As the death toll mounts in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as innocents are killed and lives are shattered and as hostile drones approach Yerevan, one can’t help but ask: Where are the international community, the United Nations and the Western states that claim to uphold peace and oppose jihadi terrorism?
In a nutshell, the aggression Armenians are facing is because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to boost his sinking popularity at home by engaging in military adventures outside Turkey’s borders, and the reason no one is raising a finger is either because Turkey has them in a corner or they’re worried about their image.
Yes, you read that correctly. For over a week now Armenian families have been subjected to the barbarism of Azerbaijan and its cronies, chief among them Turkey, because the West is impotent. The number of those reported killed in the region has already reached 250, although there are fears the actual figure is far higher. And yet, no one dares lift a finger.
It is easy to urge a cease-fire from the comfort of one’s own distant capital. After all, the rabid hordes aren’t massing at their gates. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Israel and Pakistan among others – countries with a combined population of around a 320 million– have reportedly either dispatched jihadi fighters and military assistance or provided them passage to the conflict zone to fight Armenian soldiers, whose country has a population of less than 3 million people. But why are we seeing such an escalation now, the worst since the early ’90s?
The simple yet outrageous truth is that Erdogan, facing economic collapse and with the specter of Fethullah Gülen hanging over his head, orchestrated this assault on majority Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh in order to buttress his own political relevance at home. That’s right – hundreds of people are dying because this one would-be dictator wants to stay in power by fabricating new external threats after he was forced to tone it down on Greece and Cyprus by the EU because those countries are EU states. And so he set his sights on Artsakh.
The soft rhetoric coming from the U.S. and the EU is also self-serving. On the one hand Washington will never take steps against a NATO ally, particularly not one that is hosting a strategic American military base in the region. EU member states, on the other hand, are reined in by Germany, which has millions of Muslims living within its borders who have yet to be integrated into the German society. They also happen to be under Ankara’s control, and Germany is neither able nor willing to oppose this ever-present Turkish intimidation.
Moreover, Turkey continues to blackmail the EU into capitulating on this and numerous other issues by constantly threatening to allow the millions of migrants – refugees, displaced people and asylum-seekers from war-torn Syria, Iraq and others – residing within its own borders to spill into Europe, a scenario most EU states are reluctant to see happen.
Ankara’s ever-present threat to break away from NATO and shift to Russia’s orbit also remains a matter of anxiety for the West.
Then, of course, with Russia watching closely, they’re afraid of the fallout. While it is true that Nagorno-Karabakh today is generally considered part of Azerbaijan, historically it was Armenian territory, inhabited by Armenians, and it was only awarded to Azerbaijan during the Soviet era by Josef Stalin in a bid to appease Turkey. This is history and well known.
However, the current conflict brings to fore the recent situation in Crimea – and its majority Russian populace – which in 2014, despite Western objections, voted in a referendum to break away from Ukraine and has now been annexed by Russia in a move deemed illegal by the EU. Were Western states to now come in and defend the Armenian position, they fear it would be deemed as hypocrisy, and so they allow people to die in order to save face.
A mere observer would be appalled that the world would just sit back and watch while history repeats itself. As a descendent of Armenian Genocide survivors, I am outraged and disgusted.
Over a century ago, when my people were brutally massacred, when my great grandparents and their families were butchered by the Ottomans, the world did nothing. Since that time, we have been pleading, crying, begging for some form of justice, to no avail. And yet for more than a century Turkey has continued on with utter impunity – and no accountability – in the belief that changing its name and alphabet somehow absolves it of the murder of 1.5 million innocent people.
In the past year alone Turkey has provoked conflicts across the region that include Syria, Libya, Iraq, Greece and Cyprus, not to mention attacks on vessels in the Mediterranean. And now it spurs bloodshed in Nagorno-Karabakh while the world still does nothing. The result of all this is hundreds killed and many more injured alongside the destruction, blackouts, fear, confusion and disbelief. It’s as if I’m describing Lebanon.
Here in Beirut, we have unfortunately learned to endure such circumstances, in fact as recently as two months ago with the port explosion. But that in no way means Lebanon’s Armenians are any less outraged by such belligerence or global silence.
Every five minutes my mother and sisters hold up their smartphones, full of images from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to tell me with sorrow in their voices of the “young Armenian soldiers, barely 18 to 20, being killed by these animals and no one is doing anything.”
My friends and relatives around the world call to ask what is happening, while social media is filled with posts highlighting the ongoing aggression. In fact, every Armenian community around the world is calling its respective leaders to act. And although it is painfully clear that no one could have possibly missed what is happening, no one is lifting a finger.
Almost everyone I know is left wondering how such brutality can be allowed to proceed, and I always have the same answer: The just world you grew up believing in doesn’t exist. Countries and leaders only do what benefits them and this is just another example. In fact, except during political disruptions or protests, Armenia doesn’t even get any airtime except once a year, on April 24, in relation to Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.
This is the world we live in. Compassionate governments do not exist, no nation fights against injustice and the only time politicians take action is when they need to raise their own standings during elections. As for the myth about the fight against Islamic terrorism, that’s only a pretext to protect commercial, military and energy interests. All the other stuff like heroes, saviors and white knights only exist in movies.
I challenge the world to prove me wrong. I’d welcome it. Unfortunately, I highly doubt anyone will get off his couch before Moscow is drawn into this conflict, which it eventually will, if only to demonstrate who calls the shots in the region.