2469) Armenian Question 2008, Harut Sassounian On Realpolitik & Genocide

Harut Sassounian, publisher of the California Courier and a leading figure in the local Armenian-American community, visited the Times this week to discuss relations with Turkey, genocide recognition and other matters. Here are some highlights. . .

Giving a forum to the ATAA
Tim Cavanaugh: The Times recently put up a transcript of our meeting with the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. You've indicated that that's comparable to giving, says, skinheads a platform to deny the Holocaust. Could you expand on that?

Harut Sassounian: I fully respect freedom of expression — after all, I'm the publisher of the California Courier, so I understand the mission and purpose of journalists and editors. However, I took offense, and a lot of the people who contacted me were offended, that this group could come in an not only have a meeting — which is not a problem, having a meeting with any group — but then have their words of denial put on the world wide web. Even with the best intentions of educating and informing the community about their position, the L.A. Times is becoming in indirect conduit for denial of genocide, which is very offensive to us.

Tim Cavanaugh: Clearly anything I say on this is going to sound defensive, but I would say there's news value in hearing these people state their position. This is not a fringe group; it's a well established organization.

Harut Sassounian: Well let me just say one thing about that and then we can move on. Any group, no matter who they are, that denies any genocide or holocaust, I can not with a clear conscience call them a respectable group. They lose respectability when they deny genocide.

Talking Turkey
Harut Sassounian: I avoid interfacing with Turkish officials, because they're bound by their positions to propagate the official Turkish line of denial. So there's no point in having any communication with an official who can't say anything other than the government's position. I've had wonderful conversations with individual Turkish citizens, even when we may disagree. I've had many offers to meet with consuls or ambassadors, but I turn down all invitations because they know what I'm going to say and I know what they're going to say, so there's no point offending each other.

Paul Thornton: But they would say they're inviting you to join them in some kind of fact-finding mission that will determine the final say in this — even though historians agree...

Harut Sassounian: Yeah, as far as fact finding, I'm not the one who needs fact-finding. So there's nothing for me to join. I welcome and encourage Turkish, officials, scholars and journalists to do all the fact finding they need. If they have questions, I'll be happy to answer questions or direct them to sources. But I don't need to find out what happened. I know what happened. My grandparents' families on both sides were wiped out. So that's not something I read in a book. I grew up with my grandfather and grandmother telling me the hell they went through. It would be besmirching their good name to join in some kind of fact finding. I know what happened.

Widespread recognition of the Armenian genocide
Tim Cavanaugh: My anecdotal impression is that there's pretty wide acceptance of the reality of the Armenian genocide: popularly in the United States, and maybe worldwide. I mean, a substantial number of people in the world don't even know the Holocaust happened, so you're never going to have total awareness, but there does seem to be pretty wide recognition.

Harut Sassounian: That is a very correct impression. After all, if you just look at what has taken place, it goes all the way back to 1915. So it's not surprising that not many people know what happened. Most people don't follow the news as closely as journalists. To that effect the Holocaust is a more recent event, and it took place in the center of Europe, where there were films and archives, and the Allies filmed all the evidence in the death camps. With the Armenian genocide there were some pictures, some films, but the memory is much dimmer, because it's so far in the past.

However, your observation is correct. Scores of countries, parliaments, have passed resolutions recognizing it as genocide. The U.S. Congress itself, all the way back in 1916. There was a Senate resolution in 1920; more recently in 1975 the House passed a resolution recognizing the genocide. In 1984 there was a second resolution. President Reagan in 1981 signed a presidential proclamation saying "genocide." The UN Sub-commission on Human Rights did a study and concluded it was genocide. The European Parliament in 1987 passed a resolution. And many others have since then. So at this point it's no longer what we used to call the forgotten genocide or the hidden Holocaust. Most people who know such things are aware of it.

Tim Cavanaugh: So what are you campaigning for now? I mean there was this thing last year where Jane Harman disappointed a lot of people locally. What would we be looking for now in terms of recognition?

Harut Sassounian: Let's dispose of Jane Harman before we get on to more serious issues. Jane Harman's mistake was that she was a co-sponsor of the genocide resolution; while remaining on record as the co-sponsor, she wrote a letter to the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asking that the resolution not be brought up for a vote. So she was saying one thing openly and doing something else behind the scenes. That's double-talk and dishonest in my book. If she'd come out and said "I don't support this resolution" that would have been something we could respond to. But instead she gives the impression to the community: "I'm on your side, I support you. But I'm going to work behind your back to undermine this resolution."

Coming back to the more serious issue, for several decades after 1915, parts of various families survived the genocide. Some families were completely wiped out, so there are no inheritors there. Others, like my family, they married other survivors and formed new families. So initially, they found themselves in the deserts of Syria, no housing, no food, nothing. Completely in destitute shape. So what was on their mind was getting a mud hut to live in and a piece of bread to eat. Over time, they built churches, schools, a semblance of normal life. Then people of the next generation started forming groups dedicated to recognizing the injustice that was done to them. They would write letters to government officials, which would get ignored.

When my generation came along, we were the first to get educated, know foreign languages, understand the ways of politics. It was this generation that began to get some recognition of the genocide. Little by little, as things began to change, the Turkish government started to react, started saying there's no such thing, just ridiculed it. But as the world began to accept this, the Turkish government started putting serious money and effort behind the denial. So they brought in hundreds of Turkish and non-Turkish scholars, hired lobbying firms.

But now the genocide is an established fact. So we're not clamoring anymore about the world ignoring us. And the L.A. Times is the best example of that. The paper is on record recognizing the genocide. So are the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Even recently, Time magazine issued a statement recognizing it as genocide and saying it would be referred to as such.

So now we're back to 1915. In 1915 there was a nation living on its own ancestral homeland. They had been there long before there was a Turkey. In addition to losing 1.5 million people, we were uprooted from our homeland.

So what Armenians would like, and this is not a dream that can be realized anytime in the near future, is justice. Everything was taken from them: their lands, their churches, bank accounts, livestock, homes, everything. This was a gross injustice done to these people. Just asking for recognition from the Turks, having them come and say "Yes, 90 or 100 years ago, your ancestors were wiped out," that doesn't do anything. We already know we were wiped out.

So what we want, as a right, no matter how impossible the implementation, as a right we demand justice for the Armenian people. For all the stuff that was taken from them we demand just compensation. And that can take many forms. This is where Armenians and Turks should sit down, and have a very lengthy and serious discussion about what can be done, what's realistic and what's not, what form it should take, whether it's realistic to demand land at this point, whether it's realistic to make financial compensation, as Germany did with survivors of the Holocaust... At least at the surface level, Armenian churches, religious monuments in Turkey, should be returned to the Armenian Church in Turkey. Not to the United States or Armenia or some foreign entity. But for the few survivors who live in Turkey still. These are citizens of Turkey and these are their houses of worship. And they have the right, under the Treaty of Lausanne, to worship there...

Court cases
Paul Thornton: What's preventing a case from being brought to the international court right now?

Harut Sassounian: Nothing's really preventing anyone. There are several practical issues. One is that Armenians for many decades were trying to recover and establish the facts of the genocide, so they weren't running to court. In recent years, lawyers filed against New York Life, and got a $20 million settlement for people who had life insurance policies. Now there are suits against several German banks, to recover funds that Armenians deposited before the genocide. There was also a large amount of money deposited in Ottoman Bank. And that line still exists today. So at some point, Armenians are going to go for their possessions, and go to the European courts with their deeds of trust and demand that they get their possessions back.

The second answer is that the world court can only take cases brought by governments. For many years there was no Armenian nation. So now we have the Republic of Armenian, which is in desperate straits, so they're not going to go and antagonize Turkey, which is a much stronger neighbor. And the Diaspora has no standing to go into court.

This is not about wishful thinking. You have to go to international experts and find out, for example, does a court now, in 2008, deal with an event that took place 93 years ago? You have to look at questions regarding the Genocide Convention of 1948, whether that has any retroactive effect. Those are very complex legal issues. It's not a matter of just civilians saying "I want this or that." Because the worst thing that can happen to Armenians is, if they're not skilled in legal issues, if they just go and file in court and the court dismisses the case because it has no jurisdiction, then the next day the Turkish propaganda machine will say, "The Armenians tried to file a genocide claim but it was dismissed because it had no merit."

Realpolitik axis
Tim Cavanaugh: One of the things that really seems to make it tough for these kinds of discussions is this axis in Washington D.C. of realpolitik types who take the line that we can't do anything to infuriate Turkey, that we need to have them on board, they're important to Israel, and so forth. What presence do you maintain in D.C.?

Harut Sassounian: We have a couple of small Armenian organizations with small staffs, who try to defend Armenian interests and counter the Turkish efforts.

But as for realpolitik, I studied international affairs and I was a U.N. delegate for ten years, so I know the reality of the world. And I know many of the things we say run counter to realpolitik. But let's stay at the level of realpolitik for a moment, and not get into issues of justice or truth. If U.S. officials and Israeli officials, from day one, or even now, would say to the Turkish republic: "We are allies, we share common interests, we wouldn't want to do anything to hurt you. But this is something that was done more than 90 years ago, by a former regime that no longer exists. We cannot, because of friendship, go against the truth. This is history. We're not talking about taking action, of grabbing a chunk of Turkey and giving it to Armenia. We have no ill will against Turkey. But we cannot change history. This thing happened in 1915. We will continue to be friends."

Think of it this way: Say a new administration came up in Germany and said, "We are deeply offended by the constant reminders of the Holocaust, and if the United State ever again brings up the Holocaust, we're going to walk out of NATO, send the ambassador back, cut off trade, etc. We're going to do that unless you shut down the Holocaust Museum in Washington." What would the U.S. government do? The government would say, "I'm sorry, we're going to continue to recognize the facts and we're not going to be bullied by anybody, especially a country that is much less powerful than the United States." And Germany's much more powerful than Turkey.

This is what they should have done with Turkey. But instead, to the detriment of U.S. interests, they are always trying to appease, trying to say "Yes, it was a tragedy but it was not genocide. We can't pass this resolution." If you are always trying to appease, and saying you're sorry whenever Turkey gets offended, once they see that you're being soft and weak and not determined, then they start being demanding. That's why last year when the resolution came up, Turkey threatened to block delivery of military hardware going through Turkey to Iraq. Now they've got you. Now you've allowed yourself to be manipulated by a regime that's not only denying history but threatening your interests.

Instead, you should show you are resolute. In 1981, when President Reagan signed that proclamation, the Turkish government complained, and there were negative articles in the Turkish press. Three days later, and until now, it was completely forgotten. That's the position the U.S. government should take. Many other countries have taken that position, and for a while Turkey was mad at them, but to this day they don't take the position that this or that country recognizes the Armenian genocide and punish them for it. It's just finished. So if you want realpolitik, just bite the bullet and get it over with.

Changing governments
Tim Cavanaugh: Do you see different attitudes from the Turkish government, on this or any other issues, since the Islamist party has been in power?

Harut Sassounian: I think the government in power now is much more people-oriented, sympathetic in general to all sorts of minority rights and human rights. That doesn't mean they're pro-Armenian by a long shot. But that's a government that eventually could lead to positive developments between Armenians and Turkey.

However, on the negative side, that government is under tremendous internal pressure from the Turkish equivalent of neocons. The radical, nationalist, and kemalist Turks are putting so much pressure on Erdoğan's government that Erdoğan is not in position to take any positive steps on this point.

However, since the new government has come into power in Armenia, there has been an exchange of letters between Turkey and Armenia, saying they're interested in establishing normal relations. So there are early indications that possibly with new officials, this could lead to something positive.

April 24, 2008

Discuss Harut Sassounian's comments with the Times editorial board.

7:05 PM PDT, May 6, 2008
2. 'We are few but we are Armenians." Any people with self-respect should defend their rights and we Armenians will remain tenacious in our fight for justice and reparations. We do not care that 100 years have passed - that makes it an even more disgraceful stain on mankind created by Turkey. Our martyrs' bones are strewn all over the lands of Turkey brought to their premeditated grave by the ancestors of the barbaric invading horde who emanate from the same gene pool. Turks, protest all you want. We WILL get justice.
Submitted by: Robert Kessel
1:15 PM PDT, May 5, 2008
3. What about the 300,000 Armenians massacred by Abdul Hamid in 1894? And the 30,000 Armenians the Turks slaughtered in Adana in 1909? And the thousands of young Armenian girls and boys smatched from their villages to end up in harems and the Turkish army, Moslemized and then "peprished?" Armenians will get justice. Out there still exists a civilized world. Armenians endured hideous injustice at the hand of the Turks for centuries. There is no need to debate or to fact find. LA Times give it a rest or start debating the Holocaust too.
Submitted by: Robert Kessel
12:58 PM PDT, May 5, 2008
4. Talaat said of the Armenians he only wanted one to remain and that was to be in a museum. Turkey was designated the "The sick man of Europe" long ago and shall remain so until they stop denying their responsibility of the Genocide. Turkey for Turkey only was their mantra before they began their premeditated killing fields of the Armenians. The Armenian Revolutionary Movement was a necessary action to end the tyrrany under which the Armenian minority was subjected. Turks continue to use the guise of WWI as a tool for their guilt.
Submitted by: Betty Apigian Kessel
12:49 PM PDT, May 5, 2008
5. What we have here is a case of mistaken definitions. Terrorism (as was conducted by Armenian militiamen against innocent Turks and Azeris) is when civilians form to kill other civilians, but Genocide is more serious matter altogether. As we know, genocide is when the State kills its own civilians. There is an obvious difference here, and this is what is not being addressed by Turks or Genocide deniers. Saying "Armenians" killed Turks and Azeris and Azeris is like saying all Muslims are terrorists. S
10:52 AM PDT, May 4, 2008
6. The denialist ploy by the U.S. surrogates of Turkish neo-cons has given a platform for the Armenian demands for Justice. Sassounian harnessed that opportunity by boldly presenting the important issues of the Armenian Case. He presents a modern-day quasi-manifesto for the Armenians and the Turks for lasting peace. By giving platform to the denialists, The Times had caused substantial damage to the Cause of Justice. The Times has partially mitigated that damage by giving Sassounian an opportunity to present the side of the Truth. The world has spoken out! Now it's Turkey's turn to speak the Truth and make amends to the Armenians.
Submitted by: Appo Jabarian, Editor, USA Armenian Life
10:19 AM PDT, May 4, 2008
7. You are so funny Mr. Mehmet Kaan! Nobody is denying that it is all right for the Turks to have been killed by the Dashnak millitia. Those were terrible terroristic acts, but not systematic ethnical clensing which your government of the time did during WW1. The reason why your present government(a) have been denying the Armenian Genocide committed by the Young Turks, is because they know that if they do, then they will have to compensate billlions of dollars to the Armenians from whose grand parents valuable lands were confiscated. This will be disastrous to the Turkish treasury!
Submitted by: Helen
10:42 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
8. Tell me Mr. F. James, where did you get your 2.2 million killings of the Azari Turks by the Armenians? Do you know any history at all? If Armenians had killed that many Turks, today they would be sitting on a big chunk of Azari Tukish land the way Turks are sitting on the western section of Armenia by just massacring l.5 million Armenians. Nobody denies that there have not been revenge killings, but come on Mr. get your facts clear! Of course some hot headed young Armenians killed a few Turkish heads or maybe their neibors for retaliation of their families being butchered by the Turks.
Submitted by: Helen
10:19 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
9. I hope that one day all our Friends in Turkey will wake up like there scholars did, and realize that the history of the world written in all over the world it does not exist in their history books. There must be something wrong in that, the world history books against Turkish history books.
Submitted by: Armen Kerasimian
9:02 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
10. My aunt's husband told me the story of their family. He was a two year old boy,hidden behind a pile of sleeping matresses of their turk neighbors'home while if the government fount out about it would kill turk neighbors also and they had eskaped turkey.I wonder if the turk nation was against what was going on in their country at that period of time why should they deny it continuously now,I wonder if the purpose was not genocide why should they send out women and children from their homes and walk them barefooted and hungey and thirsty to the heart of wildenes? .
Submitted by: ared824@yahoo.com
8:10 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
11. Armenians who were killed were Turkish citizens, they were supposed to be protected by their government. Whatever number of Turks who died, were in the Turkish army at war. No comparison must be made between the two above statements. They are two different happennings. Armenians died by deliberate and systematic destruction (genocide) by the Ottoman Empire during World War I during which the Ottoman Empire took the opportunity to slaugher the Armenians as Europe was busy with its war.
6:40 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
12. In terms of what is the appropriate lands and monetary compensation to the Armenian nation that Turkey needs to address, I believe that one relatively small and yet huge symbolic step in the right direction that they should consider making whilst those legal deliberations continue, would be to return the immediate lands including and surrounding Mount Ararat. This interim step would be of no major financial consequence to Turkey and yet would mean a great deal to Armenians all over the world because of the special affinity that Armenians have with that mountain.
3:34 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
13. I am tired of hearing Turkish lies about Armenians killing Turks. Armenians were a minority in Turkey as a result of their lands being confiscated by Turkey. They were in no position to kill Turks! They objected to discrimination and extremely high taxation, yes, but not kill. The Turkish denialists don't have the courage to accept their ancestors' mistakes and move on. Admit it!! that's all.
Submitted by: A. Arslanian
12:58 PM PDT, May 3, 2008
14. Mr.Sassounian The day before yesterday I have sent a message but I don't see it in this page? It is strange Marine
Submitted by: Marine Vahradyan
11:26 AM PDT, May 3, 2008
15. Part of a eulogy of an Armenian woman who passed away last week:"In 1921, seven year old Hasmig , her mother, sister, brother, along with scores of other Armenian women and children, were herded into a building in the town of Marsevan, Turkey. The building was set on fire, fueled by the kerosene-soaked clothing of all their men whose lives were just taken. Some passing Turkish mullahs intervened and released the captives. Hasmig’s father had been mudered earlier. " This is just the story of one family who suffered during the Armenian Genocide. No realpolitik will compensate them for their loss. Truth can be suppressed but not destroyed.
Submitted by: A. Terian
10:47 AM PDT, May 3, 2008
16. Deny and make counter accusations. It seems as though this is the new track in Turkish Genocide denial as exemplified by Mehmet Kaan. For the Turkic people posting on this forum, learn your history, then say something. While the Genocide was not committed by your generation, Genocide denial is the legacy you will be known for. Break the cycle, and deal with this issue.
Submitted by: Arthur Schlegan
9:11 AM PDT, May 3, 2008
17. I'm an Armenian Journalist born on April 24th, so I've been looking at the issue of the Armenian Genocide objectively, emotionally and actively since the day I learned to read and write. In my interviews with hundreds of survivors and Turks, the stories I hear from survivors are substantiated by tangible evidence, which includes among other things, photographs and news articles that date back to the actual events by major news publications. The stories I hear from Turks are inconsistent with eachother and are at odds with the evidence as well as with the positions of top scholars.
Submitted by: Anna Menedjian
2:16 AM PDT, May 3, 2008
18. I am sure Mr. Kaan and others are confused. The word Genocide applies only to act of mass murders when a government or a military entity of a government plans and systematically executes them on a minority civilian population for the purpose of ending their very existence. What Dashnag fighters did is the same as what Jewish fighters did during the Holocaust, Those are desperate reactions by a few armed men and women to counter a million or more people's march to their death.
Submitted by: Jack Aliksanian
12:13 PM PDT, May 2, 2008
19. The aggressor will starve & march you through the desert no food water allow rapes and aggression and of course will wipe you off since you do not even deserve to be counted. Can an educated person equate the uprooting, disarming, killing of able bodied men in the army because of their ethnicity, with a few revenge reprisals who had lost all hope. We are sorry for every human death however this was not civil war, but a deliberate governmental system to erace The Armenian ancestral civilization by steeling their homes, lands, businesses, churches, and communities. We must all learn on the Truth no matter how much it hurts.
10:27 AM PDT, May 2, 2008
20. I spent more than 10 years researching and writing a novel based on my mother's tragic young life in Turkey. My research drew from the works of journalists, diplomats and missionaries who lived in Turkey's Ottoman Empire during that horrific period. For those Turks who can’t believe their ancestors could conceive of and implement genocide against their Armenian population, I suggest you read the memoirs of non-Ottomans who in 1915 witnessed and wrote about those atrocities.
8:33 AM PDT, May 2, 2008

21. Bravo to Harout Sassounian of the California Courier, on his interview with your editor. To all Armenian Genocide deniers, Mehmet Ali Birand said it best, don't wait for the Armenian Tsunami to drown you in your lies. Don't do the dirty work for the Turkish government, read about it by non-Armenians what really happened in 1915-1922. A child of survivors from Angora and Brusa. Stefan Karadian West Bloomfield, MIchigan
Submitted by: Stefan Karadian, West Bloomfield, MI
8:10 AM PDT, May 2, 2008
22. It is so sad that the revisionist history on the Armenian Genocide persists almost 100 years later. We are grateful for the Turkish people who saved Armenians during the horrific events of 1915 and earlier and for Turkish writers and journalists of today who have the courage to speak the truth about the Armenian Genocide. To paraphrase the French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy, the Armenians are part of the graveless dead and we have an obligation to honor their deaths by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.
Submitted by: Susan Markarian
6:48 AM PDT, May 2, 2008
23. I appeal to the mankind of our planet REMEMBER IN 1920 WHAT HAD HAPPEN and wait!! the treaty of SEVRE and the HUGE OFFICIAL SEAL of the american president Widrow Willson-REMEMBER!!! the true future is not so farfor those who appreciate the life!!! Also once again read the notes of Raphael De Nogales Mendes-" CUATRO ANOS BAJO LA MEDIA LUNA " -FOUR YEARS UNDER THE HALF MOON It's senselessly to dispute with turks!!! Remember the HUGE , the CORRECT, the OFFICIAL SEAL of the american president Widrow Willson remeber the year 1920!!! and let's together demand from turks to recognise the official borders of OUR ARMENIA!!!!
Submitted by: Marine Vahradyan
5:51 AM PDT, May 2, 2008
24. The terme of Genocide is deliberate decisions and actions made by one nation or group of people in order to eliminate, usually through mass murder, the entirety of another nation or group. Thus, the number of dead does not intervene in the qualification. It acts only of the planning of the future crime. And this applies to the crime committed against the Armenians. Before 1945, the penal qualification of genocide did not exist, which undoubtedly increased the difficulties of recognition of this type of crime of which in particular the Armenian genocide of 1915.
Submitted by: Jean Eckian, Paris- France
1:20 AM PDT, May 2, 2008
25. Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent and Holocaust survivor, created the word "GENOCIDE" in 1933 to describe what had happened to the Armenians. Lemkin explained that the Turks committed genocide with the intent to annihilate. Winston Churchill and others described it as the Armenian holocaust. To deny the Armenian genocide "is like Holocaust denial," said Gregory Stanton, vice president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and president of Genocide Watch. The word GENOCIDE was created specifically to describe what had happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks.
Submitted by: Jololian
10:03 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
26. The fact that during WW2 the French resistance and many other European resistance killed many Nazi German oppressors/occupiers, does not mean the French & European resistance forces committed genocide. Likewise, during WW1 as the various nationalities under the occupation & oppression of the Ottoman Empire killed many Ottoman Turks, it does not mean that the Greeks, Roumanias, Bulgarians, Armenians, Serbians, Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, etc, does not mean they committed genocide against the Turks. Even the Young Turks rebelled against the Sultan and the Ottoman Empire. You see?
9:45 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
27. The bed intention to kill defensless poeple is a crime against humanity, specially the act of killing a whole population on his legitimate, ancestral land, Armenia. After the war (WWI) the Turkish government accepted to punish the murderers, but it was too late: they had vanished Talaat in Germany, of course, the allay of Turkey. An Arminian assasinated him very rightously and was not punished, but the big crime is still unpunished.
Submitted by: 8:00 PM PDT, 1st of May. Violet
8:01 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
28. 1894-1915-1923, the INTENTION of Ottoman Turkey was to eliminate the armenian population to open the way to panturkism. This is called an ARMENOCIDE, or Armenian Genocide. The Armenians, true, killed some Turks (ya haram!) by only SELF-DEFENSE (as in Zeytun, Urfa, Van,...) The self-defense is legitimous as we naturally do it against wild animals, but genocide is an horrible crime. During 9/11, 2001, it was estimated 6000 victims, then it was 3000. But president Bush considered the ACT as terrorist attack, either 3000 or 60005 because the INTENTION was the destruction and not legitimous defense.
Submitted by: 7:20 PM PDT, 1st of May. Bedros
7:39 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
29. Thank you for posting this interview with Mr. Sassounian--this link to a study by international law expert Alfred de Zayas might also be of interest to your readers: http://www.alfreddezayas.com/Law_history/armlegopi.shtml
Submitted by: Jason Sohigian
7:22 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
Submitted by: a real true genuine ARMENIAN
7:06 PM PDT, May 1, 2008

31. DEATH & DESTRUCTION TO ALL turGAYS and their turanian ideology. DEATH & DESTRUCTION to all those who support & defend any turGAYS. simply DEATH & DESTRUCUTION to any & all enemies of Armenians from the dawn of time. ARMENIAN GENOCIDE SHALL BE AVENGED.....ARMENIA WILL PREVAIL FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by: a real true genuine ARMENIAN
7:02 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
32. If you can stifle freedom of speech, freedom of religion, brainwash , harass, pay-off lobyists, and threaten people, and had 90 years to sanitize your archives, you have the power to continue Genocide. Deniers will find any excuses to equal their acts to their victims. A recent example: In Darfur, The Coalition for International Justice estimated the dead at 500,000. The Sudanese Ambassador stated “Based on our estimates, the number of dead does not exceed 10,000” later elaborating that his number is for violent death as there is no epidemic or famine. Sounds familiar?
Submitted by: Alain
5:57 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
33. to F. James: The questions you pose are so full of outrageous insults to history that one doesn't know where to start. Even a quick look at the map and the situation in the region during WW1 would convince anyone that the only thing Armenians could do was self-defense. And they sure did defend themselves, thwarting Turkey's genocidal plans. And number of Azeri deaths you bring up is ridiculously high. In order to inflict such damage, Armenians would have to have a huge and well-equipped army. If they did, they would have no problem defending all of historic Armenian lands, but unfortunately that was not the case.
Submitted by: Hayk Makhmuryan
3:58 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
34. every armenian and turk should read Sassounians comments and learn the way forward. He said the truth clearly and straight, within a just framework.
Submitted by: Helvagoglu
3:22 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
35. I spent more than 10 years researching and writing a novel based on my mother's tragic young life in Turkey. My research drew from the works of journalists, diplomats and missionaries who lived in Turkey's Ottoman Empire during that horrific period.. For those Turks who can’t believe their ancestors could conceive of and implement genocide against their Armenian population, I suggest you read the memoirs of non-Ottomans who in 1915 witnessed and wrote about those atrocities.
Submitted by: kay mouradian
2:39 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
36. I am the third generation of the victims of the deportations from Turkey, but I feel the same rejection, which suffer my grands. All must be changed. The good nations may not have among their others nations which have genocide and progroms responsibilities.
Submitted by: Maria Cristina
1:49 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
37. And to answer Malby as as to why it is important that the US should recognize this crime against humanity, it would at least be to show to the world it is not a hypocrite. Only an accomplice would cover up a crime he was witness to, unless of course all the American diplomats, missionaries, and correspondents who reported witnessing the on-going crimes were liars.
Submitted by: Katia Peltekian
1:34 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
38. No one is claiming that Turks were not killed during WW1. It was a war that claimed millions of lives in Europe. However, why & how those Turks died during the war is totally different from why the Young Turks decided to cleanse Anatolia & Cilicia from its Armenian minority. Genocide includes in its definition the intent to wipe out a race or a nation. That's what Armenians were subjected to, not only during the Great War but long before & even after WW1. The LA Times (as others) amply reported the "Extermination of Armenians" & the "wiping out of villages from their Armenian populations"
Submitted by: Katia Peltekian
1:33 PM PDT, May 1, 2008
39. My grandparents were 'escapees' from the Armenian Genocide. One of the lucky ones to have been born from their family line, I consider it important that all Armenians honor the land of their ancestors by simply stating that the slaughters were massive. That is fact.
Submitted by: Mary L. Foess (nee MOVSISIAN)
3:41 AM PDT, May 1, 2008
40. If Armenians are so sure that their past suffering constitutes a genocide, and not a civil war, why don't they open their archives in Yerevan, Jerusalem, and Boston? What are they afraid of? Is it perhaps the fact that they were not innocent civilians would surface? If here in the USA, tens of thousands of Mexican-Americans were to form an army, demand territory from the U.S.A., and participate in one revolt after another (as the Armenians did in Van in Eastern Turkey and in Adana in Southern Turkey), what do you think the Americans would do to them? Deniz
7:44 PM PDT, April 30, 2008


41. My ancestors were also massacred in Erzurum.Does Mr.Sassounian call this a genocide?Armenians claim Turks are lying about their deaths becuse it was never brought up before.Because Turks have always attributed these events to an internal conflict between the two sides before and during the war.Armenians allegations however,have an underlying reason, and Mr.Sassounian hit it right on the nail when he mentioned,'there must be diologue..about compensations'!Not a historical debate,.but diologue about how much Turkey should pay ! Not so quick buddy. Take the accused to court first and prove your 'overwhelming evidence' legally! then we'll talk.
Submitted by: T.J Sans
6:04 PM PDT, April 30, 2008
42. The facts of what happened to Armenians all across Asia Minor from 1915-1918 are not in question, and describing them as genocide merely reflects the definition of that word. I am sure it is difficult for Turks to accept this, but the sooner they do so the better it will be for them. If during the same period Turks also perished, this was because of Turkey's foolish military operations, not by and large because of Armenian retaliation. The claim that Armenians slaughtered 2.2 million Azerbaijanis in World War I is ludicrous on its face. If James has credible evidence he can it present it to historians for evaluation.
Submitted by: L. Saryan
5:53 PM PDT, April 30, 2008
Submitted by: PAUL B MICHIGAN
2:29 PM PDT, April 30, 2008
44. Malby— Perhaps you have not thought about the fact that if the Armenian Genocide, the first Genocide of the 20th century had been recognized, we could have been better prepared to face the atrocities today. I'm sure you are familiar with Adolf Hitler's famous quote in 1939 "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" And now I ask you, who will remember those who have died in Darfur? those who have died in Burma? When countries such as Turkey get away with Genocide it sets precedent for future generations to repeat history. And that is why this not a "waste of time" as you say
Submitted by: Kara Marston
12:03 PM PDT, April 30, 2008
45. Below is again from New York Daily Tribune, August 25, 1907. `Whenever the treasury of these two Armenian secret societies (Hunchak and Arpiar) ran low, the sympathy of the rich Armenians abroad was excited by stories of massacres and outrages perpetrated by the Turks. Sometimes the stories of the atrocities were entirely bogus`
Submitted by: John McCollum
6:03 AM PDT, April 30, 2008
46. I am researcher on the history of Ottoman Empire in the 19th and 20th century. I quote from New York Daily Tribune, August 25, 1907 "In the Ottoman provinces comprised in the ancient kingdom of Armenia there are three Turks to every Armenian, while in the remainder of the Asia Minor the Turks outnumber them ten to one. All told, there are about 4.5 million Armenians in the world, of whom at least 1.5 milion are subject to the rule of Czar, 1.2 reside in Turkey`` So how can the Turks kill 1.5 million Armenians even the number was only 1.2 m?
Submitted by: John McCollum
5:55 AM PDT, April 30, 2008
47. Mr. Sassounian criticizes the L.A Times for an interview with ATAA ,and that he was 'offended'.Genocide has yet to be proven legally. UN policy,Article 8, states that only countries found guilty in the International Courts, can this word be applied. U.S went against this policy because Pelosi wanted the Americans out of Iraq.Knowing that Turkey would shut the Incirlik Military base would bring troops home! For Armenia to blame today's Turkish Government, and make 'compensation' demands,is absolutely sick and the true reason for their campaign.It's time for Turks to come together in a world protest,and demand to be heard!
Submitted by: T.Najar
9:00 PM PDT, April 29, 2008
48. The logic of these Armenian Propagandists is circular: "We say it was genocide ...anyone who denies that is a 'genocide denier' (especially if he's Moslem; we Armenians are Christians like you Americans)". Saying "my grandparents were wiped out" doesn't prove it was genocide. Sassounian is not interested in factfinding ‘because his grandparents went through hell” ...what kind of logic is that? All these Armenians know how to do is blackball their opponents by calling them 'genocide deniers'. Their position is untenable so they hide the truth.
Submitted by: P. Connolly
7:24 PM PDT, April 29, 2008
49. Dear Mr Kaan, assuming that the Armenians who lived in (Western Armenia) Eastern Anatolia were trying to liberate their ancestral homeland whom do you suppose they will be fighting? the oppressors of course, do you know who the oppressors were? The Turks of course, do you think the Armenians had the right for self determination after 700 years of oppression? not in your books! you would like to remain the master of the Armenian ancestral lands, hence the exiling and the Genocide, all the records outside Turkey indicates that it was deliberate and systematic.
Submitted by: Boghos
7:45 AM PDT, April 29, 2008
50. There are many in the Turkish community who resent the blatant policy of denial as practiced by the Turkish government and its cronies. Genocide denial is first and foremost championed by those revanchist forces in Turkey that decry the advent of truly democratic norms in Turkey. Thus tolerating denialist propaganda by the ATAA or others in fact undermines the cause of those progressive voices in Turkish civil society that are calling for the removal of curbs on freedom of expression and the right to be able to freely discuss the topic of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey.
Submitted by: Garen
7:01 AM PDT, April 29, 2008

51. Armenians killed "only" 2,2 Million Azeris? A turkish historian told me, that armenians killed 15 million tuks and azeris, so please don't downplay turkish sufferings!!!!
Submitted by: @ James
2:46 AM PDT, April 29, 2008
52. F. James- 2.2 million Azerbaijans in World War II alone? Wow, there's a new denialist line born every minute isn't there? (Though I'd love to see what source gave you that number..)
Submitted by: Paul
8:12 PM PDT, April 28, 2008
53. Lets get one thing straight! It’s time for Armenians to take responsibility for what their ancestors did during WW1. Why don’t we all ask Armenians? Explain to all of us, why Armenians refuse to acknowledge to the world, why their ancestors slaughtered over 2.2 million Azerbaijanis during WW1. I’ll give you the answer? Because the people of Azerbaijanis refused to give up there land to Armenians. And why did Armenians ancestors slaughter 10’s of thousands to Turkish women and children as they slept in their beds? Revenge. Now that’s what you call Genocide.
Submitted by: F James
1:55 PM PDT, April 27, 2008
54. To all forumists who replied to my initial post by twisting facts: Nowhere did I state that the attrocities committed against Armenians did or did not constitute a genocide. I did state, however, that several thousands of innocent Turkish civilians, including my great-grandparents were also killed by the Armenian militia, and those killings were clearly documented in Russian (not Ottoman!!) archives. To deny this well-estabished fact is simply a nonstarter if there is going to be a dialog between Turks and Armenians.
Submitted by: Mehmet Kaan
5:18 PM PDT, April 26, 2008
55. A study at the Uppsala University of Swedish Archives Confirm: It Was A Genocide! The survey covers the period between 1915-23 & includes, reports sent to the Foreign Department(National Archive) and the General Staff Headquarters (War Archive) in Stockholm, respectively by the Swedish Ambassador, Cosswa Anckarsvärd, and the Swedish Military Attaché, Einar af Wirsén, both stationed in Constantinople. Some, eighty documents were found with direct relevance to the so-called Armenian Question, of which some are over-explicit in their message: the Turkish Government conducted a systematic extermination of the Armenian Nation.
Submitted by: K.M.Greg Sarkissina, Toronto Canada
10:38 AM PDT, April 26, 2008
56. I just do not understand why having governments with no ties to Turkey or Armenia in the early 1900's pass resolutions about something that occurred over 100 years ago makes any difference. In fact, I resent the fact that my elected officials are wasting time responding to this. There are lots of "genocides" in history, and more important, there are genocides going on right now--these are far more important for world citizens to address.
Submitted by: Malby
5:54 PM PDT, April 25, 2008
57. ALSO: The fact that after the dissolution of the ottoman empire and the Armistice of Moudros, the new leadership of Turkey agreed that the YOUNG TURKS were responsible for the extermination of the Armenians (GENOCIDE). That is the difference between GENOCIDE and the Dashnak Militias fighting to protect the Armenians in their own ancestral homelands after the massacres of the Armenians in Cilicia in 1895.
Submitted by: CHRIS
10:43 PM PDT, April 24, 2008
58. TO: Mehmet Kaan So you are saying that since there is an Sudanese Liberation Army which I am sure has killed an "arab" Sudanese, there is a simultaneous Genocide in Darfur? Well according to your logic or there lack of logic, you would say YES.
Submitted by: CHRIS
10:42 PM PDT, April 24, 2008
59. Tirks have to face up to they past honestly and deal with it. Not only Armenians have sufered but olso innumerable Bulgarians, Greecs, Serbs, Romanians. The holocoust and opretion againced thouse groups have to be recognized and delt with.
Submitted by: Peter
9:02 PM PDT, April 24, 2008
60. While the Armenian men were drafted to fight in Ottoman army at WWI, your beloved ancestors Mr. Mehmet Kaan, were murdering defenseless women and children and elderly, under the name of their beloved Allah. Don’t try to picture as if it was internal unrest, as of Turkish historians like to portray. The entire eastern Europe has seen and witnessed the atrocities of Turkish campaigns.
Submitted by: Steve
8:37 PM PDT, April 24, 2008

8:36 PM PDT, April 24, 2008
62. Dear Mr. Sassounian, My paternal great-grandparents were killed by the Armenian Dashnak militia in Erzurum, Turkey. Now, assuming that I am telling the truth, would you say that Armenians also committed a simultanenous genocide on Turks? In case you claim that the killing of 2 Turkish civilians by Armenians is not sufficient to classify this act as genocide, how many Turkish victims are required to achieve the 'genocide' status? If you hear the personal accounts of 1000, 10000, or 100000 Turks whose ancesters were murdered by Armenians between 1915 to 1923, would you acknowledge that a similar genocide was committed on Turks?
Submitted by: Mehmet Kaan
2:49 PM PDT, April 24, 2008