Annual Armenia Genocide Farce, Turkey Shoot

Turkey Protests Armenia ResolutionOnce again, the United States Congress — famously unable to reach accord on even simple matters of domestic policy — has spent its precious time making a point of officially calling the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 genocide.   Once again, this has angered the present government of Turkey, which has recalled its ambassador to Washington.

I discuss the matter at great length in my New Atlanticist piece, “Armenia Genocide: Turkey Relations Damaged Over History Lesson.”

It’s difficult to gauge who’s being sillier here: The Turks for being unable to admit that which has been obvious to everyone else for decades or the U.S. Congress for banging this drum every year over an incident that transpired nearly a century ago and that has zero bearing on the United States except that bringing it up alienates an important ally. If forced to choose, I’d take the latter. While domestic politics plays an important role in explaining the idiocy in both Ankara and Washington, it’s decidedly more pressing there than here.


It’s doubtless a shame that, as [Alex] Massie laments, “Just about the only time that wee country gets a mention in Washington is when the perennial Recognize-the-Genocide issue comes up.” But it seems to me that it would be far more profitable for both the Armenians and Americans alike to focus our energies on solving problems of the current millennium.

Much more at the link.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Europe, World Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Foundation myths are hard things to reason people out of.

  2. James Joyner says:

    True enough. But they’re relatively easy for people in other countries to simply ignore.

  3. Wayne says:

    Another case of bashing our allies. It almost as if there is a conscious attempts to isolate and weaken the U.S.

  4. Brian Knapp says:

    I’m not generally opposed to calling out our allies for being wrong. And I don’t see how this necessarily weakens or isolates us. But it certainly doesn’t seem to accomplish anything, especially since no one in the current regime can possibly be held responsible for what the folks there did 100 years ago. Let’s not start THAT game. And we do this every year?

  5. Raoul says:

    Politicians represent the people. In this case a subset of the people raise an issue that has been bothering them. The politician is merely representing the wishes of his constituents. I see this as democracy in action, not to mention that the “truth” is on the side of these constituents. The politician here is an intermediary. Turkey needs to reach to the Armenians; but as long as Turkey remains in denial the issue would not be resolved. I don’t feel that we need to be on the side of of the people who perpetrated the genocide. I also recommend reading about the history of the genocide and frankly I do not feel like I have the right to tell my co-citizens to get over the death of their parents and grandparents and if anything I applaud their resolve not to forget these barbarities. In truth Armenians are not asking for much, essentially a recognition of a history, but instead the other side insists in lying about it. If anything, I will say this has been poorly played by Turkish diplomats.

  6. John Burgess says:

    The governments of Turkey and Armenia have normalized their ties. Diaspora Armenians, however, can’t seem to stop living in the past (a common state for most diaspora populations, apparently). They are the one who push Congress–and nudge it with campaign contributions–to keep the fires burning.

  7. Wayne says:

    Re “Politicians represent the people”

    That is what they are supposed to do. Unfortunately often that is not the case.

  8. PD Shaw says:

    This kind of issue reminds me of the debate about what term to call the latest criminal/madman/terrorist. At some point categories overlap, and sometimes differencces in degree are differences in kind.

    But why do you insist that this term does or does not apply is the important point.

  9. Stan says:

    As the guy said, “Who remembers the Armenians?” Sorry about that Godwin’s Law thing.