The Turkish-Made ‘Great Calamity’: How ‘Medz Yeghern’ Became ‘Büyük Felâket’

The “Metz Yeghern,” which means “Great Evil” in Armenian,
is the name we Armenians use for the genocide.
–Robert Attarian (2006)1

The quote comes from a lecture in Italian by the spokesperson for the Consiglio per la comunità armena di Roma (Council of the Armenian Community of Rome) on April 28, 2006. The use of “Medz Yeghern and “genocide” in the same sentence shows it to be part of a conscious goal pursued by Italian Armenians as a way to encourage the adoption of the phrase Medz Yeghern to identify the genocide in languages other than Armenian.

Obama said “Buyuk Felaket” again. (Source: Odatv)

As one example among many, young Italian writer Paolo Cossi in 2007 published a graphic novel titled Medz Yeghern, il grande male (Medz Yeghern: The Great Evil). It was clear that, in his mind, Medz Yeghern was not a euphemism. “I made my first book Medz Yeghern to explain and introduce the Armenian Genocide to the Italian people,” said Cossi recently. “My motivation was a very human motivation in the first place, and it was very important because it is the first genocide of the 20th century. I wanted to create something that can educate the Italian public about genocide because they know very little about it.”2 So far, this graphic novel has been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, and Korean.


Medz Yeghern = Büyük Felâket = Great Calamity

The gradual promotion of Medz Yeghern as “Great Evil” in Italy occurred concurrently with the emergence of “Great Calamity” in the United States, which also began to be used in Turkey under the form of the recently developed equation Medz Yeghern =Büyük Felâket =Great Calamity.

The translation “Great Calamity” appears to have been facilitated by the misplaced assumption that “yeghern belongs to two semantic fields, “crime” and “calamity.” In an essay on the 60th anniversary of the genocide, a European Armenian author, Aram Terzian, wrote:

“Those mournful experiences have left a deep mark on the survivors, amongst whom there were 300,000 orphans, and the special term of medz yegherne is now part of their language as a consecrated word for recalling the inhumanity of the period. Heavy sorrow has marked the lives of the descendants of the martyrs. To the new generations, medz yegherne carries the concept of ‘great crime’ or ‘great calamity,’ and they meditate on this subject of survival with almost mystical sanctity.”3

The other misplaced assumption is that yeghern belongs to one semantic field, “calamity/catastrophe,” as German Armenian sociologist Mihran Dabag put forth in an article published in 1999: “Yegherne aradsch, yegherne verdsch, before and after the Catastrophe; thus begins today every Armenian storytelling and remembering.”4

In a study of the terminology on the genocide used in Armenian media, published in 2006, scholar Khatchig Mouradian concluded that yeghern had a double meaning, “Crime” and “Catastrophe,” whereas he translated Medz Yeghern just as “Great Crime” and Abrilian Yeghern just as “the April Crime.”5 In an expanded version published in 2009, he seemed to slightly correct himself: he repeated the two meanings of yeghern and wrote that Medz Yeghern meant “Great Crime/Catastrophe” and Abrilian Yeghern, “the April Crime/Catastrophe.”6 In 2009, German historian Annette Schaefgen hinted at the supposed dichotomy between yeghern “Calamity” and Medz Yeghern “Great Crime,” but left unexplained how “calamity” could have turned into “crime” overnight:

“The word “yeghern” has many meanings: ‘misfortune, disaster, mishap, catastrophe.’ ‘Meds Yeghern,’ ‘great crime,’ indeed designated the events of 1915-1916 in Armenian parlance, because the term ‘Tzeghaspanutium’ [sic], ‘race murder,’ however, was used for the linguistic discussion of ‘genocide.’”7

A regular contributor to The Armenian Weekly, C. K. Garabed, confessed in 2010 that he was “not familiar with the term Medz Yeghern, and subsequently consulted various dictionaries to ascertain its meaning.” He discovered that the definitions found in these Armenian-English dictionaries revolved around the semantic field of “crime”: “The older ones define it as Great Crime, misdemeanor, offense, rascality; the more modern ones as Great Crime, atrocity, murder.” But, nevertheless, he seemed inclined towards the “literary translation” suggested by historian Dennis Papazian in a personal communication: “Great Armenian Cataclysm.”8

Meanwhile, in 2009, Armenian-Turkish journalist Rober Koptaş, citing Mouradian’s 2006 study, had written that Medz Yeghern meant both Büyük Felâket (Great Calamity) and Büyük Suç (Great Crime).9 The Turkish translation of President Barack Obama’s April 2012 message, published by the Armenian Turkish weekly Agos, of which Koptaş is the current editor, followed this assumption: Medz Yeghern was awkwardly translated as Büyük Felâket in the first sentence and as Büyük Kıyım [Great Slaughter] in the last one,10 as if both words were synonyms.

Büyük Felâket, the literal Turkish translation of “Great Calamity,” has currently been shaped as the “permissible” term used to discuss the genocide. Its use can be traced back to the New Year message delivered by the Armenian patriarch of Turkey, Mesrob Mutafian, in Armenian, English, and Turkish on the eve of 2005, in which he referred to the genocide as “Medz Yeghern” in Armenian, “the Great Disaster” in English, and “Büyük Felâket” in Turkish. The first paragraph of the English version read: “One of the painful historical events…has become known in Armenian literature as Medz Yeghern (The Great Disaster).” This paragraph was quoted and endorsed by Armenian American columnist Harut Sassounian, who wrote: “For the benefit of non-Armenian speaking readers, we should point out that Medz Yeghern was used by Armenians to describe the Armenian Genocide before the word genocide existed. Medz Yeghern could be translated alternatively as ‘Great Disaster,’ ‘Great Calamity,’ or ‘Great Cataclysm.’ Armenians sometimes still refer to the Armenian Genocide as ‘Medz Yeghern,’ just as the Jews use the Hebrew word Shoah for the Holocaust.” He also praised the patriarch’s “bold statement” on the “repressive conditions” of Turkey: “We should point out that the patriarch, in his statement, uses the term ‘annihilation,’ meaning extermination or total destruction, which is another way of saying genocide.”11

The Italians have an expression: Si non è vero, è bel trovato (Even if it is not true, it was beautifully researched). Turkish writers had a variety of sources at their disposal (the BBC, the New York Times, Mesrob Patriarch, and Harut Sassounian, for example) to find the translation of Medz Yeghern as “Great Calamity” and use their own Büyük Felâket with some justification. Whatever its origin, the translation appeared in the well-known online statement of apology for the denial of the genocide issued by four Turkish intellectuals in December 2008. Its first sentence in the English version read: “My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe [Büyük Felâket, in the Turkish version] that the Ottoman-Armenians were subjected to in 1915.” On Dec. 12, 2008, one of the four signatories, Baskın Oran, gave the following exegesis to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “You see, ‘Great Catastrophe,’ in Armenian ‘Medz Yeghern,’ was the only definition, the only expression, used until the Armenian Diaspora discovered the PR value of ‘Armenian Genocide.’ Therefore, we use ‘Great Catastrophe.’”12

Another signatory, Çengiz Aktan, on Dec. 19 declared in a debate on the Turkish TV channel Kanal D that “Metz Yeghern is a word from the time of 1915. The term genocide and its basis in international law is [sic] from 1948. From 1915 until 1948, the Armenian people who were subjected to this were of course going to give a name to it. We used the name that they themselves used.”13 The assumption was that Medz Yeghern, with the purported translation “Great Catastrophe,” was a “neutral” term used before genocide and thus more palatable to those “moderates” on both sides who were willing to engage in a process of “reconciliation.” In a lecture in October 2009, Oran justified the use of Medz Yeghern by arguing that the term was used in the Republic of Armenia; that it was used in the name of the martyrs monument in Yerevan; that it was used by Pope John Paul II in 2001 and there were no protests; that it was used by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in his address in Armenian (translated as “genocide” in the English version) in 2001; and that it was the main term used by Armenians before (and after) “genocide.”14

Sassounian commented on the inaccuracies of the text: “Armenian critics pointed out several shortcomings in the Turkish statement: First, the apology avoided the term ‘Armenian Genocide’ by referring to it as the ‘Great Catastrophe.’ Second, it alluded to the year 1915 only, rather than 1915-23. Third, the apology was issued by individual Turks rather than the Turkish state.”15 Scholar Marc Mamigonian remarked that “the expression Medz Yeghern/Great Catastrophe has been appropriated and superimposed onto the discussion as if those doing so—those who have themselves only lately discovered the term—possess either the moral or the scholarly authority to assert what terms should or should not be used.”16

The Turkish press was flooded with the newly found Armenian phrase and its “translations,” both in Turkish and in English (variously “Great Calamity,” “Great Catastrophe,” or “Great Tragedy”). Even Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, the current general vicar of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, used “Great Catastrophe” as the translation of Medz Yeghern in an interview to the German magazine Der Spiegel in April 2009.17 It appears that Büyük Felaket was already available and just needed to be equalized to Medz Yeghern to become an item of mass consumption in the ongoing war of words. According to Yavuz Baydar, his great-grandfather had described the Bulgarian invasion in Western Thrace (during the Balkan War of 1912) as Büyük Felaket. The take of this Turkish columnist of Today’s Zaman was that Medz Yeghern was the Armenian equivalent, “a popular term used in many similar contexts in the storm of tragedies that, to a great extent, wiped out the soul of Asia Minor; Greek deportations, Gallipoli, the Russian Front, the Balkans and, of course, Armenians.”18

The Armenian press seems to have just gone along with the “translation” without any background check. For instance, an unsigned commentary in the Asbarez newspaper (probably written by the editor) quoted the text of the apology and added: “Then we have this ‘Great Catastrophe’ stuff. Maybe they’re just using a translation of our own, older, usage of Medz Yeghern. Regardless, it’s not ‘genocide.’ So, it’s at best sub-standard, more likely intentionally evasive for political and personal safety reasons, or possibly intentionally duplicitous.”19 Three days later, the English translation of the above-mentioned debate in Kanal D was posted on the internet. It featured several retired ambassadors, including veteran denialist M. Ŝükrü Elekdağ, a former ambassador to the United States and a parliament member at the time, who made a harsh criticism of the apology that went unnoticed by Armenian commentators: “Firstly, they are referring to Great Catastrophe; this is Metz Yeghern in Armenian. This word is a synonym for genocide. The difference between the two words is as little as the difference between mass slaughter and mass killing (kitle katliamı and kitlesel öldürme). There is no difference between them. When Metz Yeghern is used, Armenians understand genocide. When some official person goes to Armenia, visits the Monument, and wishes to condemn genocide as well as not to offend the Turkish Republic they use Metz Yeghern; and Armenians accept this. This statement is tantamount to supporting the genocide campaign of the Armenian Diaspora. It would have been alright to use terms like great tragedy or pain. The concept of Great Catastrophe is an established term; it has a loaded meaning which is very difficult to change. Therefore, it naturally causes reactions. … Today, Metz Yeghern is a totally established term. And it is synonymous with genocide. It is not possible to understand this statement any differently.”20

Indeed, Elekdağ ignored, intentionally or not, that there is a literal Armenian translation of “genocide” and that Medz Yeghern does not mean “Great Catastrophe.” But, otherwise, he seemed to have learned his lessons remarkably well. He knew that whenever Medz Yeghern is used, Armenians understand genocide.


Medz Yeghern = Büyük Felâket?

If not a non-Turkish source, it might be assumed that the source of the Turkish translation as “Great Calamity” or “Great Catastrophe” could have been an Armenian-Turkish dictionary or wordlist. Our investigation into an array of available bibliography yielded the following results:21



The evidence from the dictionaries yields the conclusions that before and after 1915:

1)      Yeghern meant çinayet, suč or kabahat;

2)      Aghed meant felâket or bela

Therefore, the translation of Medz Yeghern as Büyük Felâket, which would imply the meaning Great Calamity/Great Catastrophe/Great Disaster, is unwarranted.


1 See

2 The Armenian Weekly, May 17, 2012 (emphasis added).

3 Aram Terzian, “1915: The Darkest Year,” Armenian Review, Summer 1975, p. 158.

4 Mihran Dabag, “Feien des Gedenkens,” in Bernhard Scheneider and Richard Jochum (eds.), Erinnerungen an das Töten: Genozid reflexiv, Vienna, Cologne and Weimar: Böhlau, 1999, p. 49.

5 The Armenian Weekly, Sept. 23, 2006.

6 Khatchig Mouradian, “From Yeghern to Genocide: Armenian Newspapers, Raphael Lemkin, and the Road to the UN Genocide Convention,” Haigazian Armenological Review, vol. 29, 2009, p. 128.

7 Annette Schaefgen, “Von der treuen millet zum Sündenbock oder Die Legende vom armenische Dolschtoß,” in Wolfgang Benz (ed.), Vorurteil und Genozid: Ideologische Prämische der Völkermords, Vienna, Cologne and Weimar: Böhlau, 2010, p. 59.

8 The Armenian Weekly, June 3, 2010.

9 Radikal, May 3, 2009.

10 Agos, April 25, 2012.

11 California Courier, Jan. 5, 2005.

12 Quoted in Marc Mamigonian, “Commentary on the Turkish Apology Campaign,” Armenian Weekly/Hairenik Weekly magazine, April 2009, p. 19, 21.

13 See

14 Baskın Oran, “Denialism and Civil Society in Turkey,” Clark University, Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (

15 The Huffington Post, Dec. 18, 2008.

16 Mamigonian, “Commentary,” p. 22.

17 The Armenian Weekly, May 7, 2009.

18 Today’s Zaman, April 27, 2009.

19 Asbarez, Dec. 24, 2008 (emphasis added).

20 (emphasis added).

21 Bargirk haykazian lezvi (Dictionary of the Classical Armenian Language), vol. 2, Venice: Antoni Bortoli, 1769, p. 9, 113; Rev. Emmanuele Ciakciak, Nuovo dizionario italiano-armeno-turco, Venecia: Tipografia Armena di San Lazzaro, 1829, p. 83, 174, 436; Nor bargirk Haykazian lezvi (New Dictionary of the Classical Armenian Language), vol. 1, Venice: S. Lazarus Press, 1836, p. 654; [Rev. Sukias Somalian], A Pocket Dictionary of the Armenian, English and Turkish languages, Venice: Press of the Armenian College of St. Lazarus, 1843, p. 20, 127, 316; [Idem], A Pocket Dictionary of the English, Armenian and Turkish languages, Venice: Press of the Armenian College of St. Lazarus, 1843, p. 76, 145; Krikor Peshdimaldjian, Bargirk haykazian lezvi (Dictionary of the Classical Armenian Language), Constantinople: Boghos Arabian, 1844, p. 17, 325; [Rev. Pilibbos Chamchian], Nuovo dizionario Italiano-Francese-Armeno-Turco, Vienna: PP. Mechitaristi, 1856, p. 143, 166, 581; Djanig Aram, Dictionnaire abrégé Arménien-Turc-Français, Paris: Typographie Arménienne, 1860, p. 2, 17; Rev. Srabion Eminian, Baragirk gagghieren-hayeren-tajkeren (Dictionary French-Armenian-Turkish), Vienna: Mekhitarist Press, 1871, p. 155, 254, 743 (first edition, 1851); M. K. Minassian, A Dictionary, English, Armenian and Armeno-Turkish, Constantinople: V. and H. Der Nersessian, 1908, p. 155, 246; Bedros Zeki Garabedian, Metz bararan osmanerene hayeren (Great Dictionary Ottoman-Armenian), Constantinople: Arshag Garoyan, 1912, p. 270, 594; Rev. Aristakes Bohjalian, Trkerene hayeren ardzern bararan (Turkish-Armenian Practical Dictionary), Istanbul: Armenian Turkish Teachers’ Organization, 1981, p. (first edition, 1974), p. 60, 138, 432; R. H. Baghramyan and I. H. Khalilov, Hay-adrbejaneren bararan (Armenian-Azerbaijani Dictionary), Yerevan: Luys, 1978, p. 16, 124; Rev. Aristakes Bohjalian, Hayerene hayeren batsadrakan ardzern bararan (Armenian-Armenian Practical Explanatory Dictionary), Istanbul: Armenian Turkish Teachers’ Organization, 1991, p. 12, 142 (first edition, 1974); Katarine Kondakjian, Turkeren-hayeren bararan (Turkish-Armenian Dictionary), Yerevan: Antares, 2003, p. 109, 137, 292; R. S. Ghazaryan, Turkeren-hayeren bararan, Yerevan: Mitk, 2003, p. 82, 164, 432; Birsen Karaça, Doğu Ermeniçe-Turkçe sözluk, second edition, Ankara: Ankara University, 2007, p. 76.


Vartan Matiossian

Born in Montevideo (Uruguay) and long-time resident of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Dr. Vartan Matiossian is a historian, literary scholar, translator and educator living in New Jersey. He has published six books on Armenian history and literature (five in Armenian and one in Spanish), and scores of articles in Armenian, Spanish, and English. He is currently the executive director of the Armenian National Education Committee in New York and book review editor of Armenian Review.


  1. Everyone know that when people speak about Medz Yeghern it’s automatically related to Armenian Genocide. So I don’t know where is really the problem… The only thing is to make a common use of it but once all the world surely understands what really happened in 1915, and understands that 1.5 million of Armenians where massacred by Ottoman Turcs, and that this was a GENOCIDE. After that I totally agree, there will be no euphemism at all, because we Armenian people (and not only) always knew Medz Yeghern is the Armenian Genocide. Medz Yeghern belongs to Armenians, that’s how we should see it. And the thing is to make ‘Medz Yeghern’ sounds much more important than the word ‘Genocide’ and thus make a greater impact.
    And I’m not quite sure either Turkey accepts the definition of Medz Yeghern neither….but who cares of what Turkey accepts or not!

    • Except for Armenians, no one knows that ‘Medz Yeghern’ is related—not adequate—to ‘Genocide’. And anyone who’d enquire about the meaning of the term ‘Medz Yeghern’—which our English-speaking President uses and his Turkish buddies now parrot—will be explained that this is how Armenians term the tragedy (another favored word of the West and Turkish denialists) of 1915: ‘The Great Crime’ or ‘The Great Calamity’. The problem is twofold. One, semantically ‘Medz Yeghern’ is not automatically translated as ‘Genocide’. It is translated as ‘The Great Crime’ or ‘The Great Calamity’. The Armenian term that automatically translates as ‘Genocide’ is ‘Tseghaspanutyun’, i.e. killing of race. Two, legally ‘Medz Yeghern’ is not subject to any international law, while ‘Genocide’ in English or ‘Tseghaspanutyun’ in Armenian is. The law is the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Efforts by the US administration to substitute the usage of ‘Genocide’ with ‘Medz Yeghern’ are of purely politica—and cheap—nature: to salvage Turkey from being LEGALLY responsible for their barbarism against the Armenians. Thus, the only term that bears LEGAL connotation is ‘Genocide’ or ‘Tseghaspanutyun’ in Armenian. If the US President so wished to use a foreign language term for his targeted English-speaking audience and if the matter was purely of semantic nature, he could have used ‘Tseghaspanutyun’ instead of ‘Medz Yeghern’. But since ‘Tseghaspanutyun’ in Armenian means ‘Genocide’, the smartypants in the White House found, as they think, a way of avoiding calling a spade a spade by introducing ‘Medz Yeghern’. But the Armenians and the concerned world remember that Mr. Obama promised to acknowledge the Genocide not Medz Yeghern. The world also knows that it is the Jewish Holocaust that’s been recognized not the Shoah as Jews call it.

  2. All this ‘Medz Yeghern’ business is to un-legalize the genocide, since genocide has legal implications. We must never, ever accept any term less than genocide. The Turkish State must and will pay for its deliberate and systematic state-sponsored plan to wipe out entire nationalities which it did not deem ‘Turkish’. In addition, all countries involved in WWI have Armenian blood on their hands. And with their deliberate and conscious denial campaign being waged against the Armenian people, the genocide continues.

  3. I won’t be surprised if Mr. Morgenthou, during a heated argument with Tallat Pasha, heard the word “we will inahiliate armenian race from the face of earth”.
    It was the American Ambassador Mr. Morgenthou who used the word “race extermination” in his report in 1915. Raphael Lemkin analised this word by translating into greeck word “Geno-Cide” which we use today in english.

    By todays standart- Turk and azeri fanatics they sware by this words “we will inahiliate armenian race from the face of earth”.

  4. Also, in Turkish, Genocide is called ‘Genosit’. ‘Soykirim’ is also used but I don’t know if the two are truly equivalent. Also, until a few years ago, I never ever heard of ‘Medz Yeghern’ and neither did anyone I know… we always referred to the genocide as Tseghaspanutiun.

    And btw thank you for the article, it is well researched.

    • Thank you.
      “Soykirim” is a composite word that means “soy” = lineage, race, “kirim” = killing. Therefore, “genosit” = “soykirim”

    • Soykırımı is the direct translation. Occasionally one may use jenosit, but rarely. The events that Armenians refer to is almost always called “Tehcir” in Turkish literature.

  5. And as I said before, and I will repeat again, Turks will use the word of “Metz Yeghern,” in order to get away the responsibility and consequences of GENOCIDE, where described properly by UN in 1948 CBS live televised interview with Raphael Lemkin. I blame Obama who cleverly utter’s the word of Metz Yeghern to satisfy his Turkish friends and open a new chapter to trap Armenian Nation claim about Genocide!! The Harvard graduated individual is not that stupid!!

  6. Polish-American Raphael Lemkin’s concept of the crime, which later evolved into the idea of genocide, was based on the Armenian mass murders and prompted by the experience of Assyrians murdered during the 1933 Simele massacre and the extermination of Eastern Jews during the WWII. As a Jew, Lemkin certainly knew about the term ‘Shoah’ and might have come across ‘Medz Yeghern’, too. Yet, his task was to create a universal legal term back in 1943. Now, in the year 2012, the US and Turkey roll back to ‘medz yeghern’ that existed before the term ‘genocide’ had been coined. Not only is this disrespect towards a fellow American, the inventor of the term, but is a slap in the face of the whole concept of international law.

    “I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times. First to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action.” —Raphael Lemkin

  7. “The world also knows that it is the Jewish Holocaust that’s been recognized not the Shoah as Jews call it.”

    From the speech of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, on the 70th anniversary of the raid of Vel d’Hiv (, the official website of the Presidency of France):

    Nous sommes rassemblés ce matin pour rappeler l’horreur d’un crime, exprimer le chagrin de ceux qui ont vécu la tragédie, évoquer les heures noires de la collaboration, notre histoire, et donc la responsabilité de la France.
    Nous sommes ici aussi pour transmettre la mémoire de la Shoah, dont les rafles étaient la première étape, pour mener le combat contre l’oubli, pour témoigner auprès des nouvelles générations de ce que la barbarie est capable de faire et de ce que l’humanité peut elle-même contenir de ressources pour la vaincre.

    [English translation:
    We are gathered here this morning to remember the horror of a crime, express the grief of those who have lived the tragedy, to recall the dark hours of collaborationism, our history, and thus, the responsibility of France.
    We are here also to transmit the memory of the SHOAH, of which the raids were the first round, to struggle against forgetting, to witness to the new generations what barbarism is capable of doing and what humanity may have as resources to vanquish it.]

    • Officially, the world has recognized the Holocaust, not the Shoah. The UN General Assembly’s November 1, 2005 Resolution no. 60/7 has designated the 27th of January as ‘International HOLOCAUST Remembrance Day. Shoah, a Biblical term, is mostly used by amongst the Jews or sometimes by non-Jews as a loanword (in speeches, during commemorations, etc.). Nonetheless, officially it is the Holocaust that’s been widely recognized. I wouldn’t mind if the US President uses ‘Medz Yeghern’ in his proclamations AFTER the US government has recognized the Armenian Genocide and Turkey has started the reparation and restitution process.

    • Vartan, might you know why the former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy was able to pronounce ‘Tseghaspanutyun’ (Arm.: ‘genocide’) but the President of the United States Barack Obama could only pronounce ‘Medz Yeghern’ (Arm.: ‘great crime, calamity’)?

      Both are odars, foreigners. Both are non-Armenians. Both come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Both never had a chance to learn the Armenian language. Both must have had phonetic difficulty of pronouncing ‘Tseghaspanutyun’. Both were leaders of two great nations whose words reverberate on the global scale.

      But one had the COURAGE to call the crime by its proper legal name, and the other—who promised to acknowledge the genocide and reneged—miserably quailed.

    • Vartan,

      If so many foreigners can pronounce the English word circumstances I do not see a reason why they can’t pronounce tseghaspanutyun. I do not think it is more difficult to pronounce tseghaspanutyun than circumstances. Let’s call the things with their names and avoid any kind of confusion down the road.

  8. The big Turkish fear isn’t the label. They can care less about that. Its not jail as most if the true perpetrators are already dead but the restitution and compensation that genocide holds..

    Turks knew from the beginning that what they did would have long lasting consequences and that is why their past must be kept a secret at all cost as they consider it the moist threatening aspect of their current Turkish State. Modern Turkey does owe its existence directly to the mass murder and theft of wealth and property of the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.

    “Medz Yeghern” is meaningless.

    • Absulutely correct. Turks try to use their diverse ancestoral origin to claim they are truthful and democratic. But, any smart person will not buy this claim since diversity alone doesn’t prove morality of their ottoman prodecessors.
      Americans admit to the displacement of American indians and the removing them from their sacred ancestoral ground they lived for thousands of years before European arrival. American government acknowledges their rights and gave them reservations and helps them towards stability.
      Turks with their empirial mentality inherited from ottomans think the turkishification of the locals and integration of them into Turkish poppulation makes their country a greate one and nothing needs to be changed for that reason.

  9. “Medz Yeghern” is a meaningless term. Armenians should reject it and anyone who uses it. It trivializes the crime and waters down the reality. It reveals the dishonesty of the user.

    We Armenians have an exact word for “genocide”. The true word is “Tseghaspanutiun” – which literally means “race murder” and pre-dates Raphael Lemkin by eons.

    Anyone who uses any term other than “genocide” or “tseghaspautiun” is not a friend of Armenians or humanity, and is disqualified from commenting on the matter.

  10. Turks, wether or not they admit to the genocie they will not want it to be recognized. It is not their goal, because they just don’t want to give anything back to those they came to asia minor and took it from.

    The medz Yeghern is one example of manuvering with words to distance from genocide. They can’t prove they didn’t do it, because they did, but what they are trying to try their lucks at is to play with words and numbers in order to minimize the ottoman sentense and get away with minimal responsibility.

    Today’s Turkey is the continuation of it’s ottoman prodecessor. Modernization of Turkey by Attaturk never modernized it’s philosophy and Turanic mentality, and to less extent didn’t modernize Turkey in other ways either.

    If genocide is recognized Turks feared and still are and will be, that there will be demands of reparations, lands, and impreasonment of their politition, not only from Armenians, but several other neighbors whose ancestoral losses was at scales comparable to the Armenian genocide.
    This domino affect is the reason for Turkey to benefit from hiding behind NATO shadow with playing major role in offering US close proximity strategic military bases in the region.

    Despite the fact that US exacutive branch has sided with Turkey for decades and never recongized the Armenian genocide, Turkish government and citizens still deman more.

    The Armenians have been mentioning the genocide for decades and only less than a decade ago the reality of mass graves in eastern Turkey were globally expressed, pressered.
    The silence of Turkish government for decades about the mass graves on its own proves they have more to hide.

    • As far as I can see from other threads, this is all your intellectual abilities allow you to say, john the turk: “lol” or “lots of laugh”.

      By the way, John is a revered Christian saint, actually two saints. John the Baptist, who baptized Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and John, the author of one of the Books in the Bible’s New Testament. The symbiosis of the name ‘John’ with ‘the turk’ is very laughable for us, indeed. So, your penname is lots of laugh.

    • John the Turk,

      Is seems that some Turks on this board from their beloved “so called Armenian Genocide” have transited to “Lots of laugh”. What’s so funny in Ed’s post that makes you laugh a lot? And what is the point of filling up this board with nonsense “Lots of laughs”? If it is funny just sit back and laugh- no need to pollute these pages with that nonsense and let the world know that you are laughing.
      I hope that the admin will take care of those sheer emotion-reflecting, no substance baring posts in the future.

    • When the Turks killed Armenians it was Lots of laugh for them. This figures how far in history the mentality of laughing at innocent’s suffering can persist.
      It proves and you are not a exception.
      If the world pays attention just to the behaviorial epidemic common among denialists they will suspect more is to find out about.

    • John,

      “John the turk” is afraid of his real Turkic Turanian name …may be he is ashamed to be called as a “real’ TURK in AW …I am sure he is looking for his lost identity, when Seljuk Turks destroyed all local Christians of Asia Minor and Byzantine, may be his blood line going back to one of those Christian woman who was raped by a Muslim Turks during invasion… May be he does not look like a Mongol turk anymore!! May Allah punish him for not using his holy Islamized name and burn in the hell!

  11. I couldn´t agree more.Any other denomination to the ¨tseghasbanutyun¨ is tantamount to trvializing the ATTEMPT (please do not forget this word) to kill us all,kill our race, murder our race from the face of this earth.
    Pres. Nicola Sarkozy(kudos to him) pronounced the word better than some of us Armenians syllabal by syllable TSEGHA SBANUTYUN at the French Square in Yerevan,RA. He is the First important dignitary to do so PUBLICLY AND TO THE WORLD AT LARGE ON t.v. only a few dozen miles from the Turkish frontier.
    It is well past the time that Grdat Britain, the U.S. follow suit and bring culprit to be officialy made to accept the enormous crime their predecessor Govt.s committed and make them pay CASH FOR B L O O D M O N E Y .
    Frankly, I do not think so far any country/state who has taken over other´s to hav e returned their lands/territories.True some cases are there to see ,that were mutually agreed upon to be divided and interchanged, one gaining more -based on demography,history,population forcibly EVICTED…(our case,comes to mind) But never just hand back some such territory.
    Thence, I beg to differ with those who believe we should place Land question or demand first. IT IS LIKE PLACING CART BEFORE THE HORSE…
    After all my and others kin´s blood shed HAS VALUE INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED and must b epaid for…
    Furthermore, we have another party to the dispute over land,rather will have ,as we all know quite well the existance of over 16 million k u r d s that have been living side by side with us even prior to the Seljuk tatar,moguls invasion and conquest on those lands.They also were granted <AUTONOMY at Versailles,viz, the Sevres Treaty of 1920/21.
    We must therefore think of B L O O D M O N E Y receivalbe from great Turkey, befoe we can handle the Land issue and that we kurdish involvement.

  12. What happened to the Armenians was genocide. ‘Tzeghasbanutyun’ means genocide. For clarity sake, this is the Armenian word Obama should use. For even greater clarity and less syllables, he should say ‘genocide,’ especially since he promised he would.

    Medz yeghern, meaning ‘great crime’, is a fine adjectival phrase for what happened to the Armenians, but all adjectives modify nouns and the noun this phrase describes is ‘tzeghasbanutyun.’ Without ‘tzeghasbanutyun’ there was no ‘medz yeghern.’ There can be many great calamities, not all are great crimes, but in the case of the Armenians, our great calamity was the great crime of genocide.

  13. It is telling that even the most benignly expressed contrary opinions AND facts can not seem to get through the censorship here. What about facts can be so disturbing to the readership here one wonders. My favorite is though when the same people turn around and complain about Turkish censorship.

    • But you haven’t presented any facts or factual counterarguments here, Murat.

      What are you willing to argue against? That 2 million native people lived on their ancestral lands for millennia and within a year or two they just evaporated? And that their government was unaware of this? What are the facts that you attempt to get through and we don’t get?

  14. From America’s own history. On March 5, 1770, the British troops stationed in Boston killed five civilian American colonists and injured six others. The killing went down in the American history under the name ‘The Boston Massacre’, while the British called it—more appropriately—‘The Incident on King Street’. I’d omit the question whether the killing of five persons can be considered a massacre (then the killing of 2 million people of a particular ethnicity is what?). But how would the US president and his administration feel if the heads of other nations call this event in the US history ‘The Incident on King Street’ and not by the name that every history book or social studies textbook in this country describe as ‘The Boston Massacre’? How would they feel?!

  15. To ARx: As a matter of fact, Sarkozy pronounced the word, but Obama only wrote it. The answer to your question may be found in the following excerpt from Harout Sassounian’s piece (Armenian Weekly, October 11, 2011):

    “As a presidential candidate in 2007, Sarkozy promised to support the Senate’s adoption of a law criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide. The French Parliament had already approved such a bill in 2006. Yet, despite his pledge, Sarkozy’s ruling party blocked the bill’s adoption last May. While the French government banned denial of the Holocaust in 1990, it did not take similar action on the Armenian Genocide, even though France had recognized it in 2001.

    French Armenians were incensed by Sarkozy’s betrayal. Singer Charles Aznavour publicly warned him that he would lose the support of 500,000 French Armenians in next year’s presidential elections. Last month, the ARF of France endorsed the probable presidential candidacy of Socialist Francois Hollande after he promised that his party, which had recently gained a majority of seats in the Senate, would vote for the bill banning denial of the genocide. Hollande is currently far ahead of Sarkozy in the opinion polls.

    During his visit to Armenia last week, Sarkozy conveyed several important messages: He reassured Armenians of his intent to keep his initial pledge on the genocide denial bill; he warned Turkey to stop denying the genocide; and he indicated his clear sympathy for the Armenian position on Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh).

    The French president’s trip to the three republics of the Caucasus was clearly lopsided in favor of Armenia, where he stayed overnight, while he spent only three hours in Azerbaijan and Georgia. His brief stops in those two countries were simply an attempt to display a semblance of impartiality. Sarkozy’s first-ever visit to Armenia was filled with festive events and dramatic gestures of friendship—planting a tree in memory of Armenian Genocide victims; laying a wreath at the Genocide Memorial, where he wrote in the Book of Remembrance, “France does not forget”; warning Turkey to acknowledge the genocide by year’s end; uttering the Armenian word “tseghasbanoutyoun” (genocide), which Obama has declined to use; lighting a candle in Etchmiadzin; rejecting Turkey’s membership to the European Union; opening the Aznavour Museum overlooking Mt. Ararat; and donating a priceless Rodin statue to the Republic of Armenia.”

    • What’s your point, Vartan? All the more so that Sarkozy used the word ‘Tseghasbanoutyoun’ in a speech, while Obama used ‘Medz Yeghern’ only in writing. He could have easily used ‘Tseghasbanoutyoun’ in writing instead of ‘Medz Yeghern’. What phonetic difference did it make to use a proper term if it was to be put in writing and not in a speech? It proves that the phonetic difficulty with pronouncing ‘Tseghasbanoutyoun’ wasn’t the actual reason why the US president reneged from his promise. The reason most likely was that his advisors intentionally avoided ‘Tseghasbanoutyoun’ because they knew that ‘Tseghasbanoutyoun’ literally translates as ‘genocide’ while ‘Medz Yeghern’ translates as ‘great crime’ or ‘great calamity’. Thus the choice for the second in violation of Obama’s promise to recognize genocide not the great calamity.

  16. It goes without saying that I wanted to say that Sarkozy used the word “tseghasbanoutyoun” in a speech, while Obama only used “Medz Yeghern” in writing.

    • Vartan,
      France and Germany both recognized the Genocide even due they are a NATO member just like US.
      Given that US played major role in the fight against Nazi Germany and In WWI, the last 4-5 decades its role has changed from fair envolvements to questionable one. Its easy to have high expectations from US, but having these expectations everyone forgets how many useless millitary campains have been fought oversees since vietnam war. So, looking at this, The intention of US is only half good and Turkey backs the good, the bad, and the ugly equally.
      US hasn’t recognized Armenian genocide yet, and this pending hesitation is fueled by ongoing US forign policy in the middle east and ongoing Turkish spendings and threats to keep its millitary bases in Turkey.

      I am not surprised about the difference.

  17. Well well well..Armenians are beginning to come to a mutual undeerstanding..w/REf- to ¨Tsegha -sbanutyun¨ being for first time world wide pronounced by pres. Nicolas Sarkozy and his very evident siding with our CAUSE-
    Good, now it is time that Great Britain be woo-ed in on that old Continent as the next important one ( I´m aware of the other few in close follow up) But internationallly this Anglo Nation is more important.
    France, is on the right track,though pressures brought upon her from ¨some¨ parts keeps her from outright condemning and pressing great Turkey to accept culpability of previous Govt.s
    If this is being delayed,it is partially also due to other important issues that have taken centreplace on the int´l poliotical scene.
    Patience for Armenians is almost like a virtue and we should stick to it.
    In a few months the April 24 Commoration for the 98th year may ¨¨encourage¨ other issues related w/Genocide , like making it a law punishable for deniars in FRANCE, a pre requisite for convincing the ¨other¨ great Turkey allies to fall in line and follow suit. Hopefully, next few months will see various favourable such acts for Armenians being performed.
    At present most pressing for Armenity is the Syrian armenian plight, which cannot be taken lightly.Our centuries old adversary is delighted to see yet another Armenian important stronghold being torn into pieces..
    We must hurry to its aid and do so immediately

  18. ARx: This second article was intended to show, indirectly, that “Medz Yeghern” ‘does not translate as ‘great crime’ OR ‘great calamity,’ emphasis on the “or.” (If “Medz Yeghern” does not mean “Buyuk Felaket,” then it doesn’t mean “Great Calamity.”) The next few articles will show it more conclusively, I hope.
    Sassounian’s account, when read between lines, shows that, after the law was blocked by Sarkozy’s party and the ARF endorsed his opponent Hollande, Sarkozy rushed to take measures for damage control. The use of the word “tseghasbanutiun,” for the first time ever in Sarkozy’s vocabulary, could be interpreted as one of them.

    • The points raised in your comment are irrelevant, Vartan, I’m sorry to say. France has officially recognized the Armenian genocide, not anything else: great crime, great calamity, great tragedy, great misfortune, great mass murder, annihilation of race, et al. Sarkozy, in his official capacity as President of France, uttered the word ‘tseghasbanutiun’ in Armenian that literally translates as ‘genocide’: ‘tsegh’ – race + ‘spanutyun’ – killing. Not ‘medz yeghern’, not ‘voghbergutyun’, not ‘spand’, not ‘vochir’ not any term that bears descriptive and narrowly used character, but the legal term ‘tseghasbanutiun’ = genocide. Obama failed to do it by substituting ‘tseghasbanutiun’, if he so wished to use a loanword from Armenian for his English-speaking audience, with whatever the term ‘medz yeghern’ literally means. Whatever it literally, repeat: literally, means is NOT genocide. End of story.

  19. Yes, a word, any word, is patently meaningless, because by itself, it cannot change anything, least of all, the truth. So, what do we care about which word is used? Whatever word is chosen, it is giving recognition to the event. It is much better than not mentioning the event at all. Of course, no word can reverse the truth, reverse the history or bring back the millions whose lives were destroyed by Talat, Jemal and Enver, and the rest of the CUP. Then again, one must ask, how/why is it that a country like today’s Turkey, can have such a trembling, such a fear, such an insecurity about ‘a word’. If they have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed about, nothing to cover-up, then why so much trepidation? Honest Turks must ask themselves and their government why there is so much twisting and turning to avoid ‘a word’. It is pathological in the worst sense of the word, isn’t it?

    The world saw what happened. Millions of Turks saw and participated in what happened (though to be fair, some did not). There is plenty of impartial, unbiased visual evidence, oral evidence, official evidence that all corroborate each other. Would it not be easier and healthier for Turkey to admit what was done? Eliminating 25% of the native population of Anatolia was a huge blow to the country! Think about that fact. And, make sure to admit that 2 million Armenians – without an army – did not, could not and did not want – to destroy the empire. That was a task accomplished by the criminal, genocidist ‘Young Turks’…all on their own, thru murder, destruction and theft. Only the most criminal of minds could have even contemplated such a horrible outcome and if you are truly being honest with yourselves…those minds were sitting at the seat of power in Istanbul, plotting the entire thing because they had the power in their hands… was not in the Armenian vilayets, where people worked hard, paid exorbitant taxes to support the sultan and had no power at all.

    • [So, what do we care about which word is used? Whatever word is chosen, it is giving recognition to the event.]

      We care about which word is used because the US President promised to recognize the genocide not ‘medz yeghern’. That is, recognition, based on his promise, was to be for the event of genocide not ‘great calamity’ or whatever ‘medz yeghern’ literally implies. It DOES matter what word is chosen, because the word ‘genocide’ bears LEGAL implication, whereas ‘great calamity’ or ‘great crime’ does not.

  20. While I would prefer that everyone worldwide, including the Turks, Pres. Obama, etc., would describe the events from 1915 – 23 as genocide, because that is the most accurate word to use, I don’t know if just using it has any legal consequence one way or the other. I know is it prohibited by law in Turkey, so maybe that’s what you are thinking. However, since the message of 1915 must, most importantly, be conveyed accurately, honestly and truthfully to those living in Turkey today, I think any word will do. Once they hear the truth fully and without prejudice, they will realize themselves that it was, in fact, a genocide – one that had profound implications for their country. This kind of self-realization is very important as a way of challenging the revisionist propaganda perpetuated by the state, because it is fundamental. Once someone realizes these truths, there is no way to hide them anymore with lies and distortions, like so much dirt swept under a rug. If truth is light, then we must try to bring the genocide out of the darkness in Turkey, more than anywhere else on earth, by bringing light to the topic…no matter what word is used.

    • This thread evolved into a debate about Pres. Obama failing to use the term ‘genocide’, as he promised he would, not any adjectival loanword from the Armenian tongue. If just using the term ‘genocide’ or its Armenian equivalent ‘tseghaspanutyun’ has no legal consequences, and I agree it hasn’t, then why use ‘medz yeghern’ instead? Also, why would an English-speaking US president use a loanword from a foreign language to convey the message of 1915 accurately, honestly, and truthfully to those living in Turkey? If he so wished to convey the message accurately, honestly, and truthfully, then why not use ‘tseghaspanutyun’ instead ‘medz yeghern’? After all, ‘tseghaspanutyun’ most accurately translates as ‘genocide’ (killing of race: tsegh+spanutyun) than ‘medz yeghern’, doesn’t it?

  21. ARx uses the word semantics [“semantically, yeghern is not translated as genocide”. Nov. 8] as if he knows what it means, yet seems oblivious to the concept of semantic fields of meaning so central to semantics, and everything he says about “yeghern” reflects that fact. Therefore we have from him: “yeghern is translated as calamity or crime”. Nov. 8 ; “whatever yeghern means. . .” Nov. 14; “whatever yeghern implies” Nov. 16 . If he perceives that “apple” and “bite” belong to two different semantic fields of meaning, then he will be getting closer to understanding the significant difference in meaning between crime and calamity. His confusion about the meaning of yeghern could easily be cleared up by looking into any number of Armenian dictionaries.

    Another point: In relation to words designating genocides, ARx makes much of the distinction between “legal” words and (presumably) “non-legal” words. He sees Holocaust as a legal word but Shoah as not, for instance. But this is false. Neither is a “legal” word. And yet they both refer to the Nazi genocide perpetrated against the Jews of Europe. If he will take the time to look at President Obama’s last statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, he will notice that the president did not once use the word genocide. He used the words Holocaust and Shoah.

    • Yes, Diran. ARx uses the word ‘semantics’ knowing that the word means ‘the study of meaning’. Repeat: semantically ’medz yeghern’ bears a meaning different from ‘genocide’. Someone here noted that it might also mean ‘great evil’ in addition to ‘great crime’ or ‘great calamity’, and that’s why I allowed an expression ‘whatever yeghern means’. Again, whatever it means—pick one: ‘crime’, ‘calamity’, or ‘evil’—the term does not reflect on the meaning of the term ‘tseghaspanutyun’. Semantically, ‘medz yeghern’ is not ‘killing of race’, i.e. genocide. ‘Medz yeghern’ is an adjectival phrase that describes what happened to the Armenians in 1915-1922.

      Shoah, from the Hebrew for ‘destruction’, also bears a descriptive meaning. While both Shoah and Holocaust refer to the genocide of European Jews, it is the Holocaust, from the Greek ‘whole’ + ‘burnt’, that’s officially recognized as Jewish genocide. A UN General Assembly’s 2005 Resolution has designated a day in January as ‘International HOLOCAUST Remembrance Day’ not ‘International SHOAH Remembrance Day’. Diran himself brings forth President Obama’s last statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

      Why would Raphael Lemkin be charged with coining a legal term for the 1948 UN Genocide Resolution, if he could use ‘Shoah’ or ‘Medz Yeghern’ instead? Because none of those terms semantically (sorry for using the word with no knowledge what it means) translates as ‘killing of race’. ‘Shoah’ means ‘destruction’ and ‘medz yeghern’ means, sorry for a repetition, whatever one prefer it does: ‘great crime’, ‘great calamity’, or ‘great evil’.

      If on April 24 President Obama makes a statement in which he’d use both terms: ‘Genocide’ and ‘Medz Yeghern’, just as he used ‘Holocaust’ and ‘Shoah’ on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the delight would be all mine.

  22. ARx, you have successfully copied and pasted the definition of semantics into your comments, but apparently that is where your grasp of it stops as proved by your consistent failure to recognize that yeghern and genocide belong to the same field of semantic meaning whereas calamity belongs to a different one. Calamity is not a crime, but genocide is. Does that help? The statement, “medz yeghern means ‘great crime’, ‘great calamity’, or ‘great evil”, is false– because calamity does not belong there. Can you cite one modern English to Armenian dictionary that defines calamity with yeghern? No. But you go on repeating the same error nevertheless.

    Otherwise, when you say: “If on April 24 President Obama makes a statement in which he’d use both terms: ‘Genocide’ and ‘Medz Yeghern’, just as he used ‘Holocaust’ and ‘Shoah’ on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the delight would be all mine”, I wholeheartedly agree.

  23. yeghern and genocide belong to the same field of semantic meaning whereas calamity belongs to a different one

    TO EDITOR, if possible, please change the above clause to read:

    yeghern and genocide belong to the same semantic field whereas calamity belongs to a different one

    Thank you.

    • How can ‘great evil’ and ‘killing of race’ belong to the same semantic field, read: the field of study of meaning, if the meanings of each term bears different connotation as compared to the other one?

  24. As far as I know, during and after 1915, Armenians did not refer to these events as a genocide, as they did not even know of the word. It was not until Marjorie Housepian’s landmark 1965 article in Commentary magazine, The Unremembered Genocide, that Armenians actually began, often hesitantly, to embrace and use the English word to describe what had happened to them. Older Armenians and survivors often described what had happened to them as ‘the dispersion’, or ‘spiyurk’, since that’s exactly what they experienced…a scattering to the four corners of the world, and the creation of the diaspora. Of course, most of these people knew very well of massacres, murders and expulsion, going back to the 1890s, but lacking adequate English skills, the word genocide did not take hold until much later and among a newer generation.

    • During and after 1915, Armenians could not refer to the Turkish mass murders as ‘genocide’, because the term was invented 28 years later, in 1943. That’s why they used different other words: yeghern, jarder, vochir, etc. No one argues that the word ‘genocide’ didn’t take hold until much later and among a newer generation of Armenians. This is not the point of contention. The point of contention, as I see it on this thread, is whether it is appropriate for a US president in the year 2010 and 2011 to revive the term ‘medz yeghern’ that’s been in internal circulation among a national group before an international legal term ‘genocide’ has been coined. Had a US president borrowed the term ‘medz yeghern’ for his speech made any time before 1943, I’d understand why he used it. But now, when the world already has a term based on which most of the nations have signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, for a US president to roll back to the pre-1943 era and dig out a word that a small ethnic group used in a narrow national context, is puzzling, to say the least. Add to this the fact that, as presidential candidate, the current president promised to recognize the genocide. He didn’t say: “as president I will recognize the medz yeghern”. To say the most, his usage of the term ‘medz yeghern’ was a demonstration of cowardice, a disinclination to aggrieve the unrepentant Turks. The French president had the courage to use the term ‘tseghaspanutyun’, but the US president had not. End of story.

  25. ARx, If ‘killing of race’ is an ‘evil’, then it belongs to the same semantic field as ‘evil’. If a prime example of evil is ‘killing of race’, then evil and ‘killing of race’ belong to the same semantic field. This should be as clear as day.

    On the question of “calamity”, you have still not acknowledged that it does not belong to the same semantic field as “crime” and that, therefore, using it to translate ‘yeghern’ is a mistake.

    • [If ‘killing of race’ is an ‘evil’, then it belongs to the same semantic field as ‘evil’. If a prime example of evil is ‘killing of race’, then evil and ‘killing of race’ belong to the same semantic field. This should be as clear as day.’]

      For you, perhaps, but the world has acknowledged that ‘killing of race’ doesn’t belong to any evil or any crime. It belongs to the crimes against humanity. Not just crime, as ‘yeghern’ sometimes is translated, but the crime against humanity. They bear two divergently different semantic connotations.

      [On the question of “calamity”, you have still not acknowledged that it does not belong to the same semantic field as “crime” and that, therefore, using it to translate ‘yeghern’ is a mistake.]

      I don’t have to acknowledge it. I never claimed it belonged to the same semantic field as ‘crime’. I only said that ‘yeghern’ oftentimes is translated as ‘calamity’ along with ‘crime’ and ‘evil’, adding that however—mistakenly or correctly—the term ‘yeghern’ is translated, it does not belong to the same semantic field as ‘killing of race’. Had it belonged, then, I guess, there would have been no need to charge Raphael Lemkin to coin a term that most accurately delivers the meaning of what happened to the Jews and the Armenians. The world might have continued using ‘crime’ or ‘evil’ or hypothetically maybe even ‘shoah’ or ‘yeghern’. But precisely because none of those terms bore the exact meaning of what happened to the Jews and the Armenians, the distinct term ‘killing of race’ had been invented. And the president of this country has promised to recognize the ‘killing of race’ not the ‘medz yeghern’. Had he promised to recognize the medz yeghern, there wouldn’t have been this debate.

      In Henry Morgenthau’s dispatches to the State Department, the US ambassador used the terms ‘race annihilation’ or ‘race extermination’ because the term ‘genocide’ hadn’t been invented yet. He didn’t use ‘evil’ or just ‘crime’. What should have this told the current US president?

      In 1915, the Allied Powers condemned Turkey for what they termed in the absence of the term ‘genocide’ as “crimes against humanity and civilization.” Does this term belong to the same semantic field as ‘evil’?

  26. ARx, since your final question is the clearest thing in your comments, let me respond to it: YES!

    “A study of the data presented in Armenian-English dictionaries provides the following explanations of the word yeghern (եղեռն): crime (ոճիր), misdemeanor (չար ընթացք, վատաբարոյություն), offence (անարգանք), rascality (ստորություն, անըզգամություն), slaughter (սպանդ, նախճիր, կոտորած, ջարդ), carnage (նախճիր), massacre (կոտորած, ջարդ) and genocide (ցեղասպանություն). In this comprehensive field of synonyms one can trace similarities as well as obvious differences. For example, the word crime is defined as an act (usu. grave offence) punishable by law; evil act.”

    The words of Seda Gasparyan – Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor Armenological Researches Institute, Yerevan State University

    • Diran, you fervently exclaimed “Yes!” to the question whether the term ‘genocide’ as a crime against humanity and civilization belonged to the same semantic field as ‘evil’, yet you failed to support your fervor with evidence. From what you’ve brought up (kindly provide the source, please), I don’t see that ‘crime against humanity and civilization’ is synonymous to ‘evil’ or that ‘killing of race’ is synonymous to ‘evil’. I didn’t even notice there was a term‘evil’ as a synonym for ‘yeghern’. Did I missed something? The only small reference to ‘evil’ appears in an example for the word ‘crime’ that bears a connotation of a punishable action or activity that is considered to be evil (Source: Oxford English Dictionaries). This is far from being a full-fledged term belonging to the same semantic field as a ‘crime against humanity and civilization’ or ‘killing of race’.

  27. I have often heard Turkish apologists and deniers articulate that they reject and won’t use the term ‘genocide’ to describe what they did to Armenians because it preceded the legal definition of what happened from 1915 – 23. Their claim that the ‘intention’ was only temporary deportation and not mass murder, also rings hollow.

    But, if Obama has adopted that same stance, then he and all other US government officials, educators, historians, etc. will have to refrain from calling any mass murder that preceded Lemkin’s creation of the word in 1943, a genocide. However, that seems unlikely – so, the eradication of native Americans by Europeans will always be seen as a genocide by historians around the world, even though it took place 500 years earlier. If that was genocide, intentional or not, then so was the CUP policy towards the Armenians. Moreover, the goal was exactly the same – eradicate the people and steal their land. By any measure, old or new, it was ethnic cleansing, it was mass murder, it was racial annihilation….it was, in fact, genocide. I’d like see someone try to prove otherwise. So far, it’s only the Turks and their few well-paid cronies who are making the effort and they are sure to fail.

    • If Turkish apologists and deniers articulate that what they did to Armenians preceded the legal definition of what happened from 1915-23, then there was a term at the time that the Allied Powers used to describe Turkish savagery against the Armenians: “crime against humanity and civilization”. If Turkish ‘intention’ was only temporary deportation and not mass murder, I wonder why Armenians didn’t return to their places of habitat after being “temporarily deported”. Nowadays, I think it is only the Turks who believe in such a rubbish and only to avoid realization of the fact that their state is, in fact, a state of mass murderers.

    • The beginning of the genocide of the Jews in 1938 Crystal Night pogroms also preceded Lemkin’s legal definition in 1943. But this fact did not prevent the international community to acknowledge these earlier massacres as genocide. Besides, the word ‘Holocaust’ was used in the English language to denote mass murders for hundreds of years, but only since the 1960s the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer to the genocide of Jews.

  28. ARx, I never maintained that genocide and evil, or crime and evil, are formally synonymous. My position is that they belong to the same semantic field. There is a distinct difference. A semantic field is not simply a set of synonyms, as you seem to think. Mother, father, uncle, cousin all belong to the same semantic field but are obviously not synonyms.

    Unfortunately–and I admit it– the quotation from Seda Gasparyan is flawed in its reference to the words in the list as “synonyms” ,whereas their fundamental relationship consists, rather, in belonging to the same semantic field. This, then, seems to have reinforced your belief that I held “crime against humanity and civilization” to be synonymous with “evil”. In the strict linguistic sense it is not, of course. But in a more idiomatic, informal sense it is. If you take the evil out of genocide, what do you have?

    I will close with the following quotation in the hope it gives you some idea what I am driving at:

    “The crimes that were committed had no humanly comprehensible motives. The sheer, irresponsible momentum of this new kind of criminality was like a juggernaut or fireball that, if unchecked, might ravage the human world and reduce it to ashes until there was nothing left for it to consume but itself. Its capacity for total destruction was the reason, in Arendt’s judgment, that totalitarian terror was radically evil. It was as if for the first time the root of evil appeared in the world from wherever it had been kept hidden by laws, conscience, and such principles as honor and excellence, and even the fear which individual human beings manifest when they are still free to do so.”


    Evil: The Crime against Humanity by Jerome Kohn, Director, Hannah Arendt Center, New School University

  29. ARx,
    In Argentina, prof. Ohanian has written the book in Spanish -well documented-based on Gov.t archives and Telegraphs `proceeding from the interior of Trukey in 1915, w/ref. to massacres of the Armenians,evictions etc., by consuls of various nations.One I discovered mysself in Spain´s La Vanguardia newspaper ..there were a couple such telegrams by their consuls from the interior of then Ottoman Empire Turkey.
    In his book he refers to great Turkey as ¨Estado Genocido¨,which also is the title of his book ¨´Tiurquia, Estado Genocido¨.
    I will not be surprised if in the near future either Uruguay or Argentina recognize the Nagornyii Karabagh,our Artsakh as an Independent State-.

    • Thanks, Gaytzag. Tell this to Diran, please, that Prof. Ohanian referred to Turkey as “Estado Genocido” not “Estado Evilo” or “Estado Medz Yegherno”.

  30. I think that’s very important research and information, if you can document that the Spanish described Turkey as ‘estado genocido’…as it was happening, then I think you’ve discovered something ahead of its time. I have also seen academics describe the genocide as ‘racial extermination’ or holocaust, well before WWII. So, there is a clear precedent that must be brought to the attention of key people at all levels, including the US president.

  31. ARx, Your foray into Spanish has not been successful, let alone your silly exercise in “hispanicizing” Armenian words.
    This is simply clutching at linguistic straws when you can’t make a valid case for your position. There is no need to press Mr. Palandjian into service to make your points for you, especially when I am still here to see what you have to say. Furthermore, It is inadvisable to do so since Mr. Palandjian got the title of the book wrong. The name of the book is: “Turquía. Estado Genocida”. In this book, the author uses the word genocide and crime about 30 times each. Each instance of the word “crime” refers to the genocide. It’s too bad you weren’t looking over his shoulder when he was writing it to remind him that he was getting slack and should say genocide every time to make things perfectly clear to you!

  32. The point about clutching linguistic straws is important. As I said earlier….the exact choice of word is not the key here. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck, at least in the English speaking world. Someone might claim that a ‘patig’ is not really a duck and is the wrong word, even though some people on the planet (Armenians) would disagree. The concept behind the word is exactly the same. For Armenians fingers and toes are explained with the same word. So, who’s right? Whose truth about anatomy is more correct? The refusal of Turkey to allow the events of 1915 to be described as genocide is nothing more than willful blindness. It is a smokescreen. We know it the world knows it and guess what? Turkey knows it too, better than anyone, because they’re still orchestrating the chorus of anti-Armenian lies and propaganda, as a way of propping up the criminal legacy of the CUP. They seek to avoid the shame that will come with being exposed – within their own borders as well as outside. But, until they face their shame and accept, acknowledge and apologize, it will haunt them and their future.

    • I fundamentally disagree, Karekin. The exact choice of word is the key because if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it may also be an ugly duckling. Figuratively speaking, of course. In order to single out the ugly duck you need a different word, even if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

      The concept behind the words “medz yeghern” and “genocide” is not exactly the same. I’ve made a valid case for my position more than once. Semantically, “medz yeghern” is not the same as “killing of race”. “Medz yeghern” is an adjectival phrase that we, Armenians, use in a narrow national context to describe what happened to our nation in 1915-1923 in the hands of Ottoman Turkish barbarians. Internationally, however, a term has been invented to more accurately describe what happened to the Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Tutsis, Darfurians, and others. The term is “genocide” = killing of race or race murder.

      Legally, too, these terms bear different connotations. To be exact, medz yeghern bears no legal connotation at all. An international legal document deals with the prevention of and punishment for genocide not “medz yeghern”. How can we advance a legal case against unrepentant Turks if we allow our genocide be called “medz yeghern” outside the national context, now translated into Turkish as “great calamity”? “Great calamity” legally means nothing. Turks would happily parrot their own fairytale: “yes, a great calamity happened during the WWI, and not only to the Armenians, but to the Turks, too. Is there any international legal document that sets punishment for great calamity? None? Goodbye!” This they won’t be able to say when their crime against humanity is called by the term specifically coined to describe it: “the killing of race”, which figures in a legal document adopted by the United Nations.

      Diran, if the above, among my other posts that preceded it, is not a valid case for my position, then I’m afraid you must have a serious comprehension deficiency.

  33. ARx: You say, “The concept behind the words “medz yeghern” and “genocide” is not exactly the same.” But likewise, the concept behind the word “holocaust” and “genocide” is not exactly the same either, is it? The literal meaning of holocaust does not denote killing of race or nation or tribe. You said, on Nov. 7, “The Jewish genocide is recognized as Holocaust not as Shoah (not true, as I told you or your double, Gourgen, earlier; that is, the commenter who started using “narrow national context” just before you took it up as a catchy phrase. It is recognized through BOTH names). Yes, and the Holocaust is not defined as the “Jewish genocide”, either. So how can you deduce that Holocaust or Shoah means “Jewish genocide”, but deny that Medz Yeghern can mean “Armenian Genocide”, especially since I believe it was you or your double, Gourgen, who admitted that in the “narrow national context” Medz Yeghern was synonymous with Armenian Genocide.

    I believe your position is to deny that yeghern is a word denoting a crime of mass murder, intimately connected with the concept of genocide, in favor of diluting or hiding that specific meaning by adding “calamity” to its definition, which removes it by several steps from its link with genocide. That is a strange way of supporting the genocide concept. I agree that “genocide” is the best way to refer to 1915 in an American context. But we don’t have to betray and trample the name Medz Yeghern and insist it means things it doesn’t mean to get there. That is falsification of history.

    Our predecessors, the survivor generation, knew better how to recognize things than to have to wait for a general concept for a class of crimes to be invented before seeing what had happened to them for what it was. In that connection, let me leave you with a quotation that should be good medicine for an apparent case of acute myopia:

    From: Genocide and Gross Human Rights Violations in Comparative Perspective
    By Kurt Jonassohn, Karin Solveig Björnson

    “Scholars of comparative genocide studies soon applied this new term [genocide] to genocides that had occurred since antiquity. This practice was objected to by some less than inspired critics on the grounds that a phenomenon could not exist before it had a name. That a phenomenon has to have a name in order to exist is too ridiculous a proposition to require further rebuttal.”

