Turkey: A Permanent Threat to Armenia

David Boyajian, 29 July 2012

If Turkey were to open its border with Armenia, and the two established diplomatic and trade relations, Turkey would still be a threat to Armenia.  

Turkey would be a threat even if it were to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, pay reparations, and return stolen Armenian property.  And the threat to Armenia would remain even if it someday regains its homeland which now lies in eastern Turkey.

Why?  Because Turkey’s belligerent policies towards Armenians, its pan-Turkic goals (PDF- Pan-Turkist Dreams and Post-Soviet Realities) in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and its neo-Ottoman ambitions pose essentially the same dangers today as at the time of the genocide. And they show no sign of ever changing.

David Boyajian, 29 July 2012

If Turkey were to open its border with Armenia, and the two established diplomatic and trade relations, Turkey would still be a threat to Armenia.  

Turkey would be a threat even if it were to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, pay reparations, and return stolen Armenian property.  And the threat to Armenia would remain even if it someday regains its homeland which now lies in eastern Turkey.

Why?  Because Turkey’s belligerent policies towards Armenians, its pan-Turkic goals (PDF- Pan-Turkist Dreams and Post-Soviet Realities) in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and its neo-Ottoman ambitions pose essentially the same dangers today as at the time of the genocide. And they show no sign of ever changing.

Aside from a general awareness of the genocide and present-day Turkish hostility, however, many Armenians and others are unfamiliar with key details of past and present Turkish policies.  Consequently, they underestimate the dangers that Armenia faces.

Even the commonly held view that “in 1915 the Young Turk regime committed genocide against Armenians in Turkey” is dangerously misleading.

The genocide actually lasted through 1923, five years after Turkey’s defeat in WWI.   Two regimes conducted the genocide: Ottoman Young Turk and Kemalist.  The latter, of course, founded today’s allegedly “modern” Turkey.   And the genocide took place not only in “Turkey” but also, ominously, on what was and is today the territory of the Republic of Armenia.

Endless Genocide

Turkifying and Islamizing the remnants of its empire was a key reason that Turkey destroyed its indigenous Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians during WWI (1914-18).  But Armenians and Armenian soil also lay just across the border, in the Caucasus region of the Russian empire, directly in the path of Turkey’s genocidal pan-Turkic jihad.  Turkey committed genocide against those Armenians too, and ripped large chunks of territory from the new Armenian Republic, which had just been reborn from Russian Armenia.  

Azeris — Turkey’s blood brothers then and now — also conducted large-scale massacres of Armenians in the Caucasus in WWI and through 1920.

After Turkey’s defeat in 1918, Turkish forces under Kemal (known later as Atatürk) continued the genocide in the Armenian Republic through 1920 and in Turkey through 1923.

Like Turkish leaders today who lie and deceive, Kemal publicly professed peaceful intentions toward Armenia.  Secretly, however, he told his commanders that it is “of the utmost necessity that Armenia be both politically and physically eliminated.”  Kemal, too, lopped off chunks of Armenia.  Though it resisted heroically, only a Soviet takeover in December of 1920 saved Armenia from annihilation.

These facts are relevant to the perils that Armenia faces today because of Turkey’s pan-Turkic and neo-Ottoman foreign policies.

Pan-Turkism

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkey has established ongoing relationships with Azerbaijan and Central Asia’s new “Turkic-speaking” countries:  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkey has invested billions of dollars and established Turkish schools and universities in these countries.  Turkey’s President Gül declared that “Kyrgyzstan is our ancestral homeland” while visiting that country’s International Atatürk-Alatoo University.

Turkey hosts major gas and oil pipelines originating in Baku, coproduces weapons with Azerbaijan, and trains Azeri troops.  In Turkic solidarity with Azerbaijan, Turkey has injected itself into the Artsakh/Karabagh conflict by closing its border with Armenia for two decades.  The Turkish-Azeri axis — termed "one nation, two states”— harks back to its assault on Armenia during the genocide.  One hundred years has changed nothing.  Turkey remains enamored of Turkic blood bonds.  

In the former Armenian province of Nakhichevan — now part of Azerbaijan and emptied of its Armenians — Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan recently signed a treaty creating the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States

Let’s be clear.  Only Soviet control of the Caucasus and Central Asia from the 1920’s to 1991, and Russian and Chinese dominance since then, have thwarted Turkey’s pan-Turkic goals.  

For several decades, of course, Russia and China have possessed nuclear weapons.  Turkey has not.  Imagine what an arrogant, genocidal Turkey would have perpetrated by now had it possessed nuclear weapons.  Turkey could still, unfortunately, acquire nuclear weapons or other WMDs.

Turkey’s dangerous imperial goals today also include “neo-Ottomanism.”

Neo-Ottomanism

Turkey regards itself as the leader of not only its former colonies in the Middle East and Balkans but also the entire Muslim world. Turkey is investing heavily in those regions.  

Its Education Ministry recently released multi-media material that shows Armenia, Cyprus, and parts of Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, and Syria as being part of Turkey.  Turkey claimed it was just a mistake.

“You are the grandchildren of the Ottomans.  It will be the Ottomans who will make the world tremble again.  If the Ottomans do not come back, the unbelievers will never be brought down to their knees.” A Turkish clergyman thundered those words to a frenzied Turkish rally in Belgium two decades ago.  

In attendance were his admirers: Necmettin Erbakan, soon to be Turkey’s Prime Minister and the latter’s protégés, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s current Prime Minister and President.

Far from renouncing its bloody Ottoman past, such examples illustrate that Turkey embraces and wants to recreate it. Consequently, its threats against Armenia must never be taken lightly.

Turkish Threats

During the Artsakh/Karabagh war, Turkish President Turgut Özal repeatedly threatened Armenia.  Armenians, he warned, “had not learned the lessons” of WWI — that is, the genocide.

According to Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, former Greek ambassador to Armenia, U.S. and French intelligence sources confirm that Turkey was poised to invade Armenia in 1993. Ruslan Khasbulatov, a Chechen who was Speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet and an opponent of Russian President Yeltsin, had secretly given Turkey the go-ahead to invade Armenia if he toppled Yelstin.  Fortunately, Yelstin survived the challenge.

If not for the Armenian-Russian alliance of these past two decades, Turkey and Azerbaijan would have jointly attacked Armenia, with catastrophic consequences.

Despite Turkey’s hostile record, some Armenians have fallen victim to the constant drumbeat of propaganda that Turkey is “reforming.”

Turkish non-Reforms

Some even believe that acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide would be tantamount to Turkey’s having “reformed.”   That’s absurd and a serious mistake.

An acknowledgment, which would almost certainly be incomplete, insincere, or reversible, could psychologically disarm Armenians into letting down their guard.  By not owning up to the genocide, therefore, Turkey may unwittingly be doing Armenians a favor.

Turkey’s actual record is one of repression, followed by mass violence, interspersed with so-called “reforms.”
In the 19th century, large-scale massacres of Armenians, particularly those of the 1890s, followed Ottoman “reforms” such as the Tanzimat (anti-discrimination decrees).  The Young Turk “reform” revolution of 1908 — cheered in the beginning by Armenians, Greeks, and other national groups — was followed by the 1909 Adana massacres, the 1915-23 extermination, and genocidal attacks on Russian Armenia and the Republic of Armenia.

Then along came the new “reformed, modern” Turkey of 1923.  It confiscated Armenian property, destroyed Armenian churches, and Turkified Armenian city and village names. In 1943, Turkey unleashed its malicious Capital Tax program against Armenians, Greeks, and Jews.  

Later came the devastating Istanbul riots of 1955. Did we mention Turkey’s massacre of Greek Cypriot civilians and ongoing occupation of northern Cyprus?   The death squads and torture chambers?  The repression, deportation, and massacre of Kurds and other minorities, and the jailing of dissidents and journalists?  

All the while, we are told that Turkey is “reforming.”

Turkish Syndrome

In addition to Turkey’s policies, its political leaders pose a danger because of what one may term Turkish Political Personality Syndrome.

This syndrome is on full display today in “modern” Turkey’s constant threats, chest-beating, belligerence, malignant narcissism, hypocrisy, extortion, despotism, cruelty, crudeness, lies, broken pledges, and, of course, the use of violence.

One cannot think of even one positive Turkish political quality.  

The countless victims of Turkish violence down through the centuries are proof of Turkish leaders’ disordered state of mind.

There is little indication that either Turkey’s policies toward Armenians or their leaders’ disorder will ever change.  Indeed, they may grow more threatening.  

Yet, Armenians still hope that Turkey will change.  How to make them aware that the Turkish threat is here to stay? 

Education

Young people will, of course, become the adults who conduct the political, economic, cultural, and military affairs of Armenia.  They must be equipped intellectually and psychologically to deal with Turkey.

From a young age, Armenian students must study — but not in Turkish schools   — Turkish history, geo-politics, and language, and their application to present-day Armenian-Turkish relations.

The Turkish political personality and its violent and deceitful tendencies must be dissected and understood.
This is not easy, for two reasons.  First, Armenians are bombarded by pro-Turkish and “reconciliation” propaganda from around the world and even by some Armenians.  Second, we Armenians are unlike Turks and often have difficulty understanding their political culture.

Ultimately, future generations of Armenians will have to choose whom to believe.  Will it be the allegedly “reformed, modern” Turkey?  The international media that kowtows to Turkey?   Countries that historically have betrayed Armenia? 

Or will Armenians learn from the past and the hard-earned wisdom of their forebears?  

Their decision may determine whether Armenia lives or dies.
                                                      # # #
David Boyajian is a freelance journalist.  Many of his articles are archived on Armeniapedia.org.

Other articles by David Boyajian on Keghart.com

Facing History, ADL and Silence of The Lambs

An Open Letter to the Genocide Education Project

Marriage from Hell

Countdown to the Next Artsakh War

Why Artsakh Matters to the West and Russia

Desecrating President Woodrow Wilson's Legacy

What Raffi Hovannisian and Other Leaders in Armenia Must Do

Turkey’s Henchmen: Mass Media Butcher the Armenian Genocide

Greenway is no place for the ADL

The Selling of the Woodrow Wilson Center

Anti-Defamation League the Big Bully on the Block

Confronting the Denialist Jewish Lobby: Mission Accomplished?

Massachusetts is no place for swastikas or ADL hypocrisy

Raising Sand Radio’s Susan Galleymore interviews writer David Boyajian

Obama and the Denial of Genocide – An Interview With David Boyajian

Open Letter to "Facing History and Ourselves"

Susan Galleymore Interviews David Boyajian and Vivien Sansour

13 comments
  1. Survival of Armenia in Jeopardy.

    ​Thank you so very much for your clear and concise report on the true and extremely dangerous state of affairs facing Armenia and Artsakh today. I am deeply concerned with the accelerated violence on Armenia's northeastern Tavoush Marz area initiated by Azerbaijan. It is clear to me that Azerbaijan is intent on destroying Armenia, piece by piece. I believe that Turkey has a hand in the current violence in the Middle East. I am worried that the Western powers and many Armenians, courted by Turkey, have fallen victim to their massive propaganda spread all over the world, and want to believe that Turkey is working towards reform. Turkey is speaking out of two sides of its mouth.  

  2. Anti-Armenian hostility on all fronts

    Bravo, Boyajian and Bravo, Medzorian, for your words. Add to this the instability and upheaval in Syria and we have, even for the most optimistic, a clear example of the continuation of the Armenian Genocide. Where is our diaspora militia training?

