Who else objects to the Bundestag resolution on the Armenian genocide?

Here below we offer an article by Renata Akhundova, "Who else objects to the Bundestag resolution on the Armenian genocide?" In accordance with our editorial policy, Meydan TV publishes articles on a wide range of subjects in the hopes of providing opportunities to discuss the most pressing and important topics for our readers. The editor is willing to publish other articles that offer a differing opinion. 

This article reflects the opinion of the author and as such may not reflect the opinion of Meydan TV. 

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On June 2nd, Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. The next day, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, hosted the new Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, in Baku. In a statement following their meeting, Aliyev expressed his regret over the “injustice” allowed by the Bundestag, in which he "once again condemned this provocation built on lies” as an “…injustice, double standards, a distortion of history” and noted that, “obviously, we cannot tolerate this. And we won’t.”

In recent years, anti-Western statements made by the Azerbaijani state have been notable for their apparent intransigence, with which the authorities display to the citizens of the country their brutality by criticizing numerous EU politicians and parliaments - including the USA - for unjust “attacks” on either Turkey or Azerbaijan. 

“Genocide”

Of the latest ‘injustice’, the president, together with other Azerbaijani officials, have stressed many times in their interviews or in public statements that when it comes to the Armenian genocide, we can only discuss its factuality in quotation marks or as a, “so - called genocide.” 

And these claims are the most widely recognized in the country. In today's Azerbaijan, most citizens, from the president to ordinary people in the street, consider it their patriotic duty to deny the Armenian genocide. Few, well - known public and oppositional figures that have declared themselves against the authoritarian regime speak about the Armenian genocide without these quotation marks. 

This is one of the few cases in which you can observe the stable unity of views between the authority, its opponents and the general population.

Instructions for the diaspora

The reach of the political regime is not limited to the country under its control, and it attempts to control Azerbaijani diaspora communities and their networks as well (including the ones in Germany), and actively uses them to protest against the recognition of the Armenian genocide, as well as for the general promotion of its own version of what happened in 1915 and other events, in which the Azerbaijanis are given the role of the permanent and long - lasting victims of the Armenians.

In early June, the 4th Congress of World Azerbaijanis took place, during which Aliyev mentioned that, “present today in Azerbaijan are all the leaders of Azerbaijani diaspora organizations. They have been given instructions to stick together with Turkish diaspora organizations, to carry out joint actions, demonstrations, and to express their protest together."

In the same address, the President of Azerbaijan offered his own interpretation of the Bundestag resolution. In his opinion, "the unfair decision adopted by the German Parliament, of course, is a political order…everyone is well aware that it was adopted based on lies: enormous, Armenian lies. Why was this resolution adopted just yesterday? Apparently, they want to force Turkey into doing something... and the Armenian genocide is an excuse to do just that, once again becoming a tool in the hands of the major powers…”

The statements of Azerbaijani politicians on this issue are often more abrupt and sharp than those of Turkish politicians. While in Turkey, public intellectuals have become to come forward and acknowledge the events of the early twentieth century as “genocide”, in Azerbaijan such a thing has remained impossible. And any statement by the parliaments or authorities of any European country on the matter evokes the most abrupt and angry of reactions in Azerbaijan accompanied by a surge of anti - European sentiment. 

Why is Azerbaijan so sensitive to the fact that the authorities of many countries are slowly recognizing the Armenian genocide? Why is the Azerbaijani community, which has not been indicted in these events, even more monolithic in its desire to deny the Armenian genocide than Turkish society? How have Azerbaijanis and Turks living in Germany reacted to these events?

One obvious reason…

Karabakh. Armenia as a country and ethnic Armenians as a nation (including its diaspora), are perceived in Azerbaijan as "the Enemy" that is occupying a significant part of the country.

And this image goes much further than military conflict and questions of land ownership: it has its roots in a semi - primordial understanding of a nation as a collection of genes and blood, as an identity that can only be inherited, imbibed through a mother’s milk. This is a binding definition, which ascribes a collective mentality and character to a nation that does not and cannot change over time. 

In this two - tier definition, nations are either victims or aggressors, and there is no room for gray space. And thus, for Azerbaijanis, Armenians as the aggressors in the Karabakh conflict can surely not also be the victims of the terrible tragedy that happened just over 100 years ago. And thus, the genocide is a “so - called” one.

For the sake of the nation

As concerns the justification of the genocide, there is a common explanatory model:  in 1915, the Armenians were the fifth column of the Ottoman Empire and betrayed the country — note: not Empire — of which they were citizens — note: not Subjects. Because of the ongoing war on the eastern front with Russia, the Ottoman Empire acted as would have acted any other state that was faced with an internal enemy, and thus, the Armenians are the ones to blame for their own troubles…

The authorities of Azerbaijan operate with similar logic when they call their own opposition “the fifth column”, and in doing so marginalize and deprive them of the ‘right to a place in the nation.’ Authorities even periodically ‘find’ Armenian roots in the representatives of the opposition. The latter, in turn, do not miss the opportunity to point out the same questionable Armenian or Kurdish genes of those in power. 

"Injustice" against Azerbaijan

In a country where the reigning political atmosphere is far from democratic, the ruling elite are convinced of the necessity of using pure pragmatism, which in turn makes it difficult for them to accept that in countries such as Germany, independent media exists and thrives, and does not take directions or commands from the government. Or that the Bundestag deputies are guided by values set out in the Charter of Human Rights. And exactly because politicians can surely not be guided by such humanitarian and non - pragmatic principles, it means that the recognition of the Genocide is an order…as is any other critique of regimes such as Turkey and Azerbaijan. 

An example of this logic was aptly demonstrated by Aliyev at the Congress of World Azerbaijanis, when he mentioned a resolution passed by the Bundestag on June 12th of 2015: “the German parliament passed a very unfair resolution that was based on lies and was full of insults against Azerbaijan...that democracy, human rights, etc. are allegedly being violated in Azerbaijan - but this is a lie. Democracy in Azerbaijan is developing. June 12th was the opening day of the European Games, and on that same day, the German parliament passed this same resolution against Azerbaijan. That is, it was done to hurt, tarnish and slander us." 

By this logic, any critique can only be unjust.

Diaspora 

It would seem that the Turkish and Azerbaijani diasporas are not immune to such logic, either. Despite the marked development in the past few years in the Azerbaijani diaspora of more numerous, pro - governmental groups and the shrinking of oppositional fractions, in addition to a vastly larger and generally apolitical population of Azerbaijani immigrants, the denial of the Armenian genocide remains one of the few uniting ideologies that bind the three groups together. 

Perhaps the most important question here is why the diaspora politics of Erdogan and Aliyev have, in many cases, been more effective than the education systems and integration strategies of European countries...?

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This article reflects the opinion of the author and as such may not reflect the opinion of Meydan TV. 

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