By George L. Chiagouris, P.E.

Over 90 years have gone by since the Turks massacred over 1.5 million Armenians, over 300,000 Greeks and several thousand other Christians. This event was eventually called “The Armenian Genocide”, the first such genocide of the 20th century. This genocide had remained relatively unknown for many years, as the Turks have done their best to suppress that it ever happened.

During this ninety year period, the Turks have been denying again and again that this so called genocide ever took place. At first, they tried to cover these mass killings by justifying them as being results of collateral damage of the wars that took place at that time. They pointed out that during WW I, a lot of people indeed died, some Armenians, some Greeks, some Christians and of course, some of them were Turks. They emphasized that these killings were the result of war events and nothing else.

Right after WWII, when the Nazi master plan was revealed to the world that the Jews in Europe were to be systematically exterminated, people began to say that similar methods were utilized by the Turks 30 to 40 years earlier against the Armenians and other Christians that lived in Turkey. How else could the forced marches into the mountains and into the deserts be explained or justified, as numerous historical reports of that era indicate?

When the Turks were confronted by these genocide claims, they unequivocally denied again that such an event took place in their country, especially under the full knowledge of the government. They probably believed that they had destroyed all of the evidence of the systematic killings, which incriminated the Turkish Government. As time passed however, a lot of researchers uncovered evidence of mass graves in mountain ravines and a great number of bones of women and children in remote desert areas. This of course was indisputable evidence that these people could not have died during war battles, nor without the full knowledge and approval of the Turkish government, as permission was needed for this massive transportation of people, into the interior of Armenia.

Ever since this systematic type of extermination was identified and labeled, the Armenians, Pontians, Syrians and other Christians began to put pressure on the US as well as other countries, to call this heinous crime against humanity, ‘Genocide’, and to condemn it. Unfortunately, these claims and requests were lost in the shuffle, as the 50 year duration of the cold war came upon us and the US State Department did not want to cause any problems with the Turks, due to their so called “strategic geographic location” in the quest to stop the expansion of the Communist Empire.

There have been several attempts to introduce Bills in the US Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, to no avail as the Turkish Government along with its US Lobbyists kept blocking such efforts. Millions of dollars were paid by Turkey to powerful lobbyists such as the Cohen Group, the Livingston Group, former Senator Gephardt as well as many other retired US congressmen and retired US generals. To date, the efforts of those powerful lobbyists has paid off for Turkey, since no congressional recognition regarding the Armenian genocide has taken place.

By contrast, 23 other countries have shown moral courage and support on this Armenian Genocide and have recognized it as a deliberate extermination of Christians in Turkey during the 1913 to 1915 period. France has gone one step further to call it a crime if any of its citizens publicly refutes that the Armenian Genocide ever took place.

Lately the Turks have started another intimidating campaign to block the passage of Bill HR-106, pending now in the US Congress recognizing the Armenian Genocide. This time they are promoting the idea that Turkey is again in a strategic location and unless we do as they request bad things will happen to our troops in Iraq. The Turks have indicated that if the Armenian Genocide is officially recognized by the US, they will not allow us to utilize their military bases to transport supplies to our troops in Iraq. They let it be known that if this happens, the war in Iraq will be prolonged and a lot of American soldiers would die or get wounded. This of course could happen, as it has happened before when the Turks, ‘our trusted allies’, did not allow our troops, at the beginning of the war, to enter Iraq through Turkey unless a ‘walk through fee’ was paid to them. This ‘extortion type fee’ amounted to about $26 billion and took about a month to negotiate, as the Turks demanded much more than that amount. This month long delay was indeed damaging to the American troops as well as to the allies, as then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld has repeatedly testified.

In my personal opinion, Turkey has no business trying to influence our Congress on how to vote on the pending House of Representatives Bill HR-106. Our congressmen should be free to vote on these atrocious crimes against humanity without being pressured to do otherwise. Regarding the latest threats by Turkey to stop the flow of materials and equipment through their country, I believe they are bluffing, since it is to their best interest for the US military to be there to keep the peace, especially now that the Kurds are acting against them. World opinion will also be against them and most important of all, the European Union will probably reject their membership application. They will also consider the billions of military aid that this country receives from the USA in order to use their bases.


To be sure, this is indeed a dilemma for any Congressman who has to vote on the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which may result in placing our troops in harms way. Maybe our congressmen should consider the following:

1. Is this the right time to vote on something that happened close to 100 years ago? If not now, when? Legally, the crime of murder has no time limitations.

2. By voting yes on this Bill, will it bring harm to US soldiers in Iraq? Probably not, as there are other avenues to supply our troops, such as Crete.

3. By voting yes on this Bill, will Turkey be upset with us?
Probably, but we will let Turkey know that we will not be intimidated to accept their erroneous version of history, when they insist this genocide never happened.

4. By voting yes on this Bill, will it not condemn any type of genocide?
Yes it will and it will be fitting for us Americans to do just that.

So, as citizens and voters of this great country, we should take an active part and try to help our elected Congressmen out of this Armenian Genocide dilemma. We should call them and let them know that it is their duty and responsibility to examine all the facts in this matter, as summarized above, then do some additional ‘due diligence search’. They should then vote according to their own judgment as well as the moral principles set forth by our Founding Fathers. Most important of all, they should not be influenced by Lobbyists, many of whom are retired Generals, retired Congressmen, as well as local or Foreign Lobbyists, who are paid by the Turks.

(Posting date 30 January 2008)

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