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The Armenian Genocide and Turkey's attempt to Deny It

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  • The Armenian Genocide and Turkey's attempt to Deny It

    The following is an excerpt from an article by Roger W. Smith (College of William and Mary Williamsburg, Virginia), Eric Markusen (Southwest State University Marshall, Minnesota), and Robert Jay Lifton (The City University of New York) titled “Professional Ethics and Denial of the Armenian Genocide”. Click here for the full text of the article and supporting documents.




    The Armenian Genocide and Turkey's Attempt to Deny It


    From 1915 to 1917 the Young Turk regime in the Ottoman Empire carried out a systematic, premeditated, centrally planned genocide against the Armenian people. One of the documents authenticated by Turkish authorities in 1919 is a telegram sent in June 1915 by Dr. Sakir, one of the leaders of the secret organization that carried out the planning and implementation of the Genocide. He asks the provincial party official who is responsible for carrying out the deportations and massacres of Armenians within his district: "Are the Armenians, who are being dispatched from there, being liquidated? Are those harmful persons whom you inform us you are exiling and banishing, being exterminated, or are they being merely dispatched and exiled? Answer explicitly...."

    The evidence of intent is backed also by the outcome of the actions against the Armenians: it is inconceivable that over a million persons could have died due to even a badly flawed effort at resettlement. Moreover, the pattern of destruction was repeated over and over in different parts of Turkey, many of them far from any war zone; such repetition could only have come from a central design. Further, the reward structure was geared toward destruction of the Christian minority: provincial governors and officials who refused to carry out orders to annihilate the Armenians were summarily replaced.

    [Section omitted: A summary of key events of the Armenian Genocide.]

    More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse. A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century. At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000.

    Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

    The basic argument of denial has remained the same, it never happened, Turkey is not responsible, the term "genocide" does not apply. The tactics of denial, however, have shifted over the years. In the period immediately after World War I the tactic was to find scapegoats to blame for what was said to be only a security measure that had gone awry due to unscrupulous officials, Kurds, and common criminals. This was followed by an attempt to avoid the whole issue, with silence, diplomatic efforts, and political pressure used where possible. In the 1930s, for example, Turkey pressured the U.S. State Department into preventing MGM Studios from producing a film based on Franz Werfel's The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, a book that depicted aspects of the Genocide in a district located west of Antioch on the Mediterranean Sea, far from the Russian front.

    In the 1960s, prompted by the worldwide commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Genocide, efforts were made to influence journalists, teachers, and public officials by telling "the other side of the story." Foreign scholars were encouraged to revise the record of genocide, presenting an account largely blaming the Armenians or, in another version, wartime conditions which claimed the lives of more Turks than Armenians. Thereafter, Turkey tried to prohibit any mention of the Genocide in a United Nations report and was successful in its pressure on the Reagan and Bush administrations in defeating Congressional resolutions that would have designated April 24 as a national day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government has also attempted to exclude any mention of the Genocide from American textbooks. Stronger efforts still have been made to prevent any discussion of the 1915 genocide being formally included in the social studies curriculum as part of Holocaust and genocide studies.

    There have also been attempts by the Turkish government to disrupt academic conferences and public discussions of the Genocide. A notable example was the attempt by Turkish officials to force cancellation of a conference in Tel Aviv in 1982 if the Armenian Genocide were to be discussed, demands backed up with threats to the safety of Jews in Turkey. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council reported similar threats over plans to include references to the Armenian Genocide within the interpretive framework of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. At the same time, Turkey has sought to make an absolute distinction between the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, defining the latter as "alleged" or "so-called." The documents we have, however, show that, in private, such labeling drops off.

    Finally, in the 1980s the Turkish government supported the establishment of "institutes", whose apparent purpose was to further research on Turkish history and culture. At least one also was used to further denial of Turkish genocide and otherwise improve Turkey's image in the West.

    ####

    In addition to continuing the denial efforts described in the article above, presently the Turkish government has hired former Congressmen to lobby on its behalf. Former Reps. Bob Livingston (R-LA) and Gerald Solomon (R-NY), who are each paid $700,000 as well as former Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-NY) who is paid $400,000, are aggressively attempting to rally Republican and Democratic opposition against official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
    [COLOR="Lime"][CENTER][B]GIVE US A REASON TO FORGIVE, RECOGNIZE THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE[/B][/CENTER][/COLOR]

    [CENTER][I][COLOR="Red"][B]"We must remind the Turkish Government that when they had Sultan Abdul Hamid, we had Andranik Pasha, Serob Aghbyur, and Gevorg Chaush. When they had Taleat pasha, we had Soghomon Tehleryan. New Hrants will be born, and our struggle will go on.” [/B][/COLOR][/I][/CENTER]

    [COLOR="Black"][CENTER][B]"Hrant Dink's murder is tragic proof that the Turkish government - through its campaign of denial, threats and intimidation against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide - continues to fuel the same hatred and intolerance that initially led to this crime against humanity more than 90 years ago."[/B][/CENTER][/COLOR]

  • #2
    The Armenian shadow over Turkey’s democratisation

    Gunes Murat Tezcur
    13 - 10 - 2005
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/democra...menia_2920.jsp

    Turkish acceptance of the fate of the Armenians in 1915 would unlock a society steeped in denial of its own historical experience, says Gunes Murat Tezcur


    “Every society experiences defeat in its own way”, observes Wolfgang Schivelbusch in his book The Culture of Defeat: On National Mourning, Trauma and Recovery, “but the varieties of response within vanquished nations conform to a recognisable set of patterns that recur across time and national boundaries.”

    Turkish responses to the Ottoman defeat in the “great war” of 1914-18 have been idiosyncratic. After all, that ignominious defeat gave birth to ultimate victory under the nationalist leadership of General Mustafa Kemal, who succeeded in creating a homeland for the Turks and, as Kemal Atatűrk, led the country until his death in 1938. Perhaps as a result, almost ninety years since the greatest debacle ever to have befallen the Turkish people, a collective amnesia of the disaster prevails. History textbooks do not even tell young Turkish citizens that the Ottoman empire was defeated in the war.



    For the ultimate surrender of the empire, they blame the failure of the Germans and the allies; for the loss of the Arab territories, they perpetuate the myth of an “Arab stab in the back.” This denial of defeat has been accompanied by a denial of any responsibility for the fate of the empire’s Armenian subjects. And that tragic fate of the Armenians still haunts Turkey’s prospects for democratisation today.

    Debates on the fate of the Armenians living under the Ottoman empire have intensified in recent years. Armenian communities in the west have long been active in publicising the Armenian genocide and in urging western parliaments and governments to recognise it. On 28 September 2005, the European parliament passed a resolution that calls on Turkey “to recognise the genocide of the Armenians” and considers this act as a “prerequisite to accession to the European Union.” Meanwhile, an Istanbul conference organised by Turkish scholars who challenge the official Turkish line stirred a major controversy after various attempts to prevent it from convening it proved futile.

    Still, Turkish public opinion remains very sensitive to the claims that Armenians were deliberately annihilated in a policy of ethnic cleansing. Not just the Turkish state, but large segments of Turkish society remain defensive. Dissidents have a hard time swaying public opinion; they feel compelled to state that they are not “traitors.”

    How to make sense of the current state of Turkish public opinion? What can it tell us about the power of national imaginations vis-à-vis the past on the future of democracy?

    Four elements of denial

    The denial of Turkey’s defeat in the first world war translates into sympathy for the Ottoman rulers who perpetrated the acts of genocide against the Armenians. Mehmet Talat Pasha, the wartime grand vizier who ordered the mass deportation of Armenians in 1915, was assassinated in Berlin by an Armenian survivor, Sogomon Teleyran, in 1921. His remains were brought to Turkey from Germany in 1943 and reburied on the “hill of liberty” in Istanbul along with those of the formidable war minister, Enver Pasha.

    Talat, Enver, and their accomplices brought about the demise of six centuries of empire in pursuit of hollow, grandiose designs; they were men who sent millions to their deaths with impunity. Yet they still enjoy the status of heroes in contemporary Turkey. Despite the fact that the Young Turks lost the war, their crimes are long forgotten if not forgiven by Turkish nationalists.

    There are four reasons why Turkish public opinion cannot swallow the term “genocide”.

    First, Turks do not believe that the “Turkish nation” is capable of committing such unspeakable atrocities.

    Second, the extermination of the Armenians has been shrouded in the claims of a civil war: “if we killed some of them, they also killed many of us” is the usual reaction of ordinary Turks. It is not uncommon for the Turkish media to show newly discovered mass graves full of Turks killed by Armenian militias in eastern Turkey, or to publish memoirs of old Turks who witnessed Armenian atrocities. Turkish public opinion is stirred up by the perception that Armenians exclusively monopolise the status of victim.

    Third, it is an open secret that without the annihilation of Armenians, Turkey’s eastern borders would look quite different.

    Fourth, the extreme politicisation of the issue in the international arena and western pressure on the Turkish government to recognise the Armenian genocide have strongly contribute to widespread Turkish feelings of unfairness, exploitation, and inferiority vis-à-vis the west. In this connection, the passivity of western governments during the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, to cite the most recent cases, hardly helps their claims to serve as arbiters of justice.

    For all these reasons, discussions of the fate of the Armenians in contemporary Turkey are largely deprived of moral concerns and sensitivities.


    Also in openDemocracy, Nouritza Matossian’s essay on the Armenian painter Arshile Gorky, “Disinterring the past” (July 2001):

    “The violation of history continues to unhinge the present.”



    New past, new future

    An unfettered and open discussion of the fate of the Armenians would lead to greater public awareness of the perils of absolute state power, as it would buttress democratic and accommodative approaches to dealing with Kurdish nationalism.

    It would be naïve, however, to expect that the emergence of the Armenian issue as a major factor in negotiations between the European Union and Turkey would tame the chauvinistic tendencies in Turkish nationalism. It would more likely play into the hands of isolationists and ultra-nationalists who insist that Europe is insincere and seeks to “betray” Turkey over and over again.

    How the defeats of the past are articulated in national memory inevitably affects how nations behave in the conflicts of the present. Crimes committed in times of national desperation or decadence can occasion healing only when all of their justifications are categorically rejected by present generations. Then, the culture of impunity unravels.

    In the case of Turkey, this entails a self-critical and unflinching examination of its greatest defeat, the first world war, as well as its subsequent victory in the war of independence of 1919-22. A more open and ethical understanding of the fate of the Armenians is absolutely essential for Turkey’s democratic future.

    Also on the future of Turkey in openDemocracy:


    Reinhard Hesse, “Turkish honey under a German moon” (March 2004)

    Murat Belge, “Turkey and Europe: why friendship is welcome” (December 2004)

    Fred Halliday, “Turkey and the hypocrisies of Europe” (December 2004)

    Fadi Hakura, “Europe and Turkey: the end of the beginning” (October 2005)


    If you find this material valuable please consider supporting openDemocracy by sending us a donation so that we can continue our work and keep it free for all
    "All truth passes through three stages:
    First, it is ridiculed;
    Second, it is violently opposed; and
    Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

    Comment


    • #3
      The first genocide

      It was committed against Armenians




      December 10, 2005


      Armenian communities, which include significant numbers in the New York metro area, have long been anguished over Turkey's refusal to admit its role in the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. At long last, Armenians should take some grim satisfaction at reports of an increasing willingness among Turks to acknowledge what their government has steadfastly denied: Ottoman Turks committed the first documented genocide in human history.

      As Turkey adopts democratic reforms to bolster its application for membership in the European Union, its government is allowing open discussions about the genocide for the first time, including a conference in Istanbul organized by a group of historians and other academics.


      The term "genocide" - systematic massacres aimed at wiping out an entire ethnic group - was first used after the Armenian atrocities, precursors of the 20th Century's worst nightmares. Such was the stigma attached to genocide after the Holocaust in Nazi Germany that Turkish leaders suppressed any move to acknowledge the Armenian massacres.

