Deaths in Egypt Are Overshadowing This Other Big Event

Adly Mansour, Egypt’s interim president, tweeted on Saturday, “Egypt decided to sign onto the international document recognizing the Armenian Genocide.” Raymond Ibrahim, a prominent Middle East and Islam expert reported about this on his personal web page.

He tweeted in Arabic, “Our representatives at the UN will sign the international document that acknowledges the Armenian Genocide, which was committed by the Turkish military, leading to the deaths of one million.” 

Many Turkish human rights activists and intellectuals — including the writer and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk — recognize the Ottoman-Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915. But the government of Turkey continues to deny it; recognition of the Armenian genocide difficult for Ankara officials.

If Cairo accomplishes what Adly Mansour allegedly has tweeted about, Egypt will become the first country on the African continent and the second predominantly Muslim state, after Lebanon, to condemn the Armenian genocide. At this point, about 20 countries have adopted decisions labeling the organized massacres of the Armenian people as genocide, including Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada, Slovakia, and others. 

Ibrahim said that Cairo’s leaders were angry at Turkey for dooming the interim authorities for recent violations. On Monday, Ankara even moved further by criticizing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the group's Secretary-General for not taking an active stance against Egypt, The Associated Press reported. The Turkish citizenship of the OIC’s secretary general didn’t stop Ankara’s deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag from calling for his resignation. Irbahim qualifies the tweet as a response to Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent condemnation of Egypt. Erdogan even used the g-word, saying the Egyptian forces committed genocide against its own people. The two countries withdrew their Ambassadors respectively from Ankara and Cairo.

According to Levent Gumrukcu, the spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turkey’s diplomatic channels found no evidence that the above-mentioned tweet was authentic. On Monday, Egypt’s mission to the United Nations in New York City confirmed in telephone conversation that the Twitter account in reality didn’t belong to Mansour. Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's Foreign Minister, said, "As far as I know, Egypt did not sign anything in the UN over the past two days." He also described the Turkish stance toward Egypt as "unacceptable". According to the State Information Service in Cairo, "The decision to scrap the planned naval exercise with Turkey was made in protest at the unacceptable Turkish statements and a clear interference in Egypt's domestic affairs."

In social media, both Armenians and Turks extensively reacted to the latest news. Some Turkish users on timeturk.com claimed, "Mansour is Christian," similar to the Muslim Brotherhood’s statements regarding the Christian affiliation of the interim leader. Turkish users saw his religious profile as something, which shouldn’t make the recognition of the Armenian genocide in current day Cairo unexpected.

In Armenia, Gevorg Altunyan, the director of First Channel’s news service, referred to these developments on his Facebook page. “Although Cairo rejects the genocide recognition rumors at this point, the importance of possible acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide by a predominantly Muslim country shouldn’t certainly be underestimated. And it doesn't really matter what is the reason behind recognition,” he said. An Armenian scholar Gevorg Poghosyan appeared on the ArmNews TV channel, saying, "The Armenian genocide condemnation normally comes to the international agenda when some countries experience problems with Turkey.”

However, some users describe the scandalous tweet as an attempt to alarm Ankara about possible developments if Erdogan doesn’t revise his anti-Mansour attitude. Interestingly, the Egyptian press recently has published several articles on the Armenian genocide. Cairo’s Sata Balad newspaper reported Turkey’s interference with Egypt’s internal affairs is reminiscent of atrocities of the early 20th century. Essam Kamel, the editor-in-chief of Veto, an Egyptian independent daily, also reported on the same topic.

Summarizing the controversy around recognition of the Armenian genocide by Cairo’s interim leadership, Kamel said, “The Egyptian government has the right to hesitate in acknowledging the massacres of Armenians by the Turkish forces due to the high incitement of Asitana [today's Ankara] as this acknowledgement will have bad repercussions on the Egyptian-Turkish relations."