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Hidden Women.. [Turkish Editorial]
Hurriyet ^ | 4/25/2003 | Bekir COŞKUN

Posted on 04/25/2003 11:10:30 AM PDT by a_Turk

The fundamentalists have denied women.

Women have been assumed not to exist in law, social life, in business.

While counting two women's witness equal to one man's, they've made women second class.

They bought and sold her like a commodity.

There's not one woman in any assembly outside the closed family unit.

They wouldn't even let them enter places of worship.

And even when they finally had to leave this world they love, women do not take their place at the final ceremonies held in mosque courtyards..


From northern Africa to Afghanistan, from the Sudan to Azerbaidjan, without exception, this is the reason for the lands of Islam being so poor, backward, and oppressed.

Any country where you ignore fifty percent of the population, any country where you reduce the workforce by fifty percent and force them to be consumers only..

Any country where you exclude those creative, loving, peaceful women from political office and force them to remain at home..

That country will be bankrupt..

Just like the muslim countries from northern Africa to Afghanistan, from the Sudan to Azerbaidjan.


And Turkey?

Because it is home to women a bit more free, a bit more respected, a bit more vocal, Turkey is a bit less bankrupt in comparison.

That is why the headscarf discussion is important.

Outside of the shows by the speaker of Parliament, the ruling party wives are home, quiet, and almost non-existent.

That's what bothers me..

Hidden women whose silhouettes can occasionally be seen in the media, who are seated in the back rows at celebrations, who are horrified of the media, who don't know what to do, who are forbidden to speak..

Sure they deserve respect.

They are each mothers..

Home makers, who weep during hard times, who cannot show their happiness during good days, intimidated..

And to top it off, prisoners of an ideology which is criticized and blamed by at least seventy five percent of the population..

Women who can't just say: "If it's a problem, I'll remove my turban.."

That's what bothers me..

Women who exist, but almost don't.

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: freedom; fundamentalism; headscarf; islam; islamists; turkey
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To: eleni121; sparky samson; goodnesswins; a_Turk; Shermy; Mortimer Snavely; Aric2000; MadIvan


Prof. Dr. HASAN KÖNI;[**]

            We considered it as interesting to investigate on the article ‘Turkish Mentality’, published in the ‘Atlantic Magazine’ in 1925, which was written by the famous English historian, Arnold Toynbee, who has visited Turkey in April 1923 when the Lausanne Conference was interrupted.

The personality of Toynbee that I will elaborate in this paper, will explain the importance of his articles. In this article Toynbee, compares the Turkish revolution to other revolutions. By going down to the pre-Ottoman Turkish history era, he explains the Turkish state logic, mentality and the state of mind. Toynbee draws an interesting picture, regarding Anatolia’s minorities, especially the Greeks (which was the most supported nation by the British) and the reasons for their behaviour. The significance of Toynbee’s remarks on the Greeks stems from the fact that he was the head of the Greek History Chair at the Oxford University and that he had prepared numerous projects and researches on ancient Greek history. Toynbee also examines Ottoman minorities and makes some generalizations on this issue. Despite his neutrality, this article, of 1925, shows marks of his days in the British Secret Service. When discussing the borders of the new Turkish state, before the Mosul problem arised, Toynbee argues that enlarging the boundaries, determined in Lausanne, would create problems for the new state.  This article looks like a warning for the Turkish State to act carefully in the Mosul Issue.


We will not look at Toynbee’s personality in the classic biographic method by examining his childhood, marriage and the incidents in his life, but in the field of our interest, which is more about Toynbee’s political views and his thoughts and actions on Greece and on the War of Independence of the Turks and the Greeks.

Toynbee is a well known scholar who has given lectures at Britain’s Balliol College, Oxford University, on Greek Language, Ancient Greek History and the Anatolian Civilizations,  which were also the fields that the British intellectuals praised.

Toynbee commenced working at the British Foreign Ministry’s Propaganda Office in 1915 and afterwards continued his work at the ‘Political Secret Service Department’. (This department was later transferred to the Foreign Ministry) We are trying to explain Toynbee’s intelligence work at the secret service by using various sources.

The task that he had undertaken there, was to influence the American public opinion. He used to write daily reports for the English government after reading daily articles of the American media. The English propaganda changed its direction in October 1915: ‘The Turkish massacre against the Armenians’. This issue had gained importance after the speech of the president of British-Armenian Friendship Association, Lord Bryce in 6 October 1915. Bryce obtained his information from the American missioners who had founded schools and health centres in Anatolia. Turkey did not intervene in any of these schools and medical centres until the war with the US in 1917.

The aim of the Protestant American missioners was to convert the Muslims living in Anatolia to Christianity. As they did not succeed they tried to convert Orthodox Christians to Protestantism. The clients of the Protestant schools were Anatolian Greeks and Armenians. Despite the fact that the Armenians did not have the right to claim their independence, they went into collaboration with the Russians and fought against the Ottoman armies. Their losses were presented in an exaggerated way to the American missionaries, who transmitted these false information to the American ambassador MORGENTHAU and to the intelligence staff at the Robert College. This lead to the fact that finally the British held enough genocide propaganda material in their hands.

Although ambassador MORGENTHAU had to be neutral during his visits to the Dardanelles up to 1917, he transmitted information on the condition of the Ottoman army to the British army.

The most significant mistake that Morgenthau undertook was to transfer information about the Southeastern war fields, which were told him by his Armenian secretary in form of genocide stories, as if he has seen the conditions there, although he has never been there.

There were  various reasons for the British to start with the Armenian propaganda after the speech of Lord Bryce in 1915 in the British parliament. Firstly to convince their own nation that they are waging a fair war, so that they could justify the expenses of warfare and to be able to attract more people to the army. The second reason is the German counter propaganda about the massacres of the Jews by the Russians with the pretext that they did not fought well on the Galica front and the sympathy of the American Jews for the Germans. Such propaganda was needed to influence the American Jews and get them involved into the war. On the other hand the British were committing massacres to the Irish who had joint the Sinn Fein Organization and did not want to enter the war on the British side. The Germans were supporting the Irish. The British needed a new counter propaganda in order to cover the Irish incidents. From this point onwards the British propaganda gained intensity. In that propaganda, it was claimed that the Germans were responsible for the Turkish actions against the Armenians.  When Lord Bryce wanted the massacres towards the Armenians to be recorded systematically, Toynbee who was the most brilliant writer of the intelligence, was appointed as assistant to Lord Bryce. In fact neither Toynbee nor Bryce were aware of the real intention of the British government, which was to get America involved in the war.

Toynbee, depending on liberal values, put together the news he received from the American missioners in a 700-page book. The name of the book was ‘The Treatment of  Armenians in the Ottoman Empire: 1915 - 1916’. According to an English author, this book is the first extraordinary example of war propaganda. The book tires the readers with bloody scenes and brutality. The fact that it does not explain the reasons of the conflict between Turks and  Armenians, upset Toynbee because he was used as a tool in hiding the historical truth.

After realizing that short texts were easier to read by the people, the British Foreign Ministry published the ‘Blue Books’. Even though Toynbee wrote these books, Lord Bryce’s name was written on them. The first brochure was named ‘Armenian Genocides: A Death of a Nation’. The second brochure ‘The Deadly Pressure of The Turks’ has Toynbee’s signature and Lord Bryce’s introduction. Thousands of these brochures were published and distributed all over the British Empire, where the sun never sets, and America. Armenian genocide was not to be talked about after the entrance of America into the war. Toynbee’s new job was to write about the German massacres.

During the years 1916-1917 Toynbee published brochures like, ‘German Brutality: The Collapse of Poland’, ‘German Terror in Belgium’ and ‘German Terror in France’. When he finished these articles he said to a friend: ‘Thanks god I am through with the massacre stories’. Beginning from 1917, Toynbee worked on the intelligence reports received from the Ottoman Empire. Continuing in 1918 with intelligence reports coming from Central Asia. The outcome of this work was turned into a research book called ‘The Memorandum on the Muslim Nation Administrating Themselves’. In this study Toynbee claimed that the support the Germans gave to the Turks and the British gave to the Arabs, helped these nations to form their own states.

He further claims that the British drew back in spite of the developments in the Islamic world, and that only Armenians, Georgians, Kazakhs and Ukrainians remained as friends, the latter being in a doubtful situation. He also argues that Muslims and Bolsheviks were getting closer to each other.

Toynbee thought in 1918, when the peace process was developing, that Britain would play an important role in the peace with Turkey. However he is to hate Llyod George when he realises that he does not care about his ideas. In his newspaper articles between 1919-1924, he criticized Lloyd George’s wrong policies. At the Paris Conference of 1919, to which Toynbee went as the reporter of  Manchester Guardian, he had meetings with the representatives of Armenians, Greece, Arab, Jew and Kurds, whom were claiming land from the Ottoman Empire. Toynbee thought that İzmir would be the capital city of the new Turkish state, but he would not be able to explain his ideas to Lloyd George. In a letter he stated that the English and the Americans were supporting the idea that İzmir should be left to the Turks but their representatives to the conference thought differently. Toynbee did not consider the Sévres Agreement as realistic. In order to correct the mistakes of the conference, Toynbee and his friend Harold Nicholson (who would become an important diplomat later on) prepared some proposals stating that the European coasts of the Trace and Istanbul should be given to Greece and Turkey should stand on the Asian side. Toynbee was offered a Koreas professor’s grade with the purpose to teach ancient greek history literature at King College within the University of London. King College was financially supported by rich Greeks living in London. During his professorship at the King College in London, his articles were mainly on the Turkish Greek war from 1920 to 1922, in which he started to become more sympathetic towards the Turkish side.

In 1921 Toynbee was to ask for permission from his university to visit Anatolia and Greece. He was to attend these visits as the reporter of Manchester Guardian. On the 7th of January Toynbee arrives in Greece and turns back to London on the 21st of September. After visiting Greece Toynbee went to İzmir, where he, with the assistance of the director of the American College, Alexander MacLachlan, meets some Turkish businessmen. These Businessmen seem to support the Greek view. Toynbee wants to see the truth, so he, together with Kızılay visits the war places, where he recognizes that the Greek, by withdrawing from the war places, killed Turkish civilians. When Toynbee visited Yalova, he recognized that only 1500 of 7000 were still alive. From this time onwards he started writing about the brutality that the Turks were facing. He kept reporting his observations on the barbarity of the Greeks, and the Manchester Guardian published all these reports without changing a single word. In a letter he states that he himself rescued 700 persons from the Greek barbarism. These reports convinced the owner of the newspaper, C.P Scott and Toynbee that the Sevres Agreement was unfair and unrealistic and could not be implemented. Lloyd George’s  politics of the Near East which intended to keep up the British interests in the region and which ended up in a disaster, shall be given up. After all his observations Toynbee realised that he was only aware of half of the truth, while writing his articles in 1915. Just after he returned from Istanbul, he published his next book ‘The West Problem in Greece and Observation of the Turkish Civilizations’. In Toynbee’s view, both Greek civilisation and Turkish civilisation which is closed to Islam, were affected by the existence of the Western civilization in the area, but could not really adopt themselves easily to the Western Civilization. The developments in this area started with the presence and the superiority of the West. The Eastern problem about which the West is concerned, is basically a Western problem. At the point where these 3 civilizations meet, the two weaker ones collapsed.

Toynbee went on with writing articles in the following years. However we will focus on his articles until his second visit to Turkey in 1923. It is quite obvious that there is a lack of information. Firstly he did not have the possibility to read Ottoman documents. His knowledge on the Turkish revolution based on British intelligence reports and on books written by Western authors. With his experience during his journalism years, he did not have the ability to analyse Turkish history. Still his British point of view is quite significant because Great Britain was the mightiest state during the period of the Turkish revolution.   



In his article ‘The Turkish Mentality’, Toynbee claimed that this mentality is revolutionary. Ankara is in a state of defence formation and re-formation of the state. This atmosphere is comparable to all revolutions from 1793 onwards. Even though the Turkish Revolution was inspired by the French Revolution, it seems to have a different dimension. According to Toynbee, the previous revolutions were superficial. A great explosion cuts of the past in these revolutions. The developments that lead to this explosion start years before and after the explosion the same development continues in a straight line. Along with being influenced by French Revolution, the Turkish Revolution was a real one.


According to Toynbee the great war against the Ottoman Empire was beneficial for the Turkish nation. With this war the Turks had the chance to get rid of the old institutions; on the other hand the hostile Tsar Empire had collapsed, which left its place to a strange and new power, seeking Turkish friendship. The Germans, whose friendship constituted nothing but danger for the Turks, had left Turkey. The victors of the war with their obvious incapacity are exhausted. Their view is concentrated on their real enemy Germany. Turkey at this point is at second row. Greece that was forced to war with weak Turkey, proved that it had limited sources and was in danger of splitting up itself, which made it unreliable. The non-Turkish provinces of the Ottoman Empire, after being a big problem for years, and after the Turks having spend all of their energy for these foreign territories, broke off finally. After seing that the land they lived in was in danger, the Turks ceased from controlling the other nations and turned to rescuing themselves, considers Toynbee.

The new Turkish national movement has gained power after the invasion of İzmir by the Greeks. The Turkish National Pact (Misak-ı Milli), according to the above mentioned frame of logic, left the Arab provinces and formed a construction of which the borders are drawn according to the living space of the Turks. The energy of the Turks was focused on defending their own territories; unlike the Union of Progress, the new nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal had learnt a lesson not to join the pan-Islamism and the pan-Turanism movement, which is a doctrine of a Western historian Leon Cahun. By having rescued from megalomania, they have found an opportunity to be in a real war of independence. Mustafa Kemal and his friends were aware of the fact that pan-Turanist would damage the relations with Russia and would not lead to peace with Great Britain and France, who provided shelter for millions of Muslims themselves. Some Turkish leaders to which Toynbee talked, stated that Turkey has fought for Islam for many years and put aside their national progress and that the Turks later said ‘Why should we go on sacrificing ourselves. We gained our independence after having paid big prices for it during the war of 1919-1922. We reached a peace agreement, which nobody would reach easily. We won’t do anything for the Arabs from now onwards’.

Toynbee believed that this new Turkish mentality was important and courageous. It was showing that Turkey was going to live as a successful member of the international community. Toynbee further argued that the Turks went unnecessarily into a battle with the British in Musul, after being separated from the Arab territories. It should be also stopped trying to assimilate the Kurds, for a rising Kurdish nationalist movement would be unfortunately for the Turks. The problem of Musul had become a problem of boundaries and could be solved by the National Society Council.

Toynbee believes that the Turks, under their new leader, have a more moderate attitude, that a progress took place at the first meeting with the West, that later a recession took place but that he learned that it should not be under British occupation, and that Turks have the mentality to be a full member of the Western Community?.

According to Toynbee, being a special people, the Jews, have chosen the same way, not to be a colony and turned towards becoming a Western society.

From Toynbee’s point of view, Turks needed to get rid of the capitulations in order to get back to normal (Western norms). He states that capitulations were creating burdens in the economy and the second problem that was overcome by the Turks was the matter of minorities. Toynbee believes that Ottoman toleration, by only taking taxes from the minorities, allowed the practice of religion and language with large autonomy. This practice of the 16th century bore problems in the 19th century. The attempt for separation of the minorities, which wanted to create their own states, increased with the support of the Western powers. The Minorities were engaged in commerce and industry in the Empire, which is the core reason for them to form a powerful class. The dangers of this progress were felt during the Greek invasion, where the Anatolian Greeks took place besides the invaders. Turkey, with the National Pact, gave the minorities the rights of the West, which was a decrease of the exaggerated minority rights of the Ottoman Empire. On the other side, the fact that the Greeks of Thrace and Anatolia emigrated to Greece and the Turks of Western Thrace immigrated to Turkey made solved the problem of minorities to a great extent.

Whereas ın the summer of 1922 western Turkey and northern Greece had a complex national structure, today it is of a  homogenous structure like in Italy, France and Germany.

According to Toynbee, the most radical and interesting changes were achieved under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, in the fields of political, economic and social life reforms. One of the most important changes has been the dismissal of the Sultanate and the emergence of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, as a legitimate power. Toynbee mentions that the sultanate was in power to represent its own family and not the Turkish nation and he further points out that Vahdettin Efendi has worked against the benefits of the Turks in the years of invasion. A more radical movement was the abrogation of the caliphate. Toynbee believes that the caliph was the worldly leader of the Muslims not a spiritual leader like the one in the Roman Empire. There was a strong worldly administration during the powerful periods of the Ottoman Empire, and thus there was not a need for the caliphate. He puts on his argument by stating that, only after the Ottoman Empire saw its Muslim territories in danger by being conquered by Christian powers, enlightened Turks realized (understood) the difference between a worldly and a spiritual leader.

In this case the Caliphate had been defined incorrect: just like the Pope, who was presented as the spiritual leader of the ancient populations of the lost territories, the Caliph had been presented as the spiritual leader of the Muslims of India and China. This construction occurred  as Abdülhamit’s policy and continued under the Union and Progress party. The Pope is in a strange structure within an independent nation-state. Turkey saw the Caliph on a comparable level as the Pope, but left this system, after a year of experience. Finally, according to Toynbee, the third permanent impact has been realized on 3 areas; the movement of freeing women, the modernization of agriculture and the entrance of Turks individually in the areas of trade and industry. Toynbee considers these 3 developments  as the most significant ones, according to the future of Turkey. 


            As it is mentioned above, Tonybee did not, apart from the British intelligence sources and his personal visits, observe the Ottoman documents until this article. Out of this reason he made some incorrect decisions on the areas of the new state that Atatürk was trying to create, Ottoman manner towards the minorities and even on the politics of his own country.

Although he soon understood, after his several visits to Turkey, that the propaganda articles he wrote between 1915 – 1917 were wrong; these articles are up to now still used against Turkey by Armenians and Greek Cypriots. He would have corrected the mistakes  in his following articles. For example, it is a correct finding that Turks created the Ottoman Empire on the synthesis of Central Asian culture rather than on Byzantium and Roman culture. However the argument that they left their own culture and took over the Western culture is incorrect. Turks created a synthesis by adopting suitable sides of different cultures. This is the main reason for Turks for not loosing their identity all around the world today. It is possible to see the situation after the observations of Ottoman documents in Halil İnalcık’s examinations. The settlement of Turks in the Balkans, and the administration system they adopted, prevented feudal disputes and bloody strifes between the clans, which had a big impact on the socio-economic improvement of the Balkans.

            The crashing effects of the crusaders were cleared by the presence of the Ottoman Empire in this region. The inclusion of the Arab lands to the Empire in 1517 lead to the Ottomans gaining the Caliphate. The empire used the title Caliphate together with the titel Sultanate in order to gain sovereignty among the Arabs. On the other hand Caliphate is an institution that has both, spiritual and worldly features. Toynbee’s mistake at this point is that he could not understand the point that this institution was removed because it did not have any functionality within the new Turkish State. It is interesting that none of the Arab states, although the British wanted to give them the Caliphate in order to prevent the holy war (cihat)  did not want to take over the Caliphate, which has its roots in the Kureyshi tribe. 

In terms of the minority problems, it is a fact that the West provoked the happy minority groups within the Ottoman Empire in order to gain partners and to pull them to their side. Ilber Ortaylı puts forward, that with the trade agreements signed in 1711’s the West gained trade partners in the Empire, finally made the colony agreement in 1838. With the reforms of 1856, the partners of the Western companies were the Ottoman Christians and Jews. The reason that fastened the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, as Toynbee also confesses, is the game that the West played with the Christian and Muslim groups within the Empire. First of all the West supported the Greeks, which was followed by other Christian minorities. Especially Great Britain, which improved several games on the Muslim minorities is responsible for the appearance of the Arab and Kurdish problems. Toynbee, who accepts the fact that the Turks created a correct map for themselves, by sticking to the territories inhabited by Turks, seems to forget about the Turkish population in Musul. Great Britain, who did everything for the Kurds to revolt, thought that Kurdish nationalism would not affect the Arabs but it would only harm the Turks. Toynbee doesn’t seem to be aware of the games his country played for oil. Toynbee who declares that his country, France and Italy have a homogenous structure, ignores that between 1915 - 1921 during the Irish revolts many people were executed and an important portion of the remainders migrated to U.S.; he further ignores that the Scottish are a different nation, that Basques, Bretons, Corsicans and Alsatians live in France. He completely ignores that, because there was no help from the outside like in the Ottoman empire, the revolts ended up unsuccessfully.

            Toynbee’s declarations on the untrustworthiness of the Greeks were correct. The Greeks who entered the Anatolian adventure only for their own primitive benefits, did not abstain from violating their own population. It is clear that, as much as the Turkish War of Independence was affected by the Greek occupation, the occupation of south Anatolia by Armenian armies affected the Turks as the Greek Cypriote occupation.

            Toynbee’s works, which shall be read in the light of the newly found concepts/inventions, is reflecting probably the inability of a scientist to make distinction between propaganda and real history.

[*] The Turkish original of this article was published in Savunma ve Havacılık Dergisi No.3 / 2000

[**] Ankara Üniversitesi

61 posted on 04/26/2003 6:28:15 AM PDT by Turk2 (Dulce bellum inexpertis)
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To: GiovannaNicoletta; SeattleTiger; goodnesswins
>> I think goodnesswins means that thinking women should vote, i.e. women who think, and utilize logic and reason to make decisions, as opposed to feeling women

But the same is true for both sexes, and the chance that's taken is part and parcel of democracy. That's why we have the necessary evil called politics, don't we? On one hand we hate the duplicity of politicians, and on the other hand we'd never vote for someone who told us the honest truth.. Go figure..
62 posted on 04/26/2003 6:40:17 AM PDT by a_Turk (Lookout, lookout, the candy man..)
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>> Unexpected at least to ME.

Turks are a central asian people. Middle eastern culture is grafted on them. Men and women worked and fought side by side while their tribes migrated through the area. Turks remained a mostly rural society until urbanization picked up momentum in the 60s. This allowed most Turks to preserve their tribal customs. Turkish village women are in no way oppressed. They mostly vote with the left.

But once they start settling in cities where they try to initially duplicate village life by building small houses on squatted on land (creating slums), they get picked up by "charitable" organizations who then try to teach them how to be modest(!!). It's politics.. Most don't buy it.

Anyhow, the womans role in rural and nomadic Turkic culture is totally different than Arabian culture. We're not bearing the burden of the old mesopotamian cultures like the Sumerians I wrote of in a message above.

Cavalry archers vs camel riders..
63 posted on 04/26/2003 6:53:48 AM PDT by a_Turk (Lookout, lookout, the candy man..)
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To: a_Turk; DED



            Most history sources on the Armenian Question refer to the strong ties established between the Armenians and the altruistic American Protestant missionaries in the Ottoman Empire. This often invites the attention of the readers to learn more about the missionaries and understand their role in the Turco-Armenian conflicts during the last phase of the Empire. There are abundance of sources displaying the missionaries’ views as apologists of the Armenians especially when allegations on Armenian massacres by the Turks are concerned. These views mostly bearing the basic omission of favourable comments for the Turks, usually concentrate on popular assertions of condemning the Ottoman government of being the designer of extermination of a race. However, not much has been written and said about another group of American missionaries who have resided on the same territories for approximately forty years, stretching from 1880’s to 1914. This group, representing the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, administered from their headquarters by the Mormonic Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah were shortly referred to as the Mormons.

Interestingly, Mormon missionaries were also U.S. citizens, and the cause for their existence in the Ottoman Empire was not much different from the Protestant American missionaries: They were highly devoted to their religious convictions and chose to venture in distant lands to preach the Gospel.  Their duty was converting, and this compelled them to be amongst and directly in touch with people.  Using the advantage of benefiting from the experiences of their compatriots, they also chose the Armenians as potential converts and pursued their relations with them. During their mission in the Ottoman Empire, naturally they lived through the same course of history as the former group. However, when we explore into their correspondences, reports, diaries or testimonies (short life stories the Mormons had to present to the Church), we do not come across the same culmination of anti-Turk assertions preached by the Protestant missionaries, nor do we see the Armenian conflicts as the focus of their mission.  Assuming that not finding the antagonism encountered in the writings of one group of American missionaries in another would inevitably urge a non-biased reader of Turkish Armenian relations to learn more about the Mormon missionaries, some documents from Mormonic records will be presented in this article.    

Few Words About Missionary Activities In the Ottoman Empire

            Missionary activities in the Ottoman Empire can be traced back to the 16th century. However, it was not until 1820 that the American Protestant missionaries, anticipating to proselyte Ottoman subjects set foot on Ottoman territories. The 1830 Commercial Treaty between the Ottoman Empire and the United States, believed to be a power imperialistically disinterested in the Empire, also served to bring good reception to American missionaries     and soon they became the most influential of the existing missionary groups. Noting the orthodox applications of the Gregorian church towards the Armenians, the American missionaries translated the Bible to Armenian, and in public places and house-calls approached this millet in their vernacular language. In addition their religious guidance with their benignant styles, they displayed benevolence through orphanages, Sunday schools, educational institutions, adult classes and medical centres they established especially in areas where the state remained inefficient and soon, won over the Armenians. Meanwhile they became the source of information to the United States, previously uninformed about the Ottoman Empire and the Turks. The Americans learned about this distant land and its people mainly through the correspondences, reports, and articles of the American missionaries.

On the other hand, the Ottoman administrators regarded the American missionaries a bastion against the provocations of the imperialistic states over the Armenians, hence, welcomed and even encouraged their activities. No hardship was encountered for the erection of American consulates when missionaries sought federal support due to Ottoman disorder which increased as Turco-Armenian relations deteriorated.  As American missionary stations, and accordingly, consulates multiplied throughout the Ottoman Empire, philanthropic missionary activities started to reflect signs of American foreign policy. Consequently favourable official relations with the missionaries tarnished as Armenianism became the main factor missionaries used to influence U.S relations. Economic concerns between the United States and the Ottoman Empire in early 19th century  declined   to the point that in the 1890’s   missionaries were the main interest of the U.S. in Ottoman lands. [1]

Towards the end of the century, culminating effects of missionaries’ correspondences and reports, no longer pietistic, multiplied imperialistic interests in the Ottoman Empire to the point of serving as an invitation to the Mormons, long in search for a suitable colonization area where they could freely practice their religion.

Now Some Words On Mormonism and Mormon Missionaries

            Mormonism was initiated in Manchester, New York by Joseph Smith in early 19th century. By 1830, the English version of The Book of Mormon was published and The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, briefly referred to as LDS was established. 

The principles and practices of Mormonism, claimed to be modernized version of Christianity, actually were quite different than what had been practiced for over l830 years.  They included obedience to living prophet, performing compulsory missionary work to spread the Gospel, restricting alcoholic or cafeinated beverages as well as consumption of tobacco while they encouraged practice of polygamy in order to provide rapid development of Mormonism. Although Joseph Smith immediately gained some adherents, his small community was much resented by Christian Americans. More so, they were persecuted by Americans and expelled from wherever they settled as they migrated from one place to the other until they reached Salt Lake City, Utah, which became their permanent residence.

Utah’s inclusion into the Union in 1850 compelled the Mormons to observe the Federal laws and, of course, the Constitution.  This created problems for the Mormons who sought to constitute a theocratic state for themselves while the U.S. Constitution called for secularism; and wished to pursue plural marriages while initially, the social codes in all states, and later, in 1890, the Federal Government outlawed polygamy.  Mormons were acknowledged about the practice of polygamy in Islamic societies, and of course, in the Ottoman Empire.  Meanwhile, they observed the imperialistic approaches of the powerful European states towards the Ottoman Empire, considerably weakened since the beginning of the century.   Accordingly, they did not lose any time in reaching across the Atlantic with the anticipations of colonizing Ottoman territories where they were sure they could freely practice Mormonism. Hence, Mormon missionary activities in the Ottoman Empire started with the arrival of Elder Joseph Spori in Istanbul in 1884. This was when American missionary activities in the Empire were at their climax and the Armenian nationalists were preparing to establish the main revolutionary societies which developed the antagonism between the Turks and Armenians, and eventually, breed the bloodshedding conflicts. Undoubtedly the beginning of the incidences can also be attributed to numbers of other causes stretching from economic to imperialistic to political, etc.

The reader must keep in mind that the objective of this article is not to argue on the causes or the consequences of the conflicts between the Turks and Armenians, subjects of the same Empire.  It is an attempt to open a different and a comparative dimension to researchers of the issue by displaying some views of American Mormon missionaries, developed during their mission in Ottoman lands. The Mormons were deprived of the support of their Government, moreso, even politically and socially rejected at home. Unlike the Protestant American missionaries, this saved them from political involvements to the Armenian issue.  The below abstracts from what their missionaries in the Ottoman Empire have conveyed to their headquarters as their impressions of Turks, Turkey and the Armenian incidences are more indifferent and as will be viewed, certainly do not focus on criticizing the Ottoman administration or reflecting their mistreatment of the Armenians, as claimed in the others’. 

Mormon Missionaries In the Ottoman Empire

             The arrival of the Mormon missionaries in the Ottoman Empire was some sixty years after the American Protestant missionaries, so, they were not as ignorant about the Empire as were their compatriots, back in the l820’s.  However, they probably did not have a high opinion of the Turks, possibly due to impressions related by the Protestant American missionaries. Nevertheless, their opinions started to change as they established favourable relations with state authorities they contacted in order to secure official grounds for their presence in the Empire. As a matter of fact, they even started to compare the ill treatment they were exposed to back home with the fine reception they had from Ottoman officials and the Turks. One of the pioneering Mormon missionaries, Elder Tanner, soon after his arrival in Istanbul expressed his opinion about the Turks as “After all, they are the most honest and moral of the Orientals. Like the Mormons, however, they have been wonderfully misrepresented!” [2]

            In Istanbul, Mormon missionaries first sought for opportunities to introduce Mormonic principles to Turks. Meanwhile, outcast by Protestant missionaries they referred to as “American missionaries” they attempted to establish their own official contacts. To their surprise, they were able to reach even the uppermost authorities. Elder Hintze, following a visit to the grand vizier was accepted by Munif Pasha, the Minister of Public Education and was assured that the government would not interfere with the Mormon missionaries as long as they did not attempt to Mormonize the Turks. [3]

Realizing that the revelation of their contacts with the Turks could jeopardize their stay in the Ottoman Empire, they took up labour among the Armenians.  They tried to tempt the Armenians by talking about financial opportunities Utah offered to Mormons. As a matter of fact, some confessed that “money bought many converts”. Elder Charles Locander specifying Armenian indifference about religion mentioned that some Armenians they preached straight forwardly asked how much they would be paid if baptized. [4]       

            Missionary Tanner, also accepted and much impressed by Münif Pasha, whose actual interests lied in the educational rather than the religious aspect of the missionaries, carefully noted his parley with the Minister and included “He could not comprehend why the United States should persecute the Mormons as the Americans boasted of their great political and religious liberty”. [5]

Actually, the friction between the two groups of American missionaries was to the point that as one of the Mormon missionaries, Fred Staufer noted in his journal, the Protestant missionaries forbade their congregations to visit the Mormons. [6] The resentful attitude of their compatriots must have diverted the Mormons to develop a better understanding of the Turks for their recorded impressions do not bear the bitterness viewed in those of the American Protestant missionaries’. For example, below is a passage reflecting Missionary Tanner’s impressions of the Turks, titled “Who Can be So Polite and Courteous As a Turk” from History of the Turkish Mission:

 “I have often wanted to write you something about the domestic life and institutions of the Turks, but I have been among them only about eight months, and I did not wish to expose myself in a nonsensical way about people much talked of, and I am thus far convinced grossly misrepresented. During odd moments, and by way of change of work as a rest, I have read some eight volumes on the peoples of Turkey-The Turkish harem –meaning the “holy”, is an object of much comment.  The “haremlik” is the women’s apartment, and the “selamlik” is the men’s apartment.  The harem is not an institution of polygamy, but a religious or race institution, and belongs to every household.  Polygamy is little practiced in Turkey, still it is an acknowledged institution. All women wear a veil that conceals most of the face except the eyes, though among many of the modern beauties it is so thin- made of such light muslin – that the features can be distinctly seen through it.  The Turkish woman by no means is a slave; indeed she enjoys many more privileges in her harem than European women do in their homes.  Like many of their European sisters, they have a mind of their own and they are not afraid to let it be known.  But Turkish women do not associate in any way with men, except their immediate relatives or husbands. ........... free association of men and women as among the Europeans is unknown to the Turks....... The men have their gatherings and amusements to themselves, and the women, likewise. If there is any truth whatever in the saying that “Virtue is the absence of temptation”, the Turks are vastly superior morally to the Europeans. I have formed the acquaintance of a German foreign correspondent of Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna newspapers. He has been in this country a great number of years, and has lived in Turkish families.  His ideas, though embodied in those of most Europeans of considerable experience here with whom I have talked, are probably the most definite and best formulated. He has repeatedly asserted that the Turks are vastly more moral respecting women than Europeans.  His theory is that if the Turks had more of that passion which, while it has developed Europe intellectually, has made its moral status so low, they would be superior to what they now are. A few of the Turks, however, practice polygamy, and that furnishes the literary artist materials to paint all sorts of pictures. Probably no city in the world presents on its surface a worse spectacle of fallen women of Christendom and Judaism than this.  One often hears stories of the grossest immorality of the Turks, and he hears them just as often contradicted. There are many curious customs among the people here, and they furnish literary men and newspaper correspondents, stopping a few weeks here, stuff for many silly and nonsensical stories.  You know there is considerable political speculation about this country, and there are men here, politicians, who have made in the past and expect in the future to make money out of European interferences. There are many things I cannot praise among the Turks in their administration of affairs; but because A lets the weeds grow up in the garden, it is no excuse that B should rob him of it. The Turkish Question, or the Eastern Question as it is more generally called is weak Turkey. The Greeks want European Turkey, The Russians would like Constantinople, and England is planting strong interests here.  The Germans are strongly represented, and Bismarck to-day has his fingers deepest in the pie of Turkish politics, and his influence is great with the government.  England has been a greater enemy to Turkey than Russia.  Russia is our avowed enemy in her attempts to enforce her pan-Slavic schemes, but England has been an enemy in the disguise of a friend-has inflicted internal wounds that are more difficult to heal than external ones inflicted by Russia.” [7]   

If we leave aside the favourable comments of a Mormon missionary about Harem (since Mormons were polygamist), this abstract holds an analysis about the Ottoman Empire of 1886 and the Turks, through the eyes of an American. What should be noted is that it is not designed to invite hostility or contain degrading criticisms and evaluations of Turkish practices frequently observed among the documents of Protestant American missionaries.  

Naturally not all of the missionaries’ writings praised the Turks. However, their complains generally culminated around the restrictions of Abdulhamit II’s absolutist reign.  They specifically pointed out to points such as the sanctioning required for practices of different beliefs, the serious censor applied to all publications and restrictions for such instruments as typewriters, for they prevented the observation of individuality of handwritings and telephones, with the fear that they would be used for conspirations against the government. [8]

            Impressions related in the correspondences of the later Mormon missionaries, particularly of those serving in the Ottoman Empire during the time of deportation and the First World War were also different from the Americans’. Mormons’ independence from being the agents of American foreign policy in the Middle East even reflected in the writings of their Armenian converts.  Most of these Armenian converts wrote their testimonies or notes after they migrated to the United States, which means they had nothing to fear from to express their true feelings. Yet what they wrote were mostly simple history or their personal lives.   As it will be observed in the lengthy passages deliberately given in the  examples below, [9] although they sometimes contained incorrect verdicts (as is seen in the first), which the authors resorted to for reflecting negative opinions of the Ottoman administration, this was not very frequent.  In other words, they were not written to incite hatred and hostility between the two people who, for centuries, have coexisted peacefully:

The first example is, from “A short History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in The Middle East” by Abraham Hindoian, an Armenian who was born in Aleppo and later immigrated to Salt Lake City where he lived for 60 years until he passed away in 1970’s. The short text begins with a retrospect to the initial steps of Mormon missionaries in the Ottoman Empire: 

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints first came into contact with the Middle East when, on October 1841, Welder Orson Hyde dedicated the Holy Land for the return of the Jews.  Since that time the Church has sent missionaries to that area to preach the Gospel to the Christian people there, especially the Armenian people, whose long heritage (theirs was the first nation to fully embrace Christianity) made them receptive to the message of the restoration.”

“Active missionary work began with the arrival of Elder F.F. Hintze in Istanbul, Turkey in 1888.  At that time, Turkish was the only language legally in the use throughout the Turkish Empire.  Penalty for the use of any other language was the loss of the offending person’s tongue. Consequently, the Armenian people spoke Turkish, and brother Hintze studied this language.  He became very proficient in it, and, using Armenian characters, translated the Book of  Mormon into the Turkish language.”   

            The second paragraph is sufficient to indicate the biased, antagonistic attitude the author nourished towards the Ottoman administrators, for sources on Ottoman history very clearly underline Ottoman tolerance displayed and the linguistic, religious and traditional liberties granted to different communities within the Empire.  Nevertheless, Hindoian did not bother to write about any of the pre-1915 Turco Armenian conflicts and incidences we read about.  Mentioning the First World War and the 1915 deportation, he gave the much argued   Armenian death toll as one and a half million.  However, he indicated that this figure included those killed by hunger and disease as well.

Hindoian continued by mentioning that at the end of the war, in 1918, the surviving deported Armenians returned to their homes and the members of the Mormon Church were gathered, organized and reactivated. [10]

He concluded the part of his memoirs about the Ottoman Empire with noting deprivations applicable to all, and the post-war developments in his region prior to Mormons’ migration to Syria:

“Peace did not last long.  The Turks began fighting the French in the Aintab area, as Aintab was in the French mandate, and the Truks wanted to expell the French.  The Armenians began allying themselves with the European power, and they were consequently hated and killed by the Turks whenever and wherever they were caught.  During this time, there was little food and clothing for the members, and they experienced a terrible time.  At times, the people had to eat the leaves of trees. Fortunately, only two members were injured during the hostilities.”


Reuben Ouzounian, an Antep born Armenian was another member of the LDS Church who migrated to Salt Lake City in 1955. His Orthodox Gregorian family accepted Mormonism in 1896, when he was four years old. Ouzounian, in his testimony, did not mention the Turco-Armenian conflicts prior or during the First World War.  Moreso, after explaining his father’s rug business, he referred to the war and hardships of the time with only the following few sentences:

“We had very hard times during the first war.  My Dad passed away with (colera)(sic) disease, all the responsibility was upon my shoulders.  My brother, Carle, could hardly manage by himself having few looms himself.  We remained in Aintab, Turkey because of our rug business. The Turks never let us leave the country because of our business in the year 1915.  I went into the army while my sisters ran the business themselves...”

This last sentence of the above paragraph in Ouzounian’s notes is an indication to the fact that not all Armenians (especially those not involved in actions against the state and simply continued their business) were relocated.

            Another Mormon, Hagop (Tumas) Thomas Gagosian, an Armenian who was born in Zara (Sivas), in his 19 page diary first wrote about his parents’ marriage as he explained in detail Armenian marriage traditions, almost identical with the Ottoman Turks’. On later pages, he gave lengthy accounts on the introduction of Mormonism in Zara, the opening of the first Mormon church there on 6th of October, 1888; conversion of his family to Mormonism and alliance to the LDS Church, his baptism in 1894, his own marriage and his professional experiences on different practices from hair-cutting to plastering .

            Gagosian’s notes continued:

“I had been active in Hunchagian party.  This party secretly worked against the government because the government had mistreated the Armenians.  I went to the Chairman of the party and asked him to release me of my duties on account of my new religion (Mormonism). I did not believe as I used to.  He held a meeting with the other members.  They decided they could not release me. If they did they feared I might reveal some of our secrets to the government.  Some of them advised the leader to get rid of me. They figured it was better for one man to die than the whole party lose their lives.  The leader was a good friend of mine.  He told them he’d never do that but he could not convince many of the others that course of action was not best because many were afraid of their own lives.  My friend, the leader, came to me and advised me to leave the country as soon as possible because he did not know how long he could stop the party from doing something drastic. There was not much to do but to leave the country ....”  


He continued by relating how, after this development, his concern for personal safety added to desire to learn more about Mormonism and took him to Utah after a long journey through many Turkish cities and Cyprus, where he stopped to join his Armenian acquaintances, and worked for some time.  The island, as he wrote, was under British control at that time. Gagosian wrote that “...Years ago, when the Greeks owned this Island, they mistreated the Armenians so they say that the Armenians opened one of the gates and let the Turks in for which the Turks gave them some land and an old church.” 

 His notes later include his days in Utah and return to Turkey, in l898, with a group of Mormons after “F.F. Hintze convinced me that I should go back with them because when they colonized the Armenian Mormons over there I would be here alone”.

The later pages of Gagosian’s notes contained details of the time he spent in the Ottoman Empire until 1910, when he returned to the United States for a permanent stay. The diary concluded with his mostly family life in the United States until he passed away in 1952.

It is in the part on his stay in Cyprus, while trying to escape from the Hunchak threat  that, in approximately half a page, he  mentioned  the incidences  between the Turks and Armenians: He wrote of hearing orders “to massacre Armenians” and  the Turks’ ill treatment and receiving the news about his family’s safety that a Turkish woman had saved his son’s life by risking her own.

There are parts in all of the above examples and other documents referring to the hardships and poverty suffered, and these were reflected as the main reason why the Armenian converts wanted to immigrate to the United States, where they were promised a prosperous life by the Mormon Church. Yet, deprivations which undoubtedly multiplied by wars, were not what the Mormons or Armenians alone had to endure, but as mentioned before, were applicable to all Ottomans suffering from the brunts of the economic decline of the state. Nevertheless, end of the First World War became a turning point for the LDS Near East Mission. The Mormons abandoned their imperialistic ambitions in Turkey, and discontinued their missionary activities at the beginning of the Turkish Independence War.  However, the Armenian converts they took to Salt Lake City, in the course of time justified the remark Elder Charles Locander made in the beginning of Mormon missionary experiences in the Ottoman Empire, “money bought many converts” [11] and became staunch advocators of the anti-Turkish political polemics of Armenian propagandists.       

* Professor of History at the History Department of the Middle East Technical University

[1] Grabill, Joseph L. Protestant Diplomacy abd the Near East, Missionary Influence on American Policy 1810-1927, Minn. 1971, p. 35-40

[2] Millenial Star, June 22, 1886

[3] Provo Archives, Msf 696, No.1 April 6, 1888

[4] Desert News, May 22, 1889

[5] CRmh 14450, Vol.I, July 13, 1886

[6] Journal of Fred Staufer, July 19, 1850, CRmh 14250, Vol.I

[7] 1886 July 31, SLC/CRmh14250 Vol.I, Turkey Mission

[8] Desert News, April 25, 1908 (Possibly, these impressions were of an earlier date, however, their appearance in Salt Lake City journals are after the conclusion of  Abdülhamit II’s  absolutism, by his disposition.

[9] These examples are documents from the Bringham Young University Archives in Provo, Utah.

[10] BYU Archives, Provo

[11] Desert News, May 30, 1889

64 posted on 04/26/2003 7:40:22 AM PDT by Turk2 (Dulce bellum inexpertis)
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To: a_Turk
You are right, and at the risk of being completely politically incorrect, I do believe that women are more gullible to the lies and machinations of a polished psychopath like Bill Clinton.

However, there are signs in certain quarters that men are beginning to catch up to women in the gullibility department (Tim Robbins? Sean Penn? Martin Sheen?); but I tend to attribute that on the part of men to laziness and a certain cowardice as opposed to being slaves to emotion, as so many women are.

65 posted on 04/26/2003 7:44:08 AM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta
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To: Turk2
Good post.
66 posted on 04/26/2003 7:51:23 AM PDT by Mortimer Snavely (More Power to the Troops! More Bang for the Buck!)
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To: Mortimer Snavely



Dr. Hasan OKTAY*

Van and the Armenian Separatism

It is cardinal to understand the importance Van in order to grasp the Armenian Question. Aram Manukian, who played a leading role in the first Van revolt in 1896 and fled to Russia afterwards, returned back to the city in 1904. His primary aim was arming the local Armenians in the anticipation of  another widespread revolt.

The Turks and Armenians cohabited in Van for centuries. The extremist elements within the Armenian community wanted to form an independent administration, and possibly a union with Russia. As they didn’t form the majority in Van, neither in the rest of the Empire, they choose the way of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by organizing armed Armenian terror organizations to get rid off the local Muslim population and thereby to create an Armenian Van.

Under the liberal political atmosphere following the declaration of the Second Ottoman Constitution in 1908, the post of mayor of Van was given to an Armenian from the Loyal People (millet-i sadika), called Bedros Kapamaciyan in mid 1909. [i] He was a delegate of the Van board of directors. Although the city was populated overwhelmingly by Muslims, Kapamaciyan was elected thanks to the tolerance of the residents of Van without being subject to any discrimination, therefore, he received the votes of the Muslims as well. Two out of ten delegates of board of directors were elected among Armenians. [ii] Traditionally the mayor of Van used to be elected among the Muslim delegates, as they represented the majority of the population. However, all members agreed to elect Kapamaciyan. Consequently, he was elected unanimously. Although we do not have much information about Kapamaciyan’s background, [iii] it is commonly known that he was an outstanding member of a respected family dealing with drapery trade. [iv]

Locals were happy with him while he served his term in office. He did not facilitate the aspirations of the Armenian Revolutionary Tashnak Committee, [v] which was headed by Manukian and was quite influential in Van. Kapamaciyan attempted to serve honestly for the peace and prosperity of all communities living in Van and to act always in favor of the Ottoman interests, not those of the Tashnak and Hinchak committees, which had revolutionary and separatist objectives. While Mayor Kapamaciyan was working hard for peace and for the future of the constituency, the Armenian Patriarch initiated some provocative plans for rebellion in Van and its surroundings with the Tashnak committee in order to continue the European states that the ‘Armenian cause’ was still alive. [vi]

In line with these plans, a series of fires broke out in Van in April 1912 and the houses of some Armenians were also burnt down. The Patriarch requested the mayor to report these fires to the European embassies, and inform that the Muslims were ready to destroy the properties and to kill the Armenians and that the Muslims were responsible for fires. [vii] Contrary to what he was asked mayor Kapamaciyan prepared a report stating that this was not the case and the fires were started by the Armenian Tashnak committees. He also went to the office of Van Governor and expressed his loyalty and fidelity to the Ottoman State. The Patriarchate respectively sent out a delegation to Van immediately and tried to calm down the Mayor and conceal the incidents because Kapamaciyan was a very respected and influential man among the Armenians. His stand against the Armenian revolutionaries would have endangered those committees’ activities going on. [viii]

Consequently the revolutionary Armenian committees found the attitude of the mayor Kapamaciyan intolerable [ix] and a decision for his assassination was taken. [x] The revolutionary terror gangs previously committed assassinations against Armenian leaders who supported the Ottoman interest as a whole and aimed to spread terror and eliminate any opposition, even among their own Armenian people. [xi]

Ottoman Attempts to Prevent Separatism

As a result of the developments in the Ottoman territory towards the end of the 19th century, it became to be apparent that peace would be interrupted and disturbances would occur. A short time before the declaration of the Second Ottoman Constitution, Van governor Ali Riza Pasha, who was trying to prevent the separatist activities of the revolutionary Tashnak Armenians without causing harm to the people, appointed an Armenian called Ohannes Ferit Boyaciyan [xii] as the deputy governor and his brother Armarak Boyaciyan as the governor of Gevas district, [xiii] more to diminish the influence of the Armenian revolutionary committees on the local Armenian people. Gevas is at about thirty five kilometers away from Van and Akdamar island, which is an important religious center for the Armenians. After these appointments, the Tashnak Armenian committee, which made separatist propaganda among the Armenians and frequently complained to the European states, would not have any reason to complain. Armarak Boyaciyan, while strictly preventing the Armenian brigands from using Akdamar island as a base and hindering their operations, was almost eliminating their influence on the local people. Thus, the policy of Ali Riza Pasha started to give results. [xiv] But the Armenian gangs by killing Armarak Boyaciyan, removed an important obstacle before them. [xv] Upon the murder of his brother, Ohannes Ferid, Boyaciyan stated that he could not stay in Van any more and with the authorization of Ali Pasha, he requested to be assigned to the post of the deputy governor of Elazig, a city far away from Van. [xvi]

Aware of the sensitivity of the situation, Ali Pasha drew attention of the Sublime Port (Ottoman Government) and requested that an Armenian called Mikail to be appointed as the deputy governor of Van, in order to increase the loyalty of the local people to the government and upset the expectations of the Armenian extremists. [xvii] The Sublime Port and appointed Mikail as the deputy governor of Van. However, Mikail requested to be excused from this post as he knew that he could not serve his term in office as it should be because he was disturbed by the attitude of Tashnak Armenians in Van. Then, former district governor Leon was assigned to this post as a gesture to please the Armenians in Van. [xviii] Besides some favors were granted to the Armenian notables living in the Ottoman territory. [xix] By acting in this way, it was thought by the government that the extremist Armenians would lose their ground for separatist propaganda. Despite all these attempts of goodwill, Armenian revolutionary committees strengthened their relations with Russian Armenians, carried out underground activities.

