Yes Turkey, it was Genocide — Vive la France!

December 23, 2011

Yesterday, we received the news from around the world that France’s lower house of Parliament voted to criminalize denial of the Armenian Genocide. Of course, Turkey’s Prime Minister went ballistic. In his tirade against France, Erdogan accused the French of stifling free speech. Ironically (of course), as the New York Times correctly noted, “Turkey’s own penal code makes affirming the genocide a crime on the grounds that it is an insult to Turkish identity. In March, Orhan Pamuk, a Nobel Prize winner, was fined 7,000 lira, about $3,700, for his statement in a Swiss newspaper that ‘we have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians’.”

As new information concerning the Armenian Genocide occurs, I do my best to report it in this blog in a timely manner. However, yesterday, I was increasingly frustrated as I read articles published in the world’s leading newspapers, most using language which obfuscate the truth about the history of the first genocide occuring in the 20th century. There are official volumes (archives full) of the facts of Turkey’s systematic killing of between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians under the cover of World War I.

Turkish historian Taner Akcam has documented the motivation for this genocide in his master work, “A Shameful Act“. Basically, in addition to racial hatred of the non-Turkish, non-Muslim Armenian Christian minority, Turkey coveted the land the Armenians occupied for thousands of years. The Turkish government also saw an opportunity to create an instant Muslim, middleclass by taking all of the Armenians’ properties and belongings and redistributing the ‘bootie’ (including houses) to its Muslim population.

During the genocide, the United States Ambassador to Turkey was Henry Morgenthau. In his first-person account of the Armenian Genocide, he recalls a conversation with one of the masterminds of the genocide, Talaat Pasha:

One day Talaat made what was perhaps the most astonishing request I had ever heard.  The New York Life Insurance Company and the Equitable Life of New York had for years done considerable business among the Armenians.  The extent to which this people insured their lives was merely another indication of their thrifty habits.  “I wish,” Talaat now said, “that you would get the American Life insurance companies to send us a complete list of their Armenian policy holders.  They are practically dead now and have left no heirs to collect the money.  If … all escheats to the State, the Government is the beneficiary now. Will you do so?”

This was almost too much, and I lost my temper.  “You will get no such list from me,” I said, and I got up and left him.

Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, p. 339. [Source]

In addition to the records in government archives in the U.S., France, Germany, and Great Britain, there was an unprecedented humanitarian relief effort spearheaded by Evangelical and Catholic missionaries, who went to heroic lengths to save the Armenians. Many relief workers documented what they witnessed in Turkey, in brutal detail. There are thousands of eyewitness accounts and so much scholarly work on this subject, that the veracity of the facts cannot be disputed.

However, the Turkish government spends millions of dollars each year to lobby lawmakers in the United States and countries all over the world to vote against recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey has also infiltrated some of the world’s leading universities, ensuring books about the Armenian Genocide are not available in their libraries and endowing chairs. The effort and amount of disinformation Turkey continues to manufacture about the Armenian Genocide is astonishing.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the French government for standing up and saying no to Turkey. It is unlikely the United States and Israel will suddenly become enlightened with moral clarity, but one can always hope.


The April 24, 1915 Ottoman Turkish document ordering the Armenian Genocide

March 16, 2011

The first genocide of the 20th Century was perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. In March 2011, despite all the evidence, the Turkish Government continues its active campaign denying the genocide of 1.5 million Armenian Christians which climaxed in 1915 (see a photo of the original Instruction of the Ministry of the Interior, April 24, 1915). 

The Ottoman Turks’ heinous atrocities were committed to achieve its objectives of ethnic cleansing and the simultaneous creation of a new Muslim middleclass. The elimination of the minority Armenian peoples that exceeded 10 percent of the country’s population in key interior regions (the historic Armenian homeland) was imperative to the Ottoman Turks. This last point was critical when the US and European powers sought to divide the spoils of their victory following World War I. (For a full explanation, read Turkish scholar Taner Akcam’s brilliant book, A Shameful Act). Also, refer to the March 15, 2011 blog post on this site for links to the award-winning 2010 German documentary, Aghet – A Genocide)

See a photo of the original Instruction of the Ministry of the Interior on April 24 document:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instruction_of_the_Ministery_of_the_Interior_on_april_24.png

The list of Armenian notables deported from Constantinople in 1915 (this event is comparable to Kristallnacht):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_notables_deported_from_Constantinople_in_1915

(Dear Readers, If you have more information please let us know. Send an email or comment. Thank you.)


Congress is reconvening Wed – Vote for HR 252, Armenian Genocide Resolution, possible

December 21, 2010

If you do not follow the politics concerning the United States Government’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide, you may not realize the news reported by Asbarez is a significant development (see link below). Despite threats from Turkey, President Obama is not actively pressuring Congress to dismiss the resolution. Past administrations have buckled to Turkey’s demands for political purposes, for decades. However, when President Obama was a senator, he made his views clear that he knows a genocide was committed by the Turkish Government at the beginning of the 20th century.

When you begin to learn about the history surrounding the Armenian Genocide, the eyewitness accounts and records locked in the government archives of the United States, France, and Germany, offer overwhelming evidence that genocide was committed by Turkey. Non-Armenian government diplomats, missionaries, doctors, and nurses, are among the individuals who recorded what they witnessed in letters, cables (telegraphs), photographs, and memoirs. The New York Times, National Geographic and other periodicals of the time also documented what journalists saw happening in Turkey.

Armenians all over the world can tell you some of what their grandparents and great grandparents told them. But, like my grandfather, most of what happened to the survivors remained burned into their memories and souls without ever being fully shared with anyone. Tonight, Armenians across America have hope that tomorrow the few remaining Armenian Genocide survivors may live to know that our government finally publicly will recognize the Armenian Genocide. Please read some of the other pages on this blog to learn more.

White House Indifferent on Genocide Resolution
Asbarez.com | December 21, 2010

The following outstanding documentary and books are highly recommended:

  • ‘Aghet: Armenian Genocide‘ an award-winning documentary by Germany’s ARD Television and Eric Friedler
  • ‘A Shameful Act’, one of the definitive books about the Armenian Genocide written by Turkish scholar Taner Akcam
  • ‘Armenian Golgotha’ by Grigoris Balakian, an Armenian priest’s devastating eyewitness account of the Armenian Genocide
  • Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story‘ by Henry I. Morgenthau, the American Ambassador at Constantinople from 1913-1916
  • If you haven’t called your Congressional representative and the House Majority Leader, it will take you less than one minute to make these calls. All you need to know is your zip code: MAKE THE CALL TO VOTE YES FOR HOUSE RESOLUTION 252

    Read the full text of House Resolution 252


    The ugly politics of denying the Armenian Genocide

    June 17, 2010

    Suddenly, the Israel lobby discovers a genocide
    Salon.com | June 16, 2010

    Editor’s Note:

    Prior to April 2010, several articles posted on this blog assailed the United States’ official foreign policy and President Obama’s decision to break his campaign promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide as genocide. It should be noted that Great Britain has also failed to stand up to Turkey. To attempt to understand the reasons why each of these democratic countries have historically placated Turkey rather than simply state the facts as they are clearly known by each government, requires a good deal of reading. Be assured that there is no shortage of official documentation in US and British government archives, as well as in Germany and France. It may surprise you to know that Turkey’s archives provided esteemed Turkish scholar Taner Akcam all of the information he needed to write , A Shameful Act, which is one of the definitive books about the Armenian Genocide and the political history of the time.

    Links to related blog posts:

    Armenian Genocide recognition a reality or fantasy in US, GB and Israel

    Another call for the US to right its wrong foreign policy and recognize the Armenian Genocide

    The White House and State Department have once again shown their fear of Turkey

    Video of Obama referring to Armenian Genocide (2007)


    We owe Turkish scholar Taner Akcam our deepest gratitude for his Armenian Genocide fact-finding

    June 3, 2010

    Taner Akcam’s book, A Shameful Act, is a brilliant and scholarly presentation of the facts related to the Armenian Genocide. A Shameful Act is based on Akcam’s extensive research of Ottoman and German archival sources. (The Resources Links box in the right margin of this Home Page provides a link for finding a copy of A Shameful Act.)

    Watch a video of Taner Akcam discussing A Shameful Act, as originally broadcast on C-SPAN2 Book TV.

    Related News

    Akcam: What Davutoglu Fails to Understand
    The Armenian Weekly | May 19, 2010

    The Turkish version of this OpEd appeared in Taraf on May 11, 2010.


    Turkish historian Taner Akcam explains why US policy needs to change regarding the Armenian Genocide

    March 9, 2010

    On Turkey and the Armenian Genocide, the Obama Administration Needs to Sing a New Song
    History News Network | March 9, 2010

    (This article was written by noted historian and genocide expert, Taner Akcam. Professor Akcam’s book, A Shameful Act, is one of the most comprehensive and important books published about the Armenian Genocide.)


    Read Taner Akcam’s A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility

    February 9, 2010

    Thank you to everyone who recommended that I read Turkish scholar Taner Akcam’s historical analysis of the Armenian Genocide, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility. Mr. Akcam’s book is a significant contribution to the field of Holocaust and Genocide studies. Thank you, Mr. Akcam, for your research and for speaking out.

    If you want to gain insight into the events that led up to the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks, I hope you will read A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility.

    Here is a link to the book review that ran in the New York Times:

    Turkey’s Killing Fields
    New York Times | December 17, 2006

    (P.S.: If you want to own the book, I’ve included a link to A Shameful Act, which is located under the Resource Links in the right column.)


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