Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fisk on the Armenian Genocide

I suppose you could characterize me as a confirmed Turkophile. My love of the country is tempered, however, by two major reservations: their official policy of continued persecution against the Orthodox Church, and their official denial of the Armenian Genocide. Both policies are a stain on modern Turkey, and it is long past time for their abandonment. Turkey is quick to dismiss accounts of the Genocide as just the propaganda of the Armenian Disapora. It is difficult, however, to make such a charge against Robert Fisk. He has been the Beirut correspondent for The Independent for some 30 years, and is the author of the seminal The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East. Read his recent article on the Armenian Genocide, here.


Steve Hayes said...

I've written on Armenian genocide denial elsewhere, so I'll say no more about it here, but I'd be interested in any ideas you may have about whether the Orthodox could take a different attitude towards Turkey.

John said...

Steve, I am as baffled as anyone about how we, as Orthodox, should respond to Turkey. I do know that our past and present approach hasn't been a great success. We have not wanted to upset the situation so as to endanger the Patriarchate and the meager remmant in Istanbul. And the Greek Church cannot say ANYTHING or Turkish anti-Greek paranoia will be stoked. Turkey desperately wants to join the EU--even in spite of the repeated snubs by official Europe. And Europe is looking for legitimate reasons to postpone this. This is where I see the greatest possibility for improvement. I think some in Turkey are awakening to the fact that their pettiness and restrictions on the Patriarchate looks really, really bad in the European press.

I do believe that most Turks are no longer militantly antagonistic to the Orthodox, but the minority that is is viciously so. And the Patriarchate itself, while walled, is extremely vunerable. There have been demonstrations/riots outside the gates from time to time. All the Turkish police have to do is step back and let it happen, and it would all be gone. From my observation, most Turks seem pleasantly and contentedly oblivious to the fact that there is still an Orthodox Church in Turkey and that their government persecutes them. They seem determined to believe that everything in the country is, and always has been Turkish. Maddening! That being said, I am not alarmed by the rise of the AKP in Turkey. I expect better things from them than the rabid secularists. That still doesn't answer your question about the attitude we should take. I just don't know.