Mayor Kapamaciyan Murdered

According to Aram Manukyan, the leader of the Tashnak committee, the Mayor of Van, Bedros Kapamaciyan, should have been punished for standing against Armenian revolutionary committees. Kapamaciyan, who was frequently threatened, left his house one evening together with some family members to participate as a guest in the name giving ceremony of Marcidciyan, one of his relatives. Then, a Tashnak group positioned around his house, started shooting them. The Mayor, who was caught without any protection, fell dead with two bullets that hit his head on 10 December 1912. [xx]

As the Mayor Kapamaciyan’s house was at Baglar district, the closest police station was at a distance of ten minutes. [xxi] Therefore, the murderers managed to escape easily in the dark before the gendarmes arrived where the assassination took place. Baglar district was a beautiful place with gardens where the Armenians formed the majority of the residents. Since the Tashnak committee was very strong in Baglar. It was easy for the assassins to escape and hide. [xxii] Police chief transferred more of policemen and gendarmes to Baglar and carried out an extensive examination and collected all evidences at the place were the incident occurred. [xxiii] Any tiny fault of the authorities could have led to a great disorder in Van, which was the scene of serious Armenian rebellion in the past. [xxiv]

Assassins Arrested

When the situation calmed down, the testimonies of the eye witnesses were started to be taken and information on the murderers collected. Particularly from the testimony of Mayor's son, [xxv] it was revealed that an Armenian terrorist called Karakin and a friend of him were main suspects. The identification of murderers prevented a possible disorder between the Muslim people and the Armenians. [xxvi] Rapid operations were carried out, Karakin was arrested but his unidentified partner succeeded to escape. [xxvii] Coachman Potur, who was sought by the police for smuggling arms to Van, was involved in the incident with his coach and the persons called Saddler Osep, jeweler Karakin and Shaf, were all arrested following intense pursuits. [xxviii] Shaf was the one who took orders for the assassination directly from Aram Manukyan, the mastermind of the crime.

Karakin's partner, who disappeared after the incident, was later arrested and imprisoned. The police was quite quick in identifying and arresting the perpetrators of the assassination, something unusual in Van, because Kapamaciyan was an important figure and intercommoned relations were so sensitive.

It was decided that Viramyan, one of the columnists of the Armenian Azadamart newspaper published by the members of Tashak committee, Aram Manukyan, [xxix] the inspector of Armenian schools and representative of the Tashnak committee in Van and some of the leading Tashnak committee members should be arrested as instigators of the murder of Mayor Kapamaciyan. [xxx]

Since the leading members of the Tashnak committee used to complain about the Governorship to Istanbul and European embassies on every occasion, they thought that this arrest warrant issued about them was related with these complaints. They were holding frequent meetings for this in the Tashnak committee club and assessing the situation. They thought that they were untouchable, since they were influential in Van and the government would not have taken the risk of a communal revolt. Therefore, while becoming dominant over the people, committee members gained more self-confidence. For these reasons, the arrests of Manukian and Viramyan, who organized and directed the murder of Mayor, were postponed to a more convenient time. [xxxi] The people could have become daunted as no measures were taken about the committee that was behind the assassination, although one or two persons who committed the murder were arrested.

Viramyan and His Defense

Both Armenians and Muslims frequently asked the governorship about the investigation on the murder of Kapamaciyan, the case file was transferred to Istanbul. [xxxii]   Viramyan Papazyan, who lost the elections in 1912 and started to write in Azadamart newspaper, received an arrest warrant as the suspects gave his name to the police in relation with the assassination. Viram Papazyan sent the petition below to the Ministry of Interior:

"To the Ministry of Interior

Upon my arrival at Van after three months of absence, I have seen our province and Hizan town of Bitlis in a state of great crisis. While there is no serious attempt to correct many unjust conducts, full liberty is given to the murderers and bandits and the farmers are disturbed by the arrival of spring. Because they have no doubt that murders, injuries and plunders will follow. Van Governor Izzet Pasha disregards the arming and preparation for war of Kurdish peasants by Kurdish chiefs, who are known as bandits and murderers, and carries out a slow and continuous prosecution against the notable members of the Armenian community and the Tashnak committee. Innocent peasants and Kolost of Karkan, Sahak of Mindan, Sirin of Karagunduz and some Armenians are imprisoned. Many of these flee because of fear. Kapamaciyan was killed on 10th December; my departure from Van was 19 days before that. Despite this fact, I received a warrant from the public prosecutor as a suspect in this incident and I learned that a warrant was sent to Aram, the colleague of Rafael, itinerant director of Akdamar Katholikos school, also as a suspect in the same incident. As I knew the purposes of Mr. Izzet and his consultants and that law officers enjoyed keeping people in prison, I did not surrender to them. Although I am not unable against such vicious slanders, I hereby state that I do not want to be the victim of their desires. If Mr. Izzet and his men continue such acts against Armenians, it is certain that those who are honest and who fear will flee, since murderers, usurpers and thieves will become dominant.

Requesting from the state to pay attention to these problems threatening our province, where the interests of Armenian nation confirm their inseparable loyalty to the Ottoman land, and to take serious measures while there is still time, I am waiting for your reply with the hope that the fault made in Rumelia will not be repeated in Anatolia.

Former Van Deputy Viramyan.” [xxxiii]

This petition of Viremyan, which appears innocent at first sight, was taken into consideration by the Ministry of Interior. In the ciphered message sent to Van province by the general intelligence office of the Ministry of Interior, it was informed that Viramyan left Van before the murder and complained from the hostile conducts against Armenians living in Van, and it was requested that these incidents be clarified and finalized. Besides, it was recommended that considering the sensitivity of the situation to avoid violent acts that would cause anxiety among Armenians. [xxxiv]

As a leading member of the Tashnak committee, one cannot totally suggest that Viramyan definitely did not take part in the assassination. [xxxv] The petition he wrote appears as a completely professional petition written for the sake of history. [xxxvi] In fact, the Balkan incidents that he referred in this letter can be interpreted as a covert threatening. Viramyan’s failure in the 1912 elections as deputy could be considered as a reason lying beneath the murder of Kapamaciyan.


The rapid arrest of the persons who took part in the assassination of Kapamaciyan, despite not duly penalized, pleased the local people. However, the fact that the murderers were Armenians also caused a deep sorrow among the local Armenians. [xxxvii] Necessary measures were taken to avoid disorder in the funeral of Kapamaciyan. [xxxviii] In the speeches delivered during the funeral which started early in the morning with the attendance of a considerable number of people, the kindness and integrity of Kapamaciyan were mentioned. As representing the foreign missions, English, Russian and French consuls were present. [xxxix] On the other hand, it is meaningful that no member of Tashnak committee attended the funeral. [xi] Tashnak committee took the opportunity to make it clear that any obstacle before them would be crushed. This was a message to the people who did not share their separatist aims.

The secret police organization working in Van was given the order to observe the behavior, dialogs and attitudes of the people attending the funeral. [xii] Furthermore, the secret police was in charge to prevent any provocation that could occur during the funeral. According to the records of the secret police, people told each other at the Armenian cemetery at Baglar district that it was obvious that the Tashnaks committed the assassination and the government should have acted on this matter more swiftly and they also talked about the services of Kapamaciyan for his country, the Ottoman Empire. On the other hand, the Armenians were expressing their hatred and condemning of the Tashnaks with as low voice, as they were scared of the Tashnak violence. They also told that the committee would soon lose its influence on the Armenians and a great anger would rise among the Armenians. [xiii] The funeral lasted until the evening and Kapamaciyan was buried in the family cemetery. The minimum conditions of living together, which Kapamaciyan endeavored to maintain perhaps at the price of his life, were rapidly disturbed and his aspiration for cohabitance in Van was irreversibly upset.

The revolutionary Tashnak Armenians could murder their own fellow people without hesitation in order to achieve their ambitions. The systematized attempts of the committee members, who ventured all acts for establishing a suitable conditions for revolution, gave their yields with the help of the Russians and they temporarily occupied Van in 1915, [xiiii] and when the Russians retreated in October 1917 upon the Bolshevik Revolution, Van was regained by the Turks. When the Muslim people, who left their city with much difficulties as a result of incredible atrocities and pressure of the Armenian Tashnak gang, returned there, they found the city completely ruined. Their Armenian neighbors and friends were no more living in Van. The grandchildren of Kirkors, Arabaciyans, Terzibasiyans, Avadises, Boyaciyans and hundreds of other Armenian families that cannot be named here are telling from generation to generation the dream of living together with Muslims in the city of Van what they listened from their parents.

*- Yuzuncu Yil University, Faculty of Education, Department of History, VAN 

[i] Teotik Salnamesi, Istanbul 1911, p. 253; for the historical development of Turkish municipality, see; Ilber Ortayli, Tanzimattan Cumhuriyete Yerel Yonetim Gelenegi, (The Tradition of Local Government) Istanbul 1985, p. 9; Mehmet Ali Gokacti, Dunyada ve Turkiye'de Belediyecilik,(Municipality in the World and Turkey) Istanbul 1996; Ilhan Tekeli, Turkiye'de Belediyeciligin Gelisimi, (The Development of Municipality in Turkey) Ankara 1982.

[ii] BOA DH MUI, nr. 23-2/23-1
[iii] Kapamaciyan was granted a favor on 2 February 1908. BOA Irade Taltifat, 1325. Za/1.
[iv] Teotik Salnamesi, Istanbul 1911, p. 253; Y. Cark, Turk Devleti Hizmetinde Ermeniler (Armenians in the Service of Turkey), Istanbul 1953, p. 175; M. Sadi Kocas, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Turk Ermeni Iliskileri (Armenians in History and Turkish Armenian Relations), Istanbul 1990, p. 124.
[v] Tasnaksutyun organization was established as the alliance of Armenian revolutionary societies in 1890 in Tiflis, taking the separatist gangs in the Balkans as an example, and started its activities by soon opening branches in Istanbul, Erzurum and Van. L. Nalbantyan, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through The Nineteenth Century, Los Angeles 1963, p. 442; Firuz Kazemzadeh, Russia and Britain in Persia 1864-1914, a Study in Imperialism, London 1968, p. 527; Nejat Goyunc, Osmanli Idaresinde Ermeniler, (The Armenians under the Ottoman Rule)Istanbul 1983, p. 65; Mim Kemal Oke, Ermeni Meselesi, (Armenian Question)Istanbul 1986, p. 95; Cevdet Kucuk, Ermeni Meselesinin Ortaya Cikisi, (The Beginning of the Armenian Question)Istanbul 1984, p. 100; M. Sadi Kocas, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Turk Ermeni Iliskileri, (Armenians in History and the Turkish_Armenian Relations) Istanbul 1990, p. 153; for the political aspect of the committee, see Anahide Ter Minassian, "1876-1923 Doneminde Osmanli Imparatorlugunda sosyalist hareketin dogusunda ve gelismesinde Ermeni toplulugun rolu", Osmanli Imparatorlugunda Sosyalizm ve Milliyetcilik, (Socialism and Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire) compiled by M. Tuncay, Erich Jan Zurcher, Istanbul 1995, pp. 163-238.
[vi] When Khrimian Hairik of Van was appointed as the Patriarch of Istanbul  in 1873, he aimed to take the Armenian issue to Istanbul and from there to European embassies. As the plans and sabotages starting in this way rapidly spread to Anatolia, Van was mostly the subject of such incidents. See Yves Ternos, Ermeni Tabusu, (The Armenian Taboo) Istanbul 1993, p. 58 quoted from Frederic Macler, Autour de L'Armenie, Paris 1917, p.183; also for the activities of Patriarch Khrimian, see, Esat Uras, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi, (Armenians in History and the Armenian Question) Ankara 1996; Kamuran Gurun, Ermeni Dosyasi, (Armenian File) Ankara 1988; Erdal Ilter, Ermeni Kilisesi ve Teror, (Armenian Church and Terror) Ankara 1999.
[vii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-1.
[viii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-1.
[ix] BOA DH MUI 55-1/54 (Minutes of 5th consultation meeting on Van revolutionary society dated 18-22 March 1909. Although Anahide Ter Minassian states that this meeting was held by the Hinchak committee (Anahide Ter Minassian, "1876-1923 Doneminde Osmanli Imparatorlugunda sosyalist hareketin dogusunda ve gelismesinde Ermeni toplulugun rolu", (The Role of the Armenian Community in the Beginning and the Development of the Socialist Movement) Osmanli Imparatorlugunda Sosyalizm ve Milliyetcilik, (Socialism and Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire) compiled by M. Tuncay, Erich Jan Zurcher, Istanbul 1995, p. 179), this is the revolutionary meeting of Tashnak organization, since the expression "Dasnaksutyun" is referred to in the meeting minutes.)
[x] BOA DH SYS 109/2-3 (Such decisions are very frequently observed in revolutionary organizations and the process of execution was initiated by pressing a black cross on the name in the Armenian terror organizations.)
[xi] Ermeni Komitelerinin Amal ve Hareketi Ihtilaliyesi, (The Works and the Revolutionary Activities of the Armenian Committees) Ankara 1983, p. 250; While the Armenians were carrying out their activities in Anatolia on one hand, they were murdering coreligionist Armenians in Istanbul who did not respect them. Lawyer Hacik, Gedikpasa church archpriest Dacad Vartabet, merchant Karagozyan, candle-maker Onnik, Apik Uncuyan, police officer Markar, Clerical Board member Mampre Vartabed and Haci Dikran Migirdic Tutuncuyan are only some of the Armenians murdered by the Armenian brigands. Altan Deliorman, Turklere Karsi Ermeni Komitecileri, (The Armenian Militants against Turks) (Istanbul 1975, p. 31.
[xii] Y. Cark, op cit., p. 168.
[xiii] Faiz Demiroglu, Van'da Ermeni Mezalimi, (Armenian Attrocities in Van)Ankara 1995, p. 54; Teotik Salnamesi, Istanbul 1911, p. 250; Y. Cark, op. cit., p. 168.
[xiv] As a result of these attempts of Ali Pasha, the social order tried to be upset in Van started to return to good old days. However, the gangs murdered Ali Pasha, who prevented their activities, in Batum after succeeding in their struggle to draw him away. Hasan Oktay, "Valiler Eskiden de Hedefti", (Governers were Targeted Before) Tarih ve Medeniyet, (History and Civilization) Istanbul 1999, volume 62, pp. 60-63.
[xv] BOA Irade-i Dahiliyye, 2685/55, 27/Sevval/1325.
[xvi] BOA Irade-i Dahiliyye, 2685/55, 27/Sevval/1325.
[xvii] BOA Irade-i Dahiliyye, 1596/35, 16/Recep/1326.
[xviii] BOA Irade-i Dahiliyye, 2118/72, 22/Saban/1326.
[xix] BOA Irade Taltifat, it is seen that favors were granted to hundreds of Armenians and one of them was Kapamaciyan. BOA Irade Taltifat, 1325. Za/1
[xx] BOA DH SYS 109/2-2.
[xxi] Anahide Ter Minassian, "Ermeni Kaynaklarina Gore Yuzyil Basinda Van", Modernlesme Surecinde Osmanli Kentleri, (The Ottoman Towns in the Process of Modernization) Istanbul 1999, p. 118.
[xxii] Anahide Ter Minassian, op. cit, p. 118; Baglar was an area of 7 km length and 3 km width with yards and gardens. The houses were surrounded by thick and high walls and secret passages were easily made between houses and gardens through irrigation canals left from Urartus, connecting the houses. This region was later used as a fortress during Van rebellion and formed the point of resistance. See M. Kalman, Bati-Ermenistan (Kurt Iliskileri) ve Jenosid, Istanbul 1994, p. 116; La Defense Heroigue de Van (Anonyme), Geneva 1916; Yves Ternos, age, p. 268. For those told by Venezuela citizen Nogales Mendez assigned in the Turkish forces during the Armenian rebellion in Van, see; Kaymakam Hakki, Hilal Altinda Dort Yil ve Buna Ait Bir Cevap, (Four Years under the Crescent) Istanbul 1931; Mehmet Necati Kutlu, Turkiye'de Bir Gezgin Sovalye (A Traveller in Turkey) Nogales Mendez, Istanbul 2000.
[xxiii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-2.
[xxiv] Ergunoz Akcora, Van ve Cevresinde Ermeni Isyanlari, (The Armenian Rebellions in and around Van) 1986-1916, Istanbul 1994.
[xxv] The son of the mayor was also sympathizing the Tashnak committee. Therefore, it is very likely that he knew the persons sent by the committee, and furthermore, despite all the secret operation of the committee, the son informed against the committee by deciphering this assassination committed against his father. It was even told by persons who were at young ages at the time of the incident in interviews made years later with them that the mayor was killed by his son; however, this is only the result of interference of myths when the event was told throughout years by the people who were deeply affected by the terror of the event. The truth is as told above. "They did not let the Armenians who did not serve them live. For example, there was an Armenian mayor here. His name was, if I am not mistaken, Kafanaciyan, and they had him killed by his son as he did not support them." Ergunoz Akcora, "Yasayanlarin Diliyle Van ve Cevresinde Ermeni Mezalimi", (Armenian atrocities in and around Van on the Eye Witness accounts) Yakin Tarihimizde Van Uluslararasi Sempozyumu, (Van in Recent History-International Symposiom)Van 1990, p. 151. "They made the mayor's son drink, sent him to his father and made him kill his father", Huseyin Celik, Gorenlerin Gozuyle Van'da Ermeni Mezalimi, (The Armenian Attrocities in Van) Van 1996, p. 70.
[xxvi] BOA DH SYS 109/2-2.
[xxvii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-3.
[xxviii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-11.
[xxix] Aram Manukyan perpetrated a series of acts in Van as the head of Van Revolutionary Armenian committee. He was arrested with the offense of encouraging the murder of Van governor Ali Pasha, who was murdered in Batum by Alev Basyan, but he was considered to be a political convict and released upon the declaration of the Second Constitution just when he would be executed. During the occupation of Van by the Russians during World War I, he murdered many Van residents while leading Armenian rebels and he was later assigned as Russia's governor in Van. Ermeni Komitelerinin Amal ve Hareketi Ihtilaliyesi, (The Works and the Revolutionary Activities of the Armenian Committees) Ankara 1983. Aram Manukyan retreated together with the Russians after Van was regained by Turks, he was assigned in the foundation of present Armenian republic and served as the minister of the interior in this republic until his death in 1919. Yves Ternon, op. cit. , p. 274.
[xxx] BOA DH SYS 109/2-15, 16.
[xxxi] BOA DH SYS 109/2-15. The fact that Cabir Pasha, Commander of Van Eleventh Army Corps, sent a telegram to Istanbul stating that there was no good in arresting the said persons at that time and waited for a suitable time encouraged the members of Armenian revolutionary Tashnaks developing in Van and excited the incident.
[xxxii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-15, 16.
[xxxiii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-12-13-14.
[xxxiv] BOA DH SYS 109/2-10/1.
[xxxv] Belgelerle Ermeni Sorunu, (Armenian Question in the Documents) Genelkurmay ATASE yayini, Ankara1992, s. 125.
[xxxvi] About the presentation of information so as to direct the history as they like by a certain ideological sector, see, Tamer Akcam, Turk Ulusal Kimligi ve Ermeni Sorunu, (The Armenian Question and Turkish National Identity) Istanbul 1994, p. 220.
[xxxvii] Whereas there was public opinion that persons involved in such events could not be duly penalized before, it was common view that those involved in Kapamaciyan incident could not be duly penalized, either. This opinion is true for even officials assigned in Van. BOA DH SYS 109/2-11.
[xxxviii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-4.
[xxxix]  BOA DH SYS 109/2-7-a
[xi] BOA DH SYS 109/2-6.
[xii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-8.
[xiii] BOA DH SYS 109/2-7b.

