Mouradian: Ankara Conference Looks Beyond Genocide, Debates Reparations

ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—On April 24, as genocide commemoration events were being held one after the other in different locations in Istanbul, a groundbreaking two-day conference on the Armenian Genocide began at the Princess Hotel in Ankara.

L to R: Nishanian, Theriault, moderator Eugene Shouglin, Mouradian, and Demirer.

The conference, organized by the Ankara Freedom of Thought Initiative, was held under tight security measures. The hall was thoroughly searched on both mornings by policemen and security dogs; metal detectors were installed at the entrance of the hotel; and all members of the audience had to be cleared by the organizers before entering. Unlike the commemoration events in Istanbul, however, no counter-demonstrations were allowed to materialize.

The conference attracted around 200 attendees, mostly activists and intellectuals who support genocide recognition. Among the prominent names from Turkey were Ismail Besikci, Baskin Oran, Sevan Nishanian, Ragip Zarakolu, Temel Demirer, and Sait Cetinoglu.

Besikci was the first in Turkey to write books about the Kurds “at a time when others did not even dare to use the ‘K’ word,” as one Turkish scholar put it. Besikci spent years in Turkish prison for his writings. Oran is a professor of political science. He was one of the initiators of the apology campaign launched by Turkish intellectuals. Nishanian is a Turkish-Armenian scholar who has authored several books and also writes for Agos. Zarakolu is a publisher who has been at the forefront of the struggle for Armenian Genocide recognition in Turkey with the books he has published over the years. Demirer is an author who has been prosecuted for his daring writings and speeches. Cetinoglu is a scholar and activist, and was one of the key organizers of the conference.

The poster of the conference

The foreign scholars and activists who were scheduled to speak were David Gaunt (genocide scholar, author of Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia During World War I), Henry Theriault (professor of philosophy, Worcester State University), Khatchig Mouradian (doctoral student in Holocaust and genocide studies, Clark University; editor, the Armenian Weekly), Harry Parsekian (president of Friends of Hrant Dink in Boston), and Eilian Williams (writer and activist from Wales). All except for Gaunt spoke on the panel dealing with “The Armenian Issue: What is to be done and how?”

Reparations: Unjust or Indispensable?

That panel, which proved to be the most controversial, also featured Nishanian, Zarakolu, and Demirer, and turned out into a debate on reparations for the Armenian Genocide with all the panelists, as well as Oran and others from the audience, pitching in.

Mouradian spoke about the importance of reframing the discourse in Turkey and dealing with the Armenian Genocide issue not only from the perspective of democracy and freedom of speech, but also that of justice. He dealt with the concepts of apology and restitution.

Theriault, in turn, said, “Turkey must return or compensate for all expropriated property.  It should return land and other wealth, including Armenian Church properties, when that wealth has been preserved.” He noted that Turkey should also compensate for (1) all destroyed property and wealth that is otherwise no longer accessible, (2) the interest that can be calculated on the original material losses, (3) slave labor, (4) the pain and suffering of those who died and all who survived, (5) the loss of 1.5 million people in general and as specific family and community members, and (6) the loss of cultural, religious, and educational institutions and opportunities.

Nishanian categorically dismissed Theriault’s demands for reparations, considering them a dead-end, and noting that such an approach is unjust, unacceptable, and would open the door for further conflict. Demirer, in a brilliant intervention, provided a scathing response to Nishanian, arguing powerfully for reparations. Williams, too, spoke in support of reparations.

Armenian property and the historical context

The panel on “abandoned” Armenian properties also generated a lot of interest. It featured scholars and writers Asli Comu, Nevzat Onaran, Mehmet Palatel (whose MA dissertation is on the confiscation of Armenian property), and Cemil Ertem.

The panel on “Official ideological denial and extirpation from the Committee of Union and Progress to Kemalism” featured scholars Osman Ozarslan and Tuma Celik, as well as Cetinoglu and Besikci.

The panel on the Armenian Genocide from a historical perspective featured Adil Okay, Nahir Sayin, and Oran. Gaunt was scheduled to speak on this panel but could not attend.

The representatives of the organizations supporting the conference spoke at the last session.

Significance of the conference

It was the first time that a conference on the Armenian Genocide that did not host any genocide deniers was held in Ankara. Moreover, the conference did not simply deal with the historical aspect of 1915. For the first time in Turkey, a substantial part of the proceedings was dedicated to topics such as confiscated Armenian property, reparations, and the challenges of moving forward and confronting the past in Turkey.

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Khatchig Mouradian

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian is the Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor at Columbia University. Previously, he served as the Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor at CSU Fresno (Fall 2016 Semester). In 2015-2016, Mouradian was a visiting assistant professor at the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University, where he also served as the program coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Program at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR). Since 2014, Mouradian has taught courses on imperialism, mass violence, human rights, concentration camps, urban space and conflict in the Middle East, and collective memory in the History and Sociology departments at Rutgers and at Worcester State University. Mouradian holds a PhD in History from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. Mouradian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2007-2014.

86 Comments

  1. Thank you ….

    It gives us a little bit of hope to know that Turkish intellectuals are open to discuss the Ottoman Turks Genocide of the Western and Eastern Armenians …and not only that but also what needs to happen to repay all that were lost..

    Please keep us posted of any advancements..

    Thank you again
    Gayane

  2. Hmm…  how many of the speakers ended up in jail?   What happened to the claims that one can never talk about this subject in Turkey and Turks being so uninformed?  One only hopes Armenians one day can also freely discuss this topic.

  3. Murat- Armenians freely discuss this topic all the time, or maybe you haven’t really read anything in this paper.  We grew up with eye witnesses in our homes and our communities, I assure you we know more about the subject than you do.  Stop crowing about your self-imagined supremacy and you might have a chance to be taken seriously.
     
    I’m glad this happened.  Too bad the security is necessary and so many of the speakers have already been in jail.  I hope they continue to enjoy freedom in the future.  Perhaps if this is really a change we will see many more, and 301 repealed so that people can use the word genocide without fear in the future.   I hope something good comes from this conference, like real steps forward in the law and in actually addressing the problems it raises.

  4. Hey, Murat,
     
    Hmm…  how many of the speakers uttered the word ‘genocide’ to risk ending up in jail? These people are brave but note that nowhere in their statement they ventured into calling the Turkish crime by its name. Your question is ridiculous. Hmm… how many of your intellectuals were prosecuted, tried, deported, and killed for talking about the subject? Haven’t you asked yourself that question? And what answer did you come up with?
     
    And I hope that you noticed that a handful of honest people were guarded by some 1000 policemen. And I hope you also heard the chanting of those beastly nationalists “love it or leave it.” And you consider your country democratic? Who in the West would chant such idiotic, xenophobic slogans as ‘love the country or leave it’?
     
    And I didn’t quite get what you meant by ‘one only hopes Armenians one day can also freely discuss this topic’? What do you mean by discuss? Armenians were subject to race extermination, civilization wipe-out in the hands of Ottoman Turkish barbarians. What else do you want us to discuss? Tell the increasing number of genocide-recognizing states and genocide scholars all over the world to discuss this topic and they’ll laugh to your face because such massive and undeniable evidence exists that at this stage no discussion, but acknowledgment of the fact is happening.
     
    One only hopes Turks one day can also freely accept the guilt and repent for their heinous crime.

  5. On the other hand, Murat, these events might have been given a green light by your government ONLY to hamper the waves of international recognitions of the Armenian genocide. Give this alternative view some thought. Might it be? I think it well may. We, Armenians, know the Turks well…

  6. Excellent coverage by Khatcig Mouradian, although this Conference was a first in many aspects, specially discussing openly monetary and property losses suffered by the Armenians during 1915, to best of my knowledge  this is  not the first Conference which Genocide deniers were in absentee. That credit goes to the 2005 September Conference which was held in the Bilge University in Istanbul, during which late Hirant Dink was a participant and presented a paper called” Su Catlagini Buldu” ( The water found its crack). The reason I bring this up, is not intended to take away anything from this Conference since it deserves nothing less than full appreciation for all of its accomplishments, but we must also not to forget others who struggled even under more difficult times to organize such a Conference.
    As far as Murat’s comments, “please Murat be realistic and honest about facts” do you remember what happened to Hrant Dink because of this same issue? Do you remember court cases against Orhan Pamuk, Ragip Zarakoglu, Elif Shafak  , AratDink, Baskin Oran and many others because of  Turkish Panel Code 301? Although government is more careful now days not to charge people because of 301 violation, but believe it or not, 301 is still part of the panel code.  Before anything else we need sincerity and knowledge to talk , to discuss these historical facts if we desire one day to heal the wounds and move forward. From your words I certainly don’t see such sincerity, since you are either ignorant about the facts or hoping and/or pretending that the contributors to these posts are ignorant about these facts. To cure the first dilemma, and if you are really interested to learn, go and read independent archives ( US, German, French) and books written by third parties to understand what 1915 was all about and study the law as it is in the books in current Turkey. Regardless of what you claim, many Turks are still uninformed about the realities of 1915 since they never been thought that in the school system . ‘Please” don’t say you were, since I was a student of that school system, there was no mention of 1915 anywhere in the history books, the entire education system was designed to create an national amnesia about 1915. On the other hand, as a cure for the second dilemma, before writing anything to these type of posts it may help to remember that, the very panelist you may think  you are challenging with your post,  maybe already ” been there , and done that” !

  7. Ahmet, thank for posting the link to the artilce on Noah’s Ark.
    Might you know where Turkey had been when mountains of Ararat–on which the Ark had descended–was mentioned in the Holy Bible?

  8. ARm jan… THANK YOU.. i just read Ahmet’s shared article and start laughing knowing so well what his intentions were by sending that article to us..
    However, AHMET (i thought you actually took our advice and took some time to educate yourself on the Armenian History that is accurately noted in other books than Turkish education system)…you forget that Mt. Ararat is in ARMENIA…and will always remain in Armenia…whether you like it or not…..

    And of course Ahmet was not enough but Murat had to post his unreal comments.. My Lord.. how much can we say to these people.. ????  He is telling us to freely speak about the Ottoman Turks Genocide of Western and Eastern Armenians.. Is he for real???

    I will stop here because my frustration from these ignorant comments is rising…

    Janine, KYB, ArmenianKars, Soghomon.. Thank you for the posts……

    Gayane

  9. Thanks to these scholars and others courageous human right defenders, my opinion on the turkish (and kurdish) people has strongly evolved. Beginning in the Nineties, with AyseNur and Ragip Zarakolu, Ali Ertem (Germany)…
    “Apsos”, my grand father, Aram, who deplored until 1987, the probable massacre of his brothers, officers in Ottoman army, has missed our current time… He is dead with sadness in his heart.

  10. You are just a big lier.Why nobody speak about the murderer Turks.Ok we also accept massacre Turks and Armenians. You are always blame us everytime blame us . Armenians saying that we’ve no any problems with Turks but when we try to connect with  Armenians you are telling ‘you are killer’ . Tell me have you got a goood relations with neighbours.. Azerbaijan,Georgia,Turkey do you have good relations with those countries.. Just have good relations with Russia..Our history so good…We’ve no any problems with you and our history…

  11. Gokhan… Not sure if I completely understood your comment..

    I think what you said was  Armenians don’t have good relations with thy neighbors such as Azerbaijian, and Turkey correct???? Well.. reality check for you… Armenia’s people were murdered and massacred my the Ottoman Turks in 1915.. Do you know about that???  Turkey to this day does not want to admit and apologize and pay back everything that is lost… BUT WE ARE STILL FIGHTING AND WILL FIGHT….Do you know about that??? Azerbajian went into war with ARmenia to steal yet another piece of land that belonged to us killing innocent young men and women, innocent people…BUT WE WON… Do you know about that???? To this day, Azerbajian is demanding Artsagh back and Turkey is supporting Azeris by demanding Armenia to do so or else no neighborly relations will take place.. Do you know about that????  I am assuming you are oblivious and ignorant about these matters; hence why you said what you said.. You expect Armenia to have good relations with liars, cheaters, deniers??? my answer however rude it may sound… you must be out of your confused mind…

    You said we blame you for everything.. you mean Armenians blame Turks for everything???  Correction to your statement…. Armenians don’t blame Turks for everything… Armenians demand acknowledgement, recognition, reperation, and repayment for the Ottoman Turks Genocide of the Western and Eastern Armenians… Even though that is the bulk of the matter for your govt and country, it is not everything… We don’t blame you for picking your govt officials, the way you eat, drink, sleep, sing, watch tv, walk to the store, the way you brush your teeth, the way you write… you get the point??? I don’t think by pointing out the wrong and inhumane actions of your ancestors, the lies and denials of your current govt and the ignorance and blindness majority of Turkish citizens including yourself is blaming you for everything. is it??? 

    If you think your history is good then that is a RED FLAG to me … it is telling me that you are part of the Turkish govt education system where all you know is Turkey is good, your history is clean, Turkey never did anything horrible… Very sad to see but it is the reality.. Until we change your thought process about what truly happened between 1915-1923, you will remain that Turk who will never be free of the shackles of the Murderous past…

    Hope you can do some real research and learn more about the history.. It will help you a great deal…

    Gayane

  12. Yes, this conference is evidence of many things, one of which being that things are slowly changing in Turkey. While talking about the genocide was previously done behind closed doors, it is now possible to do so in an approved academic setting or a newspaper. Of course, it is not perfect, but it is moving in the right direction. Changing the mindset of millions of people takes time and effort. In the US, millions thought it was wrong for blacks to sit at the front of a bus or that is was perfectly ok for them to not have the vote until 1964, and there are still plenty of racists around, but now the govt is on the side of right, not wrong. That is what is needed in Turkey, and eventually, it will happen. It should be remembered that the ‘racism’ that developed in Turkey came largely from the influx of a group of people after the Spanish Inquisition, and those same people worked very hard to dislodge Armenians over the next 400 years, and that this, above all, led to the genocide.   

  13. “”‘racism’ that developed in Turkey came largely from the influx of a group of people after the Spanish Inquisition, and those same people worked very hard to dislodge Armenians over the next 400 years, and that this, above all, led to the genocide.   ”

    Yes, the fact armed Armenian revolts were splitting the country apart and the very existence of the Ottoamn state and country was at stake and Eastern provinces were falling one by one has nothing to do with tehcir!  Let us blame the Jews! 

    Talk about denial and revisionism!

  14. Quite honestly it disturbs me to hear all this veiled hints about “Turks” not being the problem, but “other people”  who came after the Inquisition.  I don’t buy it.  Unless maybe you would like to elaborate instead of dropping hints.  How can a small group of foreign people control every person who sought to butcher all the villages of our people?  The military battalions of young men slaughtered?  Why try so hard to avoid putting the responsibility for this where it belongs?
     
    And where does this idea that it wasn’t okay for black to vote until 1964 come from?  You must not be American.
    Amendment XV to the U.S. Constitution –
    Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

    “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

  15. PS All of my family of my grandparents generation survived the genocide and were born in Turkey.  All of the grandparents of people I knew in my whole community did the same.  I NEVER HEARD ONE WORD OF THIS FOREIGN CONSPIRACY from their lips!!  NOT ONE SINGLE WORD.  EVER.  They knew perfectly well who was responsible.  And I had relatives  – close family members – on ALL sides of Armenian politics.
     

  16. Yes, Karekin, little distortions of yours that you think may change the real picture. Familiar tactics. Little effect.

    However positive impact the conference may have, Armenians will not cease their efforts at the international recognition of the genocide. Most of us believe that it is precisely these efforts that generate change in Turkey and not that the Turks are becoming more evolutionary mature and civilized. Bear in mind also that such conferences may be intended to soften and eventually hamper the waves of recognitions. We’ve waited for 95 long years and no arguments of yours in that ‘changing the mindset of millions of people takes time and effort’ will deviate us from the course. Whatever analogy, relevant or irrelevant, you may make with regard to the US, in the US we’re dealing with the descendants of mostly European civilized nations, not Central Asian nomads, and that’s one of the reasons that Americans could base the problem of fighting racism on their evolutional maturity. And it should be remembered that the racism that exists in Turkey came largely from their origins, their ethnogenesis, so to speak. They came to Asia Minor as nomadic invaders, inflicted destruction and pain on many ancient indigenous civilizations inhabiting the area, then formed their prison of nations, the Ottoman Empire, and continued to mistreat those ancient civilizations. As a result they effectively wiped out the Assyrian, Greek, Hittites, and Armenian civilizations, among many other minor ones. And then the great falsificator Mustafa Kemal cleansed the remnants of those civilizations, declared all those who live in ‘modern’ Turkey Turks, and all historical, cultural, and architectural artifacts from other civilizations as Turkish, and handed a ‘new republic’ to the Turks, who’ve been brainwashed for decades until now in that they own their lands. Turkophilic, whitewashing distortions in that ‘some people worked very hard to dislodge Armenians over the next 400 years, that led to the genocide’ are futile. It’s been a consistent Turlish policies at Turkofication for 600 years of the Ottomans, and the genocide was perpetrated by the hands of the Turks. End of story.
    Whoever might have been behind their heinous crime, we know, and it seems you know, too. But the invaders, repressors, and ultimately genocide perpetrators were Turks with the help of their Muslim Kurds. End of story.

  17. Well, it is not a distortion to tell you that there are 30 Armenian churches in Istanbul, most of which are open for visitors every day of the week and are unlocked…you just walk in the door. I know…been there, done that, as well as the patriarchate, where women still sit on one side, men on the other. Once again, been there, done that.  

  18. Karekin and Murat, Ahmet, Robert (and your other Turkish brothers whose goal is to mix the pot with tainted information, blaming others for what happened, ect)

    Please read the book “The Invention of History”…. Azerbajian, Armenia and the Showcasing of Imagination….. here is a bit of background what this book consists of (including pictures of the Armenian monuments and churches before and now including maps, ect)

    In the middle ages (Caucasian) Albani was situated north of the Arax River, near Armenia and Iberia.  During the 11th-12th centuries this Christian country disappeared from the maps and after the Arab invasion and the onslaught of the Mongols and Seljuks, various Khanates such as Shirwan, Ganja, Karabagh, talesh and others appeared in the territory, ruled mainly by the Persians. in 1918, when the regional countries became independent, there appeared a new country named Azerbaijan, which was the same, as the  name of the Persian province of Azerbaijian across the Arax River.
    Since the early 1960s various local historians and scientists of this newly founded country have been trying to prove that the population of this land are the direct descendants of the Christians Albanians, as well as those of the Mongols and Seljuks, which allows them to claim that mulititude of the Christian monuments and churches exisiting int he regions have Albanian, and not Christian Armenian origins.

    This book tries to expose the truth behind these claims and related allegations (as we all know Azerbaijian claims Karabagh (Artsagh) belongs to them, and that Armenians snatched the land from them..Turkey with strong support stands behind Azerbaijan in regards to these claims) and prove the reverse.  The Azerbaijani authorities claim to be the rightful owners of all Christian monuments in the South Caucasus but yet have been destroying most of the same medieval monuments in the area.. Very odd don’t you think?  Just like Turkey… Destroying the very monuments and churches as if they are trying to wipe out everything left behind by the Armenians was their main goal…. One can conclude that our history has been, and is being wiped out ..and no Azerbaijani or Turk can say they own these monuments ..but only their true owners-Armenians…..

    Karekin, You claim many churches and monuments are open and accept visitors. 30 to be exact right??? Well 30 out of thousands.THOUSANDS is just down right sad….  The fact remains that most of the artifacts, churches, and monuments have been destroyed… I am glad you had a chance to visit these places (30 to be exact) but you forget that Turkey knows how to play the game in the right way.. They know how to get you fooled…They dangle the carrot in front of the world by things like allowing few churches to be restored to show their good will…Please.. spare me the wooo hooooo…

  19. Do we have to defend the actions of the Committee of Union and Progress?

    by: Ümit Kardas*
    Today’s Zaman

    May 02, 2010

    The term “genocide,” defined as the “crime of crimes” in the International
    Criminal Court’s (ICC) Rwanda decision, was first coined by Raphael Lemkin,
    a Jewish lawyer from Poland.

    He was particularly known for his efforts to draft the United Nations
    Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which
    cast genocide as an international crime in 1948.

    Dealing with the case of Talat Pasa being murdered by an Armenian youth in
    Berlin in 1921, Lemkin started to compile a file about what happened in the
    Ottoman Empire in connection with the case. As he discussed the case with
    his professor, he learned that there was no international law provision that
    would entail the prosecution of Talat Pasa for his actions, and he was
    profoundly shocked when his professor likened the case of Talat Pasa to a
    farmer who would not be held responsible for killing the chickens in his
    poultry house.

    In 1933, Lemkin used the term “crime against international law” as a
    precursor of the concept of genocide during the League of Nations conference
    on international criminal law in Madrid. After Nazi-led German forces
    devastated Europe and invaded Poland in 1939, Lemkin was enlisted in the
    army, but upon the defeat of Polish forces, he fled to the US, leaving his
    parents behind. Later, while working as an adviser during the Nuremberg
    trials, he would learn that his parents had died in the Nazi concentration
    camps.

    In his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe,” published in 1944, he defined
    genocide as atrocities and massacre intended to destroy a nation or an
    ethnic group. Coining the term from the Greek genos, meaning race or
    ancestry, and the Latin cide, meaning killing, Lemkin argued that genocide
    does not have to mean direct destruction of a nation. In 1946, the UN
    General Assembly issued a declaration on genocide and unanimously accepted
    that genocide is a crime under international law, noting that it eliminates
    the right of existence of a specific group and shocks the collective
    conscience of humanity. However, Lemkin wished that in addition, a
    convention should be drafted on preventing and punishing the crime of
    genocide. This wish was fulfilled with the signature of the UN Convention on
    the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. Lemkin died
    in a hotel room in New York in a state of poverty at the age of 59 in 1959.
    Although they left this idealist defender of humanity alone, people were
    gentle enough to write, “The Father of the Genocide Convention,” as an
    epitaph on his grave.

    1843-1908 period

    In 1843, Bedirhan Bey, who commanded the Kurds who were assigned with the
    duty of massacring the people of Asita (Hosud), connected to the sanjak of
    Hakkari, where the population was predominantly Armenian and Nestorian,
    persuaded the Armenians and Nestorians who had fled to the mountains to
    return and hand in their weapons, and then, the people who were massacred
    were largely thrown in the Zap River. The majority of their women and
    children were sold as slaves. It is reported that at least 10,000 Armenians
    and Nestorians were killed in this massacre. In 1877, the Ottoman Army and
    the Russian Army started to fight again, and availing of this opportunity,
    Armenia once again became a battlefield, and the soldiers shouted, “Kill the
    disbelievers.” Circassians and Kurds slaughtered 165 Christian families,
    including women and children, in Beyazit. In 1892, Sultan Abdülhamit II
    summoned the Kurdish tribal chiefs to Istanbul and gave them military
    uniforms and weapons, thereby establishing the Hamidiye cavalry regiment
    with some 22,500 members. In this way, Abdülhamit II played with the foreign
    policy equilibrium between the UK and Russia and organized a specific
    ethnic/religious group against another ethnic/religious group based on a
    Muslim vs. non-Muslim dichotomy. The Ottoman administration appointed the
    worst enemies of Armenians as their watchdogs, thereby creating a force that
    could crush them even in peacetime. The persecution of Armenians peaked in
    the Sason massacre in September 1894. Abdülhamit II declared resisting
    Armenians rebels and ordered that they should be eradicated.

    1908-1914 period

    Europe and America extensively supported the Young Turks, who were seeking
    legitimacy. When the Movement Army threatened to launch a campaign against
    Istanbul, Abdülhamit II declared a constitutional monarchy on July 24, 1908.
    Without using any discretion, ordinary people were both amazed and pleased.
    Moved by slogans calling for equality, freedom and brotherhood, Armenians,
    too, welcomed with joy the government backed and controlled by the Committee
    of Union and Progress (CUP).

    Britain and France made loans available to the new regime and sent
    consultants for the treasury and the navy in support. To alleviate the
    consequences of the massacres of 1895 and 1896, European countries increased
    their humanitarian assistance. Orphaned children of Christian families were
    placed in care centers, and schools were opened in eastern Anatolia. The
    introduction of the second constitutional monarchy was seen as an assurance
    of the creation of equality among all races and religions. However, on April
    14, 1909, a new wave of slaughter started against Christians in Adana. The
    CUP’s close alliance with the Armenian Dashnak Party was a major reason for
    the rekindling of these massacres. For the first time, these attacks did not
    discriminate between Armenians and eastern Christians. Thus, Orthodox
    Syriacs, Catholic Syriacs and Chaldeans were also killed. Apparently,
    Armenians had stood apart with their penchant for trade, banking, brokerage
    as well as for pharmacy, medicine and consulting and other professions; they
    constituted a wealthy portion of the population. As a result, this and their
    identity as non-Muslims made Armenians a clear target. As a commercial and
    agricultural factor, Armenians also served as an obstacle to the
    Germanification of Anatolia.

    After the Adana massacre of 1909, there was a period of good faith that
    lasted until 1913. Meanwhile, the CUP improved its ties with the militant
    Dashnak Party. After transforming into a democratic party, this party was
    represented with three deputies in the Assembly of Deputies (Meclis-i
    Mebusan) that was renewed in 1912. This assembly also had six independent
    Armenians members. In 1876, the Assembly of Deputies had 67 Muslim and 48
    non-Muslim deputies. However, in January 1913, following the defeat in the
    first Balkan War, the CUP overthrew the government (known as the Raid of
    Bab-i Ali) and started to implement a policy to homogenize the population
    through a planned ethnic cleansing and destruction and forced relocation.

    Talat Pasa prepared plans for homogenizing the population by relocating
    ethnic groups to places other than their homeland. According to the plan,
    Kurds, Armenians and Arabs would be forced to migrate from their homeland,
    and Bosnians, Circassians and other Muslim immigrants would be settled in
    their places. The displaced ethnic groups would not be allowed to comprise
    more than 10 percent of the population in their destinations. Moreover,
    these groups would be quickly assimilated. The Greeks had already been
    relocated from the western coasts of the country in 1914.
    In addition to the regular army, Enver Pasa believed that there must be
    special forces that would conduct undercover operations. Thus, he
    transformed the Special Organization (Teskilat-i Mahsusa), which he had
    established as a secret organization before the Balkan War, into an official
    organization. This organization had intelligence officers, spies, saboteurs
    and contract killers among its members. It also had a militia comprised of
    Kurdish tribes. Former criminals worked as volunteers for this organization.
    Talat Pasa created the main body of the Teskilat-i Mahsusa from gangs of
    former criminals whom he arranged to be released from prisons. In Anatolia,
    the Teskilat-i Mahsusa worked at the disposal of the 3rd Army.

    Forced relocations of 1915-1916

    The German-backed pan-Islamist policy implied a fatal solution for
    non-Muslims living within the borders of the empire. The conditions for the
    forced relocation campaign launched in 1915 were different from previous
    ones. The two-month campaign covered not only Armenians but also all
    Christians in eastern Anatolia. These relocations could not be considered a
    resettlement because the specified destinations were not inhabitable and
    only very few could make it there. Many people were immediately killed
    either inside or outside the settlements where they were born or living, and
    others were murdered on the roads on which they were forced to walk on foot.

    Most of those who were immediately killed were men. Women and children
    formed the largest portion of the groups banished toward the southern
    deserts. There were continual attacks on these processions, accompanied by
    rapes of women and kidnappings of children. Provincial officials did not
    take any measures to provide the convoys with food, water and shelter.
    Rather, high-level officials and local politicians mobilized death squads
    against them. These squads would confiscate the goods of the relocated
    people, sending some of them to the Interior Ministry and embezzling the
    rest.

    Eventually, the forced relocation campaign turned into a series of
    atrocities which even bothered the Germans. The ongoing campaign was never a
    population exchange. As noted by British social historian David Gaunt, the
    purpose of these forced relocation campaigns was to remove a specific
    population from a specific location. Because it was intended to be performed
    quickly, this added to the intimidation, violence and cruelty involved. As
    resettlement was not intended, neither the administration nor the army cared
    about where the deported population was going or whether they would survive
    physically. The high degree of the culture and civilization exhibited by
    Armenians made the atrocities against them all the worse in the eyes of the
    world. Talat Pasa mistakenly made his last conclusion: “There is no longer
    an Armenian problem.”

    Conclusion and suggestions

    The foregoing account cannot duly express what really happened in its scope,
    dimension and weight. These atrocities and massacres were not only regularly
    reported on in European and US newspapers, but were also evidenced in the
    official documents of Britain and the US and even Germany and Austria, which
    were allies of the Ottoman Empire, and in the minutes of the Ottoman Court
    Martial (Divan-i Harbi), the descriptions of diplomats and missionaries, in
    commission reports and in the memoirs of those who survived them.

    No justification, even the fact that some Armenian groups revolted with
    certain claims and collaborated with foreign countries, can be offered for
    this human tragedy. It is misleading to discuss what happened with reference
    to genocide, which is merely a legal and technical term. No technical term
    is vast enough to contain these incidents, which are therefore
    indescribable. Atrocities and massacres are incompatible with human values.
    It is more degrading to be regarded as a criminal in the collective
    conscience of humanity than to be tried on charges of genocide.

    A regime that hinges upon concealing and denying the truth will make the
    state and the society sick and decadent. The politicians, academics,
    journalists, historians and clerical officials in Turkey should try to
    ensure that the society can face the truth. To face the truth is to become
    free. We can derive no honor or dignity from defending our ancestors who
    were responsible for these tragedies. It is not a humane or ethical stance
    to support and defend the actions of Abdülhamit II and senior CUP members
    and their affiliated groups, gangs and marauders. Turkey should declare to
    the world that it accepts said atrocities and massacres and that in
    connection with this, it advocates the highest human values of truth,
    justice and humanism while condemning the mentality and actions of those who
    committed them in the past.

    After this is done, it should invite all Armenians living in the diaspora to
    become citizens of the Turkish Republic. As the Armenians of the diaspora
    return to the geography where their ancestors lived for thousands of years
    before being forced to abandon it, leaving behind their property, memories
    and past, this may serve to abate their sorrow, which has now translated
    into anger. The common border with Armenia should be opened without putting
    forward any condition. This is what conscience, humanity and reason direct
    us to do. Turkey will become free by getting rid of its fears, complexes and
    worries by soothing the sorrows of Armenians.

    *Dr. Ümit Kardas is a retired military judge.
    02.05.2010
    Op-Ed

  20. 30 Armenian churches in Constantinople? Ha-ha… Some of them may be open to mislead the world that religious freedom exists in Turkey. They also exist primarily because a pocket of Armenians, some 60,000, still remains in the city. There were roughly 3000 churches and monasteries in Western Armenia: the six Armenian-populated provinces in the Ottoman empire. And there was some 2 mln Armenians living there before 1915. Where are these churches and where are these people? My grandparents were from Moush, and my heart bleeds when I see on the Internet what Turks have done to gorgeous monasteries of Sourp Karapet and Sourp Araqelots. A pile of stones remains. Ancient stones with crosses on them, as well as marble altars can be seen on and inside the houses of local Kurds. Many other churches are turned to sheep-folds. How about many other half-ruined churches entrance to which is prohibited, or worshipping inside is prohibited? Your attempts at whitewashing the Turks are ridiculous. One cannot share an unsubstantiated rosy picture based on ‘been there, done that’ mentality. How about many other places and things you haven’t been to or done? If you consider yourself an educated person, don’t you read history, memories, witness accounts of many, many other visitors? Familiarize yourself with websites on the Internet? Or you just don’t care because what you see and how you are treated while in Turkey overshadows everything else that other people, scholars, human rights activists, organizations, and foreign governments are talking or writing about?

  21. ARM thank you
     
    Karekin – you are like a PR man here.  Even something positive is only spin from you to cover up more truth and what is necessary for ARMENIA to be able to take on too!  That and the provocation of the Zionist conspiracy theories which I NEVER HEARD IN MY LIFE from the Armenian community I grew up in, nor from any Greeks including those  with roots in Turkey, for that matter.  Bravo for the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on 60 Minutes.  At least he tells the truth!!

  22. Murat, there is one place we come together in a strange way:
     
    Blaming the Jews for everything the Ottoman Empire ever did is kind of like blaming the Armenians for the fact that every single subject peoples were revolting against it and glad to get rid of it!  There’s a reason why the Armenian community was WELCOME in the Arabic countries of your brother Muslims.  They were glad to get rid of the Ottoman rule too!

  23. Janine, thanks so much for sharing the link above to the 60 Minutes interview with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.  His determination to stay in Turkey and struggle on because the Greeks were there since” before there was a Turkey” and because he believes in “resurrection” is inspirational to me as an Armenian.

  24. Janine –
     
     
     
     
    Many thanks for the link on the treatment of Orthodox Christians in Turkey. Can any westerner imagine anything like this in regard to their mosques and seminaries in, say, Germany? Nomads who invaded the capital of the Christian world, Constantinople, in 15th century AD, now dare to dictate the rules on how Christians should exercise their religious rights… I imagine what whining there would be had the Turks received similar treatment in Europe.
     
     
    I concur with what Archbishop Bartholomew said in conclusion. We do believe in miracles, as well as God’s punishment for evil-doers…

  25. There had been and should be no mosques in Armenia because Armenia has never been originally Muslim country that’s been invaded, looted, destroyed, massacred, and de-populated by nomadic Christian tribes from Altay mountains. As a Russian Tsarist guberniya (province), Yerevan for a couple of decades in the 19th century had a considerable Muslim population. The Blue Mosque in downtown Yerevan has been renovated by the Iranian specialists in the 1990s and is functioning now mainly for the needs of the diplomatic personnel of some Muslim countries, accredited in Yerevan, and their families.

    And how many Christian churches have been transfromed into mosques in Turkey? Start with magnificent Hagia Sophia, if you will…

  26. Thank you Karekin for explaining that you know nothing about “Azad Hayastan”
     
    You say we don’t know you, but we know you by every silly word – and omission.
     
    ARM – yes, with Aghia Sophia.  You know, the Turks are demanding of Greece that they open a mosque in downtown Athens (there are already mosques in Athens, yes) … this is a way to “bargain” for stopping the destruction and confiscation of Greek Patriarchate properties in Turkey.  So, the line here is already familiar.  Which should be no surprise by now.
     

  27. If you are so concerned about the ‘original’ religious orientation of Armenia, then you should be celebrating Zorastrianism.  However, during the Arab and Persian periods, there were quite a few mosques in Yerevan, most of which were closed under the Soviet Russians…not the Armenians. The Blue Mosque has been restored…not by Armenia, but by Iran, and today is not a truly functioning mosque, though prayers are held there, there is no azan.  And yes, Hagia Sophia became a mosque under the Ottomans, right after Constantinople was largely burned to the ground by the Crusaders, who hated the Byzantine Greeks and wanted the city for the pope.  The bottom line is you cannot do a tit-for-tat comparison…if you do, you have to recognize that for 900+ years, there were up to 3000 Armenian churches operating across Anatolia. If the Turks really wanted to destroy them, they had plenty of time for that…why didn’t they?  Why was it the CUP and Talat Pasha who put this destruction into motion?  You all really need to examine the history in detail, and learn things you don’t know. You think you know it all, but you don’t…just talk to any Bolsetsi…they will inform you of the truth.

  28. Turkey = Byzantine Greeks in the Western part + Pontic Greeks, Assyrians, and Kurds in the Central Eastern part + Armenians in the Eastern part + Syrian Arabs in Hatay province in the Southern part. All the rest march back to where you belong: steppes of Central Asia and Altay mountains.

  29. Oh my God.. Is Karekin for real??

    He is asking how many Muslim mosques are in Armenia???? WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW… that was a low blow there…

    That was a simple disrespect to all Armenians… simple disgrace … i personally would not want to see a Muslim use MY COUNTRY to built their stuff for praying WHY????.. Does Karekin know that our people were murdered because of their religion.. being Christian to be specific???  Our country is Christian and will remain Christian… Does he know that???  Is he really serious with his statement???

    I am dumbfounded by this man’s statements.. WoW…

    Gayane

  30. Karekin – your words are so disingenuous.  First you say you care about peace and love, and you care about “not doing the same old thing” but you never truly engage in conversation with anyone.  With you it is just the same old thing, full of contradictions.
     
    Now we know the poor Mosque in Yerevan is to be pitied, it is not for real according to you.  But the rest of the 1,000s of Christian worship sites in Turkey you say nothing about except the new line, to blame it on the CUP.  The best thing we know now is that we have to ask the “Bolsetsis” for the truth.  This is the number one most laughable statement I have ever read.  Even Armenians who have left Istanbul will laugh at this.  Do you think the rest of us from the rest of the places of Armenia in Anatolia do not have some experience from our families we can draw on for the truth???  (Or this newspaper for example.)
     
    And there are so many things that you ignore.  How about the Greek Patriarch, also a Turkish citizen.  Do you know Turkey has lost an international  court case and that the EC legal bodies have called on them to recognize the Ecumenical nature of the Patriarchates within Turkey?  You say nothing about this while you talk of religious freedom!!  How about Hrant Dink’s family filing for a true investigation of the crime against him?  You said nothing about that either.
     
    It is you who really cannot change his tune.
     
    And to state the obvious, it is what we have been doing thus far in activism that got us this far.  Only some people REALLY want us to stop, now that Turkey has to face the truth in its relationships with the rest of the world.  All your accusations do not amount to a hill of beans.  You just keep throwing mud on people who tell the truth in peaceful ways, because we do not shut up.  That is why you talk about anger and hatred; it is to cover up the anger and hatred of the Turkish official state position for the past 95 years where Armenians are concerned, so that it can stay in place and continue its destructive act of denial of genocide.
     
     

  31. Why can we not stop engaging someone who does not want to have a fair, intellectual discussion?  Inconsistent, irrelevant and specious arguments are merely distractions.   In a fair discussion, both sides listen to each other and consider each others points, acknowledging each others arguments and valid points.  That is not happening here.

  32. Apres Janine jan….. Great reply to Karekin’s comment…

    Still have not figured why we are having this much heartache and headache to get our People’s history and suffering restored and recognized…..despite the obvious..but those obvious reasons are so minute to my eyes that they should not cause this much choas, distortion, and rejection….LORD.. it is driving me up the wall ….

    Gayane

  33. The question was ‘And how many working mosques are there in Armenia?’ and the response was given to that particular question. What does this have to do whether or not one is ‘concerned about the ‘original’ religious orientation of Armenia?’ Sorry, I don’t see the link.
     
    Human civilization has undergone various transformations: societal, developmental, and religious, too. Many ancient nations were worshipers of different religious beliefs at the dawn of their ethnogenesis: Zoroastrianism, Paganism, Hellenism, etc. However, Christians believe that with the coming of Jesus Christ a new light was given to us, and Armenians pride themselves of being the first nation that adopted Christianity as their state religion. It’s been our religion for more than 1700 years; it’s been the religion we fought for, died for, were martyred for, and in the most recent history, were annihilated for. Yet, we preserved it and continue to live with and in Christ. We don’t need to particularly ‘celebrate’ Zoroastrianism, some of its traditions are still preserved (i.e. ‘trndez,’ jumping over the fire, etc.). However we’re a distinctly Christian nation.
     
    During the Arab and Persian periods (and I believe you’re referring to the 16th-19th centuries, not earlier Persian domination) there was no such a capital city as Yerevan. Dvin, Kars, and ultimately Ani were Armenian capitals during the Arab rule and Isfahan was a Persian capital when Eastern Armenia was annexed to Persia and then to Russia in 1828. Yerevan was just a small provincial city during the Persian and Tsarist rule, and the Blue Mosque is the remnant of that period.

    The Blue Mosque has been restored by Iranian specialists with the permission of the government of Armenia, because Iranians themselves expressed wish and, obviously, knew more about restoration techniques of a Muslim mosque than Christian specialists. Yes, and there is no azan because the mosque densely surrounded by residential areas in the downtown Yerevan. But let the Turkish government give us the permission to restore our 3000 churches and monasteries, and I could live with no bell tolls emanating from them.
     
    The Church of the Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, was converted into a mosque not after Constantinople was ‘burned to the ground by the Crusaders’ (where did you get that?!), but because Turks under Sultan Mehmed II sieged it the city in 1453. Aalmost all of it defenders were brutally murdered, after which the Turks proceeded to loot and destroy the beautiful Christian city.
     
    In the case of the Turks, it is possible to do a tit-for-tat comparison, and for a simple reason. Historically, Turks are newcomers to Asia Minor. As nomads, they devastated other peoples’ lands, artifacts, religious relics, and then converted them as if they’ve been theirs in all times. This is a typical nomadic, settlers’ mentality. When you don’t have something that’s been created by you, you just steal everything from others and then portray it as your own.
     
    Yes, there were roughly 3000 Armenian churches and monasteries across Asia Minor (Anatolia? What is it? A new geographical toponym?). You claim:  ‘If the Turks really wanted to destroy them, they had plenty of time for that?’ Excuse me, but they did in 1915-1923. It doesn’t matter when they did it, what matters is they they were capable of scorching other civilizations’ achievements. ‘Why didn’t they do it before?’ Because it was in 1908 when the Young Turks’ overturn of Sultan happened, and they started massive efforts at Turkofication of all ancient, indigenous inhabitants who lived there long before Turks appeared. And the final solution they found, I think I don’t need to mention. Even though you might be referring to a contention as to who CUP members, including Tallat Pasha, actually were, given their alleged ethnicity or social affiliation to Freemasonry, the genocide of the Armenians was carried out by THEIR hands. Therefore, the current Turkish government will have to acknowledge and apologize for the CUP clique’s crimes.

  34. “You know, the Turks are demanding of Greece that they open a mosque in downtown Athens (there are already mosques in Athens, yes) …”

    Actually there is no such request officially from Turks.  It is 750K Muslims who live in and around Athens that demand and need it.  Once there were around 140 Mosques in Athens historians tell us.  Now there is none, not a single one.  Even the Olympic committee could not shame them into building one, even for show purposes.  Imagine what an oxymoron it is for such a country to host Olympics.  I hear they have agreed to build one finally, but the Greek taliban has demanded they be built without minarets!

    In Istanbul alone there are more churches than some small Christian countries.  Of the thousands of churches in Anatolia, many are not in use for the simple reason that there is nobody to use them there anymore.  It is changing somewhat though, and the growing population of Christians who have chosen their final home to be in the Turkish Riveria, has forced the municipalities there to build churches.  Not so strangely, the local imams are the first ones the christians turn to in these matters.

    Constantinople was sacked and ruined by the crusaders.  More than once.  Some of the loot still decorates various Venetian palaces today.  Even Aya Sofya carries the scars from various attacks, including Vikings.  That magnificient structure has survived many more earthquakes becasue of the additional support and repairs Ottomans did.  It also served as a house of God for centruies more.  First act of Fatih Mehmet after conquering Constantinople was to make sure Aya Sofya was untouched and also declared all Christians of the city his subjects and thus under his protection.  That was 500 years ago.

  35. You know what disturbs me?? Karekin and Murat have the same thoughts…  They both believe that Crusaders are to blame for….. Wow..

    In Istanbul alone there are more churches than some small Christian countries.  Of the thousands of churches in Anatolia, many are not in use for the simple reason that there is nobody to use them there anymore

    Of course there is no one to use these churches..because majority of them are destroyed.. and no Christian have the ability to freely practice their religion in Turkey.. NO MATTER how much you try to convince us otherwise with your twisted information..
     
    Gayane

  36. Iao, are you for real? I have to say your comment made me very angry and am holding myself hardly from writing a very sarcastic comment here. Half of my relatives are from Greece and the others are from Georgia and Erzurum. They had to leave their homes and move to Western Turkey after the WW1. For all I know none of my relatives look like an Asian and I can’t trace my family tree more than 3 generations back. I was born and I was raised here. This is my home. What you are suggesting is NOT any different than what Ottoman Empire did. For someone who carries the scars of a great tragedy and pain, your words are too hurtful and expressed after a poor evaluation.
     
    Gayane, I do know the feeling and thoughts that made you write this comment. However, since Republic of Armenia is a democratic country, in any case of the country having enough Muslim citizens demanding a place to worship, it should be provided. That’s the state’s obligation: covering the needs of its citizens.
     
    I also don’t want you to fall into the same mistake whole Kemalists and some of  Christians do. Religion itself does not make one, a better person or the opposite. It’s thinking and understanding that does the trick. What makes most Muslims today terrorists is the thought that they believe they are speaking the words of God. I have seen Christians who commit sins. I have a friend who has witnessed a priest say in a sermon  “Murderers shouldn’t be punished for their act is God’s will” A CHRISTIAN PRIEST!!! Makes any sense? No. Being respectful to others, being tolerant to others, being patient… they come with understanding of God’s teachings. Just because the first image that pops into mind when someone says “Islam” does not represent what most people would consider as “right”, does not mean all Muslims are narrow minded and evil.

  37. Well, if you think the Young Turks (sometimes called the old Spanish Jews), conducted the genocide because of religion, then you really are misinformed. The goal of the genocide was THEFT…plain and simple…THEFT. In order to steal, they had to conduct ethnic cleansing.  You may not know it, but there were plenty of imams across Turkey at the time who adamantly refused to participate according to the orders of the CUP criminals and even protected Armenians. The point is that until 1915, yes, there were thousands of Armenian churches, vanks and schools operating according to the rules of the millet system, that allowed minorities to conduct their own affairs.  But please, think outside the tiny, little, bigoted box you have put your mind in for a minute, and try to understand that there actually was a very different reality operating in Turkey that allowed the genocide to take place…without the sultan even knowing about it or giving consent to it.  These people (sophisticated, anti-Christian) arrived in Turkey 400 years earlier and worked very, very hard to take what the Armenians and Greeks had created over thousands of years and finally did it under the cover of war.  Just as George Bush and his neo-cons murdered more than a million innocent Iraqis and created 4 million refugees, and looted the US treasury,  Talat Pasha and his group did the same thing a hundred years earlier. There is alot of similarity despite the time change.

  38. But please, think outside the tiny, little, bigoted box you have put your mind in for a minute, and try to understand that there actually was a very different reality operating in Turkey that allowed the genocide to take place…without the sultan even knowing about it or giving consent to it.  These people (sophisticated, anti-Christian) arrived in Turkey 400 years earlier and worked very, very hard to take what the Armenians and Greeks had created over thousands of years and finally did it under the cover of war.
     
    Yes, and modern Turkey continues to cover up their acts in the name of Turkish nationalism and has done so for 95 years, taking on completely the identity of ultranationalism and criminalizing minority language, schools etc.  Kaput goes the theory.   Your use of the term “Old Spanish Jews” is blaming religion for something.  Besides being completely crazy, I really think such racist postings shouldn’t be allowed here.
     
    SG – There are many Christians who are pacifist.  They do not believe in taking a life.  The Vatican itself is against the death penalty – even as a punishment for murder.  I don’t know what your friend heard but it sounds extremely distorted and I can’t be sure of the intent of the priest – it could mean all kinds of things.  Jesus never taught his disciples to give retribution for his murder but taught the opposite.
     
    Murat – Actually there is no such request officially from Turks.  It is 750K Muslims who live in and around Athens that demand and need it.
     
    Yes, the request is from Turkey; it has been used as a bargaining chip. And they wanted it in the middle of downtown – the most expensive property, where all the government buildings are etc.   The thousands of illegal Muslim immigrants (who come through Turkey) are already free to worship.  And Aghia Sophia is now a museum, not a working church.  And you cannot blame anybody but Turkey for that.

  39. The first paragraph in my previous post should be italicized — I am quoting Karekin.  The thoughts are so offensive  on so many levels …  they are not mine!

  40. PS By the way, another mosque is being built — just not in the center of downtown but more close to where the Muslim (mostly illegal) immigrants actually live.
     
    So when does Aghia Sophia actually get to function as a church?

  41. Oh, and regarding these theories about “Old Spanish Jews” —
     
    At one of the April 24th events I listened to a translation of a speech made in the Ottoman Parliament by an Armenian deputy in 1908.  He was warning of the terror that was happening among the Armenian community – bodies being found, and also girls kidnapped and forcibly converted.
    Included in that speech was remarks warning about anti-Zionist conspiracy theories being touted as well.  And he was worried — warned — that this could also lead to pogroms against Jews and in Europe.   This is a warning about these theories we are hearing here.
     
    I frankly think such theories are extraordinarily racist, we know what they are.  They should be considered a form of hate speech.  And we here all know why they are made and that they are horribly ridiculous.  Who looted Asia Minor???

  42. I’m sorry if my words were hurtful, SG. There’s a couple of Turkish commentators in these pages, namely Murat and Karekin, whose distasteful comments and explicit derogation of the feelings of the Christian faithful (in case of Karekin), that made me lose my temper. I understand what it means to consider some place a home, and I trust you can share our feelings, too, when Armenians long for our home in Western Armenia. Witnesses say my grandparents’ house in Moush is still there, occupied by Kurds. Imagine the pain of descendants, whose grandparents were mass exterminated in cold blood, deported for their homes, died of starvation in deserts. Their property was stolen, their churches, monasteries, schools ruined, their businesses looted, their rich cultural heritage destroyed, and their millennia-old history of inhabitance on those lands as indigenous people put to end…

  43. Think outside the tiny, little, bigoted box you have put your mind in for a minute, and try to understand that there actually was a very different reality operating in Turkey that allowed the genocide to take place…without the sultan even knowing about it or giving consent to it.
    Do you mean to say that Sultan Abdul Hamid II, nicknamed by the Europeans as ‘Bloody Sultan’ for his widespread massacres of non-Turks, has not given orders to commit mass murders of the Armenians in 1894-96? Up to 300,000 Armenians are believed to be killed during the Hamidian massacres. You mean the Sultan, too, was unaware back then? Or he, too, was a crypto-Jew and a freemason? You get your mind out of the tiny, little, bigoted box you’ve put it in… You cannot differentiate between the alleged ethnic origin or secret affiliation of CUP members and the state authority they represented at the time of the annihilation of the Armenians. Essentially, it doesn’t matter who they were ethnically. Yes, Emmanuel Carasso, the founder of the CUP was Jewish-Italian B’nai B’rith official,  Mehmed Talat is believed to be of Jewish origin, as were Djavid Bey, Refik Bey (Refik Saydam), and Vladimir Jabotinsky. Mustafa Kemal is believed to be born to Jewish parents in Salonika. Many CUP members were also Freemasons.

    But you fail to acknowledge the fact that in 1915 they represented the Turkish State. It is on their orders Armenians were massacred and mutilated, deported, their property stolen, and their religious and cultural marbles destroyed.
     
    Several notorious dictators and criminals had diverse ethnic background, but they’re condemned in their capacity as rulers of their respective States, not because of their ethnicity. Josef Stalin was a Georgian, but he was the ruler of the Russian State, and his Great Purge is denounced as a crime against humanity. Adolf Hitler allegedly had Jewish blood, but he was the ruler of the German State, and Nazism is denounced as a crime against humanity. Napoleon was a member of the Corsican nobility of Italian origin, but he was the ruler of the French Consulate and oppressor of many nations. Maximilien de Robespierre allegedly was of Irish descent, but it wouldn’t stop him and other members of the radical Jacobin party to organize ‘blood bath’ in the form of French Revolution as a leader of the French Republic. Pol Pot was of Chinese descent but perpetrated the genocide of the Cambodians as the ruler of the State of Kampuchea and the leader of the Khmer Rouge regime.
     
    The genocide of the Armenians was perpetrated for a variety of reasons. Theft is just one of them. Other motives for committing mass murder of the Armenians were Turkish traditional intolerance of ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities that inhabited the area long before the Seljuk invasion; fear for national liberation from the Turkish yoke that could eventually dismember the empire; fear for entrepreneurial and business prowess by the Armenians that could take part of the political and economic power from the Turks; and fear for Russian advances through the Armenian-populated areas who Turks feared would side with as Christians. The fear for Russian advances deeper into the Middle East through Armenian-populated areas was also shared by the Germans who covertly instigated the deportations and massacres of the Armenians. The British, too, wouldn’t want to see that happening. The whole ancient civilization was wiped out because of a set of domestic, and some external, interests.
     
    The Armenian Genocide, as well as earlier Hamidian massacres, was planned and executed by the legal government of the Turkish State. Therefore, the modern-day Turkish State is responsible for denying the crime. It is the Turkish State that must repent and ask for forgiveness from the Armenians.

  44. My admiration goes out to both SG and Iao for demonstrating how civilized and respectful people can navigate from hurt feelings to a sincere apology.

  45. Iao… I agree with you…

    SG-  I too want to apologize if my words were hurtful.  That was not my intention.. However, i am glad that you understood why I said what I said by putting yourself in my state of mind… My family lost too much because of the Genocide; hence why many things related to Turkey just does not sit well with me….. No matter how democtratic the country is and how much I want to believe that allowing this will not interfere with the people living in Armenia, I just don’t agree with the mosques in Armenia…If it is for political reasons, and my country decides to open mosques, i can’t do much about it or cant stop them… I truly respect your view point .. but I still stand firm what I said about it..Thank you for you open mind and understanding…..Your input is very much welcome…….

    Janine jan.. apres kuyrik jan for always stating the obvious and the truth…

    Karekin… NO COMMENT….

    Gayane

  46. Yes, thank you everyone for your sincere comments, as already expressed by others above
     
    ARM – You are filling me in on a lot of things I don’t know!  Thank you for your learned expression of history, please keep informing me!

  47. Ayo Ayo… Boyajian.. it is because SG is intelligent enough to understand the stand we are taking and the reason behind it.. Hence why I respect and admire SG (as I always said in the past).  If every Turk was as understanding and open minded as SG, our issue would have been resolved 95 years ago… Just because we don’t see eye to eye or agree with each other’s every view, it does not mean we can’t voice our own and YES, also apologize if our comments were hurtful.. I believe in many things (strongly) but I also have the capability to acknowledge someone else’s belief…

    Arm jan.. Janine is correct in stating that you are another great writer with great data… Thank you from me as well…

    Gayane 

  48. As ARM says, ‘Yes, Emmanuel Carasso, the founder of the CUP was Jewish-Italian B’nai B’rith official,  Mehmed Talat is believed to be of Jewish origin, as were Djavid Bey, Refik Bey (Refik Saydam), and Vladimir Jabotinsky. Mustafa Kemal is believed to be born to Jewish parents in Salonika. Many CUP members were also Freemasons’.  All true, however these people were revolutionaries who overtook the Ottoman Empire and then instituted a series of secret bureaus to plan and carry out the genocide according to their specific orders. And no, at that point, the sultan was not even aware of their activities.  The ARF had a very close relationship w/ the CUP for a while, until the CUP turned on them in a vicious, angry way. This may be why key ARF leaders were among those targeted on April 24…they knew too much and were the brains of the Armenian community at that time. Once eliminated, they could not talk about exactly who had planned the genocide…and this information has been kept under wraps for a long time. Certainly, villagers living hundreds and thousands of miles from the center of govt had no idea who actually planned their demise.  They were just victims, without knowing why, how or who ordered it. The point here is that when a sinister group hijacks the govt of a major power, they can do major damage. Just witness the outcomes of the neo-cons in the US and the death and destruction they have wrought across the world, all the while emptying the US treasury into their and their friend’s pockets. There is a long tradition of this in world history, it was not unique to Turkey or the US today.  

  49. Janine, it was a friend who recently moved to CA from Utah told me that story. He was looking for a new church and attended sermons of a few. I know murder is a crime and is once again reminded as the 6th commandment. That is why we both couldn’t reason such statement.
     
    Iao, my mp3 player playing on shuffle started play Mair Araks – Djivan Gasparyan as I started to read the part about your grandparents’ house in your comment. It was an odd yet an appropriate coincidence. I have no idea when or how the reconciliations and reparations will be handled in future but I do hope you or your family can get that house back.
     
    Gayane, thank you for your kind words and no, I was not offended. I happen to come from an only-in-theory-Muslim family, true, but am no believer in Islam. Yet, when someone makes a generalization I fall into the category of Muslims. It can be a bit bothersome sometimes :)

  50. Karekin, I have heard so much nonsense from you I am now ignoring your comments.  I just don’t feel there is going to be anything worth reading anymore except more things that are misleading and diversions.
     
    SG – Thanks again.  You know,  since you are a Muslim I will say the following, if only to inform you in case you didn’t know.  Jesus, first of all, extended notions of murder into the ways in which we treat one another.  From him, we learn that it is not just the literal statute that has power and meaning, but something also in our hearts.
     
    Secondly, Jesus himself warned us that many would come in his name who seek to deceive his followers, but that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  He warned us all.  Thanks for listening :-)
     
     

  51. Armen – have you ever heard of provocation?  People who wish to stir the pot?  Well, whether it is intentional or not, that is what has happened here and it continues to happen — destruction of dialogue (except for those who respond with new facts and good information).
     
    Karekin, you are not writing anything in the past week at least that has been worth reading except to mislead, misdirect, and create diversion and chaos here.  I feel that whatever you write will continue to have the effect of scrambling with misleading “facts” that don’t exist.
     

  52. Janine:  You are a lovely person.
    What I am thinking in regards to Karekin’s and others’ comments about the Zionist conspiracy is: 
    I follow the reports about antisemitism around the world published by the European Jewish Congress and, in regards to Armenia, the report stated that many Armenians are mad at Israel for doing business with Turkey; and also believe that Israel does not pass the genocide recognition bill because they were guilty of the Armenian genocide.  I was flabbergasted at this conspiracy theory and hurt because I know it is not true, and since my aunt who lived in Turkey after taking refuge from the Russian Revolution, married an Armenian and our family had many lovely, lovely Armenian friends in the USA (one an opera singer, one the town librarian, one a great artist,  one a photographer);  and none of our Armenian friends were antisemitic.  Thank you Armenian Weekly for discussing this conspiracy theory (which I too never heard of before) in several of your articles.  Like I stated, this may be a form of denial, where the perpetrator (the Turks) try to blame another group for their crime.  Hrant Dink’s murderer too tried to blame the zionists; however, the investigation showed that the murderers may have been nationalists who wanted to bring down Erdogan’s govt. and wanted to blame the murder on Islamists, but when they were caught, even tried to blame Zionists.
     However, even though Armenian Weekly prints good articles disclaiming the Zionist conspiracy theory, people still post here and believe in the Zionist conspiracy theory, so their mind is of the kind to border on paranoia, prejudice, etc.  The Russians and Iran are also xenophobic and antisemitic; you may call them bigots.
    Getting back to the issue of Israel’s acknowledging the Armenian genocide bill.  It would make me happy if they would finally pass it so that I would be assured it would lessen antisemitism in Armenia.  However, we all watch what Israel is doing and I also read parts of Yair Auron’s book  (a very good book) about Armenian genocide denial in Israel; and I have also followed discussion about the issue on the internet.  I think this year more people brought up the issue in the Knesset; you certainly have many friends who want to pass it; and some in the controversial Yisrael Beiteinu party did not (note: this party is controversial).  
    The problem for Armenians is Turkey; the fact that the USA and Israel do business with Turkey.  Also, a problem for the USA is Russia, the fact that Armenia is allied with Russia (the “Great War” for power and influence btw Russia and the USA in the region). 
    I was worried about the Armenian genocide survivors in Lebanon as well as my relatives in Israel after the Lebanon war in 2006. 
    I hope that a peace agreement can be reached with Syria and that Iran can lose its nuclear ambitions, and another war will not hurt more Lebanese and Israelis.  I hope these Zionists conspiracy theories don’t lead people in Lebanon and in the Palestinian terroritories to start a new war against Israel, from a hatred that has no basis in reality.   But I guess that happens, people will start fights for real or imaginary reasons. 
    As for Turkey and Armenian genocide denial; it seems not everyone is happy with Obama or with Israel.  This may lead to antisemitism among Armenians; I hope I could make you realize that Israel’s dealing with Turkey has nothing to do with its being guilty of plotting against Armenians.  Of course, thank you, Armenian Weekly, for the fine articles.  I would hope they educate some people about this issue and prevent antisemitism in the Armenians. As Abe Lincoln said, “you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”    However, it looks like some of the people will be fooled all of the time (or that some people will remain bigots or members of hate groups). 
    Actually, Israel’s not passing the Armenian genocide bill may still be the core of the problem in Armenia-Israel relations; and I am hoping that this issue will be resolved in the future. 
    It is dangerous because, as many stated, not acknowledging the Armenian genocide, may make it easier in the future for people, like Ahmadinejad, to deny the Holocaust; and that indeed would be a tragedy. 
    I hope this conference will make progress towards getting reparations, maybe a part of your homeland back (under mutual agreement and shared powers), restoration of your churches and monuments; and of course, Turkey must state that it was the perpetrator of the Armenian genocide and teach the facts, not denial or blaming others, in its schools; and allow freedom of speech on this issue (all which may help lessen the spread of Zionist conspiracy theories).

  53. Instead of being terse w/ me for citing facts that have been outlined elsewhere by many historians, you should be more accurately angry at those and their organizations who actively deny the genocide and pursue anti-Armenian activities. Instead of attacking and accusing what someone sees as a ‘conspiracy theory’, why not go after those who participate in the conspiracy against the Armenians?   This has been going on for a long, long time. They’re the culprits, not me. Their organizations work very hard against anything Armenian and take hundreds of millions of dollars from the Turkish govt to do it.  Call it what you want, but they are accomplices…plain and simple. This just shows how quick people are to play that card, while continuing to ignore the facts on the ground.  Wake up people….those who smile at you and pretend to be your friends are stabbing you in the back at the same time. THEY should be the object of your frustration….!

  54. Dear anonymous,
    Thank you for your kind compliment and your message.  You seem to have a grasp of what is going on, and a broad experience of cultures in your life.
     
    The problem for Armenians within the United States has been the lobbying against the Genocide Recognition bills by various Jewish lobbying groups like the ADL.  Foxman perhaps is most prominent because he has been the target of a campaign not just by Armenians but also by Jews and members of the ADL who are annoyed that the ADL’s campaign against hate does not include the Armenian Genocide in their education program.  I think that because of activism (on the part of Armenians and Jews working together on this) it has been somewhat ameliorated but Foxman still minces his words on the genocide.  For we Armenians, I think we feel that Jews should be our natural allies in the face of our mutual experience, but this does not happen because of politics.  Certainly from the Jewish viewpoint, it would seem that no political expediency should ever get in the way of the recognition of the Holocaust, and Armenians feel the same way about the genocide — especially from a people who are fellow victims of such actions (and given the famous quote by Hitler which indicated that he himself had the Armenian genocide in mind when he taught his generals to be utterly ruthless).  Anyway, that is the understandable perspective.  But fortunately, a lot of this seems to changing right now — and in my opinion that is the reason why Turkey may be feeling the need to change.
     
    In the recent vote in the House Committee ALL of the Jewish members (presumably all pro-Israel) voted FOR the measure.  All of them.  There has been a shift indeed even if the Knesset is stirring in a clearly different direction — let us hope it continues.  Activists both Jewish and Armenian will continue to work together  here in the US for this to happen.

  55. correction, I wrote:
    There has been a shift indeed even if the Knesset is stirring in a clearly different direction — let us hope it continues
     
    correction:  that should read “even as the Knesset…”

  56. Karekin, as I said, I am ignoring your comments – which IMO either deliberately or otherwise simply stir a pot of hatred and throw mud on all of us rather than engaging in dialogue

  57. anonymous,
     
    Two things, if I may. First, the notion ‘anti-Semitic’ should be used cautiously. Unfortunately, the term is being used to describe attitudes or instances prejudiced against or hostile to Jews only. Whereas Jews are not the only Semitic people, there are several ancient Semitic peoples associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution, many non-existent already. Certainly, Arabs, are a Semitic people, too. Second, the notions of ‘Jewish’ and ‘Zionist’ should be used with caution because the word ‘Zionist’ is sometimes used as a synonym for Jew and anti-Zionists may use motifs previously associated with anti-Semitic (i.e. anti-Jewish) views.
     
    This said, I’d like to reiterate that despite the fact that there exists conclusive evidence that several high-ranking Young Turks were of Jewish origin and Freemasons, Armenians generally believe that the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide were Ottoman Turks with the help of local Kurds. The ethnicity of several Young Turk leaders is, indeed, irrelevant. The fact that based on Jewish oral traditions Armenians are considered Amalekites (although Armenians certainly don’t fall under the definition of an ancient nomadic tribe described in the Old Testament as relentless enemies of Israel who need to be all exterminated) is also irrelevant. Bloody Sultan Abdul Hamid II was neither a Jew nor Freemason. However, he gave orders to massacre some 300,000 Armenians in 1894-1896. Similarly, the prevailing majority of the Ottoman Turks, too, was neither Jews nor Freemasons, and wouldn’t have supported Young Turks government had they not shared, with exceptions of course, the same envious and antagonistic attitude towards the Armenians.
     
    As a state authority representing Turkey in 1915, Turkish government officials at the time, notwithstanding their ethnicity and social affiliation, are responsible for committing the genocide of the Armenians. Modern-day Turkey, therefore, will admit the guilt and extend apologies to the Armenians. End of story.

  58. Karekin,
    I think that focusing on the leadership and their background is important, and definately some were donmeh and likely Sabbatean, but orthodox Judaism had cast out the Sabattean sect as an aberration (i.e. it is more like a cult than an accepted member of the Jewish people).  Further, if you delve deeper into the actual belief systems of the elite of the CUP, you will find that most were atheist and / or believed in paganism.  Regardless, even if the CUP leadership were all Armenian, or Chinese, or Nigerian, or Brazilian, the crime of genocide can’t be attributed to 3 or 30 people.  The tragic fact is that the entire population, for the most part, gladly took part in the killings, theft, and abduction.  If the U.S. president and his ministers and part of the Congress passed a resolution demanding the march of Mexicans through the desert to Mexico, do you think it would succeed ?  Of course not, because the general population is against it.  In the Ottoman Empire, with the Armenians were viewed as second class and as the terror and degradations became worse WITH NO punishment for hundreds of years, it was an easy step for the general population to take.  Also, remember that the millions of Balkan muslims who were forced out of the Balkans were resettled in Armenia, and you can imagine they did not need any encouragement to murder Christians.  The heart of the matter was the entire setup of the millet system, which seemed destined to lead to destruction of the second class citizens if the Muslims would not accept them as equals.  Also, if you want to investigate other accomplices to the crime, you should evaluate Germany as well as Western nations, who desired the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, and to ensure that it would not rise again, the Armenians had to be destroyed as we were the economic engine and the agricultural base.  Despite all of that, there is no doubt that the Armenian genocide was perpetrated by the Turks, Kurds, and allied groups AS A WHOLE.  Their parliament and the majority of the population wanted Talaat Pasha’s body brought back as a hero in 1943, so there was  not a great deal of remorse and it is evident that the population as a whole approved of the so-called ‘relocation’ program into the sunny Syrian desert.  Also, to say that ‘the Jews were behind it’, also misses another key point, in that Jews are similar to Armenians, in that you put two in a room, and they will form 10 opposing groups and build 5 temples.  Even now, the chief critics of Israel are turning out to be American Jews.  It is easier, mentally and psychologically, to find a group of evil criminals to blame, because when you realize the extent of the involvement of the population, it is crushing and hope disappears, but we have to remember the era of 1915, in which 100,000 European soldiers would die to advance 1 km on a barren plain in Europe – life had much less value and there was very little communication and education, especially outside Bolis.
    Thanks,Armen

  59. Quick point:
    Abdul Hamid was half Armenian, so does it mean that Armenians were responsible for the Red Massacres of 1896 – a ‘self” massacre ?
    Also, if the population is being controlled by Zionists, why is it that Turkey sells the Protocols of Zion in the street, and in many surveys, is the most anti-semetic of countries?
    A great deal of Turkey alliance with Israel is a vengeful response to the Arab revolt of 1916, which was the most devestating of the losses of the Ottoman Empire (imagine if they didn’t lose the Middle East, Turkey would have control of 80% of the world’s oil)

  60. Thanks ARM and Armen for your helpful comments
     
    Of course this made me laugh, in a good way
    Also, to say that ‘the Jews were behind it’, also misses another key point, in that Jews are similar to Armenians, in that you put two in a room, and they will form 10 opposing groups and build 5 temples
     
    Yes, I think we have a lot in common :-)

  61. Armen – excellent points!!
    Abdul Hamid was half Armenian, so does it mean that Armenians were responsible for the Red Massacres of 1896 – a ’self” massacre ?
    Also, if the population is being controlled by Zionists, why is it that Turkey sells the Protocols of Zion in the street, and in many surveys, is the most anti-semetic of countries?

    Well, we suspect where these ideas being posted here come from – and they are to create diversion from those truly responsible.  Armenian Weekly has posted articles about this too, I think
    A great deal of Turkey alliance with Israel is a vengeful response to the Arab revolt of 1916, which was the most devestating of the losses of the Ottoman Empire (imagine if they didn’t lose the Middle East, Turkey would have control of 80% of the world’s oil)
    Thank you!!
     

  62. I heard this speech live, I think it’s relevant (wish I could find the youtube link to show all how strong his speech was):
    Sen. Schumer, a loyal friend of the Armenian community for decades, said that the truth always prevails and as a Jewish-American he can relate to the Armenians in their efforts to have the genocide be recognized.
    “Again I say to the Turkish government, give up your losing battle to deny the Armenian Holocaust,” urged Schumer. “When you deny that evil has occurred, it paves the road for evil to occur again.” He also stressed his interest in helping Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
    – from an Armenian Reporter article, “Commemoration Defies Mother Nature”
    Sen Boxer, Rep Schiff and many others like Rep. Berman who heads the House committee on foreign affairs — so many of those who lead the fight for genocide recognition in the US are Jewish elected politicians.
     

  63. Armen makes some key points, which I don’t disagree with at all. However, as with any and all crimes, follow the money. This is a time honored tradition in resolving criminal cases. The Armenian genocide was a crime of mega-proportions, which is something we can all agree on. Now, let’s examine where all that Armenian wealth went. My research shows over and over again that Armenian businesses, properties, bank accounts, etc. etc, etc., were appropriated by those closest to the key CUP members who planned the genocide. In effect, they rewarded their supporters in big ways. Moreover, most of those who benefited were yes, Salonika donmeh who migrated to Istanbul en-masse…to take advantage of the spoils. If there is ever a true examination of the post genocide period, I think these facts will be revealed, esp. since those families are now the richest and most powerful in Turkey…in business and politics….they all got their start based on Armenian foundations…and, to this day, are all still donmeh, which is a very clever way of hiding their true origins, and slipping past those who want to examine history. This is why Turkey has and maintains such close ties w/ Israel, which also has roots in Rothschild’s attempt to buy Palestine from the sultan w/ an offer of $100 million.

  64. As far as I know, the wealth of the Armenians was taken to pay off the  Turkish government’s debt. 

    One problem or obstacle to genocide recognition in Turkey may be that some Turkish nationalists, who were very ordinary people (a grocer, a porter) took some of the money and made themselves rich (some of the richest families now); and they would have to admit to this crime in order for the Armenian genocide to be  recognized.  I have no knowledge they were Jewish (that may be just conspiracy theory).

    The tax in 1940’s took away a lot of the non-Turkish wealth; and those who did not pay went to labor camps.     The purpose of the tax, it is believed, was to force all non-Turks out of Turkey; but you can see, some still stayed, and at what a
    terrible price to remain in Turkey enduring all this harassment.  No wonder some non-Turks would prefer to remain hidden.

    The editor of Milliyet was a donmeh, made his money from the newspaper; however, he was a liberal and was assassinated under the strangest circumstances. 

    The first President of Israel was from Turkey (in fact, one or two of them), so this may explain how Israel-Turkey relations were formed in the beginning.   

     p.s. Karekin, you say you have researched and found that donmehs are guilty of taking Armenian wealth (I think this is conspiracy theory).
    You can not really tell who is a donmeh, unless they tell you; for the object of being hidden is not to have anyone find out you are hidden (this may help the conspiracy theorists; and p.s., they won’t ever tell you if they are donmehs to help us clear up this controversy – so good luck).  

    The only donmehs I have discovered so far in my readings is the editor of Milliyet, who revealed he was one; plus the first President of Israel, who I believe came from that group.  
    And, also Halide Edip’s father was a donmeh, while her mother was a muslim. 

    The mystery and hiddenness of the donmehs may contribute to conspiracy theories, but don’t expect the donmehs to come out of the closet. 

    Would all the hidden Armenians want to come out of the closet in Turkey? 

    The witch hunt in Turkey goes on however to find them.   

    Where there is ambiguity and non clarity, conspiracy theory does arise. 

  65. There’s a provocative and potentially hazardous trend being carried out by some infamous commentators in these pages about the crypto-Jewish/freemasonic conspiracy in perpetrating the race annihilation of the Armenians, expropriating their wealth, businesses, personal properties, bank accounts, etc., and continuing to deny the genocide by the Israeli government as a form of support of their ethnic and religious next-of-kin in the higher echelons of the Turkish state. While evidence supports the fact that some of the CUP members were crypto-Jews (the Donmeh) and freemasons, as well as an allegation that the so-called Sabbatean Jews still hold high ranks in the Turkish government and the military, the massacres of the Armenians in the 1894-1986 and the Mets Yeghern (Genocide) in 1915-1923, were carried out by the millions of federal and provincial authorities that comprised of Turks and local Kurdish gangs on orders by consecutive leaderships of the Turkish State: first, from 1894 to 1896, by Bloody Sultan Abdul Hamid II; then, from 1915 to 1920, by the Ottoman Young Turks government; and lastly, from 1920 to 1923, by the Kemalist government. Too many factors, domestic and external, geographical and geopolitical, geostrategic and economic, financial and budgetary, psychological and behavioral, ethnic and religious, intercommunal and societal, many of them not interrelated and others strongly related, have contributed to perpetration of the genocide of the Armenians. To single out the alleged ethnicity of the perpetrators as the sole determinant motive behind the crime is, softly speaking, misleading, unfounded, and essentially provocative. At the times of massacres and mass extermination all the perpetrators represented the legitimate authority of the Turkish State, their alleged ethnicity and alleged religious beliefs notwithstanding. It is, therefore, the modern-day Turkish State that must admit the crime and apologize to the Armenians. If alleged ethnicity and religiosity of the past Turkish governments is so important as to being determinative of the reasons for the past crimes, why would the modern-day Turkish State so stubbornly and shamelessly deny the crimes of the past? Attempts at readdressing the responsibility for the crimes from actual perpetrators representing the State onto some unrepresentative and illegitimate conspiratorial individuals that might stand behind their backs must be eradicated. That’s just another way of whitewashing the Turkish State and attempts at mind-tilting the Armenians. We never know the agenda of some commentators posting in these pages.

  66. I agree with Anahit,  it is diluting Turkish responsibility for the Armenian Genocide to say that a secret cadre of crypto Jews did it.  Even if some CUP leaders were Donmeh, they alone did not carry out the genocide. It took thousands, if not millions of accomplices from among the Ottoman Turks and Kurds.  Let’s not complicate the issue and confuse ourselves with conspiracy theories.  The modern day Turkish State is the direct legal descendant and beneficiary of the Ottoman and CUP government (perpetrators).  The acknowledgment, apology and restitution must come from the Turkish State.  I am ready to forgive and move on once a sincere acknowledgment and reparation occurs.

  67. nothing conspiratorial about it….just the facts.  there were/are many…Emanuel Karasu of Salonika, for example, was a founding member of the Young Turks, and believed that the Jews of the Empire should be Turks first, and Jews second.  Others include Ismail Cem, Ismet Inonu, probably Talat Pasha and even Ataturk himself.
    http://www.search.com/reference/Donmeh
    http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=5&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=253&PID=0&IID=1669&TTL=The_Dönmes:_Crypto-Jews_under_Turkish_Rule

  68. Karekin,
    I do agree that the CUP leadership were motivated both by greed and dreams of a running half the Asian continent, however, the majority of the wealth was in Bolis, which had the lowest mortality rate.  Indeed, one wonders how the enigmatic Gulbenkian was carrying out surveys in the East in 1915!  Surely, he would have been target #1, but the level of racial and religious hatred increased exponentially the further east you travelled from Bolis – the survival rate was a 35% from the ‘relocation’ programs in the West but 5% in the east. 

    Also, the areas that Armenians lived in before are for the most part, especially in the east, almost the same as 1914.  It is difficult to transition from a mountain nomadic tribal agha to an investment banker or physician, apparently, as all the areas in which Armenians were destroyed are some of the most underperforming in the world, relative to their natural wealth.  There were more colleges in 1914 than in 2010.  If money was the main motivator, you would want to enslave your merchants and tax them (the Ottoman way) because killing a jeweler, and taking over his store with no knowledge of the profession / no education / no literacy is a recipe for disaster.  Simple jealousy and hate as well as a unique combination of looking up and looking down on the Armenians where the chief culprits.  The jealousy came in with the abduction of the women and children because even in the dked villager’s mind, they hoped that injecting some Armenian ‘blood’ into the family would elevate them in some manner – which is unlike most other genocides.   Indeed, even n Turkey today, if you look at the pictures of some of their intellectuals, professionals, etc.. I would suspect that a grandmother was Armenian by birth, who likely taught her half  Turkish children the value of education, etc.. 
    Finally, I think divisions among Armenians exacerbated the situation, because the Ottoman Empire was like a rabid dog in those days, which should either be confronted with all your energy to destroy it, or which you have to run away from.  For the Turks, Armenians were second class conquered people, no matter what the constitution said or what Europeans thought.  In that mentallity, they expected complete obedience, like a slave, and in that mentality, which is alien to Armenians due to our history, a conquered people could be dealt with in any manner they felt like, and during the era of the Sultan, didn’t he technically own all the land, the goods, and the people and like any owner, could do as he wished?  Most Turks who defend the genocide do so without recognizing that a major source of their denial is this view of conquerer / conquered which persists today

  69. Thank you, Anahit & anonymous…
     
    Anonymous – my great grandfather owned a dry goods store with a Turkish partner in Kharpert (now near El Azig).  When the soldiers came for him (he had meetings in his house), his mother went to the partner and said, “If you wanted the key to the store you could just have asked for it.”  Great grandfather was tortured to death – this man got the store, plus my grandmother and her little brother.  Fortunately my grandmother and her brother ran away to the orphanage to be with the other Armenian children.  Great grandfather’s partner was NOT Jewish (no surprise there, eh?)
     
     

  70. okay I couldn’t resist reading the short one – but I’m not going to bother with the link.  Just want to respond to this
     
    nothing conspiratorial about it….just the facts.  there were/are many…Emanuel Karasu of Salonika, for example, was a founding member of the Young Turks, and believed that the Jews of the Empire should be Turks first, and Jews second
     
    kind of like some bolsahyes who will do anything to put the blame off of the Turkish identity for this crime and throw mud on the Armenian community

  71. Yes, Karekin and others: you are reading websites deliberately setup for native readers like you, websites that are antisemitic and blame the Jews.
    Unfortunately, I have seen a side number of these websites and am horrified at the lies they spread.
    I will say this although from what I read:
    At times like this when Turkey is undergoing a huge change and chaos, as in 1915, the tendency to blame the donmehs for the changes and problems in Turkey increases.   Alas, with the seeming dismantling of Ataturk’s elite and the change in regime to AKP, and/or some other changes, which I can not foretell on the horizon, there is much change in Turkey today.  Maybe the changes will be better, maybe they will be worse, or things will remain the same.
    As I thought, your research comes from the numerous websites with bogus information.
    I think that because the donmehs keep hidden and will not reveal their identity, and they will not come out of hiding to defend themselves,  they become easy targets for scapegoating by the Turks.  Why for instance, do the Turks blame the donmehs, not the Jews who practice their religion in public?
    Inonu was a Kurd and second president of Turkey. 
    Kurd is a Kurd, not a Jew.   Now, I see they are attacking Inonu, the Kurd, also.  very interesting. 
    Pardon my mistakes, also. Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, studied law in Turkey and he helped establish ties with Turkey.
    Some followers of Sabbatei Zevi (who were not donmeh) may have been in the first Israeli govt.; they were the first zionists after all, messianic zionists, who followed Sabbatei as the messiah.  The Jews have had 250 messiahs in their history, not just Jesus, who has been the most widely followed. They suffered so much oppression, they looked for messiahs to save them (250 so far).  They looked to religion to save them; so religion helps a lot of people; the problem is we should have tolerance for all religions.   
    Two points:  Turkey is undergoing a lot of change now, and that may be one reason everyone in Turkey is looking for a scapegoat in the donmeh again.
    And, the fact that two of the first leaders of Israel studied in Turkey is the reason they established ties with Turkey.  

     

  72. Why for instance, do the Turks blame the donmehs, not the Jews who practice their religion in public?
     
    The most important and obvious question to those who THINK
     
    Kurd is a Kurd, not a Jew.   Now, I see they are attacking Inonu, the Kurd, also.  very interesting.
     
    Naturally.  Pick the outsiders, the minority.  Doesn’t matter who.  Just like they picked the Christians before.
     

  73. anonymous,
    Two things.
    Inonu was a Kurd and second president of Turkey
    Mustafa İsmet İnönü is believed to have been a Dönmeh. It doesn’t really matter whether he was considered a Kurd or a Turk in public. He’s believed to be a Bulgarian Jew converted to Islam, as were the third president of Turkey Mahmut Celalettin Bayar and the blue-eyed founder of Turkey Mustafa Kemal, among others.
    The Jews have had 250 messiahs in their history, not just Jesus, who has been the most widely followed
    Jesus was born to the World not just the Jews, and as Son of God he has no ethnicity, as such. Mary, who gave biological birth to Jesus, was Jewish, but he was conceived by the Holy Spirit to be God’s presence on Earth. Unfortunately, the Jews missed the Messiah and treated Him harshly.

  74. OK, I don’t want to turn this into a religious discussion, per se — but as a source of twisted interpretation that led to persecution and conspiracy theories of the type we are discussing, I write the following (see next paragraph).  May I point out that Armenian and Greek Orthodox (Eastern Christianity) had in its history a greater sense of tolerance than in the West and did not engage in Inquisition – a fact which we must remember and honor.  Even under Nazi occupation, the Greek church – for example – including the Archbishop in Athens  in particular participated vigorously in resistance activities including helping the Jewish community, for example by issuing thousands of phony baptism certificates … and many of their names are at Yad Vashem, including those of Orthodox bishops.  This is part of the reason why these conspiracy theories outrage me – they sully Orthodox tradition and history.  They are not at all in the flavor of who we have always been.  And there is a newly renovated medieval Jewish cemetery, showing evidence of a once-thriving community  in Armenia, that prove it.
    As a believing Orthodox Christian, may I interject here that it is the position of our Church that “the Jews who treated Him harshly” were the leadership of his time – not all Jewish people.  In John’s gospel this is how the reference to “the Jews” is read by the Church – written at a time of persecution by the leadership, by an apostle who was himself a devout Jew.  Indeed, Jesus was and all his closest followers and apostles were all devout Jews.  In the gospels, both Jesus and John the Baptist are charismatic preachers, popular with the crowds – crowds of common people who delighted in their pointing out the hypocrisy of the leadership.  If you have the Orthodox Study bible, please read the notes well regarding this subject.   Orthodoxy has retained more than any other the connection with our ancient roots in terms of our understanding of spirituality.  Let us remember that in this discussion.  I do think this much is relevant, because this is about historically what our culture has accepted and understood.  These theories go against the grain of our history and who we are as a people.
     
     
     

  75. ARM – I don’t disagree with you about Jesus as a figure for all peoples, your point is well-taken.  Nor do I think you were trying to sully anybody’s name – you are a well-reasoned person.  I just wanted to clarify one point that has been taken in history and twisted.

  76. Thank you, Janine. I understand and am grateful. Of course, the Pharisees and Sadducees are those whom I meant as “Jews treating Jesus harshly.” This so crystal clear for us that at times we mechanically forget that there may be readers of other faiths and beliefs here. Thanks for your valuable interjection.
     

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