Washington once again brings up issue of recognizing "Armenian genocide"

Mikhail Simonov, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Washington once again brings up issue of recognizing "Armenian genocide"

What could've happened has already happened. Or what should have happened. The popular host of the American television channel Fox News, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, called on U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. As is known, the U.S. media is independent. As is also known, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression are sacred there. But at the same time, which is also known, there is a gradation in the U.S. media in the level of convergence of views with the government.

Fox News is among the leaders here. Up to the point that being a free TV channel, usually its reports on acute topics are beneficial to the authorities, up to the camouflaged retransmission of messages from the U.S. administration. But, yes, no one will dispute that the private opinion of the leading TV channels only coincides with the line of authorities, and is not the fulfillment of a task or an order from above.

Liza Kennedy, commenting on the U.S.-Turkish relations, decided that Ankara can no longer be considered a strategic partner of Washington, since there is a "corrupt, murderous regime" on coast of Bosporus and Turkey should be kicked out of NATO for violating human rights. According to Kennedy, Donald Trump must once and for all formally recognize the "Armenian genocide", which in reality was "a cold-blooded slaughter of 1.5 million people whose memory will not be erased," and which can not be interpreted "as a series of unfortunate events," like Turkey offers to describe it.

First of all, Turkey offers nothing on this issue. During the short-lived thaw in its relations with Yerevan, Ankara continued to insist on establishing a joint commission to study the tragic events of the first quarter of the 20th century during the so-called "football diplomacy" of the Armenian and Turkish presidents, which led to the signing of the Zurich protocols. This is the maximum that Ankara is willing to do. More precisely, it was ready, because the improvement of the Armenian-Turkish relations has not taken place, and neighboring states continue to coexist with a locked border without diplomatic relations.

For Yerevan, this issue is clear with the opposite sign, and you better not be doubting the answer. Its reaction will be no less severe than that of Ankara, when it is accused of purposefully killing its own subjects of non-titular nationality. And, on the contrary, any recognition of those tragic events as a genocide even by the impoverished territorial administrative unit of a certain state or by the municipality of a distant city, which cannot be found on the map at the first attempt, caused great enthusiasm in this South Caucasian state. However, there were always sober heads in Armenia that did not succumb to euphoria and said that the situation with the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire on a planetary scale would change dramatically only if Washington officially recognizes it, which may not happen, even if it is recognized by all US states.

The recommendation of the Fox News host was, of course, noticed by Armenia. It was on the news, but "without applause", which would accompany such news in past years. Apparently, they have gotten used to the fact that the West start to exploit the topic, which is extremely sensitive for both Armenians and Turks, when they need to. Usually it happens during election campaigns of different levels, up to presidential ones. When candidates need to enlist the support of the Armenian diaspora in the United States.

The issue of genocide was used by Reagan, by both Bush presidents, and especially Obama. The latter firmly promised that if he wins, he will recognize "the Armenian genocide" in the first place. He won, but dismissed reminders of this promise, and when it was impossible to remain silent, he publicly stammered out the Armenian name of the events of that time. By doing this, the American president decided he had kept his word.

Donald Trump is more stingy with such promises. It seems that he said nothing at all, not even mentioning promises. Having a general idea of his knowledge, one can probably assume that he has no idea about one of the deepest Turkish-Armenian contradictions. Or knows it for hearsay. But there is a situation when Washington, following the political and economic pressure on Ankara, is ready to rely on historical and civilizational levers. As it was done, for example, by Germany, when Bundestag recognized the Armenian Genocide during Berlin's recent clinch with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While turning a blind eye to the fact that Germany was Turkey's closest ally in those years, and, according to neutral sources, some punitive operations were led by German military advisers.

Now the question is how bad does Armenia need such a U.S. recognition? After all, Washington's actions will be caused not by its desire to restore historical justice or something like that, but solely from its intentions to punish Erdogan and Turkey. Fine, let's also add Washington's desire to encourage Yerevan for its attempt to at least slightly counterbalance Moscow's incredibly strong influence, by strengthening its ties with the West. Although, it is more likely that the "recommendation" of Fox News was just a product of aggravated US-Turkish relations.

But the recognition of the "Armenian genocide" is likely to remain a topic that is not mandatory for execution. Just like the topic of excluding Turkey from NATO - it is impossible by the charter of the alliance.

Washington will not use this trump card. It will not deprive itself of the opportunity to tug Ankara for such a sensitive thread, when it has not even used a half of the opportunities of economic pressure, as experts say. After all, the recognition of any fact - the same "Armenian genocide" - is a one-time act, which will undoubtedly aggravate the current state of U.S.-Turkish relations. But it's not the end, the crisis between Washington and Ankara will not be eternal or the only one. That is why this recognition, or more precisely the warning to the Turkish side - to recognize the Armenian Genocide, may be needed more than once. But you can warn many times.