[xiiii] For the torment, torture and cruelty applied on the Muslim people in Van by Tashnak and Hinchak armenians, see, Arsiv Belgelerine Gore Kafkaslar'da ve Anadolu'da Ermeni Mezalimi, I-IV, (The Armenian Attrocities in the Caucasus and Anatolia Acording to Archieve Documents) Ankara 1995; Faiz Demiroglu, Van'da Ermeni Mezalimi, (The Armenian Attrocities in Van) Ankara 1995; Ergunoz Akcora, Van ve Cevresinde Ermeni Isyanlari, (Armenian Rebellions in and around Van) 1896-1916, Istanbul 1994; Ergunoz Akcora, op. cit.; Huseyin Celik, op. cit.; Kaymakam Hakki, op. cit.; for the narration of Van incidents through Armenian perspective, see, M. Kalman, Bati-Ermenistan (Kurt Iliskileri) ve Jenosid, Istanbul 1994, p. 116; La Defense Heroigue de Van (Anonyme), Geneva 1916; Yves Ternos, Ermeni Tabusu, (The Armenian Taboo) Istanbul 1993; Tamer Akcam, op. cit.

67 posted on 04/26/2003 8:33:31 AM PDT by Turk2 (Dulce bellum inexpertis)
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To: Turk2
Very interesting.. All lies off course. /sarc
68 posted on 04/26/2003 8:50:00 AM PDT by a_Turk (Lookout, lookout, the candy man..)
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To: SeattleTiger
Some women in every culture do not think clearly enough to vote, as do some men not think clearly enough to vote go bother someone else (or be offended by someone else.)
69 posted on 04/26/2003 9:14:16 AM PDT by goodnesswins (THANK a service member for your FREEDOM, and thank a business owner for your job.)
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To: a_Turk; All

The First Shot


Prof. Dr. Justin MCCARTHY*


Historians should love the truth.  A historian has a duty to try to write only the truth.  Before historians write they must look at all relevant sources.  They must examine their own prejudices, then do all they can to insure that those prejudices do not overwhelm the truth.  Only then should they write history.   The historians creed must be, "Consider all the sides of an issue; reject your own prejudices.  Only then can you hope to find the truth."

Do historians always follow this creed?  They do not, but good historians try.

There are ways to tell if a historian has been true to his craft.  All important sources of information must be studied:  A book on American history that does not draw upon American sources and only uses sources written in French cannot be accurate history.  All important facts must be considered:  a book on the history of the Germans and the Jews that does not mention the death of the Jews in the Holocaust cannot be true.  Uncomfortable facts, facts that disagree with one's preconceptions and prejudices must be considered, not avoided or ignored: Any book on the history of the Turks and the Armenians that does not include the history of the Turks who were killed by Armenians cannot be the truth.

This is obvious.  It should be so obvious that it need not be said.  But we know it must be said, because so many have forgotten the rules of honest history.

Like historians, politicians also have a duty to truth.  If they make pronouncements on history, they assume the duties of historians.  They must look honestly at the historical record, the whole historical record.  They must not accept that what they are told is true because political pressure groups tell them it is true.  They must not accept that something is true because their fathers believed it was true.  They must not accept as truth what their own prejudices tell them is true.  If politicians speak on history, if politicians pass resolutions on history, then they must follow the rules of history.  Otherwise, what the politicians proclaim will not be the truth.  It may be good politics.  It may win votes.  But it will never be the truth

Again, this should obvious.  If politicians believe they are historians, they must follow the rules of historians.  This is not, however, a lesson that has been learned by the parliaments that have passed resolutions on what is called the "Armenian Genocide."  The appalling historical pronouncements of politicians are easy to recognize as bad history.  When they passed their resolutions on the Armenians did the French Parliament or the European Union Parliament consider any evidence that disagreed with their prejudices?  No.  When President Jacques Chirac declared recently that all governments should accept the "Armenian Genocide" did he make a detailed study of all the sources, including what the Ottomans recorded?  No.  Did those who attempted to pass "genocide resolutions" in the American Congress acknowledge that millions of Turks died in the same conflict?  No.  In the counterfeit history of these self-proclaimed historians the only dead were Armenians.

It can be argued that members of the French Parliament or the European Union government could never follow the rules of historians.  They have no time for detailed research on historical issues.  They have little or no training in the study of history.  To them I offer this unsolicited advice: if you cannot do the work necessary to find the truth, say nothing.

I will admit that as a historian I am angered by those who refuse to study the whole issue, but speak freely from their own prejudices or for their own political advantage.  I am also angered by the hypocrisy of those who falsely proclaim that they are indeed studying all sides of the Armenian Question, when in fact they are doing no such thing.

Historical knowledge depends on debate.  No matter how hard we try to see all sides of an issue, each of us is fallible.  All historians can make mistakes.  We learn our mistakes through debate.  We listen to others who disagree with us, consider our evidence, and sometimes change our minds.  Someone who will not study the evidence brought by others is not a scholar.  Someone who will not listen to the judgments of others is only pretending to be a historian.

Recently there have been meetings on the Armenian Question held in Germany and America.  The meetings in America were mainly held behind closed doors.  They were secret.  No one but the participants knows what went on in these meetings.  Some few meetings have allowed the public to listen, but have never included speakers who have doubted the existence of the "Armenian Genocide."  Nevertheless, these meetings have been widely publicized, because there have been both Turks and Armenians at these meetings.  The Armenian nationalists say, "You see, Turkish scholars agree with us."

Who are these Turks?  They are those who have passed a test before they are allowed into the club.  Before they can be a part of the gatherings, the Turks must agree that there was an Armenian genocide.  The Armenian nationalists will not meet, or even speak, with anyone who disagrees with them.  So these meetings are not scholarly inquiries.  They are political gatherings of those who wish to condemn the Turks, and some of those who condemn the Turks happen to be Turks themselves.

There is nothing strange in this.  I need not tell you that there are Turks whose ideology drives their historical judgement or that there are Turks who honestly disagree with the large majority of other Turkish scholars.  It is a good thing to have disagreement, because wisdom comes out of debate.  That is the problem with these meetings--they are not debates.

I have recently read many e-mails and letters that condemn the Turks who meet with the Armenians.  Other Turks condemn them for in some way betraying their country.  This is not right.  No scholar should ever be attacked because he says what is unpopular.  Freedom is the basis of all good scholarship, and that includes the freedom to be wrong.  Attacking those who disagree with you is the way of the Armenian nationalists who bomb professor's houses, kill diplomats, threaten scholars, and take advantage of unjust French laws to sue professors who dare to speak out.

I hope this is never the way of the Turks.  I go into bookstores in Istanbul and Ankara and see books in Turkish, written by Turkish citizens.  These books state that the Turks did commit genocide.  I read Turkish newspapers that include interviews with men whose words sound as if they were been written by Armenian nationalists.  Sometimes I laugh at their arguments.  Sometimes they anger me.  But I know that it is a good thing that they are able to speak.  It shows that Turkey is mature enough, confident enough, to accept disagreement.

So are these scholars not to be criticized?  Yes, I do rebuke them--not for disagreeing with me, not for being wrong, surely not for betraying Turkey.  I accuse them of betraying scholarship.  I condemn their closed meetings.  I accuse all those who only speak to their friends, then pretend they are holding dialogues.  I rebuke anyone who refuses to listen to disagreement.

I ask only one question of those, whether Turks or Armenians, who hold their secret meetings.  I ask only one question of those, whether Turks or Armenians, who will only talk with their ideological friends.  I ask only one question of those, whether Turks or Armenians, who refuse all scholarly debate.  What are you afraid of?

I renew the call for honest debate.  Those who believe in their cause should be willing to defend it with their words.  They must be willing to argue, not just to preach to those who agree with them.

To the parliamentarians and the historians I offer one more piece of advice:  Forget the politics and ask the real historical questions.    No study of the history of the Armenians and the Turks can be undertaken unless one central question is asked:  Whatever they believe the Turks did, whether genocide or self-defense, why would the Turks do it?

One of the main problems with the Armenian nationalist explanation has always been the question of why the Turks would attack the Armenians.  The Turks and other Muslims were a large majority in a Muslim Empire.  They had lived with the Armenians for centuries, and allowed the Armenians to keep their customs and religion.  Yet, if one believes the Armenian nationalists, the Turks suddenly decided to attack the Armenians.  Worse, the Turks suddenly decided to destroy all the Armenians in a planned genocide.  The Armenian nationalists have invented many supposed reasons for the imaginary Turkish plan: The Turks supposedly planned to steal Armenian property.  They supposedly desired to link the Turks of Anatolia with the Turks of Central Asia and Armenians stood in the way.  Or the Ottomans needed Armenian land to house the Turkish refugees from the Balkan Wars.  More emotional reasons have also been invented:  The Turks allegedly desired to kill the Armenians out of jealousy, because the Turks felt the Armenians were superior.  Or the Turks purportedly acted out of what was called "religious hatred."

Did the Turks wish to seize the property of the Armenians?  If so, it would indeed by odd that the Turks fought against Armenians in Eastern Anatolia, where the Armenians were relatively poor, and did not touch the property of rich Armenians in Istanbul, Edirne, and Izmir.  Of course, we can never prove that in their hearts Turks did not covet Armenian property.  We can ask, however, who had stolen whose property?  Who was the thief ?  Who was the victim?  When World War I began Armenians were living in seized Turkish property in Erivan, Karabagh, and Kars.  Turks had not stolen Armenian property; Armenians had stolen Turkish property.  During World War I, when the Russians invaded Eastern Anatolia, it was the Armenians who once again first stole the property of Turks and Kurds.  Only after 100 years of losing their homes and farms did the Muslims of Anatolia finally take their revenge and seize Armenian property.

Map #1

The desire to join with Central Asian Turks was indeed a mad dream of some Ottoman leaders, particularly Enver Pasha.  It never was considered seriously, except perhaps for Azerbaijan. In any case, how would the Armenians have stood in the way of such a plan?  The path to Central Asia, had the Ottomans been mad enough to take it, was through Iran, not Armenia.  It only takes one look at a map to prove this.  A Turkish army advancing north through Armenia to reach Central Asia would have had to pass over the highest point of the Caucasus Mountains, then over desert and steppe, and finally around the Aral Sea to the South.  Not even Enver Pasha would have tried that.  Even Ghengiz Khan took the coast road.  Would the other Armenians, those who lived in Ottoman Anatolia, have stood in the way of Ottoman conquest to the East?  They would only have been a problem if they took up arms to prevent the advance.  They did indeed take up arms against the Ottomans, but the Armenian revolt had nothing to do with Central Asia.

The theory that the Ottomans planned to take Armenian lands for Balkan War refugees has an evident problem.  The refugees were all housed before the beginning of World War I and they were almost all housed in Thrace and Western Anatolia, not in Eastern Anatolia

Did the Turks hate the Armenians and try to kill them because they felt the Armenians were superior?  There is of course no evidence of this in any Ottoman document or speech, but the evidence I prefer is what is evident to anyone who has lived Turks.  I have known many Turks over the past 35 years.  Most of those Turks felt that all men were equal.  No Turk ever felt that Turks were inferior to anyone.  I very much doubt if the Ottoman Turks felt any different.

As for "religious hatred," history shows this to be a laughable lie.  Is one to believe that the Muslims, having accepted the Armenians for 700 years, would decide to violate the principles of Islam and no longer accept the Christian right to exist?  Is one to forget that the history of the Ottomans was one of exemplary tolerance, much better than the record of Christian states?  No, the Muslims of the East did indeed begin to hate and fear Armenians, but that was a result of Armenian and Russian actions.

In the final analysis, the arguments of the Armenian nationalists come down to one assertion--the Turks were crazy.  After 700 years of coexistence the Turks suddenly began to hate the Armenians and resolved to kill them.  No other explanation can satisfy the Armenian nationalist desire to blame the Turks.  All the explanations that are given for the supposed genocide depend on the Turks acting completely irrationally.

I have heard it argued that this explanation makes sense.  After all, the Germans acted irrationally when they killed the Jews.  The differences are worth considering.  The Nazis called upon a long tradition of hatred of the Jews.  The history of Europe had been filled with attacks on Jews.  There was also a long German tradition of evil literature written against the Jews.  Hitler and his followers thus called upon a long tradition of hatred.  They used prejudice against Jews as a tool to aid their rise to power.

Was anything similar ever seen in the Ottoman Empire?  Before the beginning of Armenian revolts had there been attacks on Armenians like the German attacks on Jews?  No.  Was there a long tradition of Ottoman popular writings against Armenians?  No.  Did any Turkish political parties base their campaigns on animosity to Armenians?  No.  In fact, even while Armenian nationalists were rebelling against the Ottomans other Armenians were welcomed into the Ottoman Government.  Armenians rose to high positions in the Ottoman State.  European-style racial hatred was foreign to the Ottoman Empire.  The sort of prejudice that resulted in the deaths of the German Jews was virtually unknown in the Ottoman Empire.  Any claim that "racial hatred" led to aggression against Armenians is pure fantasy.

It is better to look for rational reasons for the conflict that developed between Turks and Armenians.  The real reason the Turks fought the Armenians is easily explained and completely rational.  The Turks were defending themselves.

This brings the next question:  Who started the conflict between the Armenians and the Turks?  Who was the attacker?  Who was defending himself?

Other historians and I usually avoid those questions.  When I have spoken and written on the history of the Turks and Armenians I have described it as a sad chapter in the history of humanity.  I have even said that who was at fault was not the real issue.  I have said that the real issue is the suffering of humanity, whether Turks or Armenians.  That is still the most important consideration.  But the question of who was the attacker must now be considered, because the politicians who condemn the Turks have never been satisfied to pity all suffering humanity.  When Armenian nationalists have admitted any Turkish suffering they have said that Turkish deaths were the result of war and Armenian deaths were the result of genocide.  They have said that Turks persecuted Armenians, then suffered because of what the Turks started.  Was this true?  Did the Turks suffer because they attacked the Armenians?  Was what happened the fault of the Turks, and so should we feel less pity for the Turks?  To answer this, we must study who started the conflicts between Turks and Armenians.

