Yegparian: Size Matters II

Turkey’s chest-thumping, arrogant threats against France over the anti-denial legislation that passed both houses of the French legislature betray Turkey’s inherent weakness, stemming from its refusal to come to terms with and atone for its past misdeeds—and the Armenian Genocide isn’t its only transgression against humanity.

Much like an adolescent whose body is big but whose brain still doesn’t know what to do with it, Turkey is thrashing about, lumbering bewildered, and trying to find its way and place in the international community. And just like its youthful human analog, it hasn’t yet learned that being straightforward will help it progress.

Does anyone recall Turkey being this loud in its knee-jerk, denial policy-based reaction before? Was it this intense a decade ago with France’s recognition of the genocide? How about the UN’s acceptance of its special rapporteur’s findings about the Armenian Genocide? Or the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of Armenian Genocide resolutions? Or the U.S. embargoing arms sales to Turkey over its invasion and occupation of Cyprus? Or the decades-long farce of the EU keeping Turkey as “always a bridesmaid never a bride”?

The reason Turkey is so voluble and strident in its reaction is because it perceives itself as being in a much stronger position than it used to be. And there’s some truth to this. Its economy has been growing rapidly (though, some argue, unsustainably). Its population exceeds that of every European country except Russia and Germany (although a quarter of that is actually Kurdish). It has had relatively better governance for a decade now. It feels young, strong, and surging. It has all the attributes that, coupled with immaturity, overweening pride, and insecurity, lead to bullying.

So it’s clear that bigger can mean badder.

That’s why it is an insoluble mystery to me why that same lesson is not applied by many in society to another institution that is a manifest example of “bigger-badder.” I refer to those who reflexively defend large corporate interests.

Corporations are set up as vehicles for conducting business to make money. That is their primary purpose (with the exception of those organizations that incorporate as a legal necessity, even though their purposes are charitable or civic). When an organization gets big, it unavoidably becomes less personal, and the money-making impetus becomes the sole organizing theme and unifying factor. So far this is not a problem.

But, as with any human endeavor, there are costs and tradeoffs. The efficiencies that accrue to big companies enable them to get ever bigger, and with their financial prowess, deform the functions of their surrounding societies, bending them to better suit their purposes. This happens at a cost to the individual citizens of these societies, usually impinging on their freedoms and voice in governance.

The only way to counterbalance this deformation is by controlling and limiting corporate activity. A single citizen is clearly not up to such an onerous task. That’s where the citizenry’s representative—the government—comes in. It is the only agent capable of counterbalancing corporate power.

However, big government can be just as effective a choker of individual liberty as any money-addled corporation. So citizens must be aware of and involved in their government; otherwise, “klookhuh g’arneh, g’erta” (it will run amok). As paraphrased from a 1790 speech by John Philpot Curran in his “Speech Upon the Right of Election”: “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Corporations, of course, act to subvert the only power able to check theirs, so citizens must be doubly vigilant. A current example of this awareness/engagement requirement is the effort now underway to restore corporations to what they rightfully are—legal constructs that exist based on the government’s permission. Two years ago, in its “Citizens United” decision, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively granted “personhood” to corporations, a huge threat to every human citizen. Now, many are out to remedy this abomination.

Big Turkey is bad. Big Corporations are bad. “Citizens United” is bad. Please explore this issue and get involved in taking back your government and powers as a citizen.


Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.

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  1. If you could find pride in your landlocked, feather-weight country, the Turks will find whole lot to be proud of their country.
    You are never tired of being used as pawn by other powers. That is all you can be proud of.

  2. Ahmet
    You have it the wrong way. We are using the other powers.
    But you needn’t get so much frustrated. Just be proud of your bulk and obesity. We have no problem with that.

  3. I don’t agree with any part of this article, but Ahmet, let me lend you a word of advice.

    “You are never tired of being used as pawn by other powers. That is all you can be proud of.”

    These are you words. What if someone were to ask you what pride you feel in thinking your country has the power of the once mighty Ottoman Empire? What if someone were to bring up that one of our noble Sultans was mentally handicapped (deli Ibrahim), one was a drunk (Selim the Sot), What would you answer? what if someone asked why our free speech champion nation Turkey has a law banning insulting the nation of Turkey? What would you answer? What if someone asked you why we have more journalists in prison than Russia? What if someone asked you why Turkey reacted so harshly to France’s proposed law? (My universities logo is “the truth valuable and shall overcome, won’t then Turkey’s “true” claims of history become known anyway then?) What if someone asked you why Enver, Talaat, and Ahmet Cemal pasa died in exile? What would you answer?

    It’s easy to take shots at people, anyone can do that. Are you willing to look in the mirror as well? I think Turkey is the most beautiful country in the world, but it is FAR from perfect.

  4. “Enver, Talaat, and Ahmet Cemal pasa died in exile? ”

    Died implies death of natural causes.

    Talaat was executed in the field by Armenian commandos.
    Ahmed Djemal was executed in the field by Armenian commandos.
    Enver was killed trying to avoid capture by the cavalry brigade of Yakov Melkumov (Agop Melkumian).

    Many other collaborators and organizers of AG were similarly executed in the field.

  5. “Many other collaborators and organizers of AG were similarly executed in the field.”

    Thats strange, what other justice you think Armenians are still looking for then? They still go around making demands when their “commandos” and Ottoman Courts have meted out all sorts of justice already.

    On the other hand they have never looked at a mirror and faced justice themselves.

    I do not agree with Ahmet. What folks find pride in is their business, it is certainly not a matter of size.

  6. “Thats strange, what other justice you think Armenians are still looking for then? They still go around making demands when their “commandos” and Ottoman Courts have meted out all sorts of justice already.”

    Glad you asked pal:

    1. Wilsonian Armenia. (I would also personally like Cilicia, but that one
    is a little hard)
    2. Return of all the stolen and confiscated Armenian wealth – both liquid
    and illiquid.
    3. Compensation for the 2 million murdered Armenians.
    Now this one I have a problem with: we lost an irreplaceable genetic pool.
    So just paying money and calling it even does not balance the scales in
    my mind.
    So, I am still working on a solution. Don’t have an answer yet.
    Maybe my compatriots have ideas.

    And you can ridicule “commando” all you want: Talaat and the other mass-murderers were sent to Hell just the same.

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