“What is a fanatic,” Churchill said, “one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” The massacres taking place in the Caucasus remind us of that fanaticism that is more than a century old: the Armenian genocide in 1915.
It is with this atrocious past that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist tyrant, renews his ties with this atrocious past by supporting the Azeris – with jihadist militia force – in the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region populated by 99% Armenians. Half of the population is displaced, fugitive and wandering. Like 105 years ago, it goes from one corner of hell to the next.
This figure of the wandering Armenian doomed to massacre was the theme of a visionary Austrian Jewish writer, Franz Werfel. In a premonitory book – “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” – published in 1933, the year Hitler came to power, Werfel reads through the Armenian genocide what awaited the Jews. He describes the epic story of a handful of villagers who flee the deportation by reaching the mountain: the “Musa Dagh”, this Mount Moses located in the north-west of Syria. The Ottoman Empire was collapsing. In the wake of this collapse and the stench of propaganda, the regime invented the fable of the inner enemy. It programmed the liquidation of an entire people. It was the first genocide of the 20th century: one and a half million dead. Shot, hanged, stabbed or dying of thirst and hunger in the desert in which they were forced to walk. “How did Franz Werfel know the mechanism and vocabulary of the Holocaust before the Holocaust?” asked Elie Wiesel when he discovered the book on his return from Auschwitz. In the 900 pages of this masterly account (paperback), we rediscover the immense loneliness of a people abandoned by all despite the formal protests of the usual protectors of the Armenians. Is this not the case today? In September 1915, however, the French navy finally landed at the foot of the Musa Dagh and evacuated the survivors. There are images of this rescue. One thinks, when watching them on the Internet, of the current European hypocrisy which does not dare to assert its defence of the Christians: the Armenians massacred in Nagorno-Karabakh like yesterday the Copts in Egypt, the “Nazarenes” of Mosul and other Iraqi lands of the calvary of the populations doomed to the knife of the jihadists. The same cutthroats who are resuming service in the Caucasus, enlisted by Erdogan. One of the heroes of Franz Werfel and Musa Dagh is shot by a Turkish bullet, clutching a cross over his heart. So, in 2020, one more cross on the Armenians?
Their torture once again prefigures what awaits us, as Werfel foresaw in 1933 for his time, if, as far as Erdogan is concerned, semi-reproachfulness, complete cowardice, and the absence of any real vision of danger persist. In spite of the accumulating evidence. Because finally, the dictator has embalmed all the journalists suspected of making the slightest criticism. Yet he still finds on the media scene some useful idiots to excuse his lightness!
In the Mediterranean, this warlike confrontation confronts a NATO member country, Greece, and multiplies threats and insults towards the president of another member country, France. His imprecations against Emmanuel Macron are indeed directly related to the vocabulary of an Islamist preacher. And yet Erdogan is still a member of NATO!
This Muslim Brother snatched from the Basilica of Saint Sophia the status of a museum which the Ataturk endowed in 1934 to appease the two souls, Christian and Muslim, who were founding a reconciled nation. The first prayer is chanted by the tyrant and his court, between the ancestral Christian mosaics that have been carefully covered so as not to offend the shady beliefs of the believers. Another church has just been transformed in its turn into a mosque and the complete agenda of future conversions of buildings is examined in the White Palace of Ankara, the neo-Stalinist residence of Erdogan.
This dangerous “Islam for all”, and of course for those who are not, also announced the intervention in the Caucasus. And yet we saw nothing coming! We were content to confess our useless desolation without daring to call by name and history the ideology that animates the liquidator of the Kurds, the massacre of the Armenians, the denier of the genocide, the godfather and financier of the jihadists.
Erdogan, a real internal danger for our democracies with the power of his lobbies, is the bridgehead of Islamo-fascism.
* Journalist and essayist, editor in chief at weekly magazine Marianne, specialist in Islamism and Middle-East affairs..