3091) Young Turk Mass Violence : A Regime-Focused Approach By Ugur Umit Ungor

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For The Record / The Armenian Weekly, April 2010

This article will discuss the proposition that the Armenian Genocide may be contextualized within a wider vista of mass violence committed against civilians by the Young Turk regime over roughly four decades of rule. It will take as a point of departure the suggestion that a relatively cohesive regime profoundly transformed the multi-ethnic Ottoman society from the 1913 coup d’état to the elections of
. . . 1950. This model will posit the Armenian Genocide within the changing power relations in this period and an exploration of important themes such as leadership, governance, ideology, socialization, and especially mass violence. In the current article, only the latter theme will be developed, using existing theoretical insights from the field of genocide studies and dictatorship studies. 1 The scholarship on the Young Turk regime is developing rapidly. So far, the regime has been studied in a fragmented way, with focus on specific aspects rather than its coherence. This article will attempt to challenge the convention by suggesting a new interpretative framework for understanding the regime. The value of this approach is that it can develop the thesis that from 1913–50, a clear political continuity can be observed in the administrative and ideological development of that dictatorship.

Models of dictatorships and totalitarianism need to identify areas in need of clarification, problematize major issues, and conjure up relevant research questions. For the Young Turk case, we have to ask several of these: How can the Young Turk dictator-ship best be understood? What are the most relevant and pertinent set of research questions to ask? And in which directions should the scholarship develop in order to generate the most meaningful and fruitful results? Theoretical views on the nature of dictatorships developed in totalitarianism studies have yielded important insights and tools that can be used for shedding light on the rise and fall of the Young Turk dictator-ship. In what follows, I will first outline several relevant facets of the regime itself, and then move on to discuss the issue of mass violence in more detail.


What is the Young Turk dictatorship? Any discussion on the nature of the Young Turk regime needs to commence with its leader-ship, the political elite at the apex of the regime’s political and military power. There are at least three ways of viewing this theme: periodization, biography, and authority.

The first issue, periodization, remains a thorny issue in modern Turkish history. The conventional model of modern Ottoman/Turkish history holds that there are two distinct regimes at work in the first half of the 20th century. The Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti, or CUP) ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1913–18. Subsequently, the Republican People’s Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Firkasi/Partisi, or RPP) was in power of the Turkish Republic between 1923 and 1950. In this view, the War of Independence of 1919–22 segregates these two regimes as a new regime came into being. The abolition of the sultanate and promulgation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 then marks the distinction through a clear legal discontinuity. These distinctions focus mainly on cosmetic problems such as labels and denominations, rather than on core issues such as regime structure, staffing, political culture, ideology, and pol-icy. This chronological model is heavily influenced, if not produced entirely, by Young Turk historiography. 2

In order to survive in an international force field that was opposed to them, it was in the Young Turks’ interest to present the post-1918 regime as an entirely novel political movement. This dissociation was necessary since the CUP elite was indicted for war crimes and genocide. On the surface, the CUP dissolved itself in 1918, but in reality it only changed its name and appearance: The name of the political party, the party organ, and key security forces were changed after 1918. Upstart Young Turks then perpetuated and codified this myth. For example, in his famous 1927 speech “Nutuk,” Kemal Ataturk misrepresented the historical record by aggrandizing his role in the Young Turk movement and airbrushing the fact that the CUP resurrected itself after 1918 and launched him to lead the movement. 3 The Young Turk historical gaze became the official ideology of the Turkish Republic and has contaminated modern scholarship as well: The trap of “methodological Kemalism” is one of the most common pitfalls that surround scholarship on the Young Turk era. Historians, speciously, have tended to periodize either from 1923 on, or up to 1923. Rather, we should view the period 1913–50 as a more circumscribed, coherent period.

Second, biographies can concretize the abstract notion of the continuity of Young Turk rule. It can be suggested that a generation of men, born roughly between 1870 and 1890 and educated under Sultan Abdul Hamid II at the medical and military academies, and the school for civil service, would ultimately become the Young Turk generation. United in the Young Turk movement, baptized in the fire of Balkan paramilitarism, they struggled for power around the fin de si` ecle and rose to hegemony in the first half of the 20th century. The biographies of the Young Turks are relevant for understanding their ethnic and class backgrounds, and educational and political experiences. 4 A solid understanding of individual and collective biographies can also explain the emergence of their belief system.

