Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Wilsonian Armenia, How the Armenians got Screwed After World War One

with 11 comments

OK, in my previous post I laid a bit of the background behind the Armenian Genocide. Yes, it happened. Yes, the Turks still deny it. Yes, everyone who was a participant is dead. So why are the Armenians still pressing for an apology from Turkey, and why are the Turks so adamant about refusing to even acknowledge the crime? Heck, it’s not even legal to teach about the Armenian Genocide in Turkish schools. We’re talking systematic denial here. I mean, what has Turkey got to lose by apologizing about something that happened nearly a century ago?

Well, as the map above so clearly indicates, quite a lot. A lot, because the  key word that comes after apology is … reparations. Today’s Armenians insist that they should be compensated for the property and wealth that was stolen during the Ottoman rule. And that the territory they were promised by treaty after World War One be restored to them, or at least Mount Ararat, the “Mt Fuji” of the Armenian people. Illustrated above is what is now referred to as “Wilsonian Armenia.” This was the territorial division that the Ottoman Empire agreed to after the war in the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. However, the treaty was never ratified or put into action as the Ottoman Regime fell apart. And a few years later the new nation of Turkey signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which superseded the Treaty of Sèvres and established the current borders of Turkey. And so the Armenians got hosed by the Turkey and the western powers.

So do the Armenians have  a case? Legally, yes, it’s pretty clear under international law. There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity, and the nation of Turkey, being the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, is in fact obligated to make reparations for their crimes. And if it was a perfect world, they would do so and that would be that. Unfortunately this is where the many thinkers end their analysis. No offence, but for one thing, any government of Turkey that actually tried to give a quarter of Turkey to Armenia would be overthrown during the first commercial break after the announcement. So as things stand now, it seems unlikely that the Armenians are going to get either an apology or reparations from Turkey. And it’s fairly easy to see why the Turks are reluctant to even acknowledge the crime, let alone apologize for it. To apologize would be to give the Armenians much stronger grounds to make their case for reparations and even territorial claims, no government is going to voluntarily do that except under extreme conditions.

So what do I think, and what’s to be done? Well, for one thing, I think holding the modern Turks responsible for the genocide, or demonizing them for their failure to apologize is a bit, well, ridiculous. Racist even. More importantly, it’s counterproductive. Racism and demonizing is always counterproductive, though it’s amazing how many people who consider themselves highly moral engage in it, but that’s a topic for another post. And it obscures the point that there are Turks who acknowledge the crimes of their fathers, the Armenians would do well to try and work with them. There are Palestinian and Israeli peace groups working together. If they can, anyone can. However, don’t construe this as my trying to delegitimize the Armenian claims or the horror of the Armenian genocide, as always I’m trying to look at things from different perspectives to help my understanding of them. I’m just saying that the Turks  collectively aren’t being evil for refusing to apologize, though no doubt some of them are. In fact some Turks apparently have made threats against Turkey’s remaining Armenian population if other Armenians don’t drop their claims, which is evil.

My final point, the point I have been leading to, is that looking at things like the Armenian Genocide in isolation is missing the big picture. And if we step back, the world is full of legitimate claims for reparations and territorial adjustment. There were literally dozens of genocides and ethnic cleansings  in the twentieth century that have yet to even make it into the history books and general consciousness, let alone be acknowledged by a dozen or more governments as the Armenian Genocide has. Compounded by the fact that many of the world’s borders, including pretty much all of the borders in the middle east and Africa, were drawn up by the colonial powers to facilitate resource extraction, with little or no relevance to ethnic realities on the ground. This was the point I was making some years back when I published my “New Middle East Map” post. Which is still getting nasty comments to this day, even though it is very clear that this map is simply grounds for discussion, not an actual proposal.

Moving right along, until we as a race are willing to acknowledge and fix the horrible legacy of the colonial era and redraw the world’s borders in a sensible way,  let alone grant reparations for past crimes, we are doomed to a world where ethnic cleansing, genocide, and war are the norm, not the exception. As is being demonstrated in Kyrgyzstan as I type. Will we ever be able to do that? I don’t know, but as military technology gets ever more lethal and trickles down to the lowest of the low, as it always does, the cost of not doing so will continue to rise. Will humanity grow up before the cost is our very survival as a species? The jury is still out on that one.

(The above image image of Greater Armenia/Wilsonian Armenia is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it’s the best image I could find on line to illustrate the concept, and it’s use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Plus I am acknowledging that the Armenian claim for reparations and an apology from Turkey is legitimate, so hopefully the image is being used to further their cause. Credit and copyright: OurArarat.com. Final note: Both of my Armenian genocide posts are simply discussion, I hope and pray for a just peace and reconciliation between the Turks and the Armenians, and know there are good people on both sides working for just that.)

