After almost a century the United States has finally taken a definitive stand on the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks. Many in the Independent Media are discussing the “why now” standpoint of this issue, but it is actually far more important to deal with the “what next” question, as any confirmation of genocide by the world’s only hyperpower is going to have long-term consequences. Below are some possible consequences the Turks (and the world) could experience due to the genocide recognition.
A Shift in Attitude towards Current Borders
Kosovo and Israel came into being after the West determined that they were victims of genocide and thus needed some form of segregation for protection, thus granting them their own ethno-state. Whether you agree with this decision or the nuances of the situations that caused does no matter, the fact is that genocide (real, perceived or other) can be grounds for borders to be redrawn and even new states to be created. There are exceptions to this like Rwanda, but genocide recognition is a very “usable resource” for certain political objectives that require redrawing maps.
Mount Ararat is of sacred significance to the Armenians and it (along with a lot of their former lands) lies on the current territory of Turkey. Although this is unlikely to happen, the West could in theory, demand that Ankara give all of that territory back to “its victims”. Armenia is no longer part of Russia so growing it to shrink the Turks could be a very viable plan from a Beltway standpoint.
If there is enough political will the “International Community” could demand that the Turks recognize a sovereign Kurdistan on their territory as the Kurds have also been under what they themselves see as repression or even genocide by Turkey. We have heard for years that the Kurds need their own home, well why not make it in Eastern Turkey as a form of punishment?
After the dismantling of the Soviet Union it is possible to believe that Washington will be in favor of cutting up any enemy territory as much as possible to neuter them. Erdogan’s path to Making Turkey Great Again could be completely blocked off by some sort of genocide inspired recognition of new borders for repressed groups in Turkey. This would in all likelihood lead to a civil war, which would keep Turkey locked in its “regional power” status for a few generations.
Removal from NATO then war in Cyprus
The New York Times described the anger towards Turkey in Washington very well…
But ties between the countries have become strained. Outraged by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s incursion into northern Syria in October and his purchase of a Russian missile defense system, the Foreign Relations Committee mobilized this week to advance a package of sanctions targeting Turkey.
They forgot to mention that any rogue nation pursuing its own goals in NATO is not going to last forever as a member and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide could serve as yet another excuse to boot the Turks out of the alliance. And Erdogan closing American bases out of spite certainly won’t help.
It is easy to imagine that at some point in the near future Turkey will be removed from NATO, however the day that happens one powder keg in Europe will dry out again – Cyprus. Besides British presence/interests on the island the only thing keeping Cyprus from devolving back into war is NATO. Both Greece and Turkey are technically on the same side now (and were during the Cold War) which is why the Cyprus question has been kept so quiet since the 1970’s.
But the moment Turkey becomes an official member of the “Axis of Evil” Greece will push hard and maybe even provoke war to get their island back or at least make sure that it comes under the exclusive rule of ethnic Greeks.
There is a very strong sentiment on the southern part of the island for reunification, which would see Turkish removal from NATO as their best chance in decades to make change. The Greeks/Ethnic Greek Cypriots could very likely provoke Non-NATO Turkey causing it to have to deal with nuclear titan America. This would be a losing battle for Ankara and a massive victory for the Greeks via American muscle.
Genocide Recognition Blowback
The non-English speaking world is absolutely dismal at PR so it is unlikely that Erdogan’s threat to recognize the genocide of the Native Americans will get any traction. But then again the world is changing and the West’s immunity to criticism thanks to Mainstream Media/Hollywood and controlling big international institutions is slowly starting to wane. There are many nations who have had the “bad regime” finger pointed at them from Washington (Russia + China especially) who would be very motivated to push forward with recognizing this issue for their own gain.
Can anyone today punish America for anything it has done to people in and outside of its borders? No. But that doesn’t mean that this will last forever. If enough of the non-Western World hypes this genocide then it may actually get some political traction. Which would be very dangerous for Washington as literally anywhere inside the Continental 48 States could be technically be “returned to the victims of genocide”. Not to say that this would happen immediately but it would justify and embolden certain groups to take action, maybe even violent action.
Something Big is Coming towards Turkey
The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is no simple coincidence, it is happening now for a reason and the effects of this decision will be seen in the next few months/years. Washington may feel it is time to contain today’s rogue Turkey which was such a wonderful vassal assistant against the Russians during the Cold War. Things happen for a reason but they rarely do for one clear singular reason, so the Turks need to crack open their energy drinks and get their best think tanks playing out scenarios because a storm is coming from the halls of power in DC.
Tim Kirby is an independent journalist, TV and radio host.
Originally published in Strategic Culture online journal. The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
Picture of Armenian refugees in Hauran, Syria during the long march who found food. Public domain image.