HOLDING THE ANZACS TO RANSOM

Neos Kosmos (The Hellenic Perspective), Australia
May 30 2013

The hypocrisy is stark and blatant. Syria is a terrorist state whose
leader must be removed while on the other hand, Turkey is permitted to
invade sovereign nations

Imagine, if you will, the German government, instead of abjectly
apologizing for its predecessor's role in the Holocaust, the most
heinous crime of the twentieth century, turning around and denying
that it ever existed. Not only that, try to imagine the German
government then stating that while the Holocaust is a myth, such Jews
that were killed deserved to die because they were fifth columnists,
supporting Germany's enemies and thus had to be removed. Further to
this, try to stretch your incredulity a degree further and attempt to
conceive of Germany that then proceeds to impose political sanctions
upon countries and prohibits its members of parliament from attending
such important commemorative events as the fall of the Berlin Wall on
the basis that they recognise the enormity of the genocide that was
the Holocaust.

Inconceivable, no? Yet further south-east, another country has been
doing exactly that ever since 1923 and while in the case of the
Holocaust, it was overwhelming international pressure that caused
Germany to assume responsibility for the almost total destruction of
the European Jewish community. This was not an easy process and took
time. It was widely reported that when footage of the extermination
camps was played prior to feature films being screened in movie
theatres, most Germans averted their eyes, not wishing to admit or be
accountable for what had transpired. It was only thanks to a prolonged
and concerted effort by the occupying powers and world opinion that
Germany was able to come to terms with its past and take steps to
ensure that such a crime would never be repeated.

In the case of Turkey however, responsible for the extermination of
millions of Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks during the death throes of
the Ottoman Empire, no such pressure has been exerted, by anyone.

Instead, the world community has presided in silence for almost a
century over the Turkish government's successful attempt to erase any
remnant of the thousands of years of history of the Christian peoples
of Anatolia, deny their genocide, foist the blame on the victims
themselves and bully other countries to keep silent.

It seems that the Turks have so far got it right. The West does not
care about the Christian genocide, despite the fact that the Ottoman
propensity to massacre Christians was condemned in the English
parliament by Gladstone as far back as 1878, and US diplomats on the
ground, such as George Horton and Henry Morgenthau wrote extensively
on Ottoman officials' attitudes to the genocide as it was taking
place. The West does not care that Turkey continues to treat what
little is left of its minorities on a quid pro quo basis, closing the
Halki Theological School, but allowing Christian worship in Panayia
Soumela on 15 August, reconstructing an Armenian church in Diyarbakir
(why does it need reconstruction if the genocide did not take place?)
but re-converting Saint Sophia in Trapezounta, a unique example of
Byzantine Pontian artistry and until lately a museum, into a mosque,
thus denigrating the memories of all those hapless Pontic Greeks who
have been slaughtered because of their religious persuasion ever since
the downfall of the Empire of Trapezounta in 1461. For the West,
Turkey's strategic position, its role as a power broker in the
volatile Middle East, its burgeoning economy, all these considerations
have taken precedence over any human rights considerations.

The hypocrisy is stark and blatant. Syria is a terrorist state whose
leader must be removed while on the other hand, Turkey is permitted to
invade sovereign nations, such as Cyprus, with impunity. Enough said.

Proof of the indulgence of Turkey in relation to its culpability for
the terrible crime of genocide is the audacity and cynicism with which
Turkey treats its 'friends,' when they raise the issue. Despite Kemal
Ataturk's assertion that: "Heroes who shed their blood and lost their
lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore
rest in peace," which supposedly underlies Australian attempts to
popularize the ANZAC legend by linking it to an 'honourable' enemy, it
has become apparent of late that the slumber of slaughtered Australian
soldiers upon 'friendly' soil is now negotiable.

In a cynical and insulting attempt to hold Australian history to
ransom, the Republic of Turkey has sensationally stated that certain
Australian legislators are not welcome to take part in Anzac
celebrations in Gallipoli, as a consequence of the New South Wales
Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament passing a motion recognising the
Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides.

