Turkey: a permanent threat to Armenia

by David Boyajian

Published: Friday August 03, 2012

Turkey has in recent years increased military sales to Azerbaijan, most recently of Turkish-produced T-155 heavy howitzers pictured. Wikimedia

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 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.

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