Two utterly absurd actions over the past two weeks may have paved the way to some minor positive results—one was completely Turkish, the other American/internet.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as he is wont to do, further denigrated his country’s reputation with his annual Armenian Genocide (denial) statement, disseminated in a tweet. The full text is available in Asbarez. In that statement, he may have just gotten one concept right. I emphasize “concept” and not facts, since the latter seems to be beyond his excellency. The sentence of interest reads thus: “The relocation of the Armenian gangs and their supporters, who massacred the Muslim people, including women and children, in eastern Anatolia, was the most reasonable action that could be taken in such a period.”
As you see, Erdoğan asserts relocating gangs and their supporters is reasonable when they are massacring people. Now, if we insert facts into this logic, we end up with an interesting outcome. Since it was Turkish gangs and their supporters (let’s add organizers, too, since the Ottoman government played the lead role) who were massacring people, then it is Turks who should have been deported. Since they were not deported a century ago, and since Erdoğan finds deportation to be a reasonable solution, then perhaps he should correct the error of his Ottoman predecessors and deport all the Turks living in Western Armenia. Of course, since he also has access to the lists of whose ancestors were Armenians (and Greeks, and Jews, etc.), he should of course leave those people in place and restore them to their rightful heritage.
What do you say Mr. Erdoğan? Are you up for implementing this proposal? It is, after all, based on your statement.
The other door-opening absurdity came to us courtesy of Facebook. Nora Hovsepian posted her grandmother’s survival story. Facebook then deleted it, supposedly because it was hate speech. All it contains is a paragraph (not much longer than Erdoğan’s statement) describing how she survived followed by an equally brief description of Armenian life after the Genocide. Nora asked Facebook to review its action.
After waiting for 36 hours and getting no response, she reposted it. Hundreds of supportive comments and 1300 “shares” followed. Interestingly, at least three other people reported similar experiences with Facebook. I haven’t read all the comments, so there may be more. It seems to me it’s time we compiled all such cases and confronted Facebook with its foolishness. It’s obvious that Turks are complaining about our posts, and Facebook, being the corporate behemoth that it is, is mechanically following some policy it has. The outcome is odious in the extreme. We must use the compilation of this Facebook behavior to elicit a change in its policies so that simple descriptions of our experiences during the Genocide are not blithely deleted.
Even more, this policy modification should apply to any Turkish complaint about Armenian postings. I say this because one of the examples I read in the comments to Nora’s original post was from author Matthew Karanian. Facebook had deleted a post about “The Armenian Highland” which is his most recent book. It’s obvious the problem extends beyond Genocide related postings.
Let’s get busy contributing examples of Facebook’s (perhaps unintentionally) anti-Armenian actions. Who will set up a Facebook page where everyone can tell their tales?
As things stand, I do not see a move toward recognition of the 1915 genocide. There have been of course many others before 1915 committed by the Ottoman authorities. This is why some of the Armenian and Christian communities of Anatolia started to convert to Islam or take up Kizilbash identity in Anatolia. We know now that the latter happen more often than anyone in Turkey dare to admit, especially in the Dersim region of Turkey, starting from the 16th century until very recently. The fear and oppression are felt deeply in Turkey today and there is no future for anyone who does not assimilate in that country. This implies to all but especially to the Alevi communities there.
Until recently I posted comments on the QUORA site about politics in general and the Genocide of Armenians in particular. After warning me that I was writing hate speech, QUORA canceled my membership. Of course, whenever I wrote about the Armenian/Turkish conflict, a bunch of Turkish denialists contradicted the historical facts.