04 March 2006

520) 1982 Genocide Debate: Libaridian vs. Kevenk

A historian first discovers what actually happened, then tries to explain the reasons. An ideologue forgets the process of discovery. He assumes that what he believes is correct, then constructs a theory to explain it.

Prof. Justin McCarthy, speech, Mar. 24, 2005


This debate appears to have taken place after the showing of a genocide film, and has been transcribed by "United Turkish Americans" (never heard of them); there were a few typographical errors. Regardless, as Dr. Kevenk mentioned, this type of debate was rare (and is perhaps more rare today, a quarter-century later), and he even speculated this one might have been the first of its kind. Note how Prof. Libaridian, the one-time head of the Zoryan Institute and today a "history" professor at the Armenian-friendly University of Michigan, mainly approaches the topic from the standpoint of emotionalism, and Dr. Kevenk simply and factually blew him away. Libaridian appears to have had the final word back then (a real debate would have had more back and forth), but he's not going to retain that privilege here; his rebuttal will be examined.

Kerim Kevenk is a medical doctor, and an Internet search indicates he has been largely inactive in this matter over the previous near-quarter-century. Since it was (and still is) difficult to find spokespersons from the anti-genocide camp, he is to be commended for not only having taken the trouble to research and speak, but in doing such a fantastic job.

Gerard Libaridian is the one who inspired the term, the "Armenian AND? Anthem"; the practice of saying anything and everything, regardless of real facts, as long as this precious genocide is affirmed.



WAS THERE AN ARMENIAN GENOCIDE?

A DEBATE by
Dr. Kerim C. Kevenk and Prof. Gerard Libaridian

Sponsored by University of Pittsburgh at Jonstown Social Sciences Division October 21, 1982

Additional copies of this manuscript are available from: United Turkish Americans (UTA) P.O. Box 14899 Chicago, IL 60614 At $1.50 each. Please send check or Money order payable to U.T.A.

NOTE: While extreme care was taken to transcribe the tapes as carefully as possible, unfortunately there are some missing portions due to various reasons such as cassette tape changeovers and/or unintelligible words or pronunciations. These portions are left blank in the transcriptions rather than fill them with educated guesses.

LIBARIDIAN


What is an important issue to any group of people, certainly is an issue that is of importance to everyone. For Armenians, now about 6,000,000 in the world, it is a very large issue. It is not so very far back in history in fact. My own father was born in Tarsus in CiIicia sector, my grandfathers were born there and, of course, those were the ones who survived the genocide for a number of reasons and. therefore, as individuals, and this is after all what makes history, the genocide is very much alive and very much apparent.


Dr. Libaridian, closer to 1982
There are a number of major issues unresolved regarding this genocide or partly resolved. One would have to admit that there is no extensive literature on it, that there are different studies of the genocide, although there is a large number of books and pamphlets written on it. The original sources are tremendous; a lot of them. European western embassies and foreign offices have these documents. There is a question of numbers involved. Turkish sources say there were 1.2 million Armenians before the war and of these, only 200,000 died. Armenian sources as you saw in the film place the total population about the 2,000,000 mark which would place those massacred about a million.




Prof. Libaridian, in a more current pose
Then there is a question of motivation — what motivated the event? There are many ethical reasons involved — economic reasons, religious reasons, political reasons — and this span of motivations has not been clearly credited. Even on the Armenian side, one must admit, perhaps for the simple reason that Armenians thought that a criminal element had to have a signed statement in order to prove a genocide, it was taken for granted that if this Armenian population and its distribution this collective memory was the best proof of it as far as they were concerned. There was no reason for hundreds and thousands of grandfathers to lie about their past and give these stories to foreign researchers that coincide from on the basis of which you can place people at any given month in 1915-16-17 in caravans, death marches. So, all of these are assumed to be research.

The Turkish archives are not open and whatever archives exist in Armenian hands will have not much on the period following the genocide because those who knew how to read and write were mostly massacred and deported and people with Ph.D.s were relocated in foreign countries with foreign languages, trying to make a living. I myself have been the director of the Armenian Archives in Boston since last year and have looked through about a half a million documents. We have almost complete documentation on the 1894-96 massacres that claimed about 200,000 lives (some say 300,000). We have that documentation because it wasn’t a total genocide. People survived, teachers, priests, and wrote reports, named names, who did what, when, who was killed, how many goats were taken away, everything that was done. Hundreds of documents were written and are stub there, but after the genocide when the whole population moved ant and the leadership is destroyed, people are not concerned about putting in writing something they lived. The trauma was some great.

But, beyond what is historically questionable, whether it was a million or two million, there are some things that are not negotiable. There are some things which cannot be subject to judgment and two-sided analysis. The fact of the genocide itself, that there was a premeditated plan and pretty well executed effort to rid Turkey of its Armenian element is not negotiable. It is not subject to political bickering. Even if the number 1.2 million is set as a French historian pointed out recently as the total number of Armenians and the number of those massacred is placed at 200,000, which many sources admit to readily, that one-fifth of a total population and in Turkey today that would be the equivalent of 10,000,000 Turks. A genocide is not a question of numbers, it is the quality of the act that is committed. That is, a government, a force, decides to get rid of an element because of its race or ethnic origin or religion and does it, the intent is what counts.

As human beings, it is the moral question that is placed first and foremost. The genocide in 1915 did not have much to do with what Armenians ultimately said or did. Armenians were not associated with economic and political reform in the 1880s or 1890s. in fact, they supported the Turkish revolution of 1908 that brought to power the Union of Committee and Progress. The Armenian parties that had guerrilla warfare against the government laid down their arms and became part of the par and worked with the actors. There was no armed Armenian population in 1914. There was though a decision, a resolution by the Ittihat & Terakki in 1909, the Congress of Young Turks of Ottoman politics in 1919. In 1909 in Salonika where they decided the purification of Turkey must take place at some point or another, except the time was not opportune for force and violence to be used for that purpose.

The basic problem was that under extreme pressure from European imperialism there was an Ottoman Empire that was at the throes of despair. There was a question of survival. And for the Turkish people and for the Turkish government, there was a very legitimate concern — how was it going to survive? Ultimately, having flirted with the ideas of pan-Islamism and pan-Turkism, the leadership came to the conclusion that Turkey will survive only if it is a nation state. A nation state which does not have al these little groups in it. The Turkey that must be enacted must be free of any minorities and this was the reason why at one point the plan of getting rid of the true violence of the Armenian element was to effect. And it worked. it worked because there are no Armenians left. This transformation — of the Empire into a nation state is at the root cause of the genocide. The Turkish government at the time could have decided to stay out of the First World War as it did wisely so in the Second World War. But during the First World War the Turkish Junta decided to get into the war and use the excuse, use the occasion to do what it could not reasonably do before. The question that often arguments are raised that Armenians are revolted, imagine that Arabs too revolted against Ottoman rule. During the war, they cooperated with the British. They were not massacred. Their leaders were hanged. As a state, perhaps you have to hang leaders. That wasn’t what was done to the Armenians for whatever mischief they might have concocted at the time.

It was decided that having lost the eastern European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Anatolia which was the historic homeland of the Armenians and where most of the Armenians lived as presence 80 percent of them, that Anatolia would become the heartland and gradually more focused Turkish nationalism came to rest an a homeland that was also the Armenian homeland. But for the Turkish nation in e modern sense to be born, it had to be pure. It had to be clear of the Armenian element. They left the Kurds there of course to do the jab an later. The effect of the genocide was in addition of course to the murder of over a million of the Armenians and deportation of the rest, a break in the chain of the Armenian history as a nation as was pointed out in the documentary. Armenian history was broken and Armenian identity as a people as a nation is threatened new with extinction in countries outside of their homeland.

This problem of genocide has created problems for Armenians how to deal with the past, with the sudden break with the past; it has also created problems for the Turkish government, of course historians and certainly for the people. I must point out that it is not all Turks that have refused to consider genocide, many Turks have done so. Many British historians, at least in privacy or implied in their writings, have recognized the fact of the genocide. More of them think so, but cannot express themselves particularly new when they are so scared of the Turkish Junta because any word is treason similar to the Kurdish identity when any Turk recognized as being Kurd has committed treason at the present time. There have been historians who have recognized the fact of a genocide and tried to deal with it. They have to explain changes in agricultural development in Anatolia, which they couldn’t explain without the genocide.

Reporters new who live in Europe who have witnessed the brutality of the Turkish government at the present time come to realize that yes it is possible that such brutalities could have taken place in the past. We have in 1919 after defeat of the Turkish army, in Turkey, trials where some of the responsible people for the genocide were brought to trial, but of course most of them were outside the country. There were some trials under the sponsorship of the British that were more or less suspended for all those responsible for the genocide. The overwhelming Turkish position has been one of silently condoning the genocide.

It is very unfortunate for the Turkish consciousness and for Turkish history and for the Turkish people that successive governments have taken the constant position of condoning the genocide and denying the historical fact. They are not held responsible for anything themselves. It is unfortunate that Turkish diplomatic representatives in France, in the United States and other countries have used their offices to pressure these governments to allow local Armenians to erect monuments like you saw in the movie. The Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s spoke very hard to deny American Armenians the right to erect the monument to the memory of their victims. The same thing happened in France, in southern France, where the French government said we know this to be a fact, the Turkish government pulled her ambassador out of France.

It is, I recognize, an extremely critical issue for the Turkish consciousness. That is, the genocide as is, the purification, so to speak, of the Turkish population, is basically the moral foundation of the republic of Turkey that stands today. Without it the Turkish republic would have to have a slightly different face. You have to recognize the presence and the legality of the minorities in the country. It would have been impossible to have a Turkish national revolution when you have a million Armenians living on historical lands with a strong national sense of history and culture. And, also in particular with religion. But we must realize that what we are discussing here is not a historical event. I could bring a thousand documents, a thousand books, and explain to you, read to you, all the descriptions of mass murders, burnings, and everything that is so tragic in a genocide you can imagine. I could bring the testimony of ambassadors and consuls who witnessed this and wrote it down. But one must realize if we are to get to the heart of the problem, that this is not the historical issue that we’re debating.

Not all of us are historians and not all of us can devote a lifetime to the study of a problem. It is not also good enough to say, you say this and I say this, this is not a flip of the coin. Historical facts are not made by balancing views. Historical facts are there however tragic and traumatic they can be, however or how much guilt they can inspire in us. We are dealing with a political issue. We are dealing with a cultural/psychological issue. I have dealt with enough Turkish students and some intellectuals and historians to know that and studied Turkish and studied the textbooks to know that the Turkish government, the Turkish minister of education, does not teach the fact of genocide in its history books. We know this is normal; its so difficult in Germany to study the holocaust. We know the Japanese minister of education has tried to change the scope and whole issue of atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers against the Chinese and the Chinese objected to it. They say, you guys did it, it had to be in your textbooks. But the Turkish government has not done so. The Turkish people today grow up not knowing the past, their history, and it is extremely difficult to accept it now when so much has been taught to the contrary of historical facts.

I recognize also the position of the Turkish government is extremely legitimate perhaps for a political position. The Turkish government cannot and will not want to accept the historical fart because if it did SO would place moral and other responsibilities on the Turkish government and it does not want that. That is very understandable. But all of this cannot be translated into a position where history itself is changed. The world might say to the Armenians, you guys don’t deserve a land. The world might say to the Armenians you deserve to die. It can say anything and everything and it has said so so far. But it cannot say you did not die. It cannot say that a million of you did not die.

How is this said? It is said by playing the numbers game, by lowering the number of Armenians; it is said by saying the Armenians were revolting, it is said they weren’t good people. The dehumanization of man which took place before the holocaust regarding the Jews, took place before the genocide of the Armenians before 1915. There is in the eyes of society at large, a general description of Armenians as non-human beings so that the murder can be easily done. It is being done now by saying you guys were not so good anyway. But, we not talking about the leadership, we’re not talking about the murder and hanging of revolutionaries. We’re talking about the whole people. I don’t want to get into gruesome details. It’s too exhausting for me and it might even take away from the argument. The point is that there is a political bias built into the position where it becomes impossible for Turkish government and Turkish intellectuals to decide to accept the historical facts.

We hear and we read a lot of material that’s related to this genocide where the numbers are distorted but also it is said that Armenians also killed Turks and that there was war. The Middle East region does have a wild history as most continents do at one point in their history. And there have been incidents certainly in Armenian history where Armenians have killed Turks. But this process of tribulization, of equating everything and anything one wants, is not a historical process and it’s certainly not right morally. The murder of ten people is not the same as the murder of a thousand people. When someone is upset and kills his brother, it is not the same thing as someone else who has a machine gun and plans a whole massacre of 12 people in a shop. It is not the same. We are not talking about revenge, we are not talking about one group being upset with another. We are not talking about a rational process where people are armed and are fighting each other and killing each other.

In 1915, the Turkish government drafted all the Armenian young men, 200,000 of them, and because the Armenians were with the government, although they advised the Turkish people against entering the war, the Armenian political parties and the church advised its young men to get into the army and fight with the Ottoman Empire. 150,000 young men were murdered systematically one by one after they dug the ditches. Intellectuals and priests and editors and teachers were called into police stations systematical and sent out to their death in other cities by the thousands. And then what was left was the women and the children and the old folks. These were the people who were ordered to march. These were the people who were ostensibly the fifth column. It is somewhat revolting that at this point Armenians anywhere in the world have to get up and fight not for justice, not for their right to have justice for the world and for themselves, not for the redress of grievances or the boss of the fatherland and the right to live in one’s land, but to merely win the right to say that we were the victims of genocide. That might be so.

The Armenians, I assume, will continue to state the facts as they know it, historians will argue the point, and governments will make their political decisions --------- as they wish. But I do not believe, I do not believe, the Turkish historians and the Turkish people themselves have been given a decent chance not only to book at the past as it was but also to do something to transcend it and to come to terms with its own past. It is not a question of a little right here and a little right there, murder does not have two sides. There are no extenuating circumstances for the murder of children and women and old folks and young men. The world does not recognize any such extenuating circumstances and I do not believe that the tribulization of the genocide by playing around with words, with numbers, bringing in al] kinds of categories that are extraneous to the fact of the genocide, I do not be[lieve] that it will change history. If it does, perhaps it will, then we will have repeated a pattern of the past and we will merely have done what we thought we cannot do as civilized people. We will have allowed crime to go unpunished. Thank you very much.
KEVENK

As stated by Jean Paul Sartre in his book, "On Genocide," the word of genocide is rather new, but the fact of genocide is as old as humanity, and so is the prejudice. The term holocaust is also commonly used recently. To this day, there has been no society prevented by its structure from committing these crimes. Every case of genocide, holocaust, or prejudice bears the stamp of the society which gave birth to it. Many different nations, religious, ethnic, or racial groups have suffered from these. In many cases, these are mutual and both sides suffer. Sometimes, one side suffers more than the other. But, there are also some genocides which are completely one sided. Let me mention to you from recent history just a few of these genocides and holocausts depending on to what extent you want to use these terms.

There was a Palestinian or Lebanese holocaust just a few weeks ago. There was a holocaust and genocide in Cambodia just a few years ago. Holocaust and genocide of the Vietnamese people in the 60s and early 70s is the subject of Jean Paul Sartre’s book and also is the subject of a United States congressional investigation. As written in this book (I have the book here), the name of it, "War Crimes and American Conscience." by E. Knoll and J. N. McFadden. There was a holocaust in Biafra in the 70s. There was a holocaust and genocide of Algerian people in the 50s and 60s as written in another book I brought here today in which 1,000,000 of them died. There was a Japanese holocaust, there was a German holocaust, Russian holocaust, Polish holocaust, and many other smaller ones in WWII.

Most of the fighting nations in WWI including civilians suffered terribly, among them Turks and Armenians. Each of those nations can consider these sufferings as a holocaust. There were many holocausts and genocides in which the Turkish people suffered in the last hundred years. Every war, every civil war, every revolution, is a holocaust. If you take any of these wars, civil wars, and revolutions, and tell or write only one side of the story without making an exaggeration or any distortion, you can easily make one side as victim and the other side as villain. But the distortions, exaggerations, and lies are a part of this game. You can easily manipulate the press or public opinion of one country or another depending on sympathies and prejudices, particularly when the other side has no voice and no means to defend itself against a misinformed and prejudiced public opinion. Thanks to these efforts, sympathies, and prejudices, a normal act of war or civil war blown out of proportion can be introduced as a crime or genocide in this or that country, a real crime or genocide may easily be ignored in the same place due to lack of interest.

But among all these holocausts and genocides, if you want to use this term in their broadest meaning, one stands out. It is unique. It has no parallel in the world’s history. That is the Jewish holocaust of WWII. In our time, near the middle of the 20th century, the official government of one of the most civilized nations in the world decided to exterminate ail the Jewish citizens of their country also the rest of Europe which fell under their control, men and women, young or aid, including babies, were condemned to death. There were no exemptions. Half Jews, one quarter Jews, converted Jews were not spared. The decision was carried out systematically with well known German thoroughness and efficiency. Six million innocent people were put to death. They committed no crime, they didn’t commit any violent action. With a few exceptions, they didn’t even resist in the face of certain death. They didn’t have any territorial or any other claims from Germany. They did not pose a threat to German security. They did not have any illegal or revolutionary societies nor did they collaborate with any of Germany’s enemies. In fact they were patriotic Germans, no less so than any other Germans. Except for a few hundred German soldiers who died fighting in the Warsaw ghetto, no Germans were murdered by Jews.

The Jewish holocaust and genocide is a one sided story Jewish side, German side, even Nazi side are the same. The propaganda side, the historian’s side, sides of the people who are sympathetic to Jews or prejudiced against them are similar. There is no controversy. There is no argument. Give or take a hundred thousand, the estimated figure of 6,000,000 victims is correct and based on thoroughly investigated and reliable statistical data. It was not used by the allies or anybody else for propaganda purposes or even ignored for political purposes. The whole magnitude of the tragedy became known only when the war ended and every proof, every document, every witness became available.

This is a unique tragedy, a unique holocaust, a unique genocide with no parallels in the world’s history. I give you this short information about genocides and holocausts in general and the Jewish holocaust in particular since Armenians very much like to compare their experience in WWI with the Jewish holocaust of WWII.

My opponent in this program, Prof. Libaridian, told you the Armenian side of this story. Now I will tell you the other side — I didn’t say the Turkish side. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the Turkish-Armenian conflict is a many sided story. There is the Armenian side, an allied war and diplomatic propaganda side, a misinformed and violent side of Western Armenian supporters, some of them were supporting their own causes, there is the side of eminent historian authorities, and also the side of unbiased well informed Americans and other westerners who saw the conflict on the spot.

Although hundreds of books were published in Turkey on this subject, very few of them were translated into English. Therefore, my talk will be based on writings of eminent historians in the prestigious American and western universities and also writings of a few American and British observers on the spot. Among them you will find many Armenian writers.

Certainly none of these authors can be accused of being pro-Turkish or defending the Turkish cause.

In fact most of the Armenian writers are understandably pro-Armenian. I made a list of these publications and it is available for those who want it from the outside. Accusation of atrocities, maltreatments and massacres of Armenians in Turkey started in the 1870s as a concerted propaganda effort by the formation of the Armenian Revolutionary Society at that time.

When this propaganda campaign started there had not been a single act of atrocity, no single act of murder, and the Armenians were enjoying every religious, cultural, and commercial freedom and they were the most prosperous ethnic community in the Ottoman Empire.

As happened in the case of Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians, they immediately found supporters, sponsors, and patrons in the Western countries actively defending their cause. It also immediately became an important part of the so-called “Eastern Question” which means plans and projects of Western Imperialists and Russia to divide the estate of the Ottoman Empire who was then called the sick man of Europe who everybody expected to die soon. While Armenian revolutionaries skillfully used diplomats and public opinion of these countries for their benefit, diplomats of Europe even more skillfully used them for their imperialistic designs, details of which are given in one of the books I have here, "Diplomacy of Imperialism," by William Langer, Professor of History, Harvard University.

They also found strong support in public opinion, the press, and even more so in church and religious circles of the Western countries and also in the USA. Maintenance of this strong support depended to a great extent on continued atrocity and massacre stories. In order to keep this interest alive they badly needed continuation of massacres and atrocities. The combined Imperialist and Armenian accusations reached their zenith in WWI due to the decision of the Ottoman government to remove some of the Armenians to the safer areas of the country as a national security necessity.

Although the war ended more than 70 years ago and three generations have passed and there has been no single Turkish-Armenian struggle in Turkey in the last 70 years, they still want this propaganda to stay alive and stuck to it with a religious fanaticism as a national policy by using not new but 70-100 year old stories.

I will discuss this matter by asking you four questions and finding answers to them from the literature list I gave to you.

First question — were these alleged atrocities and massacres deliberately and purposefully arranged by Armenians themselves to create furor against Turkey in the West and use it to their political end or not? In other words did they want to sacrifice their own people for propaganda purposes?

Second question — were Armenians a peaceful, loyal, and innocent minority? Were these atrocities and massacres committed against them because of their re[ligious] beliefs or national or racial origins as alleged and as generally believed in the West or did they revolt against their government and put the very existence of that nation to a mortal danger?

Third question — what part of these alleged atrocities and massacres are truth and what part is exaggeration, distortion, misinformation, and lies?

Fourth question — whether such atrocities and massacres are one sided and committed only by Turks against Armenians or two sided and each party committed against each other and if so which side did more?

Now let us find an answer to the first question. To you and to those who don’t know much about Balkan and Middle Eastern politics, this sounds a very odd and absurd question. Actually it is part of a game played by both politicians and revolutionaries of the nations and also politicians of the Western Imperialists. It usually brings handsome rewards. This is a part of Balkan statecraft and this is how Balkan people draw their frontiers. This is written in most of the literature I gave to you but among them I particularly recommend Diplomacy of Imperialism by William Langer. In the chapter on “Armenian Triplice,” he explains all the details of this tactic and mentality complete based on the writings of Armenian authors and the statements of Armenian revolutionaries.

You will find the same thing in the books of Armenian authors among them L. Nalbandian and K. Papazian. Their logic was this: European countries were infuriated about the c of massacres of the Greeks, Serbs, and Bulgarians at the hands of the Turks. They forced the Turks by diplomacy and war first to recognize their independence and then enlarge their frontiers. Why can’t the Armenians do the same?

Sacrifice of thousand and if necessary tens of thousands of Armenian lives is a small price for such a goal.

So they start. They were right in creating rage, hysteria, and hate against Turkey in the west, but they were sadly disappointed that the European powers did not declare war against the Turks for them and did not put diplomatic pressures on Turkey. So they keep repeating. If one massacre doesn’t work, do it again, do it again, so that one day Christian Europe would come to deliver Christian Armenians from Moslem Turks.

The Europeans never came. Because Armenians sadly neglected evaluation of the differences between the Balkans and Eastern Turkey and the imperialistic goals and designs of Christian Europe. The end result was tragedy in Eastern Turkey and loss of tens of thousands of Turkish and Armenian lives.

Now let us discuss the second question. Whether Armenians are peaceful people or did they work against their government and put that government in a mortal danger? You will find excellent answers to this question in almost all of the literature I recommended to you. But to be fair to the Armenians, I will give you just two examples from the writings of their own authors. Armenian historian, Louis Nalbandian, wrote in pages 110 and 111 of Armenian Revolutionary Movement the book is here, “Education and terror were needed to elevate the spirit of the people. The people were also incited against their enemies and were to profit from retaliatory actions of these same enemies. Terror was to be used as a method of protecting people and building their confidence in Hunchak program. The party aimed at terrorizing the Ottoman government, thus contributing toward lowering the prestige of that regime and working to its complete disintegration. The government itself was not to be the only focus of terrorist tactics. The Hunchaks wanted to annihilate the most dangerous of Armenian and Turkish individuals who were then working for the government as well as destroy all spies and informers. To assist them in carrying out all these terrorist acts, the party was to organize an exclusive branch which was specifically devoted to performing acts of terrorism. The most opportune time to institute a general rebellion for carrying out the immediate objective was when Turkey was engaged in war.”

From another Armenian writer, K. S. Papazian, in his book Patriotism Perverted pages 14 and 15: “The purpose of A.R.F. is to achieve political and economic freedom in Turkish Armenia by means of rebellion. Terrorism has, from the first, been adopted by Dashnak Committee of Caucasus as a policy or method for achieving this end. Under the heading “Means” in their program adopted in 1892 we read as follows: ‘The A.R.F. in order to achieve its purpose through rebellion, organizes revolutionary groups.’ Method No. 8 is as follows: ‘To wage fights and to subject to terrorism the government officials, the traitors.’ No. 11 is ‘to subject the government institutions to destruction and pillage.’’

I could continue with these endlessly if I would have more time. Now I will discuss the Turkish-Armenian controversy during WWI and deportation of Armenians in 1915 which Armenians claim and as you see in the film as a genocide. When Turkey entered into WWI in November 1914, the Armenians felt that as stated in the revolutionary programs the hour for their long-awaited and well-prepared general rebellion had come. They wasted no time. They immediately started their struggle which ended 6-1/2 years later in April 1921 when the Russian Red Army invaded Armenia and put an end to the independent Armenian Republic. During this 6 - 1/2 year period, they fought not only against Turks but with every other state and national group in the area - with the Russians, Georgians, Azerbaijanians, Kurds, and Turks of Armenia (whom they call Tartars), and even more savagely among themselves.

There is a long list of these wars, conventional wars, revolutionary wars, a list of fourteen. In order to save time, I will not read the list but will give it to anyone who is interested in seeing it. You will find the details of this endless struggle of Armenians in all of the literature I gave to you. Among them I particularly recommend Struggle for Transcaucasia written by F. Kazemzadeh who is professor of history at Yale University and he is still there. As a small nation who voluntarily and enthusiastically engaged in such an endless struggle, it is quite obvious that they suffered heavily. Hundreds of thousands of regular and irregular fighters and civilians alike died in this endless fighting. Their civilians as well as civilians of the other nations in the area also terribly suffered from dislocations, deportations, caused by the war.

Since they always resorted to atrocity and savagery they also suffered from some reprisal from all nations, but I must say least from the Turks. In addition to all these, eventually in 1921, Armenia became a part of red Russia. There was a terrible famine in Armenia and all other parts of that area in which additional hundreds of thousands of Armenians died from starvation and epidemics. If Armenians want to call all these losses, sufferings, tragedies as an Armenian holocaust, I certainly agree with them. But it was also a holocaust to all the other nations who fought with them.

But the Armenians choose to ignore all other parts of their 61/2 year struggle and concentrate their propaganda efforts on the decision of the Ottoman government to move the Armenian populations from dangerous war zones to safer areas. They thought this was an act of genocide.

Let me explain to you the military situation of the country when this decision was taken on April 25, 1915. The country was at war for six months. In January 1915, a Turkish army of 100,000 lost about 90% of its manpower in the battle of Sarikamis with the Russians and was reduced to 10-12,000 men for the defense of the whole Russian frontier. British and French navies attacked the Dardanelles with the aim of capturing Istanbul in March 1915. They were defeated and then they landed an army of invasion at Gallipoli. Another British force landed and occupied the port of Basra and was advancing toward Baghdad. A Russian army was attacking from Iran toward Van. At this critical stage of the war, a concerted rebellion by the Armenians started in most of the Eastern provinces of Turkey. Armenian rebels captured Van and massacred the entire Moslem population and established a local Armenian government and later delivered the city to Russian forces.

Upon the order of Armenian leaders, most of the Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman army deserted their units and joined the rebels. Under this condition, as a national security, or more precisely survival, measure the Ottoman government decided to close all Armenian political organizations, arrested 235 of their leaders for their activities against the state, and gave authority to governors and military commanders to move Armenians from militarily important and sensitive areas to safer zones. Catholic and Protestant Armenians, Armenians whose loyalty was assured, those too sick and o workers and artisans and their families whose services were needed and families of the Armenian soldiers who had not deserted were exempt from deportations. Orders were given for their safe transportation and protection of the belongings they left behind. Deportations in some areas were orderly and efficient and in other areas disorderly and inefficient due to wartime difficulties.

Out of some 700,000 Armenians who were transported in this way in 1915 and 1916, certainly some lives were lost. This was mainly due to primitive nature of the country, primitive and inadequate transportation facilities, large-scale war and civil war activities, as well as banditry. There were definitely no massacres. No Babi Yars, no My Lais, no Sabra and Shatila camp-type massacres. There were no mass graves, extermination camps or any other well known signs of genocide. All of these have been greatly exaggerated and distorted by the Armenian and allied propaganda machine.

It should also be remembered that hundreds of thousands of Turkish people in the war zone were also dislocated, were also migrated, and due to Armenian partisan activity were also equality suffered. I am not a soldier or a national security expert. I cannot say such rebellion behind the front lines at a critical period of war was a negligible risk or a serious threat or a grave threat to the very ex of a nation. I also cannot say what other options the Ottoman government had at that time in such a condition or if they could use any other option without deporting the Armenians or whether the allied and Armenian atrocity propaganda would be any different. I would rather leave them to your judgment.

I would ask you, what would any other nation, let us say the United States, England, France, as a matter of fact Armenia, do in a similar situation? If you want an answer, I can help you. I have brought here a few books and can show you what they did in much less serious conditions when their existence was not at stake. Armenians claim that their deportation was a camouflage and actually was an intent of the Ottoman government to exterminate the Armenians. If it was proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, despite the serious national security concern, despite the treason, I would certainly agree with the Armenians that it should be considered as a crime against humanity.

But what is proven? This brings us to the third question. What part of these alleged atrocities, massacres, and genocide c are truth? What part is exaggeration, misinformation, distortion, and lies? This is also a big subject and can easily take hours and hours of discussion. Why was the West so badly misinformed about the Turks? What was the cause of the deep rooted prejudice against the Turks in the West? Why did Western people accept every unimaginable rumor against the Turks as truth? What was the role of Greek and Armenian propaganda? What was the role of the activities of their minorities in the Western countries? What was the role of a war propaganda and propaganda of the western imperialism to justify their designs to divide Turkish lands among themselves? What was the role of the church and the missionaries? What was the role of the so-called yellow press? What was the role of local politicians who like to use this subject for demagoguery without knowing anything about Turkey and Armenia?

There is neither adequate time here to discuss such a complicated matter nor do I have the eloquence to discuss it adequately. But some eminent Western authors did it perfectly and I would like to recommend to you a few excellent books written on this complicated subject of prejudice against the Turks: Western Question in Greece and Turkey by Arnold J. Toynbee. (Ironically the same Toynbee wrote the famous British propaganda book, Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the war.) He wrote this book in 1922 after coming to Turkey, knowing the Turkish people and Middle Eastern people. Second, The Struggle for Power in Moslem Asia by Alexander Powell, an American diplomat with wide experience in the Middle East. Third, Spiritual and Political Revolutions in Islam by Felix Valyi. Fourth, The Rising Crescent, by Ernest Jackh who is a Jewish or non-Jewish German who escaped from the Nazis and first taught history at the University of London and later at Co university. If you read these books, you will see what a terrible injustice has been done to the Turkish people because of a deep-rooted prejudice in the West and how terribly the Turks suffered from it.

How many holocausts and massacres were brought upon them that were completely ignored in the West? Only a few Americans and other Westerners such as the authors of the books I have just mentioned had a chance to know Turks closely and tried to enlighten their readers. Unfortunately, their voices found little or no place in the prejudiced Western hearts and consciences.

I will read just a few sentences from these books which are here. If anyone wants to see them, I will show them to you. Toynbee wrote that “We of the West have three standards for massacres: 1) If Turks do it to Christians, 2) If Christians do it to Turks, 3) If we do it to other people. With this mentality we have no moral right to pass judgment about these massacres.”

Ernest Jackh wrote, “There is no nation on the earth more loyal and valorous than Turkey and there is no other nation on the earth more maliciously slandered by the West than the Turks.”

Alexander Powell, an American diplomat, wrote, “We Christians of the West expressed all our sympathy, love, and support to the Christians of the Balkans and Middle East. But in fact there is only one Christian nation in that whole area, that is the Turks.”

Now I would like to discuss the Armenian allegation of “deportation was an act of genocide camouflaged as deportation” and 1.5 million Armenians perished due to this act.” During the war it was considered as such by the allies and Western Press and public opinion. The allied governments of England, France, and Russia issued a joint official declaration stating that this was a crime against humanity and when the war ended this crime would be thoroughly investigated and all the criminals would be severely punished.

The war ended and Turkey lost. The country was occupied. Including her capital, nearly all areas from and to which Armenians were deported fell under allied occupation at one time or another. The allies immediately started investigations with the help of the Armenian Patriarchate. Deported Armenians returned form their areas of deportation. Ali government documents related to the deportation were confiscated by the British. All suspected criminal big or small, were arrested. Important ones, about 200, were sent to British prison in the island of Malta.

The details of this investigation were the subject of a book written by a German historian, Gotthard Jaeschke. I have the Turkish translation of that book, translated by the Turkish Historical Society and anyone who reads German can read it authentic. He wrote his book after completely evaluating all confiscated documents from the Ottoman government when these documents were declassified and opened to the public by the British government. He also evaluated all other documents related to this investigation and other such activities. He wrote that:

The results of this British investigation were a complete fiasco.

Not a single document, not a single witness, not a single evidence could be found let alone to prove such a colossal crime of genocide, not even any other major crime. At that point the Quisling government as an act of servitude came to the rescue of British honor by forming a kangaroo court which sentenced a few minor officials to death (3 or 4). Not for the murder, not for the rape, their crime was to neglect to provide adequate comforts for the deported Armenians.

All the rest, All those imprisoned in Malta Island, were unindicted and released. Now I want to ask this question. Did the British cover up a crime at that time when they were planning the dismemberment of the Turkish homeland and badly needed a moral justification? Did they forget their solemn promise to the whole world, to the Armenian people, to their own people? I will leave those answers to you.

I also would like to ask you how you could have a policy of genocide and murder 1-1/2 million people and when the time of judgment comes everything became open and available for investigation, not a single proof, not a single witness was found to prove such a colossal crime. The propaganda figure of 1-1/2 million loss of lives is also interesting to discuss. Just a few words about it.

All the neutral Westerners estimated the prewar Armenian population of Turkey was no more than 1-1/2 million. The shameful British propaganda Blue Book published during the war estimated loss of life due to deportations between 500,000 to 600,000. Their logic to find this figure was this. They made their estimation of the accounted or survived Armenians such as those who escaped to Russia or other places, the Armenian population of Istanbul and other provinces where no deportations took place, Armenians protected by Turks, and they reach a figure of 1 ,000,000 in their Blue Book. Then they give different figures for what would be the proper Armenian population of Turkey. Among them they choose a figure of 2.1 million. They say this figure should be correct. And from that figure they remove 1,000,000 which are accounted for and this gives them 1.1 million. They consider these are deported and among deportees they thought it should be fair to estimate 50% survived and 50% died. That gives them a figure of 500,000 to 600,000 which they publish for propaganda purposes to discredit their enemy.

But the fact is except for Armenians, no neutral authority is agreed that there was a 2.1 million Armenian population in Turkey. Most of them give a maximum figure of 1.5 to 1.6 million. Many give around 1,000,000. These are not Turks, but Western authorities. Then how in the world did the Armenians get the figure of 1-1/2 million loss of lives due to these deportations? This is a question for Armenians to answer, for Prof. Liberation to answer, not for me. They may have a way of explaining it.

What is the real figure of loss of life during the deportations? I believe nobody can correct[ly] answer that because there were no records, no reliable statistics. But probably, one may guess, maybe up to as many neutral authors mention 200,000 died from all causes inc war, guerrilla fighting, epidemics, and exposure. We know of it; the Turkish people were also equally suffered.

Now I come to the last question. Whether these atrocities are one-sided, only committed by the Turks, or two-sided. There is also a very long list of atrocities, massacres, and genocides committed by the Armenians against the Turkish people. Among this long list, I would give you just one example. Not by the words of Turks, not by the words of Westerners, but from the mouth of an Armenian.

When Armenia became an independent republic between 1918 and 1921, about 40% of the population within their frontiers were Moslem people — mostly Turks, whom they call Tartars. In 1919 and 1920 the Armenian government decided to solve this Tartar problem (actually Turkish problem) with the final solution of total extermination of these people.

Now I am reading you from the memoirs of an Armenian army officer, Capt. Ohannes Apressian, who told this story to an American Near East Relief Officer. He published his memoirs in this country in 1928.[1]

“Incidents such as the above furnished the Dashnak government with the needed excuse for undertaking a war of reprisal against the Tartars. This war quickly developed into one of extermination. Horrible things happened, things that words can neither describe nor make you understand. The memory of scenes I witnessed and of incidents in which I participated still make me feel sick. But war is always horrible, for it liberates all the fear and hate and deviltry that are in men. As the Turks solved the Armenian problem in Turkey by slaying and driving the Armenians out of the country, so we now proceeded to solve the Tartar problem in Armenia. We closed the roads and mountain passes that might serve as ways of escape for the Tartars and then proceeded in the work of extermination. Our troops surrounded village after village. Little resistance was offered. Our artilliery knocked the huts into heaps of stone and dust and when the villages became untenable and inhabitants fled from them into fields, bullets and bayonets completed the work. Some of the Tartars escaped of course. They found refuge in the mountains or succeeded in crossing the border into Turkey. The rest were killed. And so it is that the whole length of the borderland of Russian Armenia from Nakhitchevan to Akhalkalaki from the hot plains of Ararat to the cold mountain plateau of the North were dotted with mute mournful ruins of Tartar villages. They are quiet now, those villages, except for howling of wolves and jackals that visit them to paw over the scattered bones of the dead.” This is his saying.

Another testimony of the same genocide written by a British officer and an American officer who were on the spot and witness to this subject and also I can give you documents of that diplomatic interview between the British foreign secretary, Lord Curzon, and the Armenian delegation to the peace conference. This is the end of my presentation to you of the Turkish-Armenian events of WWI. Was there an Armenian genocide? That is the subject of this program. I will not answer to this question. I will leave it to your judgment. If you evaluate my talk and if you read the literature I recommended to you, you can give a correct answer to this question. If you do so, you can also answer the question “was there a genocide of Turkish people by Armenians?’ If you do so, you can also find a correct place to where to put sufferings of Turkish and Armenian people during WWI and after, among countless other examples of atrocities, prejudices, and genocides among the long list of such events in the war history.

I would like to express my deep and sincere thanks to UPJ for arranging this discussion in such an impartial manner. This is something rather rare, and I believe happened for the first time, and as a Turkish-American I am very grateful for it and I am sure all Turkish-Americans are grateful for it. I remember a lecture given by the chief of this department, Dr. Robert Hunter, three years ago about the China and Chinese-American relations. He said this: “We should occasionally review and reevaluate our history with our present day values and judgments. Then we will find many mistakes we made in the past due to our prejudices and incorrect judgments." This statement impressed me a lot. I think that it can be applied to the prejudices and errors of judgment made in the past about Turkish-Armenian affairs.


1.In actuality, this book was published in 1926.

LIBARIDIAN’S REBUTTAL


We have gotten what I thought we would get, a process of force equalization of events, facts, reduction in numbers and numbers games has all been due to the fact that that’s part of history certainly worth I will begin my presentation of the Jewish rebuttal by dealing with a most sensitive issue that Dr. Kevenk has raised the documented massacre of Turkish or Tartar citizens in the republic of Armenia in 1919.

I have no justification for it, I strongly condemn it, but man, I wish some Turk some day would get up and condemn what they did to the Armenians. I wish someone would come and give us something other than justification, triplication. I could get up here and say after a nation was massacred, 2/3 of its people were destroyed, they had their republic and there was danger from those Turkish villages. They were armed they were being linked with Azeris and by the nationalist armies. I could give you that. I could go into details and justify. I could minimize it. I will not. It did happen. I could say it happened after the genocide, revenge, people whose whole families had been destroyed. They did it. Why should I justify it? Why should I carry that burden with me? But if there were 200,000 Armenians who died following the deportation so to speak I wish someone would say it was wrong.

I wish someone would explain why was it that Armenians in Cilicia were deported when that was so many hundreds of miles away from the front. Dr. Kevenk and other Turkish historians and amateur historians have tried to argue the point by saying a lot of massacres have taken place. Yes and no. One genocide need not be exactly similar with the Jewish holocaust in order to have value and stand out. I am not here to make a pitch for genocides. But the way to commonize, to say men commit genocide right and left here and there, they massacre, so let’s not take the Turks to task, the Turkish government to task, for that. That is not my understanding of human progress, ethics. Dr. Kevenk has presented the Turkish government as having no means to conquer the Armenian propaganda. It is unbelievable.

The Turkish government has all the millions of dollars we are giving them as American citizens and they are certainly using it very wisely. The Turkish government is a government; it is considered an important ally of NATO. It has been so since 53 and it has been given certainly all courtesy that any government deserves in every way. Dr. Kevenk believes the Jews committed no crime against Germany. We believe Jews committed no crimes against Germany. But the point was not what we believe or what Jews believe but what Hitler believed and what the Nazis believed and the Nazis had similar arguments about the Jews. The Jews were responsible for the corruption of the German pure blood. The Jews were responsible for treason at the end of the First World War. The Jews were responsible for everything from Jesus to Marx. That in the minds of the Nazis was clear and present danger to the security of the state. To the security of the state as the Nazis defined it. And to come here today to say that the Armenians were a danger to the state as a historian I could very well argue that the Turkish Junta that was in power was a threat to the Turkish state much more than any Armenian could have been. I can argue the Turkish Junta today is much more threat to survival of Turkish democracy than anything Armenians had done in the past. This concept of state security has been used so much by all fascist governments of the world by all repressive totalitarian governments of the world. ---- state security risk, so they’re put in jail. This is the concept of the state, the power of the state and the power of the state to define for his own good, even if it is in fact humanly, ethically, morally and politically right or wrong. It is not sufficient that the Turkish government at that time felt paranoia, it is not sufficient that they were afraid.

People come in government not by chance. They don’t walk in there as four year olds but they walk in there as mature adults who must take responsibility for their actions. And the state feels that they believe there was a threat, it certainly was not right, a threat not right for us to accept it. To say there is no controversy on the holocaust is again a sign of ignorance. There is controversy of the holocaust. The difference is that there is a German government that has accepted the fact that it is much harder to change but had the Nazi government survived it would be much more difficult to prove. There are currently efforts in France and in this country to deny the fact of the holocaust. And certainly we are not to agree by an act in the New York Times as the Turkish government did to deny the genocide. There are people who deny the holocaust and these are not only the Nazis.

Unfortunately the Turkish establishment the governments, have continued to function as a fascist state like they were during the war when they wanted to purify Turkey from the danger of the Armenians. There are a number of historical errors in what Dr. Kevenk has presented. I felt very much like my professorial days when I used to correct Freshmen’s papers, when things are taken from here and there. Armenian revolutions did not start in the l870s, they started in 1887, the first one. The second was in 1890. To say that there were no problems before, the Armenians were prosperous, is to be extremely selective and certainly false.

If Dr. Kevenk has read all of Louis Nalbandian’s book from which he ------------- statement of some of the revolutionary parties, he would have realized the Armenians had serious, very serious complaints, that 80% of the Armenians were peasants and like the Turkish peasants, they were certainly not the most prosperous in Turkey or anywhere else. To say that these peasants and the petit bourgeuoise and in the towns intelligent revolted is to tell the historical truth. There certainly was a revolution. There were revolutionary parties, terrorist tactics, guerrilla warfare, and propaganda, and it worked, these were the record against Armenian traitors, Turkish officials and institutions. There was a movement toward revolution.

Two parties unfortunately not all the Turkish historians and those who deal with it and particularly Mr. Langer and I’m certain Dr. Kevenk don’t read Armenian. But somehow their scholarship is accepted in the world of history. Everything was valid. We are deciding that Armenians were not massacred when none of us knows the Armenian sources. But, of course, if it’s Armenian, it should be stifled. By what law can we discard the testimony of the witness, of the victim, and say he wasn’t there. In Malta trial in 1918 or elsewhere if British or Turks were looking for evidence in Malta. I’m sure they could find no Armenians.

But how the hell could we find Armenians 67 years later in oral history projects? Hundreds of them surviving who have a story to tell. They said their story. It is in the text for everyone who wants to come and see. If Dr. Kevenk wants to come to our archives, I will bring him in Armenian language of his choice, in the archives, ask him to read, translate, and do what he wants with it. We are still waiting for the Turkish government to open its archives to any historian who is not a pro -Turkish historian. Our archives are there, the documents are there. Why is it that those documents, why is it that my grandfather’s testimony is not valid for the crime and hundreds and hundreds of grandfathers and grandmothers like that? Why is not this in a document? What Dr. Kevenk is arguing is that there should have been no survivors, survivors, Armenians, are credible people. In fact the perfect crime is just about committed. To play on the fear of people on terrorism is one thing; fine! You can do it. There is terrorism today, terrorism in the past. All repressive regimes call their people terrorists who are opposed to that regime.

The historical fact is as a nation there was a revolution two major parties 1890 and 1887 founded all the people were exactly as he described with minor differences and all these were mostly with the young Turk rebels in the 1900s in conferences in meetings they all agreed there must be a change in the Su government. And we have those documents. And the Turkish archives have those documents. They worked together, Armenians and Turks, to get rid of the repressive and intolerant regime of the Sultan Abdulharnid, II. Before 1908 one of those parties wanted the independence for Armenia. That was the Dashnak party founded in 1887. The second one did not want an independent Armenia. It wanted economic, political freedom to be able to function as a society.

In 1907 the Dashnaksutiun party in its Vienna 4th World Congress resolved that what I want for western Armenians in Turkey is a federal type of government. In 1908 where the central authority -------------- (tape break) -------------- revolution. In 1909 the --------------------- party was advocating independence. ------------------ insist there is a democracy, now parliamentary, where the constitution has been brought up to ---------------- that the constitution of the Dashnak party will be changed, they changed it to say we want a strong centralized Ottoman government. ---------------------- They changed their program and the Armenians worked with the Young Turks until 1914. They pushed for what the Young Turks had promised, that was the land reform to help save the rural economy the 80% of the Armenians who were peasants ruined in their lands because of various factors. That was the situation in 1914.

History cannot be moved up and down, because it’s going to have a logic. It’s going to be in fact from 1890 and 1900 and 1919 in fact ------------------ everything is happening in one single historical moment. No, it’s not. The Young Turk government did not keep his promise for land reform. In 1914 the Armenians were still trying to get the parliament to work and pass some land reform. That’s when war was declared The Turkish historians must be much more careful when they analyze their own history, otherwise they will be stuck with condoning a genocide for their oppressive regime throughout.

Dr. Kevenk has asked whether the British reneged on their promise for punishment for crime? Of course they did. There was a substantial change in policy by the western government and as there has been since then. Dr. Kevenk and other Turkish historians are extremely anxious in pointing out western prejudice against Turks. As most against Turks. --------------------------- That has been there from the beginning, there is no question about it. Similar prejudices can be found against Armenians but not to that extent as wretched people who have no civilization etc. But as the war ended the Turkish army was defeated, but it was not disarmed and as Mustafa Kemal seeing the threat of dismemberment, the very real threat of dismemberment of Turkish hinterland, not the provinces outside, he started a war whereby Turkish people would have control over their own destiny and he started assuming authority over Turkish people, he too was a terrorist, against the legal government of Istanbul.

He established a new government and the western powers came to the rescue. They competed against each other to see who was the first to be friends with the new Turkish government and this for many good reasons. They had economic interests, political interests and particularly Soviet Russia had created a new danger for them so it was necessary to deal with the new Turkish government just as today, the Armenian government decided to deal with oppressive regimes of Turks because they can see the larger danger and they must ------------------------ on which it is based, the European governments gradually changed. The United States government changed its policy. Ali of them changed and in fact they have constantly supported the Turkish position, the Turkish government in entirety that has been more important than any consideration, human rights, or whatever. That was started early in the game. Yes. They promised, they didn’t fulfill the promise. Armenians were perhaps to submit to simple --------------- something really would happen------------ I don’t know if you here for emotional ---------------- or some ------------------------ .

We’re still faced with the problem of a genocide much different in scope, in interest, in quality, in institution, in anything here described. This idea of everything is equal , therefore, there cannot be a dispute, you cannot blame anyone, this objectification of humanity is a plan to now pass judgment. Certainly, while it can be valid. I still am faced with the idea that there is ----------------- and someone can . Now what do you do. I can’t force people to go to the books, to all books, to all ------------------- documents. I certainly can show documents if anyone is willing to prove in --------------- . There isn’t much else I can do to argue the point and say there is a reason why they did it, there is a reason why they can’t admit it. I try to get out of this impasse where one document versus another document, one conviction versus another conviction. I try to get at the respective way whereby the impasse can be broken and we can understand, we can account for all the facts.

Just because Dr. Kevenk and others say that there is no witness, there was no witness, doesn’t mean that there weren’t any. There were. Documents were there. And as a ------------------------ of ----------------------- to the tribulizatian I tried to present I would like to describe what happened in the city of Trebizon by the Black Sea. That described by the Italian consul general there in 1915. It was real extermination and slaughter of innocent people and the murder of ----------------------- a black stain ------- in violation of the most sacred vows of humanity of Christianity and of nationality. The Armenian Catholics too who in the past had always been respected and exempted the massacres of institutions were this time treated worse than any again by the order of the central government. There were about 14,000 Armenians in Turkish zone, Gregorians, Catholics, Protestants. They had never ------------------- these orders or given occasion for collective measures of police but when I left Trabizon about a hundred of them remained. From the 24th of June, the date of publication of the infamous decree, until the 23rd of July, the date of my own departure from Trabizon, I no longer slept or ate. I was given over to nerves and nausea, so terrible was the torment of, persecution of defense innocent creatures. The passing of gangs of Armenian exiles beneath the windows of the consulate, crying for help, but neither I nor anybody else could do anything to answer them. The city was in a state of siege by 15,000 troops with complete war equipment, by thousands of police agents, by bands of volunteers and by members of the Committee of Union and Progress. The lamentation of being abandoned, the implications, the mass suicides, the instantaneous death from sheer terror, sudden loss of man’s reason, to complications, to shooting their victims in the city, to ruthless searches through the houses in the countryside, -------------- The hundreds of corpses found everyday along the exile road. The Armenian converted by force to Islam exiled like the rest. The children torn away from their families or from Christian schools handed over by force to Moslem families or else --------------- nothing but their shirts that capsized and drowned in the Black Sea and the River Degirnendere. These are my last memoirs of Trabizon.

This is repeated in hundreds and hundreds of cities, thousands of hamlets and villages. It is not one isolated province or district. It is not a group of villages. It is in everywhere Armenians lived, regardless as to whether they could have caused problems or not, whether they could have helped the Russians or not. We have witnesses who started out to their death caravans with 4000 people from one village and ended in 50 in Urfa. If anyone wants documents they can find it. We have consuls who describe it, German officers who describe it.

History is not made by picking documents here and there. It is made by the totality. If you by your hesitation do not explain everything that happened, then it is not history. It can be politics and as I mentioned there is very good reason why these would be political judgments made by the Turkish leadership and the government. The conflict cannot be resolved by minimizing it. We might feel extremely guilty that these things happened and then we minimize and say no, but they did happen. We might hope to get rid of the guilt by saying look they did it too. When in fact what we’re doing is pitting one against a thousand.

To use the vague terminology of civil war, Armenians killing each other, is a very racist approach. As if Armenians cannot govern themselves Armenians are these crazy people who go around and kill each other and kill neighbors. (I guess it is somewhat) Again this is a political judgment. When you say Armenians were happy, they were doing nothing, and suddenly the Russians came and others came and provoked them, a few crazy people got these peasants to revolt. This is the same thing we have in Iran. This is the same thing we have in Nicaragua and the other countries where there are regimes. People have good reasons to revolt.

You then say, no, it’s only expansionism. It won’t work to disregard what is going on. We should not allow our present day politics, our willingness to accept, to ---------------------- the results of the genocide to have a country ----------- few Armenians, a nation state strong enough to be bound to the authority on the basis of extremely strong and extremist nationalisrn, this is fine. But this is not historical argument.

The historical argument remains that at one point the two people in charge of the government thought, deliberated that they have to resolve a problem and that problem was to get rid of the Armenians in Turkey, and this they did by massacres and deportations in a systematic way. There are still Turks in Turkey who Armenians killed so many Turks in Van. Armenians are no longer in Armenia. They are no longer in Turkey. And even today a benevolent government is stopping every effort by the Armenians to set the record straight. Turkish scholars whose determination the Armenian names of medieval cities are denied --------------- . Armenian clergymen who go to the eastern provinces of Turkey historic -------------- have tried to help little Armenian kids to bring them to Istanbul give them an education are in prison. One of them is being tried now because he had an Armenian textbook with him. A clergyman. The Turkish state still today has an ethnic policy that denies the identity of people except on paper. Armenian schools and churches are being closed down with no permit to build new ones. These are documented by reports of the patriarch in Istanbul.

The genocidal policy is continuing today. Not only was there a genocide, not only was there attacks, but there is absolutely a cover-up of the facts. We can get up here and call it Armenian propaganda or whatever. I do know what would be the outcome, but it certainly is not the cover-up, that’s going to take guile some time. I repeat, there is the Turkish archives have such documentation as Dr. Kevenk and others have claimed that they would be open and public. They are not. They are not. They are closed. Ours aren’t. What we have is available I would challenge the Turkish government to open its archives. I would challenge the Turkish government to allow scholars to do their work at those archives. And, I would expect that anyone who claims to support history would not stop where the book stops. That book stops in 1896, Louis Nalbadian’s book, an Armenian author. But after that is as important, a historian looks for what happened after that and does not come here equating all times, all peoples, and all events. Then perhaps we can have some decent dialogue. Then perhaps we can have some decent confrontation. Otherwise I would have to come here to the thousand books of my own and hundreds and hundreds of reels of microfilms. I would submit again that it is not a historical debate we are having but a political debate we are having. It is a question of whether the cover-up that has taken place will continue or not, whether any kind of justice will be reckoned or not. Thank you.


Analyzing Libaridian's Statements


The initial idea was to counter Libaridian's rebuttal, but perhaps there should be a look at the first part of his presentation, as well.

Turkish sources say there were 1.2 million Armenians before the war and of these, only 200,000 died.

Wrong. The latest update of the Ottoman census offered about 1.3 million. As far as casualties, it depends on which Turkish source one listens to. Kamuran Gurun of "The Armenian File" fame, for example, provided several computations as to why the death toll amounted to 300,000. There are a good many Turkish sources that accept a casualty rate of up to 600,000.

[O]f collective memory was the best proof of it as far as they were concerned. There was no reason for hundreds and thousands of grandfathers to lie about their past

If the hearsay of "collective memory" offers the "best proof," we can see why this alleged genocide remains woefully unproven. People's suffering cannot equate to evidence the central government deliberately and systematically carried off a plan for extermination. What kind of a "scholar" could conclude such a ridiculous thing? More discussed below.

[T]hose who knew how to read and write were mostly massacred and deported and people with Ph.D.s were relocated in foreign countries with foreign languages, trying to make a living.

How awfully ingenuous. Armenians on the whole were well educated, thanks to wealth and missionary care. Even 8-year-old Leon Surmelian kept pointing to how much more knowledgeable he was than the half-human, primitive Turks. Those who had gone to other countries pitched their propaganda as a national duty, an extreme example being Vahan Cardashian. The "genocide" was an obsession for Armenians, no different than the situation today.

We have almost complete documentation on the 1894-96 massacres that claimed about 200,000 lives (some say 300,000). We have that documentation because it wasn’t a total genocide. People survived...

If people's surviving is the reason why the mid-1890s events cannot be labeled a real genocide (and, really! Even many Armenian circles shy away from calling these events a "genocide"), then why would the "1915" episode, where around two-thirds came out alive, be lableled as "The First Holocaust"? As far as some pro-Armenians claiming fairy tale figures of 200,000-300,000, there are also many pro-Armenians vouching for 100,000 or less. The real casualty rate for the mid-1890s was closer to 20,000. (About one-tenth of Libaridian's "scholarly" opinion; the kind of "documentation" Libaridian favors is that of mad missionary Johannes Lepsius, who had opined 6,000 as the toll for the 1895 Zeitun rebellion. Yet the leader of that very revolution, Aghasi, wrote in his diary that the toll was 125. Repeat: 6,000 vs. 125.) The Ottoman figures were less than 13,432.

The fact of the genocide itself, that there was a premeditated plan and pretty well executed effort to rid Turkey of its Armenian element is not negotiable.

Those who value nagging requirements such as "actual proof" are a long way from folding their arms and insisting, "case closed." The Armenian Patriarch himself told us a healthy chunk of Armenians remained in what was left of the empire, after the war. (As detailed below.) That means, if there really was a premeditated plan for extermination, that would have been "pretty well executed" only by Forrest Gump standards.

Even if the number 1.2 million is set as a French historian pointed out recently as the total number of Armenians...

Will you look at that! A French historian slipping into "denialist" territory. I wonder who this historian was.

... [A]nd the number of those massacred is placed at 200,000... that (would be) one-fifth of a total population.... A genocide is not a question of numbers, it is the quality of the act that is committed.

What do you know! The old "Armenian duck and dodge" surfaces once again. Inflate massacre figures as much as one can get away with, for the maximum sympathy vote, and at the same time take the moral high road by insisting numbers aren't important; it's still a genocide.

That is, a government, a force, decides to get rid of an element because of its race or ethnic origin or religion and does it, the intent is what counts.

Highly dishonest. The Armenians' race or religion had nothing to do with the relocation decision. If such were the case, Armenians could not have prospered for centuries, let alone survived. (Even Dadrian wrote there was a marked absence of racism on the part of Ottoman Turks, in his paper on Turkish physicians.) Dr. Libaridian should pay heed to the one and only reason why the Armenians were moved out, according to Armenia's first prime minister himself.

There was no armed Armenian population in 1914.

Oh, nooo! Not... again.

"[T]that the Armenians possessed weapons was not astounding: they nad carried arms for decades to defend their homes and fields from depredation." Richard Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, p.53

The Turkey that must be enacted must be free of any minorities and this was the reason why at one point the plan of getting rid of the true violence of the Armenian element was to effect. And it worked. it worked because there are no Armenians left.

Patriarch: 1,260,000 Armenians left in what was left of the empire at 1918's tail end, and 644,900 in 1921. (Once again, as detailed below.) If Armenians are not left (other than the 70,000 in Istanbul, and the increasing thousands arriving from Armenia in recent years, trying to carve better lives), that's because they chose to leave. Reason No. 1: Those who travelled on their own to Trasncaucasia, Iran and other lands, along with a good number of those who had been relocated to Arab lands, chose to remain. Reason No. 2: open-door policy from Christian sympathizing countries. Reason No. 3: Ottoman-Armenians took a gamble, moving in huge numbers to Cilicia, hoping for a new homeland, under French protection. Armenians behaved atrociously, committed usual "Death and Exile" atrocities, plans went awry, Armenians did not dare return. (Read more here.) And if the idea was for Turkey to be free of minorities, why weren't all the minorities, including Laz, Kurds, Circassians, rubbed out? Isn't it sad, having to correct a "professional history professor"?

The question that often arguments are raised that Armenians are revolted, imagine that Arabs too revolted against Ottoman rule. During the war, they cooperated with the British. They were not massacred.

Thank you, Prof. Libaridian, for explaining why there could have been no Armenian genocide. If the genocide incentive of the Turks was to Turkify the empire (or as Libaridian put it, "This transformation - of the Empire into a nation state is at the root cause of the genocide"), then why, oh why, were the Arabs not also knocked off? For that matter, once again, what of all the other non-Turkish minorities? (There were a lot; non-Muslims, and Muslims.)

Armenian history was broken and Armenian identity as a people as a nation is threatened new with extinction in countries outside of their homeland.

Let's take the United States as an example of a country outside their homeland. In ninety years, Armenian numbers have skyrocketed to about one million. In France, there is about half a million. Dr. Libaridian has an odd definition for "extinction." (But that's a genocide advocate for you. "Extinction" lies everywhere.)

There were some trials under the sponsorship of the British that were more or less suspended for all those responsible for the genocide.

And the reason? Not for lack of trying. The British gave up on the 1919-20 Ottoman kangaroo courts, because legal standards were deplorable, even for the British — an enemy that signed the death warrant of the Turkish nation, through Sèvres. The British tried desperately, from 1919-1921, to find massacre culprits at the Malta Tribunal. Every accused was set free at the end for one, and only one, reason: No evidence could be found.

It would have been impossible to have a Turkish national revolution when you have a million Armenians living on historical lands with a strong national sense of history and culture.

What came first, the Turkish national revolution, or Armenian rebellion conspiring with enemies to do away with the Turkish nation, necessitating the national revolution? If Armenians had remained loyal, like Ottoman Jews, why wouldn't those million Armenians and their offspring still have been remaining in those lands?

I could bring a thousand documents, a thousand books, and explain to you, read to you, all the descriptions of mass murders, burnings, and everything that is so tragic in a genocide you can imagine. I could bring the testimony of ambassadors and consuls who witnessed this and wrote it down.

The few of those ambassadors, consuls and others who actually witnessed anything only witnessed selective suffering and already dead people. (Like Armin Wegner who witnessed those dead or dying of famine and disease, causes that claimed everyone's lives throughout the empire.) Usually, these bigots accepted the word of missionaries and Armenians. Those thousands of books and documents are what we would call "hearsay."


An Armenian foundation is currently supporting
Dr. Libaridian's position at the University of
Michigan as a "visiting professor," just as another
Armenian foundation (Cafesjian) is supporting
Taner Akcam at the University of Minnesota.
Is history for sale?

Not all of us are historians...

And some non-historians actually have Manoogian Foundation-supported university positions as visiting professors of history. (As evident from Dr. Libaridian's Univ. of Michigan web page, as of Jan. 2006.)

[T]he Turkish minister of education, does not teach the fact of genocide in its history books.

In retrospect, what a short-sighted decision. As a result, Turks are largely ignorant of the facts, and can't be relied upon to knowledgeably defend their national honor against Armenian propaganda. The reason why the government shied away from teaching about the actual "genocide" that took place during those years (death toll of Turks/Muslims, at the hands of the Armenians and their Russian allies: over half a million) was to nobly deter from instilling hatred in their people.

But (the world) cannot say (Armenians) did not die. It cannot say that a million of you did not die.

The world can say, but HOW did the Armenians die. Why does the world instead take the word of Prof. Libaridian and those like him, who insist all of those Armenians were "murdered"? And the world cannot say a million Armenians died, if the world is respectful of the truth. Around half that number died.

When someone is upset and kills his brother, it is not the same thing as someone else who has a machine gun and plans a whole massacre of 12 people in a shop.

Prof. Libaridian is acknowledging Armenians also killed Turks, but these were inconsequential, compared to the vast numbers of Armenians killed. If we are talking about deaths as a result of outright murder, the number of Turks/Muslims killed by Armenians was at least ten times as great.

[T]he Armenian political parties and the church advised its young men to get into the army and fight with the Ottoman Empire.

Perhaps some did. As a whole, a good many did not. This is why many Armenians avoided conscription, and those who were drafted deserted in large numbers to the ranks of the enemy.

We will have allowed crime to go unpunished.

Some perpetrators of crimes against Armenians were punished during the war (1,397 in all, according to "The Armenian File"; a few were executed), and the British desperately tried to punish up to 144 at Malta, and failed. The Armenians who slaughtered over half a million Turks/Muslims/others with some Russian help, and looted their properties, certainly were allowed to go unpunished.

Rebuttal to Libaridian's Rebuttal


I have no justification for (the Armenian extermination of Tatar-Turks), I strongly condemn it...

Wouldn't such condemnation be more convincing if Libaridian brought it up under circumstances other than a "by the way" fashion? (I wonder how often he referred to this other side of the coin, in successive years.) At least he puts a dent in the Myth of Armenian Innocence by acknowledging Armenian savagery.

...but man, I wish some Turk some day would get up and condemn what they did to the Armenians.

Within the same sentence, he turns his people's crimes into a matter of his people's victimhood. His rare "condemnation" surely came across as all the more insincere.

A nation was massacred, 2/3 of its people were destroyed

NO, a nation was not "massacred"; the bulk of the Armenians died of the same reasons the bulk of the 2.5 million Turks lost their lives: famine and disease. And NO, two-thirds were not destroyed. Even if we accept the Patriarch's pre-war figure of 2.1 million, Armenians today concede one million survived, and that would work out to about "half." But the Patriarch actually said at war's end 840,000 of 2.1 million died, which is closer to a third. That's more in line with the reality: from a pre-war population of 1.5 million, 500,000-600,000 Armenians died.

[Armenians] had their republic and there was danger from those Turkish villages. They were armed they were being linked with Azeris and by the nationalist armies. I could give you that.

He could give us that, but none of it would be based on fact. Neither the Azeris (attacked by the Armenians) or the Kemalist armies (provoked into war, according to Hovhannes Katchaznouni: "This was the fundamental error. We were not afraid of war because we thought we would win....When the skirmishes had started the Turks proposed that we meet and confer. We did not do so and defied them.") were thinking of harming Armenia. Armenia was the aggressor in all of its conflicts during its pre-Soviet independence. The Tatars they wiped out were completely innocent, and this would serve as a shamelessly deceptive parallel to the Ottoman-Armenians' experience.

I wish someone would explain why was it that Armenians in Cilicia were deported when that was so many hundreds of miles away from the front..

Sivas was farther from the front, but Armenians were relocated from there as well. The technical reason for both Sivas and Cilicia is that both locales were, militarily, of tactical importance. The overall reason is, thousands of Armenian rebels brought the front into their own communities. The Armenian community as a whole supported the Armenian rebellion. The Ottoman nation was fighting for its existence. These people needed to be moved. Had they remained loyal, they would not have been touched.

But the way to commonize, to say men commit genocide right and left here and there, they massacre, so let’s not take the Turks to task

The reason for reminding the audience that examples of "Man's Inhumanity to Man" have been common throughout history was not to demonstrate Turks should not be taken to task. Turks should certainly be taken to task, but first one must prove the crime has been committed. The reason why other "genocides" were explored was to point out that Armenians do not have "exclusive victimhood."

It is not sufficient that the Turkish government at that time felt paranoia

Libaridian discussed how Nazis also came up with explanations as to why Jews were treacherous. The difference, however, is: history demonstrates the Nazi accusations against the Jews were unfounded. The Armenian rebellion, on the heels of forty odd years of terror, in addition to Armenian alliance with the nation's enemies as Armenians themselves declared at the time, were very real.

People come in government... as mature adults who must take responsibility for their actions

Coming from a people whose leaders have been notorious for shirking responsibility. (First Prime Minister Hovhannes Katchaznouni: "To complain bitterly about our bad luck and to seek external causes for our misfortune — that is one of the main aspects of our national psychology.")

The difference is that there is a German government that has accepted the fact that it is much harder to change but had the Nazi government survived it would be much more difficult to prove.

The Nazi government did not survive, but neither did the Ottoman government. Both losers in war were subjected to Nuremberg trials, judged by victorious allies. The real difference is, in the case of the Ottomans, the British could not find any evidence during the Malta process, and had to let every accused go free.

There are a number of historical errors in what Dr. Kevenk has presented. I felt very much like my professorial days when I used to correct Freshmen’s papers, when things are taken from here and there.

A "Dadrian" style "My opponent simply is not scholarly" attack! What nerve.

Armenian revolutions did not start in the l870s, they started in 1887, the first one. The second was in 1890.

Kevenk did make some claims in his otherwise excellent presentation that I would contest, like the Ottoman force in Sarikamish being 100,000 (appearing to be a generous rounding-off from the actual 90,000), and Malta detainees rounded off to 200. (Kevenk also made it sound like there were no massacres of Armenians; there certainly were My Lais. But I hasten to add this was the prevailing belief in the anti-genocide camp at the time; he was not being deliberately deceptive.) And Libaridian is correct here, the more rabid revolutionary groups, the Hunchaks and Dashnaks, did begin during the 1870s. However, Kevenk was likely alluding to revolutionary groups that occurred in previous years, groups that were not always as aggressive, but their intentions were far from innocent. The first such political association actually formed in 1860, and the first blatantly violent one formed in 1878. Prof. Libaridian should have known, since the source for most is Louise Nalbandian, whose book he admits to have read.. [Click Here].

To say that there were no problems before, the Armenians were prosperous, is to be extremely selective and certainly false.

Nobody is claiming there were "no" problems (no nation is a utopia, but even Arnold Toynbee, of all people, thought the Ottoman Empire came closest to Plato's Republic), but there is nothing false about the fact that the Armenians had it pretty good. As Richard Hovannisian wrote in 1967, the Armenians were granted "internal autonomy" and "The millet system proved workable and beneficial for the Armenians." Of course there were poor Armenian peasants as well, but compared to the average Turk, most Armenians were prosperous, to the point where "This [Armenian] community constitutes the very life of Turkey," as Hatchik Oscanyan wrote in 1857.

Two parties unfortunately not all the Turkish historians and those who deal with it and particularly Mr. Langer and I’m certain Dr. Kevenk don’t read Armenian. But somehow their scholarship is accepted in the world of history.

Even if these scholars knew Armenian, what difference would that make? Most of what is available in the West is the propagandistic material the Armenians have provided. In order to get to the equivalent of internal reports not meant for public relations, the kind that may be found in the Ottoman archives, one would need to access the archives of Armenia and the A.R.F. office in Boston. These archives are closed, save for those such as Libaridian, and he is among the last men to count on to provide an even-handed picture. Besides, does Libaridian and those pro-Armenians who write about Ottoman history know how to expertly translate Ottoman? Yet, somehow "their scholarship is accepted in the world of history."

"But, of course, if it’s Armenian, it should be stifled. By what law can we discard the testimony of the witness, of the victim, and say he wasn’t there."

An incredible statement! The reason why this propaganda has advanced as it has, particularly during the war years, was because whatever Armenians said was accepted at face value. Genuine scholars who have studied this history have come to realize how proficient too many Armenians have been at simply making things up. As with "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," of course real historians are going to be hesitant to instantly accept Armenian claims.

In Malta trial in 1918 or elsewhere if British or Turks were looking for evidence in Malta. I’m sure they could find no Armenians.

Now I feel very much like my professorial days when I used to correct freshmen’s papers, with the exception I have had no professorial days. The Malta trial process began in 1919, not 1918. And it wasn't "Turks" looking for evidence for this process (the Turks were busy with kangaroo courts of their own), it was the British and the Armenians. The British appointed an Armenian in charge of the Ottoman archives, Haigazn K. Khazarian. The Turcophobic British Foreign Officer, Andrew Ryan, had scores of Armenian informers, and the Patriarchate in Istanbul zealously cooperated with the occupying British. Ironically, the more the British looked, the more they became aware of what shameless liars the Armenians were, which must have certainly contributed to the increasing lack of enthusiasm the British displayed for the trial process, enough to finally call it off, over two years after the process began.

Our archives are there, the documents are there. Why is it that those documents, why is it that my grandfather’s testimony is not valid for the crime and hundreds and hundreds of grandfathers and grandmothers like that?

These Boston archives are not open (Soviet Armenia was likely closed to Libaridian in 1982), unless perhaps under "special escort," as Libaridian offered to provide for Kevenk. A grandfather's testimony does not automatically fall under the category of "historic evidence."

"According to current empirical research, memory suffers as a result of traumatic events. Under conditions of great stress people are poorer perceivers , because stress causes a narrowing of attention. This finding does not mean that the horrible events described by Armenian survivors are all invented; nor does it justify the habit of some Turkish historians to speak of 'so-called massacres.' It does mean that survivor accounts, like all other historical evidence, must be analyzed carefully and critically." Prof. Guenter Lewy, "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey," 2005, p. 146.

Before 1908 one of those parties wanted the independence for Armenia. That was the Dashnak party founded in 1887.

No, that was the Hunchaks. The Dashnaks were 1890. (Of course, this was a slip, but because he was so haughty about pointing out errors, he's not getting a break.)

The Armenians worked with the Young Turks until 1914

Dr. Libaridian is actually claiming the Armenians were perfectly loyal until the outbreak of the war, in contrast to the reams of documents disproving such a notion. For example, M. Warandian prepared a 1910 Dashnak convention report for Copenhagen's Socialist International, specifying that "Armenians had people organized under the Turkish flag" (in Bitlis and Van), confirming that Armenian preparations for revolt were in the works years before the outbreak of W.W.I. (Socialist International archives, Vandervelde, No. B.579238.)

Dr. Kevenk has asked whether the British reneged on their promise for punishment for crime? Of course they did.

Beyond the fact that the British held a gun to the heads of their puppet Ottoman government to come up with massacre culprits, leading to the 1919-20 Ottoman kangaroo courts, this statement may be responded to with two words: Malta Tribunal.

But as the war ended the Turkish army was defeated, but it was not disarmed

Of course the Turkish army was disarmed. Mustafa Kemal saw to it that whatever was left of the decimated army was not disarmed further.

[Mustafa Kemal] too was a terrorist, against the legal government of Istanbul.

By what stretch of the imagination could an unelected puppet government under the dominion of an occupying foreign power be deemed as "legal"?

He established a new government and the western powers came to the rescue. They competed against each other to see who was the first to be friends with the new Turkish government

In time that might have been the case, but at first, the reason why the Italians and then the French went against the British had nothing to do with a race to be Turk-friendly. "Rescuing" the new Turkish government could not have served as primary incentive for powers that had conspired to divide Turkish land between themselves. Only when these powers noticed everyone was trying to pull the rug out from under each other did they, one by one, begin to cozy up to the Kemalists... motivated by the fear that rivals (chiefly the British) did not remain with the most favorable hand of cards. When they finally realized Turkey was not going to be the dead duck they had all worked together to bring about, naturally their own national self-interests required an adjustment.

That described by the Italian consul general there in 1915.

And no question the Italian witnessed crimes committed against the Armenians. But if this is the caliber of the Armenians' evidence, it is no wonder their case is so weak. The Italians, like most Christian countries, were raised to look upon Turks as monsters. Italian popes provided license for Italians to hate Turks, for centuries. These prejudices were inbred, and the Italian consul cannot be looked upon as a neutral observer. Only four years prior, Italy was at war with the Ottoman Empire. We know that Westerners who were raised to observe Turks as half-humans actually imagined atrocities.

We have witnesses who started out to their death caravans with 4000 people from one village and ended in 50 in Urfa

These are very typically exaggerated statistics from Armenian propaganda. Consuls like J. B. Jackson had a field day in repeating such statistics. Of course Armenians were massacred, as they went through Kurdish territories on foot, ill protected by a handful of gendarmes. Yet, Armenians with the option of travelling by rail further west, arrived unmolested. If this were a deliberate program of extermination by the central government, around two-thirds could not have survived. What would have prevented the Ottomans from killing them all?

History is not made by picking documents here and there. It is made by the totality.

Unfortunately, even in the case of the Ottomans' German allies, the "totality" represented extremely bigoted Christian sympathizers, missionaries, and war propagandists. This "totality" rarely cared to record the sufferings of the Turks and Muslims, since the Turks were simply not regarded as equal human beings. We know better than to resort to the Ku Klux Klan's history of blacks and Jews; what's the difference with these Westerners who regarded the Turks as a "blight," or a "human cancer"?

We might hope to get rid of the guilt by saying look they did it too. When in fact what we’re doing is pitting one against a thousand.

(Sigh!)

The historical argument remains that at one point the two people in charge of the government thought, deliberated that they have to resolve a problem and that problem was to get rid of the Armenians in Turkey, and this they did by massacres and deportations in a systematic way.

That is not a historical argument, that is a "propagandistic" argument. (By the way, the "two people" would be... Talat and Enver?) In order for the above to be a historical argument, what would be required is genuine evidence, and the absence of all the contra-evidence. Like, for example, if we rely simply on the biased Armenian Patriarch, how come there were 1,260,000 Armenians within what was left of the Ottoman Empire by 1918's end? (This was incorrect, of course, because many hundreds of thousands had gone off on their own accord to non-Ottoman regions, 500,000 to Transcaucasia and 50,000 to Iran, by Hovannisian's count.) But by 1921, the Patriarch "revised" the number of Armenians in what was left of the Ottoman Empire to be 644,900. That means a lot of Armenians either returned, proving the relocation policy was indeed a temporary measure, or they never left in the first place. This was a highly inefficient way to "get rid" of the Armenians.

The genocidal policy is continuing today.

Dr. Libaridian may be advised the line for amateur night at the comedy club starts over there.

[The Turkish archives] are closed. Ours aren’t. What we have is available. I would challenge the Turkish government to open its archives. I would challenge the Turkish government to allow scholars to do their work at those archives



Professor Stefano Trinchese

Dr. Libaridian's challenge has been accepted, and pro-Armenian scholars like Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser have photocopied thousands of documents, trying to find "cracks in the wall of denial," with no significant breakthroughs. As far as the Armenian archives being open (and Dr. Libaridian must have been referring to the A.R.F. branch in Boston, I suppose, since 1982's Armenia was under the domain of the Soviet Union. However, I do not believe the Boston archives have ever been open to outsiders), Dr. Stefano Trinchese, University of Chieti, stated (in "Sari Gelin," early 2000s): "I could not enter the archives in Armenia. I wrote a letter, but they have not even replied. I have never been able to gain access. I would be very happy if it were possible."

Then perhaps we can have some decent dialogue. Then perhaps we can have some decent confrontation... I would submit again that it is not a historical debate we are having but a political debate we are having.

Now that the Turkish archives have been opened, the "decent dialogue" and "decent confrontation" have been more lacking than ever. Those like Libaridian are not looking for dialogue. (For example: at the time of this writing, Libaridian is helping to coordinate one of those Turkish-Armenian workshops, or WATS, a platform for the usual monologue, deceptively appearing as dialogue.) His "thousands of books" and "reels of microfilms" have not uncovered the concrete evidence the Libaridians of the world have been desperately seeking.

Since Libaridian lacks the historical evidence, it is indeed a political engagement from his end. Kevenk, on the other hand, built his case from unconflicted sources. Kevenk based his claims on genuine history.

Aside from the long testimony of the biased Italian consul from Trebizond/Trabzon and the hearsay of oral history from Armenian grandfathers, Dr. Libaridian really couldn't put anything of substance on the table. His pitch basically boiled down to an emotional plea.

Dr. Libaridian presented an excellent example of what Dr. Gwynne Dyer so eloquently summed up in 1973:

The deafening drumbeat of the propaganda, and the sheer lack of sophistication in argument which comes from preaching decade after decade to a convinced and emotionally committed audience, are the major handicaps of Armenian historiography of the diaspora today.


Thanks to Sukru Aya, for making the debate document available

----------------------------------------------------
© Holdwater

The source site of this article gets revised often, as better
information comes along. For the most up-to-date version,
the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows:

www.tallarmeniantale.com/debate82.htm
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