23 May 2007
"Genocide scholar" Robert Manne decided to make his mark with the Armenians' story by contending the Gallipoli invasion (April 25) triggered the Armenian "genocide" (April 24). Naturally, since it would be impossible to trigger an event that had already taken place one day earlier (of course, April 24 only has symbolic meaning for Armenians, marking the arrests of over two hundred Armenian ringleaders for revolt in Istanbul; the real beginning of the "genocide" is May 27-June1, when the resettlement policy was implemented), Manne desperately hoped to solidify his theory by going back to the previous month. Here, it was the Allies' bombardment that really served as the trigger, Manne told us, even though the Ottomans' concern during this period rested with the very real danger of the Russians invading from the east; particularly after the Third Army had been decimated at Sarikamish, thanks in no small part to treacherous Ottoman-Armenians.
The reader can tune in to the rest of Manne's unscholarly hijinks on the appropriate page, if interested. The reason for this preface is to explain why this page came about. Manne's main source was Taner Akcam's "A Shameful Act" (which Manne embarrassingly accepted at face value, without digging beneath the surface; in great keeping with the way "genocide scholars" operate, utilizing any corrupt souce as long as their precious genocides are confirmed), and Manne made a big point about Taner Akcam's contention that the "genocide" decision had already been made in March 1915.
It's nothing new for genocide theoreticians to make the case for a decision for this nonexistent genocide, occurring well before May 2nd, when the first serious consideration for the Armenians' forced migration took place. We've heard about:
1) A 1910 agreement which supposedly served as a Wannsee Conference,
2) The "Ten Commandments" forgery,
3) The secret February 1915 meeting described by Mevlanzade Rifat, a Kurd who was an "avowed Ittihadist opponent" (as Dadrian described him) who somehow had access to "one of the super secret meetings of Ittihad, during which the decision for the Armenian genocide was being debated," as Dadrian would further go on to stupidly state. Christopher Walker himself concluded this one as an apparent "fraud." (See Guenter Lewy's "The Ottoman Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide," 2005, pp. 51-3. The Ittihad is Turkish for the CUP, the Young Turk party in charge.)
4) The evil Naim-Andonian forgeries. (By the way, Richard Hovannisian actually gave both Andonian and Rifat credence, in his 1967 "Road to Independence" book.)
So now Akcam, rehashing Dadrian's weasel history, has stressed March 1915 as the time when the "genocide" was decided upon, as he first wrote in the 1999 Turkish version of his 2006 book which Dadrian's Zoryan Institute has released in English. Manne has eagerly grabbed on to this singular source (actually, dual source; Akcam is front man for Dadrian), just as so many (such as Robert Jay Lifton) have amateurishly grabbed on to Dadrian's claims in the past, and calling Akcam "wonderful," to boot.
I have yet to read Akcam's "Shameful" book, since I'd rather risk the corrosive effects of my stomach's acids on a "genocide master" as Dadrian, rather than a "village idiot" as Akcam. But one of our scholarly readers who had already contributed to our Manne page, Erman, has; Erman is fired up enough to check the original Turkish/Ottoman sources that Dadrian/Akcam have unscrupulously distorted, in the knowledge that almost no one has been looking over their greasy shoulders.
Erman has made available the relevant pages of Akcam's book, attempting to prove March 1915 was when (as Manne put it, quoting Akcam): "the fundamental decision to unleash the deportations and the massacres of the Armenians was taken." (Sounds to me like those are two different goals. Putting aside, for the moment, the timing of the decision, what was the ultimate idea... relocation/"deportation," as no one disputes? Or intentional massacres? The latter, by the way, if the plan was to commit massacres here and there instead of an all-out effort (as it sounds, with the word "massacres"), is still worlds apart from an intentional extermination policy, or "genocide." We know it could not have been the latter, because not a single Armenian under Ottoman control would have survived. Even the conclusion of this particular thesis is confused.)
Before we examine Akcam's "proof" for a March decision, let us bear three "big picture" points in mind.
There were arrests, and even what might be called mini-relocations in the first few months of 1915, as war conditions demanded. What is never considered is that Muslims were being relocated as well; in fact, April 24 ironically marks when the governor of Van was looking to "deport" the Muslims of Van, as protection against the rampaging Armenians. 702,900, which Kamuran Gurun mistakenly pointed to as the total for Armenians forced to migrate (in his book, "The Armenian File"), was actually (as Ara Sarafian discovered) the number for either relocated "Turkish" Ottomans or refugees from war. In other words, there was roughly as many "Turks" relocated, or Turkish refugees, as Armenians. (Boghos Nubar's number for "deported" Armenians was 600,000-700,000.)
(Funny, isn't it, that the "Turks" who were relocated, and exposed to the same hardships as the "deported" Armenians, are never discussed.)
In his book, Kamuran Gurun correctly wrote that the May 2 telegram by Enver Pasha is the first serious indication for the decision to move out the Armenians. Now here is the question you must ask yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. When scholarly frauds such as Dadrian and Akcam are telling us that this decision was undertaken in previous months, can you explain how Enver could have possibly written the message he has? (Here is the May 2 telegram.) Remember, this was an internal message, not prepared for public relations purposes. Remember as well that Enver was one of the three Young Turk leaders who gets the "credit" for implementing genocide. Therefore, if the decision for "genocide" had already been made, how could he possibly have written a message as this without referring to the supposed earlier time when the decision had already been made?
The way in which pseudo-scholars such as Robert Manne (if you think "pseudo-scholar" is a cheap shot, review what scholarship entails: the dispassionate examination of all relevant information, not simply the kind that fulfills one's agenda) operate is as though these events took place in a vacuum. All of a sudden, a decision was made to boot out the Armenians, who were just sitting around, minding their own business.
Absolutely no consideration whatsoever as to the driving forces in motion. For thirty-forty years beforehand, Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were corrupted by their terrorist leaders and by the missionaries, the idea of which was to drive them apart from the Turks, with whom they had co-existed for centuries in relative harmony. The extremists among the Armenians had committed the most vile criminal acts, in order to incite Turks to strike back, and to open the doors for European intervention. The revolutionary plan changed in 1908, when the idea became to cooperate with the increasingly mighty Russians, in the conquest of Eastern Anatolia.
At this point, the Armenian population at large, and not just the revolutionaries, had become a threat to the existence of the Ottoman state. (False reasons for "genocide," such as pan-Turkism and Christian hatred, had nothing to do with the ultimate relocation decision; at this time, the Young Turks were still idealistic believers in Ottomanism, and "Turk" was still a dirty word among most Turks.) As a result of their alliance with the Young Turks to bring down Sultan Abdul Hamit, the Dashnaks became a powerful political force (under the millet system, Armenian leadership centered in the clergy; the Dashnaks' answer was to take over the Armenian Church), and nationalism spread like wildfire within the Armenian community. Especially beginning in 1913, traitorous planning and arming was stepped up. Loyal Armenians were made fatal examples of, as in the 1912 case of Van's mayor.
As Louise Nalbandian pointed out, what the Armenian revolutionaires were looking for to carry out their rebellion was war. Their preparations included the 1910 "Instructions" with sections instructing on how "To Attack Villages." (The Armenian Rebellion at Van, p. 183.) Days after war broke out, Armenians stirred trouble in Van and soon eruptions would break out throughout many areas of the empire (consult pp. 196-200 of Gurun’s “The Armenian File,” 1985, for a sampling of internal Ottoman telegram communications, reporting upon many different village outbreaks; here’s a few for the Van area, and one for Sivas).
In line with Turkish tolerance, it took a long time for the Ottoman Turks to protect the nation from Armenian belligerence, taking small gingerly steps at first. (For example, a March 7, 1915 report from Adana's German consul Buege to Ambassador Wangenheim in Istanbul: "[T]he house searches were conducted in a polite manner.") When the Van Province rebellion that began in February and intensified in April-May (in the city of Van) drove home how serious a threat the Armenians posed, the time came to take off the gloves. To illustrate:
"In the early days of the war, army intelligence reports started to indicate that an Armenian revolt had begun and that the situation could have become serious. Officials stressed the need for precautions, but it was too late. It is obvious that the Ottoman government did not yet realize the enormity of its problem in the East. The measures undertaken to stop the rebels were classic operations to fight small bands, protect government installations and facilitate conscription. Martial law had been declared. Armenians who remained in the army were shifted to noncombatant duties, chiefly in labor battalions. Units of soldiers and gendarmes were dispatched to chase rebels and open roads. Where entire villages in sensitive areas such as mountain passes and crossroads had rebelled, they were destroyed. Tax collectors and conscription officers were accompanied by soldiers for their protection. Plans were laid to punish villages that harbored guerillas, although events soon made it nearly impossible to carry these out.  Measures like these were suited to the type of Armenian rebellion seen in past years, but they were to prove insufficient when Armenian actions became a general revolt." (Emphasis Holdwater's; McCarthy, The Armenian Rebellion at Van, 2006, p. 191. This book is a must-read, utilizing honest sources that spell out the historical realities, not the deceptive smoke and mirrors act of Dadrian/Akcam.)
In short: a relocation decision could not have been possible in March because the Ottoman leadership was only learning about the extent of the Armenian threat as the events unfolded. It was only when Van was lost to the Russians did the Ottoman leadership wake up and realize they needed to do something drastic, as the life of their nation hung in the balance. Exactly as Zia Mufty-Zade Bey had spelled out in an Oct. 18, 1915 letter to The New York Times:
"I see the justification of this act of the Ottoman Government in the aide the Armenians gave to the Russians. It is well to notice that only in Van and its neighborhood, where the internal revolt of the Armenians took effect, did the Russians succeed in invading Turkish territory. It stands, therefore, to reason that a legally constituted Government, having been deceived by the treason of a certain element of the population, will take necessarily severe measures..."
Taner Akcam Backs Up the "Decision-in-March" Theory
The following is from Taner Akcam's "A Shameful Act," pp. 152-154; many thanks to Erman for providing the text of these pages, as well as the invaluable research and analysis he performed in relation to critical footnote 20. The "clickable" footnotes are Holdwater's.
It is very likely that the key decisions concerning the massacre were made within the CUP in Istanbul during March 1915. “In these discussions a decision was made that Bahaettin Sakir Bey would resign from his duties pertaining to the country’s foreign enemies and concentrate solely on internal enemies.” Sakir was put in charge of dealing with “the Armenians inside…These discussions concluded with the formulation of the Deportation Law. When Bahaettin Sakir Bey returned to the Caucasian front a short time later the new arrangements had been completely determined.” 20 
The information is confirmed by Ottoman documents. In a telegram sent by Talat to the local authorities in Erzurum on April 5, 1915, he notes that “Bahaettin Sakir will come soon” and that he was bringing money with him. 21 
We have other evidence that the decision was made at the end of March, during the critical days of the Gallipoli campaign, and that it was discussed with the Germans. While the battle for Gallipoli was raging, Enver remarked to Huseyin Cahit that the solution to the Armenian threat was to “remove them… and send them somewhere else.”  In his memoirs, Halil Mentese wrote that the government sent him to Berlin on 18 March to ensure German assistance in holding on to the Balkan road, a German supply corridor. As soon as he reached Berlin, Mentese began holding meetings. At around this time, he received a telegram from Talat telling him, “Wait! We have some important tasks for you.” Mentese proposed that the task he entrusted to Cavit Bey, who was also in Berlin at the time. “No,” came the answer. “This is not something Cavit Bey can do. Wait there.” When Mentese returned to Istanbul in May, Talat met him at the railway station. “Tell me, dear Halil,” he reportedly said. “What did you discuss in Berlin regarding the deportation of Armenians?” 22 
From Cavit Bey’s journal we know that he learned that Mentese was coming to Berlin on 28 February 1915. Mentese duly arrived on 6 March, not March 18.  After several trips elsewhere, Cavit returned to Berlin on 22 March, and met with Mentese on the following day. This meeting is entered in Cavit’s diary on 30 March. At the meeting, Mentese told him about the cable from Istanbul with the orders to remain. 23 Thus, the telegram from Istanbul must have been sent before March 23. Halil himself claimed that the instructions he received, or was about to receive, were to discuss the deportation of Armenians with the Germans. What we may extract from all this is that the decision was made toward the end of March, and that it was probably discussed with the Germans. Cavit Bey’s diary indicates that he had no knowledge of these discussions. The timing of the decision is especially significant because it was taken ahead of the Armenian uprising in Van in late April 1915, even though the uprising is usually presented as the reason for the decision. 
In a report, Paul Rohrbach, a friend of Talat Pasha, quoted a speech given by a Russian deputy in the Duma. The deputy, Miljukow, mentioned a meeting between Enver and Wangenheim, the German ambassador to the Porte, quoting from Wangenheim’s own report. The passage he quotes is identical to Enver’s comments to Huseyin Cahit..Enver reportedly told the ambassador that the interests of state necessitated the deportation of the Armenians, and he asked the Germans not to stand in the Ottomans’ way, and even to help. According to the Russian deputy’s allegations, Wangenheim reported the conversation to Berlin as a “ready plan.” 24 
We have many indications that the decision for genocide was made by the CUP Central Committee deliberately and after long consideration.  The postwar indictment of Unionist leaders provides some valuable information.  “The massacre and eradication of Armenians,” it states, “was the result of a decision made by the Central Commitee of the Committee of Union and Progress.” These decisions were made after “wide- ranging and in-depth discussions.” The indictment records Dr. Nazim’s statement that the Armenian question “had been decided by the Central Committee after long and in-depth discussions,” and that “this initiative would settle the eastern Question.” 25 
The governor-general of Aleppo, Celal, said in his rnemoirs that he heard this from a deputy in Konya.  The deputy told Celal that if “he were to oppose their point of view on this matter they would get rid of him.” 26  Further, Ihsan Bey, head of the special bureau of the Interior Ministry, gave testimony in Istanbul that when he was prefect of Kilis, Deputy Director of the Office for the Resettlement of Tribes and Refugees Abdul’ahad Nuri Bey, coming to Aleppo from Istanbul, told him that the intention behind deportation was extermination.”I was in contact with Talat Bey,” said Nuri, “and personally received the annihilation order.” He tried to convince Ihsan Bey by arguing that “it was for the safety of the country.” 27 
Vehip Pas[h]a, who was appointed commander of the Third Army in February 1916, said in his written testimony of December 1918:
These atrocities, committed according to a clear program and with absolute intent, were carried out at the orders and supervision of first, members of the Union and Progress Central Committee, and second, by leading members of government who, by casting aside law and conscience, served as tools for the designs of the Committee. 28 
Vehip added that government officials, despite being fully aware of these crimes, did nothing to stop them and even encouraged them. 29 The verdict in one of the postwar trials in Istanbul mentions the decision to massacre as having been made by the Central Committee and conveyed to the provinces by special couriers. 30
Foreign observers confirmed this account. Stange, a German officer who worked with the Special Organization’s armed gangs on the Caucasian front  , wrote that the government had a “fear of Armenians that was out of all proportion to the powerless condition in which they lived.” He added that had the decision to deport the Armenians been made by the army, one would have expected steps to be taken to protect the deportees’ lives and possessions.  “Hundreds and thousands were murdered,” Stange wrote, “the authorities helped themselves to anything left behind, houses, shops, goods…. The Armenian church had assets worth about 150,000 lira… the evictions were carried out in inhumane conditions and families and women were driven away with no protection…One feels justified surmising that the main aim was to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to implement a long-held plan to weaken, if not destroy, the Armenian people, while there would be no protest from the outside world. The military imperatives and the various rebellions only provided welcome pretexts.” 
20. Ibid [Mil, “Umumi Harpte”], Installment no. 98 (10 Subat/February 1934); Installment no. 100 (12 Subat/February 1934).
21. BA/DH/SFR., 51-215, 1333CA 20. I thank Fuat Dundar for bringing the document to my attention.
22. Halil Mentese’nin Anilari, pp. 213-1. After reading news of Talat, Mentese claims that “there was no answer for a long time,” but he does not mention when the answer did come. The period of time spent in Berlin was “close to two months,” he says. If we assume that he went to Berlin on 18 March, then he must have returned around the beginning of May.
23. “Maliye Naziri Cavit Bey’in Notlari, Turkiye’nin 1. Dunya Savasina Girmesi,” Tanin, 22, 24, 27, 28 Birincikanun (December) 1944.
24. PA-AA/R 1409, Report by Paul Rohrbach, dated 13 May 1916.
25. First session, Main indictment, Takvim-I Vekayi, no. 35-40 (27 Nisan 1335/27 April 1919).
26. “Halep Valisi Cela’in Anilari,” Vakit,
27. First session, main indictment, Takvim-I Vekayi, no. 35-40 (27 Nisan 1335/27 April 1919).
28. Testimony of Vehip Pasa; Vehip Pasa's testimony, supplied to the Inquiry Commission on 5 December 1918, played an important part in the Harput and Trabzon trials, as well as in the main trial. In the 29 March 1919 session of the Trabzon trial, it was read out in full, and was actually included in the verdict of the Harput trial.
30. Tercuman Hakikat, 5...(August) 1920.
31. PA-AA/Bo. Kons./B. 170, Report by Stange, dated 23 August 1915.
1. This "evidence" may be the most powerful indication that there was a March decision, given what appears to be a credible source, and this is the one we have to focus much attention on. (Even though the timing — that is, whether the "Deportation Law" was formulated in March — is missing. Note as well how Akcam's paragraph begins by referring solely to "massacre," as though relocation is a synonym for massacres, or genocide.) What is this 1934 source, exactly? It was a series of articles appearing in a newspaper about the memoirs of a Special Organization officer nicknamed "A. Mil." In the 1990s, these memoirs were collected and made into a book, and the man's real name turned out to be Cemil Arif. Erman found the book, and hunted for the "March 1915" section that Dadrian/Akcam used from the newspaper.
Arif seems to be following a chronological order in the telling of events without referring to any particular dates. In earlier pages devoted to other events not having anything to do with the Armenian relocation, February is mentioned, and in later pages (again unrelated to Armenians) there is a March reference. It appears, therefore, that this Sakir story took place in March. Sakir is said to have left Artvin (a Russian town taken by the Ottomans at the outset of war in 1914; Sakir was commander of the Special Organization), moved to Erzurum and thereafter arrived in Istanbul (where these meetings are said to have taken place); a rough translation from the book version is as follows:
"Dr. Bahaettin Sakir has witnessed many facts during the period of the four-five months he has spent in Erzurum and at different points of the Caucasian front. The attitude the Armenians have taken up against Turkey and the assistance they provided to the Russian army has led him [Sakir] to the conviction that it was necessary to fear the internal enemies as much as the external ones. The Armenians inside through the banditry organization were threatening the rear of our army and were trying to cut our lines of retreat. Because of its significance, below I provide one of these instruction documents [of Armenian bands] related to the future movements of Armenian bands containing everything including the little details.” (After quoting from a five-page instruction report of the Armenian bands, Arif continues.) "These discussions finally resulted in the formulation of the relocation decision. When Dr. Bahaettin Sakir Bey returned to the Caucasian front after a while, the new situation [became newly apparent. But we won't touch these matters] because the issue of the relocation of Armenians was completely out of the Special Organization’s scope."
How do you like that! Dadrian's witness, Arif, as part of the Special Organization (S. O.), murderously verifies the S. O. had nothing to do with Armenians. (The S. O., of course, is Dadrian's invented "Gestapo Fall Guy.")
We can see Dadrian/Akcam's presentation is totally warped. First, Sakir was not "put in charge" of internal enemies, because it is Sakir himself who is said to have made this decision in the original source. Secondly, and more importantly, note how Dadrian/Akcam refer to the Armenians as “the Armenians inside," making it sound as though all Armenians were in line to get hit by Sakir, when the phrase referred strictly to Armenian rebels or activists via their "banditry organization."
Likewise the sentence, "When Bahaettin Sakir Bey returned to the Caucasian front... the new arrangements had been completely determined,” is completely taken out of context. Akcam gives the impression that based on the supposed extermination plan new regulations were put into practice by the S.O. and Sakir, yet Dadrian/Akcam's very own source maintains that this relocation matter was totally out of the S.O.’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, it is not that "new arrangements had been completely determined”; the correct translation tells us that a new situation or a new state of affairs had emerged.
Erman notes that the book version is the accurate one, and its words and sentences are in line with Akcam’s 1999 Turkish version of his "Shameful" book. However, in the Turkish book too, Akcam makes manipulations.
In addition, Erman raises the point that we can only wonder what the "March" reference relates to. For example, was it related to the general relocation that began in June, or to local ones? (There were some earlier local and limited relocations in some areas such as Erzurum and Zeitun prior to the Van rebellion, for example.)
Once again, we get another confirmation as to how much Dadrian (and his Turkish instrument) think nothing of displaying such a lack of scholarly ethics, as long as their propagandistic agenda keeps getting affirmed. And those such as Robert Manne think nothing of obliterating their own scholarly credibility by referring to Taner Akcam as "wonderful." (Not that such a description is wholly inaccurate; Taner Akcam does make one wonder, all right.)
2. This does not confirm anything in regards to the relocation decision. It only tells us that Sakir was expected in Istanbul for what could have been any number of reasons. Furthermore, if this message was related at all to the Shakir story we have read earlier, the date for which was undetermined, we can see from this one's April date expecting Shakir's visit that we moved even farther away from March. The best information to be gleaned here is that Akcam's copy-pasting from Dadrian's work is interrupted once in a while by the help he receives from some probably "Radikal"-minded Turks in Turkey, in this case, "Fuat Dundar."
3. "The battle for Gallipoli was raging" after the Allies had landed on April 25, and we already know from Enver's May 2 telegram (i.e., one week later) that he was of the mind to “remove (the Armenians)… and send them somewhere else.” Is this supposed to serve as "evidence that the decision was made at the end of March"?
What we have here is a great example of Dadrian's "scattershot approach." Dadrian bombards us with so many of the different details he has compulsively gathered through the years, that their collective impact makes it appear as though we have back-to-back "genocide evidence." Yet when one takes the time to really look, one can see it amounts to a big, fat nothing.
4. The word to focus on here, regarding what Talat told Mentese, is "reportedly." Since the source is Halil Mentese's memoirs, we are to assume all of this information was derived from these memoirs. Every other bit of information is presented as a "fact" coming from the pages of these memoirs, but only when we get to the critical "Armenian" part are we hit with the word "reportedly." Why was this distinction made? Only a reading of this book will tell the tale as to what Dadrian/Akcam distorted this time. However, it could be that these "important tasks" were not spelled out in these memoirs, and Dadrian/Akcam are indulging in their favorite game of speculation. (The only indication we have that the tasks were Armenian-related will be tackled in the footnote following next.) Furthermore, if Talat really asked how the Armenian topic was handled in Berlin, the question was posed in mid-to-late May, after Mentese's two-month stint in Berlin was up. It could be the Armenian matter was raised toward the end of the stint, as the CUP began to seriously consider the resettlement possibility after May 2nd. A question to be asked is, if these "important tasks" really included the relocation decision, what was the idea? If the Ottomans made up their minds about the necessity to move out the Armenians, what was there to discuss? Is Akcam implying the CUP was trying to get the Germans' permission? All the Ottomans could have done was to inform their German allies of their plans, and it really would have boiled down to delivering a simple message. This is something anyone could have handled, even Cavit Bey, so the logical conclusion is that the "important tasks" were referring to something altogether different.
5. Who are Dadrian/Akcam to tell us when the accurate arrival date was? It could easily turn out that Cavit Bey was the mistaken one. Naturally, it would suit Dadrian/Akcam's purposes to make the visit sooner rather than later (to better squeeze the decision into March), and this is why we are being asked to believe Cavit rather than Mentese.
6. "Halil himself claimed that the instructions he received, or was about to receive, were to discuss the deportation of Armenians with the Germans." Since that is the "make or break" argument, a footnote would have been absolutely critical. There is none. It looks like we are being expected to take Dadrian/Akcam's "word." In addition, please examine Akcam's next sentence: "What we may extract from all this is that the decision was made toward the end of March, and that it was probably discussed with the Germans." Why "probably"? If Mentese has conclusively written in his memoirs that these "important tasks" boiled down to the "deportation of Armenians," then unless he decided to ignore such orders, he would have "definitely" discussed the matter with the Germans, and not "probably." What do these clues tell those of us who have not had the opportunity to consult Mentese's memoirs? They tell us Dadrian/Akcam's Dashnak "word" is meaningless.
7. Absolutely nothing presented so far allows us to "extract from all this... that the decision was made toward the end of March." no matter how many distortions and mistranslations have been provided by these two con men. Furthermore, the uprising in Van that began in late April (specifically, a couple of days before April 20) only applies to the city of Van. The uprisings in Van Province had been going on as soon as war was declared by Russia, gaining momentum in the months ahead. To give an idea, the Erzurum governor, Tahsin Bey, reported on December 21, 1914 that the Armenians of the Karc[h]ekan and Gevas[h] districts of Van Proviince were in revolt, cutting telegraph wires and attacking the kaymakam (district head official), and that the gendarmerie forces were insufficient to put down the revolt. (The Armenian Rebellion at Van, p. 195.) More than a thousand Armenians from Timar (north of Van) and surrounding areas began a revolt in February that soon spread, attacking neighboring Muslim villages and killing Muslim villagers.(P. 193.) The Armenian rebellion had fully begun by February, and not only in the Van Province; Bitlis, Sivas, Adana and Erzurum were also being attacked. "By March 1915 the Eastern Anatolian countryside was completely at war," increasing in a "planned and methodical manner." (P. 195.) The Dashnak chairman of the Armenian Defense Council in the Old City of Van, Haig Gossoian (Gassoyan), in a brief description of the council and its prewar preparations, wrote the rebellious work had begun in October 1914. (P. 198; provided source: The Epic Story, p. 13.) The rebellion was no joking matter, and all of it must be taken into account as leading to the relocation decision, not simply the decisive revolt in the city of Van.
8. As this report is dated May 1916, it is absolutely irrelevant as "proof" that the relocation decision was made over one year ago, in March. (So why is it being included? Again, it's the old scattershot approach. The reader is hit on all sides, all in an attempt to detract and confuse.) Yet, let's examine what is being said here. Enver told Ambassador Wangenheim that the plan was to move out the Armenians, the Germans should butt out and even help. Yeah, so? That is probably exactly what Enver said, and what does it prove? (Of course, genociders are hoping for the suckers who listen to think relocation equals genocide. It does not.)
Baron Von Wangenheim
What is especially revealing with this anecdote is that while we don't know when the exchange occurred (Wangenheim wrote in an April 30, 1915 letter to Berlin [A-15363, No. 267] that "The events in Van and the recent attacks by the Russians on the Bosporus and by the united French and English troops on the Dardanelles would not be without influence on the decision of the government," implying he did not know about the decision for "deportation." The reason he did not know is because the decision was not made. Enver's May 2 telegram is the first indication of this decision, so our best guess must be that Enver spoke with Wangenheim after May 2), we can see the decision having been made in March is total bunk. If the Germans knew in March, Wangenheim, the German ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, would have had to be in the loop. There is no way Wangenheim could have written his April 30 letter if he had already known. Furthermore, there is no reason why Enver would have needed to tell Wangenheim, since Taner Akcam has asked us to believe Mentese had already covered this ground with the Germans in March. (Taner Akcam really is a "Shameful Liar.")
9. No decision for "genocide" was made, because there was no genocide. A decision for resettlement was definitely made, reluctantly, and after "long consideration," even as treacherous Armenian attacks were piling up over the half-year since war's beginning.
10. The 1919-20 postwar Ottoman kangaroo courts mean nothing. Even the British rejected their findings, in preparation for their own Malta Tribunal. Naturally, these fake courts from the beaten and occupied Ottoman Empire form Dadrian's bread and butter, and since Akcam is a low-grade "xerox copy" of Dadrian, Akcam must point to the value of these courts as well... the legality of which is on a par with the courts of Vichy France, under Nazi occupation.
11. This court was the product of the corrupt postwar Ottoman administration, known to do anything to remain in power, especially kowtow to the victorious allies. One purpose of the courts was retribution (another purpose we can learn from Dadrian himself), and a reasonable byproduct of such an illegal undertaking is that any claim could be made without evidence, very much in line with how Dadrian/Akcam present their own "genocide evidence."
12. Key phrase: "he heard." In other words: "hearsay." In other words: how the bulk of the case for genocide is made.
13. Some Ottoman officials protested the relocation, as obviously people who were entirely innocent were swept along for the ride. What exactly was Celal opposing? Relocation? Most probably. But since relocation equals genocide in genocide-speak, our "wonderful Turkish historian," as Robert Manne has described Akcam, hopes that you will believe that Celal was opposing an order for extermination.
14. Remember, gang; Nuri was one of the Ottoman officials Aram Andonian victimized through his forgeries. Andonian put words into Nuri's mouth in eight telegrams, where Nuri emerged as another Heinrich Himmler. Here, Dadrian/Akcam are pointing to Nuri as a credible witness against Talat Pasha, while elsewhere they will have you believe Nuri played a major hand in extermination. (Dadrian/Akcam do so by expecting you to swallow Andonian's evil work as authentic.) So if Nuri was such a mad dog killer, why are Dadrian/Akcam expecting us to take Nuri's word for anything? (Ironic, isn't it? Another irony is that Nuri wasn't even arrested by the British.)
Naturally, all we have is the hearsay of Ihsan Bey, quoted out of context, as the documentation for these proceedings are unavailable. If true, we don't know what motivated Ihsan Bey; he could have been saying anything to escape the hangman's noose himself. Prof. Guenter Lewy's take on Ihsan Bey:"In the absence of corroboration from other reliable sources, it seems difficult to consider this testimony evidence in any meaningful sense of the term." (The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, p. 81.)
15. Prof. Lewy on Vehip Pasha (p. 81): "Parts of this deposition were included in the indictment of the main trial and in the verdict of the Harput trial, but an indictment is not proof of guilt. The context of the quoted remarks has been lost. While the entire text of the deposition was allegedly read into the record of the Trabizond trial on March 29, 1919, the proceedings of this trial are not preserved in any source; only the verdict is reprinted in the official gazette." Here is insight as to what made Vehip tick.
