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22 April 2008

2433) Peter Balakian's Australian Conference and The Fallacious Armenian Genocide Allegations by Ataman Atlas

To Australian Politicians, Relevant Authorities and Organisations


Related Articles
Apr 28th 2008 Australian National Uni, Canberra Seminar by Turkkaya Ataov: Turkish Identity & Armenian Issue
Turkkaya Ataov, Peter Balakian, Australia's ANZAC Day & ABC TV's "Armenia / Turkey: Ghosts of the Past" Program


Dear Mr Hartcher, and Ladies and Gentlemen;

I write to you in respect of last night’s Armenian conference held at the UTS Campus in Linfield the keynote speaker being one Mr Peter Balakian. Firstly, I would like to make you aware that I was in attendance at the conference in company with other members of the Australian Turkish Community as was Professor Turkkaya Ataov from the Republic of Turkey.

The first point that I would like to make clear is that as Australian citizens of Turkish origin we are fully aware and expect defamatory and derogatory comments from the Armenian Diaspora, we have become accustomed to this as well much more severe actions such as acts of terrorism from Armenians. Let me remind you now of the murders of Mr Sarik Arayak and Engin Sever in Sydney in 1980, as well as the bombing of the Turkish Consulate in Melbourne. . .

However, what has disappointed and angered us more is the comments and attitude displayed by various Australian Politicians in particular Mr Hartcher. Let me qualify that statement for you. Mr Hartcher made light of the fact that a former Consul General from Sydney wished to see him in Gosford, in order to put before Mr Hartcher the full story of the fallacious Armenian Genocide claims and all the evidence. Mr Hartcher “JOKED” about the fact that the Consul attended his offices in company with two Federal Police Officers, which in turn scared his staff. (This received a giggle from the audience) Mr Hartcher did not stop to think or reflect as to why the Sydney Consul General would require two Federal Police Officers in company with him. Well let me put it too you quite bluntly, those protective measures were put into place by the Australian Federal Government in order to protect Turkish Diplomats from MURDER and terrorism from armed Armenian terrorists. I wonder whether Mrs Arayak and her daughter who was 8 years old when she lost her father, and whether Mr Sever’s elderly parents who lost their only son would have laughed at that joke?

Further, Mr Hartcher also referred to the forged, false, and deceptive “Hitler Quote”. Armenians still continually use this alleged quote and other proven forgeries in order to support their spurious claims. Men and women with less then average intellect and no inquiring minds have fallen hook, line and sinker for these deceptive and manipulative arguments, as is the case with Mr Hartcher.

Much innocent blood has been spilt over the Armenian aspirations of a larger and Great Armenia for decades, in fact spilt on the streets of Sydney. If it is the intention of Australian politicians to incite racial hatred and add fuel to the fire of racial animosity here in Australia, then Mr Hartcher has achieved his goal. I will be laying a complaint with the Turkish Embassy in Canberra and I will make it widely known to Turks here in Australia as well as in the Republic of Turkey how lightly Australian politicians take acts of terrorism when committed against Turks, or when Christian Terrorists murder Muslims.

It is no wonder that Turks and in fact the vast majority of Muslims feel marginalised and disenfranchised as a result of such conduct by the likes of Mr Hartcher. We in Australia live in the luckiest country in the world but if it is Mr Hartcher’s intention to bring the conflicts of Europe and the Middle East here to Australian streets, that may well no longer be the case. Australian politicians should focus on issues affecting Australians and Australian national interest’s not racial conflicts from Europe or the Middle East dating back decades if not centuries.

Mr Hartcher’s conduct and comments only go to re – enforce long held hatred and stereotypes. It appears that the mentality first conjured up by Pope Urban in the first Crusades still continues to this date here in Australia in the 21st Century. That is the picture of the “Bad Turk”.

As members of the Australian Turkish Community will no longer sit back and take such unwarranted, deceptive, derogatory, defamatory, heinous allegations and attacks, we have arranged for Prof Turkkaya Ataov to attend Australia and provide conferences in relation to the fallacious Armenian Genocide claims. We will endeavour to put the full truth to the Australian Public ourselves.

Last nights highly entertaining, fictitious ceremony and conference did not ONCE mention the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TURKS that were butchered by the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. Like my grandmothers, parents, uncles aunts and cousins, raped tortured and then locked into a barn and burnt alive in the village of Subatan near Kars. I ASK ALL OF YOU WHO WILL CRY FOR MY GRANDMOTHERS AND MY RELATIVES ? When will the NSW Government erect a monument for their sacrifice? Or is it the case you can only have a monument erected on NSW Parliament grounds if you happen to be an innocent CHRISTIAN victim?

With the ANZAC day ceremonies about to commence here and in Turkey I will make sure Mr Hartcher’s comments and his JOKE about Turkish diplomats being murdered is highlighted in Turkey as well as here in Australia. I congratulate you Mr Hartcher you are a gem of a man, you show real humanity.

Those of you that wish to attend Prof Ataov’s conference to ask questions and “Cross Examine” the good Professor please contact me so I can arrange invites to be sent out to you. Not that I expect any of you will attend after all we are only Turks less than human isn’t that right Mr Hartcher. You see Mr Hartcher I do not wish for death to be visited upon you, NO on the contrary I wish for death to be visited upon your dearest and most loved and for you to suffer in misery in a long life, like Mr Arayak’s widow and daughter, like Mr Sever’s elderly parents his uncles aunts and cousins. Then for you to attend a conference so that someone can make a joke about their death.

I do not expect a reply from any of you however; I will give you a glimpse of the evidence available against the fallacious Armenian genocide claims from mostly neutral non-Turkish sources.

What the Armenian citizens of the former Ottoman Empire could not achieve (that is their aspiration of a Greater Armenia) with acts of WAR, WAR CRIMES, ATROCITIES and TERRORISM they are now trying to achieve via unscrupulous sociopathic politicians (like Mr Hartcher) and his politics.

Regards
Ataman Atlas


Quotes and References
"(The) United Nations has not approved or endorsed a Report labelling the Armenian experience as Genocide."

Farhan Haq, U.N. spokesman, October 5th, 2000. On June 4-7, 2005, at a Florida Atlantic University genocide conference, Juan Mendez, Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide to the Secretary General of the United Nations, was criticized for calling the Armenians' genocide an "event." This article tells us that the Argentinean "responded that since the UN has not
officially recognized the genocide, he was not allowed to call it that." As reader Conan put it: "The UN is the organ that has established the Genocide Convention. If even such an institution doesn’t recognize the Armenian genocide, Turkey has the right to punish the so called Armenian genocide as libel. That is the right of every nation."

In Demirian (1988) 33 A Crim R 441, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Victoria heard, inter alia, an application for leave to appeal against the sentence imposed on Demirian for conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury arising out of an incident at the Turkish Consulate in Melbourne, in 1986.

53 On a Sunday in November of that year, a large bomb which had been placed in the rear of a Holden Torana, exploded in the car park below a building at 44 Caroline Street, South Yarra, causing very substantial damage to that building and to other premises in the vicinity. 44 Caroline Street was used for business purposes. The Turkish Consulate occupied the first floor. Presumably because the offence was committed on a Sunday, the Consulate was unoccupied. There was only one person in the building. He was injured, but not seriously.

54 After the explosion, human remains were found close to the vehicle. It emerged from a detailed scientific investigation that a man had probably been standing alongside the driver's door when the bomb exploded, apparently, prematurely.

55 Demirian was charged with conspiracy and with the murder of the deceased. The Crown case was that Demirian was a party to the agreement with the deceased, and perhaps others, to place and explode the bomb so that it would blow up the building containing the Turkish Consulate.

56 Demirian was convicted of both conspiracy and murder. On appeal, the conviction for conspiracy was upheld and that for murder was quashed. The only remaining issue was whether the sentence imposed on Demirian for the conspiracy was excessive: a sentence of 10 years' imprisonment, with no minimum term.

57 In a joint judgment, McGarvie and O'Bryan JJ said:

“The type of activity engaged in by the applicant and others is rare in this country but terrorist acts are commonplace in the country from whence the applicant emigrated to Australia. Unless courts in this country are vigilant in imposing condign sentences for such conduct evil-minded persons might seek to emulate this conduct. The conduct of the applicant in conspiring with others to endanger life and cause serious injury to property by detonating an explosive substance beneath the Consulate brought shame to this country when the bomb exploded. The Turkish nation is a friendly power and members of the Turkish community now assimilated into Australian society were affronted by this evil deed. The heinousness of the crime is accentuated by the fact that the applicant abused the sanctuary this country offered him.

When a crime of such notoriety and heinousness is committed in the name of a political cause this Court is not required to fix a minimum term. The political nature of the offence and its seriousness render the fixing of such a term inappropriate. A sentence imposed in these circumstances should be exceptional to mark the seriousness with which the crime is viewed and therefore no minimum term should be fixed.” (1988 33 A Crim R at p 474)

58 Tadgell J agreed, in relation to that aspect of the appeal (at p 481).

59 The maximum penalty for the offence of which Demirian was convicted was 15 years' imprisonment. The sentence imposed on him was therefore two-thirds of the maximum.

"I have it from absolute first-hand information that the Armenians in the Caucasus attacked Tartar (Muslim) villages that are utterly defenseless and bombarded these villages with artillery and they murder the inhabitants, pillage the village and often burn the village."

Admiral Mark Bristol, Bristol Papers, General Correspondence: Container #32: Bristol to Bradley Letter of September 14, 1920.

"The Moslems who did not succeed in escaping [the city] were put to death..."

Grace H. Knapp, The Tragedy of Bitlis, Fleming H. Revell Co., New York (1919) , page 146.

"We closed the roads and mountain passes that might serve as ways of escape for the Tartars (Turks), and then proceeded in the work of extermination. Our troops surrounded village after village. Little resistance was offered. Our artillery knocked the huts into heaps of stones and dust, and when the villages became untenable and the inhabitants fled from them into the fields, bullets and bayonets completed the work."

Ohanus Appressian, describing incidents in 1919; Memoirs of an Armenian officer, Men are Like That, 1926.

"This three-day massacre by Armenians is recorded in history as the 'March Events' and thousands of Muslims, old people, women and children lost their lives."

F. Kazemzadeh, The Struggle for Transcaucasia (New York, 1951), p. 69. (This excerpt refers not to Armenian atrocities against Ottoman Turks, but to "Tartar" (derogatory for "Tatar") Turks, when Armenia attacked Azerbaijan in 1918. Regarding this period of March 30 to April 1 1918, Vladimir Lenin said that commissar S. Shaumyan, the chief architect of the massacres throughout Azerbaijan, “turned Baku into an Armenian operated henhouse [slaughterhouse].” According to Justin McCarthy's “Death and Exile," "Between 8,000 and 12,000 Muslims were killed in Baku alone.…”)

" All Turkish children also should be killed as they form a danger to the Armenian nation"

Hamparsum Boyaciyan, nicknamed "Murad," a former Ottoman parliamentarian who led Armenian guerilla forces, ravaging Turkish villages behind the lines, 1914. Cited from Mikael Varandean, "History of the Dashnaktsutiun." (Alternately known as "History of the A.R.Federation" ["H. H. Dashnaktsutyan Patmutiwn," Paris,1932 and Cairo,1950]. The author [1874-1934] has other works, including "L'Arménie et la Question Arménienne," noted in the library as "Delegation propaganda authenticated by the Armenian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919"])

"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."

A. Lalayan, Revolutsionniy Vostok (Revolutionary East) No: 2-3, Moscow, 1936. (Highly deceptive Armenian activists on the Internet are spreading rumors there is no Lalayan. The above quote has been confirmed. Lalaian was an Armenian Soviet historian and the Dashnag report above was first published in issue 2-3 of the magazine, Revolyutsionniy Vostok and then in issue 2 of Istoricheskie Zapisky, the organ of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Institute of History, The above quote is from a proud Dashnag officer, Aslem Varaam, in the report he wrote from the Beyazit-Vaaram region in 1920, Updated translation:: “I exterminated the Turkish population in Bashar-Gechar without making any exceptions. One sometimes feels the bullets shouldn’t be wasted. So, the most effective way against these dogs is to collect the people who have survived the clashes and dump them in deep holes and crush them under heavy rocks pressed from above, not to let them inhabit this world any longer. So I did accordingly. I collected all the women, men and children and extinguished their lives in the deep holes I dumped them into, crushing them with rocks.”)

"When we arrived at Zeve, the village couldn't be passed through because of its stench. It was as if the bones in our noses would fall off... There were bodies everywhere. We saw a weird scene on the threshold of one house: they had filled the house with Muslims and burned it, and so many people had been burnt that the fat that had oozed from under the threshold had turned back into the trench in front of the door. That is, it was as if the river of fat had risen and later receded. The fat was still fresh. The entire village had been destroyed and was in this situation. I saw this with my own eyes, and I'll never forget it. We heard that they did the same thing to the Muslims on Carpanak Island. The Armenians told me about the latter; I did not see it for myself.”

Haci Osman Gemicioglu, an Armenian-Turk (having converted to Islam) who eyewitnessed the 1915 Zeve massacre; as told to Huseyin Celik, during interviews conducted in the late 1970s-early 80s.

"Only 1,500 Turks remain in Van"

The Gochnag, an Armenian newspaper published in the United States, May 24,1915 ... in a proud report documenting the slaughter of the Turkish citizenry of Van.

"Many massacres were committed by the Armenians until our army arrived in Erzurum... (after General Odesilitze left) 2,127 Muslim bodies were buried in Erzurum's center. These are entirely men. There are ax, bayonet and bullet wounds on the dead bodies. Lungs of the bodies were removed and sharp stakes were struck in the eyes. There are other bodies around the city."

Official telegram of the Third Royal Army Command, addressed to the Supreme Command, March 19, 1918; ATASE Archive of General Staff, Archive No: 4-36-71. D. 231. G.2. K. 2820. Dos.A-69, Fih.3.

"There is little news from the interior save that the Russians have entered Van. The contingent is mostly composed of Armenian volunteers who fight with desperate courage, but whose excesses have shocked even the Russian commanders."

Lewis Einstein, "Inside Constantinople – A [Diplomat's] Diary During the Dardanelles Expedition, April-September, 1915,". 1917, p. 68; John Murray, London. The book is a daily recording of what Einstein saw, heard, received and possibly imagined with cleverly inserted passages on the Armenian massacres.

"The Armenians did exterminate the entire Muslim population of Russian Armenia as Muslims were considered inferior to the Armenians by the prominent leaders of the Dashnaks."

Mikael Kaprilian, Armenian revolutionary leader, in Yerevan, 1919.

"In Soviet Armenia today there no longer exists a single Turkish soul."

Sahak Melkonian, Preserving the Armenian Purity, 1920

"Since all the able Moslem men were in the army, it was easy for the Armenians to begin a horrible slaughter of the defenseless Moslem inhabitants in the area. They ... simply cleaned out the Moslem inhabitants in those areas. They performed gruesome deeds, of which I, as an eye witness honestly say that they were much worse than what Turks have been accused of as an Armenian atrocity."

General Bronsart von Schellendorf , "A Witness for Talat Pasha," Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, July 24, 1921

"The Dashnaks and Hunchaks have terrorized their own countrymen, they have stirred up the Muslim people with their thefts and insanities, and have paralyzed all efforts made to carry out reforms; all the events that have taken place in Anatolia are the responsibility of the crimes committed by the Armenian revolutionary committees."

Williams, The British vice-consul, writing from Van. (March 4, 1896, British Blue Book, Nr. 8 1896, p.108.)

"The Turks and Armenians got on excellently together... The Russians restricted the Armenian Church, schools and language; the Turks on the contrary were perfectly tolerant and liberal as to all such matters. They did not care how the Armenians prayed, taught and talked... The Armenians were thorough Orientals and appreciated Turkish ideas and habits... (They) were quite content to live among the Turks.... The balance of wealth certainly remained with the Christians. The Turks treated them with good-humoured confidence..."

Sir Charles Eliot, author, "Turkey in Europe" (London, E. Arnold, 1900); regarding the years preceding the Turkish-Russian War of 1877-78.

(The religious toleration of the Ottoman Government) "was complete" (and the state) "never in any way interfered with what the Christians did or taught in the schools or the churches.... it was impossible to desire more absolute liberty of worship or teaching."

Gratan Geary, "Through Asiatic Turkey" (London, M.S. and R. Sampson, 1878)

"The great Turk is governing in peace twenty nations from different religions. Turks have taught the Christians how to be moderate in peace and gentle in victory"

Voltaire

"The Armenians of Turkey no longer think of separating from the Ottoman Empire. Their problems no longer are even the concern of relations between the Armenian Republic and the Ottomans. Relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Republic are excellent, and they must remain that way in the future. All Armenian political parties feel the same way. Continuation of this good neighbourly spirit is one of the principal points of the program recently announced by the Armenian Government, of which I am Foreign Minister."

Hadisian, Foreign Minister of the Armenian Republic, upon the signing of the Batum Treaty on June 4, 1918 with the Ottoman Government. (Only seven days after the Armenian Republic in Erivan was established.) This treaty was described as involving the Armenians' full disavowal of all claims on the territory or people of the Ottoman Empire including its Armenians and the lands claimed by Armenian nationalists; Feigl, Erich, A Myth of Terror, 1986, pg. 85

"The Osmanli (Ottoman) has yet to be heard." (The English have) "heard stories ad nauseam of massacres, of pillages, of the ravishing of women, but none of these stories have been corroborated by a single European eyewitness."

Captain Charles Boswell Norman, "The Armenians Unmasked" (1895)

"...In the absence of unequivocal evidence that the Ottoman administration took a specific decision to eliminate the Armenians under their control at that time, British governments have not recognized those events as indications of genocide... Nor do we believe it is the business of governments of today to review events of over 80 years ago, with a view to pronouncing on them..."

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale, Foreign Office spokesperson, on April 14, 1999; the PA News from London... reporting on yet another Armenian bid to get the British Government to recognize its "genocide."

"The Turkish government felt that pressing the Turkish case against Armenians and others would rekindle old hatreds and invite war, so the Turks said nothing of their grievances. This was the right decision for the time. The unfortunate result was that no one spoke for the Turks"

Justin McCarthy, Professor, University of Louisville, testifying at the Congressional Hearing on H. Res. 398 in 2000.

“The acts of the Armenian army at Kars absolutely disgusted our Americans…I am sure that the mass of people at home believe the Armenians are Christians in action and morals, and that they are able to govern themselves. You and I, and others that know them, know that this is not the case…CARDASHIAN IS CONSTANLY REPORTING ATROCITIES WHICH NEVER OCCURRED and giving endless MISINFORMATION with regard to the situation in Armenia and in Turkey….. (Armenians) are a peculiar people. They have a great faculty of making themselves disliked wherever they go...” "All the Americans in Kars are well, and the Turkish Army is full of concern for us and accords us all considerations. We have been given permission to continue our activities as before. The Turkish soldiers are well disciplined and there have been no massacres." By Edward Fox, District Commander N.E.R. Kars The original of this document is held in the US Congress Library.

"The pride of race brings about many singularities and prompts the Armenians to prey on missionaries, Jesuits, consuls and European traveler with rapacity and ingratitude. The poor Armenians will demand assistance in a loud tone, yet will seldom give thanks for a donation. Abuse of Consular officers and missionaries is only a part of the stock-in-trade of the extra-Armenian press." — Mark Sykes, "The Caliph’s Last Heritage" (London, 1915)

"The Turks marched into Kars and the Armenians ran away without firing a shot except from two or three places on the hill in the beginning, and this firing soon ceased. Many of the Armenians threw away their guns, stripped off their uniforms and hid in the houses, especially in the Near East Relief orphanages and hospitals with the children…."

"...The Turkish forces were far inferior to the Armenians, but the latter put up no fight and ran away in the most cowardly manner. The soldiers threw away their guns, stripped off their equipment, and hid in the hospitals and orphanages belonging to the Near East Relief Committee when the Turks entered Kars. There was hardly a shot fired from the Kars fortifications and there were no troops to withstand the advance of the Turks, who marched in as if on parade. The Armenian soldiers in many cases hid in the beds with sick children. The Turks in their advance into Armenia did not do any massacring..." Admiral Mark Bristol these documents are held at the US Congress Library for those that are interested.

“We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through, but not a genocide. (Nobel prize of Peace and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (Turkish Daily News, April 10, 2001))

“The British government of that time and those that followed considered the massacres of 1915-1916 as a horrifying tragedy. We understand the force of feelings for this problem, given the human losses of both parties. But we do not believe that proofs put forward give evidence that those events must be classified as “genocide” as defined by the Convention of the United Nations on the genocide of 1948. The events of 1915-1916 constitute a big tragedy, during which two parts underwent very heavy losses.” (Statement of the Embassy of Great Britain in Ankara (Official statement on July 23, 2001)

Turks enjoy a long history of friendship by living in harmony with different ethnic groups and sharing a geographic and cultural heritage.” (Decree of Court of Common Council of the City of Hartford, Connecticut, proclaiming August 30, 2001, as “Day of Remembrance of the Turkish tragedy”

“We recognize millions of citizens of the Ottoman Empire from different religious and ethnic backgrounds died from inter-communal violence, forced migration, disease and starvation during World War I and the collapse of the Empire.

(…)We share the Turkish Americans’ great burden of sorrow from the tragic events which befell their ancestors from 1912-1922. (…)Whereas, recognition of the Turkish tragedy is crucial to ensuring against the repetition of future civilian wartime tragedies. (Decree of the State of Alabama proclaiming August 30, 2001 as “Day of Remembrance of the Turkish Tragedy”)

“It is unacceptable to make a comparison between the Holocaust and the tragedy lived by the Armenian people. Holocaust is a unique phenomenon, because it was planned and aimed at the extermination of a whole nation.” (Rivka Cohen, ambassadress of Israel in Armenia (press conference, Yerevan, on February 8, 2002)

“I’m here in Turkey to reveal the lies of the Armenians… And all the related documents I’ve reached on this historical subject contain the evidences pointing out the Turkish genocide not the Armenians, contrary to the claims.” (A. Geffroy, French origin researcher, from press conference on August 18, 2005)

October 18, 2007
History Speaks
The moral case against the Armenian Genocide resolution.

By Barbara Lerner

Prudential arguments against the Armenian genocide resolution pending in Congress are gaining traction; odds for passage in November that looked overwhelming last month look more like a toss-up today. But in the court of public opinion, genocide proponents are still winning. Most Europeans and transcultural multinationals have already proclaimed it an indisputable historical fact that the Armenian tragedy in Turkey in World War I was a genocide, perpetrated by the Turks — a deliberate government attempt to wipe out all Armenians — and growing numbers of Americans think we have a moral duty to join them. The problem, in this arena, is that prudential arguments have nothing like the emotional power and widespread popular appeal of the moral case for condemning the Turks.

We must do it, Armenian genocide proponents tell us, because the Armenian tragedy was the original Holocaust: Armenians in World War I were like the Jews in World War II; Turks in 1915 were like the Germans in the 1940s. Thus, the only moral choice is to condemn the Turks, as we condemned the Nazis. The logic here is inescapable: it is the only moral choice, if the charge is true, if Armenians really were helpless scapegoats like the Jews, and if Turks really were deliberate, genocidal monsters like the Nazis. But an analogy is only an emotional appeal, not a rational argument — let alone a moral one — — unless it actually fits the historical facts. To judge whether the Holocaust analogy does, we can’t just look at Jews and Germans in World War II, then at dead Armenians in World War I, and extrapolate the rest. We have to look at live Armenians and Turks in 1915; at the desperate, multi-front war Turkey was submerged in, in that bloody year; and at how ordinary people and government leaders reacted.

We know what life was like for ordinary people and government leaders in Germany in 1942-43, when the mass killing of Jews reached industrial scale. It was orderly and safe; the Nazis were still mostly winning abroad, and in full, unchallenged control at home. Jews aside, no one starved to death in Germany then, and no German civilians were massacred or raped by enemy forces. There were no enemy forces on German soil in those years. The only enemies at home were the Jews, and they were never a real threat. They were scapegoats, not objective enemies, and they were being methodically eliminated, without exception, in all German-controlled territory. Life in Turkey in 1915 was very different, but, genocide accusations aside, most Americans know nothing of it. Here, to remedy that lack, a little history. First, the backdrop to 1915 — a one-paragraph review of how Turkey got to where she was in that critical year. Then, the foreground — what was happening in Turkey in 1915, and how Turks and Armenians responded.

Turkey wasn’t a country in 1915; it was an empire in dissolution, reaching the climactic endpoint of a century-long decline in wealth, power, and control over territory. The Ottomans tried many reforms to halt the slide; all proved too little, too late. By 1915 they had already lost great swathes of territory in Crimea and the Caucasus, in a series of losing wars with their giant rival to the east, Imperial Russia. In the west, they lost most of their European territories in another series of losing wars against a rising tide of nationalist uprisings in Greece and the Balkans.

In all these lost lands, Turks and other Muslims had been at least a substantial minority; in many, a clear majority, and everywhere, they were driven from their homes in large numbers, and often brutalized. Massacres and rapes were especially common on the eastern front. Czarist troops and their local allies were no less brutal to conquered Muslim civilians than their Communist successors were to Christian civilians in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe, a few decades later. All this sent millions of Muslim refugees flooding into the Ottoman core we now know as Turkey in the years before World War I, overwhelming the Ottoman’s waning power to provide even minimal assistance to many, and seriously eroding their ability to maintain order in areas farthest from the government in Istanbul. Then, on November 2, 1914, Imperial Russia declared war on the Ottomans again, and this time, Imperial Britain and Imperial France followed suit, three days later.

That’s the backdrop to 1915. Here’s the foreground. In January, the French, the British, and Britain’s colonial troops — Australians and New Zealanders—mounted a major attack on Turkey’s western front at Gallipoli, the gateway to Istanbul. Fighting there was fierce, and continued until January 1916, but, on this front, there were relatively few civilian casualties, and no massacres.

On the eastern front, the situation was grimmer. The czar’s army had broken through the Ottoman defense lines in the Caucasus, and was laying waste to cities and villages in Anatolia, sending old refugees fleeing in terror once more, and adding millions of new refugees to the mounting toll. Once again, the invading Russians and their local allies often treated conquered Turkish civilians with great brutality; massacres and rapes were not rare events. In much of Anatolia, death and destruction was omnipresent, and for millions of homeless survivors, clean water and food was scarce to nonexistent. Starvation killed many; raging epidemics of dysentery, typhus, and cholera killed more. In refugee-flooded areas behind the ever-changing front lines and on the roads leading to them, chaos ruled. There was no one to keep order: all available men were needed at the fronts.

That’s what the Turks were struggling with in 1915, and some Armenians struggled with them, serving in the Ottoman government, and fighting side-by-side with Turks in the Ottoman army. Most Armenians who demonstrated this kind of loyalty to the Ottoman state came from Istanbul, Izmir, and Aleppo; the wives, children, and elderly they left behind when they went off to war were not driven from their homes or subjected to massacres. After the war, these men collected their veteran’s pensions, just as other veterans did; some of their descendants live there still.

But Armenians were hardly immune to the fierce currents of nationalism sweeping the region in the late 19th and early 20th century. In eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, especially, many Armenians on both sides of the border saw the Russian invasion as their great chance to recreate their ancient Christian kingdom in Anatolia, with the aid of the Czar’s mighty Christian army. Armed Armenian nationalist groups — the Dashnaks, the Hunchaks, and others — saw Armenians who fought for the Turks as traitors to the Armenian cause; many still do. Nationalist Armenians were at war with the Turks in 1915, and the Armenian generals and guerilla leaders who commanded them are still honored as Armenian heroes today. Military leaders like Generals Andranik Oznanian, Garegin Nzhdeh, Drastamat Kanahyan (“General Dro”), and Garo Pasdirmaijan (“Armen Garo”) are largely unknown to Americans whose knowledge of Armenian history is limited to the orthodox genocide literature, but well-known by Armenians. Here, again, the analogy to the Jews of the Holocaust simply does not fit. There are no statues to the Jewish generals who fought the Nazis in Germany in 1942-43, because there were none.

In 1915, Armenian generals were in the forefront of the Russian invasion: some led Russian troops; others led special Armenian battalions, made up of Armenian volunteers from both sides of the border; still others organized Turkish-Armenian military units be-hind the lines, capturing Anatolian cities like Van, even before the Russians arrived, joining the Russians in capturing Bitlis, Mus, and many other Turkish towns and villages, massacring Turks in a number of those places, before Ottoman reinforcements recaptured them in a long, bloody series of seesaw battles that raged throughout eastern Anatolia in 1915. Some Turkish civilians responded by massacring Armenians, and wild, outlaw tribes of Circassians and Kurds preyed on hapless civilians in both groups.

Of course, nothing justifies any of these massacres, but the claim that Ottoman government leaders ordered any of them is belied by the frequency with which, when they could, they tried and punished men responsible for them: not just Armenians, but many Turks, too, including government officials and military men found guilty of failing to protect civilians. But the Ottoman government in 1915 was no fount of wisdom. It was the product of a series of mutinies, coups, and countercoups that began in 1908, deposing one Sultan and installing another, most of whose rapidly eroding powers were seized in 1913 by three rebel leaders, Talat, Cemal and Enver. And in 1915, that triumvirate made a decision that resulted in many civilian deaths. They decided to deal with the civil war in eastern Anatolia by ordering Ottoman soldiers to march all Armenians out of the area, and resettle them in the Ottoman city of Aleppo, in what is now Syria.

Orders were given to distribute food and water as needed, and to protect the marchers. But, due to the chaos of war, the dearth of supplies, the critical shortage of troops needed at the fronts, and the competing tragedies playing out all around them, there was no chance that the transfer plan could be carried out humanely. It turned into a death march, comparable to the one our soldiers endured on Bataan in World War II, but made worse in the Armenian case by the fact that many of the marchers were the women, children, and old people left behind. Many did not survive the horrors of the trip. Still, we don’t call the Bataan death march a genocide, and there is even less reason to claim the Armenian death march was intended as such. If the Ottomans wanted to kill all Armenians, they would not have exempted Armenians from Istanbul, Izmir, and Aleppo from the transfer order, along with others serving in government and the military. Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli who founded the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, had a more cogent view: he saw the triumvirate as incompetent, and Enver, especially, as a dangerously unrealistic commander whose poorly conceived plans resulted in the slaughter of many Ottoman soldiers; and he saw the Armenian transfer plan as more of the same.

The bottom line here is that in actual historical fact, Turks were not like Nazis; Armenians were not like Jews; and attempts to convince Americans that they were are propaganda, not history. The Armenian tragedy was real and terrible, but it was not the only terrible tragedy in Turkey in 1915 and it wasn’t genocide; it was that in the midst of a wider war that brought death and destruction to millions on all sides, nationalist Armenians fought a war to claim a piece of Turkey for a country of their own, and lost. Later, they got a state of their own, but its development has been stunted from that day to this by high levels of poverty, corruption and political violence. If Armenians would accept their share of responsibility for the tragedies of 1915, trade with their increasingly prosperous Turkish neighbors could do much to alleviate that poverty. Some in Armenia have long wanted to do that, but most government leaders — and the powerful Armenian diaspora community those leaders rely on — have always insisted, instead, on demonizing Turks and whitewashing all Armenian actions in World War I. And, although they proved incompetent at governing, they achieved great success as propagandists. In this, Armenians are very similar to Palestinians; very different from both Jews and Turks.

And the urgent questions that these facts raise for us are these: How did a narrative so far from the facts gain such wide currency and power in contemporary America? What can we do to make ourselves less vulnerable to specious narratives, promoted by other groups who fail at governing, but excel at propaganda?

— Barbara Lerner is a frequent NRO contributor.

“Armenians... cannot expect this country (Great Britain) — or any other one — to choose any area in Turkey, to chase away from there all other races, to increase the Armenian population there under the shadow of British bayonets, and to thus organize a national Armenian existence there with exorbitant taxes to be extracted from the British people. Even the thought of it cannot go beyond being a raw fancy."

Lord Curzon, British statesman, PRO, FO. 800/151, 6.xii.1921

( A letter by a former Australian Ambassador published in The Australian Newspaper)

Mr. George Karagiannakis's letter (2/6/94), making all sorts of incredible allegations against Turkey in regard to its domestic and foreign policies, should not be allowed to go unanswered.

It is not possible in the space of a few lines to answer all of his allegations. However, in fairness to the truth, the following points must be made:

The 'facts beyond credible dispute' to which he alludes are in fact based largely on fictions to justify unrealistic ambitions or failures in the past to achieve totally unrealistic goals.

Whilst it is true and sad that many Armenians lost their lives in their own bid for territory, what is not recognized is that the Armenians themselves inflicted as much damage as others in the hostilities of that time, goaded on by some Western powers for their own selfish and geopolitical objectives.

The Turks had no deliberate policy of genocide at any stage, only the removal of Armenians from the front line with Russia, where they were collaborating with the Ottoman Empire's enemies and were thus a threat to its security.

The Kurdish issue is more complex. Two points are relevant:

The PKK, like IRA, is a terrorist organization, SUPPORTED MATERIALLY BY THE GREEKS AND ARMENIANS, with the stated objective of destabilizing Turkey. It has so far assassinated over 10,000 people in Turkey. It has no justifiable claim to represent the Kurdish people.

Most Kurds are integrated into Turkish society. About one-third of the Turkish Parliament is of Kurdish origin. This illustrates the absence of discrimination.

As for Cyprus, if any genocide or ethnic cleansing has taken place, this has always been carried out by the Greeks. The abortive coup of 1974, organized by EOKA and Greek colonels, aimed at elimination of the Turkish Cypriots from the Island. Turkey intervened to protect them and prevent Enosis. Since that date, the island has been peaceful and free of bloodshed.

Turkey has consistently supported a fair and reasonable settlement on Cyprus, but one that gives the Turkish Cypriots a secure future and equal political and social status with the Greek Cypriots.

The real problem between Greece and Turkey is Greece's reluctance to give up its Megali idea, that is, the recovery of the territories occupied by the Byzantine Empire, which finally fell to the Turks in 1453. All the many conflicts between Greece and Turkey over the past two centuries have been initiated by Greece. Your correspondent's reference to bloodied Turkish history is therefore clearly wrong, except in the fact that in the past three Greek-initiated conflicts, the Turks gave the Greeks a severe hiding, which partly accounts for the large fall in numbers of Greeks in present-day Turkey.

Regarding persecution. the Ottomans had one of the most tolerant policies towards non-Turks of any empire of its day. The three communities of Jews, Greeks and Armenians were virtually autonomous within the empire.

P. F. Peters
Former Australian Ambassador to Turkey
(The Australian, June 9th, 1994)


Saturday, 28 April 2007
Norman Stone: 'There is No Armenian Genocide'
Famous British Historian says he is ready to be prisoned by France
JTW News (Saturday , 21 October 2006)

“The Armenian ‘genocide’ is an imperialist plot.” So said Dogu Perincek, in Marxist mode, and he chose to say it in Switzerland. Switzerland passed a law threatening prison for anyone ‘denying’ that there had been a genocide of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, and Mr. Perincek was interrogated by the police.

There have been similar events in other countries and now we have the French parliament passing a law that is harsher than the Swiss one – a year’s prison and a heavy fine. This is a ridiculous and contemptible business – bad history and worse politics. It is also financially very grubby indeed. We all know how the American legal system can work: lawyers will agree to work for nothing, in return for a share of the profits at the end of a court case. Court cases are very expensive and it can simply be easier for banks or firms or hospitals to agree to make a payment without any confession of liability, just because fighting the case would be absurdly expensive, and the outcome – given how the American jury system works – unpredictable. A burglar, crawling over a householder’s glass roof, fell through it, was badly wounded, and took the householder to court: result, a million dollars in damages. Class actions by Armenian Diaspora descendants in California shook down the Deutsche Bank over claims dating back to 1915 and collected 17,000,000 dollars; then they attempted the same with a French insurance company. We can be entirely certain that if Turkey ever ‘recognizes the genocide’ then the financial claims will follow.

But if Turkey refuses to admit it, she is in fact on perfectly good ground. The very first thing to be said is that the business of ‘genocide’ has never been proved. The evidence for it is at best indirect and when the British were in occupation of Istanbul they never found any direct evidence or proof at all. They kept some hundred or so prominent Turks in captivity on Malta, hoping to find some sort of evidence against them, and failed. They asked the Americans if they knew anything and were told, no. The result is that the alleged ‘genocide’ has never been subjected to a properly-constituted court of law. The British released their Turks (meanly refusing to pay for their journeys back home from Malta). There is a counter-claim to the effect that this happened because the Nationalist Turks were holding British officers hostage but the fact is that the Law Officers simply said that they did not have the evidence to try their captives.

Diaspora Armenians claim that ‘historians’ accept the genocide case. There is some preposterous organization called ‘association of genocide scholars’ which does indeed endorse the Diaspora line, but who are they and what qualifications do they have? Knowing about Rwanda or Bosnia or even Auschwitz does not qualify them to discuss Anatolia in 1915, and the Ottoman specialists are by no means convinced of the ‘genocide’. There is in fact an ‘A’ team of distinguished historians who do not accept the Diaspora line at all. In France, Gilles Veinstein, historian of Salonica and a formidable scholar, reviewed the evidence in a famous article of 1993 in L’Histoire. Back then the Armenian Diaspora were also jumping up and down about something or other, and Veinstein summed up the arguments for and against, in an admirably fair-minded way. The fact is that there is no proof of ‘genocide’, in the sense that no document ever appeared, indicating that the Armenians were to be exterminated. There is forged evidence. In 1920 some documents were handed to the British by a journalist called Andonian. She claimed that he had been given them by an Ottoman official called Naim. The documents have been published as a book (in English and French) and if you take them at face value they are devastating: here is Talaat Pasha as minister of the Interior telling the governors to exterminate the Armenians, not to forget to exterminate the children in orphanages, but to keep it all secret. But the documents are very obviously a forgery – elementary mistakes as regards dates and signatures. At the time, in 1920, the new Armenian Republic was collapsing. Kazim Karabekir was advancing on Kars (which fell almost without resistance) and the Turkish Nationalists were co-operating with Moscow (in effect there was a bargain: Turkey would abandon Azerbaijan and Russia would abandon Anatolian Armenia). The Armenians were desperate to get the British to intervene and save them, by landing troops at Trabzon. However, the British (and still more the French) had had enough of the problems of Asia Minor and were in the main content to settle with the new Turkey. Andonian’s documents belong in that context. The chief Armenian ‘genocidist,’ V.Dadrian, still passionately defends the authenticity of these documents but the attempt does not do much credit to his scholarship: for instance, to the claim that the paper on which these documents were written came from the French school in Aleppo, he answers that there was a paper shortage (leading the Ottoman governor to ask a French headmaster if he could use some of his school-paper? Not very likely). The Naim-Andonian documents have incidentally never been tested in a court. The British refused to use them and a German court subsequently waved them aside. They have since disappeared – not what you would have expected had they been at all that is the sum total of the evidence as to ‘genocide’. Otherwise you are left with what English courts call ‘circumstantial evidence’ – i.e. a witness testifying that another witness said something to someone. Such evidence does not count. In the past three years Armenian historians have apparently been going round archives ?n two dozen countries to find out what they contain – the Danish archives for instance. What they contain is what we knew already – that an awful lot of Armenians were killed or died in the course of a wartime deportation from many parts of Anatolia. Did the Ottoman government intend to exterminate the race, or was it just a deportation that went horribly wrong?

As to this, the experts are divided. A deportation gone wrong is the verdict of many of the best qualified historians – Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Justin McCarthy, Yusuf Halacoglu. Other historians who know the old script and the background believe that it was a premeditated campaign of extermination, and some of these historians are Turkish (Mete Tuncay and Selim Deringil, unless I am taking their names in vain). There is a Turkish historian, Taner Akcam, whose book, based on the war-crimes trials set up in the early period of the British occupation, is obviously scholarly and who accepts the genocide thesis (though he does stress that the process cannot be compared with what happened in Nazi Germany to the Jews). In view of these divisions among scholars it is simply scandalous that the French or any other parliament should decree what the answer is. But it is worse, because the Armenian Diaspora can be extremely vindictive. For instance, Gilles Veinstein, as a reward for his quite dispassionate article, faced a campaign of vilification. He had become a candidate for the College de France, which elects the very best scholars in the country to give seminars. The historians very much welcomed this: he is an extremely serious scholar. But the Armenian Diaspora organized a campaign against him, especially among the mathematicians for some reason. One of them, a Professor Thom, was told that, on the whole, the French historians supported Veinstein and did not like the genocide thesis. His answer: ‘they are all Ottomanists,’ as if that somehow disqualified them. The fact is that the Armenian Diaspora have never taken this affair to a proper court of law. Instead, they try to silence men such as Veinstein. There was an extraordinary episode in American publishing two years ago. A very well-known historian, Gunther Lewy, who was a professor at the University of Massachusetts and author of several books still in print on modern German history, wrote a book on the Armenian massacres on the basis of German documents. The book is valuable because it shows how Dadrian twisted the German evidence. He offered it to his usual publisher, Oxford University Press (New York branch). A report was commissioned from one Papazian – not exactly a celebrity – who identified what he claimed were tremendous inaccuracies: they turn out either not to be inaccuracies, or just little slips of the kind anyone might make. On that basis Lewy’s manuscript was refused on the grounds that he had taken up ‘Turkish denialist discourse’. He found another publisher, the University of Utah Press. And lo and behold the senior Armenian historian in the USA, Richard Hovannisian (University of California) wrote in protest to the President of that University to complain about the publication. Be it said, incidentally, that the last two volumes of Hovannisian’s History of Independent Armenia are a well-written and fair-minded account – in some ways, even a classic of historical writing (the earlier two volumes are not of the same class).

Now, there is something very wrong here. If you believe that you are right, and then you will let evidence speak for itself, and if you face opposition you will simply expect to win the argument one way or the other. Attempts to silence opposition, to boycott lectures by, say, Justin McCarthy, to bully or manipulate foreign politicians – all of that surely argues that the Armenians themselves know their case is very far from being overwhelming. In any case it does nothing whatsoever for Armenia. If you go to eastern Turkey and Kars, look across the border at Armenia. It is very poor, and will continue so if there is no commerce with Turkey. The only obvious industry is the issue of visas for Moscow or the USSR (or for that matter Turkey, where up to 100,000 ex-Soviet Armenians live). The place obviously lives off Diaspora money (and the spread of American fast-food places now means curiously enough that the inhabitants are becoming obese in the manner of some Americans). In Soviet times Armenia had a population approaching three million. Then came independence and the war over Karabagh. The population dwindles and declines every year and is now not much above 1,500,000 – of all absurdities, in other words, independence has caused the Armenians to lose twice as many as vanished in the supposed ‘genocide’ of 1915. There is in other words a sickness at the heart of this whole frankly preposterous affair.

What should Turkey do? If the French law does pass then Turks must be prepared to act, otherwise they risk being landed with enormous bills for compensation. It will take organization. I would volunteer, myself, to provoke some trouble in France: it would be very easy indeed for me to give a public lecture and just to point out what is wrong about the whole thesis of the ‘Armenian genocide’ – I might even just read out Veinstein’s article (or another important one by the then leading German general, Bronsart von Schellendorf). The French government probably would be mad enough to put me in prison for a while (this was done to a well-respected French historian of slavery, whose crime had been to point out that many Africans were involved in the slave trade and that some slaves volunteered for transportation because it saved them from cannibalism). But someone has to make a stand against the ridiculous misuse of parliamentary power and the instructing of historians what they must say about an event nearly a century old in a country two thousand kilometers away with a language that very few people can now read.
-------------------
Norman Stone (1941-) is a British historian of modern Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe. He is the author of ''Europe Transformed, 1878-1919.'' Stone was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Between 1984-1997, he served as professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford.


A copy of a sworn affidavit by Edward Tashji (Turkish Armenian)

The following commentary is presented as a sworn affidavit by the undersigned, and Is intended to express explicitly my position on the subject of Turkish-Armenian relations. Being of sound mind and body, fully cognizant of my statements ,free of any coercion and/or any suggestion of any monetary recompense, I do hereby declare the comments in this written material are solely mine and for which I take full responsibility. My signature follows this declaration and It will appear at the conclusion of this commentary.

This is not intended to portray even a semblance of any historical research, nor to create a subterfuge in the _expression of my thinking and sincere feelings on a subject to which I have devoted a lifetime of attention. Simply stated, these pages are intended to reveal my position on a highly emotional issue based upon childhood experiences, an exposure to both the Armenian and Turkish communities, and as a result of long years of effort. The purpose of this life-long effort has been and by the grace of God, will continue to be two-fold:

first, to continue the bond of brotherhood between the Armenian and the Turkish peoples. Secondly, with the continuance of the six centuries of trust and harmony, to eradicate an infectious hatred which has manifested itself in innocent hearts and minds of succeeding generations. To say that my task has been most difficult and potentially dangerous to my life is not an exaggeration, as the content of this commentary will confirm. The average American is unaware that a serious problem between these ancestral brothers even exists.

However, as a result of a blatant anti-Turkish posture on the part of our news media, together with the acceptance by many members of Congress of one version of a tragic story, the Turkish Nation and its God-fearing people are being accused of genocide. The absurdity of the charge is equal only to the mindless hate merchants within the Armenian community. So why should my pro-Turkish position be of interest to anyone outside the Turkish Community?

It should I say, it must I emphasize, because I am not Turkish nor am I of the Moslem faith; In reality I am a Christian and an Armenian!! I was born In Troy, New York In 1932 as the second son of an Armenian mother and a Syrian Orthodox father, who had been eyewitness to the tragic events which took place In Ottoman Turkey during the First World War. In spite of their suffering, in spite of their losses, in our home our parents had taught us not to hate the Turkish people, In fact just the contrary was instilled in our hearts. We learned the realities of those events about which the West has accepted one interpretation as historical fact.

My wife's background is similar to my own, except that both of her parents were Armenian. Her support of my efforts and her endless patience have been my greatest source of encouragement. Do you think, dear reader, any book, any newspaper account, or any politician could outweigh the Influence upon me by my parents who were there!? They had no reason to give me false information, and their greatest gift to me was to love the traditions and culture of our peoples. Because of their wisdom, their compassion and their humanity, I was destined to be FREE of all animosity. Based upon THEIR comments to me, and after years of study and effort, (which cannot be described here), I offer for your consideration the following facts which should be recognized by every member of Congress:

1. That the Armenian people had suffered In Ottoman Turkey during the First World War is beyond dispute. Their suffering was brought about as a result of the ravages of war; they suffered as did the Arab, the Jew, the Syrian Orthodox, the Greek, as well as the Turkish Moslem. The suffering of the Armenians was NOT as a result of a genocide! To this day, the other ethnic and religious groups which had endured those terrible days, HAVE NOT referred to being the victims of genocide In Turkey! But Armenian extremists have used the term genocide as a way of concealing their own crimes:

2. My mother was born in Balikesir, not far from the city of Izmir. In her town she had remembered that there were organized Armenian political factions determined to overthrow the government, and engaged in war activities against Turkish military forces as well as thousands of innocent civilians. These groups were active In Turkey then, as they continue to be to this day IN the United States. These are the names of the infamous groups: the Ramgavar, the Huntchak, and the fanatical Dasnaksakgan, (all spelled phonetically). These armed revolutionaries were headed by a maniacal fringe who had even attacked Armenians who did not support them in their treachery and disloyalty against a country where for seven centuries they had prospered and enjoyed total freedom.

3. As a child my mother had learned a song which had been taught In Armenian school to all the children, The following is a translation, from the Armenian, of the only words I remember:

Let us slaughter the Turks Let us establish our own country... What would be our reaction if any cultural or religious community taught their children to kill Americans?!

4. Many Armenians after leaving their homes were allowed to RETURN and take possession of their homes and properties. My uncle was one who returned to his home, and my wifes aunt, who is still living, was another. Her family had returned to their home in Adlyaman.

5. As a refugee my mother was taken into the home of an Armenian family In the town of Kilis. They lived in a house which they owned, and this was toward the end of 1915!

6. The long list of ethnic Armenians who had attained the highest positions in the Ottoman Government is a matter of record.

7. Armenian fanaticism In Ottoman Turkey spread to our country during those years and It continues to this very day: The Armenian community and church in the United States is torn apart by bitter hatred within its own family. Many Armenians, especially those who came from Turkey in recent years, do not feel any hatred against the Turkish people but dare not make their feelings public, lest they be castigated by church and community leaders. In 1932, while celebrating mass on Christmas morning, the Armenian Archbishop Tourian was assassinated by members of an opposing Armenian group. Today Armenian terrorism has taken the lives of over sixty-five Innocent Turkish Diplomats and family members world-wide.

8. A so-called statement purportedly made by Adolf Huller referring to the plight of the Armenians, was, after extensive research, proven to be FALSE by historian Robert John, who like myself is born of Armenian ancestry!

9. The following is an exact quotation from a pamphlet printed and distributed by The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, here in New York:

...Its History: Struggle for National Liberation. Founded in 1890, as a confederation of various action groups struggling for Armenian national and human rights, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, (ARF), known as Dashnaktsoutioun, carried on this struggle with all available means: political action, propaganda, and at times, armed struggle..


I direct the attention of the reader to the date: 1890! Tuenty-five years BEFORE the Armenians began with their theme song: genocide. Im certain you made notice of the words: ...armed struggle....

10. In her book entitled, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement, the author, Louise Nalbandlan, says about her book, In part, the following: This study covers in detail the armed struggle of the Armenian revolutionists against the Ottoman government, beginning with the first major disturbance in 1862 and extending to 1896... And they speak of genocide! It is the Turk who is justified in accusing the Armenian of this heinous crime! There is more, much much more which can refute the allegation made against Turkey.

Once again our Congress considers the so-called Armenian Resolution. How dare they sit in judgment of a nation whose true history is not known by those who would accuse Turkey of genocide?! I say, Mr. Senator and Mr. Congressman, examine your own history and consider the plight of the American Indian!!

Dear reader, these are the words of my beloved mother:

My son, we had everything in Turkey. We owned our own homes, our farm lands, shops, and businesses. We were free in our schools, our churches, and our press. On religious holidays Christians and Muslims would exchange greetings, flowers, and baskets filled with all kinds of foods. After having so much, for so long, WHY should the Turks decide to destroy us?! WE, my son, WE were responsible beyond any doubt, for the misfortune that befell our people! WE, the Armenians, were not loyal to our homeland, Turkey! - Many years later, when several Turkish Naval Officers visited our home In Queens, New York, my mother had said to them, Welcome my children this is your home, welcome... She had become their mother and we their family in the United States.

THIS Is humanity! THIS Is Gods wish for all of us! THIS is the only answer if we are to give our children a world free of hatred! THIS Is what I have found In the Turkish heart; I stand in awe of their compassion, of their warmth, their humanity. I am proud that I have devoted a lifetime of service in behalf of our ancestral brothers and sisters. How we have labored, examples of our efforts, the Identity of the long list of government officials with whom we have met, how we were able to learn to speak Armenian and Turkish, why our home Is called an Ottoman home, and much more, is for another time between two hard covers perhaps. May I offer now my concluding statements:

Dear reader, to the Armenian I am a traitor, one who has committed the greatest sin; to the Turk 1 have come to be known as a, Turk dostu a friend of Turks; ours Is the embrace of brotherhood. I offer the reader my greatest success, that for which I have devoted much of my life, and this you will read on separate pages following my commentary. Read carefully please the writings of an Armenian student who sent me three letters. The most satisfying achievement in my humble life is the third and final letter I received from a young man whom I have never met. Indeed, read his words carefully an~ understand I have not turned against my people, for to do so would be to deny my mother.

I am convinced that hate breeds more hatred, and as we were blessed to have parents who passed on to us their message of love, so have I spoken to all who care to listen, our history, our culture and traditions, begin In Turkey as we have shared with her people the joys and the sorrows of that beautiful land. Today, the Armenians living in Turkey praise us for our efforts. The Syrian Orthodox community shares my position and our children grow free of the cancer of hate. Let the United States Congress honor the sacred memory of ALL the peoples that had suffered, and let not this resolution blemish the honor of a great people. I have dedicated myself to the inseparability of the Turkish and Armenian peoples and no power on earth can deter my resolve. In the name of reason, of universal peace for all mankind, and in the name of the God of all peoples, I remain, yours respectfully,

EDWARD TASHJI
Director of Public Affairs Committee
The Federation of Turkish American Association


MICHAEL GUNTER: A REPLY TO JOSEPH KÉCHICHIAN AND KEITH WATENPAUGH

I would have preferred not to reply to these scurrilous attempts at academic character assassination by Joseph Kéchichian and Keith Watenpaugh, but silence might have been misconstrued as somehow agreeing with them.

The main argument these two try to make against me is that I did not agree with their interpretation of what happened to Armenians during World War I and that I did not have a right to write my review of Guenter Lewy's The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide in the first place because I praised the book on its back cover. The two even declaim that by publishing my review IJMES "rendered a disservice to its readers" that has "undermined the credibility of IJMES" because I am guilty of "unethical behavior," "fraud," and so forth. They also lecture IJMES that, although it should publish their five pages attacking Lewy and me, the journal should not publish any reply that I might choose to make. Perhaps noticing that I live in Tennessee, the two even hurl the proverbial kitchen sink my way by accusing me of using "lazy and anti-intellectual techniques" employed "by fundamentalist proponents of ‘Intelligent Design’ who advocate the inclusion of the supernatural " What incredible, self-righteous, pompously ignorant arrogance!

First, there is no academic rule that someone who pens a few words of praise for the back of a book cannot later write a review of it. If there were, a number of good reviews never would have been written. Clearly, my review should stand or fall on its merits, not some alleged rule invented by my two detractors.

Second, neither Guenter Lewy nor I deny the terrible suffering imposed upon the Armenians. Any objective reading of Lewy's book and my review will make this obvious. What we do not agree with is the interpretation many Armenians and others make that what befell Armenians constituted premeditated genocide as defined by Armenians and their many supporters. My two critics notwithstanding, Lewy and I are not alone in this contention. Indeed, Edward J. Erickson's review of Lewy's book in the Middle East Journal 60 (Spring 2006) finds much to praise about it and concludes, "I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the question of what really happened to the Ottoman Armenians in 1915" (p. 379). Writing in the prestigious Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 23 March 2006, the distinguished German scholar of comparative genocide, Eberhard Jackel, also praised Lewy's book. A number of years ago IJMES also published a heated exchange between Richard G. Hovannisian and the late Stanford J. Shaw, "Forum: The Armenian Question" (IJMES 9 [1978], 379–400). Such distinguished scholars of Ottoman history as Bernard Lewis, Roderic Davison, J. C. Hurewitz, and Andrew Mango, among others, have all rejected the appropriateness of the genocide label for what occurred. I guess this makes these other major scholars and publications also guilty of "fraud" and other related sins by daring to publish such thoughts!

Joseph Kéchichian furthermore incorrectly opines that "Gunter, the reviewer, occupies a central place in the massive campaign—ardently promoted by successive Turkish governments—to deny the Armenian genocide … even though he has not produced a single work with a focus on this subject." As anyone who knows my work on the Kurdish and Armenian questions realizes, I often have taken critical stands against the Turkish government. (Maybe the Turkish government has hired me to throw its critics off the scent!) In contrast, Joseph Kéchichian and Keith Watenpaugh clearly are spokespersons for the longtime, massive Armenian campaign to trash any scholars who dare to disagree with their own particular version of history. Indeed, in France, Armenians have even succeeded in making it a crime to criticize them. In 1995 the highly respected scholar of Turkish studies Bernard Lewis was actually fined for questioning the Armenian version of history. Despite their pious denials, it is clear that my two critics would like to extend the French system to the United States.

As for Kéchichian's erroneous assertion that I never "produced a single work with a focus on this subject," I would like to call to his attention a lengthy article I wrote (in an Armenian journal no less) on "The Historical Origins of the Armenian–Turkish Enmity" in a special issue on "Genocide and Human Rights" (Journal of Armenian Studies IV, nos. 1–2 [1992], 257–88). A shorter, slightly different version appeared as "The Historical Origins of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism" (Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 9 [Fall 1985], 77–96). He might also note my short piece, "Why Do the Turks Deny They Committed Genocide against the Armenians?" published in the leading German journal on Middle East politics and economics (Orient 30 [September 1989], 490–93).

Moreover, my being asked over the years to write five separate reviews in the two leading journals on Middle Eastern studies in the United States has further recognized my objectivity on this subject. In IJMES I reviewed (1) Merill D. Peterson, "Starving Armenians": America and the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1930 and After (May 2005) and (2) Richard Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide in Perspective and Akaby Nassibian, Britain and the Armenian Question 1915–1923 (August 1989). In the Middle East Journal I reviewed (3) Vahakn N. Dadrian, German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide (Autumn 1998), (4) Jacques Derogy, Resistance and Revenge: The Armenian Assassination of the Turkish Leaders Responsible for the 1915 Massacres and Deportations and Ephraim K. Jernazian, Judgment unto Truth: Witnessing the Armenian Genocide (Spring 1991), and (5) Kamuran Gurun, The Armenian File: The Myth of Innocence Exposed (Winter 1987).

Furthermore, my book "Pursuing the Just Cause of Their People": A Study of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism (1986) opened with an entire chapter comparing differing Armenian and Turkish positions on what happened in 1915. It received some of the following positive reviews. "This is in every respect a splendid book, which every university library and individual interested in the contemporary Middle East ought to purchase" (Middle East Studies Bulletin 21 [December 1987]). "Professor Michael Gunter's study of contemporary Armenian terrorism is … carefully chronicled, and there is much material which helps to explain subsequent developments. … Well documented. … Gunter has made a notable contribution" (Middle Eastern Studies 25 [October 1989]). "The book is an important one for anyone requiring a systematic account of a terrorist movement that began attacking Turkish officials and offices" (Christian Science Monitor, 10 March 1987). Illustrating the egregiously shocking way he interprets facts, however, Joseph Kéchichian pontificates that my book deals with "alleged Armenian ‘terrorism.’" Alleged? If this is how Kéchichian views recent Armenian terrorism, how can one trust his version of earlier events?

Finally surfeiting themselves with their badly conceived ad hominem attacks on my academic ethics and qualifications, these two Armenian gentlemen next turn their self-righteous diatribes against the accuracy of Lewy's book. Although they make some valid points regarding the Armenian massacres that neither Lewy nor I deny, the two also commit several blunders and possibly outright falsifications in their haste to preach to the choir. For example, they maintain "that a host of Turkish historians" are now agreeing with the Armenian version of history. Kéchichian manages, however, to name only five. Although their position provides food for thought, it hardly amounts to a mass conversion of Turkish scholars to the Armenian line. Indeed, the claim by one of the five (Taner Akçam) that Kemal Ataturk accepted the Armenian version of history is simply not true. Rather, Ataturk criticized the incompetence of the Ottoman government for not alleviating the sufferings of both Armenians and ethnic Turks.

Kéchichian further faults Lewy for not being able to read Ottoman and Turkish and for relying on two anonymous Turkish-speaking persons and others for translating important documents for him. Seeking to draw negative implications from this anonymity, Kéchichian declaims that their names have been "suspiciously withheld." This, of course, is simply another red herring because the translations will stand or fall on their accuracy, not on who made them. What probably really bothered Kéchichian here is that Lewy illustrates several times how pro-Armenian sources cite Turkish sources out of context or simply juxtapose them with ellipses to create different meanings. Vahakn N. Dadrian, often cited as one of the leading contemporary Armenian scholars of these events, is listed by Lewy as one of those who sometimes engages in these practices.

It is also interesting that inability to read Turkish does not prevent Kéchichian from praising as genocide experts Donald Bloxham, Robert Melson, and Leo Kuper, among others, who also do not know Turkish. In addition, if Kéchichian and his supporters understand Ottoman so well, why do some of them continue to tout as genocide evidence such obvious forgeries as the so-called Naim–Andonian documents and the supposed secret Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) meeting of February 1915 described by Mevlanzade Rifat? They weaken their own case by adding such spurious sources.

Kéchichian makes Esref Kuscubasi's statement that he was "a man who had assumed a secret assignment" read to be a confession of genocidal guilt, but as a head of the Special Organization, Kuscubasi naturally dealt with secret assignments. Taking that as a genocidal confession is the real distortion. General Mehmet Vehip's statements are hardly decisive. If the Ottoman government had been behind an extermination plan, Vehip was not in a position to know, as he was not part of the inner circles of power. At the most, Vehip was simply providing his own opinion, as he also did when he foolishly opined that Ataturk's war of independence was ruinous for the country. Leslie Davis was "not a rare eyewitness to mass murder." What he saw was corpses. How those people died and who killed them are matters open to debate. Davis relied entirely on his Armenian assistants and missionaries for information. When he wrote that convicts were released for the purpose of murdering Armenians, that was his opinion. There was a severe shortage of manpower during a desperate war, and making use of convicts is not an unusual practice. Lewy's lamenting of missing originals would be a concern of any objective scholar. If the postwar puppet Ottoman government was corrupt, the fact that some trial material was reproduced in the official newspaper of that government is not what one would necessarily call reliable evidence.

If Lewy's book may have been distributed free to a few libraries, it does not demonstrate that his book is somehow illegitimate. The fact that Lewy was presented with an award by the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM), a Turkish think tank, does not prove that he is lying and in the service of the Turkish government. An author does not control such matters. Kéchichian's claim that ASAM's "mission includes propagandistic and partisan research and publication" is an apt description of the Armenian Zoryan Institute that has published some of Taner Akçam's work. Erik Jan Zürcher received the Medal of High Distinction from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although he concluded in Turkey: A Modern History (1993) that "while the Ottoman government as such was not involved in genocide there was a centrally controlled policy of extermination, instigated by the CUP" (p. 121).

These problems, of course—and overly pious Turkish denials of any wrongdoing—do not prove or disprove what really occurred. Thirty years ago Gwynne Dyer aptly expressed the state of the disorderly discourse between most Armenian and Turkish exponents when he titled a revealing short analysis "Turkish ‘Falsifiers’ and Armenian ‘Deceivers’: Historiography and the Armenian Massacres" (Middle Eastern Studies 12 [January 1976]). Guenter Lewy also finds that "both sides have used heavy-handed tactics to advance their cause and silence a full and impartial discussion of the issues in dispute" (p. 238). However, his attempt to demonstrate this is denounced as a "fraud" by his Armenian critics.

Why then do most scholars accept uncritically the Armenian version of these events and demonize those who object? Why do Turks continue to maintain their innocence in the face of so much evidence? One must realize that the Armenian massacres in 1915 did not occur out of the blue but followed decades of Armenian violence and revolutionary activity that then elicited Turkish counterviolence. There are a plethora of Turkish sources documenting these unfortunate events. However, much more accessible to Western audiences are the studies by such eminent scholars as William L. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism: 1890–1902 (1935) and Arnold J. Toynbee, The Western Question in Greece and Turkey: A Study in the Contact of Civilizations (1922), among others.

Armenians also have documented well that they sometimes gave as good as they received. See, for example, Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties through the Nineteenth Century (1963), James G. Mandalian, ed., Armenian Freedom Fighters: The Memoirs of Rouben der Minasian (1963), and Garegin Pasdermadjian (Armen Garo), Bank Ottoman: Memoirs of Armen Garo (1990), among others. The Armenians, of course, present themselves as freedom fighters in these earlier events, but the objective scholar can understand how the Turks saw them as revolutionary and treasonous and may thus hesitate to characterize their response in 1915 as "genocide."

Moreover, throughout all these events, Armenians were never more than a large minority even in their historic provinces. However, they exaggerated their numbers before World War I and their losses during the war. Indeed, if Armenian figures for those who died were correct, there would have been few left at the end of the war. Instead, the Armenians managed to fight another war against the emerging Turkish republic following World War I for mastery in eastern Anatolia. After they lost, many Armenians in time came to claim that what had occurred after World War I was simply renewed genocide. Conversely, the Turks saw it as part of their war of independence and understandably hesitate to admit sole guilt for all these events.

Furthermore, as Christians, Armenians found a sympathetic audience in the West. Muslim Turks, by contrast, were the historic enemy of the Christian West. In addition, Armenians were much more adept at foreign languages than Turks and thus able to present their case more readily to the rest of the world. When the events in question occurred, Turks were again the enemy of the West and the object of Western propaganda. Of course, none of this excuses the horrible abuses that occurred, but these facts put what happened into a more accurate context and begin to explain why Turks feel that the term "premeditated genocide" is unfair to describe what occurred, especially when Armenians deny any guilt.

Moreover, Armenian willingness to employ unwise violence continued into more recent times despite the attempt by Joseph Kéchichian to term the murder of numerous Turkish diplomats in the 1970s and 1980s as merely "alleged Armenian terrorism." Several of these murders occurred in the United States. In addition, Armenian activists demanded that Cambridge University Press withdraw Stanford Shaw's History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (1977) because they did not agree with some of its findings; they threatened the noted UCLA history professor and even bombed his house in Los Angeles. Furthermore, one of the first things newly independent Armenia did upon winning its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 was to attack Turkic Azerbaijan and conquer some 16 percent of its territory. To this day, Armenia claims large sections of eastern Turkey. However, those who point out such inconvenient facts are denounced as "genocide deniers" who should not even have the right to express themselves. No wonder Turks are hesitant to confess to genocide as defined by their enemies.


BOOKS
Armenia Secrets of a "Christian" Terrorist State The Armenian Great Deception Series - Volume 1 Samuel A. Weems St John Press Dallas 2002

Death and Exile The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims 1821 - 1922 Professor Justin McCarthy The Darwin Press Inc Princeton New Jersey 1999

The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey a Disputed Genocide Guenter Lewy University of Utah Press Utah 2005