Armenian Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On
May 18, 2005 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Armenian Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On This weekend, Armenians commemorated the 90th anniversary of the genocide of 1915. But Turkey has yet to recognize the crime -- the first genocide of the 20th century. By refusing to use the word "genocide," Turkey could complicate its efforts to join the European Union.
posted by Postroad (11 comments total)
By refusing to use the word "genocide," Turkey could complicate its efforts to join the European Union.

c'mon postroad. turkey's entry into the EU is complicated by their shaky economy, sketchy human rights record, and occupation of northern cyprus.

admitting to a "genocide" that occurred 90 years ago is not even an issue.
posted by three blind mice at 1:18 PM on May 18, 2005

so you've been getting the german news garbage from Sober worm too?

< a href="">
A new variant of the Sober virus appeared over the weekend, spreading right-wing messages in German and English.
posted by vporter at 1:32 PM on May 18, 2005

Not true three blind mice. France has a sizeable Armenian population with significant influence. This is definately a big issue with the French and is frequently discussed by many EU member states.

Nonetheless, this is an issue which is encompassed under the "sketchy human rights" record you mentioned anyway. However, your use of the word genocide in quotation leads one to suspect you don't agree with the description? Don't forget, Hitler cited the Armenian Genocide as justification for the Holocaust.
posted by dendrite at 2:07 PM on May 18, 2005

As a matter of fact vporter and tbm, on the tv news here tonight in Scandinavia, there was a report on the upcoming referendum in France on the EU constitution. They mentioned 400 000 Armenians living in France and that the French government is one of the few in the EU pressing for Turkey to acknowledge the genocide as a prerequisite to EU membership.

I can't find any links but it definitely wasn't "german news garbage."
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 2:18 PM on May 18, 2005

Also discussed a bit here.
posted by jenleigh at 2:51 PM on May 18, 2005

jenleigh's being very nice about it, but this is in essence a blatant double post; we discussed this issue a month ago. I'm completely in agreement that it's an important issue and should be resolved, but this is not Radio Erevan (insert Soviet-era joke here), this is MetaFilter, and I think one post a year (say) would be plenty to make sure the Armenians are not forgotten.
posted by languagehat at 3:08 PM on May 18, 2005

vporter- Thank you, you just pointed out why my grandmother's getting all these emails. I should have thought as much.

In any case, if a 90 year old genocide is being pulled up as reason to deny EU entry, France is a poor country to speak out on it after the Vichy government. Turkey's primary difficulties are a geographic location barely in Europe, an economy that's less appealing to help support than even the poorest of Eastern Europe, and the unspeakable elephant in the room, the inevitable religious culture clash.

When a number of EU member nations are worried about Muslim extremists, admitting an Islamic nation into the EU, by default allowing easier immigration, it's just not going to go over well with a lot of people. Whether it's right or wrong, discrimination is going to happen, and Turkey is not going to have an easy time joining the EU anytime soon.

I wonder if they're just using the genocide thing as an excuse to not bring up the religious clash and pretend to be politically correct?
posted by Saydur at 4:03 PM on May 18, 2005

From this WaPo roundup on the German spam, I read this "excellent writeup by Carl Bialik about the scholarly disagreements over the number of people who died between 1915 and the early 1920s". 600,000 is still horrific, of course, but what really surprised me is that the Turkish government acknowledges a number as big as that. I'm not saying the Turks don't deny a lot here they ought to own up to (few ethnic cleansers are honest about their motivations and methods), but the Turkish embassy does go so far as to endorse "slightly less than 600,000" as a brute number.
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:27 PM on May 18, 2005

well, i'm armenian and i say bring on all the posts you can.

thank you for the additional link; it actually matters to me.
posted by virga at 10:41 PM on May 18, 2005

dendrite, the quotation marks around the word "genocide" were from the FPP.

my take on this (as a resident of the EU for over a decade)this is a 90 year old excuse for not wanting modern turkey with its enormous population upsetting the balance in the EU.

you can discuss what happened almost a century ago, but most EU citizens (particularly the french) are more concerned with the present behaviour and of turkey. the "sketchy human rights record" i mentioned refers to the turks treatment of the kurds.
posted by three blind mice at 11:21 PM on May 18, 2005

I'm really of two minds about this sort of thing. Part of me thinks that it would be so easy for turkey just to admit they made a mistake, add it to the history books, make a memorial, etc. It's not that hard, and frankly, isn't a very big loss of face in terms of national politics (maybe it is, I really don't know), and it would be a meaningful gesture on an international level.

On the other side, what do the armenians expect Turkish acknowledgment of the genocide to change? Very little, I'd imagine. My own family roots are directly tied to the potato famine in ireland, and at least anecdotally in my family, it doesn't really matter what the british say or do about it now. My grandfather god rest his soul, would've still been a bit pissed, and my grandmother, would still like english muffins.

Basically, I guess my confusion comes down to this: What does either side of this issue have to gain, or loose by giving in, or giving up?
posted by Freen at 5:16 PM on May 28, 2005

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