      That may change now, not least because Turkey wants to be included in the EU, a considerable economic advantage. Its EU application may be held up if Turkey doesn't acknowledge its responsibility in that genocide, as Germany has for the Holocaust and Japan for its atrocities in the Pacific during World War II. It's time for Turkey to let the light in.
      http://www.newsday.com/news/printedi...-opinion-print
      "All truth passes through three stages:
      First, it is ridiculed;
      Second, it is violently opposed; and
      Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

      Comment


      • #4
        Whose Genocide?Melik Kaylan

        Melik Kaylan
        The Spy
        Whose Genocide?

        Here’s a topic I’m loath to write about: the
        Armenian genocide. I did so for the first time
        ever in a Wall Street Journal op-ed some weeks
        ago. Result: An incendiary rain of ad hominem
        abuse and threats mailed to me at addresses I’d
        forgotten I had. But now my colleague Charles
        Glass, whom I admire enormously for his
        solitary courage on matters Middle Eastern, has
        forced the issue in these very pages.
        He took the position that both Clinton and Blair
        acted in cowardice by spurning support for
        Armenian genocide legislation in their
        respective countries. (The European Union, in
        the meantime, passed its version.) Such bills
        typically ask that the massacre and violent
        expulsion of Armenians in Eastern Turkey some
        90 years ago be recognized today as official
        genocide.
        Anyone who reads the source material on the
        original events in 1915-’16 needs a cool head
        and a strong stomach. There’s no question that
        the vicious so-called "Young Turk" regime of the
        time visited horrors on the indigenous Armenian
        community.
        Turkish authorities today still suppress all discussion of the topic. And I’ve
        never been a fan of theirs.Yet Charlie Glass of all people should know to
        tread warily around Western views of the
        Muslim world. He knows about the demonizing
        and the "orientalist" bias. His good friend Prof.
        Edward Said literally wrote the book on it.
        Strangely, in Said’s Orientalism, Turks are
        almost never mentioned. We hear exhaustively
        about the West’s systematic, semantic and
        literary caricaturing of Arabs, Jews and
        Orientals of all stripes–yet almost never Turks,
        against whom the invective was chiefly directed
        for the last 500 years. The Ottoman Turks, after
        all, embodied the anti-West principle until the
        Red Scare took over.
        For Said and Glass, apparently, the Turks
        remain unredeemable, a common sentiment in
        the West. If you doubt its virulence, think of how
        the Serbs reified the Bosnians with the epithet
        "Turk," invoking it as self-incitement to more
        slaughter throughout their own recent minigenocide.
        Indeed, I could tell you deeply
        unpleasant personal stories of growing up as a
        Turk in the West. But I won’t. I’ve been in rooms
        where blacks, Jews and Arabs have fought over
        which group has suffered worse genocide over
        the years, and which should be more
        commemorated.
        I deplore this morbid "victimissimo" desire to be
        counted among the most wronged races of
        history. Not because, being Turkish-born, I carry
        a hardwired propensity to kill Armenians and
        Kurds and eat their babies. Though you’d be
        surprised how many people think so.
        Proponents of the victim sweepstakes will argue
        that official commemoration of their own
        suffering protects them and others, indeed the
        world, from further such incidents.
        Unfortunately, the historical record indicates the
        precise opposite, that the cycle of violence is
        instead perpetuated ad infinitum. Think of the
        Serbs and their self-justifying grievances dating
        back some 600 years to Kosovo. Think of Israel
        and the Palestinians, of Hutu ferocity against
        their Tutsi antagonists who ruled them a century
        or more. Finally, consider the Armenian purge of
        their neighbors, the Turkic Azerbaijanis, in the
        Nagorno-Karabagh wars of the early 1990s.
        Charles Glass, I notice, doesn’t mention this at
        all in his polemic. I have video footage from that
        particular slaughterfest. Whole Azeri villages
        were obliterated, including old women and
        children, and their livestock. Often the children
        were scalped. Many had their hands tied back
        to their ankles first. Old men with toes and
        toenails yanked off were left to walk over the
        mountain passes. Russian arms and special
        forces supported Armenian revanchistes in that
        conflict, as they have for several centuries.
        Naturally, neither the West nor Charlie Glass is
        anxious to counter-commemorate this turn in
        the cycle.
        And there’s the rub, because in such scenarios
        historical complexity is the first victim, and all
        the others follow from that. It’s easier to view
        Turks in stark profile as the great predatory
        Antichrist, the definitive barbarous Asiatic,
        before purging their allies, cousins and
        coreligionists in the name of humanity. This is
        exactly what the broad Christian supremacist
        alliance under the Czar did before the Young
        Turk regime took it out on the Armenians. With
        the Cossacks at the vanguard, a crusading tide
        of Armenians, Georgians, Russians and the like
        pogromed into the Caucasus and Central Asia,
        slaughtering as they went–an experience the
        Jews remember well. The Turks and Armenians
        had lived together in relative peace for centuries
        until then. Armenians had prospered mightily
        under the terrible Turk. They built the lushest
        Ottoman sultans’ palaces in the 19th century.
        Yet when the Russians occupied Turkish
        Armenia as "protectors of Eastern
        Christendom," the local Armenians helped them
        massacre more Turks.
        Where are the monuments to the Turks and
        Muslims murdered during that century of
        endless genocide, one that continues today with
        the decimation of Chechnya? Is there a Charlie
        Glass out there standing up bravely for their
        memory? Nobody in the "civilized" world has
        heard that side of the story, nobody cares to
        and nobody’s willing to tell it for fear of courting
        public abuse.
        Genocide is a black and white concept. Once
        acknowledged, it brooks no shades of gray.
        Nobody likes to remember that it was the local
        Kurds who mostly carried out the actual physical
        slaughter of Armenians and took their land. The
        Kurds, victims du jour, are too oppressed for
        that, though their current Marxist insurrection
        against their allies, the Turks, is also Russiansponsored
        from the north. The Kurds
        themselves forget that the Soviets simply
        "disappeared" 100,000 of their number when
        they recolonized and kept the briefly
        independent southern Caucasus in the 1920s
        and 1940s.
        It’s all so irritatingly complicated. Which is why
        Charlie should know better.
        http://www.thefire.org/pdfs/4675_2796.pdf
        "All truth passes through three stages:
        First, it is ridiculed;
        Second, it is violently opposed; and
        Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

        Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

        Comment


        • #5
          WHY DOES MELIK KAYLAN HATE THOSE PESKY ARMENIANS?-Christopher Atamian

          Rarely in the annals of recent journalism has such an intellectually dishonest and historically bogus article appeared as Melik Kaylans thinly veiled invective against Armenians, "Whose Genocide?" ("Takis Top Drawer," 12/27). Kaylan announces his loathsome views in a rebuttal of sorts to Charles Glass article on the Armenian genocide that ran two weeks earlier in the pages of "Top Drawer." Kaylan first admits the reality of the Armenian massacres, which he describes as so gruesome that he has trouble reading about them, yet he then spends the better of 1000 words telling readers why commemoration of the Armenian genocide is unimportant and historically biased.

          Perhaps the most remarkable part of Kaylans denialist gestalt is that he seems to want to portray himself as part of a misunderstood, oppressed group, one that is unjustly attacked and perpetually misunderstood: the Turks. Yes, the Turks. If one listens to Kaylan, the Turks are a defenseless civilization unable to bear the unjustified attacks they must endure from everyone: Orientalizing Europeans, Armenians, Arabs, even usually "courageous" journalists such as Glass.

          Kaylans main strategy, as a denier, is to turn the oppressor into the oppressed, no mean feat in the case of Turkey - a country with a huge military presence that in 1974 invaded Cyprus and regularly threatens its neighbors Greece, Syria and Armenia. No mean feat either for a country that shares the worlds worst human rights record with China, and whose prisons just several weeks ago saw some of the worst police violence in recent history.

          Beginning in 1915 Turkey committed not one but three genocides. >From 1915 to 1923, the Turkish government effectively planned and systematically annihilated 90 percent of its Christian population: 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered and forced on death marches, along with three-fourths of the worlds Assyrian community, as well as the Pontic Greek community that lived around the Black Sea for several thousand years. All told, 2.5 to 3 million people were slaughtered in an orgy of killing the likes of which the modern world would not see again until the Nazi extermination camps. Entire villages were burned to the ground, Armenian women abducted and raped; priests flogged and flayed to death, the men horseshoed and bayoneted by the thousands.With no gas chambers, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were herded intochurches and caves that were set on fire, or drowned on barges in the Black Sea. On April 24, 1915, the date on which the Armenian genocideis now commemorated annually, the Armenian intellectual elite of Constantinople was rounded up, sent to Anatolia and executed. The heart-rending details are documented in any library the world over.

          Yet, as with most Turks brought up in or influenced by a repressive neo-fascist military regime and subjected to historical revisionism, the suffering of the Armenians makes little difference to Kaylan. As he states it, the Kurds actually killed the Armenians, not the Turks. This is technically true inmany cases: the Turkish government, to absolve itself of direct responsibility, goaded local Kurds to carry out the actual killing of Armenians. Kaylan also implies that Kurds should not complain about the continued policy of cultural and physical genocide that has been unleashed against them by the modern-day Turkish "democracy," because they, too, participated in genocide in the past.

          Kaylan further neglects to tell his readers that Turkeys campaign of genocide has continued unabated to this day. Slogans in post-WWI Turkey such as "Citizen, speak Turkish!" and references in all media to Kurds as "Mountain Turks" have all been attempts to forge an ethnically pure identity in Turkey, and more specifically in Anatolia, a land that according to the Turkish military/government must be Muslim and monoethnically Turkish.

          (Speaking of the Kurds, it is an historical fantasy of Kaylans that their rebellion is Russian-"sponsored." While Russia - like any good antagonist - may indeed aid Kurdish separatists, just as Turks aid Chinese separatists of Turkic origin as far off as the Northern Chinese provinces, the Kurdish uprisings are as homegrown as the ones in Quebec, Corsica or the Basque region. Kaylan rationalizes the Kurdish uprisings like his brethren in the Turkish government do, when they accuse everyone from Syria to Armenia, Russia and Iran of creating the PKK and the Kurdish "problem" - anyone but Turkey itself, a country that has killed more than 30,000 Kurds with military equipment largely bought from the United States, and which has prohibited the teaching and broadcasting of the Kurdish language, even in Diyarbakir and Southern Kurdistan.)

          As for today's few remaining Armenians and Assyrians in Turkey, the message that the Turkish government continues to send is clear: shutup or we will repeat what happened in 1915. If Mr. Kaylan needs any convincing of this, he need only look at the recent pressure put on Istanbuls small remaining Armenian community after Armenian genocide resolutions were passed in Franceand Italy, or at the unfortunate fate of Assyrian priest Yusuf Akbulut, who stood trial last month in Turkey for simply mentioning the Armenian genocide in public.

          Or he may want to screen the recent film Salkim Hanims Necklace, which depicts the Varlik Vergisi (wealth taxes) imposed on Armenians, Greeks and Jews in Turkey as early as the 1930s, which subjected non-Muslims to exorbitant rates. These laws effectively drove many Armenian, Greek and Jewish businessmen into poverty or emigration; and, when they were unable to pay such onerousdebts, they were sent to work camps in Anatolia, where they toiled in stonequarries. In the process, a whole class of ethnic Turks exploited the fate of these minorities and became many of today's wealthy Turkish families, whom you can read about in the Forbes 400.

          And although Turks like to portray their relations with Jews as being all but perfect since Turkeys recent alliance with Israel, they seem to have selective amnesia when it comes to the massacre and expulsion of 50,000 Jews in the Rumeli region earlier this century, or the constant outflow of Jews from Turkey until the past decade, when relations between the two communities eased somewhat. To this day, the remaining Armenian community, reduced to70,000, is not free to renovate its own properties or to buy new real estate without special approvals from the Turkish government - approvals that often, mysteriously, never arrive. As for history, Kaylan first creates a new historical category, the "Christian supremacist...Armenians, Georgians, Russians" whoswept down into Anatolia, displacing Turks. Even if Kaylan has been educated in Turkey, he must know that by the 10th century, it was in fact the Turks, or more exactly Turkic and Mongolian/Tatar tribes, who swept through Anatolia, quite literally on horseback, raping and pillaging everything in sight. From Tamerlane and Genghis Khan to the Seljuks and others, one wave after another conquered, raped and killed Armenians, Russians and a host of native peoples. In the 12th century the Armenians fled to the Mediterranean, where they founded the wealthy Kingdom of Cilicia, eventually succumbing to Turkish dominion there as well.

