Turkey and the G-word

Turkey and the G-word

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems pretty quick to throw the g-word at China, considering his own country’s historical sensitivities:

“The incidents in China are, simply put, a genocide. There’s no point in interpreting this otherwise,” Erdogan said.

It’s not exactly that simple. There’s a case to be made that China’s suppression of the Uighurs combined with it’s efforts to build the Han population in Xinjiang constitute genocide under the 1948 convention, which includes “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” as part of the definition. But this is a pretty broad interpretation, especially considering that the local Han population has been suffering attacks as well. 

It’s also surprising to see a Turkish president so willing to use the word genocide this freely. Turkey has charged quite a few people over the years — including the country’s most famous author — with insulting Turkishness for saying similar things about the massacre of Armenians after World War I or the killing of Kurds in more recent years. Erdogan himself has attacked proposals that Turkey apologize for historical wrongdoings.

Is this really a conversation he wants to start?

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images