Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!)

1] What you CAN NOT post.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this forum to post any material which is:
- abusive
- vulgar
- hateful
- harassing
- personal attacks
- obscene

You also may not:
- post images that are too large (max is 500*500px)
- post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or cited properly.
- post in UPPER CASE, which is considered yelling
- post messages which insult the Armenians, Armenian culture, traditions, etc
- post racist or other intentionally insensitive material that insults or attacks another culture (including Turks)

The Ankap thread is excluded from the strict rules because that place is more relaxed and you can vent and engage in light insults and humor. Notice it's not a blank ticket, but just a place to vent. If you go into the Ankap thread, you enter at your own risk of being clowned on.
What you PROBABLY SHOULD NOT post...
Do not post information that you will regret putting out in public. This site comes up on Google, is cached, and all of that, so be aware of that as you post. Do not ask the staff to go through and delete things that you regret making available on the web for all to see because we will not do it. Think before you post!

2] Use descriptive subject lines & research your post. This means use the SEARCH.

This reduces the chances of double-posting and it also makes it easier for people to see what they do/don't want to read. Using the search function will identify existing threads on the topic so we do not have multiple threads on the same topic.

3] Keep the focus.

Each forum has a focus on a certain topic. Questions outside the scope of a certain forum will either be moved to the appropriate forum, closed, or simply be deleted. Please post your topic in the most appropriate forum. Users that keep doing this will be warned, then banned.

4] Behave as you would in a public location.

This forum is no different than a public place. Behave yourself and act like a decent human being (i.e. be respectful). If you're unable to do so, you're not welcome here and will be made to leave.

5] Respect the authority of moderators/admins.

Public discussions of moderator/admin actions are not allowed on the forum. It is also prohibited to protest moderator actions in titles, avatars, and signatures. If you don't like something that a moderator did, PM or email the moderator and try your best to resolve the problem or difference in private.

6] Promotion of sites or products is not permitted.

Advertisements are not allowed in this venue. No blatant advertising or solicitations of or for business is prohibited.
This includes, but not limited to, personal resumes and links to products or
services with which the poster is affiliated, whether or not a fee is charged
for the product or service. Spamming, in which a user posts the same message repeatedly, is also prohibited.

7] We retain the right to remove any posts and/or Members for any reason, without prior notice.


Members are welcome to read posts and though we encourage your active participation in the forum, it is not required. If you do participate by posting, however, we expect that on the whole you contribute something to the forum. This means that the bulk of your posts should not be in "fun" threads (e.g. Ankap, Keep & Kill, This or That, etc.). Further, while occasionally it is appropriate to simply voice your agreement or approval, not all of your posts should be of this variety: "LOL Member213!" "I agree."
If it is evident that a member is simply posting for the sake of posting, they will be removed.

8] These Rules & Guidelines may be amended at any time. (last update September 17, 2009)

If you believe an individual is repeatedly breaking the rules, please report to admin/moderator.
See more
See less

Turkish Mythbusters - AG Resource Thread

This topic is closed.
This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Turkish Mythbusters - AG Resource Thread

    This thread is something that Joseph and I have been discussing for a while. It's time for it to be launched. The thread will be a resource only (not for discussion) thread, full of posts which cite resources and references that refute or *bust* the popular Turkish myths.

    This way, when a denialist says (for example) that "Armenians and Turks and all minorities in the Ottoman Empire were treated with equality", one can copy a post or link from this thread [referencing the Kishlak or Tax-farming laws, etc.] and insert it instead of having to write a new paragraph every time this happens. That way we don't waste our time repeatedly refuting Turkish propaganda myths, but we do address them appropriately.

    To submit a *bust* for a Turkish myth please send it via Private Message (in the upper right hand corner of your screen) to Tongue, Joseph or Hovik.

  • #3
    Myth #1: The Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey are two different entities.

    Myth #1: The Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey are two different entities.

    Alternate Use of the Words "Ottoman" and "Turkish"

    In the period in question here, all diplomatic correspondence as well as publications by many historians and political scientists continued the existing tradition of using the words "Ottoman" and "Turkish," and "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" interchangeably; nor were officials and learned men of the Ottoman Empire itself always exempt from this practice. Moreover, long before the establishment of the Turkish Republic, in the depositories of the U.S. National Archives, which are the subject of the present contest between the sixty or so co-signers of H.Res. 155 and the Turkish government, one very large group of records is titled "Internal Affairs of Turkey, 1910-29." Decades before the advent of the Turkish Republic, all the tomes pertaining to the Diplomatic Correspondence and Foreign Relations of the United States published under the category General Index to the Published Volumes were marked with the designation "Turkey" as a reference point for the Ottoman Empire.1 Furthermore, the publications of the British Foreign Office dealing with the documents of the decades preceding World War I likewise use the designation "Turkey" as a reference point for the Ottoman Empire.2 The objection to this practice is in this sense, therefore, unwarranted. It should be noted that the ostensible effort to dissociate the Turkish Republic of today as a new and separate entity from the imagery one has about the Ottoman Empire is contradicted by the recent statements of a Turkish Minister of Culture, Istemihan Talay. In an interview with two Turkish journalists he publicly declared that "the Republic of Turkey is the continuation of the Ottoman Empire whose legacy is part of our history." He was speaking on the occasion of the festivities celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Ottoman Empire. He further stated that "to be embarrassed on account of that empire's legacy is tantamount to denying one's very own being."3 In fact, the prolonged and ostentatious fanfares with which the current leadership of Turkey, supported by a panoply of renowned academics, publicists, clerics, and educators, proceeded to celebrate this anniversary, is a telling testimony to the abiding bonds with which present-day Turkey continues to attach itself to the Ottoman Empire's legacy. By dispensing with such festivities, the memory of that legacy could have been otherwise easily consigned to oblivion, thereby making the claim of a solid dissociation a credible one. Instead, one is confronted with a mixture of pretense and double-talk. As if to accent their identification with that Ottoman legacy, Turkish authorities had been pressuring the central office of UNESCO for two years to sponsor the festivities marking the anniversary in question. Ultimately, due to resolute protests from many corners of the world, including the Association of Genocide Scholars convening at its biennial meeting in Montreal in 1997, UNESCO declined to agree to the idea of a non-specific, general sponsorship. It opted instead to sponsor the multi-ethnic character of the cultural contributions of the Empire's cultural contributions, thereby embracing the Empire's various nationalities. UNESCO was intent on avoiding to appear as if it was extending political endorsement that a general sponsorship might imply.4

    1 See, for example, the volume covering the 1861-1899 period. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902, pp. 822-850.

    2 See, for example, vol. V, The Near East, 1903-9, ed. by G.P. Gooch and H. Temperley (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1928), pp. 1-48 on "The Turkish Empire on the Eve of its Fall," pp. 168-195 on "Turkey and the Great Powers in 1906," and pp. 247-320 on "The Young Turkish Revolution."

    3 Turkiye (Turkish newspaper in Istanbul), March 1, 1999. The interviewers are identified as Nihat Kasikci and Hasan Yilmaz.

    4 The rationale for this avoidance is amply reflected in a compendium which was distributed to the National Commissions of UNESCO in over 160 countries, and subsequently again to the members of UNESCO's Executive Board shortly before its final meeting for a decision in Paris in the summer of 1998.TitIed The Ottoman Empire: A Troubled Legacy. Views, Comments and Judgments by Noted Experts Worldwide, this book is the compilation of a vast array of denunciations by a host of historians, political scientists and experts on international law about what they consider to be the abominable and, in some respects criminal, features of the Ottoman Empire. A revised edition was published and distributed by the Zoryan Institute in 1907.

    Partially referenced Here


    • #4
      Myth #2: Only Armenians near the battlezones were "deported".[to come soon]

      Myth #2: Only Armenians near the battlezones were "deported".[to come soon]


      • #5
        Myth #3: Armenians lived freely, and as equals with Turks in the Ottoman Empire.[to c

        Myth #3: Armenians lived freely, and as equals with Turks in the Ottoman Empire.

        From: "The Burning Tigris" by Peter Balakian

        An excerpt from Chapter 1:

        From the time they first came under Ottoman rule in the fourteenth century, the Armenians as Christian subjects were designated under the Ottoman law as dhimmi - that is, non-Muslim subjects living under the protection of the Muslim Turkish ruling order - and were ostracized as gavur. By the eighteenth century the Turks had organized the Armenians, as a conquered people, into communities known as millets, and within the millets, the Armenians had permission for limited self-governance. They were allowed to run their communities' internal affairs, such as the institutions of marriage and inheritance, and the building of schools and hospitals. But the payback for this autonomy was often severe, and the arrangement of being protected as dhimmi has been described by one historian as closer to racketeering.

        Perhaps nothing was so discriminatory as the fact that Christians and Jews had almost no legal rights in Turkey's pre-Tanzimat Muslim society. While Armenians had courts and prisons for their own communities and could conduct civil cases for conflicts between a Christian and a Muslim, an Armenian had no recourse in the Islamic court system. A Muslim could apply to have his case heard in the religious court (the shariat mehkeme), but there non-Muslim testimony was either disallowed or accorded significantly less value. A Muslim need only swear on the Koran and the case was settled. In this way the deck was powerfully stacked against the Armenians and all other dhimmi. The amount of theft and extortion, as well as rape and abduction of Armenian women, that was allowed under this Ottoman legal system place the Armenians in perpetual jeopardy.

        Armenians were made vulnerable by other policies that often rendered them incapable of defending themselves. They were not allowed to own weapons, which made them easy prey for Turks and Kurds. Since only Muslims were allowed to join the army to defend Islam, Christians were exempt from military service; if this spared them from warfare, it also kept them out of positions of military power and removed them from the warrior class, with it's knowledge and skills. Notwithstanding all that, Christians were also subjected to what was know as boy collection or devshirme, which meant that Ottoman officials would take children from their Christian families, convert them to Islam, and put them to work in the Ottoman military and civil service.

        The Ottoman system of taxation further burdened and exploited Christian subjects. The Armenians and other Christians, along with Muslim peasants, were subjected to the tax-farming system - a system in which the right to collect taxes was sold to the highest bidder, who then farmed out the actual collection duties to an array of underlings, which resulted in corruption and extortion. Christians also were forced to pay a special head or poll tax, which was later converted into a military exemption tax to compensate for their exemption from the service. Armenians paid a "hospitality tax" to the vali (governor) that entitled "government officials, and all who pass as such," to free lodging and food for three days a year in an Armenian home.

        Antoehr burden solely for the Armenians was the kishlak, or winter-quartering obligation, which enabled Kurds and Turks to quarter themselves, their families, and their cattle in Armenian homes during the long winter months. The fact that the Kurdish way of life was nomadic and rough and the Armenian dwellings did not allow for much privacy made the intrusion unbearable, and knowing that the unarmed Armenians had neither physical nor legal recourse, a well-armed Kurd or Turk could not only steal his host's possessions but could rape or kidnap the women and girls of the household with impunity. The dhimmi were also required to follow institutionalized codes of behavior. Armenians, for example, had to be deferential before Muslims in public; they could not ride a horse when a Muslim was passing by; they were to wear dress that made them easily identifiable; they were forbidden to own weapons.

        In a basic way the lives of the Armenians were in the capricious hands of the ruling vali, feudal lords, or tribal chieftains, who, if they chose, could exert a degree of control over the local Muslim populations. Thus in one province, under a relatively kindhearted vali, the Armenians might have a period of respite, while in another their fate could be exceptionally cruel – as in the districts such as Afyon Karahisar, where the ruling official had at one time decreed that an Armenian could speak his native language only at the risk of having his tongue cut out, so generations of Armenians learned to speak only Turkish.

        In the late nineteenth century, with much encouragement from the sultan, the authorities in the eastern provinces also allowed the collection of illegal levies; official tax collectors would come around a second time insisting that the taxes had never been paid, or the Kurdish chieftains would impose taxes, claiming they were representing the central government. In addition the Turkish chieftains demanded protection money to prevent their people from attacking and kidnapping Armenian women, and when two Kurdish clans were at odds, or claimed to be, the chiefs of each side demanded payment to protect the Armenians from the other. The Armenians were well aware that these were not taxes at all – although they passed as such – but outright extortion.

        The British vice-consul stationed in Adana, P.H. Massy, put it perceptively:
        The Armenian Population is everywhere oppressed by a system of government which takes from them the means of circulating freely, of earning a livelihood, and of enjoying a feeling of security to life and property, even on the most frequented highway. Taxes are levied without mercy, even from the poorest. The prisons are filled with innocent men, who lie there for months without trial.

        The British ethnographer William Ramsay – who spent more than a decade in Turkey doing fieldwork and was fond of the Turks – described what it meant to be an infidel:
        Turkish rule… meant unutterable contempt…. The Armenians (and the Greeks) were dogs and pigs… to be spat upon, if their shadow darkened a Turk, to be outraged, to be the mats on which he wiped the mud from his feet. Conceive the inevitable result of centuries in which nothing that belonged to the Armenian, neither his property, his house, his life, his person, nor his family was sacred or safe from violence – capricious, unprovoked violence – to resist which by violence meant death.

        At the heart of the problem – weather in the Balkans or in the Armenian provinces of the east – was the legal, political, and social status of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. On one front the fundamental question was: Can a Christian be the equal of a Muslim? The question was raised again and again by the Christian minorities, and by the European powers, and in the end the answer from the Ottoman ruling elite was a resounding no. And the Armenians, as well as the Assyrians and the Greeks, all paid dearly for that answer.

        This text was posted with direct permission from the author given on 2/3/07.
        From Chapter 1

        The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's response
        Harper Collins Publishing (1st Edition; September 30, 2003)
        ISBN-10: 0060198400
        ISBN-13: 978-0060198404

        Buy at


        • #6
          Myth #4: Armenians perpetrated genocide against Azeri Turks in Khojali

          Myth #4: Armenians perpetrated genocide against Azeri Turks in Khojali

          The Truth about Khojalu Events

          Azeri Sources Testify

          An anti-Armenian campaign has been hysterically raging in Azerbaijan throughout the nine years following the Khojalu events the official Baku. The purpose of the campaign is to falsify the facts and bring discredit on Armenia in the eyes of the international community. The Khojalu events when peaceful people died were exclusively the result of the political intrigues and struggle for power in Azerbaijan. The real reasons lying behind these events are more convincingly reflected in the testimonies of the Azeris themselves, both the participants, eyewitnesses of the events and those who knew the ins and outs in Baku.
          According to M. Safaroghli, an Azerbaijani journalist, "Khojalu was located in an important strategic position. Losing control over Khojalu would mean a political fiasco for Moutalibov". (Newspaper "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" ("Independent Newspaper", February, 1993). Along with Shushi and Aghdam, Khojalu was one of the key bases from where Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno Karabagh was continuously bombed during the winter months.

          The population of NKR which was in the danger of the total physical extinction by Azerbaijan could survive only by neutralizing the weapon emplacements of Khojalu and de-blocking the airport. Hundreds of peaceful people were killed in Stepanakert as the result of the daily bombing from the adjacent Khojalu. The military operation of the armed forced of NKR on the neutralization of the weapon emplacements of Khojalu was not a surprise for Azerbaijan. For the first time the Azeri side was notified about the forthcoming attack by TV nearly two months prior to the operation. Arif Yunusov, a well-known champion of human rights in Azerbiajan wrote about that in "Izvestia". The officials in Baku did not try to hide their awareness, including Ayaz Moutalibov, the president of Azerbaijan. He emphasized that "… the offense on Khojalu was not a surprise". ("Ogoniok" Magazine, N 14-15, 1992) As the result of these warnings the majority of the peaceful people of Khojalu moved to safe zones.

          The detachments of NKR did everything possible in order to exclude the death of the peaceful population of the settlement and left a corridor for the safe evacuation of the peaceful population from the zone of military actions. The Azeri side was timely informed about the opened corridor which allowed to evacuate the people of Khojalu. Elman Mamedov, the mayor of Khojalu: "We knew that the corridor was left for the exit of the peaceful people" ("Russkaya Misl" 03.03.1992, citation from "Bakinskie Rabochiy" newspaper).

          After the operation was over 11 bodies of Azeris were found by the rescue group "Artsakh" in the village and its neighboring areas, naturally, counting out the bodies of the members of the armed formations dressed in uniforms (their number was also small). The insignificant number of the peaceful victims of Khojalu in the view of the intense military actions undertaken for the purpose of holding control over the settlement evidenced that the Armenian side had taken all measures on ensuring the maximal possible security of the people of the village. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that a significant number of the peaceful population of Khojalu became victims of the operation. How many of the people of Khojalu were killed and where?

          The Azeri side is categorically silent about the place of the death of hundreds of residents of the village. The truth is that all of them were coolly assassinated at the distance of 11 km from Khojalu, about 2-3 km far from Aghdam which at that time used to be the regional military base of the Azeri armed forces. This mere fact is enough for casting light on the intricate story about the massive extinction of the residents of Khojalu. It is hard to understand why should the Armenians let the population of Khojalu flee from the besieged village in order to kill them on the approaches of Aghdam putting their lives at risk (at that time Aghdam was under the control of the Azeris).

          In his interview to "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" Moutalibov stated that "however, the Armenians had left a corridor for the escape of the people. Why a fire should have opened then?("Nezavisimaya Gazeta", April 2, 1992) He linked the fact of the criminal fusillade of the peaceful people with the attempts of the opposition to remove him from power, laying the responsibility for the tragedy entirely on him. In his interview to "Novoye Vremia" ("New Time") Magazine Moutalibov confirmed his statement which was made nine days before: "It was evident that the some people had organized the shooting for shifting the power in Azerbaijan" ("Novoye Vremia" , March 6, 2001). Similar statements and assessments of the Khojalu events were made by several other Azerbaijani top official and journalists.

          R. Gajiyev, member of the Operating Committee of Aghdam Branch of NFA (National Front of Azerbaijan): We could have helped the people of Khojalu because we had the resources and means.

          However, the authorities of the republic wanted to demonstarte to the people of Azerbaijan that they are not able to do so and ask for the assistance of the CIS Army and with the help of the latter also neutralize the opposition" (Moscow, "Izvestia", April, 1992).

          The Azeri journalist Arif Yunosov's view is slightly different from the statements given above. According to Yunusov, "The town itself and its population are willingfully sacrificed for the political purposes, i.e., prevent the National Front of Azerbaijan from coming to power" ("Zerkalo" ("Mirror") Newspaper, July, 1992.) Again, it follows that the Azeris themselves are the perpetrators of the tragedy.

          The Khojalu events are the result of the treachery of the high-level Azeri authorities towards the people of Khojalu whereas the Azeri propaganda blew up the story about the "brutalities of the Armenians", and the dreadful pictures of the site covered with defiled bodies were demonstrated by TV. It was propagated that Khojalu was the retaliation of the Armenians for Sumgayit.

          Tamerlan Karayev, the former Chairman of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan testifies: "The tragedy was perpetrated by the Azeri authorities", in particular, "some of the top officials" ("Moukhtalifat" Newspaper, April 28, 1992). Yana Mazalova, a Czech journalist, who, because of the oversight of the Azeris, was included in both of the groups of journalists who visited the place of the events on the first day and several days later, noticed the stunning difference how the bodies looked at the first and second site visits. before and after between the previous and latest outer look of the bodies. When Mazalova visited the site immediately after the events she saw that the bodies did not bear any traces of brutality whereas a couple of days later the bodies "adulterated" by the Armenians and "ready" for the cameras were demonstrated to the journalists.

          Who killed the peaceful people of Khojalu and later defiled their bodies, if the tragedy took place not in the village liberated by the Armenians, and not along the direction of the humanitarian corridor, but on the close approaches of Aghdam town, a territory which was entirely under the control of the National Front of Azerbaijan? Chingiz Moustafayev (Fuat-oghli), an independent Azeri TV journalist and cameraman who filmed the aftereffect on February 28 and March 2, 1992, doubted the official version of Azerbaijan and initiated his own investigation. His life was the price for his very first report to the Moscow News Agency "DR-Press" about the possible involvement of the Azeri side in the crime: he was killed not far from Aghdam, and the details of the murder still remain unrevealed. Moustafayev reported about the flight to Khojalu. He noted that he could not film the dead bodies there, because "there was not a single killed person there …". In the course of the first flight the journalists shot only a couple of dozens of bodies of the Azeri soldiers which were found not far from the village of Nakhichevanik. However, most of the bodies were near Aghdam where they were video-filmed on February 29 and later on March 2. These tapes were displayed at the session of Milli Medjlis and, later, numerous TV channels of the world as an evidence of the massive manslaughter of the Azeri population of Khojalu. The first flight of the helicopter with the Azeri journalists on board took place on February 29, 1992. It is noteworthy that the journalists who were informed about the massive offense of the Azeris in Khojalu flew directly to the place of the events. However, they did not find any evidence of the happenings and flew back. During the second flight to the region of the massive slaughter, on March 2, 1992, the journalists noticed that the positions of the dead bodies lying on the ground and the level of the injuries and physical impairment was astonishingly different as compared to the first inspection. Chingiz Moustafayev (Fuat-oghli) informed the Azeri president A. Moutalibov about the changed positions of the bodies and their physical impairment. Undoubtedly, by that time the Azeri president understood the reasons which caused the falsification of the tragedy. Moutalibov gave a really prophetic answer to the journalist, "Chingiz, don't tell anyone that you think something is wrong because they'll kill you". Chingiz Moutafayev was killed in the same field where he had shot the main Azeri "argument".

          The present president of Azerbaijan Geydar Aliyev personally admitted that the "former leadership of Azerbaijan was also at fault of the Khojalu events". As early as in April of 1992 the following was articulated by him, "The bloodshed will do good to us. We shouldn't interfere in the course of events" (Bilik-Duniasi News Agency). It is out of question who gained from the "bloodshed". Megapolis-Express wrote: "It is impossible not to admit that if the National Front of Azerbaijan in fact had defined far-reaching goals, it succeeded in addressing them.

          Moutalibov is compromised and forced out of his post, the international community is in shock, the Azeris and their brotherly Turks believed in the so-called "genocide of the Azerbaijani people in Khojalu"("Megapolis-Express", N17, 1992).

          The Azeri mass media was silent in its comments on the Khojalu events about another tragic detail which was revealed later: 47 Armenians were held hostage in the "peaceful" Khojalu since February 26. After the liberation of Khojalu only 13 of these hostages were found in the settlement (including 6 women and 1 child), the remaining 34 were taken away by the Azeris in the unknown direction. All that is known about these hostages is that at the night of the operation they were driven away from the place of imprisonment, but not from the settlement. There is no information about their further status as hostages. It is obvious that the bodies of the Armenian hostages were tormented beyond the degree when they could be identified. This was done in order to create the illusion that the bodies of the victims "had been defiled" by the Armenians. This is the reason why the bodies of the wretched victims were outraged to the extent that it was impossible to identify the victims. As a matter of fact, around 700 inhabitants of Khojalu, including Turks - Meskhets who for whatever reasons failed to use the free corridor for retreat were passed to the Azerbaijani side without any conditions. After the thorough investigation the fact of the unconditional return of the residents of Khojalu to Azerbaijan was confirmed in the conclusion of the Human Rights Watch Center "Memorial" (Moscow), as well as in the documentary film of Svetlana Kulchitskaya, a journalist from St. Petersburg.

          It follows from the above-described facts that the blame for the death of the peaceful people of Khojalu and those Armenians who had been taken hostage in the village lies on the Azeris. The Azerbaijani side committed a crime against its own people, and the motivation lies in the political intrigues and lust for power.

          Some other sources for this:


          • #7
            Source: For additional work

            Twelve Ways To Deny A Genocide


            By Israel Charny, these 12 methods were originally called "Templates for Gross Denial of a Known Genocide: A Manual" in The Encyclopedia of Genocide, volume 1, page 168. These 12 tactics have all been followed (or perhaps more the more accurate word is pioneered) by the Turkish Government, in its genocide denial campaign.

            1. Question and minimize the statistics.

            This is one of the biggest distractions to the main issue itself. By claiming that the numbers are exaggerated or inflated, and that only a few hundred thousand were killed, not over a million, they try to completely side-track the entire issue. As if a few hundred thousand would not have been a genocide as well.

            2. Attack the motivations of the truth-tellers.

            The claim that Armenians cannot be trusted because they may want reparations is like saying no victim should ever be heard, because they are biased in their pursuit of justice.

            3. Claim that the deaths were inadvertent.

            As a result of famine, migration, or disease, not because of willful murder. Also mention that Turks/Muslims died too at that time - without mentioning that they died on the battlefield, not at the hands of their very own government.

            4. Emphasize the strangeness of the victims.

            The victims were infidels (Christians), a fifth-column, and not "good" Ottoman Turks.

            5. Rationalize the deaths as the result of tribal conflict, coming to the victims out of the inevitability of their history of relationships.

            Check. Armenians and Turks could not share that land anymore since some Armenians might prefer independence to being second class citizens.

            6. Blame “out of control” forces for committing the killings.

            They often blame the very Kurds they later struggled to keep down.

            7. Avoid antagonizing the genocidists, who might walk out of “the peace process.”

            Turkey refuses to even open diplomatic relations with Armenia because it talks about the Armenian Genocide.

            8. Justify denial in favor of current economic interests.

            Undoubtedly Turkey's number one weapon in denying the Armenian Genocide. Constant threats to the west the military contracts worth billions will be canceled have worked wonders in legislatures considering the issue. In fact, the debate over whether to officially recognize the genocide in the west is clearly not about whether it happened or not - since it very clearly did - but on just what economic/diplomatic repercussions Turkey has threatened or might retaliate with if they do recognize a 90 year old truth.

            9. Claim that the victims are receiving good treatment, while baldly denying the charges of genocide outright.

            Show how a few thousand Armenians were not killed in Istanbul as evidence that 2.5 million were not killed/driven out in Anatolia.

            10. Claim that what is going on doesn’t fit the definition of genocide.

            (At the time of writing (September 2004), the European Union, the Secretary General of the United Nations and even Amnesty International still avoid calling the crimes in Darfur by their proper name. There are three reasons for such reluctance):

            A. Another misconception is the “all or none” concept of genocide. The all-or-none school considers killings to be genocide only if their intent is to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group “in whole.” Their model is the Holocaust. They ignore the “in part” in the definition in the Genocide Convention, which they often haven’t read.

            B. Since the 1990’s, a new obstacle to calling genocide by its proper name has been the distinction between genocide and “ethnic cleansing,” a term originally invented as a euphemism for genocide in the Balkans. Genocide and “ethnic cleansing” are sometimes portrayed as mutually exclusive crimes, but they are not. Prof. Schabas, for example, says that the intent of “ethnic cleansing” is expulsion of a group, whereas the intent of “genocide” is its destruction, in whole or in part. He illustrates with a simplistic distinction: in “ethnic cleansing,” borders are left open and a group is driven out; in “genocide,” borders are closed and a group is killed.

            C. Claim that the “intent” of the perpetrator is merely “ethnic cleansing” not “genocide,” which requires the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. The U.N. Commission of Experts report of 2005 took this way out. It confused motive with intent. (Ironically, the U.N. Commission report even included a paragraph saying motive and intent should not be confused, an exhortation the Commission promptly violated, itself.) Even if the motive of a perpetrator is to drive a group off its land (“ethnic cleansing”), killing members of the group and other acts enumerated in the Genocide Convention may still have the specific intent to destroy the group, in whole or in part. That’s genocide.

            11. Blame the victims.

            Perhaps the most insulting tactic of all. Saying that actually it was the Armenians who were massacring and wiping out Turks.

            12. Say that peace and reconciliation are more important that blaming people for genocide.

            This is often heard from Turks, American government officials and others who have clearly never been victims of genocide. Much like telling a man whose mother was raped and murdered by the next door neighbor that it is more important to get along with your neighbors, this will never be accepted by Armenians who deserve and need an apology and reparations. They need an apology from Turkey now not only for the genocide, but for the nearly century long denial and miseducation campaign that took place, the continued mistreatment of Armenians in Turkey, the blockade of Armenia since the early 1990s and the post-genocidal war taking even more Armenian land.


            Genocide Watch

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


            • #8
              To add to our Thread from Dr. Papazian

              This article is originally from the Armenian Review 45, no. 1-2/177-178 (Spring-Summer 1992), and was revised in 2001. The original pagination has been kept intact, although the paragraphing has been altered to fit the web. This web edition © 2001 Dennis R. Papazian.
              Page 185
              "Misplaced Credulity:"

              Contemporary Turkish Attempts to Refute

              the Armenian Genocide

              Dennis R. Papazian

              Since the Armenian Genocide of 1915-16, all Turkish governments, except for several short-lived Ottoman governments between 1918-1923,(1) especially that of Damad Ferit Pasha which came into power following the defeat of the Young Turk government by the Allies in the First World War, have denied not only responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, but also its very reality.(2) In the mid-1980s, the Turkish government's denials became more frequent and more strident, in part no doubt because Armenian extremists, beginning in 1973, brought the Armenian Genocide back into public light by the assassination of a number of Turkish diplomats in various parts of the world.(3) These attacks continued sporadically up to 1985 when they ceased. In any case, the world was once more made aware of Armenian grievances, and the Turkish government chose not to face the truth and move on as Germany had done, but rather it attempted to develop "another side to the story" and present it at the bar of public opinion.

              Indeed, the Turkish government went on the offensive. It hired a public relations firm, Doremus & Co.; a lobbying organization, Gray & Co.; and established an Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington, D.C., all for the purpose of influencing the United States administration, the State Department, the Congress, and opinion makers in the apparent hope, among other things, that either the Turkish version of history would be accepted or, at least, the reality of the Genocide would be considered debatable.(4) This Turkish propaganda offensive met with some initial success in the United States. The media, public opinion makers, and even a number of scholars began to speak of an "alleged" genocide when referring to the Armenian

              Page 186
              tragedy of 1915-16, and the United States Department of State issued an outright denial that the expulsion and killing(5) of 1.5(6) million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted a genocide.(7)

              This denial by the United States State Department could only amaze the informed public inasmuch as it was American officials and ordinary American citizens in the Ottoman Empire who had provided President Woodrow Wilson's administration, and indeed the whole world, with overwhelming eyewitness and photographic accounts of the tragic events, and it was the Wilson administration which was the foremost champion in the world of the Armenians and the Armenian cause.(8) Over and above the official diplomatic reports attesting to the Armenian Genocide, there is also an abundance of contemporary newspaper accounts and journal articles that appeared in the American press.(9) In fact, the Armenian Genocide was such a cause célèbre in the United States at that time that there were still elderly Americans in the 1980s and 1990s who remember giving their Sunday school pennies to help the "starving Armenians."(10)

              Nevertheless, even reputable newspapers such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal were caught off guard by the Turkish public relations offensive and were quick to accept Turkish denials. Caught between Armenian claims and Turkish counterclaims, these national publications were finally driven to do their own research in order to develop an informed opinion. The New York Times had no farther to go than its own archives; and it was confronted with the choice of either repudiating its own historical record or accepting the Armenian position. It soon dropped the word "alleged" from its articles.(11)

              The Wall Street Journal, lacking its own historic account, assigned a member of its editorial board, Dr. James Ring Adams, to do a three-month study of the evidence. The fruit of his research appeared in a series of three articles which were published on the editorial page in August 1983, the second of which was entitled "Facing Up to an Armenian Genocide."(12)

              In this article, Dr. Adams concluded: "In this furious controversy, non-participants including the U.S. government take refuge in phrases like 'alleged genocide.' But humane opinion has the duty to judge whether we're dealing with a monstrous crime or a colossal fraud. Three months of extensive research leave little doubt that a horrible crime certainly did occur, that the suffering of the deportations was far out of proportion to the military threat and that Talaat and company probably did plan a genocide."(13)

              Adams went on to write: "In spite of the scholarly trappings, the Turkish defense relies on discrediting all contemporary Western accounts as war-time propaganda and all incriminating documents as Armenian forgeries. So the Turks must make liars of men like Henry Morgenthau, American

              Page 187
              ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916; of the great English historian Lord Bryce; and of his young research assistant Arnold Toynbee."(14)

              These conclusions reached by Adams, despite his simultaneous strong condemnation of Armenian "terrorism," moved the ambassador of Turkey to the United States, Sukru Elekdag, to issue an extensive rebuttal in the form of a letter to the editor which the Journal conscientiously published on September 21, 1983, under the title "Armenians vs. Turks: The View From Istanbul."

              The ambassador begins his letter with the statement: "Vast tragedies do, as James Ring Adams suggests, deserve 'truthful accounting.' Unfortunately, such accounting is brought no closer by his article, which by and large is a morass of misplaced, indiscriminate credulity.... A truthful accounting must, first, be factually correct.... Second, it must be meaningful, in the sense that context and terms have some referents in reality."

              The letter then goes on to deliver, point by point, the Turkish government's position and arguments. Since this letter comes from the pen of the Turkish ambassador to the United States, we may take it as an official statement of Turkey's version of the events of 1915-16. As a matter of fact, Elekdag has brought together in one place all the arguments proffered by his government over the decades first to deny and then, by a twist of logic, to justify the Armenian Genocide of 1915-16.

              In this paper I will analyze the most important points made by Ambassador Elekdag to see if they meet his criteria for "truthful accounting": being "factually correct," and being "meaningful, in the sense that context and terms have some referents in reality." I will also attempt to judge whether Elekdag's "scholarly trappings" represent purposeful deception or honest scholarship.

              It is surprising, in light of Elekdag's appeal for good scholarship, that the ambassador should have made so many small errors of simple fact. The Adana massacres did not take place in 1906, but in 1909. It was Sidney Bradshaw Fay, not Fey, who wrote The Origins of the World War. It was Cyrus, and not Cyril, Hamlin who was president of Robert College. And, inter alia, the United States did not declare war on the Ottoman Empire, and it is impolitic, to say the least, for Elekdag to maintain that the United States ambassador considered Turkey "the enemy."

              Furthermore, we should take note of the fact that Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to Turkey, did not, as Ambassador Elekdag claims, rely "on selected missionary reports and communications translated by Greeks and Armenians who could hardly have been disinterested parties." Morgenthau, as is well known, relied primarily on official reports written in English by his own experienced native-born American consuls and consular agents stationed in various cities of Anatolia and Greater Syria and that of honest American missionaries who were scattered all over the Ottoman Empire.

              Page 188

              The United States had stationed several consular officials in the Ottoman Empire, specifically at Aleppo, Harput, Smyrna (Izmir), Mersina (Mersin), and Trebizond (Trabzon), either within the areas of the slaughter or in the path of the deportations. Indeed, American consular officials were prime witnesses of the Armenian Genocide and did not hesitate to inform their ambassador about what was transpiring. In fact, just to be sure, Morgenthau directed his consuls to personally verify the Armenian killings in each of their regions and to carefully draw distinctions in their reports between what they heard--even from reliable sources--and what they actually witnessed.

              Elekdag outlines the Turkish government's version of the events that led to the Armenian Genocide, in order to place them "in context." Let us review Ambassador Elekdag's story. It is true that the Tanzimat (transformation) of the nineteenth century, led by Ottoman reformers, failed, and that Turkey became the "sick man of Europe."(15) It is also true that various European powers had aspirations for Ottoman territories, and that they used the misrule of the sultans to justify intervention in the affairs of the Empire. None of this, as should be evident, is the fault of the Armenians.

              When Sultan Abdulhamit II, known in history as "the Damned" or "the Bloody Sultan," came to the throne in 1876, he might have chosen to sincerely continue the reforms and strengthen the empire through developing Ottomanism, that is, giving all nationalities and all religions in the Empire political and social equality. Instead, he chose to play his Muslim card, adopting a policy of using Islam to draw the Empire's Muslims together as a ruling stratum and massacring the Christian Armenian population. Abdulhamit created the Hamidiye, an irregular cavalry on the model of the Cossacks of Russia, to carry out pogroms against the Armenians just as the tsar used his irregulars to persecute the Jews. Abdulhamit massacred hundreds of thousands of Armenians throughout the Empire during his reign, specifically between 1894-1896, in 1904 once more in Sasun, and he may have been behind the 1909 massacres in Adana and the rest of Cilicia that coincided with the 1909 coup d'état in Constantinople.

              Enlightened Turks were every bit as distressed by the misrule of Abdulhamit as were the Armenians and the European powers. These Ottoman-Turkish patriots began to organize a reform movement of "Young Ottomans," later to be subsumed under the Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti or, in English, the Committee for Union and Progress (C.U.P.). All members of the Ittihad were known in Europe and America indiscriminately as the "Young Turks,"(16) just as Mazzini's patriotic movement in Italy was called "Young Italy." At about the same time, just before the turn of the century, young Armenians also began a movement to reform the Ottoman Empire, establishing political action societies and eventually political parties. Two of the more popular parties, the Dashnaks and the Hunchaks, had their origins in the Russian Empire,(17) but soon sent members into the Ottoman Empire, in the pattern of the Russian Narodniks of the 1870s who reached out to the Russian peasants, to defend the human rights and the personal security of the Armenian population.(18) Many Turkish Armenian reformers soon found a home in these parties.

              The Dashnak party believed that reform of the Ottoman government was the only genuine answer to the Armenian plight. The Hunchak party, being more socialistic, believed that only world socialism would save the Armenians from destruction. The Dashnaks, acting on their belief that Armenians could find salvation only as a part of the Empire, took part in the First Congress of Ottoman Liberals in 1902, and in similar meetings after that.(19) Indeed, they even offered support to the Committee of Union and Progress
              General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


              • #9
                Part II.

                Page 189
                in that group's effort, later to prove successful, to seize the Sultan's power by revolution and to reinstate the liberal Constitution of 1876. It was Turks who not only wanted a revolution but who carried out a successful revolt in 1908, with the moral support of the Armenians and other minorities, against the Sultan. This successful revolution against the Sultan and his government, to repeat, was led by young Turkish army officers and not by Armenian radicals.

                Now the ironic twist: the Committee of Union and Progress, having managed a successful revolt against the Sultan, soon turned on the Armenians, their former confederates. Before their revolution, the C.U.P. had preached Ottomanism, in their view a kind of multi-nationalism with all peoples of the empire equal under the law. After a coup d'état in 1913, following the disaster of the Balkan Wars, the C.U.P was captured by a radical nationalistic clique that demanded "Turkey for the Turks." The clear implication of this new radical nationalistic, if not out-and-out racist policy, was that the minorities, especially the Armenians, who were the most internally integrated of Ottoman Christians, had to be eradicated. (20)

                Now let us look at Ambassador Elekdag's arguments. Lord Bryce's "Blue Book," The Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916, edited by Arnold Toynbee, is one of the most damning single early collections of eyewitness accounts of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-16.(21) Ambassador Elekdag maintains that Toynbee, in the penultimate book he wrote, Acquaintances, repudiated his earlier view of a premeditated, government sponsored massacre of the Armenian people, repented his earlier bad opinion of the Young Turks, and made a final confession of his earlier error. Furthermore, Elekdag uses Toynbee's Acquaintances to show that Lord Bryce's Blue Book was intended to serve as an instrument of British propaganda--with the implication that it was a dishonest and untrustworthy piece of work.

                Since Elekdag respects the book Acquaintances, inasmuch as it is he who chooses to bring it forth as evidence, we may acknowledge it as a source acceptable to the Turks. But let us look further, "in context," at what Toynbee actually said in Acquaintances. First, he does admit that the request to write the Blue Book came from the British government (which, indeed, might raise our suspicion of Toynbee's objectivity). But then Toynbee testifies: "I believe Lord Bryce was as innocent as I was. [Otherwise] I hardly think that either Lord Bryce or I would have been able to do the job that His Majesty's Government had assigned to us in the complete good faith in which we did, in fact, carry it out."(22)

                Furthermore, on page 241 of Acquaintances, interestingly enough, we find that Toynbee affirms: "In the genocide of the Armenians the criminals had been members of the Committee of Union and Progress--above all, perhaps, Tal'at, the most intelligent of the ruling triumvirs."(23)

                In the next paragraph, which we should also quote to keep things in "context," we find that Toynbee declares: "In the course of the eight years 1909-15 [sic], the leaders of the C.U.P. had apparently degenerated from

                Page 190
                being idealists into becoming ogres.(24) How was one to account for this sinister metamorphosis?"(25)

                Before we leave the "repentant" Toynbee, we will accept one more item of testimony from him. He says in Acquaintances, just as he said in the Blue Book: "The deportations [of the Armenians] had been carried out by orders from the Government at Istanbul, and the orders had been executed by gendarmes and soldiers who had no personal connection with the localities."(26) Even the "reformed" Toynbee, when read in "context," certainly is no witness for the Turkish defense. Instead, Toynbee confirms his earlier view of an intentional, premeditated government-sponsored genocide of the Armenians.

                But Ambassador Elekdag, perhaps knowing that Toynbee would not really turn out to be a reliable witness for the defense under cross examination, calls on Professor James Duane Squires, of Colby Junior College, as a further witness to establish the propagandistic intent of the Blue Book.(27) When we look at Squires' own book on British propaganda "in context," however, we see that the Bryce-Toynbee book is mentioned nowhere in the narrative text of the work. On further and more careful examination of Squires' book, however, we do find the Bryce-Toynbee work listed in the appendix among the hundreds of works commissioned by the British government during the war. Lacking any other evidence, Elekdag can brand the Bryce-Toynbee collection propaganda only by virtue of its sponsorship by the British Government, hardly a scientific gauge. If the Blue Book is faulty, then those faults must be pointed out. Otherwise, the work must be accepted as evidence.

                Since the Bryce-Toynbee collection is listed in the appendix to Squires' book on propaganda, and since the British government commissioned it, let us look further into the book and see how Squires defines propaganda. After all, Squires was writing in 1935, before Hitler and Stalin gave the word propaganda such a bad name, and words do change their meaning over time. According to Squires, propaganda was "the one force which was to hold the far-flung millions together, which was to channel their individual energies into an immense river of national power."(28) So far, we see nothing particularly untoward.

                Let us seek an even better clue to Squires' use of the word propaganda by looking further, "in context," into his book to see how he understood the British use of propaganda. "Men and women talked and argued and wrote," says Squires, "partly to justify the war to their own consciences, and partly to explain it to others. In most cases their writings were not struck off with studied conformance to the laws of mass psychology, but were the outpourings of immediate and hot indignation."(29) This is hardly a damning indictment, even if it could be applied to Bryce and Toynbee, which it cannot. Elekdag must find more significant evidence of wrongdoing on their part, otherwise the facts speak for themselves and Squires may be dismissed as a discredited witness for the defense.

                Page 191

                Next in the Turkish defense, Ambassador Elekdag submits the so-called Langer thesis, proffered by Prof. William L. Langer, a historian of the old statist school. Langer, using materials translated by his Armenian assistants, argues that the Armenian revolutionary parties at the end of the nineteenth century provoked the government of Abdulhamit in the expectation of massacres. Massacres of Christians, allegedly, would alarm the European powers and bring about their intervention in behalf of the dying Armenians.(30) We will not discuss the validity of the Langer thesis here.(31) But we certainly must call attention to the fact that the Langer thesis relates to the massacres of the 1890s, and it is certainly an anachronism to apply it to the mass killings of a quarter century later, killings which we must stress took place during a time when the European powers were at war and thus otherwise disposed and unavailable for intervention.

                Even though the Langer thesis does not concern the Young Turk Armenian Genocide of 1915-1916, but rather is related to the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1896, Elekdag persists in using it as evidence against the Armenians. Elekdag calls Cyrus Hamlin, the long ago president of Robert College in Constantinople, as a witness to prove the nefarious motives of the Armenian "terrorists" who, after all, he claims, tweaked Abdulhamit until he massacred the Armenians. First, we should note that Hamlin, a well-informed and honest man who served for many years in the Ottoman capital, died on August 8, 1900.(32) We cannot under any circumstances, therefore, accept his testimony on events after that date. Second, the actions of a few revolutionaries cannot be used, by any rational standard, as an excuse to destroy a whole people. The fault would be in Abdulhamit and not in the revolutionaries.

                Hamlin's last published article, to our knowledge, was printed in 1898 in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society. Since the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society is an academic journal, we must assume that the article presents Hamlin's studied, measured, and considered opinion. And since the study was published in 1898, just before Hamlin's death, it should certainly contain his final word on the subject.

                The article is entitled "The Genesis and Evolution of the Turkish Massacre of Armenian Subjects."(33) In it, Hamlin writes:

                A number of professed patriots, Russian Armenians, began to stir up revolution. They falsely claimed to have revolutionary coteries formed through the Empire. . . . The whole thing was supremely ridiculous, and the Armenian people were nowhere deceived. At a safe distance, in foreign cities, revolutionary organizations sprang up under the same name, Hunchagist, and began to belch forth their attacks upon the Sultan and his government and to call upon the people to strike for freedom. Absurd and wicked as this was, it answered Abdul's purpose perfectly. He had the papers translated and spread all over the Empire.(34)

                Abdulhamit, Hamlin continues, tried to justify his actions "by two falsehoods. . . . First, that there had been no massacre, and second, that it was the suppression of an Armenian rebellion."(35) This statement has a familiar ring even today. The Turkish government still maintains there was never a genocide of the Armenians; and, anyway, the Armenians brought it on themselves. Hamlin, then, is hardly Elekdag's best witness; and, certainly, he cannot be used anachronistically to testify to the events of 1915-16, since, as we noted earlier, he died in 1900.

                Page 192

                To be fair, we must admit that Ambassador Elekdag has unearthed one article that genuinely indicts the Armenians, even in context. It was written by Arthur Moss and Florence Gilliam and published in the Nation in 1923, long after the Genocide of 1915-16. But before we can accept their testimony, we must establish the credentials of the authors. Are they eyewitnesses? No. Are they scholars who have done serious research about the past? No. On investigation, we discover that Moss and Gilliam are two American expatriates of the '20s who edited a monthly magazine, called Gargoyle, which was published in Paris by expatriates who hated America. They are neither eyewitnesses nor scholars.

                In their article, Moss and Gilliam deny the validity of the Bryce-Toynbee collection and write, apparently in all seriousness: "In Turkey, all three main religions--Mohammedanism, Judaism, and Christianity--are on an equal footing. . . . A Catholic cannot go as far politically in secular America as a Christian can go in so-called theocratic Turkey."(36)

                This piece by the editors of Gargoyle, less than two pages in length and unencumbered by any scholarly trappings, is followed by a news release from the Russian Telegraph Agency (the press agency of Soviet Russia) regarding the "ex-patriarch Tikhon, now awaiting trial in Moscow." The editor of the Nation concludes, following the report: "It thus becomes clear that Tikhon is no martyr; but merely a reactionary ecclesiastic. . . . He abused the privileged position accorded him under the complete freedom of conscience prevailing in the Soviet Republic. . . . It is for these offenses that he is awaiting trial, and not on account of any fancied 'persecution of religion' on the part of the Soviet Government."(37) It may be presumed, all things considered, that the opinions of the editor regarding the slandered Tikhon and that of Moss and Gilliam regarding the murdered Armenians are of equal accuracy and value, and are thus of little consequence as evidence.

                If Lord Bryce's Blue Book is the first single best collection of eyewitness accounts of the Armenian Genocide (and indeed that of the Christian Assyrians, of whom almost none are left to protest their own genocide), we must recognize the testimony of the United States Ambassador Henry Morgenthau in his book Ambassador Morgenthau's Story as the most significant testimony in any single contemporary American book.

                Henry Morgenthau was the United States ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from November 27, 1913 to February 1, 1916, during the Armenian Genocide and before the United States entered the war against the other three Central Powers but not, I must stress, the Ottoman Empire. And, unless his testimony has some serious flaw, he will make a good witness indeed. Since Morgenthau insists that the Young Turk government and ruling party carried out a deliberate, premeditated "campaign of race extermination" against the Armenians, Elekdag must either accept his testimony as the truth or find a way to discredit Morgenthau as a witness.(38)

                Page 193

                Attempts to discredit Morgenthau have been made by calling him a Zionist--hardly a significant charge as far as Americans are concerned, whatever the Turkish Ambassador and his government's view. In any case this argument has two flaws: First, as a matter of fact Morgenthau was not a Zionist;(39) and, second, it would make no difference anyway. Armenians are not Jewish, and Zionism has nothing to do with the Armenian Genocide.

                In case incrimination of Morgenthau by association should fail, Elekdag boldly declares a war ex post facto on the United States in order to make Morgenthau officially an "enemy." Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, was, says Elekdag, "published in 1918 when World War I was raging and the Ottoman Empire was officially the 'enemy.' "

                But, as a matter of fact, the Ottoman Empire did not declare war on the United States; and the United States certainly did not declare war on the Ottoman Empire. President Wilson wanted to retain a tie to the Ottoman Empire both in the hope of being of some assistance to the Armenians(40) and, in particular, to protect the vast investments in Turkey of the American Protestant missionary establishment. The United States did not even break off diplomatic relations with Turkey until 1917, not until after the Armenian Genocide was effectively completed, and then only to show its disapproval of the Turkish atrocities.

                Elekdag then tells us that Morgenthau was anti-German, and quotes no less an authority than Sidney Bradshaw Fay to show that Germany was not solely responsible for World War I. Clearly, Fay argued persuasively in his book that Germany was not "solely" responsible for World War I; but this has no relevance to the Armenian Question or to Ambassador Morgenthau's view on the Armenian Genocide. The Armenians have never been accused of starting World War I, even by any Turkish government heretofore, and the Armenians are of such little consequence to Fay's thesis on the origins of World War I that they are not even mentioned in the index to his book. In any case, Fay's book is irrelevant and has been superceded by more recent scholarship.

                Since Elekdag has failed to discredit Morgenthau, he must look for another high-ranking American official to contradict Morgenthau's testimony. Elekdag appeals to the testimony of Admiral Mark Bristol of the United States Navy. Indeed, it is true that Admiral Bristol did represent the United States in Turkey. Further investigation, however, reveals that Bristol did not even arrive at his post in Turkey until 1920. Thus, Bristol was neither an eyewitness to what took place in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1920 nor was he present in Turkey during the Genocide, as were Morgenthau, his successor Abram Elkus, as well as the American consular officials who provided Morgenthau with eyewitness accounts and even photographs. Bristol's information came from his Turkish informants. Since the Armenians had already been eliminated from just about all of Turkey by the "final solution,"(41) Bristol could only speak with those persons who remained in Turkey, namely the perpetrators, the Turkish ruling elites. The ruling Turks, as we have seen, are hardly creditable witnesses to their own crime.

                Bristol, a stern naval man, had an affinity to the military clique ruling the new Turkey, and he was eager to tell of the bad qualities of the Armenians, Jews,

                Page 194
                and Greeks. Do "bad qualities" justify genocide? I think not. In any case, it is a clearly racist attitude. Bristol had an obsessive phobia toward "foreigners" and was virulently anti-Semitic. "[I]f you put them all in a bag and shake them up you would not know which one would come out first."(42) "The Armenians are a race like the Jews; they have little or no national feeling and have poor moral character."(43) If the Armenians had "no national feeling," it is certainly implausible that they could have mounted a revolt against the Turks. Thus, in a backhanded way, Bristol defends the Armenians against Turkish accusations of insurrection.

                But even more to Bristol's discredit, he falsified reports to his own State Department! When C.H. Van Engert, a High Commission representative at "Beirut reported directly to the State Department in February 1920 that the Turks had massacred some 5,000 Armenians in Cilicia, Bristol quickly cabled the Department that `Armenians are not being massacred by the Turks.'" This out-and-out contradiction confused the State Department, and it demanded clarification. Try as he might, Bristol's subterfuge became futile as American evidence of renewed massacres began to mount. Finally, he had to admit what was happening, such as the slaughter of 15,000 Armenians in Aintab.(44) Since Bristol is not a contemporary of the events to which Elekdag would have him give testimony (remember, we must watch for anachronisms), nor even a creditable person in general (he lied to his own State Department), he must be dismissed as a reliable witness for the Turkish state.
                General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


                • #10
                  Part III

                  And so, what about Morgenthau, who was present in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the Armenian Genocide? Since it is not really respectful for the Turkish ambassador to call the American ambassador a liar, Elekdag tries to discredit Morgenthau's sources. Elekdag argues that Ambassador Morgenthau's account "relies on selected missionary reports and communications translated by Greeks and Armenians who could hardly have been disinterested parties."

                  In the nineteenth century, American Protestants inaugurated and conducted vast missionary enterprises all over the world. The "Turkish field" was the largest. American missionaries were, accordingly, posted all over the Ottoman Empire and, indeed, had stations in most areas where Armenians lived. They ran five American colleges and more than a dozen schools in the areas inhabited by the Armenians, attended in large measure by the Armenians.(45)

                  These American missionaries were the flower of the New England and Midwest American intelligentsia, products of the Second Great Awakening of American Protestantism, and honored graduates of such prestigious institutions as Princeton, Yale, Brown, Oberlin, and Grinnell.(46) Most of them had advanced degrees, and many were physicians. Their reports are in excellent English, such as university graduates wrote before the age of radio and television. They also, for the most part, knew Turkish and some had translated the Bible into that language using both Arabic-Persian Ottoman script as well as the Armenian alphabet. Yet one could safely presume, even if we did not have the documents presently in front of us, that the American missionaries would communicate with the United States ambassador in their common native tongue, English, as of course they did. No communications translated by Greeks and Armenians here.

                  Missionary reports, selected or not, all tell the same general story: Armenians all over Anatolia were expelled from their homes, slaughtered and massacred, and the remnant driven into the Syrian desert to die. Thousands of these reports are on file in the archives of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which are now deposited in the Houghton Library at Harvard and open to serious scholars.(47) But did the

                  Page 195
                  American missionaries tell the truth? One would think so. We certainly will not join Elekdag to call these God-fearing men and women liars without seeing strong evidence to support that contention. Since Elekdag presents no proof to the contrary, we must accept the missionary reports as dependable evidence, even though--in deference to Elekdag--we will not use their evidence here.

                  We still must account for the biased "Armenian and Greek translators." All we have left for them to translate, since the American consuls and the American missionaries wrote in English, are the official Turkish documents and dispatches sent or brought by the Ottoman government to the United States Embassy, materials which the Turkish government would certainly not send to demonstrate that a genocide of the Armenians was taking place.

                  The United States Embassy in Constantinople employed for over sixteen years, as a legal advisor and frequent translator, an Armenian by the name of Arshag Schmavonian. Morgenthau frequently used Schmavonian as a translator when he visited with high Turkish officials, which attests to the fact that Schmavonian was "held in high regard by the Turkish authorities."(48)

                  When relations were ruptured between Turkey and the United States in 1917, Schmavonian was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he served as Special Advisor to the State Department until his death in January 1922. The use of Greeks and Armenians as clerks and translators was not unusual in foreign embassies, and the Ottomans themselves used many Greeks and Armenians in high posts before the war. Morgenthau's personal secretary in Constantinople and later in America, Hagop S. Andonian, was also an Armenian.

                  Morgenthau, however, did not just rely on written reports. He had personal conversations regarding the Armenian killings with Talât Pasha, the minister of the interior and the chief force behind the Armenian Genocide. Morgenthau reconstructs their conversations in his book, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, based on his own notes, letters, and diary.(49) If we decide--only in deference to Elekdag, and for no other compelling reason--not to use Morgenthau's book as evidence, we could examine his personal papers, his written aides memoire. Still, to be fair to Morgenthau, we must accept the distinct possibility that a man of Morgenthau's intelligence might remember certain details of his arguments with Talât Pasha to which he only loosely referred in his notes. For example, it is quite possible that Morgenthau might remember the substance of his arguments behind the written note that he "argued all sorts of ways" with Talât and include those items in his book.(50)

                  Yet, we will give Ambassador Elekdag every advantage. We will ignore Morgenthau's book, without just cause, and take testimony regarding Morgenthau from Heath W. Lowry, the head of the Institute for Turkish Studies in Washington, D.C.(51) Lowry has written a booklet called The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story in which he attempts to deter-

                  Page 196 begins here
                  mine whether Morgenthau, as the Ambassador claims, used only "every legitimate step or means" for convincing the American people of the justice of fighting against the Central Powers and informing them of the Armenian Genocide, or if Morgenthau was purposely deceptive.(52) In other words, did Morgenthau lie in his book?

                  Lowry's booklet, unfortunately, just as Elekdag's letter, is marred by many errors.(53) For example, in one place Lowry states that Schmavonian "accompanied [Morgenthau] in all meetings with Turkish officials."(54) Then on the next page he writes that Schmavonian "accompanied Morgenthau on almost every official visit he paid to members of the Young Turk Government."(55) Finally, Lowry writes, quoting Morgenthau, that "Talaat told me that he greatly preferred that I should always come alone when I had any Armenian matters to discuss with him."(56)

                  While I believe that Lowry's booklet is tendentious and flawed, a full critique of it cannot be made here. In our present analysis let us only use, then, to be extremely fair to Elekdag, the evidence about Morgenthau supplied by Lowry, no respecter of the American ambassador.

                  First, Lowry quotes a letter written by Morgenthau to President Woodrow Wilson on November 26, 1917, in which Morgenthau informs Wilson that he is considering writing a book about Germany and Turkey: "For in Turkey we see the evil spirit of Germany at its worst--culminating at last in the greatest crime of all ages, the horrible massacre of helpless Armenians and Syrians."(57) This letter should be clear enough. Morgenthau sincerely believed that the Germans were guilty of aggression and that they were a bad influence on the Turks. There is certainly nothing untoward in this. Morgenthau sincerely believed both to be factual.

                  Further, Lowry quotes from Morgenthau's diary entry for August 8, 1915:

                  I called on Talaat. He had his man there to interpret for me [Italics added].... Talaat told me that he greatly preferred that I should always come alone when I had Armenian matters to discuss with him [Italics added].... He told me that [the Turks] based their objections to the Armenians on three distinct grounds: 1) that they had enriched themselves at the expense of the Turks; 2) that they wanted to domineer over them and establish a separate state; 3) that they have openly encouraged their enemies so that [the Turks] have come to the irrevocable decision to make [the Armenians] powerless before the war is ended.

                  I argued in all sorts of ways with him but he said that there was no use; that they had already disposed of three-fourths of [the Armenians], that there were none left in Bitlis, Van, Erzeroum, and that the hatred was [so] intense now that they have to finish it. . . . He said they want to treat the Armenians like we treat the negroes, I think he meant like the Indians. . . . He said they would take care of the Armenians at Zor and elsewhere but they did not want them in Anatolia. I told him three times that they were making a serious
                  General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”