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The Armenian Genocide and Turkey's attempt to Deny It

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  • #11
    Turkey's Dark Past
    By Gamaliel Isaac | November 22, 2004

    On November 16, 2004, Frontpage magazine posted an article from the New Europe Review, by Mustafa Akyol, titled "European Muslims and the Quest for the Soul of Islam." In the article Akyol argued that a new more tolerant interpretation of Islam should be constructed and that "A great deal of shariah laws — like killing of apostates, stoning of adulterers, seclusion of women, compulsory prayer, required dress code, punishments for drinking or even possessing alcohol — have simply no basis in the Qur'an." He wrote that Turkey has an Islamic heritage free of anti-Westernism and anti-Semitism and argued that it will benefit the West if Turkey is admitted into the European Union.

    Does Turkey have an Islamic Heritage Free of anti-Westernism and anti-Semitism?

    The statement of Mr Akyol that Turkey has an Islamic Heritage free of anti-westernism and anti-semitism is inaccurate. We need only look at Turkey’s long history of conquest of Western countries and persecution of conquered westerners.

    In the 14th century Turkey conquered Hungary, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Romania. Turkey was stopped only as it lay seige to Vienna. For hundreds of years thereafter Turks oppressed and engaged in periodic slaughters of their Christian subjects. In his history of Islam, The Sword and The Prophet, Serge Trifkovic wrote about the history of the Turkish oppression of the Armenian Christians as follows:

    "The Ottomans lurched from outrage to outrage. Regular slaughters of Armenians in Bayazid (1877), Alashgurd (1879), Sassun (1894), Constantinople (1896), Adana (1909) and Armenia itself (1895-96) claimed a total of two hundred thousand lives, but they were only rehearsals for the genocide of 1915. The slaughter of Christians in Alexandria in 1881 was only a rehearsal for the artificial famine induced by the Turks in 1915-16 that killed over a hundred thousand Maronite Christians in Lebanon and Syria. So imminent and ever-present was the peril, and so fresh the memory of these events in the minds of the non-Moslems, that illiterate Christian mothers dated events as so many years before or after "such and such a massacre." Across the Middle East, the bloodshed of 1915-1922 finally destroyed ancient Christian communities and cultures that had survived since Roman times-groups like the Jacobites (Syrian Orthodox), Nestorians (Iraqi Orthodox), and Chaldaeans (Iraqi Catholic)...

    The burning of the Greek city of Smyrna and the massacre and scattering of its three hundred thousand Christian inhabitants is one of the most poignant - if not, after the vast outrages of the 20th century, the bloodiest - crimes in all history. It marked the end of the Greek community in Asia Minor. On the eve of its destruction, Smyrna was a bustling port and commercial center. It was a genuinely civilized, in the old-world sense, place. An American consul-general later remembered a busy social life that included teas, dances, musical afternoons, games of tennis and bridge, and soirees given in the salons of the highly cultured Armenian and Greek bourgeoisie.

    Sic gloria transit: sporadic killings of Christians, mostly Armenians, started as soon as the Turks overran it on September 9, 1922. Within days, they escalated to mass slaughter. It did not "get out of hand," however, in the sense of an uncontrolled chaos perpetrated by an uncommanded military rabble. The Turkish military authorities deliberately escalated it. The Greek Orthodox Bishop Chrysostomos remained with his flock. "It is the tradition of the Greek Church and the duty of the priest to stay with his congregation," he replied to those begging him to flee. The Moslem mob fell upon him, uprooted his eyes and, as he was bleeding, dragged him by his beard through the streets of the Turkish quarter, beating and kicking him. Every now and then, when he had the strength to do so, he would raise his right hand and blessed his persecutors. A Turk got so furious at this gesture that he cut off his hand with his sword. He fell to the ground, and was hacked to pieces by the angry mob. The carnage culminated in the burning of Smyrna, which started on September 13 when the Turks put the Armenian quarter to torch and the conflagration engulfed the city. The remaining inhabitants were trapped at the seafront, from which there was no escaping the flames on one side, or Turkish bayonets on the other. This was the end of Christianity in Asia Minor, whose history goes back to events recorded in the New Testament itself."

    Marjorie Housepian in her book The Smyrna Affair, quoted a missionary eyewitness who said the Turkish Muslims actually enjoyed massacring the Armenian Christians. He said:

    "The slaughter of the Armenians was a joy to the Turks, a massacre was heralded by the blowing of trumpets and concluded by a procession. Accompanied by the prayers of the mullahs and muezzins, who from the minarets implored the blessings of Allah, the slaughter was accomplished in admirable order according to a well arranged plan. The crowd, supplied with arms by the authorities, joined most amicably with the soldiers and the Kurdish Hamidieh on these festive occasions. The Turkish women stimulated their heroes by raising a gutteral shriek of their war cry, the Zilghit, and deafening the hopeless despair of their victims by singing their nuptial songs. A kind of wild cannibal humour seized the crowd...the savage crew did not even spare the children."

    The Turks have committed atrocities against other minorities as well, The Tower of skulls of Chele Kula shown below, is a monument to the Turkish savagery against the Serbs in the early 1800s.

    Lest we think "Well that was ancient history", as recently as 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus. Just as the Romans renamed Israel, Palestine in order to erase the memory of the Jewish State, the Turks have renamed all the cities and towns in Cyprus. They have also destroyed concrete evidence of the Christian and Greek history of the area of Cyprus under their control. According to an article in the Guardian ('The Rape of northern Cyprus', 5.6.1976)

    "...The vandalism and desecration are so methodical and so widespread that they amount to institutionalized obliteration of everything sacred to a Greek [...] In some instances, an entire graveyard of 50 or more tombs had been reduced to pieces or rubble no larger than a matchbox...we found the chapel of Ayios Demetrios at Ardhana empty but for the remains of the altar plinth, and that was fouled with human excrement[...] At Syngrasis [...] the broken crucifix was drenched in urine.. At Lefkoniko [...the interior of Gaidhouras church...] was overlooked by an armless Christ on a smashed crucifix.. Tombs gaped open wherever we went... crosses bearing the pictures of those buried beneath [...] had been flattened and destroyed."

    Cypriots who oppose the Turks are treated severely; in 1996 the Greek Cypriot demonstrator, Anastasios (Tasos) Isaak, was beaten to death by the Turkish occupation forces. According to the Greek Cypriot Magazine Selides. August, 1996, one thousand six hundred and nineteen Greek Cypriots and Greeks who were taken as prisoners of war during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus are still missing.

    The Turkish Heritage of Anti-Semitism

    Although there have indeed been periods when Turkey has been more tolerant of Jews than Christian Europe, Mustapha Akyol’s claim that Turkey has an Islamic heritage free of anti-semitism is false. Andrew Bostom, in his article Turkish "Tolerance of Jews", A Sobering Historical Assessment" quotes Professor Maoz who wrote that:

    "Like their Christian fellow subjects, the Jews were inferior citizens in the Muslim-Ottoman state which was based on the principle of Muslim superiority. They were regarded as state protégés (dhimmis) and had to pay a special poll tax (jizya) for that protection and as a sign of their inferior status. Their testimony was not accepted in the courts of justice, and in cases of the murder of a Jew or Christian by a Muslim, the latter was usually not condemned to death. In addition, Jews as well as Christians were normally not acceptable for appointments to the highest administrative posts; they were forbidden to carry arms (thus, to serve in the army), to ride horses in towns or to wear Muslim dress. They were also not usually allowed to build or repair places of worship and were often subjected to oppression, extortion and violence by both the local authorities and the Muslim population."

    Professor Tudor Parfitt in his comprehensive study of the Jews of Palestine during the 19th century wrote about the Turkish oppression of the Jews of Palestine as follows:

    "…Inside the towns, Jews and other dhimmis were frequently attacked, wounded, and even killed by local Muslims and Turkish soldiers. Such attacks were frequently for trivial reasons: Wilson [in British Foreign Office correspondence] recalled having met a Jew who had been badly wounded by a Turkish soldier for not having instantly dismounted when ordered to give up his donkey to a soldier of the Sultan. Many Jews were killed for less. On occasion the authorities attempted to get some form of redress but this was by no means always the case: the Turkish authorities themselves were sometimes responsible for beating Jews to death for some unproven charge. After one such occasion [British Consul] Young remarked: ‘I must say I am sorry and surprised that the Governor could have acted so savage a part- for certainly what I have seen of him I should have thought him superior to such wanton inhumanity- but it was a Jew- without friends or protection- it serves to show well that it is not without reason that the poor Jew, even in the nineteenth century, lives from day to day in terror of his life’."

    During World War I in Palestine, the embattled Young Turk government actually began deporting the Jews of Tel Aviv in the spring of 1917 - an ominous parallel to the genocidal deportations of the Armenian dhimmi communities throughout Anatolia. A Reuters press release regarding the deportation states that:

    " on April 1 [1917] an order was given to deport all the Jews from Tel Aviv, including citizens of the Central Powers, within forty-eight hours. A week before, three hundred Jews were expelled from Jerusalem: Jamal Pasha [one of the triumvirate of Young Turk supreme leaders, Minister of the Navy, and commander of the Fourth Army in the Levant] declared that their fate would be that of the Armenians; eight thousand deportees from Tel Aviv were not allowed to take any provisions with them, and after the expulsion their houses were looted by Bedouin mobs; two Yemenite Jews who tried to oppose the looting were hung at the entrance to Tel Aviv so that all might see, and other Jews were found dead in the Dunes around Tel Aviv."

    It was not clear why the slaughter did not occur. One hypothesis put forth by the British Zionist movement suggested that the advance of the British army (from immediately adjacent Egypt) and its potential willingness " hold the military and Turkish authorities directly responsible for a policy of slaughter and destruction of the Jews" may have averted this disaster.

    Turkish hostility to the Jews during World War II led them to refuse to allow Jews to flee Hitler into Turkey. In one instance 769 Jews packed an old, dilapidated cattle boat called the Struma and made it to the shores of Turkey. The Turks denied them entry and eventually towed them out to sea where they sank.

    The Pro-Western Leanings of Turkey

    Although it is wrong to say, as Mustapha Akyol did, that Turkey has a pro-Western heritage, the fact that Turkey has been a member of the NATO alliance since 1952 and has a democratic government suggests that there are influential people with pro-Western and pro-democratic sentiments in Turkey. Unfortunately the influence of Turkey's great Westernizing leader Kemal Ataturk is waning, and there is growing pro-fundamentalist Islamic sentiment in Turkey. The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Survey from March this year noted that "in Turkey "as many as 31 percent say that suicide attacks against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable." The growing pro-Islamist sentiment in Turkey is the reason why the Turkish army has been forced more than once to overthrow democratically elected Islamic leaders who might have turned Turkey back into a Shariah state. The recent election of Mr. Erdogan as Prime Minister of Turkey raises such concerns again. Before his election, Mr. Erdogan was convicted of inciting religious hatred because of a speech he gave at a political rally in 1998. Under Erdogan’s leadership Turkey is trading with Iran despite U.S. calls to isolate Iran. It is possible that Turkey’s membership in the NATO alliance has less to do with pro-Western sentiment than with fear of Russia and eagerness to benefit from the generous military and economic aid from the United States that comes with being an American ally. Likewise the desire of Turkey to join the European Union is based on hopes that such a move would help the Turkish economy.

    The Missing Step Toward Islamic Tolerance

    In his article, Mr. Akyol outlined a series of steps for Muslims and the West to take to reduce Islamic militance and to encourage tolerance among Muslims. One of those steps was for France to allow Muslim girls to wear head scarves in French public schools. This suggestion ignores the reason France had to impose this rule to begin with. Muslims were intimidating both Muslim and non-Muslim girls into wearing head scarves against their will. Although Mr. Akyol may be right that further Muslim militance may result from the French law, the French law was made necessary by Muslim militance to begin with.

    Mr. Akyol outlined a series of steps for Muslims to take to reduce Islamic militance but he left out the most important step which is that Muslims should acknowledge that the attacks on infidels that they have committed in the name of Islam are wrong. U.S. ambassador James Gerald wrote that "The principles of Justice are more important than oil or the railroads" and that "the Turks should not be accepted into the society of decent nations until they show sincere repentance for their crimes."

    Another step Mustapha Akyol listed was to replace Shariah with a new interpretation of Islam. He wrote, "A great deal of shariah laws — like killing of apostates, .. have simply no basis in the Qur'an." While reform of Islam is indeed essential, the killing of apostates has a basis in the Koran. The command to "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. " is from the Koran ( 9:5). So is the command: "Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them. (8:12)". This command is undoubtedly treated as religious grounds by those who commit the many recent beheadings in Iraq.

    Should Turkey be Admitted into the European Union?

    There is one overriding reason to be concerned about admitting Turkey into the European Union, and that is the potential effect of Turkish membership on the Muslim population of European countries which are already having serious problems as a result of their large Islamic populations. If Turkey joins the EU, a significant percentage of Turkey's over 60 million Muslims may enter Europe. Furthermore, many millions of Muslims from other Islamic countries are likely to use Turkey as their gateway to Europe. Once they attain legal status in Turkey, these Muslims from other Islamic countries will be free to go anywhere in Europe.

    It may be that it is already too late for Europe. The countries of Europe are slowly becoming subjugated to hostile rapidly growing Muslim populations. Bat Yeor in an article in frontpagemagazine (Arafat’s Legacy for Europe 11/16/04) wrote that,
    "Islamist terror from within and without is overwhelming Europe. Today it is not uncommon to hear Europeans express their disgust for Europe and their wish to emigrate. Europe, they say, is dead and has no future."

    In its jealousy of American power and determination to create a counter-power, France, with support from Germany, has looked to ally itself with Islamic countries in order to help create that counterweight to the United States. On October 26, 2004, France and Germany stood behind Turkey’s campaign to join the European Union. Admitting the Turkish Trojan Horse may give them the power to counter the United States but the price they will pay will be further subjugation to a growing hostile European Muslim population.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


    • #12
      By Alyssa A. Lappen | May 24, 2005

      For 50 years, historians, diplomats and state department officials have touted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a great secular leader in a predominantly Muslim region, whose policies modernized and democratized Turkey, shaping it into a Western-style state. But Ataturk was western only insofar as he implemented the Turkification of Gobineau, wherein he substituted the Turks for the Aryans, whose ideology had terrible results in the rise of European Nazism. Regardless, in 1955, barely 17 years after the dictator's death, a little-known pogrom, driven primarily by Islamic fanaticism, targeted the Greek population of Istanbul, with the intent of driving non-Muslims from Turkey.

      From 1950 to 1960 Turkey experienced a profound reawakening of Islam, which the government and Demokrat Parti (DP) of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes both exploited and encouraged. Today, the policies Turkey set in motion in that pogrom remain in sway.

      According to Speros Vryonis Jr.'s landmark new study, The Mechanism of Catastrophe, the September 1955 government-orchestrated pogrom against the Greek Orthodox community “included the systematic destruction of the majority of its churches,” monasteries and cemeteries. Published this month by, the work subtitled The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul shows that riots which destroyed 4,500 Greek homes, 3,500 businesses, 90 religious institutions and 36 schools in 45 distinct communities, resulted not only from “fervid chauvinism, or even [from] the economic resentment of many impoverished rioters, but [from] the profound religious fanaticism in many segments of Turkish society.”

      American, British and Greek diplomats all agreed that the violence was “indicative of religious fanaticism,” a fact with which even some Turkish commentators concurred.

      A towering intellect and scholar of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, as well as modern Turkey, Vryonis witnessed reactions to the pogrom in 1955, after beginning his dissertation work at Harvard's Byzantine center at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. Newspapers reported violence targeting the Greek community of Istanbul and suggested the state department was pleased at “how the Turkish government had taken it in hand very quickly and restored order,” Vryonis recalled at a recent New York City lecture to introduce the book. He recoiled at the table talk of British and American scholars at Dumbarton Oaks, expressing the view that the Greeks had gotten what they deserved.

      Vryonis questioned how riots could erupt so suddenly and violently as to destroy a whole community. Furthermore, at nearby St. Sophia Cathedral, the Greek archbishop described tens of thousands of people with no homes, no clothes and no food. The diametrically opposite perspectives concerned one and the same event. Vryonis, however, trained in chemistry, physics and Greek and Latin classics, “put it aside. I was not ready. [Studying this] demanded a knowledge of Turkish. It demanded a good knowledge of Islam, it demanded a familiarization with modern Greek history.” Fifty years later, at 76, he has written the definitive work on the events. The work has the power to alter official U.S. positions on Turkey, if only policymakers will read it.

      Actually, the discrimination against the Greek, Jewish and Armenian populations of Turkey had begun much earlier, during the First World War. “The attitude towards the minorities was not something new in 1955,” Vryonis says today. “It had a long tradition that was inherited from the Young Turks [who] took over as the Ottoman Empire was faltering, lost the Balkan wars, got in the losing side in the First World War, [perpetrated] the genocide of the Armenians and [moved] the Greeks ... from the area of the Dardanelles at the urging of the German general Otto Liman von Sanders....” who unsuccessfully assumed the Ottomans' defense and ordered the Greeks to be swept away from the Sea of Marmara.

      In the 1930s, Ataturk developed racist theories that all history and languages flow from Turkish history and language. Ever since, the Turkish state has “believed that there should be one language, one nation, one culture, one religion,” says Vryonis.

      Kemalism effectively established the "Turkification of Gobineau's theory of the racial, and therefore civilizational, superiority of the Aryans."[1] These ideas included the Turkish Historical Thesis (Turk Tarih Tezi) and the Sun Theory of Languages (Gunes Dil Teorisi). The former holds that the history of Turkey as known today doesn't consist merely of Ottoman history, but is much older and in fact dispersed culture to all nations, including the Greek classical nation, the Hittites, the Chinese, the Romans and all European nations. The latter holds that Turkish was the first language ever spoken by humans, and is the foundation for all other languages, be they classical Greek and Latin, Romance languages or even Anglo-Saxon tongues. (What is more astounding are those historians, including Bernard Lewis, who apologize for this supremacist line.) [2]

      Although Turkish scholars like Taner Akcam and Fatma Muge Gocek reject these racist theories—still taught in Turkish schools—they founded the basis for discriminatory laws passed against Greeks and other non-Muslims during the 1930s and later. In 1932, for example, law 2007 barred entry to a large number of professions of Greek citizens of Istanbul (etablis).

      Under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which provided boundaries for modern Turkey and arranged population transfers between Greece and Turkey, the Greek “settlers” were allowed to stay in Istanbul without prejudice. Nine years later, Turkey violated the treaty with impunity, imposing a series of 31 crippling laws to reduce Greek political, legal, economic and cultural strength. Some 10,000 Greek citizens were deprived of their livelihoods as tailors, merchants, photographers, carpenters, doormen, lawyers, doctors and realtors and forced to emigrate, penniless, to Greece.

      In 1941 and under Turkish Prime Minister Sukriu Saracoglu in 1942, the Turkish government and minister of foreign affairs, figuring that the Germans would emerge victorious from World War II, began the mass deportation of minority men aged 18 to 38. The forced labor battalions of the so-called 20 generations of Jews, Greeks and Armenians were meant never again to see the light of day.

      Modern Turkey also inherited the religious discrimination against non-Muslims from the Ottoman empire. Thus in 1942, Saracoglu's government established the varlik vergesi, a capital tax so onerous as to impose financial ruin on the community.

      “Taxpayers who do not settle their debts within one month from the date of posting of notice will be compelled to labor until they have completely settled their debt, in any part of the country in public services of an unmilitary character or in municipal services, according to their physical ability,” the law required, according to a 1943 report in the New York Times by C. L. Sulzberger. [3]

      “Not long after Varlik was applied small numbers of defaulters were arrested and after a few days' detention sent by train to Ashkale in Eastern Anatolia [the Turkish “Siberia”] to work on the roads,” Sulzberger's report continued.

      The first groups were those assessed more than 100,000 lira who had paid little or nothing of their indebtedness. The government's position was that no one was taxed more than he could afford to pay, that failure to do so was evidence of unwillingness to pay and that the full penalties of the law must therefore be enforced.

      To date not many more than a thousand persons are believed to have been subjected to this drastic penalty. Many of them are wealthy and prominent citizens. Almost entirely they come from the minority Christian and Jewish populations. Their labor on the roads can hardly have been much use, but some of them have managed to scrape up funds and pay and have then been released while the example of the remainder frightens the rest of the minority population as an inducement to pay at all costs. [4]

      The tax was set at confiscatory rates—Greek Orthodox at 156 percent of annual income, Jewish at 179 percent, and Armenian at 232 percent—compared to the 4.96 percent annual income tax suffered by Muslim Turks, according to a Times editorial, and applied to everyone, including minority bell hopes and taxi drivers. At least one Turkish newspaper spoke of “liquidation” of the minority mentality and their populations, by inducing them to leave Turkey. [5]

      Since these taxes were temporary, Vryonis sees no parallel with the punitive jizya (poll) and karaj (land) taxes on legions of earlier generations of non-Muslim dhimmis. To this observer, however, the laws, their intent and result strongly resemble the ruinous jizya and karaj taxes. Like them, the varlik vergesi effectively deprived the community of its wealth, imposing severe penalties if Greek and other non-Muslim citizens did not pay within fifteen days of its promulgation. In the end, massive numbers of minority property and businesses were transferred to Muslim hands, much as khalifs in earlier eras had expropriated them, forcing non-Muslims often to convert to Islam to survive.

      Not surprisingly, between 1924 and 1934, Istanbul's Greek population fell by two thirds, from nearly 300,000 to 111,200, according to Vryonis. By 1955, the number of Greeks had dropped another 24 percent, to 85,000. “This is by way of background, by way of ideology, by way of the nature of the Turkish state, which we should add remained military and dictatorial,” he says.

      In 1954, the matter of Cyprus became entwined with the fate of Istanbul's Greek minority. That year, Turkish foreign minister Mehmet Fuat Koprulu declared that his government had no interest whatever in the outcome of a Greek plea to the international community for Cypriot independence. But within a matter of months, at the prompting of the British government (which then controlled Cyprus), Prime Minister Menderes ousted Koprulu, installed foreign minister Fatin Rustu Zorlu in his place, and turned a 180 degree about-face on the issue. The armed campaign against Britain by the Greek National Organization of Cypriot Fighters elicited howls of indignation from the Turkish press, which joined the battle cry of the Cyprus is Turkish Association, known as KTC for its Turkish acronym.

      Eventually, KTC and its press cohorts shifted public attention from the Greek Cypriots to the Greeks of Istanbul. But it was up to the DP and the government to organize the roughly 100,000 necessary students, labor unionists and other rioters and transport them to Istanbul to destroy, in a matter of nine hours, the homes and businesses of 85,000 Greeks scattered through 45 hilly square kilometers in areas hard to access from one another. The pogromists came equipped with lists of Greek addresses to target, though the Armenian and Jewish communities were also hit. Armenians lost 1,000 stores, 150 homes, three churches and four schools, while Jewish residents lost 500 shops, 25 homes, and suffered damage to one synagogue.

      All the evidence is that the 1955 pogrom was well organized. “We have independent accounts of Turkish newspapers, of the Greek consulate official, and this is very important, of American[s], that there were [three] systematic waves of destroyers,” says Vryonis.

      The first wave—identified by the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and confirmed by the foreign press and Greek officials—destroyed metal doors and barriers to all churches, houses and businesses. They smashed all obstacles to entry. The second wave commenced pilfering and the pillaging. Those who had foresight came with trucks so as to systematically loot and carry off their booty. “But the basic job of the second wave was to begin the destruction of the houses, the apartments, the church, the stores, and then to move on, just as the first wave moved on very quickly,” says Vryonis, as did the second. The third came some time later to finish off the marauding.

      “Greek businesses were pilfered or destroyed,” says Vryonis. “Stealing of food stuffs and destruction of grocery stores and the food industry was rife, and thereafter produced a food shortage in Istanbul. The price of eggs rose 6 times, while tobacco rose 20 percent. Most bakeries were utterly destroyed. People had to wait in line even for a piece of bread. In the houses, food was looted or else destroyed by pouring gasoline. Houses were no longer habitable. People had nothing to eat and no where to sleep. Mattresses were literally cut into shreds.”

      British and American officials, to the extent that they expressed opinions, generally attributed the pogrom to two factors: “simultaneous self-erupted nationalist and economic motivations.” Certainly, notes Vryonis, there were elements of nationalism, a force in Turkey since Ataturk. As to economic resentment, the living standard of Asia Minor peasants compared to that of Istanbul minorities like night to day. But pogromists came well-equipped with pickaxes, shovels, wooden timbers to serve as battering rams, acetylene torches, gasoline, dynamite and large trucks full of stones. How could a spontaneous eruption occur when security people, secret police, municipal police and the armed services were everywhere?

      The third factor (unmentioned by officials), and the genuine underlying cause, Vryonis notes, was religious fanaticism. He continues:

      The churches suffered massive destruction.... Most of the reports denied that there was any religious fanaticism. An interesting thing about the American ambassador's report, Mr. [Avra] Warren. It was made up of disjointed reports of several other diplomatic servants in Istanbul who saw what happened. [Warren was in Ankara.] In Ankara, there were a few demonstrations, but there were no Greeks there. He didn't see it. And he said there was no evidence of religious fanaticism—if you [except] 70 Greek churches that were destroyed.

      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


      • #13
        Part II

        ..I couldn't make heads or tales of that. So I decided that this was a scissors and paste report, because earlier he talks about the disgusting and beastly manner in which religious sanctuaries were desecrated. Desecrated is a purely religious term. It involves the violation of that which belongs to divinity, and pollution is a refinement of it. It means despoiling that which is sacred, and the soiling in this case was urination and defecation—defecation on the alters, urination in the communion cups..... [We] had several independent accounts of the destruction of the huge cemetery at Sisli, where they not only took the time to destroy it, but took the corpses out from mausoleums, and also desecrated them, and left in a very large number [of cases], defecation on each of these remains.

        So if you look at the church cannons, are violating God's property. Now what is God's property? ...That which has been consecrated by religious ceremony. You can have a building that is going to be a church, but until the liturgy is performed in it, until it is consecrated, it is not sacred. Before an icon is consecrated in any manner, it is just a picture, if you don't like it you can rip it up. The same with the sacred vestments, but once they enter into the liturgical ritual, these things are forbidden, they belong to God. And if you take in all these aspects, if you look at all the photographs, the piercing and removing of the eyes of Christ, the cutting and removing of His hands, by which He hangs on the crucifix which is a constant in the Constantinoplitan church, if you look at mockery, the mockery of putting priests' sacred garb on their donkeys, and the use of the metallic elements on their garbage collectors, the fanaticism is very important, and it coincides with the rise of Islam.

        Of course, the government was involved, says Vryonis, as the 1960 and 1961 trials at Yassiada proved in their brief consideration of the matter. Contemporary newspaper and eyewitness reports (which the book provides) also describe government assistance given to pogromists during the riots as their organizers shouted “Cleanse the fatherland of the infidel!” and “We do not want infidels' merchandise in our country.” Official vehicles also transported the pogromists after they had finished their grisly work.

        But while Menderes and several of his ministers were hung, they lost their lives for violating Turkey's constitution, not the destruction they wrought on its Greek and other non-Muslim citizens. For these crimes, not a single man was punished, according to Vryonis.

        The Islamization set in motion via discriminatory laws and violence, before and during the pogrom, has continued ever since, with constant pressure on the non-Muslim communities. Having lost everything, the Greek community began to emigrate. In 1964, the Turkish junta forced a very large number to leave or turn over their businesses to Turks within a certain number of hours, says Vryonis. They were taxed, though they were leaving, and their accounts were blocked. Furthermore, intermarriage between Greek citizens and Turkish Greeks was taxed when all marital property was decreed to belong to the “settlers” —making it easier to confiscate.

        Today, the Greek residents of Turkey, mostly in Istanbul, number only about 1,800, according to Vryonis, and property rights continue to be so much a concern that the European Union is pressuring Turkey to implement legal changes. Of course, these are cosmetic at best.

        “The society has already declared that the identity of Turkey is Islamic,” explains Vryonis. M. Hakan Yavuz discusses the situation in Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. The state apparatus tried to enforce Kemalism, limiting the power of Islam, albeit not insofar as minorities are concerned. “But the Turkish version of Islam is undergoing a revitalization which has successfully challenged [secularism],” says Vryonis. “Most of the provincial universities, for some time, have had major student organizations that are Islamic, that are not recognized by the authorities, but the authorities in the provinces are often Islamists.”

        Indeed, the majority of Turks are believing Muslims, a factor that emerged after the 1994 elections, when the Islamist Welfare Party won landslides in the mayoral elections in Asia Minor. Vryonis questions how the military can continue to bar Islamists from entering the officer corps. “It may be that has already happened,” he adds, “the dam has already broken and we don't know. Once that happens the show is over.”

        This matters, since the U.S. has armed Turkey so mightily. It has “the largest military establishment in the Middle East, Africa and Western and Northern Europe,” Vryonis says. “They have a big advantage when it comes to the buildup of tanks, jets, and this involves updating the armaments in Cyprus. The question is into what hands will all of this fall?”

        The answer was perhaps previewed in 2003 when the Turkish government refused to allow the disembarkment of 62,000 American troops to open a front in northern Iraq. In Iran, Vryonis points out, U.S. weapons fell into the hands of the Khomeiniites when the Shah fell.

        As to whether Kemalists are inherently all Muslims, Vryonis cannot assess the psychology of each person. “But if you look at the example in Iran, they executed the chiefs of Savak, and told the other ones to stay ...and watch what they were doing.” Within the Turkish government, he says, groups are said to have split, some working closely with Russia, others with China, and still others focusing on the European Union.

        A final issue concerns the Islamic army itself, Vryonis says. “[It] is not a homogeneous entity. [Islamists] tend to win elections by attracting people who are dissatisfied with this or that or the other,” says Vryonis. Even Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “in order to survive, wears about 4 or 5 or 6 masks. One is for the European Union, one is for Greece, and that changes, another is over the Israeli Palestinian issue another is for the military.... The state department never solved these problems.” But clearly, Vryonis says, Islamists “want a powerful Turkey and they want it to be more powerful than it is now.”

        The lesson to be taken from the 1955 pogrom is that little, if anything, has actually changed in Turkey.


        [1] Vryonis Jr., Speros, The Turkish State in History: Clio Meets the Grey Wolf (1993 ed), p. 67.
        [2] Vryonis Jr. Speros, The Turkish State in History, pp. 57-78.
        [3] Sulzberger, C.L., “Ankara tax raises diplomatic issues,” New York Times, Sept. 12, 1943, p. 46.
        [4] Ibid.
        [5] “The Turkish minorities,” New York Times, Sept. 17, 1943. p. 20.
        General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


        • #14
          By Edward Papelian

          The Conservative Voice
          Dec 11 2007

          Contemplations on...

          How Armenians Can Avert The Third World War.

          What is liberty, justice and democracy about?

          There is much talk about "Turkish pride," but what about "American

          On 10 October 2007 the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US
          Congress once again officially recognized the Armenian Genocide.

          An interesting aspect to this is that none of the 21 dissenting
          votes disclaimed or denied the Genocide. Instead, they all formally
          recognized the event but argued against official recognition because of
          geostrategic concerns alone. Within the parties themselves, 19 out of
          27 Democrats and 8 out of 21 Republicans voted in favor. The audience
          to the vote included Armenian veterans and four wheelchair-bound
          survivors of the Genocide.

          The next step now is the Congressional vote on the official
          resolution. It should be kept in mind that a clutch of Turkish
          generals, Islamists and ultra-Nationalists supported by a multi-million
          dollar public relations campaign on behalf of Turkish holocaust-deniers
          are intensively blackmailing Capitol Hill.

          Denying the Armenian Genocide is also a denial of American History.

          Many American politicians, individuals, humanists tried to stop the
          Armenians Genocide while the Genocide was happening. The American
          Nation tried to save as much life as possible in 1915-1923 by an
          unparalleled humanitarian act. But the same United State is now
          becoming a denial State, by yielding to Turkish threats and blackmails.

          The State of Affairs to Date: The Pre and Post History of the VotePrior
          to the vote, Turkey not only vocally opposed to the resolution but
          also pulled out all the stops in its attempt to create a negative
          atmosphere against it. Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan and his party,
          the AKP ("Justice and Development Party"), stated that the vote would
          play directly into the hands of the Turkish Nationalists.

          Buyukanit, the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, stated on the other
          hand that the vote played into the hands of the Turkish Islamists. And
          while in Israel, Babacan, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs,
          said that if the resolution were passed the Jews in Turkey could no
          longer be sure of the safety of their lives (even the Mullah Regime
          never went that far). This impressive display of verbal scare tactics
          displayed by the members of both administrative camps in Turkey -
          the two governments in Ankara - in their shared attempt to blackmail
          their "allies/friends" (particularly the USA) is, in regard to blind
          Turkish Nationalism, difficult to top.

          The consensus was that the resolution would do lasting damage
          to Turkey's democratic transition process and its EU course. The
          resolution would fan hate against the USA and thus increase the
          security risks faced by American and Israeli facilities because
          the Turkish population might not be controllable. In the course of
          all this, the basic fact that Turkey was deeply anti-American long
          before and even without the Congressional Resolution on the Armenian
          Genocide has been forgotten. This is evidenced by the record-breaking
          audience numbers enjoyed by the Turkish produced anti-American and
          anti-Semitic film series Valley of the Wolves Iraq and, furthermore,
          by the fact that the Turkish government and general population were
          the initial motivators behind the fundamentalist backlash against
          Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 due to his criticism of Islamic violence -
          the strident protestations of Turkey were influential in heating up
          the Islamic world against Western values and democracy.

          Above and beyond this, Turkey has demanded that Israel instruct
          the "Jewish Lobby" to agitate against the Armenians. Of course
          the reference to the "Jewish Lobby" is an allusion to the Jewish
          Diaspora and - as is the case when talking of Diasporas - carries a
          whiff of world conspiracy and global domination. Thus, the "Jewish
          Conspiracy" should follow Ankara's tune and eliminate, obliterate,
          purge (whatever you choose to call it) the "Armenian Conspiracy." Under
          normal circumstances the concept would be laughable, but laughter is
          not advisable as it could result in asphyxiation.

          The "killer" argument came in the end from the lobby groups on the
          Turkish government's payroll: the supply channels of the NATO partners,
          EU accession candidates and closest allies of the USA and Israel
          to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan could be broken. Of course,
          the lobbyists blithely overlook the fact that despite the outright
          refusal of Turkish support and the corresponding lack of assistance
          in 2003, the USA was nonetheless capable of bringing an army of over
          100,000 to Iraq. (It must also be mentioned here that Turkey stands
          to gain the most were the US to face defeat in Iraq.)

          HR106 is only a moral and humanitarian act. What still remains unsaid
          is: both the US administration as well as the media conceal the fact
          from the American public that the transit ways through Turkey to
          Northern Iraq cut through the homeland of the very Armenians that
          were transported and slaughtered en mass by the Turkish (see please
          President Woodrow Wilson's arbitration award). It has been concealed
          from the American public that many of the military facilities that
          the Turkish have ceded to the US - at very high prices - are located
          on Armenian native soil (Western Armenia). The Incirlik Air Base, for
          example, was built on the private property unjustly confiscated from
          an Armenian family. The media has also not mentioned that thousands
          of descendants of those who survived Turkey's attempt to eradicate
          the Armenian People and other Christians in Turkey and had found new
          hope and a second home in Iraq have now had their new hope and home
          once again totally destroyed by a war.

          Both the New York Times as well as the international press have
          reported that Turkey paid the former Representative Robert Livingston
          12 million dollars alone for him to put a stop to the resolution on
          Capitol Hill. The former Representative Richard Gephardt has been
          receiving a further $300,000 monthly to do likewise. These are but
          the official amounts; the "dark figures" of the Turkish cover-up,
          disinformation and denial industry are in all likelihood immeasurably

          After pressuring the representatives with so many threats and so much
          blackmail and coercion, Turkey hoped that all their manipulation
          would result in a negative vote. Among those who jumped aboard
          the Turkey-financed train were President Bush, Secretary of State
          Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

          An additional argument presented was that the resolution would
          destroy the reconciliation process between the Republics of Armenia
          and Turkey. This exacted a reaction from the Armenian government,
          which retorted with the words that a non-existent relationship cannot
          be endangered. Furthermore, the Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanian
          also criticized eight former high-ranking members of the United
          States government that had gone on record in a letter to the House
          Speaker Nancy Pelosi as being against the recognition of the Armenian
          Genocide. Among others, this includes the former Secretary of State
          Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen,
          both of whom are leading a newly launched initiative on genocide
          prevention! What good is an initiative against genocide if genocide
          committed by political allies simply gets labeled as a "tragedy"?

          Now, despite all the threats and attempts at blackmail, the resolution
          has gone through. Neither the United States nor Israel have suffered
          any damage as a result; in fact, the resolution has provided a few
          small advantages:

          One or the other US commentator that normally never forgets to preach
          morals, God and human rights in his or her articles has found the
          Congressional recognition of the genocide due to moralistic grounds as
          a welcome opportunity to settle old scores and attack the supporters
          of the resolution in a shameless and immoral manner - without ever
          even having read the resolution or having looked into the Turkish
          politics of denial.

          Following the non-binding congressional approval, a very specific
          fraction of the media almost methodically discovered a new whipping
          boy to hold responsible for any and all miseries found in the Near
          East: the Armenian Resolution. Even the White House hasn't shied
          from taking every chance possible to hold the Armenian Resolution,
          the newly discovered scapegoat, against its opponents.

          A number of articles in US newspapers and statements of some officials
          give the impression that we are still in the time of First World War -
          a time when the German Chancellor of the Reich Bethmann-Hollweg (who
          shares co-responsibility for the Armenian Genocide) chose to ignore
          the actions of the allied Turkey due to war-based strategic reasons;
          the resulting dearth of any and all humane thought and/or intervention
          is what, in the end, permitted the unconstrained execution of a race
          by the Young Turkish Regime.

          Another dubious columnist even inferred to an "Armenian Conspiracy"
          to destroy international solidarity and friendship: it seems that
          history is history and therefore should remain a subject just for
          historians and not for Congress.

          What kind of international solidarity and friendship is based on
          blackmail and threats? Is the total denial of a crime an aspect
          of international friendship? What kind of partner threatens to
          sabotage the war against international terrorism to get what they
          want? What kind of ally threatens a fraction of its own population -
          the Armenian and Jewish populations - for its own ends? What kind
          of "friend" uses minorities as hostage when and as needed? What
          kind of friend attempts to take advantage of the shadow of the war
          against international terrorism to solve the problem of a further
          minority - the "Kurdish Question" - in a criminal manner? Is not
          the prevention and punishment of genocide also an aspect of the war
          against international terrorism? If the US government makes itself
          an accomplice to the denial of genocide by building a partnership
          with Turkey based on the repudiation and denegation of genocide,
          are not the wars then fought in the name of humanity nothing more
          than unadorned hypocrisy and propaganda?

          Genocide - extermination of a race - is a political crime. Genocides
          are not committed by private individuals, but by the state itself.

          The reference to historians and historical science in regard to the
          Armenian Genocide is a tactical and spurious argument to relieve the
          world governments from the responsibility to act while simultaneously
          giving the perpetrators carte blanche. The proper reaction to political
          crimes is therefore only possible through political response - from
          the parliamentary houses, the politicians and the governments.

          Now more than ever the denial of genocide must be responded to,
          for denial is intrinsic to the methodology of genocide. Genocide is
          denied even as it is practiced. From the beginning, the perpetrator
          seeks pretexts and justifications to conceal the real intentions.

          Thus, the extermination is referred to as "transporting," as
          "deportation" or "resettlement" - or even as the "final solution." A
          verbal code is used to camouflage and thus deny the annihilation,
          even as it is being committed.

          Genocide without simultaneous denial is unthinkable - yes, even
          impossible. The first thing that must be done is to consider what the
          perpetrators want to attain through denial. Denial is not just the
          simple negation of an act; it is much more the consequent continuation
          of the very act itself. Genocide should not only physically destroy a
          community, it should likewise dictate the prerogative of interpretation
          in regard to history, culture, territory and memory.

          The Turkish have not only murdered humans and rewritten history,
          but they continue to legitimize the act as well as the ideology
          that led to the act. This includes the legitimization of any and all
          stereotyping of the Armenian people as a dangerous enemy, as a deadly
          bogeyman in the closet.

          Denial is the final step in the completion of a mass extermination -
          and the first step towards the next genocide. If genocide is committed
          in Ruanda or Sudan, it is done with the knowledge that the rest of the
          world will only watch and then forget. They look to Turkey and think
          themselves safe in the assumption that their actions will likewise
          remain unpunished! Whether in Sudan or Ruanda or any other potential
          hotspot of mass murder, the accountable powers-that-be rhetorically
          ask - as Hitler supposedly did just before invading Poland - "Who,
          after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

          Governments and politicians of Western democracies that use doubletalk
          and self-serving domestic "statements" to silence the cries for justice
          by the victims of genocide as well as the critical voices within their
          own countries claim that today's Turkey is not responsible for the
          genocide of the Armenian people. Such statements are nothing less
          than cynical, for such doubletalk masks the fact that the politics
          of genocide are thus continued and sanctioned through officially
          approved denial. Such statements obscure the nationally authorized
          and aggressive Turkish politics of denial that are being continued and
          exported under the smokescreen of "protection of the Turkish honor and
          pride." But is it not a matter of the honor and pride of the United
          States to support the HR106 and speak the truth about the Genocide?

          The statement that the genocide happened 90 years ago or the
          insinuation that the Armenian Diaspora - the "Armenian Conspiracy" -
          are endangering world peace because they are motivated by self-swerving
          interests serve nothing else than to protect the perpetrator. But is
          it not the purpose and duty of international criminal law to protect
          the victim? Should criminal law protect the rapist or killer because
          the victim supposedly "asked for it"? Is international law only a
          "law for the stronger" and thus only there to protect the state
          and not the individual? Are terms such as "crimes against humanity,"
          "genocide," "war crimes" and "war of aggression" only there to protect
          the aggressors and not the victims?

          The Armenian Diaspora - the masses of people forced to disperse
          throughout the world - is a result of the genocide executed by
          the Turkish; the Armenians, including American Armenians, are not
          pursuing an arbitrary and unfounded interest, they have a justified
          demand for justice and recognition. At the same time, this demand is
          also a concern of the international community of states which created
          and approved the legislation known as "public international law" or
          "international criminal law."

          It is not just a matter of morality to condemn genocide, it is a
          premise for peaceful coexistence. It is a cornerstone of international
          peace, and the looming threat of this very crime is a principal reason
          behind military intervention and self-defense.

          Is the Jewish community the "troublemaker" when the Iranian President
          Ahmadinejad denies the Shoah? A crime that happened 60 years ago and
          that he himself did not participate in?

          World War Three is going to be started because the Armenians are
          forcing the Turkish to invade Iraq? This argument once again makes
          the Turkish the victims of a supernatural power: the "Armenian
          World Conspiracy." Is this not simply rather a pretext for Turkey
          to continue the Turkish policies of homogenization which had their
          start with the Armenian Genocide?

          The argument that the nation states should first work through and
          account for their own history before they judge the histories of others
          infers in part that the Armenian Genocide is not part of Armenian
          history but belongs alone to Turkish history, and that the prerogative
          of historical interpretation therefore exclusively belongs to Turkey.

          Furthermore, it also lends credence to the idea that the international
          community has no right to intervene when nation states commit obvious
          crimes against humanity. The international community should keep
          their eyes shut and simply ignore international crime when it occurs,
          as if "it never happened." But it is this very attitude that has led
          to and is in part responsible for the genocidal catastrophes of the
          20th century.

          Whenever the US or France tackles the subject of the Armenian Genocide,
          Turkey likes to hold up the dark pasts of France and the USA as
          admonishment that they should not throw stones. But in doing so,
          Turkey purposely ignores one important aspect: in the USA it is legal
          to discuss and research the annihilation of the American Indian, and
          the discussion of the history of slavery is not forbidden. If Native
          Americans have a concern, they can legally and easily pursue their
          interest. In Turkey, on the other hand, it is the exact opposite: it
          is a national crime to discuss honestly the topic of the Genocide. Not
          surprising in a land where the term "Armenian" used as a derogatory
          invective and the few Armenians still remaining in their traditional
          and native homeland (renamed by Turkey as "Eastern Anatolia") are
          deliberately misused for propagandistic purposes.

          Remembrance requires support. And it is the support of the deported
          and murdered Armenians that we speak of here and now.

          An additional argument is that the recognition of genocide damages
          the "national interests." Anyone that justifies denial and/or runs
          to support the perpetrators of a crime on the basis of "national
          interests" only lends credence to the concept that a crime is both
          legitimate and permissible if one gets an advantage out of it. Anyone
          that uses the concept of "national interests" as an argument reduces
          human rights to an arbitrary plaything to be tossed aside as the
          powers-that-be see fit.

          "National interests" that deny human rights, truth and justice are
          unjustifiable, as they are based on ruthlessness and discrimination and
          serve little other than to justify denial. But how can this even be
          allowed? Can a crime against humanity ever be justified? The logical
          consequence of this policy are the theories of Carl Schmitt - the
          legal National Socialist political scientist/theorist who justified the
          Night of Long Knives as the "highest form of administrative justice" in
          the Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung ("German Jurists' Newspaper") in 1934 -
          which maintain that only the strong deserve a place in the world. But
          to believe this exposes one's own nation, people or community - as
          well as democratic and moral principles - to the continual threat
          of destruction.

          Those who fall in line with this argumentation legitimize past
          injustices committed and pave the way for future crimes - in the
          spirit of Carl Schmitt.

          General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”