By Gabriel McDaniel
The Armenian Genocide, a tragic and horrific mass murder of the Armenian peoples by Ottoman Troops during World War I, is still affecting us in the modern day as a political football. Israel, which as of late has had extremely tense relations with Turkey, is the country that took a vast majority of Ottoman land after the Ottoman Empire was disbanded. In response to these tensions, the Israeli House of Representatives known as the Knesset had decided to vote on whether or not to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Then, unsurprisingly, the vote failed and was pulled by Israeli Speaker Yuli Edelstein due to them not knowing if the Knesset would vote in a majority for the bill, meaning we will never know, as the bill can no longer be voted on unless it is put back on the Knesset’s voting agenda. So how does this affect us and what does this mean in greater terms?
For many years, up all the way to present day, Turkey has staunchly denied that the Armenian Genocide happened and said that it was a, “collective tragedy,” in which just as many Turkish people died as Armenian. Armenia and Turkey have been at odds with each other since the end of World War I, and it’s not likely to be repaired anytime soon, but the Armenians have since sought recognition from the world for their loss. Strangely enough, over 20 countries have recognized the Genocide, but not often for any of the right reasons. Take the Netherlands for example. Dutch and Turkish relations had plummeted to a low in 2017 to where they then recognized the Armenian Genocide. This led to Turkey condemning the Dutch Parliament’s decision, but let’s ask the question of why did the Dutch Parliament decide to recognize it now of all times? The simple answer is two words, political football.
A political football is an issue that is taken by governments or political parties to use against an opponent in, well, politics. That’s what the Armenian Genocide is: a political football that is thrown at Turkey during moments of relationship degradation between Turkey and any other country. So countries such as Germany, and France, and even the Netherlands, due to increasing tensions between them and Turkey, decided to recognize what Turkey continues to deny. It’s not a question of morality or doing what’s right, it’s to keep Turkey in check. Even America is victim to a form of this. Arguably, America is one of Israel’s best allies in the Middle East. We have aided and protected them with our air bases in Turkey. On the subject of Turkey themselves, under the Obama Administration we said we would recognize the Armenian Genocide, but when the day came, Obama did nothing to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Whatever the reason it was wrong to do. The Armenians deserve some form of recognition for their suffering, just as the Jews did from World War II, yet when they get that recognition it is squandered by politics, as a country won’t do it out of pity for Armenia, but instead use it as a political football. Issues of morality and politics never go well together, but now the Armenians must continue to wait for the recognition they deserved immediately after World War I.