22 October 2007

2108) Addressing The Issue of Biased Historians

The Armenian Diaspora unequivocally discredits and dismisses conclusions of non-Turkish experts in Ottoman history who teach at Turkish universities and believe that no Armenian genocide occurred. . . and who also teach at Turkish universities. Armenians claim that, because these expert Ottoman historians work and teach in Turkey, they cannot possibly be impartial, their conclusions are biased, and some go so far as to call the most esteemed academicians of Ottoman history liars.

First, historians such as Andrew Mango and Stanford J. Shaw, who have taught in Turkey, are experts in Ottoman history. That means they study things having to do with the Ottoman Empire, for example, Ottoman archives. Not surprisingly, those archives are located in Turkey. These expert historians thus live and teach where they can continue their historical investigations with ease. But, if you ask the Armenian Diaspora, the proximity of, and easy access to, archives that make these historians the experts that they are also makes them liars. The Armenian Diaspora's accusations are based on nothing more, and therefore are not credible. Someone might also caution Armenians that slander (oral) or libel (written), especially if it is directed to castigating one as it relates to their profession, is legally actionable.

Second, once Professor Stanford J. Shaw concluded no Armenian genocide occurred, Armenians bombed his home in Los Angeles, disrupted his classes at the University of Southern California and threatened his life so that he could no longer live and teach there. He was subsequently offered and accepted a position at a university in Turkey where he would be living among the history that had been his life long pursuit. Although Armenians made it impossible for Professor Shaw to remain in the U.S., they now claim he is not credible because he taught at a Turkish university. This is an absolutely audacious and morally bankrupt position for Armenians to take.

Accurately assessing the credibility of an historian’s conclusions requires examining what sources they relied upon to reach their conclusions. This is especially true when it concerns events in southeastern Anatolia during WWI because the record has been thoroughly contaminated by forged documents and deliberately false intelligence generated by the British during WWI.

There are a number of forged documents that Armenians still rely upon to press their claims. When WWI ended an Armenian named Andonian gave the British several documents in an effort to prove the Ottoman government ordered the extermination of Armenians in southeastern Anatolia. These documents contain oddly self-condemning statements such as, "[a]n end must be put to [the Armenians'] existence, however **criminal** the measure taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex nor to **conscientious** scruples." On another occasion these forged documents go so far as to state, "[t]he [CUP] has decided … to take on its own patriotic shoulders the **stain** which will **blacken Ottoman history.** … [and] has decided to **annihilate** all Armenians living in Turkey, **without leaving a single one alive"** (emphasis added).

Generally, racists do not characterize their dirty deeds as anything other than justified, but here is someone who is allegedly about to engage in the ultimate act of racism condemning his own actions as criminal. Nor do those who engage in criminal acts in a misguided patriotic fervor believe their actions will taint the honor of their country, much less expressly state for all posterity that their actions will stain and blacken their nation’s entire history. These forged documents are written like the hoped for indictment, not an indignantly righteous fascist’s plan of action. Also, the forgeries are misdated. Documents Andonian presented to prove premeditated intent to commit the alleged genocide are dated nine months too late. There are also crude errors in grammar as would be made by a non-native speaker of the language and signatures on Andonian documents do not match known authentic originals. For a discussion of the forgeries and references to those who studied the copies (Andonian claimed he lost the originals), see Gunter Lewy, Armenian Massacres, A Disputed Genocide.

As if that were not enough, to motivate the U.S. to enter WWI, British intelligence services engaged in a massive misinformation campaign and produced what is now called the "The Blue Book." The British believed that if American citizens thought Christians were being massacred in droves by "Musselmen," Americans would thereby be immediately incited to enter the war.

The first books published about the events that occurred in southeastern Anatolia during WWI rely on these clearly discredited documents as primary source material. Subsequent books then rely on the first books published, and thus perpetuate conclusions based on forged documents and deliberately false information. Books published to date continue to rely upon the Andonian documents to reach their conclusion—one has to wonder how someone can proclaim themselves expert enough on an issue to write a book, but not be aware there are forged and false documents afloat.

Web sites hosted by Armenian organizations promoting genocide claims continue to present PDF versions of the Andonian documents as conclusive proof of their allegations. They can because there are not enough people who care enough about this issue to challenge the integrity of pushing forged documents as proof.

What is most amazing and disturbing is that, in the face of overwhelming opposition and proof to the contrary, almost all Armenian "historians" continue to insist the Andonian documents are authentic. If the consequences of such historical malfeasance were not so dire, this would all be rather amusing.

The fact remains, however, that historians who have actually bothered to authenticate primary documents they rely upon to reach their conclusions, conclude the same thing: no genocide.

Stating that one historian or another reaches this or that conclusion when it comes to this issue is not enough. One must consider what information that historian relied upon and whether they bothered to ensure they were relying upon authentic contemporaneous documents that accurately set forth events as they occurred.

Historians researching and writing about this issue cannot be discredited because they are Armenian, Turkish, a professor of a chair endowed by Armenians or Turks, red, green or blue. Uniform and unequivocal condemnation based on nationality or due to a connection with a specific nation alone is racist. A historian's work and conclusions must be evaluated based upon the material they reviewed. If their source material is inaccurate, false or forged, their conclusions are inaccurate. If the source material is accurate and authenticated, then their conclusions are more credible.

History is not a beauty contest to be determined by popular vote. History must be determined by a review of the true and complete record.

The record on this issue, however, remains woefully deficient. England, France, Russia and the U.S. continue to conceal archival material concerning Armenians and Turks in southeastern Anatolia during WWI. It is also alarming and suspicious that Armenia still refuses access to its archives without any condemnation by other nations—and shockingly not even those passing judgment in “genocide proclamations.” That the Armenian Diaspora uniformly supports concealing Armenia’s archives documenting their own history should also raise grave concerns.

Is this a pursuit of the truth? Or, is it a pursuit of unadulterated vengeance and restitution of lands that Armenian revolutionary forces could not obtain by conventional war? One has to wonder.

Certainly, legislative proclamations made without access to all pertinent archives leaves the impression that those involved are more interested in coercing Turkey for political purposes and pursuing illegitimate leverage while concealing relevant records from the one that they condemn.

Kemal P. Lazlee, USA


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