Bloomberg: Erdogan should recognize the Armenian Genocide

Bloomberg: Erdogan should recognize the Armenian Genocide

PanARMENIAN.Net - After the United States House of Representatives recognized the Armenian Genocide on Octber 29, the boldest and wisest course for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be to break the decades-old taboo and invoke the G-word himself, says Bobby Ghosh, a columnist and member of the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.

Erdogan will arrive at the White House on Wednesday, November 13, still smarting from U.S. House of Representatives’ recent overwhelming vote to recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915. He has called it “the biggest insult to our people,” and apparently even considered canceling his trip to Washington in protest.

"This is consistent with the vituperative response of Turkish leaders to previous instances when this dark chapter of their nation’s history has been invoked by foreign governments or parliaments. Their reflexive outrage is both wrongheaded and self-defeating. Congress could hardly have expected the Genocide resolution to deliver more than a rap on Erdogan’s knuckles. His overreaction gives the impression they landed a haymaker," Ghosh says in the piece.

"Granted, Erdogan was probably right to see the vote as less about moral clarity and more as an attempt by Congress to punish Turkey for policies hostile to American interests — most recently, the military offensive against U.S. allies in northeastern Syria. The House duly followed the Genocide vote by calling on President Donald Trump to impose sanctions for the invasion."

This wasn’t the first such gesture by Congress: In 1975 and 1984, the House formally recognized the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide. Every U.S. state barring Mississippi has done likewise. Beyond the U.S., the genocide has been officially recognized by more than 30 countries, including France, Germany and even the country Erdogan seems to regard as Turkey’s new best friend, Russia.

"Paying no attention to one more Genocide resolution would have made more sense than expressing outrage over it. But the boldest and wisest course would be for Erdogan to break the decades-old taboo and invoke the G-word himself," the article suggests.

"Most important, this would be the right thing to do: The historical consensus is that Ottoman forces, aided by Kurdish irregulars, did commit genocide against the Armenians, killing up to 1.5 million. Few national histories are free of shameful episodes, and, as many other countries have found, they are best exorcized by exposure to light.

"In addition, acknowledging the genocide would greatly improve Turkey’s relations with Armenia, frozen for decades over the issue. And it would also be strategically smart — denying Erdogan’s critics a weapon at a time when he’s managed to alienate many of his country’s most important allies.

"Congress periodically raises the genocide issue because it’s a way to apply pressure on a recalcitrant partner. In the long run, it’s in Turkey’s interests to get the U.S. and Europe more fully in its corner. Accepting the historical facts would earn goodwill in a way few other gestures could.

"Of course, it would also be risky: The issue has been the third rail of Turkish politics for the best part of a century. But Erdogan has already gone further than his predecessors in acknowledging the historical mistreatment of Armenians. A full and frank declaration is not beyond the capacity of a leader who’s challenged so many of Turkey’s political verities."

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