          Kaylans acceptance of the Turkish propaganda that Armenians have unconditionally supported Russia at Turkeys expense is laughable. In fact, the Armenians were known in the Ottoman Empire as the "sadik milleti," or "faithful community." If Kaylan knew anything about Armenian history, he would know that Armenians have suffered tremendously at the hands of Russian and Soviet domination as well. As for the Russians themselves, for centuries they fought defensive wars against the Mongols and Tatars, who among other things ransacked and burned Moscow to the ground several times, once in 1237 (Batu Khan) and later in 1382 (Khan Togtamitch). Later on, it is true that Russia fought an expansionist war with Turkey, Britain and others, known as the GreatGame, for control over the Caspian Sea. These may not have been innocent pastimes,but they were par for the course in an age of conquest. The Armenian genocide, Melik Kaylan to the contrary, was not. Kaylan misuses historical facts on yet another level when he confuses the terms "Turkish "and "Muslim" and asks,"Where are the monuments to the Turks and Muslims murdered?" Is he speakingof Muslims in Indonesia or Egypt? Or how about the thousands of Arabs slaughteredby the Ottoman Turks over several centuries of Turkish domination? Are thosethe Muslims he refers to?

          Had Kaylan visited his homeland lately, he would know that the Turks have in fact erected several obscene monuments to their own imagined dead. In Van, an historically Armenian city defended until the very end in 1915, the Turkish government has built a museum commemorating the "Turkish Genocide" that goes so far as to desecrate history by showing skulls of dead Armenians and claiming that they are in fact ethnic Turks killed by Armenians. Farther north, near the Armenian border, in the city of Igdir, the Turkish government has erected a tall monument to the supposed 80,000 Turks killed, once again, in a fictive Turkish genocide that even Turkish scholars find risible.

          As for those Turks who actually did die during WWI, one would like to remind Kaylan that they perished during a war waged by Turkey, which allied itself with the Germans, against the rest of Europe. That is quite a different story from the state-sponsored Armenian genocide, whose victims were innocent civilians, many of whom had actually fought for the Ottoman Empire during several wars against their supposed "allies," the Russians and Europeans.

          Kaylan seems to revel in historical reversals, making the victim into the oppressor and vice versa. Since for most of history, with a few exceptions,the Armenians were a subject people (to Persians, Arabs, then Turks), he is hard-pressed to find overt examples of organized Armenian terror- not because,to be fair, Armenians are less inclined to violence than anyone else, butsimply because, like the Jews, theirs has been a history of oppression and survival. So, with no other alternative, Kaylan picks on the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabagh, portraying the native Armenians as the aggressors.

          Since most Americans don't know the difference between a Czech and a Slovak, and less so between an Armenian and an Azeri, Kaylan is perhaps hoping to play on public ignorance. In point of fact, Nagorno-Karabagh -partitioned to Azerbaijan after WWI by none other than Josef Stalin - voted for independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, after the wish to be reattached to Armenia had been ignored for decades by the Soviet leadership. The other region thus partitioned by Stalin, a sliver of land called Nakhichevan, located in between Armenia and Turkey - so that it has no physical borders with Azerbaijan itself - was,over the span of 75 years, ethnically cleansed of its entire Armenian population.Armenian monuments in Nachichevan were so mistreated that UNESCO intervened two years back to protect Armenian graveyards, which were still being desecrated and destroyed on a regular basis.

          Back in Turkey's proclaimed "Turkic cousin" Azerbaijan, the government responded to Nagorno-Karabaghs independence movement with pogroms of the Armenians in Sumgait and Baku. World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, an ethnic Armenian,was airlifted out of Baku in a helicopter to escape rioting described by observersas similar to that unleashed against Jews during Czarist Russia. Azerbaijan then proceeded to attack Nagorno-Karabagh militarily, causing the refugee issues that now plague both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Until then, no violence against Azeris by Armenians was ever recorded. The Armenians- who representedmore than 75 percent of the population in Nagorno-Karabagh- fought back andwon. Turkey, instead of staying neutral out of diplomatic tact, or perhaps because of its own past debt to Armenians, instead imposed a blockade on the fledgling Republic of Armenia. One last fantasy of Kaylans: the happy OttomanArmenian. Kaylan implies that Armenians had nothing to complain about underthe Ottomans since, as an industrious and annoyingly persistent race, they were all prospering and building "the lushest Ottoman sultans palaces." Kaylan seems as resentful of Armenian wealth as Germans were of Jewish wealth beforeWWII. It is an historical fact that Armenians were better educated and successful than Turks during the Ottoman Empire. The reasons for this are numerous and have to do mainly with Armenian culture and literacy, their position as a minority, and the Ottoman system of rule. The sultans, for example, excluded Muslims from serving as Janissaries, the elite, Christian corps of young boys and war captives who were trained at court in various professions.

          Yes, the most brilliant architects, bankers, doctors and writers in Constantinople and other urban areas were Armenians. But the vast majority of Armenians, still living in rural Anatolia, remained poor. They were subjected to overtaxation and countless pogroms by Kurdish overlords, encouraged by Ottoman governors. Starting in 1894 Abdul Hamid, dubbed "The Bloody Sultan," massacred more than 200,000 Armenians. In 1909, in the heavily Armenian city of Adana, 30,000 more were massacred with the acquiescence of local governors. Throughout much of the 18th and 19th centuries, disease was rampant in Anatolian villages and life expectancy poor. Throughout the Empire, Armenians were being quickly assimilated. By 1915 most could no longer speak Armenian, and Armenian schools and newspapers were subjected to constant raids and closings. In many areas, terror reigned. Are these the happy Armenians, I wonder, that Melik Kaylan imagines?

          Most official Turkish deniers are more subtle. They blame the "events"of 1915 on the Young Turks and absolve themselves of responsibility." What does that have to do with us?" they ask indignantly. "We are not theTurks of 1915." Go ask a Kurd whose village the Turkish military just blewup, or an Armenian currently suffering under the Turkish blockade.

