Yesterday Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet after it allegedly entered Turkish airspace.
One of the pilots was killed by the supposed "good Syrian rebels," who are seen on video shouting "Allah Akhbar" over the pilot’s dead corpse.
Turkey immediately held an emergency NATO session in response, one that include Canadian dignitaries. Since the Paris attack occurred just two weeks ago, such a meeting must be a pretty awkward for Turkey and other Western leaders to have.
Imagine Turkey telling the leaders of France or Belgium -- countries whose capitals are practically under martial law due to recent Muslim terrorist attacks -- that Turkey was justified in shooting down a Russian plane that was trying to kill Muslim terrorists.
Turkey is constantly labeled a moderate, tolerant Muslim nation that serves as an example that democracy and Islam can co-exist.
My experience in Armenia taught me otherwise.
Armenia is well acquainted with fundamental Islam. Its people were its first victims in the 20th century, during the infamous Armenian genocide.
Armenians once comprised the majority population in what is now Eastern Turkey. By the end of the genocide, Armenia was less than one quarter of its original size, and three quarters of its people had been slaughtered in the name of Islam.
Previously, Armenians had lived peacefully beside their fellow Muslim subjects. Despite living under Islamic law -- being forced to pay the jizya tax on infidels, and being forbidden to own a home that was taller than a Muslim’s -- Armenians prospered and became an integral part of the Ottoman Empire.
Even some of the Ottoman Empire’s prime ministers and high government dignitaries were Armenian.
However, as the Ottoman Empire began to decline by the end of the 19th century, Islamic violence increased. Caliph Abdul Hamid II ordered the slaughter of Armenian men, women and children in what became known as the Hamidian massacre.
He also gave Turks, Kurds and all Muslims subjects the right to confiscate Armenian property and kill all Armenians after an attempted revolt. By 1896, this persecution had claimed 300,000 casualties, and the Caliph had earned the nickname the Red Sultan. The Caliph's successors, the Young Turks, a group of political reformers, continued this onslaught and killed 1.5 million Armenians beginning in 1915.
These events were so notorious that even Adolf Hitler referenced this incident the night before Germany invaded Poland:
I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
Today, Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire -- a country deemed religiously moderate and a crucial NATO ally -- still denies that any such a genocide ever took place.
Armenian churches dating back to the 3rd century have been converted into mosques and museums. In 2007, when journalist Hrant Dink tried to raise this issue, he was killed by an assassin who ran off screaming, “I have killed the infidel.”
Present day Armenia is blockaded by Turkey, and its airspace is continually violated by Turkish fighter jets and helicopters.
Turkey tried and failed to prevent Canada from officially recognizing the Armenian genocide in 2004. However, these efforts have been more successful in the United States, where it threatens to sever security ties if the United States recognizes the atrocity.
When I lived in Armenia, I had the privilege of going past one of the security checkpoints, and seeing, on the Turkish side of the border, crumbling Armenian churches and buildings from the ancient city of Ani. This is what remains of a people that Turkey denies ever once resided there.
During yesterday's NATO summit took place, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, "We have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey."
Turkey has been caught repeatedly aiding and funding ISIS. Former ISIS fighters, diplomats and even former US counterterrorism analysts have confirmed this. For all these reasons, Canada and the West should re-think Turkey's membership in NATO.
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