunity.
 
You can defy the United Nations with impunity (and also be elected to its Security Council).  You can defy the Council of Europe with impunity. 

You can defy the European Union (which you want to join) with impunity.  You can defy the European Court of Human Rights with impunity. 

And, the list goes on.

Now, not only can you lie with impunity, but also your courts will support you and find guilty of lying the person who proves you are a liar.

Some background, for those just tuning in.

During World War I and immediately after, Turkey committed the first state-conceived, state-planned, state-executed genocides of the 20th century when it killed upwards of two-million of its Christians–the Armenians, the Assyrians, the Pontic Greeks.  In 1916, Lord Bryce (with the bulk of the work done by a young Arnold Toynbee), presented a Blue Book to Parliament describing in detail the treatment of the Armenians and calling the attention of not only Britain but also the world to the massacres then going on.  (These annual reports to Parliament, analyzing the previous year’s history, are in blue-covers, hence the name.)

In its denial campaign, Turkey has attacked the Blue Book and its contents, calling it, among other names, “war-time propaganda” against Germany and its war-time ally, Turkey–as if truth cannot be used as propaganda!  In this campaign, Turkey’s Parliament sent a letter to the British Parliament asking that the book be officially discredited, and that Britain apologize to Turkey.  Britain, though not accepting the events of 1915 as Genocide against the Armenians, politely refused.

Turkey then said that Britain, on December 2, 1925, had already apologized to Turkey’s wartime ally, Germany.  This statement was made by Sukru Elekdag, former Turkish Ambassador to Washington.  In his statement, Elekdag stated that Foreign Secretary Austen Chamberlain, speaking in Parliament following a debate on the matter, had acknowledged that the Blue Book was entirely a work of propaganda and was completely fabricated, and he, therefore, apologized–but to Germany. Hence the campaign to gain an apology to Turkey, as well.  This campaign was also picked up by the so-called “scholars” that Turkey uses to justify its denial efforts, whose names will not sully this august site.

At this point, Taner Akçam, a Turk who has investigated the events of 1915 (and, now, it would appear, as well as of 1925) and who has written often about what he without qualms calls a Genocide of the Armenians, took off his jacket and jumped into the fray, and said that what Elekdag claimed was totally untrue.

Akçam was sued by Elekdag in three separate suits–one for each publication in which Akçam’s statement had appeared.  Naturally, the Turkish courts found for Elekdag.  At this writing, I don’t know what Akçam is going to do about the fines he has been instructed to pay.

Not wanting to take a stand based on one or the other’s claims, I asked a British historian if he would check the facts for me.  He has responded by saying that he has read through “Hansard” (the official record of the activities of the British Parliament–akin to the “Congressional Record,” for America’s Congress) and found no discussion in Parliament in 1925 about the Blue Book, no discussion about an apology, no speech by Austen Chamberlain on the subject, and no apology.  Thinking the date might be in error, he went to the trouble of checking the years 1924 and 1926, also.  Result: “no statement at all on Turkey or Armenia, and definitely nothing on the Bryce-Toynbee Blue Book.”

His conclusion?  “I am driven to conclude that Sukru Elekadag made up the whole thing.”

Will a little thing like the truth bother the Turk?  Not likely.  However, he now has impunity to lie.

 

Previous essays and comments of Avedis Kevorkian:

6 comments
  1. Impunity
    Although the facts exposed in this piece are exact and the author makes interesting points, I find it quite troublesome to speak in such general terms as "a Turk". We have been so used to use the word "Turk" to represent Turkish policies and government that we deny the existence of Turkish people outside of the policy-making officials. It is irrelevant to speak of a certain abstraction of a "Turk" in those terms. In fact, it would be much more considerate and politically pertinent to speak of the government and "official" organized denial, than to unjustly blame all of the population of Turkey. I totally disagree with the statement "It must be a wonderful feeling to be a Turk". Please replace "Turk" by "Turkish official".
    Sincerely,
    Nellie Hogikyan

    1. Turk
      Dear Nellie,

      Pardon my straightforwardness, but you appear to be nitpicking…
      Are all Turkish officials the same? Are all Armenians the same? The author had to use a term to express his feelings in the most concise way possible.

      1. I agree with Hovsep. 
        I agree with Hovsep. 

        Nellie; the officials were elected by the people and they are also Turkish citizens.  The current Turks that you are defending, might get elected for office in the future and they will act the same way as their predecessors (at least they have done so for the past 600+ years!)

        When we talk about the people, we are talking about their mentality, actions, crime, ancestors’ crimes, etc.  They haven’t shown any improvement since they occupied Armenia. How can you trust a nation like that?  I have lost all my condifence on any Turk.

        Having said that, I know that numerous Turkish familes have helped Armenians even during the massacres, but only to assimilate them as Turks. Also, I sometimes wish I was born a Turk because they are so proud of their nation and as Avedis Kevorkian puts it, they are so ‘protected’ and immune to their criminal actions!!!

        When will the other nations open their eyes and minds to see what the Turks are doing???  I hope it will not be too late…

    2. Reminds a novel and a quotation

      Kevorkian’s work reminds me of Kegham Sevan’s novel Pyureghia Teghiag (Crystal Castle).

      The author was born and raised in Turkey. He served in the Turkish army. To "escape" possible "harassment" by the Turkish authorities he moved to Beirut, Lebanon, and subsequently to Armenia.

      What’s relevant is that Sevan describes his younger days and his affection towards a Turkish girl. He could not avoid the conflict caused by his romantic feelings interacting with the emotions evoked by the expression, "Blessed is the one who says I am a Turk."

      Those were the words of Ataturk. School children would repeat them on all significant occasions, let alone people serving in the army.

      I can’t see why Kevorkian can’t use the word Turk in the singular when Ataturk does.

      If political correctness is to be used to silence emotions then people should just limit themselves to writing either scholarly papers or political treatises when dealing with certain subjects. Kevorkian’s is neither of them.

      It should not be treated out of context. I view it much like I would Elif Shefak’s title of her book The Bastard of Istanbul.

  2. Amen, Nellie
    Nellie, thank you for speaking out against this blatantly racist trope which yes happens to have a few facts sprinkled in.  We need more like you!  

  3. Well, I am a Turk

    Well, I am a Turk and I have no animosity whatsoever towards any Armenian. I guess this goes to show that most of you guys are wrong.

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