3330) Politically Motivated Misuse of History: An Analysis of Muriel Mirak-Weissbach’s "Reflexions” on the Armenian Issue

Maxime Gauin
Journal of Turkish Weekly

The German contribution to Turkish studies is considerable, but the contribution of some, let’s repeat, some Germans to the prejudices against the Turks is not less considerable.[1] In addition to the tradition of Protestant fundamentalist, which is vehemently anti-Muslim and even more, if possible, anti-Turkish, there is the temptation to share the horrible recollection of the Shoah with another people. The idea of trivializing the Shoah is by no means new in some segments of German society. One of the best known examples is the attempt of the conservative historian Ernst Nolte to deny any specificity, other than technical, to the suppression of the European Jews. But at least Ernst Nolte is a scholar who, in addition to spurious conclusions, provided interesting contributions to historical knowledge, especially by being among the first scholars who classified the Action française in the right category—fascism, instead of classical reactionary. In the case of the German self-proclaimed experts in the Turkish and Armenian issue, we see only
. . polemics in the majority of the cases, not scholarship.

The “seminar” which took place in Postdam on November 5 exemplifies this tendency. The Armenian American journalist living in Germany for years, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, made an account of this event, an account which will be analyzed in this paper. Ms. Mirak-Weissbach is a member of Lyndon LaRouche’s organization (far right), and a collaborator of the conspiracy theory web sites mondialisation.ca[2] and globalresearch.ca. The level of honesty is exactly what can be expected from a Larouchist militant—but her audience, in this precise case, consists of much more than the supporters of Lyndon LaRouche. She writes even for The Armenian Reporter, one of the main Armenian American newspapers, independent of any political party; some of her articles are translated by armenews.com, the main French Armenian web site. In this specific case, Ms. Mirak-Weissbach’s article was published on an important news web site of Armenia and on the site of the Armenian Community and Church Council of the UK.[3]

The Meaningless Comparison with the Shoah

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

The most polemical aspect of the “seminar,” stressed by Ms. Mirak-Weissbach, is the recurrent comparison of the Armenian case with the Shoah. There are countless obvious differences, but here, we will focus mostly on the absence of racist ideology and, on the contrary, the presence of Armenians in top-rank positions. The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) had as motto: “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (in French). The CUP restored immediately, in 1908, the Ottoman Constitution of 1876, which guaranteed the equality of Ottomans, whatever their religion or ethnicity. As late as 1914, the CUP government ordered the distribution of weapons to the Armenians of Bitlis for their self-defense against a Kurdish insurgency inspired by the Russian consulate[4]—despite the fact that such weapons could be used, later, for much different purposes than self-defense. Did Hitler proclaim the full equality of the Germans in 1933, then order the distribution of arms to Jews during the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938?

A sympathizer of the CUP, Bedros Kapamaciyan Effendi, was elected mayor of Van in 1909, thanks to the support of the Unionists, and was eventually assassinated in December 1912 by the Dashnak committee because of his loyalty to the Ottoman State[5]—but in the fictional version of history supported by Ms. Mirak-Weissbach, inter-Armenian terrorism did not exist. BedrosHalacyan Effendi, elected three times as a Unionist deputy of İstanbul, was “influential in the CUP,”[6] served as minister of commerce and public works from 1910 to 1912, and was eventually appointed the representative of the Ottoman Empire to the International Court of Justice of The Hague in March 1915. In 1913-1914, the CUP minister of the post and telegraph was an Armenian, Oskan Mardikian.[7] He resigned from his position only because he disagreed with the entrance of the Ottoman Empire into World War I. Similarly, in summer 1914, the CUP government proposed in vain to Boghos Nubar, who still had an Ottoman passport, to become the minister of foreign affairs. In vain. How many Jews were in the Nazi government in 1938-1939? Was there a German Jew living abroad who received a proposal to become the German minister of foreign affairs in summer 1939?

The Armenian committees proudly claimed that they refused the CUP proposals of an Armenian autonomy in exchange for a common fight against Russia; the Armenian leaders even explained that the suffering of the Armenian population was the direct—and “perfectly” expected—result of this refusal.[8] Did the Nazi government propose a Jewish autonomous state?

The So-Called “Forced Assimilation”

However, it is not even necessary to search Ms. Mirak-Weissbach’s text to find a refutation of the absurd comparison with the Shoah. She provides also a relatively long development about the “policy of forced ‘assimilation’” toward Armenians. German historian Hilmar Kaiser, probably the most scholarly supporter of the “Armenian genocide” label, noticed:

“One should stop thinking of the [Committee of Union and Progress] CUP as a kind of monolithic party. Research on the Armenians in WWI has tended to try to create the impression of a Turkey that was like a small version of Nazi Germany, with a single party and with a poor man’s SS named Teşkilat’ı Mahsusa. I think this is totally wrong; one has to study the Turkish-Armenian case on its own. Yes, there were some people within the CUP inspired by European positivists, who were partly racist, but thinking that this was not the general party line. That racism was not the driving motive behind the Armenian policy is quite clear because if you compare it to the German racism, you cannot explain the survival of tens of thousands of Armenian women and children in Muslim houses, even in the government orphanages. This would have been completely impossible if the government had been inspired by the German type of racism.”[9]

Even more importantly, perhaps, the missionary Mary Caroline Holmes working in Urfa testified in a letter to a friend, in September 1919:

“I am engaged in rescuing women and girls from Moslem houses, among other things. Quite as often as not, they do not wish to leave their Moslem men, are happy and contended and to my mind quite as well off as with men of their own race.”[10]

Another missionary, Mary Louise Graffam, working in Sivas, wrote in January 1919:

“For some reason or other, all the girls and the children in Moslem houses […] resist violently all efforts of their relations to take them away.”[11]

On the other hand, several sources show that there were forced conversions to Christianity, especially by Armenians, in İstanbul during the occupation of this city by the Entente’s armies.[12] Forced conversions of Turks and Pomaks by Bulgarians also occurred during the Balkan wars (1912-1913).[13]

After All, Who Remember the Nazi Armenians?

