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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Turkey - A history in Genocide (Part 1)

When Mehmet 2nd captured Constantinople in 1453 he is reported to have let loose his troops on the Christian residents over 3 days.  At the end of this period of rape, looting and murder he permitted residents who had survived the massacres to return to their homes!  Paintings celebrating this ‘great lesson’ show rivers of blood.

And yet modern day Turkey, founded in conquest and blood continues to deny its Islamic heritage.  Is it that difficult to understand why?

Let us begin with Turkey’s interaction with Christian Armenia.  In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin was signed in order to protect minorities throughout the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire from persecution. It was ignored and an indirect result was that in 1895-96 Abdul Humid murdered up to 200,000 Armenians in a campaign that was intended to ensure submission for the survivors.  Many Armenians fled to Europe and the USA.  Turkey systematically discriminated against the church and to this day they refuse to recognize the orderly, organized murder of the Armenians in the 1890’s.

Dispersal and exile is common enough for survivors. But perhaps the Ottoman Armenians who remained behind thought they would be protected by Britain, France and even their enemy, Russia.

Innovations that would provide Germany with an invaluable insight into the immorality of nations began with the concentration camps first used by Britain against the Boars in South Africa. No one spoke out in outraged indignation against the British Empire. The Belgium genocide in Africa caused moral outrage only after the fact.   When confronted with Armenian Christian annihilation by Turkey the Western worlds total silence was duly noted.

In anticipation of the outcome that drove the Arab world in 1948 Britain retained its Concentration camps in Cyprus for any Jewish survivors of the Arab, Muslim onslaught against the nascent Jewish state of Israel. The Arab rhetoric about driving the Jews into the Sea has to be understood through the prism of historic practice.  Bloody reprisal and ethnic cleansing has not been an uncommon tactic in the Near East.  The Islamic tradition of retribution reinforces a message of the futility of resistance.  More important than that message is the internalized lesson that resistance, as with the Armenians, will elicit a terrible price that will be seared into ethnic memory for ever.

In 1915 the final stages of the Armenian Genocide were put into practise, the ethnic cleansing and the Genocide of the Armenian nation that was to take place between 1915 and 1917.

Disarmament, elimination of anyone who might be in a position to fight back and resettlement were all weapons intended to facilitate the final Armenian solution. In a frightening rehearsal for Nazism’s war against the allegedly impure, towns were systematically cleansed of Armenians, death came quickly but disease also took many of those waiting to die.   There is general agreement that between one million and one and a half million Armenians died.

Atrocities were documented.  There were numerous diplomatic missions and interested parties.  Foreign records of the events that followed are undeniable as to the attempted final solution of the Armenian problem.  Extermination had one added advantage to the Turkish government. Muslim refugees could be re-housed in the homes of the dead. The houses were all left fully furnished (unless pillaged by former friends and neighbors). And theological justification could be made at every stage of the process. Slavery, Dispossession, Theft, Extermination; all these things were meant and are still meant to demonstrate, in an unambiguous and tangible way, the superiority of Muslim civilization. That all property was and is the material right of possession of the global Islamic nation makes the act right by might.

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