Turkey recalled its ambassador to the U.S. on Thursday to protest a congressional committee’s approval of a resolution calling World War I–era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide. Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the measures—which the Bush administration strongly opposes—“has no validity.” The next sign of its disapproval is expected to come next week when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Edrogan asks lawmakers to authorize the military to cross the border to chase Kurdish extremists into Iraq.
What the commentators said
Antagonizing “our most important ally in the war against Islamic extremism” is “foolish in the extreme,” said Andrew Sullivan in his blog on TheAtlantic.com. Making a “symbolic point”—nearly a century after the fact—is simply not worth the consequences.
“Condemning horror is important,” said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in the Los Angeles Times (free registraiton), but it would be tragic to do it in a way that only creates more human suffering. The U.S. can’t afford to lose Turkey’s “continued restraint with the Kurds” or its leadership “resolving the Israel-Palestine issue” over this. So let’s try moving beyond anger to “positive action”—that’s the secret to healing, and “true emancipation.”
This is far from a “pointless exercise in political correctness,” said the Berkshire, Mass., Eagle in an editorial. “Language and symbols matter.” Didn’t Christianity’s “ condemnation of Jews in art and in words helped make the Holocaust possible”? If we shrink from the “slaughter” of 1.5 million Armenians genocide “we fail to speak the words that can stop the deed.”