Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rejoinder to a Turkish partisan

(This began as a comment to the foregoing post, but ended up becoming one in itself.)

In view of the calumnies to which my American countrymen have long been subjected by “Turkey and the Turks” – exemplified by the odious film
“Kurtlar Vadisi Irak” (“Valley of the Wolves Iraq”), which depicted an American Jewish doctor harvesting organs from dead Iraqi civilians at Abu Ghraib for sale to rich clients in New York and Tel Aviv – your yelping about a “smear campaign” is ironic, to say the least. However that may be, proof is not needed to advance a suspicion – and if more indicators are needed than the Qur’anically mandated way in which Fuat Deniz was slaughtered and the threats cited by his colleagues, here’s another, reported today by the Swedish paper Länstidningen i Södertälje and noted here: a threat made on Aug. 31 by four Turkish district governors to the former head of the Assyrian Federation in Sweden, Simon Barmano. Objecting during their visit to Sweden to a proposed memorial to the Assyrian genocide victims to be erected in Södertälje, the Turks warned Barmano to “stop highlighting the genocide or your people will get hurt.”

As to what you risibly call the “so-called Armenian and Assyrian genocides,” their existence has been irrefutably established not only by the accounts of contemporaries such as U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau and the German missionary and historian Johannes Lepsius, but by the scholarship of, among others, Vahakn Dadrian, whose books “Warrant for Genocide” and “The History of the Armenian Genocide” are extensively documented by primary and secondary sources in Turkish, Armenian, English, German and French. That none of this evidence has ever led to Nuremburg-style tribunals is due largely to raisons d’état. In the aftermath of World War I, as the historian Bat Ye’or notes, “Alibis advanced to exonerate the populations which had collaborated in these cruelties resulted from the international context and the will of the colonial powers to follow a policy of appeasement toward their Muslim populations. These powers – Russia, Britain, France, and Italy – ruled over millions of Muslims in the Caucasus, Asia, the Indies, Egypt, the Levant, and the Maghreb; consequently, they tried to minimize this tragedy ... to resume good relations with Turkey and other Muslim populations, particularly those of Syria and Iraq who were hostile to the British and French protectorates.” (Bat Ye’or, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam,” p. 198.) In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. and its allies needed a bulwark on the Soviet Union’s southern flank, hence the exoneration advanced in a Harvard University Press publication in 1951 by Lewis V. Thomas: “By 1918, with the excision of the total Armenian Christian population from Anatolia and the Straits area ... Turkification and Moslemization had been advanced in one great surge by the use of force ... Had Turkification and Moslemization not been advanced there by the use of force, there would certainly not today exist a Turkish Republic, a Republic owing its strength and stability in no small measure to the homogeneity of its population, a state which is now a valued associate of the United States.” (Lewis Thomas and Richard Frye, “The United States and Turkey and Iran,” p. 61. Emphasis mine.) And this year, Turkey’s importance as a transit point for materiel and supplies for the war in Iraq immunized it from even the toothless sanction of a congressional resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. (“U.S. and Turkey Thwart Armenian Genocide Bill,” New York Times, Oct. 26, 2007.)

Lastly, that “Ottoman archives are now wide open for anyone who wish to examine them” is rather less than exculpatory, given that “Major General Seeckt, the last German Chief of Staff at [Ottoman General Headquarters], whisked away substantial parts of these records when departing from Turkey at the end of the war.” Despite a promise by Seeckt “to return only those files which basically concern the Turkish military,” it could not be “ascertained whether those files were in fact returned, and if so, to what extent, when, and to what branch of the Turkish government.” (Dadrian, “The History of the Armenian Genocide,” p. 280.) Moreover, if Ottoman archives are so accessible, why is a panel of the European Parliament requesting that they be opened?

In view of the fact that Fuat Deniz had dedicated his academic career to the kind of “highlighting the genocide” that had elicited a Turkish warning of reprisals, in view of the threats cited by his colleagues, in view of the concordance of the fatal wounds inflicted on him with the commands of at least two verses of the Qur’an, and in view of the assassin’s Islamist motives in the murder of Hrant Dink in Istanbul Jan. 19, suspicions that Deniz’s murder was politically – and Islamically – motivated are unavoidable. My own will stand until a court finds otherwise.

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