To support the claim of continuity in biographical terms, it is sufficient to cross-reference CUP members with RPP members and accentuate the emerging strong overlap in the composi-tion and structure of the minis-terial elites. It is no coincidence that names such as Mahmud Celal Bayar, Tevfik Rustu Aras, Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda, Kazim Ozalp, Ibrahim Tali Ongoren, Hilmi Uran, Ali Cenani, Sukru Kaya, and others appear throughout the 1913–50 era in official reports and operative documents as architects of state formation and nation building. The same continuity applies to the Turkish military. 5 After the ostensible caesura of 1923, these were the men who were employed since they had proved their loyalty to the CUP’s ideological projects and were intimately related to each other— in generation, kinship, and experience of war and revolution. Even though some men were tried and hanged in 1926, innumerable Young Turks in mid-level positions remained in office.

The third issue, authority, is a stumbling block in the study of the Young Turk dictatorship. The political elite that made up the movement and the party largely consisted of the same group of officers and professionals. As we know, the top elite in charge of the regime changed. For the first phase of the regime, the government was led by Mehmed Talaat as interior minister (later “grand vizier”), Ismail Enver (minister of war), and Ahmed Cemal (minister of navy, viceroy of Syria). This regime has often been called the “triumvirate,” but this is misleading: Cemal Pasha was sidetracked at the beginning of the war (and later tried to negotiate a separate agreement with the Allies), and the relationship between Talaat and Enver still awaits thorough investigation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that rather than cooperation, the relationship was marked by intrigue, competition, and occasionally even threatening enmity at the nexus of the respective ministries they wielded power over: the Interior Ministry and the War Ministry, respectively. 6

The second Young Turk regime had a less multipolar structure, as authority revolved more around the personal dictatorship of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, aided by significant henchmen. 7 Not one of the triumvirate survived to see the Turkish Republic, but the political culture did not experience major changes. A major challenge in the scholarship is to come to grips with the (dis)continuities and change in this process, as well as with the nature of authoritarian rule and charismatic leader-ship. For example, fragmentation remains an issue to be investigated: The Young Turk dictatorship was no monolithic moloch in perfect inner harmony. There was considerable power struggle, rivalry, and intrigue within both phases and between regions, security forces, and administrative units. But there was also consensus on the nation-state ideology. More research is needed into these fields.

The nature of the Young Turk regime is a serious controversy in Turkish history, and opinions on it differ radically. Influential myths uphold the metahistorical idea that Ataturk established democracy in Turkey, and that the post-war Young Turk regime was a modern parliamentarian democracy. Western countries have traditionally assessed the Young Turk regime in a positive light, as a buffer against Communism and an engine for reform against “reactionary” political Islam. 8 Hans Kohn, for example, argued in 1939 that the Kemalist dictatorship “is based upon liberal principles, upon the ideas of progress of the nineteenth century. . . . Liberalism and democracy are not despised or scorned, they are the goal of education.”9 Some historians, too, apologetically reject the positing of the Young Turk regime as a totalitarian dictatorship imbued with a radically nationalist ideology, similar to a more general inter-war European phenomenon. For example, Zafer Toprak has claimed that the Young Turks had no plans to demographically homogenize the Ottoman Empire through force. 10 In the face of the sophisticated body of research on Young Turk population politics, this is a hardly tenable position. Feroz Ahmad writes about the Young Turk rejection of democracy that “given the prevailing internal and external circumstances during these years, it would be rash to expect such a regime.”11 This too, is a justificatory assertion that aims to exonerate and exculpate the regime, e.g. from its agency in the mass crimes committed between 1913 and 1950.

Critical thinkers have dismissed these justifications as myths. Erik-Jan Zurcher, for example, writes that the Young Turk party had “totalitarian tendencies,” and continues to argue that what made it totalitarian was “the extreme nationalism, with its attendant development of a legitimizing historical mythology and racist rhetoric, the authoritarian character of the regime and its efforts to establish a complete totalitarian monopoly for its party of the political, social and cultural scene, the personality cult that developed around… Ataturk and Inonu…and the emphasis on national unity and solidarity with its attendant denial of class conflicts.”12 (To this might be added the violent treatment of ethnic minorities.) Hans-Lukas Kieser, too, summarily dismisses the myth that the Young Turk leadership was naive, benevolent, and relatively powerless in the face of overwhelming circumstances. 13 Considering the Young Turk regime’s monist urge to gain mastery over social processes and human destinies, its ambition to monopolize power at the center, destroy or silence opposition, commit mass violence against its own citizens, develop a radical ideology and a personality cult around a single leader, and extinguish non-Turkish cultural life in the public sphere of the eastern provinces, the regime perhaps may be classified as a nationalist, violent, totalitarian dictatorship.


These insights need to be developed and related to discussions on the regime’s ideas and acts of violence. As Jacques Sémelin has argued, mass violence is never a spontaneous outburst of popular emotion, nor a chaotic swarm of individuals milling about. It is fundamentally a coordinated effort organized by the very top political elite, aided and carried out by the perpetrating agencies. 14

In other words, to understand mass violence we have to understand better the workings of the political elite, the cogs of the dictatorial regime that pursued the destruction policies.

First and foremost, it is important to note that the Young Turk regime was responsible for unprecedented levels of political violence in modern Ottoman-Turkish society. Never before and never after have so many people been involved in processes of mass violence, either as perpetrators or as victims. The Young Turks were politically and ideologically committed to violence. 15 Four decades ago, Feroz Ahmad already argued:

Another facet of the political revolution was the brutalization of political life. Once politics ceased to be the sport of the ruling classes the rules were changed accordingly. Under Abdulhamid death sentences were the exception not the rule. Dissent was made impotent through isolation and dissenters in exile could always recant....The Unionists were men of a different stamp. To them politics was much more than a game and having seized power they meant to hold on to it. To do so they were willing to use all possible means, so that repression and violence became the order of the day. Nothing was sacred in the pursuit of power and those guilty of dis-sent must be prepared to pay with their lives. 16

The polarization and depacification of Ottoman political culture and society was profound. During the Young Turk era (1913–50), we can distinguish at least two major processes of state violence: the persecution and murder of Armenians and Syriacs in 1915, and the persecution and deportation of Kurds in the 1920’s and 1930’s. There are fundamental similarities and differences in these two episodes of Young Turk mass violence, but suffice it to mention that for our purposes we will focus on continuities. This section will dis-cuss the Young Turks’ experience with mass violence as it developed in the four decades the regime dominated Ottoman-Turkish politics. It will argue that the Young Turk movement was forged in an imperial apocalypse of war and ethnic cleansing that profoundly affected their political outlook once they seized power. From then on, the regime orchestrated several large-scale processes of violent persecution and mass murder of Armenians, Greeks, Kurds and others. Understanding the roots and rationale of all this violence remains an important challenge, which is beyond the scope of this article.

The Young Turk Movement Was Forged In An Imperial Apocalypse Of War And Ethnic Cleansing That Profoundly Affected Their Political Outlook Once They Seized Power.

For our purposes, we can discern at least three schools of thought on the Armenian Genocide, although the term “school” should be used relatively loosely. A first (and early) avenue of investigation was pursued by scholars who contextualized the long-term Armenian experience, in particular the persecutions and massacres against Ottoman Armenians during the crisis from the 1890’s to the 1915 genocide. In this interpretation, the Armenian call for equality, a functioning rule of law, harmony, autonomy, or independence was met by successive Ottoman governments with violence and repression. The genocide was a culmination that ended the “Armenian Question” by ending the Armenian demographic presence in the empire. 17

A second school contextualized the Armenian experience in World War I with that of other groups. They argued that the Young Turk regime from 1914 on engaged in a full-fledged policy of demo-graphic “Turkification” involving deportations of entire groups, including Armenians, Kurds, Circassians, Greeks, and others. The objective in this massive project was demo-graphic “Turkification”: the numerical dilution of these groups in certain territories, to be repopulated with Turks. The destruction of Armenians was an ouverture, as well as major component, of this process. 18 A third line of thought has contextualized the violence in the Turkish nation formation process in the long 19th century, during which the definition and demarcation of the nation under severe inter-state and intra-state pressures frequently led to crises of identity. During these crises, external enemies such as the Russian Empire were equated with internal ones, such as the Armenian middle classes in the Ottoman cities.19

It might be worthwhile to launch a fourth approach that may shed light on Young Turk mass violence from a different perspective. I argue, as an alternative or complementary approach to these three perspectives, for a historical contextualization that is regime-focused: I believe it can be helpful to apply Zurcher’s periodization of 1913–50 as the “Young Turk era” to the study of mass violence in that wretched period. Whereas Zurcher demonstrated political and administrative continuities in terms of state formation, I will conceptualize the problem from the perspective of mass violence. The problem appears to us when we consider the following timeline of intra-society state violence under the Young Turks. First of all, the very ascendance to power of the Young Turk party in 1913 is marked by the bloody coup d’état, the installation of a dictatorship, and the silencing and destruction of the opposition. Nineteen fifteen saw the genocide of Armenians and Syriacs, and 1921 the massacres of Pontic Greeks and Kurdish Alevis of Kocgiri. Only a few years later, the 1925 conflict and ensuing massacres in the Diyarbakir region destroyed innumerable lives, villages, and property. That episode was only matched by the 1930 massacres in the Ararat region, which included the first systematic Young Turk efforts of aerial bombing. The most serious inter-war massacre was the 1938 one in the Dersim region following a brief guerrilla war with the local Kurdish Alevi resistance. 20 All of this violence was committed by the Young Turk political elite.

For the victim groups it seemed as if they were singularly victimized in these episodes, and many authors have studied these episodes in isolation. Although we need to know much more about each disparate event, the disadvantages of this approach are that they are not related to each other historically or conceptually. The Armenian Genocide is no exception to this: As in many cases of genocide, the first studies were conducted by surviving intellectuals. However, lifting out the genocide from the broader context offered here may run the risk of decontextualizing it from four decades of Young Turk mass violence. For this, we need comparative studies of each disparate event: How do the deportations of 1915–16 compare to those of 1925 and 1934? Also, what can we learn about the perpetrators who were involved in all these events from 1915–38? Finally, what was the influence of earlier episodes of state violence on later phases?

It might be instructive to draw a parallel with the Stalinist dictatorship. Research into Soviet mass violence has yielded important results in terms of the forms and nature of violence that Stalin(ism) produced. Across Stalin’s bloody rule, several important campaigns of mass violence were launched: the deportation and murder of the country’s rural middle class during “dekulakization” in the late 1920’s, the Great Terror campaign of political repression and persecution orchestrated in 1937–38, the mass murder of Polish military officers in 1940, and the destructive comprehensive deportation of many ethnic groups (Poles, Chechens,Germans, Koreans, Crimean Tatars). The same political elite targeted millions of people based on their sup-posed group identity over a period of two decades. 21

With this series of massacres in mind, singling out the Great Terror of 1937–38 as if it had no relation with the other violent episodes obfuscates the overall nature of the regime. In the field of Armenian Genocide studies, the murder of Armenians is studied in relative isolation from the wider context of Young Turk mass violence. This hiatus in the scholarship is puzzling, considering only a few years separates episodes of Young Turk mass murder, such as the 1915 genocide of Armenians and the 1925 massacres and deportations of Kurds. In some areas, like Diyarbakir, the same local elites who had destroyed the Armenian presence were also instrumental in the massacre and deportation of Kurds. As in the case of the Stalinist dictatorship, the genesis of a violent episode depended on a myriad of factors related to the international pressures of the threat of war, the political tensions existing within the system, and the bipolar dynamic between minority and state. For each of these cases,more con-textual research could clarify how it fits in with the regime’s utopian ideology or particular political objectives.

Here is one example that must stand for many. The embodiment of continuity in Young Turk mass violence might well be the bureaucrat Sukru Kaya (1883–1959). His involvement with the Young Turk movement and regime ranges from school teacher to civil servant to wartime director of the deportation apparatus, up to minister of culture and interior minister. 22

Sukru Kaya was born on the Aegean island of Kos into a middle-class family. He enrolled in the Galatasaray Lycée, graduated from law school in 1908, and moved to Paris to continue his graduate studies. Upon his return to the Ottoman Empire, he began working for the state, first as a clerk for the Foreign Ministry and later as a civil inspector. The Young Turk seizure of power offered him an opportunity to progress within the Ottoman state bureaucracy. In June 1915, Kaya was assigned the task of opening new state orphanages to house Armenian children younger than 10. 23

An efficient organizer, he won the favor of Talaat and was made director of the bureaucratic apparatus in charge of the deportation process, the Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants (Iskan-i Asair ve Muhacirin Muduriyeti,or IAMM).During his tenure, Kaya was the key executive responsible for the destruction of Ottoman Armenians. He traveled into the field, in particular Diyarbakir and Aleppo, and supervised the construction of concentration camps along the Euphrates. In 1918, the British arrested and imprisoned Kaya at Malta, along with other Young Turks who were accused of crimes. He escaped from Malta and stayed in Italy and Germany for a while, before he returned to Anatolia and joined the Young Turk movement in Ankara. In 1923 he worked as a consultant to the Turkish delegation at the Lausanne Conference. 24

Under the Turkish Republic, Kaya was made mayor of Izmir, member of parliament for Mugla, and minister of agriculture. Ultimately, he found his calling under Kemal Ataturk and functioned as interior minister between 1927 and 1938. During that period, Kaya was responsible for the implementation of the persecution and deportation of Kurds. Kaya was an ideologue: In his speeches, some of which have been published, he’d explain the need “to separate the country into west and east,” arguing that in the east, it was the government’s task to “render the Turk the master.”25 This effectively meant the launching of a nation-state project whereby non-Turks would be expelled and deported from the eastern provinces, and Turks settled on the confiscated land. To determine the criteria for the identification and selection of the deportees, Kaya pushed for the use of the term “race” (irk). 26 He saw violence against ethnic minority civilians as a legitimate solution of national security dilemmas. For example, after the 1925 campaign against Kurds, he concluded that government forces had “crushed and annihilated the rebels and bandits in the east . . . like all our other measures, this is a public expression of force. Whatever it costs for the strength of the Turkish state.”27

Again, Kaya traveled into the field for several important research trips and reported directly to his superior, Kemal Ataturk. During a 1931 journey, he was enraged by the fact that former Armenian deportees in Syria were continuing their crafts and trades, and moving across the Turkish-Syrian border to conduct business in eastern Turkey. They were working with Arabs, Kurds, and Turks, some of whom were friends, neighbors, or even old business partners. As this thwarted the development of the Turkish “national economy,” he proposed a boycott against anyone working with Armenians and tighter surveillance, including building a hermetic border. 28

Kaya also oversaw the 1938 campaign in the Dersim region, in which at least 40,000 Kurdish Alevis were murdered and a further 15,000 deported in cattle wagons to be dispersed in western Anatolian villages. Some scholars have suggested that these high levels of violence were generated by Young Turk resentment against the Dersim Kurds for sheltering and rescuing considerable numbers of Armenians during the genocide. 29

The vindication of this nationalist violence was virtually identical to the same discourse that had justified genocide two decades before. Sukru Kaya’s biography suggests an inescapable diachronic link between episodes of Young Turk mass violence that may seem unrelated and disparate at the surface, but demonstrate thorough-going biographical, institutional, and ideological links. His profile epitomizes the ebb and flow of a generation of young, ambitious, and ruthless bureaucrats committed to an inherently violent ideology.


Drawing together the threads of this argument, three types of continuities need to be suggested. First, regime continuity. There can be little doubt that the Committee of Union and Progress morphed into the Republican People’s Party. But we need to understand better the precise administrative, political, and military continuities in this process. Secondly, in most administrative sectors there is a strong elite continuity, which can be demonstrated easily, for example, for men such as Sukru Kaya. Young Turk henchmen kept their power bases intact and were mobilized during periods of crisis and ideological politics to draw upon prior experience. Ideological continuity, then, is the third form of continuity. This in particular is exemplified in the nation-state ideology and in approaches to territoriality: From 1913–50, eastern Turkey was seen as a con-tested territory to be purified of large minorities such as Armenians and Kurds.We need to understand these continuities better—administrative, biographical, military, ideological, at the national and local levels. A sociological understanding of this violence must demonstrate the intersection between individual biographical experience, social structural changes, historical forces, developments, and events in the political process.


1. A much more expanded version of this argument will follow in a forthcoming interpretative volume: Ugur Umit Ungor, The Young Turk Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

2. Busra Ersanli, Iktidar ve Tarih: Turkiye’de ‘Resmi Tarih’ Tezinin Olusumu (1929–1937) (Istanbul: Iletisim, 2003); Etienne Copeaux, Espaces et temps de la nation turque: analyse d’une historiographie nationaliste 1931–1993 (Paris: CNRS Editions, 1997), pp. 190–96.

3. Hulya Adak, “National Myths and Self-Na(rra)tions: Mustafa Kemal’s ‘Nutuk’ and Halide Edib’s ‘Memoirs’ and ‘The Turkish Ordeal,’” in South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 102, no. 2/3 (2003), pp. 509–27.