  3. David of U.S.A. but not of Sassoun

    Such a nonsense article by David Boyadjian.

    It is akin to an article titled "Dying: a Constant Threat to Mankind," whether an individual maintains a good hygiene or not, a zest for life or not, the individual will die. Yet again my recommendation would be for the individual to maintain a good hygiene and a zest for life. I wonder what could be David’s recommendation. His rebuttal may be: "nonsense, a futile attempt, its death that determines whether you may live or die" or something along such an argument.

    Well, David, our mythical granddaddy, Haig, a grandson of Noah, took his tribe and chose a rocky place for them at the foot of Mount Ararat. His tribesmen called his stan (i.e. a place in Urdu) in his honor as Haiastan. Haig wanted his tribe to escape the tyranny of Pel and live in peace on their own. Unfortunately, Turks followed and camped at its borders. We, his descendants, cannot undo what Haig did and relocate that real estate, which also came to be known as Armenia, to Sahara or anywhere else, short of relocating ourselves somewhere else.

    Armenia as a geographical entity does not live or die, but Armenians do. If you have anything constructive to write to me as to the best way Armenians would need to deal with its neighbors please let me know, otherwise spare me your doomsday evangelism that it is "Their (i.e. the Turks’) decision (that) may determine whether Armenia (n) lives or dies".

    1. Actually, I find your answer

      Actually, I find your answer to be a total nonsense. Rather then being cynical, may be you should tell us where do you think he is wrong. And if he is right (which I personally believe he is), isn't  it better to educate ourselves and be ready, or as you say just maintaining a good hygiene and a zest of life would suffice?

      1. Vahe to Varoujan

        Varoujan, I took offense when he spoke on my behalf, as well when David wrote that I, along with other "Armenians still hope that Turkey will change." The statement, within the context of his write-up, carried existential implications, one of to be or not to be.

        Since the coming of the Ottoman Turks the Armenian, subjects of that most powerful, feared and longest-lasting super power of its day, became law-abiding citizens and went out to great lengths to show their loyalty, in spite of the subjugation, without the expectation that the Turks would change but with the fear the Turks may perceive us not to be loyal enough.

        I believe we have managed our destiny as well as we could and as well as we knew, never hoping that our God-given rights on this earth are dependent on Turkish goodwill. But that does not mean I would not welcome a changed neighbor and that I would not strive to bring change in my neighbor, and be a good neighbor.

        1. Dear Vahe, Thank you

          Dear Vahe,

          Thank you for your reply. As a past Bolsetsi, my experience with Turkey has been to witness firsthand the destruction of the Armenian community of Istanbul over many decades, by the actions of successive Turkish governments. The Armenian Genocide was obviously not enough for them. This is one of the reasons I believe Mr. Boyajian's article has many valid points. I also believe that, when we appreciate these realities, know better our opponent, as a nation we will be better prepared for any future aggression that can be directed against us.

          I hope that I did not unintentionally offend you with my earlier post. If so, please accept my apologies.

           

    2. Vahe you are all the way in the left field

      Vahe you are all the way in the left field.  I don't know where you are coming from.  I read the article twice and did not find anything that was nonsense.  Maybe you have a personal vendetta against David.  Everything he said, historically or otherwise is true.  This is a great article. 

      I wish we had hundreds of writers like David and less of Vahe's and our nation would be in much better shape. 

      1. I think Vahe has a point.

        I think Vahe has a point. What's the message that David Boyajian leaves the reader with? It appears it's not clear. However, a second reading  makes it apparent when at the conclusion of the article he states, "Young people will, of course, become the adults who conduct the political, economic, cultural, and military affairs of Armenia.  They must be equipped intellectually and psychologically to deal with Turkey."
         
        Vahe's characterization that it's a "useless" article is beyond me. With considerable amount of references from raw sources (reports in various newspapers, etc) David has accomplished the important task of documenting the various threatening aspects of present day Turkey. Granted, on each subject (Pan-Turkism, Ottomanism, Turkish pseudo-reforms, etc.) there are hundreds of treatises and books, David has brought together all the important points in a short article which is "user friendly". The latter is an important aspect in our struggle against misinformation particularly when dealing with odars who may not have the same resources as we do, are not necessarily aware of the issues and/or are not predisposed to read long dissertations.
      2. Of Sense an NonSense and of Right and Left Field

        John

        I have always assumed that by now and after hundreds of years of experience, written and handed down in history, of Armenian literature in poetry and prose, of Anatolia in plain view depopulated of its native Anatolians, of Cilicia cleansed of its Armenian inhabitants, or wars waged against the Turks in 1918, that the Turkish constant / permanent threat is a given and constitutes the very foundation of assuring our existence in that part of the world.

        If the premise of David’s article is true, that there is indeed a need to educate the young and upcoming Armenians of the ever present – permanent –  Turkish threat ahead, then I have erred in my assumption and that David has his work cut off for him.

        An Armenian generation assumed by David not to have been educated  well enough by now to know their centuries old neighbor, David’s later day education will not make much sense as far as I am concerned to awaken the slumbering and ignorant upcoming Armenian generation; or could it be that it does make and that my labeling his article 'nonsense" makes no sense at all and puts me well off the field. The choice is for the reader to make, I made mine known.

        How to deal with a well known neighbor is what we need to read and be educated instead of such later day attempt to educate about the neighbor. That would be and is too late.

    3. Armenia as a geographical entity

      Armenia as a geographical entity does not live or die, but Armenians do.  I agree with this statement.  David, however, has done some outstanding work in persevering against Turkish offenses.  I agree that "our" Western Armenia does not exist anymore.  And the Turks are gradually wiping up the leftover crumbs.  Present day Armenia is a pile of rocks that the Turks left us with; and which the Anglo-Americans and French endorsed when they abandoned us.  Ataturk continued the "ethnic cleansing" with his clean-up campaign in 1921 of some 300,000 leftover rag-muffin Armenians.  Today's so-called "Armenia" was the furthest east province of Western Armenia.  It was a depraved province, all rocks, little or no value.

      The movie "Nahabed" pretty much describes how the "left-overs" of the Genocide had to literally "scrape" a living out of the rock infested land with no fertile soil etc.  It was a movie about "heroism"…in enduring the hardships of this new "Armenia".  After all these years…and also independence…it's STILL nothing but hardship…except for the "Americanized" aspects of Gambling Casinos and the Downtown Yerevan 5th Avenue venue.  The rest of it is poverty, prostitution and emigration. The young people are leaving in droves…and a recent statistic places the population at one male for every 30 females!  You tube shows an incredible "downtown"…as well as some unbelievable mansions in the outskirts of Yerevan and in the higher bracket Yerevan areas.  Some of these "mansions" compete with the William Randolph Hearst Estate!….that's not a joke!  While thousands of other…live in squalor.  

      Here's the kicker!  The Turks, on You Tube comments refer to Armenians as "short, dark, hairy, ugly, fat rears, faggots, with low IQs…AS DISTINGUISHED FROM blond, blue-eyed, light-skinned, beautiful Turks!  How's that grab you?  And this is how they describe Armenians in their TV, films, publications, etc.  They treat Armenians throughout Anatolia…like "N…er"s are treated here in America [admit it or not].  Armenian families "disappear", Armenians are beaten in the streets publicly, Armenian girls are raped, childless Turk couples "buy" or "take" children from poverty-stricken Armenians who have no source of protection or legal recourse. Hundreds and thousands of "hidden" Armenians live like and speak Turkish and are Muslim. They don't tell their "Turkified" sons and daughters until they're ready to die.  

      Don't you think the Genocide is STILL going on?

