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Thread: Turkish genocide and the US

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    Turkish genocide and the US



    The Turkish genocide against the Armenian people is a historical fact.

    It is as well documented as the death marches of the Japanese and the shoa.

    And yet if I was to write that while living in Turkey I would be arrested and jailed.

    In the US a congressional committee has introduced a bill to go before US Congress intended to formally recognise what took place involving the mass slaughter by Ottoman Turks during WW1.

    Now anyone would except that a historical fact would not need to have such formal recognition made by the US, a thing being done to stop the continued denial of the truth by successive Turkish governments, but sad to say such is the case because the Turks continue to try to deny what happened.

    The response by Turkey to this move to force the government to come clean should have resulted in embarrassment by the Turkish government, an apology for refusal to admit the TRUTH in the past, and admission of the TRUTH today, and at least a national apology to the the Armenians still living and some form of reparation.

    Should have been, but wasn’t.

    Instead the Turkish ambassador to Washington has been recalled Washington and the Turkish government has said this move, let alone a passage of the bill, would “damage relations” with America and reminded the US that they were a “key NATO ally.”

    Let’s put aside the future use, let alone role of NATO. Let’s put aside the little matter of what amounts to blatant blackmail. Let’s put aside the refusal to face up to what took place. Let’s even put aside the years of lying about what took place.

    Instead let’s look at the response from the Obama administration right up (down?) to Obama himself.

    Hilary Clinton Hillary is reported as saying that “The Obama administration will work very hard’ to prevent the genocide bill going to a full vote on Capitol Hill”

    Not content with that she continued :-

    “We are against this. Now we believe that the US Congress will not take any decision on this subject.’

    There is one very basic question to be asked.

    That question is WHY?

    I’m not sure which country comes out worst in this matter, Turkey or the US.

    Maybe a nation itself built on genocide feel a difficulty in condemning another nation for a crime it is itself guilty of.




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    I think the only issue here is the definition of "genocide". Turkey does not deny the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians. But this was war. Put in the context of WWI, even half a million deaths isn't much.

    IMHO, a genocide is what the Nazi tried to achieve with the Jews of the Gypsies, namely 'ethnic cleansing', the avowed aim to make an entire ethnic group disappear from the Earth. I don't think the Turks ever had that intention in mind when they deported or killed Armenians. They may have wanted to separate Muslim Turks from Christian Armenians, but not to annihilate all Armenians from the face of the Earth, even if that meant pursuing them all over the world (what the Nazi would have done with the Jews if they hadn't been stopped). That's why I think it cannot be called 'genocide'. Massacre is a more appropriate term.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    There is a legal definition of “genocide” enshrined the UN General Assembly Resolution 260 (The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

    Article 2 reads :-

    "Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or group, as such:

    Killing members of the group;

    Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."



    What the Turks did was genocide as their actions were aimed at a particular group, it involved killing members of that group, certainly causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    And deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

    Turks? Guilty as sin, and dishonorable craven cowards by not admitting what their ancestors did, let alone express regret.

    .

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyllgi View Post
    There is a legal definition of “genocide” enshrined the UN General Assembly Resolution 260 (The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

    Article 2 reads :-

    "Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or group, as such:

    Killing members of the group;

    Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."



    What the Turks did was genocide as their actions were aimed at a particular group, it involved killing members of that group, certainly causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    And deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

    Turks? Guilty as sin, and dishonorable craven cowards by not admitting what their ancestors did, let alone express regret.

    .
    Is there any political pamphlet or declaration made by Turkey similar Hitler's Mein Kampf, his public speeches or the laws enacted by the Nazis against the Jews, that would prove beyond reasonable doubt that Turkey intended to destroy the Armenian ethnicity ? I don't think there is, and I don't think the term "genocide" (which derives from "genes") is appropriate simply because Turks and Armenians are almost undistinguishable genetically. Anatolia is a genetic continuum, and eastern Turks are closer to Armenians than to western Turks. This argument alone defeats the idea of a genocide. It is as ludicrous as to say that the Spaniards would try to commit a genocide against the Portuguese, or vice versa. You can either see all Iberians as a single ethnic group, or Catalans, Basques, Andalusians, Portuguese or Cantabrians as separate ethnic groups; but you can't oppose Spaniards to Portuguese genetically/ethnically. It's the same in Anatolia.

    The Turks also happen to be one of the most heterogeneous ethnicity in Eurasia. They speak a language of Mongolian origin, but descend primarily from the numerous ancient people who lived in Anatolia : Proto-Indo-Europeans, Semites, Caucasians, Elamites, Greeks, Romans, Celts... Turkish language is spoken all over Central Asia (Turkmen, Uzbek, Kazakh, an so on are basically all intelligible dialects of a common Turkish language). The Kazakhs are almost pure Mongols. Some Tajiks or Kyrgyzs look like northern Europeans. You can't associate a language or culture with an ethnicity. The confrontation between Turks and Armenians was linguistic and cultural, not genetic or ethnic.

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    Nonetheless what took place lines up with what the UN charter defines as genocide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    ...the term "genocide" (which derives from "genes")
    I want to add-correct that genocide is a half Greek half Latin word. It derives from the Greek word γένος (genos) that means family line and sometimes it has the same meaning as race and the Latin word cidium that means killing. The word genes also derives from the same Greek word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyllgi View Post
    Nonetheless what took place lines up with what the UN charter defines as genocide.
    Actually it does not, as long as you don't regard the Armenians as another racial or ethnic group from other Anatolians. Under the Ottoman Empire they were part of the same country and so cannot be considered a different national group either.

    Unwittingly you have helped me demonstrate that the UN's definition of 'genocide' does not apply to what the Turks did to the Armenians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Actually it does not, as long as you don't regard the Armenians as another racial or ethnic group from other Anatolians. Under the Ottoman Empire they were part of the same country and so cannot be considered a different national group either.

    Unwittingly you have helped me demonstrate that the UN's definition of 'genocide' does not apply to what the Turks did to the Armenians.
    The definition of genocide not only concerns race, but also culture, religion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    The definition of genocide not only concerns race, but also culture, religion
    I don't think so. Genocide means ethnic/racial cleansing. Wars of religions aren't genocides, even if the aim is to kill all the infidels. WWI was first and foremost a war of cultural pride (and cultural misunderstanding). Millions died for the sake of nationalism and proving one's country superior to that of the neighbour, but nobody called it a genocide.

    The US Congress had better watch their words next time they accuse a country of genocide. After all the US Congress and government have sponsored the deportation and elimination of Native Americans for decades, causing their numbers to drop from 12 millions around the time the first settlers arrived to 250,000 in the late 1800's. Hitler didn't come anywhere as near in eliminating the Jews in term of percentage as the USA did with the Natives. Contrarily to the Armenian massacre, American citizens were encouraged by their government to "kill Red Skins" or kill buffaloes (bisons) to starve the Indians to death. This was a state-organized genocide. Americans don't have lessons to teach others in this regard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I don't think so. Genocide means ethnic/racial cleansing. Wars of religions aren't genocides, even if the aim is to kill all the infidels. WWI was first and foremost a war of cultural pride (and cultural misunderstanding). Millions died for the sake of nationalism and proving one's country superior to that of the neighbour, but nobody called it a genocide.
    I just say what the dictionary says. If you want to change it , call them :

    Real Academia Española :

    1. m. Exterminio o eliminación sistemática de un grupo social por motivo de raza, de etnia, de religión, de política o de nacionalidad.


    Wiktionary :


    genocide (countable and uncountable; plural genocides)

    1. The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.
    2. Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    I just say what the dictionary says. If you want to change it , call them :

    Real Academia Española :

    1. m. Exterminio o eliminación sistemática de un grupo social por motivo de raza, de etnia, de religión, de política o de nacionalidad.


    Wiktionary :


    genocide (countable and uncountable; plural genocides)

    1. The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.
    2. Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
    An independent-minded thinker doesn't trust that kind of popular sources. Dictionaries aren't written by experts for each subject like some encyclopedia, just by people trying to explain simple words to even simpler people who can't understand them.

    I place dictionaries in the same category as tabloid newspapers when it comes to credibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    An independent-minded thinker doesn't trust that kind of popular sources. Dictionaries aren't written by experts for each subject like some encyclopedia, just by people trying to explain simple words to even simpler people who can't understand them.
    So, what is the base in which you define genocide ? What makes you think a war of religion or culture is not genocide ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    So, what is the base in which you define genocide ? What makes you think a war of religion or culture is not genocide ?
    I actually agree with the United Nations definition given above. I would just specify that "national" group is only true for ethnically homogeneous countries that match a single ethnicity (e.g. Japan, Denmark, Portugal, Oman...) but not for ethnically diverse nationalities (which means most countries, e.g. Turkey, Iran, India, China...).

    You can talk of Japanese nationals and ethnic Japanese, or Danish nationals and ethnic Danes, and, apart from recent naturalised immigrants it will be the same thing. But there is no such thing as a Turkish, Indian or Chinese ethnicity. There are dozens or hundreds of ethnic groups in these countries. True genetic ethnicities don't always match people's own image either. In China the Hans are officially one ethnicity, but genetics have shown that northern Hans and southern Hans were quite different, and northern Hans were actually closer to the Koreans, or even Japanese, than to the people of Guangdong or Sichuan (probably because of admixture with the Tai and Miao-Yao minorities).

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    Under the UN definition the Turks committed genocide.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I agree with Maciamo. I don't think it was a genocide. The Ottomans didn't try to anihilate Armenia.

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    Well, it is used for the bloodshed in Pinochet's Chile as well as what happened in Rwanda. I don't think it's wrong to call it genocide. Would mass murder be better? Maybe. I don't think that semantics is the real issue. I do think that Armenia and Turkey need to reconcile. Maybe this isn't helping, but I don't see why Turkey can't just admit it's historic atrocities. Some claim that this wasn't the Turks doing it but the Ottomans, kind of like that Great Britain wouldn't be responsible for what happened in the empire. This was the doing of the Young Turks and nationalist spree. If they don't face up to it and take a stand opposed to these events, they are telling the Turkish people that it wasn't wrong. My opinion is that they need to show what Turkey stands for. I would welcome Turkey to say "It was wrong, it was genocide and we are sorry that ever happened. This is not what we stand for". I think this would be expected from a European country.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Folkesson View Post
    Well, it is used for the bloodshed in Pinochet's Chile as well as what happened in Rwanda. I don't think it's wrong to call it genocide. Would mass murder be better? Maybe. I don't think that semantics is the real issue. I do think that Armenia and Turkey need to reconcile. Maybe this isn't helping, but I don't see why Turkey can't just admit it's historic atrocities. Some claim that this wasn't the Turks doing it but the Ottomans, kind of like that Great Britain wouldn't be responsible for what happened in the empire. This was the doing of the Young Turks and nationalist spree. If they don't face up to it and take a stand opposed to these events, they are telling the Turkish people that it wasn't wrong. My opinion is that they need to show what Turkey stands for. I would welcome Turkey to say "It was wrong, it was genocide and we are sorry that ever happened. This is not what we stand for". I think this would be expected from a European country.
    Turkey is not, never was, and never will be a European country.

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    I know you have those sentiments. I didn't refer to Turkey there though, but what I am saying that this would be expected of a European country. Even the Russians can acknowledge and commemorate Katyn.
    Last edited by Michael Folkesson; 30-04-10 at 22:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Folkesson View Post
    Well, it is used for the bloodshed in Pinochet's Chile as well as what happened in Rwanda. I don't think it's wrong to call it genocide. Would mass murder be better? Maybe. I don't think that semantics is the real issue.
    For me semantics is a major issue. I think it also is for the Turkish government. The word "genocide" has a too strong connotation with Hitler's attempt to eliminate all the Jews.

    I would never call Pinochet's political assassinations a genocide. It is barely a "mass murder". It was a series of carefully selected assassinations, and it was not directed at an ethnic group but towards political opponents.

    Rwanda was a genocide because it opposed two physically recognisable ethnic groups, the Tutsis and the Hutus, and one group (the Tutsi minority) tried to exterminate the other till the last one.

    The fact that the Armenian massacre happened in the context of WWI, where tens of millions died, makes me want to call it a war massacre (like the Nanking Massacre of 1937) rather than a genocide.

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    I agree that semantics are important, and that many events that are described as genocide don't fully keep in the denotion of the word, but I don't think that the extermination or Jews during WWII constitute the criteria for the definition of it, but that role is better filled by the word Holocaust. The use of the word genocide in Pinochet's Chile is used for the reason that they and the Chicago Boys aimed to - and succeded largely - to exterminate the intelligensia and socialist culture of the country i.e. what can be seen as constituting an "ideologically ethnic" part of the country. I am not saying it's correct, but this is the reason of the use in this context.

    I don't have a problem using this word in the Armenian conflict, but I don't have a problem with the word massacre either, or mass extermination. It changes nothing of the level of atrocity of it. I think Turkey should display national shame for what was done, and show they don't stand for such actions. It was long ago? Well, how hard is it to say "It was wrong, we are sorry, we don't stand for such actions." I don't see why this shouldn't be addressed.
    Last edited by Michael Folkesson; 01-05-10 at 14:28.

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    It was a war, in every war soldiers, civils die... For Turks both sides have killed people... everyone knows that. But a real genocide can be those of native americans killed by americans... There was no war, nothing... I think Armenians, Greeks, Turks should make peace and forget all the past...

    Yes genocide is 100% a greek word, not half :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benkimim View Post
    It was a war, in every war soldiers, civils die... For Turks both sides have killed people... everyone knows that.
    Systematized massacres of civilians of targeted ethnic groups is inexcusable, regardless of whether or not it is in the context of war... everyone knows that. And that's true whether or not we call it "genocide."

    Quote Originally Posted by Benkimim View Post
    But a real genocide can be those of native americans killed by americans... There was no war, nothing...
    Quite the opposite, the Native Americans being displaced by European-origin settlers is a much poorer example of a genocide, especially when taken as a whole and not isolating certain incidents. For one, most Native Americans who died died of disease rather than being killed. Also, there were wars, and plenty of them (Chickamauga Wars, Black Hawk War, Seminole Wars, Winnebago War...). The pattern of the wars was often: settlers or government sign treaty with Indians, bad apples among settlers break treaty, Native Americans attack haphazardly, militia or government defeats and displaces Native Americans... hardly a genocidal pattern. There were unethical incursions and forced relocations, and even some massacres that could be cited as genocidal (Sand Creek comes to mind), but the Native American-European settler relations don't as a whole amount to "genocide" under any definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Benkimim View Post
    I think Armenians, Greeks, Turks should make peace and forget all the past...
    Make peace, definitely! Forget all the past, most certainly not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Quite the opposite, the Native Americans being displaced by European-origin settlers is a much poorer example of a genocide, especially when taken as a whole and not isolating certain incidents. For one, most Native Americans who died died of disease rather than being killed. Also, there were wars, and plenty of them (Chickamauga Wars, Black Hawk War, Seminole Wars, Winnebago War...). The pattern of the wars was often: settlers or government sign treaty with Indians, bad apples among settlers break treaty, Native Americans attack haphazardly, militia or government defeats and displaces Native Americans... hardly a genocidal pattern. There were unethical incursions and forced relocations, and even some massacres that could be cited as genocidal (Sand Creek comes to mind), but the Native American-European settler relations don't as a whole amount to "genocide" under any definition.
    you mean "trail of tears" happened just because of some bad apples? changing the population distribution of all continent and bringing the slaves from africa and breeding them with respect to their physical appearance and pedigree is just a genetic search.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears
    http://ncatlasrevisited.org/populati...html#NativePop

    i agree that turkey must excuse for what happened. But, after an investigation which will be carried out by an international working group.

    i can understand Armenians feelings, and i give my apologies individually. but people must understand that it was not an ethnic cleaning. Armenians welcomed in ottomans for centuries. these sad "thing" happened during the WW1 when Armenians were fighting for their own land against ottoman. in those times ottoman was so weak that they couldn't think of ethnic cleaning.

    "Make peace, definitely! Forget all the past, most certainly not."----nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbarian View Post
    you mean "trail of tears" happened just because of some bad apples? changing the population distribution of all continent and bringing the slaves from africa and breeding them with respect to their physical appearance and pedigree is just a genetic search.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears
    http://ncatlasrevisited.org/populati...html#NativePop
    The Trail of Tears wasn't a war, it was an unprovoked forced relocation, so it doesn't really follow the pattern. It was racist and ill-advised. A genocide though? It doesn't really fit the definition because there was no intentional -cide.

    You aren't expecting me to defend the Trail of Tears and slavery, are you? They were both terrible. Also neither would be put into a textbook as examples of genocide because they are different sorts of atrocities.

    Quote Originally Posted by barbarian View Post
    i agree that turkey must excuse for what happened. But, after an investigation which will be carried out by an international working group.
    I don't understand what's left to be resolved.

    Quote Originally Posted by barbarian View Post
    i can understand Armenians feelings, and i give my apologies individually. but people must understand that it was not an ethnic cleaning. Armenians welcomed in ottomans for centuries. these sad "thing" happened during the WW1 when Armenians were fighting for their own land against ottoman. in those times ottoman was so weak that they couldn't think of ethnic cleaning.
    I always figured that they were weak and that's a reason why they were thinking of ethnic cleansing--they couldn't afford minority groups to become powerful antagonists and so they attempted to make their own population more homogeneous. So there was a tactical reason behind it, it wasn't just bigotry, but it still is what it is. Am I way off here?

    Quote Originally Posted by barbarian View Post
    "Make peace, definitely! Forget all the past, most certainly not."----nice.
    Thanks

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