Name children after Ottoman leaders to hit back at U.S., Turkish politician says

Responding to a U.S. motion that recognised the Armenian genocide this week, a spokesman for Turkey’s nationalist Good Party on Wednesday suggested naming every child in Turkey, including girls, after the Ottoman leaders held responsible for the mass killing of Armenians.

The non-binding resolution passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by 405 votes to 11 on Tuesday as resentment grew among U.S. lawmakers over Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria. 

“Those who try to turn our decision for mass deportation into genocide should know that we have been guarding our country with the same awareness,” said Yavuz Ağıralioğlu, the opposition Good Party’s spokesman, on Wednesday. 

“We will retaliate against it with our decision to name our children Enver, Cemal and Talat,” he said referring to three pashas of the Ottoman Empire who played a prominent role in the events of the 1915 as the leaders of the period’s ruling Committee of Union and Progress (CUP).

The Constantinople War Crimes Trial after World War I found high-ranking Enver and Talat guilty of organising the massacres of Armenians beginning that year.

Talat Pasha was assassinated in Berlin in 1921 by Soghomon Tehlirian, a survivor of the genocide and member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

“If this inappropriateness continues, everybody should know that we will name everyone, including our daughters, after Talat,” Ağıralioğlu said. 

Most scholars recognise that genocide was committed by the Ottoman Empire from 1915, with estimates saying between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were massacred starting that year. 

Turkey has lobbied governments and parliaments around the world asking them to refrain from recognising the events as genocide.