During the coming weeks, our Thanksgiving turkey should not be the only kind of turkey on our minds. Last week, President Donald J. Trump welcomed the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, to the White House to discuss our military strategy in Syria. During the meeting, our president failed to advise against the genocide of our Kurdish allies. Trump allowed himself and his allies believe that the Armenian genocide, once perpetrated by the Turks, never really happened.
The Oval Office has not been immune to visits from so-called allies that fail to stand for the U.S.'s values of freedom. I believe the most recent visit from President Erdogan's represents that fault.
President Erdogan has been accused of authoritarianism and anti-Semitism during his time in office, but he can now add "war criminal" to that list. When President Trump made the decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and allow Turkey to assert their dominance in the region, it came at a cost to our Kurdish allies.
The Kurds, an ethnic group scattered throughout several Middle Eastern nations, have been loyal to the U.S. and our allies. They have provided invaluable military aid to combat the presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in northern Syria. They have also helped in exterminating the threat that ISIS poses to the Western World. Despite this, Turkey has routinely viewed our Kurdish friends as terrorists and has openly encouraged the genocide of the Kurds.
The U.S. has abandoned our allies who face certain genocide from a country driven by a leader. This leader was referred to as a "war criminal" by a former United Nations investigator, as reported by Susan Edelman from the New York Post. Dorian Jones from Voice of America reported that this same leader referred to the U.S. and our allies as supporters of terrorism.
Granted, the Kurds also benefited from fighting against ISIS since the terrorists did not abstain from attacking the Kurds. However, they still risked their lives to avenge American citizens who were victims of ISIS terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, New York City and other American cities. The Kurds gave their lives alongside American and American-allied forces in an effort to prevent future attacks such as those in American cities. Our forgetfulness of that does not bode well for our reputation as reliable and trustworthy defenders of freedom across the globe.
Turkey's reputation of genocide is not limited to the Kurds. Between 1914 and 1923, Turkey's predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, committed genocide against more than one million Armenian citizens. Turkey argues that a genocide did not occur, but many nations, including nearly all of our major allies, refute that claim. After the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 296 in a bipartisan act, the U.S. was set to echo the sentiments of other nations. Trump supporter and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham blocked the resolution from being fully adopted. Senator Graham made the decision to block the resolution after meeting with President Erdogan.
Tom Embury-Dennis of The Independent reported Graham did not want senators to "sugar coat history or try to rewrite it." I cannot believe how this resolution attempted to do anything except recognize a historical atrocity. The full text of the resolution can be read here.
Vice President of the U.S. Mike Pence has denied any responsibility or support for sanctioning Turkey as a result of its genocidal actions towards our Kurdish allies. This sentiment is also supported by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This results in the U.S. staying silent on Turkey's continued genocide of our Kurdish allies and remaining silent on Turkey's genocide of Armenians.
President Trump and his administration have unequivocally failed to represent American values when it comes to our relationship with Turkey. As Americans, we should all feel ashamed of President Trump's actions as our chief representative to the world stage. This situation seems to be part of a running theme in the Trump administration. Not only has he failed to condemn Turkey, but, just last month, President Trump has also denied support for Hong Kong protesters fighting against authoritarian control in their country. From President Trump's perspective, President Erdogan's visit to the U.S. could hardly have been more fruitful. However, from the perspective of an American citizen against the genocide of any people, President Erdogan's visit could hardly have been more disastrous to our world image.
I am aware the U.S. has sided with unfavorable allies in the past. Take the Soviet Union during World War II for example. That does not mean we cannot strive to do better and take a stance against the past repeating itself. I am ready to make that shift. What about you?