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article imageOp-Ed: Turkish PM Erdogan's threat terrorizes Armenians

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By R. C. Camphausen     Mar 20, 2010 in Politics
It seems that Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey went one bridge too far with his attempt to blackmail Sweden and the US into not classifying the Armenian genocide as genocide. Now it looks like he's crawling back, claiming he was misunderstood.
When an Armenian historian, Mr Papian, says on PanARMENIAN.Net, that the recent statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prove that "Turkish society is sick" and that "his utterances reveal the Turkish population’s thoughts,” no one will be very much surprised. Armenians, after what they have suffered in the past, can hardly be expected to be either neutral or objective.
Even in Turkey itself there were a few demonstrations against the PM. However small these protests, it is significant that they occurred at all in the country, triggered by his open threat to expel circa 100,000 Armenians from Turkey. Erdogan now claims that the media has distorted his threat, while it is clear that media and politicians worldwide have perfectly understood what he was trying to do.
The PM's threat to expel all Armenians who are not naturalized citizens of Turkey, came too soon after first the United States and then Sweden voted for motions to classify Turkey's treatment of Armenians between 1915 and 1917 as genocide - something the PM calls “baseless genocide claims" although there are more countries who have long since used the term genocide for this part of Turkish-Armenian history.
Turkey, however, or at least this PM, doesn't like the term, and Erdogan has repeatedly tried his best to warn off nations to use it. On Azbarez,com, for example, he is quoted as saying that third countries should "be constructive and responsible" [because] “all initiatives that deteriorate the [normalization] process will carry a heavy cost – [not to] Turkey but [to] the creators and supporters of those malicious initiatives.”
In other words, if someone calls a genocide a genocide, it's a malicious initiative that may come at a heavy cost. Also elsewhere, Erdogan used the words “You will pay for this.” IN truth, the whole affair is an attempt to blackmail the US into not accepting the genocide resolution, because - besides deporting the Armenians - Turkey could close it's borders and not allow any more logistical supplies for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a draft resolution on the very same Armenian genocide was also introduced to the Bulgarian Parliament, where it will be decided sometimes next week. An unofficial (and not well done) translation of the Bulgarian motion can be found here.
The whole discussion has the 100,000 'undocumented' Armenians in present day Turkey live in fear. The Turkish PM's words have terrorized them.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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