Saturday, January 31, 2009

Most Admired Person.

Since two days ago, the most admired person for the Armenian right-winders is none other than the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. He has been praised for being a great patriot. The reason for such praise was Erdogan's criticism of Israel.

It's quite bizarre to come across such things among Armenians. I guess the antisemitism these guys have trumps the fact that 1.5 million of our ancestors were massacred by the Turks. Or maybe because their spiritual godfather, bandit number one Serj Sargsian, is buddies with Erdogan.

Talk about an unintended consequence of Football Diplomacy.


Ani said...

Wonder how many realize that Turkey is pinning their hopes on Sargsyan to waylay Genocide recognition in the U.S. and elsewhere:
Speaking in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan claimed that Armenia’s worldwide Diaspora stands in the way of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. “The Armenian diaspora is working and we see very clearly that the diaspora is up to certain things,” he told journalists. “But we also see that the current administration in Armenia does not agree with that.”

The Turkish premier clearly referred to efforts by the Armenian community in the United States to have President Barack Obama officially describe the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. Obama repeatedly pledged to do that during the U.S. presidential race.

As for Erdogan's next appearances, "The View" and the "Today Show" probably have openings.

Onnik Krikorian said...

You know, I find it difficult to call this "waylaying" because if Armenia and Turkey can normalize relations this means more than Obama saying a few words.

Indeed, the environment in Turkey is more open than it's ever been regarding discussion of the Armenian Genocide and recognition there should surely be the main hope more than in the U.S.

For the Diaspora this doesn't seem as important as attacking Turkey at any given opportunity, but for Armenia it's a matter of future development and survival.

Besides, EU accession seems to be one of the main forces driving the situation in Turkey. Instead, although it's my personal opinion, Obama should assess the situation and come out with the best statement based on what chances there are on rapprochement.

I would personally welcome one that urged continuation in resolving the outstanding issue. Whether Obama calls it the deportation and massacre of Armenians" or "Genocide" doesn't change what it was.

It should also be remembered that the wrong words could instead result in a nationalist backlash in Turkey which undoes all the progress made so far. Ultimately, Genocide recognition will occur in Turkey if such progress continues.

Anyway, let's see. U.S. presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, always promise to recognize the Genocide, but never do. However, at the very least, I would expect Obama to allow a free vote in Congress whenever that's next on the agenda.

Incidentally, improved relations between Armenia and Turkey would also have an impact on resolution of the Karabakh conflict. I think the issue of Turks owning up to their own past and establishing peace in the South Caucasus are policy issues that Obama will have to examine and consider.

Of course, if calling it Genocide speeds up the process of normalizing ties between Yerevan and Ankara then it's the best of both worlds. Let's see what he does.

Onnik Krikorian said...

And, of course, Obama might really need Turkey for his foreign policy and that's always determined whether a president fulfills his campaign promise as Amberin Zaman also suggests:

The prevailing wisdom in Ankara, Yerevan (capital of Armenia), and Washington alike is that with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, U.S. Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, no U.S. administra¬tion has been as predisposed to genocide recognition. [...] the new lineup in Washington, many argue, makes it less likely that realpolitik will prevail. [...] After some initial wobbles, Turkey is said to be ready to re-open the border and to go along with Armenia’s demands that the proposed historical commission be addressed within a broader set of bilateral issues. Turkey believes that all of this should stave off genocide recognition by the new U.S. administration. That is why hardliners within the Armenian Diaspora seem bent on stopping Turkey and Armenia from making peace. For all the conciliatory noises coming out of Yerevan, some Armenian decision-makers may believe that Obama’s victory means Armenia can push for even greater concessions from Turkey. That would be a gross miscalculation. For starters, if Obama is serious about tackling Afghanistan and pulling out of Iraq, then the United States will need Turkey more than ever before. Incirlik will probably be one of the main exit points for U.S. soldiers being rotated out of Iraq. Turkey has some 1,500 troops in Afghanistan; more could be tapped, though the Turks rule out any combat role. In¬deed, many predict that once in office Obama will be more of a pragmatist than a liberal.

The new U.S. administration is therefore unlikely to make the genocide resolution a priority. Secondly, Turkey will be holding municipal elections in March. The nearer the polls get the less likely it is that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s increasingly hawkish prime minister, and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will risk opposition calls of treason by mending fences with Armenia. That is why Obama’s transition team should coax Armenia into ac¬cepting Turkey’s offer before its too late. At the same time, it should remind Turkey that the security card has its limits; the longer Turkey and Armenia remain at odds, the more likely it is that the genocide resolution will pass, and with it an opportunity to curb Russian influence and to bring calm and prosperity to the Caucasus.

Oh yeah, privately some officials say that they believe the border could open in some limited fashion this year or at the latest, in 2010. I'm not sure that Obama would risk doing anything to disrupt that if it looked likely to happen.

Still, let's see.

R said...

Onnik, what is the reference for the Amberin Zaman comment?

Turkey must re-establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and open the border this year, without pre-conditions, otherwise it will be seen as more Turkish stalling on the issue.

Onnik Krikorian said...

R, sorry, forgot:

Turkey and US Under Obama

Ani said...

Onnik, Amberin used “stave off” instead, so if you like that better than “waylay” (I thought of “derail” first, but…)

Too much to say here, but a few thoughts:

I view Erdogan’s Davos performance as theater—it’s not that he objected to being cut off, and the timing should have been better, although there’s never been a panel discussion where everybody was finished when the time was up. It was his pronouncement that he wouldn’t come back to Davos. Clearly, that was meant to position Turkey as an aggrieved country that is being suppressed and discriminated against, instead of it being seen as a senior mediator and a bridge between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And George Mitchell’s suddenly postponed trip to Istanbul indicates that the Obama administration feels the need to review Turkey’s shifting position.

As for genocide recognition by the U.S., so far the Obama administration has tried to stick to its pre-election promises, and this one has been so clear I just don’t see them backing off on it. The Armenian voters voted overwhelming Democratic, and many aren’t natural Democrats, so if once again this recognition gets shuffled to the back, the Democrats stand to lose a lot of their support. I think that Turkey realizes this, which is why suddenly the “Israeli and Jewish lobbies” are being put forward as possible reasons why the Genocide recognition bill would pass—blaming the Jews is an oldie, but goodie. Perhaps the wording will be changed like you said, or more likely “Ottoman Empire” used instead of “Turkey” (historically correct, anyway). And if in fact the Diaspora and Armenian government interests are decoupled, that could work to both’s advantage. Tricky, hard and too much to get into here.

Anyway, if Turkey wants to be petulant about this issue, they could lose more than they gain in the region, especially if U.S.-Iranian relations warm. Many of the Arab states are also looking to play larger roles in the region as well (U.A.E., Bahrain, Qatar), so Turkey might want instead to focus on today’s issues rather than those of a century ago.

Like you said, we’ll see. Seems like April will be an especially interesting month!

Ani said...

View from the U.A.E. paper "The National":

Erdogan’s outburst was ‘a step backward’
But critics of Mr Erdogan in Turkey said the prime minister’s brusque style and his apparent willingness to exploit the Gaza issue for domestic vote-winning purposes two months before local elections that are seen as a crucial test for his governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, does not bode well for the future.

“As of today and for a long time to come, Turkey has lost its image in the Middle East, in Europe and in America as a state that is respected by all sides, that is impartial and balanced,” Inal Batu, a former Turkish ambassador at the United Nations, told the NTV news channel.

Anonymous said...

DEATH & DESTRUCTION TO GAYogan and to all of EVILSrael

Onnik Krikorian said...

Ani, I just don't want to see this issue politicized to such an extent that the opportunities now upon us are lost.

Meanwhile, I don't believe Erdogan's outburst was appropriate, but I also think Ignatius was to blame also. He didn't moderate the panel properly.

Interestingly, another moderator of Armenian descent moderated the Erdogan/Aliyev/Nalbandian panel and it passed off fine.

I think in the case of Ignatius/Erdogan, both were guilty, but from what I've read, Ignatius allowed Perez too much time.

Anyways, I also have to admit that I'm stuck on a dialup at home so can't watch the clip. However, Ian Bremmer who is apparently half-Armenian puts the blame mainly on Ignatius.

I mean, let's face it. Dinner or just a few more minutes speaking. I don't care if Erdogan had anything relevant to say, but the fact is this was Davos and not some high school debating club.

Back to genocide recognition and it's very simple. Turkey and Armenia can sort out their differences this year, including open discussion of 1915 which is starting to happen.

Whether Obama uses the word genocide this year or next depending on whether it happens is not really much of a deal when you consider the other opportunity.

Besides, like I said, it would probably be much better to allow Congress to have a free vote in 2-3 years when we can see, Ankara was serious and genuine or not.

Ani said...

Interesting--didn't know about Ian Bremmer's heritage. Here's Fareed Zakaria's take if you're interested:
CNN: Why did the Turkish prime minister walk out of the session on Gaza?

Fareed Zakaria: Prime Minister Erdogan is a man of strong views but also an emotional guy. And the topic is one about which people do get passionate. I don't think anyone really did anything wrong. President Shimon Peres went on for too long, and that meant Erdogan had less time to respond. [Davos sessions always end on time.]

Apparently, Davos works strictly by the clock--it is Switzerland, after all!

Anonymous said...

couldn't understand the essence of this post untill I read a post at pigh's blog.

So this is a dumb response to another dumb posting, without mentioning the cause :)))))))))

btw, again principles are in force. what pigh [sarcastically] wrote as "respect to erdogan for actions in Davos" was transposed here [in very depressive tone] as "the most admired person for right wingers"

keep up nazarian, hope that this is simply party propaganda, otherwise I am really sorry for you

Ani said...

Just came across this: There's a scorecard for Obama's promises and no. 511 is recognition of Armenian Genocide:

Main page:

nazarian said...

Nice find, Ani. I wonder if Obama has people watching these sites that keep track of his behavior and analyze Obama performance indicators.

In a democracy, political parties in opposition are supposed to keep the executive branch's feet to the fire. But it helps that citizen groups do that, too.

You gotta keep them as honest as possible.

Ani said...

Found it because they were quibbling over the "broken promise" on CNN, so I think Washington's well aware of this.

Let us know when you find the similar site for Armenia--I wonder how SS is coming along on his report card. ;)

nazarian said...

The man's a failure so he'll be in the red no matter what key performance indicator you look at.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, this is out of toppic but I have just noticed this on Tzitzernak's blog:
nazarian said...
"I suspect that there are 1 or 2 anonymous trolls circling around in blogs and spewing their poison calling Pashinian a lunatic and LTP a blind. This troll is prevalent on my blog, too, always saying the same thing over and over.

I have had suspicions that this is a person serving the interests of the bandito-KGB of Armenia but his/her posts are just too simplistic and devoid of creativity."

That's right and I believe I know who they are. I have been passing on YT extracts from ur, Tzitzernak's, Unzipped, etc. blogs and right after that I noticed already familiar to many of us on YT poisonous comments. They have been stalking, harrassing, sendind all sort of curses, rape and death threats to us. Both of them are Dashnaks from Diaspora in their respected ages. One of them closed one of his fake accounts after our guy found our his identity I am sorry but they will always try to provoke u...