3613) Turks and Armenians – A Debate | Unheeded Warning | In Memory of British Statesmanship | ‘Defence of the Realm’ in Turkey | The Times Criticised For Using ‘Forged’ Documents to Make Armenian Genocide Claims | Bad Day In The Bundestag | Having Admitted Complicity in Genocide, Germany Should Now Compensate Armenians | Archbishop Atesyan’s Letter to Erdogan | Letter to Atesyan from Agos | Perceptions" (2015) On The Ottoman Empire in WWI

  • Turks and Armenians – A Debate (1919-20) by Dr Pat Walsh
  •   An Unheeded Warning, In Memory of British Statesmanship  & ‘Defence of the Realm’ in Turkey by Dr Pat Walsh
  • The Times Criticised For Using ‘Forged’ Documents to Make Armenian Genocide Claims
  • A Bad Day In The Bundestag by Jeremy SALT
  • Having Admitted Complicity in Genocide, Germany Should Now Compensate Armenians by By Harut Sassounian
  • Archbishop Atesyan’s Letter to Erdogan: We Submit Our Regret to Your Dignified Office
  • Letter to Atesyan from Agos: May God Bestow Sense, Intelligence and Comprehension on You
  • Acting Armenian Patriarch of Turkey: Shameful Tool of Turkish Propaganda by Harut Sassounian
  • Perceptions" (2015) On The Ottoman Empire in WWI
  • . . .
    By Dr Pat Walsh 2016-06-21 Turks and Armenians – A Debate (1919-20) Marmaduke Pickthall wrote a number of letters on the Armenian issue to The New Age in the year between May 1919 and April 1920. They contained a vigorous defence of the Ottoman Turks and a very forthright and plain-speaking criticism of the Armenians. However, Pickthall found an adversary in Dikran Kouyoumdjian (Michael Arlen), another writer for The New Age, who also, like Pickthall, became a famous novelist. The historical context of these letters and debate is important. It was four years after the Ottoman Government had forcibly relocated the Armenians at the height of the Great War in Anatolia. There had been a civil war across Eastern Anatolia involving Turks, Kurds, Armenians and other groups accompanying the Russian invasion and an Armenian Insurrection. By the beginning of 1918 the Armenians had occupied a a large part of Ottoman territory running from the Black Sea, West of Trabzon to Erzican, Mus and South to Lake Van. Then, as the Armenians’ Tsarist allies melted away after the Bolshevik take-over, the Ottoman Army recaptured all this territory during 1918 pushing as far as Baku. And they found scenes of massacres and devastation and few Moslems alive. The Turks had won the war against the Armenians but then they lost the Great War to the Allies. The Ottomans agreed to an Armistice with the Allies and the Imperialists used the ambiguities in it to occupy key points of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenians, despite having lost the war on the ground to the Turks, now expected their reward as loyal allies of the Imperialist Powers who had won the War. In defeat they expected ultimate victory to be handed to them over the “Turkish Empire” in the shape of a “Magna Armenian”. Marmaduke Pickthall’s letters contain a very blunt estimation of the Armenians and strong advice that any thought of an Imperialist imposition of an Armenian state would be a disaster if attempted – and particularly for the Armenians themselves. When I first came across an extract from one, in a biography of Pickthall by Peter Clark, quoted as a single sentence in isolation from the rest of the article, I was shocked. Pickthall was emphasising that after the events of 1914-18 the view of those who vastly outnumbered the Armenians within the territory they were claiming as a state, and who the Armenians sought to place under a government of Armenians, was so hostile that war to the death would undoubtedly ensue. To attempt to construct an Armenian state would be terminal for the Armenians themselves and they should not be supported in such a suicidal venture. Either way there would be great ethnic cleansing and what is now called “Genocide” taking place because either the Armenians would have to indulge in this themselves to make their state work or the majority would have to rid themselves of the Armenians to prevent it. Events in Anatolia and the Caucasus – in present day Armenia and Azerbaijan – proved Pickthall to be sound in his judgement. The Armenian Insurrection totally relied upon the Tsarist armies to capture the territory they desired for a state. If the Russians had won there probably still would not have been an Armenian state since the Tsar had only one use for the Armenians – as expanders of his territory. When the Tsarist State collapsed there was no chance of constructing this. It was only the Allies who had the power. Or had they? Britain was the main hope of the Armenians. It was the greatest Power in the world and was seemingly at its height. But it was fundamentally a Sea Power so there was a big question whether it had the forces to impose its will in eastern Anatolia. The French were unlikely to have the will, and this was soon apparent in Cilicia when their attempt to use Armenians to impose themselves led to a Turkish rising and their defeat at Maresh in March 1920. The Americans were an unknown quantity, having not declared war on Turkey. But President Wilson was known to desire an Armenian state. Could he get Congress to agree to enforcing it with U.S. arms? Pickthall found an adversary in Dikran Kouyoumdjian (Michael Arlen), another writer for The New Age. Dikran was the son of Sarkis Kouyoumdjian the wealthy Manchester based Armenian merchant/importer. Dikran had got the best English education at Malvern and Edinburgh University and was highly cultured. He Anglicized himself in 1922 becoming Michael Arlen, the name he used for his novels. But he replied to Pickthall using both names in 1920 and Pickthall played along. Dikran Kouyoumdjian does not seem to have wanted to be a “typical” Armenian, so to speak. In 1917 he penned the piece ‘On The Art of Being Oppressed’ for The New Age: “It was only when once someone, in a moment of irritation and for lack of a weightier reproach, called me “a typical product of an oppressed race,” that I thought to look around me and into myself to find out what exactly were these presupposed “typical” qualities (or faults) in these people who are, presumably, unfortunate in their country’s oppression, or in their lack of any country at all. The special trait in the individual seems to be a sort of aggressive independence, a repressed but ever-present pugnaciousness, an ever-alert suspicion of being ‘put-upon,’ as the saying is, in word or deed: mainly, of any encroachment on one’s honour or independence, a suspicion which makes one “ready-to-fight” (thank Heavens, it takes me that way only mentally) on the most absurd and flimsy grounds. I have felt all that, the inner bristling, and, I daresay, have shown the outward surliness: for, lacking a more convenient standard, I am now judging other people by myself. But besides that I know of no other very marked characteristic of the oppressed.They seem, on the whole, to be quite presentable sort of people, with a quite decent instinct for sociable company: Myself am not averse to talking to people, and have managed to acquire enough good manners to complain of a headache and go away when I feel more than usually like hitting anyone. And, though I am an Armenian, I am not rich. ” Taking the oppressed more generally, there is, of course, that very commonplace trait in them, seen perhaps most often in Irishmen and Poles (both surely, and without offence, parvenus in the art of being oppressed, a type of nouveaux miserables compared to we hardened Easterners), of extolling, naively or unconsciously, their own spiritual superiority, because they cannot claim a material one, over their neighbours; the oppressed generally seem to take it for granted that because they are unfortunate in the present they must have, “as a matter of fact,” deserved a better fortune in the past. This last is at least a happy illusion (though not harmless, since when it is actively asserted it is called “rebellion”)… But these purely general traits of the oppressed have their rise from the, so to speak, expectation of their presence on the part of the people fortunate in the possession of a free country. The extravagant hatreds, the thundering at the gates of the oppressor, the wailing and gnashing of teeth – they are the privileges of the unfortunate in exchange for their lost countries. A person who cannot make an appreciably loud noise, whether arrogant or whining, about his oppressed country, is as useless as a monkey who cannot do tricks. And who will smile at a monkey without tricks ?” (NA 28.6.1917) Dikran Kouyoumdjian/Michael Arlen was indeed not the usual Armenian Pickthall would have encountered on his travels in Anatolia or in England. For one thing he had little time for Lord Bryce’s atrocity tales. For another, he had a refreshing honesty about him with regard to what the Armenians were trying to accomplish through money in Britain and America. He made no bones about it and offered no apologies. He was less naïve than Pickthall about Armenian/Turkish relations and he seems to have been realistic about the position the Armenians found themselves in. He does not blame the Russians as Pickthall attempts to do – being an Englishman with the traditional Foreign Policy. Kouyoumdjian sees the Ottoman Empire as the problem for the Armenians and the Russians as oppressors of the same type. The Armenian is also unusually perceptive when he concedes that “England…has never “befriended” a small nation more dangerously than she has Armenia.” Kouyoumdjian admits honestly that the Armenians threw the dice for a final time in 1914 to overcome their historical predicament. He believed it was worth it. In 1919 he believed they may have won, having survived the Ottoman Empire and been still there to see it begin to fall to the Imperialists. But a year later the bitter realisation sinks in with him that the Armenians had lost, and lost almost everything. We begin with Marmaduke Pickthall’s first letter: ASIA AND THE ARMENIANS (NA XXV, 15.5. 1919) Sir,-I have been looking over the articles which I contributed to THE NEW AGE during the first two years of the war, and am surprised to find how well, upon the whole, they stand the test of subsequent events… But what has chiefly struck me in reviewing those past efforts is a strange omission in what is otherwise a pretty comprehensive raid upon the Eastern question: I have never written plainly what I think about Armenia. Everybody seems to take it for granted that a lover of the Turks must be a hater of Armenians; and if to ridicule the claim of an Armenian minority to rule over a Muslim majority in Asia minor is to hate Armenians, the charge is true in my case; but not otherwise. I have no ill-will against Armenians as an element in the population of the Turkish Empire; nor had the Turks so long as the Armenians were content with the position in that Empire to which their numbers and intelligence entitled them. The other Christian nationalities, whose hatred of Armenians was intense,used always to accuse the Turks of petting them. It is only since the Armenian revolutionary movement (which had its origin beyond the frontier) was inaugurated, aiming at the establishment of an Armenian empire over countries in which Muslims were in an overwhelming majority, that the Turks have been unfavourable to Armenian aspirations. We hear how often the Armenians have been massacred, but not how often they have been protected by the Turkish Power from the mad rage and indignation of their Muslim neighbours in the provinces. Until the latest massacres – of which we have no certain information – it was really only when the local Kurds, enraged by the behaviour of Armenian revolutionaries, got out of hand, that the innocent Armenians suffered with the guilty. And it seems to me a fact of some significance that in a quarter of a century’s experience of the nations of the Near East the only people except sentimental English and Americans whom I have heard speak favourably of the Armenians – absolutely the only people whom I have heard speak of them with feelings of affection – have been Osmanli Turks. The Armenians have been very useful to the Turks. They supplement each other’s qualities, and work well together. And the Armenians were the favourites of Turkish rule so long as they deserved the title which the Turks bestowed upon them of ‘‘the loyal nationality.” One after another of the subject nationalities was seduced from its allegiance by the Czarist propaganda, but the Armenians remained staunch. At last a few of them, however, seeing that Christian nations could obtain dominion by rebelling, bethought them that, they, too, were Christians, and began to agitate, adopting the same methods of terrorism towards their own folk and atrocities against the Muslim population which had profited the Serbs and Greeks and Bulgars. In order justly to appreciate the feelings of the Muslim population towards seditious movements of their Christian neighbours, it must be remembered that every Christian rising has been marked by horrid butchery of the Muslim population. But for a long time the Armenian revolutionaries were considered, rightly, by the Turkish Government as quite apart from the Armenian nation and hostile to it. They were indeed its deadly enemies. Anyone who pushes forward the Armenians beyond their just position among the peoples of the empire is a deadly and cruel enemy of the Armenians. For they are Asiatics, and they have to live in Asia in the position of a minority. They represent an ancient Asiatic race renowned in history; yet they cringe and whine and lie to Europe to obtain unfair advantage over their Asiatic neighbours. American missionaries have educated them free of charge in Western style; Czarist agents have beguiled them with the promise of an empire reaching from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus. They give themselves the airs of Europeans. They, Asiatics, served as an outpost of Europe against Asia. They betrayed the Turks with the design to let in Europe. They, a minority, wished to enslave the Muslim majority, and did their best to reduce it, when they had the power, with Russian help. A race of traitors, spies, blacklegs, perjurers, lick-spittles, liars, utterly devoid of shame or honour, That is the Armenian nation in the eyes of Asia at this moment. To kill them is as good a deed as to kill scorpions. They defile the globe; It is not a pleasant thing to write, but it is true. The loathing of them is so great that I should not be surprised to read tomorrow morning in my newspaper that they were being massacred in every Eastern land. And the indignation is increased by the prevailing notion that England favours their pretensions, and will impose their yoke upon the necks of a great Muslim majority. Is it the desire of England that these unhappy and deluded people – for that is how I regard the Armenians, victims as the Turks were victims of the cold designs of Europe – does England wish to see them utterly wiped out? To all Asia the events in Turkey since the Revolution have been stages in a tragedy as great and epoch-making as the Crucifixion, and the Armenian nation did its very best to play the part of Judas in that