BY ARAM HAMPARIAN
Track 2 Diplomacy Hits Bottom with NY Times Revelations of ‘Cheese Diplomacy’
Despite the best efforts of Ankara and its allies to get us to buy into their alternate reality, the fact remains that Turkey-Armenia relations remain defined by the massive demographic, geographic, economic, security and other modern-day consequences of Turkey’s still unpunished genocide of the Armenian nation.
According to The New York Times, their latest U.S. tax-payer funded diversion – laughable were it not so tragic – actually involves “cheese-diplomacy.”
Sadly, for us, as Americans, rather than honestly confronting this horrific injustice, the U.S. government continues to be held hostage by Ankara’s denial of this crime. Instead of simply rejecting Turkey’s gag-rule once and for all, our White House and State Department have spent decades playing tortured word games, undertaking one fake Track 2 effort after another to somehow avoid doing the obvious, speaking honestly about this inconvenient but inescapable truth. According to The New York Times, their latest U.S. tax-payer funded diversion–laughable were it not so tragic–actually involves “cheese-diplomacy.”
Now, Turkey’s motives are clear: Using the full measure of its geo-political and public relations leverage to prevent other nations and global civil society from addressing the genocide in its proper context as an unpunished crime, requiring a forceful international response and a truthful, just, and comprehensive resolution.
Like an unrepentant criminal seeking to escape the wages of his sin while keeping the fruits of his crime, Turkey strives tirelessly to get the international community to buy into its redefinition of this international crime into a bilateral conflict.
Why? Clearly not because they seek the truth or thirst for justice. Ankara simply wants this issue to disappear forever. By seeking to restrict discussion of the Armenian Genocide to bilateral talks between two nations of vastly disparate power – all the more so as a result of the Genocide – Turkey figures it can–outside of the glare of international scrutiny–arm-twist Armenia into silence and ultimate acceptance of Ankara’s consolidation of its genocidal gains.
Internationally, Ankara reinforces its pressure against Armenia by using threats, bribes, and diversionary tactics (such as TARC and the Protocols) with other countries, hoping that the international community will absolve itself of its moral, civic, political, legal, and international responsibilities to truthfully and justly resolve the Armenian Genocide. At the same time, Ankara is tirelessly recruiting Armenians themselves–even if only token ones–to buy into Ankara’s narrative of the Genocide as a bilateral conflict. This, as we all know from Armenia’s long history under Ottoman rule, is a classic divide-and-conquer approach that they have frequently used against Armenians. Ankara’s aims to deter third-party recognition, using the patently false claim that progress is around the corner, and should not be jeopardized by further international acknowledgement of this crime.
The public record shows that U.S.-funding to think tanks and publications in Armenia and in our Diaspora is often used to advance efforts to create a false impression of meaningful Armenian civil society support for astro-turf initiatives (such as TARC and the Protocols) that harm Armenian interests and compromise Armenian rights. The fact is that U.S. State Department-funded “grassroots” efforts to promote Turkish-Armenian dialogue are neither grassroots nor authentic. It is precisely because these transparently fake efforts–cheese-based or otherwise–are so widely recognized by Armenians as obviously aligned against the interests of truth and fairness, that sustaining them requires active diplomatic life-support and millions of dollars in government backing.
To the credit of Armenians worldwide, we have demonstrated a normal, healthy common-sense response in seeing through the interests behind TARC and the Protocols, rejecting, on principle, cynical campaigns that seek to enlist us as enablers of Ankara’s effort to consolidate the material, moral, geographic, demographic, economic, and other benefits of the Armenian Genocide.
The moral American stand on the Armenian Genocide is a simple one: Truth.
The only workable U.S. policy for improving Armenian-Turkish ties is just as simple: Justice.
We don’t need Track 1, Track 2, or even a Cheese Track. We need a Truth Track.
So, rather than wasting more years, more tax dollars, and more of America’s moral standing by aiding Ankara’s evasion of responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, the United States should press for a fair and full resolution of the crime of the Armenian Genocide – the only meaningful basis for improved Armenian-Turkish ties.