by Sassoon Grigorian
27 Nov 2011, thepunch.com.au
Sassoon Grigorian was senior adviser to a former NSW Premier and worked in the NSW Government for nearly a decade. Sassoon worked for the Sydney Olympic Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and was senior consultant for Australia’s largest public affairs firm.
Sassoon is Board member of the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) and was a speaker at the Lowy Institute’s 2009 New Voices conference.
Australian Armenian genocide survivor Thaddaes 'Matthew' Panikan pictured in an interview at his Marrickville home in Sydney last year. Picture: Alan Pryke
For the first time, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayipp Erdogan, has apologised for the killings of 14,000 people in Dersim - a town in south-eastern part of the country now known as Tunceli - between 1936 and 1939.
The apology came after a war of words between Erdogan and the leader of the main opposition party. Turkey has finally realised that it will not be able to end the Kurdish rebel war through military measures alone.
Why is this important? Well this is not Turkey’s only historical dilemma, and many will be wondering if this could be applied to other minorities.
A couple of months ago, Turkey decided to expel its Israeli Ambassador following the interception of a flotilla en route to Gaza. Meanwhile the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, is scheduled to consider the issue of the Armenian genocide.
The State of Israel, created after the Holocaust, remarkably . . . has yet to come to terms with recognising the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian genocide. The genocide resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children and took place at the hands of the then-Ottoman government, the fore-bearers of the modern Turkish republic. Turkey denies a genocide took place.
Israel’s and Turkey’s strategic relationship thus far has prevented any real progress, despite calls for recognition by: Israeli politicians Reuven Rivlin, Haim Oron and Yossi Sarid; respected Holocaust scholars Yair Auron, Israel Charny and Yehuda Bauer, Australia’s own Colin Tatz, and many others.
The issue of recognition has been a point of contention for as three decades, when in 1982 at a Holocaust and genocide conference in Tel Aviv, the Armenian genocide was to be discussed.
The Turkish government pressured Israel to remove references regarding the Armenians, and Israel yielded. Organisers removed six of the 150 lectures focusing on the Armenian genocide from the official program as well as keeping all discussion of the Armenian genocide “unofficial”. That was not appropriate, and many delegates withdrew from the conference.
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor agonised about his decision to withdraw citing Israeli officials’ concerns regarding the potential safety of Jews in Turkey.
Respected Israeli scholar Yair Auron and author of The Banality of Indifference: The Attitude of the Yishuv and the Zionist Movement to the Armenian Genocide said:
“Everyone would agree that Israel has no right to bargain with the memory of the Holocaust. But, even more, it has no right - by no means, in any circumstance, and much less so than any other country - to bargain with the memory of another victim group. And yet Israel did just that with the Armenian Genocide. Israel is contributing to the process of genocide denial and by doing so, it also betrays the memory and the legacy of the Holocaust.”
The absolute low point for Israel was a few years ago when then Foreign Minister and current President, Shimon Peres visited Turkey and according to Turkish media reports said: “What the Armenians went through is a tragedy, but not genocide.”
Peres did not retract the statement. That was a major stain on a country long respected for promoting awareness of genocide, so that future generations would not repeat the horror.
Turkey should be nervous as Israel attunes its moral compass on a matter it knows personally - The Shoah - Holocaust, and genocide.
And it is sadly ironic that it was Hitler who once said: “Who after all remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?”
The time has come for Israel - who has long championed genocide awareness - to once and for all recognise one of history’s darkest chapters.
Sassoon Grigorian attended the Official State Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in 2008.
Comments By Sukru Server Aya
1 . The services of Sassoon Grigorian to Australian Government, does not empower him to write or comment on history, he never took the trouble to read even from this blogsites over 100.000 pages!
2. All Armenian refugees (some 800.000 out of some 1.3 millions) name themselves “genocide survivor” without giving evidence where and when was “the genocide” and how he/she managed to escape! So the this is another distortion of “immigrant or refugees” as “genocide survivor”.
3. Tayyip Erdogan’s domestic political maneures has nothing to do with the large scale relocation of Armenians except that “Dersim landlords” had revolted against the authority of the State, much like the Sasson or Zeytoun (Musa Dagh) Rebellions. The causality number of 14.000 is nothing but a palaver like 1.5 millions. The number of actual total losses was under 2.000.
4. Temporary friction between Israel and Turkey is not the Armenian’s business anywhere in the world!
5. Hitler never said such a quote, see page 128 of my newest book! Write to and ask the Holocaust Museum “now”!
6. See page 129 from my newest book “A Brief Stroll in the Ottoman History and Economy”. Shows Yad Vashem prize given to Turkish Consul for saving Jews, when they were being rounded up by “Nazi Armenian Legion” under command of General Butcher Dro Kanajan.
Everything in my books is backed by concrete documentation. No one could refute a single word. There is no end to such editorials of animosity, other than making the life of “unlucky Armenians in Armenia” more difficult. Stop this nonsense over distortions and palavers and let “decent persons worry for tomorrows instead of past days”.
Sukru S. Aya
08:24am | 27/11/11
And the Palestinians?
09:50am | 27/11/11
What about them?
11:41am | 27/11/11
There are only two solutions for the Palestinians
Install a moderate government, renounce terrorism and recognise Israel.
or A rogue state (Iran) to go nuclear and take out the region and make it no-mans land. (If Islam can’t have it, no one will.)
If I was a Palestinian, I know which one I would choose.
09:28am | 28/11/11
@Kahlid, I must admit the Iran solution sounds like a winner. Lake Palestine has a particular ring about it.
Sony B Goode says:
10:01am | 27/11/11
The Palestinians stated aim is the destruction of Israel. They are victims only of their own religious hatred.
12:11pm | 28/11/11
Wouldn’t that be your stand if your country was stolen off you too?
04:08pm | 28/11/11
Their country wan’t stolen, Brett. When the Birtish left the UN recommended that the Palestinian Jews and the Palestinian Arabs each form a state. The Jews did, but the Arabs decided it would be better to start a war and attempt to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the Earth.
NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:
10:15am | 27/11/11
With all due respect to Armenians the Jewish Population who perished during the II World War!! Seven Million Jews over 4 years compared to 14,000 Armenians?? Lets all refresh our memories about the true meaning of genocide or ethnic cleansing , it is the systematic murder, which goes on
over long periods of time!! The actual meaning happens to be “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group”.
What about all the other mass murders in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Burundi, Somalia, Guatemala, Argentina, Tibet, Bangladesh, Nazi Germany, Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan, Iraqi Kurds and so on!!
Lets also not forget about the American Indians & Australian Aborigines!! The list can go on forever and there are also mass killings still happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine!!! It all depends on whose side we all happen to be on!! To just single out Turkey as the only culprit concerning all crimes against humanity seems a little bit one sided & biased!!
Lets all clean up our own back yards first & come clean about our own history. Best regards to your editors.
11:13am | 27/11/11
Did you read the article? It states that 1.5 million Armenians died not the 14,000 Kurds referred to at the beginning of the story.
12:02pm | 27/11/11
According to the article:
“The genocide resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children and took place at the hands of the then-Ottoman government.”
The 14,000 at Dersim were not Armenians.
02:52pm | 27/11/11
Shame on you, NESLIHAN KUROSAWA!
Normally your posts are open-minded and positive…but instead of being sympathetic to the Armenian plight…you are dismissive and sarcastic…
05:07pm | 27/11/11
Turkey needs to take responsibility for the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians as Germany did for deaths of Jews after WW2. No excuses!
NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:
11:06pm | 27/11/11
I truly apologize for the typing error!! However, I am not trying to justify any thing at all!! I was only speaking the truth, when I said that there have been so many atrocities & mass murders around the world. I do not consider myself responsible for all the things which might have happened in the past, anyway!!
I just can not see how one particular issue can dominate the agenda, with the message of hatred after all this time?? At the end of the day “is saying sorry really enough”!! While we are at it, I am certain that a lot of Muslim background Bosnians are also waiting for some kind of justice! We could also talk about a lot of genocides around the world!! Same could be said for a lot of Tibetans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, North Koreans, Somalians, Sudanese, the people of Ukraine & the USSR!!
One very good example is the ANZACS arriving in Gallipoli, Turkey!! Any mention of how many Turkish soldiers actually lost their lives during that ugly war?? And also the very interesting thing about the Americans & Australians being in total denial about certain facts& the devastating story of the Native Americans & Australian Aborigines!!
I guess that no one is going to raise these issues as mass murders or genocide, right?? Lets all take a good look at our own histories & might be able to learn a few things as well. I choose not to live with the feelings of hatred & racism, because of what happened a century ago!! Also what happened in Hiroshima & Nagasaki were not considered to be mass murder of innocent civilians, right??
Lets not have selective memories about the actual truth & our own past history!! I personally have found this article very thought provoking & thank you for publishing it!! I am not carrying a chip on my shoulder about my past, the most important lesson is not to make the same old mistakes over & over again!!
Another very helpful hint would be to remember that during 1915, Turkey was all invaded by the English, French, Italians!! As we have witnessed in our very recent past in Iraq & Afghanistan, anything can happen in the actual war scenario & it often does!!! Best regards to your editors.
09:37am | 28/11/11
@NESLIHAN KUROSAWA, gee, your days in politics are seriously numbered!
War kills people. And although there appears to be a “no right, all wrong” attitude towards war and death in your posts, the fact is people die in war, and sometimes people who kill others in war were actually in the right to do so.
Japan chose to engage in battle in the Second World War, and received a swift and brutal reply for doing so. Had that not happened, maybe it could have turned out the other way, and Australia took a bomb from Japan instead.
NESLIHAN KUROSAWA, are you an Australian? Are you in Australia? If you answer yes to either question, then be thankful that Japan didn’t drop bombs here.
Sassoon Grigorian wasn’t highlighting all wars and victims in this post, so to go off on some wild tangent about the victims of every war that’s ever existed really doesn’t make much sense.
NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:
11:30am | 28/11/11
Thanks for your reply, much appreciated!! Please do not look at me as if I did start any wars, anywhere in the world to begin with!! You know what? I am not in Politics as yet, after this though I might actually consider it!! Thanks by the way, however I was only explaining some facts about our fascination about going to war!!
Remember the World War I & World War II?? Of course the war in Vietnam?? I am of course an Australian!! Is that a problem for you?? From what I gather you certainly & utterly failed in history lessons!! You also failed to address all the other issues I have talked about, but there is no need to worry at all, from my point of view.
Sadly, you have not had a chance to see the world, as yet!! Australia is only a very small part of this planet, I am sure that you know that already, right?? I just want to say that by calling others names, you do not make yourself look any smarter, by the way. Best regards to your editors.
12:35pm | 28/11/11
@NESLIHAN KUROSAWA, huh? Wha?
Your being Australian isn’t a bother to me, except for the fact that it looks like the Australian schooling system has once again failed in reading and comprehension skills in your suburb.
NESLIHAN KUROSAWA, I didn’t reply to every single part of your comment as I feel this isn’t necessary. And when I did, I certainly didn’t resort to “calling others names” as you claim. Are you sure it was my comment you were replying to? Beats me….
Yes, unfortunately I’ve only ever been to Sabah, Sarawak, Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, Fiji and The United States, so I really can’t say I’ve travelled too far from Queensland indeed. And the fact I speak English, Tagalog, and Pangasinan fluently, and some Spanish obviously shows me to be fairly uneducated and ignorant.
If only we were all like you, so well travelled and well spoken, maybe your original comment would all make some sense.
And I have no editors.
NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:
11:02pm | 28/11/11
I truly am very sorry to disappoint you, but I actually completed my education in Istanbul!!! I did get my High School Diploma at the age of sixteen with very good grades, for your information!!
You should be glad that I was not a burden to the Department of Education in Australia!! But anyway, there is bit of gossip there for you! I happen to have the NAATI certificate as a qualified interpreter with the Federal Government of Australia.
Just to cheer you up, no body is perfect, I am glad that you speak English, after all it happens to be your language, right??? I speak four different languages & learning another one, right now!!
My attitude in life is always to be able to see the bigger picture!! And sky is the limit, when you want something really, really badly !! Somehow I feel that sheer hard work combined with perseverance & determination, is THE KEY to success!! I am trying very hard to understand your feelings & finding it a bit difficult at the same time?? By the way what is the definition of a true Australian, anyway??
Just being born in a country does not automatically make anyone a productive member of a society!! Ask what you can do for your country & not the other way around!! I do not have a clue about your background, but it does not worry me in the least!! It has been truly enjoyable chatting with you. Bye for now!!
Sony B Goode says:
11:29am | 27/11/11
“Lets all clean up our own back yards first “
We are not responsible for the sins of our fathers.
06:32pm | 27/11/11
Not directly responsible, but it is necessary that we behave as if we were, because any society is capable of this behaviour under the right circumstances. That is what we must never forget.
11:35am | 27/11/11
@Sony B Goode
So is the stated aim of the Apartheid Israel with its ethnic cleansing policy of removal of palestanians from their own land and with the illegal occupation of their land. Hamas has a national charter which says so but even that national charter is wavering and may change. BUT Israel is ACTUALLY practising the destruction and annihilation of the Palestinians as we speak. And all that just because their Torah tells them so. How convenient that Israel never lets anyone forget their holocaust but they never wants to acknowledge their own part in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. And when you try to point it out, you are immediately labelled anti-Semite.