tragedy. If they are pushed forward as the result of those events, if they are given rule over their Muslim neighbours, nothing in the end can save them from the wrath of Asia. In the interests of the Armenians themselves, we should be careful to do nothing to increase the force of public indignation they have raised against them. It would be even politic to stop the trial which, I understand, is going on at present in Constantinople, because the hanging of officials who may or may not have been to blame to some extent for the ill-treatment of Armenians, will have the very opposite of the effect intended. For example, the news of one such execution at Constantinople caused several murders of Armenians in the streets of Cairo. The trial, by reviving the excitement of Armenians and of Muslims both, is bound to have an ill effect, particularly when there is still talk of an Armenian State in Asia Minor. Things done in hot blood cannot be fairly judged in cold blood. The Oriental way is to regard such dreadful struggles as that which took place in Eastern Anatolia in the early part of the war, a struggle of men panic-stricken, both sides fighting for their lives and to save the honour or avenge the murder .of their wives and children – the Oriental way is to regard it, not as so many individual crimes, but as an awful tragedy, and ask God’s mercy for all concerned. If only our short-sighted, fussy mandarins would so regard it, and enforce their view! If I were Grand Vizier, I know what I should do. I should go in state to the Armenian patriarchate and invite His Beatitude and the notables of the Armenian community to meet me and the Turkish notables in solemn council before judges chosen by both sides. In that council we should reckon up the damage done to each side by the other, the judges should assess that damage, and the balance should be paid by him on whom it fell. And then an act should be drawn up between the parties, declaring all ill-feeling at an end, and setting forth the grounds of future amity. There should be public rejoicings; every town should be illuminated; the Armenians and the Muslims would embrace each other; and the most hideous ghost of modern times would be effectually laid. That is the Asiatic way of making peace. What is to prevent our adopting it in this entirely Asiatic case? Only our scheme for the aggrandisement of the Armenians at the expense of their Mohammedan neighbours. Let the Armenians understand once for all that they have no earthly right to the position which their extremists claim in Asia Minor, and that Europe will not help them in injustice, and I verily believe you save their lives. If Europe’s way of exalting them because they are Christians is pursued, the triumph of the Armenians will be short-lived. If an independent Armenian State must be set up, for God’s sake let it be set up in Russian territory, and let all Armenians whose desire is independence go and stop there. MARMADUKE PICKTHALL PICKTHALL AND ARMENIA (NA XXV, 22.5.1919) Sir,-Something or other has suddenly made Mr. Pickthall more than usually angry with everyone concerned in the downfall of the rotten Turkish Empire; and, having exhausted most possibilities of invective against England, France, America, Italy, and Russia, he looked around him, seeking new pasture-ground ‘‘Egad!” says he, “all these years I’ve been writing stuff about the East, and never said a word about those disembowelled Armenians.” For long Mr. Pickthall has cherished a theory, which he is never tired of explaining, that Turks and Armenians were living together quite comfortably, until European intrigue and especially Czarist intrigue stepped in and bribed a few wild and woolly Armenian revolutionaries to upset the cordial relations between these two pacific peoples. The last part is truer than the first; for it is obvious that, given a few specialised revolutionaries with the latest pattern in bombs up their sleeves, same bombs to be used exclusively for joining Turks to celestial houris, the relations between Turks and Armenians will at once become noticeably strained… And that about Czarist intrigue holds some grain of truth, too, though Mr.Pickthall wantonly exaggerates that little to suit his own ends. Czarist intrigue! Why, it has been everywhere in its time! Mischevious it surely was, but not very, because most people took it as rather a joke; even the British Labour Party took it as rather a joke. And as for Armenians being seriously elated by Russian promises, they had only to look over the bolder to see what a Viceroy Galitzin would give them- Cossack lust, confiscation of Church and school property, and uniform education of Armenian children with Russian children. Last, as to the “amicable” relations which he so often asserts once existed between the Turk and Armenian. I hate to say it, but it’s a lie – a lie cloaked in plausibility – a lie backed by Mr. Pickthall’s literary reputation and by the sympathy which his often chivalrous defence of the Turk has found for him in some quarters. And therefore a very mischievous lie… There is truth in it only in that Turk and Armenian have not always been killing each other at the last three years’ average rate of a million a year. Of course, there was always a bit of casual murdering here and there, but that did not disturb the Westerner’s idea that there was at last peace in Anatolia, that Armenia was at long last contented. But that Westerner was not there to see for the matter of that, neither was I, nor was Mr. Pickthall; but I have an Armenian grandmother, and he has only Turkish sympathies; my evidence wins on points, I think, and so could not know that Armenia had become sullen and indifferent, and was quickly becoming the servile thing that the hybrid Syrian (the “other Christians” of Mr.Pickthall’s diatribe) had long since become. Armenia, after centuries of fighting and losing battle, lay quiet and dulled, and began to lose that national essence which had kept her a nation for so long, her self-respect – until, in the last century, by wildly pricking Kurdish blood from the fastnesses of Zeytoun and Sassoon, she regained it doubly, and with it strength to fight again over her own dead body. She fought, was massacred, and did indeed massacre. Thus are holocausts made. Until now, in A.D. 1919, when the once fertile plain of Hayastan, of thirty million souls, is a desert in which a remnant of a hundred thousand is praying to God for peace, for Peace. But, says Mr. Pickthall righteously, how could the Armenians be so disloyal when they were rising to posts of the greatest eminence in the Empire? Even in a cesspool a flower sometimes rises to the surface; and it must be admitted that the Armenian’s is no mean intelligence, and that even in international finance, to which he had been debased by the money-grubbing facilities of England and America, he has, as Ruskin would say, “A degree of eminence in the abyss.’’ There runs through Mr. Pickthall’s diatribes an undercurrent of indignation at Armenia’s attacking Turkey in the back. But where else was Armenia to attack her? Discretion being the better part of an insurrection, of course she attacked the colossus in the back, and the colossus, turning round, rent her severely, with a punishment which brought her villages into the dust and her men into an agony of fear – of fear, for men do not meet butchery with fortitude. Mr. Pickthall knows the sort of Armenian that I am, and cannot well bring his usual accusation of sloppy sentimentality against me, He knows I am not of the spirit of a Bryce or Buxton, to hold up a crucifix and avow that Armenia has been martyred thereon. He knows that if there is any blackguarding of Armenians to be done, I can do it much more thoroughly than he can. Time over again I have said that Armenia’s punishment has not been entirely undeserved (from the Turkish point of view), that she has asked for trouble and got it. But, putting aside the charge of wanton blood-letting, I have this capital charge against the Turkish Empire – that she has been the first and main cause of the degradation of her subject peoples; through her dominion they have come to such a moral depth that I, an Armenian, am not always over-proud of being one. For the measure of a subject’s degradation is the measure of his master’s turpitude. In tolerant England can rise a Disraeli, a Reading, a Mond (peace to him !), but in Russia there was the Ghetto, to burst in the end into a befouled Braunstein-Trotsky. The subject reflects the master. English colonies are better than German colonies… And to that charge against Turkey I join my charge against Mr. Pickthall, for he has wantonly countenanced her degrading tyranny. I do not say the Turk is evil. She has been in at the death of every empire which had the impertinence to conquer her. I see through the ages her children throwing faggots on the funeral-pyres of the great predatory cities, from Carchemish to eternal Rome, archenemy of Tigranes – until now, when Armenia has still life enough to fete the overthrow of the last Osmanli Empire, and to cry that she too has helped to avenge the blood-stained purple of Constantine Palaelogos ! For though Armenians are Asiatics, they are Asiatics of the West, not of the East. And in their vengeance they avenge also Europe, of which they are a part, by qualities of mind – good or bad does not here matter. They have always been the West in the East; in Asia Minor the doctors, lawyers, usurers, and scientific banditti have been mostly of Armenian birth. They are not, as Mr. Pickthall knows, of the same breed as the Syrian Christians and the Levantine Greeks. I say the Turk Is a fool. Armenia has outlived all her overlords. DIKRAN KOUYOUMDJIAN. ASIA AND THE ARMENIANS (NA XXV 29.5.1919) Sir,-Mr. Kouyoumdjian seems to have missed the point of my letter, which was that “in the interests of the Armenians themselves we should be careful to do nothing to increase the force of public indignation they have raised against them.” I am in a better position than most Englishmen to estimate that force, and I confess that it alarms me. I believe that in a few years’ time the Pan-Asiatic movement will have come to power sufficient to end the period of European ascendency. That movement will be animated by revenge towards Europe if we persist in the impolicy of treating Asiatic Powers as if they had no rights. The case of Turkey – I can say it of my personal knowledge – is being treated as a test case by the principal Asiatic races outside China. It is our last chance of propitiating Asiatic sentiment. If we affront that sentiment by means of the Armenians, the Armenians themselves will be the first to suffer, since they live in Asia. Is that clear enough? I point out the only way of reconciliation which appears to me, and Mr. Kouyoumdjian accuses me of frantic rage with the Armenians and treats me as an enemy of that unlucky race! He accuses me of downright lying in my efforts after peace: “Last, as to the amicable relations which he so often asserts once existed between the Turk and the Armenian, I hate to say it, but it’s a lie – a lie cloaked in plausibility – a lie backed by Mr. Pickthall’s literary reputation and by the sympathy which his often chivalrous defence of the Turks has found for him in some quarters. And therefore a very mischievous lie.” The Armenians have at last an advocate who writes good English. Here is what I wrote: “Everybody seems to take it for granted that a lover of the Turks must be a hater of Armenians; and if to ridicule the claim of an Armenian minority to rule over a Muslim majority in Asia Minor is to hate Armenians, the charge is true in my case; but not otherwise. I have no ill-will against Armenians as an element in the population of the Turkish Empire; nor had the Turks so long as the Armenians were content with the position in that Empire to which their numbers and intelligence entitled them. The other Christian nationalities” – by which I meant the Greeks and Serbs and Bulgars, not the minor Christian elements in Eastern Anatolia as Mr. Kouyoumdjian chooses to assume – “whose hatred of Armenians was intense, used always to accuse the Turks of petting them. It is only since the Armenian revolutionary movement (which had its origin beyond the frontier) was inaugurated, aiming at the establishment of an Armenian empire over countries in which Muslims were in an overwhelming majority, that the Turks have been unfavourable to Armenian aspirations. We hear how often the Armenians have beer massacred, but not how often they have been protected by the Turkish power from the mad rage and indignation of their neighbours in the Provinces. Until the latest massacres – of which we have no certain information – it was really only when the local Kurds got out of hand that the innocent Armenians suffered with the guilty. And it seems to me a fact of some significance that in a quarter of a century’s experience of the nations of the Near East” – this, at any rate, is not a lie, it is a fact- “the only people except sentimental English and Americans whom I have heard speak favourably of the Armenians – absolultely the only people whom I have heard speak of them with feelings of affection – have been Osmanli Turks. The Armenians have been very useful to the Turks. They supplement each other’s qualities, and work well together. And the Armenians were the favourites of Turkish rule so long as they deserved the title which the Turks bestowed upon them. of ‘the loyal nationality.’ One after another of the subject nationalities was seduced from its allegiance by the Czarist propaganda, but the Armenians remained staunch. At last a few of them, however, seeing that Christian nations could obtain dominion by rebelling, bethought them that they, too, were Christians, and began to agitate, adopting the same methods of terrorism towards their own folk and atrocities against the Muslim population which had profited the Serbs and Greeks and Bulgars.” All that is perfectly true so far as I know. It was also the accepted view of most of the Armenians whom one met in Turkey previous to the European war. If they have changed their view through their misfortunes, it seems a little hard that they should call me liar for reasserting facts of history which have not changed. When speaking of “the Turks” in this connection I meant the Turkish power expressed in government; but Mr. Kouyoumdjian makes the term include the Kurds and other Muslim neighbours of the Armenians in the provinces – people whose attitude has always been distinct from that of the Imperial Government, and generally opposed to it. The state of the Kurd-Armenian provinces may be compared to that of Scotland in the seventeenth century. The peace and welfare of those provinces depended on the presence of a Turkish force sufficient to prevent disorders. When the Turkish hand was strong, the country prospered; when weak, it fell into a state of anarchy. When Mr. Kouyoumdjian accuses me of exaggerating the part played by Czarist intrigue in the Armenian troubles of the last six years, I can but laugh. Czarist intrigue kept Eastern Anatolia in a turmoil all through the years 1913-14. It deliberately ordered and preparecl extensive massacres, which the Turkish Government had much difficulty to prevent. On one memorable occasion full reports were published in the Tiflis papers of a massacre which had been fixed for a certain day, and which the writers did not know had been frustrated. Mahmud Shevket Pasha, having collected most amazing evidence of Russia’s guilt, was going to make a great appeal to Europe when he was assassinated. It was Czarist intrigue which prevented England from providing those inspectors for Armenia which we had as good as promised to the Turkish Government. If Mr. Kouyoumdjian desires further light upon this subject he will find it in a document of unimpeachable authority, a brochure published by the Czarist Government itself to prove to the Armenians the great interest it took in them. It is entitled “The Reforms in Armenia, 12th November, 1912-10th May, 1914,” and was translated into Armenian by one Setrak Avakian (Tiflis, 1915). Czarist intrigue in Anatolia was not diplomatic. It was murderous and utterly cynical. It egged on the two sections of the population to destroy each other, caring not a jot for either. Its weapons were the bomb, the rifle, and the machine-gun supplied in secret to the very firebrands whom the Turks, desiring to restore good older, had disarmed. I never yet knew anyone who took it as a joke, nor do I think that anyone could really do so. Mr. Kouyoumdjian’s “capital charge against the Turkish Empire – that she has been the first and main cause of the degradation of her subject peoples” is strange, since the Turkish Empire left its subject peoples alone so long as they did not fall foul of the autonomy of other peoples in an empire which was the very mother of autonomies. If he had ascribed the degradation of the subject Christians to the fact that their autonomous institutions were for long in the unsupervised control of their respectire Churches, and had blamed the Turks of old for trusting too much to ecclesiastics, I could have agreed. But the Armenians have had secular self-government for half a century, with educational advantages much greater than have ever come within the reach of other nations in the Turkish Empire which are not degraded. I think that Mr. Kouyoumdjian exaggerates the degradation. I myself had never noticed it. It is natural that with his English public school education and his hyper-cultivated Western mind he should feel occasional contempt for the mentality of Asia Minor. MARMADUKE PICKTHALL IMPERIAL SUICIDE (NA XXVI, 25.3.1920) Sir,-… Reports with regard to events in the vilayet of Adana (at present isolated), emanating from Beyrout or Constantinople, are declared to be “authoritative,” while telegrams from Armenians in Marash itself, who say that they are in security, are regarded as fictitious. Lies which every Englishman who knows the East detects immediately – lies with regard to population, customs, character – are circulated by extremely costly Press advertisement, while letters of protest and correction go unpublished. No impartial international inquiry into the whole question of Armenian massacres has been instituted in the ample time which has elapsed since the conclusion of the Armistice with Turkey; the Turkish Government has asked for such inquiry, but the Armenian organisations and Armenian partisans refuse to hear of such a thing, declaring that the Bryce and Lepsins reports are quite sufficient to condemn the Turks – in other words, that judgment should be given on the case for the prosecution alone. The inter-Allied Commission which investigated the unfortunate events in Smyrna last year made a report unfavourable to Greek claims. Therefore that report has not been published here in England, though in other countries it has long been public property… This conjunction of dense ignorance and cunning falsehood is fraught with instant danger to the British realm. Enormous sums of money are being spent daily on utterly misleading propaganda, a propaganda of which the methods are so far from English as to suggest the presence here in England of the very scum of the Levant. Everything that apparently boundless wealth can do is being done to persuade the man in the street that Oriental sentiment is negligible, and that, far from being dangerous to England, the policy of supporting Eastern Christians, right or wrong, against non-Christians is the only way of future peace for humankind. This at the very moment when the new ‘‘Green Army” (the Moslem army of the Soviets) is fully mobilised, when war already rages in the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Syria, and when our Indian Empire, not to speak of Egypt, feels estranged from us ! You have allowed me for so many years to make my protests in your columns against the ignorance, duplicity, and general claptrap tending to obscure the issues in our Eastern policy that I dare to hope that you will publish my sincere opinion at this moment, which is that we are on the brink of an immense disaster, for which we have ourselves alone to blame. A Government and people which prefers propaganda to fact as the ground of policy – and foreign propaganda at that! – is self-condemned. MARMADUKE PICKTHALL ARMENIAN AMENITIES (NA XXVI, 15.4.1920) Sir,–Your correspondent, Mr. Michael Arlen, writes :“ It seems to be my fate that I must answer Mr. Pickthal.”As far as I know, Mr. Michael Arlen has never answered me before. He says that his “reply is dictated not so much by the fire of an Armenian refutation” (whatever that may mean) “as by the various discourtesies, of manner rather than of words, of which Mr. Pickthall has been guilty in his last essay in defence of a noisome empire.” Referring to that essay – i.e., my letter in THE NEW AGE (March 25) – I find the following references to the Armenian propaganda :- “ Reports with regard to events in the vilayet of Adana (at present isolated), emanating from Beyrout or Constantinople, are declared to be ‘authoritative,’ while telegrams from Armenians in Marash itself, who say that they are in security, are regarded as fictitious. Lies which every Englishman who knows the East detects – immediately – lies with regard to population, customs, character – are circulated by extremely costly Press advertisement, while letters of protest and correction go unpublished. No impartial international inquiry into the whole question of Armenian massacres has been instituted in the ample time which has elapsed since the conclusion of the Armistice with Turkey; the Turkish Government has asked for such inquiry, but the Armenian organisations and Armenian partisans refuse to hear of such a thing, declaring that the Bryce and Lepsius Reports are quite sufficient to condemn the Turks-in other words, that judgment should be given on the case for the prosecution alone. . . . The Armenian Patriarch and the Nestorian representative . . . are received with every honour and display of sympathy; while a delegation from the non united people of what was once called ‘British’ India, charged with the most serious warning that can be sent from one nation to another, is insulted daily in the Press and treated as of slight importance by the Government of England.’’ All quite true. I then quoted the “Times” as saying that Indian Mahomedans had no right to dictate the foreign policy of the British Empire, myself adding,“Yet alien Greeks and Armenians, by weight of money, may dictate that policy!” which, I contend, is quite fair comment in the circumstances. I also wrote :- “This conjunction of dense ignorance and cunning falsehood is fraught with instant danger to the British realm ”-as I believe it is. “ Enormous sums of money are being spent daily on an utterly misleading propaganda, a propaganda of which the methods are so far from English as to suggest the presence here in England of the very scum of the Levant.” “Scum of the Levant,” as a designation, might be called discourteous, if addressed to men of honour, I admit. But the men responsible for the production of a film of faked atrocities acted by hired performers in America, which, as first shown here, was banned by Scotland Yard for its indecency; the men responsible for a certain poster which appeared the other day in the poorer quarters of London till removed by the police; the persons who delight in propagating downright falsehoods, have forfeited all claim to be considered men of honour, or so it seems to me and many other Englishmen. But what has Mr. Arlen got to do with it? Is he in truth the man responsible for all the shady side of the Armenian propaganda and of the Greek propaganda as well? If he is not, why should he receive a public protest against those indecencies from the point of view of Englishmen and of the British Empire – a protest which contained no personality – as a personal affront? What exactly he complains of is not clear. Indeed, his letter, headed “The Decline of Mr. Pickthall,” is nothing but a personal attack, which mine was not. The last Armenian who attacked me in your columns called me liar; now Mr. Arlen tells me I am not a gentleman; both insults being in “reply” to reasoned, general statements which I made without attack on individuals. I am growing used to this “Armenian fire of refutation” ! If so, we ought to call up Scotland Yard. MARMADUKE PICKTHALL ARMENIA (NA XXVI, 22.4.1920) Sir,-Mr. Pickthall complains that the only other Armenian (Mr. Arlen rather vaguely implies that he is one) who has replied to him in the past called him a liar. I have seen no reason since then to withdraw that charge. What, after all, can one do with a man who states that “Reports . . . from Beyrout and Constantinople are declared to be authoritative, while telegrams from Armenians in Marash itself, who say that they are in security, are regarded as fictitious?” Mr. Pickthall cannot, seemingly, go to the length of denying that there has been murder in Marash, but he goes as far as he can. He is like most propagandists, and the more dangerous because he is also an artist. He makes an arabesque of his beliefs, principles, and prejudices, and that which does not fit into his scheme, shapely only to his eye, he rigorously excludes. And in this case he wantonly and cruelly excludes those other telegrams from ‘‘Marash itself” which tell a different tale, of wholesale loot and blood-letting. . . . But I am a little resigned about penetrating so biased a mind; for I am very certain that Mr. Pickthall, when he wrote that perversion about Marash, knew as well as I do that more corpses have lately been made in that district than he or I could well count through an hour of a sleepless night! And I think your readers by now know that I, as an Armenian, do not generally give too generous a credence to Bryce reports of massacre. Mr. Pickthall says, again, that alien Greeks and Armenians, by weight of money, are trying to dictate the policy of England. . . . Surely, he can know nothing of human nature, of the kind that lives and dies for absurdities! Does he seriously think that the Armenians (we will ignore the “alien” Greeks) ever hope to reinstate their country in the proud position which only legend can claim for them? Does he really think that they, a people cursed with sophistication, are lured on by any hope of a quiet and peaceful Hayastan, free of the cruelty of oppression and of the indignity of Europeanc harity? I regret that they are made of more cynical stuff. And the keynote of their resistance and propaganda, despite all the sentimentalists who have besmeared her, is – well, Mr. Pickthall, it’s just revenge! didn’t you know? . . . And that is why I quite agree with him – that money may be being spent furiously to prejudice the Turk in this country. More power to the Armenian elbow, say I ! Had I money, I couldn’t spend it more enjoyably. Sympathy must be seduced, if it can be got by no other means. The Armenians have paid with their lives, they will now pay with their treasure, to enshroud more quickly with weeds that growth of anarchy and misgovernment which was once called the Turkish Empire. But I cannot see why Mr. Pickthall so consistently keeps his grievances against the Christian peoples of Asia Minor. They are really lost, finished, beaten, friendless. This war was the Armenians’ last throw of the dice, their last furious gamble. And, as for 5,000 years, so now – they have lost! The war has left them worse off than ever before. So badly off, indeed, that, after fighting for England and themselves, after having stormed Erivan and Erzeroum, after having held and only lost Baku because of the idiocy of a British general who thought that 1,500 men were enough to relieve them – after all this, the Prime Minister of England can say of them that, if they relied more on themselves, the Armenians would become a ‘‘more manly and virile people” ! Since England was taught Imperialism by that brilliant and bedizened Jew, she has never “befriended” a small nation more dangerously than she has Armenia. If England can but continue to “befriend” her, there will very soon be no subject left for discussion between Mr. Pickthall and myself. For I am sure we could not disagree so heartily upon any other but that which he is pleased to call, incorrectly, “the scum of the Levant.” DIKRAN KOUYOUMDJIAN. THE ARMENIANS (NA XXVI, 29.4.20) Sir, – Mr. Kouyoumdjian admits so much that is denied by the Armenian propagandists that I can quite understand his objecting to an impartial inquiry into events in Cilicia and elsewhere. He admits that the Armenians – a scattered minority of Asiatics living in Asia – tried to dominate a Mussulman majority by what would naturally appear to their neighbours foul means – by stabbing Turkey in the back at the behest of Czarist Russia, whose aim was to enslave the country. And because England, the Ally of Czarist Russia, has not quite fulfilled all the ambitions and the hopes they had conceived when doing Russia’s work, the Armenians feel revengeful and do not care how much they spend in the attempt to harm their Asiatic neighbours and to work confusion in the British Empire. If Mr. Kouyoumdjian will but deign to remember, I have always stated that England, more than Turkey, was to blame for the Armenians sufferings. But it was “that brilliant and bedizened Jew,” a Turcophil, who inserted in the Cyprus Convention a clause making England responsible for the good government of the Armenians, and it was the Gladstonian so-called friends of the Armenians – Russophils – who refused to execute that clause when asked to do soby the Turkish Government. That is one case where England was undoubtedly to blame from the accepted point of view of Englishmen andfrom the point of viewof moderate Armenians – the majority; though not, of course, of the Armenian revolutionaries in the pay of Russia, whose aim was to produce a state of anarchy. As an Englishman, I quite admit that England is to blame; but as an Englishman I cannot look on with approval at a campaign of propaganda, false in itself and detrimental to the British Empire – a campaign which, as Mr. Kouyoumdjian himself says, has no better object than revenge. Mr. Kouyoumdjian seems to expect me to find it not only admirable but amusing; and because I find it neither, he suspects my bona-fides. The real problem before the Armenian race is not one of revenge but of existence. And there I think that I could help a little if they would allow me, or, at any rate, could show that I had no ill-will against them as a race. How are they going to live among the peoples they have wronged and angered by their reckless “gamble”? If all the races who inhabit Western Asia were as revengeful as Mr. Kouyoumdjian declares the Armenians to be, it would be impossible; nay, the Armenians would have been exterminated long ago. But, as things are, it is still possible. The Armenians have had their lesson with regard to Europe. Every race in the Near East has had a lesson more or less analogous, and all now known the worth of European promises. There is a bond of union to begin with. With the exception of a few individuals like Mr. Kouyoumdjian the Armenians have much more in common with their Asiatic neighbours than they have with us. It is their cringing to America and Europe, with absurd pretensions far more than their national characteristics, which has made them so exceedingly disliked by all their Eastern neighbours. MARMADUKE PICKTHALL
    An Unheeded Warning Dr Pat Walsh A letter to The New Age in its edition of 6 January 1916 is very interesting. It explains how Britain drove the Ottomans over to Germany’s side in the Great War. It does not suggest that this was intentional, rather that it was a blunder, foreseen, but not avoided. Blunders, foreseen, but not avoided, may not be blunders at all, of course. They may be intentions, later disguised as blunder when intentions prove to have been mistaken. If Sir Edward Grey, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill wanted Russia in the Great War against Germany they needed Ottoman Turkey in the enemy ranks to present the Tsar with his reward for the lend of the Russian Steamroller. That reward was Constantinople, which was formally agreed to be the Tsar’s property in the secret Constantinople Agreement of 1915. This represented a great change in British Foreign Policy since England had spent a century denying the Straits to the Tsar and threatening him with war declaring: “The Russians shall not have Constantinople.” In the years before the Great War the Young Turks entered into a naval agreement with Britain in which British dockyards took orders for Turkish battleships, under the supervision of Winston Churchill and the Admiralty, and a British naval mission was established at Constantinople. By 1914 the size of this naval mission was as large as the German military mission, and they were looked on as a counter-balance to each other by the Turks. And so if it was said that Turkey had a military alliance with Germany in 1914 it could be equally said that she had a naval alliance with England. The Turks gave England extraordinary positions of influence in the Ottoman State – positions that no other country with concern for its sovereignty would offer. They had entrusted to Britain the most vital components of the defence of their capital – the reorganisation of their navy under Rear-Admiral Douglas Gamble and Admiral Arthur Limpus and a English Naval Mission, and the modernisation of the arsenal at the Golden Horn (Turkey’s only source of munitions) by Armstrong and Vickers. Admiral Limpus offered advice to the Turkish Admiralty on such matters as the location of mine fields in the Straits and mine laying techniques as well as torpedo lines. It is not surprising that the British took on this constructive work, even though their long term ambition was to destroy the Ottoman Empire. It countered German influence at Constantinople, gave the English a unique, inside knowledge of the defences of the Turkish capital and the Turkish Navy – and made sure that the Russians, French and Germans did not possess such influence or information themselves. And when the English naval mission left those in charge of it were the first to suggest to Winston Churchill that Constantinople should be attacked, with all the inside information they had obtained. So the last thing on the minds of the Turks was to wage war on Britain – for to have had this intention and to have entrusted England with such expert knowledge of the defences of the Turkish State would have been like the proverbial Turkey voting for Christmas. The belief was promoted that England desired Turkey to remain neutral in the war and diplomatic activity was engaged in to cultivate this impression for the record. Britain is very good at covering its tracks and using diplomats to lay false trails before moving full steam ahead in the opposite direction. However, there are a number of weaknesses in the British case. Firstly, whilst Turkey had little to gain in entering the war it was necessary from Britain and Russia’s position that the Ottoman Empire should be engaged in the conflict. How else was Constantinople to be got for the Russians? Secondly, Britain began to engage in highly provocative behaviour towards the Ottomans. The major example of this was the seizure by Winston Churchill of two battleships being built by the Royal Navy that were being paid for by popular subscription in Turkey. These was seized illegally and confiscated without compensation by the British – effectively signalling that the naval alliance with Turkey was over. It left the Turks defenceless against Russia in the Black Sea or the Greeks in the Aegean, who the British also built battleships for. And only one power was willing to shore up the defences of Istanbul in the absence of the battleships from Britain. Here is the letter published in The New Age in 1916 giving details of the warning sent to Asquith, Grey and Churchill before War had even been declared on Germany: “Dear Sir,-As the Foreign Office has withdrawn the official censorship on discussion of foreign affairs in the Press, and as the expedition against Constantinople has now been disembarked, there is no reason why the origin of the disasters which have occurred to Britain in the East should not be placed upon public record for the information of those who have suffered by this terrible calamity. “What was the situation on the outbreak of the European War so far as Turkey was concerned? Turkey was well disposed towards Britain and France and the Central Powers ; but most distrustful of the motives of the Russian Government. At an early stage, public opinion in Turkey regarded the originator of the war as the Russian military party. Turkey’s own condition was somewhat precarious. The two Balkan wars had injured her military prestige and her naval strength was weak in comparison with that of Greece. To remedy the latter state of things, two powerful ships had been ordered from Armstrong, Whitworthand Co., and these vessels were almost ready for delivery on August I, 1914,when war broke out between Russia and Germany. On learning that Britain had determined to intervene, the present writer sent the following memorandum to Mr. Asquith under the date of August 3, 1914.The document speaks for itself in its reasoning :- 3rd August, 1914. “To the Right Hon. H. H. Asquith, K.C., M.P. Dear Sir,- “The Turkish Battleship Contracts. “I have the honour to draw your immediate attention to the following points to be considered by His Majesty’s advisers on the question of whether or not the right of pre-emption, presumably contained in the above contracts,under which the “Osman I” and other vessels are now being constructed by Messrs. Armstrong, Whitworthand Co. for the Turkish Government, should be formally exercised by the British Government. The chief consideration in favour of taking over these vessels is that they would afford a pro rata strengthening of the naval forces at the disposal of the British Admiralty. But, in view of the relative gun and unit power of the British and Allied navies compared with the navies of the Central Powers, I trust that undue weight will not be given to this purely naval factor, to the exclusion of the weighty political arguments in favour of maintaining the contractual obligation undertaken by the contractors towards the Imperial Ottoman Government. “The arguments against the seizure of these vessels are most important in my judgment. “(I) The political sympathies of the Turkish Government are most evenly balanced between the contending sides. Though Turkish sentiment may be possibly somewhat more favourable to GreatBritain and France than to the Central Powers, the course and causes of the two Balkan wars, combined with past historical events, have made the anti-Russian feeling in Turkey the predominating factor which will certainly govern any decision at the present time. “(2) The peculiar circumstances connected with the ordering of these war vessels should not be overlooked, and it may be convenient to recall them to your recollectAiotn.the conclusion of the second Balkan war, owing to the weakness of the Turkish Navy, there was a fear in the Ottoman Empire that the Kingdom of Greece might be tempted to utilise her superior sea power in a manner adverse to Turkish interests in the AEgean Sea in the immediate future. By means of a great patriotic agitation a national subscription was raised throughout the Ottoman Empire to defray the cost of two war vessels of a gun power sufficient to redress the Turkish naval inferiority in the event of complications arising with Greece. The funds having been secured by this unique method of individual subscription,the order was placed in Great Britain and the vessels were approaching completion when the European crisis developed in July, 1914. The outbreak of war has much increased the alarm felt in Turkey at the condition of the Turkish Navy, and undoubtedly the Ottoman Government and the Turkish people are relying upon the British contractors to fulfil their engagements with all speed. “(3) As you may be aware, the mechanism of modern war vessels is so delicate and so complicated that the Turkish officers will require training for some considerable period before they can handle these new ships with the efficiency needed in the operations of active service. In these circumstances, as a matter of necessity, the vessels will have to be sent out manned by British crew?, who will presumably be under the direction of the British Naval Mission now resident at Constantinople. (4) Your advisers have much fuller information than I have of the present disposition of any hostile warships, but the advantages accruing to Great Britain and her Allies from having in the Dardanelles powerful war vessels manned by British crews and officers are too plain to require demonstration in the existing crisis in Europe. Obviously these vessels could prevent the exercise of any unfair pressure on the Ottoman Government by the officers of the German Military Mission, or by the German Ambassador. Further, this policy would have the indirect effect of closing up a means of escape for any isolated hostile vessels that may be cruising now in the waters adjacent to Turkish territory. Should any such vessels once secure admission to the Dardanelles, I need hardly dwell upon the momentous consequencetshat will ensue and the handicap that will be imposed upon British diplomacy at the Porte by the actual happening of this untoward event. “On these grounds, I urge you not only to prevent any seizure of these vessels, but to press the First Lord of the Admiralty and his Board to hasten the departure for the Dardanelles of either the contract vessels or substitutes of equivalent value, so that the pro-Ally influences may have a potent means at hand of checking the intrigues certain to be resorted to by the representatives of the Central Powers. “It must not be understood from the terms of this letter that I see any reason for British intervention in the war, but Ihave written in this strain and with this urgency because I have some knowledge of the facts of the situation in Turkey, and because I believe that no sacrifice is involved in this measure of precaution commensurate to the results likely to be achieved by adopting this quite legitimate plan, for preserving the status quo in Turkey. “I am addressing a letter couched in similar terms to “the Foreign Secretary, Sir E. Grey. “Yours very truly, C. H. NORMAN. “Whether this letter went into the waste-paper basket at No. 10,Downing Street only Mr. Asquith and his secretaries can tell us; but it will be recognised now why the initial error in the Turkish tragedy was Mr. Churchill’s conduct in grabbing the Turkish war vessels. It was the kind of flashy proceedings to be expected from Mr. Churchill; and there are some elements which point to Mr. Lloyd George as being a party to this disastrous transaction was Chancellor of the Exchequer and must have been consulted on the financial aspect of this deal, which has turned out to be so costly to the Empire. The whole story only shows the obtuseness of Mr. Asquith and Sir E. Grey, and the smart dodges of men like Churchill and Lloyd George are the elements which have weakened the efforts of Great Britain at every turn in this war, with the results that are open for the world to see. Whether Lord Kitchener, Lord Fisher, or Mr. Winston Churchill, or the Cabinet as a whole, must bear the brunt of the responsibility for dispatching military expeditions to Turkey, future inquiry alone can establish ; but that Mr. Winston Churchill alone must shoulder the responsibility for initiating the questionable tactics that inflamed Turkish opinion against Great Britain is beyond all question-while Mr. Asquith and Sir E. Grey cannot pretend that they were not warned of the possibilities underlying the easy policy of seizure. “One other word on Turkey and the Dardanelles. The expedition against Constantinople was undertaken at the request of and under the pressure of the Russian Government. That is now admitted. The British people should really appreciate that it is the presence of Russia in the Allied combination that is its source of weakness. The suspicion that Constantinople was to be handed over to Russia turned Bulgaria against the Allies and has kept Roumania and Greece neutral. In the spring, unless some restraint is put upon the Russian agents in Sweden and Finland, Sweden may be added to the enemies of the Allied Powers. A large body of European opinion looks upon the Russian Government as mainly responsible, for the war; and very little sympathy is expended upon France and Britain, as those two States are regarded as having only themselves to thank for their folly in putting their foreign policy at the mercy of Russian diplomacy. Unpleasant as these things may be, they are hard facts. It is high time that those in authority in Britain and France recognised the difficulties that have been created by the Russian Alliance, especially as its military value is now completely discounted, while the probability of Russia being able to effect anything substantial in the spring is distinctly remote. “C. H. NORMAN Source In Memory of British Statesmanship Dr Pat Walsh This powerful article by Marmaduke Pickthall is as relevant today as it was when it was written a century ago (in The Age, Vol 18, No.5, December, 1915). In fact, Pickthall was pinpointing something that had its origin at that point and which has made for chaos and instability in the world ever since. It is perceptively entitled In Memory of British Statesmanship to locate the origin of the problem and the responsibility where it lies.
