THE JERUSALEM POST: MATERIAL AND CULTURAL LOSS OF ARMENIANS WAS ENORMOUS
- While the modern-day Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, eight years after its Ottoman predecessors embarked on a massive and systematic undertaking to rid the empire of its Armenian population, the country today often finds itself in diplomatic spats with various Western nations over its history, an article published by The Jerusalem Post reads.
"Outside the periphery of geopolitics, it would be perplexing to most as to why an event that occurred nearly 100 years ago would impact relations between Turkey and the United States and various European countries. The answer lies in the annals of history," the author, Harout Harry Semerdjian says.
"During the First World War, while the Islamic Ottoman Empire was fighting the Allied Powers on the side of Germany, its native Christian Armenian population became a target of organized deportations and massacres. Long having suffered from discrimination and second-class citizenship, WWI provided the Young Turk government a cover to reach a "final solution" to the prevailing Armenian question," he says.
"Starting April 24, 1915, with the arrest and killing of the Armenian intelligentsia, an entire civilization was uprooted from its many-millennia-old homeland and outright massacred or driven to a slow death in the deserts of Syria. The material and cultural loss of the Armenians has also been enormous, with some 3,000 churches destroyed alone. It is estimated that out of a population of two million Armenians, one-and-a-half million were killed while another half a million survived and dispersed to nearly every continent, thus resulting in the creation of a large and dynamic Armenian diaspora," the author continues.
"This is where global power-politics unfolds. As offspring of survivors of the genocide, Armenians throughout the world developed an ingrown sense of patriotism and strong national identity over the years. With the Cold War over and with a tiny, but nevertheless independent, Republic of Armenia in existence, the past two decades have seen a renewal of the international drive for recognition of the genocide in light of persistent Turkish denial."
Semerdjian goes on to say: "The Armenian refugees of 1915 who eventually found themselves integrated and well-established into their host societies, and frustrated with a lack of justice for the genocide, often succeeded in bringing their families' plight to the attention of world leaders and onto the agendas of global parliaments and the US Congress. It is this very Armenian diaspora that is so feared and vilified by the Turkish government, which regrettably fails to comprehend and accept the realities, needs and anguish of these communities spread all across the world. An eerie reminder of the policy of exile still in effect, visiting diaspora scholars who have written on the genocide have also been deported from the country."
"With the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide fast approaching, Turkey increasingly finds itself isolated on this issue and under international pressure to finally recognize the wrongs of its predecessors. Its official policy of denial has been a total failure over the decades. Turkey has long relied on its military strength and geopolitical location to get its way on this and other issues including Cyprus and the Kurdish question; if its leadership wants to seriously advance the country's democratization and "Europeanization" processes, as well as to set the stage for its rise as a regional power, it ought to think along the lines of peace and reconciliation with its neighbors, starting with an honest acknowledgment of its own history."
The writer is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford. He holds advanced graduate degrees from The Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University and the University of California, Los Angeles.
- 775 Battle of Ardzni (Bagrevand).
- 1877 Tsar Alexander the Second starts the Russian-Turkish War in the Balkans and on the territory of ancient Armenia. The war ended with the victory of Russia.
- 1910 Death of Armenian writer Victoria Azanoor (Pompili). She wrote in Italian. Her books were translated into Armenian by Father Arsen Ghazikian.
- 1915 The arrest, exile and murder of the Armenian intellectuals (about 800) of Constantinople. The Turks start the implementation of their state plan for the Armenian Genocide. About one million Armenians are killed.
- 1937 The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia decides to dissolve the Committee of the Transcaucasian Countries.
- 1965 The Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide took place in about 25 countries out of respect for the memory of the innocent victims. A monument was unveiled in the Main Cathedral of Echmiadsin. The monument to the memory of the Armenian Genocide in Montebello, California.
- 1968 The World Congress of Peace Movements, with the participation of organizations from 64 countries and of 16 international organizations, commemorated the Armenian Genocide.
- 1973 A monument to the memory of the Armenian Genocide is unveiled in Marseilles, France.
- 1975 Opening of monuments commemorating the memory of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. They were in Bikfaya (Lebanon), Athens (Greece) and Milan (Italy).
- 1978 A monument to the memory of the Armenian Genocide is unveiled in Lyon, France.
- 1984 A monument to the memory of the Armenian Genocide was placed in Alfortville, near Paris.
- 1987 An Armenian stone-cross dedicated to the memory of the Armenian Genocide is unveiled in Stuttgart, Germany.
- 1989 A monument dedicated to the memory of the Armenian Genocide was unveiled in Sydney, Australia.
- 1990 President Bush issued a news release calling on all Americans to join with Armenians on April 24 in commemorating "the more than a million Armenian people who were victims".
- 1994 President Clinton issued a news release on April 24, to commemorate the "tragedy" that befell the Armenians in 1915.