Year after year we see the same reaction from Turkey when annual commemorations take place, or a particular government body offers its own form of de facto confirmation or official recognition that the massacres of millions of Armenians, Greeks and other Christian minorities took place in Turkey in the early part of the 20th century.
It happened with France— way back in 2001 when the French National Assembly passed a similar resolution and it happen when Pope Francis also used the “G” word.
Turkey, like a bully in the playground that doesn’t get his way, throws a temper tantrum, starts tossing insults and behaving, well— like a spoiled brat.
He immediately started lobbing threats to Germany, recalling his ambassador from Berlin and using the incident to further exacerbate his base of supporters and incite further distrust of the West in Turkey.
He verbally attacked the German members of parliament who supported the vote, including 11 MPs with Turkish heritage and demanding “blood tests” from them to see exactly “what kind of Turks they are.”
Erdogan singled out German Greens party co-leader Cem Ozdemir, one of the instigators of the resolution passed on June 2, who is of Turkish heritage.
Ozdemir has been placed under police protection after receiving anonymous death threats.
At home, speaking before students at a university on Sunday, he called out Germany for its recent parliamentary decision to recognize the atrocities in the early 1900s as a genocide.
He said Germany has no moral right to blame Turkey given its own past as a perpetrator of the Holocaust, and before that, the mass killings of tens of thousands of Namibians between 1904-1907 when Germany colonized the African nation.
“Germany! I am telling again: first, you have to give an account of the Holocaust. How you decimated, killed over 100,000 Namibians in Namibia, you should give an account of that,” he said, adding that Germany is the “last country” to make judgements on genocide, given its “history of massacres.”
The problem with Erdogan’s latest tantrum is that Germany has already come to terms with its checkered history in Namibia— and the Holocaust. Their efforts to compensate Jewish victims, educate generations of German schoolchildren and erect dozens upon dozens of memorials and reminders telling the Nazi German story are second to no other country on the planet.
Turkey’s justice minister told Germans: “Look at your own history. Nothing can exonerate you. You are proud of having burned people alive in ovens. We have nothing to be ashamed of in our history.”
Another politician suggested that Hagia Sophia should be turned into a mosque in response to Germany’s vote.
— Aykan Erdemir (@aykan_erdemir) June 2, 2016
Turkish politicians repeat the same argument time and time again when situations like these occur.
Let the historians decide, they scream, adding that politicians should not write history.
Well, once again, the Turks fail to realize that the historians have already decided— pretty unanimously— that it was a genocide.
Turkey— instead of following in Germany’s footsteps and learning from its painful past and building a stronger nation as a result of it, continues to kick sand at others in the sand box and throw stones at other children playing in the playground.