14 May 2006
SYNOPSIS: From Ergun KIRLIKOVALI to several African-American students who wanted more information about the Turkish views after the biased lecture by the Armenian professor :
“Today, you witnessed with your own eyes how the views of a group of people party to a controversial issue were censored by the organizers and the lecturer. Ask yourselves: How can this happen in the 21st Century at an institute of higher learning in the most advanced and richest state in the Union, California? And next time someone gives you a lofty lecture about the freedom of speech in America, please remember today!”
PART 1: THE MISLEADING INVITATION
It all started with an innocuous looking invitation to the faculty members at El Camino College in Torrance (near Los Angeles, California):
“ The History Department invites you and your students to attend a free lecture:
Dr. Levon Marashlian on the Armenian Genocide
Tuesday, May 9, at 1:00 in the Campus Theater “
Shouldn’t that have read the “alleged” Armenian Genocide? Isn’t Genocide a special legal term with a very precise definition, arrived at after many years of diplomatic negotiations, until it was concluded in the 1948 convention in the United Nations? Isn’t it true that the genocide convention was one of the longest negotiated issues in the UN history? Doesn’t it require that a genocide charge must be proven at a “competent tribunal” after proper “due process” before the label of genocide can be used to characterize a certain tragic event after 1948? Isn’t it true that this law, like all proper laws, is not retroactive?
For example, we know that the Holocaust is an incontrovertible fact, not because of those numerous Hollywood movies, but because the charges of crimes against humanity leveled against the German Nazis were subjected to a proper and rigorous “due process” at Nuremberg Tribunal after the World War II. The prosecutors introduced supporting evidence, facts, figures, eye witnesses and more and the defendants were allowed to cross examine them before the final verdict was reached: what Nazis did to Jews during WWII was a genocide ( as Rafael Lemkin, the creator of the term, intended the term to mean). This term now seems to be deliberately misused by partisans to misrepresent almost every human tragedy. Is every killing a genocide? Is every my-grandma-told-me-story, family photo, or crying eye witness account a genocide? Of course, not. There are other laws that deal with such crimes. Genocide is a very special concept where a government acts with “premeditation” to exterminate directly or indirectly part or whole of a group of people for national, ethnic, racial, and/or religious reasons. While individual can take part in a genocide, only governments can launch and conduct genocide. “Intent” is the key word here. Intent to exterminate must be proven at a “competent tribunal” before anyone can use the genocide label. Just because Armenian lobbyists shout the loudest doesn’t make a civil war a genocide.
Where then was this “competent tribunal” for the Armenian allegations of genocide held? And when? Who held them? Was due process allowed to run its course? How come we didn’t hear about it? After all, Turks are a party to this issue and they must have been heard at such a tribunal, right? Turks should have cross-examined the Armenian evidence and present counter evidence, right? Isn’t this what “due process” is all about? Turks can easily prove that most of the Ottoman-Armenians were brutal insurgents, armed to the teeth by the Western allies during WWI, all of whom were intent on destroying the Ottoman Empire and the Ottoman-Armenians did cause the deaths of 523,000 of their Muslim neighbors, mostly Turks, between 1914-1923. Those insurgents did not shy away from using their own wives, kids, elders as “human shields” after their bloody attacks on Turks to escape Turkish investigations or retaliations. As one can easily see, the baseless charges of genocide would be turned on its end and Armenians would be proven to be the bogus victims of a nonexistent genocide. Didn’t a human tragedy take place there? Of course it did, but that human tragedy victimized all peoples of the area, without discriminating them on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, language, or religion. Why cherry-pick the Armenian suffering and losses from the lot and totally ignore or dismiss the much larger Muslim suffering and losses? Is this what genocide meant to be? A selective morality? Applied only to the Christian dead by Christians? I think not.
Could this Armenian lecturer perhaps mean the Ottoman courts martial of 1915-1916 as the “competent tribunal” that rendered a verdict of genocide? Nope, he couldn’t. Those trials prove exactly the opposite of genocide charges where the Ottoman government tried and convicted actually some of its own who did abuse the government’s temporary resettlement order. Most of the defendants in those trials did commit crimes ranging from theft to murder; they were tried, found guilty, and punished severely, some even with death. These court proceedings clearly show that the Ottoman government had no intention of systematically exterminating its Ottoman-Armenians as alleged. On the contrary, they genuinely wanted to temporarily re-settle those Ottoman-Armenian who took up arms against their own government, resorted to insurgency, terrorism, and treason at a time of war of survival. ( Can anyone remember the German-Nazi courts trying German-Nazi officers for mistreating, robbing, and/or killing Jews? Even the most biased Armenian can see how absurd it is for the Armenian lobbyists and their sympathizers to compare the factual Jewish Holocaust with the fictional Armenian genocide. )
Could this Armenian lecturer possibly mean the court proceedings of 1919-1920 as the “competent tribunal” that rendered a verdict of genocide, where the leaders of Union and Progress were all convicted and sentenced to death ? Nope, he couldn’t do that either, because those trials were held in occupied Istanbul, by partisans with an anti-Unionist agenda who happily accepted hearsay and questionable press reports as evidence, allowed no cross examination of such shaky evidence, and violated almost every aspect of the “due process”. These Kangaroo courts were so biased that the embarrassed occupiers, the British, asked the crown courts to step in and take over the prosecution. The Ottoman leaders were exiled to the Island of Malta awaiting trials there when the British desperately wanted to find the evidence which could stand the scrutiny of the crown courts to convict the Turks of the alleged war crimes. Result? No such evidence was found and the Turks were let go free after two years of incarceration without filing a single charge against any Turkish leader. Imagine this outcome, in spite of the following facts:
1-The director of the Ottoman archives was an Ottoman-Armenian who scanned the Ottoman archives with a fine tooth comb to fined at least one “smoking gun” among a body of some one million documents;
2- The British had access to all Armenian records, Ottoman or Russian, clergy or lay, all claims of smoking guns”, all “crying survivors” and “sobbing witnesses”, and more;
3- The British had the Blue Book (a major source still used by Armenians today to prove their genocide claims) at their disposal , having written the book themselves, which book is a compilation of wartime propaganda material and falsified and/or embellished accounts of wartime atrocities all of which were allegedly committed by the Ottoman-Turks;
4- The British had unfettered access to the U.S. ambassador Morgenthau’s and U.S. Consuls’ diplomatic reports and communications;
5- The British had unlimited access to the state archives of their wartime ally, France;
6- The British had easy access to the state archives of their wartime ally, Russia;
7- And more.
Imagine all this enormous body of data, records, books, films, witnesses, diplomats, soldiers, politicians, produced nothing, not one shred of evidence. Malta, technically speaking, marks the end of all speculations about allegations of systematic extermination of Ottoman-Armenians by Ottoman-Turks. That’s why today, after 91 years, Britain still refuses to label the human tragedy that engulfed the Eastern Anatolia victimizing all of its inhabitants, Armenian, Turk, and others, despite Armenian political pressure, threats, and terrorism. That’s why today, after 91 years, only a handful of states recognize the “alleged” Armenian Genocide, as an unfortunate but clear extension of their anti-Turkish historical bias, more than anything. After all, how can politicians decide a controversial debate pitting historian against historian? Wouldn’t short sighted, fascist laws mandating a certain view and censoring all others stifle further research, free exchange of information and thought, and destroy freedom of speech? Didn’t Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Taliban try similar laws dictating their views to be taught all children to the exclusion of all other views, ideas, and teachings? Did legislating K-12 education along fascist lines in Massachusetts and California to teach Armenian “allegations” of genocide as “settled history”, after tremendous pressure from the Armenian lobby in the last two decades, work for America? Jury is out here. The former is being sued and latter may be next. And if some short-sighted and ignorant French parliamentarians don’t check their attempts to appease their arrogant Armenian constituents (and French bias and bigotry) and pass the anti-Turkish racist law banning freedom of speech on refuting Armenian claims, then France is in for a lot more than it bargained for.
If it is not the courts martial of 1915-1916, or the Kangaroo courts of 1919-1920 in occupied Istanbul, or the 1919-1921 Malta Tribunal that never was, then what court verdict could this Armenian lecturer be basing his “genocide verdict” on? I decided to ask him this very question after his “presentation”.
The inevitable conclusion, therefore, must be this: either the Armenian professor produces a court verdict given by a “competent tribunal” as specified by the 1948 U.N. convention, stating that Turkish-Armenian conflict during the World War I is genocide or he starts using the qualifier “alleged” before the term genocide in his writings and lectures until such a genocide verdict is at hand. Scholarly honesty demands this from him. Either show a court verdict or say “alleged genocide”. It is as simple as that!
Let’s continue reading the invitation sent by The History Department of El Camino College:
“…The Armenian genocide in 1915 was the first genocide of the twentieth century…”
No, not really. The first genocide, or systematic and wholesale massacre (since the term genocide was not invented until 1943 by Rafael Lemkin and therefore can not be used retroactively) was the killing of the Herreros of Southwest Africa (Namibia) by the German colonialists in 1904. The second systematic and wholesale massacre was the killing of the Ottoman-Muslims, mostly Ottoman-Turks, by the Ottoman-Christians during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, where my father’s entire village of Kirlikova was annihilated leaving my father, a one year old baby then, as the sole survivor (you can read more about this tragic story in the archives below.) So, the Armenian professor is wrong again. Where does the tragedy of the Ottoman-Armenians come on this list? No where. Civil wars do not qualify under systematic-and-wholesale-massacre category ( a precursor to post 1948 genocide category.) After all, deaths of 523,000 Ottoman-Muslims, mostly Ottoman-Turks, are directly attributable to wartime atrocities committed by the Armenian nationalists armed by France, Britain, and Russia. (Though the term “nationalist” is not always necessarily a negative one, the Armenian version of nationalism is, as it meant wholesale death and destruction to the Ottoman-Muslims in Eastern Anatolia between 1890-1920.)
Back to the invitation by The History Department:
“… and resulted in about one and a half million deaths; nevertheless, it is often called the Forgotten Genocide…”
In my son’s history classroom during the last open day, I noticed a poster dated 1919 on the wall among many other historical artifacts from different years and subjects. This one solicited funds for the starving Armenians of the Middle East. What really attracted my attention was the number given as the total for the Ottoman-Armenian casualties: 600,000. Knowing full well that even this number is more than double the actual number of casualties ( as Kamuran Gurun gives the figure of 300,000 in his book “The Armenian File” and please compare this with Turkish casualties of 528,000 who met their end at the hands of Armenians, so that you can put this whole civil war reality in perspective), how did this Armenian professor and others like him manage to come up with this figure of 1.5 million? Do dead multiply? I guess Armenian dead do… Is there any other explanation? Then there is this: the entire Ottoman-Armenian population, according to the official Ottoman government sources, was 1,295,000. How can more people than the entire population die? Did some die twice? Even that doesn’t explain where the Armenian Diaspora today came from? If the entire population was killed (and some were killed twice) then where did the Armenians we see today in America, France, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere come from? You see, the Armenian numbers don’t add up. They never did. Just like the non-existing court verdict of genocide, 1.5 million dead do not exist.
The inaccuracies in the invitation continue:
“… Not only is little known outside the Armenian community about the Turkish attempt to destroy the Armenian people, but today Turkey denies that it ever took place…”
“Little known?” Honestly, can anyone watch on TV, hear on radio, read in the press anything other than bogus Armenian claims? What exactly is this professor’s concept of “little known?” Turkish attempt was not to destroy the Armenian people but to defend herself against the fifth column activities of the Eastern Anatolia Armenians at a time of war of survival. Turkey can not deny something that doesn’t exist.
The invitation reads:
“…This issue has become especially important as Turkey seeks entry into the European Union, since France and other nations have called for Turkey's recognition of the Armenian genocide…”
France is one of the six parties that Turks expect to hear apologies from since the end of WWI. France was not invited to Anatolia and did not come bearing flowers or to have a peaceful picnic there. France, along with other allies, rained death and destruction on my people, Turks. Not content, France secretly divided up Ottoman Empire between France and Britain (Sykes-Picot agreement) and used Ottoman-Armenians to kill their Ottoman-Muslim neighbors. France donned French uniforms on Ottoman-Armenian citizens and watched as neighbor killed neighbor. Thus, France, along with her allies, ruthlessly destroyed a “millennium of harmonious co-habitation” between the Turks and Armenians in Anatolia. Such shameless and evil schemes staged in the name of advancing political French interests, fine tuned by the French colonialists in Africa and Oceania costing millions of innocent lives over several centuries, brought enormous pain and suffering to my Turkish predecessors. No less than 2.5 million Ottoman-Muslims, mostly Turks, died during the WWI (528,000 of them at the hands of Armenian nationalists; please don’t confuse these two figures.) This France is telling me what to do now? I think not! While I hold absolutely no grudge against French people today, I place the full blame on the French politicians for the bloodshed in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Americas, and elsewhere. France went to these places uninvited, used brutal military force to rain death and destruction on local people, and exploited their natural and cultural resources. France should learn to be big enough to face her history, before lecturing others on human rights. First France should apologize to Turkey and then I can forgive France. Until then, France has no credibility.
The invitation ends with this:
“… Please encourage your students to attend. Arrangements can be made for sign up sheets, etc. to be available…”
Unsuspecting students, lured with the prospect of extra credits if they attended flocked to the theater where they would be subjected to the unadulterated Armenian propaganda.
And here is the signature under the invitation for the record:
“…Best Regards, Florence Baker, The History Department, El Camino College.” Address: 16007 Crenshaw Blvd. Torrance, CA 90506 Phone: 310.532.3670 Toll Free:1.866.ELCAMINO 1.866.352.2646.
PART II: ATTEMPTS TO INCLUDE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY FAIL
Some college professors who were also bothered by this one-sided presentation contacted the organizer. They pointed out to her that the scholarly way to cover a controversial subject was to allow both sides of that issue to be heard by the students. Only lively, open, and free exchange of ideas in a thoughtful debate could enable the students to judge a controversy, not partisan monologues or biased choruses. In order to protect these courageous professors from possible violent acts of Armenian terrorists who already claimed the lives of three Turkish diplomats in California alone in the last three decades, countless bombings, assaults, and death threats, I shall refrain from giving their names here. Their reasonable, honest, and scholarly requests were turned down by the organizer with hollow excuses like lack of time to make last minute rearrangements. The stage was thus set for the Armenian professor and his one-sided presentation.
A HEALTY DOSE OF PROPAGANDA DURING THE “LECTURE”
The lecturer showed certain sections of two video films, stopping the films whenever he wished for additional comments. Never mind that the photos, films, and stories he showed were mostly out of context, sometimes even irrelevant, and their scrutiny was not encouraged or invited. The lecturer chose the “blood and gore” segments of those biased films for maximum impact, such as eyes being gouged and bodies hung upside down, etc. Imagine the effects of this on the young minds. That’s exactly what this lecturer wanted: to create a cult following among the youth bent one hate for all things Turkish. I could very well show similar movies where the victims are Ottoman-Turks and perpetrators are Otoman-Armenians. In fact, I can show more recent movies where victims are Turks of the Republic of Turkey and the perpetrators are Armenian-American terrorists. That would be arguing the Turkish-Armenian civil war on the basis of who spilled more blood of the other and would prove nothing, other than a bloody civil war which is what it was in the first place. I would like to call this the “Texas chainsaw massacre approach” to history. This lecture milked the fears and prejudices of unsuspecting young minds so much that Hitler’s propaganda ministers could probably not top it.
After the propagandistic lecture ended – not a moment too soon-- the floor was opened to questions and I asked the first question to the organizer:
“Being of Turkish-American heritage, and having read a lot about the subject, I am unable to agree with the misleading and distorted characterizations embodied in this lecture. Would you please allow me five minutes on stage to refute the lecturer’s allegations for the benefit of the students here? “
Organizer appeared a bit perplexed and before she could respond, I heard the lecturer say something along the lines of this is not a panel and ending with “ Mr. Kirlikovali, please so ask what you want to ask.”
“I didn’t utter my name, how did you know?”
He said he knew me through my work. I thanked him and commented:
“I am afraid I find your lecture racist and dishonest.”
The lecturer asked why.
I said: “ You never mentioned the Turkish dead and suffering. You implied that Turkish dead do not matter, only Armenian dead do. That, to me, is racist. And you did not say a word about Armenian insurgency, terrorism, and treason that caused the civil war and the ensuing temporary resettlement order. You left half the story out. And that’s dishonest. “
By this time the temper in the hall was rising because some Armenian students didn’t want to hear what I was saying. The lecturer argued that his case was accepted by many as the settled history and he spoke the truth.
A few pro-Armenian questions were fielded with which the lecturer was quite happy. Those questions were something to the effect did Turkey recognize the genocide and why did Turkey not recognize the genocide to this date. The lecturer jumped at the opportunity to do more Turk-bashing. He said things like it is not easy to accept genocide for an honorable person because it is a terrible stain in one’s history. More and more Turks are beginning to see the truth about genocide and coming out to embrace it (You wish…)
One innocent question by a student must have annoyed him a bit, though he seemed to keep his cool. He asked why did the Armenians not sue Turkey at an international court to which I added 127 Turkish NGOs recently suggested just that to the Republic of Armenia. Also recently, the Turkish government proposed to the Republic of Armenia establishing a joint committee of historians and opening all archives so that they can study this matter and report on their conclusions. Armenia avoided saying yes to either one of these proposals. What are the Armenians hiding? What are they afraid of? The lecturer said that something like the situation was clearly a genocide and there is no need to go to court.
I asked “Is genocide proven?” This was a trick question and he heard it all right. If he said yes, then I would ask for what court, when, where, where is the supporting documents and sources, which he obviously could not produce. If he said no, then the effect of today’s lecture would be annulled. After all, if genocide was not proven, then why was he presenting it as settled history?
After a brief pause, he motioned to the screen behind him implying the video films and said:
“Of course it is, these films and materials prove it.”
I responded “Those materials could not stand to scrutiny of a any court of law. You know it, I know it.” (I may have also added something like those films and materials “ a bunch of crap” proving nothing…But I can’t recall.)
One professor asked how many Turks were killed in Erzurum. Instead of replying, the lecturer questioned back saying something like since you seem to know the answer, suppose you tell me. The professor said he though this was a question-and-answer session and not a question-and-question session. The lecturer then said what is your source? I waved the book Armenia: Secrets of a Christian Terrorist Nation” written by Sam Weems and I offered to give it to him as my gift to him. The lecturer said that he already had that book and that Sam Weems was not a historian. I waved four more books (by Guenter Lewy, Kamuran Gurun, Salahi Sonyel, Justin McCarthy, and Stanford Shaw) and asked “These are by historians, have you read them?” The lecturer chose to respond other questions ignoring mine.
Another question was about how the Armenian churches cultivate hate for all things Turkish. She gave the example of an Asian woman who had known nothing about Turks until she attended an Armenian church and pretty soon thereafter she found herself hating all Turks everywhere. The question was didn’t today’s lecture also cause the same kind of negative effect on young minds. The lecturer responded by saying that he could vouch for other churches and that if she could identify that church he would be happy to talk to them (Right!). A student sitting in front of the questioner arose to disagree with the questioner saying that she was the daughter of an Armenian minister and she doesn’t hate the Turks.
Another professor asked, after identifying herself as a member of the faculty, that she was brought up being taught to hate the Turks and she did. Until of course she met Turks and she was stunned to find out how pleasant and war Turks were, nothing like the image with which she grew. She felt that the lecturer was aiding the perpetuation of hate among our youth for all things Turkish. The lecturer objected to this by saying that he made it a point of saying that not all Turks were responsible for what happened to Armenians and that some gracious Turks, even some Ottoman officials, did help save Armenian lives. There are Turks today that he loves listing the names of Turkish scholars known for embracing the official Armenian propaganda line such as Halil Berktay, Elif Safak, Fatma Gocek, Zarakolu, and others (He left Taner Akcam out!). I didn’t have a chance to say with the exception of Berktay, none are historians and Berktay has a hidden agenda with the Turkish Republic going back to 1970s when berktay was a “wanted” terrorist, along with Taner Akcam. These people were Marxist-Leninist militants who tried by force of arms and explosive to change the regime in Turkey, from a Western democracy to Soviet style communism. You can see the nostalgic “wanted” poster with Berktay’s and Akcam’s mugshots at www.tallarmeniantale.com today. That is why these “scholars” embraced the Armenian propaganda at face value. Their motivation is not historical truth but spite for Turkey.
The session ended after a few more “soft” questions by some students who seemed to have swallowed the Armenian propaganda hook, line, and sinker. If it weren't for the vigilance of one professor, we would never hear about this event. And if it weren't for another professor, who together with the first one went to see the organizer to convince her to allow the other side of the story to also be heard., the Turkish views would not be noticed. Both professors asked the lecturer excellent questions... One professor’s courageous last minute stand criticizing anti-Turkish hate teachings in the Armenian community was truly spectacular. One engineer, taking time from work to attend this lecture, also made the point about teaching of anti-Turkish hate in Armenian churches... All three were brave, determined, well-informed, and peace-loving.
As for me, I knew I would not get straight answers to my questions, but that is fine, because my questions are not designed to change the mind of an Armenian lecturer. They were designed to alert and inform the unsuspecting audience to the nature and depth of Armenian propaganda they would be subjected to by this event. My questions would serve to create a question mark in their minds so that they would not buy the distorted Armenian claims at face value. Dare I say that my questions seem to have worked because a few African-American students came to me after the lecture asking for more information an websites on the Turkish views. This is good enough for me. As the Turkish saying goes “Damlaya damlaya gol olur.” (Drop by drop, a lake forms.)
I left those students with these final remarks:
“Today, you witnessed with your own eyes how the views of a group of people party to a controversial issue were censored by the organizers and the lecturer. Ask yourselves: How can this happen in the 21st Century at an institute of higher learning in the most advanced and richest state in the Union, California? And next time someone gives you a lofty lecture about the freedom of speech in America, please remember today!”
THE QUESTIONS I WANTED TO ASK THE ARMENIAN LECTURER
Question 1 - Historian Guenter Lewy in his article titled “Revisiting the Armenian Genocide” published in Fall 2005 edition of Middle East Quarterly ( http://www.meforum.org/article/895 ) says this:
“…Most of those who maintain that Armenian deaths were premeditated and so constitute genocide base their argument on three pillars: the actions of Turkish military courts of 1919-20,…, the role of the so-called "Special Organization" accused of carrying out the massacres, and the Memoirs of Naim Bey which contain alleged telegrams of Interior Minister Talât Pasha…. Yet when these events and the sources describing them are subjected to careful examination, they provide at most a shaky foundation from which to claim, let alone conclude, that the deaths of Armenians were premeditated….” End of quote.
Based on this, isn’t it a bit dishonest of you to present a complex, contested, and clearly unresolved historical event as “settled history” to unsuspecting listeners? Don’t you think you should qualify your views as those of the Armenian camp?
Question 2 - Same historian Guenter Lewy in his letter of response to his critics of his article titled “Revisiting the Armenian Genocide” published in Winter 2005 edition of Middle East Quarterly ( http://www.meforum.org/article/895 ) follows up with this:
“… the tribulations of Turkish refugees from the Balkan wars and other armed conflicts of the pre-World War I era have not received the attention and condemnation they deserve. The West has been preoccupied with the horrors of the Armenian story, and the suffering of Turks has often been ignored. The same holds true for the wartime famines that took a heavy toll of life among both Turks and Armenians. This double standard in recognizing human misery must be repudiated for the sake of historical truth and to help descendants of these victims live with their pain…”
Isn’t this double standard clearly displayed here again today by your embellishing and magnifying the suffering of Christian Armenians while ignoring, or worse yet, dismissing the more profound suffering of Muslim Turks? Do you think such selective morality is scholarly?
Question 3 - There are millions of Turks today who have similarly tragic stories of entire Turkish families and neighborhoods having been wiped out by Armenian nationalists armed by the Western allies. Some of the Muslim victims, mostly Turkish, were themselves refugees who survived terrible massacres in the Balkans, the Aegean Islands, the Crimea, the Caucasus, and elsewhere and who were resettled into Eastern Anatolia only to be met by yet another cycle of Christian violence at the hands of Armenian bands. Isn’t it true that their stories were never told, their pain and suffering were never noticed, and their tears never seen, due to the endless Armenian propaganda which has saturated the West since 1915?
Question 4 - More than 70 Western students of Ottoman history categorically rejected the appropriateness of the genocide label for the fate of the Armenian community in Ottoman Turkey in an statement published in 1985. Other prominent scholars and intellectuals, including distinguished scholars such as Roderic Davison, J.C. Hurewitz, Bernard Lewis, and Andrew Mango, joined their ranks since. Doesn’t dismissing such awe-inspiring array of learned opinion boil down to bigotry in academia ? Are you comfortable with the dogmatism that ignores the enormous body of evidence disputing Armenian claims of genocide?
Question 5 - Careful reading shows that the reports of British, French, American, German, and Austrian consular officials and Western missionaries, who were on the spot in Anatolia, confirm the occurrence of killings, though in a biased and sometimes even racist manner, but do not implicate the "Special Organization" or any other agency of the central government. Moreover, almost none of these mention the terrible massacres to which the Muslims were subjected and which are documented in the Ottoman archives. When the entire body of evidence put together, the picture emerging explains most non-partisan historians use the phrase “a civil war within a world war” to describe the Turkish-Armenian conflict. Why, for example, did you not dwell on the Muslims suffering at the hands of Armenians? After all, 523,000 Muslim victims, mostly Turkish, were documented in the Ottoman archives to have met their end at the hands of Armenians. Why this double standard on your part here today?
Question 6 - Isn’t your allegation of a systematic elimination of the Armenian population undercut by the exemption of the large Armenian communities of Istanbul, Izmir, Edirne, and Aleppo from deportation? Since Armenian activists like to compare the Turkish-Armenian conflict for World War One to the Holocaust, in an attempt to gain instant credibility by association, wouldn’t this be comparable to Hitler exempting the Jews of Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg from the final solution? How can you, in all fairness and honesty, compare the civil war between the Turks and Armenians during WWI to the Jewish Holocaust of WWII?
Question 7 - The alleged telegrams of Talât Pasha contained in the Naim-Andonian book supposedly ordering the killing of all Armenians are exposed as crude forgeries not only by Turkish historians but also by almost all Western students of Ottoman history. Even a Hilmar Kaiser, an anti-Turkish biased scholar popularly cited by Armenian activists, concluded that "further research on the ‘Naim-Andonian' documents is necessary." How scholarly or honest is it to base the serious accusation of genocide on a proven forgery?
Question 8 - If Armenians wish to believe that the verdict of the Turkish courts-martial of occupied Istanbul during 1919-20 is proof of the guilt of the Young Turk regime in the premeditated murder of Ottoman Armenians, they are free to do so. Armenian sympathizers, however, should know that the evidence used by the military tribunals, including but not limited to witness and expert testimony, confessions, searches and seizure is hardly reliable. They were never cross-examined. What’s worse, this evidence simply does not exist and the original documentation of the trials is conveniently “lost” by the Armenians and their victorious “foreign” allies. What we have today are “copies” of some documents in the gazette of the Ottoman government and the press in occupied Istanbul. Could even a single person be convicted of murder based solely on hearsay and press reports? How can the Armenians convict a whole nation of the most serious crime? Isn’t all this a bit to too extreme?
