By Tatul Sonentz-Papazian
With the Turkish Republic’s entry into the European Union now a distinct possibility–if not probability–all manner of speculation on the future of the norms that made the modern day–European-inspired civilization a desirable alternative becomes not only possible but also inevitable and necessary. The cultural/spiritual survival without major disfigurement–of what we have come to know as "Western" civilization–with its ancient Hellenic and historic Christian roots–may very well be at stake.
Those who were predicting Armageddon in a clash of civilizations based on fundamental differences in culture and religion–are witnessing the culmination of a long and tumultuous courtship between fundamentally Islamic Turkey and largely Christian Europe into an eventual marriage (or cohabitation) of convenience–with US conferring its blessings and NATO standing as Best man. Turkey–as the eager bride in this on-going–one sided courtship–is bringing a large dowry to the rising House of Europe–consisting of some 70 million people and a real estate of almost 800,000 sq. kilometers. An impressive bounty–indeed–if one chooses to ignore its questionable legitimacy–since the final verdict on several–still pending–criminal cases involving the Ottomans and their successors–well documented by historians of integrity and international instrumen’s such as the Treaties of Sevres and Lausanne–has yet to be reached–in terms of justice rather than expediency and false witness.
Let us take a serious look at the protagonists of this melodrama–unfolding on the international scene where most of the traditional road-signs have been taken down and replaced with weathervanes of Globalism.
Europe–after the crucibles of two world wars–has finally come to terms with its imperial/colonialist past–liquidated its imperial holdings and recognizing the rights of its ethnic/cultural components–has established fair and secure boundaries within a supra-national Union. There are still a few pockets of tension and unrest–created by the denial of equal and legitimate rights to people like the Basques–Corsicans and various Celtic groups; no doubt–Europe–in a not-too-distant future–will settle these remaining cases in an equitable manner.
Now–let us take a look at the "modern"–Kemalist version of the perennial "sick man of Europe" whose imperial Ottoman legacy still defines and motivates its present reality. The notion that Europe is considering the integration of a "nation" of 70 million souls and a ‘national" territory of over three-quarters of a million square kilometers–is based on a superficial evaluation ignoring some historical facts–that are sure to surface at crucial times–causing more than embarrassment to the proponents of this ill-suited union.
To begin with–in its Kemalist transition from multi-national empire to nationalist state–the Turks–and their European–Soviet–and US mentors–conveniently forgot that Armenia–Kurdistan and Pontus (not unlike most of the Arab nations and territories) were distinct constituent national entities of the multi-national Ottoman Empire–and were never an integral part of a Turkish national state. This reality–fully recognized at Sevres–was shamefully scuttled and buried at Lausanne–laying the foundations of future crises and bloodshed.
By accepting Turkey into its bosom in its present dimensions and content–Europe will–in fact–be accepting along with some 47 million Turks–20 million Kurds–and some 3 million Kurdified Armenia’s and Assyrians (along with their usurped lands) whose human–national religious and civil rights have been grievously suppressed by the Turks and almost totally ignored by the signers of both the Sevres–and the Lausanne Treaties. Is the EU ready to accept such a challenge? The probability of such an acceptance remains highly doubtful–and yet–not entirely inconceivable.
Alas–in today’s international political arena–devoid of genuine ideological tenets–the circles of world diplomacy–particularly the eager champions of a yet-to-be-established "global order," there is a mounting concern over any interference with questionable territorial "integrities" and the professed "inviolability" of arbitrary–criminally drawn boundaries–an obsession most vociferously expressed by those who find the status quo–i.e. the present outrageous distribution of the lands and resources of this planet–most favorable to their mercenary interests.
More often than not–those interests–remnants of defunct imperial/colonial structures–ignore and deny the legitimacy of historically evolved national and cultural realities. Today’s political maps do not always reflect the true–demographic distribution of national identity–evolved over countless centuries from indigenous ethnicity and culture.
Having lost its independence after a millennium of constructive nationhood–conquered–colonized–and torn apart by competing imperial powers–Armenia–following the collapse of the Soviet Empire–is gradually regaining its independence through international recognition of its sovereignty over a small portion of its historical patrimony and its valiant and stubborn resistance against foreign rule in Artsakh.
Obviously–the struggle is far from over. Unfortunately–by putting the Sevres Treaty and Wilsonian Armenia on the political back burner over the last decade or so–the Armenia’s have retreated from the entrenched commitment of the 1970’s and ’80’s to a truly viable–unified Armenian state and nation within natural boundaries that could guarantee real independence–and plot a course for a brighter future as a truly European nation–integrated into a civilized neighborhood of an eventually peaceful world.
Whether this pre-nuptial honeymoon between Europe and Turkey leads to a binding union or not–we should always bear in mind–that the basic guarantee of our true independence within secure boundaries stems not merely from international treaties and agreemen’s acceptable to one and all–but first and foremost–from our own self-image as a nation–deeply rooted in history and forever tied to the reality of our patrimony.
With that confident self assessment–we put this question with amazement and apprehension for the future of the West: Quo vadis–EU?