By Edmond Y. Azadian
When House Resolution 252 was adopted by the US Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Swedish Parliament passed the Genocide Resolution, Turkish leaders realized the domino effect that those political actions may trigger in the diplomatic world. In fact, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that his government would not panic and instead take measured and calculated responses.
And today although Turkey’s knee-jerk reactions seem to express confusion, panic and overreaction, they actually are not and Turks, from the prime minister to the most junior diplomat are reacting in a calculated and coordinated manner, because they have been expecting this coming long time ago. And before the genocide issue becomes an avalanche the Turkish leaders have been resorting to preemptive strikes.
We have to see the issues with clear eyes and never allow our emotions to take over our judgment. Very few statesmen and governments are motivated by the moral or just aspects of the Armenian Genocide. The issue has become a convenient political tool to extract concessions from Turkey, especially when this latter has been waiting at the gates of Europe, expecting membership in the European Union, against good behavior.
Many European governments and the European Union itself have flip-flopped over the years in demanding Genocide Recognition and then forgetting it until the next opportune time to use it as a condition against Turkey. We have been on the margins of this political game for the last 95 years, and perhaps we have to endure it another century before Turkey comes to terms with its history and justice is restored.
Turkey’s government — and especially Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — have learned through experience that the best defense is an offense. Erdogan’s recent threat to deport immigrant Armenians from Turkey is the thrust of that offensive — in every way — policy. Adding insult to injury, Erdogan and his cohorts play victim, rather than perpetrators of Genocide. They are not naive to believe that this political ploy can have any takers, but they have invested some trust in its confusing effects. They are convinced that this will bring some relief from the international pressure or at least temporarily derail the adoption of Genocide resolutions in many countries’ legislature. After the American and Swedish moves, similar initiatives have been taken in Bulgaria and Britain. Regardless of the outcome of these moves, Turkish leaders foresee the noose tightening around their necks.
On March 16, Erdogan gave an interview to the BBC threatening to expel “100,000 illegal migrant workers from Armenia. We close our eyes to their situation, but what am I going to do tomorrow? If necessary, I will tell them, ‘get out and go to your country.’ They are not my citizens; I am not obliged to keep them in our country. Too bad that other people don’t understand our good intentions.” Before his “pious” hypocrisy, Mr. Erdogan has tried to score some points by trying to pit Armenia against the diaspora, by saying, “Today, Armenia has to take an important decision and relieve itself from diasporan pressures.” The other point was to intimidate Armenia to compromise its position on the Karabagh issue.