Turkish incursion in Iraq and the emergence of a Kurdish State
Dr Reza Hoseinborr
Having power does not make one right. Not having power does not make one wrong. Those who are in power now think that they are right in whatever they do and those who do not have the power are wrong in whatever they do.
When Stalin was in power he thought that he was right in everything he did but now everybody has realised he was wrong in everything he did.The fall of somebody who is in power begins the moment that he thinks that having power has made him right. Ideology does not make anybody right. Religion does not make anybody right. Interests do not make anybody right. Power does not make anybody right. Being right does not come from any of these sources. Being right comes from adhering to the values of justice, fairness, humanness, equality and the good deeds.
Victory brings glory. Defeat brings shame. When people become victorious they take glory with grace and pride. When they get defeated they cannot handle the shame and therefore, they begin to blame others. When the Ottoman Empire was on its peak, people of different religions were not considered as threat to the security of the state. In fact people of different religions were considered as great assets who brought different talents to the empire. Once the decline of the empire began, the rulers could not handle the shame of being defeated regularly by the Russians and other powers and they began to blame the Armenians, the Arabs, the Kurds, and many others. That’s what the Ottoman Empire did after it was defeated by the Russians.
They started blaming the Armenians who were Christians.
By 1914, Ottoman authorities had already begun a propaganda drive to present Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire as a threat to the country’s security. An Ottoman naval officer in the War Office described the planning: In order to justify this enormous crime the requisite propaganda material was thoroughly prepared in Istanbul. It included such statements as. “The Armenians are in league with the enemy. They will launch an uprising in Istanbul, kill off the Ittihadist leaders and will succeed in opening the straits of the Dardanless.”1
The beginning of blaming the Armenians for their defeat was the beginning of their total collapse. The blaming mind leads always to failure.
The Armenian people had always lived in that part of world. They were sometimes under the rule of the Persian Empire. After the decline of the Persian Empire, they were under the control of the Ottoman Empire first and then under the Russian empire and the Soviet Union. Like Greeks and Jews, the Armenians were labelled as Dhimmis and, “they were subject to laws different from those applied to Muslims.” 2
“In May 1915, Mehmet Talat Pasha requested the cabinet .. to legalize the deportations of the Armenians of Anatolia. On May 1915 CUP Central Committee passed the Temporary Law of Deportation, giving the Ottoman government and military authorization to deport anyone it “sensed” as a threat to national security.” 3
Several months later, the Temporary Law of Expropriation and Confiscation was passed, stating that all property, including land, livestock, and homes belonging to Armenians, was to be confiscated by the authorities. Ottoman parliamentary representative, Ahmed Reza protested the legislation:
“It is unlawful to designate the Armenian assets as “abandoned goods” for the Armenians, the proprietors, did not abandon their properties voluntarily; they were forcibly, compulsorily removed from their domiciles and exiled. Now the government through its efforts is selling their goods… If we are a constitutional regime functioning in accordance with constitutional law we can’t do this. This is atrocious. Grab my arm, eject me from my village, then sell my goods and properties, such a thing can never be permissible. Neither the conscience of the Ottomans nor the law can allow it.”4
This is a great statement by an Ottoman parliamentary representative but those who had forged a mind of blaming others for their own defeats did not stop the killing of the people who did not have any role in their defeat. The massacre of the Armenians continued systematically. The Christian world read the news every day in their newspapers and realised that only way that they can rescue the Armenians was to destroy the Ottoman Empire. The New York Times reported almost daily on the mass murder of the Armenian people, describing the process as “systematic”, “authorized” and “organized by the government.” Theodore Roosevelt would later characterize this as “the greatest crime of the war.” 5
It was the leadership of the Ottoman Empire that provided all the ingredients for its own destruction.
There were a lot of politicians who supported the massacre of the Armenians but there were also some intellectuals and politicians that condemned it. The majority of the people chose to be silent. It was the supporters of the Armenian massacres and those who became silent that caused the destruction of one of the greatest empires in the Islamic world. If the people of Ottoman Empire had stood up and stopped the killing of the Armenians at that time, they were likely to have their empire still in place today. Their grandchildren would not need to hide their crimes or express regret.
Today the situation is the same in Turkey. There are those who have forgotten the genocide of the Armenians. There are those who have denied the genocide. There are those who have concealed the genocide and all of them are determined to engage in another genocide bringing the same excuses and plans for the extermination of innocent people of the Kurdish origin.
The Kurdish people have lived in that area for thousands of years. They have not chosen to be under the control of the Turkish government. They have not chosen to be under the control of Iranian or Iraqi government. They happened to live there and therefore, they have a natural right to have a decent life wherever they live under any banner or country.
The genocide of the Jewish and Armenian people was conducive to the creation of two Jewish and Armenian states. The genocide of Croats, Bosnians, and other peoples of Yugoslavia caused the creation of several new countries and the collapse of that state.
Maybe Turkey today follows the footsteps of its predecessor and pursues the same policies of extermination and genocide. If this is the case, the majority of the Turkish politicians would support wide-ranging incursions into the Kurdish areas and began another genocide which will end in the collapse of Turkey and emergence of a Kurdish state.
The history will be repeated. Another genocide will happen. Another country will disappear and another will appear.
1. Dadrian., History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 220
2. Dadrian, Vahakn N. The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995 p. 192
3. Balakian. The Burning Tigris, pp. 186-8
4. Bayur. Turk Inkilabz. vol. III, part 3 op. cit. in Dadrian. History of the Armenian Genocide
5. The hidden holocaust – by Ruth Rosen