Erdo?an’s Turkey is trying to rewrite history

Never happened, says Turkey.

The determination to rewrite the past to serve the present has been a hallmark of authoritarian regimes at least since Plato advocated underpinning his ideal (proto-fascist) state with a ?noble lie?. The communists mastered this black art, turning the past on a dime where it suited them. The dust had barely settled on the Cultural Revolution?s rampant destruction of China?s ?Olds? when the communists toured an exhibition of Chinese relics around the world in an obvious ?soft power? ploy.

In Orwell?s analogy of authoritarianism, 1984, protagonist Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to systematically alter and erase past editions of newspapers and send inconvenient information down the ?Memory Hole?.

Turkey is rapidly falling under the jackboot of theocratic authoritarianism. Naturally, the past is being thoroughly re-written. Quote:

Turks are proud of their history because they have not committed any genocide or partaken in colonialism, Foreign Minister Mevl?t ?avu?o?lu has said, vowing the Turkish government will not stay silent against ?some countries trying to lecture Turkey on history,? in reference to France and Italy?s recognition of the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide. End of quote.

The Armenian genocide is widely regarded as one of the first modern genocides: indeed, the word itself was coined nearly 30 years later specifically to describe the systematic extermination of millions of Armenians in the dying Ottoman empire. But the fact that the modern world?s first unambiguous genocide coincided with (and was largely perpetrated by central actors involved in) the foundation of the modern Turkish state has been an embarrassment that Turkey has been determined to ignore. Quote:

?We are proud of our history because our history has never had any genocides. And no colonialism exists in our history,???avu?o?lu said, indirectly recalling a quarrel he had with a French parliamentarian last week in the southern province of Antalya on the sidelines of a NATO parliamentary meeting.

?France is the last country which can lecture Turkey on genocide and history,? ?avu?o?lu had said, in response to a statement by French deputy Sonia Krimi. ?France should mind its own dark history in Rwanda and Algeria,? he added. End of quote.

It?s true that France has little to be proud about with regard to, say, Algeria, but such whataboutism doesn?t erase Turkey?s stained history. Nor does it justify telling blatant whoppers.

The Armenian genocide was a genocide. Turkish empires include not just the Ottomans, but the Timurid, the Mughal, the Seljuk, and the Golden Horde.

Unbelievably, the Turkish government says, with a straight face: Quote:

?avu?o?lu [said] ??We should perfectly learn and tell of our past and history. This will shed light on our future too.?

In an age where terrorism, radicalization and intolerance are making most of the global challenges, ?avu?o?lu cited the ?main pillars of Turkish civilization? as the best remedies to address these problems. End of quote.

For the record, there have been growing calls to designate Turkey as a supporter of terrorism. But, along with their barefaced lies about history, the Turkish government is trying to cover for its own descent into an intolerant theocracy by pointing fingers everywhere else. Quote:

?The terrorist assault in New Zealand has shown once again that intolerance, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia pose a threat on our mutual humane values. Recent rise in racism has become a reflection of xenophobia and Islamophobia. A joint and firm fight in solidarity against all these threats is now a must.? End of quote.


Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past

George Orwell, ?1984?