Attached, please find the letter I wrote to the president of the University of Minnesota questioning the financial sources of Taner Akcam--the Turkish “poster boy” of the Armenian lobby--and the response I received from the legal counsel of the University of Minnesota. They are both self explanatory.
I have commented on this issue extensively in my regular column at www.turkla.com on 8 August 2008 at: http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:mfy5HAg-5xAJ:www.turkla.com/yazar.php%3Fmid%3D1284%26yid%3D4+taner+akcam+paid+armenians+turkla+ergun&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
Since then, Taner Akcam, although invited to do so, failed to respond to any of the questions I raised. In the meantime, there are more questions piling up daily. Here are some of those:
Questions to ask Taner Akcam:. . .
1) Why is it that you are not interested in reaching an understanding on the basics of what happened, then letting people decide for themselves whether what happened was really a genocide or not?
2) Memoirs of the British officer Rawlinson, Adventures in the Near East, mention Ottoman-Muslims killed by Armenian revolutionaries and nationalists. Can you give us a number as how many Muslims were killed by Armenians during 1914-1918?
3) Armenian junior officer Ohanus Appressian’s memoirs, published in Men Are Like That, indicate that two-thousand Ottoman prisoners of war handed to the Armenians by the Russians after the Russian Revolution, were murdered in cold-blood by stuffing them in huts and burning them. Are you denying this fact? How come you never mention Turkish suffering in your presentations then?
4) Ottoman officer Kazim Karabekir’s memoirs include a note regarding Ottoman inquiry as of what happened to these soldiers. In the same memoirs The Liberation of Erzincan and Erzurum, Karabekir notes many Armenian atrocities in places they liberated. Why do we not hear a word from you about such terrible and well-documented Turkish suffering ?
5) The New York Times wrote that all Muslim defenders of the city of Bitlis were killed when it fell to the Russian army and the Armenian volunteers. This statement was backed by the book The Tragedy of Bitlis written by missionaries. Why do you omit in your work such acts of Armenian atrocities victimizing Muslims?
6) Foreign correspondent Morgan Price writes in War and Revolution in Asiatic Russia that all Turks in the city of Ardahan were killed when it fell to the Russians. Remember that Armenians boast frequently that the Russian forces were commanded by Armenian officers and were also staffed by many Armenian recruits. Why do you not include such acts of Armenian barbarity in your studies? Why are you selectively using sources of information?
7) Your mentor by your own confessions, Vahakn Dadrian, in response to a question asked of him at a seminar at Stanford University some years ago replied that the Armenians probably murdered about three-thousand in revenge killings. Don’t you think he should know better? And what do you think this number should really be?
8) Another Armenian propagandist, Hovannissian, in response to a question asked of him at a seminar at Chapman University in 2007 replied: “He didn’t really know how many Muslims were killed by Armenians. Perhaps a few. Turks were killing each other, too, you know. Maybe the Turks blame Armenians for intra-Turkish community killings.” Don’t you find it odd that a professor claiming to know everything there is to know about the Turkish-Armenian conflict does not know what happened to Muslims, mostly Turks, at the hands of the Armenians? Do you agree with this racist assessment by Hovannissian?
9) During your work in Germany and in the United States were you at any time paid from the funds of any Armenian institution, such as an American-Armenian institution? If so, can you consider yourself an unbiased researcher?
10) Is it true that you worked as an agent for the chief of the Turkey desk of the German secret service?
11) Who helped you escape from a Turkish jail where you were imprisoned for being a member of a revolutionary and terrorist organization? And who helped you get to Germany after that?
12) Harvard historian William Langer, based on Western sources, gives the Ottoman-Armenian population at the beginning of the 20th Century as one million, perhaps as high as one-and-a-half million (The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890-1902). Near East Relief reports about 450,000 Armenian refugees under their care in Palestine (table in Leavening the Levant, Joseph Greene) and a similar number in Armenia . ( Story of Near East Relief, by James Barton mentions nearly 500,000 refugees from Turkey and Persia). Considering that these numbers do not account for those Armenians who were able to get to Europe or Russia by themselves, or defected to the Russians , and that the Turkish state has given the number of Armenians that were subject to deportation, but not necessarily on hand to be deported, as 860,000, based on Ottoman archives, and that the several hundred thousand living in Istanbul and Izmir were not subject to deportation, can you tell us how many Armenians you believe have been killed by Ottoman government sponsored activities? How many do you believe died due to the spotted fever epidemic, fighting on the Russian side, and other reasons such as old age or other natural causes? How can you call this genocide?
13) In your first book Human Rights and the Armenian Question, you keep repeating interminably that Turks have a genocidal tendency. Is this meant to be a professional diagnosis or are you interested in brain-washing the reader? What is your opinion of the Germans and the Belgians in this regard?
14) The Armenians were initially relocated inland to the city of Konya and its environs. Why would a government intent on exterminating Armenians move them to the heartland of Anatolia? Is it not clear from this that the Ottoman government had no plans to kill off Armenians?
15) Is it not true that the Armenian revolutionaries intended to terrorize the Ottoman Moslems so that the Ottomans would give Western Powers an excuse to invade the Ottoman Empire on the pretext of saving the Armenians? Here is what Harvard professor William Langer wrote in The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890-1902: "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 a hopeless minority, so that reprisals will be certain. One of the revolutionaries told Dr. Hamlin, the founder of Robert College, that the Hentchak bands would 'watch their opportunity to kill Turks and Koords, set fire to their villages, and then make their escape into the mountains. The enraged Moslems will then rise, and fall upon the defenceless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession'"
16) Is it not true that the events accompanying the Armenian relocations were exaggerated out of all proportion? Here is what well-known Christian Missionary George Lamsa wrote in The Secret of the Near East: "In some towns containing ten Armenian houses and thirty Turkish houses it was reported that 40,000 people were killed, about 10,000 women were taken to the harem and thousands of children left destitute; and the city university destroyed and the bishop killed. It is a well-known fact that even in the last war the native Christians, despite the Turkish cautions, armed themselves and fought on the side of the Allies. In these conflicts, they were not idle,
but they were well supplied with artillery, machine guns and inflicted heavy losses on their enemies."
17) Why is it that Armenians continually try to cover up their uprisings, large separatist bands, and blood-shedding?
18) What does Ethocide mean?
19) What does Tereset mean?
20) What are the six T’s of the Turkish-Armenian conflict?
21) Did Armenians revolt in Van in 1915? Did they kill Muslims there? Did they take over Van? Did they turn it over to invading Russian armies? Do you think this is a citizenly and proper behavior?
22) Did Armenian stage many armed uprisings since 1882? Do you think this is a citizenly and proper behavior?
23) What is ARF? Are they a non-violent Armenian advocacy group? Do they have any connections to Armenian terrorism then (1890-1922) and now (1973 to present)?
24) Did Ottoman-Armenians commit treason? Did they don Russian uniforms? Did they don French uniforms? Did they don British uniforms? Did they don “Armenian” uniforms? Did they kill Muslims in those uniforms? Are you mentioning these in your presentations?
25) Do you know what Ataturk said about Armenian Tereset (temporary resettlements) on Feb 24, 1921? And about Wilson’s borders for Armenia? (see Ataov’s book: Armenian Faslifications, Okey Enterprises, New York, 2008, pages 73-74.)
26) How good would you say your “Ottoman” language skills are? Read? Pronounce? Write? Speak? Interpret nuances?
27) Have you conducted any research at the Ottoman and Turkish archives? If yes, when and where? What did you read, evaluate, and otherwise study?
28) How good would you say your “English” language skills are? Read? Pronounce? Write? Speak? Interpret nuances?
29) Do you write your own work? How much work of Dadrian, Papazian, and other Armenian propagandists do you use in your work? All? Most? Some? Little? Never?
30) How did you become an associate professor of history when you came from Germany less than 10 years ago with only a PhD in Sociology? Who gave you that title? Based on what work? Who were the academic jury members?
31) How did you become a professor of history when you came from Germany less than 10 years ago with only a PhD in Sociology? Who gave you that title? Based on what work? Who were the academic jury members?
32) Why do you deny Turkish suffering at the hands Armenian nationalists by not talking about it in your lectures?
33) How can you paint a black-and-white picture, as in genocide, where the six T’s of the Turkish-Armenian conflict refute your claims and beg for a fair, balanced, honest, and truthful treatment of the issue?
34) Current protocols Between Turkey and Armenia stipulate the formation of a committee of historians to study the controversial Turkish-Armenian conflict. The mere fact that an agreement is reached to form an investigation committee implies to any open-minded person that there is something to be investigated. Indeed, most of the Turkish, Armenian, Russian, and other relevant archives are not yet seen or studied yet. When this is the case, how can you, as a scholar, come to a conclusion that it is settled, it is genocide? Does that tell something about your scholarship qualifications, motives, and/or skills?