Question 9 - I am deeply saddened and somewhat offended by your anti-Turkish biased presentation of this highly controversial subject. Isn’t presenting only one side of a controversial issue such as this one, while censoring the other side unscholarly, unfair, even unethical ? You would not think about covering controversial subjects, such as abortion, gun control, immigration, war in Iraq, or others with only one side of the story told, would you? Why then would you settle for one side of the story when it comes to the Turkish-Armenian conflict? All we heard is the Armenian views; where is the Turkish point of view here? Why this prejudice against the Turks and the Muslims?
Question 10 - According to the Armenians, Turkish pain does not exist. Turkish dead do not matter; only Armenian dead do. Turks do not deserve a chance to be heard. Do you subscribe to such a blatantly racist approach? And if you don’t, where is the Turkish speaker up there?
Question 11 - I don’t believe I heard much about the well-documented facts that the Ottoman-Armenians resorted to agitation, terrorism, armed revolts, and supreme treason (as in joining and invading enemy), in that order, from 1890 to 1915. Do you deny these facts to make your genocide allegations stick?
Question 12 - The Armenians activists label "deniers” all who rightfully challenge the baseless Armenian accounts of history. Those “deniers” are then harassed even terrorized-- as an unfortunate incident at UCI last week showed where a student was attacked by Armenians just for being Turkish. Some Armenian even go farther than that to categorically label all Turkish-Americans paid Turkish government agents. Do you think such intimidation and terror tactics by Armenians are justifiable?
Question 13 - I believe Armenian accounts boil down to dishonest history with racist interpretations and should have no place at an institute of higher learning such as this college. Wouldn’t it be fair to invite the representatives of the responsible opposing views to challenge the unfounded allegations of the Armenian camp for the benefit of your listeners? Isn’t a thoughtful and lively debate always better than a partisan monologue or a bigoted chorus?
Question 14 - Isn’t Genocide is a legal term precisely defined by the U.N., that can be used only after a verdict is reached by a competent tribunal (such as Nuremberg), after due process where both sides of the conflict are properly represented and heard and cross examined? Does such a court decision exist? Have Turks ever been heard? Shouldn’t this term , in all fairness, truth, and objectivity, be preceded by the qualifier "alleged" until a competent court decides that the term genocide applies to the Turkish-Armenian conflict?
Question 15 - As the table in McCarthy’s book clearly demonstrates, Turkish and Muslim losses are to enormous and spread over too long a period to “casually escape one’s attention” or to be considered an “honest oversight”. Can you appreciate how important it is for the Turkish Americans and Muslim Americans, that any balanced coverage of the Turkish-Armenian conflict during World War One (WWI) mention the truth about the more than 2.5 million Turks and Muslims killed by the allies and their Ottoman-Armenian cohorts? Especially when 523,000 of those victims met their end at the hands of Armenian nationalists between 1914-1918 alone?
Question 16 - Are the atrocities committed against Turks and Muslims not worth your time, attention, and/or respect? Are their lives less valuable than the lives of the Christian Armenians?
Question 17 - Here is what By Justin McCarthy says on page 309 of his book DEATH AND EXILE: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922 (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1995) : Total of 5,060,000 Muslim Deaths and 5,381,000 Muslim Refugees. Have you been just, fair, and honest in covering both sides of this issue for the benefit of your unsuspecting listeners? How can anyone, let alone any scholar, ignore such an enormous human suffering spread over such a long time? Isn’t this bias and bigotry at its worst?
Question 18 - I was deeply disappointed to see a one-sided presentation of a controversial subject here. The right thing would be to allow the “other side of the story”, namely the Turkish side, also be heard by the unsuspecting listeners. Failing that, as was the case, the teachers were exposed to biased Armenian allegations only. Is this fair or even?
Question 19 - Because of all this lopsided coverage of the Turkish-Armenian history in America, a Turkish-American had coined a new word back in 2003, his humble gift to the English language, which word now perfectly describes this lecture: Ethocide. Coined from the words "ethics" and "cide" (killing), ethocide means " extermination of ethics via systematic and malicious mass deception for political, social, cultural, economic, religious, and/or other gain". Isn’t it time that this ethocidal coverage of the Turkish-Armenian conflict riddled with anti-Turkish bias and bigotry gave way to sensible dialogue to properly evaluate a dark chapter in history where my Turkish predecessors paid the highest price in terms of loss of life and property, and 91 years later, it seems, dignity?
Question 20 - Don’t Armenian claims seem to find acceptance only in those platforms where Turkish views are censored? Isn’t it ironic that the truth is not in what the Armenians say , but ironically, in what they don’t say? Where is the Turkish suffering in your presentations? Where are the Armenian terrorism, armed uprisings, treason? Where is half the story?
Question 21 - Isn’t it a fact that most of the Armenian allegations were proven to be exaggerations, embellishments, distortions, fabrications and/or fraud? Aren’t some celebrated examples of bogus Armenian claims include the infamous Hitler quote, the skull-pyramid photo, the Talaat telegrams, the Andonian files, Musa Dagh episode, Morgenthau’s ghost writers, 1.5 million casualty figure, population statistics, causes, and more? Is it right to treat these unchallenged and baseless Armenian claims as “facts”?
Question 22 - Do you know the difference between “allegations” and “judgments”? Isn’t it true that while anyone can make any claim, only judgments are filtered through the “due process” by careful and orderly cross-examination of factual, relevant input? Have the Armenians ever won a court case authorizing them to use the term genocide? How can they endlessly benefit from a nonexistent “judgment” of genocide?
Question 23 - Are you aware that 127 leading non-governmental organizations in Turkey recently suggested to the Republic of Armenia to take the Republic of Turkey to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands? I agree with those NGOs as it makes a lot of sense to me. Since Armenians seem to have many books, films, exhibitions, witnesses and more, they should have no problems having Turkey convicted. So, what are the Armenians waiting for? Is it because the Turkish archives would be opened for all to see in such a court and Turkish views would be heard perhaps for the first time for most?
Question 23 - Are you aware that the Republic of Turkey just recently made an official offer to the Republic of Armenia recently to establish a joint committee of historians and open all the archives, so that this matter can be studied based on facts and figures, not propaganda and hearsay? Do you know that Turkey’s archives are open, but Armenia’s, the Armenian churches’ and the Armenian Diaspora’s are not ? Do you know that Prime Minister Erdogan said the Turkish side would accept the outcome of such a competent research committee, regardless of which way the final verdict goes: genocide or civil war. So what are the Armenians waiting for? Since you are so convinced, why not say yes to this investigation committee?
Question 24 - Are you aware that the British refused to use the Armenian sources in their Malta Trials (1919-1921)? Do you know that the Armenians filed all the documents you now speak of, although mostly hearsay and accusations, with the court clerk when the British imprisoned the Ottoman leadership to investigate the Armenian charges. Do you also know that the British had to let the Ottoman leaders go free, without filing a single charge? Shouldn’t this be the end of all Armenian allegations?
Question 25 - Don’t partisan presentations such as yours today deliberately distort the truth, deepen divisions and polarizations among the Americans of differing heritage (ie Turks, Azeris, Armenians, and others) and prevent peace?
Question 26 - Isn't it ironic, that we have bombed Yugoslavia punish the Serbians for ethnic cleansing; we have fought Saddam first for aggression and then for supporting international terrorism; but we rewarded with US help when Armenia, a Christian terrorist country, committed all three of these crimes? Didn’t Armenia conduct aggression and ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan since 1994 causing 1 million Azeri refugees to leave their home at gun point? Didn’t Armenia support international terrorism from 197os to present killing, 70+ Turkish diplomats and bystanders worldwide? Isn’t this a double standard on the part of the successive U.S. governments?
Question 27 - Aren’t Armenian allegations of genocide dishonest and racist history? Racist because they imply that Turkish dead do not matter, but Armenian dead do? And dishonest because they deliberately misrepresent as genocide a civil war within a world war caused by Armenian greed, , terrorism , armed revolts, and treason?
Question 28 - Isn’t your presentations typical of the official Armenian propaganda line? Can it pass the "the Four T’s” test:
tumult (as in armed revolts against their own government);
terrorism (both domestic and international, then and now);
treason (as in joining the invading enemy armies); and
Turkish suffering they caused (2.5 million Turks lost their lives during WWI, 523,000 thousand of them at the hands of Armenian nationalists.) ?
Question 29 - Armenians keep saying that they believe genocide is settled history. Since when history has become a matter of “belief”? Isn’t history supposed to be a matter of “scholarship”, as in research, peer review, and debate? One would expect from the organizers to serve the American public by providing a free-speech-platform here where dialogue and thoughtful debate can help to illuminate issues. How does this partisan speech exposing the public only to the biased views of Armenian camp serve the public?
Question 30 - Why do Armenians keep invoking the Jewish Holocaust? Did Jews establish Jewish armies behind German lines? Did Jews kill Germans to terrorize the German population into fleeing? Did they join the invading enemy armies and commit terrorism and stage armed revolts and commit treason? And did they do all that for 25 years prior to 1940 to establish a Jewish state on German soil? Of course, not. But Armenian did all that and much worse between 1890-1915 in Anatolia, victimizing Ottoman-Muslims. How can the two vastly different histories be mentioned in the same breath? How can a civil war be equated to the Holocaust?
Question 31 - Was it genocide or wartime tragedy? If Armenian resorted to terrorism, armed uprisings, and outright treason, and Turks responded to the serious wartime security threats with a wartime measure of temporary resettlement, wouldn’t it make it a civil war?
Question 32 - If it was genocide, where is the court verdict? Where is the proof of intent? If there is no intent, how can there be genocide? Didn’t the Malta Tribunals of 1919-1921 by the British, abandoned due to lack of evidence, prove that today’s Armenian allegations of genocide are nothing more than an afterthought, a new spin on an old event, and a political maneuver?
Question 33 - How come we heard nothing about the Turkish suffering caused by the Armenian nationalists like the Dashnaks, the Hunchaks, the Ramgavar, and others? Weren’t the Turkish losses at least 4 times heavier than Armenian losses?
Question 34 - What about Armenian terrorism, rebellions, and treason? Why didn’t we hear anything about them?
Question 35 - As the prominent Turkish Historian Halacoglu recently said, crying makes poor history. Isn’t it a fact that my grandparents can’t cry on TV today, like those Armenian survivors, because the Armenians and Greeks killed them in Anatolia between 1911-1922 ?
Question 36 - It is well documented that until May 2, 1915, the date of the telegraph by Enver Pasha from the Russian front to Talaat Pasha in Istanbul, there was not even talk of temporary resettlement; so how can it be genocide if there is no intent of killing Armenians?
Question 37 - Where is the right of the Turkish-Americans’ to the freedom of speech with access to this panel denied?
Question 38 - Isn’t New York Times guilty of censoring Turkish views? Didn’t NYT publish 145 anti-Turkish stories in 1915 with zero rebuttals, refutations, or challenges allowed for Turks? Is this the fair and balanced coverage the Armenians are basing their allegations on?
Question 39 - Aren’t Armenian allegations of genocide are dishonest history because they ignore Armenian terror, rebellions, and treason!
Question 40 - How come you always mention denial by the Turkish government when you know we are the Turkish-Americans, not the Turkish government and we also categorically reject the Armenian claims of genocide?
Question 41 - Do you know the first of the six apologies the Turks have been waiting for since the end of WWI which is for Britain to apologize for the wartime propaganda in the “Blue Book” on which today’s genocide claims are built and for raining death and destruction on our grandparents’ in Anatolia?
Question 42 - Did you know that Boghos Nubar Pasha, the Armenian leader, said in a published letter that “Armenians Were de-facto belligerents during WWI”? Doesn’t it prove that it was a civil war?
Question 43 - Do you know the second of apologies Turks have been waiting for since the end of WWI which is for France to apologize for the wartime propaganda in the “Yellow Books” and for raining death and destruction on our grandparents’ in Anatolia?
Question 44 - Do you know the third of six apologies Turks have been waiting for since the end of WWI which is for Russia to apologize for destroying 850 years of harmonious Turkish-Armenian co-habitation in Anatolia?
Question 45 - Do you know the fourth of six apologies Turks have been waiting for since the end of WWI which is for the Protestant Missionaries sent from Boston to apologize for dividing, polarizing, and destroying 850 years of harmonious Turkish-Armenian co-habitation in Anatolia ?
Question 46 - Do you know the fifth of six apologies Turks have been waiting for since the end of WWI which is for the New York Times to apologize for biased coverage of 1915? Did you know NYT published 145 partisan reports defaming Turks versus zero rebuttals by Turks allowed?
Question 47 - Do you know the sixth of six apologies Turks have been waiting for since the end of WWI which is for the Ottoman-Armenians to apologize for destroying 850 years of harmonious Turkish-Armenian co-habitation in Anatolia with their greed, agitation, terrorism, rebellions, and treason?
Question 48 - Did you know the Ottoman Empire loved and cherished the Armenians as “the most loyal nation” but the Armenians betrayed this respect by donning the French and Russian uniforms to kill their Ottoman-Muslim neighbors?
Question 49 - George M. Lamsa, a missionary well known for his research on Christianity, The Secret of the Near East, The Ideal Press, Philadelphia 1923, p 133 said and I quote: "…In some towns containing ten Armenian houses and thirty Turkish houses, it was reported that 40,000 people were killed, about 10,000 women were taken to the harem, and thousands of children left destitute; and the city university destroyed, and the bishop killed. It is a well- known fact that even in the last war the native Christians, despite the Turkish cautions, armed themselves and fought on the side of the Allies. In these conflicts, they were not idle, but they were well supplied with artillery, machine guns and inflicted heavy losses on their enemies…." Isn’t this proof enough of the Armenian fraud and Western complicity?
Question 50 - John Dewey, of the Library Dewey System fame, wrote in The New Republic on 12 November 1928 the following: “...Few Americans who mourn, and justly, the miseries of the Armenians, are aware that till the rise of nationalistic ambitions... the Armenians were the favored portion of the population of Turkey, or that in the Great War, they traitorously turned Turkish cities over to the Russian invader; that they boasted of having raised an Army of one hundred and fifty thousand men to fight a civil war, and that they burned at least a hundred Turkish villages and exterminated their population...” Isn’t this proof enough of the Armenian distortions?
Question 51 - Dr. Gwynne Dyer, a London-based independent journalist, wrote in 1976: “… 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…” Isn’t this a proper description of the Armenian fanaticism?
Question 52 - Georges de Maleville, lawyer and a specialist on the Armenian question, La Tragédie Arménienne de 1915, (The Armenian tragedy of 1915), Editions F. Sorlot-F. Lanore, Paris, 1988, p 61-63, said: “…In all the countries, under all the regimes, the staff of the armies in the field evacuate towards the back, the populations which live in the zone of fights and can bother the movement of the troops, especially if these populations are hostile. Public opinion does not find anything to criticize to these measures, obviously painful, but necessary. During winter of 1939-1940, the radical - socialist French government evacuated and transported in the Southwest of France, notably in the Dordogne, the entire population of the Alsatian villages situated in the valley of the Rhine, to the east of the Maginot line. This German-speaking population, and even sometimes germanophil, bothered the French army. It stayed in the South, far from the evacuated homes and sometimes destroyed until 1945….And nobody, in France, cried out for inhumanity…” Doesn’t this point poignantly to the hollowness of the Armenian claims?
Question 53 - How did “the most loyal nation” in the Ottoman Empire turn into “the most distrusted nation” ? Can Turks be blamed for losing their trust in Armenians after Armenian rebellions and treason?
Question 54 - What about Armenia’s aggression in Karabagh-Azerbaijan since 1988? What about Armenia’s aggression in Azerbaijan since 1992? What about Armenia’s ethnic cleansing both in Karabagh and Azerbaijan since 1992? Why did you ignore one million Azeris expelled from their homes at gun point by Armenian thugs in 1994? Why is everyone so hush-hush about the tragedy of one million Azeri refugees who still brave the freezing Caucasus winters in leaky tents with little food or medicine for the 12th years in a row?
© Ergun KIRLIKOVALI
This article is kindly permitted by Mr Ergun KIRLIKOVALI