Map #2

Contrary to what is usually told, the conflict began not in the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century, but in what was then the Persian Empire in the eighteenth century.  Armenians, including officials of the Armenian Church, allied themselves with Russian invaders.  In 1796,  Armenians living in Derbend were instrumental in the Russian defeat of the khan of Derbend and the capture of the city by the Russians.  An Armenian bishop of the 1790s preached that Armenians should join the Russians to, "free the Armenians from Muslim Rule.  Most Armenians of Azerbaijan did not take any side, but those who did take sides supported the Russians. Armenian volunteers fought alongside the Russians throughout the Russian conquest of Azerbaijan and Erivan.

More than anything else, Armenian loyalty to the Russians was shown by their desire to live under Russian rule.  When the Russians took Karabağ and Erivan, they killed or evicted Muslims, mostly Turks, who lived there.  Their empty homes and farms were taken by Armenians from Persia and Ottoman Anatolia.  As more Turks were evicted in the coming decade, more Armenians came to take their place.  It must be remembered that a majority of the population of what is today the Armenian Republic were Turks before the Russians conquered.  Soon the majority was no longer Turkish.

Armenians had lived with Turks in the Southern Caucasus region for 700 years.  Their lives had not been perfect, nor had the lives of the Turks.  Yet the proof that they must have been treated with tolerance is the fact that 700 years after the arrival of the Turks the Armenians were still there.  They were not hiding in the mountains, fiercely defending their independence.  They were living all over the region and working in the cities, where they could easily have been eradicated.  Yet they lived in peace. The Armenians were a scattered people, living all over the region.  In no province of the Southern Caucasus were they a majority. When the Russians arrived, many of the Armenians joined the invaders against their governments.  Those who joined the Russians wanted a minority, the Armenians and Russians, to rule over a majority, a Muslim majority under whose rule they had lived for 700 years.  They did not wish democracy.  They did not wish the will of the people.  They wished to rule.  And the Muslims who stood in the way of the Armenian nationalists were to be removed.

It was not the Turks who attacked the Armenians.  It was the Armenians who attacked the Turks.

The Russians carried the invasions into Eastern Anatolia in a war in 1828-29 and in the Crimean War.  Ottoman and Russian Armenians joined the Russian side when they invaded Anatolia, and they acted as spies and scouts for the Russians.  When the Russians were forced to withdraw, thousands of Armenians left with them.  They had taken the side of their country's enemy.

Map #3

1877-78 Russo-Turkish War

At the beginning of the 1877-78 war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire the Ottomans should have been able to depend on their subjects, whether Muslim or Christian.  Indeed, 84 Christians of Erzurum had volunteered for military service on the first day that Christians were accepted into the Ottoman Army.  However, the Russian consul at Erzurum notified the Christian bishops that Russia did not look kindly on Christians fighting for their country.  The bishops told the Christians not to serve, and the Christians no longer enrolled.

All who live on a battleground suffer, but the Armenians of the East were neither selected out nor persecuted by the Ottoman government during the war.  Instead, there is plentiful evidence from European sources that civil and Muslim officials protected Armenians from Kurdish attacks.  Sadly, when the Ottomans lost the war they were not able to protect the Muslims from the Armenians.

When Kars fell to the Russians, local Armenians attacked both Ottoman soldiers and the local Turks.  The British reported that the Armenians were assisting the Russians in murdering the Turkish wounded.  Upon conquering Erzurum, the Russians placed an Armenian in charge of the police.  The persecution of the Turks began.  6,000 Turkish families were forced to flee the city.  The British ambassador wrote, "There is no doubt that when the Russians occupied Erzurum the Armenians availed themselves of the protection they received to molest, ill-treat, and insult the Mohammedan population."

During the war, many Armenians in the Ottoman East joined the Russian side.  Ottoman Armenians acted as scouts and spies for Russian invaders.  None so wholeheartedly allied themselves with the Russians as the Armenians of the Eleshkirt Valley.  They confidently expected that the Russians would retain all they had conquered.  This was not to be.  Other European Powers forced the Russians to withdraw from Eleşkirt.  Between 2 and 3,000 Armenian families joined the Russians in their withdrawal.  There was no lack of houses and farms to give the Armenians who joined the Russians, because the Russians had forced 70,000 Turks from the region they conquered.

Armenian Revolutionary Organizations

The Dashnaktsuthiun Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, known usually as the Dashnaks, was founded in Tiflis in the Russian Empire in 1890.  It joined earlier Armenian nationalist parties in planning the downfall of the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia.  The party was socialist and nationalist in ideology.  It's Manifesto declared a "people's war against the Turkish government."  It spoke of "the scared task of securing national freedom."  Amidst calls for redistribution of land, communal brotherhood, and good government, the Dashnak Program of 1892 set forth its revolutionary intentions.  These included organizing revolutionary committees and fighting bands and arming "the people.  The Dashnaks declared their intention "to stimulate fighting and to terrorize government officials . . ." and "to expose government establishments to looting and destruction." [i]   In the ensuing years they carried out their plan.

The Dashnak motto (1896) was "Arms! Battle! The victory is ours!" [ii]

There is neither the time nor the need to describe here the organization and philosophy of the Dashnaks and the other Armenian revolutionary movements.  Their own words indicate their purpose--bloody rebellion against the Ottoman Empire.  It is more important to consider their deeds than to study their words.  One thing must be understood about the purpose of the Armenian revolution, however:  The aim of the Armenian revolutionaries was very different than the aim of other nationalist revolutionaries.  The people of Italy were Italian.  Italian revolutions wanted a state where the majority ruled.  Polish nationalists wanted to create a state for the Poles, who were an oppressed majority, ruled by a Russian minority.  The same was true all over the world--whatever their methods, good and bad, nationalists at least fought for a state in which the majority would rule themselves.

Map #4

It was not so with the Armenian nationalists.  Armenian revolutionaries fought to conquer a land in which they were less than 20% of the population.  In the region they claimed, the so-called "Six Vilayets," Muslims outnumbered them by more than four to one.   Unlike the Poles, the Italians, the Uzbeks, the South Africans, the Algerians, or the Irish, the Armenians were not a large majority ruled by an imperial master.  They were a small group who wished to defeat the majority and seize their land.  They were a small group that enlisted the aid of the enemies of their country, because they could never conquer the large majority of Muslims without outside help.

What would the Armenian nationalists have done if they had succeeded?  History teaches from the sad example of the fate of the Turks of the Balkans.  The only way to create an "Armenia" was to exile or kill the majority.  There could never have been an Armenia state in Anatolia unless the revolutionaries had rid themselves of the Muslims.

This fact must be remembered whenever one considers the Ottoman response to the Armenian revolutionaries.  The Ottomans were not only defending their government.  They were defending the majority of their people against those who would deny majority rule.  Moreover, they were defending those who would be dead or exiled if the revolutionaries succeeded.

1890s Rebellions

Armenian rebellions took place in Eastern Anatolia in the 1860s and earlier.  But it was in the 1890s that the Armenian revolutionary organizations truly began to put their plans into effect.

In 1894, Armenians in the Sasun region rebelled against the government.  Large rebel bands concentrated their attacks on symbols of the Ottoman State--tax collectors, government officials, official buildings.  They also fought battles with Kurdish tribesmen.  There had always been animosity between the Armenians and the Kurdish tribes.  This much is understandable.  Whether or not one approves of Armenian rebellion, it is understood that rebels attack the government and their old enemies.  What happened next is not in any way excusable.  The Ottoman army advanced on the rebels.  As the rebels retreated they slaughtered the Muslim inhabitants of the villages in their path.  In response, the army and local Muslims killed Armenians.

It was not the Muslims who began to kill Armenians.  It was Armenians who began to kill Muslims.  The result was horrible for both.

The actions of Armenian rebels in Zeytun and Marash in 1895 were all too similar.  Their rebellion was a mass murder of Muslims of the region.  The Armenian leader himself claimed to have killed 25,000 Muslims.  The Ottoman army was not even allowed to punish the murderers.  The European Powers protected them.

In Van in the same year the rebels, and many innocent Muslims and Armenians, died when the Armenian nationalists once again rebelled.  In Adana in 1909 it was the same; Armenians rebelled, confident of European support that never came.  Although the Armenians suffered the greater mortality, Armenian rebel forces unquestionably began the conflict.   The Turks responded.  They were not only protecting their state; they were protecting their people.

In Sasun, in Van, in Zeytun, in Marash, and in Adana, it was Armenian rebels who began the slaughter.  It was the Armenian rebels who began to murder their fellow Ottoman citizens.  It was not the Turks who attacked the Armenians.  It was the Armenians who attacked the Turks.

Map #5

World War I

The events of World War I cannot be understood without first looking at the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913.  Those wars gave revolutionaries a reason to believe that their methods would be successful.  Nationalist rebel bands killed the Turks of the Balkans and drove them from their homes.  Invading armies finished the job of murder and exile.  Muslims, most of them Turks, had been a slight majority in Ottoman Europe in 1912.  By the end of the Balkan Wars they were a distinct minority.  27% of the Muslims of the Ottoman Balkans had died.  What remained were Bulgarian, Greek, Montenegrin, and Serbian states that had rid themselves of their Muslim populations.  Lands that had Muslim majorities now had Christian majorities.  This was exactly what the Armenian revolutionaries would have to do on a greater scale, and it had worked in the Balkans.

Both sides learned the lessons of the Balkan Wars.  The Turks knew what would happen to them if revolutionaries succeeded.  The intentions of the Armenian rebels were the same as the intentions of those who had forced the Turks from the Balkans.  They wished to rid Eastern Anatolia of its Muslim majority, so that it could become "Armenia."  To do so they would use the same tactics that had been effective in the Balkans.

Even before the first world war began, Armenian guerilla bands had begun to organize in the Russian Empire.  These included Armenians from both Russia and the Ottoman Empire.  Approximately 8,000 Ottomans went to Kagizman to train and organize.  6,000 went from Anatolia to Iğdır, more to other training camps.  They returned to fight the Turks and to aid the Russian war effort.  Large caches of guns, ammunition, supplies, and even uniforms had been hidden in depots in Anatolia, ready for use.

These were not small units of guerrillas.  They were not a few men committing random acts of terrorism.  There were indeed innumerable such individual acts, but the main Armenian attack came from well-armed and trained rebel bands.  They may have numbered as many as 100,000 men.  In Sivas Vilayeti alone Ottoman officials estimated 30,000 Armenian partisans.

The mythology of Armenian history holds that peaceful Armenians were attacked without provocation by Turks.  The reality was far different.

To understand the situation, one should attempt to visualize the situation on the Ottoman-Russian border in Spring of 1915.  The Ottoman Army on the Russian Front was in ruins.  Enver Paşa had tried to defeat the Russians with a bold but ill-conceived attack at Sarikamish.  He had failed badly.  3/4 of his army had been lost.  All that stood between the Ottoman heartland and Russian invaders were the remnant of the Ottoman Army in the East.  Some of these were very good troops.  The gendarmerie divisions, made up of gendarmes from the East who knew the territory well, were particularly effective.  But the Ottoman forces were few.  The Russians were more numerous and better equipped.  The only chance the Ottoman forces had was to hold their defensive positions.  Every man was needed at the front.

However, thousands of men could not advance to the front.  They were needed to fight behind the lines.  Indeed, some of the best soldiers were withdrawn from the front and sent to fight internal enemies, Armenian rebels.  The Russian Front was in danger.  Ultimately it collapsed.  Ultimately the Russians invaded and conquered Eastern Anatolia, bringing with them triumphant Armenian rebels.

The Russian invasion of Anatolia in 1915 was spearheaded by units made up of Armenians from both Ottoman Anatolia and Russia.  Armenians served as scouts for the Russian Army.  Most important, bands of Armenians hampered transportation and cut military communications throughout the Ottoman East.

The internal threat from Armenian guerrillas, Armenian chette bands, was a serious threat to the existence of the Ottoman Empire and a real threat to the lives of the Muslims of Anatolia.

Before any Armenians were deported, before any Armenian nationalist politician was hung, before any Armenian died at the hands of an Ottoman soldier, even before war was officially declared, Armenian nationalists had begun to organize their rebellion.  The actions of the Armenian rebels were not simply rebellion.  Ottoman Armenians acted as agents of the Russian Army.  They made war on their own country, the Ottoman Empire, and fought on the side of its main enemy, the Russian Empire.  As they freely admitted at the time, they were traitors who had enlisted with their country's worst enemy.

In order to see the effect of the Armenian Rebellion, one need only look at the map.  Only the main centres of rebellion are shown.  Armenian bands were actually travelling throughout Eastern Anatolia, hindering transportation, cutting communications lines, and attacking isolated Muslim villages.  Only the regions of major activity by large bodies of men can be shown on the map.

At first glance, some of the regions of rebellion seem to be oddly chosen.  Why Sivas?  It seems an unlikely place for a rebellion.  Only 13% of the population of Sivas Vilayeti was Armenian.  Sivas was far from the front, far from possible Russian support.  But look at the roads.  In order to reach the battle with the Russians, troops and supplies had to pass through Sivas.  Retreating soldiers also were forced to pass through Sivas.  Sivas was also the hub for the telegraph system that extended to the battle zone.  The city and province of Sivas were transportation and communication bottlenecks.  Any disruption in Sivas was a blow against the Ottoman war effort.

The regions of Armenian rebellion in Cilicia and Urfa were also in regions with great strategic importance.  Because the Taurus tunnels had not been completed, war materials and soldiers for the theatre of war in Iraq had to be trans-shipped in Cilicia, then travel on through the Urfa Region.  The British seriously considered attacking in Cilicia rather than Gallipoli (and would have been far more successful if they had.)

Armenian forces in Van and in the Russian border areas also had a potential strategic effect. The Russians had moved into Western Iran.  They threatened Ottoman positions in the East and ultimately intended to attack into Iraq and join with the British.  (No one expected that the Ottomans would defeat the British in Iraq.)  In order to check the Russian advance, the Ottomans should have moved East.  There were only two possible roads from Anatolia into Iran--the routes through Bayezit in the North or through Van in the South.  Is it only coincidence that these two were major centres of Armenian rebellion?

Until someone is able to research Russian army orders to Armenian units, we will not know how much of the Armenian rebellion was well planned to aid the Russians.  It seems unlikely that such strategic points were chosen at random.  The important point, however, is not why they were chosen but the grave danger they presented to the Ottoman forces.  The Ottomans needed to put down the revolt.  They needed to do so because Armenian forces were slaughtering Muslims, but they also needed to do so for military reasons.  The Armenian rebels were enemy forces that were contributing to Ottoman defeat.

The main Armenian contribution to the Russians was the fact that their rebellion occupied so many Ottoman soldiers and gravely hindered the Ottoman war effort.  But from the standpoint of humanity, the worst effect of the Armenian rebellion was the mortality of the innocent Muslim civilians killed by the Armenian rebels and, it should not be forgotten, the mortality of the innocent Armenian civilians who were killed in revenge.   It was Armenian rebels who began the killing.  By far the greatest number of dead were Muslims.

Why did the Ottomans deport the Armenians?  They did it to remove a civilian population that would surely aid and comfort the enemy, as had been proven.  Perhaps most of the Armenians would not have acted against the Ottomans, but how could anyone know who would and who would not aid the Russians, the British, and the French?  I believe that, in the heat of war and in their desire to defend their Empire and its people, the Ottomans went too far and deported many who were no threat.  But it should never be forgotten that the Ottomans had good reason to act as they did.  Nor should it be forgotten that it was the Armenians and Russians who first forced Muslims from their homes.

One fact cannot be doubted.  During World War I, as for 100 years before, it was not the Turks who first attacked the Armenians.  It was the Armenians who first attacked the Turks.

Map #6

Azerbaijan and Armenia

At the end of World War I, it was the turn of  the Turks of Azerbaijan to be attacked.  Allied with Bolsheviks in Baku, Armenian nationalist forced nearly half of the Turkish population of Baku to flee the city.  Between 8 and 10,000 Muslims, almost all Turks, were killed in Baku alone.  The Armenian guerrilla leader Andranik destroyed villages in Nahchivan and Southern Azerbaijan, forcing more than 60,000 Turkish refugees to flee.  420 villages were destroyed.  Hundreds of villages were ruined and many thousand more Turks were killed in Kars Province.  Two-thirds of the Turks of Erivan Province disappeared.  Turks took revenge in Baku and elsewhere, but it was Turks who most suffered mortality and exile.

The Turks of the provinces of Erivan, Kars, and Azerbaijan had been completely under the control of the Russians.  Almost all unarmed, they had neither the ability nor the desire for war.  It was Armenians who initiated the conflicts.  It was not the Turks who attacked the Armenians.  It was Armenians who attacked the Turks.

The Armenian Claims

Those who claim there was an "Armenian Genocide" are in the habit of taking their facts selectively and out of their historical context.

We are told that the Ottoman Government deported the Armenians, and that many died during the deportation.  This is true, although the number who died are always grossly exaggerated.  What facts are ignored?  The fact that most of the Armenians who were deported survived, indicating there was no plan of genocide.

We are told that in the 1890s tens of thousands of Armenians were killed by Muslims.  This is true.  What is never told is that tens of thousands of Muslims were killed by Armenians, and that the Armenians began the killing.

You know well the main fact about World War I that always goes unmentioned--the millions of Muslim dead.  Any war in which only one side's dead are counted appears to be a genocide.

And one incontrovertible fact that is never mentioned is the truth we have discussed today--Armenians died because of conflicts started by Armenians.  The Turks responded to Armenian attacks.  Sometimes the Turks overreacted; sometimes they acted out of revenge, sometimes the actions of Turks and Kurds were wrong.  But the Turks did not start the bloodshed.  They did not start the long conflict between Armenians and Muslims that began in the 1790s.  They did not start the conflict between Turks and Armenians in World War I.

In 1796, was it Turks who attacked Armenians?  No, it was Armenian rebels who allied themselves with the enemies of their country.

In 1828, it was not the Turks who attacked the Armenians.  It was the Armenians who took the homes and farms of the Turks.

In 1878, was it the Turks who attacked the Armenians?  No, it was Armenian rebels who once again helped the Russian invaders.  It was Armenians who oppressed the Turks of Erzurum.

In the 1890s did the Turks first attack the Armenians?  No, it was Armenian revolutionaries who first attacked the Turks.

In 1909 did the Turks first attack the Armenians?  No, it was Armenian revolutionaries who began to attack Muslims.

In 1915, did the Turks first attack the Armenians?  No, it was Armenian rebels who seized Van and killed Van's Muslims.  It was Armenians who raided Muslim villages and killed Muslims on the roads.  It was Armenians who killed Ottoman officials, destroyed Ottoman Army communications, and acted as spies, guerrillas, and partisan troops for the Russians.

In 1919 was it the Turks of Baku who first attacked the Armenians?  No, it was the Armenians who attacked the Turks.

Some will argue that the actions of the Armenian rebels were justified, because they were not properly governed by the Ottomans.  It is true that in many periods of history Ottoman Eastern Anatolia was poorly ruled.  But it is also true that the time of Armenian rebellion was also the time when Ottoman rule was greatly improving.  Nineteenth century reforms, begun by Mahmud II, passing through the Tanzimat period, and culminating in the reforms of the Committee of Union and Progress, had improved governmental control in the East.  It often was this improvement that caused Armenians such as those in Zeytun to revolt, because a stronger central government collected taxes more efficiently.

At the time of the Armenian revolts life was becoming better.  The exception to this occurred in the regions that suffered due to Russian invasion and expulsion of Muslim peoples, and those Russian actions had been supported by the Armenian nationalists.  The Armenian nationalists had themselves and their Russian friends to blame.

Whatever the reason for the Armenian revolts, reaction from the Ottomans and local Muslims was justified.  Muslim excesses, like Armenian excesses, were never justified, but opposition to the Armenian revolt was morally and politically necessary.  The Armenians who rebelled were a minority that planned to dominate a Muslim majority.  It was the duty of the sultan's government to fight against such an injustice.

A minority has the right to live in peace.  It should be allowed equality under the law, with all legal rights.  Its religious freedom should be absolute and always protected.  All these rights should be guaranteed to any minority.  But a minority should never have the right to rule over a majority.  A minority should never have the right to deny rights and freedom to a majority.  A minority should never have the right to evict a majority from its homeland.  And a minority should never have the right to become a majority through murder and exile of the real majority.  This is exactly what the Armenian nationalist rebels attempted to do.

The Turks who opposed the Armenian rebels were doing the moral thing.  Their methods were not always good.  In the heat of war, crimes were committed and mistakes were made.  But the Turks were absolutely right to oppose the rule of a minority.  The Turks had the right to defend themselves.

I have said it before, but it is worth saying again.  The Ottomans acted rationally in opposing the Armenian revolutionaries.  The Armenians were just like other rebels.  In the nineteenth century, the Ottomans had fought against Muslim rebels in Eastern Anatolia, Arabia, and Bosnia and against Christian rebels in the Balkans.  They had fought to defend their Empire and its people.  Of course they also fought against rebel Armenians.  That was their duty and, despite many failings, the Ottomans tried to do their duty.

Were the Turks and the Kurds innocent babes who hurt no one?  They were not.  Attacked, they fought back.  Often they killed in passion, and the innocent suffered. Both innocent Armenians and innocent Muslims suffered.  Did the Armenians sometimes suffer more than the Turks?  Yes.  In a century of warfare, sometimes the Turks lost more, sometimes the Armenians.  That is the way of war.

However, there is a moral difference between the actions of those who begin a war and those who respond.  No one should ever be excused for killing innocent civilians, but the primary guilt is the guilt of those who begin the slaughter.  My country, America, responded to the evil of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis by bombing German cities and, in the process, killing civilians.  Some actions, such as the bombing of Dresden, were inexcusable.  But does anyone doubt who was truly at fault?  It was Hitler and his followers who were guilty.  The guilty were those who first began to kill for their cause

No one should ever try to say that Turks were completely innocent, but the truly guilty were those who began to kill the innocent.

The question of who started the conflicts is important, both historically and morally important.  In more than 100 years of warfare, Turks and Armenians killed each other.  The question of who began the killing must be understood, because it is seldom justifiable to be the aggressor, but it is always justifiable to defend yourself.  If those who defend themselves go beyond defence and exact revenge, as always happens in war, they should be identified and criticized.  But those who should be most blamed are those who began the wars, those who committed the first evil deeds, and those who caused the bloodshed.  Those who always began the conflicts were the Armenian nationalists, the Armenian revolutionaries.  The guilt is on their heads.

                                                                                                                        --Justin McCarthy


* University of Louisville, Department of History

[i] Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement, Berkeley, 1963, pp. 156-168.

[ii] Nalbandian, p. 178

70 posted on 04/26/2003 9:49:30 AM PDT by Turk2 (Dulce bellum inexpertis)
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To: Turk2
The Turkish original of this article was published in Savunma ve Havacılık Dergisi No.3 / 2000

[**] Ankara Üniversitesi

The equivalent of being published by the publishing arms of the KGB or the SS. The garbage you post against the victims of the genocides disgust as much as the Commies who march in Red Square or San Francisco or the holocaust deniers. Go back to your hole...

71 posted on 04/26/2003 10:20:42 AM PDT by eleni121
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To: Turk2; DED; a_Turk; Mortimer Snavely; eleni121
Perhaps we should add in this summary for a little balance, one rather randomly picked from hundreds readily available from neutral sources. I'd be interested to hear you try to explain away the findings of the Turkish war crimes tribunal:
Only one Turkish government, that of Damad Ferit Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian genocide. In fact, that Turkish government held war crimes trials and condemned to death the major leaders responsible.

The Turkish court concluded that the leaders of the Young Turk government were guilty of murder. "This fact has been proven and verified." It maintained that the genocidal scheme was carried out with as much secrecy as possible. That a public facade was maintained of "relocating" the Armenians. That they carried out the killing by a secret network. That the decision to eradicate the Armenians was not a hasty decision, but "the result of extensive and profound deliberations."

Ismail Enver Pasha, Ahmed Cemal Pasha, Mehmed Talât Bey, and a host of others were convicted by the Turkish court and condemned to death for "the extermination and destruction of the Armenians."
And here is the summary in its entirety. Note at the ending the condemnation of the Armenian genocide from not merely Armenian sources but also official recognition of the Turkish genocide by the Turkish court, the European Parliament, the United States (under two administrations), the Russian Duma, and by Israel.



The University of Michigan-Dearborn

Dearborn, MI 48128

The Armenian Genocide was carried out by the "Young Turk" government of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 (with subsidiaries to 1922-23). One and a half million Armenians were killed, out of a total of two and a half million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Most Armenians in America are children or grandchildren of the survivors, although there are still many survivors amongst us.

Armenians all over the world commemorate this great tragedy on April 24, because it was on that day in 1915 when 300 Armenian leaders, writers, thinkers and professionals in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) were rounded up, deported and killed. Also on that day in Constantinople, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were butchered in the streets and in their homes.

The Armenian Genocide was masterminded by the Central Committee of the Young Turk Party (Committee for Union and Progress [Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyet, in Turkish]) which was dominated by Mehmed Talât [Pasha], Ismail Enver [Pasha], and Ahmed Djemal [Pasha]. They were a racist group whose ideology was articulated by Zia Gökalp, Dr. Mehmed Nazim, and Dr. Behaeddin Shakir.

The Armenian Genocide was directed by a Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa) set up by the Committee of Union and Progress, which created special "butcher battalions," made up of violent criminals released from prison.

Some righteous Ottoman officials such as Celal, governor of Aleppo; Mazhar, governor of Ankara; and Reshid, governor of Kastamonu, were dismissed for not complying with the extermination campaign. Any common Turks who protected Armenians were killed.

The Armenian Genocide occurred in a systematic fashion, which proves that it was directed by the Young Turk government.

First the Armenians in the army were disarmed, placed into labor battalions, and then killed.

Then the Armenian political and intellectual leaders were rounded up on April 24, 1915, and then killed.

Finally, the remaining Armenians were called from their homes, told they would be relocated, and then marched off to concentration camps in the desert between Jerablus and Deir ez-Zor where they would starve and thirst to death in the burning sun.

On the march, often they would be denied food and water, and many were brutalized and killed by their "guards" or by "marauders." The authorities in Trebizond, on the Black Sea coast, did vary this routine: they loaded Armenians on barges and sank them out at sea.

The Turkish government today denies that there was an Armenian genocide and claims that Armenians were only removed from the eastern "war zone." The Armenian Genocide, however, occurred all over Anatolia [present-day Turkey], and not just in the so-called "war zone." Deportations and killings occurred in the west, in and around Ismid (Izmit) and Broussa (Bursa); in the center, in and around Angora (Ankara); in the south-west, in and around Konia (Konya) and Adana (which is near the Mediterranean Sea); in the central portion of Anatolia, in and around Diyarbekir (Diyarbakir), Harpout (Harput), Marash, Sivas (Sepastia), Shabin Kara-Hissar (þebin Karahisar), and Ourfa (Urfa); and on the Black Sea coast, in and around Trebizond (Trabzon), all of which are not part of a war zone. Only Erzeroum, Bitlis, and Van in the east were in the war zone.

The Armenian Genocide was condemned at the time by representatives of the British, French, Russian, German, and Austrian governments—namely all the major Powers. The first three were foes of the Ottoman Empire, the latter two, allies of the Ottoman Empire. The United States, neutral towards the Ottoman Empire, also condemned the Armenian Genocide and was the chief spokesman in behalf of the Armenians.

The American people, via local Protestant missionaries, did the most to save the wretched remnants of the death marches, the orphaned children.

Despite Turkish denial, there is no doubt about the Armenian Genocide. For example, German ambassador Count von Wolff-Metternich, Turkey's ally in World War I, wrote his government in 1916 saying: "The Committee [of Union and Progress] demands the annihilation of the last remnants of the Armenians and the [Ottoman] government must bow to its demands."

German consuls stationed in Turkey, including Vice Consul Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richner of Erzerum [Erzurum] who was Adolf Hitler's chief political advisor in the 1920s, were eyewitnesses. Hitler said to his generals on the eve of sending his Death's Heads units into Poland, "Go, kill without mercy . . . who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians."

Henry Morgenthau Sr., the neutral American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, sent a cable to the U.S. State Department in 1915:

"Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses [sic] it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion."

Morgenthau's successor as Ambassador to Turkey, Abram Elkus, cabled the U.S. State Department in 1916 that the Young Turks were continuing an ". . . unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history."

Only one Turkish government, that of Damad Ferit Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian genocide. In fact, that Turkish government held war crimes trials and condemned to death the major leaders responsible.

The Turkish court concluded that the leaders of the Young Turk government were guilty of murder. "This fact has been proven and verified." It maintained that the genocidal scheme was carried out with as much secrecy as possible. That a public facade was maintained of "relocating" the Armenians. That they carried out the killing by a secret network. That the decision to eradicate the Armenians was not a hasty decision, but "the result of extensive and profound deliberations."

Ismail Enver Pasha, Ahmed Cemal Pasha, Mehmed Talât Bey, and a host of others were convicted by the Turkish court and condemned to death for "the extermination and destruction of the Armenians."

The Permanent People's Tribunal recognized the Armenian Genocide on April 16, 1984.

The European Parliament voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide on June 18, 1987.

President Bush issued a news release in 1990 calling on all Americans to join with Armenians on April 24 in commemorating "the more than a million Armenian people who were victims."

President Clinton issued a news release on April 24, 1994, to commemorate the "tragedy" that befell the Armenians in 1915.

The Russian Duma (the lower house of the bicameral Russian legislature) voted on April 20, 1994, to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Israel officially condemned the Armenian Genocide as Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin proclaimed on the floor of the Knesset (the Israeli legislature), on April 27, 1994, in answer to the claims of the Turkish Ambassador, that "It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember."

The Armenian genocide is similar to the Jewish holocaust in many respects. Both people adhere to an ancient religion. Both were religious minorities of their respective states. Both have a history of persecution. Both have new democracies. Both are surrounded by enemies. Both are talented and creative minorities who have been persecuted out of envy and obscurantism.


  • The Republic of Turkey must cease to be the only major country in the world to deny the Armenian Genocide.

  • The Republic of Turkey must show good will by allowing American aid to present-day Armenia to pass through unhindered.

  • The Republic of Turkey must cease to train Azerbaijani soldiers in Turkey for the purpose of attacking Armenia.

April 3, 1996

This is, of course, merely one of thousands of such summaries and historical accounts by neutral parties from around the world.

I'm not sure that FR is a proper forum for holocaust deniers of any stripe. Many here have not made a great issue of your denials but it simply will not do for FR to become a place for holocaust deniers to post exculpatory articles or propaganda. It isn't allowed for denials of the Jewish holocaust and it should not be allowed for the Serbian holocaust or the Armenian holocaust, all twentieth century events about which a great deal is known.
72 posted on 04/26/2003 11:24:31 AM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: George W. Bush; All
The problem is we have not spoken because we thought that such an injustice on our nation could not be allowed by the 'civilized' West. When Armenians were throwing around allegations and Allied forces spies were spreading disinformation and wartime propaganda to justify their imperialistic plots on the Ottoman Empire in the view of their public, we did not speak out. Even when we did try to enlighten the world with the truth, our voices were just not heard. All sources that point to the existence of a systematic genocide being applied upon the Armenians wuth which we have spent hundreds of years in peace, are either Armenian revolutionary comittees (formed in Russia with National Socialist ideological background), priests of the Partriarchy which had been an accomplice of these terrorist organizations and foreign missionaries or diplomats which were obviously controlled by Allied powers.

All neutral accounts of the events of that period in eastern anatolia point out that there was no such crime commited, that the number of deaths is grossly exaggerated (the number of dead being estimated at numbers above the total Armenian population of the region), that the hundreds of thousands of Turks killed in the region are completely neglected inspite of evidence such as mass graves uncovered all around Eastern Anatolia and documents in the Ottoman archives, the massive Armenian revolts in which tens of thousands of Turks were slaughtered which severely hampered the Ottoman war effort against Russia and the activities of Armenian revolutionary committees are completely overlooked as though they never existed inspite of countless documents proving otherwise.

It is obvious from the source you have posted that you have actually not read any of my posts and, as any concientious human being would be, are disturbed by attempts at holocaust deniel in any form. However, as a civilized member of the human race, you must also be open to information from all sides of a historical event before you come to a conclusion and block out any other possible interpretation of that event. Just because someone says that there was a holocaust, does not mean that it had to be accepted to be true and never questioned. It is true that the people of Anatolia have suffered greatly during those days, but to neglect the suffering of the Turks in the region is disrespect to the memory of the countless innocent Turks that were killed by pawns of Russian, French and British imperialism as well as the countless innocent Armenians that died during the forced deportation.

I am astounded by your choise of a neutral source for this topic: KNIGHTS OF VARTAN ARMENIAN RESEARCH CENTER. Its name is enough to discredit it but I will nontheless try to refute some of the information pointed out in the propaganda you have posted.

Only one Turkish government, that of Damad Ferit Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian genocide. In fact, that Turkish government held war crimes trials and condemned to death the major leaders responsible.

--- The government of Damat Ferit Pasha was under full control of the invading Allied powers. This is the same goevernment that provoked religous groups to suppress the resistence in Anatolia against the invasion and put a death warrant on Mustafa KEmal's head. The allied powers themselves held trials on the island of Malta after 1918 and were unable to indict one single Ottoman official with any crimes against humanity. The Allied prosecutors were unable to find any evidence against the Ottoman officials eventhough they had complete control over the Ottoman government, had invaded its capital and most of its lands and had unlimited access to all its documents.

Besides, the so-called documents implicationg Talat Pasa of a genocidal plot were completely forged and here's proof. KNIGHTS OF VARTAN ARMENIAN RESEARCH CENTER

Is this the place you have accepted as a 'neutral' source on these matters? Here is some info on this neutral source : Armenian Research Center

The Armenian Genocide was carried out by the "Young Turk" government of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 (with subsidiaries to 1922-23). One and a half million Armenians were killed, out of a total of two and a half million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Most Armenians in America are children or grandchildren of the survivors, although there are still many survivors amongst us.

Armenians all over the world commemorate this great tragedy on April 24, because it was on that day in 1915 when 300 Armenian leaders, writers, thinkers and professionals in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) were rounded up, deported and killed. Also on that day in Constantinople, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were butchered in the streets and in their homes.

---APRIL 24, 1915

The Ottoman government, against numerous rebellions that began after 1890 and promptly following Armenian massacres which resulted in the murder of tens of thousands of Turks, contented with informing most important persons of Armenian congregation and Armenian deputies that "Government will take the necessary precautions if Armenians continue to stab in the back and assassinate the Turks". However, it became a necessity to secure behind the borders because the army was in war at various fronts, the events did not stop but increased and assaults towards defenseless Turkish women and children increased.

With this aim, on April 24, 1915 the Armenian Committees were closed and 2345 of their directors were arrested due to the crime of carrying out activities against the government. April 24, which is commemorated annually as the "Anniversary of Armenian Massacre" by the Armenians abroad is this date when the 2345 revolutionary committee members were arrested and it has no relation with deportation.

However, the Armenian revolutionary committee members who propagandize even the unfounded events by exaggeration, promptly made a move to propagandize these mentioned arrests. As a matter of fact, Ecmiyazin Catholicos Kevork sent the telegraph below to the President of USA:

"Dear President, according to the last news we got from Turkish Armenia, the massacre began there and an organized terror endangered the presence of the Armenian people. At this critical moment, I am addressing to the noble feelings of your Excellency and great American Nation and in the name of humanity and Christianity belief requesting you to promptly interfere by means of your great Republic's diplomatic representatives and protect my people in Turkey who are left to violence of the Turkish fanaticism.

Kevork, Archbishop and Catholicos of all Armenians."

Pursuant to the telegraph of Archbishop Kevork, Russia's Washington Ambassador got in contact with USA and thus, April 24, which is the day when Armenian committee members dealing with illegal works were arrested was propagandized to world's public opinion as "the day on which Turks massacred Armenians".

REFERENCE: Gürün, Kamuran, Ermeni Dosyasi, TTK Basimevi, Ankara, 1983, s.210-211

German consuls stationed in Turkey, including Vice Consul Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richner of Erzerum [Erzurum] who was Adolf Hitler's chief political advisor in the 1920s, were eyewitnesses. Hitler said to his generals on the eve of sending his Death's Heads units into Poland, "Go, kill without mercy . . . who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians." The statement above is false as said here: Hitler and the Armenian Question

Hitler is often quoted as having referred to the Armenians in the manner cited above while delivering a secret talk to members of his General Staff, just a week prior to his attack on Poland. I have added to the end of this booklet the original texts of the two Hitler speeches, delivered on August 22, 1939 (Annex 3). They are photocopies of the pages of the official texts, published in the certainly reliable Nuremberg documents. (7) Curiously enough, there is no reference in them to the Armenians. One may rightly assume that Hitler spoke to his generals on that day in German, which is his and their native tongue. The Nuremberg documents are the most authoritative, perhaps the only authentic sources. I am aware of a few English translations, (8) some of which carry an additional sentence that does not occur in the authorized German texts. One wonders whether who might have added it and for what purpose! In terms of "methodology", the use of a supposedly Hitler statement on the Armenians brings to mind several Nazi "craft", such as the Reichstag fire, exploited for a certain political end.

Henry Morgenthau Sr., the neutral American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, sent a cable to the U.S. State Department in 1915:

"Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses [sic] it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion."

The Story Behind Robert Morgenthau's Story

Morgenthau's successor as Ambassador to Turkey, Abram Elkus, cabled the U.S. State Department in 1916 that the Young Turks were continuing an ". . . unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history."

What a bigot:

25 Lectures on Modern Balkan History

Ottoman History

Does the fact that a number of nations that have incited the unrest in Anatolia and provoked the Armenians into revolt have accepted this imaginary genocide and condemened Turkey, which is the real victim in these events, to clear their conciences?

Israel and the US presidency have never accepted the events of WWI as a genocide. Nobody is denying that attrocities have been commited , but by both sides, anyway.

The Armenian genocide is similar to the Jewish holocaust in many respects. Both people adhere to an ancient religion. Both were religious minorities of their respective states. Both have a history of persecution. Both have new democracies. Both are surrounded by enemies. Both are talented and creative minorities who have been persecuted out of envy and obscurantism. To compare the Jewish holocaust with what happened in Anatolia during WWI is an insult to the millions who have suffered at the hands of Hitler and his evil nazi empire. There are ship loads of documents and statements by German officials as well as concentration camps and well kept records of extermination to prove the Jewish holocaust. To say that Armenians, the Millet-i Sadika (Loyal Nation), were a persecuted minority in the Ottoman Empire is a display of ill intention or at best complete ignorance of historical facts. I am disgusted by the attempt of these Armenian terrorist organizations to exploit the feelings of Jews which they greatly despise (Orthodox Christians are generally brought up as enti-semitists)`and have actively taken part in the extermination of during WWII in complicity with the nazis.

If you are truly a civilized rational human being, I request that you read some of the following sources as well, to broaden your understanding of the Armenian-Turkish conflict.


73 posted on 04/26/2003 2:31:25 PM PDT by Turk2 (Dulce bellum inexpertis)
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To: Turk2; George W. Bush
The argument comes down to this:

Turks bad. Armenians and everyone else good. All Turkish sources diabolical propaganda. All Armenian and other sources absolute gospel truth.

74 posted on 04/26/2003 4:04:42 PM PDT by Mortimer Snavely (More Power to the Troops! More Bang for the Buck!)
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To: Turk2
The truth remains: the Turkish court which condemned the officials responsible for the Armenian genocide was as legitimate as was the Nuremburg triumvirates. Both were imposed by conquering powers. And their findings are still accepted by all parties except, not surprisingly, the Turks. As far as the Allied tribunal, it is quite likely that the elapsed time allowed the Ottoman to conceal the evidence and liquidate or intimidate the witnesses who would naturally fear for their lives after the Allies left again. After all, the feeble and dying Otttoman empire was propped up for, what, 150 years by the European powers?

It is astonishing to see someone condemn a Most Loyal nation like Armenia which was, in face, a captive nation of the Ottoman empire. Their leaders' determined demonstration of nationalism and a separate national identity led directly to the massacres of the Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman empire. It appears that the Armenian nation was Most Loyal but its leaders were not, at least in your fanciful tale.

I notice that you like to refer to Armenians who champion the cause of their dead forebears as "terrorists". Very similar to how a_Turk terms the Kurd as "terrorists" if they are in opposition to Turkey. Like you seem to depict the ordinary Armenians of the period, he speaks of the joyful happy loyal Kurds in Turkey and the "terrorist" Kurds in Iraq/Syria/Iran. Of course, the ones in Iraq do live on some of the best unexploited oil deposits in the world...

How is it, then, that Turkey has so constantly been surrounded by communists and terrorists and other bad guys and yet managed to survive and, all the while, have the most feared military in the region?

At any rate, most of this history hardly matters, especially if one is engaging in the futility of arguing with a holocaust denier.

The now-exposed diplomatic plots by Turkey and Iran to partition northern Iraq and seize its oil is now fully exposed to the world's view. Thanks to us, Turkey won't have to dirty its hands by repeating the Armenian procedure in northern Iraq.

The universal condemnation of Turkey's atrocities against the Armenians still stands. As does the near-universal condemnation of Turkey's invasion of Cyprus. And we are no longer willing to take your side on that one, not after the Stupid Party in Ankara stabbed us in the back. We'll see how you fare with Greece and the EU and see if you think it's all been worth it. Oh, yeah, and forget that sweet pipeline deal and the discounted oil too if Turkey doesn't shape up.
75 posted on 04/26/2003 4:20:32 PM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: Mortimer Snavely
The argument comes down to this: Turks bad. Armenians and everyone else good. All Turkish sources diabolical propaganda. All Armenian and other sources absolute gospel truth.

I doubt there are very many innocent parties in such a backward region. These people reap what they've sown for many centuries and don't get a lot of sympathy from me. On any side.

Nevertheless, I do feel obligated to challenge holocaust denials here at FR when the entire civilized world has long since concluded that the Armenian holocaust is as real as the Serbian or Jewish holocausts and was of the same nature. I would hate to think that gullible readers here at FR would somehow conclude that there is any controversy on the subject when only Turkish sources dispute the massacre they perpetrated against the Armenians. And I wouldn't let a denier of the Jewish holocaust slip propaganda on to FR either.

I'd suggest that you examine the works on the Nazi period by a few of the revisionist German historians. You'll see a very familiar pattern to what our Turkish friends are presenting here regarding the Armenians. You see, our country has always believed the credible reporting on the Armenian holocaust. But we didn't let it affect our relations with our ally Turkey. But now they've shown us exactly what that was worth to them. Not to mention our shielding them on the Cyprus issue diplomatically, entry into NATO, EU entry, etc.

Mort, there are no innocents among nations except maybe for certain periods of time among the isolated Pacific Islanders. But the hands in the Middle East are particularly bloody throughout the modern history. And, as the overwhelming majority of FReepers know, there's a specific reason for that.
76 posted on 04/26/2003 4:35:42 PM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: George W. Bush
The least polemic summary of this I've read is here:

Professor Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville on the results of his research:

There has been quite a bit of misinformation that has been told about Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Specifically about the number of Armenians who lived in the Ottoman Empire and what happened to the Armenians. On this map here, we have an area that is historically called Armenia - whether or not there were very many Armenians living there or whether Armenians ruled it at any one time. In this area, which stretches from the Russian border all the way down to the Mediterranean, there were - at the time of the end of the Ottoman Empire around the year 1912 or 1915 - six provinces, called vilayets. In these provinces, there were many Armenians, but in none of these provinces was more than a third of the population Armenian, and in most cases it was quite a bit less than a third.

In fact, if at the beginning of the First World War you took the entire Armenian population of the world and you put it all in this area that has been called Armenia, the Muslim population would still have outnumbered the Armenians. Of course they were not there, and that meant that the Muslims Outnumbered the Armenians by approximately 6:1.

Now at the beginning of the First World War, the Ottomans decided that they Would move a number of Armenians who they believed to be a threat from the areas in which they lived to other areas in the South.

Many more Armenians than were ever moved in any forced migration, however, fled with the Russian armies to the north, and in the World War you have a period of tremendous death. There was cholera, typhus ... in fact, there were three years In which no crops were on the ground. And so the people who lived in the area simply starved to death -if they did not die of disease and if they did not die of outright murder. By outright murder, I mean the murder that came when the Russian army invaded this territory. They came right down to the city of Van, which was being held by the Armenian revolutionaries against their own government. When the Russian armies came in, many groups of Russians and large numbers of Armenian irregulars massacred large numbers of Muslims.

There was back and forth fighting that went on for the next three years and quite a bit of killing of Armenians by Muslims and Muslims by Armenians.

When each of the armies retreated, their own people, the people who identified with them and were tied to them, left with them. So when the Russians retreated, the Armenians retreated with them. When the Muslim, Ottoman armies retreated, the Muslims - Turks especially - left with them.

Through the whole of Anatolia, in the whole region which extends from the Aegean and the Mediterranean all the way up to the Black Sea and the Caucasus, you had approximately 600.000 dead Armenians. In the same region, you had 2.5 million dead Muslims, most of them Turks.

Even in just this area (Armenia), you had more than a million dead Muslims - Turks - well some were other peoples, but the majority were Turks, which meant that in this area called Armenia there were hundreds of thousands more dead Muslims than there were Armenians.

Now, this area has been portrayed as an area in which Armenians were slaughtered. To a certain extent that is true, but to be historically accurate, we also have to call it an area where Muslims were slaughtered - in fact many more Muslims. And we have to view this time period around World War 1, before and a little bit after World War 1, as a period of great inhumanity - of massacres, of deaths that touched all people - not simply Armenians, not simply Turks. Unless it is viewed as a human problem instead of a sectarian problem - instead of a problem of just the Armenians - we will never understand what really went on at the time."

Justin McCarthy's Research

No one anywhere denies a lot of people died horribly. A trail of tears? Certainly. A bureaucratically administered policy of extermination of a targeted ethnic group? I think not. That type of historical ledgerdemain is where history ends and plain old propaganda begins.

77 posted on 04/26/2003 4:39:10 PM PDT by Mortimer Snavely (More Power to the Troops! More Bang for the Buck!)
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To: George W. Bush
'... a_Turk terms the Kurds as "terrorists" if they are in opposition to Turkey.'

Abso-bloody-lutely. In my old stomping grounds in Bakirkoy one of these Kurdish, err, freedom fighters walked into a crowded department store one weekend with a firebomb under his coat and set it off just after I left Turkey. That's just my own personal experience, mind you, but there are plenty of other examples. Turkey's been going through the equivalent of several 9/11 type incidents a year for a lot longer than we have.

78 posted on 04/26/2003 4:56:31 PM PDT by Mortimer Snavely (More Power to the Troops! More Bang for the Buck!)
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To: Mortimer Snavely
The professor is claiming then that those genocidal Armenians, outnumbered 6:1 by Turks, succeeded in killing almost twice as many Turks as the Turks killed Armenians?

The Armenian holocaust occurred in the midst of a typical war in the region, this time between Russia and Turkey. Your "historian" is essentially making the ludicrous claim that the Armenians, not the Russian army, were the killers of the Turks in the area. Apparently, the Russians were some sort of innocent bystanders in all this Armenian murder of local Turks.

Dismissing the professor's silly notions, it remains the position of credible scholarship throughout the world and the position of the EU and America and Russia and Israel that, during the war period, the Turks massacred hundreds of thousands of Armenians in cold blood. And huge numbers of the murdered were women and children.
79 posted on 04/26/2003 5:05:32 PM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: George W. Bush; All
What are the primary documents that Armenians cite as being proof of a genocide?

A brief examination of these will proove that these are all false.

1 - The painting by Visili Verashagov at the Tridiyagof Museum in Russia said to depist the massacres of Armenians during WWI: The painting was about the brutality of the German-Russian War between 1871-72.

2 - The British Blue Book by Toynbee: Info on this in previous posts which you still insist on not reading. It was written entirely by Armenians and Toynbee merely edited it.

3 - 40 Days on Musa Dag - This book was written to depict Nazi Germany but due to the political situation at the time in the author's (Franz Werfel) native country Austria, he picked the Young Turks as the subject of the book. The author himself confessed this before his death and this was also documented by Austrian historian Prof. Erich Fiegel. In fact the book infuriated Turkish Armenians which burned it in front of Pangalti Armenian Church in Istanbul on December 15th, 1935.

4 - Morgernthau's Memoirs - Refuted above but since your narrow mind can not take any further information about the realities behind Armenian allegations, I doubt you have bothered to read it anyway. Besides these are not official documents. The pfficial documents on this topic were written by American an Admiral named Bristol and verify the fact that Turks were the victims of attrocities at the hands of Armenians.

5 - Interview with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk by a Swiss journalist named Emile Hildebrand for the Los Angeles Examiner. No record of this person was found in neither the Turkish foreign office or the Swiss embassy. This person does not even exist. In fact the editor of the Boston Armenian Review, James Taschiyan, warned Armenians about the use of such false documents in an editorial he wrote.

6 - The telegram by Talat Pasha supposedly constituting a proof for his genocide plans. This telegram which is on display at the Armenian Genocide Museum is a terrible forgery. The telegram does not comply with the regular Ottoman encryption scheme of the time and was dated a year before it was supposedly sent. His signature on the telegram was an obvious forfeit and the Governor of the Aleppo Province Abdulhalik Bey had not even been appointed to that position at the date of telegram.

80 posted on 04/26/2003 5:05:45 PM PDT by Turk2 (Dulce bellum inexpertis)
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