641) Canadian blunder on Armenian claims

Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper lat last month delivered a speech supporting the Armenian claims of genocide.. The Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced his remarks, saying, "Turkey rejects attempts to create a history based on biased political maneuvers and propaganda."
The Canadian Parliament approved a decision on the same claims two years ago.
Personally I'm not happy with the Turkish attitude toward the Armenians' so-called genocide claims. I'm one of the critics of our political approach on what happened in 1915.
Also, everybody knows that I'm also totally against the Armenian falsifications.
As a person who's spent quite a lot of time on the issue, all I want is to eliminate deceptions and deliberate deviations from the historical facts.
The declaration of the Foreign Ministry was clear and as usual a very polite one. I'm not supposed to be like that.
Harper's declaration on the so-called genocide commemoration day (April 24) was aimed at satisfying the Armenian diaspora in Canada. Like some other leaders in Western countries, he degraded the case to make it domestic political fodder to get Armenian votes and support. Excuse my language, but it was a kind of bone to toss.
This behavior bothers me.
The Armenian claims, whether true or false, are about human lives. That kind of issue must be taken seriously. And as a democratic leader, Harper should have tried to learn the other side of the coin. Frankly, I don't think that he even took a deep look at the Armenian claims either.
Then comes another point: Since he must be much wiser than me, why did he do so?
Because one of the sides of the conflict is Turkey and the Turks. It's clear that he has no respect for us.
Have you ever heard of Harper criticizing the British government for what they did in India in the 1940s (for example in Amritsar)? Have you ever heard that he said something about Sakyet Youssuf (a place in Algeria where French troops massacred many civilian Algerians)?
No . Because these kinds of remarks might have created a lot of trouble for Canada or Canadian economic life.
If I were a pro-genocide Armenian, I would have rejected Canadian support in this way. If it's a humanistic matter -- genocide is a totally anti-humanistic crime -- it shouldn't be used as bait for domestic votes.
It's a shame, not just only for Harper, but also for us.
That reminds me of an article by Bedii Faik. Many years ago drunk American soldiers tore up the Turkish flag in Izmir. Faik wrote an unforgettable sentence about that: "American soldiers tore up our flag, because we put our flags much lower."

Recep Guvelioglu

08 May 2006



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