In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has released a statement
stating that those who were responsible for this motion will
"doubtlessly be deprived of the hospitality and friendship normally
extended to Australians... These persons who try to damage the spirit
of Canakkale/Gallipoli will also not have their place in the Canakkale
ceremonies where we commemorate together our sons lying side by side
in our soil."

Of course, no mention is made of the fact that in order to facilitate
the defence of Gallipoli, that peninsula was ethnically cleansed of
tens of thousands of Greeks. We can't mention this, lest Turkey has
another hissy fit and bans us from importing Turkish delight. Further,
we are not permitted to mention the fact that one of the soldiers
decorated by Ataturk himself for the defence of Gallipoli was an
Armenian, Sarkis Torossian. Turkish historiography has repeatedly
attempted to write him out of history. The Turkish Foreign Minister,
Ahmet Davutoglou has stated: "We are going to make the year of 1915
known the whole world over, not as an anniversary of a genocide as
some people claimed and slandered (sic), but we shall make it known as
a glorious resistance of a nation - in other words, our defence of
Gallipoli." As Robert Fisk points out, Turkish nationalism is supposed
to win out over history. Descendants of those who died with the Anzac
troops at Gallipoli, however, might ask their Turkish hosts in 2015
why they do not honour those brave Arabs and Armenians - including
Captain Torossian - who fought alongside the Ottoman Empire and now
are being deleted by what appears to be a racist regime that cannot
permit the existence of the other within its history, let alone the
peaceful co-existence of the native Christian peoples of Anatolia
within its boundaries.

"-θικ~L~B α...~Dο...~Aγ~L~B" is a Greek expression that literally signifies a
moral perpetrator - that is, not an actual commissioner of a crime but
rather a person who either aided, abetted, encouraged or otherwise
covered up a crime. The West's inability or disinclination to take
Turkey to task about the first European genocide of the twentieth
century renders them "ηθικοί α...~Dο...~Aγοί" of that crime. It is the
West's indifference to the Armenian genocide after all that led Hitler
to remark famously: "Who after all speaks today of the annihilation of
the Armenians?" on 22 August 1939 and to consider that he could
perpetrate the Holocaust with immunity.

Turkish diplomacy is clever. My guess is that instead of inspiring
feelings of outrage among veteran groups and ordinary Australians as
to how its elected MPs and indeed the ANZAC legend is being held to
ransom for political purposes, those self-same groups and the populace
at large will instead turn their outrage to the victims of the
genocide and their descendants and blame them for tainting the ANZAC
celebrations with petty politicking and lobbying on an issue of no
concern to the ANZACs or Australians in general.

This is because firstly, we have failed to educate Australians that
their legend is based on the mass slaughter and ethnic cleansing of
the Greeks of Gallipoli. Secondly, even if we did adequately explain
this, it is doubtful whether this would elicit any sympathy, for the
same reason that while the Boston shootings can cause a deserved
outpouring of sympathy for its victims, thousands can perish miserably
in Bangladesh, Syria or Iraq daily without the public batting an
eyelid. Quite simply: the West's treatment of such catastrophes reeks
of orientalism and is based on political and racial considerations.

Quite frankly, Australian citizens will resent having national myth
yoked to events pertaining to some of its minorities. And in doing so,
they and the Federal Government, who will now doubt go into damage
control and reassure Turkey that there is no question of the genocide
being recognised on a federal level, are also quite happy to allow
denialists to pour salt in the wounds of survivors and their
descendants, sending the message to other would- be genocidal
criminals that such behaviour can bear no ill consequences, if you
have the right friends who need you.

Whatever other low act of obfuscation is attempted by a Turkish
government feverishly insecure about its past and increasingly unable
to explain the inexplicable in the face of a growing acknowledgement
by scholars that the Christian genocide in Anatolia is a fact, we at
least can be satisfied in this: Despite their best efforts, the
perpetrators of this crime did not manage to wipe us off the face of
the earth, as they intended. We are here and always will be, mute
reminders of the fact that we as a people survived and that as long as
we do survive, they know that they will not get away with it.

*Dean Kalimniou is a Melbourne solicitor and freelance journalist.

http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/holding-the-anzacs-to-ransom



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress