Mark, I agree with you: From a Turkish perspective of history, Europeans states have been seeking to divide Turkey up from the very start. A big chunk of Turkey was awarded to the French in the Sykes-Picot agreement. There is real fear among many in Turkey that this is a back door attempt to implement the Treaty of Sevres (broader map, albeit from a worse source, here). Add to this the fact that the world is silent on the massacres of Turks and their ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, and the Turks conclude that the world is singling them out.
While uncomfortable, among many prominent historians–Bernard Lewis, for example–there remains discussion about how centralized the massacres of Armenians were and how much guilt lies on the Young Turks, versus on Kurdish irregulars attacking the Armenian deportees. Turks who believe that the interpretation of the history is skewed won’t back down because of political pressure.
Moving to the modern day: European states lecture the Turks on human rights, but in Denmark, Roj TV broadcasts documentaries in Kurdish on how to kill Turkish soldiers, and the Danish government equivocates about whether this is incitement. Likewise, the EU remains silent on Latvia’s language test for citizenship, but cites inadequate Kurdish language rights in Turkey.
As if to justify Turkish fears that their giving anything, even symbolically on the issue would end the matter, immediately after the House Foreign Affairs Committee vote, I received this press notice.
For policymakers, though, it’s important to understand—but not necessarily agree with—the Turkish perspective of endless European enmity. It is not dissimilar to the Iranian sense that the West—and particularly Britain—is always plotting to disassemble their country. It is this sense of siege that rallies people around the flag and impact politics.