Actually, the single significant link between the Turko-Armenian conflict and the Shoah is that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnak) cooperated closely with the Nazi regime. The Dashnak newspapers of the U.S. published inflammatory pro-Nazi articles in the 1930s.[14] The ARF furnished 20,000 men for the 812th Armenian battalion of the Wermacht, led by General DrastamatKanayan, aka Dro[15], a former terrorist[16], former minister of defense of the independent Armenian Republic, and butcher of Muslims from 1918 to 1920[17], who led in practice the ARF from 1923 to his death in 1956.[18] In addition to these 20,000 Armenians, about 11,000 others joined the Waffen-SS.[19] By comparison, around 30,000 Frenchmen joined the various units of the Third Reich Army during WWII.[20] France had a population of around 40 million inhabitants. Probably not even one million Armenians were in the Nazi-occupied part of Europe.

It is true that the two other main parties of the Armenian Diaspora, Hunchak and Ramkavar, did not chose Nazism—they preferred Stalinism.[21] But for at least two decades, they denounced, not without reasons, the ARF as a criminal, terrorist, and fascist organization.[22] Now, their leaders and most of their members forget the proper words of their predecessors in the name of the common fight with the Dashnaks against the Turks.

At the time when the Dashnak Party cooperated with the Nazis, Turkish Universities welcomed Jewish (and non-Jewish liberals or social-democrats) professors, with their families; then Turkish diplomacy saved thousands of Jews from France, Greece, the Balkans, and the Ankara government allowed dozens of thousands—possibly 100,000—of other Jews to pass by Turkey to go to British Palestine, despite the persistent British policy to prevent such an emigration.[23]

The Never-Found Smoking Gun

Despite the enormity of the allegations against Turkey (a genocide, nothing less), the body of “evidence” provided by Ms. Mirak-Weissbach is remarkably weak:

“In Turkey, immediately after the Ottoman defeat, trials were also held and leading Young Turk officials who had not managed to flee the country, were put on the dock, convicted, and in some cases executed. Others, including the leading figures Talaat Pasha and Jemel Pasha, were hunted down in their exile and assassinated by Armenian assailants. But after the establishment of the Republic in 1923, Mustafa Kemal declared the assassinated Turks to be martyrs, and, where possible, had their remains returned to Turkey for heroes’ burials. To grasp the importof this act, one should reflect on what would have happened had Konrad Adenauer rehabilitated Goering.

As Rober Kaptas, the new editor in chief of Agos, Hrant Dink’s newspaper, explained, the 1919 trials had been made possible because an opposition government had come into power after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and the flight of the leading Young Turks. One could write about it, discuss it openly, and Turks knew a lot about the genocide in 1919. But with the establishment of the Turkish Republic under Mustafa Kemal, that changed radically. He arranged for 150 CUP members on trial in Malta to be freed, and redefined the perpetrators as martyrs. Thus, the policy of ‘forgetting’ began with the establishment of the Republic.”

The trials of 1919-1920 must at first be placed in context. The Entente Libérale (also called in English “Liberal Union”), which was recreated by the instigations of the British Embassy, thanks to Greek and British money, in 1910-1911[24], came back to power in 1919 during the occupation of İstanbul thanks to British pressure, and was even infiltrated by the British Intelligence Service, according to the French officers in Turkey.[25] The party was an arch-enemy of the CUP and wanted to reject all the possible blames on the CUP’s leaders, both by personal hatred and because of an illusory hope to obtain a better peace treaty.[26] For the trial of the ministers, even Oskan Mardikian—a former minister (CUP) of post and telegraph, as we saw already—was indicted.[27]

The Liberal Union sent the former CUP ministers in front of a martial court. It was legally wrong, since the Constitution of 1876, suspended in 1878 and restored in 1908 by the Young Turk Revolution, ordered that members of the government be judged for committed acts only by a special tribunal, the High Court. An unconstitutional procedure was chosen by the Entente Libérale to sue former CUP ministers and their ex-collaborators, because in front of military justice, the indicted persons were not allowed to be assisted by a lawyer during the investigation and did not have the right of cross-examination during the trial.[28] Even in the Moscow trials organized by Lenin’s regime in 1922, or more recently in Guantanamo, the right of cross-examination was allowed to the defendants.[29] After a short interruption, Damat Ferit Pasha, installed as Grand Vizir by the British, came back to power in İstanbul in April 1920. The intelligence service of the French Navy described this new puppet government as only united by the fight against the Kemalists.[30] One of the first decisions of Damat Ferit was to ban the CUP defendants from hiring a lawyer, removing any right of defense.[31]

After the forced resignation of Damat Ferit (October 1920), the right to appeal the decisions was eventually accorded for the sentences given after April 23, 1920. All the persons who had this right appealed, and all were acquitted of every charge by the appeal court.[32] The others’ trials were ended in practice on March 28, 1922 by the last Ottoman government, which acknowledged, after an administrative investigation, many shortcomings in the conduct of these trials.[33] Nemrut Mustafa Paşa, president of one of the main first-instance courts, was himself sentenced for corruption in December 1920, a few weeks after having given a severe and controversial verdict.[34]

