Normandy!? Really!?

On the first day or two of the current mess, we could watch, wait and even snicker as the two biggest egomaniacs on the world stage, Erdoğan and Trump, proceeded to pretend to do verbal battle while making fools of themselves, yet again, for all to see.

We could hope that just as happened last December, Erdoğan’s preparatory moves to invade Syria would end up being nothing more than bluster for internal political consumption (remember Turkey’s municipal elections were looming, in March, and he had a lot riding on those, ultimately taking a good beating).

We could enjoy the schadenfreude of the bind Trump put himself in by green-lighting Erdoğan’s long-sought invasion.

The foolishness runs unabated. First Trump announced that in his “great and unmatched wisdom” if Erdoğan crossed any (undefined) lines of acceptable behavior during the invasion, Trump would “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey”! Then, after even his most die-hard, brown-nosing, Senatorial and Congressional supporters savaged him with criticism for turning on US allies, the Kurds of northern Syria, he came up with another doozy.

Picking up an utterly ridiculous line from Kurt Schlichter, a retired U.S. Army colonel, who writes for a right-wing website, Trump rhetorically asked if the Kurds had helped the US at Normandy. Incredible! He’s going back three-quarters of a century to a time when the world’s greatest powers were locked in massive battle while the Kurds had just been massacred by the hundreds of thousands (in Turkey). Comparing the Kurds with the US is ludicrous on the face of it: a stateless nation dwelling in four countries whose governments have a history of persecuting them is to a country on the verge of becoming the world’s leading power as a common modern lizard is to a tyrannosaurus rex!

Alas, even though the ridiculous pronouncements continue, the bloodshed has begun with the NY Times reporting Friday morning that 23 Kurdish fighters had already been killed. The pictures of bomb-amputated children and families fleeing the invasion are also available for all to see. Naturally, video of Ankara moving its forces to and beyond the Syrian border are also up, presumably permitted by Sultan Rejep (Recep) to bolster his standing among the electorate (early polling for Turkey’s 2023 presidential election shows his standing at 39.1 percent, a significant drop from the 52.6 percent with which he won office a little more than a year ago). Analogously, there are those arguing that Trump allowed Turkey’s invasion in a “wag the dog” move to distract people from his looming impeachment and to shore up support among his core constituencies.

All of this describes the ugly, political and pathetic aspect of the situation. The coming consequences are far more dire on a human level on the ground.

Turkey will no doubt exhibit its usual behavior and massacre some Kurds. Many people will be displaced as a result of war. Ethnic cleansing, or more precisely reconfiguring, will follow Turkey’s likely win over the much smaller Kurdish forces because Turkey plans to resettle Syrian refugees it has housed in the 20 mile (30 kilometer) “buffer zone” it wants to create along the Syrian border. This will negatively impact Kurdish hopes of one day having a comprehensive national state.

Wider war could ensue. The PKK could mobilize against the Turkish armed forces, opening up a second front for Ankara. If the Cypriots are bold enough, they might also move to try to expel Turkish troops from their country. A little bit later, once Turkish forces have softened up Syria’s Kurds (which suits the interests of Damascus), Syria might move against Turkey under the very legitimate rationale that the latter has violated its borders. Iran would probably quietly support Syria in this endeavor (if you don’t believe this, consider that Iran is allowing Kurdish demonstrations already). Meanwhile, Daesh/ISIS, which has been getting eliminated slowly, might get a second wind with the likely escape/release of 12,000 to 15,000 of its members who are currently in jails run by Syria’s Kurds. Remember, they were the main force on the ground (other than the Syrian army) fighting those Islamic fundamentalists, serving the interests of the West and armed/supported by a minimal number of American troops (about a thousand), which is why the US betrayal of the Kurds looms so large.

Whose side will Israel take? It faces a difficult choice since it is on poor terms with Turkey, has Syria as a neighbor which is an enemy, and having Daesh/ISIS on its borders would not be a desirable situation. Historically, it too has used and betrayed the Kurds (of Iraq in the 1970s). Russia, too, may have a somewhat difficult choice to make. While it has been improving relations with Turkey which is still a NATO member and US ally, it has a very strong alliance with Syria and likely wants the US to come out of this mess embarrassed, and, if possible, weakened. Unfortunately, the Republic of Armenia is in no position to use this opportunity to retake some of its occupied lands. Nor are Greece and Iraq up to the task of taking Turkey on at this time.

Is it possible that Turkish bases/facilities outside its borders might come under attack through Kurdish guerrilla groups? There are two in Azerbaijan, Northern Cyprus is of course littered with them, 21 in Iraq (the Kurdish zone of all places), one in Qatar, one in Somalia and six in Syria.

The invasion also has a direct impact on one of our communities. Many Armenians remain in Qamishli/Ghamishli in northern Syria, home to a fairly large Christian population enjoying the relative calm of the Kurdish-controlled region over the last few years.

Regardless of what you think of Trump, this is bad news for the US and probably for Armenians in general. Demonstrations are already being organized. For those who see this piece soon enough online, you can make it to the ones scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13. Be sure to go. I will be at the one in Los Angeles, 12:00 noon, October 12 at the Turkish Consulate, 6300 Wilshire Boulevard. An extensive listing is available for the US and Canada. If you’re in Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and even other, smaller cities, check it out and go.

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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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5 Comments

  1. This incompetent and unqualified MAGA president is a joke and a hypocrite. He claims the US is done fighting other people’s wars and pulls US forces out of northern Syria knowing full well of terrorist Turkey’s intensions and upcoming invasion of northern Syria against US Kurdish allies fighting ISIS, not to mention massive collateral damages and civilian casualties, YET he has no problem sending in several thousand US troops to Saudi Arabia to defend this oppressive and undemocratic kingdom against Iran supposedly but of course in reality for the protection of Saudi sheikhs and for their oil.

