02 April 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Program Of The Hintchaks
Extracts From The November 1914 Issue Of The Armenian Hintchak Newspaper-Published In Paris, France
An Interesting Letter
Armenian Revolutionary Movement
The Truth Must Be Told
A Turkish Armenian’s Reaction To Terrorism
Text Of The Letter By Levon Ekmekjian To Turkish Authorities
Comments From Turkish Citizens Of Armenian Origin Our Views . .
This booklet focuses on Armenian documents and comments. The issue in question is the “Armenian genocide of 1915”, a controversial Armenian claim which portrays Ottoman Armenians as innocent and unarmed victims while it depicts Ottoman Turks as genocidal.
Genocide is the most heinous crime against humanity. No one should condone or justify it. The same moral principle also dictates that no one should exploit the G-word to obtain political gain or to spread hatred against a nation.
The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide stipulates certain guidelines to establish specific proof related to a charge of genocide. Such a charge has to be thoroughly analyzed and scrutinized under the light of fairness and international law. Archives, documents, testimonies of witnesses, unfettered research and hard evidence are required to make sure that no stone is left unturned.
Well-documented examples in this booklet might shed some light on the Armenian question. They differ from one sided stories and claims of innocence by the members of the Armenian diaspora.
Informational notes (postscripts) will appear on some pages.
We have also added our points of view as an addendum to numerous facts related to the issue in question.
Turkish-Canadian Action Committee
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
February 1, 2006
Program Of The Armenian Hintchaks
(Published in the October-November 1880 issue of the Hintchak Newspaper)(Excerpts)
“ The method to be used to attain goals which will be realized in Turkey through revolution is propaganda, provocation, terror, organization and worker movements…The main methods of provocation are demonstrations against the Ottoman Government, not paying taxes and creating hatred against the aristocratic class…The Party’s aim is to use terror against the government, but it will not be the only target. Terror will also be used against dangerous Turks and Armenians working for the government…The most appropriate time to realize the revolution will be when Turkey is at war…A special branch will be formed to organize these activities…Syriacs and Kurds must be won over in the struggle against the Turks.”
Source: Book titled “The Armenian File-The Myth of Innocence Exposed”- Page 123- Author: Ambassador Kâmuran Gürün-Published by K. Rüstem and Bro. and Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd.
-London-91 Clapham High Street, London, England-SW4 7TA.
PS: The Hintchak Party was founded de facto in Geneva (Switzerland) in August 1887 by Armenians. In 1890, it adopted the name “Revolutionary Hintchak Party”, referring to the newspaper it had been publishing in Armenian.
Throughout their activities, leaders of the Hintchak Party recruited Ottoman Armenian volunteers in Anatolia to carry out their deadly attacks against the Ottoman Empire. In their communiqués to incite hatred towards the Ottoman Turks, the Hintchaks frequently urged the volunteers to join the Légion Etrangère as a proof of their deep sympathy for France. They also invited their brethren to fall on “the field of honour and in the ranks of the Moscovite army to save Armenia from the horrible Turkish yoke”.
Source: “Armenian Aspirations and Revolutionary Movements”, album published by the Ottoman Empire during World War One.
Extracts From The November 1914 Issue Of The Armenian Hintchak Newspaper-Published In Paris, France.
“As comrades of Russia, we will make full use of all political and revolutionary means we possess for the final victory in Armenia, Southern Anatolia, Caucasus and Azerbaijan…Our nation driven by the power of actual political events from the Taurus Mountains down to the battlefield will blow the trumpet of revolution to drown in blood the Ottoman tyranny”.
Source: Book Titled “Armenian Aspirations and Revolutionary Movements-Page 47-Album 2-Published by the Executive Board of the Chamber of Printers, Bookbinders and Artists in Ankara, Turkey. All the documents in the book have been printed as exact copies of the two albums, which were originally published by the Ottoman government in Turkish, French, English, German and Armenian. The two albums were titled “Ermeni Amal ve Harekati Ihtilaliyesi-Tesavir ve Vesaik”. They contain more than three hundred pictures and documents with explanations related to the Armenian uprisings against the Ottoman Empire. Some pictures show Armenian rebels fighting in trenches against the Turks for the purpose of facilitating the task of occupation of towns in Eastern Anatolia. A picture on page 49 shows Karaklin Pastermadjian, ex-deputy for the Turkish city of Erzurum in the Ottoman Parliament, taking oath to join the Russian Army. Several pictures show scenes of Armenian atrocities against the Turks.
