Over a century ago, the systematic mass extermination and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians from the Ottoman Empire took place between 1914 and 1923 (some accounts state 1915-1922). For decades, Turkish and Israeli lobbies in Washington have successfully prevented the United States from recognizing the Armenian Genocide, despite thirty-one other nations having already done so.
Last Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed S.Res.150 which officially commemorates the Armenian Genocide through recognition and remembrance. This was after three consecutive weeks of Washington recruiting three different Republican Senators to veto the resolution. In October, the House passed a similar resolution H.Res.296 affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.
Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said “The Senate today joined the House in rejecting Ankara’s gag-rule against honest American remembrance of the Armenian genocide — overriding the largest, longest foreign veto over the US Congress in American history.”
Turkey has accused American lawmakers of politicizing history and summoned their US ambassador back to Ankara in protest. In fear of further damaging relations between Ankara and Washington, US President Donald Trump opposed the resolution. However, that argument doesn’t hold much water considering relations between Turkey and other countries who have already recognized the Armenian genocide committed by the Turks and Kurds have remained in place with little effect on their existing normalization of political and trade relations. Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Brazil, etc. are just a few examples.
Armenia’s closest neighbors Georgia and Azerbaijan do not recognize the Armenian Genocide. I asked Andrew Korybko, a political analyst, about Georgia’s reasoning and he said, “Likely because Turkey is a key trading partner and the two are connected to Azerbaijan with pipelines and now even a railroad, there are considerable economic interests at stake if Georgia recognized the Armenian Genocide, though its relations with Armenia are pretty good even though it hasn’t done that. I don’t think there’s any incentive for it to change its stance”.
According to The Armenian National Institute, “The Armenian Genocide was perpetrated by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the radical wing of the Young Turk party that seized power in the Ottoman Empire. In their zeal to create a homogeneous society exclusively Turkish and Muslim, the Young Turk radicals sought to exclude the Christian populations that had inhabited Asia Minor. Through expulsions, expropriations, and extermination, by 1923 no Christians to speak of, including Assyrians and Greeks remained across Anatolian Turkey”.
Historical accounts identify three Ottoman Empire leaders known as the “Three Pasha’s” as the architects of this ideologically motivated genocide; Ismail Enver, Ahmed Djemal, and Mehmet Talaat. However, there is another leading figure in the Turkification of the Ottoman Empire Dr. Mehmet Nazim (also known as Nazim Bey or simply Dr. Nazim) that along with other members of the Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa special organization played an important role. Dr. Nazim was from a Dönmeh background, a group of Sabbatean crypto-Jews who converted publicly to Islam but retained their beliefs in secret.
During a CUP meeting Dr. Nazim made a chilling speech, “If we remain satisfied with the sort of local massacres which took place in Adana and elsewhere in 1909…if this purge is not general and final, it will inevitably lead to problems. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to eliminate the Armenian people in its entirety, so there is no further Armenian on this earth and the very concept of Armenia is extinguished.” And continued by saying, “the procedure this time will be one of total annihilation, it is necessary that not even one single Armenian survive this annihilation”.
During a secret meeting of the Young Turks, Dr. Nazim said, “The massacre is necessary. All the non-Turkish elements, whatever nation they belong to, should be exterminated”. Two months prior to the Armenian Genocide in February 1915, Dr. Nazim Bey declared a new government policy for the total annihilation of Armenian’s stating his plan of “freeing the fatherland of the aspirations of this cursed race” referring to the Armenians.
Dr. Nazim fled to Germany three years later and was sentenced to death in absentia for his role in the Armenian genocide but this was never carried out, he was however executed for attempting to assassinate Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1926.
A lesser known fact is that the Kurds played a significant role in the massacre of Armenian, Assyrian, Aramean, and Yezidi people as well, in order to win favor with Turkey and in hopes of claiming their lands. Five years ago, Ahmed Turk, a Kurdish politician in Turkey, declared that the Kurds have their share of “guilt in the genocide, too,” and apologized to the Armenians. “Our fathers and grandfathers were used against Assyrians and Yezidis, as well as against Armenians. They persecuted these people; their hands are stained with blood. We as the descendants apologize,” Turk said. 33 years after the Armenian Genocide the UN Genocide Convention was adopted.
By recognizing and condemning the first genocide of the century and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, and other Christians the United States is taking a step in the right direction, but one can’t help but wonder when will the United States be held responsible for their many massacres and the deaths that have recently resulted from their supposed “war on terror”.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.