35) Is the claim (or label) of genocide truthful?
36) Is the commonly quoted figure of 1.5 million Armenian deaths factual? Who came up with that? What is the substantiating historic evidence for this figure? Some claim 2, 2.5 3, even more than 3 million Armenian deaths; is there any truth in any of these claims? Others claim that the Armenian deaths are 1 million, 600,000, 300,000, and even 54,000; why the discrepancy? Who is right? The Turkish Historical Society can document 54,000 Armenian deaths and only 8,000 or so are due to massacres, other deaths being the result of wartime conditions. Do you object to this? Why?
37) Is the claim of “poor, starving Armenian” a fair representation of Armenian involvement before, during, or after 1915?
38) Isn’t the bloody 1915 Van Revolt by the Ottoman-Armenians the equivalent for the Ottoman Empire of September 9, 2001 terrorist attack on America for the United States?
39) Isn’t the arrest and transfer of Al-Qaeda terrorist suspects to Guantanamo the equivalent of 24 April 1915 arrest of Ottoman-Armenian ring leaders in Istanbul and their exile to Anatolia? Isn’t what Guantanamo to the U.S. similar to what 24 April 10915 is to the Ottoman Empire?
40) Why are you so afraid of debating these issues in any academic panel anywhere where your views are challenged by your peers asking the above questions? Is delivering monologue to emotionally committed crowds more comfortable? Is that any scholarship?
41) to 80) Others... I’ll ask the next 40 questions after I get Akcam’s responses to the above questions. (I, for one, am not holding my breath, though, and I suggest that you, my dear readers, do likewise. Because, as Walter Cronkite would say, “That’s the way it is” with these Armenian lobbyists…)
Have a happy, healthy, prosperous, and great new year, everyone!
Son of Turkish survivors from both maternal and paternal parents
From: Ergun Kirlikovali
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 5:19 PM
Cc: 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'
Subject: PROMOTE MORE RESEARCH AND DIALOGUE: INVITE THE OPPOSING VIEWS
December 13, 2007
Robert H. Bruininks,
President, University of Minnesota
Cc: Brent P Benrud: firstname.lastname@example.org
James A Parente Jr: email@example.com
Eric D Weitz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: 1) Erkin Baker’s letter to President Bruininks dated 8/6/2007
2) Counsel Brent P. Benrud’s response on Pres. Burinink’s behalf to Erkin Baker dated 8/31/2007
3) College of Liberal Arts Interim Dean James A. Parente, Jr’s response on Pres. Burinink’s behalf to Erkin Baker (with copy to Professor Eric D. Weitz, Chair, Dept. of History) dated 9/19/2007.
4) Erkin Baker’s response to Liberal Arts Interim Dean James A. Parente dated 10/19/2007
Dear President Bruininks:
I am indebted to Erkin Baker for sharing with me her correspondence with you and responses on your behalf she received from Counsel Benrud and Dean Parente Jr. (latter with a copy to Chair Weitz.) I would like to present my views. Please allow me to organize my thoughts under the following headings:
1- “CHECKERED PAST” OF DR. TANER AKCAM
I am aware Dr. Akcam receives his share of praise, but this must be observed in the context of political correctness and prejudice. The area of genocide scholarship has become powerful, and not many are willing to question their claims, for fear of being intimidated and labeled as Holocaust deniers .
In addition, there exists an age-old prejudice against Turks, making the claims of Dr. Akcam all the more acceptable, by people unwilling to study the issues objectively. Dr. Akcam has certainly not proven that there was a genocide conducted against Armenians, nor has anyone else; many legitimate historians disagree with this conclusion, as the evidence for genocide rests upon hearsay and forgeries. Even a few scholars have faulted Vahakn Dadrian, the mentor of Dr. Akcam, with distortions questioning his scholarly ethics. More importantly, since Dr. Akcam's research seems to contain too many similar manipulations, is it a recycling of Dadrian's work?
