13 June 2011
by Maxime GAUIN
13 June 2011
The future of the Turkish-Armenian relations, with its various aspects depends largely of the confrontation of ethical and scholarly approaches of the past, present and future, against the political misuse of history for political and ideological ends.
Speaking on “human rights”
One of the favorite slogans of “Armenian genocide” claimants is that the “recognition” is an issue of “human rights”. It is a mistake to separate the bloody terrorism of ASALA and JCAG/ARA to the mainstream of the “Armenian genocide” allegations. Indeed, the JCAG/ARA were nothing but the terrorist branch of Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Armenian Diaspora’s main and most effective political party. This fact is established even by the single research carried out in ARF’s archives about the 1959-1998 years, Gaïdz Minassian’s Ph.D. thesis. Vicken Hovsepian, currently member of ARF’s World Bureau and supreme representative of this party in USA, was sentenced in 1984 for an attempt of bombing which, according to FBI’s estimations, could have killed between 2,000 and 3,000 persons. Mourad Topalian, president of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA, political branch of ARF in USA) was sentenced in 2001 to 37 months of jail for illegal storing of war weapons and explosives, linked to terrorist activities. In France, Jean-Marc Toranian, co-chairman of the Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Associations, was spokesman of ASALA from 1976 to 1983, and covered in the invectives the French criminal tribunal which sentenced, in 1985, three ASALA terrorists for the Orly bombing of July 15, 1983 . . .
Several of the most prominent supporters of “Armenian genocide” allegation were witnesses for defense of several Armenian terrorists during the trials of 1981-1984 period, including Richard G. Hovannisian and Gerard Libaridian in USA, and Jean-Marie Carzou (Zouloumian), Gérard Chaliand and Yves Ternon in France.
Many Armenian sources document the close collaboration between the ARF and Nazis; and also the similarly close cooperation of the two other diasporic Armenian parties (Hunchak and Ramkavar) with Stalin’s USSR. The newspaper of Ramkavar in France was even banned by the French government during the Cold War, because of his inflammatory support to USSR.
In addition, the hard-liners of Armenian Diaspora supported fully the invasion of Western Azerbaijan (1991-1994), and the ethnic cleansing against Turkic Azeris. The massacre of Khodjaly is just the best known and the most barbarian act of this campaign. Armenian nationalists deny crudely the war crimes of the Armenian army in 1991-1994, but call “deniers” or “denialists” those who, without questioning the sufferings of displaced Armenian Ottomans, reject the “genocide” label.
Production and use of forgeries
It is still frequent in Armenian nationalist historiography to refer to notorious forgeries, like the “Ten Commandments,” or even Andonian’s “documents” and Mevlanzade Rifat’s book.
Other falsifications are more recent and, in a sense, more dangerous, because they are less known as falsifications. For instance, Taner Akçam argues that the telegram dispatched by Talat Pasha to Ankara’s province on August 29, 1915, is a remarkable evidence that “the policies adopted against the Armenians were aiming at their annihilation”. Mr. Akçam quotes only the two first sentences of this text: “The Armenian issue pertaining to the Eastern Provinces has been resolved. Therefore, there is no need to harm the reputation of our nation and government by conducting unnecessary cruelties.” (Ermeni Meselesi Hallolunmuştur: Osmanlı Belgelerine Göre Savaş Yıllarında Ermenilere Yönelik Politikalar, İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2008, p. 182.) The beginning is extracted from the context and it distorts the meanings of the full text. Reading the rest of the document is enlightening:
“Particularly the recent attack conducted on the Armenians at a place close to Ankara has caused great regret of the Ministry, considering its way of occurring, the obvious incompetence of the officials charged with supervising the transfer of Armenians, and audacity on part of the gendarmes and the local people who acted on their bestial instincts to rape and rob the Armenians. The transfer of Armenians, which is desired to be carried out in an orderly and prudent manner, should henceforth never be left to the individuals having fanatical feelings of enmity, and that the Armenians, whether or not they are subject to relocation, will be definitely protected against any assault and attack. At the places where such a protection could not be provided, the transfer of Armenians should be postponed. From now on, all of the officials in charge shall be held responsible with respect to their ranks for any attack, which may occur and shall be brought before the military courts. It is necessary to give very strict orders to the relevant personnel in this regard.” (Hikmet Özdemir and Yusuf Sarınay, “Turkish-Armenian Conflict Documents”, Ankara: TBMM, 2007, p. 235.)
No one supporter of “Armenian genocide” charges attempted to explain why the CUP government, and more especially Talat Pasha, punished severely many perpetrators of atrocities against Armenian deportees in 1915-1916, both among Ottoman bureaucracy and civilians. In Spring of 1916 only, 1673 persons were judged; and 67 of them were sentenced to death and hanged.
A difficult and needed separation
There are Armenian and pro-Armenian scholars, like Hilmar Kaiser and Garabet Moumjian, who support the “genocide” charge without supporting terrorism and using forgeries; and they accept debate; however unfortunately, few other scholars are like them.
Donald Bloxham presented a narrative of “genocide” allegation less strident and more interesting than the mainstream, but did not notice that he used a crude forgery in publishing in his book: a fake photograph — maybe inadvertently — supposed to represent an Ottoman civil servant. Mr. Bloxham made deserved and rational critics against some Vahakn Dadrian’s false allegations, but when he comes to the central point of his topic (genocide or not), Mr. Bloxham does not refrain to refer to the less than convincing arguments of Mr. Dadrian (for instance: “The Great Game of Genocide”, Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 253, n. 74, and p. 255, n. 207, 209, 210).
It is hoped that the accumulation of revelations about forgeries used to support “Armenian genocide” allegations will incite some to be more prudent and more cautious, and to control their questionable presuppositions.
Anyway, the needed reconciliation between Turks and Armenians makes it necessary the isolation of fanatics pursuing a political, anti-Turkish agenda. Such organizations and individuals are actual enemies of both Turkish and Armenian Republics, as well as enemies of free and objective scholar research and of free speech. They opposed violently the Turkish-Armenian Vienna’s platform as well as the Turkish-Armenian Protocols signed in 2009, because they fear historical truth and enduring peace. As propaganda which is disguised in historical studies jeopardizes the knowledge of the past, the strident political activism jeopardizes the positive actions which Armenian and Turkish people could may carry out together in the following years.
Emotional and distorted interpretations of the past are the worst enemies of the peace for future.