John the Zombie says:
05:58pm | 27/11/11
Michael maybe you should have a read to what was happening pre 1967 war between 6, yes 6 Arab countries and Isreal. It is interesting that people like you seem to keep quiet about this. Over the period leading up to the 6 day war in which 6 Arab nations decieded to declare war on Isreal the Isreali’s were bombard with message accross loud speaker and the like yelling about how they would be all wiped out. What would you opinion be if they just stood back and aloowed this onslaught to occur? Would you today be typing about the second genocide that occured in Isreal or would you accept that it was the Arabs rights to do this.
This is missed by people and the fact that when the Isreali did fight they were able to conquer lands and if you go by the rules of war they have every right to claim and hold on to those lands but they have given some back.
Also another question for you Michael. Is it OK for Palastinians to fire rockets into Isreal, attack and carry out suicide bomb attacks in Isreal?
Do not forget the words of the Palastinians and funny enough now the greens party. “We shall drive them into the sea” (meaning that the war on Isreal will not stop till all Isrealis are driven into the sea).
A Dose of Reality says:
07:05pm | 27/11/11
John the Zombie says: 05:58pm | 27/11/11
Michael maybe you should have a read to what was happening pre 1967 war between 6, yes 6 Arab countries and Isreal.
You might like to research that yourself, Zombie. What led up to the events you list - or is that not ‘selective’ enough for you.
09:42am | 28/11/11
Yes Michael, Israel is overtly destroying the Palestinians, as much as the Lebanese are covertly destroying the Palestinians.
There’s a whole heap of information of the interwebz about the vile treatment refugee Palestinians get at the hands of their “brother” Lebanese Arabs. Much worse treatment than they get from Israel.
Hated by Jews. Hated by Arabs. Wouldn’t want to be a Palestinian for quids….
12:25pm | 28/11/11
@john the zombie - Yep Israel beat 6 arab countries in the 6 days war, wiped the floor with them and took more territory. Good on them.
That doesn’t change the fact that they stole a country off the Palestinians years earlier and have been destroying them since in a racist struggle. You know its illegal for a Palestian to marry a jew in Israel? Racist much?
Besides, the arabs were supportive of a land for Israel and even offered them the Sinai peninsula, no strings attached, a land which was important to Jews but not arabs, to form a country with no violence necessary. The zionists rejected this offer.
06:30pm | 28/11/11
@Brett - “You know its illegal for a Palestian to marry a jew in Israel? Racist much?”
Palestians can’t marry each other, either. Not if one is Christian and one is Muslim, anyway. That’s because marriage in Israel is a religious affair, not a civil one. It has nothing to do with anyone being racist.
Michael R says:
11:51am | 27/11/11
Erdogan speaks with a forked tongue. If he appears to be conciliatory, his message is aimed at European ears, not Kurds or Armenians. Erdogan dreams of the EU finally opening its borders to Turkey, a means to speed the Islamisation of Europe. He idolises the Ottomans. That’s why he has hundreds of journalists and military men locked up on dodgy charges with the Ergenekon case - to finally crush the spirit of Ataturk. After all, that’s what Ottomans do.
Gratuitous Adviser says:
12:13pm | 27/11/11
I’m over of all this biased holocaust, genocide, ethnic cleansing, tribal, and religious history (there are two sides to every story, as the history is written by the winner) and accompanying hate. Mans’ inhumanity to man is contained in ancient, modern and contemporary history and will continue in the future, at hopefully a reduced rate. I think we can assume that what most Australians want is that the hate, prejudice and regurgitation of other cultures history should be left in the country that it happened. We want no reminders, lectures and especially reprisals related to foreign countries historical tragedies, in this nirvana we call Australia.
01:54pm | 27/11/11
Nice idea, but with multiculturaliam, that will never happen.
We are importing more tribal conflicts and historical blood feuds everyday. It’s only going to get worse.
Mad as hell says:
02:32pm | 27/11/11
I’m with you Gratuitous - I find it distasteful the way vile inhumanity has been milked for advantage, while showing no humanity. But that’s religion for you, science flies rockets to mars - religion flies planes into buildings.
Long live a secular Australia
08:19am | 28/11/11
We must know where we came from and who we are. We can’t do that without knowing history. People who know nothing about history betray their ignorance at every turn, not the least by proposing ludicrous solutions to problems that have been tried and have failed many times already.
Robert S McCormick says:
02:03pm | 27/11/11
Don’t forget the Israelites invaded Palestine all those thousands of years ago after the Egyptians let them go. The Land pf Palestine until then had been the home of the Palestininas. The Israelites, unasked, took up residence there. Later they packed up & left their adopted home & spread throughout the world. During the centuries they encountered persecution, pogroms and expulsion. Fast forward to the 1930s when the monster Adolf Hitler & his pals decided they were going to rid Europe of all “Undesireables”, Decent, hard-working Jews, Germans & other nationalities, homosexuals & political opponents & anyone, including members of their own families who were ” Not-Quite-Normal”. We call it the Holocaust. The exact number, despite the Teutonic penchant for keeping very exact records, has never actually been discovered. About half were Jews & we should never forget that. The re-writers of History would have us believe that it was only the Jews who got caught up. When the Holocaust is mentioned we seldom, if ever (unless as a passing aside) hear mention of the million-plus Gypsies, the entire populations of French, Polish & Russian villages wiped out & never included in the Holocaust figures, the million or so homosexuals, political opponents, all those untold 100s of 1000s of Intellectually Challenged & those with Mental Health Issues who, though they never reached the camps, were exterminated by Hitler & Co.
The Holocaust did happen. It was not just Europena Jews who were exterminated. Yes, unspeakable things were done to them & others
The Re-Writers of History simply & conveiently over-look ” The Others”.
Then the US & UK decided, without asking permission to grab a chunk of the Land of Palestine to create Israel. The Palestinians were given no choice. the British troops were stationed in Palestine, ostensibly to Protect the Palestinians - the place was after all known as “The British Protectorate of Palestine”. Just like the Israelis today if a Palestinian, with every right in the world, objected to the presence of British troops on their land and those same troops were forcing them to accept the confiscation of part of their land, killed a memebr of the British Armed Forces the British, just as the Israelis do today, went out & slaughtered dozens in revenge.
Despite all the horrors, horrors they make so much of when it suits them, they endured at the hands of the nazis the Isrealis learnt nothing. Yes, they have an historical connection with Palestine but It was never ” the Land of Israel”.
That the Holocaust took place is undeniable.
It is said ” What goes around, Comes around”. That is true.
Some of the victims or their descendants are now visiting the same holocaust on others albeit in a more gentle (if slaughtering innocent people can ever be called ” gentle”) way
04:37pm | 27/11/11
@Robert S. McCormick - I’ve always understood the total death toll from the Holocaust to be around 10 to 11 million, of whom 6 million were Jews. I don’t think anyone is rewriting history to ignore the other victims of Hitler’s mass murders.
John the Zombie says:
06:02pm | 27/11/11
Maybe you should read a bit of history. The Jewish religion was the first religion in the middle east. Islam didnt come around to later on after Christianity so who invaded who again?
A Dose of Reality says:
07:19pm | 27/11/11
You are telling someone else to study history - and in the very same paragraph state “The Jewish religion was the first religion in the middle east”.
Read more than a carefully selected text, zombie. It is very easy to lose context of historical events when one reads only one book.
What Robert has written is basically correct (The only real historical error is the claim that the Egyptians ‘Let the Jews go”, outside of Jewish folklore there is no reference to Jews being enslaved by Egypt - the best reference is to the Hyksos, who were invaders).
Palestinians (or their ancestors) were in the Levant well before the Jews arrived. They were not Islamic, only a fool would suggest this - and read Robert’s post again, you will find he does not make such a foolish statement.
01:15pm | 28/11/11
I know it is going to sound very unfashionable to say this in the “enlightened” age in which we live, but I truly believe that the establishment of a British Protectorate over Palestine was the best thing that ever happened for this region in the modern time. As an external power, with now cultural, ethnic or religious attachment to the region (notwithstanding Christianity), the British would have been able to effectively establish the geographic division of Palestine along cultural lines. Had this partition been in place for even one generation before they granted independence, I firmly believe that this would have averted much of the tension and conflict we presently have in this region. I am not say that this would have been a perfect solution, but probably one with a better long term outcome than what we are seeing at the moment.
01:26pm | 28/11/11
John, the early books of the Bible quite frankly and clearly set out the genocides that allowed the ancient Hebrews to claim that patch of land. The Jews were far from the first ethnic group to occupy the Levant, although these original settlers were probably not the ancestors of the modern Semitic Arabs who live there. More likely they were closely related to the Phoenecians, who settled large parts of that area as well as parts of Africa, notably Carthage. The Semitic peoples, mainly Jews and Arabs, are thought to have turned up later, and incidentally slaughered the previous inhabitants. Some of the slaughters are recorded in the early books of the Bible as I note above.
Furthermore, they were also far from the first religion in the Middle East, and the depth of historical ignorance this displays boggles my mind. In addition to those posited by Mr Reality, I would also posit the Zoroastrians, who were the first real monotheistic religion, and from whom it is widely thought the Jews developed their own concepts of god during their captivity in Babylon.
A Dose of Reality says:
03:13pm | 28/11/11
That’s right, I was alluding to the Zoroastrians, but in the context of a wider and more complicated structure.
The Summerian civilisation consisted of a number of different city states (in a sense similar to Mycenaean Greece), each with a ‘monotheistic’ religion. They were however a damned sight more intelligent than the world today, as they were ACCEPTING of other (other city’s) deities as opposed to our pathetic AIM to be ‘tolerant’ (which is no more than to be ‘racist’ - but to hide it a bit better).
I believe that the Zoroastrians came from this background, and passed many of their ideas (along with Summerian - Noah’s flood, for example) to the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. To this day, the Zoroastrians are acknowledged as ‘people of the Book’ in Islamic teachings, and in the religious Iranian Republic are still permitted.
Please note that the Phoenicians are/were a Semitic people, as were the Babylonians and Assyrians. There were many.
The Palestinians are decedent from the Canaanite people, which explains the disregard Jews have for them.
However you are correct, the Jewish semites came to that part of the world after - and the Arabs very much later that them.
03:43pm | 28/11/11
EC, I hate to break the news to you buddy but these parties [Palestinians and Jews] have been at it for millenia and are not about to embrace a new age diplomatic approach sim,ply because we, a few collective modern nations of the world, who weren’t even thought of in the ages of Israel & Palestine, insist on a diplomatic solution? Solution? Who said there’s a problem? This is just their way of relating to their neigbours…. Let them have it.
Matthew Buckley says:
04:01pm | 27/11/11
“The State of Israel, created after the Holocaust, remarkably has yet to come to terms with recognising the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian genocide.”
Actually, the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians was not the first genocide of the twentieth century. It was the second genocide of the twentieth century. The first genocide of the twentieth century was the German genocide of the Herero and Namaqua people in western Africa.
Rachel Laurel says:
06:46pm | 27/11/11
If the world cannot have genocides,homicides, and pesticides, how will world human population ever be reduced ? Will the world human population just increase by one billion people every twelve years until forever?
Matthew Buckley says:
03:12pm | 28/11/11
According to the book “The No-Nonsense Guide To World Population” by Vanessa Baird, the world’s population will peak in about the middle of this century and then decline after that.
rachel laurel says:
06:49pm | 27/11/11
The middle east has never been a happy place to live !
Why would anyone want to live there?
09:49am | 28/11/11
Live? Try visit even…
I look forward to the Iranians letting a bomb off in Palestine to start the whole Middle East being reduced to ash. The sooner the better.
Western countries should do the smart thing - pull our troops out now, wait for the desert dwellers to wipe each other into oblivion, then go back and take what we need. And they WILL wipe each other out. They just don’t have the evolutionary skills required to add the “peaceful negotation” gene to their DNA. It’s just not in their make up to work problems out peacefully.
08:09pm | 27/11/11
Erdogan is angry because if the EU implodes and all those tapestries of culture go down the drain with it, Turkey only has a secular society to reconstruct the European Nations, and not only is Turkey ill-equiped to hand over the dust of the Ottoman Empire, but she is also not able to dampen the Muslim vote which is all around her.
Israel called her Holocaust by name.
Turkey should not yet have that liberty.
10:08pm | 27/11/11
I’d like to ask something else : if the Arab League is so importune to release Palestine of her responsibilities of a shared land, (and we know that the Royal Family is so inclined : just look at the Arab Oil Embargo of ‘73, which every Historian has noted, as the definitive decline of the USA) then how come they - the Arabs - are so insistent in saying that the Palestinians are not Arabs ?
If true, then why is the ‘Arab Nation’ so keen on securing a Palestinian Nation, at the exclusion of a Jewish Nation, as is currently apparent ?
I’ll tell you why : quite apart from the geographical importance of the region, (‘geographical’, is really cultural, but the bucket-heads over there are not keen on this description) Arabs will maintain at all costs in an Arab world view.
Palestinians look like Arabs, therefore they get the same interest and embargoes.
Is the presence of a Semite Nation in the region so bad, that Arabs and their lackeys will twist and squirm and use it as an excuse to unwind their local populations to anti-democracy ?
Syria, Egypt, and now probably Jordan will want what we’ve got - and Israel’s got - a functioning democracy that is independent of a ruling royalist.
Saudi Arabia should be honest, and declare her real interests.
A Dose of Reality says:
12:37pm | 28/11/11
Interesting point of view. Given the nature of the Saudi monarchy’s claim to it’s throne in particular. Naturally though, you seem to not have allowed for social structures in existence well before the practical application of Democracy in the north (Scandinavia) and even before the conceptual application in ancient Greece.
The Palestinians are not Arabic in origin, but have been ‘Arabised’ through cultural submersion (in various arab empires) and intermarriage.
However you’ll have to come up with a far better way of isolating Israel than using the word ‘Semite’.
Both Jews and Arabs are Semetic. As are many other racial groups in the region who share a linguistic and alphabetical heritage..
The term was coined by the ancient Persians in describing the related races in (or on the borders) of their Empire.
10:11pm | 27/11/11
Other people’s sins are always easier to acknowledge than your own.
But like charity, recognition of wrongs like this must start at home to be meaningful.
Israel’s first step should be to acknowledge their own responsibility for the Nakba. Till then, who can take their pronouncements seriously? Nobody.
Erdogan made a good *first* step in apologising for the Dersim killings. I hope that he moves towards acknowledging Turkish responsibility for the deaths of those 1.5 million Armenians - it’s the right thing to do, and it would be good for Turkey, and Turks, if he did it.
What a lot of people forget is that a lot of the Turkish population is descended from refugees from the former Ottoman Empire - not just from Greece and the Balkans, but also from what is now Armenia. It’s politically difficult for Erdogan to take responsibility for the death and dispossession of Armenians when Armenia (1) does not acknowledge the refugees it created, post WWII and (2) has recently made refugees of other people closely linked to the Turks in their popular perception - the Azeris.
Things look simple until you’re resolving your own issues, and then suddenly not so much.
11:08pm | 27/11/11
The Nakba ?
Yeah, I’ll apologize for it : I’ve been moving my whole life, and it is dreadfully inconvenient to have to set tent amongst strangers, who may or may not have recently bathed.
My real anxiety is, however, nude, and those taps on cold walls, and like in bus stations, waiting for the call ready for the raised head - as we knew they were - and then they clung and skinny legs couldn’t cling to each other and then they fell.
They fell as un-together ; the sound of gas is not really important.
The sound is not important at all.
08:53am | 28/11/11
The Israelis think God is on their side. But I’d like to see the Torrens Title for the land they took away from the Palestinians. As they think they are the ‘chosen people’, they think they can do as they like, and they do, with the help of money from the USA
10:32am | 28/11/11
@Apostate, God isn’t on anyone’s “side” in this issue.
Secular political issue, with secular political players, all screwing the Middle East up to the point that one day, hopefully, the whole damn place gets nuked. The sooner the better.
Then we’ll see if your God has any interest in Middle Eastern politics.
11:33am | 28/11/11
Thank you Sassoun for bringing to light this fundamental international human rights issue. Many comments are referring to other issues but are not addressing the issue of Armenian Genocide Denial. This usually happens when those making the comments are ignorant of the Armenian issue and have other agendas. The systematic nature, scale, and the rapidlity of the Armenian genocide, coupled with the cultural destruction and denial makes it a very unique case. This is why Raphael Lemkin coined the word Genocide and using the Armenian case as a defining example. This is why we have comparative genocide studies at universities so that different mass crimes can be compared. The Armenian case is very instructive and should not be trivialised by those who are unfamiliar with it.
05:49pm | 28/11/11
Sorry to be off topic, but nice piece Sassoon. Succinctly put.
Denial by the Turkish government of the Armenian Genocide still causes a lot of pain and anguish. After almost 100 years, the scars are there for all to see. That the state of Israel has supported Turkey’s indefensible position takes the level of hurt to another level. Truly astonishing.
Mustafa Kemal Dogan says:
04:04am | 29/11/11
Your very own Australian Colin Tatz puts forward a strong argument that the genocide in Australia is ongoing, would you have any comments on that?
07:25am | 29/11/11
Very well said, how about the ongoing Aboriginal genocide as it is claimed by Professor Colin Tatz? Shouldn’t you show some backbone & ask your government to stop the systematic cleansing of Aboriginal people which according to Professor Tatz started in 1788 & continues today. Or are you waiting for it to end before you can ask for recognition of yours? In simple words this is called hypocrisy! Or how about the Khojaly genocide which Armenians claim the killings occurred as a result of wartime military operations? Yeah right wartime killing of unarmed woman, children & men. I believe Armenians had declared war against the Ottomans who were already at war? Do numbers really matter when the intention of killing is purely genocidal? Not to forget the Russians were involved in both conflicts on Armenia’s side.
09:34am | 29/11/11
Yasemin and Mustafa
The treatment of Aborigines by the British colonists can be comparable to the treatment of Armenians during the colonial period of Turkic invasions in Anatolia beginning in the 11th century up until the 1870s. Both minorities experienced periodic persecution with areas being cleansed of indigenous Armenians and indigenous Aborigines. What happened to the Armenians during WW1 is of a different nature and comparable to the mass extermination of Jews in Europe during WW2. Within a short period of time, a large number of Armenians were systematically massacred and deported simultaneously from different parts of the Ottoman Empire. Tens of thousands of Armenian Women and children were abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Thousands of Armenian owned property were transferred to the Turkish state. All of these events were widely documented by nuetral eyewitnesses. Australia has made great progress in its treatment of Aboriginal injustice, some examples are - The Aboriginal flag flies on most goverment buildings, the government has made an official apology, the traditional custodians of the land are generally acknolwedged before official speeches, Aboriginal holy sites are protected etc. In Turkey, the past hundred years have seen continious persectution of Armenians, including laws which prohibit discussion of the Armenian genocide such article 301. Turkey has a long way to go in facing its history like Australia. So, a better understanding in the Armenian Genocide by attending a comparative genocide course run by Prof.Tatz at UTS, will help you understand the similarities and differences between the Armenian and Aboriginal issues. Simply saying that they are the same represents a very superficial undesrtanding of the respective histories.
Having read Professor Tatz detailed findings on the Aboriginal genocide, it is unimaginable how you can dismiss the pain, killings, humiliation, suffering, rape, seperation & assimilation inflicted on these people right in front of your very eyes for 2 centuries & move on with Kevin Rudd’s “Sorry” which does not even acknowledge the pattern which carries on today. You are also dismissive of Professor Yair Auron’s detailed reports on the Holodomor in which the Soviet Union starved 6-7 million Ukranians to death between 1932-1933. Armenia does not recognize both of these as genocide? Why? Yet you are asking the world to recognize the Armenian genocide. It should not be a matter of you recognize mine I’ll recognize yours, how can you raise awareness & be take seriously when you are denying dignity for the Holodomor victims who starved to death by your Russian protectors & how long more can you turn a blind eye to the Aboriginals who are living in conditions no civilized human can comprehend. Yet you ignore these for some reason but I hope you don’t deny them. Unfortunately when it is not our genocide or if recognition means upsetting an ally we deny it & therefore we are as equally responsible for future genocides.
11:22am | 29/11/11
You have used the following words; treatment, persecution, injustice, issue, cleansing to describe the Aboriginal genocide but not the actual word? So are we to compare 1 genocide from the other by the time limit of killings, methods of extermination, assimilation policies? What puzzles me is when you draw the attention to the holocaust the Turk’s had saved nearly 100 000 Jews from persecution according to Jewish reports? I also wonder if the Turk’s had been persecuting Armenians as early as the 11th century why were the majority of Armenian population still living there? Surely with a mighty army which conquered 3 continents they could have changed the demographics of eastern Turkey in those 700 years? how was it that the Armenian population expanded to cities as far as Istanbul & swelled so rapidly. 1478 Constantinople census: 6000 Armenians and 1844 statistics Constantinople 220 000 Armenians? There’s gota be a reason for this. As for the differences between Armenian - Aboriginal issues & Armenian - Jewish issues can we also find comparisons between Jewish - Aboriginal issues & will that help us understand genocide better even if we deny one over the other?
01:21pm | 29/11/11
The word genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 using 2 defining examples of what the word meant: the systematic killing of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during WW1 and Jews in Europe in WW2. The Armenian case is etymologically intertwined with the word Genocide – intrinsically connected. In my personal opinion, the plight of Aborigines during British colonial rule in Australia was cruel and at times genocidal in nature. If one wants to call it the Aboriginal Genocide, it can be justified. Your narrative of humane Turks saving Jews during WW2 or of Armenian populations increasing in cities in the western part of Turkey are details which are generally found on Turkish govt websites in an effort to show a history of tolerance towards minorities. However, anyone who has made even a superficial study of Ottoman and Turkish republican history knows that the truth is quite different. For example, many of the Armenians who moved to cities during Ottoman rule were those who were uprooted from their historic villages by Turkic tribes. The Ottomans had a system of child tax in which Christian children were torn from their parents and raised as Muslims becoming elite Ottoman soldiers (Janissaries), it’s called Devsirme. During WW2, the greatest number of Jews who died at sea were those who were on the ship ‘Sturmer’ which was disallowed passage to Palestine by Turkey . The Turks towed the boat into the Black Sea in which it was sunk by an unknown torpedo. Had they been allowed to disembark in Turkey or given passage, they would not have died. Turkey supplied Hitler’s Germany with Chromium which helped prolong the war and the killing of Jews. At the same time as Hitler was killing Jews, the government of Turkey instituted the infamous Capital Tax against the Jews and Christians of Turkey which has been described as among the worst economic crime by a state in modern history. Many Jews and Christians were deported and some killed simply because they were unable to pay the tax within a short time. The bottom line is that all acts of injustices must be studied and acknowledged. presenting romanticised history as you have done, does not help the cause of righting a historical injustice. As I said, complete a comparitive Genocide course and you’ll learn the difference.
03:19pm | 29/11/11
Dear David, You jump from topic to topic & only jump on the topics which suit your interest & other ideas or history is too romantic to be true, you know what? history is really romantic & Turks are barbaric smile all the best to you in your life & should I say a life without having to run across a Turk? because you are no different than a Turkish genocide denier except you are on the opposite side
04:28pm | 29/11/11
Quite the contrary, some of the people whom I look up to the most are ethnic Turks such are Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, Zaman Columnist Orhan Cengiz Kemal, Historian Taner Akcam and human rights activist Ragip Zarakoglu. I look up to them because they are fighting for improved human rights in Turkey - a country which has more journalists in gaol/jail than in China. Turkish society is improving and gestures like Erdogan’s apology to the Kurds for the Dersim massacre is a great step forward. Hopefully, the ultra nationalists in Turkey can become marginalised and a genuine transparent historical enquiry into the Armenian Genocide can be conducted with an ensuing apology. Maybe the Turks can learn a few things with the progress that Australia has made in recognising the “first Australians”- the Aborigines.
04:54pm | 29/11/11
American Military Mission to Armenia” (General Harbord) Report 1920 and Annex Report Nat. Archives 184.021/175 does not mention any “race extermination” but refers to “…refinements of cruelty by Armenians to Muslims”
Joint US-Congress Resolution no. 192, April 22, 1922 relative to the activities of Near East Relief ending 31.12.1921, has unanimously resolved that a total of 1,414,000 Armenians were alive.
According to documents in the US State Archive “NARA 867.4016/816” - 870 000 Armenians emigrated to Europe, Russia, Middle East, America, Canada etc.
Here’s something to read, hard copy history but I’m sure you’ll find this romantic too, indeed it is, dating back to 1890’s & they are American papers, now you’ll find this disturbing to read, but show some patience & share it with your friends…
04:58pm | 29/11/11
Recognising the “first Australians” oh how romantic, recognising what? how can you dispute they were the first “Australians” and why are they called “Australians”? didn’t they have a name before British got here? hahaha
06:52pm | 29/11/11
There are claims & there will always be counter claims, there are comparisons & there are dissimilarities. What seems the be the pattern with the Armenian allegation is that the Turks are genocidal & their claims are romantic? huh? when drawing comparison to the holocaust you find it romantic that Jews expelled from Europe have been settling in Ottoman land for centuries and during WW2 “some 15,000 Turkish Jews from France & even of some 100,000 Jews from Eastern Europe were saved because of Turkish efforts” Prof. Stanford J. Shaw. Fact finding has never been easier since google is out there. What I am suggesting is that if you compare the Turks to Nazi’s it is kind of ironic don’t you think, I understand it gets more attention & makes your claims easy to put forward but this is not a marketing campaign & it’s certainly not up you to draw the comparison when there are 1000’s of holocaust survivors who are grateful to the Turks. Now does that contradict your Nazi Turks claim? good, now you can alike the Turks to some other genocidal nation which they had no involvement neither good or bad. How about the Khmer Rouge Turks? but that doesn’t get much attention does it? how about Stalin Turks? nope that will offend friends… You can bend it all you want.
07:53pm | 29/11/11
David please please “a country which has more journalists in gaol/jail than in China. Turkish society is improving and gestures like Erdogan’s apology to the Kurds for the Dersim massacre is a great step forward”
make up your mind, forward step is good because you might get something out of it, but backward step is worse than China & yet the country is improving with 1 forward & 1 backward step?
apologising to “first Australians” after 220 years for exactly what?, if you see this as a great achievement on its own then you should expect a plain apology from the Turks in year 2135 to “ethnic Turks” why all this fuss now?
09:23pm | 29/11/11
Turkey in no way denies the attrocities, but denies Armenia’s fabricated exaggarated version which leaves out Armenian cruelty & does not address the questions “why”
10:15am | 30/11/11
anayone there? hellllooooo…..everyone must be busy reading the falsified genocide
06:13pm | 30/11/11
Mr Sassoon are you there?
In 2005, Turkey officially proposed to the Armenian government the establishment of a joint historical commission composed of historians & other experts from both sides to study together the events of 1915 & to open the archives of Turkey & Armenia, as well as the archives of all relevant third-party countries & share their findings publicly. Unfortunately, Armenia has not yet responded positively to this initiative & Turkey’s proposal remains on the table.
Professor Arnold J. Toynbee :
Paris Peace Conference Delegate
Director of Studies Royal Institute of International Affairs London
British Foreign Ministry Political Secret Service Department
In attempting to express and explain the Turkish point of view, I am not seeking to suggest that it is right, or to deny the charges brought against the Turkish nation and Government for their treatment of subject peoples during the past century. Their crimes are undoubtedly exaggerated in the popular Western denunciations, and the similar crimes committed by Near Eastern Christians in parallel situations are almost always passed over in silence. At the same time, the facts substantiated against the Turks (as well as against their neighbours) by authoritative investigation are so appalling
that it is almost a matter of indifference, from the point of view of establishing a case, whether the embroideries of the propagandists are counterfeit or genuine. If it be objected that moral influence is not a relevant
factor, on the ground that Turkish speaking Moslems with a nomadic strain in their blood have an innate criminal tendency, it may be answered that there is no logical connection whatever between these linguistic, religious, and economic characteristics on the one hand and a depraved moral constitution on the other, and that the empirical method of inquiry leads to opposite conclusions.
07:08pm | 30/11/11
I’m glad the editor is not fed up with me. We deny nothing! Anyone with basic history knowledge would know that Turks suffered tremendous casualties fighting off the Russians, British, French, Italian, Greek, ANZAC’s & had fought nearly 20 wars in the the past century. We believe the Russian’s British, French, ANZAC’s, Greeks, Armenians, German & the entire world suffered, we have moved on & do not wish to antagonize others.
At the end of the WWI, when the armies of Allied States occupied The Ottoman Empire & the British officials among them arrested 143 Ottoman political & military leaders & intellectuals for “having committed war crimes toward Armenians” &exiled; them to Malta where a trial was launched. However, the massive scrutiny made on the Ottoman, British, American archives in order to find evidence to incriminate these 143 persons failed to produce even the least iota of proof against them. In the end, the detainees in Malta were released without trial & even any indictment in 1922.
The United States archives contain an interesting document sent to Lord Curzon on 13 July 1921 by Mr. R.C. Craigie, the British Ambassador in Washington. The message was as follows: “I regret to state that there is nothing that may be used as evidence against the Turkish detainees in Malta. There are no events that may constitute adequate proofs. The said reports do not appear to contain even circumstantial evidence that could be useful to reinforce the information held by His Majesty’s Government against the Turks.”
Peace at home, peace in the world. Mustafa Kemal ATATURK
07:49am | 01/12/11
Here are some excerpts from 2 of the main Turkish newspapers regarding the latest Dersim massacre apology and its Armenian connection.
“Why Erdo?an is ‘Armenian-minded’” by Mustafa Akyol published by Hurriet Turkish Daily 29 November 2011. Akyol states “Of course, sensible people realize this might be the beginning of a new era in which ugly truths in near history, including what really happened to the Armenians in 1915, might be faced. As the cult of the state unravels, the ghosts from the past will emerge from where they are locked by the state ... K?l?çdaro?lu’s commitment to Kemalism has blinded him to the crimes of Kemalism”
“What about 1915?” by Orhan Kemal Cengiz publsied by Zaman Daily 24 November 2011.Cengiz States “Another factor that prevents us from discussing this issue is the fact that “modern Turkey” and the “Turkish identity” are founded upon a sort of “exclusiveness.” Those who founded Turkey actually defined Turks as those who were not the non-Muslims ... It is now clear that we in Turkey have constructed an identity on top of this whole denial mechanism.”
“The Çanakkale War was a very painful time in history for Turkey. It was a war that saw us bury tens of thousands of the nation’s youth. Despite the pain that Turkey experienced at this time, we can tolerate monuments to the Anzacs (New Zealand or Australian soldiers who tried to invade Turkish lands) that stand on our soil, as well as the descendents of these soldiers who come to Turkey every year to have “sunrise services” in commemoration of the Anzacs. So why is it that while we manage to pull this all off successfully, we are unable to shed a single tear for our Armenian neighbors, or build a single monument in their memory? When people face up to their pasts, and reckon with what has happened, they contribute to the evolution of their societies. But when we deny what has happened, mistakes from the past become greater than just those mistakes, they actually turn into a part of the society’s identity.”
10:58am | 01/12/11
My parents are from Sivas, a city which still has few Armenian residents. I am told by dad, during my grandfathers childhood there were as many Armenians villages as there were Turkish & few Kurdish villages. True, Armenians were great neighbours & were honest talented people. Another thing he tells me is the state of shock his grandparents & all the people back then endured when hell broke loose. Armenian’s were manipulated by Russians & British into attacking Turkish & Kurdish villages who would then retaliate & foreign intervention would be justified and in return Armenians would be given land for their Great Armenia nation. The cruelty of Armenian thugs armed & organized by the Russian army spared no child, woman, gender, age nor even ethnicity. The accesive force used by the Ottoman forces further fuelled the violance & the neighbours (for centuries) on both sides faced a big dilemma, should they help each other or should they attack before they get attacked. Fear & anger which prevailed on both sides resulted in unimaginable attrocities which we still talk about today. This was a point of no return & as according to plan the Armenian’s embraced the Russian army who were relieved to have the Armenians as a buffer between them & the Ottoman army.
A monument for what? for being opportunistic during most desperate times? for taking up arms alongside the enemy? for backstabbing within? If I were you I would ask the Russians to erect a monument which I’m sure there is since Armenian lives spared alot of Russian lives only to be bertayed at the end. ANZAC’s fought a battle which wasn’t theirs, they have come to terms with it & they continue to draw lessons from the ill fated Gallipoli campaign. Although the Armenians brought upon themselves their own destruction, they have been made to believe that the Turks are responsible. Who can blame them? After all human conscience will not accept such guilt, especially having gained nothing but pain during the process, nor can you admit such to your once neighbour & now sworn enemy. Facing the truth is what the Australian’s are doing in Gallipoli, they are dignifying their fallen & respecting the enemy, Armenians are still chasing their aspirations as they were then, the so called Armenian genocide is the monument that forms your identity & that can be carried whereever you go
11:08am | 01/12/11
Hovhannes Katchaznouni, 1st Prime Minister of the Independent Armenian Republic. A manifesto which he had presented to the Convention of foreign branches of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation convened in April 1923 in Bucharest, Romania. Convinced that the questions raised there would be subject to serious consideration of, not only the members of the Dashnag (Dashnak) Party, but also of other Armenians as well, Hovhannes Katchaznouni thought it was his duty to have the manifesto published and thereby made public property.
The Armenian version of the book was published in Vienna by the Mihitarian Press in the year 1923. The English version appeared in New York in 1955 through the Armenian Information Service. It was translated from the original by Matthew A Callender and edited by John Roy Carlson (Arthur A. Derounian).
“We had embraced Russia whole-heartedly without any compunction. Without any positive basis of fact we believed that the Tzarist government would grant us a more-or-less broad self-government in the Caucasus and in the Armenian vilayets liberated from Turkey as a reward for our loyalty, our efforts and assistance.
We had created a dense atmosphere of illusion in our minds. We had implanted our own desires into the minds of others; we had lost our sense of reality and were carried away with our dreams. From mouth to mouth, from ear to ear passed mysterious words purported to have been spoken in the palace of the Viceroy; attention was called to some kind of a letter by Vorontzov -Dashkov to the Catholicos as an important document in our hands to use in the presentation of our rights and claims - a cleverly composed letter with very indefinite sentences & generalities which might be interpreted in any manner, according to one’s desire.
We overestimated the ability of the Armenian people, its political and military power, and overestimated the extent and importance of the services our people rendered to the Russians. And by overestimating our very modest worth and merit we were naturally exaggerating our hopes and expectations.”
11:29am | 01/12/11
Yes I have read them, and? They are opinions of two individual journalists. Let’s not forget that the Armenian propaganda benefits alot from exclusiveness, Muslim Turks on 1 side & Christian Armenians on the other side.
As you might have realized I am openly discussing the attrocities & I haven’t denied any massacres or cruelty carried out by the Ottomans or Armenians… However I do not wish to be imposed a thought or an idea based on hearsay & inheritance. It is important to separate personal opinions as such in the the main article above & journalists views from written facts & hard evidence. Sassoon’s article makes use of exclusiveness if you read carefully…
02:17pm | 01/12/11
There is no point debating about whether an Armenian Genocide occured in a comments section of a news website. Copying and pasting quotes which were made after the event and out of context from tacky denialist websites is not a representation of a genuine historical enquiry into the subject matter. I think your first step should be to find out what happened in the city of your grandfather, Sivas. I would start by reading a book written by Osman Koker and published in Turkey called “Armenians in Turkey 100 years ago”. Have a look at the section on Sivas to learn about the Armenian origins of the city and how many churches and schools the community had before 1915. Then see how much of those cultural buildings and Armenians remain today.
It is also crucial to realise that there was no Armenian state at the time and Armenians were not a monolithic group. You had Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire and Armenian subjects of the Russian Empire. Armenians fought loyally for both. This also means that there was an assymmetry of power between the Turks and their Armenian subjects - the Turks had a state with administration, military, police at their disposal.
I would then suggest you read the reports made by those who were in Sivas during WW1 such as American, Danish, Swedish missionaries and diplomats. Since America was nuetral during WW1 until 1917 and never declared war on Turkey, the US reports can be relied upon as credible. Then see if the Austrian/German diplomatic reports corroborate the American reports. Austria/Germany were allied to Turkey during WW1, so there is no reason for them to be biased since they were meant for internal consumption. When you apply this research principle to most of the towns and villages throughout the Ottoman Empire, you will see a pattern of simultaneous uprooting of Armenian women, children and elderly. As the recent court cases on the Rwandan Genocide have shown, genocidal intent can be deduced by the systematic and simultaneous nature of one ethnic group being targetted for destruction, even if there are no written orders. You may then want to conduct some research into the role of Armenians in the Ottoman Army during WW1 and you may discover, to your surprise, that Enver Pasha wrote a letter to the Armenian Bishop of Konia in early 1915, describing the heroism of Armenians in the Ottoman Army on the Sarakamish front. You’ll also discover that the captain of the heavy artillery unit at Gallipoli, was an Armenian Sarkis Torossian, who was decorated for his valour and bravery for sinking 2 allied warships. The bottom line is that there are hardly any Armenians left in their historic homeland of eastern Turkey and evidence of Armenian existence has over the past 80 years of republican Turkey been systematically destroyed.
Recent research has discovered that 63 (not 12) Turks were tried in Istanbul by Turkish courts in 1919/1920 for having been complicit in the Armenian massacres and deportations.
There was no such thing as “Malta tribunals” but there were “Malta detainies” who were waiting for an inter-allied tribunal which was going to be set up within the requirements of the Sevres Treaty. The disunity of the Allies coupled with Turkish Nationalist resistance, hindered such a tribunal from taking place. But this is a seperate issue to the Istanbul Trials which witnessed the conviction by Turkish courts of those responsible for Armenian deaths.
This is the last post I will make on this comments section in the hope that you can make an independent historical enquiry into the event without relying on the official state sanctioned denial of Turkey. There are a growing number of progressive citizens in Turkey who are desiring their govt to come to terms with the Armenian Genocide. However, there also remains a considerable portion of ultra-nationalists who in my opinion are indoctrinated with the notion that Armenians (babies, children, women, elderly) were treacherous and their deportation was a military necessary.
02:25pm | 01/12/11
No joke, seriously I’m out of here this time smile I would like to make 1 last point. though.. murder is a crime, yes? the most serious crime : to intentionally cause another person’s death without legal excuse or justification. In such cases, the perpetrator is tried before a court of law & if the prosecutor can put forward substantial evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the person is then convicted according to the countries laws. And even so, there are examples of wrongfully convicted or falsely accused victims in our criminal justice system & all around the world. I believe there are penalties for intentionally falsely accusing someone of a crime they have not commited?
Now, genocide is a crime defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group”. I know from my personal experiences that majority of the people I met on the Armenian issue believed or preferred to label it a genocide “because they felt uncomfortable denying it”. The majority had no knowledge about the events & among the few who had read only a few paragraphs (as above) had read the Armenian propaganda. Now in this case the victims are the Armenians, they are the prosecutor & also the judge! Yet we are made to feel very uncomfortable in denying it even if we know nothing about it due to the constant references made to the Jewish Holocaust. Are there any penalties for intentionally falsely accusing of commiting genocide which is a legal word to describe the father of all crimes? Do we even care?
Source: thepunch.com.au .