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Turkey: A Permanent Threat to Armenia

By David Boyajian

If Turkey were to open its border with Armenia, and the two established diplomatic and trade relations, Turkey would still be a threat to Armenia. 

Turkey would be a threat even if it were to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, pay reparations, and return stolen Armenian property. And the threat to Armenia would remain even if it someday regains its homeland which now lies in eastern Turkey.

Why? Because Turkey’s belligerent policies towards Armenians, its pan-Turkic goals in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and its neo-Ottoman ambitions pose essentially the same dangers today as at the time of the genocide. And they show no sign of ever changing.

Aside from a general awareness of the genocide and present-day Turkish hostility, however, many Armenians and others are unfamiliar with key details of past and present Turkish policies. Consequently, they underestimate the dangers that Armenia faces.

Even the commonly held view that “in 1915 the Young Turk regime committed genocide against Armenians in Turkey” is dangerously misleading.

The genocide actually lasted through 1923, five years after Turkey’s defeat in WWI. Two regimes conducted the genocide: Ottoman Young Turk and Kemalist. The latter, of course, founded today’s allegedly “modern” Turkey. And the genocide took place not only in “Turkey” but also, ominously, on what was and is today the territory of the Republic of Armenia.

Endless Genocide

Turkifying and Islamizing the remnants of its empire was a key reason that Turkey destroyed its indigenous Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians during WWI (1914-18). But Armenians and Armenian soil also lay just across the border, in the Caucasus region of the Russian empire, directly in the path of Turkey’s genocidal pan-Turkic jihad. Turkey committed genocide against those Armenians too, and ripped large chunks of territory from the new Armenian Republic, which had just been reborn from Russian Armenia.  

Azeris -- Turkey’s blood brothers then and now -- also conducted large-scale massacres of Armenians in the Caucasus in WWI and through 1920.

After Turkey’s defeat in 1918, Turkish forces under Kemal (known later as Atatürk) continued the genocide in the Armenian Republic through 1920 and in Turkey through 1923.

Like Turkish leaders today who lie and deceive, Kemal publicly professed peaceful intentions toward Armenia. Secretly, however, he told his commanders that it is “of the utmost necessity that Armenia be both politically and physically eliminated.” Kemal, too, lopped off chunks of Armenia. Though it resisted heroically, only a Soviet takeover in December of 1920 saved Armenia from annihilation. 

These facts are relevant to the perils that Armenia faces today because of Turkey’s pan-Turkic and neo-Ottoman foreign policies.


Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkey has established ongoing relationships with Azerbaijan and Central Asia’s new “Turkic-speaking” countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkey has invested billions of dollars and established Turkish schools and universities in these countries. Turkey’s President Gül declared that “Kyrgyzstan is our ancestral homeland” while visiting that country’s International Atatürk-Alatoo University.

Turkey hosts major gas and oil pipelines originating in Baku, coproduces weapons with Azerbaijan, and trains Azeri troops. In Turkic solidarity with Azerbaijan, Turkey has injected itself into the Artsakh/Karabagh conflict by closing its border with Armenia for two decades. The Turkish-Azeri axis -- termed "one nation, two states” -- harks back to its assault on Armenia during the genocide. One hundred years has changed nothing. Turkey remains enamored of Turkic blood bonds.   

In the former Armenian province of Nakhichevan -- now part of Azerbaijan and emptied of its Armenians -- Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan recently signed a treaty creating the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States.

Let’s be clear. Only Soviet control of the Caucasus and Central Asia from the 1920’s to 1991, and Russian and Chinese dominance since then, have thwarted Turkey’s pan-Turkic goals.  

For several decades, of course, Russia and China have possessed nuclear weapons. Turkey has not. Imagine what an arrogant, genocidal Turkey would have perpetrated by now had it possessed nuclear weapons. Turkey could still, unfortunately, acquire nuclear weapons or other WMDs.

Turkey’s dangerous imperial goals today also include “neo-Ottomanism.”


Turkey regards itself as the leader of not only its former colonies in the Middle East and Balkans but also the entire Muslim world. Turkey is investing heavily in those regions.  

Its Education Ministry recently released multi-media material that shows Armenia, Cyprus, and parts of Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, and Syria as being part of Turkey. Turkey claimed it was just a mistake.

“You are the grandchildren of the Ottomans. It will be the Ottomans who will make the world tremble again. If the Ottomans do not come back, the unbelievers will never be brought down to their knees.” A Turkish clergyman thundered those words to a frenzied Turkish rally in Belgium two decades ago. 

In attendance were his admirers: Necmettin Erbakan, soon to be Turkey’s Prime Minister and the latter’s protégés, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s current Prime Minister and President.

Far from renouncing its bloody Ottoman past, such examples illustrate that Turkey embraces and wants to recreate it. Consequently, its threats against Armenia must never be taken lightly.

Turkish Threats

During the Artsakh/Karabagh war, Turkish President Turgut Özal repeatedly threatened Armenia.  Armenians, he warned, “had not learned the lessons” of WWI -- that is, the genocide.

According to Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, former Greek ambassador to Armenia, U.S. and French intelligence sources confirm that Turkey was poised to invade Armenia in 1993. Ruslan Khasbulatov, a Chechen who was Speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet and an opponent of Russian President Yeltsin, had secretly given Turkey the go-ahead to invade Armenia if he toppled Yelstin. Fortunately, Yelstin survived the challenge.

If not for the Armenian-Russian alliance of these past two decades, Turkey and Azerbaijan would have jointly attacked Armenia, with catastrophic consequences.

Despite Turkey’s hostile record, some Armenians have fallen victim to the constant drumbeat of propaganda that Turkey is “reforming.”

Turkish non-Reforms

Some even believe that acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide would be tantamount to Turkey’s having “reformed.” That’s absurd and a serious mistake. 

An acknowledgment, which would almost certainly be incomplete, insincere, or reversible, could psychologically disarm Armenians into letting down their guard. By not owning up to the genocide, therefore, Turkey may unwittingly be doing Armenians a favor.

Turkey’s actual record is one of repression, followed by mass violence, interspersed with so-called “reforms.”

In the 19th century, large-scale massacres of Armenians, particularly those of the 1890s, followed Ottoman “reforms” such as the Tanzimat (anti-discrimination decrees). The Young Turk “reform” revolution of 1908 -- cheered in the beginning by Armenians, Greeks, and other national groups -- was followed by the 1909 Adana massacres, the 1915-23 extermination, and genocidal attacks on Russian Armenia and the Republic of Armenia.

Then along came the new “reformed, modern” Turkey of 1923. It confiscated Armenian property, destroyed Armenian churches, and Turkified Armenian city and village names. In 1943, Turkey unleashed its malicious Capital Tax program against Armenians, Greeks, and Jews. 

Later came the devastating Istanbul riots of 1955. Did we mention Turkey’s massacre of Greek Cypriot civilians and ongoing occupation of northern Cyprus? The death squads and torture chambers? The repression, deportation, and massacre of Kurds and other minorities, and the jailing of dissidents and journalists?

All the while, we are told that Turkey is “reforming.”

Turkish Syndrome

In addition to Turkey’s policies, its political leaders pose a danger because of what one may term Turkish Political Personality Syndrome.

This syndrome is on full display today in “modern” Turkey’s constant threats, chest-beating, belligerence, malignant narcissism, hypocrisy, extortion, despotism, cruelty, crudeness, lies, broken pledges, and, of course, the use of violence. One cannot think of even one positive Turkish political quality. 

The countless victims of Turkish violence down through the centuries are proof of Turkish leaders’ disordered state of mind.

There is little indication that either Turkey’s policies toward Armenians or their leaders’ disorder will ever change. Indeed, they may grow more threatening. 

Yet, Armenians still hope that Turkey will change. How to make them aware that the Turkish threat is here to stay? Education.


Young people will, of course, become the adults who conduct the political, economic, cultural, and military affairs of Armenia. They must be equipped intellectually and psychologically to deal with Turkey.

From a young age, Armenian students must study -- but not in Turkish schools -- Turkish history, geo-politics, and language, and their application to present-day Armenian-Turkish relations.

The Turkish political personality and its violent and deceitful tendencies must be dissected and understood.

This is not easy, for two reasons. First, Armenians are bombarded by pro-Turkish and “reconciliation” propaganda from around the world and even by some Armenians. Second, we Armenians are unlike Turks and often have difficulty understanding their political culture.

Ultimately, future generations of Armenians will have to choose whom to believe. Will it be the allegedly “reformed, modern” Turkey? The international media that kowtows to Turkey? Countries that historically have betrayed Armenia?

Or will Armenians learn from the past and the hard-earned wisdom of their forebears?

Their decision may determine whether Armenia lives or dies.

# # #

David Boyajian is a freelance journalist. Many of his articles are archived on Armeniapedia.org.

