Guest Viewpoints

On the Disgraceful Silence Regarding Turkey, by Bruce D. Badrigian and John A. Tanionos

Mounting bipartisan outrage continues concerning the recent outrageous attack of peaceful American protestors by Erdogan’s thuggish bodyguards during Erdogan’s visit to the US. The videos are shocking of Turkish military armed guards brutally beating American women, men, and senior citizens while Washington police struggled to protect the innocent American Kurds and Armenians protesting the unfair and illegal imprisonment of their family members back in Turkey.

New video evidence gives credence to the strong assertion that Erdogan himself ordered the attack while sitting comfortably across the street. Clearly, this Turkish leader fears no consequence from President Trump as he continues to reveal his despotic and brutal nature.

Brazenly, Erdogan carries on the barbarous obsession of past Turkish dictators bent on land-grabbing, expansionist, and tyrannical tendencies while the world simply watches… or worse… congratulates him as he imprisons more of his citizens than any other country. All while the USA stands by passively—for what? Are a few military airstrips in a despicable country worth sacrificing America’s values and beliefs? Let’s face the truth; there is no democracy in Turkey, and the Ottoman’s own history should remind us that there never will be with leaders like Erdogan in control.

Remember, Erdogan continues to extend the “State of Emergency” in his sharply divided country after the attempted coup by people seeking a true democracy. In response, Erdogan makes sure there is no parliament oversight, no reviews by constitutional courts, and a growing number of innocent citizens jailed.  Also, 150 news outlets have been shut down, more than 120 Journalists jailed, and over 1,500 civil groups terminated—in total, over 300,000 citizens are in jail waiting for justice.

Turkey’s recent questionable fair election now grants Erdogan almost complete dictatorial powers and will allow him to possibly rule until the year 2029. Today, half of the people in Turkey hate Erdogan, and the other half follow him out of love… or fear.

Are Americans truly ready to forget the Turkish genocidal actions during the Armenian Genocide of 1915?  Will America be known throughout the world as the United States of Amnesia?  Will we forget what happened to the Greeks thirteen years after the Armenian Genocide?  When a similar Greek Genocide followed in 1920, when the rebel General Mustapha Kemal broke the Paris Treaty of Sevres, and in 1922, entered the ancient Greek city of Smyrna (housing Greeks and Armenians) and began slaughtering thousands of Christians.

Smyrna—an ancient Greek city that was intentionally set on fire by the Turks to drive out all Greeks, Armenians, and other Christians who were subsequently raped, tortured, and murdered side-by-side in the streets while awaiting a rescue that came much too late.  More than a hundred thousand Greek women, children, and men were slaughtered.  Plus, two hundred thousand Greek soldiers fighting for more than a decade were also left without food, bullets, or clean water to suffer at the hands of the Ottoman Army while the other four world powers stood by passively even though the same Greek soldiers had bravely fought and died protecting its allies in years past.

The world should not be fooled by Trump’s warm greeting of Erdogan; the vast majority of Americans know of Erdogan’s shameful actions and see him for what he is—a ruthless dictator bent on expansion. Even today, he aggressively breaks Greek boundaries with provocative air and sea maneuvers towards Greece. Greece had better get its house in order if it hopes to be able to ward off Turkey’s soon-to-be-attempted land-grab of Greek islands.

The only good that might come from Erdogan’s recent visit to the USA is that the world will see clearly that this Turkish leader cannot be trusted. Turkey should not be seen as an ally; rather, the USA should consider using its increased military budget to build military bases in Greece where the infusion of American dollars into their economy will be greatly welcomed and the Americans could strengthen an ally known to be trustworthy and like-minded when it comes to democratic values.

How long will America swallow its pride and ethics by hypocritically supporting a dictator who hides his insidious crimes under the cloak of democracy? Putin and Erdogan may be fine with illegal behavior, but America and its honest allies should stand for goodness, fairness, and freedom.

Finally, Trump’s disgraceful silence on the beating spectacle of uniformed Washington, DC police and peaceful American protestors within view the White House speaks volumes about Trump’s twisted views on free speech and his unorthodox bromance with dictators, bullies, and despots.

The majority of Americans will continue to resist Trump’s disregard for NATO, the EU, the environment, the media, and the immigrants throughout the world.  For in the prescient words of John F. Kennedy, “This nation can no longer afford to be the material rich and the spiritual poor.”

John Tanionos, a longtime Ahepan and former Supreme Governor of AHEPA Region 4, lives in East Sandwich, MA.

Bruce Badrigian of Morro Bay, CA is the author of Armenia’s Fingerprint: A Family’s Fight Against Genocide during WW I.


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