Sassounian: Egypt Floats Genocide Recognition as Trial Balloon to Warn Turkey

The Arab Spring in Egypt has turned into a hellish summer with countless casualties.

Ever since the Egyptian military deposed President Mohamed Morsi, one particular foreign leader has been screaming the loudest, demanding his immediate reinstatement. That bellicose leader is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, a staunch supporter of his fellow Islamist Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s new leaders, backed by large segments of the population, were infuriated especially after Erdogan severely criticized Morsi’s overthrow and the killing of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood protesters. Using extremely harsh language, the Turkish prime minister condemned the Egyptian military for “carrying out a massacre with its soldiers, police officers, [and] heavy artillery.” Ironically, Erdogan called anyone who keeps silent in the face of injustice “a voiceless devil.”

There is no question that a human tragedy is unfolding in Egypt and becoming more critical with each passing day. While no one can remain indifferent to the killing and maiming of civilians, the prime minister of Turkey is the last person on earth who should be taking such a self-righteous attitude. Anyone who has blood on his hands has no right to demonize others! One does not have to go back into history and recall the genocides committed by Erdogan’s forefathers against Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks. Just a couple of months ago, the Turkish prime minister’s own hands were soaked in blood when he proudly acknowledged that he had ordered the police to open fire on unarmed demonstrators in Istanbul, killing 5 people, blinding 11, and injuring 8,000 others. Thus, Erdogan has been stripped of all moral authority to lecture anyone else on democracy and civil rights.

Erdogan’s repeated meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs and his staunch support for President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood escalated the hostilities between the two countries to such a degree that Egypt and Turkey ended up recalling their respective ambassadors. The worsening tension has jeopardized the $2 billion Turkish investment in Egypt and frozen the activities of 300 Turkish businesses in that country.

What a difference a year makes! In May 2012, when I was visiting Egypt on a lecture tour, a local newspaper refused to publish the part of my interview dealing with the Armenian Genocide. I was informed that given the close relationship between the two Islamist nations, it would be impossible to print anything against Turkey.

Curiously, after Morsi’s unceremonious departure from power, a series of articles appeared in scores of Egyptian newspapers detailing the history of the Armenian Genocide, demanding that Turkey pay restitution to the survivors, and calling on Erdogan to acknowledge his country’s criminal past.

To top it all, a surprising Twitter message was posted on Aug. 17 by Adly Mansour, Egypt’s interim president, announcing that his country’s “UN representative tomorrow will sign the international document recognizing the Armenian massacres which were committed by the Turkish army, causing the deaths of one million people.”

Even though Egyptian and Turkish newspapers widely reported the Twitter message attributed to the Egyptian president, we were unable to independently confirm its authenticity. However, it is clear that the current Egyptian government and media are intent on using the genocide as a way of getting back at Erdogan’s heavy-handed interference in their domestic affairs.

Understandably, most Armenians are displeased that the victimization of their ancestors is being exploited in a political tug of war between the two countries. Yet, unfortunately, this is politics as usual. If Egypt’s new leaders find it expedient to recognize the Armenian Genocide, this would be a welcome change. It is better to recognize the genocide, regardless of political motives, than not recognize it for all the wrong reasons! After all, no one can expect the Egyptian government to take a position on an issue, if it is contrary to its own national interests. In this regard, Egypt is no different from other countries, including the United States and Israel, which periodically dangle acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide as a Damoclean Sword over the heads of Turkish leaders.

The final decision on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide depends on the concessions Cairo is expecting from Ankara. If Egypt, the most populous Arab state, recognizes the Armenian Genocide, then that would deal a devastating blow to the Turkish government’s frantic efforts to counter the worldwide commemorations of the Genocide Centennial in 2015.

 

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

3 Comments

  1. This is political exploitation of the worst kind. It is sad and disheartening that the recognition of Genocide is being used as a counter threat to Erdogan’s support of Morsi.
    What is happening in Egypt is a major catastrophe. I was born in Egypt. During my lifetime is Egypt religious strife never existed.
    Islamist extremism was never a factor in life, and Christians were allowed to exist in peace and in harmony with our muslim neighbors.
    Indeed, Nasser had outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and his successors kept the policy unchanged.
    It was the shortsightedness of the US government to force the Egyptians for the socalled “democratic elections” to bring the Muslim Brotherhood into power which sadly rekindled Islamist extremism and the consequences that Egypt faces now.
    Leaving aside the political marksmanship Egypt and Turkey are playing now, my major deep concern is the safety of the small Armenian community that is still is Egypt. They are always in my thoughts and I sincerely hope that no serious harm befalls on them.
    Vart Adjemian

  2. The justice for the 1.5 million killed by the Turks lies in our hands. Not in any third country trying to score political points.

    The Armenian Genocide should teach us to trust no one. NO ONE…And above all arm yourselves and make the Armenian Army the most potent it can be. Its the only language Turks/Azeri’s understand.

  3. NOT ATTATURK LEGACY!
    Islamist Iran revolution – Erdogan Turkey Islamist evolution.

    1: Reporters Without Borders report :
    “Turkey is the world’s biggest prison for journalists — a sad paradox for a country that portrays itself a regional democratic model.”
    2 :During the Turkey 2013 Massive demonstrations against Erdogan Islamic government, Erdogan blamed the Jews of orchestrating the demonstrations.
    3 :Erdogan said that Hamas, Hisbullah terror organizations are his sister parties.
    note what is included in Hamas charter:
    ”The day of judgment will not come until Moslems fight killing the Jews.”
    4:Erdogan supports the Turkish IHH organization.
    *Danish Institute for international Studies and French intelligence report. IHH is connected to Al Qaeda.In IHH offices in EU countries explosives, terror instruction manuals, weapons, explosive documents and money funding terrorists have been founded.
    *IHH was connected to the Islamist terror attack attempt at Los Angeles Airport *Erdogan was funded several times by IHH.
    5:Erdogan blames Israel of being responsible for the turmoil in Egypt
    6:Erdogan wrote, directed and played the lead role in the play Maskomya, which presented Judaism as evil.
    7: Erdogan blames PKK are subcontractors of Israeli supported international media.
    —–
    Tell me who are your friends and I will tell you who are you!!!
    Zig Hail

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