History

Fuck You, Turkey

2015 marked 100 years since an event that inspired the coining of the word “genocide.” This event was the systematic, legal murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks, during World War I.

Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire during that war, and was allied with Germany. Some of the methods the Turks used in their mass murder of Armenians bear a striking resemblance to methods employed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

It appears the Germans may have learned from the Turks. For instance, one technique for killing Armenian children was to lock them into school buildings and then pipe in toxic gas. Thousands of Armenians were packed into cattle cars, and shipped to concentration camps. Those who survived the journey were starved to death in the camps.

Thousands of Armenians were burned to death. And up to 50,000 were drowned using the technique of loading boats with women and children, than capsizing those boats in the Black Sea. Men were often killed outright, while the remainder of their families were sent on death marches to the Syrian desert, where they perished from thirst and starvation.

Corpses of Armenians murdered by a roadside, where they had been marched by the Turks, for deportation.

Some Armenians made it out of the Ottoman Empire alive. And some made it to America, with many refugees settling in Detroit, Michigan.

Over a hundred years ago, an Armenian woman who had witnessed the murder of her husband and children, settled in Detroit. An Armenian man who had witnessed the murder of his wife and children, also settled in the same city. They met and married and started a new family.

One of their children was named Peter (or, Bedros), who was born 100 years ago, in 1921. In the 1980’s, Peter met my divorced mother and they married. He told me the stories of tragedy that had been passed down to him from his parents. And he reported tales of relatives who would occasionally visit his childhood home and weep over the atrocities they had witnessed. One particular tale, vague in details, stuck with me nonetheless. It involved a beloved uncle who was beheaded in front of his family by Turkish soldiers.

Turkey has steadfastly denied that this genocide took place. And the United States was long complicit in this denial, by refusing to acknowledge that the death of so many Armenians was due to systematic, legal genocide. You see, our government has valued having Turkey as an ally, and has wanted to avoid angering the Turkish government.

But finally, in April of this year, President Joe Biden officially recognized the massacre of Armenians as genocide. Turkey responded by summoning our ambassador, and then giving him a strong dressing down. They told him Biden’s acknowledgment was “unacceptable,” and that the Turkish government “totally rejects and strongly condemns it,” and blah, blah, blah.

That’s about all the Turks did. So it appears they had been bluffing all along, and that we could have acknowledged what everybody knows is true, many years ago, and gotten the scolding over with way back when.

And it is true, what President Biden acknowledged. It happened. And it occurred 106 years ago, in what is now the country of Turkey. I have no reason to doubt the stories told by my stepfather. He didn’t bullshit like the Turkish government.

It was genocide. So fuck you, Turkey.

Categories: History

48 replies »

  1. I’ll be honest. I was expecting a hilarious Thanksgiving turkey story.

    I’ll also be honest in saying that I had a friend in High School who was a blood relative of someone who survived the genocide in that time, and of her horror of the event as well as the lack of justice from the world community for the crime.

    I join you in my distain for Turkey’s refusal to own what it did.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sorry, this was probably not the best time of year for the title of my post.

      It isn’t easy to cover up a genocide. Stories get passed down through the generations, and people don’t forget something as horrific as that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t know Charles Aznavour was Armenian. I’ve always liked his song, “Yesterday When I Was Young.”

      But “They Fell,” sums it up, about the genocide. The Armenians were killed simply because they were Armenian. Basically, they were scapegoats to fulfill a political goal.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So horrific and made even more sad by it not being acknowledged for so long! I will never comprehend how humans can be so inhumane and cruel to each other! Can’t imagine having stories like your stepfather did about family that suffered these atrocities.
    A sad post but good for you in helping to bring this dark part of history the attention it deserves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guess some people are so lacking in empathy, they can commit these kinds of horrible acts. And others get so caught up in the political fever, or fear of retribution if they don’t approve, that they go along with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Quite a bit of antagonism towards the US (and sadly towards its citizens) by Europe is because of the denial of what (to them) was common knowledge.

    Quite a bit of antagonism towards the US (and sadly towards its citizens) by UK is because of the fact that the assistance provided during WW2 was at a $$$$$ cost. In fact, what was known as the “war debt” was (I believe) finally paid off in 2006! UK taxes over 50 years covered it.

    I have to wonder whether the average US citizen was aware of the hypocrisy around the Armenian genocide, or whether there were even aware that the US govt sold its military services to UK in WW2?
    It is unfortunate that the average US citizen has been paying the price for its hypocritical, and mercenary, governments.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t remember reading about the Armenian genocide in any history class, while growing up. If it was taught, it was only a small, forgettable blurb. It hasn’t received nearly the attention as the German holocaust.

      I was unaware that we charged the UK for our military assistance in WWII. That seems rather odd, to me. I do know that we spent many years paying for that war also, and it accounts for our top tax bracket having been around 90% for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Americans will generally get good service in UK, but at an exorbitant price. We always tell our Canadian friends when visiting UK, to let them know that you are Canadian. They like Canadians and will treat them fairly, but they cannot distinguish the accent from Americans.

        As for the war debt? As my Father served in the RN, he was well aware of the ships leased to the UK. He was just thankful that he never had to serve in one as (according to him) they must have been the oldest vessels in the US fleet. He also used to get so upset at the crap Hollywood produced about WW2. Hollywood movies were mockingly referred to as “How the Americans won the war!”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I do remember there was a Lend-Lease Program. Churchill was trying to encourage FDR to enter the war, but war was politically unpopular. The way FDR got around it was through the Lend-Lease program. But I don’t know those leased ships were crap. That’s too bad, and sad for those sailors who had to serve on them.

          Yeah, the war effort was through an Alliance. It wasn’t just us, the U.S., but that fact seems to be skimmed over a lot in the movies produced by Hollywood. Outrageous.

          Like

          • If you Google the war debt, it is interesting that the US appeared to have made a financial “killing” from it (and the post war years), as a direct result of the arms manufacturing industry, and the interest on the loan.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Alright, I read an article about that. Seems the interest rate on a 4.3 billion dollar debt to the U.S. was only 2%. What made this debt so difficult to pay off was when Britain made the pound-sterling convertible. This led to a big drop in the value of the pound, compared with the US dollar. So after the debt was finally paid off, in 2006, the total payment amounted to about twice what was borrowed.

              I can’t comment about the justice or injustice of all of this, because when it comes to things like changing the convertability of a currency, and devaluations, etc, my eyes start crossing, and the entire shell game of finance becomes a blur to me.

              Like

              • Hi TG – My point was NOT to make the UK government of the time look angelic, as they certainly were not. My point was simply to stress the antagonism felt towards Americans by the UK and parts of Europe and Scandinavia (I believe). Jason appears to have missed my point completely and responded as if it was intended as a personal affront. I guess I can (and will) rest my case on that note. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • Alright, your point is taken. I’ve never been to the UK, but I’ll bet it’s a wonderful country in many ways, while having its drawbacks, just like any other country (including the US). That war was a long time ago, and I hope we never find ourselves in that situation again.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • So people in the UK are miffed that they (at the time one of the wealthiest nations on earth) had to partially pay for its own defense in a war that largely resulted from the way it dealt with Germany 20 years earlier? Odd.

      Did you guys hear about the Pacific side of war in which the US was also fighting the Empire of Japan?

      Liked by 1 person

        • Seems easy to criticize in 80 year hindsight, but I think that there were probably a lot of Americans that had lost family member in the previous European war a couple of decades earlier and were thinking “Geeze, not again! How many more people do we have to sacrifice for these people before they can get along?” FDR and the other politicians had to face these voters on election day every so often.

          If it was 1940 and I was about 40 years old and was missing a brother killed in WW1, I’d probably be thinking “screw that. let’m sort their own crap out for a change.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • OK. You’re probably right.

          A, the US has exploited it financial and military industries to great advantage since WWII. Gee, I guess we learned that trick from our parents.

          B, the US has expended a great deal of money protecting the wealthiest nations on Earth from the Soviets during the cold war, whilst being frowned upon in disdain.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Like churchmousie, I thought FOR sure this was going to be about Thanksgiving…nope, intense stuff. The things humans do to one another can be disgusting. I’m sure you’ve heard some interesting stories from your grand father.

    Liked by 2 people

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