Monday 27 July 2015

Armenian Genocide

Marking the Centenary of Armenian Genocide:

Speaking in the House of Lords in 1999, Baroness Cox came clean: “Given the importance of our relationships (political, strategic, commercial) with Turkey and that recognising the genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK … the current line is the only feasible option.”.  That was then. The same position remains today. Unfortunately during the period between 1880 up to start of WW1 the plight of the Armenians never had the overriding concern for the Western powers to generate enough European solidarity for the Christian cause.  Alleviating the oppression and violence against the Armenian population was put on the backburner.

position then and as it was towards the end of the Nineteenth century when little known about massacres of the Armenian Christians under the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

Military intervention against the Turks was too heavy a risk to bear when considering the inevitable damage this would cause to European powers’ commercial interests.  At that time a backward Ottoman Turkey turned to Europe to construct the framework for its modernisation and economic reform and Germany, France and Britain were not ready to jeopardise their heavy investments by interfering in Turkey's internal conflicts.  Although France was supposed to be the acting Guardians of Turkish Christians its Railway construction and heavy loans for Ottoman projects stood in the way of their moral obligation.  As for Russia, the fear of losing its argument over the Turkish straights, with Britain on its back, was more than enough for it to abstain. Whereas Germany was busy modernising Turkey’s Army, together with Britain constructing the country’s railway infrastructure (Baghdad/Basra Railway), as well as modernising its Navy.

Nationalists Armenians had to act and this they did when the opportunity presented itself during the Great War.  They fought against the Turks for independence at the height of WW1 by siding with Russia. 

In 2015 Commercial and political interests still figure uppermost when dealing with Turkey. Apart from being in NATO, geopolitical position as a gateway for Russian shipping and oil pipeline as well as having its commercial and religious influences in both Asia and Europe Muslim Turkey’s importance far outweighs that of land-locked Christian Armenia.  Moreover, unlike the Jewish diaspora, the Armenian diaspora does not carry the international intellectual or political weight to generate an equivalent political force.  A more concerted global effort is therefore required to recognise, as most historians today acknowledge, a general acceptance of an Armenian Genocide in 1915.

No comments: