At the end of April during the annual commemoration of the Turkish destruction of the Armenian Christian community Israeli lawmakers again called for official recognition of the genocide by three successive Turkish governments at the beginning of the last century.
Yair Lapid, the co-leader of Israel’s second largest political party Blue and White, said “the time has come for Israel to officially recognize the genocide of the Armenian people and stop giving in to Turkish pressure.”
“We have a moral and historic responsibility to remember the genocide and to stand behind ‘never again. This is true for every nation,” Lapid later tweeted.
Until now Israel has declined to officially recognize the Armenian genocide in order not antagonize the Turkish government despite a vote advocating official recognition by the Israeli government which was held by the Knesset Education Committee in August 2016.
Turkey’s current leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan vehemently denies the Armenian claim about the genocide which included mass killings and forced deportations of roughly two million Christians by Muslim Turks and other Muslims during a period of thirty years (1894-1924).
The Turkish autocratic leader routinely blasts leaders of foreign governments who dare to stand up for the truth about Turkey’s dark past and at the end of April harshly criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for recognizing the Armenian genocide.
In 2001, France joined 30 other governments in recognizing the Turkish responsibility for the genocide and other atrocities against Christians and Macron recently decided to install a “national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide.”
Erdogan told a crowd of supporters that Macron first should be “honest in politics” and claimed France had committed “massacres” during the colonial era.
“Delivering a message to 700,000 Armenians who live in France will not save you, Monsieur Macron,” the Turkish hot-headed leader warned.
The dispute about this part of Turkey’s dark past has been going on for decades but now two Israeli historians basing themselves on scientific research delivered the irrefutable evidence Turkey has been guilty of staging a bloody campaign which lasted thirty years and caused the near extinction of the Christian community in the country.
Professor Benny Morris and his colleague Professor Dror Ze’evi of the Ben Gurion University in the Negev Desert just published their new book ‘The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924’
In the book Morris and Ze’evi delivered evidence that the actual genocide which took place in 1915 and 1916 was part “of a larger span of elimination that lasted some 30 years.”
The two scientists “sifted through the Turkish, U.S., British and French archives, as well as some Greek materials and the papers of the German and Austro-Hungarian foreign ministries”and came to the conclusion that Armenian Christians spoke the truth when they claimed that “ the Turks murdered about half of their forebears and expelled the rest.”
Morris and Ze’evi say that the murderous campaign against the Christians was fueled by “religious animus” and that “Muslims, including Kurds, Circassians, Chechens and Arabs—murdered about two million Christians in bouts of slaughter immediately before, during and after World War I.”
Three Turkish governments, including the Atatürk government, were also responsible for expelling 1,5 to 2 million Christians who mostly fled to Greece, according to the two Ben-Gurion University Professors.
Morris and Ze’evi don’t buy Erdogan’s claim that the murdered Christians lost their lives as a result of “harsh conditions” during World War I.
They wrote that alongside mass killings thousands of Christian women were raped, abducted and forcefully converted to Islam.
Those who were abducted were not only raped but also sold as slaves on markets as far as Aleppo, Damascus and Baghdad a practice which was recently copied by the Islamic State group.
“The German people and government have long acknowledged the genocidal horrors of the Third Reich, made financial reparations, expressed profound remorse and worked to abjure racism. But every Turkish government since 1924—together with most of the Turkish people—has continued to deny the painful history we have uncovered,” Morris and Ze’evi wrote at the end of an essay published by the Wall Street Journal last Friday.
Until now, Erdogan has been mum on the publication of Morris’ and Ze’evi’s book and continues lambasting Israel over its treatment of Palestinian Arabs who are terrorizing Israeli population centers with their rockets and incendiary balloons.
The Turkish dictator recently called Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu a “cruel oppressor” who was indulging in “state terror”.
During a speech on Turkish TV at the beginning of May Erdogan, furthermore, accused Israel of committing “sins, crimes against humanity and massacres.”
Erdogan’s critics say he is taking Turkey “back to its beginnings” and is turning the country into “a dictatorship marked by hit squads and fear.”
The Turkish dictator is continuing his crackdown on academics, journalists, students and others who dare to speak out against what he’s doing in Turkey and in other Middle Eastern countries.
These countries include Syria where he is aiding Islamist groups in the continuing civil war and Libya where he was just caught breaching a UN weapons embargo by delivering weapons to Islamist militias.
A Jewish Turkish woman this reporter recently interviewed in an European city said Turkish Jews are increasingly comparing Erdogan to Hitler while she warned Turkey was on its way to become a threat not only to Israel but to the world at large.