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The Armenian Genocide


peter__m

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In my limited reading on the Great War I've been stunned reading about what happened in Armenia.

I would love to hear form those forum pals with opinions and wider knowledge on this. I'm trying to broaden my understanding of it.

SOME QUESTIONS

Was this really a campaign of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and mass extermination? A systematic, organized plan to eliminate the Armenians?

Was no one really aware of the extent of the murders in Armenia at the time? At what point did we learn the truth about Armenia?

Having come across now quite a few comparison made between this and events of the Holocaust, is it reasonable to assume that these events in Armenia in the Great War very much influenced Hitler's psyche as a soldier and young man at that time? I think even he was most shocked to find that no one seem to care or remember the fate of the Armenians.

There's been more in recent years in terms of genocide and humanitarian disasters. We hear the sound bytes about how 'we must learn the lessons'. I find it absolutely frightening that way back in the Great War - here was an alarm bell unheeded. Life goes on dispassionately.

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The killing of Armenian civilians was reported in the Times Illustrated History of The War, although I don't think the extent to which it took place was realised by the press. IIRC there were warnings from people on the ground that were disbelieved, ignored or lost - if you're planning a genocide, a world war is a good time to hide it. I'm not sure that Hitler would have had any greater knowledge of these events than anyone else at the time. As for learning the truth - that 'truth' is still disputed, even by those without a vested interest. Those most affected didn't live to report the details.

Sadly, the list of genocides begins a long time before Armenia, and still isn't closed. We must learn the lesson was spoken after Bosnia, and then forgotten in Rwanda. If we are to make political points about recognising genocide, let's put the USA in the dock for its ethnic cleansing of Native Americans and ourselves for the treatment of aboriginal peoples in the empire.

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Peter;

We are venturing out onto a slippery slope here. I will foolishly make some observations, and then possibly venture some brief replies to some of your questions. I am probably going to sound quite on the Turkish side, but I will postulate that 98% of whatever us English-speaking types have read or heard about this question is flat-out soley the take on this complicated and almost impossibly dificult to research topic from Armenian activists. This situation is made worse by the self-defeating Turkish approach to dealing with this, which has been to mostly stick their heads in the sand in the classic ostrich tactic. Let me post answers to a couple of your questions, as "BL".

In my limited reading on the Great War I've been stunned reading about what happened in Armenia.

I would love to hear form those forum pals with opinions and wider knowledge on this. I'm trying to broaden my understanding of it.

SOME QUESTIONS

Was this really a campaign of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and mass extermination? A systematic, organized plan to eliminate the Armenians?

(BL - Here is the one question I feel comfortable with. I don't think that whatever happened was "systemic and organized", at least in the sense that there was a systemic attempt to kill lots of Armenians. What I suspect happened was what might be termed "forced ethnic migration", driven by the opening events in the war at the NE border of Turkey.)

Was no one really aware of the extent of the murders in Armenia at the time? At what point did we learn the truth about Armenia?

(BL - I would think that a lot of people knew that a lot of people were being moved about and being killed. I personally think that few people actually "know the truth about Armenia", and they, being Turkish and/or Armenian, will either not admit the truth, or will sound rather partisan to the outside.

Having come across now quite a few comparison made between this and events of the Holocaust, is it reasonable to assume that these events in Armenia in the Great War very much influenced Hitler's psyche as a soldier and young man at that time? I think even he was most shocked to find that no one seem to care or remember the fate of the Armenians.

{BL - Hitler supposedly made a famous sound-bite on the topic. I have no idea what he knew, when. I think that parallels here mostly muddy the water. These two major events are not very similar in a sense of how events developed.)

There's been more in recent years in terms of genocide and humanitarian disasters. We hear the sound bytes about how 'we must learn the lessons'. I find it absolutely frightening that way back in the Great War - here was an alarm bell unheeded. Life goes on dispassionately.

I will pose some questions.

To get any idea of what happened one first has to go back, in detail, to at least 1890, and have a general sense of the position of the Armenians and other major minorities in Ottoman Turkey, a position of very special privileges, a degree of self-rule, and an economic level way above the ordinary Turk. What happened, after hundreds of years?

How extensive was (if it occurred) the Armenian rebellions against Turkish rule, and how extensive was Armenian cooperation with the Russian forces pushing into Turkey? Is it true that there were division-sized formations of Armenians advancing with the Russians? Supposedly the Turkish Government recently produced a list of 533,000 ethnic Turks killed by Armenians in the 20 years from 1895 to 1915. Is this true?

I think that just about everyone agrees that the Armenian population in the NE border area was focibly assembled and driven south away from the Russians. How many of these people died in the process of assembling and driving south? How many died from the stress of the forcible move, from exhastion, from lack of provisions? Thru sloppy planning, intentional or accidential? Is it true that a great number of the deaths were actually inflicted by the Kurdish tribesmen on this route, raiding and ravaging the columns of refugees?

Finally, is it true (I have heard this, quite badly expressed, from both Turkish and Armenian sources) that the Turkish government has proposed that a joint commission be formed, of Turkish and Armenian experts, plus foreign experts and observers, to actually conduct a rigorous study of what actually happened, but that the Armenian government has refused, saying that they would only participate after Turkish reparations for the supposed events were handed over to the Armenians?

Now the Gates of Hell will Burst Asunder!!!

Bob Lembke

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Dear Peter,

I think a big issue here is the word itself : genocide.

Orhan Pamuk talks about "an immense human tragedy" and "immense human suffering" but he never uses the word "genocide" neither does the state of Israel, the "gardian" of the word, when called upon to comment on the Armenian issue.

Nobody is trying to deny that an enormous amount of Armenians were killed during the deportation and that this was a human tragedy. Obviously the Turkish government at the time did little to prevent it. But did the Turkish government premeditate these events ?? Was their an intention to annihilate ?? These two preconditions for genocide don't seem to be proven. If so why could Armenians living in areas served by the railway buy tickets and travel safely. Why were there no further attacks on Armenians who reached Syria ? Why were Armenians living in Istanbul and other Turkish cities far from the war zone left undisturbed ?

Does this one word matter ? I think it does. There are many alternatives : massacre, attrocities ... But sometimes I feel that Armenians think that their tragedy is being played down unfairly if they are denied the word "genocide." It was a tragedy and should be remembered ...

Turks think so too, having been fair hosts to people who were not welcome elsewhere (eg Jews from Spain in 1492) they feel attacked in their reputation of hospitable people ... which I think ... they are. I can understand them if they find there is no legitimate comparison between the crimes committed by their ancestors during the First World War and the cold-blooded atrocity of Hitler's Holocaust.

eric

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Dear Peter,

I think a big issue here is the word itself : genocide.

Orhan Pamuk talks about "an immense human tragedy" and "immense human suffering" but he never uses the word "genocide" neither does the state of Israel, the "guardian" of the word, when called upon to comment on the Armenian issue.

Pamuk has to watch what he says or he will be before for a Turkish court for slandering national honour. Israel is only the guardian of the word in its own selfish interests as a state founded on world guilt for the Holocaust so that it recognises no other. The Jews can have suffered a genocide not the Armenians; the Jews can have a disapora not the Palestinians. Israel is also a major ally of Turkey on this issue.

Lets get back to the history.....September 15 1915 Talaat Pasha, Turkish Interior minister, cabled an instruction to his prefect in Aleppo (a carbon exists of this)...'You have already been informed that the Government......has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons living in Turkey...Their existence must be terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either sex or age, or to any scruples of conscience'.

And the first writer to call it a holocaust......

"massacring of uncounted thousands of helpless Armenians, men, women and children together, whole districts blotted out in one administrative holocaust, beyond human redress". (Winston Churchill)

And August 1939 Hitler asked of his generals in relation to the Poles - 'Who after all is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?'

And on the subject of Armenian holocaust denial. Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister, in a statement before an official visit to Ankara in April 2001 "Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide".

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To me, Genocide, is a term usually used by holier than thou intellectuals considering a past action by people of whom they don't approve.

The Genocide of the Trail of Tears was 25% of the people involved. (almost the same casualty figures of the Army of the Rio Grande during the Mexican War) ... the fact that there were people who were being "ethnically" cleansed supposedly made / makes it worse.

Would you rather be a Creek, Cherokee or some level of Illinois indian ... if you did the trail of tears, your chances of survival were better.

I try to shy away from blanket judgements and considerations of stuff that I only have tangential knowledge of - OR - is put to me in a way that smells of propaganda.

Then there is the Holocost. The more I learn, the more monsterous it is. No amount of Historical understanding - revisionist analysis or discounting of sources using the term propaganda - does anything but cement in my mind the hideous truth about the destruction of Europe's jews. It is as if God, himself, was providing us the picture of original sin.

So ... net: I look at the Armenian question as a historical question - the answer to all blanket statements is - "It's not as easy or simple as that" ... until I get to the Final Solution - to which I say - it is /was the shining example of Man without God.

I apologise in advance.

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Alan has raised a large number of interesting points and questions. I will take a run at a few of them.

As to the supposed telegram, that is a question that would have to be looked at carefully. How has such an explosive document survived and surfaced, especially considering the famous inaccessibility of the Ottoman archives? We have to remember that Armenian activists have been active on this question almost since 1915. I believe that they assassinated Taalat and other Turkish leaders in the 1920's, (and have assassinated about 70-80 Turkish diplomats all over the world, halting this program only recently.) I have had an insight on Armenian nationalistic acivity as I had a delightful young tenant, an Armenian-American, and when she moved out the apartment continued to receive an astonishing torrent of publications and materials seemingly directed to her by her parents.

Another question on this? If this was true, what are we to think of "Plummed Goose"s statement (he has lived in Turkey many years) that once the Armenians reached Syria they were safe? Allepo is, of course, a major Syrian cross-roads town.

Churchill was a wonderful writer, and wrote a number of well-written books on WW I. He was not a detail man, to say the least, and probably was not excessively happy that the Turkish defeat of him at Gallipoli (partially due to his inattention to detail) sent him into political "Siberia" for over 20 years. I doubt if he had a well-studied grasp of what actually went on, as I imagine Hitler might not have had, as well. The latter's statement, taken at face value, might not be a historical judgement, but an argument to help push his generals toward unsavory deeds.

I have read the Israeli press at least once daily for years, as they are often remarkably candid about what is actually going on in the Middle East, often reporting stuff that an American paper would not dare print, like the Israeli bombing of American Embassy buildings (This was quite a while ago, this is not "modern politics", no posting police required, I hope.). The Israeli press reported an unusual event about a year ago. A group of Israeli academics organized a world conference on the Holocaust. Shortly before the meetings were about to occur, one of the organizers, a professor, invited an Armenian to attend the conference. The other organizers were taken aback, and obviously were not happy, as they simply cancelled the whole conference, probably costing many would-be participants thousands of dollars in purchased air travel and also possibly hotel fees, etc. This was reported in detail in the on-line English language edition of Ha'aretz, probably the most reputable Israeli paper, in several articles, but they did not report on the reasons why the organizers were so upset at the participation of an Armenian. Anyone have a spin on this? Alan is right about Israelis and other Jewish intellectuals and organizations being the gate-keepers of the Holocaust concept.

I think that it is also useful to look at the current state of Armenia to get a handle on what some of this might be about. My only good Turkish friend is an Armenian Turk (who served in the Turkish Army), and he fears for the Armenians, who he frankly considers collectively nuts. One third of Armenians have fled Armenia, there seems to be almost no economic activity (a visiting Turkish journalist, possibly unkindly, recently reported that the only industrial activity in the entire country is a large liquor factory), and the country seems to survive on an astonishing level of various foreign remittances, including an extremely high per-capita level of American foreign aid that is never mentioned in the US press.

I cannot imagine how outsiders, without a grasp of Ottoman Turkish, Armenian, and Arabic, can make a lot of progress to find out what happened. Almost everyone with capabilities in these areas will have very partisan motivation. I think that the only hope would be the sort of high-profile international study I mentioned. Does anyone know anything about the supposed call of the Turkish government for such a conference, and the supposed Armenian response? (I once asked an Armenian who was writing on this topic, and he seemed to admit it, in a tangled response, hinting at other factors and preconditions.)

The attempt in France to make the "denial" of the "Armenian Holocaust" a crime (which in practice of course means not accepting the Armenian version 100%), if you look at it in detail, is rooted in very local French politics, proposed by a local politician from a small election district with a very large population of wealthy Armenian-French people in the south of France.

I have very, very little Turkish and Arabic (the latter totally verbal, not written; I speak a tiny bit of Arabic, but don't know a letter; my wife has studied the alphabet, and walks about tracing the letters in the air as she chants the name of the letter, but does not koow a single word.), zero Armenian; and have not looked at this question itself, but simply note mention of it when I come across it in the course of other readings. I have no hope of coming to any useful conclusions here with my own efforts, and I think that few Pals do either. I do feel that I can ask useful questions that could bring this into a bit more focus. I for one am not willing to blindly swallow the assertions of one side, a side which sometimes admits that they are pressing for reparations from the other party, and supposedly do not want this question looked at seriously until they have received those reparations.

Bob Lembke

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I am basing what I say on the historical record.

1. Survivor testimony. Not as much as the Jewish Holocaust but it exists

2. Contemporary diplomatic documentation e.g. Henry Morganthau, US ambassador to Constantinople. Also

Italian, Danish, Swedish, Greek and German diplomatic records. Leslie Davis, American consul in Harput,

3. The coded language of Turks in posiitons of power e.g. Enver Pasha

4. Work of Armenian scholars since e.g. the historian Peter Balakian

5. 'The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16' compiled for the British Government by

James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee and commissioned in 1915. 700 pages of eyewitness accounts of the

massacres - a great deal from American missionaries in Turkey.

6. Contemporary newspaper reporting e.g. New York Times

7. Gertrude Bell's intelligence report from Basra based on material from a captured Turkish soldier

8. Account of Cyril Barter, a British businessman sent to Iraq to Aleppo under Turkish guard in 1915. An

eye witness

9. Testimony of Lt E.H.Jones, held in a Turkish POW camp at Yozgat - stories from boastful sentries.

10. Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, German vice-consul in Erzerum - eyewitness to Turkish massacres

in Bitlis province. Wrote a long report for the German government. In total sent 15 reports on

deportations and mass killings. He used the word 'exterminated' in his last report.

etc

Postscript - Elie Wiesel first said that denial of genocide was a'double killing'. First the victims are slaughtered and then their deaths are turned into a non-event, an 'un-fact.'. The dead die twice. The survivors suffer and are then told they did not suffer, that they are lying'.

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To judge by the following the event certainly influenced Herr Hitler's thinking

"I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness - for the present only in the East - with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

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By nature I am a very suspicious student of history. Before I started my study of WW I I took down 40 pages of my father's oral history, and only after about three years of comparing it to family letters and documents, other documents and official histories, and a variety of other sources did I accept that it was, to the extent that it could be cross-checked, extremely accurate (he had a phenomenal memory, but I also doubted his possible motives, and my own memory), and now generally accept it. If I find an important source, say in German or French, I often track down the original and read it myself, or even do my own translations; I have freqently found either bad translations, or sometimes apparent willful deceptive mal-translations.

I almost never read secondary sources, except sometimes as a first orientation to an area that I am not familiar with, or by a few contemporary scholars that seem to have exceptional standards, and with in most cases I have corresponded with and "know where their head is".

In my particular area of interest, German flame warfare of WW I, I have found that the British and American generals who managed (and badly mismanaged) their countries' flame efforts, spent the next say 18 years actively working and writing to re-write the "history" of this topic. I see material written by respected military historians that are still repeating the misinformation wilfully generated by these gentlemen 80 years ago.

This area of study is totally toxic. The assumed "truth" of what went on in that dismal period, as it is understood in the west, has been 98% crafted by commited Armenian activists over the last 80 plus years. It can be assumed that the list of witnesses that Alan has presented have been "cherry-picked" by quite partisan researchers. (The tragedy is that almost all capable students of this topic are bitterly committed to one side or the other.) I am particularily amused by the inclusion of Morgenthau; either him, or his son, was later the author of one of the most ambitious programs of ethnic cleansing in the history of the world. I realize that I will never be able to arrive at the truth of this matter by my own efforts.

However, I will again ask:

1. Has Turkey offered to establish a commission of Turkish, Armenian, and foreign experts to attempt to get to the bottom of this question, and has Armenia refused to participate?

2. What was the extent of Armenian terror before the start of the war? Is it true that it began about 1895? Did the Turkish government recently come out with a list of 533,000 ethnic Turks killed by ethnic Armenians between 1895 and 1915? was this "list" a description or list of events and estimated casualties, or was it an actual list of individual alleged victims? (The Ottoman Turks were maddened record-keepers.)

3. At the outbreak of the war the Turks foolishly marched their army in the NE corner of Turkey into the mountains to starve and freeze to death without suppies or communications. Did the Armenians in that area then, as claimed, rise and massacre many Turkish garrisons and civilians? How widely? Were there Armenian formations in the invading Russian Army? How large?

4. Certainly many Armenians died in these events. How many were killed when these people were rounded up? How many died on the march, and how? Is it true that most of the people killed on the march were killed by Kurdish mauraders, and how many by Turks? (Of course, anyone that puts people into a position of vunerability bears grave responsibility as to their fate.) Were people killed after they reached Syria?

The opaqness of this subject was recently confirmed in this Forum. A Pal (some sort of Angelo) posted several macabre photos of alleged victims of this episode, photos that I think I have seen before. They were not attributed, but presumably came from some Armenian publication. A frequently posting Pal, a Turk, then posted with some details; the most dramatic statement was that the photo of several human heads on stakes were actually that of Turkish villigers killed by Armenians. He added that that picture was lifted out of a 450 page book written by his father; I think he specified the page, he did state the name of the village, and the alleged date of the photo, day, month, year. As he cited the specific book, I think we can tentatively accept that the photo originally came out of his father's book; that at least could be easily checked, and the Turkish Pals would possibly do that.

But how can we be absolutely sure about the ethnicity of those heads? Certainly one of us non-Middle Eastern Pals, sitting in Bath, UK, or in Toledo, Ohio, hasn't the slightest chance of sorting that out. This is just a microcosm of the whole question.

I have enthusiasms and predjudices, like everyone else. I like to think that I still attempt to be as objective as I can, although I am sure that my slants affect my thought, like anyone else. I have to mention that I have my own spin; my father fought in the Turkish Army at Gallipoli as a volunteer pioneer, and he loved the Turks, and he ran guns to them in the 1920's.

Bob Lembke

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For those who are REALLY interested in understanding what happened in Eastern Anatolia between the late 19th Century and the moment the 1st Armenian republic disappeared into the USSR. Have a look at :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55dk_0H6w-o

its a 45 minutes documentary which is not a piece of pro or contra propaganda but gives a rather good overview what happened in the area.

eric

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Well, I have just invested 45 minutes of my life in watching the documentary that Eric aimed us at, and I for one find that it fits into the bits and pieces of this era that I had picked up in a piecemeal fashion. Let me state that I have seen or read almost nothing from Turkish sources on this issue. It did explain a lot of things which were rather puzzling to me, like why the Kurds supposedly killed so many Armenians.

Lets see how many people will bother to watch this. If people do not plan to, I may try to write a brief overview of what the film stated.

If this film is even half right, I can see why the Armenians refused to participate in an international fact-finding effort that supposedly was suggested by the Turkish government. I have heard about this proposed commission of inquiry twice, once from a Turkish newspaper with an on-line edition (I read the Turkish press about once every three months, the US, Brit, and Israeli press at least once a day.), once from an Armenian responding to a query from me.

I think that this question is important. Can anyone corroborate that the Turkish government did recently to start an international commission of inquiry, and that Armenia refused to participate? If this is true, this speaks volumes.

I hope some people will look at the film. Then we will have something "to chew on".

Bob Lembke

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I will post two corrections to things that I previously stated I had heard, and requested corroboration, based on an acceptance of the statements in the film.

Supposedly the armed revolt of the Armenians began in 1894, not 1895, like I thought.

And, according to the Director of the Turkish National and Ottoman Archives, the list of Turks killed by Armenians in this mess, over about 25 years, only lists 529,000 people, not the 533,000 that I remembered. But it is a list of individuals, citing names, villages, etc. of the supposed victims, not just a list of supposed incidents and estimated death toll in each incident.

Bob Lembke

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Hi

I know little about The Armenian Genocide but their is a picture that always makes my blood run cold, its of three dead Armenian children, I can't look at, I am ashamed to be a member of the human face at times. Anyway thanks to all for the info. on this subject, I have learned more about it.

Annette

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hello

if you ask me,both armenians and muslims in eastern anatolia under the

Ottoman Empire experienced harrowing casualties and gripping privations during World War I.

Hundreds of thousands perished. most were innocent. all deserve pity and respect. Their known and unknown graves testify to President John F. Kennedy's lament that "Life is unfair." An Armenian tombstone is worth a Muslim tombstone, and vice versa.no race, religious, or ethnic group stands above or below another in the cathedral of humanity. to paraphrase shakespeare in "the merchant of Venice," Hath not everyone eyes? hath not everyone hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with

the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer...If you ***** anyone, does he not bleed?

if you tickle him, does he not laugh? if you poison him, does he not die?

these sentiments must be emphasized before entering into the longstanding dispute over allegations of Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during World War I and its aftermath.

Genocide is a word bristling with passion and moral depravity. It typically evokes images of Jews dying like cattle in Nazi cyanide chambers in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belson, Dacau, and other extermination camps. It is customarily confined in national laws and international covenants to the mass killing or repression of a

racial, religious, or ethnic group with the intent of partial or totalextermination. Thus, to accuse Turks of Armenian genocide is grave business, and should thus be appraised with scrupulous care

for historical accuracy. To do less would not only be unjust to the accused, but to vitiate the arresting meaning that genocide should enjoy in the tale of unspeakable human horrors.

It cannot be repeated enough that to discredit the Armenian genocide allegation is not to deny that Armenian deaths and suffering during the war should evoke tears in all but the stone-hearted. The same is true for the even greater number of contemporaneous Turkish deaths and privations. No effort should be spared to avoid transforming an impartial inquest into the genocide allegations to poisonous recriminations over whether

Armenians or Turks as a group were more or less culpable or ictimized. Healing and reconciliation is made of more magnanimous and compassionate stuff.In sum, disprove Armenian genocide is not to belittle the atrocities and brutalities that World War I inflicted on the Armenian people of

Eastern Anatolia.

I. Sympathy for All, Malice Towards None "War is hell," lamented

steely Union General William Tecumseh Sherman during the

American Civil War. The frightful carnage of World War I confirmed

and fortified that vivid definition.

The deep pain that wrenches any group victimized by massacres and unforgiving privation in wartime, however, frequently distorts or imbalances recollections. That phenomenon found epigrammatic

expression in United States Senator Hiram Johnson's World War I quip that truth is the first casualty of war. It is customary among nations at war to manipulate the reporting of events to blacken the

enemy and to valorize their own and allied forces. In other words,World War I was no exception, about which more anon.

The Ottoman Turks are accused of planning and executing a scheme to exterminate its Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia beginning on or about April 24, 1915 by relocating them hundreds of miles to the Southwest and away from the Russian war front and massacring those who resisted. The mass relocation (often mischaracterized as "deportation") exposed the Armenians to mass killings by marauding Kurds and other Muslims and deaths from malnutrition, starvation, and disease. After World War I concluded, the Ottoman Turks are said to have continued their Armenian genocide during the Turkish War of Independence

concluded in 1922.

The number of alleged Armenian casualties began at approximately 600,000, but soon inflated to 2 million. The entire pre-war Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia is best estimated at 1.3 to 1.5

million.

A. Was there an intent to exterminate Ottoman Armenians in whole

or in part?

The evidence seems exceptionally thin. The Government's

relocation decree was a wartime measure inspired by national

self-preservation, neither aimed at Armenians generally (those

outside sensitive war territory were left undisturbed) nor with the

goal of death by relocation hardships and hazards. The Ottoman

government issued unambiguous orders to protect and feed

Armenians during their relocation ordeal, but were unable because

of war emergencies on three fronts and war shortages affecting the

entire population to insure their proper execution. The key decree

provided:

"When those of Armenians resident in the aforementioned towns

and villages who have to be moved are transferred to their places of

settlement and are on the road, their comfort must be assured and

their lives and property protected; after their arrival their food should

be paid for out of Refugees' Appropriations until they are definitively

settled in their new homes. Property and land should be distributed

to them in accordance with their previous financial situation as well

as current needs; and for those among them needing further help,

the government should build houses, provide cultivators and

artisans with seed, tools, and equipment."

"This order is entirely intended against the extension of the

Armenian Revolutionary Committees; therefore do not execute it in

such a manner that might cause the mutual massacre of Muslims

and Armenians."

(Do you believe that anything comparable has been issued by

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to his troops in Kosovo?)

The Ottoman government prosecuted more than one thousand

soldiers and civilians for disobedience. Further, approximately

200,000 Ottoman Armenians who were relocated to Syria lived

without menace through the remainder of the war.

Relocation of populations suspected of disloyalty was a customary

war measure both at the time of World War I and through at least

World War II. Czarist Russia had employed it against Crimean

Tatars and other ethnic Turks even in peacetime and without

evidence of treasonous plotting. The United States relocated

120,000 citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during

the Second World War despite the glaring absence of sabotage or

anti-patriotic sentiments or designs. Indeed, the Congress of the

United States acknowledged the injustice in the Civil Liberties Act

of 1988 which awarded the victims or their survivors $20,000 each.

In sum, the mass wartime relocation of Ottoman Armenians from

the Eastern front was no pretext for genocide. That conclusion is

fortified by the mountains of evidence showing that an alarming

percentage of Armenians were treasonous and allied with the Triple

Entente, especially Russia. Tens of thousands defected from the

Ottoman army or evaded conscription to serve with Russia.

Countless more remained in Eastern Anatolia to conduct sabotage

behind Ottoman lines and to massacre Turks, including civilians.

Their leaders openly called for revolt, and boasted at post-World

War I peace conferences that Ottoman Armenians had fought

shoulder-to-shoulder with the victorious powers. Exemplary was a

proclamation issued by an Armenian representative in the Ottoman

parliament for Van, Papazyan. He trumpeted: "The volunteer

Armenian regiments in the Caucasus should prepare themselves

for battle, serve as advance units for the Russian armies to help

them capture the key positions in the districts where the

Armenians live, and advance into Anatolia, joining the Armenian

units already there."

The Big Five victors -Great Britain, France, the United States, Italy,

and Japan acknowledged the enormous wartime service of Ottoman

Armenians, and Armenia was recognized as a victor nation at the

Paris Peace Conference and sister conclaves charring the post-war

map. Armenians were rewarded for their treason against the

Ottoman Empire in the short-lived Treaty of Sevres of 1920 (soon

superceded by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne). It created an

independent Armenian state carved from large swaths of Ottoman

territory although they were a distinct population minority and had

always been so throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule. The

Treaty thus turned President Woodrow Wilson's self-determination

gospel in his Fourteen Points on its head.

The Ottoman government thus had overwhelming evidence to

suspect the loyalty of its Armenian population. And its relocation

orders responded to a dire, not a contrived, war emergency. It was

fighting on three fronts. The capital, Istanbul, was threatened by the

Gallipoli campaign. Russia was occupying portions of Eastern

Anatolia, encouraging Armenian defections, and aiding Armenian

sabotage. In sum, the mass relocation of Armenians was clearly an

imperative war measure; it did not pivot on imaginary dangers

contrived by Ottoman rulers to exterminate Armenians.

The genocide allegation is further discredited by Great Britain's

unavailing attempt to prove Ottoman officials of war crimes. It

occupied Ottoman territory, including Istanbul, under the 1918

Mudros Armistice. Under section 230 of the Treaty of Sevres,

Ottoman officials were subject to prosecution for war crimes like

genocide. Great Britain had access to Ottoman archives, but found

no evidence of Armenian genocide. Scores of Ottoman Turks were

detained on Malta, nonetheless, under suspicion of complicity in

Armenian massacres or worse. But all were released in 1922 for

want of evidence. The British spent endless months searching

hither and yon for evidence of international criminality- even

enlisting the assistance of the United State yet came up with

nothing that could withstand the test of truth. Rumor, hearsay, and

polemics from anti-Turk sources was the most that could be

assembled, none of which would be admissible in any fair-minded

enterprise to discover facts and to assign legal responsibility.

None of this is to deny that approximately 600,000 Ottoman

Armenians perished during World War I and its aftermath. But

Muslims died in even greater numbers (approximately 2.5 million in

Eastern Anatolia) from Armenian and Russian massacres and

wartime privations as severe as that experienced by relocated

Armenians. When Armenians held the opportunity, they massacred

Turks without mercy, as in Van, Erzurum, and Adana. The war

ignited a cycle of violence between both groups, one fighting for

revolutionary objectives and the other to retain their homeland

intact. Both were spurred to implacability by the gruesome

experience that the loser could expect no clemency.

The horrifying scale of the violence and retaliatory violence,

however, were acts of private individuals or official wrongdoers. The

Ottoman government discouraged and punished the crimes within

the limits of its shrinking capacity. Fighting for its life on three

fronts, it devoted the lion's share of its resources and manpower to

staving off death, not to local law enforcement.

The emptiness of the Armenian genocide case is further

demonstrated by the resort of proponents to reliance on

incontestable falsehoods or forged documents. The Talat Pasha

fabrications are emblematic.

According to Armenians, he sent telegrams expounding an

Ottoman policy to massacre its Armenian population that were

discovered by British forces commanded by General Allenby when

they captured Aleppo in 1918. Samples were published in Paris in

1920 by an Armenian author, Aram Andonian. They were also

introduced at the Berlin trial of the assassin of Talat Pasha, and

then accepted as authentic.

The British Foreign Office then conducted an official investigation

that showed that the telegrams had not been discovered by the

army but had been produced by an Armenian group based in Paris.

A meticulous examination of the documents revealed glaring

discrepancies with the customary form, script, and phraseology of

Ottoman administrative decrees, and pronounced as bogus as the

Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Donation of Constantine.

Ditto for a quote attributed to Adolph Hitler calculated to liken the

Armenians in World War I to the Holocaust victims and to arouse

anger towards the Republic of Turkey. Purportedly delivered on

August 22, 1939, while the Nazi invasion of Poland impended,

Hitler allegedly declared: "Thus for the time being I have sent to the

East only my Death Head units, with the order to kill without mercy

all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Who

still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians."

Armenian genocide exponents point to the statement as evidence

that it served as the model for Hitler's sister plan to exterminate

Poles, Jews, and others. Twenty-two Members of Congress on or

about April 24, 1984 in the Congressional Record enlisted Hitler's

hideous reference to Armenian extermination as justification for

supporting Armenian Martyrs' Day remembrances. As Princeton

Professor Heath W. Lowry elaborates in a booklet, "The U.S.

Congress and Adolph Hitler on the Armenians," it seems virtually

certain that the statement was never made. The Nuremburg tribunal

refused to accept it as evidence because of flimsy proof of

authenticity.

The gospel for many Armenian genocide enthusiasts is

Ambassador Henry Morgenthau's 1918 book, Ambassador's

Morgenthau's Story. It brims with assertions that incriminate the

Ottoman Turks in genocide. Professor Lowry, however, convincingly

demonstrates in his monograph, "The Story Behind Ambassador

Morgenthau's Story," that his book is more propaganda, invention,

exaggeration, and hyperbole than a reliable portrait of motivations

and events.

According to some Armenian circles, celebrated founder of the

Republic of Turkey, Atatürk, confessed "Ottoman state

responsibility for the Armenian genocide." That attribution is flatly

false, as proven in an extended essay, "A 'Statement' Wrongly

Attributed to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk," by Türkkaya Ataöv.

Why would Armenian genocide theorists repeatedly uncurtain

demonstrative falsehoods as evidence if the truth would prove their

case? Does proof of the Holocaust rest on such imaginary

inventiveness? A long array of individuals have been found guilty of

participation in Hitler's genocide in courts of law hedged by rules to

insure the reliability of verdicts. Adolph Eichmann's trial and

conviction in an Israeli court and the Nuremburg trials before an

international body of jurists are illustrative. Not a single Ottoman

Turk, in contrast, has every been found guilty of Armenian genocide

or its equivalent in a genuine court of law, although the victorious

powers in World War I enjoyed both the incentive and opportunity

to do so if incriminating evidence existed.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council Sub-Commission

on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

examined the truthfulness of an Armenian genocide charge leveled

by Special Rapporteur, Mr. Benjamin Whitaker, in his submission,

"Study of Genocide," during its thirty-eighth session at the U.N.

Office in Geneva from August 5-30, 1985. The Sub-Commission

after meticulous debate refused to endorse the indictment for lack

of convincing evidence, as amplified by attendee and Professor Dr.

Ataöv of Ankara University in his publication, "WHAT REALLY

HAPPENED IN GENEVA: The Truth About the 'Whitaker Report'."

B. If the evidence is so demonstratively faulty, what explains a

widespread credence given to the Armenian genocide allegation in

the United States?

As Napoleon once derisively observed, history is a fable mutually

agreed upon. It is not Euclidean geometry. Some bias invariably is

smuggled in by the most objective historians; others view history

as a manipulable weapon either to fight an adversary, or to gain a

political, economic, or sister material advantage, or to satisfy a

psychological or emotional need.

History most resembles truth when competing versions of events

do battle in the marketplace of ideas with equally talented

contestants and before an impartial audience with no personal or

vested interest in the outcome. That is why the adversarial system

of justice in the United States is the hallmark of its legal system

and a beacon to the world.

The Armenian genocide allegation for long decades was earmarked

by an absence of both historical rigor and scrupulous regard for

reliable evidence and truth. The Ottoman Empire generally received

bad reviews in the West for centuries, in part because of its

predominant Muslim creed and military conquests in Europe. It was

a declared enemy of Britain, France, and Russia during World War

I, and a de facto enemy of the United States. Thus, when the

Armenian genocide allegation initially surfaced, the West was

predisposed towards acceptance that would reinforce their

stereotypical and pejorative view of Turks that had been inculcated

for centuries. The reliability of obviously biased sources was

generally ignored. Further, the Republic of Turkey created in 1923

was not anxious to defend its Ottoman predecessor which it had

opposed for humiliating capitulations to World War I victors and its

palsied government. Atatürk was seeking a new, secular, and

democratic dispensation and distance from the Ottoman legacy.

Armenians in the United States were also more vocal, politically

active and sophisticated, numerous, and wealthy than Turks. The

Armenian lobby has skillfully and forcefully marketed the Armenian

genocide allegation in the corridors of power, in the media, and in

public school curricula. They had been relatively unchallenged until

some opposing giants in the field of Turkish studies appeared on

the scene to discredit and deflate the charge by fastidious research

and a richer understanding of the circumstances of frightful

Armenian World War I casualties. Professor of History at the

University of Louisville, Justin McCarthy, and Princeton Professor

Heath Lowry stand at the top of the list. Professor McCarthy's 1995

book, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims,

1821-1922, is a landmark. Turkish Americans have also organized

to present facts and views about the Armenian genocide allegation

and other issues central to United States-Turkish relations. But the

intellectual playing field remains sharply tilted in favor of the

Armenians. Since public officials with no foreign policy

responsibilities confront no electoral or other penalty for echoing

the Armenian story, they generally acquiesce to gain or to solidify

their standing among them.

The consequence has been not only bad and biased history

unbecoming an evenhanded search for truth, but a gratuitous irritant

in the relations between Turkey and the United States. The former

was a steadfast ally throughout the Cold War, and Turkey remains

a cornerstone of NATO and Middle East peace. It is also a strong

barrier against religious fundamentalism, and an unflagging partner

in fighting international terrorism and drug trafficking. Turkey is also

geostrategically indispensable to exporting oil and gas from Central

Asia to the West through pipelines without reliance on the Russian

Federation, Iran, Afghanistan or other dicey economic partners.

Finally, endorsing the false Armenian genocide indictment may

embolden Armenian terrorist organizations (for example, the

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia) to kill and

mutilate Turks, as they did a few decades ago in assassinating

scores of Turkish diplomats and bombing buildings both in the

United States and elsewhere. They have been relatively dormant in

recent years, but to risk a resurgence from intoxication with a

fortified Armenian genocide brew would be reckless.

as a result,the armenian genocide accusation fails for want of proof. It

attempts to paint the deaths and privations of World War I in prime

colors, when the authentic article is chiaroscuro. Both Muslims and

Armenians suffered horribly and neither displayed a morality

superior to the other. Continuing to hurl the incendiary charge of

genocide on the Turkish doorstep obstructs the quest for amity

between Armenia and the Republic of Turkey and warmer relations

between Armenians and Turks generally.

Isn't it time to let the genocide allegation fade away and to join

hands in commemorating the losses of both communities during

World War I and its aftermath?

regards

jhon

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J McNamara's post is too lengthy to reply to - He undermines his argument early on by apparently believing that Bergen Belsen was an extermination camp. It was not. This mistake gets to the heart of the issue. A genocide is a planned, deliberate attempt to exterminate a minority. Auschwitz etc fits this definition; Bergen Belsen didn't.

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Many thanks so far to everyone who has posted on this thread.

I am reading them all and there is a lot of good, careful and considerate thinking being done.

I am trying to forge my own views and that is best done in the 'melting pot' of ideas.

Thank you all for taking the time to pen (text) your thoughts.

I am going to watch the video later today.

Please continue. I do believe we are getting somewhere.

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I have to say, viewing the documentary, and reading "jhon" 's long post, I can see why the Israeli academic specialists on the Holocaust took the embarrassing and expensive step of cancelling their conference, rather than have a single Armenian specialist on the "Armenian Holocaust" attend. Clearly they understood that the "Armenian Holocaust" is, as commonly presented, a lot of twaddle.

I have always sensed that many Jewish or other people who are active or interested in the Jewish Holocaust often seem to be very wary of the "Armenian Holocaust", which I found a bit puzzling.

One can also see why the French Delegate representing a wealthy and heavily Armeno-French (is that a word?) district in the south of France introduced a bill to criminalize a "denial" of the "Armenian Holocaust". How convenient that would be! With such a law in place, and if we were under its juristiction, eric, jhon, and I could be indited, subjected to the bother and expense of a criminal prosecution, and perhaps be sent to prison for a year and/or fined a few thousand Euros.

We can also see why (seemingly) the Armenian government refuses to participate in a commission of inquiry to try to sort out the historical truth of this confused and contentious matter, which at its peak stretched from 1894 to 1922 or 1923.

I could nit-pick about a few details in both the documentary and "jhon" 's long post, but they resonate with the various puzzling details I have picked up in the course of decades of reading about almost everything, but especially on the WW I era. The PC "Armenian Holocaust" story simply sounded very strange, based on a fair knowledge of over 600 years of Ottoman history. The Armenians had, for hundreds of years, special rights and privileges that allowed them their own courts, a good degree of self-rule, exemption from military service, and frequent promotion to high posts. Under these conditions, while a majority of Armenians were dirt-poor (as were probably 95% of Anatolian ethnic "Turks" - themselves really an ethnic soup, if you really look into it), so many were very prosperous that they, overall, had a much higher economic position than the Turkish population. (For example, they and the other recognized minorities had an almost complete lock on the various craftsman trades, while the vast majority of ethnic Turks were subsistence farmers, and horribly poor.) After hundreds of years of this situation, why did the Turks suddenly throw themselves with maniacal fury on the supposedly peacable Armenians living about them?

Alan, it is not surprising that you do not even mention the video documentary (it really is about a hour long, not 45 minutes, six parts at about 9 1/2 minutes each) and the long post seem to demolish most of the sources that you listed. It is also rediculous to attempt to undermine "jhon" 's many points and citations by pointing out that he stated that Bergen-Belsen was not an extermination camp. I understand that the Nazi "Gulag" had 300 camps, and that six of them were, in a narrow sense, extermination camps. If "jhon" incorrectly identified Bergen-Belsen as an extermination camp, that hardly discredits his detailed and knowledgable post on events in a different part of the world, during 1894 to 1923. I might add that there is a lot of information presented out there that gives the impression that all Nazi camps were extermination camps; the displays of the Cherry Hill Holocaust Museum, a few miles from where I live, supposedly suggest that.

Have you bothered to watch the documentary?

After over 100 years of struggle the Armenians finally have their independent state, and it is a basket case. My Armeno-Turkish friend says that one-third of the population, mostly the young, have since emmigrated. The Armenian I discussed this topic with said that they have to get along on foreign remittances of several types. It seems that there is little economic activity, aside from subsistance agriculture and wine production. (I may be wrong here, but probably not.) The country seems to survive on remittances from Armenians, clustered in places like the south of France and, I think, Los Angeles. plus the very high level of foreign aid from the US, seemingly never mentioned to the general public in the US. So the supposed bargaining position of demanding that reparations are paid before they will participate in a serious commission of inquiry is understandable.

Anyone out there have accurate information on this supposed Turkish offer to study this question? This, if true, is strong evidence on this issue.

I hope I have not beaten up Alan too much. I am extremely interested on his take on these two sets of alleged info; he certainly seems to have looked at this question more than I have, till yesterday.

Bob Lembke

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I have not got the time to watch the video throughout and would rather rely on printed sources. I have pulled two general histories from my shelves...

'The Pity of War'. Niall Ferguson. Page 210 - uses the term 'Armenian genocide'

'1914-1918' by David Stevenson p116 'In all probably over a million people died in what was certainly a centrally planned campaign, inspired by the CUP (Committee of Union and Progress) leaders and implemented by 'Special Organisations' coming under the party and the war ministry. Who took the decision and why remains uncertain, and the relevant documents have been destroyed or withheld. In particular, it is unclear whether a security operation to protect the Caucasus border escalated because of Armenian resistance and the Special Organisations' indiscipline, or whether the aim from the start was to wipe the Armenians out. Some of the statements of the Young Turk leaders give credence to the latter possibility, and in its implementation the policy was indeed genocidal'.

Stevenson's summary seems good enough for me. He is BTW Professor of International History at the LSE and not an Armenian! I am signing off this thread now but I am bound to say some of the Armenian genocide deniers arguments remind of David Irving who definitely is not an historian.

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I have not got the time to watch the video throughout and would rather rely on printed sources. I have pulled two general histories from my shelves...

'The Pity of War'. Niall Ferguson. Page 210 - uses the term 'Armenian genocide'

I did some research on Ferguson. Seems sort of contrarian historian, his specialty is economic history. See what you think of his take on him and this book from the below main-stream review.

Amazon.com

If someone less distinguished than Jesus College, Oxford, fellow Niall Ferguson had written The Pity of War, you could be forgiven for thinking the book was out for a few cheap headlines by contradicting almost every accepted orthodoxy about the First World War. Ferguson argues that Britain was as much to blame for the start of the war as Germany, and that, had Britain sacrificed Belgium to Germany, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution would never have happened. Germany, he continues, would have created a united European state, and Britain could have remained a superpower. He also contends that there was little enthusiasm for the war in Britain in 1914; on the other hand, he claims the war was prolonged not by clever manipulation of the media, but by British soldiers' taking pleasure in combat. If that isn't enough, he further maintains that it wasn't the severity of the conditions imposed on Germany at Versailles in 1919 that led inexorably to World War II, and blames instead the comparative leniency and the failure to collect reparations in full.

The Pity of War, with no pretensions to offering a grand narrative of the war, goes over its chosen questions like a polemical tract. As such it is immensely readable, well researched, and controversial. You may not end up agreeing with all of Ferguson's arguments, but that should not deter you from reading it. All of us need our deeply held views challenged from time to time, even if only to remind us why we've got them. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

In another recent book, he maintains that the West has been falling to the East for the last century. In it, he claims that the USSR dramatically beat the US economically during the Cold War. As one who studied the USSR economy under some of the best US academic specialists, who has a MA from the Wharton School in mathematical economics (extrinct degree and program), and who worked as a consultant during the Cold War in economic planning for both the US Department of State and two Eastern European communist governments, I can say that that assertion alone shows Fergeson to be a massive fool.

'1914-1918' by David Stevenson p116 'In all probably over a million people died in what was certainly a centrally planned campaign, inspired by the CUP (Committee of Union and Progress) leaders and implemented by 'Special Organisations' coming under the party and the war ministry. Who took the decision and why remains uncertain, and the relevant documents have been destroyed or withheld. In particular, it is unclear whether a security operation to protect the Caucasus border escalated because of Armenian resistance and the Special Organisations' indiscipline, or whether the aim from the start was to wipe the Armenians out. Some of the statements of the Young Turk leaders give credence to the latter possibility, and in its implementation the policy was indeed genocidal'.

Stevenson's summary seems good enough for me. He is BTW Professor of International History at the LSE and not an Armenian! I am signing off this thread now but I am bound to say some of the Armenian genocide deniers arguments remind of David Irving who definitely is not an historian. "

I think that I can go line by line thru the above and demolish it, but will not bother. These guys are not specialists on the area, and Ferguson's several odd themes would be fostered by a simplistic "victorious evil Eastern Muslims vs. Christian losing victims" spin on this complicated set of events.

Broadly speaking, it seems that the Armenians started organizing for a seperatist campaign by at least the 1870's, and started armed operations against the Turks and especially the Kurds in 1894. Their strategy seems rather al-Quieda; being a minority, carry out atrocities, promote conflict and chaos, and perhaps the mess will present an opportunity for developments offering independence, with the assistance of the Christian Russians and the sympathetic Western Great Powers.

When the war started supposedly there were 150,000 Armenians in formal military formations in the advancing Russian Army. Much later the French armed and uniformed an "Armenian Legion" which they improbably landed on Turkey's south-west coast, say 800-1000 miles from Armenia, pushing inland as the Allied-supported Greeks pushed deep into Turkey from the western coast.

Supposedly the total civilian body count was say 700,000 Armenians, 1,000,000 or more ethnic Turks, and an unknown number (200,000?) Kurds. The major fighting went on without interruption for 29 years. The Armenians claim unprovoked civilian losses greater than the entire Armenian population of the area, from both Turkish censuses, and Armenian Church records. And many 100,000s of Armenians survived.

Also, supposedly the major Armenian evacuation was in 1920, not 1915.

Allan closed with: " I am signing off this thread now but I am bound to say some of the Armenian genocide deniers arguments remind of David Irving who definitely is not an historian. "

This is the closing ad hominum slap by someone who has run out of historically-based arguments. David Irving has little to do with this. Is Allen suggesting that any one seeing thru what really seems like a 110 year old hoax and shifting conspiracy by first Armenian terrorists and now seemingly Armenian opportunists is an "anti-Semite"? (For the record, I have retained a UK based geneologist to examine, among other questions, whether or not my mysterious English mother's mother was Jewish, as some evidence suggests. So, I could be described as a "pending Jew". Therefore, anyone disagreeing with me is a "pending Anti-Semite"! Only kidding.)

Bob Lembke

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I think that this question is important. Can anyone corroborate that the Turkish government did recently to start an international commission of inquiry, and that Armenia refused to participate? If this is true, this speaks volumes.

Bob

I am not going to get involved too deeply with this debate because it is very interesting just watching from afar. However, I must say that what does speak volumes to me is the Turkish states insistance in locking up people who actually accept and admit that Turks committed genocide against the Armenians, if it didn't happen, where is the damage?....I am always very suspicious of crackdowns on academics and intellectuals. This in stark contrast with the holocaust denial laws that exist in several european nations, but thankfully not the UK. What would the point be of Armenia taking part in some sort of enquiry that given Turkeys current stance would likely turn into a whitewash, with Armenian participation giving the conclusion credance. Given the choice, I wouldn't take part either. It is as offensive as Mahmoud Ahmadinejads invitation to Jews to take part in his recent "Did the Holocaust actually take place" "conference".

I would suggest that Turkeys anxiety in trying to clear up this part of their history has more to do with attempting to join the EU, rather than a genuine attempt to get to the truth.

Andy

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Andy;

That law in the Turkish legal code is a really bad bit of news. I personally believe in almost absolute freedom of speech.

As far as the Turkish law, which I think just popped up in the legal code a few years ago, I don't think that a single writer has ever been put in jail for it. Several times a conservative, nationalistc (supposed) lawyers' association has brought charges (I guess that that is what we in the US call a "private prosecution"; unusual, but do-able; a private person can hire a lawyer and force at least the start of a criminal prosecution).

In the two cases I know the details of; in one, of the noted writer Palmuk (sp?), the proceedings just started, and the judge threw the case out immediately. The other case I know was only a few months ago; in another case, a Turkish-American woman writer was indited, she did not come to court (she had had a child a couple of days before), her lawyers came into the courtroom, and the prosecutor immediately threw the case out. She never had to come to court.

The third case that I know of, but not in detail, is the Kurdo-Turk journalist who was recently murdered. It is said that he was convicted and sentenced under this law to six months, but I have never heard it said that he ever had to serve any time. But I just don't know.

Note that in his case the killer was caught on a surveliance camera running from the scene, he was recognizable, and his own father turned him in! Other arrests were made, some cops had a stupid picture taken with him, and I bet his goose is cooked. (But no hanging and having his head popped off.) At the funeral over 100,000 Turks showed up, shouting "We are all Kurds!"

Nine or ten European countries have Holocaust denial laws that I consider just as offensive. We should not beat this to death, but I understand that hundreds if not thousands of people are imprisoned yearly under these and other European thought-control laws, often for multi-year sentences. And then there are other cruel, illegal things going on. Nuf' said.

An international fact-finding commission would be hard to make work, but the process should have a very open process, and international expert participants and observers. If one country actively tried to "cook the books" it could be be apparent and publicized. Such an effort would be the only chance to arrive at widely accepted conclusions.

Your assertion that such an effort is "as offensive" as the recent Tehran conference makes no sense to me. It seems to be based on an assumption that the Armenian version of the events (or non-events) of 1894-1923 is the revealed word of G-d. The logic is similar to that held by US "enthusiasts" of the prosecution of suspected child molesters or drunk drivers; that the offenses are so serious that all due process enjoyed by the accused in lesser matters (like murder) must be taken away, and no effective defense mounted.

Bob Lembke

PS: Polls indicate that Turkish approval for further efforts to meet the endless series of EU performance demands for consideration, which have been generated for decades, for membership, has recently dropped from 71% to 38%. The Turkish economy has been growing at 8% annually for two years without membership.

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Dear All,

The Turkish judiciary has a considerate number of conservative nationalists who hate the liberal reforms carried out by prime minister Erdogan's government so as to qualify for EU membership. It was them who smuggled in the new law under which Orhan Pamuk has been charged at the very time than the Turkish legal code was being cleaned of many other elements that were incompatible with EU legal norms.

Their aim was not simply to stifle the debate over the Armenian massacres of 1915-16. They chose Orhan Pamuk (a high-profile target because of his Nobel price) because they wanted to create an anti-Turkish backlash in the EU, reasoning that if enough foreigners criticize Turkey, a nationalist backlash will derail the entire project for EU membership.

For a number of people (the exact number will show at the next election) this worked, but for many other it didn't ... and many of those Turks were present at Hrant Dink's funural carrying signs : we are all Armenian ...

eric

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Arguing over the word 'genocide' and then deciding whether it does or doesn't apply to the Armenians is nothing but semantics.

genocide

• noun the deliberate killing of a very large number of people from a particular ethnic group or nation.

(Oxford Dictionary)

geno·cide

Function: noun

: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group

(Webster Disctionary)

'Although the term itself is of recent origin, genocide arguably has been practiced throughout history (though some observers have restricted its occurrence to a very few cases). According to Thucydides, for example, the people of Melos were slaughtered after refusing to surrender to the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War. Indeed, in ancient times it was common for victors in war to massacre all the men of a conquered population. The massacre of Cathari during the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century is sometimes cited as the first modern case of genocide, though medieval scholars generally have resisted this characterization. Twentieth-century events often cited as genocide include the 1915 Armenian massacre by the Turkish-led Ottoman Empire, the extermination of Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and other groups by Nazi Germany during World War II, and the killing of Tutsi by Hutu in Rwanda in the 1990s.'

(Britannica)

Genocide does not have to have been 'planned' in order to have occurred; 'deliberate killing' means merely that the deaths were not accidental or natural; it does not mean 'premeditated'. The 'requirement' for premeditation as a factor in deciding whether genocide is in fact genocide or is something else is fiction.

There is no shortage of sources that confirm that what happened to the Armenians fits the above definitions.

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I can't believe that I represented that Hrant Dink was Kurd! But the Kurds and the Armenians both present difficult and somewhat similar problems for the development of Turkey.

As to Dink's murder, if I am not mistaken, in the course of the "Armenian Holocaust" the Armenians entered the town that the young presumed killer came from (and fled to after the murder) and slaughtered thousands of ethnic Turk residents during WW I. I know that Bryn has a low opinion of the Ottoman Turkish archives (Bryn; the documentary that Eric has pointed us to includes several interviews with the "Director of the Turkish National and Ottoman Archives", if I have his title right; interestingly, the Director, a fairly young Turkish Ph. D., was about the only person in the hour long documentary, which is about half filmed interviews with scholars, themselves about half Brits and Yanks, who spoke in Turkish. You can have a name and a face to direct complaints to.) However, since presumably the records for Ottoman urban areas must have been better than rural areas, presumably the list of the 529,000 individual ethnic Turks allegedly killed by ethnic Armenians in the 1894 to 1923 period includes the Turkish civilians killed in this city. (Trazabond?)

This is hardly an excuse for this murder, which was probably intended to discredit Turkey in western eyes and help derail the EU application process, which I am sure that extreme Turkish nationalists fear, but may be an example of how long memories are in this corner of the world. I have visited the Balkans 18-20 times, worked there in governmental work (for both the US and two Jugoslav governments), lived there, studied there, and you can be surprised by people being quite upset about things that may have happened 600 years before. It is well known that the Serbs are still quite upset about Knez Lazar's head having been cut off on June 26, 1389 (the Turks were actually quite nice about it; I have been able to visit his head, but it took several day's investigation to find it; being equal-opportunity, I also visited the shrine to the intestines of the Turk who cut his head off); but it is much less well known (including to me) that the Croats seem to still be steamed about one of their guys losing his head in 1039, I am told.

What we require is equal-opportunity genocide, or at least equal-opportunity mass murder. If the 1894-1923 murder of say 700,000 Armenians is rated a Class 2 Genocide, then it would be fair to rate the murder of say 1,000,000 ethnic Turks and say 200,000 Kurdish Turks by the Armenians in the same arena and time period as a Class 3 Genocide. How would we rate the 1932-33 Terror Famine murder of 6-7,000,000 Ukranians? It is not just ignored, but knowledge of it is actively surpressed. Some years ago someone made an excellent documentry about it, based on Professor Robert Conquest's scholarly study of this genocide, and in the US at least a very active campaign was launched to successfully largely keep it off of US TV. Millions of German civilians were killed in Europe after WW II (including a good part of my family), but its mention is actively discouraged even by the German government. 1.8 million German soldiers survived WW II with their units but never made it home alive. To this day the US and French governments harrass people who look into this question. What we need is an impartial international genocide certification commission. A committed bureaucracy of dismal statistics.

This whole area is disgusting, and the extremely political nature of these questions, and the abuse of questioners, is a major reason why my formal study of European history ends in 1926, when my father got on the boat for New York. However, I find the politics of these questions fascinating, although I avoid the questions themselves like the plague.

Bob Lembke

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