(Translated from Turkish, Conference of Mehmet Polatel
Losing ownership of real estate and cases of property confiscation during the Armenian Genocide Period by Mehmet Polatel
I would like to commence my speech with couple of sentences on the importance of property ownership during the mass violence and turbulent times - a subject which has long been neglected among the studies made about the Armenian Genocide.
What kind of reliable documents do we have to prove this point? Every mass violence event requires research and understanding, based on cause and effect relationship. For example, the accusation of “massacre” is a worn out term, proven to be a big lie in a book written by the Associated Press correspondent George A. Schreiner who came to Turkey with a friend from a Chicago newspaper. In early 1915, both went to Dardanelles with the permission of Enver Pasha and saw all the Allied Navy’s bombardments and killings there. The earlier Assoc. Press correspondent lived in Thessaloniki and he wrote to satisfy the expectations of the missionaries and readers, in Schreiner’s words “he had fouled the nest”. When the book, “The Story of Ambassador Morgenthau” was published in 1918, he was the first person who wrote to tell him that his stories were not true and that he had distorted the facts. He later went to Baghdad and wrote about his findings in his book [From Berlin to Bagdad behind Scenes in the Near East – 1918]. He is a dependable eye witness and writer.
Almost every force of suppression applied on people is accompanied by a case of people losing ownership of their property - real estate and others. We may argue that losing possession of a real estate, handled through the related offices of the Government, resembles the popular robbery cases similar to that of Jews losing their rights to their property during the Holocaust period in Europe.
If the writer were honest and sincere enough . . .