21 September 2007

1985) Americans Also Don’t Take Akçam Seriously

Edward Erickson, an author and an educator, has harshly criticized the contents and the methodology of Taner Akçam’s book entitled “A Shameful Act: . . The Armenian Genocide and The Question of Turkish Responsibility” which was published by Zoryan Armenian Research and Documentation Institute and put on the market on 14 November 2006 with a broad introduction campaign.

Edward Erickson stated the following in his article which took place at the last edition of the Middle East Journal, publishing in Washington:

“Akçam’s stated purpose in this book is to use Ottoman archival documents to confirm that the Ottoman state conducted a carefully planned campaign of annihilation against the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. In theory this differs significantly from previous authors who have relied largely on American, Austrian, and German records and the official Ottoman gazette accounts of 1919 trials. His secondary purpose is to prove that the Ottoman state engaged in a generalized pattern of ruthless population engineering lasting from 1912 through 1923 that was designed to replace Armenians (as well as other Christian and non-Turkish peoples) with Muslims.

An immediate problem for the reader with Akçam’s line of inquiry is the complete absence of a bibliography that constructs a framework of which archival sources he used and where these are located. Instead of bibliography, the author provides a list of abbreviations that includes six Ottoman sources (only one of which is an archive.) This caused the reviewer to count the actual Ottoman archival citations used by Akçam, which comprise only 22 entries of 1, 725 footnotes. In fairness, the author makes extensive use of previously unused printed Ottoman Parliamentary minutes and official gazettes; however, these tend to be employed narrowly and are not archives. In truth, much of the gist of the author’s key assertions is a recycling of well known Austrian, Germen, and British Foreign Office reports.

Akçam notes the activities and arming of the Armenian revolutionary committees but skirts the issue of premeditation, which, he points out, unproven. He also points out that thousands of Muslims were massacred during these times. These are stories that Armenin lobby would prefer remain untold. These issues damage the Turkish lobby. While standing by the genocide charge, Akçam works towards explanations rather than toward accusation and blame.

There are a number of errors of fact throughout the book dealing with the chronology of events and with the placement of Ottoman military commanders in time and space. For example, when discussing events in the fall of 1914, Akçam states that mahmut Kamil commanded the third army (p. 132), but Kamil took command in February 1915. When discussing labor battalions in September 1915. the author states that Vehip commanded the Third Army when, in fact, Vehip was at Gelibolu at that time and did not command the Third Army until 1917 (p.145) Akçam noted “The critical days” of the Gelibolu campaign as late March 1915 (p.152), but the campaign begun on April 25, 1915. he quotes ‘Ali Ihsan Sabis as the sixth army commander “killing Armenians with his own hands.” However, since Ali Ihsan took command of the Sixth Army in June 1918, it is hard to see how he might have done this or when (p.173). Cumulatively, these errors combined with the selective use of Ottoman material, give the reviewer the sense that the author arranged the facts to fit his story rather than to let the facts tell the story.

Anyone interested in the ongoing controversy regarding the fate of the Ottoman Armenians should read this book. However, it must be read with the understanding that it is not substantially based on actual Ottoman archival materials nor is its politically unbiased. Consequently, Akçam fails in his primary intended purpose for the book.”

The “academic” efforts of Taner Akçam, who has been portrayed with a noisy show as a “scholar” and “scientific source” cannot go beyond being a pawn of the Armenian Diaspora.

Source: GenocideReality.com


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