30 September 2014

3388) Mr Nalbandian Did Not Tell the Truth

by Maxime Gauin

The op-ed published in Le Figaro by E. Nalbandian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, and a longer version put on his Facebook page,[i] do not help at all the reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. On the contrary, it undermines this idea. By every aspect, this text is a repetition of classical, inaccurate assertions of anti-Turkish propaganda. Having answered the French version in French, I will now be answering the full version in English.

In Mr. Nalbandian’s op-ed, even the cliché of the “Ottoman night” is not spared to the reader:

“Like other empires, the Ottoman Empire was built upon and forcefully sustained through suppression of the basic rights and freedoms of many of its citizens.”

In fact, the Ottoman Empire was based on the millet system, which gave to the non-Muslims communities, especially the Greeks, the Armenians and the Jews, an autonomy that did not exist in Russia, for example. During the 19th century, the millet system was reformed, becoming more liberal and closer to a democracy. From 1839 to 1856, the Tanzimat (“reforms,” “reorganizations”) abolished the civil inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims.

On June 15, 1867, Prince M?g?d?rç Dadian, an Armenian aristocrat who lived outside the Ottoman Empire, published a long article (reprinted later as a booklet) in the Revue des deux mondes (Paris), praising the Ottoman reforms and describing the situation of the Ottoman Armenians as satisfactory. Even after Abdülhamit II (1876-1909) had suspended the Ottoman Constitution in 1878, he left untouched the Constitutions of the non-Muslims millets, their schools, their churches or synagogues. In a detailed study, the Armenian scholar Mesrob K. Krikorian concluded that, relative to the population, the Armenians were the most represented ethnic group in the local Ottoman administration of eastern Anatolia, from 1860s to 1900s.[ii]
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29 September 2014

3387) Book Review: Between Counterinsurgency and Genocide

Richard Outzen
September 18, 2014 · in Book Reviews
Edward J. Erickson, Ottomans and Armenians: A Study in Counterinsurgency (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

It is rare that a military historical study simultaneously informs professional debate and viscerally angers segments of the general audience, but Edward Erickson’s Ottomans and Armenians seems destined to do just that. The book provides valuable insights on the interrelationship of insurgency, counter-insurgency, atrocity, and conventional war.

Military officers and general readers will find in Erickson’s work a nuanced discussion of thedilemmas and shortcomings of counterinsurgency as a mode of warfare. They may also be surprised at the complexity of the situation faced by Ottoman armies in the east in 1915. This is a welcome contribution, given the still unsettled debate on counterinsurgency in the wake of drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan and the still contentious history surrounding the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The latter issue grants the book policy relevance beyond what one finds in most recent texts on counterinsurgency. This book can help stimulate and inform a higher level political debate that is certain to intensify over the coming year: whether the United States should formally recognize the killings of Armenians in eastern Anatolia during the First World War as genocide, in the centennial year of 1915.

Relatively little has been published in English specifically about the Ottoman eastern fronts. Past authors have either covered the charges of genocide without detailed treatment of military considerations (such as Hovannisian), or focused on conventional military operations with little on the deportations (such as Allen and Muratoff).

Erickson ignores neither Ottoman strategists nor the Armenian deportees; instead, he argues that the desperation of the former tragically led to the annihilation of the latter. He argues that the Ottoman political and military leadership did not initiate the brutal campaign of Armenian deportations in the Ottoman east in order to destroy a people, but did so in response to serious strategic threats to vulnerable lines of communication and to incitement of Armenian rebellion by the Entente powers. His conclusions are the result of his time studying Ottoman archival materials, providing a logical, evidence-based perspective about Ottoman motives and plans that have been viewed previously through polemical or conjectural
. . .

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28 September 2014

3386) Many Genocides of Raphael Lemkin

by Tal Buenos *, 11.09.2014

As Raphael Lemkin's studies on the concept of 'genocide' acutely reveal, political motivations often overshadow the integrity and impartiality of academic endeavors. This fact has recurred in many case studies including the Turkish- Armenian conflict . . .

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28 August 2014

3385) The Armenian / Eastern Legion (Légion Arménienne / Légion dOrient)

Alternative Title
The Armenian Legion

The Eastern / Armenian Legion (1916-1920). After negotiations in September and October 1916, between the paint Noumpar Pasha and the French authorities, the Eastern Legion (Légion d'Orient) was formally established in Cairo in November 1916 would be an auxiliary unit of the French Army, which consisted by Armenian volunteers from the Middle East, Europe and North America, whose purpose would be the release of Cilicia of the Ottoman Empire, with the aim of creating an independent Armenian state in the region. Several Armenian organizations pledged contributions to form battalions of the Legion. After negotiations with the British authorities decided that the training of volunteers will take place in Monarga in the Karpas peninsula, Cyprus. The camp was built in December 1916 by refugees from the Armenian Genocide and in January 1917 began the arrival of volunteers, which continued throughout the course of 1917 and 1918 The selection and training were quite strict. The camp consisted of the headquarters, barracks, various auxiliary facilities (including a Havouzas) and a small chapel. . . .

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