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2389) “Logical Fallacies of Armenian Propagandist" by Bugra Demirel

Critical thinking and related topics are being thought in almost every university and community college in order to direct collage students during class discussions or public debates. Within these lectures, instructors are going over the key points of critical thinking and logical fallacies to avoid in critical thinking. These rules and tactics are highly important in . . almost every part of our social life and academic career. Therefore, Armenian-Turkish discussions can be a very nice example to see the applications of critical thinking or point out the logical fallacies. For many years, Turks and Armenians have been debating over the relocation of separatist Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Official position of Armenian Diaspora is to call the issue as “Genocide” and demand reparations from Turkish government which is around 240 billion dollars or eastern provinces of Turkey. On the other hand, Turkish side wants to debate on the issue with historical facts and documents. The definitions below are taken from “Logical Fallacies” lecture in POS 1041, American Government class an applied to the Armenian and Turkish discussions over the issue of Armenian relocation.

• “Ad Hominem (AH): Attacking the arguer and not the argument. This is used to redirect the focus of the argument away from the idea to the person holding the idea in order to discredit the person and therefore make that person's argument meaningless. This is faulty because anyone can have a correct idea, whether they are a good person, bad person or neither.”

- This is commonly used by Armenian propagandist in order to create negative public opinion over Turkish society. In that case, they point out the human rights violations and development process in modern day Turkey and try to attack arguer instead of the argument. The purpose is to create vision of “Innocent Armenians” by promoting religious propaganda and “Barbarian Turks” based on domestic political actions of Turkish Republic. Modern day Turkey or Turkish society has nothing to do with definitions of events in Ottoman Empire.

• “Burden of Proof (BOP): The maker of an extraordinary claim has to prove it, because prior evidence points in the other direction. If someone wants to change the accepted paradigm, then they must provide evidence and logic that says it should be done.”

• “Lack of Evidence (LOE): If there is no evidence to support a claim, then it is fallacious to believe in the claim. “

- This is the most important part which should be taken very seriously. Armenian Diaspora claims that the issue should be defined as “Genocide”. Now, it is highly important to follow legal definitions. So, what does genocide mean?
According to the Article II of United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, various acts (specifically listed in the convention) committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Now, the key word is: INTENT.

Armenians or pro-Armenian historians are responsible to provide evidence that shows the intent of Ottoman government to destroy Armenian ethnicity. Since the beginning of these claims, such evidence was not provided. In addition, Armenian legal authorities did not bring this issue to the international court or none of the International Judicial branches recognized these acts as genocide. Because, the judicial process requires facts and documents in order to come up with a conclusion. Otherwise, the case stands as: “Your word to my word”

In addition, Malta trials by British government is great example in order to show the lack of evidence. During those days, over 70 Ottoman government officials were arrested on charges of “Committing Genocide on Armenian people” and taken to the Malta Island. British investigators searched Ottoman government archives during the days of British invasion in Istanbul (around 5 years) and couldn’t find any evidence to support their claims. Finally, Turkish officials were released and brought back to Turkey.

Today, around 20 countries that recognized the relocation in 1915 as ‘genocide’ have no historical basis. They did not create any historical commission to investigate the issue or invite Turkish government to present their position. They declared defendant as guilty on the evidence (in this case, evidence is grandparents’ diaries) of prosecution alone. What a democracy!

• “Memory (MEM): People often claim to remember things exactly as they happened or as they were exposed to them. Memory, however, is a highly faulty thing. Memories become distorted, deleted, added and sometimes are completely fabricated. These effects become stronger over time, therefore, and everyone who claims to be certain about their memories can surely be proven wrong from time to time. Memory, therefore, cannot be relied upon as a source of information. “

• “Anecdotal Evidence (AE): Most people use individual incidents that they've experienced, observed or heard about as evidence of scientific fact. Anecdotes do not make science. Anecdotes are given by human beings with faulty memories and individual biases and these come through, often unconsciously, in the telling of anecdotes.”

- ’There is no crime without evidence. Genocide cannot be written about in the absence of factual proof.’
Henry R. Huttenbach

When Turkish arguer asks Armenian side to provide evidence to back up their arguments; the common answer is the eye witnesses of massacres in 1915 or the diaries of their grandparents where they state the situation completely bias. Almost every pro-Armenian author who wrote a book about the issue based the facts on individual incidents that their ancestors experienced.

• “Argument from Authority (AFA): The acceptance of a statement by someone who is in an "authoritative" position by virtue of education, experience, station in life or other reason. This is faulty mainly because no one knows everything, regardless of the topic. This can be manifested, among other ways, by the acceptance of a wrong idea just because it comes from someone we respect or the rejection a right idea just because it was supported by someone we disrespect.”

- Hitler quote perfectly suits in this category. Supposedly, Hitler stated that: "After all, who remembers the annihilation of the Armenians” which is always used by Armenian propagandist in order to prove that the relocation was genocide. First of all, the original document of quote wasn’t found in the German archives which were brought to the United States after Nuremberg trials. But, even we assume that the quote was real, the argument still fits in AFA of logical fallacies.

On the other hand, Armenians reject the quotes from Joseph Stalin where stated as: “The agents of the Allied Powers are exaggerating Turkey’s campaign in Transcaucasia, take it easy.” In the rest of the documents, he points out the large scale Armenian revolt against Ottoman military camping before the relocation. In past couple years, Turkish historian Mehmet Perincek and his studies in Russia brought significant evidence from Bolshevik archives.

• “Immunity to New Ideas (INI): People ignore new facts or viewpoints. They rarely change their most fundamental presuppositions - they build up immunity to new ideas. This is a problem largely because nobody has perfect, complete information and should always remain open to new ideas. “

- Armenian people are known as very conservative within their society. They are very connected to their tradition, language and specially, the alleged genocide. Most of the Armenian families are still teaching their children about these historical events with one sided perspective. Children only hear about how Armenians suffered during WWI and massacred. On the other hand, no one mentions about half million Turkish who lost their lives during the Armenian revolt. So, when Turkish side presents their position about these events, the Armenian arguers just laugh. But, Ottoman, French, British and Russian archives clearly show the massacres of Muslims in a large scale Armenian revolt. Also, important scholars such as Bernard Lewis, Stanford Shaw, David Fromkin, Justin McCarthy, Guenther Lewy and Norman Stone researched on the Armenian Revolt and came up with very significant evidence. So, years of one-sided history is developing very strong immunity among Armenian youth to the other side of the argument.

In addition, bias history lessons by families caused major problems back in the days. The desire for revenge (Diaspora calls the revenge as ‘Justice’) and ultra-nationalistic ideas were created by the Armenian Diaspora for past many years. During 1970’s, the situation became very dangerous that, leftist Armenians created a terrorist organizations called ASALA and Justice Commandos and killed over 70 Turkish diplomats and citizens by bombing and assassinations. So, how can you change those people’s minds?

• “Misunderstanding the Nature of Statistics (MNS): People have little understanding of how statistics work. They often disavow the veracity of statistics because they don't understand them.”

- The issue with statistic is about the numbers of casualties during those days. According to the Ottoman, British, French, Russian and some Armenian sources the population of Armenians in 1915 was not more than 1.5 million. So, alleged Armenian genocide numbers came from the results of census in the Ottoman Empire. Armenians Diaspora claims that 1.5 million Armenian lost their lives in 1915 which means that entire Armenian population died in relocation. Those unrealistic claims can sometimes reach 2 or 3 million which depends on the imagination of Armenian propagandist. Today, around 8 million Armenians are living all around the world which means that large amount of Armenians stayed alive after the relocation. General calculations can be made by applying world’s population growth rate between 1900 and 2005. In addition, many of them migrated to the US, Russia and France. Today, over 1 million Armenians are living in those countries other than the Republic of Armenia which has around 3 million people. So, if the entire Armenian population was dead in 1915, where did 8 million Armenians came from?

• “Observational Selection (OS): People tend to decide what they think about something without looking for evidence, and then they look only for examples that confirm their assumption. People ignore evidence that disputes their already-made assumptions.”

No word needed…

Bugra Demirel