Politics 11:23 15/02/2023 Region

Aid from Armenia to Turkey generates heated debate among Armenians

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

The Armenian government's decision to send massive humanitarian aid and dozens of rescuers to Turkey following the powerful earthquake generated much controversy among Armenians.

The Turkish government is not a friend of Armenia or Armenians. Turkey is a mortal enemy having committed the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and continuing its denials until today. More recently, the Turkish military and imported Islamic terrorists supported Azerbaijan during the 2020 Artsakh War, causing the deaths of thousands of Armenian soldiers. Last week, Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged that Azerbaijan was reciprocating for Turkey’s support during the 2020 war by sending several hundred rescuers to the earthquake zone. Erdogan then added his often repeated mantra, “Azerbaijan and Turkey are one nation, two states.” Furthermore, a week ago, while Armenia was providing humanitarian aid to Turkey, the Turkish government, in the midst of the disastrous earthquake, found the time to condemn the Mexican Senate for recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Armenia’s sending 27 rescuers and 100 tons of food, medicines and other relief supplies to Turkey was controversial because the aid was provided not only to an unrepentant enemy and on the heels of the Armenian losses inflicted by Turkey during the 2020 War, but during the current humanitarian crisis in Artsakh due to Azeri blockade of the Lachin Corridor, which is supported by Turkey. While 120,000 Armenians in Artsakh are slowly starving to death being deprived of food and medicines for over 60 days, Armenia's Prime Minister, President and Speaker of the Parliament, ignoring Armenian sensitivities, announced sending aid to Turkey. They naively insisted that their humanitarian action will help bring peace between Armenia and Turkey.

Naturally, when a major disaster happens anywhere in the world, most countries rush to the rescue of those afflicted. Armenia could not remain indifferent. However, Armenian leaders could have softened the public's backlash if they had issued a more delicately-worded announcement regarding the aid to Turkey while acknowledging that they are mindful of the plight of Artsakh Armenians due to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor.

It is important that Armenians distinguish between the Turkish government and Turkish people. Armenia and Armenians have a justified demand from the Turkish government for the Armenian losses suffered during the Genocide, but they should not antagonize individual Turks who played no part in the Genocide, since they were not even born at that time. However, if a Turk denies the Genocide and insults the memory of the Armenian martyrs, he or she should be condemned just as the denialist Turkish government.

One of the consequences of the disastrous earthquake in Turkey is the collapse of Erdogan’s already low political rating. There are claims by the Turkish opposition that Erdogan has unfairly dispatched most of the Turkish rescuers to the earthquake regions inhabited by his supporters who had voted for him in the past. He has been subjected to harsh criticisms due to the Turkish government’s slow actions to rescue the large number of victims of the earthquake. Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens died due to the collapse of poorly constructed hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings, as a result of Erdogan government’s corrupt practices. Many buildings that were properly constructed did not collapse.

The Presidential election in Turkey is scheduled for May 14, 2023, three months from now. Knowing that his chances of winning re-election fairly is low, Pres. Erdogan will probably delay the election, giving him time to come up with various schemes to boost his rating. Getting re-elected is a must for Erdogan because if he loses the election, he will not just lose the presidency. He risks ending up in jail for the rest of his life because of his and his family’s massive corruption.

Therefore, Erdogan will do everything possible to remain in power. Even though he has no legal right to postpone the election, he will order the judiciary to rule that given the emergency situation in the country, delaying the election is legal and justified.

Erdogan is already making lavish promises to his potential voters. He has promised to millions of homeless Turkish survivors of the earthquake that the government will give them free apartments in one year. Erdogan is forgetting that he has no right to make such a promise because a year from now he may not be the President of Turkey.

Erdogan will also provide large amounts of money to the public to win over their votes. To rebuild the devastated areas of Turkey, foreign countries and international financial institutions will donate billions of dollars which Erdogan will distribute lavishly to the voters to get re-elected.

Source Panorama.am
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