    Marmaduke Pickthall was an old school English Tory and he was all the better for it. He was no James Bryce or Edward Grey or the host of Liberals who salved their consciences in creating a Great War by declaring it to be a war for civilisation, for humanity, for good against evil etc. etc. He had no time for moral frenzy whipped up to wage war on absolute evil. He knew that good and evil existed everywhere and could not be assigned to one nation or another. He understood that great evil came about through bad statesmanship and the power with the greatest responsibility for statecraft in the world in 1914 was Britain, its one superpower. Pickthall realised that democracy leads to catastrophe if given its head. He saw this in 1914 in England when the English democracy turned a limited Balance of Power war planned on Germany into a great moral war. That was a failure of statesmanship from Edward Grey, who was supposed to be a great statesman. It is the duty of statesmen to override the popular will if the popular will would lead to disaster. British statesmanship had managed to do that for a couple of centuries with great skill. But in August 1914 the popular will was worked up by the Liberal statesmen and it lead to catastrophe for the state and masses alike – along with millions across the globe. This is not to say that the British masses were ignorant. What they were ignorant of was what Edward Grey was doing in his Foreign Policy. W.T. Stead, the man who had written more against the Turk than anyone alive, realised what was afoot when he saw the Italian invasion of Ottoman Libya go unanswered by Grey and then the Balkan Wars let go impeded. The British Foreign Office were not defending the “public law of Europe” and the Cyprus Convention. Even Gladstone had stood for that in a long line of British Statesmen. Stead wrote about it and was then drowned on the Titanic. The only explanation for Sir Edward Grey’s inactivity was his desire to placate his Tsarist ally, who he needed in a future war with Germany, for the Russian steamroller to complement the Royal Navy and French Army. From the 1907 Anglo-Russian agreement that carved up Persia, British Statesmanship went very wrong, culminating in the Great War of 1914. Pickthall’s warnings in 1912 went unheeded. It was the Great War waged on the Ottoman Empire that produced catastrophe for the Armenians – and the same for a similar amount of Moslems in the region they inhabited. And the same mediocrity under the false banner of “humanity” that have turned two former Ottoman territories, Iraq and Syria, into the killing fields of today: “In Memory of British Statesmanship “Nothing in the phenomena produced by the great war is more disquieting, to those who wish for sanity in Europe with a view to lasting peace, than the utter lack of objectivity evinced on this occasion by the very men whose special business is to try to see things in their true perspective. By objectivity I mean the power to view a person, nation or idea apart from one’s own feelings with regard to it, as something having a right to existence since it does exist, and worthy of consideration in comparison with any other person, nation or idea. Where would one seek for such impartial vision if not in the universities of modern Europe, which afford a refuge for trained thinkers from the hurly-burly? Yet we have seen a manifesto published by the professors of Germany which, for lack of scientific calm and objectivity, is equalled only by the manifesto which certain English professors published in reply to it. Thus do the professional thinkers of a country, no less than the people and the Government, lose their sense of humour – a homely name for objectivity – in wartime, and become fanatics, doing their utmost to increase the evil, striving in their madness to make peace impossible. This gift of objectivity or sense of humour has never been the property of nations, and seldom the property of the rulers of primitive peoples striving fiercely for existence or supremacy. It is unnecessary, it would be a drawback, to a nation borne upon the flood of conquest. But it is exceedingly to be desired in those who have to shape the policy of a nation at the height of power or in its decadence, seeking to preserve by wisdom, cunning or diplomacy an empire coveted alike by friend and foe. “Just as among private individuals a perfect sense of humour – I mean that sense of humour which plays on a man’s self no less than on his neighbours – is extremely rare; so among the statesmen, who perform the function of the brain for a whole empire, a perfect objectivity – that is, the faculty of seeing his own country as other countries see it, no less than that of viewing other countries as they view’ themselves and one another – is the crown of genius. “We of England in the past have by good fortune produced several statesmen who possessed the faculty of seeing other countries clearly in their various relations. But only one British statesman that I know of ever saw the British Empire quite dispassionately in relation to the whole, and he was not by blood an Englishman -Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. That is why Disraeli’s judgments in the region of foreign affairs were so unerring and, as time has proved, infallible. “He was too imaginative,” say the mediocrities who followed after him and wrecked his work; “he was not an Englishman and so could never see things as we English see them.” As if the statesman of a mighty empire could be too imaginative! As if average intelligent Englishmen – for of such are Disraeli’s successors – must of necessity have truer vision than the greatest political genius in all modern history ! Objectivity is a quality of the imagination which our present rulers seem to lack most grievously. “O wad some power the giftie gie us, To see ousels as others see us! “So much that is absurd and inconsequent in the diplomatic situation would, by that gift, have been avoided. “We should have perceived before we made the first move towards alliance with Russia. that Greece, Roumania and Bulgaria, no less than Turkey, were countries – threatened by the pan-Slavonic movement, that they loved us only through self-interest, and would cease to love us if we changed our policy. We should have considered before agreeing with Russia finally to destroy the weak, but not quite hopeless, democratic regime in Persia, and allowing the London Press to rejoice over the disappearance of a “toy parliament,” that the said democratic regime was a sincere, if humble, imitation of our own most precious liberties of bygone days; that we have stood for all which that regime inadequately represents for centuries in the opinion of the East, while Russia has stood for the exact opposite. We should never have dreamt of interfering with the Muslim Caliphate, because we should have borne in mind our former boast that everyone’s religious prejudices were respected in the British Empire. “Our rulers would hardly have endorsed Lord Bryce’s description of the Young Turk Government as “a gang of murderers” merely because of a suspicion (which I believe to be conceived on very slight foundation that the said Government ordered the extermination of Armenians in the Turkish Empire; because our rulers could not fail to recollect how they themselves condoned the “systematic extermination” (v. Carnegie report) of Mohammedan populations in Thrace and Macedonia in the winter of 1912-13, and even were so cynical as mildly to congratulate themselves on the event, as simplifying the Moslem question in those regions, and giving hope of an enduring peace. If Christians were allowed to “simplify the Moslem question- in a certain manner, may not Muslims simplify the Christian question in the same manner when they get the chance? Or is there one standard for Christians and another for Muslims? “Objectivity is much more common in the East than in the West; nations, like individuals, are there judged by their works, not by their own idea of their intentions or beliefs; and these inconsistencies, which no doubt seem very trifling to a British politician, impress the Oriental as a foul injustice and the outcome of fanaticism. The East preserves our record, and reviews it as a whole. There is no end visible to the absurdities into which this mental .deficiency of our rulers may lead us. Who knows but that the nation which was filled with horror at the fate of Louvain may yet destroy the precious remnant of the Parthenon! Nothing is too extravagant to be believed in this connection, when flustered mediocrities are in the place of genius. It is the strength and weakness of our country that the mere machinery of government has grown of late to be of more importance than the men: its strength in peaceful times, since all goes on as usual in spite of party quarrels and the multitude of fools; its weakness at a time like this. The office, not the man who fills the office, has been deemed important. A genius like Disraeli is succeeded by some worthy product of routine, without a vision of the world or an idea worthy of the name. And the public pays the same respect to mediocrity which it paid to genius filling the same office. If mediocrity happens to be of the opposite party, it is certain to be vaunted by half England as superior to genius. And, not being genius, lacking objectivity, it takes itself at the public valuation. It tampers with the work of genius, making the alterations which it deems advisable, and all goes well until the day of trial, when the Empire finds itself not only without a mastermind to guide it, but cut off by the insect-like activities of servile minds from the support of sound tradition, its inheritance from the master-minds of old. The routine of party, the routine of administration, elaborate as it has now become, is not the school for statesmen, since it stifles objectivity. Marmaduke Pickthall”Source
      ‘Defence of the Realm’ in Turkey 1915 Marmaduke Pickthall was the most informed man in England on the region governed by the Ottoman Empire. Pickthall was an English Tory and a famous novelist, as well as a journalist. Pickthall published nine novels set in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen and Turkey. E.M. Forster wrote in 1921 that Pickthall was “the only contemporary English novelist who understands the Nearer East”. Pickthall wrote a series of informative articles under the title The Black Crusade, which The New Age later published as a pamphlet. In these pieces, Pickthall condemned Christians for comparing Turks to Satan and for the approval of Bulgaria’s Christian slaughter of Muslims in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. At the end of 1912, Pickthall went to Turkey to see for himself the events he had been covering in his writings. Out of the visit came the book, With the Turks in Wartime. What he saw happening – the slaughter of over 1 million Moslems and the ethnic cleansing of 400,000 more by Christians, with nothing being said or done in the West – led Pickthall to understand that a deep hypocrisy existed in most of Europe. There were exaggerated tales of atrocities against Christians while much greater suffering among the Moslem section of humanity was ignored. When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Pickthall declared his willingness to be a combatant as long as he did not have to fight Turks and he argued strongly for respect for Turkish neutrality and independence. Pickthall’s background was Church of England. His father and his father’s father were clergymen and his two step-sisters were Anglican nuns. He had an Irish mother, Mary O’Brien, one of the famous Inchiquins. It was through church contacts that Pickthall first went to the east. Gradually, however, the actions of the Christian community, especially its missionaries, undermined Pickthall’s religious devotion. He had a crisis of faith which is evident in his writings for The New Age. Finally, in November 1917, at the last of a series of talks to the Muslim Literary Society on “Islam and Progress,” Pickthall openly declared his acceptance of Islam. He took the name Mohammed and became a pillar of the British Islamic Community. Below is reproduced an article Pickthall wrote for The New Age on 4 November 1915, around the anniversary of Britain’s declaration of War on the Ottomans. It deals with the Armenian massacres then reported in England. The Title relates to the British Defence of the Realm Act which gave the government extraordinary powers to do what was necessary for the safety of the state in wartime and which England used most thoroughly in Ireland, even after the Armistice of 1918. Pickthall was obviously making the point to his English readers that what the Ottomans were doing in defending their state was just what Britain would do if faced by a similar existential crisis. During the article Pickthall refers to “concentration camps”. What he has in mind are not the German death camps of the 1940s but the British concentration camps used in South Africa to suppress Boer resistance in the 1900s. Tens of thousands of civilians perished in these, despite the strong control of both land and sea Britain exerted, in comparison to the dire security problems faced by the Ottomans, challenged by multiple invaders, starvation blockade and internal insurrection in relocating the Armenians from the war zones. When reading the following article the reader should bear in mind that Pickthall has many of the British Imperial views of the time which we would consider offensive today. But it is, for all that, a very informative and balanced piece of journalism. Hopefully more of Pickthall’s writings will be reproduced in further posts. “Defence of the Realm in Turkey by Marmaduke Pickthall In the year 1913 the British Government was requested by the Porte to provide a number of inspectors to super-intend the reforms which the Turks had undertaken in the Kurd-Armenian vilayets; where, as an outcome of the Balkan War, and the consequent weakening of the local garrisons on the one hand, and of Russian intrigues on the other, the situation had become extremely critical. Mr. Walter Guinness, M.P., describing a tour which he made that year in Armenia and Kurdistan, mentions ‘‘numerous indications of an active Russian propaganda” not only among Armenians but among the Kurds as well. “Many of them (the Kurds) are armed with Russian rifles, and in the mountains I found in an out-of-the-way village a Russian dressed as a Kurd, and living the life of the Kurds.”Rifles supplied to the Kurds were sure, sooner or later, to be used against the Armenians. At the same time, Russia was arming the pro-Russian – that is, Orthodox – section of the Armenians in Turkish provinces adjacent to the Russian frontier. The Armenians thus, who are by no means lambs, would be emboldened to revolt against the Turkish Government ; the Kurds would slay them in the name of law and order-a mere name in Kurdistan in these days, respected only when it suits the Kurds – and Russia, posing as protector of the slaughtered Christians, wouId cry to Europe: “See what you have done by thwarting my desire to take those provinces.” It was simply the old game which has been played by our Ally so many times before in Turkey, and always with some measure of success. Western Europe is so far removed from Asia Minor. So very few of us can realise, even in imagination, the condition of men’s daily lite in that far region. The situation was, indeed, most critical from the standpoint of the lurks, and the Turks desired to mend it by introducing real reforms into the Armenian yets. But they knew well that they were not strong enough to carry out so great a work in the face of Russia Russian-and, one may add, German-political ambitions, without the help of some great Power of Europe which was not interested in preserving the existing anarchy. England was their only hope; and England, for some time, seemed willing to befriend them to the extent of lending them some competent inspectors. But the presence of British inspectors in Armenia would have interfered with Russia’s game, might even have caused the nature of the game to be disclosed to Western Europe. So Russia, very naturally, objected, and England- prizing Russian friendship above honour-for the Turkish demand was based upon the Cyprus Convention – eventually refused to provide the inspectors. Not only the Turks and the Armenians, but we English are the sufferers by the decision; since but for that unfortunate refusal, last of a long series of rebuffs, Turkey might have been on our side now. And now we hear about Armenian massacres, and Englishmen are filled with pious horror, laying all the blame upon the Turks. Let us try to understand what has actually happened. Some Armenians, in Armenia proper, Turkish subjects, rose in arms and betrayed the town of Van to the Russians. When the news of this occurrence spread throughout the Empire, the common people in some places rioted against Armenians, just as the people in the East End of London rioted against the Germans upon the news of the sinking of the “Lusitania” but with this difference, that the Arab and the Kurdish mobs, being three hundred years, at least, be- hind the London mob in civilisation, did what the London rabble of three centuries ago would have done, and killed their victims. Following on these disorders he Turkish Government ordered the removal of the whole Armenian population from the war zones to concentration camps of some sort-as much with a view to their protection, it seems but fair to suggest, as with a view to prevent further treachery. When the Turkish forces retook Van, there was a slaughter of Armenians in that district by the Kurds, their ancient enemies, who, as we have seen, were armed with Russian rifles before the war, at a moment when the Turks were wishing to disarm them. In one American report that I have seen, the Kurds, not Turks, are specified as the offenders. But it is all one to the enemies of Islam and they are powerful just now in England – since Kurds are Muslims of a sort. Unruly as the Scottish Highlanders three centuries ago, the Kurds have always raided the Armenians ofi the least excuse whenever the Turkish Government had its hands too full to deal with them. They are enemies to Turkish government in time of peace, and very uncongenial and mistrusted friends in time of war. And it must be remembered that the Armenians, in their native land, are far from being the sheep-like, inoffensive crowd that they are sometimes painted. They also, when at war, commit atrocities. That the recent massacres of Armenians – whatever their extent, and that we cannot ascertain at present – took place at the command, or in any sense with the connivance, of the Turkish Government, seems most improbable. We are not now in Abdul Hamid’s reign. The chief desire of the present rulers in Turkey has always been to prove their country worthy to take rank among the civilised, enlightened empires or the world, and their ideas of civilisation and enlightenment are derived from English and French sources, not from German frightfulness. The most that can be fairly laid to the charge of the Turkish Government, I should say, is the military execution of proved traitors and the removal of reputedly disaffected populations from the danger zones-this last a forcible proceeding involving hardship and discomfort to the deported; but, consider- ing the state of war, and the straits in which the Turks were placed, a necessary military precaution, no “atrocity”. Therefore, it seems unfair to count the many thus removed among the victims, especially as it is possible that in some cases they were removed to save their lives. We have the evidence of British prisoners of war at Urfah on the Euphrates, as to the kind of treatment the Armenians received from infuriated patriots in small provincial towns, inadequately garrisoned and unpoliced, on the news of the betrayal of Van. And the general order for removal seems to have followed pretty closely upon those disorders. Yet, I came the other day upon the headline : “Armenian Horrors: 8o0,ooo Victims,” to a newspaper paragraph, which stated that the number of the victims could not be much less than eight hundred thousand killed and deported. The statement loses all its force when one reflects that the total number of the deported from a hunderd districts might easily be eight hundred thousand. One cannot help contrasting the publicity accorded by our Press to this Armenian tragedy with the silence of the same Press on the subject of the Balkan tragedy in 1912-13. As one of the handful of Englishmen who tried to get a hearing for the Turkish case on that occasion, I can personally testify to the firmness of the censorship which we encountered. Yet, the tale we had to tell was much more horrible than anything which we have yet heard from Armenia; and the perpetrators were our “fellow Christians.” A few men who knew the East thought the facts deserved to be published, in the interests of religious toleration, as showing that bad Christians in those lands could be as bestial as bad Mohammedans in time of war. But our rulers, in their wisdom, thought it inadvisable that such enlightenment should reach the general public, who were told that the atrocities Committed by the Balkan Christians were “no more than is customary in all Eastern warfare.” Quite so. And on behalf of the whole Muslim world to-day, I claim that these atrocities committed by the Kurds and Arabs are no more than is customary in Eastern warfare.” We are talking of Asia Minor, not of England; of a nearly savage country, where men are sheep when under discipline, but devils if enlarged. The fact is, that we should have furnished those inspectors.”

      The Times Criticised For Using ‘Forged’ Documents to Make Armenian Genocide Claims

      A letter by Turkey’s ambassador to London challenged The Times newspaper for its one-sided view of the Armenian deaths in Ottoman Turkey in 1915, and for also presenting as “fact” those aspects of the issue long-discredited as propaganda.
      The Times made the claims in an editorial piece titled ‘Genocide Denial’, which appeared in the paper on 3 June following Germany’s symbolic ‘genocide’ resolution passed the day before.
      In his letter to the paper’s editor John Witherow, published in its entirety on 4 June, Ambassador Abdurrahman Bilgiç criticised The Times for “disregarding contested historical claims”, stating that genocide “can only be assessed by a competent court, not by random decisions by Parliaments”.
      The Turkish ambassador’s letter highlighted the fact that documents which the paper cites as evidence, submitted by historian Aram Andonian as attributable to Talat Pasha, were in fact forged. Ambassador Bilgiç said the documents had formed part of a concerted effort by Henry Morgenthau, the American Ambassador in Istanbul during the First World War, and his two Armenian secretaries, which included Andonian, to encourage the USA to join the war effort against the Turks.
      Morgenthau’s “efforts to ‘make the Turk the worst being on earth’ was protested even by the Associated Press correspondent in Istanbul, as shown by distinguished American historian Heath Lowry,” said the Turkish ambassador.
      A Bad Day In The Bundestag by Jeremy SALT 08.06.2016
    In voting to ‘acknowledge’ the Armenian claim of genocide the Bundestag has taken a decision which is going to backfire in all sorts of practical ways. The central issue, however, is truth. There is possibly not one German parliamentarian sufficiently well informed to pass judgment on what happened to the Armenians during the First World War. If there is such a person, he or she could never vote for such a resolution, given the mountain of evidence standing in the way of the claim of genocide.
    The resolution refers to the ‘almost complete extermination of the Armenians’ and the ‘pogroms’ against other Christians, namely the Assyrians and Chaldeans. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Armenians survived the war, in the Ottoman Empire and surrounding lands.   The figure of one or 1.5 million ‘massacred’ is a double untruth because the true death toll was probably about 600,000, still a huge number, without any need of exaggeration. This was the figure given by the victorious powers after the war. If it has been bumped up in recent decades, that is because Armenian lobbyists and propagandists need the higher figure to justify their claim of genocide.
    Furthermore, those who died were not all ‘massacred’: many were but by far the greater number died of exposure, disease or malnutrition or were killed in combat, the exact combination of causes which took the lives of about 2.5 million Ottoman Muslim civilians during the war.  There is no mention in this resolution of the Muslim death toll or of the slaughter of Muslims by Armenians, especially when northeastern Anatolia was occupied by the Russians and their Armenian protégés between 1916-18. The archival evidence of survivors indicates that at least 500,000 Muslims were massacred between 1914-19. There are many Ottoman documents dealing with these terrible events and the absolute sadism and savagery of Armenian bands. There is no shortage of detail on what they did to their Muslim victims: the evidence comes not from one source but from many sources across eastern Anatolia. Neither is there any mention of the Muslims driven out of the Caucasus or eastern Anatolia by the Russian army and/or Armenians during the war. A German parliament expresses sympathy for Christian victims of Muslims but not sympathy the Muslim victims of Christians. They do not even rate a mention. It accuses ‘the Turks’ of genocide but not Armenians, when the evidence indicates that such a claim could easily be made against them on the basis of evidence sitting in the Ottoman and Russian archives?
    The resolution wants Turks to face up to the expulsion and massacre of Armenians. In fact, while there is disagreement over numbers and use of the word ‘genocide’, Turks, generally speaking, have already acknowledge the large-scale killing of Armenians by their forebears. It is the Armenians who need to face up to the slaughter of Muslims by their ancestors, not just in Anatolia but across the border in Azerbaijan. As long as the Armenians are encouraged by parliamentarians to cling to their own partisan view of history they will never to have to engage with their own dark history: far from reconciliation being brought closer it will be pushed further away.
    Armenian political committees and a section of the Ottoman Assyrian Christians threw in their lot with the Russians and were properly regarded by the Ottoman authorities as traitors. They gambled on a victory in which Russia would share and they lost in 1917 when the Bolsheviks pulled Russia out of the war. Tens of thousands of Ottoman Armenians sabotaged the war effort of the Ottoman government from behind the lines. By turning against the Ottoman government they jeopardized the safety of all their co-religionists. Severe losses on the battlefront deprived the Ottoman military command of the manpower needed to staunch attacks on lines of communication and supply as well as Muslim towns and villages. It was for this reason that the army recommended the ‘relocation’ of the Armenian population from the war zone at the end of May, 1915. The general staff believed that Armenian attacks were jeopardizing the entire war off.
    Claims of genocide are also made by Ottoman Greeks, many of whom sided with the Greek army during the joint attack on the Ottoman state by four Balkan states (Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece) in 1912. Greece attacked again in 1919, launching what Arnold Toynbee called a ‘war of extermination’ against the Turks. These events fell within the period  (1914-1923) in which the Ottomans were said to be committing genocide against the Armenians, yet have no place in parliamentary genocide resolutions or the studies of the international network of ‘genocide scholars. The same scholars show no interest in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the Balkans, the Caucasus and eastern Anatolia from early in the 19th century until the end of the First World War. Millions were massacred or driven out of their homelands for the simple reason that they were Muslim.
    Some of the eastern Anatolian provinces were depopulated of up to 60 per cent of their Muslim inhabitants during the First World War. Returning Ottoman forces encountered scenes of horror, the bodies and body parts of Muslims strewn through ruined towns by Armenian killers. As can be seen from these events, the ethnic cleansing of about one million Azerbaijanis from the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave by Armenians in 1991 and the Khojaly massacre of 1992 did not occur in a historical vacuum but within the context of earlier massacres and attempts at ethnic cleansing.
    Like many other such resolutions the German declaration gives April 24  as the start of the ‘genocide’, whereas the far more important date is a week earlier when Armenians launched an uprising in Van, overthrowing the government by early May and handing the city over to the Russians. In the process tens of thousands of Muslims in the city and the villages around the lake were slaughtered. Tens of thousands more Muslim villagers poured out of the Van province to get away from the advancing Russian army and Armenian gangs. Such events have no place in the mainstream ‘genocide’ narrative for the obvious reason that they would spoil it. In ignoring the tremendous suffering of the Muslims throughout the war the German parliamentarians reveal the mindset of 19th century orientalists.
    Much of the mainstream narrative on the Armenian question is based on lies or wild exaggerations. No decision was ever taken to ‘exterminate’ the Armenians. The ‘evidence’ produced by people like Taner Akcam is laughable and the fact that it could even see the light of day is the real evidence – of the ignorance and bias of mainstream publishers and their failure to maintain proper academic standards when it comes to this issue.
    While holding the Ottoman government responsible, the Bundestag resolution does not mention the responsibility of the Ottoman Armenian committees or the three powers – Russia, Britain and France – who encouraged and armed the Armenians and Assyrians for their own selfish reasons. Furthermore, in blaming ‘the Turks’ or the wartime Ottoman government, German and other parliamentarians ignore the fact that the killers of Armenians in the eastern Anatolian provinces were often tribal Kurds. Why, after living in reasonable amity for hundreds of years, were Kurds killing Armenian Christians? Because the Armenians had been killing them: in a tribal society nothing but revenge could be expected when the time was right.
    The Ottoman archives contain many documents instructing provincial officials to make sure the ‘relocation’ was properly handled. When the central government received news that the Armenian convoys were being attacked it instructed provincial authorities to tighten security and make sure the perpetrators were punished. These documents stressed that the only object of the ‘relocation’ was only to move the Armenians. The determination of the government to prevent the situation from worsening is very clear. In the autumn of 1915, with attacks on the Armenians continuing, it set up three commissions of inquiry into the crimes that had been committed. They recommended the court-martials of more than 1600 people: more than 50, including senior provincial officials, were sentenced to death and hundreds of others were imprisoned.
    Great crimes were committed during the First World War and its aftermath, not just by ‘the Turks’ but by Armenians, Greeks and Kurds. More than a century has passed but objectivity has long since been lost in a swamp of politics and propaganda. If Kurds don’t want the Turkish government to be let off the hook over the Armenians, that is because of what is happening in the southeastern Turkey now, not what happened there more than a century ago. For Armenians and many Kurds the common enemy are the Turks, so it is only they who are to be held solely responsible.
    Genocide is the most serious accusation that can be made against a national group and one that should only be made when the facts are crystal clear and beyond plausible challenge. This is clearly not the case with the Armenian genocide claim. Picking up on the German resolution the editorial committee of the New York Times has handed down its own judgment.  Overlooking the ethnic cleansing/genocide of the Herero and Nama people of southwest Africa (by German colonial administrators) from 1904-7 and the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from southeastern Europe during the Balkans war (1912-13), it says the Armenians suffered the first genocide of the 20th century. As the editorial committee of the New York Times is not known for any specialized knowledge of late Ottoman history, this declaration is fatuous. German politicians seem to think they are doing some good with this resolution but they are not. Their vote was a victory for propaganda and lobbyists and a defeat for truth in history. It deserves to be rejected out of hand.
    * Jeremy Salt is a former journalist and a retired academic. He taught courses in modern Middle Eastern history and propaganda in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University, Ankara; and in Middle Eastern Politics in the Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne. He wrote two books; “Imperialism, Evangelism and the Ottoman Armenians 1878-1896” (Frank Cass, London, 1993) and “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008). His articles appeared in Middle East Policy, Third World Quarterly, Insight Turkey, Arena, Middle Eastern Studies, Muslim World, Current History, Journal of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, International Journal of Turkish Studies, Journal of Palestine Studies, Review of Armenian Studies. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Review of Armenian Studies, a biannual peer-reviewed journal of history, politics, and international relations.
      Having Admitted Complicity in Genocide, Germany Should Now Compensate Armenians  Harut Sassounian
    Despite “Sultan” Erdogan’s insults and threats, the German Parliament went boldly forward last week and recognized the Armenian Genocide. In retaliation, Turkey immediately withdrew its ambassador from Berlin. The historic Bundestag resolution, adopted with a near unanimous decision (one vote against and one abstention), is titled: “In remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire 101 years ago.” According to ARD television, 74 percent of the German population agrees that genocide was committed against Armenians. Another revealing survey cited by Der Spiegel magazine found that 91 percent of the German public does not trust Erdogan! German Chancellor Angela Merkel, fed up with Erdogan’s repeated blackmails, decided to put Turkey’s megalomaniac dictator in his place, while President Obama has to muster the courage to do so! The German leadership had to fend off not only the Turkish regime’s attacks but also sharp criticism from many of the three million Turks living in Germany. After the Parliament’s decision, Erdogan arrogantly declared: “We have nothing in our past to be ashamed of, but those countries that often accuse Turkey of ‘Armenian genocide’ have the blood of millions of innocent victims.” Turkey’s minister of justice Bekir Bozdag was just as brazen, as he told Germans: “First you burn the Jews in ovens, and then you come and accuse the Turkish people of genocide.” Erdogan and Bozdag must be reminded that Germany, unlike Turkey, long ago admitted the Nazi-era crimes, apologized for the Holocaust, and paid billions of dollars in compensation. It remains to be seen if “big mouth” Turkish leaders would dare to take punitive actions against Germany, besides the routine withdrawal of their ambassador, as they do each time another government acknowledges the Armenian Genocide. Should Erdogan decide to go beyond making empty threats, such steps would backfire on Turkey as Germany is its largest trading partner. Turkey’s economy is already in serious trouble after Russia banned the import of Turkish goods and discouraged its citizens from going to Turkey as tourists because of the downing of a Russian jet by the Turkish military near the Syrian border last year. Turkish leaders have already damaged their country’s interests by making provocative and scandalous announcements which have helped to publicize worldwide the German Bundestag’s action on the Armenian Genocide. Thousands of newspapers, websites, TV and radio stations covered the German decision and the Turkish outbursts. It is noteworthy that the international media paid particular attention to the German Parliamentarians’ admission that their country, a military ally of Turkey during World War I, was complicit in the Armenian Genocide. The New York Times and The Times of London, two of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, published powerful editorials on June 3 reaffirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide, supporting the German’s Parliament’s decision, and urging Turkey to confront its dark past. In an editorial titled, “Yes, It’s Genocide,” The New York Times wrote: “… It was a genocide, the first of the 20th century…. The Armenians are fully justified in their quest for a historical reckoning…. President Obama, who as a candidate in 2008 pledged to recognize the events of 1915 as a genocide, has failed to do so…. The Germans, who have admirably confronted the terrible genocide in their own history, did the right thing in defying Mr. Erdogan’s threats.” The London Times’ editorial, “Genocide Denial: The mass slaughter of Armenians needs to be acknowledged by Turkey,” was just as impactful: “The German resolution is right not only in its message but also in diplomacy. Turkish pique is regularly directed at allies who recognize the Armenian genocide. That response is worse than undignified and ahistorical: it is a denial of suffering on an unspeakable scale that poisons the politics of Europe to this day, and it needs to be challenged. The slaughter of Armenians was not, as Turkish apologists maintain, one of the unplanned but inescapable tragedies that happen in wartime. It was a specific campaign of deportation and mass killing by the Ottoman regime.… Modern Germany and its statesmen have expressed repeatedly their nation’s remorse for genocidal barbarism in the last century. It is long past time for Turkey to do the same.” Having recognized the Armenian Genocide and acknowledged its own share of responsibility and complicity, Germany now has to make appropriate amends to Armenians, thus setting a venerable example for Turkey, not only in recognition, but also in restitution!
      Archbishop Atesyan’s Letter to Erdogan: We Submit Our Regret to Your Dignified Office MassisPost June 7, 2016 ISTANBUL
    Archbishop Aram Atesyan, General Vicar of Armenian Patriarch in Turkey, sent a letter to President Erdogan about the Armenian Genocide resolution of Bundestag. In the letter, Atesyan defined the passing of the resolution as “abuse of Armenian nation by imperialist forces”. Claiming that the decision caused a deep regret in Armenian nation, he said “we submit our regret to your dignified office”. The message shared on Facebook account of the Armenian Patriarchate, which is signed by Aram Atesyan, is as the following: “Dear Mr. President, The decision that Bundestag made about the events happened during the tragic times of World War I caused regret in our nation. As the Turkish Armenians society, we submit our regret to your dignified office as an expression of our heartfelt and sincere feelings. Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey is a religious institution which performs its obligations to the state perfectly and got over the delusion of seeing itself different from the other citizens. Also, its maxim is to express the feelings of Christian-Armenian Turkish citizens, who know how to protect their rights when necessary. The Patriarchate is aware of the fact that some people are not happy with its stable attitude that it maintains by abiding the traditional way. Our late patriarchs not only provided religious services to our community with their statements and constructive attitude, but also put their stamps on the history with their exemplary behaviors, which still guide us today. In this regard, it is unacceptable that a parliament, which was formed by the votes of German citizens and has the duty of establishing laws for the peace, prosperity and security of their nation, expressed its opinion, though it has no right to do so. It is unacceptable that this parliament legalized its decision on behalf of the entire German nation and considers itself a judge. Sliding the role of German Reich over by a few sentences and pointing the Ottoman Turkey as the sole perpetrator is ethically controversial. It is also questionable to what extent this decision expresses the feelings of German citizens. As we stated on number of occasions, using this tragedy that traumatized the Armenian nation in international politics causes sorrow and pain. This resolution and similar resolutions hit us hard. Unfortunately, this historical pain of Armenian nation is considered as a tool for accusing and punishing Turkish state and nation. And because of this ugly mentality, sub- and supra-identities of Turkish Armenians are harmed. The ones who are willing to see the truth can realize how Armenian nation has been abused by imperialist powers. Turkish and Armenian peoples have to live together. These two ancient and neighboring peoples shouldn’t be driven apart from each other by hatred inciting discourses. Instead of politicizing the history, the aim should be the fellowship and peace. Two neighboring peoples, who have common history and similar traditions, will live together with peace one day, as long as we deem it possible and prevent the unnecessary steps. In a world where politicians express their opinions about our people’s suffering by taking their interests into account, we, as the Patriarchate, will continue to pray for the fellowship of Turkey and Armenia. This attitude is the force of our faith and the expression of our sense of citizenship. On the other hand, we know that some people will react against this attitude of ours. May God take root in the hearts of the citizens of the both countries. May God help the souls who devote themselves to create what is good. On this occasion, we once again express our regret and pray to God for bestowing health, success and happiness on you. Also, we pray to God for making the state dignitaries, who work for the good of people, succeed in their services. Cordially, Archbishop Aram Atesyan General Vicar of Armenian Patriarch in Turkey
      Letter to Atesyan from Agos: May God Bestow Sense, Intelligence and Comprehension on You MassisPost June 7, 2016
    Agos responded to Archbishop Aram Atesyan, General Vicar of Armenian Patriarch in Turkey, who is severly criticized by the Armenian society because of his letter addressed to President Erdogan: “You define the systematic and almost complete annihilation of a people by the decision of the state itself as ‘the events happened during the tragic times of World War I’; this is an affront to the ancestors, victims and the survivors in the eyes of the society to which you also belong. Dear Mr. Archbishop, We have read your letter about the Armenian Genocide resolution of Bundestag, which is addressed to the President and signed on behalf of “Turkish Armenians Society”, with sorrow, anger and shame. Please regard this letter as the voice of those members of that society who disagree with the content and style of your letter. You define the systematic and almost complete annihilation of a people by the decision of the state itself as “the events happened during the tragic times of World War I”; this is an affront to the ancestors, victims and the survivors in the eyes of the society to which you also belong. The society that you defined as “Christian-Armenian Turkish citizens who perform their obligations to the state perfectly, got over the delusion of seeing themselves different from the other citizens and know how to protect their rights when necessary” doesn’t have a homogeneous structure; rather, it consists of individuals who have their own independent feelings, opinions and firm acknowledgment of truth. The thing is, Armenians are not the ones who see themselves different from other citizens. After 1915, whenever the political atmosphere gets intense, Armenians become subjected to discriminatory, fascist and obviously threatening discourses and threats, especially in times of 1942 Wealth Tax and September 6-7 plunders. And on January 19, 2007, they witnessed the assassination of Hrant Dink, one of the most precious figures who devoted himself to the peace between and in two peoples. You said, “We, as the Patriarchate, will continue to pray for the fellowship of Turkey and Armenia”; How could you justify this statement of yours, given the fact that your addressee President Erdogan threatened the citizens of Armenia to send them back to Armenia two days ago? Doesn’t it trouble your conscience? Let us remind you those statements of the president, in case you have forgotten: “Currently, there are almost 100.000 Armenians in my country. Almost half of them are Turkish citizens. However, the other half are citizens of Armenia and we can send them back to Armenia, like Europe did.” You said that you are aware of the fact that “some people are not happy with your stable attitude that you maintain by abiding the traditional way”. Honestly, we are having difficulty in understanding how forelock-tugging can be considered as an attitude. The Armenian Genocide, as a crime against humanity, is a concern of the whole humanity. You said that you pray for the good of two peoples. The common future of those peoples would be possible only when an honorable reconciliation is achieved, because then, there won’t be this kind of oppression that caused you to deny even your own history. Dear Mr. Archbishop, Since you said that “the role of German Reich is slid over by a few sentences”, we see that you have failed to comprehend the content of the resolution. Almost 80% of this resolution, which declares German Reich as the accomplice to the genocide, consists of Germany’s confrontation with its own history. Let us continue: you said, “using this tragedy that traumatized the Armenian nation in international politics causes sorrow and pain.” Indeed, the oppression that led you to write this letter causes sorrow and pain. Also, the sub- and supra-identities of the Armenian society in Turkey is not harmed by this resolution, but by your words. Above all, your words on “abuse of Armenian nation by imperialist powers” are recorded as an example to the denialist discourse; not by the ones who will take advantage of your usage of the official state discourse, but by your own people. In the near future, we will see who will appreciate your discourse with “enthusiastic applause”. On this occasion, borrowing your style in your letter, we once again express our sorrow, uprising and anger and pray to God for you; may God bestow sense, intelligence and comprehension on you. We also pray to God for giving you a dignified attitude, which you obviously lack, since you said that “you pray to God for making the state dignitaries, who work for the good of people, succeed in their services” in a time when tens of people are being killed every day in a civil war. Cordially, AGOS   Source

    Acting Armenian Patriarch of Turkey: Shameful Tool of Turkish Propaganda By Harut Sassounian on June 14, 2016 Archbishop Aram Atesyan, General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey, sent a highly controversial letter last week to President Recep Erdogan, criticizing the German Parliament’s decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Acting Patriarch’s letter created a major controversy among Armenians worldwide, including the Armenian community of Turkey. Some called for his resignation; others, including a member of the Armenian Parliament, demanded that he be defrocked! While successive Turkish governments have attempted to pressure Abp. Atesyan’s predecessors to serve as propaganda tool for Ankara, no previous Patriarch has written such an offensive letter regarding the Armenian Genocide. It is not clear whether the Acting Patriarch wrote last week’s letter on his own initiative or it was drafted for him by Turkish officials. Those who personally know Abp. Atesyan insist that the letter could not have been written by him because he is not too proficient in the Turkish language. Whatever the case, he did sign and disseminate the letter to the media, which was published by several Turkish newspapers. Regrettably, this is not the first time that the Acting Patriarch has displayed such a boot-licking attitude vis-à-vis the Turkish authorities, intending to secure the support of the government for his hoped for election as Patriarch. During a public meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Istanbul last year, Abp. Atesyan dared to insult her for criticizing Pres. Erdogan’s violations of human rights! Describing the Armenian Genocide merely as “events that happened during the tragic times of World War I,” Abp. Atesyan stated in his letter that the Armenian community of Turkey shared the Turkish nation’s regret for the German Bundestag’s decision. The Acting Patriarch, speaking on behalf of the Armenian community of Turkey, claimed that the German Parliament “has no right” to pronounce judgment “on behalf of the entire German nation.” He further added: “it is also questionable to what extent this decision expresses the feelings of German citizens.” It is nonsensical for Abp. Atesyan to insist that the Parliament does not speak for the German people, since it adopted the resolution on the Armenian Genocide with a near unanimous vote! Also, the Acting Patriarch blamed the German Parliament for “sidestepping the negative role of the Third Reich in a few sentences and pointing to the Ottoman Empire as the sole perpetrator.” It is shocking that Abp. Atesyan is covering up Turkish denials of the Armenian Genocide and belittling Germany’s honest admission of complicity! Those who try to justify the Acting Patriarch’s anti-Armenian statements, by claiming that one has to live in Turkey to fully appreciate the oppressive nature of Erdogan’s regime, should know that many Armenians in Turkey are outraged by Abp. Atesyan’s letter. They wrote dozens of messages on his Facebook page, expressing their disagreement. The harshest criticism of the Acting Patriarch came from the editor of Agos, an Armenian newspaper published in Istanbul: “We read your letter … with sorrow, anger and shame…. Your presentation of the systematic annihilation, by state decision, of its own citizens living on its own lands, using the government’s description as ‘events that happened during the tragic times of World War I,’ is an affront to the ancestors, victims, and survivors in the eyes of the society to which you also belong.” Contrary to the Acting Patriarch’s claim that Armenians are treated as equals with Turks, Agos asserted that “Armenians have been subjected to discrimination, fascism and public threats.” The newspaper also countered Abp. Atesyan’s statement that the German Parliament’s decision had caused “sorrow and pain,” by affirming: “The pressure that forced you to pen this letter is a source of pain and sorrow for us…. The Armenian community’s identity is harmed by your words, not as you say, by the Bundestag’s decision.” Agos also told the Acting Patriarch that his letter represented “a specific statement of denialism against your own people. We will shortly see who will ‘enthusiastically welcome’ your words…. We pray that God bestows upon you good sense, sound judgment and thoughtfulness.” In order not to cause further damage to his people and their sacred cause, I humbly advise Abp. Atesyan to refrain from any future political and propagandistic statements. Otherwise, he should seriously consider resigning from his post, since Armenians of Turkey will never accept him as their chosen Patriarch, even if Erdogan supports his election! Source
    "Perceptions" (2015) On The Ottoman Empire in WWI


Observer2009 said...

Jeremey'Salt's brilliant article should make one think which may help one understand how unjust, incorrect, unethical, political, and self serving the German resolution is. It ignores Turkish pain and suffering at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries and totally disregards Armenian revolts, treason, terrorism, and territorial demands which led to the TERESET (temporary resettlement) decision of May 31, 1915, as a wartime measure to support war effort and protect the homeland.

Sassoonian article is pure nonsense, a deceptive product of failure to understand the legal meaning of the word genocide and the implications of the ECHR decision of Oct 15, 2015.

Archbishop Atesyan’s Letter to Erdogan reflects Atesyan's sincerity based on his careful observation of facts on the ground. I agree with the sentiments that the Armenian suffering should not be a political tool to punish perceived wrongdoers and add that the way forward is to have a meaningful and civilzed dialogue stressing the improtance of "shared pain", not dismissing, belittling, and/or ridiculing Turkish suffering, not only during a terrible "mobilisation" period (1911-1922) involving five wars, but also during 1914-1918 period at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries.

AGOS continues to stick its head in sand and ignore Armenian complicity (revolts, terrorism, treason, and more) in the human tragedy that engulfed all the people of the era and area, not just Armenians. engulfe. I would, in turn, simply ignore their letter, as well as their racist and dishonest approcch.

M. Salih Atalay said...

Do the diaspora Armenians, in their comfortable and well-off foreign locations, realize how much harm they are doing to our Armenian friends here in Turkey ? Even more to the point, do they realize the disastrous results of their senseless attitude to the long suffering Armenians in Armenia ? Why should decent and well educated Armenians be forced to labour in menial jobs in the eastern provinces of Turkey for a pittance ? I speak from personal experience - get rid of the moneymongers in the Diaspora and Armenians and Turks here and elsewhere will get along famously as they did for centuries before Western Interference.

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