1914) Some More Ugly Lies About Ataturk

Over the last several years, I have noticed that with increasing frequency Armenians have been deliberately trying to associate Turkey's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, with their infamous genocide allegations. For example, in the video to the Armenian-American rock group System of a Down's song about the Armenian "Genocide," aside from numerous pictures of dubious veracity taken from the Armenian Youth Federation, established by the Dashnak Revolutionaries, pictures of Ataturk were featured several times [1]. Underneath his pictures, the words "Responsible for the Armenian Genocide" are written, while the words "Liar" and "Killer" are sung in the background. . .

This same accusation is repeated in numerous Armenian websites, including http://www.armenian-genocide.org, which states: "Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ) was the founder of the Republic of Turkey and the consummator of the Armenian Genocide."

This false accusation has even found its way into academic environments; for example, the poster advertising a talk organized by the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus features a picture of Ataturk with the caption, "The Face of Denial Does not Lie." Even more abominable is that the Armenians doctored the photograph, replacing the four little dogs by Ataturk's feet with the dead body of an Armenian child! [2]

Another lie that I've seen commonly tossed about by various Armenian authors is the notion that Ataturk himself recognized the Armenian Genocide!

Seephan Parseghian (student): "Even Mustafa Kemal Ataturk condemned the Young Turks for carrying out the Genocide." [3]

Harut Sassounian (newspaper editor): "Even the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, recognized the Genocide in a 1926 interview." [4]

Vakhn Dadrian (the most famous Armenian Genocide "scholar" and probably the authority other Armenian authors rely on as their source of this myth): "In a subsequent interview with Swiss journalist Emile Hilderbrand (June, 1926), he (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk) castigated in the strongest language the Ittihadist leaders for deporting "and massacring millions of our Christian subjects." " [5]

However, analysis of the alleged interview that was published in the Los Angeles Examiner reveals that in fact the source and article are fraudulent. Prof. Turkkaya Atatov has published a good article revealing the truth behind the article [6], but let me summarize just two of the most important inconsistancies:

1. The alleged article is published as being "by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk" and begins with the words "I shall�" Not only is this inconsistent with the assertion that there was an interview, but Ataturk is not known to have signed his name to any articles appearing in the foreign press. Furthermore, the Turkish versions of foreign interviews have always appeared in more than one national publication. Yet there is no trace of this interview anywhere in any records or Turkish newspapers! Besides, why would such important interview get published only in an obscure, minor newspaper, located half-way across the world?

2. A note with the article states that the copyright of the text is owned by the "World-Wide News Service, Inc. of Boston." Boston just happens to be a city that hosts one of America's largest concentrations of Armenians, and was also home to the headquarters of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation branch in America. Furthermore, the Encyclopedia of American Journalism does not even list a news agency by that name.

Ataov details in his article other inconsistencies as well, such as the reference to an assassination plot that occurred three years after the article was allegedly written, and to other factual errors or stylistic inconsistencies with Ataturk's writings. I could go on and on, but let it suffice me to say that no biographer of Ataturk has ever given credence to the veracity of this article, so clearly doctored up by Armenian Dashnak activists.

Which brings me to a point that I have often pondered when I see Armenians accusing Ataturk of complicity in "genocide": how on earth do they try to justify such an absurd claim, when everyone knows that Ataturk's duties took him far away from Armenians, and that he truly "came on the scene" in 1919, when he began organizing the Turkish resistance to Allied occupation?

The relocation of Armenians began in mid 1915, ending in mid 1918 by an Ottoman decree this time permitting Armenians to go back to their homes. Indeed, in 1918 a peace treaty (the Treaty of Batum) was even signed between the Ottomans and Armenia, ending all fighting. Even ArmenianGenocide.Org admits that Ataturk "stayed out of politics until 1919." So on what basis to they blame Ataturk?

As I have mentioned in previous articles on this subject, Armenians often claim that "genocide" occurred between 1914, the year World War I began, and 1923, the year the Republic of Turkey was established, despite the fact that relocations occurred from between . This is especially ironic because from the beginning of 1914 to mid 1915, Ottoman archives document that about 100,000 Turks were killed during the attacks of Armenian revolutionaries seeking the establishment of an independent Armenia! It was these massacres of Turks which triggered the relocations in the first place.

Furthermore, Armenian revolutionaries paid no heed to the 1918 peace treaty, instead trying to exploit the demilitarization of the Ottomans after the war per the Mondros Armistice to try to conquer Eastern Anatolia and annex it as part of Caucasian Armenia. In 1919, the Turkish people were being invaded both by Armenians on the eastern and southern fronts (with the French), as well as on the west, by the Greeks. Istanbul was occupied by the British, and Turks faced the possibility of being ruled by foreign powers, loosing sovereignty over most of their homeland, Anatolia.

