UPDATE AT 8:25 AM FRIDAY. WE HAVE JUST HEARD LOUD EXPLOSIONS TO THE SOUTH OF OUR POSITION IN ASHDOD (THE EXPLOSIONS WERE APPARENTLY IN THE AREA BETWEEN ASHDOD AND ASHKELON) . THIS FOLLOWS RED SIRENS IN ASHKELON LAST NIGHT AND THREE ROCKETS HITTING ISRAEL THAT WERE NOT OFFICIALLY REPORTED BY THE IDF.
With one more ridiculous accusation or threat against Israel rolling out of Turkish PM Erdogan’s unctuous mouth every hour of every day, the time has come for us to talk Turkey. Ever since Erdogan began his effort to become the self-appointed leader of the Muslim world by attacking Israel in forums and venues around the world, your humble servant has often remarked on Turkey’s utter hypocrisy.
It is a hypocrisy that depends on the world forgetting what Turkey has done and not being aware of what Turkey is doing.
Today we will talk about the Armenian genocide and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus; tomorrow this blog will address the ongoing Turkish attempt to annihilate the Kurds, and Turkey’s continuing human rights abuses.
The next time you hear PM Erdogan attempt to foist the absurd canard about how Israel is ‘ethnically cleansing’ the Palestinians by building homes in Gilo or in Judea and Samaria, recall that real ethnic cleansing involves the murder and elimination of a minority population—and how Turkey ethnically cleansed its Armenian minority from Turkey nearly hundred years ago.
By even the most conservative estimates, the Turkish government killed over 750,000 Armenians (perhaps as many as 1,500,000) during a genocidal ethnic cleansing campaign carried out between the years 1914 and 1923. Turkish soldiers annihilated whole Armenian villages, massacring and burning their populations. Armenian children were loaded onto boats by Turkish officials, taken out into the Black Sea, and drowned. Turkish doctors injected Armenians with typhoid and supervised the murder of civilians with toxic gas. With no food and no water, the surviving Armenians were marched by the Turkish Army to the Syrian desert (in what became known as ‘the death march’) during which hundreds of thousands died. After the Turkish government had rid itself of the Armenians, laws were immediately passed confiscating all Armenian property and turning it over to other Turks.
Despite the ridiculous and ongoing Turkish claims that no genocide took place (akin to the claims of those who insist that the Nazi Holocaust never happened), meticulously collected testimony taken at the time verified each of the above barbaric crimes. Article 230 of the 1920 Treaty of Sevres directly addressed the Turkish slaughter of its Armenian population by requiring the Turkish government to “hand over to the Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Turkish Empire August 1, 1914” (http://www.hri.org/docs/sevres/part7.html).
If you prefer to think that the Armenian genocide is ancient history, let’s talk about Turkish military actions in northern Cyprus which began in the summer of 1974. When Turkish troops invaded the northern part of the island under the pretense of protecting Turkish citizens, they began rounding up Greek Cypriots and eventually forced some 200,000 Greek Cypriots to flee to the southern part of the island– leaving all of their possessions behind. On February 13, 1975, Turkey declared the area of its military occupation to be a “Federated Turkish state”—a move condemned by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 367. Subsequently in an action that echoed what the Turks had done a mere 55 years before to the Armenians, thousands of Turks were brought from Turkey to live in northern Cyprus where they were given the property of those Greeks who had been forced to leave.
During this time, the European community and the world condemned Turkey for its actions against the Greek population on Cyprus. The European Court of Human Rights noted this in its annual report in 1975 concerning the European Convention on human rights:
“Having found violations [by Turkey] of a number of Articles of the Convention, the Commission notes that the acts violating the Convention were exclusively directed against . . . the Greek Cypriot community. It concludes . . . that Turkey has thus failed to secure the rights and freedoms set forth in these Articles without discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, race, and religion as required by Article 14 of the Convention.”
Even until today, no country in the world other than Turkey recognizes the Turkish government of northern Cyprus, and not a day goes by that Turkey does not bellicosely threaten the rest of Cyprus—most recently over oil and gas drilling rights.
To sum up part one of this blog, Turkey’s attempted eradication of its Armenian population created the template which was later followed by such madmen as Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot. In Cyprus, Turkish actions were obviously less horrific in the sense that mass murder did not place, but again a minority population under Turkish control was ‘cleansed’. The next time Mr. Erdogan opens his mouth remember the Armenians and the Greek Cypriots.
Editorial Addendum: The blog of today and the one tomorrow are not meant to condemn all Turkish citizens living in Turkey today–many of whom find the Armenian genocide one of the blackest moments in human history and regret what has happened in Cyprus.