16. While Akcam does not go so far as to call Stange a Special Organization commander as does his mentor, Vahakn Dadrian, the truth is there is no evidence linking Stange with direct Special Organization involvement. See Lewy, pp. 84-5, or this abbreviated version. Note the 2-3,000 irregulars Stange worked with in his detachment were not "armed gangs," but Georgian Muslims (Laz and Acar) who had volunteered to fight the Russians. The Stange Detachment also included... Armenians! Dr. Ed Erickson researched primary Ottoman documents on Stange's background, and concluded that Stange was given command of all units at one point, including the S.O.; but in reality, the S.O. took its orders from Sakir. ("Stange controlled neither the Special Organization nor the volunteers, he sent coordination copies of his own detachment orders to Halit, who passed these on to the adjacent volunteers. This was a clumsy arrangement, and there is no indication that the Special Organization and volunteers reciprocated.")
17. Steps were taken to "protect the deportees’ lives and possessions," except they weren't always very good steps. This is why U.S. war correspondent and genuine eyewitness George Schreiner wrote that the Armenians' miserable experience had less to do with "intentional brutality," than with "Turkish ineptness." On the other hand, let's look at the situation in perspective: we are dealing with the bankrupt "Sick Man of Europe" here, with insufficient manpower and resources. The nation was in the fight for its life (history tells us that fight was lost), and everyone was dying in droves from hunger and sickness. Under the circumstances, the Ottomans thought they were doing the best they could. Sometimes they suffered from a false "things will work out" optimism, as with the Sarikamish disaster. When things went wrong, as when Armenians got massacred, the Ottomans made changes, such as with choosing alternate routes to minimize the chance of lawless bands or Kurds to descend upon the Armenians. In the aftermath of the chaos of war, it is always easy to look at the choices made and to determine things could, in retrospect, have been done differently.
18. This passage brings to mind the old expression, "Fiction is Stanger than truth." Yes, there is no end of bigoted westerners weaned on "Terrible Turk" stories to think the worst of Turks, and to accept any hearsay account to feel "justified surmising." How did Stange get his information? He relied primarily upon Consul Scheubner-Richter in Erzurum (Lewy, p. 227), whose sympathies for fellow Christian Armenians are by now well known. (Scheubner-Richter went as far as to once dumbly write, “The Armenians of Turkey for all practical purposes have been exterminated," a contention at odds with the Armenian Patriarch himself.) And how did the bigoted consul get his primary information? From Armenians, who almost certainly served as his interpreters, and missionaries; Scheubner-Richter also served as ambassador to Britain for ten years, where constant exposure to the hysterical anti-Turkish British press surely must have deepened his own existing bigotry.
Ironically Stange, a favorite Dadrian witness, has been accused by Dadrian as being one of the "arch-accomplices in the implementation of the massacres." Yet when it suits Dadrian's purposes, such an alleged mass-murderer becomes a credible witness. In addition, Stange also opined "the decision to eradicate the Armenians during the war was made a long time before the outbreak of the war,” a contention Akcam is certainly aware of as Dadrian has repeated it often. So Stange is contradicting Akcam's own "decision in March" thesis, yet Akcam has no problem in finding Stange credible, when it suits Akcam. (Naturally, Stange was in no position to factually back up his own ludicrous claim.)
The August 23, 1915 Stange report is one that Prof. Lewy read in its original German, and this is the one where Dadrian was exposed in practicing his trademark dishonesty. For example, Stange reports the north-of-Erzurum Armenians "were murdered, with the acquiescence and even the assistance of the military escort, by so-called [volunteers], [tribesmen] and similar scum." Dadrian omits the phrase "wiith the acquiescence." More importantly, the term "Special Organization" appears nowhere in Stange's document. (Lewy, p. 84.)
Note that practically everything Akcam has written (or more precisely, copy-pasted from the deceitful Dadrian) is steeped in exaggeration and falsehood. Can you imagine if his entire book were dismantled in the same fashion as these three representative pages? What a telling sign of the thickness of anti-Turkish prejudice, that this "Shameful" book has been accepted as accurate in so many Western quarters. Unfortunately, in such a hateful environment, we can't even expect supposed scholars such as Robert Manne to do their scholarly duty, which is to question.
And then Taner Akcam, who employs the same sleazy standards as his immoral master, would have the audacity to write:
"Suspicion within the academic community as to whether or not sources have been honestly and accurately presented is something that can poison the entire scientific milieu"
How does this ex-PKK terrorist and "wonderful Turkish historian" look at himself in the mirror? Truly, it boggles the mind.
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows: