I may be a chicken, but at least I’m not Turkey

October 11, 2007

No Turkish Delight for Abdullah Gul

In a move that should be filed — along with the Khmer Rouge tribunal and Britney’s VMA performance — under “too little, too late, no chance in hell, but thanks for playing,” the House Foreign Affairs Committe passed a bill describing Turkey’s WWI actions against the Armenians in the then-Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul threatened “serious troubles” if Congress adopted the measure, which it probably won’t, and this is sort of troubling given the fact that right now Turkey is a major staging ground for the Iraq “war.” Turkey cut off military ties to the French last year for a similar measure passing its lower house.

Calling something genocide as always tricky. The legal definition is found in Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) [CPPCG] and reads as follows:

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

killing members of the group;
causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Under a loose interpretation of this provision, the acts committed by Turkey are undoubtedly genocide. Consider the following:

  • Forced deportation / elmination of Armenians from what was then Central Asia to Syria, exclusively, based on a mix of economic jealousy and perceived threats of siding with the Russians during WWI, often overseen by a special organization of convicted criminals who were released from prison to “handle” the prisoners;
  • Systematic planning by the Young Turk government to destroy the Armenians, such as legislation designed to facilitate the elimination of the Armenians and handle their property after their deaths, or the special organization listed above, or the creation of special camps overseen by forces who were known to freely kill, torture, harm, posion, burn, rape, etc. Armenians;
  • Exclusive targetting of Armenians

But the genocide definiton has always been troubling. What does it mean to say “in whole or in part?” If I kill a Native American because I want to further the cause of Native American destruction, and intend for his whole race to be extinguished but simply don’t have the resources to kill more than just one myself, is this genocide? Who knows. Further, countries have been incredibly relunctant to label what seem like clear cases of genocide as such — evidenced by the fact that only 21 thus far have recognized the Armenian genocide, probably for political reasons. Thus, it’s a bit trickier than it seems.

And obviously, it’s not just body count, although this would be satisfied here: estimates put the number killed at between 300,000 and 1,500,000.

What’s weird here is that Turkey just won’t come out and recognize this. It’s not like anyone thinks bad of 2007 Germany because of what 1939 Germany did. With Turkey trying to get into the EU, it’s continued idiocy with this issue is not going to help its cause much.

And what’s also troubling here is the Bush administration’s lack of support for the bill due to its war aims. Keep writing “Not on my watch” on Darfur memos, W., just do it with the knowledge that decisions like yours are inevitably advancing the genocide. Remember Hitler’s chilling quote when asked if he could get away with the Holocaust:

I have issued the command — and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad — that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness — for the present only in the East — with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space [Lebensraum] which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?

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One Response to “I may be a chicken, but at least I’m not Turkey”

  1. retro Says:

    This year my wife decided to have a dry run thanksgiving day to test out her recipes. We soaked the bird in a brine solution she got at William Sonoma it really kept it moist. OMG, the turkey was so good and I get to do it again in a few days!


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