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Armenian genocide remembered

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April 24 marks the day when a growing number of nations and their people acknowledge the massacre of 1.5 mln Armenians in 1915 as being an act of Genocide.

Worldwide, it is a day for commemorating this tragedy, reflecting, and implementing the “never again”, a phrase coined by many yet tolerated by them.

More than a century after the systematic efforts of destruction and ethnic cleansing culminated in the mass killings at the hands of the then Ottoman administration, the Turkish Republic today continues to deny this crime.

But an equal crime is perpetrated by those who allow this denial to continue, tolerate ongoing crimes of the inheritors of the Ottoman Empire.

Despite putting on various faces of humanity, Turkey continues to trample on all standards of ‘western’ civilisation by blatantly violating its people’s basic human rights and neighbours.

It is offended any time a foreign leader mentions the Armenians, the Kurds, northern Syria, the refugee trains, freedom of speech, women’s rights, the right to religion, and so many more issues, considered fundamental principles in many democracies.

However, Ankara has also managed to manipulate international relations as part of its enduring historical ambitions in the region and beyond, often pitting one rival against the other.

It has been the case of seeming to be the protector of the Palestinians by coming into conflict with Israel to gain a leadership role in the Islamic world.

Israel has reached out to these same Arab neighbours in reconciliation mode through its ‘Abraham Project’.

Within this context, though, and to keep its arch-enemy Iran at bay, Israel has befriended Azerbaijan, which is simply part of the greater Turkish plans for the region of the Caucuses and Central Asia.

In effect, they are having diverse relations with two arms of the same body.

With the US and some European states increasingly calling for recognition of the 1915 Genocide and the criminalisation of Genocide denialism, Russia, too, has joined efforts to lure Ankara as far from the West as possible into its sphere of influence.

As a result, the Armenians and the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) fell victim to these regional chessboard games, with Yerevan punished by the Kremlin for seeking better relations with the West.

NATO abandoned Georgia in its border conflict with Russia.

Ukraine cannot rely on support from the EU, the US or NATO in any military standoff over occupied Crimea.

Cyprus is in a similarly difficult situation, with no one to support it when it comes to aggression in offshore gas exploration, forcing the Republic to abandon all hope of extracting natural gas any time soon.

Going into the five-way exploratory talks in Geneva next week, Cyprus and the Cypriot people feel abandoned and treated unjustly as the Armenians and all other victims of modern-day Turkey.

Let’s hope this feeling of injustice is not cemented in Cyprus, in Armenia, in Syria, in Kurdistan.

What Turkey wants to do, is what our “allies” tolerate, despite the sweet talk and the ‘strategic importance’ of Cyprus or Armenia in the Caucuses.