All the original material of these tribunals—proceedings and “documents”—is lost, despite İstanbul having been retaken without a fight by the Kemalists, which left all the necessary time for Armenian and Greek activists to save, if needed, the material. All what remains are partial accounts in the İstanbul newspapers of 1919-1920. Better translations would at least improve a bit the trust which can be placed in this material. For example, Taner Akçam changed the sense of the verdict for the case of the Bayburt events. The verdict mentions an order, coming from Erzurum, of a general expulsion of the Armenians of the region; Mr. Akçam asserts that there was an order coming from İstanbul for the annihilation of the Armenians, changing “not to leave any Armenian” into “not to leave any Armenian alive.”[35] Referring to the trial of the relocations from Trabzon, Vahakn N. Dadrian assumes the allegations of some Armenian “witnesses”: “The Health Director Dr. Saib Bey confirmed that he systematically poisoned the Armenian children and ordered those who resisted to be strangulated in the Black Sea shore.” Actually, Dr. Saib Bey did not make such a statement. Even more important, Mr. Dadrian forgets to say that the martial court itself did not believe the allegations of these Armenian “witnesses” and acquitted him. The court argued that a physician does not use poison to kill somebody, especially children; to change quantities or the type of drugs is sufficient[36]—such reasoning is common sense.

Regardless, when the translation is accurate, the quality of the source is rarely good. Mr. Dadrian alleges that “the Court martial key indictment cites Talat’s ‘criminal posture’ […] and declares him ‘a principal co-perpetrator of the massacres’ […] In further corroboration of evidence against Talat, the Indictment adduces the testimony of Trabzon deputy Hafız Mehmed on the Black Sea mass-drowning operations (gark), which Talat knowingly allowed to continue.”[37] The “mass drowning” in the Black Sea was proven to be hearsay by a supporter of the “Armenian genocide” label, Mr. Sarafian, relying on the work of Lord Bryce[38], one of the most vituperative enemies of the Turks. There were indeed some isolated cases of drowning, but far from having “knowingly allowed to continue” such crimes, Talat, when he was informed of their existence, ordered that the prefect of Ordu be dismissed and tried for his participation in these murders.[39]

Indeed, during the year 1915, more than twenty Muslims were sentenced to death and hanged following the orders of Talat for crimes against Armenian exiles. Understanding that he could not supervise the punishment of all the criminals, Talat obtained the creation of, by the council of ministers, three investigative commissions. As a result, from March 23 to May 22, 1916, 1,673 people were judged, including 67 who were sentenced to death (all hanged), 524 who were sentenced to jail, and 68 who received other punishments, like hard labor.[40] Other civil servants were forced to leave their positions because of their lack of reaction vis-à-vis the crimes against Armenians, or for having exaggerated the hardness of the forced displacement decisions.[41] Needless to say, the martial courts of 1919-1920 did not take account of this strong evidence that Talat did not wish the suppression of the Ottoman Armenians.

Finally, it is necessary to question the reliability of the newspapers themselves. Their accounts contain discrepancies on some important points. For example, the alleged admission of Colonel Şabahettin at the eighth session of the trial focusing to the events of Yozgat is present in one newspaper; two, Vakit and Yeni Gazete, do not mention this admission in their accounts of this session; and another, Memleket, provides an account contradicting such admission.[42] More generally, the Turkish newspapers were muzzled, the Armenian and pro-British newspapers of İstanbul were famous for their selection of information and tendency to propagate hearsays, especially false allegations of massacres of Christians by the Kemalist forces.[43]

Mr. Kaptas misrepresents the affair of the Turkish officials interned in Malta—and frequently made arrests under the flimsiest charges and in the most questionable conditions.[44] During more than two years, a British prosecutor, assisted by Greeks and Armenians, worked in vain with the Ottoman, British, American, and Armenian sources. Finally, in 1921, he came to the conclusion that there was no evidence against any of the 144 interned Ottoman officials.[45]

Few people better summarized the situation than Guenter Lewy:

“Distinguished scholars of Ottoman history like Roderic Davison, J.C. Hurewitz, Bernard Lewis, and Andrew Mango have rejected the appropriateness of the genocide label for those occurrences. Yet, ignoring this formidable array of learned opinion, Armenians andtheir supporters among so-called genocide scholars continue to assert with superb arrogance that the Armenian genocide is incontrovertible fact and ‘established history’ that can be denied only by lackeys of the Turkish government or morally obtuse individuals. Unless and until there is a change in this attitude, I see little hope for ending this almost century-old conflict.”[46]

The Demonization of the Turks

Ms. Mirak-Weissbach summarizes the contributions about the Turkish position as “phases of denial.” This is by no means accurate. In his first article about the Armenian issue, Salâhi R. Sonyel used the word “massacres” as early as the first page.[47]Enver Ziya Karal wrote in 1971, two years before to become president of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK):

“We cannot forget those who have fallen dead both from the ranks of the Armenians and the Turks […] We should reverently bow before their memory and wish for the reinstatement and continuance of the old ties of friendship between the Turks and the Armenians.”[48]

Also in 1971, the retired ambassador İnayetullah Cemal Özkaya argued that “there was not one Turk who did not deplore, there is not one Turk who not does not still deplore, the loss of so many human lives.”[49]

In the standard book of the Turkish historiography regarding the Armenian issue, Kâmuran Gürün explained:

“A murderer is a murderer, no excuse can be given. Just as we do not condone the fact that the Armenians massacred the Turks, we do not condone the fact that the Turks massacred the Armenians.”[50]

Yusuf Halaçoğlu unequivocally mentions cases of massacre of Armenians and Muslim “criminal elements,” with places and figures.[51]

The “denial” allegation is especially absurd, coming from people who deny, against all the evidence, the fifth-column role of the Armenian committees—especially the insurrections of Zeitun, Van, and other cities; or the attempts to help an Entente landing in Cilicia[52] for instance—in calling the revolutionary leaders arrested in April 1915 “Armenian intellectuals.”[53] The very same people also deny the war crimes of Armenian volunteers or guerillas against the Muslim and Jewish civilians. Taner Akçam dared to call the massacres of Turkish civilians by Armenian volunteers “a legend” during a debate on PBS, in April 2006. Even before the decision of the forced displacement of Armenians, the Armenian guerillas butchered both Muslim and Jewish civilians, burning babies in bread ovens, killing adults by bayonets in the eyes, cutting others into pieces, opening the abdomens of pregnant women, among other barbarities.[54] The war crimes continued far after, especially during the Russian offensives of 1916 and the Russian retreat of 1917-1918[55], then during the French occupation of Cilicia, provoking this time several death sentences by French military justice as early as 1919 for assassination, arson, and/or pillage[56], and the disbanding of the Armenian Legion as early as 1920.[57] In 1919, no Muslim house remained in Bitlis; in Van, barely three.[58]

Similarly, the choice of calling the murderer of Talat Pasha in 1921 an “assailant” instead of terrorist, and of Turkish diplomats in the 1970s and 1980s, is very clear on the dualistic—or to be more clear, racist—approach to the assassinations based on the ethnicity of the perpetrators and the victims.

Ms. Mirak-Weissbach shows her political agenda—shared with all radical supporters of the “Armenian genocide” allegation, whatever the name of the country on their passport—in writing that the conclusions of the “seminar” are a “threat to the Turkish identity.” The goal is perfectly clear: demonize the foundation of the Turkish state, nation, and identity. The process includes the current government of Turkey, since Ms. Mirak-Weissbach alleges falsely that “The title of the event itself is symptomatic of the problem: instead of referring to the Armenian genocide, one had to cite ‘1915/1916,’ perhaps to protect those Turkish participants from being subjected to punitive measures from state authorities on their return home.” Actually, the Armenian American historian Levon Marashlian was welcomed as a participant to the congress of the Turkish Historical Society as early as 1990, like Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser in 2006 (İstanbul University) or Artem Ohandjanian in 2009 (Turkish Historical Society again). Several books supporting the “Armenian genocide” allegation are published in Turkish by İstanbul’s or Ankara’s publishing houses and distributed without a problem. On the other hand, nobody can challenge the “Armenian genocide” label in the West without being insulted, defamed, being a victim of pressures in your habitual publishing house, threatened to death, or even, in some cases, a victim of physical violence, until the attempt of murder by bomb. The Armenian nationalist parties in France tried to obtain an “inquisitorial, liberticidal and obscurantist” bill (these are the words of Josselin de Royan, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Senate until September 2011). What did Mr. Koptasor Ms. Mirak-Weissbach say against that?

Rule by the CHP, ANAP or AKP, that is irrelevant: Turkey as a whole remains the archenemy of those who are chiefly motivated by their hatred, inherited from the battles of the Armenian nationalist parties in the Ottoman age or the Turkish war of independence[59], or coming from the Cold War. The French Socialist leader Léon Blum, taking account of his experience as chief of the government from 1936 to 1937, defined the “French” Communist Party as “a sect, foreign to the nation” and as “an alien [i.e. Russian] nationalist party.”[60] Blum’s judgment could be easily expanded to other countries and other periods—including much more contemporary times.[61]

Anyway, Mr. Koptas pursues, with the approbation of Ms. Mirak-Weissbach: “‘Turkishness’ was the very foundation of the Republic; the State tried to force the issue of identity, making Alevites into Sunnis and treating Greeks and Armenians as special groups whose numbers were to be reduced.” Quite the contrary, the Alevis, who felt they were in an uneasy situation during the Ottoman period, were one of the pillars of the Kemalist regime.[62] Far from having treated “Greeks and Armenians as special groups whose numbers were to be reduced,” Atatürk tried in vain to keep most of the Armenians and Greeks of Cilicia, in a joint effort with the French authorities.[63] Regardless, Atatürk added the name “Türker” (valorous Turk) to the name of Armenian banker Berç Keresteciyan, deputy of Afyon from 1935 to 1946 (for his priceless contribution to the war of independence), and “Dilaçar” (opener of language) to the Armenian Turkologist Agop Martayan, president of the Turkish Language Society. The Greeks Nikola Taptas and İstamat Zihni Özdamar were (independent) deputies from 1935 to 1943. İsmet İnönü followed such a policy in supporting the election of Greeks Michal Kayakoğlu (CHP) from 1943 to 1946 and Nikola Fakaçelli (also CHP) from 1946 to 1950. Celâl Bayar welcomed ArmenianMıgırdıçŞellefyan (1914-1987) as well as Greeks Vasil Konos and Alihya Moşos in his Democrat Party (DP);Konos was wasMP from 1946 to 1950, Moşos from 1950 to 1954, and Şellefyanfrom 1957 to 1960. Prominent Turkish Greeks, Armenians, and Jews attended the funeral of Bayar in 1986.[64] More recently, dozens of thousands of Armenia’s citizens immigrated to Turkey in the 1990s and 2000s, failing to notice what kind of heaven it is for them according to Mr. Koptas.


In 1922, even some nationalist Armenians who hated Turks partially understood their error:

“Like madmen, we rushed here and there, saying to each other,

That base, murderous, Moslem Turk dealt with us better than these European Christians!

If only we had known this before and dealt instead with the Turk!”[65]

The “Armenian genocide” label has no scholarly basis anymore after the devastating analysis of Ferudun Ata, Kemal Çiçek, Yusuf Halaçoğlu, Guenter Lewy, Justin McCarthy, Erman Şahin, and others. We havearrived to a point where Mr. Kaiser acknowledges his incapacity to respond to Mr. Halaçoğlu’s argument about the hundreds of Moslems sentenced because of the order of Talat; and where Mr. Sarafian acknowledges that it is a legitimate question to wonder whether or not there wasa plan to exterminate the Ottoman Armenians.

The choice of the Armenian activists to place the issue on the political instead of scholarly agenda had some justification—in their perspective—from the 1960s to the 1980s, when Turkey was weak. The increasing importance of Turkey, not only economically, but also strategically and, on the other hand, by contrast, the collapse of Armenia and Greece changes the deal, as well as the increasing importance of Turkish immigrants in the West, especially but not only in the U.S. and UK. The fate of the promises made for electoral reasons to Armenians, both by Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy, exemplifies the current, ongoing, changes. Even more remarkably, Alain Juppé’s excellent proposal in Ankara, to host a Turko-Armenian historical commission in France, shows how quick the clumsy, regrettable statements made with the questionable hope of obtaining a few thousand votes can now be corrected.

[1] Tamer Bacınoğu, The Making of the Turkish Bogeyman, (Istanbul: Grapis, 1998).

[2] http://www.conspiracywatch.info/Webster-G-Tarpley-demasque_a534.html

[3] http://hetq.am/eng/articles/6735/ http://www.accc.org.uk/be-or-not-be-turk

[4] Feroz Ahmad, “Young Turk-Armenian Relations During the Second Constitutional Period,” in Metin Hülagü (ed.), Armenians in the Ottoman Society, (Kayseri: Erciyes University, 2006), tome I, pp. 328-329; Yusuf Halaçoğlu, Facts on the Relocation of Armenians. 1914-1918, (Ankara: TTK, 2002), p. 46.

[5] Hasan Oktay, “On the Assassination of Van Mayor Kapamacıyan by the Tashnak Committee,” Review of Armenian Studies, I-1, 2002, pp. 79-89; Kapriel Serope Papazian, Patriotism Perverted, (Boston: Baikar Press, 1934), p. 69.

[6] Feroz Ahmad, The Young Turks, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), p. 171.

[7] Feroz Ahmad, “Young Turk-Armenian…”, p. 330.

[8] Avetis Aharonian and Boghos Nubar, The Armenian Question Before the Paris Peace Conference, (New York: The Armenian National Union of America), 1919; Garegin Pasdermadjian, Why Armenia Should Be Free, (Boston: Hairenik Press, 1918), pp. 15-17, 42-43 and passim; Armenia: A Leading Factor in the Winning of War, (New York: Council for Armenia, 1919), pp. 1-3, 23-24 and passim; Salâhi R. Sonyel, “Armenian Deportations: A Reappraisal In The Light of New Documents,” Belleten, January 1972, p. 54; Aram Turabian, Les Volontaires arméniens sous les drapeaux français, (Marseille: Imprimerie nouvelle, 1917, p. 42) and passim.

[9] “Historian Challenges Politically Motivated Argument,” Today’s Zaman, 22 March, 2009.

[10] Salâhi R. Sonyel, “How Armenian Propaganda Nurtured a Gullible Christian World in Connection With the Deportations and ‘Massacres’,” Belleten, January 1977, p. 175.

[11] Stanford J. Shaw, “The Resettlement of Refugees in Turkey During World War I and the Turkish War of Independence, 1917-1923,” reprinted in Studies in Ottoman and Turkish History. Life With the Ottomans, (İstanbul: The Isis Press, 2000), p. 471.

[12] Stanford J. Shaw, “The Resettlement of…”, pp. 474-479.

[13] Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile. The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1995), pp. 152-154.

[14] Ayhan Özer, “The Armenian-Nazi Collaboration,” The Turkish Times, July 15, 1996; Yves Ternon, La Cause arménienne, (Paris: Le Seuil, 1983), p. 127.

[15] Yves Ternon, La Cause arménienne, p. 131 ; Christopher Walker, Armenia. The Survival of a Nation, (London-New York: Routledge, 1990), p. 357.

[16]Louis Nettement, L’Arménie. Notes de voyage, 6 octobre 1920, archives du ministère des Affaires étrangères (AMAE), microfilm P 16674.

[17] Testimonies and archeological evidences about massacres in 1918 appear in this video recorded by the Turkish TV in 1986, and published in 2007 with English subtitles : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9ryoa_excavation-of-a-mass-grave-realized_news; for the war crimes in the Caucasus, see Robert Steed Dunn, World Alive, (New York: Crown Publishers, 1956); see also the precedent note; Leonard Ramsden Hartill, Men Are Like That, (London-Indianapolis: John Lane/The Bobbs-Merrill C°, 1928); Anahide Ter-Minassian, La République d’Arménie. 1918-1920, (Bruxelles: Complexe, 2006), pp. 84-85 and 186.

[18] Jean-Pierre Alem, L’Arménie, (Paris : Presses universitaires de France, 1959), p. 95.

