Turks Make It Interesting

I was saying yesterday that if I have to read another Globe story on the fight between the erstwhile Armenian-genocide-denying Anti-Defamation League and Armenian activists (and later, many other activists), I was going to fill my pockets with stones and hurl myself off the Zakim Bridge. Sure, it’s a good story packed with ironies, but does it really merit this much coverage, every day, either on the front page or B1?

Today’s story, however, pulled me back from the ledge. In response to the ADL’s statement calling the 1915 slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks “tantamount to genocide,” the Turkish government has taken a page from the Bush administration and called for further study on the matter, citing unnamed experts who are still unconvinced about what the most apposite word for the atrocity is (which is of course, nonsense). If that weren’t offensive enough, the Turks also claimed that the ADL is actually disrespecting Jews by recognizing the Armenian genocide.

“We consider the statement of the ADL as an injustice to the unique character of the Holocaust, as well as to the memories of its victims,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We expect it to be rectified.”

That’s kind of like saying it’s disrespectful to New Orleans to note how badly Biloxi was damaged by Katrina.

Notice that nowhere in the statement is a denial that Ottoman Turks actually killed all those Armenians, just a denial that their intent was genocidal in nature, which seem like a moot point for all the people who got killed. However annoyed, or umbraged or whatever they are by the ADL’s turnabout, the Turks would be wise to note that they could have avoided this whole exasperating semantic argument if they had simply not gone on their bloody rampage in the first place. Might be a lesson in there for the future. At the very least it would mean a broader variety of local news stories in my daily paper.