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TURKEY, THE FIRST FASCIST STATE

 

One of the consequences of the Armenian Genocide was the creation of the first fascist state in Europe’s periphery. The Republic of Turkey had all the core characteristics inherent to fascism and Nazism. Below the six main characteristics of Turkish fascism are identified:

1. Turkish chauvinism and genocidal policies. Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) was formerly himself a member of the governing body of Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the political organization of murderous Young Turks. Once in power, Ataturk and the Kemalists not only continued the Armenian Genocide, but directed their tested policies of extermination of an entire people against Greeks and other ethnic minorities. In Eastern Armenia alone, the Kemalists destroyed 200,000 Armenians (1920-1921), in Smyrna – 100,000 Greeks and Armenians (September 1922), in the Black Sea regions – about 300,000 Pontian Greeks (1919-1923). They also continued the Genocide against the Assyrians, of whom about 500,000 were annihilated by the Turkish forces from 1915 to 1923. Deportations, mass exterminations, political and cultural repressions against the Kurds, the second largest ethnic group in modern Turkey, began immediately after the Armenian Genocide and continue to this day. All Kurdish attempts to protect their basic national and human rights were brutally suppressed in 1925, 1927, and 1937. In 1980s and 1990s, more than a million Kurds were deported to large cities (during these deportations, according to various estimates, two to three thousand Kurdish villages were destroyed).

Turkish chauvinism was legislatively approved in the Constitution of 1937 under the auspicious name of “nationalism” (Milliyetçilik), openly aiming to assimilate non-Turkic ethnic groups and legally identifying them as Turks. The modern discipline of Holocaust and Genocide Studies identifies the denial of genocide as an extension of genocidal policies. Gregory Stanton, former President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, emphasizes that “Denial is the final stage of genocide. It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world.” Elie Wiesel, the famous Holocaust survivor and political activist, has repeatedly called Turkey’s 90-year-old campaign to cover up the Armenian genocide a double killing, since it strives to kill the memory of the original atrocities. In contemporary democratic Germany it is simply impossible to imagine a street or institution named in honour of any of the leaders of the Third Reich – indeed it is legally prohibited! Meanwhile, in “democratic” Turkey the leaders of CUP, i.e. the criminal organizers and perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, are openly glorified. “Democratic” Turkey also actively uses the infamous Article 301 of its Criminal Code (“insulting Turkishness”, in 2008 changed to “insulting the Turkish nation”). This law, among other things, makes the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a crime. About 50 trials have already been held based on this article.

 
2. Totalitarianism. Up to the late 1940s Turkey was a one-party state. However, even today “democratic” Turkey periodically imposes a ban on one political party or another (even those elected to parliament), while its leaders are thrown in jail on trumped-up political charges. The last of a series of such cases occurred in December 2009, when the Turkish Constitutional Court banned the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which had 21 MPs. All the property of DTP was confiscated by the state. Turkey’s state propaganda, all-inclusive revision and falsification of the Ottoman and modern Turkish history through carefully controlled scholarship, school curricula, and legally enforced taboos, including severe restraints on free access to information and freedom of expression, resulted in effective brainwashing of its own population.
 
3. Statism (etatism). The Turkish Constitution of 1937 strengthened the regulatory role of the state not only in the economy, but also in ideology.
 
4. Anti-communism. Ataturk, despite his friendship with the Soviet Union, was a staunch anti-communist. The Communist Party of Turkey has been banned since 1923 and remained illegal throughout its whole history, having been routinely subjected to most brutal state repressions.
 
5. Leaderism and the cult of personality. In Turkey, the cult of Ataturk is still in full bloom. Statues and monuments of Ataturk are installed in every city, his portraits are hung in all government and administrative institutions, as well as in school classrooms, and his portraits are on banknotes and coins of all denominations. Criticism of his life activities and biography are criminalized and carrying Ataturk as one’s last name is banned.
 
6. Militarism and aggression. Turkey is one of the most militarized countries on earth, with the eighth-largest army in the world and second only to the United States in NATO. The decisive sway of the Turkish military on domestic politics is well known: one only needs to recall the three coups d’état carried out by the Turkish army in 1960, 1971 and 1980, as well as the harsh ousting of Islamist Prime Minister N. Erbakan from power in 1997 (incidentally, his ruling “Welfare Party” was also banned).

In 1920, the first Republic of Armenia fell under the blows of Kemalists. Indeed, the direct order that Karabekir-Pasha received from Mustafa Kemal literally specified “to destroy Armenia morally and physically.” If the international community (alias “the great powers”) does not adequately characterize the fascist essence of the modern Turkish state, this is simply because it has not been interested in such an exposé. Armenia’s present security predicaments are a direct result of crimes by Turkish fascism!

Attempts to rehabilitate Turkey without having it incur its due responsibility – in particular, without the territorial restitutions and other compensations to Armenia – can lead to new and repeated genocides. This is the main conclusion that the international community has yet to draw.
ARMEN AYVAZYAN, PhD
www.ararat-center.org
 
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