    Terrorist Turkey, the foremost ISIS collaborator and supporter, is invading borders of a sovereign country under false pretenses to create a 30 kilometer buffer zone to return and to house Syrian refugees but in reality for the elimination of Kurdish hopes for a homeland and for “unspoken” Turkish claims to Syrian territory housing the tomb of Suleyman Shah the grandfather of Osman the Turkish terrorist and founder of the Ottoman empire.

    Russia as usual is playing politics for self-interest. While being a close Syrian ally, which played an important role in elimination of ISIS fighters and freeing Syrian territory from them, is turning a blind eye on Turkish invasion for the Turkey’s backstabbing of the NATO alliance, Turkey being the only Muslim Turkish terrorist NATO member state in the world, and for pumping billions of dollars into Russian economy by purchasing Russian Air Defense System against the protest of USA and very same NATO alliance to which Turkey belongs.

    Israel will most likely act as US proxy and help the Kurds against the Turks for a while especially now that there are signs of ISIS raising its head once again by taking advantage of the chaos initiated by its Turkish collaborator.

    Armenia should stay out and only help, by whatever and all means possible, to protect and secure fellow Armenians in the region. Any aggression by the Turks toward Syrian Armenians must be met with utmost ferocity and vengeance!

  2. “Whose side will Israel take? It faces a difficult choice since it is on poor terms with Turkey”…

    It’s not possible for those Zionists to be on poor terms with Turkey. After all, Israel, along with its Jewish-American organizations invested so much time and energy into assisting Turkey in its successful attempt to prevent the United States government from recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

    Furthermore, Israel happens to be very good friends with Azerbaijan (Turkey’s little brother), whom it has sold at least five billion dollars worth of highly sophisticated military weapons (which are being used to kill Armenian soldiers).

    Therefore, Erdogan and Netanyahu (both of whom are guilty of committing holocausts) are pretending to do verbal battle with one another, while also making fools out of themselves.

    • As they say, Israel has a bone to pick with Turkey and will help the Kurds at some capacity. It will act as a US proxy against Turkey for their assault on the Kurds who helped defeat ISIS. This will exonerate the US somewhat for abandoning the Kurds but ultimately a chaotic Middle East is what Israel wants. The more these sides are busy fighting and killing each other the less they will focus on Israel and in the process they will get weaker and therefore less of a threat to Israel.

      This mullah and terrorist-in-chief Erdogan’s Turkey is not the same Turkey anymore, not since 2010 anyway, that Israeli agents in the US helped defeat Armenian Genocide resolutions in the US congress year after year. Ever since the 2010 Turkish flotilla, aka “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”, incident in which ten Turkish terrorists disguised as activists were killed by the Israelis, the relations between the two have soured. This Islamo-fascist Erdogan calling Israeli leaders terrorists, a pot calling the kettle black, and Israel an apartheid state for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has made the matters worse between the two. This rabid dog, with Napoleon Complex, Erdogan’s recent anti-Israeli outbursts in the UN General Assembly has further exacerbated their already tense relations for sure. That is why Israel has been playing political Ping-Pong with Armenian Genocide and Netanyahu in particular, and his son for that matter, have recently been using the Armenian Case as a tool to get back at Turkey. This of course does very little for the Armenians but it does speak volumes in terms of hypocrisy displayed by both sides.

      There was a reason why Israel got close to artificial Azerbaijan. This happened during the so-called football diplomacy between Turkey and Armenia back in 2009 when, against Azerbaijani protest, the two sides signed the infamous and treasonous Reconciliation Protocols, which would have opened the border between the two, and of course in return for Armenia’s silence and unconditional approach towards Turkey in matters quite important to the Armenian nation, the Diaspora in particular, such as the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and occupied Western Armenian territories. Ceasing the opportunity, Israel moved in on Azerbaijan to create a wedge between Turkey and Azerbaijan and to try to distance Azerbaijan from Turkey for Turkey’s this anti-Azerbaijani move. The more important reason for Israel getting close to Azerbaijan had to do with their common enemy, Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran and its nuclear research facilities. In both cases Armenia suffered because these fake protocols were never ratified by Turkey, by Turkey placing demands on Armenia in favor of Azerbaijan after the protocols were signed, and Israel camped in Azerbaijan territory for possible attack on Iran in return for selling Azerbaijan over a billion dollars’ worth of weapons whose targets were none other than Armenians.

      As the old saying goes: Birds of a feather flock together. This applies to all three. Nothing good can ever come of these for the Armenians.

    • Well, for all these years, Israel has not provided the slightest bit of assistance to the beleaguered Kurds of Turkey; therefore, I see no reason why Israel would suddenly begin providing assistance to Turkey’s Kurds.

      In terms of ISIS, there’s no doubt that Israel needs their presence in the Middle East, and therefore wishes for them to continue to exist. After all, it was the combination of Israel and the United States which brought ISIS to power in the first place. By having ISIS create chaos in the Middle East, helps to reduce the amount of attention given to Israel for its horrifying atrocities against the Palestinians.

      The amount of military weapons that Israel has sold to Azerbaijan is not worth a billion dollars; it’s worth at least five billion dollars. Furthermore, “Israel’s moving in on Azerbaijan” did not create any kind of wedge between Turkey and Azerbaijan, nor did it distance Azerbaijan from Turkey. Israel and Azerbaijan are very good friends; but at the same time, Azerbaijan and Turkey are brothers.

      It was certainly nice of you to share your views with me; however, I just don’t find it possible that Israel and Turkey suddenly became enemies with one another, especially after having a strong partnership for so many years.

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