It’s considered de rigueur among the cognoscenti to apologize for America by noting its youth compared to other countries, especially when the cognoscenti go on tour. Barack Obama tried this apology on his European Tour, but unfortunately, he used it in a nation that doesn’t qualify:

“Compared to Turkey and how old this civilization is, America is still very new.”

Well, compared to the civilization, perhaps — but not compared to Turkey.  The nation of Turkey was created in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled southwest Asia and the present territory of Turkey for more than 600 years.  Turkey was founded in 1923 in the chaotic flux of the Middle Eastern settlements after the end of World War I, as the Ottoman Empire’s lands got carved into the nation-states that exist today in the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding territories.

Compared to the US, Turkey and the rest of the nations in that region are actually quite young, not the opposite.  In fact, that’s one of the reasons why Turkey rejects any responsibility for the Armenian genocide of 1915; besides denying that it took place at all, Turkey actually didn’t exist as a nation at that time.  One might think that President Obama would take a moment to understand all of these issues before getting involved in them — and might also confirm the actual dates when nations got created before making those assumptions.

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Tags: Barack Obama