Erdogan Threatens To Recognize US Genocide Of Native Americans, Oh No, Not THE TRUTH!1!
In a truly mind-boggling statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to retaliate against a congressional resolution condemning the Ottoman Empire's historic genocide of over a million Armenians by having Turkey's parliament condemn the US's own genocidal campaign against Native Americans. Apparently Erdogan thinks the US is as deeply invested in denying its history as his government is in downplaying his own country's past sins. Dude must be watching too much Fox News.
Speaking on a pro-government Turkish TV channel, Erdogan said,
We should oppose [the US] by reciprocating such decisions in parliament. And that is what we will do [...]
Can we speak about America without mentioning [Native Americans]? It is a shameful moment in US history.
Well, guess that would show us! Maybe Erdogan could bring it up when he's on the phone with his buddy Donald Trump, so he can point out it's racist to call Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas."
Erdogan's remarks came after the Senate last week passed its own resolution condemning the Armenian genocide, following the passage of a similar resolution in the House of Representatives in October. The Senate version of the bill had been repeatedly blocked by Republican senators who didn't want to offend Trump's authoritarian BFF, including David Perdue (Georgia), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota), and Lindsey Graham (John McCain's Spectral Butt) who what-the-fuckishly complained the Senate shouldn't "sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it."
After Republicans stopped blocking the resolution, it passed the Senate unanimously. The resolution was cosponsored by New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Texas Republican Ted Cruz (R-Go Figure), who called the White House's opposition to the resolution "a mistake." There were no objections when the bill came up last week.
"This is the third week in a row we have come to the Senate floor seeking to pass this resolution, and I'm grateful that today we have succeeded," Cruz said. "This is a moment of truth that was far too long coming."
"From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire carried out a forced deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians, of whom 1.5 million were killed," Cruz said. "We must never be silent in the face of atrocity."
We like to reinforce good behavior when we see it from Republicans, so good on Ted Cruz. Never thought we'd write that!
On Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson released a statement saying the Senate had it all wrong, insisting that while the administration considers the 1915-1923 killings of Armenians "one of the worst mass atrocities," the official position of the US government "hasn't changed," referring to a statement released (but certainly not read) by Trump in April for Armenian Remembrance Day, which said that 1.5 million Armenians were "deported, massacred or marched to their deaths" under Ottoman rule, but which didn't use the word "genocide" to describe it. That's how you keep very touchy NATO allies from griping that you're interfering in their "internal" political affairs.
Now that the resolution has passed both houses, it's unclear whether Trump will formally veto it, or just ignore it and say he never met the Armenians, and if he did, they only fetched coffee during the campaign.
And if Turkey's parliament does condemn America's genocidal campaign against indigenous people, some historians, like Case Western Reserve University professor Peter Schulman, say grown-up nations have nothing to fear from honest history:
In the US, scholars, activists, and indigenous communities themselves have been writing and teaching about Native A… https://t.co/407qhIgzvC— Peter A. Shulman 📚 (@Peter A. Shulman 📚) 1576543287.0
At the risk of dignifying Erdogan's attempt to turn the lives and history of real Native Americans into a political football, we should point out that while the US has a long way to go in officially acknowledging its attempt to wipe out Native America, there have at least been some promising steps. In 2010, Barack Obama signed a congressional resolution to
acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.
That resolution has been justly criticized for not adequately recognizing the full horror of the attempt to exterminate tribal peoples, and for some cringey language about how nice it was that some tribes "provided great assistance to the fledgling Republic as it strengthened and grew," such as helping the Lewis and Clark expeditions.
More recent official declarations, like California Gov. Gavin Newsom's formal apology in June this year, have been more direct. Newsom apologized for California's role in the "systemic slaughter" of Native Americans, and in attempts to wipe out Native culture through forced assimilation, like boarding schools that punished kids for speaking their own languages.
It's called a genocide. That's what it was: a genocide. No other way to describe it. And that's the way it needs to be described in the history books. [...]
So I am here to say the following: I'm sorry on behalf of the state of California. I'm sorry that we've had generations -- your kids and grandkids, your ancestors -- that had to suffer through the indignities, their lives lost, their lives diminished.
That's how you face up to history. With honesty and humility, not by yelling "well YOU genocided TOO!" Put us on the side of that, please.
[Telegraph / NBC News / The Hill / Guardian / Cultural Survival / San Francisco Chronicle]
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