          Kaylan professes to being tired of hearing about the Armenian genocide, although it is one of the lesser-known episodes of 20th-century history. One wonders what Kaylan would do if he were German and had to watch the profusion of films on the Nazis and the Holocaust. Surely that injustice would drive him insane.

          The modern Turkish Republic was founded by Kemal Ataturk in 1923on the ashes of the genocide - that is to say, the obliteration of the nativeAnatolian Armenian population that had lived there for more than 3000 years, long before the first Turk galloped through and pitched the first yurt onArmenian territory. The modern Turkish Republic has been referred to as "genesisin genocide," a heavy burden to bear for Turkey, and crucial to its understandingof itself and its modern culture. The day that Turkey, like Germany, faces its past honestly, apologizes, compensates and builds memorials to the Armenian dead, will be the day that Turks no longer carry the self-imposed burden of being viewed as cruel or backward. But the more denialist or exculpatory articles people like Kaylan write, the more uncivilized his treasured Turkish culture will appear to the world.

          Christopher Atamian
          The New York Press
          January 17, 2001
          "All truth passes through three stages:
          First, it is ridiculed;
          Second, it is violently opposed; and
          Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

          Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

          Comment


          • #6
            Turkey Must Open It's Archives

            From: "Katia M. Peltekian" <kpeltekian@yahoo.com>
            Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 12:14:09 -0800 (PST)
            Subject: Letter to The Boston Globe, MA

            The Boston Globe
            December 29, 2005 Thursday
            THIRD EDITION

            TURKEY MUST OPEN IT'S ARCHIVES

            REGARDING "Suit opens old wounds" (City & Region, Dec. 27): One
            element that has not been covered in the media on the debate over
            whether genocide was committed in Armenia is whether the archives of
            the Ottoman Empire held in Turkey are open and freely available to
            professional historians. Given recent trials of Turkish authors in
            Turkey for "unturkish" writing, my sense is that they are not
            available freely to scholars.

            The Armenian community in the United States has a strong body of
            evidence supporting the case for genocide. But Turkish and
            Turkish-American groups state that the events, while horrible, were
            not genocide. This is a question that can be answered only by delving
            deep into Ottoman-era historical material. And also by examining the
            definition of genocide.

            So the question for Turks is: Where is the evidence?

            I am living/working in Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia. In the
            current war of words between Kosovo and Serbia, the Serbs take the
            position that there were atrocities on all sides, thereby equalizing
            the blame. They neglect to mention that suppression, subjugation, and
            clearance of Kosovo was Serbia's state policy under Milosevic, and
            mostly the Albanian Kosovar actions were a response to this. Sounds a
            lot like current Turkish groups on the Armenian genocide. Their view
            is an assertion not supported by evidence.

            RICHARD KOBAYASHI
            Belmont
            "All truth passes through three stages:
            First, it is ridiculed;
            Second, it is violently opposed; and
            Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

            Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

            Comment


            • #7
              November 27, 2006 at 11:41:22
              Ghosts of Massacred Armenians Could Haunt Turkey’s Chances To Join European Union

              by Sherwood Ross

              http://www.opednews.com



              Turkey's bid to join the European Union could suffer by its refusal to admit the genocide of its Armenian Christian population nearly a century ago.

              When European Union leaders meet in Brussels Dec. 14-15, the debate to admit Turkey likely will hinge on, among other issues, its failure to open its ports and airports to Cyprus, which opposes all talk of membership. The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and France are cool to admitting Turkey and are backing Cyprus.

              Lingering in the background, though, will be the ghosts of the Armenian genocide, a crime Turkey has denied at every turn and is still "investigating" to this day.

              As recently as March, 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an "impartial study"? into the genocide as if the facts of the slaughter of a milion Armenians were ever in doubt.

              When the Young Turk nationalists created the Republic of Turkey after World War I, they refused to punish the perpetrators of the 1915 genocide. Mustapha Kemal formed a new government in 1920 that forced the Allies to sign the Treaty of Lausanne, ceding Anatolia, home of the Armenians, to Turkish control. Two years earlier Anatolia had been parceled out to Italy and Greece after the Ottoman Empire's surrender to the Allies.

              As author Elizabeth Kolbert put it in the November 6th The New Yorker, "For the Turks to acknowledge the genocide would thus mean admitting that their country was founded by war criminals and that its existence depended on their crimes"

              Turkey has long sought to join the European Union, and, while a history of genocide is clearly no barrier to membership, denying it may be; several European governments have indicated that they will oppose the country's bid unless it acknowledges the crimes committed against the Armenians.

              So opposed is Turkey to discussion of the subject, when the U.S. Congress sought a resolution in 2000 to memorialize the Armenian genocide, Turkey threatened to refuse the U.S. use of its Incirlik airbase and warned it might break off negotiations for the purchase of $4.5-billion worth of Bell Textron attack helicopters.

              President Clinton informed House Speaker /Dennis Hastert passage of the resolution could “risk the lives� of Americans and that put an end to the bill. Like his predecessor, President George Bush has bowed down to Ankara's wishes and issues Armenian Remembrance Day proclamations "without ever quite acknowledging what it is that's being remembered" The New Yorker points out.

              The cover up denies Turkey's historic victimization of some 2-million Christian residents treated as second-class citizens by special taxation, harassment, and extortion. After Sultan Abdulhamid II came to power in 1876, he closed Armenian schools, tossed their teachers in jail, organized Kurdish regiments to plague Armenian farmers and even forbid mention of the word "Armenia"? in newspapers and textbooks.

              In the last decade of the 20th Century, Armenians were already being slaughtered by the thousands but systematic extermination began April 24, 1915, with the arrest of 250 prominent Armenians in Istanbul. In a purge anticipating Hitler's slaughter of European Jewry, Armenians were forced from their homes, the men led off to be tortured and shot, the women and children shipped off to concentration camps in the Syrian desert.

              At the time, the U.S. consul in Aleppo wrote Washington, "So severe has been the treatment that careful estimates place the number of survivors at only 15 percent of those originally deported. On this basis the number surviving even this far being less than 150,000 ¦there seems to have been about 1,000,000 persons lost up to this date"

              In our own time, the Turkish Historical Society published Facts on the Relocation of Armenians (1914-1918?). It claims the Armenians were relocated during the war as humanely as possible� to keep them from aiding the Russian armies.

              In 2005, Turkish Nobel Prize recipient Orhan Pamuk, was said to have violated Section 301 of the Rurkish penal code for "insulting Turkishness" in an interview he gave to a Swiss newspaper. “A million Armenians were killed and nobody but me dares to talk about it,� Pamuk said. Also, Turkish novelist Elif Shafak was brought up on a like charge for having a fictional character in her "The Bastard of Istanbul" discuss the genocide.

              Fortunately for him, Turkish historian Tanar Akcam resides in America. His new history, "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility"(Metropolitan) otherwise probably would land him in jail.

              As there are few nations that have not dabbled in a bit of genocide, one wonders why Turkey persists in its denials? After all, genocide is hardly a bar to UN admission or getting a loan from the World Bank.

              Turkey has every right to membership in the same sordid club as Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, China, and America. Why must it be so sensitive? Let them confess and sit down with the other members to enjoy a good cup of strong coffee. They'll be made to feel right at home, as long as they don't mention Tibet, Iraq, Cambodia, the Congo, Chechnya, Timor, Darfur, Rwanda ad nauseum. After all, there are ghosts everywhere.
              General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

              Comment


              • #8
                http://www.umd.umich.edu/dept/armeni...an/lesson.html

                Detroit Free Press
                Monday
                April 21, 1997
                Page 11A (Op/Ed page)

                Lesson of Armenian genocide remains relevant to all nations



                by Dennis R. Papazian

                April is Genocide Month, and many people of goodwill are commemorating with solemn observances the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. Others ask why we should remember a genocide carried out during World War I, and a Holocaust that took place during World War II.
                Each day's newspapers bring us fresh stories of slaughter and carnage in some corner of the world. What makes these events different and still relevant to our era?
                First, of course, are the moral arguments. These were evil deeds, systematically carried out on a large scale by unjust governments against defenseless religious minorities. The Armenian Genocide--the first genocide of the 20th Century--took the lives of as many as 1.5 million people, yet the Turkish government denies to this day that it happened.
                Righteous people have a moral imperative not to let the Genocide or the Holocaust go unremembered and unmourned. To do so would be to make us less human and to encourage the repetition of evil.
                Perhaps even more relevant today are the political issues. The European state system, the "sovereign" nation-state that has become the world model, has the seeds of genocide in it. This is a dangerous situation.
                By international custom, developed in Europe since the French Revolution, the state is responsible to no higher authority. The result of this attitude is that national, religious and racial minorities have no protection against unjust governments. The Armenian and Jewish cases are especially relevant for our own time because they took place not in some far-off land, but within the European state system.
                Czar Alexander I of Russia, foreseeing the dangers of this system, founded the Concert of Europe. His idea was that the advanced European states--the so-called civilized states of the world--would have a forum, similar to today's United Nations, where they could solve international and even minority problems without resorting to war.
                The Ottoman Empire, the venue of the Armenian genocide, was admitted to the Concert of Europe after the Crimean War. Then in decline, the empire was popularly called the "sick man of Europe."
                But sick or not, it was considered part of the European state system. Bringing Turkey into the system made the European Powers responsible for what went on within that country, and they took that responsibility seriously.
                The European states--and later the United States--demanded that the Ottoman government stop its periodic massacres of Armenians, and give them the protection due to any citizen of a modern state. In this diplomatic correspondence between the Ottoman Empire and the states of Europe--stretched out over 50 years--the concept of "human rights" developed within the European legal system.
                Human rights, in theory, rise above the idea of state sovereignty. The new concept did little to help the Armenians, since the Turks chose to ignore it. Still, it was on those newly developed principles of human rights, based on the Armenian case, that the Allies held the Nuremberg trials after World War II and punished the Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust.
                A repentant Turkish government, not the Allies, held war-crime trials after World War I to bring to justice those members of the "Young Turk" government who carried out the Armenian genocide. These trials took place in 1919-20 in present-day Istanbul, under domestic laws that prohibited murder and the illegal confiscation of property.
                The trials were conducted with scrupulous attention to rules of evidence. Documentation was preferred over verbal testimony, and only Muslims were allowed to make depositions, to avoid accusations of Christian bias.
                Several leaders were convicted and condemned to death. Those who had fled were condemned in absentia. Many were executed.
                Yet the trials, which could have cleared up many questions and brought belated justice to the Armenians (just as Nuremberg did for the Jews) were unfortunately aborted. Too many people of the ruling elite would have been implicated.
                Adolf Hitler was a young German soldier during World War I. The press in Germany, as the press in all other Western countries, reported on the genocide in Turkey. The Kaiser's government allowed stories about the gross crimes of their ally to pass censorship, so that Germany would not be blamed for the Armenian genocide after the war.
                Hitler was evil but not stupid. He watched while the Young Turks carried out the final solution to their minority problem during World War I, and he saw them get away with it. He drew the proper conclusion.
                The world has a short memory. When Hitler sent his generals to start World War II and to effect the final solution against the Jews, he ranted: "Go! Kill without mercy! Who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?"
                Perhaps it is time we remembered.

                Dennis R. Papazian is a professor of history and director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
                Return to Selected Writings of Dr. Dennis R. Papazian
                General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Stop denying the Armenian genocide
                  COUNTERPOINT:

                  ARIS BABIKIAN

                  National Post

                  Friday April 27, 2007

                  Imagine a country that denies the Holocaust. Imagine that the same country insists that Jews were killed because they were disloyal to Germany and were also guilty of killing German soldiers during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

                  Bizarre? Fiendish? Ridiculous statements that do not deserve a response? Yet something very similar has been asserted for the past 92 years by Turkey. A recent example appeared in these pages recently ("Bridging the divide between Turkey and Armenia," Aydemir Erman, April 24). Despite countless
                  books by genocide scholars, tons of documents in American, Austrian, British, French, German (Turkey's wartime ally) and Russian archives, eyewitness accounts and Western (including Canadian) newspaper reports, the Turkish government denies that in 1915 it committed a deliberate, government-organized genocide against Armenians. That genocide has also been
                  acknowledged by the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

                  The International Genocide Scholars Association (IAGS), in its 1997 convention, adopted a resolution unanimously reaffirming that: "The mass murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide."

                  The IAGS in its June 16, 2005, open letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey, put to rest the issue of an "historians" commission to study the Armenia Genocide when they declared: "We are concerned that you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian
                  Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention. We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide ... to deny [the Armenian Genocide]its factual
                  and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims and erase the ethical meaning of this history."

                  On June 9, 2000, 126 Holocaust scholars, including author Elie Wiesel, published a statement in The New York Times affirming "that the World War I Armenian Genocide is an incontestable historical fact."

                  Raphael Lemkin, who drafted the UN Convention on Genocide and coined the word Genocide in 1948, on many occasions cited the attempt to annihilate the Armenians as a clear case of genocide as defined by the UN Convention on Genocide.

                  In recent years, righteous Turks - particularly scholars and journalists - have spoken against their government's denial of the Armenian Genocide.

                  It's clear that what happened to the Armenians was not the result of "civil strife," "rebellion" or "military necessity," as Turkish governments have claimed. The Armenian Genocide was a state-sponsored and state-sanctioned plan. At a 1910 conference in Salonika, the Young Turks leader Talaat Pasha stated: "There can be no question of equality [for minorities] until we have
                  concluded our task of Ottomanizing the empire." Three months later the Young Turks leadership approved Talaat's plan in a secret meeting.

                  The Turkish Government's attempt to divert the attention of the
                  international community from recognition through disingenuous proposals, such as the creation of "historians commission," is a bankrupt strategy.

                  The reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide serves to address the injustice that took place 92 years ago and to play a positive role in the healing process for Armenians. The reaffirmation is about condemning attempts to rewrite history.

                  Because of Turkey's refusal to face its dark past, the process of healing, which is essential to peace, has not begun for Armenians. As genocide scholars have said, the last act of genocide is the denial of that act.

                  Aris Babikian writes for the Horizon Weekly and is a member of the Media Council of Canada.
                  General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    http://www.wildriverreview.com/spotlight_genocide.php

                    For Armenians —Scars of Genocide Remain Visible

                    by Joy E. Stocke

                    EDITOR’S NOTE: April, 2005, marked the 90th anniversary of what the Armenian community says is the first genocide of the 20th century. On a trip to Istanbul, I had the opportunity to learn about it from an antiques dealer in the Grand Bazaar. The article that follows first appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on April 24, 2005, the anniversary date.

                    Osman sits behind his desk in the tiny antique shop he owns tucked into one of the labyrinthine streets of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. “Yes, it happened,” he says. “To my father and my grandparents near Erzincan in what was then eastern Anatolia.”

                    Osman speaks slowly and clearly, a British inflection threading through his perfect English. “My father was 6 and his brother was 4. When the soldiers came for my grandparents, two families of Alevi Turks — who follow the tradition of Shia Islam — hid my father and his brother. The soldiers gathered the people of the village and brought them to the fields in the shadow of the mountains, and slit their throats. For three years, the Alevis hid my father and his brother in the chimneys of their baking hearths. To protect the boys, they changed their Armenian Christian names to Muslim names.”

                    His son arrives with small cups of coffee, and then shuts the door. The air grows warm and stuffy, but Osman doesn’t seem to notice. “When my father and his brother were freed, they became separated. For the rest of his life, my father looked for him, visiting every town no matter how small, hoping that his brother would appear on the street or in a coffee house. When I was 12, my father died of a broken heart, I’m sure. But there is irony in my story, because the government had a special program for orphaned boys. They sent me to one of the best schools in Turkey.”

                    In that school, Osman met Nuri, a Muslim, who owns a carpet shop nearby. “All these years, Osman and I have been friends.” says Nuri, “brothers really, but we’ve never talked of this subject. He knows it happened. I know it happened. Why make problems between us?”

                    Nuri and Osman spoke these words, well aware that on April 24 many Western countries mark Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, the beginning of massacres and deportation of Armenians from a land where they had lived for more than 3,000 years.

                    Five years ago, most Turks wouldn’t speak openly about what they say is a “so-called genocide,” but with Turkey’s bid to enter the European Union, friends who once were afraid to voice their opinions about an event deleted from their history books are beginning to talk.

                    The Turkish government, at odds with many of its citizens, denies that systematic deportations and killings of Armenians occurred. Yet, if you travel to the eastern border of Turkey, you will find abandoned churches. And in travel posters and ads in most tourist offices, you will see a lone red brick church sitting on an island called Akdamar in the center of a lake called Van, named for a once-thriving metropolis of Armenian farmers, craftsmen, businessmen, and traders.

                    You begin to wonder: If a well-photographed Armenian church sits on an island — and in the nearby abandoned city of Ani sit hundreds more churches — where did the Armenians go?

                    Until the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was known for tolerance of its Christian minorities, but things changed when the Empire went into decline. In July 1908, a group of Turkish nationalists known as the Young Turks — junior officers in the Turkish Army — forced the Sultan to allow a constitutional government guaranteeing basic rights to Turkey’s citizens.

                    But in 1913, three leaders of the Young Turks seized control of the government, planning to expand the borders of Turkey into Central Asia, creating a new empire called Turan with one language and one religion.

                    Armed roundups of Armenians — who, encouraged by the European powers and Russia, had considered establishing their own state — began on the evening of April 24, 1915. Three hundred Armenian political leaders, educators, writers, and clergy in Istanbul were jailed, tortured, then hanged or shot.

                    In the following three years, somewhere between 700,000 to more than 1 million Armenians were killed or died of starvation, thirst and disease, and deported to camps in the Syrian desert.

                    Ninety years later, the Turkish Parliament has launched an offensive saying that no genocide took place during what they claim was a war. Meanwhile, in the United States, Armenians are lobbying for formal recognition that the first genocide of the 20th century took place in Turkey.

                    Osman finishes his coffee, gently setting the cup in its saucer. “You ask me what to call the murders of my family?” he says. “What good is a name if we can’t openly admit it happened?”
                    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                    Comment

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