April 29, 2015 (released February 20, 2018)
By Michael Reagan
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, one of President Obama’s new best friends along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, was extremely unhappy last week as truth–tellers worldwide observed the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian genocide.
By the time the killing concluded an estimated 1.5 million Armenians lay dead in Turkey — killed by soldiers serving the Ottoman Empire. One could accurately describe President Erdogan as a genocide denier. He claims the death toll is wildly exaggerated.
What’s more, according to him, there was nothing organized about the deaths. It was a time of civil war and unrest that just happened to be fatal to Armenians. Maybe they hadn’t had their shots.
Erdogan does everything but blame outside agitators for the deaths. My father knew differently. In 1981 Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to call the Armenian deaths what they were — genocide. On the other hand, our current president not only doesn’t refer to genocide as genocide, he manages to break yet another promise while dodging the truth.
Aysor.am reports, “As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised, if elected, to refer to the Turkish mass killing of Armenians that began in 1915 as genocide.” Yet the word is nowhere to be found in his statement regarding the atrocity.
What many miss in the discussion of the slaughter — and possibly the reason Obama was reluctant to use an accurate description — is the Armenians were Christian and the Ottoman Turks were and are Muslims. Since Muslims are supposed to be the world’s victims now, what with the scourge of “Islamophobia” running rampant, it is inconvenient in the extreme for the PC police when others point out the indiscriminate slaughter of Christians at the hands of a Muslim government. Turkey’s response to other governments' acknowledgment of the facts does nothing to help its case. In fact, Erdogan’s response only makes him look guilty.
When the Austrian parliament signed a declaration condemning the genocide Turkey declared the act would put “permanent stains on Turkish–Austrian friendship.” Presumably Austria’s parliament vote is a much greater offense than repeated invasions of Austria by the Ottomans.
Pope Francis also decried the mass murder of the Armenian Christians and for his trouble Turkey raged that his statement was “null and void” and recalled its ambassador. If this keeps up Turkey may have to construct special housing for recalled ambassadors since France, Germany, Canada, and Russia join 16 other nations in condemning the genocide.
A better solution would be for Turkey to admit the genocide and then ask for forgiveness and make amends with the remaining Armenians.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters.