Don’t mention the Armenian genocide

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is mad at the pope for mentioning the Armenian genocide. The what? The Armenian genocide. I can’t quite hear you. THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE. Oh yes, the Armenian genocide.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he condemned the Pope and warned him to “not repeat this mistake”.

Turkey rejects the use of the term genocide to describe the killings, arguing it was a civil war in which both sides died.

It is calling for a joint study by historians of what happened.

As if no historians have studied it.

Turkey recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis made the comments on Sunday at a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, attended by the Armenian president and the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Karekin II.

The Pope said that humanity had lived through “three massive and unprecedented tragedies” in the last century.

“The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th Century, struck your own Armenian people,” he said, in a form of words used in a declaration by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

But Turkey says it wasn’t a genocide, it was just a misunderstanding.

Mr Erdogan said on Tuesday that when political or religious leaders played the role of historians, what resulted was “delirium, not fact”.

Except when Mr Erdogan does it. That’s entirely different.


  1. RJW says

    ” it was a civil war in which both sides died.”

    “Sides”? Well one ‘side’ nearly died. I can remember seeing pictures of Armenian women slaves with their Turkish owners’ names tattooed on their foreheads, the Turks, as was their custom after a massacre, enslaved some of the survivors.

    Hitler is alleged to have been impressed by the collective amnesia in regard to the Armenian genocide.

    Well, His Oiliness has some use after all.

  2. mithrandir says

    Well, His Oiliness has some use after all.

    Someone once said “a man’s greatness can be measured by his enemies”; by that standard, Francis is a great man.

    Of course, there are other standards by which to judge a man, and Francis doesn’t come off so well in some of them. But he certainly does piss off a lot of people who deserve to be pissed off.

  3. =8)-DX says

    Another reason why Erdogan is a piece of shit. Yeah this stuff is horrible. The event that lead to the invention of the very word genocide, because their didn’t seem to be a way to properly describe it… was just a little civil disturbance, a gentleman’s dispute.

  4. freemage says

    Most folks are pretty comfortable with pointing out genocide by someone else. Ask Francis about Spanish Roman Catholics in colonial Central America, see what he says then. (For that matter, ask a lot of American conservatives who’ve jumped on the Armenian genocide train about what word they’d use to describe the treatment of the various native tribes in the territory that would ultimately become the U.S.A)

  5. says

    Does anyone want to bet that Erdogan relinquishes power before he dies? He appears to be well on his way to setting himself up as presidente-dictator-in-chief-for-life and the US – which always loves a good dictator – will probably back him.

  6. RJW says

    @6 Marcus Ranum,

    We can probably cross Turkey off that very short list of ‘moderate’ majority-Muslim countries. Yes, the U.S.generally likes dictators, but not the Islamic variety.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    RJW @ # 7: … the U.S.generally likes dictators, but not the Islamic variety.

    Don’t tell that to King Salman. Or Egyptian presidents Sadat, Mubarak, or al-Sisi. Or any of the Gulf-kingdoms’ kings. Or Saddam Hussein pre-Kuwait. Or the kings of Morocco. Or the Sultan of Brunei. Or the late Shah of Iran. Or …

  8. RJW says

    @8 Pierce R Butler,

    I was distinguishing the standard Muslim dictator from the so-called ‘radical Islamists’ such as the Iranian Ayatollahs or the Muslim Brotherhood, they’re usually not very cooperative with the US.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    RJW @ # 9 – As you note, the difference is their cooperativeness with the US (that is, giant western corporations), not the extremism of their Islam (search for “Saudi Arabia, flogging, beheading” for a long list of examples).

    And don’t forget who paid the billions for weaponry and “pan-Islamic” propaganda that started the chaos in Afghanistan and produced the Taliban, our prototypical “radical Islamists”, all in order to “give the Soviets their own Vietnam” because Nobody Important had any reason to care about “a bunch of hopped-up Muslims”…

  10. RJW says

    @10 Pierce R. Butler

    “Nobody Important had any reason to care about “a bunch of hopped-up Muslims”…

    Yes, another strategic initiative that seemed a very good idea at the time, like supporting the Shah or subverting the Mosaddegh regime in Iran. Then there’s America’s unconditional support for Israel and the treatment of the Third World as pawns–“Why do the hate us?”
    The US needs Turkey in the next Cold War against Russia, so we can probably add the repugnant Erdogan regime to America’s list of gallant allies aka, “our sons-of-bitches”. Unless of course, Turkey adopts an anti-Israel policy.

    Prof. Johan Galtung claims that the invasion of Afghanistan was planned before 9/11 since the country occupies an important strategic position in any possible future war with China.

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