Comments (17)

hahahah did you see the map, the European part of Turkey has shown like Bulgaria? Get a life man, you look so weird. Cheers
It’s quite understandable the reason of your prejudice and fear regarding the historical happenings occurred between Turkish administrations and Armenian people. But in order to eliminate these historical conflicts on academic and scientific basis, you just provoke them. Armenia has never had an important geographical nor political importance to Turkey. It’s just a neighboring country which has always been poor and survived thanks to Russia. Only real deal of Armenian-Turkish relation would be the critiques of terrible happenings back in 19th and 20th century for Turkish nation to face with their own history and move on. Other than that We have nothing to do with Armenia. Basically nobody cares.
Greece backs their Armenians brothers all the way. You will never be alone and we’ll always be here, whether the Turks like it or not. If the Turks don’t like it, let them get away from their screens and face us personally, if they have the balls
Turkish Guy
Lol you Armenians are so racist.... seriously guys relax no one is going to war. You guys have the Russians to do your fighting for you.
Thank you Mr. Boyadjian for this excellent essay. You are right to say that we have to educate ourselves if we want to survive as a nation. Armenian genocide is still continuing. Just look at the Istanbul Armenian community which is a fraction of what it was 40-50 years ago. With deliberate anti Armenian policies, stealing Armenian properties (varlik vergisi, vakiflar), with racist Turkish agenda (terrorizing the christian population- 6/7 September) and propaganda (ne mutlu Turkum diyene, kahraman Turk milleti- why invading other people's land is to be kahraman millet, you have to ask that to their drunken idol Kemal), they were able to drive out most of the remaining Armenian population from Istanbul which I was a part of. We can also learn from the struggle of the heroic people of Artsakh, and support them with anyway we can. Every Armenian should visit Nagorno Karabakh Republic and show our solidarity to Karabakhtsis.
Another valid, sobering article by Boyajian. Hetq's Turkish readers will do well to consult the sources cited in this piece.
A true and factual article yet again by this excellent writer. People who are naive should learn and open their eyes about Turkeys true intentions for the Arabs,Greeks,ArmenianS,and the rest.
The Turks who posted negative comments here seem to be proving the article' point that they are hostile and dangerous. I do not see any hate in the article. Throwing the word hate around is a Turkish trick so they don't have to face up to facts. Seems to me that Boyajian has spelled out the facts about how dangerous Turkey is. He is not talking about making war on Turks. He is saying that Armenia must have a strong defense and not be fooled by the Turks. I agree.
Turks you can talk whatever you want but there is one thing I should tell you, your golden age will finish soon , because you have made a lot of enemies and someday turkey will be taken like a slice of pizza .
Bob Bently
Hahahahahahahahahaha. What a crack up!!! I haven't laughed that much in ages. Your obsession with the Turks is ridiculous.
Jake In LA
It's this type of thinking that has continues to spread wars and destruction throughout the world. Hate and war mongering is not fruitful, you can point one finger out, but three will point back at you.....
A great, succinct, and to the point account of facts. As we all know, you learn from your past. If you forget the facts of the past, you're doomed to getting in the same pit. This is what Armenia needs to go by today -remembering the events of the past - to avoid it happening in the future. As of today, neither Turkey, nor Azbejan have proven this to be wrong; such comments as Bob's and Turk's and even worse spread all over the internet are only proof to the validity of this article's points. Great job, David!
Nebula Retina
You can hate us all you want, but I need you to ask yourself a simple question what if one day we the turks hate you back, all the way from Kosova to western China then what??? The most around the turkic nations are unaware of this hatred towards them, we were not told to hate you or educated to hate you in anyway, most turks only become aware of armenian hatred after we leave Turkey for western countries, but I promise you with this kind of behavior it wont be too long before we hate you back, cheers!
Joe Ard
if reality is painful to both of you ,you must be turks. Yes bob and turkish.
When you utter the word Turk the whole world knows what it means:a genocidal killer.This will continue on being the true meaning until the day when a Turkish president pays his respects at the Genocide memorial in Yerevan.Fascist nationalist Turks can cry our loud to no avail.The day will come & mark my words.
Armenians need to focus their time and energy into developing what we have. That is -today's Armenia, build a real democracy, with the rule of law, and a level playing field for all to succeed or fail as their talents and industry permit. Build a country that people will want to reside versus flee. The level of hatred reflected in this piece is a cancer. It is a rot that will consume those who possess it and refuse to let it go.
Wow! David, you made my week. To see how Turkey had driven you to lunacy by simply existing is very satisfying. I don't know you but I can confidently assume that you are one sad and frustrated soul. May hatred and anger never leave Armenians like you and may you never find peace. Cheers.

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