Written by unitedcats

June 17, 2010 at 7:30 am

11 Responses

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  1. Dear Doug:

    For you and your readers to understand Armenians better, since you clearly do not, let us assume this hypothetical case:

    Suppose that Germany never acknowledged the Holocaust – indeed, denied it, said that Jews committed genocide against Germans, and threatened other countries when they recognized, or attempted to recognize, the Holocaust. Suppose, Doug, that such a Germany was situated right next to Israel, closed its border with Israel, threatened Israel, shut down Jewish synagogues in Germany, destroyed synagogues even now, denied the few remaining Jews in Germany many of their rights, had never paid reparations to Jews, kept stolen Jewish property, armed Israel’s neigbors, named a major boulevard in Berlin in honor of “Adolph Hitler”, saw to it that Israel was land-locked, and a whole lot more that I would be glad to explain to you.

    You’d be outraged. The world would be outraged.

    Doug, please realize that present-day Turkey has done all these heinous things and more to Armenia and Armenians and has been doing so continually since 1915 (and even before that). Armenians have been pressing for their rights since then. It did not simply come up now so please don’t make the excuse that present generations of Turks are not to blame. That these problems are not resolved is Turkey fault for having always stonewalled.
    Doug, add to this the fact that while Jews were not indigenous to Germany and had no territorial claims, Armenians were indigenous to the land they were on (look at old maps and study the demography of the land), while Turks arrived from Central Asia and Mongolia to conquer the indigenous peoples in what is now termed “Turkey” less than a millenium ago and conquered Constantinople less than 600 years ago.

    Doug, I know you think you are being reasonable and good-hearted, but you really need to be educated in some elementary historical, cultural, and geopolitical facts. I hope the above helps you and readers.

    Dave

    June 17, 2010 at 9:50 am

    • Can you provide some sources, Dave? I’m not denying anything you’re saying, I just want to read about it myself.

      Thanks in advance.

      Geoffrey Rose

      June 18, 2010 at 5:31 am

    • “For you and your readers to understand Armenians better, since you clearly do not”

      Maybe you mean he’s not for persecution of the Turks, the whole lot of turkish people are not to blame for something their relatives did or thier government won’t acknowledge. People are people no mater where you go, NOBODY likes to have their forefathers disgraces thrown in their face. The Turks are in the wrong, and in a prefect world the Armenians would forgive and the Turks apologize. Could you point out where Doug got any thing wrong?

      Even though I believe each man has the right to vengeance, it is better to forgive and end the cycle (though I can see where Armenians might have problems with that).

      Peace

      Pyrodin

      June 18, 2010 at 7:04 am

  2. Well, seems to me the only reason the Turks want it omitted is to save face, so, when enough Turks know about it, and it becomes more of an embarassment to deny it, then maybe they will admit it. But I can see both sides, I bet the Germans are still plagued by their fathers and grandfathers crimes. All I can say is that the truth should be known, black mark on their decendants is just the way it is, the sins of the father are inherited, just like their wealth. Sucks for both sides.

    peace

    pyrodin

    June 17, 2010 at 10:10 am

  3. Great article indeed but look at the map – on the West there’s Turkey and on the East there’s Azerbaijan… Those nations hate Armenians for their struggle for justice. After a hundred years such struggles on an ethnic level become blind hatred on both sides and there’s no room for objective discussions and after all no exit. Those two nations practice a policy of hypocrisy and pressure. They’re both trying to choke Armenia to death even now when they’re supposed to forget about it as they claim to have nothing to do with this genocide.

    Thanks to the ‘Great Powers’ (Russia this time) there was and still is liberation war in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) involving Azerbaijan and Armenia which is and always was ethnicly Armenian which additionally sip oil in the fire. And the general obstacle for Turkey’s restrain of intervention was (paradoxally) Russian military which was deployed on the Eastern borders of Armenia.

    The situation won’t be resolved soon time, meanwhile Armenia is still being choked to death by It’s loving neighbours. That’s one really unpleasant situation to be in but as a Christian state from 1700 years Armenians should be used to it and after all they’ve survived as a nation for 3000+ years so there is hope for some fresh air in near future.

    Mikael

    August 26, 2010 at 5:46 am

    • Haters? Excuse me, but who are the haters. The Armenian people are. You guys have territorial claims against your neighbors and in some cases want to wipe your neighbors off the map. You guys are hell bent in satanicizng everything Turkish out there and caused anti-Turkish racism to successfully grow worldwide. It is funny how you guys whined and squealed about Ramil Safarov, yet you guys go around and try to beg for the pardoning of Hampig Sassounian. You guys whine and squeal about how Turkish people deny the fact that Armenians got massacred yet you guys hypocritically deny the fact of the Khojaly massacres and how you guys driven out 20% of what was NKR’s Azerbaijani population and you guys drove them out, yet you guys have the audacity to play victims. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40q9Ivebi-I.

      Look I am not denying the fact that Armenians died, but Greece and Armenia tried to divide Anatolia to get rid of Muslims and you guys got greedy, sorry, I have to say that either you guys respect Turkey’s current territorial integrity, or if you ask for lands, that means you want to wipe your neighbors off the map and commit agression. I am just appauled by the fact that you guys whine so much about human rights in Turkey and Azerbaijan, yet your own country is ruled via a corrupt oligarchic system and you guys gun down protestors when there is plots to change power in your nation.

      Check it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Armenian_election_protests
      http://www.armtown.com/news/en/pan/20090811/35235/

      You guys try to go whine cry and squeal, yet at the same time you try to manipulate other nations for your proxy war agenda. I know the Section 907 law in the 1990s was a plot to run to everyone in the world to pretend to be the poor little victims, yet you guys grabbed NKR from it’s rightful owners and expelled the non-Armenians and massacred them via the Khojaly massacre and we know you guys want to snitch more land from your neighbors even after that attack.

      Peter Hasbourck

      September 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm

  4. Dave, you made excellent points. I’d also like to say that while it seems “unfair” to label the general Turkish population as monsters, the fact is with their government behaving the way it has for it’s past crimes, that burden of how Turks must look rests with them, the Turkish government, not the victims, the Armenians.

    And if it is “racist” on the part of Armenians to lump all Turks together as genocidal maniacs, well was it and is it not today also racist to foam at the mouth for the prospects of Armenia to get destroyed? That is precisely how Azeris (Turkic) and Turks are. It was racist to dream of a pan-Turkish empire stretching from Asia Minor to Afghanistan and attempt to wipe off an entire race of people from their indigenous lands. Until that crime is addressed no one has any right to make any accusations against Armenians and their belief of what they are dealing with.

    Sammy

    December 19, 2010 at 2:03 am

  5. I LIKE TO EXPRESSMY VIEWS AND THE TRUTH:

    THE TRUTH IS THAT WE AS ARMENIANS NEVER CONQUERED ANYONES LAND OR STOLE THEIR LAND.
    WE ARE A PEOPLE LIKE TO BUILD NOT DESTROY, WE DONT CUT TREES WE PLANT TREES.
    AZERBEIJANS COMMITTED THE SECOND GENOCIDE AGAINST US AND WITH BAKU POGROMS
    THEY WANTED TO UPROOT ARMENIANS FRM XARABAX WHICH IS ARMENIAN LAND AND THEY WANTED TO TAKE PART OF ARMENIA SO THEY CAN FULFILL THE PAN-TURKISM DREAM ( WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN).
    THEY LOST THE WAR AND WITH THEIR OIL MONEY THEY PROMOTE HATE AND FALSE PROPAGANDA ALL OVER THE WORLD AGAINST US. SO CAN ONE TELL ME WHAT WERE WE SUPPOSE TO DO SIT BACK AND WATCHTHE SECOND ARMENIAN GENOCIDE I DONT THINK SO.TILL TODAY AFTER 20 YEARS THEY THE AZERIS ARE STILL CRYING ABOUT GOING TO WAR AND RETAKING OUR HOMELAND, BUT THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AND EVEN THE SUPERPOWERS HAVE WARNED THEMNOT TO GO TO WAR WITH ARMENIA.
    WHEN SOME ONE IS BEING CHOCKED BY THEIR NEIHBOURS WHAT ARE YOU TO DO?
    EVEN IF IT TAKES A SHOVEL TO FIGHT YOU WILL FIND A SHOVEL TO FIGHT YOUR SO CALLED PEACE LOVING WAR MONGERING NEIHBOUR, BUT IN ARMENIAS CASE WE ARE MUCH STRONGER THAN EVER.
    LOOK AT IT THIS WAY THE AZERIS OUT NUMBEREDUS BUT WE WON THE WAR
    SO ITS NOT THE QUANTITY IN ARMY BUT THE QUALITY IN EVERY INDIVIDUAL SOLDIER
    YOU CAN TAKE THE SOLDIER OUT OF THE BATTLEFIELD BUT YOU CAN NEVER TAKE THE BATTLE OUT OF THE SOLDIER.

    HARUT

    June 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

  6. Wow. No consensus here. It looks like it will get worse in the future. Just like Rwanda, Bosnia, (Srebrenica), Darfur, Iraq, etc., the group with the most guns will win the battle…probably never the war. History, even recent history of the last 200 years is filled with so many horrific ethnic bloodbaths. If every wrong of long dead people had to be avenged, this planet is doomed.
    I am curious what each side’s ultimate goal is? Are modern Turks out to ethnically cleanse Armenians out of Armenia still? Are most Armenians simply interested in an acknowledgement and apology, or are they after historical land? Its very fascinating and horribly sad at the same time.

    Chris

    March 16, 2014 at 1:04 am

  7. There is no proof of genocide. Nobody has ever been convicted.

    theox

    March 23, 2015 at 6:32 am

    • Ottoman Empire did recongnise the genocide in 1919 and tried and found guilty with the punishment of death to the perpetrating Young Turk regime, of whom pretty much all went into hiding. Turkish courts-martial of 1919–20. Regardless, Armenia and/or Wilsonian Armenia is one thing, Genocide recognition is another. Legallly, Republic of Turkey illegally occupies most of Armenia just the same it occupies Cyprus and Syrian Alexandretta. The treaty of Lausanne even carries over the Arbitrary decision granted in November 22, 1920 giving the borders of Armenia and Ottoman Empire.

      Ara

      July 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm


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