[19]Joachim Hoffmann, Die Ostlegionen, 1941-1943, (Freiburg im Breisgau: Rombach, 1976), pp. 39 and 76; Hans Werner Neulen, An Deutscher Seite: Internationale Freiwillige von Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS, (Munich: Universitas, 1985), pp. 324-342.

[20] Pierre Giolitto, Volontaires français sous l’uniforme allemand, (Paris : Perrin, 1999, reed. 2007).

[21] Jean-Pierre Alem, L’Arménie…, pp. 93 and 96, n. 1.

[22] Kapriel Serope Papazian, Patriotism Perverted…; Dashnak Collaboration With the Nazi Regime, New York: Armenian Information Service, 1944; John Roy Carlson (Arthur Derounian), “The Armenian Displaced Persons,” Armenian Affairs Magazine, I-1, Winter 1949-1950. The pitiful defense of the Dashnak Sarkis Atamian shows that the denunciation still existed in the first half of the 1950s: The Armenian Community, (New York: Philosophical Library, 1955), pp. 379-402.

[23] The Turkish Passport, film, 2011; Dirk Halm and Faruk Selm (ed.), Exil sous le croissant et l’étoile, (Paris: Turquoise, 2009); Arnold Reisman, “How a Professor Trained as an Engineer Came to Write a History of Holocaust Survivors Who Found Refuge in Turkey,” History News Network, 17 September 2006; Turkey’s Modernization. Refugees from Nazism and Atatürk Vision, (Washington: New Academia Publishing, 2006); Bilâl N. Şimşir, Türk Yahudiler. Avrupa Irkçılarına Karşı Türkiye'nin Mücadelesi. Belgeler (1942-1944), (Ankara : Bilgi Yayınevi, 2010); Stanford J. Shaw, Turkey and the Holocaust. Turkey’s Role in Rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi Persecution. 1933-1945, (London-New York: MacMillan Press/New York University Press, 1993) (summarized here: http://www.sefarad.org/publication/lm/043/6.html). For a devastating account of the Anglo-Saxon policies, in addition to the Stanford J. Shaw’s one: David S. Wyman, The Abandonment of Jews, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984). For the context, see also Joseph B. Schechtman, The Mufti and the Fuehrer. The Rise and Fall of Haj Amin el-Husseini, (New York-London: Thomas Yoseloff, 1965), pp. 147-163 and passim.

[24]Berthe Georges-Gaulis, Angora, Constantinople, Londres, Paris: Armand Colin, 1922, p. 65; Edward F. Knight, The Awaking of Turkey. The Turkish Revolution of 1908, Boston-Tokyo: J. B. Millet C°, 1910, p. 290,

[25] Rapport du lieutenant-colonel Mougin, chef de la liaison française près le gouvernement ottoman, 1919, Service historique de la défense nationale (SHDN), 7 N 3120, dossier 2, sous-dossier 2 ; Lettre du général Pellé au ministre des Affaires étrangères, 22 novembre 1921 ; Notice au sujet de Zeinel Abeddin Bey, novembre 1921, AMAE, P 17 785.

[26] Hüsamettin Ertürk, İki Devrin Perde Arkası, (İstanbul: HilmiKitapevi, 1957), pp. 370–373; Laurence Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey (1914-1924), (Baltimore : John Hopkins University Press, 1965), pp. 193-194; Kâmuran Gürün, The Armenian File. The Myth of Innocence Exposed, (İstanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası, 2007, first edition in English, Nicosia/Oxford, 1986), pp. 293-296; Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2005), p. 75; Malcolm E. Yapp, “Review of The History of the Armenian Genocide, by V. N. Dadrian,” Middle Eastern Studies, XXXII-4, October 1996, p. 397.

[27] Ferudun Ata, İşgal İstanbul’unda Tehcir Yargılamaları, (Ankara: TTK, 2005), pp. 219-220; Raymond H. Kévorkian, Le Génocide des Arméniens, (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2006), p. 966, n. 523. Mr. Kévorkian fails to comment this fact, like most of the problems raised by the trials of 1919-1920.

[28] Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres..., p. 79.

[29] Ibid.; Leonard Schapiro, The Origin of the Communist Autocracy. Political Opposition in the Soviet State, (Cambridge, MA-London: Harvard University Press, 1977, 1st edition, 1955), p. 153.

[30] SR Marine, Turquie, n° 1955, Constantinople, 10 avril 1920, SHDN, 4 H 58, dossier 1.

[31] Erman Şahin, “A Scrutiny of Akçam’s Version of History and the Armenian Genocide”, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, XXVIII-2, Summer 2008, p. 307.

[32] Ferudun Ata, İşgal İstanbul’unda..., pp. 281-283.

[33] Ferudun Ata, İşgal İstanbul’unda..., p. 287; Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres..., p. 78.

[34] Türkkaya Ataöv, What Happened to the Ottoman Armenians?, (New York: Okey, 2006), pp. 75-81.

[35] Erman Şahin, “Review Essay: the Armenian Question,” Middle East Policy, XVII-1, Spring 2010, pp. 149-150.

[36] Ferudun Ata, “An Evaluation of the Approach of the Researchers Who Advocate Armenian Genocide to the Trials of Relocation,” The New Approaches to Turkish-Armenian Relations, (Istanbul: Istanbul University Publications), 2007, pp. 558-559.

[37] Vahakn N. Dadrian, “The Naim-Andonian Documents on the World War I Destruction of Ottoman Armenians: The Anatomy of a Genocide,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, XVIII-3, August 1986, p. 326.

[38]Ara Sarafian, “Icons and Scholarship,” Armenian Forum, II-3, pp. 91-94 ; “Ara Sarafian Responds,” Armenian Forum, II-4, February 2003, pp. 143-145.

[39] Erman Şahin, “Review Essay…,” p. 148.

[40] Yusuf Halaçoğlu, The Story of 1915. What Happened to the Ottoman Armenians?, (Ankara: TTK, 2008), pp. 82-87; Hikmet Özdemir and Yusuf Sarınay, Turkish-Armenian Conflict Documents, (Ankara: TBMM, 2007), p. 294.

[41] Few examples in Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres…, pp. 177, 181 and 186.

[42] Erman Şahin, “A Scrutiny of…”, pp. 305 and 316, n. 8 and 9.

[43] Rapport du commandant Labonne, 7 décembre 1919 ;le chef de bataillon Labonne, en mission à Afioun-Karahissar, à Monsieur le général Commandant en chef des armées alliées [Franchet d’Esperey], 2e bureau, SHDN, 7 N 3210 ; Halidé Edib, The Turkish Ordeal, New York-London : The Century C°, 1928, pp. 4-6.

[44]Lettre du général Franchet d’Esperey, commandant en chef des armées alliées en Orient, à M. Le président du Conseil, ministre de la Guerre, 30 mai 1919 ; Rapport du lieutenant-colonel Mougin, chef de la liaison française près le gouvernement ottoman, 1919, SHDN, 7 N 3210, dossier 1, sous-dossier 1 ; dossier 2, sous-dossier 2.

[45] Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres…, pp. 122-128; Bilâl N. Şimşir, Malta Sürgünleri. Genişletilmiş, (Ankara: Bilgi Yayınevi, 2008; first edition, İstanbul, 1976) ; Salâhi R. Sonyel, “Armenian Deportations…”, pp. 58-61.

[46] “Guenter Lewy Writes,” Commentary, February 2006, p. 9

[47] Salâhi R. Sonyel, “Armenian Deportations…”, p. 51.

[48] Enver Ziya Karal, The Armenian Question, (Ankara: Gündüz, 1975, 1st edition in Turkish, 1971), p. 26.

[49] İnayetullah Cemal Özkaya, Le Peuple arménien et les tentative de réduire le people turc en servitude, (İstanbul : Belgelerle Türk Tarih Dergisi, 1971), p. 245.

[50]Kâmuran Gürün, The Armenian File…, p. 279.

[51] Yusuf Halaçoğlu, Facts on the…, pp. 83-86; The Story of…, pp. 82-85.

[52] Edward J. Erickson, “The Armenians and Ottoman Military Policy,” War in History, XV-2, Spring 2008 ; “Captain Larkin and the Turks : The Strategic Impact of the Operations of HMS Doris in Early 1915,” Middle Eastern Studies, XLVI-1, January 2010, pp. 151-162 ; Yücel Güçlü, Armenians and the Allies in Cilicia. 1914-1923, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2010), pp. 51-101 ; Kâmuran Gürün, The Armenian File…, pp. 237-261; Maurice Larcher, La Guerre turque dans la guerre mondiale, (Paris: Chiron, 1926), pp. 394-396 ; Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres…, pp. 100-109 ; Justin McCarthy, Esat Arslan, Cemalettin Taşkıran et Ömer Turan, The Armenian Rebellion at Van, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press), 2006, pp. 176-232 ; İnayetullah Cemal Özkaya, Le Peuple arménien…, pp. 228-242; Michael A. Reynolds, Shattering Empires. The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman Empires, 1908-1918, (New York-Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 156-158.

[53] On this point, see Yusuf Sarınay, “What Happened on April 24, 1915? The Circular of April 24, 1915 and the Arrest of the Armenian Committee Members in İstanbul,” International Journal of Turkish Studies, XIV-1/2, Autumn 2008, pp. 75-102.

[54] Hüseyin Çelik, “The 1915 Armenian Revolt in Van : Eyewitnesses Testimonies,” in Türkkaya Ataöv (ed.), The Armenians in the Late Ottoman Period, (Ankara: TTK/TBMM, 2001), pp. 87-108 ; Turkish General Staff, Armenian Activities in the Archive Documents, Ankara, ATASE, tome I, 2005, pp. 65-70 ; Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres…, pp. 97 et 116-117 ; Justin McCarthy, Esat Arslan, Cemalettin Taşkıran and ÖmerTuran, The Armenian Rebellion…, pp. 233-257 and 279-281 ; Kara Schemsi, Turcs et Arméniens devant l’histoire, (Genève: Imprimerie nationale, 1919), pp. 35-51.

[55] Congrès national turc, Documents relatifs aux atrocités commises par les Arméniens sur la population musulmane , (Istanbul: Société anonyme de papeterie et d’imprimerie, 1919) ; Firuz Kazemzadeh, The Struggle for Transcaucasia, (New York-Oxford: Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher), 1952, pp. 74-75, 85-86 and213-214 ; Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres…, pp. 118-121 ; Justin McCarthy, “The Report of Niles and Sutherland,” XI. Türk Tarih Kongresi, Ankara: TTK, 1994, pp. 1828-1829 and 1850; Kara Schemsi, Turcs et Arméniens…, pp. 52-105 ; Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Nikolaevitch Twerdokhleboff, Gördüklerim Yaşadıklarım/I Witnessed and Lived Through/Ce que j’ai vu et vécumoi-même, (Ankara: ATASE, 2007), pp. 129-188 (the original translation in French is better than the one of 2007: Notes d’un officier supérieur russe sur les atrocités d’Erzurum , Istanbul, 1919) ; Morgan Philips Price, War and Revolution in Asiatic Russia, (London: George Allen &Unwin), 1918, pp. 140-141.