The inter-ethnic conflicts that consumed Anatolia between 1919 and 1921 have no relation to the relocations that occurred between 1915 and 1918. The Ottoman government had ceased to exist for all intents and purposes, its Sultan held captive by the Allies in his own capitol. The only hope for the Turkish people was resisting foreign occupation by their own means. This was a time in which even women took up arms to defend their homes and children. Ottoman archives document that during this period over 400,000 Turks were slaughtered by Armenians. In 1921, another peace treaty (the Treaty of Kars) was signed, in which today's Turkish-Armenian border was established. Thus, between 1921 and 1923 there was not even any violence between Armenians and Turks!

But let me return again to the claims made by Armenians. ArmenianGenocide.Org claims that Ataturk was responsible for genocide because January 1920 battle for Marash, claiming that the "attack by Kemalist units against the city of Marash�was accompanied by large scale slaughtering of Armenians." Robert Zeidner, in his book "Tricolor over the Taurus," describes the many inhumanities to which the Turkish population was subjected to during the French occupation of Cilicia, including the attacks of the Armenian Legion, trained and armed by France. He also notes, however, that accounts of the Battle of Marash are conflicting. In almost every instance, Allied records conflict with Turkish records on this subject. Contrary to Armenian claims, in Turkish history Marash has come to be known as Courageous Marash (Kahramanmarash) because of the population's valiant defense against Armenian and French attacks. What happened was a battle, and in battle there often is indiscriminate violence on both sides. The Turkish side also has huge losses and thousands of horror stories about Armenian atrocities. Losses during armed conflict can hardly be termed genocide!

Their next accusation is that Ataturk was allegedly responsible for the burning of Smyrna (Izmir) in September 1922, which started in the Armenian quarter, and "consumed the entire Christian section of the city and drove the civilian population to the shore�With this exodus from the mainland, Mustafa Kemal completed what Talat and Enver had started in 1915, the eradication of the Armenian population of Anatolia and the termination of Armenian political aspirations in the Caucasus."

Again, flowery exaggeration contorted to serve their agenda. In 1922, the Turkish people had finally succeeding in regaining military control over most of Anatolia, driving out the occupying Greek army. Already in a position of victory, why on earth would Ataturk burn a city which he was clearly in control of? Not only is the accusation just plain illogical, but there are so many conflicting accounts that the fact is we really don't know who burned Izmir! Mark Prentiss, an American industrial engineer present in Smyrna at the time, claims it was the Greeks who did it. Other accounts blame the Armenians. And yes, there are those who blame the Turks, such as George Horton and Marge Housepian. But most scholars doubt their impartiality. There are still other theories that the fire was simply an accident. Again, the event is totally irrelevant to any genocide accusation, because not only is there no definitive proof that Turks started the fire, but there is also clearly no sign that anyone intended to "exterminate" Armenians!

The final charge against Ataturk is that he pressured France to give up control of Hatay (Alexandretta) to Turkey, which according to ArmenianGenocide.Org , was home to 23,000 Armenians at that time. A referendum was conducted in which a majority of the inhabitants of Hatay chose to become part of Turkey. However, apparently many Armenians did not wish to be under Turkish rule, so they immigrated to other countries. What then, is Ataturk's alleged crime? "His action precipitated the final exodus of Armenians from Turkey in 1939." Wow, again irrelevant to accusations of genocide, as in this case, no Armenian even died!

Why then, are Armenians so keen to try to associate Ataturk with genocide? I really don't know. Perhaps it is because creating a connection with Ataturk is the only way they can pin the blame (and responsibility) of Armenian losses on today's Turkish Republic (not just the Ottomans). Perhaps it is because that as a result of Ataturk's leadership, they couldn't conquer eastern Anatolia and annex it to Armenia in 1919. Perhaps it is because they simply choose to hate the man that Turks revere and respect the most.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that these accusations are nothing more than a lie.
[1] "Holy Mountain" video clip by System of a Down: http://youtube.com/watch?v=r6cUMGTjF0w

[2] For a picture of the doctored poster and original photograph, see http://img158.imageshack.us/img158/2568/sahtekarlarupload5sh.png

[3] Seephan Parseghian, "Denial, Politics, and Justice: The Forgotten Genocide" in Six Degrees, A Stanford Journal of Human Rights. http://www.stanford.edu/group/sixdegrees/issues/sd-spring04-full.pdf

[4] http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=FOX-TV_Airs_Armenian_Genocide_Program

[5] Vahakn N. Dadrian , "Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in Turkish Sources." (Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, edited by Israel Charny, Vol 2. 1991; pp.86-138.)

[6] Turkkaya Atatov, "Statement (1926) Wrongly Attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk," Ankara, 1984.

Sevgi Zübeyde GÜRBÜZ
© 2006 Turkish Journal


Anonymous said...

You ask "Why then, are Armenians so keen to try to associate Ataturk with genocide?"

Because time and time again, Armenians have demonstrate that the truth, academic intergrity and logic are of no import when it comes to their genocide allegations.

Even today, after 9/11, Armenians in the U.S. still claim that ASALA, their terrorist organization, was justified in murdering innocent civilians up until the mid to late 1980s to promote genocide awareness. They are so blinded by the hatred they are fed and nurtured with that they cannot see the hypocrisy in killing innocent civilians to publicize their so-called genocide.

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