4. For a generational analysis, see Erik-Jan Zurcher, “How Europeans adopted Anatolia and created Turkey,” in European Review, vol. 13, no. 3 (2005), pp. 379–94.

5. Dankwart A. Rustow, “The Army and the Founding of the Turkish Republic,” in World Politics, vol. 11 (1959), pp. 513–52.

6. Sevket Sureyya Aydemir, Makedonya’dan Orta Asya’ya Enver Pasa (Istanbul: Remzi, 1972), vol. 2 (1908–14), p. 418.

7. Theories on charismatic leadership could shed further light on the construction and functions of the Ataturk myth. For a brief discussion on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a dictator, see Frank J. Coppa (ed.), Encyclopedia of Modern Dictators: From Napoleon to the Present (New York: Peter Lang, 2006), pp. 129–30.

8. Donald Bloxham, “Changing Perceptions of State Violence: Turkey’s ‘Westward’ Development through Anglo-Saxon Eyes,” in Richard Littlejohns and Sara Soncini (eds.), Myths of Europe (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), pp. 223–34.

9. Hans Kohn, Revolutions and Dictatorships: Essays in Contemporary History (Cam-bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1939), pp. 255.

10. Zafer Toprak, “Bir Hayal Urunu: ‘Ittihatcilarin Turklestirme Politikasi,’” in Toplumsal Tarih, vol. 146 (2006), pp. 14–22; Interview with Zafer Toprak, Taraf, Nov. 10, 2008.

11. Feroz Ahmad, From Empire to Republic: Essays on the Late Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2008), vol. 1, p. 174.

12. Erik-Jan Zurcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London: I.B. Tauris, 2004), p. 186.

13. Hans-Lukas Kieser, “Modernisierung und Gewalt in der Grundungsepoche des turkischen Nationalstaats (1913–1938),” in Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, vol. 57, no. 3 (2006), pp. 156–67.

14. Jacques Semelin, Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide (London: Hurst & Co., 2007), p. 141.

15. George W. Gawrych, “The Culture and Politics of Violence in Turkish society, 1903–14,” in Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 22, no. 3 (1986), pp. 307–30.

16. Feroz Ahmad, The Young Turks: The Committee of Union and Progress in Turkish Politics, 1908–1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 163.

17. Among the many different studies, see Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia into the Caucasus (Providence, R.I.: Berghahn Books, 1995).

18. For a recent state-of-the-art collection of articles, see Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 10, no. 4 (2008), special issue on “Late Ottoman Genocides”; Fuat Dundar,Modern Turkiye’nin Sifresi: Ittihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Muhendisligi (1913–1918) (Istanbul: Iletisim, 2008).

19. Taner Akcam, Turk Ulusal Kimligi ve Ermeni Sorunu (Istanbul: Su, 2001).

20. Hans-Lukas Kieser, Der verpasste Friede: Mission, Ethnie und Staat in den Ostprovinzen der Turkei 1839–1938 (Zurich: Chronos, 2000).

21. For a recent state-of-the-art collection of articles, see Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 11, no. 2–3 (2009), special issue on “New Perspectives on Soviet Mass Violence.”

22. Interior Ministry Archive (Ankara), personnel file of Sukru Kaya, document no. 1041, p. 21.

23. BOA, DH.SFR 54/150, Ministry of Education to provinces, June 26, 1915.

24. Hakki Uyar’s “Sukru Kaya” in Modern Turkiye’de Siyasi Dusunce (Istanbul: Iletisim, 2001), pp. 80–91, focuses exclu-sively on the political and ideological back-ground of Kaya and ignores his violent career.

25. Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi Zabit Ceridesi, vol. 23, period 4, session 3 (June 14, 1934), p. 139.

26. ibid., p. 145.

27. Ekrem Erguven (ed.), Sukru Kaya: Sozleri-Yazilari 1927–1937 (Istanbul: Cumhuriyet Matbaasi, 1937), pp. 7–8.

28. Basbakanlik Cumhuriyet Arsivi (Turkish Republican Archives, Ankara), 030.10/180.244.6, Interior Minister Sukru Kaya to Prime Minister Ismet Inonu, Dec. 5, 1931.

29. Martin van Bruinessen, “Genocide in Kurdistan? The Suppression of the Dersim Rebellion in Turkey (1937–38) and the Chemical War Against the Iraqi Kurds (1988),” in George J. Andreopoulos (ed.), Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), pp. 141–70.



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