Something which MUST be said, MUST be understood, especially right now.
One of the most important quotes from this article:
"Even when esteemed historians
with no Ottoman or Turkish allegiance,
such as the late Prof. Stanford
Shaw (UCLA), Prof. Bernard Lewis
(Princeton University), and Justin
McCarthy (Univ. of Louisville), all agree
that the so-called Armenian
genocide was no genocide."
by Shelomo Alfassa
The Ottomans experienced their highest point of strength during the 16th century, as Turkey was trampling across Europe gaining victory after victory. As the Ottoman soldiers pushed into new areas of the continent, the Europeans increasingly became fearful of the Turks. Yet, even after the Ottoman Empire lost its great status and became the "Sick Man of Europe," a hatred and dread for the Turkish people remained. This was a lingering of ethnic and religious loathing against a people of unknown background; It was a vile revulsion by Christians against the Muslim Turks-a people that did not profess a belief in their man-god. "The Turk is a great barbarian," stated 16th century German humanist John Adolph Muelich. In the German language, turken ("to Turk"), still means "to hoax, to deceive."
The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed Christian missionary adventurers roving the Orient probing for new victims to entice into their fold. In addition, Western intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals traveled to Asia in search of undiscovered ancient worlds, and throughout their voyages into Ottoman lands, wrote profusely about the Turks-the less than human savages.
In an early account about Palestine, an American wrote that the Turkish army provides a "severe beating" to its new soldiers, including those which were "sick." He documented that "some of the new recruits die" and that "the whip of soft, flexible, stinging leather, which seldom leaves the Turkish officer's hand, was never idle."
In a popular 19th century British travelogue, the Protestant author calls the Turkish people both "savages" and "cunning misbelievers." In this same volume, the office of the Sultan is referred to as "faithless." The author writes, "The Turks abated nothing of the cruelty in which their race has always taken in delight." This Christian author also uses the term "stubborn." The term stubborn is one that was frequently used by Christians against non-Christians. It is essentially a slur, which dictates that there
is something wrong with the non-Christian for not accepting the Christian faith. We repeatedly see the use of the word stubborn used against the Turks, as well as the Jews for not believing in Jesus. This word has been employed by Christian missionaries both in centuries past, as well as present.
Hugh Latimer, the chaplain to King Henry VIII wrote in one of his sermons, that the Turkish people were not only stubborn, but he wrote, "It is a great ignominy and shame for a Christian man to be bond and subject unto a Turk." Reformist Martin Luther himself wrote extensively about the "Turkish problem" and considered the Turkish people "servants and saints of the devil." Turkish people were so vilified and associated with negativity, that the term Turk was (and is) itself used as a slur, even when not talking about Turkish people.
The Republic of Turkey is a nation that over the past sixty years has become a truly modern nation. And as their society seeks entrance into the European Union, it continues to struggle because of persistent age-old negatives. For Turkey to be viable as a member state of the EU, the civilized world must expunge old stereotypes. The world must also recognize that the Republic of Turkey, although principally a nation made up of people born into the Muslim faith, is not an Arab nation with discordant goals and attitudes like those that fester inside the Arab world. In April of 2007, when over one million Turks marched in the streets against a potential pro-Islamic Turkish
government-we were once again assured that Turkey remains a free and modern nation.
As Turkey aims to enter the EU, the other major obstacle it faces, are claims by the Armenian genocide lobby. Because the Turks deny there was an organized attempted genocide against the Armenians, Turkey remains a villain among international political circles. This begs the question, why should the modern government of the Republic of Turkey accept blame for the result of warfare between the Ottomans and the Armenians anyway? And, since it has been established that this was a brutal and tragic war, and that both sides suffered greatly, why are the Armenians fostering a political claim? Even without answering these questions, the never ending ranting by the Armenians against the savage Turks has fallen upon the ears of the Western world and has been responded to in knee-jerk fashion. The Armenians have not only gained the support of the Christian world, but also the main stream Jewish establishment. Even when esteemed historians with no Ottoman or Turkish allegiance, such as the late Prof. Stanford Shaw (UCLA), Prof. Bernard Lewis (Princeton University), and Justin McCarthy (Univ. of Louisville), all agree that the so-called Armenian genocide was no genocide.
The saddest truth in this whole matter is that without deep investigation or analysis, many people have emotionally and completely sided with the Armenian Christians against Turkish Muslims. Recently, a (Jewish) US Congressman spoke at a pro-Armenian rally in New York City, where he claimed the Jewish people "all supported" the recognition of the alleged genocide; this was not the first time a Congressman spoke out on the issue, nor the first time a Congressman was mistaken. The establishment should not allow their emotions dictate their responses. They must realize that because Armenian Christians accuse Turkish Muslims of committing genocide, it does not mean that it actually happened.
In 1989, as Armenian lobbyists were making headway in the Congress for the US to recognize their genocide claim, Los Angeles based Rabbi Albert Amateau (1889-1996), an orthodox rabbi, attorney and social activist, told that as a young man in Turkey, he was mistakenly considered a Christian because of his French name. Because of this, Armenian students felt that they could freely discuss their membership in Armenian secret societies around him, and openly discusses their active participation in secret military exercises to prepare themselves for military duty in their planned subversive war against the Ottoman Empire and nation, in alliance and collaboration with Czarist Russia. In a sworn statement, Amateau told that he was:
"Amazed that intelligent and politically astute gentlemen, such as Senator Robert Dole, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, and others have been importuned to sponsor [a] resolution without any proof of the veracity of the Armenian claims...They have been duped to believe the Armenian allegations as true."
Combining a lack of knowledge of Ottoman and Balkan history with the deeply entrenched pro-victim attitude existing on modern university campuses, allows the leftist university professors to continue to teach that the Armenians experienced a genocide. As stated earlier, even though there was a war between the (now long gone) Ottoman Empire and the Armenian people-and we know it was a universal tragedy-there is no reason to blame the government of the modern Republic of Turkey. War, is war-one side wins, and another loses. Because there is no Sultan to defend himself against Armenian allegations, does not mean that those allegations are now established as factual.
Western cultural arrogance combined with a limited world-view contributed toward the initial hatred of the Turkish people, and their subsequent slanderization over the centuries. British Professor Richard G. Cole summarized the problem in one sentence; he wrote in 1972 that a stereotype of the Turk was, "frozen into print culture in the late 15th and early 16th century and remained there." Today, in 2007, Christian elitists with pro-European attitudes and a hatred for all Muslims, remain focused against the Turkish people.
Turks do not deserve to wear the title of savage or ethnic cleanser. Historic descriptions of the Turkish people are remarkably biased and inaccurate and remain a blight among all decent and civilized people. Modern society must scrub away the vestiges of a lingering harmful and unfair typecast.
Shelomo Alfassa is a writer and researcher who works in the Sephardic community.