Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan has threatened to deport 100,000 illegal migrants from Armenia as part of the mounting Turkish anxiety over recent resolutions in the United States, the autonomous region of Catalonia (Spain) and Sweden which have labeled the Armenia Genocide as such.
Erdogan told the BBC's Turkish Service, as reported on March 17, that of 170,000 Armenians living in Turkey "70,000 are Turkish citizens." He added that "we are turning a blind eye to the remaining 100,000... Tomorrow, I may tell these 100,000 to go back to their country, if it becomes necessary."
As in many other countries, thousands of Armenians work illegally in Turkey, mostly doing low-skilled jobs.
Erdogan repeated the newly found Turkish line that the resolutions "harm the Armenian people as well... and things become deadlocked."
This is not the first time Turkish authorities have used illegal Armenians as a trump card in their efforts to bargain some kind of concession from the Armenian government, regarding both the Genocide and the Gharabagh issues. This cat-and-mouse playing has intensified since the signature of the Armenia-Turkey protocols in October 2009. Does anything have changed in Turkish policy vis-a-vis Armenia and Armenians? Please let us know.
The Eurasia Partnership Foundation has recently released a two-year study, according to which 94 per cent of the Armenian nationals working in Turkey are women. They work as childcare and homecare providers, as well as cleaners and saleswomen.
Erdogan, who in the past had made some dumbfounded commentaries such as "no Muslim can commit genocide," negating the genocide committed nowadays in Darfur by the Sudanese government (most likely, the killing of Kurds with chemicals in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1988 was planned and executed by Buddhists...), seems to have put again his foot in the mouth. The abovementioned study calculates that the number of Armenian citizens working illegally in Turkey hovers around 12,000.
We already know that dealing with numbers is not Turkey's forte. Last year, illegal Armenians were between 53,000 and 70,000, according to three different Turkish officials. Now they are 100,000. Two more speeches and they will become 150,000.
The country that methodically deported a million and a half Armenians for "security reasons" in 1915 and killed the remnants in the deserts of Syria considers itself with right to do it again almost a hundred years again. Of course, it is qualified, there cannot be any doubt about that...