Erdogan Doubles Down on his threat to Expel Armenians

RT Erdogan

Turkish Sultan Prime Minister RT Erdogan has doubled down on his threat to expel undocumented Armenians from Turkey in a revealing interview to the Der Spiegel following a similar threat earlier in an interview to the BBC. That interview caused widespread consternation throughout the media in Turkey as well as overseas, but his latest verbal attack has remained under the radar. As always with Erdogan the underlying premises are the same: if Armenians keep agitating for Genocide recognition, which they will, threat or no threat by Erdogan, the Armenians currently residing in Turkey will suffer the consequences. How serious should Erdogan’s threat be considered? Given a sub-culture of violent conflict resolution in Turkey, past and present (Turks, Alevis, Armenians, Greeks), his threats to expel are no mere rhetoric, they are for all intents and purposes sending strong, if coded, signals to hardline nationalists like himself that Armenians are fair game. Of similar opinion is also Marko Attila Hoare, who also raises the alarm over what he calls “Erdogan’s chauvinistic outburst.” Hoare hits the nail over the head when he observes that

the extreme Turkish nationalism responsible for the Armenian Genocide and for the killing or expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Greeks during the 1920s (many of whom were Turkish-speaking Anatolians deemed ‘Greek’ only by virtue of being Christians) still very much dominates the mind-set of the Turkish political classes. It is a nationalism born out of the decay of the Ottoman Empire, in which repeated interventions by Christian Europe on behalf of the Ottomans’ Christian subjects and the resulting Ottoman territorial losses gave rise to a genocidal Turkish impulse vis-a-vis Anatolian Christians, identified as they were as agents of foreign enemies and threats to the territorial integrity of the state. The Turkish War of Independence of the 1920s was at once a legitimate war of national liberation against West European imperialism and Greek aggression, and a murderous assault on the remaining Anatolian Christians that culminated in the burning of the city of Smyrna in 1922 and the massacre of its Greek and Armenian inhabitants. The Turkish victory in that war and the establishment of the Turkish republic halted the Ottoman/Turkish territorial decline, but the readiness to attack and expel members of Christian nationalities remained. As late as 1955, the Turkish government of Adnan Menderes orchestrated a massive anti-Greek pogrom in Istanbul, as a way of pressurising Greece over the Cyprus question, resulting in the virtual disappearance through emigration of Istanbul’s up-till-then large and thriving Greek community. Against this background, Erdogan’s anti-Armenian outburst needs to be taken seriously. Read more>>

Curiously though, that favorite pariah that everybody loves to hate, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, despite his fear and loathing of Israel has not to my mind threatened expulsion of the small Jewish community in Iran.

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