While Dr. Akcam may have a rudimentary knowledge of Ottoman language, a rich and complex amalgam of Turkish, Arabic, and Persian, steeped in Islamic religion and age old customs, Vahakn Dadrian does not seem to have even that much. In any case, neither gentlemen’s ability to accurately handle the Ottoman language and interpret the intricacies contained in the Ottoman documents can be claimed to satisfy the academic standards meticulously observed by Turkish experts in Ottoman language and history. This lack of mastership of Ottoman language may help explain, but not excuse, Dr. Akcam’s misinterpretations of Ataturk’s words in his last book (see the reference below.) This may also explain why Vahakn Dadrian has not been seen pouring over the Ottoman archives in Turkey, while researchers from 80 countries have. Yet, these obvious deficiencies somehow do not seem to stop neither gentlemen from making outrageous and unsubstantiated accusations against the Ottoman Empire, as well as Ataturk and Turkey. One would surely expect higher standards of scholarship from “genocide scholars”.
If the Armenian genocide claim is a politicized one, equating Turks with Nazis leads to further prejudice and hatred against Turkish people. If the University of Minnesota supports highly selective source materials, akin to Ku Klux Klan literature attempting to present a portrayal of blacks and Jews, that is a matter all honorable people need to be concerned about.
Counsel Benrud has written that "…the University conducted a thorough review of Prof. Akcam's academic credentials, and his eligibility...", but I am wondering about the thoroughness of this review.
My understanding is that a visiting professor needs to have a home university to be visiting from, lasting on average a relatively short duration, no more than a few years, after which the professor is expected to return to his home university. It does not seem like he was ever part of a university's faculty, before arriving in the United States from Germany. Does Dr. Akcam have a home university to return to?
Furthermore, it looks as though Taner Akcam was groomed by Armenian activists; his Ph.D. was co-approved by Vahakn Dadrian (as well as one other person, a cooperative genocide scholar), who was not affiliated with any university at the time. This is troubling on several levels. For one, it brings to mind many questions - if Akcam's books serve as examples: Was the thrust of his Ph.D. unoriginal? Was it relying heavily on the work of Dadrian himself?
Dr. Akcam was brought into the United States through the University of Michigan's Armenian Research Center, and appears to have lost his job there, probably after this university was made aware of its "visiting professor" rules being violated. Dr. Akcam was called a "visiting scholar" when he first arrived, and it is very curious as to how his title was changed to "professor." In Germany, one doctorate is not sufficient to earn the professor's title. It seems fair, therefore, to ask the following questions:
Is Dr. Akcam's position being subsidized by an Armenian foundation directly or indirectly?
If this is the case, is there not a conflict of interest involved, endangering the credibility of the University of Minnesota?
Are the "visiting professor" rules of the University of Minnesota being violated now by Dr. Akcam’s status, credentials, record, and/or qualifications?
Does the American public have a right to know if the University of Minnesota’s rules are being violated?
Furthermore, Dr. Akcam admitted in a Turkish newspaper interview (Milliyet, January 11, 2002) that he had collaborated with the PKK in the early 1980s, designated as a terrorist organization by our own government in Washington D.C., by Europe, and by The Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel (www.ict.org.il ) PKK is responsible for deaths over ten times the toll of 9/11. Taner Akcam was involved with other violent organizations in Turkey during the 1970s as well, including one with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Abdullah Ocalan, who is in a maximum security island-prison in Turkey since his capture with U.S. help in 1999, responded to Dr. Akcam's interview in the January 19, 2002 edition of Ozgur Politika, an organ of the PKK, where the terrorist leader claimed that Taner Akcam had "…caused heavy casualties..."
"…The ability to explore and discuss such issues in a reasoned, scholarly manner…",as Counsel Benrud has written, is to be encouraged, but to provide an outlet for vicious propaganda by biased scholars with dubious research, spreading racism and hatred, is another matter entirely.
2- GENOCIDE ALLEGATIONS
While some amongst us may be forgiven for taking the blatant and ceaseless Armenian propaganda at face value and believing Armenian falsifications merely because they are repeated so often, it is difficult and painful for someone like me, the son of Turkish survivors on both maternal and paternal sides, of yet untold, unfairly dismissed, or prejudicially ignored massacres of Turks during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 (which preceded the World War I of 1914-18 and the Turkish Independence War of 1919-1922.) These seemingly endless “War years” of 1912-1922 brought wide-spread death and destruction to Ottoman Muslims as well as others. Those nameless, faceless victims are killed for a second time today with politically motivated and baseless charges of Armenian genocide.
Allegations of Armenian genocide are racist and dishonest history. They are racist because they ignore the Turkish dead: about 3 million during WWI; around half a million of them at the hands of Armenian nationalists. By ignoring the suffering of one side completely, any war, including the American civil war, may be made to look like a genocide.
And the allegations of Armenian genocide are dishonest because they simply dismiss “The Six T’s of the Turkish-Armenian conflict”:
1) Tumult (as in Armenian armed uprisings)
2) Terrorism (by Armenian nationalists and militias)
3) Treason (Armenians joining the invading enemy armies)
4) Territorial demands (where Armenians were a minority, not a majority)
5) Turkish suffering and losses (i.e. those caused by the Armenian nationalists) .
6) Tereset (temporary resettlement) triggered by the first five T’s above and amply documented as such; not to be equated to the Armenian misrepresentations as genocide.)
Armenians, thus, effectively put an end to their millennium of relatively peaceful and harmonious co-habitation in Anatolia with Muslims by killing their Muslim/Turkish neighbors and openly joining the invading enemy. Turks were only defending their home like any citizen anywhere would do.
3- DOUBLE STANDARDS
It may be said that hundreds of thousands of innocent Hiroshima and Nagasaki civilians offered none of the harm to America in 1945 that the whole of the Armenian community treacherously performed against the Ottoman Empire, between the late 19th century and 1915. Yet, the Ottomans responded only by Tereset, temporarily resettling some of the Armenians, not all, to other parts of the Empire and only when the last straw broke the camel’s back (i.e. after the bloody Armenian revolt in Van.) Nevertheless, not too many people in America today consider accusing the U.S. of committing genocide with those atomic bombs, although the intent to exterminate the entire population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a matter of uncontested record.
Consider that all this carnage came over and above the wholesale Japanese-American relocation of 1942 which was based on a hunch, a probability of fifth column activities by some Americans merely because of their ethnic origin. President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones", from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, except for those in internment camps. In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion, removal, and detention, arguing that it is permissible to curtail the civil rights of a racial group when there is a "pressing public necessity." During the period of 1939–41, the FBI compiled the Custodial Detention index ("CDI") on citizens, "enemy" aliens and foreign nationals who might be dangerous based principally on census records. Upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Presidential Proclamations 2525 (Japanese), 2526 (German) and 2527 (Italian) were signed. Many homes were raided using information from the CDI, and hundreds of aliens were in custody by the end of the day, including Germans and Italians (although war was not declared on Germany or Italy until December 11).
Contrast the above absolutist American acts against the American citizens and Japanese citizens with the Ottomans’ flexibility and tolerance. The latter did not move the Ottoman-Armenian citizens out of Istanbul, Izmir, Edirne, Aleppo and other places, even after blatant Armenian treason elsewhere, thus separating “probable threat” from “proven threat”.
Consider further that all absolutist American actions mentioned above came decades after the Tereset of 1915. If temporary resettlement was so wrong, then why did the U.S. resort to it and worse? How come no one is charging the U.S. with the crime of genocide? How can anyone honestly explain these double standards in academia?
4- PROMOTE MORE RESEARCH AND DIALOGUE: INVITE THE OPPOSING VIEWS
If you truly believe in freedom of speech, then please don’t silence people like me who disagree with you and/or others in your university on the characterization of the Turkish-Armenian conflict. Not giving responsible opposing ideas a place in genocide panels is a form of censorship and does violate my freedom of speech as an American. Include the other side of the story in your genocide panels. I would be more than happy to participate as a speaker, for example, in one of your future “genocide panels” to offer the benefits of the other side of the story to unsuspecting attendees. You can perhaps convince the organizers to allow the showing of the 45-minute documentary “Armenian Revolt 1894-1920” during such panels. Freedom of speech should be honored by such “solid deeds”, not simply by “hollow words” in clichés.
As a university president, I believe you have a responsibility to ensure that the public is given a fair chance to hear all sides of a controversy and that “partisan accounts” are not promoted as “settled history”. I coined a new term back in 2003, my humble gift to the English language, to describe the stance of the Armenian-funded genocide scholars vis-à-vis the Turkish-Armenian conflict: “ETHOCIDE”, a brief definition of which is “deliberate and systematic extermination of ethics via malicious mass deception for political and other benefits.”
President Bruininks, fairness, objectivity, and truth are all that I ask.
Son of Turkish-survivors from both maternal and paternal sides
9741 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618-4324
Reference: http://ataa.org/reference/pdf/akcam.pdf ; The Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Public Outreach Program, Position Paper No. 1, April 2007, Book Review : A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and theQuestion of Turkish Responsibility, by Taner Akçam. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company, 2006. x + 376 pages. Notes to p.464. Index to p.483. $30.00 (hardback). ISBN 0-8050-7932-7.
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