Skip to comments.Turkish Archives Show Genocide Planning By Central Government: Scholar
Posted on 12/17/2012 4:35:33 PM PST by bayouranger
A capacity audience gathered to hear Prof. Taner Akçam speak about his most recent book, The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the Arenian Mirror Spectator reports.
Akçam is the only scholar of Turkish descent who chairs an Armenian studies department and one of only a handful of Armenian Genocide scholars researching in the Turkish archives. He has mined the archives extensively, with his latest book significantly contributing to the field.
"At the risk of sounding immodest, this is a first in many ways," Akçam said of the book, noting that he is presenting new theses to explain the Genocide. He said there are two issues: what happened and why did it happen. "As to why," he said, "We still have a long way to go."
The latest book is based on more than 600 documents from the Ottoman archives. There are two contradictory views, he explained.
Armenians who suggest that the Ottoman archives cannot be trusted because they were fabricated by those in power, either during Ottoman or Turkish Republic rule, and Turks who deny the Genocide and suggest that only Ottoman and Turkish sources can be trusted while any Armenian or Western material on the Genocide is suspect.
With this new work, Akçam said he hopes to prove that "Ottoman material shows us the same information as the German, American and British archives. It is different material on the same perspective."
"Talaat [Pasha] used his home as a private post office. He could send telegrams from his home," he said, including many directly spelling out the genocidal policies. In fact, he noted that in a 1982 interview only published in 2010, Talaat's widow revealed that the interior minister used the more secure home telegraph line to order the deportation of the Armenians.
Similarly, Akçam said that there is information about the ethnic cleansings of the Greeks, village by village.
Akçam said there was a direct correlation between reform movements in the Ottoman era and the start of mass killings; the first waves of the Genocide started in 1894, while the reform government came into power in 1895. The government sent out representatives to assess the population and wherever those representatives went, Akçam said, killings took place.
He offered some historical context, explaining that the period immediately preceding the main wave of the Genocide occurred at the end of the Balkan wars of 1912-1913, during which the Ottoman Empire had lost more than 80 percent of its European territories and more than 70 percent of its European population.
In return, hundreds of thousands of Muslims migrated to the Ottoman lands from Europe and were relocated in the Christian-majority Anatolia region, home of the Armenians.
Beginning in 1913, he said, the non-Muslim population of Anatolia was referred to as "tumors" that needed to be removed, and therefore the government embarked upon a "radical restructuring of Anatolia's demographic character."
In other words, the Christians, including the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians, were removed and the non-Turkish Muslims were relocated and dispersed among the Turkish Muslims to take their place.
Akçam said the removal policy was first tried out on the Greek minority. The Ottoman government came to an agreement, albeit illegal by the standards of international law, with Romania, Bulgaria and Greece and enacted a population exchange in 1913.
The Committee for Union and Progress (CUP), he said, which was in charge, would draw up plans for such removals and exterminations nationally but would later present them as the spontaneous actions of local populations throughout the empire.
The demographic policy was then used on the Armenians, with the plan to reduce the Armenian population to a "governable number." That number, he said, was deemed to be "5 to 10 percent" of the general population and no more than that. If they formed a bigger share, the Ottoman authorities suggested, they would be less easily governable. Thus, the officials conducted demographic surveys to find out the percentage of Armenians in various locales in Anatolia. For example, in the Kayseri Province, 49,947 Armenians were registered. Most were deported to Aleppo, Damascus and Mosul and the population was reduced to 5 percent. In the Eastern Provinces, the policy was "not a single Armenian was allowed to remain there." The Armenians were deported to Der Zor and by the beginning of 1916, a second wave of the Genocide started, during which an additional 200,000 Armenians were killed in the Syrian provinces in order to maintain the numbers below 10 percent. The authorities, he said, never expected as many to survive the forced marches in the desert.
In a letter from Talaat to Cemal Pasha on October 7, 1916, he specified the need to rid Cilicia of Armenians, as they, he stressed, were so attached to the land and considered it a central part of their heritage.
The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity was published in April. Akçam, born in Ardahan, is the holder of the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marion Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, Worcester.
Akçam used papers from the Interior Ministry, including various branches of its General Directorate and the Cypher Office. The role of the latter, he said, was "very important." The office was established in 1913, with the "pure purpose of [encrypted] telegraphic communication between the central office and the provinces."
The authorities encrypted the information, and believing they had developed a foolproof method, freely discussed their plans within the documents.
Other documents found by Akçam included a telegram from the Education Ministry to the Interior Ministry on June 26, 1915, regarding the fate of Armenian children -- soon to be orphaned -- who would need assimilation.
These documents are still intact, Akçam said, and anyone interested can freely access them.
He spoke about documents from the same archives dating to March 1, 1915, in which the authorities spelled out the Genocide policy.
[Excerpt] "Dadrian does not accuse Germany of instigating the Armenian genocide; he argues instead that Germany contributed to the genocide through policies that condoned it and that the German government sanctioned German and Turkish officials who participated in the genocide's implementation."
My point: There are arguments citing others' complicity why not include them?
IIRC some of the Germans stationed in Ottoman Turkey also served in Hitler's military.
...the plan to reduce the Armenian population to a "governable number." That number, he said, was deemed to be "5 to 10 percent" of the general population and no more than that. If they formed a bigger share, the Ottoman authorities suggested, they would be less easily governable.
I wonder what the Department of Homeland Security's "governmable number" is.
I dare them to voice it.
I triple dog dare them...
Adolf Hitler August 22, 1939
In preparation for the impending invasion of Poland, to Reichmarshal Hermann Goering and the commanding generals at Obersalzberg...
“Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter - with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me.
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?”
I do. The Turks thought we’d forget but they must be held accountable for their genocidal ways. It was absolute genocide, no matter if they prefer to call it jihad.
The European and American allies post W.W.I never even considered the annihilation of the Armenians -- they should have but did not IIRC what little history of that period I know.
Wait.. is that it? Where did I say that there was no annihilation of the Armenians? Is that what provoked your insults? You think I am saying that it did not happen?
No, in no way did I mean to insult you, WoC, but as more information comes out about the massacre we see an increased defense of the Turk’s action against a defenseless population of dhimmi Christians.
Please accept my apology if I offended you.
It's not a big deal and there was only one that I took as a possible insult to me (asking if I excused Islamist genocide); I was thinking more of the "filthy Turks are genocidal maniacs" remark.
Where have you encountered such people? Are Germans today filthy Nazis and genocidal maniacs? Are the Kurds filthy and genocidal? To wit, "500,000 Armenians Said To Have Perished. Washington Asked to Stop Slaughter of Christians by Turks and Kurds." The New York Times September 24, 1915.
I doubt that anyone will read the rest but I am posting it anyway.. some of it I posted before.
I have read in the past Turkish government statements agreeing that the killing of the Armenians was horrendous but they will not declare it a genocide. (The way that I read this is Turkey understands how critical "genocide" is for Armenia's efforts to get territory and money from the modern Republic of Turkey -- as I understand post-W.W.I history it was the victorious Allies who set the boundaries of modern Turkey -- so why blame modern Turkey for taking Armenian territory?)
Nothing excuses what happened to the Armenians nor does it excuse any crimes of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE.
As for the word "genocide".. IMO
-- especially the demands of both Armenia and the Armenian diaspora here in the U.S. that the United States of America adopt resolution after resolution condemning Turkey for genocide when both Armenia and the Armenian diaspora here in the U.S. apparently know that Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey is a secondary issue ( interview with Harut Sassounian an Armenian living in southern California).
[Excerpt ]"The real purpose of the resolution is not recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but a political struggle the issue of which side has a larger political capital in Washington. . . . [T]he admission of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey is an issue of secondary importance for us. . . . our lands were seized and our 3,000-year-old culture was destroyed. . . . Therefore, our true demand is compensation for this injustice. . . . Now specialists must study the lawyers advice and decide which issue should be submitted to which court, as there is the International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, US Federal Courts, etc. This is a most important issue. It must be studied with all seriousness, because, if we lose in court, Turkey will claim that Armenians have no legal demands."
There is general agreement among western scholars that over 500,000 Armenians died between 1914 and 1918 [end of W.W.I]; other estimates vary between 600,000 to 1,500,000.
I am not a historian but I can read and there is a hell of a lot more to this issue than screaming insults at Modern Turkey
for the crimes of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE -- wait to see if the AK Party gets away with converting the modern Republic of Turkey to an Islamic "Republic" then scream at them.
I’m human, & if I feel the need to apologize, I will.
OTOH, I’m sure that you’re aware that we’re not alone on these threads.
As for watch what is going on in Erdogan’s republic:
Turkish Jews Forced to Choose
by Joel Himelfarb Dec 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) is investigating the possibility that five Turkish citizens (all apparently Jewish) cooperated with Israel during the May 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla attempting to flout Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza. Passengers attacked IDF commandos with knives, clubs and other weapons as they attempted to board, triggering a brawl in which nine Turkish Islamists died.
MIT believes the five suspects either assisted Israel Defense Force troops boarding the ship or participated in the subsequent interrogation of activists in Israel.
Despite its longstanding terrorist links, the Istanbul-based IHH, the charity that helped drive the Mavi Marmara clash, has received strong support from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Weeks before the ship sailed, Erdogan told flotilla organizers he would support their efforts to break Israel’s “oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip.”
IHH officials have sought to focus investigators’ attention on the purported treachery of Turkish Jews. Ugur Yildirim, an IHH attorney, claimed Turkish citizens wearing IDF uniforms had been brought in to act as Israeli interpreters. IHH Deputy Chairman Huseyin Ersoz said that once the names were published, “everyone will know who the Turkish Jews are that served in the Israeli Army and killed Turkish civilians on the Mavi Marmara.”
According to Rafael Sadi, spokesman for the Association of Turkish Immigrants in Israel, Turkish authorities “are trying to intimidate the Jews” and to send Israel a message that if Turkish government demands for an Israeli government apology aren’t met, the Turkish Jewish community could suffer the consequences.
This follows the start of last month’s trial in absentia of four former senior Israeli commanders over the ship clash. In what Israeli officials describe as a “show trial,” former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi; former Navy Commander Eliezer Marom; former Air Force Commander Amos Yadlin; and former Air Force intelligence chief Avishay Levi face up to 18,000 years each in prison.
The Jewish population of the country, just over 80,000 in 1927, has fallen to no more than 20,000 today. Paris-based researcher Rifat Bali, who closely monitors Turkish Jewry, said in a recent interview that in the wake of the flotilla incident, a growing number of conspiracy theories have appeared in the Turkish media, and the nation’s tiny Jewish community has come under mounting pressure to support Erdogan and to denounce Israel.
Some Jewish journalists have declared their hostility towards Israel and expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians. For his part, Erdogan alternates between vowing to “protect” Turkish Jewry on one hand and labeling Israel a “terrorist state” on the other. Given the Islamist leader’s fierce hostility towards Israel, Turkish Jews who want his protection will likely think long and hard before saying positive things about Israel.
~~ I’ll keep watching.
“SPECIAL WARFARE AND CHRISTIANS” 11. Dec., 2012, Istanbul
“Imagine you watch this film about Turkey shot by a Turkish director: A Turkish sergeant major penetrates into the Christian community as a result of orders he received from his superiors. In a short while he is accepted by the Christian community as a member, he starts doing missionary activities across the country, distributing thousands and thousands of Bibles on the streets in shops and other places. He invited Turks to become Christians.
Meanwhile, he becomes one of the prominent figures in the community he penetrated; he even becomes a pastor and establishes his own church. However, his commanders then send him a second order saying that he has completed the first phase of his mission, and that he now needs to be a Muslim once again. But this of course needs to be done publicly.
He starts to appear on one TV channel after another, explaining that he has become enlightened, that he saw the ugly face of Christians and therefore became a Muslim once again. Following his dramatic appearances on TV channels, quite an intense psychological lynch campaign starts all over Turkey. And this lynch campaign is followed by physical attacks and murders.
If you watch all these in a movie on screen I am sure you would tell yourself the film exaggerated everything to a great extent. However, all these unbelievable things happened in Turkey starting from 2005 onwards.
Ilker Cinar, one of the key witnesses in the Malatya massacre case, which concerned the brutal and tragic murder of three missionaries in 2007 in Malatya, revealed all this and explained in great detail how he manipulated Turkish public opinion in the past. The authenticity of his statement will be established at the end of a court trial, of course. However, we already know beyond a reasonable doubt that some of the key elements in his narrative are indisputably true. First of all, these dramatic TV appearances are something we all saw with our own eyes. And again we saw the documents in the court files showing that he was receiving salaries from the General Staff both during his missionary activities and while declaring on TV channels that he had once again become a Muslim.
Cinar said that all the orders he received reached him in sealed envelopes or by telephone. He explained extremely interesting details in his statements to the prosecutors and the court. He said that after receiving an order to appear on a TV channel, he would then receive an invitation from the said TV channel. Apparently, the commanders who give him orders for public appearances had a lot of friends in the media, at universities and in many different places. Their network was so efficient that they were able to arrange TV programs for a sergeant to appear on most popular TV channels during primetime.”..........
Indeed...the only difference between the holocaust and the Armenian Genocide was the difference in technology. Both are equally horrific.