Quick Thought- Why has Germany apologized for its Genocide, but Turkey hasn’t?


Since the end of the Second World War and throughout history since, Germany’s government has apologized for the Holocaust to surviving Jews, to the State of Israel, and to the world community in general. Yet Turkey still refuses to recognize its genocide of the Armenians (or for that matter of the Greeks and Assyrians.) I note certain differences in the situations of the two states, which may offer some explanation:

-Germany has become an integral part of a community of states (the EU) where condemnation of genocide is a moral norm. Turkey is a part of no such community.

-Because of the development above, Germany has rewritten its national history to condemn the period in which the genocide took place as a national shame. Turkey views the period in which the genocide took place as a just revolution in its political system.

-The present German government views itself as entirely distinct from the Third Reich. The present Turkish Government views itself as the heir of the Ottomans.

-Germany has no serious geopolitical problems with Israel, and thus can afford to do it such a favor. Turkey has serious geopolitical problems with Armenia, Greece, and Syria, and cannot (or will not) afford to lose face in its rivalries with them.

-Individuals in Germany were able to overcome the hurdles there were to apology. Individuals in Turkey have not been able to overcome such hurdles.

None of this is to laud Germany for its behavior and contrarily condemn Turkey for its lack thereof; I am suspicious that Germany’s motives in apologizing were not purely humane, and I suspect that Turkey’s are not purely self-righteous. But I have outlined what I believe to be factors in the conditions of the two states which may explain their different courses of action.

If the opportunity presents itself, I may consider pursuing further research on this topic. It may be interesting, too, to expand it to other similarly notorious cases.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: