18 June 2009

2889) Ottoman Armenian Tragedy Is A Genuine Historic Controversy

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com

Many Reputable Scholars Challenge The Conventional, One-Sided Anti-Turkish Narrative And / Or Refrain From Alleging The Crime Of Genocide

These Are Their Words

Background – War And Imperial Collapse

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire dramatically rearranged the map of a vast region. What was once a sprawling, multi-ethnic empire splintered into more than two-dozen new nations, from the Balkans to the Caucasus to the Arabian peninsula. Across the surface of these lands unfolded a profound human tragedy. Nearly incessant war crippled the Ottoman economy. It left towns devoid of men to care for households or to tend crops. Military requisitions drained the countryside of livestock and many of the labor-saving implements of daily life. Disease ran rampant and famine struck many.


Vast Population Movements

As new states coalesced, large population masses streamed across the landscape, some fleeing the path of war, some seeking new lives among ethnic brethren or co-religionists, some having suffered expulsion, and some obeying negotiated population exchanges. Two such major movements were (a) the flight of Muslim refugees from newly-established Christian states in Balkans and the Caucasus into what would become modern Turkey during the period roughly between 1821 and 1922, and (b) the relocation of much of the Ottoman Armenian population from the war zone of eastern Anatolia into Ottoman domains in Syria, mainly in 1915-16.

A Genuine Historic Controversy

History records the enormous human suffering from both of these events: Perhaps 5.5 million Muslims, mostly Turks, died as refugees or were killed in the years immediately preceding and during World War I, as well as through the formative years of the Republic of Turkey. And certainly hundreds of thousands of Armenians died during the Armenian Revolt and the relocations consequently ordered by the Ottoman government. Scholars on the Ottoman Empire continue to examine the details and causes of these twin tragedies. What they have uncovered is not a singular tale of Christian woe, but rather a complex story that, if presented as evidence, would make it highly unlikely that a genocide charge could be sustained against the Ottoman government or its successor before a neutral arbiter.

Thus, whether the tragic suffering of the Ottoman Armenians meets the definition of the crime of genocide as provided by the . . .See Appendix 1 . . . United Nations Genocide Convention . . . Appendix 1 remains a genuine historic controversy. Moreover, the notion that the one-sided Armenian narrative is settled history must be utterly rejected so that researchers will feel free to delve into the details of these contested events.


Questions Considered

Among the work of the scholars below, many of whom are Ottoman history experts, are considerations of the following questions:

* Is the genocide label, which is so vigorously promoted by Armenian advocacy organizations appropriate?

* Did the Ottoman government during World War I possess the requisite intent described by the U.N. Genocide Convention, to destroy the Armenians?

* What was the Armenian * Revolt . . . See Appendix 2 . . . Armenian Revolt . . . Appendix 2 and how did it impact the Ottoman government’s decision to relocate Armenian civilians from eastern Anatolia?


* What was the ultimate toll upon the Armenian population? And how many deaths could be attributed to the various causes: intercommunal warfare, starvation, exposure, massacre, disease, etc.?

* What was the ultimate toll upon the Ottoman Muslim population embroiled in these same events? And how many deaths can be attributed to the same causes?

Their work establishes a better basis upon which to address historic grievances than the one-sided narrative most often provided in media accounts and by Armenian lobbyists and their advocates. In effect, these scholars provide the oft-ignored historical context, which is critical to any explanation of the shared past of the Turkish and Armenian peoples.

At a minimum, the list below demonstrates that in fact, there exists no common agreement that the genocide label is appropriate and that, contrary to assertions made by Armenian lobby groups, the details of the historic narrative remain open to further study and interpretation.

The Impact Of Physical And Academic Intimidation

Sadly, this list likely under-represents the number of scholars who would challenge the conventional wisdom on the Armenian tragedy. Those who write from a contra-genocide perspective have had to do so under extraordinary risk. Merely because of something he wrote, the home Prof. Stanford Shaw of U.C.L.A. was firebombed. Death threats have been received by Justin McCarthy and his family. The university press that published Guenter Lewy’s latest work was harassed by two Armenian scholars. (See, . . . Appendix 3: Ethnic Cleansing or Genocide . . . ? Appendix 3, by Masaki Kakiszaki, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, 85–92, Spring 2007.) The University of Southern California in 2006 buckled to the vociferous protest of an Armenian pressure group and canceled a symposium by two former Turkish diplomats. Meanwhile, foreign nations such as France and Switzerland have rendered it against the law even to hold the contra-genocide viewpoint. Princeton University’s Bernard Lewis was famously fined by a French court in 1995 for such an “offense.” And, the Armenian terrorist organizations ASALA and JCAG carried out no fewer than 73 acts of terrorism in North America alone, killing 16 people. Around the world, Armenian terrorists killed at least 50 more people, mostly Turkish diplomat murdered in planned assassinations and injured over 500, all in the name of “genocide recognition.” In short, the chilling effect this has had on free discussion and open debate on the history of the late Ottoman Empire has been genuine and severe, lowering a curtain of fear over the consideration of this important era of world history.

Additions And Subtractions

Our aim is to evaluate as closely as possible each name on the list based on the published statements or writings of each scholar that are readily available. We welcome visitor suggestions for additions to the list. And likewise, if you believe that a particular name ought not be on the list, please let us know. Our goal is to continue to openly discuss and debate the details of history and the genocide allegation. For feedback, please contact info at tc-america.org

Whether the tragic suffering of the Ottoman Armenians meets the definition of the crime of genocide as provided by the United Nations Genocide Convention [web] remains a genuine historic controversy. The notion that the one-sided Armenian narrative is settled history does not reflect the truth and must be utterly rejected.

The work of the following scholars demonstrates that there exists no common agreement that the genocide label is appropriate and that, contrary to assertions made by Armenian lobby groups, the historic narrative of this painful period in Ottoman-Armenian relations remains open to further study and interpretation. Furthermore, the work by the leading historians on the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East provides the oft-ignored historical context without which any explanation of the shared past of the Turkish and Armenian peoples is simply impossible.

Our aim is to evaluate as closely as possible each name on the list based on the published statements or writings of each scholar that are readily available. Our goal is to continue to openly discuss and debate the details of history and the genocide allegation. For feedback, please contact info at tc-america.org


SCHOLARS

* Arend Jan Boekestijn
* Mary Schaeffer Conroy
* Youssef Courbage
* Paul Dumont
* Bertil Duner
* Gwynne Dyer
* Edward J. Erickson
* Philippe Fargues
* Michael M. Gunter
* Paul Henze
* Eberhard Jäckel
* Firuz Kazemzadeh
* Yitzchak Kerem
* William L. Langer
* Bernard Lewis
* Guenter Lewy
* Heath W. Lowry
* Andrew Mango
* Robert Mantran
* Michael E. Meeker
* Justin McCarthy
* Hikmet Ozdemir
* Stephen Pope
* Michael Radu
* Jeremy Salt
* Stanford Shaw
* Norman Stone
* Hew Strachan
* Elizabeth-Anne Wheal
* Brian G. Williams
* Gilles Veinstein
* Malcolm Yapp
* Thierry Zarcone
* Robert F. Zeidner
* 69 US Academicians To House of Representatives, Petition 1985
*Appel De Blois (English)



* Arend Jan Boekestijn

Lecturer in history of international relations, History Department at Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Major Publications

* Economic integration and the preservation of post-war consensus in the Benelux countries, (1993)
* Other articles (not in English)

Source: Excerpted from Turkey, the World and the Armenian Question . . . [See Appendix 4] Appendix 4 . . . Turkey, the World and the Armenian Question . . . , Turkish Policy Quarterly, Winter 2005, Vol.4, No.4.

"Citizens and politicians living in Western Europe tend to take the high moral ground on issues where they are not themselves directly involved. This is a strategy that runs the risk of applying double standards. It is all very nice to condemn the so-called Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century; but what about the national sins of one’s own country? In addition to the holocaust, Germany committed genocide against the Herero tribe in then Southwest Africa; France slaughtered 200.000 Muslims in Algeria during 1954-1962, and what about King Leopold’s Ghost in the Belgian Congo? The list is much longer. Turks do not have a monopoly on human deficit."

"A number of governments and national parliaments ask Turkey that it recognize Armenia’s claims of genocide. These governments include France, Belgium, Russia, Lebanon, Uruguay, Switzerland, Greece, and Canada. The European Parliament and a number of U.S. states have also recognized the slaughtering of Ottoman Armenians as stemming from a systematic policy of extermination. Turkey fears that the U.S. Congress may soon follow. Recently, the German Parliament adopted a resolution in which the word genocide was not used but still called on the Turks to confront their past."

"Did the Ottoman Turks really commit genocide? And, is the Turkish government handling this sensitive issue well?

In article 2 of the present United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (adopted 9 December 1948); genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The problem in identifying whether genocide was committed is the clause: in whole or in part. In part, implies that most wars involve an element of genocide. Genocide only has realmeaning if a government intends to destroy an entire group of human beings. The Armenianside claims that the Ottoman government at the highest level had the intention to kill Armenians. So far, there is no such proof in the Ottoman Archives."

"Today, the German Holocaust of the Jewish population is widely compared to that of the Armenian massacre. However there are important differences between the two.

First, Jews had done nothing wrong. They were just there and formed the basis of Hitler’s blatant racism. There is little doubt that the Turks overreacted to the Armenian challenge, but some Armenians did collaborate with the Russian enemy and some of them were involved in guerrilla like activities behind Ottoman defensive lines. This does not justify the Turkish position, but it is wrong to portray the Armenians as completely innocent.

Second, in Hitler’s Germany, those in power knew what the Nazi’s were doing with the Jews. Most of them chose to support his policies. In Turkey, not all the members of the Turkish government were aware that some of them were using the deportations as an instrument of ethnic cleansing. When they discovered this, they tried to punish the perpetrators. Unfortunately, some of the perpetrators remained in power or acquired even higher positions.

Third, there was no pre-planned genocide in Turkey, as in the case with the holocaust. No pre-1914 Ottoman government could have had foreknowledge of the outbreak of the First World War or the circumstances under which the deportations would be accomplished. Mainstream Ottoman politics included normal Armenian participation until war began. There is not only no evidence that the CUP government deliberately planned for genocide before 1914, it is also highly unlikely. It would suggest that it intended to carry out the mass murder of an ethnic group something for which there was no precedent in modern history. Moreover, if there had been plans and these were leaked out, intense international opposition possibly leading to an invasion of the Ottoman Empire by other European Powers would have been the result. Viewed in this light, it seems most implausible that the genocide of the Armenians was preplanned.

Fourth, the historians who question the intention of the Turks to commit genocide are often excellent historians like Bernard Lewis and Gilles Veinstein with some documentary evidence on their side. They are not mendacious anti-Semitic crackpots who enunciate Holocaust denial. And lastly, the CUP never adopted an all-embracing secular, universalistic, quasi-messianic ideology in the style of Nazism and Communism. It remained rooted in traditional (although modernizing) nationalism and a vision of an Islamified Turkey. The events can be read as a botched, wartime panic, overreaction, with premeditation most unlikely and the scale of killings arguably exaggerated.

Let us try to put these qualifications into perspective. Even if the Armenian massacre cannot be compared to the German Holocaust, even if not all members of the CUP government knew that some of their colleagues were bent on solving the Eastern question once and for all, the fact remains that between 600.000 and 900.000 Armenians died of murder, starvation, and exhaustion."



Go To The Scholars List
Mary Schaeffer Conroy

Professor of Russian history at Colorado University, Denver (since 1995).

Major Publications

* Peter Arkad’evich Stolypin: Practical Politics in Late Tsarist Russia, Boulder: Westview Press, 1977.
* Women Pharmacists in Late Imperial Russia. in Linda Edmondson, ed. , Women & Society in Russia & The Soviet Union, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 48-76.
* In Health & In Sickness: Pharmacy, Pharmacists & the Pharmaceutical Industry in Late Imperial, Early Soviet Russia, Dist. Columbia University Press, 1994.
* Emerging Democracy in Late Imperial Russia, Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 1998 (edition).
* The Russian Pharmaceutical Industry in the Late Imperial-Early Soviet Period,” in Politics and Society Under the Bolsheviks, Kevin McDermott and John Morison, eds., Basingstoke: MacMillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999, pp. 13-36.
* The Soviet Pharmaceutical Business during Its First Two Decades (1917–1937), New York: Peter Lang, 2006.
* Medicines for the Soviet Masses during World War II, University Press of America, 2008.


Relevant Publications

* Review of Vahakn N. Dadrian, Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict, The Social Science Journal, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 481-483.

Source: Review of Vahakn N. Dadrian, Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict, The Social Science Journal, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 481-483

"Dadrian claims that Armenians were more oppressed than these groups because they were not allowed to bear arms and had no outside protectors. Furthermore, the Ottoman government allowed Kurds and Islamic migrants from the Balkans and the Caucasus to harass Armenians. His argument, however, is marred by inconsistency and ambiguity. He notes, for instance, the appointment of Armenians to central and local government posts in 1876, periodically refers to the Armenian diaspora, and admits that Armenian merchants, upper echelons of the Armenian clergy and ‘conservative’ Armenians preferred Ottoman rule to Russian (Russia ruled a slice of Armenia following the 1827-1828 Russo-Turkish War) because they believed this would better preserve Armenian identity. Indeed, Armenian deputies in the Ottoman Parliament spoke out against Russia. The author tells us nothing, however, about the conditions within the Ottoman Empire which produced the Armenian elites, nor does he elaborate on these issues. Similarly, Dadrian mentions Armenian revolutionaries, the Huntchaks and the Dashnaks, some of whom engaged in raids on the Ottoman Bank in the mid-1890s, and he concedes that their numbers were small and that the bulk of Armenians repudiated them. However, he does not develop the impact these revolutionaries may have had on Ottoman government policies, particularly the reluctance to let Armenians bear arms. Further, Dadrian does not identify the Huntchaks as Marxists nor the Dashnaks as extreme nationalists. In chapter 10 Dadrian informs us that several thousand Armenians fought for Turkey in World War I but, again, does not develop this theme." P. 482.

"Although Dadrian appears fluent in Turkish and cites certain Turkish sources — dissident Ittihadist reports, memoirs of a few Turkish leaders, and statements from a post-World War I war-crimes tribunal — almost no information on Turkish government policies regarding Armenians and nothing on the decision to annihilate them comes from Turkish archival sources. Dadrian relies mainly on British Foreign Office and German, Austrian, and French reports. When discussing how the Turks unleashed Kurds to attack Armenians in the mid-1890s, Dadrian even quotes a U.S. senator's castigation of this event as supporting evidence. Similarly, he cites the Russian newspaper Golos moskvy (incorrectly transliterated ‘Kolos Moskoy’) as one of the sources for a ‘secret Turko-German plan for the massive deportation of the Armenians of eastern Turkey’ along with a Western historian's ruminations on how important cultural homogeneity was to the Turks, as proof of the Armenian massacres of 1915. Dadrian’s excuse for not documenting Turkish policies with internal governmental sources is that the policies were secret. However, since much evidence exists in Russian archives about secret policies, one cannot but be skeptical about this explanation.

A few typos and small factual errors, such as the implication that Russian-Ottoman relations were always adversarial in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, mar the book. However, the most egregious flaws in this book are its polemical tone, its sketchiness, and its failure to use Turkish archival sources. Therefore, while the book delivers intriguing insights into Ottoman-Kurdish relations and the views of individual Turkish statesmen regarding Armenians, and while it suggests convincing theories for Turkish massacres of Armenians, it does not convincingly document these theories. It is thus unsatisfying as a whole. This book is more a work of journalism than solid history and is not recommended." P. 483.



Go To The Scholars List
Youssef Courbage

Director of Research, National Institute of Demographic Studies, Paris, France. [info]

Major Publications

* Christians and Jews under Islam, (1992), Fayard

Relevant Publications

* Christians and Jews under Islam, (1992), Fayard

Source: Philippe Fargues, Youssef Courbage "Christians and Muslims under Islam", (1992)

"The Armenian community was in 1915-16 brutally deported from Turkey to the Arab periphery. If any Armenians remained in Anatolia after the deportation and slaughter, the erroneous policies of the Russians, Americans and French at the war soon hastened their disappearance." P. 109

"An American scholar who reconsidered the issue in the 1980s has carefully examined the Ottoman data with the aid of modern demographic methods. He estimated the Armenian population at 1.6 million and concluded that there had been no deliberate falsification, but rather a normal under-estimate arising from enumeration techniques of the time. If we deduct this from the 77,000 Armenians counted in the 1927 census, we find that the population was reduced by about 1.5 million people as a result of the massacre itself as well as emigration (whether enforced or voluntary) and conversion." P. 110

"The Turkish argument, recently put forward, acknowledges that deportation took place but describes it as “relocation”. It also admits the size of the operation – 703,000 people of both sexes and of all ages according to the official Ottoman source – that is almost 70 per cent of Armenians.” However, it regards the deportation as a fact of war, inevitable given the Armenian collusion with the Russian enemy. This argument also accepts that more than 300,000 Armenians died, but disputes that they did so at the hands of Turks. Far from being a massacre orchestrated from on high, the deaths were a side-effect of the war, a consequence of epidemics or debilitation during the exodus, or a result of battles between armies and rival militias." Pp. 110-111



Go To The Scholars List
Paul Dumont

Director of the Turkish Studies Department of Marc-Bloch University of Strasbourg.

Prof. Dumont was director of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies from 1999 to 2003, and is co-editor of the review Turcica.

Major Publications

* Jewish Communities in Turkey During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century in the Light of the Archives of the Alliance Israelite Universelle , in B. Braude and Bernard Lewis (ed.), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, vol. I, New York, Holmes & Meier Publishers, pp. 209-242.
* Mustafa Kemal invente la Turquie moderne, Bruxelles-Paris, Complexe, 1983.
Économie et société dans l’Empire ottoman, Paris, éditions du CNRS, 1983 (co-edition with Jean-Louis Bacqué-Grammont).
* 'La période des Tanzimat et La mort d'un Empire' (with François Georgeon), in Robert Mantran (ed.), Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, Paris, Fayard, 1989, pp. 459-522 et pp. 577-528
* Les Sociaux-démocrates bulgares et le Bureau socialiste international. Correspondance. 1900-1914, Sofia, Mikom, 1996.
* Vivre ensemble dans l’Empire ottoman. Sociabilités et relations intercommunautaires. XVIII e - XIX e siècles, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1997 (co-edition with François Georgeon).
* Du socialisme ottoman à l’internationalisme anatolien, Istanbul, Isis, 1998.
* Ottomanism, National Movements and Freemasonry, Yapı ve Kredi Yay, 2000; second edition, 2007 (in Turkish).

Relevant Publication

* La mort d'un Empire (with François Georgeon), in Robert Mantran (ed.), Histoire de l'Empire ottoman, Paris, Fayard, 1989

Source: The Death of an Empire (1908-1923), in Robert Mantran (ed.), Histoire de l’Empire Ottoman, Paris, Fayard, 1989

"Tracking down, within the multitude of papers from both sides about this question, the inaccuracies, questionable assertions, or even forgeries, is not very difficult. In particular, it seems established today that some of the essential objects put in the file by the accusation [i.e. the Armenian side] – for example, the Blue Book prepared for the British government by Bryce and Toynbee or the Memories of Na’im Bey published with the aid of Aram Andonian – can not any way to be considered as irrefutable documents. Didn’t Toynbee himself admit the Blue Book had been ‘published and spread only as war propaganda’? And the authenticity of the alleged telegrams of Ottoman government, ordering the destruction of Armenians is today seriously contested. […]

However, it is important to underline that the Armenian communities are not the only ones to have been ground down by the plague of the war. In the spring of 1915, the tsarist army moved to the region of the lake of Van, dragging behind it battalions of volunteers composed of Caucasus and Turkish Armenians. […] For each of the provinces which suffered from the Russian occupation and from the Armenian militias’ acts of vengeance, an important demographic deficit appears in the statistics of the post-war years — adding up to several hundred thousands of souls." Pp. 624-625



Go To The Scholars List
Bertil Dunér

Senior Researcher, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden.

Major Publications

* The Global Human Rights Regime, Studentlitteratur, 2002
* World Community and the Other Terrorism, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2007
* Military Intervention in Civil Wars: The 1970’s, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, 1985.

Relevant Publications

* What Can Be Done About Historical Atrocities? The Armenian Case . . . [See Appendix 5 A] Appendix 5A . . . What Can Be Done About Historical Atrocities . . . , International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 217–233, Summer 2004

Source: What Can Be Done About Historical Atrocities? The Armenian Case. International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 217–233, Summer 2004.

"Turkey does not deny the reality of massacres, although it maintains that the campaign has seriously exaggerated the death toll. However, Ankara categorically refutes the accusation of genocide. It maintains that the Armenians were victims of inter-communal conflict during the Ottoman Empire’s dying years in the midst of the First World War and stresses that Turks as well as died en masse in this internecine war. Moreover, it maintains that there is no proof that the killings were organized or financed by the state: on the contrary, it suggests that the lack of central organization was to blame." Pp. 219-220

"However what happened at the Sub-commission meeting in 1985 was not (UN) recognition of the Armenian genocide, although it is frequently portrayed that way – far from it. The special rapparteur’s does not seem to stick to the definition study. The special rapparteur’s study also lacks weight for a different, perhaps even more important, reason. It should be emphasized that neither was there any recommendation to the superior Commission on Human Rights to adopt a resolution." P. 222

"The Armenian campaign seems to go against the principle of universality. Note that this is not to question that it is easier to exercise pressure on some, relatively weak, states than on others, and than the strength of the target and the power resources available have to be considered when the kind of action to take is decided upon. Here we are talking only of manifested interest, in terms of resolutions and statements, which is not a matter of strength and resources available." P.224

"However a link in the reverse direction should perhaps not to be excluded, the Armenian question being an instrument rather than a goal. For instance, the president of the rightist movement for France has stated that: “Turkey’s obstinate refusal to recognize the massacres of 1915 is an additional element upon which to refuse Turkey’s entry into the European Union. It can be assumed that for this organization the more pressing question is to keep Turkey out of EU and the Armenian question is an instrument to this end.” P.225

"a well known French political figure, Phillip Douste-Blazy has stated “I believe that today an ambiguity should be raised: recognition of the responsibility of the government of 1915, does not lead to the culpability of the Turks of 1999. There does not exist in [the body of criminal laws], even for most odious of the crimes, those against humanity, of hereditary culpability." P.223

"Another well-known French politician Bertrand Delanoe makes a similar point “Modern Turkey cannot evidently be held as the party responsible for the facts which have occurred in the convulsions at the end of the Ottoman Empire. On the contrary, peace between peoples can only rest on solid foundations and never on hiding the past." P.228



Go To The Scholars List
Gwynne Dyer

Historian, military analyst and journalist, Ph.D. in Ottoman military history, The King’s College London.
Gwynne Dyer is one of the few Western scholars to have done research in Ottoman military archives. Dyer has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, broadcaster and lecturer on international affairs for more than 20 years, but he was originally trained as an historian. Born in Newfoundland, he received degrees from Canadian, American and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He served in three navies and held academic appointments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Oxford University before launching his twice-weekly column on international affairs, which is published by over 175 papers in some 45 countries. [info]

Major Publications

* War: 1985, documentary television series
* Ignorant Armies: Sliding Into War in Iraq (2003)

Relevant Publications

* Turkish 'Falsifiers' and Armenian 'Deceivers': Historiography and the Armenian Massacres, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Jan. 1976), pp. 99-107
* The Turkish Armistice of 1918, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2 (May, 1972), pp. 143-178

Source: Turkish 'Falsifiers' and Armenian 'Deceivers': Historiography and the Armenian Massacres

"When more work is completed on the period I believe that historians will come to see Talat, Enver and their associates not so much as evil men but as desperate, frightened, unsophisticated men struggling to keep their nation afloat in a crisis far graver than they had anticipated when they first entered the war (the Armenian decisions were taken at the height of the crisis of the Dardanelles), reacting to events rather than creating them, and not fully realizing the "tent of the horrors they had set in motion in 'Turkish Armenia' until they were too deeply committed to withdraw. As for the complicity of ordinary Turks with their leaders, hatred and revenge and blind panic were the motives for the behaviour of the Ottoman army and the Muslim Population of eastern Anatolia in the Armenian massacres, scarcely creditable motives, nor ones an Armenian is likely to forgive, but common enough in all nations and even understandable in the Turkish situation in the East in 1915. The 'final solution' attempted by the Ottoman government at the end of 1915, and all the succeeding bouts of mutual slaughter between Turks and Armenians down to 1922 grew out of those original decisions in early 1915, the history of which is yet to be written." P. 107

Source: The Turkish Armistice of 1918, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2 (May, 1972)

" As a result of these developments, by August 1918, there was beginning of a talk heard among political circles in Istanbul of a possible change of cabinet in which Talat Pasha and Enver Pasha would be replaced respectively as Prime Minister and War Minister by Ahmed Tevfik Pasha and General Ahmed Izzet Pasha, as men less likely to be offensive to the Entente than the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress (C.U.P.) which the Allies blamed for Turkey’s entry into the war and for the Armenian massacres of 1915." P. 148



Go To The Scholars List
Edward J. Erickson

Researcher, Birmingham University, retired Lieutenant-Colonel, PhD in Ottoman Military History, The Leeds University. Erickson is the author of numerous books and articles on the Ottoman Army during the early twentieth century. [info]

Major Publications

* Ordered To Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (2000)
* Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army in the Balkans 1912-1913 (2003)
* The Sultan's Army: A History of the Ottoman Military, 1300-1923 (forthcoming)

Relevant Publications

* Ordered To Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (2000)
* Armenian Massacres, New Records Undercut Old Blame
The Middle East Quarterly, Vol. XIII, Number 3, Summer 2006
* The Armenians and Ottoman Military Policy, War in History, Spring 2008

Source: Ordered To Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (2000)

"There is a huge body of historical literature concerning the "Armenian genocide" that maintains that the Young Turks, in particular Enver, Talat, and Cemal, intentionally sought to exterminate the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. This case against the Young Turks rests on the premise that they intended to racially purify the empire by purging or exterminating its minorities, particularly the troublesome Christian Armenians. Moreover, the literature maintains that under the pretext of wartime emergencies and threats to national security, the Young Turks took advantage of circumstances to conduct genocide against the Armenians. Using a combination of methods ranging from massacre to starvation, the Young Turks then deliberately and intentionally caused the deaths of several million Armenians. Much of this literature is emotionally charged and a large percentage of it is directly generated by the descendants of the survivors of the events. The genocide itself has, over the past eighty years, become a highly political issue in most western countries, as Armenian descendants seek legislative condemnation of the modern Turkish Republic. Because of this transgenerational campaign to establish that an Ottoman genocide (defined as an intentional and systematic attempt to exterminate a people or a race) against its Armenian subjects occurred, balanced and objective discourse on this subject becomes difficult." P. 95

"Compounding the implementation of these policies was the continuing Armenian Rebellion, which included bombings, assassinations, and the wholesale slaughter of Muslim Turkish villages. In some places the rebels even gained the upper hand. The rebels in the city of Van were ultimately relieved by advancing Russian forces. At Musa Dag in Cilicia, highly organized Armenians fought the Turks for forty days. These events were bound to inflame an already angry Turkish population and bureaucracy. In spite of this, the Ministry of the Interior continued to muddy the organizational waters by establishing further regulations that safeguarded the homes of the deportees. According to the ministry, the homes of the deportees were to be sealed and possessions left behind were to be cared for. If the Armenians' homes were used as temporary lodging for Balkan immigrants the new occupants would be liable for any accrued taxes and for damages. Certainly there were many mixed messages with all of their associated and unsaid complexities to be found in the rapidly evolving legal mechanisms which governed the deportation and relocation of the eastern Anatolian Armenians. The ponderous and complex wheels of the relocation process now began to grind the Armenians into dust." P. 103

"In the end, hundreds of thousands of Armenians died during the Armenian Rebellion and deportation of 1915-1916. A similar number of Muslim Turks also died during the Armenian revolts and during the Russian occupation of Erzurum, Van, Erzincan, Trabzon, and Malazgirt. To be sure, many Armenians, particularly leaders and men of military age were immediately killed or massacred early on before entering the deportation flow. Many more, especially the elderly and the infirm, died en route from apathy and neglect, or were murdered outright, as the deportees were passed from local official to local official in an ambulatory pipeline that resembled a decaying daisy chain. Finally, the geographic constraints imposed on where the Armenians could ultimately be allowed to settle imposed long term starvation as they were sent to arid locations outside the fertile and well-watered route of the Baghdad Railroad. It was a recipe for disaster with profound historical, moral, and practical consequences which persist into the present day." P. 103

Source: "Armenian Massacres, New Records Undercut Old Blame", The Middle East Quarterly, Vol. XIII, Number 3, Summer 2006

"Clearly, many Armenians died during World War I. But accusations of genocide demand authentic proof of an official policy of ethnic extermination. Vahakn Dadrian has made high-profile claims that Major Stange and the Special Organization were the instruments of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Documents not utilized by Dadrian, though, discount such an allegation."

Source: The Armenians and Ottoman Military Policy: War in History, Spring 2008

"In fact, armed revolts by the Armenians soon broke out in many areas of south-eastern Anatolia. There is no question that the Russians supported the Armenians inside the Ottoman Empire with money, weapons and encouragement. Externally the Armenian National Council formed druzhiny (or regiments) from the enthusiastic volunteers, who were eager to invade the Ottoman Empire. The ‘Ararat Unit’ composed of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Druzhiny was assigned to capture the lakeside city of Van.

The events most associated with the beginning of the insurrection occurred when insurgents seized the most of Van in a fierce attack on 14 April 1915." P. 153

" Beginning in July 1915, the full-blown insurgencies erupted in Antep, Antioch, Karahisar, Maraş, Urfa, and Zeitoun. This forced the Ottomans to move large-scale (regimental and divisional level) counter-insurgency operations using inexperienced forces. The newly formed 41st Infantry Division was diverted from coastal and area defense duties to counter-insurgency missions to deal with these and later participated in the famous assault of Musa Dagh. The following month, the equally inexperienced 23rd and 44th Infantry Divisions would join in attacks on Zeitoun, Urfa and Tarsus. Later, troops were sent to Karahisar to quell an uprising there." P. 165

"The Ottoman leadership and staff knew a great deal about the Armenian threat prior to 30 May, 1915 (the date of region-wide relocation order). They knew that the British, French and Russians were in direct contact with the Armenian revolutionary committees and were planning coordinated combat operations against the Ottomans. The Ottomans had solid evidence on large Armenian weapons caches in key city locations. There were number of terrorist incidents and guerilla attacks by Armenians on Ottoman lines of communications. There were reports of Armenian desertions from the army and thousands of armed Armenians were reported in the hills. There was an uprising in Zeitoun. An Armenian insurrection began when well-organized insurgents seized the city of Van, and Armenian regiments with the Russian army assisted in its capture. The Allies landed at Gallipoli on 25 April and in early May the Russians began a major offensive toward Erzurum supported by Armenians. Armenian agents had come ashore numerous times on the Mediterranean coast. Lastly, the Ottoman knew that their local forces and jandarma were unable to quell the gathering insurgency. […]

The records show that the Ottoman leadership and military staff engaged in a kind of threat-based thinking based on Armenian capabilities. Was there reason for concern and threat-based thinking? The record indicates that the Ottoman lines of communications in Eastern Anatolia were acutely vulnerable and that the Armenians had the capacity to destroy those lines. Any interruption to the flow of logistic, even for a short time, to front-line forces in combat would have been a critical concern for the Ottoman army. The records also clearly shows that the Ottomans were unprepared to deal with a large-scale insurrection and shifted from a localized to a generalized campaign of counter-insurgency warfare. Finally, with so few regular forces available to suppress the insurrection, a strategy for the relocation of the civilian population was consistent with the counter-insurgence practices of that period. […]

Nothing can justify the massacres of the Armenians nor can a case be made that the entire Armenian population of the six Anatolian provinces was an active and hostile threat to Ottoman national security. However, a case can be made that the Ottoman judged the Armenians to be a great threat to the 3rd and 4th Armies and that genuine intelligence and security concerns drove the decision. It may also be stated that the Ottoman reaction was escalatory and responsive rather than premeditated and pre-planned. In this context, the Ottoman relocation decision become more understandable as a military solution to a military problem. While political and ideological imperative perhaps drove the decision equally, if not harder, these do not negate the fact that the Armenians were a great military danger." Pp. 166-167



Go To The Scholars List
Philippe Fargues

Professor, American University in Cairo-Egypt, PHD in Sociology ,Sorbonne University [info]

Major Publications

* Christians and Jews under Islam, (1992), Fayard

Relevant Publications

* Christians and Jews under Islam, (1992), Fayard

Source: Philippe Fargues, Youssef Courbage "Christians and Muslims under Islam", (1992)

"The Armenian community was in 1915-16 brutally deported from Turkey to the Arab periphery. If any Armenians remained in Anatolia after the deportation and slaughter, the erroneous policies of the Russians, Americans and French at the war soon hastened their disappearance." P. 109

"An American scholar who reconsidered the issue in the 1980s has carefully examined the Ottoman data with the aid of modern demographic methods. He estimated the Armenian population at 1.6 million and concluded that there had been no deliberate falsification, but rather a normal under-estimate arising from enumeration techniques of the time. If we deduct this from the 77,000 Armenians counted in the 1927 census, we find that the population was reduced by about 1.5 million people as a result of the massacre itself as well as emigration (whether enforced or voluntary) and conversion." P. 110

"The Turkish argument, recently put forward, acknowledges that deportation took place but describes it as “relocation”. It also admits the size of the operation – 703,000 people of both sexes and of all ages according to the official Ottoman source – that is almost 70 per cent of Armenians.” However, it regards the deportation as a fact of war, inevitable given the Armenian collusion with the Russian enemy. This argument also accepts that more than 300,000 Armenians died, but disputes that they did so at the hands of Turks. Far from being a massacre orchestrated from on high, the deaths were a side-effect of the war, a consequence of epidemics or debilitation during the exodus, or a result of battles between armies and rival militias." Pp. 110-111



Go To The Scholars List
Michael M. Gunter

Professor of political science, Tennessee Technical University, PhD in International Relations, The Kent State University.

Gunter has written more than 75 articles in scholarly journals and books including Middle East Journal, American Journal of International Law and World Affairs. He has authored nine books about the Kurdish people of Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Iran, and two of those books were among the first analyses in English of the Kurdish unrest in the Middle East. Gunter’s forthcoming publication is on the Armenian issue. [info]

Major Publications

* The Kurds Ascending: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey (2007)

Relevant Publications

* Pursuing the Just Cause of Their People: A Study of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism (1986) *Online Version
* Turkey and the Armenians in Multidimensional Terrorism: Ed. by Martin Slann & Bernard Schechterman (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1987), pp.57-71.
* The Armenian Terrorist Campaign Against Turkey: Orient (Deutsches Orient-Institut) 24 (December 1983), pp.610-637.

Source: "Pursuing the Just Cause of Their People": A Study of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism

"Outraged over the alleged genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks during WW I and the resulting loss of their ancestral homeland, Armenian terrorists in the past decade have murdered 30 Turkish diplomats or members of their immediate families, including 4 in the United States." Pp. 1

"In a later study Professor Toynbee, although not denying the accuracy of the Blue Book, did write that it had been “duly published and distributed as war propaganda." Pp. 14

"The Armenian claim that they were victims of a premeditated genocide does not ring true, however. Rather, what appears more likely is that there was an honest, though inaccurate belief among the Turkish leaders that they were faced with a widespread and coordinated Armenian uprising from within at the very time their state was in mortal danger from without. Decades of what the Turks saw as Armenian provocations and even treason during previous wars, armed revolutionary activity between the wars, the creation of Russian-Armenian guerrilla groups in the invading Russian army during the present war, the defection of certain Ottoman Armenians to the enemy, the armed resistance to conscription on the part of Armenians in Zeytun, incidents of revolutionary acts and sabotage in the countryside, and the Armenian uprising in Van in reaction to the unjustified but probably unofficial policies of the local governor-all led the Turks to conclude they were in real danger from a fifth column. (Similarly, a much better organized U.S. government unjustly interned its citizens of Japanese descent at the start of World War II.)" P. 17

Source: The Politicizing of History and the Armenian Claims of Genocide, March 13, 2009, Letter to the Editor to NewYork Times

"Without denying the tragic massacres the Armenians suffered during World War I, it is also important to place them in their proper context. When this is done, the application of the term “genocide” to these tragic events is inappropriate because the Turkish actions were neither unilateral nor premeditated. As the testimony of Hovhannes Katchaznouni, the first prime minister of Armenia after World War I makes clear, some Armenians killed as many Turks as they could in a misguided attempt to strike for independence. Additional Armenian writers such as Louise Nalbandian, James Mandalian, and Armen Garo, among others, have also detailed how some Armenians had long fought against the Turks in the lead up to the massacres of World War I. Furthermore, such distinguished Western scholars as William Langer, Arnold Toynbee, and Walter Laqueur, among others, have also concurred with this judgment. Their positions along with others demonstrate that the Turkish actions were not unilateral, that the Armenians were not always innocent victims, and that what befell the Armenians was not entirely unprovoked. Sabrina Tavernise’s recent article in the New York Times “Nearly a Million Genocide Victims, Covered in a Cloak of Amnesia” jumps to the unwarranted conclusion of genocide because the number of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire declined by some 900,000 from 1915-17. However, this does not mean that all of these 900,000 Armenians died. Indeed, many survived as refugees, and eventually settled in other countries. Therefore, Tavernise misleads her readers by implying that Talaat Pasha’s figures documented that they all died.

As for the necessary attribute of premeditation to demonstrate genocide, there are no authentic documents that prove guilt. Although there are countless descriptions of the depravations suffered by the Armenians, they do not prove premeditation. The so-called Andonian documents that purport to demonstration premeditation are almost certain fabrications. As for the Armenian contention that the huge loss of Armenian lives illustrates premeditation, what then should be said about the enormous loss of Turkish lives among civilians, soldiers, and prisoners-of-war? Were these Turkish deaths also genocide or rather due to sheer incompetence, neglect, starvation, and disease? And if the latter were true of the ethnic Turkish population, all the more were they the fate of an ethnic group that had incurred upon itself suspicion of acting as a fifth column in a time of war. Even so Armenian communities in such large western cities as Constantinople and Smyrna were spared deportation probably because they were not in a position to aid the invading Russians. Is it possible to imagine Hitler sparing any Jews in Berlin, Munich, or Cologne from his genocidal rampage for similar reasons? If as the Armenians allege the Turkish intent was to subject their Armenian victims to a premeditated forced march until they died of exhaustion, why was this tactic not imposed on all of the Armenians? More logically, the huge task of relocating several hundred thousand Armenians in a short period of time and over a highly primitive system of transportation proved simply beyond the capacity of the Ottoman government. Therefore, until historians can agree on exactly what happened, it seems reasonable not to politicize history with unsubstantiated claims of genocide."



Go To The Scholars List
Paul Henze

Ph.D., Harvard University. Paul B. Henze served at the US embassy in Ethiopia, from 1968 to 1972. He left the administration in 1980, and became a consultant for the Rand Corporation and the Smithsonian Institution.

Major Publications

* The Plot to Kill the Pope, 1983.
* Soviet Strategy and Islam, 1989 (with Alexandre Bennigsen and George K. Tanhman)
* The Horn of Africa, 1991.
* Turkey and Atatürk’s Legacy: Turkey’s Political Evolution, Turkish-US Relations, and
Prospects for the 21th Century, 1998.
* Layers of Time. A History of Ethiopia, 2001, 2nd edition 2004.

Relevant Publications

* The Roots of Armenian Violence. How Far Back Do they Extend?, in International Terrorism and the Drug Connection, Ankara University Press, 1984

Source: "The Roots of Armenian Violence", 1984

"Bulgaria gained independence. Bulgarians were a people whom Armenians regarded as having a much less distinguished history than their own. If Bulgaria deserved to be independent, why not Armenia? Revolutionary nationalists who embraced such argumentation in the 1880s and 1890s willfully avoided facing the essential difference between their situations and that of the Bulgarians. Though there was serious controversy about Bulgaria’s proper boundaries, and though Bulgaria contained sizable minorities, the newly independent country was nevertheless a coherent geographical entity inhabited by a majority of Bulgarians.

Nothing comparable existed in territories claimed by the Armenians. They were outnumbered by Muslims in every one of the six eastern provinces traditionally called Armenian. In the city of Erzurum, which many nationalists regarded as their natural capital, Armenians were a distinct minority. […]

So by the end of the 1880s we see the roots of Armenian violence -- and violence against Armenians -- in full view. Violence became inevitable because the Armenian demands which were most vigorously pressed had become irrational, impossible of attainment. The irrationality did not deter the Czarist government from supporting Armenian extremists for their own political purposes even as they increasingly restricted the activities of Armenian nationalists in their own territories. […]

For an Ottoman bureaucracy pressed to meet demands for political and administrative reform among subject peoples as well as Turks, maintenance of order in outlying regions became increasingly difficult. Once clashes began to occur and other down, no one -- government or local communities -- possessed the physical strength, the political skill or the powers of persuasion to contain disaster. It was not only Armenians of the Ottoman Empire who were affected, but Muslims as well. Everyone lost." Pp. 199-200

"When war broke out in 1914, the Russians again encouraged Armenian expectations and exploited the eastern Anatolian Armenians as a fifth column. In the end they did not intervene to protect Armenians when Ottoman authorities, in a life-and-death wartime situation, moved to deport them, nor were the Russian able to protect their collaborators against the vengeance of local Muslims when Ottoman authority collapsed. As had happened so often before during the preceding 150 years, Russia was willing to exploit Armenians for her own purposes but unprepared to make sacrifices on their behalf.

Armenian embitterment and chagrin at the disaster which intemperate and irrational nationalism brought on the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire have perished through three generations. Violence against Turkish officials in the 1920s proved to be a less characteristic reaction than the publicity campaigns and lobbying which long prevented resumption of U.S.-Turkish relations, though the U.S. had never actually declared war on the Ottoman Empire. […] They are many reasons to suspect that the campaign [of terrorism, after 1973] is a part of the massive effort to destabilize Turkey and destroy democracy there to which the Soviet Union devoted major resources during the 1970s -- and which may still not have been entirely abandoned.

Armenian communities in many parts of the world -- notably in France and the U.S. -- have been remarkably equivocal about (if not openly supportive of) such terrorism. The terrorists are remembered in Armenian Church services and large sums are collected in Armenian communities for their defense when they are put on trial. The climate of this astonishing advocacy of violence is maintained by an emotionalized version of Armenian history which is propagated in the ethnic press, taught in cultural programs and pressed on school authorities for inclusion in curricula. Even in the 1970s it has been hard to find a more extreme version of what one American historian called ‘creedal passion’, which provokes populations to irresponsible behavior. Armenian-origin intellectuals and journalists have become viciously intolerant of non-Armenian-origin colleagues who do not accept their biases and who venture to question Armenian statistics or try to examine Armenian, Ottoman and relevant Russian historical records according to recognized standards of objectivity and respect of methodology.

One is driven to wonder, for example, whether an essentially honest example of scholarship such as Louise Nalbandian’s Armenian Revolutionary Movement, which originally appeared [in 1963] would even be published by a scholar of Armenian origin today." Pp. 201-202



Go To The Scholars List

Eberhard Jäckel

Professor Emeritus of modern world history, Stuttgart University. Jäckel is a Social Democratic German historian, noted for his studies of Adolf Hitler's role in German history. He also conducted comparative work on genocide and reached the conclusion that the Holocaust is unique. Jäckel has been teaching modern world history at Stuttgart University since 1967. [info]

Major Publications

* Hitler’s Herrschaft (1999)
* Das deutsche Jahrhundert (1999)
* Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland (1990)

Relevant Publications

* Genocide or not? Hundred thousands of Armenians died in 1915/16 without any intent: (Genozid oder nicht? Hunderttausende Armenier kamen 1915/16 wohl ohne Absicht um), March 23, 2006, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Source: Genocide or not? Hundred thousands of Armenians died in 1915/16 without any intent (Genozid oder nicht? Hunderttausende Armenier kamen 1915/16 wohl ohne Absicht um), March 23, 2006, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, translated into English from the original text in German.

"Undoubtedly the Armenians had long intended to establish autonomy or even their own state. Many had sympathized with the Russians and their Western allies, some had deserted the Turkish army. Then as problems of supply emerged and the British landed in April 1915 at Gallipoli, from where they threatened Constantinople, panic occurred. The Turkish Government decided to deport the Armenians into the interior territories. Certainly old resentments that had already been building up during the massacres of 1894 until 1896, and the large territorial losses of the 19th century, especially those during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, played an important role. The Ottoman Empire was in an existential crisis.

The Turkish authorities were unable, some of them unwilling to lead deportations in an orderly fashion. The misery and loss of Armenians were huge, which is also not contested by the Turkish side. The question is whether the government of Turkey, as the Armenian version maintains, used the crisis to eradicate the Armenians, or whether it solely wanted to deport them, albeit not under humane conditions .An explicit order for mass murder has so far not been found. But that is no proof; some files were destroyed or are not freely accessible. More importantly, in and around Constantinople Armenian residents were not deported, and those from the area of Aleppo were allowed to use rail transportation during the deportation. This is strong evidence against an intended comprehensive genocide."



Go To The Scholars List
Firuz Kazemzadeh

Born in 1924. MA at Stanford University in 1947, Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1950. Research Fellow at Harvard University from 1954 to 1956. Instructor, then Assistant, Associate professor and finally Professor at Yale University, from 1956 to 1992. Chairman of the Yale Committee for Middle East Studies from 1979 to 1983. Editor of World Order from 1966 to 2000. Member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1998 to 2000.

Major Publications

* The Struggle for Transcaucasia
New York-Oxford, Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher, 1952.
* Ideological Crisis in Iran, The Middle East in Transition
Frederick Praeger, New York, 1958.
* Russia and the Middle East, Russian Foreign Policy: Essays in Historical Perspective
Yale University Press, New Haven, 1962.
* Russia and Britain in Persia: A Study in Imperialism
New Haven, Yale University Press, 1968.
* Russian Penetration of the Caucasus, Russian Imperialism
New Brunswig, Rutgers University Press, 1974.
* Soviet Iranian Relations: A Quarter Century of Freeze and Thaw
The Soviet Union and the Middle East: The Post World War II Era
Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1974.
* Iranian Relations with Russia and the Soviet Union to 1921
Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 7, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
* Reflections on Church and State in Russian History, Proselytism and Orthodoxy in Russia
John Witte and Michael Bourdeaux, editors. Orbis Books, New York, 1999.

Relevant Publications

* The Struggle for Transcaucasia
New York-Oxford, Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher, 1952.

Source: The Struggle for Transcaucasia, NY-Oxford, Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher, 1952.

"For centuries they [the Armenians] had been loyal subjects of the Sultans even receiving the appellation ‘the Loyal Nation’. It was only under the influence of European nineteenth century nationalism that the Armenians began to stir.

The Armenians in Turkey were by no means an oppressed and miserable people. Through hard work, thrift, native intelligence, and a cultural level generally higher than the Turks, they had become a prosperous and important community. In the eastern vilayets they were the predominant economic force. In these vilayets, more than half of all merchants (58 per cent) and three quarters of all persons engaged in mining (75 per cent) were Armenins. In the same vilayets, the Turks accounted for only one quarter of all merchants, doctors and so on. By contrast, they accounted for well over half of all government, employees and magistrates." P. 8

"Long before the adoption of the programme of 1907, the Dashnaktsutiun [Nationalist Armenian party, created in 1890] developed into a strong, disciplined, conspiratorial organization. Already in the nineties they were preparing armed uprisings in Turkish Armenia, for they hoped to provoke conflicts which would attract the attention of Europe to the national struggle of Armenians.

Although at this stage the Dashnaktsutiun operated almost exclusively in Turkey, the base for their activities was Russian Armenia. It was there that they first organized armed bands, the khumbas, one of which, led by Kukujanian, penetrated Turkey but was later disarmed by the Russians. Other bands infiltrated accros Persian territory and caused considerable trouble to the Turkish authorities." P. 10

"On 5th August, 1914, the Catholicos [supreme chief of Armenian church] wrote a letter to the Viceroy [Russian governor of Caucasus], asking the latter no forget the Armenian question and to make use of the favorable historical moment for its solution. He stated that it was necessary that the following things should be done: the Armenian vilayets of Anatolia should be united into a single province and put under a Christian governor-general , selected by Russia and independent to the Porte; and a considerable degree of autonomy should by granted to the Turkish Armenia. The carrying out of this reform should be entrusted to Russia exclusively, otherwise no Armenian would even believe in it. The Catholicos called the attention of the Viceroy ‘the terrible dangers’ which would threaten the Armenians in Turkey should Russian turn away from them.

The Catholicos was clearly asking for a Russian attack upon Turkey. […] Russia was not really interested in the Armenians; she was prepared to use them as a tool of her expansionist policy and no more. Blinded by the hatred of Turkey, the Armenians did not realize what a sorry part was prepared for them in the coming war." P. 10

"In Tiflis, the Armenian National Bureau was organized with Alexander Khatissian, the mayor of that city, at its head. The Bureau helped the Armenian refugees, conducted auxiliary military works, and organized khumbas (bands, detachments) which entered the Russian army. As a matter of fact, the Dashnaktsutiun had begun to organize volunteers bands even before the war was declared." P. 26

"In April 1915, the Dashnaktsutiun sent a representative, Dr Zariev, to France and England in order to gain the sympathy of the said countries toward the realization of Armenian aspirations. Zariev asked the diplomats in Paris and London to introduce him to government circles. He told the Russian ambassador in Paris, Izvolskii, that the Russian Foreign Ministry intended to propose to the Powers the creation of an autonomous Armenia within the Ottoman Empire and under the protection of Russians, England and France. Zariev claimed that the territory of the proposed state would include not only the so-called Armenian vilayets [where the Armenians were a minority] but also Cilicia [where the Armenians were a smaller minority] and a port on Mediterranean Sea. He said that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved this plan it would be better for the Armenians themselves to deal with the Powers in order to allay their suspicious." P. 27

"The Armenians were the only Transcaucasian people who engaged themselves in diplomatic and quasi independent military activities during the war." P. 31

"The Armenians like the other peoples of Transcaucasia, welcomed the March Revolution [liberal revolution in Russia]. To the Dashnaktsutiun it meant first of all the solution of the national question of which they were so painfully conscious. More than any other party in Transcaucasia the Dashnaktsutiun wanted to win the war: the defeat of Turkey was with then an idée fixe, almost a mania." P. 43

"But it was neither the Kadets, nor the Mensheviks, nor the S.R.’s who saved the Soviet [of Baku] during the March [1918] Days. It was the Dashnaktsutiun, with its military organization that tapped the scales in its favor. At first the Armenian National Council proclaimed its neutrality in the quarrel between the Musavat [Azeri national party] and the Soviet. It has been even suggested that the Armenians told the Musavat that the latter might expect their help against the Bolsheviks. If it was the case, then the Armenians were largely responsible for the massacre that ensued, because the Musavat plunged into the armed conflict thinking that it had only one enemy to face." P. 71

"On the basis of the material presented above it is possible to state that the Soviet provoked the ‘civil war’ in the hope of breaking the power of its most formidable rival, the Musavat. However, one the Soviet had called upon the Dashnaktsutiun to lend its assistance in the struggle against the Azerbaijani nationalists, the ‘civil war’ degenerated into a massacre, the Armenian killing the Muslims irrespective of their political affiliation or social and economic position. The non-Bolshevik Russians sided with the Soviet for the simple reason that they were Russians and would rather see the triumph of the Soviet which obeyed Moscow, than the victory of the separatist Musavat.

When finally a semblance of order was restored in Baku, the streets cleared of the thousands of dead bodies, and the fires extinguished, the Soviet emerged as the greatest force in the city. The Muslims were defeated and completely disarmed, while the Armenians weakened." Pp. 74-75

"In the territories which the Russian army had conquered, and which were now [1918] held by Georgian and Armenian troops, the Muslim population was persecuted by the Armenian bent on vengeance. Vehib Pasha called the attention of the General Odishelidze to the cruelties inflicted on the Muslims. He cited cases of Muslims having been burned alive and other such of atrocities. Apparently Odishelidze admittet that there has been atrocities, for in another letter Vehib Pasha thanked him to protect the Muslims from the Armenians. But the massacres continued as before. On 15th and 16th January, several hundreds of Muslims were killed by the Armenians in Erzinjan [city of Eastern Anatolia]." Pp. 85-86

"The victory which had come to Armenians [in Fall 1918] after so much sufferings turned the heads of her leader. They visualized a Greater Armenia, a country stretching from Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea, and from the Black Sea to the Caspian. They claimed not only the six vilayets of Anatolia, but also Cilicia as well. They even claimed a part of the Persian Azerbaijan, though Persia had not been belligerent. Their fantasies were encouraged in Paris, London, and especially Washington. […]

But the Armenians were misled by their hopes and these promises. The interest of Europe and America in Armenia was not deep. Most people in the West did not know then, nor do they know today, whether Armenia is in Europe, Asia or Africa. An Irish member of the House of Commons used the Turkish massacres in Armenia as a convenient introduction to his speeches against what in his opinion were similar atrocities of the British in Ireland. Moreover, the Armenian failed to appreciate the vitality of he Turkish people and their determination not to bow to the victorious Allies.

In February 1919, Turkey [the actual Ottoman government, a British puppet] made an attempt to negotiate with Armenia, promising the Turkish Armenia autonomy within the Turkish state, and proposing to effect an exchange of population in some areas where tension was specially acute. Flushed with victory, the Armenians rejected the Turkish overture […]

No peaceful settlement could be achieved on the above terms which show that the Dashnaktsutiun were not really interested in settling their conflict with Turkey, but were pursuing the old policy of attracting Europe’s attention by their defiance of the Turks, just as they had done in 1896, when they startled Constantinople by capturing and holding for a few hours the building of the Ottoman Bank.

Meanwhile in those parts of Turkish Armenian which the Armenian army had reoccupied following the retreat of the Turks, massacres and pillage of the Muslim population reached tremendous proportion. A Soviet writer, Borian, himself an Armenian, states that the Armenian politicians had organized state authority not for the purpose of administering the country, but for the extermination of the Muslim population and the looting of their property. When voices were raised in Armenia against this murderous policy, many of the leaders of the Government answered: ‘The Turks always looted the Armenians; so, why is it so strange if the Armenians should for once loot the Turks?’ Borian comes to the conclusion that ‘these facts permits one to say that the Armenian Dashnaks have excelled the Turks.’ Borian’s opinion is largely supported by General Harbord [US chief investigator in Anatolia] who writes that the Turks committed many atrocities, but ‘where the Armenians advanced and retreated with the Russians their retaliatory cruelties unquestionably rivaled the Turks in their inhumanity’." Pp. 213-214




Go To The Scholars List
Yitzchak Kerem

Professor of History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Yitzchak Kerem is an historian on Sephardic Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been the editor of Sefarad, the Sephardic newsletter, since 1991. He is also a former radio moderator of "Diaspora Jewry" (Reshet Bet and Aleph, 2004-2007), section editor for Encyclopedia of the Holocaust and New Encyclopedia Judaica, and is now visiting Israeli professor of Sephardic Studies at American Jewish University of Los Angeles. He is the founder and director of Institute for Hellenic Jewish Studies at University of Denver, and have given some 150 academic conference papers. He has contributed to numerous encyclopedias including Encyclopedia Judaica bi-annual yearbooks, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press), and Chronology of World Slavery.

Major Publications

* The Settlement of Rhodian and Other Sephardic Jews in Montgomery and Atlanta in the Twentieth Century, American Jewish History - Volume 85, Number 4, December 1997, pp. 373-391
* The Greek-Jewish Theater in Judeo-Spanish, ca. 1880-1940, Journal of Modern Greek Studies - Volume 14, Number 1, May 1996, pp. 31-45

Source: Excerpted from lukeford.net (Luke Ford’s interview with Yitzchak Kerem)

Luke: "There’s been controversy over the past 20 years about Israel pushing Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide?"

Yitzchak: "It’s an extremely loaded issue. The Ottoman scholars have a different view of it, more as a perennial conflict.

"Armenians have knocked off over 40 diplomats. There are 42 Turkish diplomats killed since 1973 by Armenians. There are additional assassinations which are more contemporary. Note the assassination of the Turkish consul in Los Angeles."

Luke: "Turkish diplomats?"

Yitzchak: "Yes.

"There’s a scholar in Minnesota who’s a Turk and totally sympathizes with the Armenians and is critical of Turkey.

"But there’s a middle road. The problem is when you have these scholars who twist reality. That’s where the friction starts. There’s an Ottoman scholars group. You have these people who come. We even pressed for the Turkish archives to be opened to these people. Then they come and they make up things and they twist things. So instead of having a genuine dialogue over what happened, it becomes overly politicized. The problem is the question is extremely loaded and there was not one incident in 1915. What happened in 1893-1895 was a blatant genocide. Extremist [Armenian] groups tried to overthrow the sultan six times. So, like a bully, Turkey retaliated in mass. It also was led by the treacherous Sultan Abdul Hamid. The 1915-1923 events of the Armenian-Turkish conflict are of a very different nature.

"In 1915, it’s more of a conflict. Turks will exaggerate and say that more Turks were killed in the fighting from 1915 to 1923 than Armenians. They do have responsibilities towards the Armenians, but to pattern itself as a Jewish holocaust which [some Armenians] have done, they were pushed by British intelligence, is a distortion of history.

"My point is, and this is what the Armenians don’t like, is that more Kurds killed Armenians than Turks. The Turks did terrible things to the Armenians. They butchered people right and left. They raped and pillaged, but it wasn’t an organized act by the regime. It was a byproduct of hate. The Turks did terrible things to the Greek Orthodox, especially in Izmir. To call that a holocaust and a genocide when you are equating that with the Jewish holocaust is a distortion.

"In academia today, if 100 people have been killed in a planned massacre, you can call that genocide. The issue here is — is it an attempt to wipe out an entire people? The Armenians had a state afterward. Not in the historic areas of Armenian kingdoms in the past, but in what became the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union essentially threw them out. The Armenians have a state today.

"What the Armenians do is not commemoration. They don’t have holocaust museums. They take a tramp on the Jews.

"Why aren’t Armenians all over the world giving millions of dollars to establish an Armenian genocide center? They’re just interested in provoking. To threaten a few Jewish scholars, a few Jewish historians, is not the way to deal with it.

"No Ottoman scholar is going to give legitimacy to any murder that a Turk did. After the war, the Turks did put 1800 people on trial."

"At a Holocaust conference in 1994 Berlin, the Armenians tried to take over the stage and demand that the Armenians issue get equal footing. This isn’t the way.

"During the Holocaust there were only three righteous Jews from Armenia. That’s an indication that Jews were not very well liked. But the Jews, even in the Vilna ghetto, made out the Armenians to be the symbol of the underdog, based on the perception of what happened in WWI based on the perception of a few written accounts in Palestine… How can you call one catastrophe a genocide if you have seven, eight, or nine parallel catastrophes? What did the Greeks do to the Macedonians and what did the Ottomans do to Bulgarians and vice versa? What did the Ottomans do to the Serbs and the Croatians? You have hundreds of years of forced conversions. This is why all these things are loaded issues. Turkey didn’t decide overnight to react to the Armenians. You had these provocations of attempts to overthrow the throne."

"Essentially, what [the Armenians] are doing is propagating hate. The Armenians are not establishing centers all over the world for genocide education."

"Extremist groups among the Armenians are involved in all these underground acitivities in Cyprus, the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The Jews should be sensitive to the Armenians, to what happened in Darfur, and in Bosnia. They should be sensitive to what happened in Cyprus with the Greeks losing part of the island."

"In terms of Israel, the Armenians a lot of the time were on the wrong side. They were in terror with the Palestinians against Israel, together with training with the IRA and all sorts of bad boys."
"Stanford Shaw was hugely sympathetic towards the Armenians. At UCLA, they organized a huge demonstration at his class. What kind of behavior was that? And then a young man put a bomb in his house in Northridge.""



Go To The Scholars List
William L. Langer

William Leonard Langer (1896-1977), was assistant professor (1925-1936), then professor of history (1936-1942; 1952-1977) at Harvard University, specialist of Ottoman Empire, Near East and Russia. He was also Chief of the Research and Analysis branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), from 1942 to 1945, and assistant director of the Central Intelligence Agency, from 1950 to 1952.

Major Publications

* The Franco-Russian Alliance. 1890-1894, 1929.
* European Alliance and Alignments. 1870-1890, 1931.
* An Encyclopedia of World History, 1940; new editions, 1948, 1952, 1968, 1972.
* Our Vichy Gamble, 1947.
* Political and Social Eupheaval, 1969.

Relevant Publications

* The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1935; second edition, 1951, reprint 1960.

Source:The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1935

"The Hentchakian Revolutionary Party was, in 1890, invited to join the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and did so, but the association of the two did not last long. Nazarbek was evidently not an easy person to get on with, and preferred to work on his own. At first he had trouble in finding followers, but his new collaborators worked hard. Khan-Azad, for example, went to Constantinople in July 1889 and began to spread propaganda. He consulted with Khrimian, but found the old man doubtful: “You are crazy," said the old patriot. “The Armenians are a very small nation, and how much blood will have to be shed.” He could not see how anything substantial could be done without European help. But Khan-Azad was not discouraged. He went on to Tiflis, where he had no better luck. It was only in Trebizond that he found any real enthusiasm. There he established the central committee of the party, and from that centre agents were sent out who organized revolutionary cells in Erzerum, Kharput, Smyrna, Aleppo and many other places. Nazarbek himself stayed discreetly in Geneva, but in a volume of stories published later he has given us vivid pictures of the agitators visiting the peasants, “talking the night through with them, speaking with them of their sufferings, unceasingly, impatiently, preaching the gospel of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, rousing their crushed spirits with high resolves and mighty aspirations."

The ambassadors at Constantinople were not slow in following the development of this agitation. From 1888 onward the English representative reported the presence of revolutionaries and the seizure of seditious literature. Revolutionary placards were being posted in the cities and there were not a few cases of the blackmailing of wealthy Armenians, who were forced to contribute to the cause. Europeans in Turkey were agreed that the immediate aim of the agitators was to incite disorder, bring about inhuman reprisals, and so provoke the intervention of the powers. For that reason, it was said, they operated by preference in areas where the Armenians were in a hopeless minority, so that reprisals would be certain. One of the revolutionary told Dr. Hamlin, the founder of Robert College, that the Henchak bands would "watch their opportunity to kill Turks and Kurds, set fire to their villages, and then make their escape into the mountains. The enraged Moslems will then rise, and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession."

When the horrified missionary denounced the scheme as atrocious and infernal beyond anything ever known, he received this reply:

"It appears so to you, no doubt; but we Armenians have determined to be free. Europe listened to the Bulgarian horrors and made Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it goes up in the shrieks and blood of millions of women and children... We are desperate. We shall do it.”

Serious trouble began in 1890, when there were disturbances and some bloodshed at Erzerum. The outbreak had not been premeditated or planned, but the Hentchak hoped to capitalize it. To encourage interest it arranged to stage a great demonstration in Constantinople to impress both the Turkish and the European governments. The affair was carefully planned and the minimum demands of the revolutionaries (civil liberties) were sent in advance to the foreign ambassadors. A proclamation was read in the Armenian Church at Kum-Kapu, in which the Armenians were told in so many words: "You must be your own self-governing master."

Even this demonstration had no favorable results. During the following months the efforts of the leaders seem to have gone into negotiations for an agreement with other revolutionary groups. There were long conferences at Athens, and in December 1891 the Hentchak officially joined the Oriental Federation of Macedonian, Albanian, Cretan and Greek revolutionists. The newspaper was transferred to Athens, where it remained until the end of 1894, at which time the Armenian organization moved to London. In the interval propaganda was being carried on in Armenia and efforts were being made to induce the Kurds to join forces with the insurgents. Agents were sent also to America, where branches were established in Boston, Worcester and other cities. Khan-Azad reports that he raised in America no less than $10,000 to support the cause.

When the Gladstone cabinet came into power in the summer of 1892 the hopes of the Armenians ran high, for was not the Grand Old Man the saviour of the oppressed? As a matter of fact the Liberal Government began almost at once to send sharp notes to the Porte. The Anglo-Armenian Committee and the Evangelical Alliance made the most of the situation and raised the hue and cry of religious persecution. But English influence had sunk so low at Constantinople that no attention was paid to the protests from London. The Turkish government probably realized even then that the Russian government, just as hostile to the Hentchakian aspirations as the Turkish, would stand behind it. In 1890 the Russian officials had co-operated with the Turkish in breaking up an Armenian raiding party organized in the Caucasus. Many writers have taken the stand that English intervention only made matters worse. "The Turk begins to repress because we sympathize," wrote David Hogarth, “and we sympathize the more because he represses, and so the vicious circle revolves.” England “is more responsible for the cold-blooded murders which have come near exterminating the Armenians than all other nations put together,” remarked an American traveller.

It requires no very vivid imagination to picture the reaction of the Turks to the agitation of the revolutionists. They had constantly in mind, if not the revolt of the Greeks, at least the insurrection in Bulgaria and the disastrous intervention of Russia and the powers. Whether Abdul Hamid deserves the black reputation that has been pinned to him is a matter for debate. If he was “the bloody assassin” and the “red Sultan” to most people, he was the hard-working, conscientious, much harassed but personally charming ruler to others. Those who have spoken for him have pointed out that the Sultan felt his Empire threatened by the Armenians, who, he knew or at least believed, were in league with the Young Turks, the Greeks, Macedonians, etc. They believe that Abdul Hamid was the victim of what we moderns call a persecution complex. He was terrified, and for that reason surrounded himself not only with high walls, but with all sorts of dubious characters, especially spies and delators who justified their existence by bringing ever more alarming reports.

So much at least cannot be denied: that the revolutionists planned a great conflagration and that they gave the Sultan and his ministers ample fright. One of their proclamation read:

"The times are most critical and pregnant with ominous events. The cup is full. Prepare for the inevitable. Organize, arm, —arm with anything. If one place revolts or shows resistance, do the same in your locality. Spread the fight for liberation. Yes, in truth, it is better to live as a free man for a day, for an hour, and to die fighting, than to live a life of slavery for generations, nay for centuries."

In the summer of 1894 the Revolutionary Committee wrote a letter to the Grand Vizier warning him that there would be a general rising in the Empire if the “very just demands of the Armenian people” were not met. No one could blame the government for anticipating a tremendous upheaval and for taking precautions. Probably to counteract the efforts made to bring the Kurds into the movement, the Sultan had, in 1891, organized the tribesmen in the famous Hamidie regiments, which were modeled on the Russian cossack brigades and were supposedly meant to act as a frontier defense force. In 1877 and 1878, however, the Kurd troops had been more trouble than they were worth; it may therefore be assumed that the purpose of the new organizations was to satisfy the chiefs and keep them from joining forces with the Armenian revolutionaries. In fact they could and were, under the new system, used against the Armenians. Beginning in 1892, the Hamidie regiments, sometimes supported by regular troops, began to raid the Armenian settlements, burning the houses, destroying the crops and cutting down the inhabitants.

And so the revolutionaries began to get what they wanted — reprisals. It mattered not to them that perfectly innocent people were being made to suffer for the realization of a program drawn up by a group in Geneva or Athens, a group which had never been given any mandate whatever by the Armenian community. So far as one can make out the Hentchak agitators were ardently supported by the lower-class Armenians in Constantinople, with whose help they forced the election of the patriot Ismirlian as patriarch in 1894. But the upper classes appear to have been opposed to the whole program; indeed, they were victimized themselves by threatening letters and by blackmail into the financing of a scheme which they regarded as disastrous. As for the peasantry in the provinces, it is perfectly obvious that they did not know what it was all about. Isabella. Bishop, who travelled through the country in 1891, makes the positive statement "that the Armenian peasant is as destitute of political aspirations as he is ignorant of political grievances. . . not on a single occasion did I hear a wish expressed for political or administrative reform, or for Armenian independence.” Hogarth tells of Armenians in the provinces who said they wished the patriots would leave them alone. But these people were not consulted. Whether they liked it or not, they were marked out by others for the sacrifice; their lives were the price to be paid for the realization of the phantastic national-socialist state of the fanatics." Pp. 157-160



Go To The Scholars List
Bernard Lewis

Professor Emeritus of Islamic History and Middle Eastern Studies, Princeton University, MA in Middle Eastern History and PhD in Islamic Studies, University of London.

Bernard Lewis is a British-American historian, Orientalist, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He specializes in the history of Islam and the interaction between Islam and the West, and is especially famous in academic circles for his works on the history of the Ottoman Empire. [info]

Major Publications

* The Emergence of Modern Turkey (1961)
* The Shaping of the Modern Middle East (1994)
* The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years (1995)
* The Future of the Middle East (1997)
* The Multiple Identities of the Middle East (1998)
* A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of life, letters and history (2000)

Source: Karpel, Dalia. "There Was No Genocide: Interview with Professor Bernard Lewis ", Ha'aretz Weekly, January 23, 1998.

"Because I am not a Turk nor an Armenian and I have no allegiance to any of these groups. I am a historian and my loyalties are to truth. The concept of genocide was defined legally. It is a term that the UN used and the Nuremberg trials made use of it [as well]. I side with words, which have accurate meaning. In my view a loose and ambiguous use of words is bad. The meaning of genocide is the planned destruction of a religious and ethnic group, as far as it is known to me, there is no evidence for that in the case of the Armenians. The deniers of Holocaust have a purpose: to prolong Nazism and to return to Nazi legislation. Nobody wants the 'Young Turks' back, and nobody want to have back the Ottoman Law. What do the Armenians want? The Armenians want to benefit from both worlds. On the one hand, they speak with pride of their struggle against the Ottoman despotism, while on the other hand, they compare their tragedy to the Jewish Holocaust. I do not accept this. I do not say that the Armenians did not suffer terribly. But I find enough cause for me to contain their attempts to use the Armenian massacres to diminish the worth of the Jewish Holocaust and to relate to it instead as an ethnic dispute."

Source: C-SPAN2, also available as video from www.youtube.com

Question: "The British press reported in 1997 that your views on the killing of one million Armenians by the Turks in 1915 did not amount to genocide and in this report in the Independent of London, says that a French court fined you one frank in damages after you said there was no genocide. My question is, sir, have your views changed on this whether the killing of one million Armenians amounts to genocide and your views on this judgment?"

Bernard Lewis responds: "This is a question of definition and nowadays the word "genocide" is used very loosely even in cases where no bloodshed is involved at all and I can understand the annoyance of those who feel refused. But in this particular case, the point that was being made was that the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was the same as what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany and that is a downright falsehood. What happened to the Armenians was the result of a massive Armenian armed rebellion against the Turks, which began even before war broke out, and continued on a larger scale.

Great numbers of Armenians, including members of the armed forces, deserted, crossed the frontier and joined the Russian forces invading Turkey. Armenian rebels actually seized the city of Van and held it for a while intending to hand it over to the invaders. There was guerilla warfare all over Anatolia. And it is what we nowadays call the National Movement of Armenians Against Turkey. The Turks certainly resorted to very ferocious methods in repelling it.

There is clear evidence of a decision by the Turkish Government, to deport the Armenian population from the sensitive areas. Which meant naturally the whole of Anatolia. Not including the Arab provinces, which were then still part of the Ottoman Empire. There is no evidence of a decision to massacre. On the contrary, there is considerable evidence of attempt to prevent it, which were not very successful. Yes there were tremendous massacres, the numbers are very uncertain but a million nay may well be likely.

The massacres were carried out by irregulars, by local villagers responding to what had been done to them and in number of other ways. But to make this, a parallel with the holocaust in Germany, you would have to assume the Jews of Germany had been engaged in an armed rebellion against the German state, collaborating with the allies against Germany. That in the deportation order the cities of Hamburg and Berlin were exempted, persons in the employment of state were exempted, and the deportation only applied to the Jews of Germany proper, so that when they got to Poland they were welcomed and sheltered by the Polish Jews. This seems to me a rather absurd parallel."

Source: "Documenting and Debating a 'Genocide'", The Ombudsman Column, PBS, April 21, 2006. See the copy as . . . Appendix 5 B Appendix 5B. . . Documenting and Debating a 'Genocide . . .

"The issue is not whether the massacres happened or not, but rather if these massacres were as a result of a deliberate preconceived decision of the Turkish government... there is no evidence for such a decision."

"A large number of Western students of Ottoman history reject the appropriateness of the genocide label, i.e. Roderic Davison, J.C. Hurewitz and Andrew Mango."



Go To The Scholars List
Guenter Lewy

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Lewy’s works span several topics, but he is most often associated with his book on the Vietnam War and his works that deal with the applicability of the term genocide to various historical events. In 1939, he immigrated to Palestine and then to the United States. He has been on the faculties of Columbia University, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts. He currently lives in Washington, D.C. and is a frequent contributor to Commentary.

Major Publications

* The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies (2001)
* The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide (2005)

Relevant Publications

* The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide (2005)
* Revisiting the Armenian Genocide, Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2005


Source: Revisiting the Armenian Genocide, Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2005.

"Most of those who maintain that Armenian deaths were premeditated and so constitute genocide base their argument on three pillars: the actions of Turkish military courts of 1919-20, which convicted officials of the Young Turk government of organizing massacres of Armenians, the role of the so-called "Special Organization" accused of carrying out the massacres, and the Memoirs of Naim Bey which contain alleged telegrams of Interior Minister Talât Pasha conveying the orders for the destruction of the Armenians. Yet when these events and the sources describing them are subjected to careful examination, they provide at most a shaky foundation from which to claim, let alone conclude, that the deaths of Armenians were premeditated."

Source: The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide

"It was not until 1965, the fiftieth anniversary of what Armenians began to call the first genocide of the twentieth century, that Armenians in Soviet Union and worldwide diaspora started to focus new attention on the events of 1915-16. History became a tool to highlight the suffering and injustices suffered by the Armenian nation". P. 258

"Supporters of the Armenian cause have referred to the alleged Turkish genocide of the Armenians as an "established, incontrovertible historical fact" thus making it a closed issue similar to the Jewish Holocaust that would be questioned only by pseudo-historians such as Arthur Butz and Robert Faurisson. Yet the scholars who signed the Open Letter and who have questioned the appropriateness of the genocide label cannot be dismissed as a fringe group; they include some of the best-known experts on the history of Turkey". P. 262

"As mentioned earlier, some Armenians use the word "genocide" not as a legal concept but as a term of moral opprobrium that castigates the deportation and its attending huge loss of life as a grave moral evil." P. 271

Please also see Lewy’s comprehensive interview with Today’s Zaman "No Evidence of Ottoman Intent to Destroy Armenian Community".
In December 2008, Lewy sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for falsely accusing him of being a foreign agent. The Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF) took over Lewy’s case. For more information, please see visit www.taldf.org.



Go To The Scholars List
Heath W. Lowry

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies, Princeton University.

Heath W. Lowry is an American historian and the Ataturk Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies at Princeton University. His area of expertise is the history of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey and has authored numerous books in both of these fields. He spent two years (1964-1966) working in a remote village in western Turkey as a Peace Corps volunteer. In the late 1960s, he was a graduate student at UCLA working with scholars Speros Vryonis, Jr., Andreas Tietze, Gustav von Grunebaum and Stanford J. Shaw. In 1970s, he taught full-time at the Bosphorus University and served as the Istanbul Director of the American Research Institute in Turkey. In 1983 he established the Institute of Turkish Studies, Inc. in Washington, D.C. together with a distinguished group of scholars, businessmen, and retired diplomats. Since 1993, he has been the Ataturk Professor of Ottoman & Modern Turkish Studies at Princeton University, where from July 1994-June 1999 he was the Director of the Program in Near Eastern Studies. Between 1994-1997, he served concurrently as Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Studies. [info]

Major Publications

* The Islamization and Turkification of Trabzon, 1461-1483. Istanbul (Bosphorus University Press), 1981 & 1999
* Continuity and Change in Late Byzantine and Early Ottoman Society [with: A. Bryer et. al.] Cambridge, MA & Birmingham, England (Dumbarton Oaks & University of Birmingham), 1985
* The Story Behind ‘Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.’ Istanbul (Isis Press), 1990
* Studies in Defterology: Ottoman Society in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Istanbul (Isis Press), 1992.
* Fifteenth Century Ottoman Realities: Christian Peasant Life on the Aegean Island of Limnos. Istanbul (Eren Press), 2002
* The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. Albany (SUNY Press), 2003
* Ottoman Bursa in Travel Accounts. Bloomington (Indiana University: Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Publications), 2003.

Relevant Publications

* The Story Behind ‘Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.’ Istanbul (Isis Press), 1990

Source: Lowry, H. W. (1990). The Story Behind Ambassador Morghentau's Story. Istanbul, Turkey: Isis Press.

"Why then did Morghentau put these words into the mouth of Talaat Bey? Again, the answer is simple: he wanted to have the strongest figure among the Young Turk triumvirate embracing verbally what is one of the major leitmotifs of Ambassador Morghentau’s Story, namely, it was run-away Turkish nationalism which prompted their attempt to ‘exterminate’ the Armenians. This theme, which does not find a single iota of support in either the ‘Diary’ or the ‘Letters’, runs throughout his book." Pp.35

“All comments in Ambassador Morghentau’s Story notwithstanding, as late as September 1915, Morghentau had not firmly concluded that the Armenians were the subject of an attempted ‘extermination’ by the Young Turk leadership.” P. 51

Source: Passage from the Schreiner (American correspondent of the Associated Press) letter on December 11, 1918

"To be perfectly frank with you, I cannot applaud your efforts to make the Turk the worst being on earth, and the German worse, if that be possible. …. Has it ever occurred to you that all governments reserve to themselves the right to put down rebellion? It seems to me that even Great Britain assumed that stand towards the Fathers of the Republic." P.62

“In 1990, seventy-two years after its initial appearance, Ambassador Morghentau’s Story is still in print. In the same year it has been repeatedly cited on the floors of the U.S. Congress, by a host of well-meaning Senators, as proof of the fact that the Young Turk Government planned and carried out a ‘genocide’ against its Armenian minority. Currently, a number of ‘Genocide and Holocaust Studies Curricula Guides’ which are in use in high schools in the U.S. expose students to passages from the book as furnishing examples of the twisted minds that can plan and perpetrate a genocide, etc. etc. In short, far from having found the well-earned rest it deserves, Ambassador Morghentau’s Story remains today a lynch pin in the body of literature which has and continues to present the Turks as some of the unrepentant genocidal villains of history.

While the purpose of the present study is less an examination of the question of whether or not the fate of the Ottoman Armenians ought to be described as ‘genocide’, and more of an attempt to distinguish between the reality and the fantasy in Ambassador Morghentau’s Story, we must need be cognizant of the broader implications it suggests.” Pp.69-70

"That such an important book has not until this monograph ever been the subject of a single published study, would be inconceivable in any historical field except that narrow subfield known as ‘Turco-Armenian History’, where all too often, raw emotion serves as a substitute for dispassionate scholarship, and propaganda passes for history.

What can be said of scholars working on the Armenian ‘genocide’, who, in publication after publication, over the past decades quote the outright lies and half-truths which permeate Morghentau’s Story without ever questioning even the most blatant of the inconsistencies?" P.78

"This is not a study designed to answer the question of whether or not the fate of Ottoman Armenians during the First World War, should or should not be termed ‘genocide’. It is, however, a work designed to question the credibility of the United States Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, as a source for the history of that era as portrayed in Ambassador Morgenthau’s story. This disclaimer is necessitated by the fact that partisans, be they Turks or Armenians, to the discussion of Turco-Armenian relations during World War I, tend to defend their positions from behind ‘blinders’ which allow them to see only what they want with no regard for the larger picture."



Go To The Scholars List
Andrew Mango

Researcher, author and historian, University of London. PhD in Persian Literature, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Mango is the brother of the distinguished Oxford historian and Byzantinist Professor Cyril Mango. Mango lived in Istanbul in his early years and worked as the press office of the British Embassy in Ankara until 1947. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1947 and has lived in London ever since. He holds degrees from London University, including a doctorate on Persian literature. He joined BBC's Turkish section while still a student and spent his entire career in the External Services, rising to be Turkish Programme Organiser and then Head of the South European Service. He retired in 1986. [info]

Major Publications

* Turkey and the War on Terrorism (2005)
* The Turks Today (2004)
* Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey (2000)
* Turkey: The Challenge of a New Role (1994), Discovering Turkey (1971)

Relevant Publications

* The Turks Today (2004)
* Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey (2000)

Source: Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey

"The decision to deport the Armenians had been taken by the CUP government in Istanbul in April 1915, when Mustafa Kemal was busy defending the Gallipoli peninsula. The Armenians were drawn to the Russians as fellow-Christians and likely protectors. Armenians from Russian Transcaucasia fought in the Russian Army, where they were joined among their kinsmen in Turkey. There were also Armenian risings behind Ottoman lines. The CUP leadership, shaken by the defeat at Sarikamis and fearing disaster in the Dardanelles, exaggerated the extent of Armenian subversion. In any case, Armenians were deported not only from the war zone, but also from the rest of Anatolia and even Thrace, with the exception of communities in Istanbul and Izmir." P. 161

Source: The Turks Today

"The Armenians found it hard to reconcile themselves to the loss of their historic home, even though they had been a minority there. After the Second World War, nationalists in the Armenian diaspora demanded that Turkey should recognize the elimination of their people from Anatolia as an act of genocide. To bring their demand to the attention of the world, violent Armenian nationalists launched a campaign of assassination against Turkish diplomats. It failed in its purpose, and Armenian nationalists concentrated their efforts on securing from various national parliaments resolutions recognizing the genocide of their people (…) As for the genocide campaign, Turkey holds that claims and counter-claims should be examined by historians and not by politicians. In any case, Turks and other Muslims have also been expelled from lands where they used to live and have been killed in hundreds of thousands." Pp. 22-23

Source: Sari Gelin: The True Story

"The objective of the Armenian allegations is political. This is clear and they have more than one aim. One aim is to keep the Armenian nation which is spread all over the world together. The genocide allegations have become elementary, fundamental to the Armenian identity. The second aim is to make the faults of the Armenian nationalist be forgotten. Whatever happened to the Armenians was the result of miscalculations of their nationalist leaders." [watch video]

Source: Speech given on March 15, 2001, meeting of the Society for the Promotion of Democratic Principles in Istanbul.

"Their prosperity grew until, by the middle of the 19th century, they became one of the richest communities of the Ottoman Empire, prominent not only in trade and professions, but also in the service of state.... Armenian nationalism did not become a political force until after the defeat at the hands of the Russians in 1878. Armenian nationalists aimed at creating an Armenian state in an area which had a predominantly Muslim and largely Turkish population."

Source: Turkey and the War on Terror: For Forty Years We Fought Alone, London, Routledge, 2005

"Western press comments explaining the murder of innocent people in terms of an inter-communal conflict that had taken place 70 years earlier sought excuses for what was inexcusable. […]

ASALA tried to rewrite history with the bomb and the gun, but succeeded only in adding a new bloody chapter to it. Later, Armenian nationalists used Western parliaments in an absurd attempt to rewrite history by legislative process." P. 13



Go To The Scholars List
Robert Mantran

Robert Mantran (1917-1999), was professor of Turkish studies at Aix-Marseille University (1961-1985), and a member of the Institut de France (elected in 1990).

Major Publications

* Istanbul dans la deuxième moitié du XVIIe siècle. Essai d'histoire institutionnelle, économique et sociale, Paris, Maisonneuve, 1962.
* Istanbul au siècle de Soliman le Magnifique, Paris, Hachette, 1965, 2nd edition, 1990
* L'Expansion musulmane. VIIe-XIe siècles, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1969, 2nd edition, 1991.
* L'Empire ottoman, du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle. Administration, économie, société, London, Variorum, 1984.

Relevant Publications

* Histoire de la Turquie, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1952, new editions 1961, 1968, 1983, 1988, 1993.
* Histoire de l’Empire ottoman, Paris, Fayard, 1989 (edition).
* Histoire d’Istanbul, Paris, Fayard, 1996.

Source: Histoire de la Turquie, 1993

"On the Eastern front, an expedition leaded by Enver finishes as a serious defeat (December 1914); the Russian offensive which follows is supported by the local Armenian population; during the Winter and the Spring, exactions are committed against the Turkish inhabitants, and an Armenian State is even proclaimed (May 1915); because the threat of extension of the Armenian secession, the Ottoman government orders in May 1915 the evacuation of the Armenian populations from Van, Bitlis, Erzurum to Irak, and from Cilicia and Northern Syria to central Syria. Legal guarantees are given to Armenians about the right to return to their homes, and about their goods, but these guarantees have been not respected by some military; in July 1915, the reconquest of the lost lands by Ottoman Army is accompanied by revenge violence: the evacuation and the regaining control provoked the death of several thousands of Armenians." Pp. 108-109


Go To The Scholars List
Justin McCarthy

Professor of History and Demographer, Louisville University. Ph.D. in history, University of California, Los Angeles.

McCarthy’s areas of expertise include the histories of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans. McCarthy served in the Peace Corps in Turkey, from 1967-1969. He also taught at the Middle East Technical University and Ankara University during this time. He earned his Ph.D. at University of California, Los Angeles in 1978. He has also received an honorary doctorate from Boğaziçi University. He is currently teaching at the University of Louisville. [info]

Major & Relevant Publications

* The Armenian Rebellion at Van (2006)
* Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922 (1996)
* The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (2001)
* Muslims and Minorities: The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire (1983)
* The Armenian Uprising and The Ottomans," Review of Armenian Studies, Volume: 2, No. 7-8 (2005), p. 50-73.
* The Population of Ottoman Armenians, in Türkkaya Ataöv (ed.), The Armenians in Late Ottoman Period, Ankara, TBMM/TTK, 2001; reprinted in Justin McCarthy, Population History of the Middle East and the Balkans, Istanbul, The Isis Press, 2002, pp. 279-296.

Source: Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922

"Not coincidentally, the Armenian revolt in the eastern Anatolia began as soon as the Russians realized that the Ottoman Empire would go to war. Before Russia declared war on 2 November 1914, Armenian guerillas had already begun to organize into guerilla bands. In preparation for revolt, Armenian revolutionaries had stored vast stockpiles of weapons, largely provided or paid for by the Russian government. These were kept primarily in Armenian villages and were obviously well-hidden from Ottoman authorities, an indication of the lack of Ottoman control in the region before the war… With weapons stored for the expected revolution, Ottoman citizen Armenians began to arm themselves and organize on both sides of the border. Bands were formed in the Kars-Ardahan-Artvin border regions (which had been taken from the Ottomans in 1878) and in Van, Erzurum, and Bitlis vilayets. P. 185

"At first, Ottoman military units, mail deliveries, gendarmerie posts, and recruiting units were attacked in Mus, Sitak, Susehri, Zeytun, Aleppo, Dortyol, and many other areas… Between five hundred and six hundred Armenian rebels occupied the Tekye Monastery and fought a bloody, day-long pitched battle with Ottoman troops and gendarmes, escaping from Ottoman troops at night… In Diyarbaki Vilayeti, a combination of Armenian villagers and Armenian deserters formed bands and attacked Muslim villages and Ottoman troops. Unprotected Muslim villages were assaulted and Muslims massacred, although the murders could not compare to what was later to befall the Muslims of the east. - P. 186

"Armenian plans to take eastern cities were brought into force once the war began. For the sake of understanding the chronology of massacre and counter massacre in the region, it should be understood that these and other revolutionary activities took place well before any orders for deportation of Armenians were given." P. 187

"The Ottoman response to the Armenian Revolution was approximately the same as that taken by other twentieth-century governments faced with guerilla war: isolate the guerillas from local support by removing local supporters. The Ottomans knew that Armenian rebels were freely supported by Armenian villagers as well as by Armenians in the eastern cities that were home to leaders of their revolution. They, therefore, decided on a radical action: forced migration of the Armenian population in actual or potential war zones. The first orders to that effect went out on 26 May 1915…

"The intentions of Istanbul were clear - to move and resettle Armenians peacefully. The only verifiable Ottoman documents on the subject indicate at least a formal concern for the Armenian migrants. Elaborate procedures were written in Istanbul and forwarded to the provinces. These covered the sale of refugee goods, the settling of refugees in economic positions similar to those they had left, instructions on health and sanitation, and the like. In short, all looked fine on paper. Articles 1 and 3 of the Resettlement Regulations show where problems arose: Article 1. Arrangements for transportation of those to be transferred is the responsibility of local administrations. Article 3. Protection of lives and properties of Armenians to be transferred en route to their new settlements, their board and lodging and their rest is the responsibility of local administrations en route. Civil servants in all echelons are responsible for any negligence in this regard. Pp. 193-94

The greatest threat and cause to mortality to Armenians came from the nomadic tribes who raided Armenian convoys. The few gendarmes detailed to the convoys, for example, could not protect them from armed attacks by Kurds. While the tribes did not usually engage in mass slaughter of Armenian migrants, they did kill large numbers of them and abducted their women. They probably caused the greatest mortality by stealing what the Armenians needed to subsist. Despite the regulations, little food was provided to the migrants, who were expected to feed themselves. But the tribes took their sustenance, and starvation was the result. P. 195

Source: Symposium, Marmara University, Istanbul, 2005

"The Blue Book written by Viscount Bryce and Arnold Toynbee has been used as proof that Armenians and the victims of the Jewish Holocaust suffered the same fate in history. This book has been said to be a product of British intelligence designed to promote and promulgate lies during World War I. Britain had set up the war propaganda bureau at Wellington House for the sole purpose of promoting lies and misinformation on Germany and the Ottoman Empire. The British were in full co-operation with American missionaries in Anatolia and the American Embassy in Istanbul conjured a so-called Armenian genocide based on gossip, hear-say and erroneous information. The real purpose behind this exercise was to create and strengthen an image in the minds of British military officers that the Turk were evil, horrible and untrustworthy".

Source:The Armenian Rebellion at Van

"The Armenians of Van had revolted against the Ottoman government putting their trust in the Russians, who betrayed them. They and the Russians had driven the Muslims from the province. The Armenians in turn had been driven out. Theirs was the final exodus. Surviving Muslims returned. Neither side, however, can truly be said to have won the war. More than half of Van’s Armenians had died, as had almost two-thirds of its Muslims." P. 2

Source: Anatolia 1915: Turks Died, Too . . . See Appendix 6 Appendix 6. . . Anatolia 1915: Turks Died, Too . . . , Published in the Boston Globe, April 25, 1998

"During World War 1, Anatolia, the Asiatic section of modern Turkey, was the scene of horrible acts of inhumanity between Armenians and Turks. For many decades, the history of the conflict between the Turks and the Armenians has primarily been written from the viewpoint of the Armenians. It is a viewpoint that emphasizes the deaths of Armenians but completely ignores the deaths of Turks.

The Armenian position has been effectively publicized. Every year in Congress, a group of representatives attempts to pass a bill that says the Turks were guilty of genocide. Newspapers feature articles on events in Turkey in 1915 as if they were today's news. Over the weekend, the Public Broadcasting System carried the historical visions of Armenian producers all across the country. Unfortunately, effective publicity does not ensure accurate history. What has been presented as truth is, in fact, only one side of a complicated history that began more than 100 years before World War 1."

Source: Armenian-Turkish Conflict, Speech given by Dr. Justin McCarthy at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, March 24, 2005

"The forced exile of the Muslims continued until the first days of World War I: 300,000 Crimean Tatars, 1.2 million Circassians and Abkhazians, 40,000 Laz, 70,000 Turks. The Russians invaded Anatolia in the war of 1877-78, and once again many Armenians joined the Russian side. They served as scouts and spies. Armenians became the "police" in occupied territories, persecuting the Turkish population. The peace treaty of 1878 gave much of Northeastern Anatolia back to the Ottomans".

Source: The Population of Ottoman Armenians”, in Türkkaya Ataöv (ed.), The Armenians in Late Ottoman Period, Ankara, TBMM/TTK, 2001; reprinted in Justin McCarthy, Population History of the Middle East and the Balkans, Istanbul, The Isis Press, 2002, pp. 279-296.

"It is commonly believed that the Armenians of Ottoman Anatolia were nearly all deported to the Arab provinces, and that high Armenian mortality was a result of the deportation. This was not the case. Because some deportees who were sent to Syria and Iraq moved to Egypt and Europe during and after the wars and some returned to Anatolia, it is impossible to estimate the number of the deportees with absolute accuracy. It can be see, however, that the largest group of Armenian refugees were those who fled to the Southern Caucasus. These were not deported to Syria or Iraq. They fled north in three waves: The Russia army invaded eastern Anatolia in May of 1915, relieving the Armenians of Van, who had seized the city from the Ottomans. When the Russian army was temporarily forced to retreat from Anatolia, the Armenians of the region the Russian had conquered accompanied them. The Russians returned in 1916, conquering most of eastern Anatolia, and many Armenians returned to their homes. In 1918, the Ottomans advanced, and Armenians departed for the Southern Caucasus once again. Many of these returned after the Ottoman surrendered to the Allies in October of 1918, but they left once again when Turkish Republican forces retook the region in 1920. The 400,000 refugees in the USSR in Table fives were survivors of a much larger group. Contemporary accounts indicate that the refugees starved to death in great numbers, even being forced to resort to cannibalism. Well in excess of 500,000 must have gone north. In addition, many, perhaps most, of the Armenians who went to Europe and the Americas were never deported. Those who fled to Iran were likewise not deported. It can thus be seen that most Anatolian Armenians were not deported, although their fate as refugees was misery and death.

More Armenians were forced migrants from the eastern Anatolia war were deported, and they unquestionably suffered highly mortality. Muslims joined in their suffering. When the Russians and Armenians advanced it was the turn of the Muslims to flee. More than a million Muslims were forced migrants." P. 289

"There were 1,465 million Armenians in Ottoman Anatolia in 1912, before the war began. […] At war’s end, 881,000 remained alive, a loss of 584,000 or 41%. […] To put the Armenian loss into perspective, it should be noted that the Muslims of the war zone suffered equally horrific loss: The Muslim population of the Van Province decreased by 62%, that of Bitlis by 42%, that of Erzurum by 31%. Not coincidentally, these were the provinces of greatest conflict between Ottoman and Russian armies and between Muslim and Armenian civilians." P. 290

"The massive mortality in Anatolia was the product of total war in which no quarter was ginve, as well as years in which no crops were harvested and disease ravaged population already ravaged by hunger. All shared starvation and disease; each side killed the other mercilessly. It is no wonder that death tolls were so high. Those who elevate the mortality of one group or ignore the mortality of another mistake the lesson of the times, which is not of persecutors and the oppressed, but of general inhumanity." P. 291

"Before the Armenians could be turned into rebels their traditional loyalty to their Church and their Community leaders had to be destroyed. The rebels realized that Armenians felt the most love and respect for their Church, not for the revolution. The Dashnak Party therefore resolved to take effective control of the Church. Most clergymen, however, did not support the atheistic Dashnaks. The Church could only be taken over through violence.

What happened to Armenian clergymen who opposed the Dashnaks? Priests were killed in villages and cities. Their crime? They were loyal Ottoman subjects. The Armenian bishop of Van, Boghos, was murdered by the revolutionaries in his cathedral on Christmas Eve. His crime? He was a loyal Ottoman subject. The Dashnaks attempted to kill the Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul, Malachia Ormanian. His crime? He opposed the revolutionaries. Arsen, the priest in charge of the important Akhtamar Church in Van, the religious center of the Armenians in the Ottoman East, was murdered by Ishkhan, one of the leaders of Van’s Dashnaks. His crime? He opposed the Dashnaks. But there was an additional reason to kill him: The Dashnaks wanted to take over the Armenian education system that was based in Akhtamar. After Father Arsen was killed, the Dashnak Aram Manukian, a man without known religious belief, became head of the Armenian schools. He closed down religious education and began revolutionary education. So-called “religious teachers” spread throughout Van Province, teaching revolution, not religion.

The loyalty of the rebels was to the revolution. Not even their church was safe from their attacks.
The other group that most threatened the power of the rebels was the Armenian merchant class. As a group they favored the government. They wanted peace and order, so that they could do business. They were the traditional secular leaders of the Armenian Community; the rebels wanted to lead the Community themselves, so the merchants had to be silenced. Those who most publicly supported their government, such as Bedros Kapamaciyan, the Mayor of Van, and Armarak, the kaymakam of Gevas, were assassinated, as were numerous Armenian policemen, at least one Armenian Chief of Police, and Armenian advisors to the Government. Only a very brave Armenian would take the side of the Government.

The Dashnaks looked on the merchants as a source of money. The merchants would never donate to the revolution willingly. They had to be forced to do so. The first reported case of extortion from merchants came in Erzurum in 1895, soon after the Dashnak Party became active in the Ottoman domains. The campaign began in earnest in 1901. In that year the extortion of funds through threats and assassination became the official policy of the Dashnak Party. The campaign was carried out in Russia and the Balkans, as well as in the Ottoman Empire. One prominent Armenian merchant, Isahag Zhamharian, refused to pay and reported the Dashnaks to the police. He was assassinated in the courtyard of an Armenian church. Others who did not pay were also killed. The rest of the merchants then paid.

From 1902 to 1904 the main extortion campaign brought in the equivalent, in today’s money, of more than eight million dollars. And this was only the amount collected by the central Dashnak committee in a short period, almost all from outside the Ottoman Empire. It does not include the amounts extorted from 1895 to 1914 in many areas of the Ottoman Empire."

"A historian first discovers what actually happened, then tries to explain the reasons. An ideologue forgets the process of discovery. He assumes that what he believes is correct, then constructs a theory to explain it. The work of Dr. Taner Akçam is an example of this. He first accepts completely the beliefs of the Armenian nationalists. He then constructs an elaborate sociological theory, claiming that genocide was the result of Turkish history and the Turkish character. This sort of analysis is like a house built on a foundation of sand. The house looks good, but the first strong wind knocks it down. In this case, the strong wind that destroys the theory is the force of the truth."

"The plan of the Armenian Nationalists has not changed in more than 100 years. It is to create an Armenia in Eastern Anatolia and the Southern Caucasus, regardless of the wishes of the people who live there. The Armenian Nationalists have made their plan quite clear. First, the Turkish Republic is to state that there was an ‘Armenian Genocide’ and to apologize for it. Second, the Turks are to pay reparations. Third, an Armenian state is to be created. The Nationalists are very specific on the borders of this state. The map you see is based on the program of the Dashnak Party and the Armenian Republic. It shows what the Armenian Nationalists claim. The map also shows the population of the areas claimed in Turkey and the number of Armenians in the world. If the Armenians were to be given what they claim, and if every Armenian in the world were to come to Eastern Anatolia, their numbers would still be only half of the number of those Turkish citizens who live there now. Of course, the Armenians of California, Massachusetts, and France would never come in great numbers to Eastern Anatolia. The population of the new ‘Armenia’ would be less than one-fourth Armenian at best. Could such a state long exist? Yes, it could exist, but only if the Turks were expelled. That was the policy of the Armenian Nationalists in 1915. It would be their policy tomorrow."



Go To The Scholars List
Michael E. Meeker

Anthropologist, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Ph.D. University of Chicago. [info]

Major Publications

* A Nation of Empire: The Ottoman Legacy of Turkish Modernity (2002)

Source: Meeker, “A Nation of Empire”: The Ottoman Legacy of Turkish Modernity” (2002)

Also: Online Edition: http://publishing.cdlib.org

"The Germans and Ottomans had been at war with the British, French, Italians, and Russians for a little more than a year. A great Ottoman victory, credited to Mustafa Kemal, had recently been achieved at Gallipoli. But all kinds of disasters were looming in the eastern provinces of Erzurum, Van, and Trabzon. Already, the imperial government had begun to deport the Armenian minority into the Syrian Desert, where many would die without provisions or shelter. Very soon, the Muslim majority would also suffer massive casualties and extraordinary hardship as a consequence of Russian offensives followed by Ottoman counteroffensives" P. 287



Go To The Scholars List
Hikmet Ozdemir

Research professor at the Turkish History Council in Ankara, Turkey.

Relevant Publications

* The Ottoman Army 1914-1918 Disease & Death on the Battlefield (May 2008)

Source : The Ottoman Army 1914-1918 Disease & Death on the Battlefield (May 2008)

"In 1915, during the first year of the war, the number of Ottoman Armenians subjected to deportation due to security reasons was 500,000 whereas the Russian Armenians who took advantage of the Russian invasion of East Anatolia forced 1 million Muslims to flee from Caucasus and East Anatolia forced 1 million Muslims to flee from the Caucasus and East Anatolia to safer areas in central Anatolia."
P.125

"In the spring of 1915, the Ottoman government used its constitutional powers and decided on the relocation of some of its Armenian subjects to Syria.” “Deaths” occurring in 1915 started after the "victims" were sent into exile, many of whom lost their lives from starvation and disease." P.136


"Another nuance that needs to be taken into account is the fact that a considerable portion of the Armenians subjected to deportation by the Ottoman government during the Great War consisted of individuals who had joined foreign armies as "volunteers", in particular the Russian Army. In addition, a large number of Ottoman Armenians are found to have migrated to other countries and become citizens of those countries." P.137



Go To The Scholars List
Stephen Pope

Stephen Pope is a former Oxford modern-history scholar who has authored four well-received reference books dealing with history.

Major Publications

* The Dictionary of the First World War, St. Martin's Press, 1996
* The Dictionary of the Second World War, Pen and Sword, 2004
* The Green Book, London, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, 1991.

Relevant Publication

* Dictionary of the First World War,Pope, S. and Wheal, E. A. (2003). Barnsley; S. Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books

Source: Dictionary of the First World War,Pope, S. and Wheal, E. A. (2003). Barnsley; S. Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books.

"Armenian Massacres: Allied term describing the Turkish government’s wartime deportations of Armenians from their homelands in the northeast of the Ottoman Empire. Neutral estimates suggest that between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians were living in Turkey in 1914, with perhaps another million inside Russia. Unlike other large racial minorities within the Empire, including their traditional Kurd enemies, Ottoman Armenians had no officially recognized homeland, but most were scattered near the Russian Caucasian frontiers.

Despite these drawbacks a militant Armenian nationalist movement had blossomed since the turn of the century, armed and encouraged by the Russians, and several minor coups were repressed by the Young Turk government before 1914. Denied the right to a national congress in October 1914, moderate Armenian politicians fled to Bulgaria, but extreme nationalists crossed the border to form a rebel division with Russian equipment. It invaded in December and slaughtered an estimated 120,000 non-Armenians while the Turkish Army was preoccupied with mobilization and the Caucasian Front offensive towards Sarikamish.

The Turks began disarming Armenian civilians under Ottoman control after a force of 2,500 rebels took Van in April 1915 and proclaimed a provisional government. An Ottoman order in June required all civilian non-Muslims to take up support duties near the battlefronts, but exemptions spared Greeks and the Catholic Armenian business community in Constantinople, effectively restricting the order to Orthodox and Protestant Armenians, who were subject to a military enforcement operation until late 1916.

Deportees were often given only hours to prepare, and left without transport or protection on long journeys to infertile, ill-supplied resettlement regions. Many died from starvation or exposure; many more were killed en route by hostile tribesmen (usually Kurds), some of whom colluded with Ottoman officials in search of a ‘final solution’ to the Armenian question.

Released through Armenian contacts with the Western press, especially strong in the United States, news of the catastrophe prompted the Turkish regime – which never openly associated itself with excesses against Armenians – to blame general supply and transport shortages for an estimated 300,000 deaths. Allied propaganda claimed more than a million had died, but modern consensus puts the figure at around 600,000.

An uneasy peace was imposed on frontier Armenians by the occupying Russian Army from 1916, but rebel forces resumed control in late 1917, killing perhaps another 50,000 non-Armenians. Subsequent attempts to restore Turkish administration caused sporadic fighting in early 1918, until the Treaty of Batum (26 May 1918) between an exhausted Turkey and a new Armenian Republic brought a period of recovery. Thousands more civilians then died attempting long journeys back to their liberated homes." P. 34




Go To The Scholars List
Michael Radu


Senior Fellow and Co-Chairman Center on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia University.

Dr. Michael Radu is FPRI Senior Fellow and Co-Chairman of its Center on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, and Homeland Security. He joined FPRI in 1983, and has since studied terrorist and insurgent groups worldwide. Various agencies of the U.S. and other governments have called upon his expertise, and news media around the world regularly use him as an expert source, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, and Associated Press. [info]

Major Publications

* Dangerous Neighborhood: Contemporary Issues in Turkey’s Foreign Relations (2002) # (2002)
# Dilemmas of Democracy and Dictatorship: Place, Time and Ideology in Global Perspective (2006)

* Europe’s Ghost: Tolerance, Jihadism and Their Consequences (forthcoming)

Relevant Publications

* Dangerous Neighborhood: Contemporary Issues in Turkey’s Foreign Relations (2002)
#
# The Dangers of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, 2007, FPRI E-notes. See A Copy as . . . Appendix 7 Appendix 7. . . The Dangers of the Armenian Genocide Resolution . . .
*
Source: The Dangers of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, 2007

"Central to the issue is the definition of events during World War I in the Ottoman Empire. A few key facts are clear. One is that many hundreds of thousands (over a million, according to the Armenian lobby) Armenians in Eastern Anatolia died at that time, of exhaustion and famine as well as killed by Kurdish villagers and Ottoman soldiers. It is also a fact that the Armenian community and its leadership in Anatolia at the time took arms against the Ottomans, in open alliance with the latter’s traditional enemy, Russia. Invading Russian troops and Armenian irregulars, whose occupation of the city of Van was the immediate cause of the deportation of Armenians, also engaged in indiscriminate violence, albeit on a smaller scale, against the mostly Kurdish population of the area; and all that during a war in which the very fate of the Ottoman Empire was being decided.

Whether the Ottoman authorities were guilty of "genocide" in a legal sense is doubtful, since the term itself did not exist in international law until after World War II; in a moral sense, doubts could also be raised, since if "genocide" means intentional destruction of a specific group because of its nationality, religion, race, etc., the survival of the Armenian community of Istanbul, outside the conflict area, is hard to explain. But leaving all this aside, there is one reality that cannot be ignored. That is that whatever happened in 1915 happened under the Ottoman Empire, not under the Turkish Republic, established in 1923. Thus contemporary Turkey is no more responsible for the events of 1915 than Russia is for Stalin’s annexation of the Baltic states or the Federal Republic of Germany for the pre-1914 colonial abuses of the Wilhelmine Empire."



Go To The Scholars List
Jeremy Salt

Visiting Associate Professor in Middle Eastern History and Politics, Bilkent University
Ph.D., Middle Eastern History, Melbourne University, 1980. Middle Eastern Studies.

Relevant Publications

* Imperialism, Evangelism and the Ottoman Armenians, 1878-1896, Routledge Press, 1993
* The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, University of California Press, 2008.

Source: The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, University of California Press, 2008.

"In 1909, agitated by “greatly exaggerated” stories of the activities of Armenian revolutionaries, Muslims turned on Armenians living in and around Adana. Perhaps eighteen thousand Armenians and two thousand Muslims died in this rekindling of the hatred and fanaticism that had torn the eastern provinces apart in 1894-96." P. 50

"Over almost a century the long Ottoman peace had been ruptured by ethno-religious nationalist uprisings, often backed by outside powers and often ending in war. In the two decades before 1914, Greece and the Ottoman state had gone to war over Crete (1897-98), where Muslims and Christians had massacred each other; in 1894-96 the Armenians were the chief victims of a complete breakdown of order across the eastern provinces of the empire and in Istanbul itself as the volatile “Armenian question” finally burst into flames; finally, in 1912-13, the attack on the Ottoman state by the four Christian Balkan states injected further toxins into the relationship between Christians and Muslims, just ahead of a great war in which battlefield defeats, uprisings, and the suspicion of disloyalty would lead to the dislocation of millions of people. Many were Muslims, fleeing or driven out of conquered territory, or in some cases moved away from the war zone (along with Jews) by the government for their own safety; a large number were Christians (Greeks and Armenians) “relocated” after acts of treachery and sabotage behind the lines.

The overriding aim of most Christian civilians was probably to keep out of harm’s way, but uprisings and rebellions by a minority threw a pall of suspicion over all. Of the numerous Armenian groups that took up arms against the state, the Tiflis-based Federation of Armenian Revolutionaries (the Dashnaks) was the best organized and most dangerous from an Ottoman point of view. Founded in 1890, the Dashnaks advocated extreme violence (against Armenian “traitors” as well as Turks and Kurds) with the aim of establishing an Armenian state that would stretch from the Caucasus into the eastern Ottoman lands. …

When the Ottoman Empire entered the war alongside the central powers at the end of October 1914, the Dashnaks and other Armenian political organizations were still operating freely in Istanbul and across the eastern provinces, but armed uprisings from behind the lines made their suppression in 1915 inevitable. Many young Armenians who had been drafted into the military deserted, joining insurgent bands engaged in general acts of sabotage or crossing a porous eastern border to join forces with Caucasian Armenians fighting in the Russian army or in the volunteer units formed alongside it for the specific purpose of “liberating” the “Armenian provinces” of the Ottoman Empire in the name of a common Christianity. Uprising, desertions, and reports of Armenian collusion with the Russians prompted the military command to issue orders in February 1915 that Armenian conscripts should be removed from the ranks of the military and paramilitary forces and formed into labor battalions instead. …

In the first half of 1915 the Armenian insurrection across the eastern provinces intensified. By April Van, Bitlis, Erzurum and Sivas provinces were sliding into complete chaos, confirmed daily in reports coming in from the military command and provincial authorities of pitched battles, attacks on jandarma (gendarmerie) posts, the ambush of supply convoys and convoys of wounded soldiers, and the cutting of telegraph lines. What was happening could no longer be described as disparate uprisings; it was rather a general rebellion, orchestrated principally by the Dashnaks and encouraged by Russia. The victims included not just soldiers or jandarma or officials but the Muslim and Christian villagers who were the victims of massacre and countermassacre. …

At this critical juncture, between April 13 and 20, thousands of Armenians inside the walled city of Van rose up against the governor and the small number of regular and irregular forces garrisoned in the city. The extent to which the rebellion was coordinated with the Russians remains an open question, to which the answer must lie buried somewhere in the Russian state archives, but the effect was to weaken the Ottoman campaign in eastern Anatolia and Persia. …

The weapons in the hands of the rebels, including the latest machine pistols, rifles, bombs and large stocks ammunition, plus the digging of tunnels between houses, were the proof that preparations for conflict had been made over a long period of time and that the uprising was not simply a spontaneous defensive response to Ottoman “repression” (through the murder of two Dashnak leaders as the result of the governor’s “brutal and illegal” policy) or harassment of Armenian women, as claimed by the missionaries. Indeed, the Armenian charge of Ottoman repression and the Ottoman charge of Armenian rebellion (treachery, as the Ottoman government regarded it) were equally true. The government, the Armenian committees, and Muslim and Christian civilians sucked into the conflict as active participants or as innocent victims were now all fully caught up in a Darwinian struggle for the survival of a stricken empire on one hand and the birth of an Armenian state stretching from the Caucasus into eastern Anatolia on the other." Pp. 58-61

"Armenian bands consisting of local Armenians and armed Armenian “volunteers” from across the eastern borders were by now moving from one village to the next, slaughtering and destroying. The men of Zeve took up defensive positions to prevent the village from being overrun but after a morning of fighting were overwhelmed. A general massacre followed. Almost all the Muslims –men, women and children- were killed. The only survivors were six women and a boy of eleven who was saved by the intervention of an Armenian friend of his father’s. … No records were kept, but the evidence of survivors indicates that in all the villages attacked by the Armenians “the slaughter was nearly complete”.

The Ottomans managed to recapture Van in early August before being forced to retreat at the end of the month. Retribution and revenge killings followed, but this time the Armenians were the victims as their Russian protectors retreated. Tens of thousands of Russian and Armenian soldiers and Armenian civilians streaming out of the province in the direction of the Persian border were harassed by Kurdish tribes as they struggled over mountain passes. Thousands were killed. …

The uprising in Van precipitated a series of decisions taken by the government in Istanbul. The first was put into effect on April 24, when the offices of the Armenian political committees in the capital were closed down, documents were seized, and more than 230 Armenians were arrested. The second decision developed in stages. On May 2, as fighting continued in an around the city of Van, Enver Pasa proposed that “this nest of rebellion be broken up” by “relocating” the Armenian population across the border into the Caucasus (from which large numbers of Muslims had fled or had been driven out) or into other parts of Anatolia. On May 26 the military high command informed the Ministry of the Interior that it had started to remove Armenians from Van, Bitlis and Erzurum and a number of villages and towns in the southeast. They were to be resettled south of Diyarbakir, but only up to the point where they would constitute no more than 10 percent of the local population. The same day Talat Pasa, the minister of the interior, informed the grand vizier of the decision to move the Armenian population from the Van, Bitlis, and Erzurum vilayets (provinces) and from areas in the southeast corner of Anatolia around the cities of Maras, Mersin, Adana, Iskanderun, and Antakya.

The following day the cabinet adopted a Provisional Law Concerning the Measures to be Taken by the Military Authorities Against Those Who Oppose the Operations of the Government during Wartime. This law, ratified by the parliament when it reconvened on September 15, authorized the military to arrest Armenians suspected of treachery and to move populations. On May 30 the government issued a series of regulations dealing with the practicalities of the “resettlement”. It was to be organized by local authorities; the Armenians could take movable property and animals with them; they were to be protected en route and provided with food and medical care; on arrival they were to be housed in villages built with proper concern for local conditions but at a distance of at least twenty-five kilometers from railway lines, and only up to the point where they constituted no more than 10 percent of the local population.

It soon provided impossible to move the Armenians in accordance with these instructions. The army had first claim on food, medicine and all means of transport; it is doubtful whether the government would have been organizationally and administratively capable of shifting so many people in any circumstances, let alone at such short notice; and the Armenians would be passing through regions where Kurdish tribes and other ethno-religious groups badly affected by the war would not hesitate to take surrogate revenge for the crimes committed against Muslims. On the grounds of military necessity, however, a directive had come from the military command that the bulk of the Armenian population had to be moved. What could not be done had to be done. The outcome was calamitous. In the coming months hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women and children were wrenched from their homes, from the Black Sea region and the western provinces as well as the eastern, and moved southwards toward Syria. Thousands died before they reached their destination, dropping dead by the roadside, succumbing to starvation, exposure and disease (typhoid and dysentery being two of the chief killers), or massacred in attacks on their convoys; the desperate scenes in and around the transit camps, of starving and dying people, of filth and stench, were described by American, German and Austrian officials.

The survivors of the relocation reached the Arab provinces in a state of complete distress. They were resettled in various parts of Syria. Large numbers were moved to camps set up near Ras al Ain, to the northeast of Aleppo, or along the Euphrates River valley to the southeast. The famine that killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians during the war was at its height when they arrived. By the summer of 1916, between fifty-five thousand and sixty thousand people were said (by a German consul and an American oil company employee distributing relief) to have been buried around the camp at Meskene after being “carried off by hunger, by privations of all sorts, by intestinal diseases and typhus which is the result”. Thousands more were massacred. How many it is not possible to say with any precision: even if the estimates of foreign aid workers, consuls, missionaries, survivors, and local people were not blown up for propaganda purposes, they are not reliable enough for historians to be able to arrive at anything like firm figures. Many were reported killed by Circassians or Kurdish jandarma at the Ras al Ain camp, in the desert northeast of Aleppo, in the spring of 1916. A German missionary visiting the region the following year thought the motive was greed.

In 1916 a large number of Armenians who were being moved onward to Mosul from Deir al Zor because they had reached the 10 percent limit of the local population set by the central government died from heat and exposure or were murdered near the River Khabur. Survivors said the killers were Kurdish jandarma, Circassians, Chechens, and Arabs. Whether the local governor was complicit in these killings or whether the Circassians and Chechens living along the Khabur River, who had a reputation for religious intolerance and no doubt had bitter memories of Christian mistreatment of Muslims in the Caucasus, had acted “on their initiative” is something that has never been resolved. …

More than one hundred thousand other Armenians were moved southwards through central Syria to Damascus and points farther south in the Hawran region. Many settled in the towns. Some (even at Meskene) found work as agricultural laborers or artisans or with the railway. At Raqqa (along the Euphrates) thousands of Armenians were living in houses “which the kindness of the governor has procured for the most poor”, while others squatted in a camp on the opposite bank of the river. Within months the situation had worsened because of lack of food and the outbreak of a typhus epidemic. …

Of the numbers of Armenians who were moved southwards through central Syria, an estimated 20,000 out of 132,000 still died, but there were no massacres. Overall, it is impossible to separate the numbers of Armenians who were massacred from those who died of other causes, but on the accumulated evidence of foreign consuls and aid workers there is no doubt that the death toll from starvation and disease was enormous. Given that the Armenians were in a much worse situation than the large number of Syrians who were already dying from the famine gripping the entire region, this was inevitable.

As news reached Istanbul that Armenians were being massacred on the way south, the government ordered the provincial authorities to catch and punish those responsible, “but the fact that these orders were repeated on numerous occasions would seem to indicate that they had little effect on the killing.” On September 28, 1915, continuing reports of attacks on the convoys by Kurdish tribesmen, along with shortages of medicine and food and transport problems, compelled Talat Pasa to seek a full government inquiry. The following day the Council of Ministers set up a special investigative council, involving the Ministries of the Interior, Justice and War, which it directed to work together in investigating the crimes that had been committed. The Finance Ministry was ordered to fund their work. Hearings were held across the eastern provinces, followed by court-martials, at which more than one thousand civilian officials or military personnel were found guilty “of organizing or failing to prevent the attacks” on the Armenians or of stealing their property. Muslims were also put on trial for crimes against Muslims. The sentences included imprisonment and some executions.

Estimates of the numbers of Armenians who were “relocated” between May 1915 and February 1916 range from just under half a million (the figure counted from Ottoman archival statistics) to just over seven hundred thousand. Estimates of the number who died during the entire war (not just in 1915-16) that were made when it was over, even by sources hostile to the Turks and the Ottoman government, ranged from six hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand. In recent decades, Armenian writers have based their arguments on figures of one million or 1.5 million dead. The differences in estimates illustrate a general problem with statistics dating back to the late nineteenth century, when the number of Armenians who lived in the Ottoman Empire (or who died there) were often exaggerated for political purposes. Muslims were undercounted for the same reason. Only the Ottoman government actually counted the population, but even its figures stand in need of adjustment. Justin McCarthy, a specialist in Ottoman demographics, has put the Armenian population of the whole empire in 1912 at 1,698,301 of which number 1,465,000 lived in Anatolia. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians survived the war. Herbert Hoover’s estimate of 450,000 to 500,000 Armenians fleeing from “Turkish Armenia” into “Russian Armenia” is consistent with other figures. Many settled in Syria, and others managed to leave the region altogether, emigrating to the United States and many other countries. Taking all of these factors into account, McCarthy has arrived at a total wartime Ottoman Armenian death toll from all causes of 584,000 or 41 percent of the Ottoman Armenian population. If the Armenian patriarchate population estimate of about two million is to be accepted over the official census figures, the number of dead would be increased by about 250,000, on McCarthy’s calculations, bringing the total Ottoman Armenian death toll from all causes for the entire war to a maximum of slightly more than 800,000. It will be noted that these figures are in line with the estimates made at the end of the war. Other computations put the number of Armenian dead at no more than 300,000, but the fluctuations remain enormous, even between historians who share the same basic point of view about what happened.

… Captain C. L. Wooley, a British officer traveling through “Kurdistan” after the war, was told by tribal leaders that four hundred thousand Kurds had been massacred by Armenians in the Van-Bitlis region alone. Two volumes of recently published Ottoman documents –mostly the reports of refugees, police, jandarma, and provincial officials- covering the period from 1914 to 1921 indicate that this Kurdish estimate of Kurdish dead through massacre by the Russians and/or their Armenian protégées is probably fairly accurate. Counted on a village-by-village or town-by-town basis, with the names of the killers often being given, the number of Muslims who were massacred across the region is put at 518,105. Hundreds of thousands of others died from the same starvation, disease and exposure that were killing the Armenians. The killing of civilians began well before the “relocation” was ordered and clearly had a powerful influence on the decisions that were taken by the government in Istanbul. In November 1914, Armenian bands operating in the Saray and Baskale regions near the Persian border raped, slaughtered and plundered and in at least one village drove the villagers into a mosque and burnt them alive. This individual episode is fully consistent with the documentary evidence of atrocities committed by Armenians over a period of years and recorded in gruesome detail in the documents coming out of the Ottoman archives. Even allowing for the possibility of lies or exaggeration, the evidence is both consistent and overwhelming. There is too much of it, coming from too many places over too long a period of time, to be credibly denied. …

The suffering of the Muslims was “special” in its own terrible way: there certainly was a holocaust in the eastern Ottoman lands, but it devoured Muslim Kurds and Turks just as greedily and cruelly as Christian Armenians.

The Muslims suffered tremendous loss of life (the Muslim population of Van province fell by 62 percent, of Bitlis by 42 percent, and Erzurum by 31 percent) but could survive the ravages of war because they were an overwhelming majority (more than 80 percent of overall) in the territory that the Armenian national committees wanted to incorporate into an independent Armenian state. The Ottoman Armenians were a small minority and could not survive losses of such magnitude. The wartime suffering of the Muslims in this region, against the historical background of Russian expulsion of Muslims from the Caucasus since early in the nineteenth century, suggests that had Russia stayed in the war their future would have been bleak in the extreme. The entire region and its civilian population were devastated by the big war and the secondary ethno-religious conflicts fought out across the length and breadth of eastern Anatolia, from the Black Sea down to the Mediterranean, spilling over into northwest Persia and the Caucasus across to Baku and continuing for years after 1918. …

The withdrawal of Russia from the war and the renunciation by the Bolsheviks of all territorial claims abruptly ended Armenian hopes for a state that would include the eastern lands of the Ottoman Empire. The Dashnak gamble on a Tsarist victory had failed. The withdrawal of Russian troops and the return of the Ottomans precipitated the flight of thousands of Armenians into the Caucasus, where fighting between Turks and Armenians was to continue for two more years. By the end of the war the ancient Armenian presence in eastern Ottoman lands had virtually come to an end.

The numbers of Armenians who died during and after the relocation, the causes of death, the identity of those who killed them (bandit gangs, tribal Kurds or Circassian refugees out for revenge, and the jandarma or soldiers who were supposed to be protecting them) or plundered the convoys as they moved south into Syria and Mosul, the culpability of senior officials, the role of the special operations force known as Teskilat-i Mahsusa, and the intentions of the Ottoman government remain subjects of acrimonious debate to this day. A few months before the end of the war, and his flight to Berlin, where in 1921 he was assassinated by a young Armenian, Talat admitted to a friend that the relocation had turned into a complete disaster. Given that he remains at the center of continuing accusations by Armenian historians and propagandists and those who support their case that the Ottoman government met at some point in 1915 and decided not just to relocate the Armenians but to wipe them out, his voice should perhaps be given a posthumous hearing:

… At a time when our armies were in a life or death struggle with enemies who were vastly superior in both numbers and equipment the Armenians, who were our fellow countrymen, had armed themselves and revolted all over the country and were cooperating with the enemy for the purpose of striking us in the rear. What other choice was there but to remove this race away from the war zones? There was absolutely no other solution. This was not at all an easy task. For that reason, therefore, while this policy was being carried out, some instances of bad management and evil deeds took place. But one cannot blame members of the government like myself for such instances which took place in far away provinces and of which we had no knowledge." Pp. 62-69



Go To The Scholars List
Stanford Shaw

Professor Emeritus of History, UCLA.

Professor Stanford Shaw was one of the most prolific Ottoman historians in the world. He received his B.A. at Stanford in 1951 and M.A. in 1952. He then studied Middle Eastern history along with Arabic, Turkish and Persian as a graduate student at Princeton University starting in 1952, receiving his M.A. in 1955. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1958 from Princeton University with a dissertation entitled The Financial and Administrative Organization and Development of Ottoman Egypt, 1517-1798. Stanford Shaw served as Assistant and Associate Professor of Turkish Language and History, with tenure, in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and in the Department of History at Harvard University from 1958 until 1968, and as Professor of Turkish history at the University of California Los Angeles, where he was founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Middle East Studies. After retiring from UCLA, he taught for nearly a decade at Bilkent University in Ankara. [info]

Major Publications

* The Financial and Administrative Organization & Development of Ottoman Egypt, 1517-1798
(Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 1962)
* Ottoman Egypt in the Age of the French Revolution
(Harvard University Press, 1964)
* The Budget of Ottoman Egypt, 1005/06-1596/97
(Mouton and Co. The Hague, 1968)
* Between Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim III. 1789-1807
(Harvard University Press, 1971)
* Ottoman Egypt in the Eighteenth Century
(Harvard University Press)
* History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turk
(2 volumes, Cambridge University Press, 1976-1977 with Ezel Kural Shaw)
* The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic
(Macmillan, London, and New York University Press, 1991)
* Turkey and the Holocaust:Turkey's role in rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi persecution, 1933-1945 (Macmillan, London and New York University Press, 1993)

Relevant Publications

* History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey
(2 volumes, Cambridge University Press, 1976-1977) (with Ezel Kural Shaw)
* From Empire to Republic: The Turkish War of National Liberation 1918-1923:
A Documentary Study (I - V vols. in 6 books, TTK/Turkish Historical Society, Ankara, 2000

Source: Shaw, S.J. and Shaw, E.K. (1977). History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

"Frustrated in their hopes of dominating Southeastern Europe through a Bulgarian satellite, the Russians sought an alternative instrument to chisel at the Ottoman Empire and turned to one of the minorities that had not sought to revolt against the sultan, the Armenians. There had been no difficulty with the Armenians previously because they had been integrated fully into traditional Ottoman society, with their own Gregorian millet maintaining religious and cultural autonomy under the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul.

The international crisis that culminated at the Congress of Berlin contributed to changes in outlook within the Armenian millet. The achievement of independence by Bulgaria and Serbia stimulated many Armenians to hope for the same. The Russian invasion of eastern Anatolia in 1877 was spearheaded by Armenian officers and administrators who had risen in the czar’s service since his absorption of the Caucasus earlier in the century. They contacted many of their brothers in the Ottoman Empire to secure their help against the sultan. The mass of Ottoman Armenians remained loyal subjects, but the deeds of the few who did not left a feeling of mistrust. This was magnified by Patriarch Nerses’ efforts at San Stefano and Berlin to gain European support for an Armenian state in the east as well as subsequent Russian efforts to develop Armenian nationalism as a means of undermining the Ottoman state. The Armenians as well as the Ottomans thus became pawns in the struggles for power in Europe.

With Russian encouragement, most Armenian nationalists emphasized political goals. When the European powers did not pay attention to their demands for autonomy or even independence, they turned from persuasion to terrorism in order to achieve their ends. Armenian revolutionary societies sprang up within the sultan’s dominions, particularly at Istanbul, Trabzon, Erzurum and Van, among wealthy Armenians in the Russian Empire, and also in the major cities of Europe, publishing periodicals and broadsides and sending them into Ottoman territory through the foreign post offices.

The Armenian nationalists became increasingly violent, using terror to force wealthy Armenians to support their cause and to stimulate Muslims to the kind of reprisals that would force the governments of Britain and Russia to intervene. They strove to undermine the sultan’s faith in his Armenian officials by forcing the latter to support the national cause. The revolutionary nationalists formed their own terror bands in the east, attacking Ottoman tax collectors, postmen and judges, massacring entire villages, and forcing the Armenian peasants and merchants to hide and feed them on pain of death. But on the whole, their numbers were too small, the mass of Armenians too disinterested, and Abdulhamit’s provincial police too efficient for them to make much headway. The Muslims were kept from responding in kind, though the sporadic Armenian raids increasingly poisoned the atmosphere and made it more and more difficult for Armenians and Muslims to live side by side as they had for generations.

With the failure of the Armenian revolutionaries inside the Ottoman Empire, the stage was left to those outside. … Their (Hunchak and Dashnaks) programs involved the creation of action groups to enter Ottoman territory, terrorize government officials and Armenians alike, and stimulate massacres. This would bring about foreign intervention and help the nationalists secure an independent, socialist Armenian republic, presumably in the six east Anatolian provinces from which all Muslims would be driven out or simply killed.

Revolutionary literature was sent into the empire, again through the foreign postal systems; bombs were exploded in public places; officials were murdered at their desks, and postmen along their routes. Within a short time, despite all the efforts of the government to keep order, the Hunchaks had what they wanted, reprisals from Muslim tribesman and villagers.

It should be recalled that Armenian terrorism came just when millions of Muslim refugees were flowing into the empire from Russia, Bulgaria and Bosnia Terrorism and counterterrorism went on for three years (1890-1893), with the government acting sternly, albeit sometimes harshly, to keep order. …

The winter of 1895-1896 witnessed large scale suffering throughout Anatolia as general security broke down, but little could be done until the army was brought in during the spring. In Istanbul, the Armenian terrorists, still hoping to force foreign intervention, struck again. On August 26, 1896, a group of Armenians took over the main Ottoman Bank in Beyoglu. … Soon after, a second group forced its way into the Sublime Porte, wounding several officials and threatening the Grand Vezir with a pistol. … Another bomb was thrown at the sultan as he was going to the Aya Sofya mosque for the Friday prayer, with more than 20 policemen guarding him being killed. … To reduce the tension and prevent further clashes the sultan soon afterward decreed a general amnesty and began to appoint Christian administrators in the east, even though the Christians were minorities in most of the districts involved. …

With the provocations soon forgotten, relations between Muslims and Armenians in the empire for the most part returned to normal. … By 1897, then, the Armenian Question was exhausted and lay dormant until World War I. It is interesting to note, however, that during these last years the Armenians of the empire actually increased in population and as the empire lost territory in the Balkans, they became a larger percentage of the total population." Pp. 200-205

"The Entente propaganda mills and Armenian nationalists claimed that over a million Armenians were massacred during the war. But this was based on the assumption that the prewar Armenian population numbered about 2.5 million. The total number of Armenians in the empire before the war in fact came to at most 1,300,000 according to the Ottoman census. About half of these were resident in the affected areas, but, with the city dwellers allowed to remain, the number actually transported came to no more than 400,000, including some terrorists and agitators from the cities rounded up soon after the war began. In addition, approximately one-half million Armenians subsequently fled into the Caucasus and elsewhere during the remainder of the war. Since about 100,000 Armenians lived in the empire afterward, and about 150,000 to 200,000 immigrated to western Europe and the United States, one can assume that about 200,000 perished as a result not only of the transportation but also of the same conditions famine, disease and war action that carried away some 2 million Muslims at the same time.

Careful examination of the secret records of the Ottoman cabinet at the time reveals no evidence that any of the CUP leaders, or anyone else in the central government, ordered massacres. To the contrary, orders were to the provincial forces to prevent all kinds of raids and communal disturbances that might cause loss of life. …

Those who died thus did so mainly while accompanying the retreating Russian army into the Caucasus, not as the result of direct Ottoman efforts to kill them." Pp. 315-317

"The Ottomans were unable to react more actively to the Arab revolt or the expected British push from Egypt because they were diverted by a Russian campaign into eastern Anatolia. … The worst massacre of the war followed as over a million Muslim peasants and tribesmen were forced to flee, with thousands being cut down as they tried to follow the retreating Ottoman army toward Erzincan…

Armenians throughout the world also were organizing and sending volunteer battalions to join the effort to cleanse eastern Anatolia of Turks so that an independent Armenian state could be established." Pp. 322-323

“Following the revolution a truce was signed between the (Transcaucasian) Republic and the Ottoman Empire at Erzincan (December 18, 1917) but the Armenian national units began a general massacre of the remaining Turkish cultivators in the southern Caucasus and eastern Anatolia, leaving over 600,000 refugees out of a former population of 2,297,705 Turks in the provinces of Erzurum, Erzincan, Trabzon, Van and Bitlis before the war.

With the truce clearly violated, Enver responded with a general offensive. … On February 14 Kazım took Erzincan, forcing the thousands of Armenian refugees who had gathered there to follow their army back into the Caucasus. … When the Armenians at Erzurum refused to surrender, he took it by storm (March 12), thus breaking the Armenian hold in the north and forcing those concentrated at Van in the south to retreat without further resistance.

Peace negotiations with the Transcaucasian Republic began at Trabzon. … The Armenians pressured the Republic to refuse, however, so that hostilities resumed and the Ottoman troops overran new lands to the east as the Russians retired. Thousands of Armenians who had retired behind the battle lines expecting a victory which would enable them to settle in new homes in eastern Anatolia now were forced to flee into Armenia proper. Erivan became so crowded that “anarchy, famine and epidemic” were the result.” Pp. 325-326

"Although Armenian and Greek exiles and their supporters tried to instill anti-Muslim sentiments and national aspirations into the political life of the countries where they settled - particularly in the United States, France and Britain – Turkey effectively countered their claims by pointing out that what massacres had occurred in the past were the result of minority terrorism and not of government policy and that in any case the Republic could no more be held responsible for the actions of the sultans than could the commissars of the Soviet Union for the repressive policies of the czars." P.430



Go To The Scholars List
Norman Stone

Professor of Modern History and the Director of the Center for Russian Studies, Bilkent University.

Following his First Class Honours degree in History from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, Norman Stone undertook extensive research in Austrian archives while living in Austria and Hungary (1962-1965). He was offered a research fellowship by Gonville and Caius College where he later became an Assistant Lecturer (1967) and Lecturer (1973) in the Faculty of History, specializing in Russian history. In 1984 he was appointed Professor of Modern History at Oxford University. Norman Stone joined Bilkent University in 1995 and currently teaches the history of Central-Eastern Europe. He wrote a regular column for the Sunday Times between 1987 and 1992, and made extensive contributions to the media as a book reviewer and a BBC commentator on current affairs in Europe and Russia. During the same period he served as Margaret Thatcher’s foreign policy advisor on Europe. Trustee of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation (1992 to present) and member of several professional societies, Professor Stone is currently working on a book about the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe.
[info]

Major Publications

* The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 (Charles Scribner, 1975)
* Europe Transformed, 1878-1919 (Harvard University Press, 1983 - awarded the Fontana History of Europe Prize)
* Czechoslovakia: Crossroads and Crises, 1918-88 (Palgrave Macmillan, 1989)
* Hitler, the Final Report (Harper Collins, 1995)
* World War One: A Short History (Penguin Books, 2007)

Relevant Publications

* Statement Concerning the ‘ADL Statement on the Armenian Gecocide’

Source: Stone, N. (2007). What has this genocide to do with Congress? The Spectator, London.

"The latest row concerns the adoption of a resolution by the House of Representatives branding the Armenian massacres of 1915 as genocide. What on earth causes Congress to bring up this subject now, almost a century down the line, and relating to an Ottoman empire that has long ceased to exist? And why on earth should these public bodies lecture historians as to what they should be saying? One basic cause seems to be simple enough: money.

Ever since 1878 the Armenians had become more and more restive and the nationalists started to make the running -- even murdering prominent Armenians who dissented and who said (as did the Patriarch in 1890) that it would all end in disaster. In the spring of 1915, just as the Russian army (with an Armenian division in tow) came over the border, there was a revolt, encouraged by the Russians and the Armenians who lived under the Tsar.

Many prominent Armenians in Turkey also encouraged or organised rebellions because, with the British about to land at Gallipoli and the French training an Armenian legion on Cyprus, they expected the Turks to collapse. In the eastern city of Van the Muslim quarter was smashed, and many inhabitants were killed. The Ottoman government then decreed that Armenians -- with many exceptions -- should be deported out of areas where they could damage the defences, or sabotage the telegraph lines and railways. The deportees were sent to northern Syria, but on the way they were sometimes attacked by wild tribes, in some cases with the connivance of officials.

In 1916 -- and this surely tells against 'genocide' -- the Ottomans tried 1,300 of these men and even executed a governor. About half a million Armenians arrived in the south-east and a very great number then died of the disease and starvation that were so prevalent at the time. Muslims also died in droves. In addition, the figure given for overall losses by the Armenian representative at the Paris peace treaties was 700,000 -- not 1.5 million as has been widely claimed.

Genocide? First of all, much depends on your definition. If we take the classic version, then there are serious difficulties. The British occupied Istanbul for four years and had a run of the archives. The law officers could not find evidence to convict the hundred or so Turks whom they had arrested."



Go To The Scholars List
Hew Strachan

Chichele Professor of the History of War, University of Oxford.

Professor Hew Strachan is a Scottish military historian, well known for his work on the administration of the British Army and the history of the First World War. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge with a B.A., 1971 and M.A. 1975. Professor Strachan is Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls, Oxford University. He was Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow from 1992 to 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Historical Society. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Tweeddale in 2006. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Panel of the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies. [info]

Major Publications

* European Armies And The Conduct Of War (London, 1983)
* Wellington's legacy: The reform of the British Army 1830-54 (Manchester, 1984)
* From Waterloo to Balaclava: Tactics, technology and the British Army (Cambridge, 1985)
* The Politics of the British Army (Oxford, 1997)
* The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (Oxford, 1998)
* The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms (Oxford, 2001)
* The First World War: A New Illustrated History (London, 2003)
* The First World War in Africa (Oxford, 2004)
* Relevant publications: The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (Oxford, 1998)
* The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms (Oxford, 2001)
* The First World War: A New Illustrated History (London, 2003)

Source: The First World War: Hew Strachan (New York, 2004)

"In 1894-6 Armenian revolutionary activity had culminated in violence which had been bloody and protracted. Moreover, it was a movement which enjoyed Russian patronage. In 1914 both Sazonov, the foreign minister, and the governor-general of the Caucasus sketched out plans to foment revolt. At least 150,000 Armenians who lived on the Russian side of the frontier were serving in the Tsar’s army. Enver persuaded himself that his defeat at Sarikamish had been due to three units of Armenian volunteers, who included men who had deserted from the Ottoman side. The Ottoman 3rd Army knew of the Russian intentions and anticipated problems as early as September. Its soldiers began murdering Armenians and plundering their villages in the first winter of the war. On 16 April 1915, as the Russians approached Lake Van, the region’s Ottoman administrator ordered the execution of five Armenian leaders. The Armenians in Van rose in rebellion, allegedly in self-defence. Within ten days about 600 leading members of the Armenian community had been rounded up and deported to Asia Minor.

…The best that could be said of the Armenians’ loyalty to the Ottoman Empire were characterized by attentisme, and the possibility of a rising in the Turkish rear was one which the Russians were ready to exploit. Significantly, the first note of international protest was prepared by Sazonov as early as 27 April, although it was not published until 24 May. In it he claimed that the populations of over a hundred villages had been massacred. He also said that the killings had been concerted by agents of the Ottoman government.

This became the crux. On 25 May 1915, Mehmed Talat, the minister of the interior, announced that Armenians living near the war zones would be deported to Syria and Mosul. His justifications for the decree were rooted in the needs of civil order and military necessity, and it was sanctioned by the Ottoman council of ministers on 30 May. The latter included provisions designed to safeguard the lives and property of those deported. But three days earlier the council had told all senior army commanders that, if they encountered armed resistance from the local population or ‘opposition to orders…designed for the defence of the state or the protection of public order’, they had ‘the authorisation and obligation to repress it immediately and to crush without mercy every attack and all resistance’.

It is impossible to say precisely how many Armenians died. Part of the problem is uncertainty as to how many were living in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 in the first place. Calculations range from 1.3 million to about 2.1 million. The difficulty of dispassionate analysis is compounded, rather than helped, by the readiness of Armenians and others to use the word ‘genocide’. In terms of scale of loss such a word may be appropriate: estimates approaching a million deaths are probably not wide of the mark. In terms of causation the issue is more complex. The initial violence was not centrally orchestrated, although it was indirectly sanctioned by the pan-Turkish flourishes of Enver and others. Once it had begun, it did, however, provoke the very insurrection that it had anticipated. The violence of war against the enemy without enabled, and was even seen to justify, extreme measures against the enemy within.

By this stage –late May 1915- the Turkish leadership was ready to give shape to the whole, to Turkify Anatolia and to finish with the Armenian problem. It defies probability to suppose that those on the spot did not take the instructions from the council of ministers as carte blanche for rape and murder. The hit squads of the Teskilat-i Mahsusa set the pace. This was most certainly not a judicial process, and it did not attempt to distinguish the innocent from the guilty or the combatant from the non-combatant. The American consul in Erzurum, Leslie Davis, reported from Kharput, the principal transit point, in July that ‘The Turks have already chosen the most pretty from among the children and young girls. They will serve as slaves, if they do not serve ends that are more vile’. He was struck by how few men he could see, and concluded that they had been killed on the road. Many thousands of Armenians also succumbed to famine and disease. Mortality among the 200,000 to 300,000 who fled to the comparative safety of Russia rose to perhaps 50 percent, thanks to cholera, dysentery and typhus. The Ottoman Empire, a backward state, unable to supply and transport its own army in the field, was in no state to organize large-scale deportations. The Armenians were put into camps without proper accommodation and adequate food. Syria, whither they were bound, was normally agriculturally self-sufficient, but in 1915 the harvest was poor and insufficient to feed even the Ottoman troops in the area. The situation worsened in the ensuing years of the war, the product of the allied blockade, maladministration, hoarding and speculation. By the end of 1918 mortality in the coastal towns of Lebanon may have reached 500,000." Pp. 112-114



Go To The Scholars List
Elizabeth-Anne Wheal

Elizabeth-Anne Wheal was a history scholar at Cambridge University.

Major Publications

* The Dictionary of the First World War, St. Martin's Press, 1996
* The Dictionary of the Second World War, Pen and Sword, 2004
* The Green Book, London, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, 1991.

Relevant Publication

* Dictionary of the First World War,Pope, S. and Wheal, E. A. (2003). Barnsley; S. Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books

Source: Dictionary of the First World War,Pope, S. and Wheal, E. A. (2003). Barnsley; S. Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books.

"Armenian Massacres: Allied term describing the Turkish government’s wartime deportations of Armenians from their homelands in the northeast of the Ottoman Empire. Neutral estimates suggest that between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians were living in Turkey in 1914, with perhaps another million inside Russia. Unlike other large racial minorities within the Empire, including their traditional Kurd enemies, Ottoman Armenians had no officially recognized homeland, but most were scattered near the Russian Caucasian frontiers.

Despite these drawbacks a militant Armenian nationalist movement had blossomed since the turn of the century, armed and encouraged by the Russians, and several minor coups were repressed by the Young Turk government before 1914. Denied the right to a national congress in October 1914, moderate Armenian politicians fled to Bulgaria, but extreme nationalists crossed the border to form a rebel division with Russian equipment. It invaded in December and slaughtered an estimated 120,000 non-Armenians while the Turkish Army was preoccupied with mobilization and the Caucasian Front offensive towards Sarikamish.

The Turks began disarming Armenian civilians under Ottoman control after a force of 2,500 rebels took Van in April 1915 and proclaimed a provisional government. An Ottoman order in June required all civilian non-Muslims to take up support duties near the battlefronts, but exemptions spared Greeks and the Catholic Armenian business community in Constantinople, effectively restricting the order to Orthodox and Protestant Armenians, who were subject to a military enforcement operation until late 1916.

Deportees were often given only hours to prepare, and left without transport or protection on long journeys to infertile, ill-supplied resettlement regions. Many died from starvation or exposure; many more were killed en route by hostile tribesmen (usually Kurds), some of whom colluded with Ottoman officials in search of a ‘final solution’ to the Armenian question.

Released through Armenian contacts with the Western press, especially strong in the United States, news of the catastrophe prompted the Turkish regime – which never openly associated itself with excesses against Armenians – to blame general supply and transport shortages for an estimated 300,000 deaths. Allied propaganda claimed more than a million had died, but modern consensus puts the figure at around 600,000.

An uneasy peace was imposed on frontier Armenians by the occupying Russian Army from 1916, but rebel forces resumed control in late 1917, killing perhaps another 50,000 non-Armenians. Subsequent attempts to restore Turkish administration caused sporadic fighting in early 1918, until the Treaty of Batum (26 May 1918) between an exhausted Turkey and a new Armenian Republic brought a period of recovery. Thousands more civilians then died attempting long journeys back to their liberated homes." P. 34



Go To The Scholars List
Brian G. Williams

Associate Professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic Central Asian History. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Brian Glyn Williams is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and terrorism analyst at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, D.C. He formerly lectured in Middle Eastern and Balkan History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and in Islamic Central Asian and Medieval Middle Eastern History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
[info]

Major Publications

* The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation (2001)
* The Deportation and Ethnic Cleansing of the Crimean Tatars. In Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth Century Europe: Edited by Steven Vardy and Hunt Tooley. NY; East European Monographs. 2003
* Turkey's Al Qaeda Blowback, Terrorism Monitor, April 23, 2004 See a copy as . . . Appendix 9 Appendix 9. . . Turkey's Al Qaeda Blowback, Terrorism Monitor . . .

Source: . . . [See Appendix 8] Appendix 8. . . Letter to the Toronto District School Board . . . , January 31, 2008

"Having published widely on the issue of genocide in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East, I am also interested in learning how the Armenian genocide will be covered in your program. As someone who has spent considerable time probing the background, surrounding events, and results of this tragedy I find that this case of genocide has all too often been politicized by those who have their own nationalist agendas. I am, for example, dismayed when I encounter Turks who go against global opinion and shrilly argue that nothing happened to Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Such efforts to erase an internationally recognized slaughter of tens of thousands are as transparent as efforts by Serbs to reject their people's well known slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. To deny the killing of the Armenians is to revise history and to fly in the face of global opinion.

I am equally dismayed when I encounter Armenians who provide a historically context-less version of history which overlooks the fact that their people were engaged in an armed uprising which aimed to 'cleanse' (i.e. slaughter) the Turks of eastern Anatolia from a planned 'Greater Armenia.' Such Armenian revisionists deliberately downplay their own people's attacks on Turks which led to the Turkish authorities' deadly over-reaction in 1915. Armenian nationalist historians also overlook the fact that the Ottoman Balkan provinces (the lands that would eventually become Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Romania) were 'cleansed' of their Turkish Muslim populations in the 19th century in a series of well-documented slaughters. This process--which was not labeled 'ethnic cleansing' until the Serbian slaughter of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s--cost tens of thousands of 19th century Ottoman Muslim their lives. Should your work overlook this crucial historical context it will come off as pro-Armenian propaganda and will have no historical balance."



Go To The Scholars List
Gilles Veinstein

Professor, Turkish and Ottoman History, Collège de France. [info]

Major Publications

* Government and Society in Ottoman, XVIe-XVIIIe centuries” (1994)

Related Publications

* Trois questions sur un massacre” (1994) L’Histoire, n°187, April 1995 (Three Questions about a Massacre, translated from the original French)

Source: Veinstein, L’Histoire, n°187, April 1995

"On June 1, 1915, the Ottoman government ordered the transfer of the Armenians of central and eastern Anatolia towards Syria, still a possession of the Ottomans at that time. It was during these transfer operations that an immense number of Armenians perished. This tragedy was the result of a multiplicity of events which proceeded in various places in 1915 and 1916, and in which the horror took very diverse forms. "

"Suffering, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and epidemics caused a large part of the deaths (3), but it is necessary also to take account of massacres, which were crimes against humanity. These happened because of inter-communal settlements of accounts, and in these not only Turks, but also Kurds, were involved. The convoys were attacked and plundered, and some of the soldiers supposed to be supervising the operation were caught up in this. Besides, it is undeniable, in certain cases at least, that the crimes were perpetrated with the open or tacit co-operation of local authorities."

"The reality of the massacres, and even their extent, are not questioned by anybody, including commentators in Turkey. The American demographer Justin McCarthy, for example, estimates that the whole of the Armenians of Anatolia did not exceed a million and a half people on the eve of the world-wide conflict, and that, taking into account the figure for survivors, approximately 600,000 Armenians perished in Anatolia in 1915; that is to say, about half of the community (4)."

"Secondly, there were also very many victims among the Moslems throughout the war, because of combat but also of actions conducted against them by Armenians, in a context of ethnic and national rivalry (5). If there are forgotten victims, it is they, and the Turks of today have the right to denounce the partiality of the Western opinion in this respect. Were they forgotten about because they were only Moslems?"

“It is true that official involvement is a precondition for us to apply to the Armenian tragedy the term, ‘genocide’, as used in 1944 and defined in the Nuremberg Trials and the U.N. convention of 1948. But we must admit that we do not so far have proof that the government was involved in this way. The documents produced by the Armenians, in which Talat Pasha, Minister of the Interior, and other official top Ottomans explicitly order the slaughter of men, women, and Armenian children, designated as the "Andonian documents," after the name of their editor, were absolute forgeries, as historical research has shown (6).”



Go To The Scholars List
Malcolm Yapp

Professor Emeritus of the Modern History of Western Asia, University of London.

Malcolm Yapp is (1995) a professor Emeritus of the modern history of Western Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

Major Publications

* The making of the modern Near East, 1792-1923 (London; New York: Longman, 1987)
* The Near East since the First World War: a history to 1995 (London; New York: Longman, 1996)
* Political Identity in South Asia - edited by David Taylor and Malcolm Yapp (London: Curzon Press; Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1979, c1978)
* Strategies of British India: Britain, Iran and Afghanistan, 1798-1850 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
* War, Technology and Society in the Middle East - edited by V. J. Parry and M. E. Yapp (London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1975)

Relevant Publications

* The making of the modern Near East, 1792-1923 (London; New York: Longman, 1987)
* Review article: The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus by Vahakn N. Dadrian, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 395-397

Source: The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus by Vahakn N. Dadrian, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 395-397

"The question is: has Dadrian produced sufficient new evidence to turn the debate decisively in favour of the view that the massacres were planned by the Ottoman government with a view to the extinction of the Ottoman Armenians?

There was one major difference between eastern Asia Minor and most of the Balkans; in eastern Asia Minor the Armenians were a minority in a Muslim majority region. Moreover among the Armenians only a small minority wished for independence; it's a weakness of this book that there is no adequate analysis of the very varied Armenian population of the Empire.

Considering the indiscriminate terrorism of the Hunchaks in Van in 1896 and the Dashnak raid on the Ottoman Bank in the same year he reframes his comments: "One may assume that the nature of revolutionary idealism is such that it creates its own norms and that in this sense terror is a means of making a statement for which other channels are long denied"

"It is not quite the sort of statement one expects from a writer so insistent on obedience to international law.

Although Dadrian produces many reports tending to suggest that members of the Ottoman government wanted to destroy the Armenian, he fails to find any document which constitutes a definite order for massacre.

Despite the numerous documents cited and the careful assembly of information about individuals and organizations, there is no decisive evidence to support Dadrian's case.

The author's approach is not that of an historian trying to find out what happened and why but of a lawyer assembling the case for the prosecution in an adversarial system. What he wants are admissions of guilt from the defendants, first Germany as the easier target and then Turkey . What is missing is any adequate recognition of the circumstances in which these events took place; the surge of Armenian nationalism, the ambitions of Russia , the fears of the Ottomans and the panic and indiscipline of war. The 1915 massacres took place when the Ottomans were being driven back by the Russians (supported by many Armenians) in the east and were being threatened by the operations in the Dardanelles in the west. Dadrian is so obsessed by his theory of the long plan that he too often overlooks the elements of the contingent.

To question whether Dadrian has made out his case and to suggest that he has given insufficient weight to the share of responsibility to be attributed to Armenian terrorists and to the flow of historical events is not, of course, to deny that Ottoman Armenians were murdered on a vast scale. It is indeed the dimensions of that tragedy which have led many to feel that the massacres must have been planned by government. But the scale of the horrors doesn't necessarily point to genocide. Some mass murders of the twentieth century have indeed been the result of deliberate government action; some have been the result of panic, indifference, ignorance or a combination of circumstances. To which category the Armenian massacres belong is still unknown." Pp. 395-397

Source: Yapp, M. E. (1987). The Making of the Modern Near East 1792–1923. New York: Longman.

During the Russo-Turkish War Armenian volunteers had fought with Russian troops and hopes of an independent Armenian state in eastern Asia Minor had been raised and disappointed. Hitherto the Armenians had been seen as a loyal Ottoman community. Henceforth they were regarded with suspicion by the Ottoman authorities and with a mixture of fear and hope by others. P.81

Nevertheless, Muslim Arab nationalism was a new phenomenon which complicated the Eastern Question, while Armenian nationalism, in itself a Christian movement of a familiar type, was nevertheless novel in that it had not appeared before 1878 and that it was a Christian movement in the Asian territories of the Ottoman empire, comparable in that respect to Maronite nationalism in the Lebanon, although distinguished from it by several features. Armenian nationalism was essentially a product of the work of Armenian radicals in the Russian empire and was imported into the Ottoman empire, notably during the 1877-8 Russo-Turkish War when bands of Armenians fought for Russia. Thereafter, Armenians were suspect in Ottoman eyes and as nationalist propaganda increased so the Ottomans responded with repression leading to the massacres of 1894-6 which shocked Europe and brought more pressure for reform in the Ottoman territories. P.87

The Armenians also looked to Russian support and many committed themselves to Russia during the invasion of 1828-9 so that when the Russian Armies retired some Armenian peasants from the Erzerum region accompanied them. The Russian successes, as indicated in Chapter 2, had a powerful effect in rousing Armenian expectations and in promoting Muslim hatred towards Christians in the region. The forces released were a significant factor in establishing the base for the greater unrest which overtook the region after 1878. By that time the scene was set for a major confrontation between Kurds and Armenians, a clash similar in kind but far greater in scope than the conflict in Lebanon between Druze and Maronite. P.127

The Armenian population was spread throughout Anatolia, as well as including a substantial part of the inhabitants of Istanbul. In every town there was an Armenian element and there were also areas where Armenians were settled in large numbers as cultivators. One such area was Cilicia in western Anatolia, but the largest single concentration was in the six eastern provinces of Erzerum, Van, Bitlis, Kharput, Diyarbakr and Sivas. Of the total Armenian population of Anatolia of about 1.5 million in 1914 rather more than 860,000 or about 58 percent, lived in the east. In none of the six provinces, however, did Armenians constitute a majority. P.197

To some extent Armenian nationalism was simply reactive. Paul Cambon, the French foreign minister, once commented that “the Armenians were told for so long that they were plotting that they finally plotted; they were told for so long that Armenia didn’t exist that they finally believed in its existence”. Apart from the suspicions of the Ottoman authorities the Armenians were subjected to attacks by Kurds. In the later nineteenth century the story of massacres unfolded; in 1877-8 massacres accompanied the Russian invasion; in 1890 there was the Erzerum affair; in 1894 that of Sasun in the south where Armenians worked as sharecroppers on Kurdish land. In 1895-6 major massacres took place and following the attempt by Armenian revolutionaries on the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul on 26 August 1896 there were massacres of Armenians in Istanbul. In April 1909 there was a massacre of Armenians in Adana in obscure circumstances but in some way linked with the anti-CUP coup in Istanbul in the same month. The Adana massacre may have destroyed Armenian hopes temporarily elevated by the 1908 revolution. P.199

The war and the call for a jihad undoubtedly led to an increased sense of Muslim solidarity and an antipathy to Christians who were believed to support the Entente. The Greeks, concentrated in Izmir, and protected by Rahmi Bey, escaped the worst effects of this animosity, but the Armenian population experienced the full force of Muslim resentment and suspicion caused by the disasters in eastern Asia Minor at the beginning of the war and the calls by Russian Armenians for Ottoman Armenians to join them in a struggle for freedom. Armenians were deported en masse from the eastern provinces and many (probably between a quarter and a half million) died, either from starvation and hardship or from massacre mainly at the hands of Kurdish tribesmen. No direct documentary evidence has ever come to light to show that the Armenian massacres of 1915 were the deliberate policy of the Ottoman government but local officials connived at the murders and took few steps to protect the Armenians. Possibly there was little the Istanbul government could have done to control events, but it is also possible that it believed that the Armenian presence in the eastern provinces was a constant threat to the integrity of the empire and was not sorry to see it removed. Pp.269-270



Go To The Scholars List
Thierry Zarcone

Director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris; expert of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE). Former visiting professor at Kyoto University (2005-2006).

Major Publications

* Mystiques, philosophes et francs-maçons en Islam, Paris, Maisonneuve, 1993.
* Secret et sociétés secrètes en Islam, Paris, L’Arche, 2003.
* La Turquie moderne et l’islam, Paris, Flammarion, 2004.
* La Turquie. De l’Empire Ottoman à la République d’Atatürk, Paris, Gallimard, 2005.

Relevant Publication

* La Turquie. De l’Empire Ottoman à la République d’Atatürk, Paris, Gallimard, 2005

Source: La Turquie. De l’Empire Ottoman à la République d’Atatürk, Paris, Gallimard, 2005

"The most dramatic episode of these years is the forced displacement of the Armenian population, from Eastern Anatolia to Mesopotamia, a decision of the triumvirate, to crush the Armenian support to the Russian invasion, and suppress the guerilla operations of the Armenian gangs on the Turkish territory. […] After the capture of Erzurum by the Russians in 1916, the Armenian militias commit massacres against the Muslim populations." Pp. 42-43.



Go To The Scholars List
Robert F. Zeidner

Ph.D. in Ottoman Military history. Universiy of Utah, Middle East Center.

Major Publications

* Kurdish Nationalism and the New Iraqi Government”, Middle Eastern Affairs, X, 1959, pp. 24-31.
* Britain and the Launching of Armenian Question”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, VII, 1976, pp. 465-483.
* Allies and Turkish Intelligence Activities during the War of Independence”, in International Symposium on Atatürk (Ankara, 21-23 September 1987). Proceedings, Ankara, TTK, 1994, pp. 673-685.
* Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s Cooperation with Non-Turkish Muslim Nationalists during the Turkish War of Independence”, in Proceedigs of the International Symposium (Ankara, 10-12 November 1988) Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Atatürk’s Immortality, Ankara, ODTÜ Basim Işliği, 1991, pp. 53-64.
* The Tricolor over the Taurus, New York, Peter Lang, 1996; second edition, Ankara, Turkish Historical Society, 2005.

Source: The Tricolor over the Taurus, Ankara, Turkish Historical Society, 2005

"Thus, the massacres of Armenians throughout the Ottoman Empire, during the years 1894-1896, 1909 and 1915-1916, had deep social and political roots quite apart from the alleged savagery of Turks and Kurds long decried by Armenian apologists and Western missionaries and relief workers. It is most unfortunate for unbiased researchers of the Armenian Question that the great bulk of vast literature available in this filed comes from pens of such authors, almost all of it bent on an ethnocentric course to demonstrate the supposed superiority of Christian Armenian culture of the ‘unspeakable’ Muslim Turk. Most of these writers pursue this scholastic aberration with much breat beating for the questionable innocence of Ottoman Armenians in the matter of disloyalty to the Ottoman state throughout the Russo-Turkish conflicts of 1877-78 and 1914-17, rather than address the issued as a clash of nationalistic movements.

Worse yet, Armenian scholars have consistently dwelled on Turkish massacres of their compatriots in all their grisly details without so much as a word on the equally savage measures taken by the Armenians of the Transaucasus and eastern Anatolia against local Turkic populace from 1905 to 1920. Indeed, when questioned on such episodes, they even dismiss them as Turkish propaganda. Yet the evidence for accepting this fact is overwhelming. This not to excuse the massacre of Armenians as mere quid pro quo but to point up such violence as an evil endemic to Middle Eastern society in general. The long, lurid chain of massacres throughout the Levant since World War I, illustrates the point, not to mention the ‘ethnic cleansing’ now in progress in the Balkans and Transcaucasia.

More significant perhaps is the considerable body of evidence which indicates that Armenian revolutionists deliberately fomented massacres of their compatriots in Turkey for the purposes of turning them all against the Porte and of invoking intervention by the great powers. On the other hand, it was thaks to prompt action by local Turkish authorities, so oftend maligned for incompetence, corruption and faith by Western travelers and diplomats, that Cilicia proper and Elazig-Harput were spared from slaughter during the massacres of 1894-1896. During the episode of April 1909, Mersin and areas outside Cilicia proper were similarly spared, with the one notable exception of Latakia on the northern Syrian coast." Pp. 43-45

"This is not to deny, however, that a very substantial portion of Ottoman Armenians, most of them probably innocent victims of the acts of few thousand revolutionaries, perished as a result of the deportations. On the other hand, the figure of 1,500,000 deaths, so often cited by Armenian apologists, appears grossly exaggerated in the light of Ottoman census data and the numbers of survivors recorded in many sources." P.48

"For the French in Cilicia, the first item of business in restoring order obviously lay in bringing the Armenian Legion to heel. Having quickly suppressed the insurrection of the Fourth [Armenian] Battalion at Iskenderun, French officers moved promptly to drum all habitual miscreants out of their service. They completely disbanded the particularly unruly Fourth Battalion, distributing several hundred men not implicated in the mutiny of Frebruary [1919] among the three remaining battalions. The latter, in turn, were deployed in major towns along the railway, such as Mersin, Tarsus, and Adana, where they could be held in check by larger British formations. Meanwhile, 400 legionnaires of doubtful reputation were formed into an unarmed labor company and packed off to Port Said under close guard by Algerian colonial infantry. This marked the end of mass terrorism by the [Armenian] legion in Cilicia until British forces departed in the fall of 1919." Pp.82-83

"Indeed, an extraordinary campaign of violence by Armenian individuals and small groups against Turks of all classes developed with steadily increasing fury throughout the region during the summer of 1919." P.105


Source: www.tc-america.org






. . .

Appendix 1

. . .


© Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
Approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948 entry into force 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII

status of ratifications, reservations and declarations

The Contracting Parties,

Having considered the declaration made by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 96 (I) dated 11 December 1946 that genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world,

Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and

Being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required,

Hereby agree as hereinafter provided:

Article 1

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 3

The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d ) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.

Article 4

Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

Article 5

The Contracting Parties undertake to enact, in accordance with their respective Constitutions, the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention, and, in particular, to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.

Article 6

Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction.

Article 7

Genocide and the other acts enumerated in article III shall not be considered as political crimes for the purpose of extradition.

The Contracting Parties pledge themselves in such cases to grant extradition in accordance with their laws and treaties in force.

Article 8

Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.

Article 9

Disputes between the Contracting Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfilment of the present Convention, including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide or for any of the other acts enumerated in article III, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice at the request of any of the parties to the dispute.

Article 10

The present Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall bear the date of 9 December 1948.

Article 11

The present Convention shall be open until 31 December 1949 for signature on behalf of any Member of the United Nations and of any nonmember State to which an invitation to sign has been addressed by the General Assembly.

The present Convention shall be ratified, and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

After 1 January 1950, the present Convention may be acceded to on behalf of any Member of the United Nations and of any non-member State which has received an invitation as aforesaid. Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 12

Any Contracting Party may at any time, by notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, extend the application of the present Convention to all or any of the territories for the conduct of whose foreign relations that Contracting Party is responsible.

Article 13

On the day when the first twenty instruments of ratification or accession have been deposited, the Secretary-General shall draw up a proces-verbal and transmit a copy thereof to each Member of the United Nations and to each of the non-member States contemplated in article 11.

The present Convention shall come into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

Any ratification or accession effected, subsequent to the latter date shall become effective on the ninetieth day following the deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 14

The present Convention shall remain in effect for a period of ten years as from the date of its coming into force.

It shall thereafter remain in force for successive periods of five years for such Contracting Parties as have not denounced it at least six months before the expiration of the current period.

Denunciation shall be effected by a written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 15

If, as a result of denunciations, the number of Parties to the present Convention should become less than sixteen, the Convention shall cease to be in force as from the date on which the last of these denunciations shall become effective. Article 16

A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any time by any Contracting Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General.

The General Assembly shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such request.

Article 17

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all Members of the United Nations and the non-member States contemplated in article XI of the following:

(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions received in accordance with article 11;

(b) Notifications received in accordance with article 12;

(c) The date upon which the present Convention comes into force in accordance with article 13;

(d) Denunciations received in accordance with article 14;

(e) The abrogation of the Convention in accordance with article 15;

(f) Notifications received in accordance with article 16.

Article 18

The original of the present Convention shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.

A certified copy of the Convention shall be transmitted to each Member of the United Nations and to each of the non-member States contemplated in article XI.

Article 19

The present Convention shall be registered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the date of its coming into force.



. . .

Appendix 2

. . .



Armenian * Revolt

MANIFESTO

Fellow Armenians,
Today the Armenian cause is entering a new era. For centuries, Western Armenia has been enserfed and demanding freedom.

It was only yesterday that the Armenian begged with his head bowed for assistance from the western world. Today he is convinced that placing his hope on others is in vain, and he has vowed to protect his rights, his being, his honor and his family with his very own hands.

The Armenian people have for centuries lived under Turkish oppression. They have planted and tended for centuries, only to see the fruits of their labor ravished by their tyrant rulers. Throughout the centuries they have ruined Armenian sanctities, but the Armenian people have bared it all, bared it with patience, and have continued to flood their soil with their sweat... It was as if the Armenian people were willing to show the world that it is possible to bring about freedom through civilized means. Modern Europe promised to put an end to Turkish plunders in Armenia. However, year passed after year, and the situation of Armenians in Armenia not only did not improve, but also intensified and has since become so hellish and unbearable, that even this remarkably patient race is unable to continue its existence.

Patience has its limits however. The intolerable abuses finally awakened Armenians; today, they have vowed either to die or to be free. And as Erzrum and Constantinople stand boldly in complaint, Armenians no longer beg, but demand and demand with arms in hand... Today Europe sees in front of it a complete people, a complete race, which has begun to protect its human rights.

This race now understands that its power lies within itself. Yesterday's helpless and patient Armenian is today a revolutionary.

The forbearer of this revolutionary ideology is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, who hereby invites all Armenians to unite under a common flag. Although the Armenian Revolutionary Federation is newly becoming an organizational entity, its roots are old and experienced through the organizations, which merged in its creation. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is going to work on uniting all forces, bringing together their centers. By setting as its goal the political and economic freedom of Western Armenia, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation has involved itself in the struggle initiated by the people themselves against the Turkish regime, vowing to fight until the very last drop of blood in the name of freedom. Let us all unite with the people, who have raised the flag of freedom. He who does not follow and turns away from the people is an enemy of the people. And in particular you, the youth, defenders of ideology always and everywhere, may you unite with your people.

And you, the elderly, may you support and inspire the youth with your wisdom and experience.
And you, the wealthy, may you open up your riches and support those who confront the enemy with an open chest.
And you, the Armenian woman, may you breed inspiration into this holy cause.
And you, the clergy, may you bless the soldier who fights for freedom.
There is no time to wait.
Let us unite, O' Armenians and let us bravely advance the holy cause of achieving freedom.

“FEDERATION OF ARMENIAN REVOLUTIONARIES”




. . .

Appendix 3

. . .


REVIEW ESSAY: Ethnic Cleansing or Genocide?

MASAKI KAKIZAKI, University of Utah

The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide,
Guenter Lewy, Salt Lake City: University of Florida Press, 2005

Guenter Lewy’s The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide has unleashed debate in the United States as well as in different countries such as Canada, France, Germany, and Turkey. In the United States, Lewy’s articles expressing skepticism about historiographies constructed by both Armenian and Turkish historians about the Armenian genocide appeared in Middle East Quarterly and Commentary; in subsequent issues, these journals published several letters to the editors from readers, mostly Armenians, who objected to Lewy’s thesis.1 Among the letters in Commentary, perhaps the most antagonistic criticism was presented by Peter Balakian, a poet, professor of English, and author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response. Subsequently, Balakian asked Chronicle of Higher Education to investigate the process of publishing Lewy’s book, as well as the forthcoming book of prominent Ottoman historian Justin McCarthy.2 Chronicle reporter Jennifer Howard’s investigation provides an insight into the ways ideology can be used to try to discredit scholarship.

According to McCarthy, Howard telephoned him on 7 September 2006 and asked the following three questions: Did you send your manuscript to Oxford and other presses before you sent it to the University of Utah Press (UUP)?; did you receive money from the 1066-9922 Print/1473-9666 Online/07/010085-8 q 2007 Editors of Critique DOI: 10.1080/10669920601148638

Correspondence address: Masaki Kakizaki, Ph.D. Student, Department of Political Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Email: u0424850 at utah.edu

1 Guenter Lewy, ‘Revisiting the Armenian Genocide,’ Middle East Quarterly 12, 4 (2005), pp. 3 – 12; and idem. ‘The First Genocide of the 20th Century?’, Commentary, 120, 5 (2005), pp. 47 – 52. Letters to the editors (including Lewy’s rebuttals) are presented in Middle East Quarterly 13, 1 (2006), pp. 1 – 5; and Commentary 121, 2 (2006), pp. 3 – 9. Also, Lewy’s book is discussed in ‘Was It Genocide?’, Wilson Quarterly 30, 1 (Winter 2006), pp. 87 – 88.

2 Justin McCarthy et al. (2006) The Armenian Rebellion at Van (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press).
Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, 85–92, Spring 2007


Turkish government to write this book?; and why did the editor of UUP resign?3 McCarthy said he responded: ‘No, I did not send my manuscript to any publisher. I know Hakan [Yavuz], who is the series editor [at UUP], and he asked me whether I had any manuscripts. I sent it [the manuscript for The Armenian Rebellion at Van ] to him, and three months later I received two referee reports along with comments from the editor whether I would address some of the issues raised in those two letters. One of them was positive and the second one suggested a number of changes. I wrote back and said I would make some changes in response to the second referee’s report. A month later I received a contract from the UUP.’ As for Howard’s second question, whether McCarthy had received any funds from the Turkish government, he said he told her, ‘none,’ adding that ‘whoever makes these charges must prove it. I am a tenured professor and do not need money.’ With regard to the resignation of the editor of the UUP, McCarthy said he told Howard that, as far as he knew, it occurred for totally personal reasons and had nothing to do with the Press. The reporter informed Professor McCarthy that it was Balakian who had called the Chronicle of Higher Education and informed it about these accusations.4

Several months earlier, following the publication of Lewy’s book, Richard Hovannasian, a leading Armenian scholar, had visited the University of Utah campus (23 March 2006) and delivered a harsh speech against it.5 In fact, no book has created such a controversy at the UUP as this one by Lewy. For this reason, it is important to examine Lewy’s argument in order to understand the reasons for Armenian scholastic anger against the book. The attacks on the book demonstrate how an inquiry into the tragic events of the First World War can be removed from historical context and elevated to mythological level, a process that, in turn, prevents any rational exchange between the two sides.

Scholastic Exercise

Lewy’s purpose is to evaluate the consistency and validity of the ongoing debate over the evidence for the Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey. The literature that pertains to the fate of the Armenian population during the First World War involves two narratives. On the one hand, Armenian scholars present this tragedy as the first genocidal event of the twentieth century. They argue that the Armenian massacre was a product of the Ottoman government’s special intent to deport and exterminate the entire Armenian population in the empire. On the other hand, Turks contend that this event was an outcome of Armenian collaboration with the Russians, inter-communal warfare in eastern Turkey, and the harsh economic and social conditions of war (such as food shortages and the spread of diseases). Both sides produce and maintain their own readings, understandings, and selective historical memories, resulting in two highly polarized historical versions. Lewy traces how Armenian and Turkish historians as well as other experts on this subject have constructed their arguments and tried to assess to what extent their reasoning, presentation of historical events, and choices of evidence support the validity and reliability of their theses. For this goal, he provides careful corroboration of the main pillars of Armenian and Turkish

3 I wish to thank Justin McCarthy and M. Hakan Yavuz for making available the records of their conversations and e-mail conservations on this matter.
4 Ibid.
5 Jay Logan Rogers, ‘Scholar Questions Motives, Perpetrators of Armenian Genocide,’ The Daily Utah Chronicle, 27 March 2006.


historiographies by cross-examining their arguments, in particular, their ways of using quotations about ‘genocide,’ citing references to primary and secondary resources, and comparing these approaches with the work of other eyewitnesses and scholars.

This book tackles the question not of the scale of Armenian suffering but of ‘the premeditation thesis.’ Although there are wide discrepancies with regard to the total number of victims, at least both camps acknowledge that hundreds and thousands of Armenians lost their lives during the deportation. Thus, Lewy focuses on the dispute over the cause of Armenian massacres by inspecting the way in which Armenians and Turks have offered contradictory or competing accounts. By attempting ‘a historical reconstruction of the events in question—to show what can be known as established fact, what must be considered unknown as of today, and what will probably have to remain unknowable’ (p. x). He concludes that an Ottoman intent to organize the annihilation of Armenians cannot be determined with the evidence that so far has become available to scholars. Thus, he rejects the term ‘genocide’ to describe the mass killing of Armenians, while admitting the indirect responsibility of the Ottoman local government officials for the loss of life of a large number of Armenians.

Lewy divides his book into four parts. First, he introduces readers briefly to the history of the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian subjects, the development of the Armenian revolutionary movement, the acceleration of tensions between Armenians and Turks that led to the Armenian massacres of 1894 – 96, and the impact of the Young Turks’ seizure of power from Sultan Abdulhamid in 1908. In this period, the deterioration of the socioeconomic environment in the Empire awakened the national consciousness of Armenians, most of whom were peasants and oppressed by their Kurdish neighbors, the latter of whom resisted control by the authorities. In addition, the infusion of Western and revolutionary ideas through European books, education, and missionaries accelerated the rise of Armenian identity. Furthermore, an economic prosperity gap in towns between Turks and the comparatively wealthier Armenians promoted feelings of enmity against the latter (although a large number of Armenian peasants were not better off than Turks in the countryside). For these reasons, the Ottoman authorities, who had perceived the Armenians as ‘the loyal community’ to the Empire began to suspect them as a people ‘in league with foreign enemies’ (p. 7), namely Russia.

Among Armenians, a group of revolutionaries began to dream of the revival of historic Armenia; they created the image of Armenians as dedicated patriots while depicting Turks as the villainous ‘Other’, in order to mobilize the Armenian masses. These growing tensions culminated in the intercommunal explosion of 1895 – 96 in which a series of mass killings of Armenians took place. When the Young Turks came to power in 1908, the suspicion about Armenians had become more widespread in the government, owing to the successive loss of Ottoman territory in the Balkan Peninsula. Since then, what Lewy calls ‘a siege mentality’ was pervasive among the Ottoman authorities.

Part II includes the crucial chapters that scrutinize two differing views among the Armenians who argue for the genocide thesis and one Turkish version of historiographies. The first group of Armenians claims that the large number of Armenian victims does support the existence of a state organized plan of annihilation prepared by the Young Turks, who intended to achieve their ideological goal to homogenize Turkish society. In order to prove the premeditation thesis, Armenian historians offer several manifestations of Ottoman premeditation: a secret speech allegedly delivered by Talaat Pasha encouraging the use of the army to eliminate the Armenian population; the role of Ziya Go¨ kalp, sociologist and ideologue of Turkish nationalism, in the planning for the eradication of the Armenian population; the so-called ‘Ten Commandments of the Committee of Union and Progress’ indicating Turkish intent and planning of the deportation, extermination, and forced conversion of Christian Armenians to Islam; and the Young Turks secret February 1915 meeting at which the extermination plan is alleged to have been formulated.

The second group of Armenians believe that the claim of Turkish premeditation is substantiated by the following factors: The Memoirs of Naim Bey, a Turkish official whose account was published in Armenian, French, and English by Aram Andonian and others; the proceedings of special court-martials that the Turkish government convened in 1919 – 20 to try the Young Turks; and the vicious role and involvement of the Teskilat-i Mahsusa (Special Organization) in the Armenian massacres. Authors such as Vahakn N. Dadrian, a sociologist who is known as the theoretician of the Armenian genocide thesis, generally regard these cases as sufficient evidence for the premeditation thesis.6 However, Lewy is skeptical about the reliability of this evidence and tests its consistency by referring to governmental documents of European countries as well as other historians’ accounts, including those of Armenian scholars. Also, he criticizes the manner in which Armenian authors rely on the consequences of the Armenian deportation to prove that the Young Turk leaders had prior plans for total destruction of the Armenian population. He argues that ‘objective results are not the same as subjective intent’ (p. 53). Furthermore, Lewy claims that the Armenian side ignores the multiplicity of cases in the tragedy by playing down the roles of starvation and disease, which afflicted not only the Armenian deportees but also Muslim Turks.

Lewy also finds problems in the Turkish version of the stories. Turkish historians maintain, first of all, that the Ottoman government needed to implement the relocation of the Armenians because of the seditious movements among the Armenian revolutionaries and their collaboration with the invading Russian troops. Turks contend that the initial impulse for this affair came about as a result of activities by the Armenian revolutionaries, especially the Hunchaks, which committed murders of Muslims in order to force the Ottoman government to suppress the Armenians so as to restore social order. The intent of these Armenian revolutionaries was to provoke excessive measures by the government, and these in turn would prompt the intervention of European countries to save the Armenians. This ‘provocation thesis’ constitutes the main pillar of Turkish historiography on the massacres (pp. 16 – 17). In effect, the Turkish historians deny that the Ottoman government had any a priori intent of destroying the Armenian communities. Rather, the military measures and the relocation of the Armenians were necessitated by the Armenian threat to the integrity and security of the Empire. This provocation thesis has been rejected by Armenian historians who claim that the Armenians were innocent victims of atrocities committed by the Turks. A second argument of Turkish historians is that the government tried to prevent the excessive measures of local officials that resulted in the killing of Armenians. Third, Turkish historians claim that it was not only the Armenians but also many Muslims who lost their lives in inter-communal wars. One of the main reasons for the Armenian relocation has been attributed to the rebellion in Van, which was a center of Armenian revolutionaries. The Turkish historians argue that this uprising was prepared in order to assist the Russian invasion, while the Armenians claim that this was necessary to protect the Armenian population from the deportation. What is striking to readers in this

6 See, for example, Dadrian’s long response to Lewy posted at Dhimmi Watch, ‘Vahakn Dadrian responds to Guenter Lewy,’ http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/008594.php

debate is that both sides provide one-sided arguments. As Lewy points out, ‘Both Turks and Armenians have accused each other of horrible crimes while at the same time denying or minimizing the misdeeds committed by their own forces’ (p. 116). The Turkish side tends to dodge the responsibility of atrocities against Armenians by shifting the blame from the Ottoman government to ‘the civil war cause.’ On the other hand, Armenian authors ignore the Armenian revolutionary movements’ relationship with Russia and the threat this relationship posed to the Ottoman government.

Part III of Lewy’s book aims to clarify the gap in our knowledge of the Armenian suffering. Lewy ‘reconstructs’ a history of this tragedy by strictly distinguishing the confirmed facts from the mere assertions of historians who fail to support their claims with substantive evidence. In this process he attempts to determine how the government decided on the deportation plan, how it was implemented in different regions and cities, who were responsible for the massacres, and how many people died. The chapters in this section reveal the diversity in the levels of Armenian suffering and the variation of the degree of implementing the deportation. This picture seems to imply that the deportation of the Armenian population was not carried out in a systematic or well-organized manner, which would be necessary for the purpose of total destruction of the Armenian community. Further, the responsibility for the mass killing of Armenians was confused and dispersed among several actors, including Kurds, wartime gendarmerie, local officials, and others. In terms of the number of victims, different authors have generated different estimations. It is also difficult to determine the precise death toll because we have neither an exact figure for the prewar Armenian population nor an accurate count for the number of survivors. It also is impossible to distinguish the number killed by Turks and Kurds and those who perished due to starvation and disease (p. 240).

After a critical examination of the Armenian and Turkish historiographies, Lewy proposes an alternative explanation (pp. 252 – 57). He argues that ‘it was possible for the country to suffer an incredibly high death toll without a premeditated plan of annihilation’ (p. 253) for several reasons. First, the Ottoman government, despite its willingness, failed to arrange an orderly process of relocation of Armenians because of its institutional ineptness. The systematic and organized relocation of tens of thousands of Armenians proved beyond the ability of the Ottoman government. Food shortages and epidemic diseases which the authorities could not prevent or control exacerbated the environment for Armenians during the course of the deportation. Additionally, the government could not provide adequate protective measures for the Armenian deportees from hostile Kurds, Circassians and others. According to Lewy, these severe conditions and the inability of the Ottoman government to provide protection resulted in the high death toll of the Armenians.

Thus, while he concedes that the government bears responsibility to a certain extent for the outcome, he emphasizes that it is the government’s ineptness rather than a premeditated plan to exterminate the Armenians that caused the Armenian tragedy.

One of the contributions of Lewy’s work is that he clarifies what we have learned as confirmed facts from both the Armenian and Turkish historians. Without leaning to either side, he accepts evidence and arguments that are substantiated by other sources. His neutrality becomes obvious in Part IV, which discusses the politicization of the controversy over the Armenian massacres. He argues that the Armenian side’s argument of the premeditation thesis lacks authentic documentary evidence and suffers from a logical fallacy (p. 250). But he also criticizes the Turkish side for distorting the historical fact by translating the Armenian massacres into mere ‘excesses’” or ‘intercommunal warfare’ (p. 252).

Lewy’s book also tells us how historiography can go beyond objective facts: It is constructed on the basis of what people want to remember and what information they recollect from the past. He points out that each side intentionally has forgotten historical settings that are not consistent with their theses. Such simplification of a complex historical reality and disregard of crucial evidence make it impossible to ‘yield a more nuanced picture’ (p. x).

The personal memories of individual Turks and Armenians are not separable from the collective social memory of their communities because people can be confident about the accuracy of their remembrances only when their own memory is confirmed by others’ remembrances.7 The politicization of the Armenian massacres, then, facilitates the transmission of collective memories from generation to generation; Armenian campaigns for the recognition of the genocide and the airing of the Turkish government’s argument have functioned as mechanisms by which both Armenians and Turks are reminded of the past and their distinctive identities.8 The current rigid adherence of both sides to their historiographies thus is likely to lead to the deepening of the gap between them, not pave a way to closing this gap. For this reason, Lewy suggests that historians ought to keep the door of research open for further exploration of the Armenian massacres. Political confirmation of the Armenian massacres as historically established genocide, he argues, will deprive future historians of opportunities to start collaborative research for the advancement of common understanding grounded in historical facts rather than propaganda.

Lewy’s study carefully disaggregates the series of historical events into regions and actors. Lewy knows that an attempt to put all the aspects of the Armenian massacres into a single picture as a whole ignores the variation of stories. In this tragedy, there is a diversity of experiences lived by each group of people.

Therefore, Lewy adopts a method with which he constructs his own historiography by aggregating different local incidents and experiences. The Armenian and Turkish historians take the opposite approach. They look into the events from the pictures that they want to see. In this process, evidence and incidents that may disconfirm their theses are likely to be ignored in their analytic frameworks.

There is one point that I find unsatisfactory in Lewy’s book: he refrains from making his definition of genocide explicit while claiming that ‘the attempt to decide whether the Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey fit . . . definitions [of genocide] strikes me as of limited utility’ (p. xii). I agree that what constitutes ‘genocide’ and to what extent we should restrict ourselves to the definition written into the Genocide Convention of the United Nations are controversial issues. For example, genocide for some scholars is equivalent only to the Holocaust while there is another argument that genocide includes a variety of ethnic cleansings. Also I concede that the debate whether the Armenian tragedy was genocide has caused unfruitful and never-ending exchanges of acrimony between Armenians and Turks. However, this debate still is of substantive importance because parliaments in several countries have proclaimed this tragedy to be an instance of genocide. For example, in the fall of 2006 the French parliament adopted a bill that criminalizes the denial of the Armenian genocide. What is relevant to Lewy’s argument is that the politicians who vote on these resolutions are influenced exclusively by their ethnic

7 For the relationship between individual memory and collective memory, see Maurice Halbwachs, The Collective Memory (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1980).

8 Paul Connerton discusses how social memory is produced and transcends generational boundaries; see Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).


Armenian constituents, and they rely only on an Armenian version of the history of 1915. The politicians are not without their own prejudices, and their determinations never can substitute for actual history. In the French parliament, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin argued that it is ‘not a good thing to legislate on issues of history and of memory,’ but his caution was ignored.9 These resolutions spotlight politics, not the truth, and are therefore debatable. Furthermore, historians need to clarify the concept of genocide when they conduct comparative analysis of massacres in order to prevent conceptual proliferation. As Lewy notes, genocide is used as a term of moral opprobrium as well as a legal concept (p. 262). Thus, whether scholars find documentary evidence that proves or disproves the premeditation thesis in the future, the debate still will continue without any agreement between the two sides on the definition of the term genocide.

Despite my disagreement with Lewy on this point, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey is an important accomplishment by a political scientist who has worked on comparative studies of genocidal issues. He not only spells out many inconsistencies, illogical reasoning, and presentation of unauthentic historical documents appearing in the Armenian and Turkish accounts but also identifies where researchers need to go for further enquiry.

The attack against Lewy’s book and the controversy created by Peter Balakian and others who share his views indicate the problem of academic freedom of speech with respect to events associated with the Turkish-Armenian conflicts. There are coordinated efforts by Armenian NGOs and scholars to silence and suppress different interpretations about the events of 1915. Simultaneously, free speech about the Armenian massacres also is denied in Turkey. For example, Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish novelist who won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, has been charged with insulting ‘Turkishness’ on account of his critical comments about the way the Turkish government treats both Armenians (in the past) and Kurds (currently). In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Pamuk stated that ‘30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands [Ottoman Turkey and Republican Turkey] and almost nobody but me dares to talk about it.’ His comment triggered the fury of Turkish nationalists who accused him as insulting the Turkish national character. Subsequently, some Armenian groups, without paying close attention to what Pamuk said, presented his statement as an ‘acceptance of Armenian genocide.’ The Turkish media have portrayed Pamuk as facing criminal charges on suspicion of violating the Turkish penal code, which bans insulting the Republic, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and other state institutions. His real intention behind the statement was misunderstood or misrepresented by both the Turkish and Armenian media. Pamuk never said that what Armenians experienced in Ottoman Turkey was genocide. Rather, he intended to raise the issue of freedom of speech in Turkey. He said to BBC that ‘What happened to the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 was a major thing that was hidden from the Turkish nation; it was a taboo. But we have to be able to talk about the past.’10

In the end, the case against Pamuk was dropped in January 2006, but public reaction against his quotation indicated that any reference to the Armenian issue may result in criminal charges in Turkey.

9 ‘French in Armenia “Genocide” row’ (2006) BBC NEWS, 12 October, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6042730.stm

10 Sarah Rainsford, ‘Author’s Trial Set to Test Turkey,’ BBC NEWS, 14 December 2005, http://bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4527318.stm



In the final analysis, Lewy’s book indeed has become like dynamite to both sides by pointing out the shortcomings of both Turkish and Armenian scholarship and revealing the difficulty of objective debate on the Armenian tragedy. It is very unproductive for diaspora Armenians to turn the Armenian genocide thesis into a source of identity.11 The shift prevents contextualization of the events and turns them into mythological facts outside of any rational inquiry. Lewy tried to de-sacralize the Armenian thesis by subjecting it to rational inquiry. Lastly, it is also important to mention that Lewy’s book has been relatively favored in Turkey despite his criticism of Turkish historiography on the Armenian massacres and the failure of Turkish historians to challenge the official view endorsed by the state. Since its publication, the Turkish media has presented Lewy’s book as a new scholarly work that supports the Turkish explanation of the Armenian killings, but the media also has ignored Lewy’s disapproval of the Turkish historiography.12 It seems that the Turkish side is satisfied with Lewy’s conclusion that the Armenian killing cannot be confirmed as a genocide ‘as of now,’ even though he criticizes Turkish historiography. In other words, Lewy’ book once again has illuminated that both sides simply are concerned whether the Armenian massacre in 1915 was or was not a genocide, an issue which Lewy has problematized in his work.

References

Balakian, P. (2003) The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (New York: Harper Collins).
Connerton, P. (1989) How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Dhimmi Watch, ‘Vahakn Dadrian responds to Guenter Lewy;’ at http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/008594.php.
Eke, S. (2006) ‘Armenian Diaspora Bound by Killings’. BBC NEWS,12 October; at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6044682.stm.
French in Armenia ‘Genocide’ Row (2006) BBC NEWS, 12 October; at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6042730.stm.
Halbwachs, M. (1980) The Collective Memory (New York: Harper Colophon Books).
Lewy, G. (2005) Revisiting the Armenian Genocide, Middle East Quarterly, 12(4), pp. 3 – 12.
Lewy, G. (2005) The First Genocide of the 20th Century?, Commentary, 120(5), pp. 47 – 52.
McCarthy, J., Arslan, E., Takran, C. & Turan, O¨ . (2006) The Armenian Rebellion at Van (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press).
Radical (2005) Lewy: Soykırım belgeleri kus¸kulu. 30 August.
Rainsford, S. (2005) Author’s Trial Set to Test Turkey, BBC NEWS, 14 December; at http://bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4527318.stm.
Rogers, J. L. (2006) Scholar Questions Motives, Perpetrators of Armenian Genocide, The Daily Utah Chronicle, 27 March.
Sabah (2005) Lewy’ye go¨ re soykırım kanıtı yok, kus¸ku var, 30 August.
Zaman (2005) ABD’li Profeso¨ r, Ermeni soykırımı iddialarını yalanladı, 28 August.


11 Steven Eke reports that the genocide theme has provided a sense of national identity for dispersed Armenians and argues that it is the Armenian diaspora rather than Armenia the country that works for international recognition of the Armenian massacres as genocide; see Steven Eke ‘Armenian Diaspora Bound by Killings,’ BBC NEWS,12 October 2006 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6044682.stm
12 Many newspaper articles portrayed Lewy as if he helps the Turkish side on the Armenian issue while ignoring his critique of the Turkish version of historiography. See for example, ‘ABD’li Profeso¨ r, Ermeni soykırımı iddialarını yalanladı,’ Zaman, 28 August 2005; ‘Lewy: Soykırım belgeleri kus¸kulu,’ Radical, 30 August 2005; and ‘Lewy’ye go¨ re soykırım kanıtı yok, kus¸ku var,’ Sabah, 30 August 2005.





. . .

Appendix 4

. . .


TURKEY, THE WORLD, AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION

Turkey grapples with both pressure from European actors and domestic clashes regarding the Armenian question. The author outlines the recent developments in this realm while evaluating the implications of Turkey’s reactions to these developments. Leaving the ultimate question as to whether the massacres constituted genocide to historians, the author portrays both sides of the story and advises Turkey, Armenia, and the EU to take steps which will be conducive to the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, and which will ease Turkey’s EU membership prospects.

Arend Jan Boekestijn
The author is lecturer in the history of international relations at Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Citizens and politicians living in Western Europe tend to take the high moral ground on issues where they are not themselves directly involved. This is a strategy that runs the risk of applying double standards. It is all very nice to condemn the so-called Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century; but what about the national sins of one’s own country? In addition to the holocaust, Germany committed genocide against the Herero tribe in then Southwest Africa, France slaughtered 200.000 Muslims in Algeria during 1954-1962, and what about King Leopold’s Ghost in the Belgian Congo? The list is much longer. Turks do not have a monopoly on human deficit.

A number of governments and national parliaments ask Turkey that it recognize Armenia’s claims of genocide. These governments include France, Belgium, Russia, Lebanon, Uruguay, Switzerland, Greece, and Canada. The European Parliament and a number of U.S. states have also recognized the slaughtering of Ottoman Armenians as stemming from a systematic policy of extermination. Turkey fears that the U.S. Congress may soon follow. Recently, the German Parliament adopted a resolution in which the word genocide was not used but still called on the Turks to confront their past.

The official Turkish reaction to all these resolutions has been defensive. A historical Conference on the Armenian issue is a case in point. It was cancelled a day before it was scheduled to take place in May 2005 at Istanbul's Bogaziçi University. The conference, “Ottoman Armenians During the Decline of the Empire: Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy,” was organized by historians from three of Turkey's leading universities, Bogaziçi, Istanbul Bilgi, and Sabancı. The organizers said the conference would have been the first in Turkey on the Armenian question not set up by state authorities or governmentaffiliated historians. Government officials had pressured the organizers, first to include participants of the government's choosing, then to cancel the event. The Turkish Minister of Justice, Cemil Çicek, even considered the conference ‘a dagger in the back of the Turkish people’ and said it amounted to ‘treason’.1 But over the ensuing four months, the ruling Justice and Development Party made it clear that Çicek's remarks reflected his views, and his alone. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül announced that he had no problem with the expression of critical opinion and even said he would be willing to participate in the conference.

Despite legal maneuvering by Turkish nationalists that had threatened to prevent, the meeting was rescheduled in September at Bogaziçi, University. It was once again postponed on the eve of its opening, this time because of a legal challenge that questioned its scientific validity and the qualifications of its participants. The challengers also said it was inappropriate for Bogaziçi, a public university, to be the venue for such a gathering, which they said contravened its mission.2 By transferring the event from the public Bogaziçi to one of the co-

1 Aisha Labi, “Academic Conference in Turkey on Armenian Question is Cancelled under Government Pressure,” Academe Today: The Chronicle of Higher Education's Daily Report, 27 May 2005, (http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/iisite/media/05-27-05-CHE-Gocek.htm)

2 Aisha Labi, “Despite Late Challenge, Scholars Finally Hold Meeting in Turkey on Armenian Genocide,” Academe Today: The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Daily Report, 26 September 2005, (http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/iisite/media/09-26-05-CHE-Gocek.htm)


sponsoring private universities, the legal obstacles were overcome and the conference was held. Many nationalists in the street, however, expressed their feelings of resentment. The upcoming trial of acclaimed author Orhan Pamuk, charged with “denigrating” Turkish identity for talking about the killing of Kurds and Armenians, has demonstrated a severe split in the country, with liberals standing up for freedoms while nationalists are on the defensive.

Hence, Turkey finds itself in a difficult position. A growing number of national Parliaments around the world want Ankara to come to terms with the Armenian question but public opinion and politics in Turkey remains sharply divided on the issue. There seem to be at least three good reasons why Turkey should try to confront its own past. The question whether Turks really committed genocide in the past should not be seen as a sign of treason but as a chance to reflect on the national heritage. Secondly, if Turkish society and politics come to terms with the past it will only serve to increase Ankara’s diplomatic leverage in the world since other governments may welcome this attitude. And finally, if the Turks objectively deal with their past, this will impress the world and make it more difficult for opponents of Turkish membership in the EU to derail ongoing negotiations. Seen from this perspective, Turks who take a defensive stance seem well advised to abandon it and ask some pertinent questions:

Did the Ottoman Turks really commit genocide? And, is the Turkish government handling this sensitive issue well?

Did the Turks Commit Genocide?

In article 2 of the present United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (adopted 9 December 1948), genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The problem in identifying whether genocide was committed is the clause: in whole or in part. In part, implies that most wars involve an element of genocide. Genocide only has real meaning if a government intends to destroy an entire group of human beings. The Armenian side claims that the Ottoman government at the highest level had the intention to kill Armenians.3 So far, there is no such proof in the Ottoman Archives. There is however, some proof that high level Turkish administrators indeed seem to have had this intention.

Eyewitness reports of German, American, Austrian, and Swiss missionaries, as well as German and Austrian officers and diplomats who were in constant contact with Ottoman authorities seem to imply such an intention. Moreover, evidence given to the post-war

3 Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia, (Providence/Oxford: Berghahn, 1997).

Ottoman tribunal investigating the Armenian massacres supports this claim. Lastly, to a certain extent, memoirs of Unionist officers and administrators indicate intentional acts.4 All of this indicates that even if the Ottoman government was not involved in genocide, an inner circle within the Committee of Union and Progress under the direction of Mehmet Talât Pasha wanted to solve the Eastern Question5 by the extermination of the Armenians and that it used “relocation” as a cloak for this policy. Some of the provincial governors and party chiefs assisted in this extermination, others did not. The fact remains, however, that some high level Turks used the deportations as a smoke screen to solve the Armenian question once and for all. For them the genocide claim seems appropriate.6

There are, however, important mitigating circumstances. First, Russian expansion and the Young Turks intellectual fascination with the concept of the nation state put the Armenians in a very difficult position. One might not expect the Young Turks to give Armenians a free ride in their new country, when their empire is close to collapse. The Young Turks might have panicked and overreacted but the Armenian challenge was a formidable one and came at a very dangerous time. Second, Muslims that behaved badly were to some extent the same Muslims, or relatives, of those that had escaped from the Balkans during the preceding successive Balkan Wars and were determined never to be forced to leave their ancestral homes again. Third, Armenians collaborated with Russians to kill many Muslims themselves.

Fourth, not all Armenians were deported. Those living in Istanbul and Izmir were unaffected.7 At the end of the day, however, it boils down to a brutal act of ethnic cleansing that also involved the other parts of Anatolia and even Thrace and that was to some extent planned by Talât Pasha. Henry Morgenthau, the American Ambassador to Turkey, when protesting the killings of the Armenians reported Talât Pasha as having said, “it is no use for you to argue, we have already disposed of three-quarters of the Armenians; there are non left in Bitlis, Van and Erzerum. The hatred between the Turks and the Armenians is now so intense that we have to finish them. If we do not they will plan their revenge.”8 This is not to say, however, that one could consider the Armenian massacre and the German holocaust to belong in the same category.

Differences between the Armenian Massacre and the German Holocaust

Today, the German Holocaust of the Jewish population is widely compared to that of the Armenian massacre. However there are important differences between the two.9

4 I follow here the verdict of the Dutch Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London/New York: Tauris, 2004), pp. 114-117. A number of provincial party chiefs assisted in this extermination, which was organized primarily through the Te..kilat-ı Mahsusa under the direction of its political director (and CUP central committee member) Bahaettin..akir. Some provincial governors like Dr. Mehmet Re..it in Diyarbakır, were themselves instigators of large-scale persecutions, but there were also governors and army officers who refused to cooperate. These were overruled or replaced.

The party bosses took the real decisions on the ground in this matter. Unfortunately the records of the Te..kilat-ı Mahsusa have been destroyed and those of the CUP lost, which makes it hard, if not impossible, to prove the exact extent of the involvement of the different persons and institutions, but it can no longer be denied that the CUP instigated a centrally controlled policy of extermination.

5 Russia and Austria-Hungary had been involved in intensive discussions on the ‘Eastern Question’ since late 1875. Austria considered the survival of the Ottoman Empire as a vital interest. If Ottoman control faltered Austria had to take over control of these areas. In Russia, however, Ottoman decline was seen as a chance to express Pan-Slav solidarity with the southern Slavs.

6 Erik-Jan Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London/New York: Tauris, 2004), pp. 116-117.
7 Andrew Mango, Atatürk (London: John Murray, 1999), p. 161.
8 Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1918), p. 307-309, 321-323.
9 This section is based on: William D. Rubinstein, Genocide, (London: Longman, 2004), pp. 127-146.


First, Jews had done nothing wrong. They were just there and formed the basis of Hitler’s blatant racism. There is little doubt that the Turks overreacted to the Armenian challenge, but some Armenians did collaborate with the Russian enemy and some of them were involved in guerrilla like activities behind Ottoman defensive lines. This does not justify the Turkish position, but it is wrong to portray the Armenians as completely innocent.

Second, in Hitler’s Germany, those in power knew what the Nazi’s were doing with the Jews. Most of them chose to support his policies. In Turkey, not all the members of the Turkish government were aware that some of them were using the deportations as an instrument of ethnic cleansing. When they discovered this, they tried to punish the perpetrators.

Unfortunately, some of the perpetrators remained in power or acquired even higher positions. Third, there was no pre-planned genocide in Turkey, as in the case with the holocaust. No pre-1914 Ottoman government could have had foreknowledge of the outbreak of the First World War or the circumstances under which the deportations would be accomplished. Mainstream Ottoman politics included normal Armenian participation until war began. There is not only no evidence that the CUP government deliberately planned for genocide before 1914, it is also highly unlikely. It would suggest that it intended to carry out the mass murder of an ethnic group something for which there was no precedent in modern history. Moreover, if there had been plans and these were leaked out, intense international opposition possibly leading to an invasion of the Ottoman Empire by other European Powers would have been the result.

Viewed in this light, it seems most implausible that the genocide of the Armenians was preplanned.

Fourth, the historians who question the intention of the Turks to commit genocide are often excellent historians like Bernard Lewis and Gilles Veinstein with some documentary evidence on their side. They are not mendacious anti-Semitic crackpots who enunciate Holocaust denial. And lastly, the CUP never adopted an all-embracing secular, universalistic, quasimessianic ideology in the style of Nazism and Communism. It remained rooted in traditional (although modernizing) nationalism and a vision of an Islamified Turkey. The events can be read as a botched, wartime panic, overreaction, with premeditation most unlikely and the scale of killings arguably exaggerated.

Let us try to put these qualifications into perspective. Even if the Armenian massacre cannot be compared to the German Holocaust, even if not all members of the CUP government knew that some of their colleagues were bent on solving the Eastern question once and for all, the fact remains that between 600.000 and 900.000 Armenians died of murder, starvation, and exhaustion. Have the Turks really confronted themselves with these dark pages of their past?

Are the Turks Handling this Issue Well?

More and more Parliaments are adopting resolutions that state Turkey should accept the genocide claim if it wants to become a member of the EU. Turkey is unable to present its side of the story. The reasons are simple: even if the Turks did not commit genocide, they still behaved rather badly. Killing between 600.000 and 900.000 Armenians remains a horrible thing.10 The rich Armenian American lobby will not find it very difficult to shed light on these

10 These figures are calculated by Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile; the Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1995). Zürcher seems to accept his calculations: Turkey a Modern History, (London: Tauris, 2004) p. 115.

black pages of Ottoman history even if the Armenians themselves were not exactly innocent either.

From a political and psychological perspective, the Turks are simply on the receiving end. We also have to stress the asymmetrical power relations between Turkey and the EU. It is clear that Turkey gains economically and politically more from the EU than vice versa, at least this is how the EU perceives it. This implies that everything that enhances Turkish position in the world is more than welcome for Ankara. And Turkey’s position would undoubtedly become much better if the Armenian Question could somehow be removed from the international agenda.

What could be done?

The Turkish proposal that both countries set up a joint commission of historians to determine whether the massacres carried out between 1915 and 1917 constituted genocide did not trigger a parallel Armenian reaction. Turkey had proposed this idea earlier and also than it did not strike a chord in the Armenian camp.

It is difficult to see whether this proposal in itself could really settle the issue. The nature of historical debate is incompatible with the idea of international dispute settlement. Historians will always disagree on controversial issues like this. Moreover, many relevant archives are destroyed or lost. Hence, historical truth is almost always incomplete and unsatisfactory from a legal point of view. Every historian who wants to rescue Talât Pasha’s tarnished image with new sources will always have to take the existing sources into account. The result will be trench warfare between historians that could easily last for decades.

The solution has to come from pragmatic and flexible diplomacy. Unfortunately, the existing domestic political consensus that Turkey did not commit genocide does not give much room for maneuvering. The only way to break out of this mould is to have charismatic political leaders try to convince Turks on the street that only a flexible approach will serve their interests. It will become more difficult for Turkey to become part of the EU if the Armenian shadow continues to haunt world opinion. The electorate has to be informed about this unpleasant fact.

It is clear what the Armenians want: reparations, border revisions and recognition of the genocide claim. What can Turks do? It will not be easy to open up the border since it is also linked to the highly explosive Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a result of the war against Nagorno-Karabakh independence, Azerbaijanis were driven out of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh; and these are still under control of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian military.11 This conflict as well as the Armenian constitution ‘s non-recognition of Turkey’s eastern borders and territorial integrity and the attempt to seek international recognition of the 1915 genocide, led Turkey to close its frontiers with Armenia in 1992.

Since the closed border has hurt the interests of both Turkey and Armenia it seems to offer a starting point for negotiations. Both trade from Georgia to Turkey and from Armenia to Moscow via Georgia is highly inefficient because of taxes, bribery and corruption.

Consequently, this suboptimal trade route has impeded economic growth in the north-eastern 11 With the alleged support of Soviet/Russian military forces, Azeris forced out tens of thousand Armenians from Shahumyan region (a region adjacent to Soviet era Nagorno-Karabakh that joined self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in 1991) Turkish border region. And the closure has also failed to arrest Armenian trade through Georgia and Iran. In this context a bargain, at least on paper, may be possible. If Armenia would be prepared to recognize Turkey’s borders and territorial integrity, Turkey should respond by normalizing economic and diplomatic relations with Armenia - which would boil down to the opening of its eastern border for trade with Armenia and the opening of its airspace for the transit of goods, including aid, to Armenia.12

It seems wise not to make progress in the negotiations dependent on the issue of the so-called Armenian genocide simply because here the positions are almost impossible to reconcile. A reconciliation committee of historians will undoubtedly talk for years. The Turks will presumably try to find a formula in which the word genocide is substituted by tragedy and offer to honor every year the victims on both sides. Perhaps the Turkish government can intensify their efforts to restore Armenian historical artifacts. It is, however, unlikely that these concessions will satisfy the Armenians. Perhaps EU pressure on Ankara to establish cordial relations with all its neighbors including Armenia will be helpful at the end of the day. If the EU would be willing to negotiate a Neighborhood Agreement with Armenia with substantial benefits for Armenia conditioned upon progress in relations with Turkey, this would help too.13 Again, however, it seems wise to limit the negotiations initially to a deal on opening the border in exchange for acceptance of Turkey’s existing borders.

If, however, at the end of the day some deal could be arranged on the so-called Armenian genocide this would surely increase Turkish diplomatic leverage inside the EU. After all, Turkish EU membership has not become easier after the referenda in France and the Netherlands. Turkey’s membership will also be the subject of referendum in numerous countries. A majority of the Western European population is known to reject the idea of Turkey joining the EU. However opposition diminishes when the question is posed taking into account that Ankara would meet all the criteria after lengthy negotiations amounting to 10 years or more. The Turkish government has taken some courageous steps concerning Cyprus. If it can also maintain the momentum for political and economic reform, as well as improving Turkey’s relations with Armenia and the Kurds, these will have a positive impact on public opinion in Europe.

It is often claimed that Turkey needs accession negotiations to keep the pressure on domestic reforms. Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and some Austrian politicians, however, still favor a special arrangement. Perhaps the geopolitical argument that Europe would actually benefit from including Turkey in the Union will, in the end, prevail, but that is far from certain. If this analysis is correct, Turkish politicians have to be up to the challenge of keeping momentum for reform even without the prospect of full EU membership. That challenge requires a fundamental shift in domestic Turkish politics and discourse. Fortunately, Turkish politicians do realize that reform is not only needed for EU accession but also for the sake of Turkey itself. In fact they recoined the Copenhagen criteria as the Ankara criteria. Unfortunately, other Turkish politicians have a habit of accusing the Turkish government of a sell out whenever Ankara makes a concession. This political culture makes it harder to adopt flexible diplomacy.

12 See: Michael Emerson and Nathalie Tocci, “Turkey as Bridgehead and Spearhead: Integrating EU and Turkish Foreign Policy,” Turkish Political Quarterly (Fall 2004), pp. 153-197. See especially pp. 168-171.

13 Emerson (2004), p. 170.


Atatürk’s dictum that a Turkey contemplating pan-Turkish or Muslim dreams will only produce disaster is still valid.14 Turkish politicians must accept that the EU will never accept new member countries that do not seem able to establish normal relations with their neighboring countries. And Turkish politicians must not only accept this but also try to inform their voters about this. It will be extremely difficult to sell this to the Turkish public. At the end of the day, all foreign policy is domestic politics. Only courageous statesmen can break out of this mould.

14 Andrew Mango, The Turks Today (London: John Murray, 2004), p. 33.



. . .

Appendix 5 A

. . .


What Can Be Done about Historical Atrocities? The Armenian Case
BERTIL DUNE´R

Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden

ABSTRACT The global human rights regime is not equipped to deal with historical atrocities. When engaged politicians want to take matters in their own hands it is clear that this alternative is problematical. In the case of Armenia, the campaign for the recognition of the Armenian massacres in 1915 has addressed the questions involved in a simplistic way, both with respect to juridical points of departure such as definition of the crime and the status of the accused party, and with respect to the assessment of evidence. If proclamations which bear any similarity to juridical assessments are to be made at all the best alternative would be the creation of an international expert body representing both the history and the legal professions. Establishing the guidelines for this body to work, however, seems a daunting task. Can a generally accepted retrospective time limit be established? To what extent should court-like functions be performed for events which, at the time they happened, were not covered by international criminal law?

In 1914 Ottoman Turkey was drawn into the war between the European alliances and was soon engaged in a battle on four fronts. Russian troops marched in from the north, and Turkey maintained that the intervention was supported by Armenians and that an internal revolt was imminent. As the Ottoman army retreated a massive deportation of Armenians in the war zone started, degenerating into massacres. The number of dead is not known, but estimates generally varying between about half a million and two million, and much lower figures as well, have been presented.1

The allied powers pressured the Turkish authorities to arrest a considerable number of Turkish leaders but the consequences were modest, for many reasons, including the difficulty of obtaining evidence.2 Interestingly, in the final peace document, the Treaty of Lausanne, amnesty was given for all offences committed during the war and after.3

The Armenian massacres were strongly condemned in Western Europe at the time. In recent times condemnations have become a burning question again, and great efforts have been made in several countries to achieve some kind of official recognition of the massacres as genocide.

International Journal of Human Rights
Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 217–233, Summer 2004
Correspondence Address: Bertil Dune´r, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, PO Box 1253, S-111 82, Stockholm, Sweden. E mail: duner at ui.se
ISSN 1364-2987 print; ISSN 1744-053X online # 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd
DOI: 10.1080=1364298042000240870


The dominant aspects of the discussion have concerned the historical circumstances and facts, the moral need to remember and to show sympathy, and the need for official recognition. It is typical that the distinguished French daily Le Monde, the day after the French Parliament adopted its Armenia bill, carried an editorial under the caption ‘Arme´nie, devoir de me´moire’ (Armenia, a duty to remember).4

It is surprising that the concept of human rights has appeared so little in this debate. A global human rights regime has been in place for many years and its significance is routinely hailed by leading representatives of state powers and civil societies the world over: human rights have variously been praised as the idea of our time, a new standard of civilisation, and a framework for a world order of human dignity. For the UN Secretary-General human rights are the ‘common thread’ running through all UN activities.5 Furthermore, there is a global human rights convention against genocide, of 1948, which is in fact the first and the seminal human rights treaty of the global regime, its approval preceding (although by only one day) the adoption of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Thus, there is all the reason in the world for discussing the Armenian question in human rights terms. A number of questions suggest themselves. Is the ongoing campaign for the recognition of the Armenian massacres as genocide fully compatible with the tenets of the global regime? Is it a deviation from regime thinking – for instance, since it focuses on events that took place long before the convention was signed – but a positive widening of horizons which should be carried even further? Are there incompatibilities between the campaign and the concepts of the genocide convention, and, if so, how could these be resolved?

In order to analyse these questions we do not have to go into the issue that has come to the fore more than any other aspect: what really happened with the Armenians? We need a background for the analysis, however, which is what we will turn to first. It is only natural that this background will deal more with the history of the campaign than with the historical object of these campaigns. The word ‘campaign’ here means pressure or a drive towards an objective (recognition) with actions that are to a degree interconnected.

The Rise of Demands for Recognition

From time to time the Armenian massacres have been called genocide by political entities. However, in the 1990s a distinct upsurge took place. The Armenian National Institute, based in Washington, DC, documents ‘international affirmations’ of the Armenian genocide and lists several categories of these, which are posted on its home page: resolutions and declarations by parliaments (or part thereof), provincial governments (including US state governments), municipal governments, heads of state and international governmental organisations (IGOs) or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Most striking, perhaps, is the increase in the number of resolutions and declarations by peoples’ representative bodies. In all, two dozen national parliamentary bodies are listed as having affirmed the genocide, more than half of them since the 1990s, and many Italian communes and North American cities have also done so in recent years. It should be noted that exact figures are not very important in this context, and the listings are probably inflated.6

A recognition of genocide can be understood as a goal in itself in faithfulness to historical truth. According to a French parliamentary report (for the Foreign Affairs Commission), ‘Reconnaıˆtre l’existence d’un ge´nocide s’impose a` tous, car un tel forfait interpelle l’humanite´ dans son ensemble. Nier son existence atteint directement les survivants, insulte la me´moire des victimes et les assassine une seconde fois’.7

However, recognition is clearly also thought to fulfil instrumental functions. It was stated in the discussion in the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives that: ‘What we are saying is that this time in history needs to be remembered because what has passed is often prologue, and failure to remember, failure to recognize, sweeping under the carpet of history is a mistake that ultimately we are doomed to repeat time and time again’. ‘If we believe that unrecognized genocide contributes to future genocides, don’t we have an obligation to assure that our diplomatic staff and those who advise our leaders learn about this history, learn about this genocide?’8 The inherent function of peacemaking in this argument can be given a much more contemporary touch. Parliamentarians in France and Italy have maintained that recognition would contribute to peace and stability in the Caucasus region, and in particular to lasting peaceful relations between Turkey and Armenia, which should be based on a solid foundation, not on denial.9

There may also be self-interest involved (which we will come back to) but let us here just point out that the peacemaking arguments do not seem very solid. Producing historical horrors from under the carpet seems a questionable prevention mechanism, precisely because the event in question lies far back in history: present genocide situations are generally generated by today’s complexities. The alleged peacemaking function in today’s world is no less questionable. If Turkey were to make an acknowledgement of its own free will, this might serve to build peace, but if Turkey is unwilling to take such a step and rather feels that it is being put under illegitimate pressure, this situation does not seem to add to a peace-building potential – more likely the contrary.

The term ‘campaign’ has been used here in order to emphasise a certain interconnectedness between declarations and resolutions in different fora. Thus, for instance, similar references and cross-references are found in bills introduced to parliaments, in parliamentary debates and in resolutions.10

Many actors – primarily, it seems, of Armenian origin – have been involved in efforts to increase the number of accusations. Needless to say, the Republic of Armenia is in favour of recognition of the genocide and has been so ever since it was founded. The issue is actually included in its Declaration of Independence, which states that: ‘The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia’.11

The Armenian lobby in the USA sees itself as an influential force, in fact as the second most powerful lobby in the country (after the Jewish lobby, which is beyond comparison more influential).12 Before Armenia achieved independence its main objective was to obtain recognition of the Armenian genocide. Following independence, the genocide has remained one of the main issues, but the activities of the US Congress concerning Azerbaijan and Turkey have been added. In spring 2000 the genocide issue became a hot topic for the Republican Party when the Armenian diaspora decided to make candidates for the US presidency recognise the genocide.13 Contributing to the success of the lobby is the fact that Armenian–Americans have reached high positions, mostly through the Republican Party.14

The Armenian lobby is also active in many other countries, including France and Italy, although less visibly so. The fact that the Armenian lobby was the driving force behind the French Senate’s recognition of the genocide in 2000 is acknowledged by the Armenian Foreign Ministry.15 Likewise, the French Ambassador to Armenia has spoken of the role of many Armenian-French organisations and private individuals who contributed to the adoption of the resolution.16 Armenia’s ambassador to Italy was reportedly very active in promoting the recognition by the Italian Parliament.17

Turkey does not deny the reality of the massacres, although it maintains that the campaign has seriously exaggerated the death toll. However, Ankara categorically refutes the What Can Be Done about Historical Atrocities 219

accusation of genocide. It maintains that the Armenians were victims of inter-communal conflict during the Ottoman Empire’s dying years in the midst of the First World War and stresses that Turks as well died en masse in this internecine war. Moreover, it maintains that there is no proof that the killings were organised or financed by the state: on the contrary, it suggests that the lack of central organisation was to blame.18

The Definition of Genocide

In the 1948 convention on genocide19 the contracting states confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law and undertake to prevent and to punish it. Article II defines genocide as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III stipulates that not only the act of genocide shall be punishable but also conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; attempts to commit genocide; and complicity in genocide.

In the Armenian campaign, however, there is a considerable definitional frivolity. Some bodies unequivocally state that their resolutions are in accordance with the UN Convention, for instance, the Russian Duma (1995) and the European Parliament (1987).

Others make oblique references or seem to use their own definition. The Belgian Senate resolution (1998) mentions in a listing of introductory considerations that the UN convention provides a concept of genocide and also talks of the ‘organized and systematic murder of the Armenians’, suggesting that these definitions were synonymous. In a resolution by the Committee on International Relations of the US House of Representatives (2000), an Armenian genocide during the period 1915–23 was affirmed. A definition suggested by an international law scholar, Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term ‘genocide’ and was one of the forces that inspired the development of the 1948 convention, was used, rather than the conventional definition.20

It certainly makes a difference if the definition given in the 1948 convention is strictly applied or not. As can be seen, the definition excludes political acts and mentions explicitly the existence of intent, not just any kind of destructive intent but the intent of destroying a group as such. If we apply, for instance, Belgium’s formulations, the set of properties or stipulations we have in mind will be much less restrictive and the number of potential situations that would merit the label ‘genocide’ will be considerably increased, and the matter of verification becomes much less complicated. Thus, if in scrutinising a horrendous situation it is not possible to establish whether a given group was (intentionally) massacred because of its ethnic characteristics or because of its political opposition, this is certainly a stumbling block in terms of the genocide convention, but not at all in terms of the Belgian formulation.

In practice, it may turn out to be very difficult to ascertain intentions in the conventional meaning, and it is therefore no surprise that the problem involved is frequently dodged. The mass killings in the former Soviet Union, in particular during the Stalin years, provide an illustration. In the enormous population mosaic that this communist empire constituted, death and terror seem to have struck most socio-economic, cultural or political strata, the nomenklatura itself not excluded. In a work that is frequently consulted, R.J. Rummel sets out to quantify the killings and finds that the regime was probably responsible for the deaths of no less than 62 million people. He quotes from the convention on genocide to underscore the relevance of the concept in this connection (also using it in the title of the book) but fails to adopt the definition provided by the convention. He resorts to a prior resolution on genocide by the UN General Assembly in which the nature of the motive for the killings is declared irrelevant.21

The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre dodges the problem in a different way. In connection with the so-called International War Crimes Tribunal arranged by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation to try the US warfare in Vietnam, Sartre maintains that the US government was guilty of genocide in the sense of the genocide convention.

Sartre’s method is to unveil the USA’s ‘hidden intention’ by making a Marxist-inspired analysis of societal and military history and their interconnectedness. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, he says, Western nations have had to choose between peaceful approaches towards their opponents or total war – tertium non datur – and in Vietnam the USA obviously opted for the liquidation of an entire people (to establish a Pax Americana).22 This method of identification of genocidal intent is more than questionable, and the flaws in his conclusion are striking.23

However, more often than not the political resolutions seem to avoid definitions altogether. Those passed by the Argentinean Senate (1993), the Italian Chamber of Deputies (2000), the Swedish Parliament (2000) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2001)24 are but a few examples. Generally speaking, when there is no mention of a definition, it seems reasonable to assume either that the actors for all practical purposes do not have a definition or that they have one (probably different from that contained in the convention) which for some reason they are not willing to disclose. In either case, silence on this point seems difficult to defend: an accusation is made about actions which are frequently called the worst of all crimes, and yet the meaning of the crime is not clarified.

The genocide convention has been variously evaluated and many negative opinions have been voiced concerning the specification of protected groups (the fact that it excludes political, economic and similar groups), the enumeration of punishable acts and several other aspects.25 However, these are well-known shortcomings, hardly more serious than shortcomings in other human rights instruments.26 We should be aware, of course, that no document of international law is likely to make full justice to all possible demands, since it is a product of negotiation between states.

The point to be made here is, quite simply, the following. The fact that a convention on genocide was adopted and, moreover, gained wide acceptance by the word’s states27 makes problematical the neglect of the definition it provides. It seems strange, in fact arbitrary, to use other definitions or none at all.28

Arguments for Denunciation

The major reason offered for resolutions on the genocide is often not an argumentum ad rem but references to the positions taken by others. For instance, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Swedish Parliament argues in its proposal to the full Parliament: ‘An official statement and recognition of the genocide of the Armenians is important and necessary. In 1985 theUNand theEuropean Parliament established the fact that the OttomanEmpire had committed genocide against the Armenian people at the beginning of this century’.29 References to precisely these two bodies are common. Citing others’ decisions, however, is a valid argument only if these other sources are reliable authorities in the field under discussion.

Otherwise this reasoning only amounts to the well-known ad verecundiam fallacy.30 The European Parliament resolution the Swedish Parliamentary Committee refers to establishes that the ‘Armenian genocide’ is ‘historically proven’ and ‘believes that the tragic events in 1915–17 involving the Armenians living in the territory of the Ottoman Empire constitute genocide within the meaning of the convention on the prevention and the punishment of the crime of genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948’.31 However, the European Parliament is not known be a reliable authority in the matters under discussion here. Being a purely political body it does not have greater authority than the Swedish Parliament itself.

Reference to the UN could be much more relevant, since it is the Sub-Commission of Human Rights that is intended, in other words a body which is composed of experts and is not a purely political body (although it is certainly not free from political bias). However, what happened at the Sub-Commission meeting in 1985 was not a (UN) recognition of the Armenian genocide, although it is frequently portrayed that way – far from it.

A member of the Sub-Commission, appointed as special rapporteur, submitted a report on genocide which was debated.32 This debate, in which divergent views were expressed about the content of the report, did not result in any kind of recognition of individual human tragedies mentioned, nor even in the adoption of the report as such, but resulted in the Sub-Commission’s ‘taking note’ of the special rapporteur’s study. It should be emphasised that neither was there any recommendation to the superior Commission on Human Rights to adopt a resolution.33

The special rapporteur’s study also lacks weight for a different, perhaps even more important, reason. The special rapporteur does not seem to stick to the definition of genocide given by the 1948 convention. After listing a number of cases of genocide during the twentieth century, including the massacre of Armenians in 1915–16, he concludes: ‘It could seem pedantic to argue that some terrible mass-killings are legalistically not genocide, but on the other hand it could be counter-productive to devalue genocide through over-diluting its definition’.34 The inevitable conclusion is that we do not know which of the examples would be genocide within the meaning of the genocide convention.

The force of an argument, of course, all depends on the material evidence that can be demonstrated. The fact of the killings of Armenians is not at issue. The number of people slain is not known, but the exact dimensions of the disaster would not affect the substance of an accusation of genocide.35 The fundamental question relates to the intent behind the killings. Documentary evidence shows that the Ottoman government ordered a displacement of the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia. Evacuations could of course be undertaken for different purposes, in particular to cripple the actual or assumed political or military role of a particular group. What has to be demonstrated in the first instance is the nature of the massacres – that these were designed to destroy the Armenians because of their nationality, or ethnic, racial or religious characteristics, rather than for politico-military considerations, purely ‘practical’ considerations and so on.

The main evidence to this effect is assertions by foreign observers, for instance, of the kind mentioned in the 1985 Sub-Commission report. The German Ambassador, Wangenheim, on 7 July 1915 wrote: ‘The government is indeed pursuing its goal of exterminating the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire’.36 It is certainly a delicate question how such statements, typically based on the observation of patterns of action, can be a sufficient basis for us to draw indisputable or correct conclusions about intent within the meaning of the 1948 convention.

We should, moreover, be aware that the formulations used by eminent people at the time are not necessarily compatible with the terms and connotations that appear in the genocide convention: for natural reasons, the genocide convention was not known to them.

Tellingly, Turkish political leaders and ministers who were court-marshalled were found to be guilty to the crime of ‘massacre’.37

High expectations are sometimes entertained that more archive materials could become accessible, primarily in Turkey, which would considerably improve the possibility of drawing safe conclusions. However, the existence of relevant archives in Europe seems a rather obscure point. It has been claimed, for instance, that no materials from this period exist in the United Kingdom.38 It should also be kept in mind that the identification of intent presupposes that the identity of the accused is not shrouded in mystery. A notable development has taken place since the Second World War: the principle of individual criminal responsibility has been firmly established. The so-called Nuremberg Principles, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946, are a landmark document in that respect. The first principle opens by stating that ‘Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment’.39

The genocide convention certainly reflects this thinking. Although genocide may be linked to state offices, only individuals are held responsible, as expressed in Article IV: ‘Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals’.

During the process of drafting the convention, the United Kingdom wanted to introduce the concept of state responsibility, but its amendment was defeated.40 In the Armenian campaign this principle for criminal responsibility has de facto been deserted since the responsibility is generally laid on a rather abstract and diffuse collectivity, or none at all.41 It is certainly a flaw in itself that the question of the identity of the respondent(s) tends to be obscured in the Armenian campaign. Moreover, since accusations which concern intent are generally not directed towards individuals they tend to become meaningless or at least non-logic. It is reasonable to guess that the perspective of individual responsibility has been neglected in the Armenian campaign because of the quality of the materials at hand.

Universalism

The principle of universalism is of the utmost importance for the modern human rights regime – it fact the key word ‘universal’ is to be found in the Human Rights Declaration of 1948. Universalism means that rules are the same everywhere and, ipso facto, that violations are uniformly assessed and addressed.

History is so full of horrors that the Armenians do not seem uniquely entitled to international campaigns on their behalf. Since the UN Sub-Commission report of 1985 has been so important in the Armenian campaign it is appropriate to mention other cases which it cites.42 The report lists, besides the Armenian case and, of course, the Holocaust, the German massacre of Hereros in South-West Africa in 1904; the Ukrainian pogrom against the Jews in 1919; the Tutsi massacre of Hutus in Burundi in 1965 and 1972; the Paraguayan massacre of Ache Indians prior to 1974; the Khmer Rouge massacre in Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978; and the Iranian killings of Baha’is.

More examples could be found in the serious/professional genocide literature. In his well-known and esteemed book on the political use of genocide during the twentieth century, up to 1981, when it was first published, Leo Kuper includes, among others, the following cases: actions against the Chechens, Kalmyks, Ingush, Karachai, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and others in the Soviet Union in the 1940s; the genocide against the Serbs during the Second World War; the genocide between Hindus and Muslims in India after the Second World War; the actions in Pakistan in 1970–71; and the actions in Burundi in 1972.43 Whereas these are called genocide, others are being called genocidal massacres,44 for instance, those in Sudan in 1955–72 and those during the decolonisation of Algeria in 1954–61.45

A case which deserves particular mention is the US decision to drop the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities at the end of the Second World War. Historians generally seem to accept the official US view that the bombs were dropped because the USA wanted a quick end to the war. However, so-called revisionist historians have maintained that there was an element of showing off the USA’s military potential. Irrespective of such military objectives, it seems difficult to deny that the actions must have included an intent to destroy Japanese populations precisely because they were Japanese.46 It would therefore not be far-fetched to conclude that these actions deserve just as much consideration as any others that are mentioned here – perhaps even more.

The use of nuclear weapons was later discussed by the International Court of Justice, which is the United Nations’ chief advisory organ on matters of international law. The ICJ concluded in 1996 that the genocide convention certainly was relevant in this context:

The Court would point out in that regard that the prohibition of genocide would be pertinent in this case if the recourse to nuclear weapons did indeed entail the element of intent, towards a group as such, required by the provision quoted above. In the view of the Court, it would only be possible to arrive at such a conclusion after having taken due account of the circumstances specific to each case.47

The list of possible cases of genocide can certainly be made far longer. In fact, Turkey could argue that genocide has also been directed against Turks.48 However, our purpose here is only to demonstrate that there are certainly many historical cases for which there is obviously or apparently no less reason for international castigation than in the Armenian case.

While the world takes much less interest in cases such as such as those mentioned above, the Armenian campaign seems to go against the principle of universality. Note that this is not to question that it is easier to exercise pressure on some, relatively weak, states than on others, and that the strength of the target and the power resources available have to be considered when the kind of action to take is decided upon.49 Here, we are talking only of manifested interest, in terms of resolutions and statements, which is not a matter of strength and resources available.

Could the objection be raised that in some of these cases the underlying conflicts were resolved a long time ago and, in fact, no demands or campaigns have been initiated by victims or later generations? This would seem to be a dubious argument for selecting cases. It is difficult to determine the degree of resentment or potential demands, particularly among the populations in general, since the dismantling of conflicts is by and large a matter for the state powers to handle.

Moreover, as, for instance, Richard Falk has pointed out, the generation of international concern frequently depends on the existence of a powerful transnational constituency. As examples of indifference Falk mentions allegations of genocidal behaviour on the part of the Indian government in its counterinsurgency actions against the Naga and Mizo peoples in 1956–64 and genocidal campaigns in Latin America.50

A more recent illustration of these problems is provided by disclosures in 2001 by a former French general concerning the war in Algeria in 1954–62. Although the general revealed that torture and execution were routine, the reaction from the French government (which expelled the ageing officer from the military reserves) was weak, and that from the Algerian side even weaker – probably not for the same reasons. A spokesman for the Committee Against Torture and Disappearances during the National Liberation War suggested that the current Algerian government did not want this question to come up since it is itself accused of severely maltreating its own people.51

It would seem morally devastating and quite unacceptable from a human rights regime point of view for the world’s concern for cases of genocide (historical or present) to be contingent on factors such as the political clout of the victim or the willingness of governments.

Why is it that precisely the historical tragedy in Turkey has been so decisively brought to the fore? It is beyond our aim in this article to answer this question, and a proper answer may be beyond reach. However, some relevant factors may the following:

. By and large, Turkey is not a highly esteemed country, nor is its history highly regarded. This would tend to lend accusations a priori credence.52

. The Armenian lobby is relatively strong, with influential emigrant societies, whereas the Turkish counter-lobby, and particularly its emigrant societies, seem relatively weak.

. Turkey is not considered a very important country: thus, for instance, the positive contribution it could make to the European Union (EU) as a future member is not often spelled out.53 Its strategic value is appreciated in the West considerably more by the USA than by the Europeans.

. Turkey is anxious for EU membership, and this has given the West Europeans a strong leverage for influencing it. EU demands on candidates for membership are generally motivated in terms of what are called the Copenhagen criteria, and pro-Armenian forces in West Europe are seeking to utilise this as leverage to get Turkey to acknowledge the genocide. The European Parliament, in its resolution in 1987, listed a number of conditions for Turkey’s joining the EU and believes that the ‘refusal by the present Turkish Government to acknowledge the genocide against the Armenian people committed by the Young Turk government’ is an ‘insurmountable obstacle’ to consideration of Turkey’s accession.54

However, a link in the reverse direction should perhaps not be excluded, the Armenian question being an instrument rather than a goal. For instance, the president of the rightist Mouvement pour la France has stated that: ‘Le refus obstine´ de la Turquie de reconnaıˆtre les massacres de 1915 est un e´le´ment supple´mentaire pour refuser l’entre´e de la Turquie dans l’Union europe´enne.’55 It can be assumed that for this organisation the more pressing question is to keep Turkey out of the EU and the Armenian question is an instrument to this end.

Implementation of the Universality Principle

The consistent use of the principle of universalism would seem to be potentially destabilising, making for an increased level of animosity in the international system. This is so first of all because attempts to bring up historical cases may become entangled with manifest or latent conflicts of interest of various kinds, as is well illustrated by the Armenian case. In October 2000 the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives passed a resolution which labelled the Armenian massacres as genocide. This resolution went to the House of Representatives for a full vote, which, however, never materialised, being cancelled by the Speaker of the House. It is generally understood that the genocide resolution came up in the first place because of politicking in the election race that was going on at the time and the endangered situation of a Republican in a district with a huge Armenian– American population.56 The reason for the cancellation was no less politically coloured.

The Speaker came under intense pressure from the President, the Secretary of State and What Can Be Done about Historical Atrocities 225

the Secretary for Defense as well as the military, who presented security policy arguments against the resolution (no doubt under the influence of Turkey, which had lobbied heavily against the resolution). Explaining his decision not to bring it to the floor, the Speaker said that he had little choice: ‘The President believes that passage of this resolution may adversely impact the situation in the Middle East and risk the lives of Americans’.57

To political concerns which were clearly manifest should be added suspicions about the role of political interests. In the Armenian case there are indeed suspicions in Turkey. It is widely thought that the campaign for recognition is intended to pave the way for certain demands on Turkey (which we will consider again below).

Can we demur that increasing animosity would perhaps be a reasonable price to be paid for truth and humanitarian principles?

Campaigns for the recognition of historical atrocities as genocide may risk upsetting sensitive processes of healing, which many would consider a much less reasonable price. As is well known, world history is full of lingering sensitivities, for instance, in East Asia, indicated by the strong reactions against Japan when its unwillingness to recognise historical misdeeds against its neighbours (such as the ‘Rape of Nanking’ in 1937) comes to the fore.58 There is even the possibility that accusations of genocide would add fuel to live conflicts which are difficult to resolve. Cyprus has been a dangerous hot spot in the Eastern Mediterranean. Countless efforts by the parties themselves and the international community to resolve the conflict there (which started in 1963 according to the Turkish side, in 1974 according to the Greek side) have been in vain. A number of intricate issues are involved, including security, popular representation and territory. Negotiations started again in early 2002 in what has been widely called a last-ditch effort. What consequences would a (possibly reciprocal) genocide recognition campaign concerning atrocities in the early 1960s have for peace in the region?

Tribunal Functions

The events in Ottoman Turkey have been discussed (by parliaments and other popular assemblies) in terms of crimes and culprits, not seldom with some reference to international law, and, of course, the resolutions passed are intended for international audience. Actions taken have, of course, no force in international law; nevertheless it seems accurate to say that parliaments and others de facto attribute themselves tribunal-like functions.

Is the global human rights regime well served by the fact that tribunal or quasi-tribunal functions are exercised with respect to historical events? Assuming that it is, although much could be said to the contrary, let me make some points on the appropriate way of meting out historical justice.

It follows from what has been said above that parliaments are less than suitable for the function because of the risk of inappropriate concerns intervening. The handling of the genocide bill in the US Congress is of course an example of political contamination. In the French parliamentary setting strong solidarity sentiments have manifested themselves.

The point has been made that recognition of the genocide would be a way of honouring the French engagement for the Armenian community living in France and a way of strengthening the bond of friendship between France and Armenia.59

Moreover, because parliamentarians are elected on their political merits rather than for their competence in matters of international politics – much less international law – their knowledge of the subject can be questioned, or at least should not be taken for granted, the more so as legislatures, typically, are not given a major role in the making of foreign policy. It is important to realise that juridical competence includes the competence to make appeal to authority.60

It is common in Turkish milieus to refer to historians. President Ahmed Necdet Sezer, hailed abroad for his concern for the rule of law and respect for human rights, has stated that ‘the question of genocide should be left to historians’.61 Professional Turkish historians agree, for instance, Halil Berktay of Sabanci University in Istanbul, who, moreover, maintains that by leaving it to the academics the Turkey of today could wash its hands of the question: republican Turkey is not a continuation of the Ottoman state.62

Not only Turkish historians have made this point,63 and not only Turkish statesmen. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is reported to have discussed the fate of Jews and Armenians during the Second and First World Wars, respectively, and maintained the following: ‘Genocide is a much wider term. It is not the business of a state to judge history. States create history, but should not judge (it). It should be left to the historians’.64 This position is sometimes viewed with greater or less scepticism, apparently because this issue is so politically loaded. In the Swedish Parliament’s resolution on the Armenian genocide the importance of ‘unbiased independent and international research’ on the Armenian massacre was underscored.65

This seems a rather weak recommendation since, at the same time, it was stated repeatedly that the genocide is a fact. It has been reported that Armenia showed distrust when the Turkish authorities took the initiative to set up a commission consisting of seven Turkish scholars to study the purported genocide.66 In fact, on the side of the Armenians this ‘historians thesis’ tends to be refuted altogether. President Robert Kocharian of Armenia, for one, has made clear that he does not agree that the Armenian massacre is a matter for historians. If there were any doubt regarding the genocide, he has said, then it could be a matter for historians; but it is a fact free from any doubts.67

A strong case can of course be made for genocide claims being left to historians. They would be much better equipped than parliamentarians, not only because of their command of historical method but also because of a professional ethic that helps to protect against political interests, considerations or bias. However, the limitations of historians must be stressed here. They may be helpful in providing data and documentation which bear on the case and in assessing the trustworthiness of documents. What is just as important, however, is the legal assessment of evidence, primarily with respect to the aspect of intent, which is fundamental in the genocide convention. This is a matter for professional juridical expertise. On that account historians can, at most, serve as consultants the jurists need.

We might think of situations when juridical and other expertise would perhaps do best to refrain from making a thorough investigation of a possible case of genocide. In a particular urgent situation demands for an investigation might possibly be mitigated if we consider that expressions of a belief that certain acts are of a criminal nature would have the force to prevent or halt a criminal policy.68 However, here we are discussing historical events for which such a point of view seems largely irrelevant.

Compensation

It seems that accusations quite easily provide the seed of demands for compensation. Consider, for instance, the NGO declaration made at the World Congress against Racism in 2001. This document addresses grave crimes such as racism, crimes against humanity and genocide (which is mentioned 26 times). Culpability and compensation are twins. In a section entitled ‘Reparations’ (articles 238–47), dealing with crimes against humanity, particularly slavery, the declaration takes up far-reaching demands such as the return of land, monetary compensation and debt cancellation. However, demands for the public acknowledgement of these crimes and the correction of history are also included (articles 239, 244).69

Those who call for recognition of the Armenian genocide sometimes find it necessary to clarify that only the Turkey of the past is impugned. A well-known French political figure, Philippe Douste-Blazy, has stated: ‘Je crois qu’aujourd’hui il faut lever une ambiguı¨te´: la reconnaissance de la responsabilite´ du gouvernement de 1915, n’entraıˆne pas la culpabilite´ des Turcs de 1999. Il n’existe pas en matie`re criminelle, meˆme pour le plus odieux des crimes, celui contre l’humanite´, de culpabilite´ he´re´ditaire’.70 Another well-known French politician, Bertrand Delanoe¨, makes a similar point: ‘La Turquie moderne ne peut e´videmment eˆtre tenue pour responsable des faits survenus dans les convulsions de la fin de l’Empire Ottoman. Au contraire, la paix entre les peuples ne peut que reposer sur des fondements solides et jamais sur l’occultation du passe´’.71

If the Turkey of today is not held responsible for the imputed crime, can it then be held responsible for giving or having the duty to give compensation to later Armenian generations?

From a logical point of view a strong case can be made for an answer in the negative (although the matter is rather complex). From a political point of view this does not seem to be a dead issue. The European Parliament in the 1987 resolution cited above recognises ‘that the present Turkey cannot be held responsible for the tragedy experienced by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and stresses that neither political nor legal or material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this historical event as an act of genocide’.72 However, the resolution also states that ‘the historically proven Armenian genocide has so far neither been the object of political condemnation nor received due compensation’.

Ambiguity with respect to the question of compensation is even more pronounced in the following examples. In its request to the Italian government to acknowledge the genocide of the Armenian people, the Commune of Milan states that Turkey ‘must assume the responsibility for this genocide, and that the recognition of the crime committed is also in the interest of the Turkish people, which will in that way free itself from an unbearable moral burden’. Furthermore it expresses its ‘full solidarity with the Armenian people in their fight for the acknowledgement of the historical truth and the defence of their inviolable rights’.73 The last two words seem to suggest something beyond mere recognition, possibly some kind of indemnification.

The position taken by Armenia in this matter is of course crucial. The Armenian President has asserted that Armenia and the Armenian diaspora around the world are more interested in Turkey’s recognition of the Ottoman massacre than in compensation. He has stated that Turkish recognition will not result in Armenian claims for compensation; there is no legal basis for this, since the state of Armenia did not exist at the time.74

However, such a statement must be put in context. First, we can certainly not ignore the existence of lingering, unexpressed territorial demands in Armenia. In any case, Armenia has given rise to suspicions about possible irredentism. Some fundamental documents make mention of Turkish territories; the Declaration of Independence – dubiously – mentions Western Armenia; and the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia describes the coat of arms with Mount Ararat in the centre.75 Second, linkages have been made between irredentist territories and the issue of compensation. In an interview for an Armenian news agency, an Armenian special envoy who has carried out important missions in the UN makes some reflections on the Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide. One cannot expect Turkey to change its position, he states, unless it knows the consequences thereof. It has to know beforehand what territorial, financial and property consequences it would have to face. Therefore, Armenia should think of drawing up the rough outlines of possible agreements.76 This diplomat evidently presupposes that some form of compensation should ensue. It is also notable that he says that the territory where the Ararat Mountains are situated should under all circumstances be returned to Armenia; this is a separate issue, which does not refer to the territories of former West Armenia.77 It seems obvious that the recognition campaign is, nolens volens, part of a realpolitik setting and, given the murkiness of Armenian foreign policy ambitions, it cannot be excluded that the dynamics of the campaign will make this even more obvious. The workability of this realpolitik would, in fact, paradoxical though it may seem, be facilitated by a certain indistinctness in the genocide convention. Individual responsibility is not in focus in this campaign (although the convention makes it absolutely clear that only individuals own liability). At the same time, however, Article IX seems to attribute a diffuse ‘responsibility’ to the state. It seems that this discrepancy would make it easier for Armenia to pursue demands for compensation once it has been more generally accepted that Turkey has committed genocide, even though the principle of individual responsibility of international criminal law has been deserted.

History on Trial

The global human rights regime is not equipped to deal with historical atrocities, and when engaged politicians want to take matters in their own hands it is clear that this alternative is problematical.

The Armenian campaign has addressed the questions involved in a simplistic way, both with respect to juridical points of departure such as definition of the crime and the status of the accused party, and with respect to the assessment of evidence. Moreover, this campaign is undermined by the apparent neglect of the universality principle which is fundamental in human rights thinking. On the other hand, a wider application of this principle would seem to open up a Pandora’s box, particularly since retrospective shaming can easily feed demands for compensation or retribution.

A laissez-faire approach may seem the best and most natural solution. Moreover, if proclamations which bear any similarity to juridical assessments are to be made at all, it seems evident that they should not be made by politicians. A much more palatable alternative would be the creation of an international body to deal with possible historical cases of genocide, composed by experts with solid expertise and reputation for their impartiality. Necessarily, both the history and the legal professions should be duly represented. While it would seem natural to link such an organ to central UN structures, such as the General Assembly, any such attachment to the world organisation would also create risks of political contamination.

Attachment to learned societies might be a better option. However, whatever affiliation is sought, funding would be a fundamental problem, given the need to heed the principle of universality.

Establishing the guidelines for this body to work may be no less problematical; can a
generally-accepted time limit to the period its investigations are to cover be agreed on or established? If developments during the early years of the past century should be of concern, why not events at the end of the century before or even earlier?

Going backwards of course also raises the issue of nullum crimen sine lege. To what
extent should court-like functions be performed for events which, at the time they happened, were not covered by international criminal law? The principle of non-retroactivity is a fundamental tenet in modern human rights thinking.78

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to Edward Deverell of the Swedish National Defence College for research assistance in the preparation of this article.

Notes

1For a valuable discussion of varying estimates, see Rudolph J. Rummel, Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900 (Mu¨nster: Lit Verlag, 1998). Professor Yusuf Halacoglu, President of the Turkish History Association, has stated that the true number was 57,610; see Turkish Daily News, 5 Feb. 2001. Rummel gives 300,000 as the lowest figure.

2William A. Schabas, Genocide in International Law: The Crime of Crimes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp.20ff.
3Ibid., p.22.

4Le Monde, 19 Jan. 2001.

5See Bertil Dune´r, The Global Human Rights Regime (Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2002), p.169.

6For example, the list includes a statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in 1996. However, the Prime Minister only ‘recognizes and deplores the fact that a great number of Armenians were killed during the wars’ and ‘extends his sympathy to the Armenian Community’. Speech as reproduced at the Armenian National Institute home page, http://www.armenian-genocide.org.

7Rene´ Rouquet, ‘Rapport fait au nom de la Commission des Affaires E ´ trange`res sur la Proposition de loi de M. Didier Migaud et Plusieurs de ses Colle`gues (no.895), relative a` la reconnaissance du ge´nocide arme´nien de 1915’, no.925, Assemble´e Nationale, Onzie`me Le´gislature, mis en distribution le 28 mai 1998, Introduction.

8‘Markups before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, 106th Congress, 2nd session, September 28 and October 3, 2000’, Serial no. 106–96 (accessed on the home page of the US Government Printing Office), quotations by Representatives Menendez and Rothman, respectively.

9Cf. Rouquet (note 7); Mozione Pagliarini ed altri n. 1-00303 concernente il riconoscimento del genocidio del popolo armeno, Allegato A, Seduta n. 707 del 3/4/2000; and Mozioni Fei ed altri n. 1-00481 e Giovanni Bianchini ed altri n. 1-00482 concernenti le vicende del popolo armeno durante la prima guerra mondiale, Allegato A, Seduta n.799 del 26/10/3000.

10References such as those made by the Swedish Parliament, cited here (see the section on Denunciation Arguments), are quite common and have also been made by the Italian and French parliaments, which, moreover, have referred to each other. Cf. the ‘Mozione Pagliarini e altri’ in the Italian Camera dei Deputati. Mr Pagliarini presents a long list of bodies that have recognised the Armenian genocide, including the Swedish and French parliaments. Resoconto Stenografico dell’Assemblea, Seduta n. 707 di lunedı` 3 aprile 2000.

11The Declaration of Independence of 1990 was accessed on the home page of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.armeniaforeignministry.com/htms/doi.html.

12Rooben Shoogharyan (Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), ‘The Armenian Lobby Abroad’, Newsletter of the Lecture Series Program, American University of Armenia, 25 May 2000.

13There are several important Armenian advocacy groups in the US, including the Armenian National Institute (ANI) in Washington, DC. Its overarching goal (presented on its home page) is proclaimed to be the ‘affirmation of the worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide’, and its formal founding in early 1997 happened to coincide with the most decisive phase of the recent upsurge of recognition.
14Shoogharyan (note 12).

15BBC Monitoring Service, ‘Armenian Foreign Minister Calls for Dialogue with Turkey without Preconditions’, 4 Oct. 2000.

16BBC Monitoring Service, ‘Armenian Foreign Ministry Welcomes French Senate’s Resolution on Genocide’, 9 Nov. 2000.

17‘Yerevan Urges Italy to Recognize Armenian Genocide’, from the home page of the SNARK news agency, Yerevan (as of 4 May 2000).

18See ‘The Armenian Allegation of Genocide: the Issue and the Facts’, from the home page of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ad/adf/massacre.wash.be.ing.htm.

19Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.

20‘Markups before the Committee on International Relation, House of Representatives’ (note 8), pp.137ff.

21R.J. Rummel, Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder since 1917 (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 1990), pp.xivff. and 243.

22Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘On Genocide’, in Prevent the Crime of Silence, Reports from the Sessions of the International War Crimes Tribunal founded by Bertrand Russell, selected and edited by Peter Limqueco and Peter Weiss, with additional material selected and edited by Ken Coates and a foreword by Noam Chomsky (London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press, 1971), part II, chapter 17, pp.350–65.

23The war prosecuted by the US cannot have been genocide within the meaning of the convention: for one thing, the US government was apparently not fighting a particular ethnic group since its Vietnamese allies belonged to the group in question.

24The resolution was what is called a Written Declaration, which commits only the members who have signed it. Recognition of the Armenian genocide, Doc. 9056, 2nd edn, 14 May 2001, Written Declaration no. 320, 2nd edn, originally tabled on 24 April 2001.

25Cf. the discussion of omitted groups in Nehemiah Robinson, The Genocide Convention: A Commentary (New York: Institute of Jewish Affairs, World Jewish Congress, 1960), part V. 26Cf. Dune´r (note 5).

27The United Nations reported 133 parties to the convention as of 9 Oct. 2001.

28Substituting an earlier UN resolution for the convention (as Rummel does) is of course also arbitrary. UN resolutions may be stepping-stones for the subsequent hammering out of international law instruments, but of course a piece of law which has been widely adopted and ratified by UN member states takes precedence over prior resolutions. Two researchers have complained that ‘although it marked a milestone in international law, the UN definition is of little use to scholars’. Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonasshon, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990), p.10. This sounds somewhat presumptuous given the widely diverging views taken by different scholars. An inverse formulation would not seem to be exaggerated: whereas the conventional definition marked a milestone, scholarly definitions are of little practical importance.

29Swedish Parliament, Utrikesutskottet (Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs), Utrikesutskottets Beta¨nkande [Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs] 1999/2000:UU1The European Parliament meeting was in fact in 1987, not 1985.

30Cf. James D. Carney and Richard K. Scheer, Fundamentals of Logic, 3rd edn (New York: Macmillan, 1980), pp.41ff.

31European Parliament, ‘resolution on a political solution to the armenian question’, doc. a2-33/87, 18 june 1987.

32United Nations, ‘Review of Further Developments in Fields with which the Sub-Comission has been Concerned’, UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6, 2 July 1985.

33United Nations, ‘Report of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on its 38th Session’, UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/57, 4 November 1985, Resolution 1985/9, pp.88ff.

34Ibid., article 24.

35Cf. the discussion in Tim Dunne and Daniela Kroslak, ‘Genocide: Knowing What It Is that We Want to Remember, or Forget, or Forgive’, International Journal of Human Rights, Special Issue, Vol.4, Nos3/4 (autumn/winter 2000), pp.31ff.

36United Nations, ‘Review of Further Developments in Fields with which the Sub-Commission Has Been Concerned’ (note 32 above), para. 24, note 13.

37Schabas (note 2), p.21.

38According to Justin McCarthy; see Turkish Daily News, 16 March 2001.

39For the evolution of the application of individual criminal responsibility, see, e.g., M. Cherif Bassiouni, Crimes Against Humanity in International Criminal Law, 2nd rev. edn (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999), chapter 10. The Nuremberg Principles are reproduced on pp.538ff.

40One of the delegations stated that the UK proposal was superfluous since it gave ‘the impression that a State could be held guilty of the commission of a crime’. See Schabas (note 2), pp.419ff.

41The Swedish resolution speaks of massacres on Armenians ‘in the collapsing Ottoman Empire’ but no guilty party is identified. Utrikesutskottets Beta¨nkande 1999/2000:UU11 (note 33).

42United Nations, ‘Review of Further Developments in Fields with which the Sub-Comission has been Concerned’ (note 32), para. 2.

43Leo Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (Harmondsworth, UK: Pelican Books, 1981).

44The line drawn between ‘genocide’ and ‘genocidal massacre’ is obscure; by the latter concept Kuper probably intends massacres with fewer victims. Ibid., p.32.

45New revelations about French atrocities in Algeria in 1954–62 made in 2001 by a retired French general might lead to a more exact assessment of French behaviour during the conflict.

46It has been suggested that US President was not informed about the decision to drop the second bomb, which he did not want because of the consequences for innocent civilians. Stanley Goldberg, ‘What Did Truman Know, and When Did He Know It?’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol.54 (May/June 1998), p.3.

47International Court of Justice, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996.

48Primarily in Cyprus in 1963. See, e.g., Harry Scott Gibbons, The Genocide Files (London: Charles Bravos, 1997).

49Cf. K. Anthony Appiah, ‘Grounding Human Rights’, in Michael Ignatieff et al., Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (Princeton, N.J. and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp.101–16, pp.103ff. What Can Be Done about Historical Atrocities 231

50Richard Falk, Human Rights and State Sovereignty (New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 1981), pp.159ff.

51International Herald Tribune, 19 June 2001. In both countries, however, political parties and NGOs reacted vigorously: cf Le Monde, 8 May 2001.

52For an unusually clearcut example of this lack of estimation see a statement made in the Swedish Parliament by the chairperson of the Swedish Support Committee for Human Rights in Turkey (which includes members from all the political parties represented in the Parliament) on 1 Feb. 2001: ‘We should be aware that Turkey almost always speaks with a double tongue’.

53Cf. Bertil Dune´r, ‘Why Let Turkey In?’, in Bertil Dune´r (ed.), Turkey: The Road Ahead? (Stockholm: Swedish Institute of International Affairs, 2002).

54European Parliament, ‘Resolution on a Political Solution to the Armenian Question’ (note 31), article 4.

55Philippe de Villiers, ‘Le Blocage au Se´nat Est De Fait Imputable au Gouvernement Jospin’, Nouvelles d’Armenie En Ligne, http://www.armenews.com/nam/Sommaire.asp.

56The Republicans had hopes of keeping control of the House. ‘Were it not for Jim Rogan that resolution would never be coming up’, the head of the Republican campaign committee told reporters, adding that the resolution was ‘part of the process’. Reuters, ‘Political Fallout for US House Vote on Armenia’, 27 Sept. 2000.

57Reuters, 20 Oct. 2000, reporting from the Washington Post that same day.

58Relations with South Korea improved considerably after 1988, when Kim Dae Jung accepted Japan’s apology for its occupation of Korea (1910–45), but this did not stop the flaring up of passions in 2001 when a nonapologetic Japanese history textbook was published; South Korea recalled its ambassador to Tokyo and cancelled official visits. International Herald Tribune, 19 April 2001.

59Rouquet (note 7), Conclusion.

60Cf. above on the evaluation of the Sub-Commission report of 1985 made by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Swedish Parliament. The full Parliament later confirmed the Committee’s evaluation.

61Time Europe, 11 June 2001.

62Neshe Du¨zel, ‘Ermenileri O ¨ zel O ¨ rgu¨t O¨ ldu¨rdu¨’, Radikal, 9 Oct. 2000 (interview).

63Cf. Justine McCharty, ‘Let Historians Decide on So-Called Genocide’, Turkish Daily News, 10 April 2001.

64‘Holocaust Yes, Armenian Genocide No!’ Cyprus Weekly (Nicosia), posted on the Internet 27 April 100Cf. also interview with Gu¨nter Verheugen, EU Commissioner for Enlargement: ‘I must say that I prefer leaving that to the historians’, Turkish Daily News, 7 Feb. 2001.

65Utrikesutskottets Beta¨nkande 1999/2000:UU11 (note 29).

66BBC Monitoring Service, ‘Armenia Hails Setting Up of Turkish Genocide Commission, But Doubtful of Aim’, 31 Oct. 2000.

67Interview by Mehmet Ali Birand under the title ‘Armenia Has No Land Demand from Turkey’, Turkish Daily News, 1 Feb. 2001.

68See also Adriaan Bos, ‘The International Criminal Court: A Perspective’, in Roy S. Lee (ed.), The International Criminal Court: The Making of the Rome Statute: Issues, Negotiations, Results (The Hague, London and Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999), chapter 17, pp.463–70.

69World Congress against Racism (WCAR) NGO Forum Declaration, 3 Sept. 200This document is described as the outcome of an international process before and during the NGO forum of the WCAR held in Durban, South Africa, 28 Aug.–1 Sept. 2001.

70Philippe Douste-Blazy, ‘Pour Rejoindre l’Union, la Turquie Devra Reconnaıˆtre le Ge´nocide Arme´nien’, Nouvelles d’Arme´nie. En Ligne, http://www.armenews.com/nam/Sommaire.asp.

71Bertrand Delanoe¨, ‘Au Nom de l’Avenir’, Nouvelles d’Arme´nie En ligne, http://www.armenews.com/nam/Sommaire.asp.

72European Parliament Resolution, 18 July 1987: European Parliament resolution on a political solution to the Armenian question, Doc. A2-33/87.

73Mozione del Cons. Massimo de Carolis ed altri: Genocidio del popolo armeno, Consiglio Communale Di Milano (submitted and accepted in November 1997).

74‘Armenia Won’t Ask for Compensation If Turkey Recognizes “Genocide”’, CIS Online, 2 Feb. 2001.

75A considerable number of articles with references to the Armenian territorial claims have been published by the Turkish press (e.g., by Milliyet, Hu¨rriyet and the Turkish Daily News). Cf. in particular ‘Two Ambassadors Discuss Armenian Question’, Turkish Daily News, 22 Oct. 2001.

76‘Recognition of Armenian Genocide Is A Matter of Time’, interview with Ashot Melik-Shakhnazarian, from the home page of the SNARK news agency, Yerevan (as of 4 May 2000).

77The question of material compensation can also be brought up in civil society. An Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister has urged Armenians to take up the issue with American insurance companies and fight for compensation in courts worldwide. See Shoogharyan (note 12).

78There is no consensus on the legal status of the crime of genocide before the 1948 convention. The Charter of the Nurenberg trials (1945–46), included a provision on ‘crimes against humanity’ (article 6(c)), which is closely related, but not identical, to genocide. The legality of Article 6 has been very much discussed and it is frequently seen as innovative rather than a reflection of international law at the time. See, e.g., Bassiouni (note 39), Concluding Assessment; and Margaret McAuliffe de Guzman, ‘The Road From Rome: The Developing Law of Crimes Against Humanity’, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol.22 (2000), pp.335–403, at 344.
Interestingly, in 1945, before the start of the trials, the US government recognised that the pre-war atrocities committed by the Nazis were not offences against international law. See Benjamin B. Ferencz, An International Criminal Court: A Step Toward World Peace: A Documentary History and Analysis (London, Rome and New York: Oceana Publications, 1980), Volume I, document 12.




. . .

Appendix 5 B

. . .

The Ombudsman Column
Documenting and Debating a 'Genocide'
By Michael Getler
April 21, 2006

The year 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of what many, but not all, historians and many, but not all, countries describe as the genocide against the Armenians carried out by the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Perhaps by then there will be somewhat greater agreement and acknowledgement about what happened in the years around 1915 than there has been until now. Perhaps. But don't count on it.

For the American audience, which is a central battleground for both Armenians and Turks in the struggle over how public opinion views the horrors of that time, the Public Broadcasting Service took a bold — and controversial — step last Monday night, April 17, with the airing of a one-hour documentary called "The Armenian Genocide."

This was a powerful and skillfully-edited production. It included some comments from a couple of Turkish officials denying that what happened to the Armenian people was a genocide. Rather, they described it, as they have for many decades, as a tragedy linked to deportations during a brutal civil war, with lots of Muslims killed as well. It was not, they said, a planned, systematic extinction of a million or more Armenian Christians.

Yet, as the title of the documentary implied, this was no on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand account. This was a film that sought to validate the genocide and nail down the issue with the best evidence the producers could bring to the screen and into American households.

Here are the opening lines: "During World War One, the Ottoman Empire carried out what most international experts and historians have concluded was one of the largest Genocides in the world's history, slaughtering huge portions of its minority Armenian population. In all, over one million Armenians were put to death. To this day, Turkey denies the Genocidal intent of these mass murders."

About 93 percent of the more than 340 PBS-affiliated stations around the country aired the program, most at 10 pm local time. Within the 54 so-called "metered markets" measured by the Nielsen rating service, 35 stations carried it and it was watched in about two percent of all the households who had their TVs on in those markets at the time. PBS officials said the showing was "pretty decent" for a 10 pm broadcast, slightly above average for that time period.

In addition to the documentary, however, PBS also commissioned a follow-up, 25-minute panel discussion labeled "Armenian Genocide: Exploring the Issues." The panel included two scholars, one American and one Turkish, who support the theme of the documentary, and two, one American and one Turkish, who do not and who have been labeled "genocide deniers" by their Armenian critics. The commissioning of a panel discussion to follow a documentary added even more controversy to the situation because it suggested, to many Armenian critics of the decision, that PBS, having stated publicly that it "acknowledges and accepts that there was a genocide," was questioning that acknowledgement by providing a platform for those who disagree with the claim that a genocide took place.

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Only about 60 percent of PBS affiliates aired the follow-up panel, mostly at 11 pm local time, and many of the biggest stations in the biggest markets — New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C, for example — and with the biggest Armenian American audiences, did not air it. Only stations in two of the top ten PBS markets — in Chicago and Houston — broadcast the panel. The viewing audience for the panel, officials here say, was about half the size of that for the documentary.

This is the third ombudsman's column addressed in whole or part to this combination of programs. On March 17, I wrote a preliminary column about the controversy and press coverage that had already sprung up around these programs many weeks before they were actually broadcast. I had not seen them at the time nor had those who were commenting. On April 14, a sizeable collection of letters from viewers and online readers was also featured as part of an ombudsman's mailbag column.

One of those letters excerpted in the April 14 column was from David Saltzman, the Counsel for the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. Among other things, Saltzman sought to remind PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, of CPB's mandate to ensure "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature." And he cited a portion of PBS's editorial standards assuring "that its overall content offerings contain a broad range of opinions and points of view, including those from outside society's existing consensus, presented in a responsible manner. . ." Saltzman, writing before the programs aired, said he believed those standards have not been met "in the case of controversial Armenian allegation of genocide."

First of all, this is not just an Armenian allegation. As pointed out in the documentary, this is a charge affirmed by The International Association of Genocide Scholars, by Turkish military tribunals after the war, by the U.S. ambassador at the time, Henry Morgenthau, and several U.S. consuls stationed around the country. It was reported by other diplomats and missionaries, by press reports in The New York Times of 90 years ago, by a small but growing number of outspoken and courageous Turkish historians, and by some two dozen other countries. So, while there is a passionate, raw and enduring debate and challenge to whether the actions constituted genocide, it is mostly mounted by Turkey and a relatively small number of other historians, some of whom are Americans.

It seems to me that while there are two sides to this issue, it is not a balanced issue. There is a more substantial body of evidence and historical assessment on the side of what happened to the Armenians, and so I don't feel that PBS — when the documentary and the panel are taken as a package — was violating its own guidelines.

The documentary, on its own, also seemed persuasive to an independent viewer, and also illuminating about the emerging struggle over whether Turkey will face its own history more openly, including allowing the right to challenge the official denials.

The film included denials and explanations by Turkish diplomats and the head of the Turkish Historical Society. And it supplied context for the greater unfolding carnage, including references to sporadic uprisings by Armenians against the Turks in some villages, the killing of perhaps 100 Turkish officials in scattered attacks, and a contingent of five to six thousand Armenians who were fighting for the Russians against the Ottomans and causing the Young Turk leaders at the time to see all the Armenians of the Empire as a threat to the state. But aside from those moments, which are relatively brief, the documentary presented essentially a relentless case that what took place in the aftermath was a genocide. And that was the point and the historical conclusion of the program.

On the Other Hand. . .

Still, there were a number of things about this combination of programs that bothered me.

One is that a sizeable chunk of the funding for the documentary appeared to come from American Armenian individuals or foundations. I have been unable to determine exactly how much. PBS executives say about 60 percent of the funds came from foundations "of broad interests" and the rest from individuals, and that the network does not get into the business of assessing the interests of individual donors. Yet the list of foundations and individuals that appears on the television screen is loaded with names that seem to be of Armenian origin, something that large numbers of viewers noted in letters to me.

Both PBS and the New York-based filmmaker, Andrew Goldberg, who produced and directed the documentary in conjunction with Oregon Public Broadcasting, emphasize that all funders were scrutinized and approved by PBS before accepting the film and that, as Goldberg says, "funders had no involvement in any editorial decisions. And no funder saw the film before it was completed." I have no reason to doubt that.

Still, that list of contributors on the screen was jarring and one wishes, naively I suppose, that PBS did not put itself in such a position with such a controversial and important film and that funds for this relatively low-cost (roughly $650,000) production could have been provided by the CPB or some more clearly identified non-partisan foundations. PBS provided the funds for the panel discussion.

Another is that I thought those stations, especially the big ones with big American Armenian populations, should have gone the whole route and aired the follow-up panel. Many of these stations said, beforehand, essentially that the panel, which was moderated by National Public Radio correspondent Scott Simon, didn't add anything substantive to the points made in the documentary. That may be true because a 25-minute debate with four people and a moderator doesn't allow much time for real exploration, and much of the time was dominated by the two scholars who were featured in the documentary and who are the most articulate historians making the case for genocide — Peter Balakian, a professor of the humanities at Colgate University, and Taner Akcam, a Turkish sociologist and historian who is a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota.

On the other side was Justin McCarthy, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, who is probably the American historian most identified with challenging the notion that while this was a disaster and there were massacres, it was not a planned genocide. And there was a Turkish associate professor, Omer Turan, from Ankara, Turkey. Turan, with halting English in the company of three fast-talking and articulate other panelists, made little, if any impact. I thought he tried to make one interesting observation about material in the archives that, he said, indicated that many of the reports about the Armenian death toll in Swiss, American, French and British newspapers at the time were from the same single source. But the moderator said he wasn't sure he followed that. *

Two Against One

So it was McCarthy basically on his own facing questions from the moderator that put him on the defensive, and accused a couple of times by Balakian of having "worked for the Turkish government to help that government deny the Armenian genocide," which McCarthy said was a lie but which ate further into his time and impact.

As his source, Balakian cited a Reuters news agency story of a year ago. It was never read on the panel but I looked it up and the lead said that, "Turkey has enlisted the help of a United States historian today as part of its campaign to counter damaging, decades-old claims Armenians suffered genocide at Ottoman Turkish hands during and after World War I." It went on to say only that McCarthy had been "invited to address the Ankara parliament today" and he argued that "a complex historical tragedy had been manipulated for ideological reasons, becoming a vehicle for anti-Muslim, anti-Turkish prejudice."

Personally, I thought that being able to watch and witness the face-to-face confrontation and personal sense of only slightly restrained animosity between McCarthy and Balakian was worth the price of the panel. It was better than some of the popular TV talk shows. It was worth hearing McCarthy's side of this debate and to get a sense of the emotions surrounding this issue. I don't think it would change anybody's mind. But McCarthy was able to at least say some things from a different perspective — with more resonance to an American audience than Turan or the Turkish officials in the documentary — including criticizing Turkey for a law that is meant to stop people from defaming the Turkish government by questioning the genocide issue.

There are other American academics who dispute the genocide label, including Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, and Bernard Lewis, a well-known professor of Middle Eastern history at Princeton University. Lewis, for example, has argued that "the issue is not whether the massacres happened or not, but rather if these massacres were as a result of a deliberate preconceived decision of the Turkish government," adding that "there is no evidence for such a decision." Lewy has said that "a large number of Western students of Ottoman history reject the appropriateness of the genocide label," mentioning Roderic Davison, J.C. Hurewitz and Andrew Mango, along with Lewis. Whether any of these contrarians would have appeared on a panel, I don't know. But it would have evened the level of discourse for viewers, at least.

Both the Armenian Americans and the Turks have big and aggressive lobbying machines in Washington and around the country. The Armenians, and several congressmen in New York, California and elsewhere, lobbied extensively to have the local TV station not air the follow-up panel. They claimed it was a platform for the Turkish equivalent of holocaust deniers. The Turks argued forcefully against what they saw as bias in the documentary, and for the panel discussion to be aired.

Did PBS 'Cave' and 'Censor' Itself?

In her preview of the program and panel in The New York Times last Monday, April 17, the paper's chief television critic Alessandra Stanley wrote that "the fact that so many (PBS) stations caved (by not showing the panel) is a measure of something else: PBS's growing vulnerability to pressure and, perhaps accordingly, the erosion of viewers' trust in public television."

In response, the station manager of the local PBS affiliate in Detroit sent a letter to The Times, with copies to PBS officials, stating that, "It is surprising to have a journalist like Alessandra Stanley allege that many public television stations 'caved' when they made the decision that there was no need to run a follow-up panel show after what she acknowledges to be a journalistically sound documentary. Is Ms. Stanley therefore saying that even if a journalist presents the different sides, we must add on forums for further discussion, and if we don't we're caving to pressure?"

Stanley, in her article, concluded by saying that, "The documentary honors the victims of the Armenian genocide and also pays tribute to dissidents in Turkey who are brave enough to speak out despite government censorship. And that makes it all the odder that so many public television stations here censored the follow-up program as soon as a few lobby groups complained."

I have no evidence that PBS stations "caved" or engaged in self-censorship because of lobby groups, and Stanley doesn't present any. Nevertheless, the decision to add a panel of follow-up debate after a highly-regarded documentary involving a hot-button subject that is guaranteed to produce intensive lobbying and pressure from Armenian and Turkish groups and interested lawmakers, and then have a large number of stations not use the panel, is a formula that at least invites suspicion, including mine.

The PBS stations are all independent and make their own judgments, and those can certainly be defended on journalistic grounds, as the letter from Detroit illustrates. But it is also fair game for Stanley to note the contrast, which was also obvious to many viewers.
Not the Holocaust

Many people who wrote to me and to PBS who opposed airing of the panel discussion argued that it was the equivalent of putting deniers of the Holocaust against the Jews on a major TV platform. This is an understandable argument but not a good one, in my view. There is an enormous amount of incontrovertible evidence and documentation of the Holocaust from the Germans, from the allies and their liberating armies, from trials and from many survivors. Germany has documented its own history well and made reparations.

The subject of the PBS documentary deals with events 90 years ago, for which there is evidence but not the kind that accompanies the events of World War II. Furthermore, the action is strongly denied and refuted by the country involved, Turkey, and there are historians, as has been shown, who question not whether terrible things happened but whether there is enough evidence to use that powerful descriptor, Genocide.

Turkey is a Muslim country that is also part of NATO, that is battling to be admitted to the European Union, that is viewed as an important strategic and economic ally by the United States, Britain and Israel. Those countries have shied away from using the genocide word in official proclamations when it comes to the tragic events of the 1915 period. The last American president to use it in an official remembrance proclamation was Ronald Reagan in 1981.

So the showing of this documentary, and the panel, at this time was an important event; a reminder about a very important event that is probably on the most remote edge of awareness, if that, for millions of Americans who don't happen to be of Armenian or Turkish origin.

______________________________
* This sentence was in the original draft for this column but was inadvertently dropped from the initially-posted version.

Posted by Michael Getler on April 21, 2006



. . .

Appendix 6

. . .


Anatolia 1915:Turks Died, Too

By Justin McCarthy
University of Louisville

Published in the Boston Globe, April 25, 1998

During World War 1, Anatolia, the Asiatic section of modern Turkey, was the scene of horrible acts of inhumanity between Armenians and Turks. For many decades, the history of the conflict between the Turks and the Armenians has primarily been written from the viewpoint of the Armenians. It is a viewpoint that emphasizes the deaths of Armenians but completely ignores the deaths of Turks. The Armenian position has been effectively publicized. Every year in Congress, a group of representatives attempts to pass a bill that says the Turks were guilty of genocide. Newspapers feature articles on events in Turkey in 1915 as if they were today's news. Over the weekend, the Public Broadcasting System carried the historical visions of Armenian producers all across the country. Unfortunately, effective publicity does not ensure accurate history. What has been presented as truth is, in fact, only one side of a complicated history that began more than 100 years before World War 1.

Lands occupied one by one

In the late 1700s, Russia embarked on the conquest of all the peoples around it. Those who stood in the way of expansion to the south were Turks and other Moslems. One by one, their lands were occupied by the Russians. In the Crimea and in the Caucasus region, the Moslems were forced to emigrate. Those who resisted, especially in the Caucasus, were slaughtered. The czar wished to have a loyal population in the new lands. Therefore, Russians and other Slavs were imported into lands newly emptied of their Moslem inhabitants. It was not poss ible to populate all of the conquered lands with Slavs. The Russian population was hard pressed even in filling the more northerly lands. A different policy had to be adopted south of the Caucasus Mountains.

The Russians took the southern Caucasus region from two Moslem powers Persia and the Ottoman Empire. They had reason to fear that the Turks in the provinces that bordered the Ottoman Empire would rebel against their rule. To meet the threat, they adopted native Christians as their proxies. The Armenians, who were scattered throughout the Caucasus and in Anatolia and Persia, were to be used much as the Slavs had been used farther north, as a Christian group that would replace expelled Moslem Turks.

The Russians could promise many benefits to the Armenians. Those who sided with the Russians could hope for better economic conditions as part of a European empire. Like other Middle Eastern peoples, the primary identification of the Armenians was religious. They were convinced of the superiority and ultimate triumph of their Christian faith, and the opportunity to side with a great Christian power was seductive. Perhaps later there would be a chance for independence.

Armenian cooperation with the Russians began when Armenian armed units assisted the invading armies of Peter the Great and acted as spies against their Moslem rulers. Armenians were subsequently to become Russian soldiers and even generals who lead the Russian conquests.

The best example of the effects of Russian Armenian cooperation was seen in the province of Erivan (today the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic). Before the Russian invasion of Erivan, the majority of the population was Moslem. As the Russians defeated the Turks and Persians in 1827 29, 30 percent of the Moslems of Erivan either died or emigrated. They were replaced with greater numbers of Armenians from Anatolia and Persia. Many more Armenians came to Erivan in the years to come, creating what today is Armenia.

Exchange continued for a century

The exchange of Armenian and Turkish populations continued for a century. With each war between the Russians and the Ottomans, more Moslems died, more fled, and more Armenians came. By 1922, more than 1 1/2 million Moslems had emigrated from the conquered lands.

In the late 19th century, Armenian revolutionary movements sprang up in the Ottoman Empire. They sought to create an independent Armenia in eastern Anatolia, in lands that were three quarters Moslem in population. The Russians gave their support whenever they felt they could use the revolutionaries.

After unsuccessful bloody uprisings in 1895 and 1909, the revolutionaries' chance came in 1914, when Russia went to war with the Ottoman Empire. Armenian rebellions broke out all over the empire, and Russian arms and even Russian uniforms appeared from hidden caches. Tens of thousands of Armenians formed themselves into guerrilla bands. The largest city of southeastern Anatolia, Van, was captured by the Armenian rebels in April 1915, and many Moslems in the city and surrounding villages were killed.

The city was held until it could be turned over to the invading Russian army. Throughout eastern Anatolia, Armenian bands attacked villagers wherever they found them. In turn, Turks and especially Kurdish tribesmen attacked Armenian villages. It was the beginning of a bloody war.

For five years, Armenian peasants and the Russian army battled Turkish peasants and the Ottoman army. Most of the peasants undoubtedly wanted no part of the fighting but were forced by circumstances to take sides. Starvation and epidemic disease killed many times more people than bullets or knives did. Because of the rebellion, the Ottoman government decided that it could not trust the Armenians. Orders went out to deport all Armenians from dangerous areas. The Ottomans, who were fighting a Russian invasion and vainly trying to defend Moslem villages from Armenian guerrillas, spared few soldiers to defend the columns of Armenian refugees moving to Syria. Many of the columns were attacked and many Armenians were robbed and killed by Kurdish tribes or corrupt officials. However, to put the suffering of Armenian refugees into perspective, twice as many Moslems as Armenians were forced from their homes because of attacks by Russian soldiers and Armenian guerrillas.

When the Russian Revolution destroyed the czar's power in Anatolia, a new Armenian Republic attempted to hold the territory that the Russians had conquered. They were defeated by the Turks, and as the Armenians retreated, they killed the Turks who fell into their hands. Cities such as Erzincan were left in ruins, with Turkish bodies filling the streets. Armenians who failed to escape with their retreating army were killed as well.

In Erivan and other parts of the Caucasus under the control of the Armenian Republic, Turkish villages were destroyed. and the inhabitants were forced to flee or die. Two thirds of the Moslems who had lived in the province of Erivan in 1914 were gone at war's end. A similar fate met Armenians in Turkish Azerbaijan.

In the end, almost 600,000 of the Anatolian Armenians had died. Almost 3 million Anatolian Moslems had died, more than one third of them in eastern Anatolia. Mortality in the Caucasus was similarly proportioned.

Why one-sided?

Why have we in the West formed such a one sided view of the Armenian question? It is a matter of sources and prejudice.

The events of World War I in Turkey were seen in the West only through the eyes of American missionaries and Armenian propagandists. American Protestant missionaries had worked extensively with Armenians and had been instrumental in creating Armenian nationalism. The missionaries reported the murders of Armenians by Turks. They did not report the murders of Turks by Armenians that were occurring at the same time.

Their reports were collected by the US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, who disseminated them. Morgenthau believed that the Turks were an inferior race and openly printed his view that Turks had "inferior blood." It is no wonder that his observations were colored by his prejudices. Yet it is his reports and the reports of others like him that have formed our histories.

If it seems odd that Americans of that time were so deeply prejudiced, we should reflect on the general attitude of our ancestors toward non Europeans and non-Christians. Asiatics and Africans were routinely described as inherently inferior to Europeans and Americans. Respect for and knowledge of non-Christian religions and peoples was virtually nonexistent.

Only in recent years have scholars begun to examine other evidence. There are Ottoman military records that tell of massacres of Turks and Kurds by Armenians, eyewitness accounts by Russian military men of Armenian atrocities against Turks, evidence of Americans who saw the destruction of the Ottoman East by Armenians. Most important, there is demographic evidence that tells us, for example, that 60 percent of the Moslems of the province of Van, where the Armenians began their rebellion, died in war. Such evidence belies claims of a one sided massacre. It does very accurately describe an awful war, one in which both sides were heroes and both sides were villains.

Those who bring forth such evidence are often vilified as unobjective and pro Turkish. But is it less than objective to state that both Turks and Armenians were killers and that both were victims? Can such be called a pro Turkish view?

Unfortunately, we have not yet reached a time when the Armenian-Turkish conflict is studied as we would study any other historical event.

A search is on

Today, a search is on for proof that the Ottoman government ordered genocide for the Armenians. What has appeared so far would be unacceptable in any other historical inquiry such as a few telegrams in poorly forged handwriting produced by an Armenian and entered in no telegraph records; reports from trials in which no objective evidence was produced and the accused were not allowed to defend themselves. Evidence that indicates the Ottomans intended no genocide is, like the deaths of the Turks, ignored. Yet the accusations will continue as long as nationalist sentiment guides the studies.

It would be better, I believe, to approach the Armenian-Turkish conflict as a study of the sufferings of the Armenians and the Turks. The nationalist feelings of today, whether Armenian or Turkish, have no place in the study. We should examine the fate of the millions who died in Russia's expansions efforts and consider the effects of revolutionary movements that pursued an ideal over the bodies of their own people and of others. We should study what occurs when a government is too weak to defend its people. The important questions are human questions, not national questions.

On April 24 of ever year, Armenians gather to remember their dead. They grieve for lost family and the lost homes of their grandfathers, as is proper. It should be remembered that Turks, too, grieve for their dead.



. . .

Appendix 7

. . .

The Dangers of the Armenian Genocide Resolution

By Michael Radu

March 2007

Michael Radu, Ph.D., is Co-Chair of FPRI’s Center on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, and Homeland Security. He is currently at work on a book on Islamism in Europe.

The European Union has told Turkey that in order to become a “true democracy” worth joining it, it must acknowledge responsibility for the 1915 Armenian “genocide,” even if the Republic of Turkey as such did not exist until 1923.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has now decided to bring to a vote a non-binding resolution declaring the events of 1915 in Eastern Anatolia a “genocide.” Despite its moralistic claims, this is a dangerous—indeed, in the present circumstances, a highly irresponsible—assault on U.S. national interests in Iraq and elsewhere.

The issue is both clear in terms of whose interests are at stake and complex as to the events themselves. For many Armenians in the U.S. (concentrated in California—Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was the bill’s sponsor), the issue is hate for everything Turkish and an attempt to rewrite history for emotional fulfillment. For Armenians in Armenia, it is the hoped-for beginning of a process leading to compensation, including financial, from Ankara, and a welcome diversion from their domestic difficulties.

Central to the issue is the definition of events during World War I in the Ottoman Empire. A few key facts are clear. One is that many hundreds of thousands (over a million, according to the Armenian lobby) Armenians in Eastern Anatolia died at that time, of exhaustion and famine as well as killed by Kurdish villagers and Ottoman soldiers. It is also a fact that the Armenian community and its leadership in Anatolia at the time took arms against the Ottomans, in open alliance with the latter’s traditional enemy, Russia. Invading Russian troops and Armenian irregulars, whose occupation of the city of Van was the immediate cause of the deportation of Armenians, also engaged in indiscriminate violence, albeit on a smaller scale, against the mostly Kurdish population of the area; and all that during a war in which the very fate of the Ottoman Empire was being decided.

Whether the Ottoman authorities were guilty of “genocide” in a legal sense is doubtful, since the term itself did not exist in international law until after World War II; in a moral sense, doubts could also be raised, since if “genocide” means intentional destruction of a specific group because of its nationality, religion, race, etc., the survival of the Armenian community of Istanbul, outside the conflict area, is hard to explain. But leaving all this aside, there is one reality that cannot be ignored. That is that whatever happened in 1915 happened under the Ottoman Empire, not under the Turkish Republic, established in 1923. Thus contemporary Turkey is no more responsible for the events of 1915 than Russia is for Stalin’s annexation of the Baltic states or the Federal Republic of Germany for the pre-1914 colonial abuses of the Wilhelmine Empire.

In regional terms, any form of open American support for Armenian claims against Turkey would only encourage Yerevan to persist in its destabilizing role.

Not only does Armenia continue to occupy a large part of Azerbaijan’s territory, much beyond its admittedly legitimate claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but is serves as the cat’s paw of Moscow, the former colonial power in the Caucasus and still the main threat to its stability.

The main problem, however, is still Turkey. Turkish nationalism, on the rise as it is and now with a disturbing new element of anti-Americanism, reaches hysterical levels when the Armenian issue is mentioned. Although most elites may not share it yet, it is unlikely that they could control a wave of anti-Americanism if the U.S. House of Representatives considers the proposed resolution. And it cost the French billions in lost or cancelled contracts with Turkey when the lower house of their parliament passed a resolution last year making it a crime to deny that genocide occurred.

France had no strategic interests in Turkey, nor is Paris known for its traditional pro-Turkish sympathies. The United States, however, has a vital interest in a friendly Turkey, a NATO ally of long standing, Israel’s only friend in the region, and a neighbor of Iran, Syria, and Iraq. The latter is particularly important now.

As it is, Ankara has a legitimate complaint against our main Iraqi allies, the Kurds, for their inaction or implicit tolerance of the terrorist PKK organization, which is safely ensconced in Iraqi Kurdistan. So far, the Turks have demonstrated, most of the time, an admirable patience with PKK terrorist attacks across the border, but a less than friendly Turkish military could not be counted on to continue on that path. Nor could Ankara be expected, if it is insulted by Washington, to stand by if Kirkuk, with its large Turkoman minority, is annexed by the Iraqi Kurds. Are those likely consequences worth paying for the sake of the emotional satisfaction of the Armenian lobby?

The answer is clearly negative, which is why Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and now George W. Bush all opposed such attempts. The House leadership does not seem to mind doing damage to our relations with the only democratic and secular Muslim state in the region at a crucial time. Although the intended measure is non-binding, and thus it avoids a presidential veto, that does not make it harmless or intelligent.



. . .

Appendix 8

. . .

Dr. Brian Williams
Associate Professor of History
History Department
University of Mass. Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747
Tel: 508 999‐8302
bwilliams@umassd.edu
January 31, 2008

Dear TDSB Associate Director,
I am a historian with a specialization on ethnic and religious violence in Eurasia who has written a book on hidden genocides in the region. In this context I have also
been a member of the Association of Genocide Scholars and have carried out
considerable work on the issue of educating students on the issue of genocide in
various contexts. For this reason I was delighted to see that the Toronto District
School Board is commencing a program that aims to educate students on this
important issue.

Having published widely on the issue of genocide in the Ottoman and post‐Ottoman
Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East, I am also interested in learning how the
Armenian genocide will be covered in your program. As someone who has spent
considerable time probing the background, surrounding events, and results of this
tragedy I find that this case of genocide has all too often been politicized by those
who have their own nationalist agendas. I am, for example, dismayed when I
encounter Turks who go against global opinion and shrilly argue that nothing
happened to Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Such efforts to erase an internationally recognized slaughter of tens of thousands are as transparent as
efforts by Serbs to reject their people's well known slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia
and Kosovo in the 1990s. To deny the killing of the Armenians is to revise history
and to fly in the face of global opinion.

I am equally dismayed when I encounter Armenians who provide a historically
context‐less version of history which overlooks the fact that their people were
engaged in an armed uprising which aimed to 'cleanse' (i.e. slaughter) the Turks of
eastern Anatolia from a planned 'Greater Armenia.' Such Armenian revisionists
deliberately downplay their own people's attacks on Turks which led to the Turkish
authorities' deadly over‐reaction in 1915. Armenian nationalist historians also
overlook the fact that the Ottoman Balkan provinces (the lands that would
eventually become Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Romania) were 'cleansed' of their
Turkish Muslim populations in the 19th century in a series of well‐documented
slaughters. This process‐‐which was not labeled 'ethnic cleansing' until the Serbian
slaughter of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s‐‐cost tens of thousands of 19th century
Ottoman Muslim their lives. Should your work overlook this crucial historical
context it will come off as pro‐Armenian propaganda and will have no historical
balance.

And it is this aspect of the work you are engaged in that I am most interested in. As
an educator and a scholar I was hoping you might be able to give me and my
colleagues who are devoted to this issue some sort of insight into how you will
address the background context to the Armenian genocide (i.e. the Ottoman
Muslims' own experience with genocide in the Balkans and the efforts by Armenian
insurgents to work with Russia to carve out a Greater Armenia in Anatolia), the
efforts by Turks to ignore or downplay the Ottoman government's genocidal
response, and the nuanced history of this event that has few similarities with say the Nazi Holocaust (the Jews were not trying to carve out a pure Jewish republic in
Germany).

If I can offer any historical information on this specific case of genocide based upon my historical research in the lands of the former Ottoman Empire please do not
hesitate to ask. In particular, please let me know if there is anything I can do to make sure that biased Turkish and Armenian interpretations of this contested event do
not somehow enter your curriculum as 'historical fact.' And any information you
might be able to share on how you might be using this case study in genocide as a
means to teach students critical history skills I would very much appreciate it.

Sincerely,
/s/
Brian Williams
Associate Professor of History



. . .

Appendix 9

. . .


Turkey’s Al-Qaeda Blowback
Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 8
May 19, 2005 03:40 PM Age: 4 yrs
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Middle East
By: Brian Glyn Williams

In the 1980's the CIA commenced a vast covert operation to arm the anti-Soviet Mujahideen factions in Afghanistan as a means of turning the Soviet Fortieth Expeditionary Army's invasion of this Central Asian country into a Vietnam-style quagmire. In forging this dangerous new transnational holy warrior movement, the CIA brought together such unlikely comrades in arms as the Islamic Brotherhood, Egypt's Anwar Sadat, the Israeli Mossad, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, the Saudi royal family, and Islamic charities such as the International Islamic Relief Organization. In overcoming the differences that had long divided them, tens of thousands of Arabs from Algeria to Arabia left their homes to fight shoulder to shoulder against the Soviet-atheist invaders of the Dar al-Islam (Realm of Islam), often with logistic support from such strange bedfellows as the Israeli Mossad and American CIA.

Absent from this list of Middle Eastern co-sponsors of the 1980's Jihad movement, however, was NATO member Turkey, a nation that had proven its allegiance to America on other Cold War battlefields (most notably by sending 5,000 troops to North Korea to assist the United States in 1950).

Turkey's reluctance to partake in the mobilization of its citizens for the purpose of waging an Islamic holy war stemmed from its own decades-long struggle to crush Islamist militant movements at home. Turkey's military had suppressed domestic Islamic militant movements, such as the Turkish Hezbollah (a fundamentalist movement unrelated to the Shiite organization in Lebanon), as well as the Islamic Great Eastern Raider Front (a diffuse group that still seeks to overthrow Turkey's secular constitution and reestablish a Caliphate-theocracy), and considered the notion of arming Islamists to wage Jihad to be playing with fire. As the guardians of secularism in Turkey, the army presciently feared that these Islamist elements might threaten the foundations of the Turkish Republic should they be armed and trained for holy combat.

Because it avoided the CIA-sponsored call for jihad, the Turkish Republic was later branded Dar al Munafiqin (a hypocritical irreligious Muslim state) by the Taliban theocracy and the brotherhood of jihadis who were forged on the Afghan battlefields. But Turkey also avoided the boomerang effect that befell the Arab states of the Middle East when thousands of Arab veterans of the Afghan Jihad returned home and redirected their struggle against the “apostate” regimes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.

Turkey's cautious policy of avoiding involvement in the unsavory business of jihadism in distant Afghanistan was cast by the wayside, however, when the call for defensive combat to defend threatened front line Muslim groups closer to home began to be heard in Turkey. In the early 1990's the Turkish people, who are far from being homogenous (millions of “Turks” are actually of Balkan or Caucasian origin – the result of the ethnic cleansing of their Ottoman-Muslim ancestors by nineteenth century Orthodox Christians), began to rediscover their former vatans (homelands). This happened as the Serbs, Armenians, and Russians instigated ethnic wars against the Azerbaijanis, Bosnians, Chechens, and Kosovar Albanians. Thus, as Bosnians were slaughtered by the thousands in Srebrenica by Republika Srbska paramilitaries, so Albanians were massacred in places such as Racak, Kosovo, by Milosevic's security forces, Azeris were cleansed by victorious Armenian forces in Nagorno Karabakh, and Chechens were butchered in such towns as Samaskhi by Russian Federal forces. And in Turkey, moderate secularist-nationalists throughout the country (that is, those Turks who supported the secularist Turkish constitution) began to call for the defense of these irkdashlar (ethnic kin).

The images of toppled Ottoman minarets in Bosnia, of mass burials in Kosovo, and of fleeing refugees in the Caucasus also provided a sense of déjà vu for those “Turks” whose ancestors had fled their homes to the Turkish-Anatolian core of the sultan's state in the nineteenth century to escape Serbian, Bulgarian and Russian ethnic cleansers. In the process, the ethnic, religious and historical ties that bound these former Ottoman Muslims (collectively known as Evlad-i Fatih Han, the descendents of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror) to those Turks of Balkan and Caucasian ancestry were rediscovered throughout Turkey.

As this was going on, the trans-national brotherhood of Afghan-Arabs began to look for new fields of Jihad following the collapse of the Najibullah-Communist government in Afghanistan in 1992. As members of the Afghan-Arab alumni traveled to Zenica, Bosnia, to create a volunteer Jihad corps to defend the outgunned Bosnians from the Serbs in 1992, the Turkish government turned a blind eye to those Turks who wished to join this “Mujahideen Brigade.” Together with Iran, Turkey also sent funds to the jihadi volunteers who formed a shock unit – one that was feared by the Serbs for its fanatical ferocity – in the Bosnian conflict of 1992-95. In addition, Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller gained considerable domestic support in Turkey from both Turkish nationalists and the rising Turkish Islamist movement by traveling to Sarajevo, Bosnia, to demonstrate her solidarity with the besieged Bosnians.

In a rare convergence of opposing ideologies, the perceived threat to Turkish-Muslim kin groups in the former Ottoman lands united such disparate forces as the Islamist Refah-Welfare Party, the Boz-Kurt nationalists and the Evlad-i Fatih Han (millions of “Turks” with sub-national attachments to their former homelands of a sort that resemble the links between the Boston-Irish and Ireland). In the process, Turkey joined a vast covert operation, one that had the tacit support of the CIA and U.S. military, to send hundreds of Afghan-Arabs to Bosnia to assist the outgunned Bosnian Muslims against the powerful Serbs.

Many analysts feel that it was the arrival of Arab-Afghans in Europe that globalized the operations of the Afghan brotherhoods and led to the eventual formation of the al-Qaeda transnational terrorist network. In Turkey itself it created a growing network of Turkish Islamists who supported oppressed front-line Muslims with links to the Ottoman Empire (there was less interest in other causes such as those of Palestinian or Kashmir). This support came in the form of zakat (Muslim tithe) funds and a small number of volunteer fighters.

With Russia's subsequent invasion of Chechnya in 1994, thousands of Turks of Caucasian descent (known collectively as Cerkez-Circassians in Turkey) as well as Turkish Islamists came to identify with the cause of the hard pressed Chechen rebels. At this time, hundreds of Chechen rebels wounded in conflict with the Russian Federal forces were allowed to convalesce in Turkish hospitals, while charities such as the Kafkafasya Yardimlasma Dernegi (Caucasian Assistance Organization) sent aid to the Chechens, and many Turks went to fight in the Chechnya-based version of the earlier Bosnian International Mujahideen volunteer brigade. Several of those who fought for the Chechens in this international jihadi unit, which was led by Amir bin Khattab, an Afghan-Arab from Saudi Arabia, were “martyred” while fighting for the Chechens, who were seen as either fellow Muslims (by those Turkish volunteers with an Islamist agenda) or fellow Caucasians (by those with a nationalist background).

One can find the martyrdom epitaphs of Turks who died fighting Jihad in Chechnya online at: (www.islamicaweb.com/archive/showthread/t-16293) or (www.as-sahwah.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=422 ).

Those interested in the Turkish jihadi movement that has gradually taken on the anti-Western and anti-Zionist rhetoric of al-Qaeda will also find the Turkish website cihad.net/main.htm to be of particular interest. This website documents such events as the recent “martyrdom” of three Turks waging Jihad in Chechnya and has videos of bloody attacks on Russian forces by international jihadi volunteers.

The radicalization of Turks engaged in jihad, including even those espousing a nationalist platform calling for the defense of kin groups in the Balkans and Caucasus, is evident on such websites and in underground Islamist circles in Turkey. Turkish Islamists who support the notion of Jihad increasingly call for severing Turkey's strategic military ties to Israel and the United States, as well as a lifting of the ban on hijab-veils and the return of Sharia`h law to Turkey. Clearly this Islamist-jihadist platform – which once dovetailed with the agenda of the Turkish military/secular nationalists in the Balkans and Caucasus – represents a threat to the very foundations of the Turkish secular state.

The clear and present nature of this danger to Turkey's secular order was vividly demonstrated in 2003 by the November 15 bombings of two synagogues in Istanbul and the November 20 bombing of the London-based HSBC bank and British consulate in Istanbul. As the stunned Turkish intelligence services launched mass police sweeps to arrest those who were guilty, their searches quickly took them to the Turkish brotherhood of jihadis who had, like the Afghan-Arabs of the 1980s, been radicalized by their experience in the Balkans and Caucasus. On November 28 Turkey's Justice Minister, Cemil Cecik, announced the arrest of several militants, claiming that "There are people with Chechen roots among them."

This reference to “Chechen roots” did not, of course, refer to the largely secular-nationalist-Chechen rebels themselves, who have long held Turkey in high esteem, but to Turkish citizens who waged Jihad in Chechnya. Among those “Chechen-Turks” who had fought in Chechnya prior to drifting into al-Qaeda-linked terrorism against Western targets in Turkey in November of 2003 were the suicide bombers' two leaders, Azad Ekinci and Feridun Ugurlu. Ekinci, who led the attacks on the Jewish targets in Istanbul, has been traced to jihadi training camps in Pakistan and is known to have fought in both Bosnia and Chechnya. Ugurlu, among those involved in the November 20 bombings of British targets in Istanbul, also fought in the Chechen and Afghan jihads.

As the Turkish authorities launch further investigations of the approximately 1,000 Turks who waged Jihad in Chechnya and Bosnia, analysts believe that they may well disrupt additional sleeper cells. The ongoing investigation clearly reveals, however, that Turkey may well be sitting on a jihadi/al-Qaeda time bomb. The earlier example of the Afghan-Arabs’ creation of al-Qaeda clearly reveals that those Islamist fighters who move in jihadi circles are prone to engage in anti-Western terrorism. Sadly, however, Turkey woke up to this dangerous example of “blowback” too late to save the lives of scores of innocent Jews, Turks and British citizens killed in the November 2003 bombing spree. But Turkey is a largely moderate Muslim country that prides itself on its links to the West. And in the final analysis, this unprecedented bloodshed in Turkey appears to have turned the public there away from supporting jihadi ventures in the lands of the former Ottoman irkdashlar-kin, including in such war zones as Chechnya.








Go To The Scholars List

Petition of 1985 US Academicians To The Members of the U.S. House of Representatives (Local Copy)

Attention Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

The undersigned American academicians who specialize in Turkish, Ottoman and Middle Eastern studies are concerned that the current language embodied In House Joint Resolution 192 is misleading and/or inaccurate in several respects. Specifically, while fully supporting the concept of a “National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” we respectfully take exception to that portion of the text which singles out for special recognition: “... the one and one half million people of Armenian ancestry who were victims of genocide perpetrated in Turkey between 1915 and 1923…”

Our reservations focus on the use of the words “Turkey” and “genocide” and may be summarized as follows:

• From the fourteenth century until 1922, the area currently known as Turkey, or more correctly, the Republic of Turkey, was part of the territory encompassing the multi-national, multi-religious state known as the Ottoman Empire. It is wrong to equate the Ottoman Empire with the Republic of Turkey in the same way that it is wrong to equate the Hapsburg Empire with the Republic of Austria. The Ottoman Empire, which was brought to an end in 1922, by the successful conclusion of the Turkish Revolution which established the present day Republic of Turkey in 1923, incorporated lands and peoples which today account for more than twenty-five distinct countries in Southeastern Europe. North Africa, and the Middle East, only one of which is the Republic of Turkey. The Republic of Turkey bears no responsibility for any events which occurred in Ottoman times, yet by naming “Turkey” in the Resolution, its authors have implicitly labeled it as guilty of the “genocide” it charges transpired between 1915 and 1923;

• As for the charge of “genocide:” No signatory of this statement wishes to minimize the scope of Armenian suffering. We are likewise cognizant that it cannot be viewed as separate from the suffering experienced by the Muslim inhabitants of the region. The weight of evidence so far uncovered points in the direction of serious inter-communal warfare (perpetrated by Muslim and Christian irregular forces), complicated by disease, famine, suffering and massacres in Anatolia and adjoining areas during the First World War. Indeed, throughout the years in question. the region was the scene of more or less continuous warfare, not unlike the tragedy which has gone on in Lebanon for the past decade. The resulting death toll among both Muslim and Christian communities of the region was immense. But much more remains to be discovered before historians will be able to sort out precisely responsibility between warring and innocent, and to identify the causes for the events which resulted in the death or removal of large numbers of the eastern Anatolian population, Christian and Muslim alike.

Statesmen and politicians make history, and scholars write it. For this process to work scholars must be given access to the written records of the statesmen and politicians of the past. To date, the relevant archives in the Soviet Union, Syria, Bulgaria and Turkey all remain, for the most part, closed* to dispassionate historians. Until they become available the history of the Ottoman Empire in the period encompassed by H.J. Res. 192 (1915—1923) cannot be adequately known.

We believe that the proper position for the United States Congress to take on this and related issues, is to encourage full and open access to all historical archives, and not to make charges on historical events before they are fully understood. Such charges as those contained in H.J. Res. 192 would inevitably reflect unjustly upon the people of Turkey, and perhaps set back irreparably progress historians are just now beginning to achieve in understanding these tragic events.

As the above comments illustrate, the history of the Ottoman-Armenians is much debated among scholars, many of whom do not agree with the historical assumptions embodied in the wording of H.J. Res. 192. By passing the resolution Congress will be attempting to determine by legislation which side of a historical question is correct. Such a resolution, based on historically questionable assumptions, can only damage the cause of honest historical enquiry, and damage the credibility of the American legislative process.

(The archives in Turkey have been opened since.)

Signatories of the Statement of H.J. Res. 192 addressed to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives:


Rifaat Abou-EI-HaJ Professor of History California Stale University at Long Beach
Sarah Moment Atis Associate Professor of Turkish Language & Literature Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison
Karl Barbir Associate Professor of History Siena College (New York)
Ilhan Basgoz Director of the Turkish Studies Program at the Department of Uralic & Altaic Studies Indiana University
Daniel G. Bates Professor of Anthropology Hunter College, City University of New York
Luke Bates Professor of Art History Hunter College, City College of New York
Gustav Bayerie Professor of Uralic & Altaic Studies Indiana University
Andras G.E. Bodrogligetti Professor of Turkic & Iranian Languages University of California at Los Angeles
Kathleen BurriIl Associate Professor of Turkish Studies Columbia University
Timothy Childs Professorial Lecturer SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
Shafiga Daulet Associate Professor of Political Science University of Connecticut
Roderic Davison Professor of History George Washington University Washington. D.C.
Walter Denny Professor of Art History & Near Eastern Studies University of Massachusetts
Dr. Alan Duben Anthropologist Researcher New York City
Ellen Ervin Research Assistant Professor of Turkish New York University
Caesar Farah Professor of Islamic & Middle Eastern History University of Minnesota
Carter Findley Associate Professor of History The Ohio State University
Michael Finefrock Professor of History College of Charleston
Alan Fisher Professor of History Michigan Stale University
Cornell Fischer Assistant Professor of History Washington University (Missouri)
Peter Golden Professor of History Rutgers University, Newark
Tom Goodrich Professor of History Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Gould PhD. in Ottoman History Flagstaff, Arizona
William Griswold Professor of History Colorado State University
Tibor Halasi-Kun Professor Emeritus of Turkish Studies Columbia University
William Hickman Associate Professor of Turkish University of California, Berkeley
J.C. Hurewitz Professor of Government Emeritus Former Director of the Middle East Institute (1971-1984) Columbia University
John Hymn Professor of History Glenville State College West Virginia
Halil Inalcik University Professor of Ottoman History & Member of The American Academy of Art & Sciences University of Chicago
Ralph Jaeckel Visiting Assistant Professor of Turkish University of California at Los Angeles
Ronald Jennings Associate Professor of History Asian Studies University of Illinois
James Kelly Associate Professor of Turkish University of Utah Kerim Key Adjunct Professor Southeastern University Washington, D.C.
Metin Kunt Professor of Ottoman History New York City
Frederick Latimer Associate Professor of History, Retired University of Utah
Avigdor Levy Professor of History Brandeis University Bernard Lewis Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern History Princeton University
Dr. Heath W. Lowry Institute of Turkish Studies, Inc. Washington, D.C.
Justin McCarthy Associate Professor of History University of Louisville
Jon Mandaville Professor of the History of tire Middle East Portland State University (Oregon)
Michael Meeker Professor of Anthropology University of California at San Diego
Rhoads Murphey Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures and History Columbia University
Thomas Naff Professor of History & Director, Middle East Research Institute University of Pennsylvania
Pierre Oberling Professor of History Hunter College of the City University of New York
William Ochsenwald Associate Professor of History Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Robert Olson Associate Professor of History University of Kentucky
William Peachy Assistant Professor of the Judaic & Near Eastern Languages & Literatures The Ohio State University
Donald Quataert Associate Professor of History University of Houston
Howard Reed Professor of History University of Connecticut
Dankwart Rustow Distinguished University Professor of Political Science City University Graduate School New York
Ezel Kural Shaw Associate Professor of History California State University, Northridge
Stanford Shaw Professor of History University of California at Los Angeles
Elaine Smith PhD. In Turkish History Retired Foreign Service Officer Washington, D.C.
Grace M. Smith Visiting Lecturer In Turkish University of California at Berkeley
John Masson Smith, Jr. Professor of History University of California at Berkeley
Dr. Svat Soucek Turcologist, New york City
Robert Stash Assistant Director of the Middle East Center University of Utah
June Starr Associate Professor of Anthropology SUNY Stoneybrook
James Stewart-Robinson Professor of Turkish Studies University of Michigan
Dr. Philip Stoddard Executive Director Middle East Institute Washington, D.C.
Frank Tachau Professor of Political Science University of Illinois at Chicago
Metin Tamkoc Professor of International Law & Relations Texas Tech University
David Thomas Associate Professor of History Rhode Island College
Margaret L. Venzke Assistant Professor of History Dickinson College (Pennsylvania)
Warren S. Walker Horn Professor of English & Director of the Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative Texas Tech University
Donald Webster Professor of Turkish History, Retired
Walter Welker Professor of Political Science Rutgers University
John Woods Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History University of Chicago
Madeline Zilfi Associate Professor of History University of Maryland




(INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATIONS ARE NOTED FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES ONLY)

Holdwater: Practically every single one of the above academicians has been intimidated away from this debate, through the use of pro-Armenian terror tactics (principally the "smear campaign" weapon) used by such extremists as Peter Balakian and Israel Charny.

Here is a page examining how Israel Charny committed "Rufmord" (Murder) on the reputations of the above scholars.


DECLARATION BY TURKISH ACADEMICIANS ON THE TURKISH-ARMENIAN PROBLEM (23 Nisan 2001, 23 April 2001)

WE, THE TURKISH ACADEMICIANS,

…before the entire humanity, protest in the strongest possible language, the actions of the Armenian Diaspora* that involve waging endless, hostile campaigns against Turkey and Turks at every opportunity, in a manner detrimental to world peace and harmony, contrary to scholarly and historical facts, principles, and human judicial criteria.

We do condemn also those persons and organizations who have been acting relentlessly since the early 1800s, in violation of established legal norms, relatively peaceful circumstances and prosperity; displaying a prejudicial posture against the Turkish nation and Turkish history, and all other historical truths and scholarly principles in general; conducting and abetting insidious campaigns; ignoring the validity of decent comportment;

violating all forms of human rights in obliterating the indigenous Turkish and Muslim population in an act of genocide;
dismissing and denying, despite historical evidence to the contrary,
any and all torture, atrocities, and massacres victimizing millions of Turks and other Ottoman Muslims since the 1800s, but especially during the Balkan Wars of 1911-1914, and the First World War of 1914-1918, in the areas of the Balkans, Anatolia, and the Caucasus primarily by Armenians in the latter two regions.

We are, hereby, inviting all academicians and specialists;

who have become knowledgeable on the issues of how Turks, Armenians, and other Muslim and Christian peoples of the area experienced similar horrors of a civil war within a world war, mainly resulting from the planting of seeds of hatred by the imperialist powers of the day as part of their grand designs for Ottoman lands based on "divide and rule" principle;

to collaborate in scientific clarity, objectivity, and integrity and expose the truth for the sake of humanity.

Our heartfelt desire is to establish equitable and lasting peace in this part of the planet and beyond, to help all parties involved launch sincere efforts to create, once again, an atmosphere of peaceful cohabitation, cooperation, and prosperity for the people of the Republic of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Armenian Republic to enjoy, to help cease and desist all anti-Turkish political campaigns so that we can leave our youth and children a peaceful world.

Towards this end, We, the Turkish Academicians, wish to remind the world once again, the Statement made to the House of Representatives of the United States of America, by sixty-nine (69) U.S. Academicians on May 19, 1985 and published in the U.S. media; and in the light of this communiqué, again express, on behalf of the Turkish nation, our gratitude towards our colleagues.

*a term which excludes citizens of Turkey and Armenia proper, but includes most Armenian descendents and citizens of countries other than Turkey and Armenia

(April 23, 2001)

We, the Turkish academicians, whose signatures appear below; believe that the statement, signed by 69 American academicians, who specialize in Turkish, Ottoman and Middle Eastern Studies, and addressed to the U.S. Congress on May 19, 1985; describes the nature and scope of the Turkish-Armenian problem during World War One properly and truthfully; congratulate our colleagues for their courageous stand, and announce to the world our support for them. (23 Nisan 2001 / 23 April 2001)

THE STATEMENT MADE TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY 69 AMERICAN ACADEMICIANS ON MAY, 19, 1985.

To The Members Of The U.S. House Of Representatives

The undersigned American academicians who specialize in Turkish, Ottoman and Middle Eastern Studies are concerned that the current language embodied in House Joint Resolution 192 is misleading and/or inaccurate in several respects...

(See 1985 Statement from Above)


SIGNATORIES OF THE DECLARATION MADE BY TURKISH ACADEMICIANS ON APRIL 23, 2001, ON THE TURKISH ARMENIAN PROBLEM

Mehmet Aça, Dr., College of Sciences and Literature, Balıkesir University, Balıkesir, Turkey
Ahmet Hadi Adanalı, Assistant Professor, Divinity School, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
Gülşen Akdoğan, Ph.D., Department of Instrumentation, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Yavuz Akpınar, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Education and Educational Technologies, Boğaziçi University, Ist, Turkey
Tunç Aldemir, Professor, Nuclear Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Şefik Sanal Alkan, Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, UMDNJ, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ
Novruz Allahverdi, Professor and Head, Department of Electronics and Computer Education, Selçuk University, Konya, Turkey
Cem Alptekin, Professor and Dean, School of Education, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Hilal Altınöz, M.D., Physician of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, SSK Süreyyapaşa Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Diseases Center, Ist, Turkey
Cezmi Akdiş, M.D., Professor, Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, Davos, Switzerland
Mübeccel Akdiş, M.D., Ph.D., Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, Davos, Switzerland
Halil Akkanat, Dr., College of Law, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Şener Akyol, Professor, College of Law, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Mushfiq Aleskerli, Researcher, Literature, Baku State University, Baku, Azerbaijan
Elmeddin Alibeyzade, Doctor, Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Baku, Azerbaijan
Ethem Alpaydın , Associate Professor of Computer Engineering, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Cevdet Emre Alper, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Kadir Murat Altıntaş, Ph.D. , Vocational School , Çankaya University, Ankara, Turkey
Musa H. Asyalı, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
O. Yavuz Ataman , Professor, Department of Chemistry, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Mehmet Atlar, Dr., Senior Lecturer and Director of Cavitation Tunnel, Department of Marine Technology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Ali Ayata, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medical College, S. Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey
Kemal Aydın, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Selçuk University at Alaaddin Keykubad, Konya, Turkey
Osman Balcı, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
Nuri Başoğlu, Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Information Systems, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Coşkun Bayrak, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department , University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas
Sema Bayraktar, Ph.D., Research Scientist, College of Business, Karaelmas University, Zonguldak, Turkey
Uğur Baysal, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
Hikmet Başmak, Associate Professor, Medical College, Osmangazi University, Eskişehir, Turkey
Sevda Bekman, Prof essor, College of Education, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Güzin Binatlı Bulak, Dr. , Department of Turkish Language, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Kaya Büyükataman, Dr., Adjunct Lecturer; President, Turkish Forum, East Hartford, Connecticut
Salih Cengiz, Professor of Biochemical Toxicology, Institute of Forensic Sciences, Istanbul University, Ist, Turkey
Mehmet Çamurdan, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Gürbüz Çelebi, Professor, Department of Biophysics, Medical School, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
A. Enis Çetin, Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
Fevzi Daldal, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Yaşar Demirel, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals , Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Melek Demirhan, Associate Professor, Department of Systems Engineering, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey
A.Eren Doğan, Research Scientist, Department of Economics, Social Sciences Institute, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
Zekiye Doğan, Instructor, Department of Computer and Instructional Technologies, Anadolu University, Eskişehir, Turkey
Fatih Doğan, Magister Legum (LL.M-Freiburg) , International Trade Law, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet-Freiburg, Germany
M. Kerem Doksat, Professor of Psychiatry, Cerrahpaşa Medical School, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Yener S. Erozan, Professor, Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Tuba Turan Ertaş, Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
Duygu Erten , Adjunct Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , University of Southern California, LA, California
Ferhan Esen, Assistant Professor, Department of Biophysics, Medical College, Osmangazi University, Eskişehir, Turkey
Hamza Esen, Professor, Department of Biophysics, Medical College, Osmangazi University, Eskişehir, Turkey
İsmail İlkin Esen, Professor of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Petroleum , Kuwait University, Kuwait
Süleyman Gökoğlu, Ph.D. , Senior Research Scientist , NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Nihat Bülent Gültekin, Associate Professor of Finance, Finance Department, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Harun Güngör, Professor, College of Theology, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Turgut M. Gür, Ph.D., Technical Director, Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials , Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Azmi Güran, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Baden, Switzerland
Melike Baykal Gürsoy, Associate Professor, Industrial Engineering, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey
Olgun Güven, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
Ziya B. Güvenç, Associate Professor, Associate Dean, Department of Computer Engineering, Çankaya University, Ankara, Turkey
İbrahim H. Güzelbey, Associate Professor and Head of Mechanics Division, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Gaziantep; also Director of Gaziantep Vocational School of Higher Education, Gaziantep, Turkey
Azer H. Hasret, Researcher, Turkish Mythology, Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Baku, Azerbaijan
İlhan Helvacı, Assistant Professor, College of Law, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Ayla İmre, Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of Colorado at Denver, Denver, Colorado
İhsan İnan, M.D., Surgeon, Department of Digestive Surgery, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
Ümran S. İnan, Professor of Electrical Engineering; Director, Space, Telecommunications and Radioscience (STAR) Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, Palo Alto, California
Ayhan İstanbullu, Research Scientist, College of Technical Education, Dumlupınar University, Simav, Turkey
Ahmet Karagözoğlu, Assistant Professor, Department of Finance, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
Beyhan Karahan, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Design, New York Institute of Technology, New York City
Bekir Karlık , Associate Professor, International Computing Institute, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
Can Ömer Kalaycı M.D. , Visiting Scientist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Pulmonary Critical Care Division, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
Melih Karakuzu, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey
Mustafa Keskin, Professor, Department of Physics, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Serpil Kışlalıoğlu, Professor, College of Pharmacy, The University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island
Cihat Küçükhüseyin, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Cerrahpaşa College of Medicine, University of İst,Turkey
Ali R. Köymen, Professor of Physics, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Oya Levendoğlu-Tuğal, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York
Tülin Mangır, Professor, Computer and Network Engineering and Technology, California State University, Long Beach, California
O. Nalcıoğlu, Director, Health Sciences Research Imaging Center; Vice Chairman of Research, Department of Radiological Sciences; Professor of Medicine, Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics, University of California , Irvine, California
Ayşen Gürcan Namlu, Assistant Professor, Computer Education and Instructional Technologies Department, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey
Ömer Faruk Noyan, Assistant Professor of Geology, College of Engineering, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey
Yıldırım Omurtag, Founding Dean, School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, Robert Morris College, Moon Township, Pennsylavania
Ercan Öngör, Professor and Head of Retinal Diseases, Çapa Medical College, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Hayrani Öz, Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Aviation, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Hitay Özbay, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Faruk Özcan, Professor, Department of Urology, Medical School, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Erdal Özkan, Professor, College of Agriculture, Food Sciences and Environmental Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Erdal Özkan, Associate Professor, Petroleum Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
İ. Reşat Özkan, Professor Emeritus, Department of Naval and Ocean Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Ümit Özkan, Professor and Associate Dean, College of Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Talat Özpozan, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Tunç Koray Palazoğlu, Ph.D. , Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
Recai Peçen, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Electro-Mechanical Systems, College of Natural Sciences, The University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Doğan Perinçek, Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Kuwait University, Kuwait
Manaf Sababi, Ph.D. , Research Scientist, Discovery DMPK , Astrazeneca AB, Lund, Sweden
Ayşe Saktanber, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Hasan Sevim, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Engineering , Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Şahin A. Sırmalı, Professor of Embryology, Medical College, Uludağ University, Bursa, Turkey
Selçuk Somer, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering , Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Aydın K. Sunol, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of South Florida; Tampa, Florida
Ferat Şahin, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering Department, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Nurettin Şimşek, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technologies, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
Sibel Tanberk, Associate Professor, College of Business, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Ercüment Tarcan, M. D., Head of 1st General Surgery Division, Atatürk Educational and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
Ömer Tarım, Professor and Director of Pediatric Endocrinology, College of Medicine, Uludağ University, Bursa, Turkey
Mehmet Aziz Tayfun, Professor of Coastal and Ocean Engineering, College of Engineering and Petroleum, Kuwait University, Kuwait
Tarık Tihan, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Mehmet Tomanbay, Professor, Department of Economics, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey
Cevat Tosun, Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, The University of Northern Iowa; also, Associate Professor and Director of School of Tourism and Hotel Management, Mustafa Kemal University, Iskenderun, Hatay, Turkey.
Murat Tunç, Assistant Professor, Düzce Medical School, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey
Aydın S. Tunçbilek, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Aslıhan Turhan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Hematology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York
Emin G. Türker, Dean, Engineering and Technology, Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, Ohio
Fuat Ulus, M.D., Former Field Associate Professor, Medical School, Department of Psychiatry (1978-83), University of South Dakota
Ömer Usta, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Cem Ünsal, Project Scientist, Institute for Complex Engineered Systems, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Bahri Üstünsöz, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Health Sciences Center, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Hüseyin Vural, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Yavuz Yaman, Professor, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara
Tuncel M. Yegülalp, Professor of Mining, Henry Krumb School of Mines, Columbia University, New York
Müfit Cemal Yenen, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, GATA School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey; Visiting Professor, Hopital Edouard Herriot , Departement de Gynecologie, Lyon, France
Metin Yersel , Professor of Physics, Department of Natural Sciences, Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont
Hasan Yetim, Associate Professor, Department of Food Sciences and Engineering, Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey
Okan Yılankaya, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Bayram Yılmaz, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology, State University of New York at Albany, Rensselaer, New York
Uğur Yücelt, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, School of Business Administration, Penn State-Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania
Emrehan Zeybekoğlu, Assistant Professor, The School of Foreign Languages, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey





Go To The Scholars List

Appel De Blois (English)Local Copy
Home Blois Appeal (2008)
Blois Appeal
Sunday, 12 October 2008

In order to approve the "Appel de Blois", send an e-mail to contact@lph-asso.fr This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , give your first and last names and write "read and approved". Everyone is entitled to give its signature. Academics should add their university and others their residency.

Since 2005 Liberté pour l’Histoire has fought against the initiatives of legislative authorities to criminalize the past, thus putting more and more obstacles in the way of historical research. In April 2007, a framework decision of the European Council of Ministers has given an international dimension to a problem that had until then been exclusively French. In the name of the indisputable and necessary suppression of racism and anti-Semitism, this decision established throughout the European Union new crimes that threaten to place on historians prohibitions that are incompatible with their profession.

In the context of the Historical Encounters of Blois in 2008 dedicated to “The Europeans”, Liberté pour l’Histoire invites the approval of the following resolution:

Concerned about the retrospective moralization of history and intellectual censure, we call for the mobilization of European historians and for the wisdom of politicians.

History must not be a slave to contemporary politics nor can it be written on the command of competing memories. In a free state, no political authority has the right to define historical truth and to restrain the freedom of the historian with the threat of penal sanctions.

We call on historians to marshal their forces within each of their countries and to create structures similar to our own, and, for the time being, to individually sign the present appeal, to put a stop to this movement toward laws aimed at controlling history memory.

We ask government authorities to recognize that, while they are responsible for the maintenance of the collective memory, they must not establish, by law and for the past, an official truth whose legal application can carry serious consequences for the profession of history and for intellectual liberty in general.

In a democracy, liberty for history is liberty for all.

Pierre NORA, chairman of Liberté pour l’Histoire

First signatories : Aleida and Jan Assmann (Constance, Heidelberg), Élie Barnavi (Tel Aviv), Luigi Cajani (Roma), Hélène Carrère d’Encausse (Paris), Étienne François (Berlin), Timothy Garton Ash (Oxford), Carlo Ginzburg (Bologna), José Gotovitch (Brussels), Eric Hobsbawm (London), Jacques Le Goff (Paris), Karol Modzelewski (Warsaw) Jean Puissant (Brussels), Sergio Romano (Milan), Rafael Valls Montés, (Valencia), Henri Wesseling (The Hague), Heinrich August Winkler (Berlin), Guy Zelis (Leuven).





Appel De Blois (English)(Original)



Civic Responsibilities Of Historians by J.-N. Jeanneney


.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Your Opinion Matters To Us

Please preview your comment for proper grammar /spelling

You agree that you will not post any material which is false, hateful, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or in violation of any law.

You understand that the site content express the author's views, not necessarily those of the site.

Please also read our FAQ at:
Armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/06/1762-faqs-readers-questions-answers.html

All comments must be intelligent, civil and IN ENGLISH

Short generic comments with no added value to the posts such as "well done", "thank you" will be deleted even if published earlier

In other words:
You need to read the post in full then write a comment by referring to the specific points in the post

Note To Spammers
If you believe Your Comments will ever appear here BEFORE our APPROVAL You are DREAMING

Kind Regards

You need a Google Account (such as Gmail) to publish your comments yourself or email your comments, including the post number (ie: "3354)"
to: