tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Turkish ambassador flies home for history lesson

Perturbed over Prime Minister Stephen Harper's appearance Tuesday at commemorative vigil for the Armenian genocide of 1915-16, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Canada for 'consultations' in the homeland.

Allegedly Turkey's ambassadors around the world only have one job to do: convince host governments that the thingy with the Armenians wasn't a genocide.

No really. The website of the Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa hosts a section called "Armenian Allegations" whose documents include a 2005 letter from Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his Armenian counterpart, then-president Robert Kocaryan, triumphing a binational "joint group" of historians to once-and-for-all arrive at the truth of the events of 1915-16 in which a reported 1.5 million Armenians were killed in an ethnic cleansing by Turkish nationalists.

There's also a link to an academic publication, "Revisiting the Armenian Genocide," which casts an appropriately academic shadow of doubt on the citadel of 'truth' (either Armenian or Turkish).

And there's a link to a statement (undated) from Turkey's Grand National Assembly exhorting, among other things, that "
Wisdom and logic command Turkey and Armenia not to be afraid of breaking the taboos by working jointly, and to face their history by uncovering all aspects of the human calamity they together experienced."

Turkey has long claimed that the so-called genocide was a rural civil war between rival nationalist factions that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands on both sides at a time when the grip of ethnocentric identity struggle on the people of the Middle East was as firm as Stephen Harper's hair helmet (pictured).

Armenia claims that, well, a million and a half of its people didn't live to see the birth of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Armenia (the fleeting independent state between Ottoman and Soviet hegemony in the Caucasus after World War I).

Today, April 24, is Armenia's official day of commemoration, the anniversary of the arrest of Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul in 1915 which touched off the revolt that led to the genocide (or the not-genocide other thing).

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