PS: Armenian opportunists targeted several countries in the region. One of the countries to be attacked in 1914 was Azerbaijan…Since 1988; twenty percent of that country is illegally occupied by Armenia, especially in the Nagorno-Karabakh district. Maiming and killings accompanied mass expulsions of Azeris from their homes by Armenian forces on a large scale in several Armenian towns such as Gukark, Spitak and Stepanavan. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg officially condemned the invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh.
(Circular Number 2-addressed to different branches of the Armenian Tashnaksootioun Revolutionary Committee-March 5, 1913)
The renewal of the Balkan War has again stirred the political world. It is believed that for this reason, the Armenian question will, for the moment, be dropped…Our committee has also taken the necessary steps to prepare from now on the ground to put forward the Armenian question and to ensure satisfactory solution…Information has reached us from Van (a Turkish city in Eastern Anatolia) stating that the Armenian bands of individual defence have already produced an excellent and profound impression on the Kurdish population and the Governor General of that locality…Besides the question of political nature, we have also the question of individual defence which is a matter of vital importance…Taking into consideration the actual circumstances, we venture to beg our brethren the following:
· To keep up the propaganda and to continue to hold meetings
· To make communications to the effect that sums produced through activities should always be employed for the benefits of the individual defence so that money can be collected for the benefit of our defence “.
Source: Book Titled “Armenian Aspirations and Revolutionary Movements” –Page 52.
PS: The Dashnak Party came into existence in Russia in the year 1890, intended to be a merger of various Armenian political groups.
In his book titled “Patriotism Perverted” (Boston Baikar Press-1934) Kapriel Serope Papazian describes the Dashnak Party as a terrorist organization. He writes, “The party sent a call to Armenian volunteers to fight the Turks on the Caucasian front. “ He adds, “ Armenian volunteer regiments rendered valuable services to the Russian army…The recruiting of these regiments were so open and flagrant that it would not escape the attention of the Turkish authorities…Karakin Pastirmadjian took an active part in the organization of the volunteer regiments to fight the Turks. His picture was circulated in the Dashnak papers. (p.39)”
PS: Pastirmadjian’s real name was Armen Garo. He was a former member of the Ottoman Parliament.
(August 1914 issue of “Ararat”-Official organ of Catholicos)
“ Kevork, Servant of Jesus Christ, by the eternal will of God, Catholicos of all Armenians, Holy Patriarch of the High Seat of Mother-Church of Ararat, Catholicos of the Saint-Etchmiadzine to all those true sons of the Mother-Church.
You know well that Turks have attacked our fatherland, the great Russia. In such a historical moment like this, the only thing which brings consolation to the people of great Russia is to work with them…We invite our sons to extend their brotherly help, moral and material to the families in need of assistance who are fighting for the safety and triumph of great Russia, our fatherland. “ Kevork V.-Catholicos of all Armenians.
Source: Book Titled “Armenian Aspirations and Revolutionary Movements” –Page 42.
PS: It is worth mentioning here that Armenians, despite Turkish cautions, armed themselves and fought on the side of Russia and other enemies of the Ottoman Empire. In 1914 and 1915, bands of Armenians formed volunteer battalions. They set fire to hundreds of houses in several towns and villages in Anatolia and killed large numbers of civilians. They also rose up in the rear of the Turkish army, cutting it off from its supplies. An Armenian army was organized by the Armenian revolutionary committees and sent to the Caucasian front. Four large Armenian volunteer units formed by the Russians included thousands of Armenian deserters from the Ottoman army…The Tzar of Russia issued a manifesto in which he urged the Armenians to live under his sceptre so that they would achieve their final triumph. In the same year, Armenian rebels issued similar manifestos inciting Ottoman Armenians to achieve their goals in Anatolia, Caucasus and Azerbaijan. Uprisings, killings and cooperation with foreign powers provoked Turkish retaliation. Finally, authorities decided to clear the front-line war area of a disloyal group of people. At the time, the Ottoman Empire was in a life-and-death struggle against several countries.
The city of Van was the hardest hit. A very tragic incident has been told by several Turkish generations and is still remembered as one of the worst anectodes of Armenian atrocities: at one point, Armenian terrorists took 50 Turkish women hostage. Apparently, they were taking them on a boat to the island of Akdamar on lake Van, in eastern Anatolia. The women sensed that the intention of the rebels was either to rape them or to kill them. They threw themselves into the lake and drowned.
(“Our national psychology is to seek external causes for our misfortune”)
“The War with us was inevitable…We had not done all that was necessary for us to have done to evade war. We ought to have used peaceful language with the Turks. We had no information about their real strength and relied on ours. This was the fundamental error. We were not afraid of war because we thought we could win…When the skirmishes started, the Turks proposed that we meet and confer. We did not do so and defied them. Our army was well fed, but did not fight…The troops were constantly retreating and deserting their positions. They threw away their arms and dispersed in the villages. Our army was demoralized during the period of internal strife. The destruction and the pillage went without punishment…We embraced Russia wholeheartedly without any compunction. Now, our national psychology is to seek external causes for our misfortune.” By Hovannes Katchaznouni, ex-Prime Minister of Armenia.
Source: “The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Has Nothing To Do Anymore”. Mr. Hovannes Katchaznouni’s book was published in Vienna by the Mihitarian Press in the year 1923. The English version appeared in the United States in 1955. Mr. Hovannes Katchaznouni also presented a manifesto to the convention of foreign branches of the Armenian Federation convened in Bucharest, Romania, in 1923.
PS: “ A national psychology to seek external causes” for Armenians’ misfortune as diagnosed by Mr. Katchaznouni seems to be a chronic obsession in the minds of some members of the Armenian diaspora.
An Interesting Letter
“…I must emphasize the fact, unhappily known to few, that, ever since the beginning of the war, the Armenians fought by the side of the allies on all fronts…The Armenians have been belligerents de facto, since they indignantly refused to side with the Turks. Our volunteers fought in the French Légion Étrangère and covered themselves with glory. In the Légion d’Orient, they numbered over 5,000 and made up more than half the French contingent in Syria and Palestine, which took part in the decisive victory of General Allenby. In the Caucasus, without mentioning the 150,000 Armenians in the Russian armies, about 50,000 Armenian volunteers and others not only fought for four years for the cause of the Entente, but after the breakdown of Russia, they were the only forces in the Caucasus to resist the advance of the Turks whom they held in check…Thus, they helped the British forces in Mesopotamia by hindering the Turks from sending their troops elsewhere…It is my duty as the head of the Armenian National Delegation to state once again, in the columns of The Times, the important part played by the Armenians in this frightful war…Believe me, Sir, yours faithfully, Paris” by Bogos Nubar, President of the Armenian Delegation.
Source: The Times of London-January 30, 1919.
PS: It is interesting to note here that most of the countries, which had supported the Armenians, abandoned them after WW1. On June 1, 1920, the United States reneged on its plan to take Armenia under its mandate. On December 3, 1920, Armenia became a Soviet Republic. Its architects were Communists and Tashnaks. By 1922, the British and the French had already left Turkey. Greek soldiers were never to be seen again on Turkish soil. The Soviet Union decided to support the newly formed Turkish government. At Lausanne International Peace Conference, Great Britain, Italy, France, Japan, Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia legally decided that there was no further question of giving territory to Armenia and Kurdistan. Turks got back everything that was Turkish (July 24, 1923). Turkey’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were internationally ratified. In the same year, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) founded the Republic of Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – 1938)
Armenians in Turkey gave a plaquette of gratitude to Ismet Pasha (Inönü) who was the chief Turkish representative at the Lausanne International Peace Conference. The Conference ended on July 24th, 1923, The plaquette was dated July 24, 1923 as a tribute to the date the Lausanne Peace Conference had ended. The inscription on the plaquette that was given to Ismet Pasha reads,
“”May God grant you a long life,
The glorious and victorious warrior,
The symbol of heroism and genius,
The great savior of our holy country.
This is the eternal gratitude
To his Majesty Ismet Pasha by the
Armenians in Turkey.”
(1884-1973) Source: Ankara-Inönü Foundation.
Armenian Revolutionary Movement
(“The most opportune time to institute the general rebellion for carrying out immediate objectives was when Turkey was engaged in war…”)
“Agitation and terror were needed to elevate the spirit of people…The people were also to be incited against the enemies and were to profit from retaliatory actions of these same enemies. Terror was to be used as a method of protecting the people and winning their confidence in the Hintchak program. The party aimed at terrorizing the Ottoman government, thus contributing towards lowering the prestige of that regime and working toward its complete disintegration. The government itself was not to be the only focus of terroristic tactics. The Hintchaks wanted to annihilate the most dangerous of the Armenian and Turkish individuals who were then working for the government as well as to destroy all spies and informers. To assist them in carrying out all these terroristic acts, the party was to organize an exclusive branch specifically devoted to performing acts of terrorism…The most opportune time to institute the general rebellion for carrying out immediate objectives was when Turkey was engaged in war…”
–Louise Nalbandian, Author.
Source: Armenian Revolutionary Movement, University of California Press, 1963, pp. 110-111.
PS: The Ottoman Empire was in peril and agony even before the First World War . Harmony and peace were being gradually destroyed by social unrest on top of treacherous Armenian activities. The insurgents’ purpose was to establish an exclusively Armenian state within a predominantly Muslim region of eastern Anatolia.
Is there any government on this planet, which accepts to lose its territory?
Does any nation tolerate treason and rebellion, especially if that nation is at war?
The Truth Must Be Told”
(Six centuries of Armenian culture in Ottoman Turkey)
“ During the period of enmity and warfare between Armenians and Turks, brutal killings took place, perpetrated by each side against the other. Innocent people on both sides perished by thousands. In spite of the suffering of the Armenian people, I am convinced it was not as the result of an organized genocide…Those who were fighting against Ottoman Turkey aided the Armenians in their rebellion against the land which had preserved their Armenian culture for over six centuries…In 1915, the Ottoman era was slowly and painfully coming to a close and sheer desperation. The government chose to relocate the Armenians to another region of its empire in a final attempt to maintain its control and sovereignty of its homeland.
Our home in the United States became an extension of my parents’ previous life in Ottoman Turkey, pertaining to languages, foods, music, family relationships and the inherent hospitality shown to visitors. My parents spoke to my brother in Turkish, to me they spoke in Armenian, and my brother and I spoke to each other in English…It is tragic how many Armenians are so blinded by hatred…they deny themselves the joys of their roots. Not all Armenians are like that…On my part, the inseparability of Armenians and Turks is instilled in my heart and soul by my parents who displayed compassion rather than vengeance, truth rather than misrepresentation, love instead of hate…”.
Source: Book titled “I Am Called A Friend Of Turks. -Armenian Allegations-The Truth Must be Told” – Author: Edward Taschi. ISBN: 1930574282. Printed in the United States. First Printing: July 2004; Second printing: August 2004. Published by Rose International Publishing House.
PS: Edward Taschi was an American of Armenian and Syrian Orthodox parents both of whom were born in Ottoman Turkey. They settled in the United States during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
Edward Taschi died on June 22nd 2005, at the age of 73. He will always be remembered as a courageous man of principle.
Mrs. Mary Taschi, herself an Armenian, made the following statement after the death of her husband. She wrote, “ My husband’s dedication to Turkey was with his heart, love and soul. If at all possible, I will try to emulate his passion for all things pertinent to Turkey. Edward’s death will not silence his beliefs or his reaction to Armenian allegations. His legacy is for those who are God-fearing and decent citizens.” (Dated October 6, 2005)
A Turkish Armenian’s Reaction To Terrorism
On August 7, 1982, Armenian gunmen opened fire on a group of passengers at the Ankara Airport in Turkey, killing several people, causing injuries and devastation.
A Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, Artin Penik wanted to burn himself in Istanbul, Turkey, to protest the bloody acts of the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA against Turkish diplomats and other civilians, such as the ones at the airport. Police found a letter in Mr. Penik’s briefcase with the following message, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…” In his letter, dated August 10, 1982, Penik wrote,” I am protesting your massacre on behalf of all Armenians living in Turkey and that is why I am burning myself…I am warning you, you murderers working for ASALA. The problems can not be solved by shooting innocent people…You are exploited by imperialists. They are distorting history…Come to your senses…The Armenian community in Turkey will continue to live on peacefully as citizens of this country…The Armenian people we know are brave. They do not murder innocent people cowardly. We, in Turkey, never accept you as Armenians. We condemn you. There are so many things to write but I don’t deem it necessary…My God’s blessings be upon the victims who lost their lives. I bid patience and send my condolences to their relatives. I also wish patience to all my citizens living in Turkey. Goodbye. With my respects to you all.”-Artin Penik.
Unfortunately, Artin Penik died in hospital, a few days after his suicidal attempt.
PS: In the 1970s and 80s, Armenian terrorists killed 34 Turkish diplomats and members of their families in various parts of the world, including in Canada, where they assassinated the Turkish Military Attaché in Ottawa and a Canadian police officer at the Turkish Embassy.
As assassinations continued, successive Turkish governments warned numerous countries about the spread and threat of international terrorism. Unfortunately, the warnings generally fell on deaf ears. France got its worst share on July 15, 1983 when Armenian terrorists killed 8 people and wounded more than 60 at the Paris Orly Airport… The tragic event, which took place on September 11, 2001 in New York was another deadly act of terrorism.
Text Of The Letter By Levon Ekmekjian To Turkish Authorities
(Change Of Heart? )
One of the perpetrators of the vicious attack on passengers at Ankara Airport on August 7, 1982 was promptly arrested and put in jail. While he was being detained there, he probably came to his senses and sent a letter to Turkish authorities, expressing regret for his role in the attack. The letter reads, “Our enemies are not the Turks. They are our leaders and those who are claiming to write our history. This is the truth. Turn away from this misguided path and live in brotherhood with the Turkish people…It is a tragedy that during my life, I came to believe the false stories which we were told by Armenian extremists. I feel sorry for causing the loss of innocent lives…Do not repeat the mistakes which I have committed. Oppose those who have sold themselves…In finishing my letter, I have remembered one important thing: let nobody think that I have written this letter under any pressure. Listen to me carefully. I swear, on the Holy Bible and on the grave of my brother…” –Levon Ekmekjian.
PS: In the 1970s and 80s, innocent lives were indeed lost as a result of Armenian terrorism. Edward Taschi writes, “Those innocent people, Turks and non-Turks, who were murdered were not even born during the conflict in Ottoman Turkey” (from book titled, ‘The Truth Must be Told’, page 19).
Somehow, assassinations ceased in the 1990s and yielded their place to a barrage of well orchestrated “genocide” allegations aimed at vilifying the Republic of Turkey with one sided stories… Since 2001, members of the Armenian diaspora have intensified their anti-Turkish attacks via the media and the Internet. The politically motivated momentum coincides with official talks of Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
Comments From Turkish Citizens Of Armenian Origin
An Armenian by the name of Misak Torlakyan killed an Azeri minister in Istanbul on July 18, 1921. He was apprehended by the British occupying forces. Mr. Torlakyan was represented by his lawyer Hasruyan efendi. In court, the lawyer was trying to justify his client’s crime by focusing on Armenian sufferings during the 1915 relocation process. When asked to be specific, Hasruyan efendi said, “ It is impossible to confirm or deny what happened during the relocation. Some were killed, some died after reaching their destinations. Sixty thousand Armenians were killed, six hundred thousand settled in various parts of the Middle East.”
Source: Cumhuriyet Newspaper, Istanbul, Turkey-December 28, 2005.
Patriarch Snork Kaloustian, spiritual leader of the Turkish Armenians made the following remarks to a group of Turkish and foreign journalists in 1983: “ We call on nations of the world to cooperate in taking strict measures to combat terrorism…We, as sons and daughters of the Republic of Turkey are preserving our culture better than those of our race in many other countries, along with our traditions, customs, language and religion both as individuals and as institutions under the guarantee of the Turkish state.”
During a symposium held in Istanbul, Turkey, titled “ Armenian Question with All its Dimensions” (September 21, 2005) Levon Panos Dabagciyan, historian, said, “ Let us not fool ourselves. We are Turks. Foreigners and agitators among us should understand how we bitterly feel about the invention of ‘Armenian genocide’. “
“I am approaching the end of my life. I have always lived in comfort and peace with the Turks. Allegations of ‘ Armenian genocide’ are lies.” Tahuki Desteoglu-Age 82-Mersin, Turkey-October 4, 2005, Turkish Press.
“In 1915, it was forced migration, not genocide… My two uncles died while fighting as soldiers in the Ottoman army…When I pray, I pray for both sides…It was a terrible tragedy…Resolutions issued by parliaments are decided under pressure from Armenian lobbyists” Dikran Kevorkyan, President of Kandilli Armenian Church Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey- Nov 23, 2005.
“In view of repetitive claims by the Armenian diaspora, I want to emphasize that every nation makes decisions in war…The relocation of Armenians had flaws. There was inefficient control, tribal involvement and activities of opportunists. It can not be labelled genocide. I am a Turkish lawyer of Armenian origin. I practice my profession freely in this country…We do not want to be used as tools of vengeance or decoys by the Armenian diaspora. We are determined to live in peace and harmony in Turkey.” Kegam Karabetyan-Interview at Turkish Radio and Television International Channel on November 30th, 2005.
Our Views And Pertenent Notes
A Turkish memorial to the Islamic victims of the Armenian uprising of 1915. The bodies of 5000 Moslems lie beneath the monument in a gully that opens into lake Van. The Moslems were rounded up on this spot and massacred.
Reference: “A Myth Of Terror”
(Author:Professor Erich Feigl-Druckhous Nonntal, Salzbourg)
· Problems between the Ottoman government and Ottoman Armenians started as early as 1828, when authorities noticed that Armenian extremists were cooperating with Russia. The situation got worse in the 1890s when Armenians resorted to violence.
· In the 19th century, an aching Ottoman Empire was desperately trying to hold fort. Its demise meant increasing trouble for the weakened Istanbul government. Political strife, social unrest, Armenian uprisings, harsh measures, suspicion, severe punishment of rebels and involvement of foreign powers complicated life for everyone.
· During the early stages of the Ottoman rule and up to the beginning of the 19th century, Armenians had the reputation of being ‘loyal people’. They kept their cultural pride and nationhood as respectable folks.
· Unfortunately, Armenian rebels prodded by Tzarist Russia started a campaign of terrorism against the Turkish nation and engaged in subversive activities.
· Throughout the First World War, thousands of Ottoman Armenians fought on the side of Russians and other foreign forces against the Turks.
· At the time, the Ottoman Empire was at war on several fronts.
· Large numbers of Armenians and Turks perished as a result of fierce battles, massacres and chaotic conditions.
· Neither side was blameless. The Ottoman Empire had its shortcomings and mistakes. Tashnaks, Hintchaks, Ottoman Armenian rebels and foreign powers had their guns and propaganda machines to dismember the Ottoman Empire.
· It was sad to see Armenians and Turks at each other’s throats. For several centuries they had lived side by side. Many Ottoman citizens of Armenian origin held important positions in the Ottoman Treasury and other government departments. In 1912, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was an Armenian. There were 11 deputies in the Ottoman Parliament of 1914, not to mention high-ranking officials, consuls and members of Superior Courts. Armenian musicians, architects, painters, artists and professionals made valuable contributions to the Ottoman social fabric. On its part, the empire respected their culture and religion. Why then, did several thousands of Armenians revolt against the state? Why did they let themselves be manipulated by foreign powers? How good or bad was the Ottoman Empire toward its Armenian subjects? Do present-day ideologies fit the realities of that tumultuous era? Answers to these questions might be different in essence, depending on where they come from. A frank and balanced discussion might focus on facts and put aside emotionally charged, unproductive accusations and counter-accusations.
· After the Turkish War of Independence, Turkey’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were legally recognized at the Lausanne International Peace Conference in 1923. On October 29, 1923, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) founded the Republic of Turkey. He inspired his nation to move forward with reforms and to live in “Peace at home and peace in the world”.
· Close to 80,000 Turkish citizens of Armenian origin live in today’s Turkey.
· The border between Turkey and Armenia is closed. Neither the local Turks, nor the Armenians are happy about this situation. We hope the two governments will solve this problem in a peaceful way.
· Eastern Anatolia is not Western Armenia. Anatolia and part of Thrace have belonged to the Turks for more than ten centuries.
· Members of the Armenian diaspora continue their anti-Turkish propaganda and try to persuade parliaments to recognize the alleged Armenian genocide of 1915.
· The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide declares that ‘Genocide is the committing of certain acts with intent to destroy-wholly or in part-a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such.
· Members of the Armenian diaspora have capitalized on the above definition. They relentlessly make mention of the sufferings and especially the relocation of their ancestors and label the events as genocide. Genocide is a legally defined term, which denotes criminal intent and annihilation. If a country is historically and legally accused of having perpetrated genocide, the punishment has to fit the crime and the country in question has to suffer the consequences of state terror. If a charge of genocide is not historically and legally proven, slanderers have to suffer the consequences of having uttered and spread falsehood and harm to the dignity and reputation of a country. The United Nations has not issued any declarations or resolutions on the 1915 events.
· History notes that armed conflicts in eastern Anatolia escalated into a terrible situation in 1915. At the time, the Ottoman Empire was in peril. The British were invading Mesopotamia. The allies were attacking Ottoman territory in the Gallipoli region. Hundreds of thousands of Turkish soldiers were struggling to defend the Dardanelles. Russian troops were on their way to eastern Anatolia. The Arab world was boiling with trouble. Armenian rebels were preventing the Ottoman army from carrying out its defensive actions. Armenian civilians in eastern Anatolia were directly or indirectly supporting the insurgents. Killings continued, especially in the eastern cities of Van, Kars and Bitlis. In view of these facts, the Ottoman government decided to relocate the Armenians to a safer Ottoman territory. It was a military necessity and a matter of security. The intention was to prevent further acts of rebellion and brigandage by instigators. Authorities issued specific orders to ensure maximum efficiency and safety of the relocatees. Copies of these orders can be found in Ottoman and British archives. If the intent of the Ottoman government were to annihilate the Armenian population, the war area would have been the ideal place to do so. The relocation of Armenians from eastern Anatolia was not based on any premeditated decision to destroy them. In areas with railroads, the relocatees were allowed to buy train tickets to go to their destinations. Doctors were assigned to treat the sick and the injured. Sadly, the relocation process was tragically and inadvertently complicated by intercommunal warfare, involvement of Christian and Muslim irregular forces, tribal violence, attacks by marauders on rich convoys, killings, inadequate containment, famine, sickness and hard conditions. It is worth noting here that on December 18, 1918, the Ottoman government gave permission to the relocatees to return to their homes in Anatolia. Thousands of them did. Others chose to stay in the Middle East or moved to the Soviet Union. As for the disastrous complications of the relocation process, Ottoman authorities severely punished their own officials accused of criminal negligence and acts of conspiracy.
· On April 21, 2004, the Canadian Parliament recognized the said genocide. The vote was not unanimous. On the same day, members of the Canadian government publicly stated that the decision of the Parliament was non-binding and would not change Canada’s attitude towards the Republic of Turkey. Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail described the Parliament’s move as, “…unnecessary, irresponsible and provocative…” He also accused the politicians (who voted in favor of the resolution) of being influenced by Armenian and Greek descendants in their districts. In one of its editorials on the topic, the Montreal Gazette questioned the extent of knowledge the Parliamentarians had on the history of Asia Minor. For our part, we felt and still feel that the Parliament’s resolution was discriminatory in substance and spirit. It was the result of preponderance and political arm-twisting. The members of the Turkish-Canadian community were never consulted or listened to.
· In their recent rulings, both the European Court of First Instance and the European Court of Justice have indicated, “resolutions by parliaments on the Armenian issue are of purely political nature and are not likely to produce any legally binding effects”. Turks couldn’t agree more with these explanations.
· We would like to express our views on the claim that 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and the following years. First, it is sad to see that some sources make almost no mention of the losses suffered by the Turks in those years. As for the ‘ 1.5 million Armenian victims’, those estimates are currently the subject of genuine debate among historians. The number of victims on both sides varies from one source to another. However, we do not wish to dwell on numbers games. We feel that even the death of one Armenian or Turk was one too many.
· In view of the never-ending “Armenian genocide issue”, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently called for an impartial study by historians of claims that more than 1,5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Turkish troops during and after the First World War. The Prime Minister also suggested the formation of a joint commission that would bring Turks and Armenians to a series of roundtable discussions on such a claim of historic proportions. He said, “We have opened our official archives to those who claim there was genocide. If they are sincere, they, too, should open their archives. “ The Prime Minister’s offer got a negative response from Armenian authorities. They indicated historians have already recognized the said “genocide”.
· An interesting petition signed by 69 American historians and addressed to the US House of Representatives reads in part, “As for the charge of genocide: no signatory of this statement wishes to minimize the scope of Armenian suffering. We are likewise cognizant that it can not be viewed as separate from the suffering experienced by the Muslim inhabitants of the region…The resulting death toll among both Muslim and Christian communities of the region was immense.” The petition was published in The New York Times and The Washington Post on May 19, 1985.
· In 2001, the French Parliament recognized the ‘Armenian genocide’. On December 13, 2005, nineteen French historians formally asked the Parliament to annul the 2001 resolution, indicating, “The Parliament can not dictate history to historians. Historians do not apply present day ideologies to past events. In a free society defining historical facts is not a parliament’s business.”
· “ If both Armenians and Turks…accept further discussions, they would reach an important milestone toward settling one of modern history’s most bitter and long standing conflicts…Time will tell whether it will be possible to rescue history from nationalists who have plundered history to serve their own political ends.” (Professor Guenter Lewy-December 2005 issue of Commentary-Published by American-Jewish Committee.
· A documentary titled, “The Armenian Revolt: 1894-1920” has been recently produced in the United States. The 57-minute documentary reveals historical facts based on archival sources from several countries and commentaries by Turks, Europeans and Americans (including one American scholar). It also makes special mention of the provocative roles of France, Great Britain and Russia, which generated armed strife between Armenians and Muslims. The documentary indicates those countries supplied money, guns and encouragement to the Armenian rebels in their struggle to dismantle the Ottoman Empire. In a TV interview on January 13, 2006, Morty Callaghan, the documentary’s producer and director said, “While the tragic fate of Armenians in WW1 era has received a substantial amount of attention, the Armenian revolt in Ottoman Turkey has been almost completely overlooked. One-sided stories do not tell the whole truth. In addition to my research, I have interviewed more than fifty people in several countries.” Mr. Callaghan also said that he has asked PBS-TV Channel authorities to air the documentary.
· In summary, several tragedies took place before, during and after WW1 in Anatolia. As arguments and opposing ideas proliferate with regard to the complexity and enormity of what happened then, more research becomes necessary to assess facts and figures. Nevertheless, Armenians and Turks, most of whom were not even born in 1915, could put emphasis on mutual respect, moral analysis, soul-searching and humane considerations related to those regrettable events, rather than be limited to perpetuating acrimony and antagonism between their respective communities, especially in a peaceful country like Canada.
· A joint declaration by the Turkish-Canadian Communities and their organizations published in the January 2006 issue of “Bizim Anadolu” (Montreal, Quebec) reads in part,”We believe in a forward-looking ‘Canada, representing where the world is going, not where it has been’…We also believe that multiculturalism is one of the major strengths of Canadian society…We are strongly attached to the common values that make up our identity as law abiding and respectful Canadian citizens…” The declaration was published in English, French and Turkish.
· We conclude our views with some illuminative words by the 13th century mystical poet Mevlana (Konya, Turkey):
“Come, come again, whatever you are;
Whether you are an atheist or worship fire;
Whether you have broken your oath a thousand times,
Our convent is not the convent of your despair;
Our door is the door of hope, come,
Come as your true self, like you are.”
Compiled by Dr. Aydin Yurtcu,
Psychiatrist is at the Quill University Canada, born in 1929,
a graduate of Tarsus College (a missionary school) in Turkey.
Turkish-Canadian Action Committee
260 Murray, Montreal, Qc, H3C 2E2, Canada
February 1, 2006
Kindly Forwarded by Sukru Server Aya