1923) How Did Robert Fisk Ridicule Himself (Again)

 This content mirrored from Site ©  Robert Fisk might be a good, even great journalist, but he becomes more and more emotional especially on Armenian issue. A couple of days ago, we saw that he came to the point of using forged material as a source. . .

His recent column was full of misinformation, supplied by some disinformation, but a paragragh was exceptionally conspicuous. This paragraph was:

"On 15 September 1915, for example (and a carbon of this document exists) Talaat Pasha, the Turkish Interior minister, cabled an instruction to his prefect in Aleppo about what he should do with the tens of thousands of Armenians in his city. 'You have already been informed that the government... has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons living in Turkey... Their existence must be terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience.' These words are almost identical to those used by Himmler to his SS killers in 1941."

Even modern Armenian scholars -not fanatical, but fair ones- accept that there is no such telegram and it is forged decades ago in advantage of Armenian killers who were being prosecuted in Germany because of Talat's murder.

So the one which is still in circulation is a hoax that can only fool die-hard fanatics or the bought-off pens, like Taner Akcam.

How can I say so surely that this telegram is not authentic? Because:

1) Its rhetoric is completely incompatible with Ottoman State's correspondence style.

2) Not only the Ottoman officials, but none of the state officials in the world can ever write a official telegram in such a style.

3) Renowned historians like Erich Zürchner and Andrew Mango, as well as many Armenian historians, accepted in their books that this telegram is forged.

4) Even the Foreign Secretary of United Kingdom accepted that the telegram is not authentic.

Moreover, Fisk doesn't only use this so-called Talat Pasha telegram, but also "uncovers" some unpublished photos during his Yerevan visit.

How come such a respected journalist does not check his news material?

He suggests that the photos were taken during the deportation of Armenians in 1915, but the trains in the photos are clearly carrying the official flag of Republic of Turkey, which is adopted in 1936!

Fisk's emotional -hence misleading- attitude on Armenian issue might either be a result of his age or his strong belief in fanatic Armenian diaspora. If he could spend sometime on double-checking for the written and graphic sources that he use without hesitation, he would be more reliable -instead of biased- and he won't be ridiculed by his own stories anymore.

Does being a famous journalist give you the right to use fake documents and photos?

at 4:27 PM

R said...

I am surprised by your reaction. Fisk, who has no particular connection to Armenians or Armenia, has written extensively about the genocide both in his first book "Pity the Nation" and most recently in "The Great War for Civilisation" in which he devotes a chapter to it.

I would be interested to know which Armenian historians believe the telegram in question was a forgery. Also do you have a link to the photo you question.

It is unusual to refer to the Dutch historian Erich J. Zurcher as in his book Turkey: A Modern History, he concludes that there was a centrally-controlled plan by the CUP to exterminate the Armenians.
6:57 PM

Emre Kizilkaya said...

The photo is also printed by a Turkish newspaper. I'll post a link as soon as I scan it.

I would also give at least one example of Armenian historian that believes that the telegram is a hoax.

Please check Zurcher's book again on this telegram issue. I should have said EVEN he accepts that it is a fake document. Apart from his overall view, he states that the telegram is fake. I can give you the page numbers if you can't find after searching.
9:50 PM
Hans said...

I never heard about my fellow Dutch man who is granted one of the highest Medals in Turkey.
I checked him out, made some calls, an yes, he is clear about the Armenian Genocide.
But...this is not an excuse to attack, haunt, molest, intimidate Turkish people all around the world by some lunatics.
Mandela is right: reconciliation above revenge.
11:47 PM

Emre Kizilkaya said...

Kevork Pamukciyan is one of the leading Armenian historians who accept that the telegram in question is a forgery.

I asked this to Sefa Kaplan, who wrote the story, and he pointed out Prof. Selim Deringil for a full list of Armenian historians who also accept this fact.

On the other hand, I couldn't find the train photo online yet. Besides The Independent, a Turkish newspaper also printed it last week, but I don't remember which one it was. I would post the photo as soon as I find it (online or on the page).
12:06 PM

Emre Kizilkaya
The Istanbulian
Personal Chronicles of a Turkish Journalist

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©
Above Image Link provided by Mustafa Balkaya

The Star and Crescent has been in use for a long time by Ottomans and Kemalist Turks. The law broought `standards regarding proportions, shape, dimensions of the star and crescent' because before then the flags were quite different than each other although all had star and crescent.

Just in case you need I attach the pages from Erich Zurcher's book which are self explanatory.

I should like to make two important clarifications on Zurcher's remarks:

a- He implies (without giving source and documentation) that Germans thought that there was "Government involvement" in some of the massacres. There is a pile of other documentation in other books plus some German correspondence, to the effect that the German generals, actually had asked the Turks to `free the war area` from all civillians. This is the reason why every one in the war zones were evacuated, Moslems had no arrangements or feed or transfer camps at all.

b- The second reference is on Teskilati Mahsusa, the magic word that Dardrian and Akcam love to build scenarios and assumptions. According to various sources. "Teskilati Mahsusa" was a counter espionage and trouble making force behind enemy lines. Total number was estimated to be slightly over 4000 and half of this force was already smuggled into Transcaucasia, leaving just a half in Anatolia. These units, had no time, reason to get involved in the deportations but since they had their branches in all principle cities with their officers, it may sound reasonable that the officers pin pointed those Armenians they wanted to be removed, based on their own information, whether it was correct or wrong.

It is indeed surprising that some ignorant persons *Robert Fisk ???" speak about Zurcher without reading - seeing his short pages on the Armenian affair in his book for the complete Turkish history.

Sukru Server Aya
4 Sep 2007


eastern Anatolia. The CUP government had approached the British about this matter and the latter had discussed it with the French and Russian governments. In February 1914 agreement was reached about the establishment of two inspectorates with far-reaching powers in eastern Anatolia and a Norwegian and a Dutch inspector were appointed in May. The outbreak of war prevented the scheme from being put into operation.

At the outbreak of the war, Armenian nationalists saw in a Russian victory their chance to achieve the establishment of an Armenian state in eastern Anatolia. Russian propaganda encouraged these aspirations. A few thousand Armenians joined the Russian army; there were Armenian desertions from the Ottoman army and guerrilla activity behind the Ottoman lines. Confronted with this situation, the Ottoman cabinet, on the initiative of the Interior Minister, Talat Pasha, decided to relocate the entire Armenian population of the war zone to Zor in the heart of the Syrian desert. This relocation (tehcir) was carried through in 1915-16 and it resulted in the death of enormous numbers of Armenians. So much is undisputed historical fact. The controversies rage on three points. The first is the military necessity of the operation. Turkish historians and their supporters point to the treasonable activities of many Armenians during the war and to the difficulty of knowing which Armenians would remain loyal and which would side with the Russians. The other side has — correctly - pointed out that the deportations were not limited to the war zone but took place all over the empire. In western Anatolia and Istanbul deportation of whole communities was exceptional, but members of the Armenian elite were persecuted.

The second controversy is over numbers: Turkish historians have put the number of deaths as low as 200,000, while the Armenians have sometimes claimed ten times as many. The reason for the discrepancy, propaganda apart, lies in the differing estimates of the number of Armenians who lived in the empire before the war and of the numbers who emigrated. Between 600,000 and 800,000 deaths seems most likely.

The third and most important controversy concerns intent, and whether genocide was committed. The Turkish side and its supporters claim that the situation in eastern Anatolia was one of inter-communal warfare, in which Armenian bands (supported by the Russian army) and Kurdish tribes (supported by Turkish gendarmes) struggled for control. They also recognize that the Armenians sent to Syria were subjected to vicious attacks by the local Muslim population (especially
Kurds), but they attribute this to lack of control on the part of the Ottoman government rather than to its policies. They point out that the official records of the Ottoman government do not, as far as is known, contain any documents which demonstrate government involvement in the killings. The Armenian side has tried to demonstrate this involvement, but some of the documents it has produced (the so-called 'Andonian papers') have been shown to be forgeries. Many of the British and American publications on this issue from the time of the First World War which purport to prove government involvement also bear a heavy stamp of wartime propaganda. On the other hand, the same cannot be said of wartime German sources who also report government involvement.

There are indications that, while the Ottoman government as such was not involved in genocide, an inner circle within the Committee of Union and Progress under the direction of Talat wanted to 'solve' the Eastern Question by the extermination of the Armenians and that it used the relocation as a cloak for this policy. A number of provincial party chiefs assisted in this extermination, which was organized through the Teskilat-i Mahsusa under the direction of its political director (and CUP central committee member) Bahaeddin $akir. There seem to have been frequent clashes between governors and other local administrators on the one hand, and party representatives on the other.

The fact that the records of the Teskilat-i Mahsusa have been destroyed and those of the CUP lost makes it hard, if not impossible, to prove their involvement beyond doubt, but this author at least is of the opinion that there was a centrally controlled policy of extermination, instigated by the CUP.

Attacks on the Suez Canal
In January there was also a first attempt to take the Suez canal, when 20,000 troops crossed the Sinai desert in ten days, but their attemp to cross or cut off the canal was defeated. Nor was there an anti-British insurrection in Egypt to support the 'holy war', as had been expected. The Ottoman army withdrew to southern Palestine with relatively light casualties. A second attempt to attack the canal, in 1916, also failed.

Offensives by the Entente
After these first Ottoman attempts, the initiative lay squarely with the Entente. The first offensive action by the British was the landing of two Indian . . .


Anonymous said...

here you can find a book cover which (I guess) has the above mentioned photo.


Unfortunately I have to correct a mistake here.

This photo can not be named as a forgery just by saying that the offial flag was adopted in 1938.

Actually it was widely used officially decades before that in the Ottoman Empire. One may also see that people are still wearing Fez there so it should be before the "sapka devrimi" the law forbiding the use of Fez.

Indeed Armenians were moved by trains. There is no question about it. Also people who had the money were free to buy their tickets. But this actually works against the "Death March to Desert" myth. If you wish to kill people by starvation or exhaustion you don`t let them use trains (whic were so few) at a time when the army needs them the most.

Mustafa Balkaya

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