Who stands to benefit from driving wedge between Armenians and Turks

Mamikon Babayan, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Who stands to benefit from driving wedge between Armenians and Turks

The demonization of Turks in the eyes of the Armenian public is a long-standing tool for manipulating public opinion in Armenia. Since the Cold War, Turkophobia has been actively used as a deterrent in international politics throughout the Armenian-Turkish (part of the Soviet) state border.

In the recent history of Armenia, the policy of turkophobia and hostility towards its western neighbor has been adopted as one of the main paradigms of Armenian foreign policy. Turkophobia has become the spiritual bond of Armenia's oligarchic clans and self-proclaimed Karabakh. Turkophobia imposed in Armenia would not be so noticeable if its postulates were not broadcast among representatives of the Armenian diaspora abroad, whose interests are skillfully manipulated by Western politicians seeking to enlist political support. For example, about 2 million Armenians live in the U.S., mainly in California, Massachusetts and New York. Ethnic Armenians make up more than a third of the population of suburbs of Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank. Almost all recent U.S. presidents, ranging from Bush Sr. to Trump, did not miss the opportunity to enlist the support of an impressive Armenian electorate using anti-Turkish rhetoric.

On October 29, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted resolution No. 296 recognizing the events in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as 'genocide'. The U.S. presidential election will be held next year, and it is possible that the adoption of such a document is nothing more than another election campaign, as well as a reflection of the current contradictions between the United States and Turkey, but it does not reflect America’s view on the problem of Armenian-Turkish relations.

French presidents Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande during their election campaigns more than once promised more than one million Armenians of the Fifth Republic to achieve international recognition of the 'genocide', forgetting conveniently about all the election promises after the election. Emmanuel Macron does not yet seek to use the 'Armenian card', which is so popular among French politicians, however, like all his predecessors, he remembers it well.

The problem of Armenian-Turkish relations remains a factor of Western pressure on the Turkish government, which was clearly manifested in the German parliament. In June 2016, the Bundestag approved a resolution recognizing the Armenian 'genocide' in the Ottoman Empire. Germany has the largest Turkish community in Europe - more than 3 million people. When the Bundestag wants to disagree with Ankara’s policies, they recall the long-standing Armenian-Turkish contradictions, adopting another defiant resolution condemning the official Turkish position. Germany's Greens or the CDU/CSU often manipulate the public opinion of the Armenian community in Germany to weaken the position of the SPD, which is traditionally supported by the absolute majority of Germany's Turkish population.

In all the intricacies of international politics, setting of the problem of Turkey-Armenia relations, which will be defined as a confrontation, is rampacious. Modern Armenia does not have territorial claims against Turkey, however, political elites and militant Armenians continue to press for Turkey to recognize the fact of 'criminal policy' in relation to the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. The misperception of the problem of Armenian-Turkish relations is caused by a one-sided view of it. Speaking about the tragic events of World War I, many experts overlook the historical context and the real situation in the east and southeast of the Ottoman Empire in anticipation of a major international conflict. The idea of a major war for the resources of the South Caucasus was relevant at the beginning of the 20th century, and this idea is far from being proposed by Turks.

Finally, those world politicians, who hold a monopoly on giving colorful labels, demonizing and defining states in terms of an 'evil empire' or 'a country that is a victim of genocide', are well aware of how much the international reputation is worth and how one can make money from it. Dozens of former and current American congressmen who help the Armenians in their search for an external enemy owe much of their position to the support of the Armenian electors and their financial resources. Pitting two peoples against each other, doing nothing in order to find ways to circumvent sharp corners in the common regional history, the provocateurs prefer to artificially prolong the existence of obsolete prejudices, which noticeably hinder the development of entire regions.