In his post The Truth (Wordpress.com link) See below for the text for those who cannot access from Turkey, Michael states:
“Turks, on the other hand, have to stop automatically dismissing any claims as well.”
This is one of the typical misconceptions about the Turks. Turks do not dismiss any claims that are real facts. They only argue allegations which does not reflect the truth.
Turks recognize that the orders for relocation, similar to the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, was in fact made possible by the government of Ottoman Empire, and no Turk wishes to minimize the scope of Armenian suffering. However, they are likewise cognizant that it cannot be viewed as separate from the suffering experienced by the Muslim inhabitants of the region. Overall, in addition to Armenians, hundreds of thousands of Turks, Kurds, and Jews perished during those tragic days.
A very good example of the Turks’ suffering in the hands of Armenians, was documented by a Russian Lieutenant Colonel named Tverdohlebov in his notes pertaining to the Armenians’ attitude towards the Turks living in Erzurum and in the settlements nearby, between the outbreak of the Russian Revolution and the delivering of Erzurum by the Turkish Forces on March 12, 1918. Lt. Col. Tverdohlebov’s notes included some very gruesome acts carried out by Armenians. He wrote:
A contractor working at the Alaca Logistics Support Command, told us about a despicable event that took place in Alaca on February 27. The Armenians nailed a Turkish woman upon a wall alive; took her heart out and placed it on her head. (Page 57).
The copies of his hand written notes titled “I witnessed and Lived through- Erzurum 1917-1918″ in Russian, with its Turkish, English and French translations, can be downloaded here. (English version is between page nos 50-92. Copies of the original pages start at page 130.)
Lt.Col. Tverdohlebov’s notes end with the following remarks:
Now I am most grateful to God for not letting me leave the city with the Armenians – about whom the ancient Roman historian Petroni declared “The Armenians are certainly human, but at home they go all on fours;” and again about whom the Russian poet Lermontov justly said “Thou art a slave, thou art a coward, and thou art an Armenian!” – after witnessing what they did in Erzurum before they left, and learning the number of the unarmed elderly people, women, and children whom they massacred.
What Turks also do not accept is the allegation that all this was carried out systematically, to wipe a certain ethnic group off the face of the earth. If that were true, Armenians living in the Western part of the Empire would also have been relocated or killed as well, but in reality they weren’t, and they lived perfectly well through present times. And these are the same Armenians the Diaspora Armenians do not even consider as Armenians (Wordpress.com link).
Let us also study the numbers which is debated:
In the pending H.Res 106 at the Congress, it is stated that:
The “Armenian Genocide” was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.
The foremost authority on the Armenian Genocide “Vahakn Dadrian” himself has written that:
What is referred to as a genocide had “all but run its course” by 1916; defeated in 1918, the Ottoman Empire came to end as an entity not long after. Therefore, a practically non-existent government could not have “carried out” genocide until 1923.
The consensus of contemporary western opinion, e.g., the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, settled on 1.5 million as the total pre-war Ottoman-Armenian population, and even Dadrian vouches for 1 million survivors. At the end of 1918, the Armenian leader Boghos Nubar spoke of the resettlement of 600,000-700,000 Armenians, not “nearly 2,000,000″ as alleged. The half-million -not “1,500,000″, mostly died (not “killed”) of famine and disease factors, also claiming most of the 2.7 million other Ottoman fatalities.
Armenian propagandists claim that as many as 1,5 to 2 million Armenians died as the result of massacres. Like the rest of their claims, this also is highly exaggerated, with the number claimed being increased over time. At first, immediately following the war the Armenians claimed that as many as 600,000 had been killed. Later they raised it to 800.000 and now they talk about two million and tomorrow they may talk of even three million.
It is impossible to determine the number exactly, since no complete death records of statistics were kept during those years. The only basis on which even an estimate can be made is the actual Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire at the time. The western estimates vary between 1,056,000 and 1,555,000, which more or less correspond with the official Ottoman census report of 1,295,000. How then, could 1.5 million Armenians have been massacred?
Not a single Armenian was permanently “expelled”; all the Armenians who were resettled were allowed to return at the end of 1918 and 644,900 Armenians (nearly half the original population) remained in what was left of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, according to the Armenian Patriarch. Those who left on their own accord, to lands outside Ottoman control, e.g. Iran (50,000), Greece (120,000) and Transcaucasia (500,000), were free to return, as stipulated by the Gumru and Lausanne Treaties.
Armenian side keeps misleading the world community that those who perished during the civil war with the Turks, were all innocent civilians. They never admit that the large portion of Armenian casualties included those Armenians who had joined forces with the occupying Russian armies, and died in combat while fighting Ottoman troops in battle fields or attacking Turkish and Kurdish villages.
Armenians are also misleading the world community by stating that recognition of the alleged genocide is only symbolic, and will have no material impact on Turkey, nor will it impair relations between Turkey and the country home to Armenian Diaspora representatives.
The true intent of having recognized the “Armenian genocide” is not communicated to public or legislators who are lobbied very heavily by Armenians. Here is the true intent of Armenians who are eager to achieve a world-wide recognition of the so called genocide:
- To obtain monetary compensation from Turkey for the Armenian “sufferings” that took place when the Republic of Turkey did not even exist;
- To cover up Armenian crimes, such as Van revolt in 1915 against innocent Turks;
- To justify Armenian terrorism which took place worldwide during 1970-80s that claimed lives of dozens of Turkish diplomats and their families (just watch NBC’s show titled “Time Bomb” on Armenian terrorist Murad Topalyan);
- To earn the sympathy of Christian world, thereby being eligible for more donations to help save Armenia’s impoverished economy; and
- To justify Armenia’s ongoing territorial claims against its neighbors of Georgia and Turkey, and occupation of 20 percent of neighboring Azerbaijan, a close historic ally of Turkey.
Unfortunately, today, instead of leaving the sufferings behind and looking forward to friendly relations between Turks and Armenians, Armenia and Armenian Diaspora continue their hostility towards Turks in an attempt to punish the Republic of Turkey for what happened almost 100 years ago during the last days of a dying empire.
While Armenia and Armenian Diaspora members abroad keep emphasizing justice, peace, and stability and condemn human sufferings, they avoid mentioning the fact that currently Armenia is occupying 20 percent of neighboring Azerbaijan. According to the US Department of State’s human rights report on Armenia for 2006:
“Armenia continues to occupy the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding Azerbaijani territories” . Almost 1 million Azerbaijanis, out of 8 million of the entire population of Azerbaijan, are refugees as a result of this invasion.
It was only 15 years ago when Armenian troops committed a massacre in Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, which is still under Armenian occupation.
US congressman Shuster describes this massacre as follows:
“Sadly, Khojaly, a town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, now under the control of Armenian forces, was the site of the largest killing of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians.”
Aside from the meaninglessness of an ‘’international recognition’’ based entirely on propaganda, prejudice, money and intimidation tactics, what is forgotten is that nations cannot be held responsible for genocides. This is particularly true of democratic successor nation states of erstwhile empires. Only individuals may be accused of genocide, and all of the accused individuals were freed from their Maltese internment in late 1921, after the British failed to find any judicial evidence to convict them of massacres.
In order to label people as victims of genocide, one must first prove a genocide had taken place. The simple fact is that there is no evidence demonstrating a systematic, government-sponsored extermination plan against Armenians; there is no international court ruling; the actual evidence demonstrates the Ottoman government attempted to safeguard Armenian lives and property during their relocation, but that its power and resources were insufficient to curtail random violent acts committed by renegade forces.
Sep 6th, 2007 by turkishdigest
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/misconceptions (Wordpress.com link)
Sep 4th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën
The more I read about what some call the Armenian genocide, the more I understand how difficult the and confusing the subject actually is. There is a lot of material available for all on the web and in just about every library. Some of the sources - many of them - indicate that their was a genocide, others deny it, again others speak about mass killings but not genocide as such. Today, the Jerusalem Post published a good and interesting article by Lenny Ben-David about this. Ben-David writes:
AS AN adviser for five years to the Turkish embassy in Washington, until earlier this summer, I understood why the Turkish government and people jump to deny claims that their ancestors committed a “genocide” against Armenians some 90 years ago.
It occurred during a maelstrom of battles and massacres. It was allegedly carried out by founding fathers who were bringing their country into an enlightened 20th century. And it was waged against an enemy guilty of the still unspoken crime of massacring hundreds of thousands of Muslims and thousands of Jews.
Armenians and Turks see no shades of grey, and for now, at least, demands are made only of Turkey to change its monochromatic narrative.
He then lists some of the autrocities committed by the Armenians (who, no matter what source you read, were not exactly innocent either). Some of the autrocities are:
- There are accounts of Armenian massacres, between 1914 and 1920, of 2.5 million of Armenia’s Muslim population. From this source:
I killed Muslims by every means possible. Yet it is sometimes a pity to waste bullets for this. The best way is to gather all of these dogs and throw them into wells and then fill the wells with big and heavy stones, as I did. I gathered all of the women, men and children, threw big stones down on top of them. They must never live on this earth.
- Recently, Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan requested assistance in building a monument to 3,000 Azeri Jews killed by Armenians in 1918 in a pogrom about which little is known.
- AND WITHIN our own lifetime - just some 15 years ago - Armenian troops massacred hundreds of Azeri Muslims. In this regard, Ben-David cites Newsweek from March 16, 1992:
“Azerbaijan was a charnel house again last week: a place of mourning refugees and dozens of mangled corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue behind the mosque. They were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children of Khojaly, a small village in war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on Feb. 25-26. Many were killed at close range while trying to flee; some had their faces mutilated, others were scalped.”
The author of the article concludes, and I fully agree with him:
Both Turks and Armenians have their grisly tales of persecution and their vehement denials of genocidal designs. It is the task of the Jewish community to express sympathy for all the victims and outrage at all the perpetrators on both sides of the conflict. The US Congress and the Jewish community should encourage historians on both sides to objectively examine what took place.
Nations mature when they can look at themselves in the mirror and see the grey, the wrinkles and the blemishes.
I would also like to point out that mass killings - yes even killings on a grand scale - do not necessarily constitute genocide.
I agree with Ben-David: let everybody open up the archives, let historians in and lets find out what exactly happened. For this to happen, though, every country and people involved has to be willing to live with the consequences. The attitude some have, which means that the Armenians basically did nothing wrong and have nothing wrong but that the Turks are ruthless killers and today’s generation dedicated to cover-up the misdeeds of their ancestors, has to change. Turks, on the other hand, have to stop automatically dismissing any claims as well. Do the research, open up the archives, and lets see what happens.
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/09/04/the-truth/ (Wordpress.com Link)