      1. Armenia Needs Evolution, Not Revolution

        Ghevont Vartabed Samoorian has put in a rather doomsday-like prediction. On the other hand, what David Boyajian writes makes sense. So do all others who understand the complicated geopolitical-economic stance of Armenia and/or Armenidad. The latter, in Spanish, means Armenity. To be Armenian and to feel Armenian is a tough issue, nay a Gordian Knot–a knot that has been knit so many times that it can not be undone easily. However, Armenians from times immemorial have had to fight tooth-and-nail to reach where we are now on the international geopolitical scene.

        I do not feel hopeless and moribund. We have learned to stand up and fight, when necessary. 

        It is primarily the Diaspora that has to be reorganized around a new statute. The one drawn up, 160 or so years ago, in Constantinople by our amiras and clergy, under harsh Ottoman rule, is no more compatible with a dynamic Diaspora (especially the young and the middle-aged ) who deserve guidance.

        My theory has been and will always be to organize around 15 professional colleagues' associations, wherein the aforementioned will mingle, learn from one other, establish an esprit de corps, and then come up with a national investment trust fund–a gigantic one whose nucleus would be our 6-7 magnates.

        To attend to the many shortcoming, we need human resources ( PCA´s). These are over 100,000 souls, plus the national investment fund that they will help grow with headquarters in Geneva. From there 15 officers will loan to people who wish to reestablish themselves in Hayastan and in Artsakh, I will provide further information about this soon. I invite questions.

        Meanwhile, please calculate with a nucleus fund of a billion dollars–invested by our magnates and followed up by millionaires, etc., down to a hundred dollar shares. The investments will grow, especially if our monetary experts  invest in secure government bonds, such as those of Finland, Sweden, etc.. Much can be achieved.

        Hama Haigaagani SIRO,
        Gaytzag  Palandjian                                                                                                                                               (between the U.S, Spain and Armenia) 

        1. Well said

          ​Dear Gaydzag, Well said. My comments are not meant to be cynical or "doomsday". They were intended to "shock" our Armenians in Diaspora who have been mesmerized by Armenia's "tourists" who return home praising everything from top to bottom. This is not only nonsense…it is dangerous and damaging to the realities we should be addressing today.  

          How can we understand Armenia's needs if we turn our gaze the other way and don't look. Armenia has some beautiful, lovely and admirable aspects….natural, architectural, historic, cultural and human resources. BUT [we will not enumerate the ugly drawbacks here so as not to offend the "senses" of our patriots] we are compelled to focus on the "difficulties and shortcomings" that threaten the well-being of our homeland.  

          Our young people… beautiful, wonderful, dedicated, loyal Armenians that they, are also frustrated. Many feel "trapped" like birds in a cage…in a tiny, land-locked, blockaded country that offers little hope in terms of a future or satisfactory, life-sustaining job or profession. They are devastated by this reality. Why do we choose to ignore these realities in the name of "doomsday". I can appreciate how an intelligent young man or woman, with talent, ability, intelligence, vision and dreams….can feel overwhelmed, suffocated, frustrated. Under the circumstances, it's no wonder that they see the "broadening" of their opportunities only outside of Armenia. Can we offer them an "alternative"?

  4. Criminal Always Criminal

    A criminal is always a criminal. I don't believe they can be rehabilitated; they might pause a bit because of the medications they are on. National character can not change or it takes a lot of effort to change. Why should Turkey change when it is winning, without fighting? Meanwhile, we think we are winning through patriotic words.You have to win economically.

    Our nation's leaders are parasites, including religious leaders. Instead of following Christ's words–աշխարհի վրայ հարստութիւն մի դիզեք–they do not care about the public. I don't know how we can survive unless our nation stands on its own. A new state that is undergoing population depletion, specially of its young. Only the aged are staying. One-third of the population is below the poverty line; the middle class is running away or is headed to the poverty line. Hoping for brighter future…we are more a threat to ourselves than outsiders.

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