[56] SHDN 4 H 42, dossier 6 is full of documents about the crimes of Armenian legionnaires. See also: Maxime Bergès, La Colonne de Marach et quelques autres récits de l’armée du Levant, (Paris : La Renaissance du livre, 1924), pp. 56-57, 81-82, 89 and 142-143 ; Paul Bernard, Six mois en Cilicie, Aix-en-Provence : Éditions du Feu, 1929, pp. 49, 59-60, 63, 71-73, 78, 82, 85 and 100.

[57] Lettre du ministre de la Guerre au ministre des Affaires étrangères, 20 mai 1920 ; réponse du ministre des Affaires étrangères, 18 juin ; ministre de la Guerre au ministre des Affaires étrangères, 12 juillet, AMAE, P 1426.

[58] Justin McCarthy, “The Reports of…” On the destruction of Bitlis, see also Haig Shiroyan, Smiling Through the Tears, New York, 1954, p. 186.

[59] For racist speeches and theories in Armenian nationalist publications, see, among others, Mikael Varandian, L’Arménie et la question arménienne , (Laval: G. Kavanagh, 1917), pp.23-30 and 103; Avetis Aharonian and Boghos Nubar, Avetis Aharonian and Boghos Nubar, The Armenian Question…, pp. 2 and 7-13 (more especially p. 12); The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, 21 April, 1945, p. 1; The Armenian Weekly, 1st June, 1983, p. 42 and 30 June, p. 2. Much more recently, in February 2011, the Dashnak web site france-armenie.net was closed because of a court case; Laurent Leylekian, at that time editor-in-chief, published in October 2009 an openly racist article, calling “guilty” and criminal every Turk, including “the just-born-baby (enfant qui vient de naître)” (sic).

[60] Léon Blum, À l’échelle humaine, (Paris : Gallimard, 1971, 1st edition, 1945), pp. 110-115.

[61] The Turkish case is admirably described in Andrew Mango, Turkey and the War on Terror. For Forty Years We Fought Alone, (London-New York: Routledge, 2005), pp. 15-30; and Claire Sterling, The Terror Network, (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1981). I wrote also a short piece on the most contemporary aspects: The Journal of Turkish Weekly, 11 October, 2011.

[62] Xavier de Planhol, Les Nations du Prophète, (Paris : Fayard, 1993), pp. 728-733.

|63] Télégramme du général Gouraud au ministère des Affaires étrangères, 24 octobre 1921 ; télégramme du ministère au Haut-Commissaire à Beyrouth, 3 novembre ; télégrammes du général Pellé au ministère, 5, 15 et 23 novembre 1921 ; lettre du ministère à Franklin-Bouillon, 12 novembre 1921, AMAE, P 17785 ; Commandement supérieur, Levant — Journal des marches et des opérations, 1921, pp. 456-469, SHDN, 4H 47, dossier 1 ; Bulletin périodique n° 39, 5 décembre 1921-5 janvier 1922, SHDN, 4 H 49, dossier 1 ; Bulletin de renseignements n° 279, 17-21 novembre 1921, 4 H 61, dossier 3 ; Yücel Güçlü, Armenians and the Allies…, pp. 140-156 and 210-216. See also Bulletin de renseignement n° 276, 6-9 novembre 1921, n° 286, 14-16 décembre 1921, SHDN, 4 H 61, dossier 3 ; n° 374, 21-22 septembre 1922, 4 H 62 dossier 5.

[64] Information provided by Celâl Bayar Jr, grandson of the Turkish president.

[65] Abraham H. Hartunian, Neither to Laugh nor to Weep: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Armenian Heritage Press, 1986), p. 190 (1st English edition, 1968 ; manuscript written in Armenian during the 1930s). See also the less vituperative and more deep analysis of Hovannes Katchaznouni, former Prime Minister of Armenia: The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Has Nothing to Do Anymore, (New York: Armenian Information Service, 1955, 1st edition, 1923).

Source: USAK

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Reply Comment: 26 Nov 2011
Sincere compliments to Mr. Gauin, for his very comprehensive essay, based on strong scholarly sources. There has been many details that I learned from this excellently compiled article, which I think that Ms. Mirak-Weissbach will not be able to refute even one of the many observations.

However, I think that Mr. Gauin should have also added or clarified the sincere efforts of the Ottoman Government in early 1919 to form "a neutral court of investigation" before the Malta encamping for "trials which could not even get started"! The following page from my recent pocket book, may suffice to add light on this important detail, which could have been inserted in the excellent text:

P. 108

Compliments and thanks Mr. Gauin!
Sukru Aya

Comment by Conan, Noord-brabant, Netherlands
19 Jan 2012
Mr Aya's comment reads "...Sweden (Switzerland?)..."
It's Sweden, according to the following:


21 Jan 2012
Reply to Mr. Conan's comment by Sukru Aya:

Several sources mention the name of "Switzerland" as the fifth invited country. But in the "Note Verbale" I do not see the name of Switzerland; also in the written reply letters, I do not have copy of any rejection "letter by Switzerland"! Strong chances are that being a "verbal note", the "answer was also verbal" and this is why "we do not have a document". In the phrase I should have used "and" but owing to the space limits within the picture frame, I inserted Switzerland adding a question mark, since I don't have a document to prove it other than outside quotes.

Thanks for the attention



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