    • Diran, the concept behind the word “holocaust” is much closer to “genocide” than the concept behind the term “medz yeghern” to the same word. The literal meaning of holocaust denotes “burning of a whole”. I hope you’d agree that it is much closer to killing (burning) of race (a whole) than great calamity is to killing of race. This should be obvious.

      And the Jewish genocide is recognized as Holocaust, not as Shoah which only Jews use nationally or sometimes non-Jews as a borrowed word. The truth is that 27th of January is designated by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, not International Shoah Remembrance Day.

      I saw the other poster’s debate with you in other thread, and I think his usage of “narrow national context” is correct. No one other than Armenians know or use “medz yeghern” as synonymous with “genocide”. But this adjectival phrase bears only descriptive character associated with the genocide. It doesn’t—literally or semantically—denote “killing of race”. It also doesn’t—legally—imply any consequences that the perpetrator must face.

      My position is to deny that “yeghern” is a word denoting killing of race. I do not deny that it denotes a crime of mass murder or evil or catastrophe, but not any crime of mass murder or calamity or evil is genocide. Hamidian massacres and massacre of Adana were also crimes of mass murder, but they were not called “yeghern” at the time or more so “genocide” after 1943. Armenians call them “Hamidyan jarter” and “Adanayi jart”, but never “yegern”.

      A poster Kevork wrote this on December 12, 2012 in AW’s thread “The Evil That We Do Not Know: ‘Medz Yeghern’ and the ‘Old Language’”, with which I fully agree:

      “[…]the purpose of changing terminology by the Turkish lobby is to get away with their crime, and we must be very careful. If we are not, pretty soon this phrase will be used to un-legalize something which Turkey is legally liable for, that is, Genocide. Being guilty of genocide and being guilty of massacre are not equivalent. The former has legal implications, the latter not. […] I must say I am surprised at the Armenian authors using this un-legal term [medz yeghern].”

  34. TO ARx:

    What you say about the comparative meanings of “holocaust” and “yeghern” is simply wrong. The fundamental meaning of yeghern (crime, evil) is at least as close to the concept of genocide as the fundamental meaning of holocaust (the complete burning of something). A little time spent looking into the relevant sources, like dictionaries and historical writings, would show that both words have gone through a similar evolution from a narrower meaning to a broader one designating genocide.

    And there is a significant contradiction in what you say about yeghern. In the first paragraph you once more erroneously equate yeghern with “calamity’. Then, in your 4th paragraph you “do not deny” (and therefore, presumably, accept) that yeghern means mass murder. But then, to hedge your bets, you add in “calamity” again! You can’t have it both ways. The two words belong to different semantic fields.
    You still haven’t cited one English-Armenian dictionary that gives the word yeghern for calamity!

    Furthermore, your statement that the Adana massacres were never referred to with the word yeghern is totally false. This is just another example of your inventing your “facts” as you go along. It is so easy to do, isn’t it? No research required! And if no one challenges them, so much the better!

    Here we find a shining example of your invention of “fact”: your declaration that Medz Yeghern is merely an “adjectival phrase”! This is a device you have used several times now (and even influenced one other commenter to blindly parrot). Nice work! Where did you stumble on that clever idea? However, Medz Yeghern is not an”adjectival phrase” at all! It is a PROPER NOUN!

    • Diran,

      I think you merely manipulate with quintessence in order to support your counterargument.

      The fundamental meaning of yeghern (crime, evil) is not as close to the concept of genocide as the fundamental meaning of holocaust (the burning of the whole). I’d agree that the word “holocaust” has gone through an evolution from a narrower meaning to a broader one designating genocide of Jews. Indeed, for hundreds of years, the word “holocaust” was used to denote great massacres, but since the past several decades the term has come to be used to refer to the genocide of Jews. I’d disagree, however, that the word “yeghern” has gone through a similar evolution. It has not. No one, except the Armenians, attach broader meaning to the term. And, again, semantically “the burning of the whole” is much closer to designating genocide (killing of race) than “crime” or “evil” are to designating the same. Why can’t you accept the obvious?

      I don’t hedge bets. I just state that in the Armenian psyche “yeghern” is associated with the mass murder, but not every mass murder is murder of race. I brought the cases of the Hamidian and Adana mass murders along with the fact that they were never refered to as “yeghern”. You denounced this as “totally false”. Where, in which works by Armenian popular writers, the Hamidian and Adana mass murders are referred to as “yegherns”? I only saw “jarter”, but apparently you’re excelled in looking into the relevant sources, like dictionaries and historical writings. Please refer me to any in which Adana massacre, for instance, is referred to as “yeghern”?

      Medz Yeghern is an “adjectival phrase”. If I’m parroting, then I’m parroting the definition that can be found in any dictionary. Adjectival phrase is, according to a clever idea found in dictionaries, a word group with an adjective as its head accompanied by modifiers, determiners, and/or qualifiers. Adjectival phrases modify nouns, but are not proper nouns. Since you suggest that you’re unmatched in looking into the relevant sources, please look up the dictionaries before posting a comment!

  35. From ARx: ‘ I brought the cases of the Hamidian and Adana mass murders along with the fact that they were never refered to as “yeghern”. You denounced this as “totally false”.’ Yes, I repeat: TOTALLY FALSE!

    Since ARx seems stuck on this page and is unlikely to move on and read Dr. Matiossian’s latest and very relevant article because it would be an unpleasant experience to see his ill-founded assertions turned upside down, I have chosen to import a portion of that article to this page in the hope he might notice it. He should particularly note the name of the book in footnote 12. It has been recently republished and is available online.

    Dr. Matiossian’s latest article:
    The Great Crime that Was Brewing: The Meaning of ‘Medz Yeghern’ before 1915, Dec. 20, 2012

    Footnote 12: Hagop Babikian, Atanayi yegherne (The Yeghern of Adana), translated by Hagop Sarkisian, Aleppo: Armenian Prelacy of Aleppo, 2009, p. 15-16 (second edition).

    • Diran,

      I’m still here. Еhird-person salutation is a breach of etiquette.

      It is beyond doubt that in the Armenian historiography the Hamidian and Adana massacres are referred as “jarter” or “kotoratsner” not as “yeghern”. You dug out just one title by Babikian that refers to Adana as “yeghern”. Is that all you were able to produce? Well, even if that one particular author referred to Adana massacre as “yeghern”, many more authors who wrote on Adana or Cilician or Hamididan massacres used the terms “Ադանայի կոտորած” or “Համիդյան ջարդեր (կոտորածներ)”: I saw a couple authors using also “աղետ” and “արհավիրք” (calamity). My argument, therefore, is not “totally false”. Here are a few titles to retort your accusation. I can supply more, if the need be.

      For Adana massacre:

      Շաթրյան Լ. “Հայկական ջարդերը և թուրք վարիչները”, 1918

      Ղալթախչյան, Տ., “Ադանայի 1909 թ. կոտորածների առաջին արձագանքները արևմտահայ մամուլում”, 2009

      Մուշեղ Եպիսկոպոս Սերովբյան, “Ատանայի ջարդը և պատասխանատուները (նախընթաց պարագաներ)”, 1909

      Թերզյան Հ., “Կիլիկիո աղետը”, 1912

      Պարթևյան Ս., “Կիլիկյան արհավիրքը”, 1909

      The international symposium held in Yerevan in 2009 by the Armenian Genocide Museum, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Adana massacre, was entitled: “1909 թվականի ապրիլին Օսմանյան կայսրության Ադանայի նահանգում տեղի ունեցած հայկական կոտորածների հարյուրամյա տարելից”

      For Hamidian massacres:

      Կիրակոսյան, Ա. “Բրիտանական դիվանագիտությունը և արևմտահայության խնդիրը”, գլուխ 4, բաժին 5. Օսմանյան կայսրության հայ բնակչության կոտորածները և Մեծ Բրիտանիայի քաղաքականությունը (1895 թ. սեպտեմբեր-1896 թ. օգոստոս)

      Ներսիսյան Մ․Գ․, խմբագիր. “Հայերի ցեղասպանությունը Օսմանյան կայսրությունում․ Փաստաթղթերի և նյութերի ժողովածու”, բաժին “Համիդյան ջարդեր”, 1991

      Գելցեր Հ. “Համառոտ պատմություն հայոց. հավելվածովք. Թարգմ. ցանկ 1895 են-1897 հայոց կոտորածներու առթիվ լույս տեսած գրքերու”, 1897

      Adalian, R. ”Historical Dictionary of Armenia”, 2nd ed., Section “The Hamidian massacres” (Համիդյան ջարդեր), also referred to as the “Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896”

  36. Concerning ARx’s latest response: Having proved completely false his statement that the Adana massacres had never been referred to as yeghern, ARx tries to cover up his mistake by citing the numerous other terms which were used about Adana and are well-known to any half-educated Armenian. That doesn’t make his statement right. It was wrong then, and it is still wrong.

    Instead of inventing his facts as he goes along then trying to cover up their falsehood with a sudden burst of irrelevant research, ARx’s time would be better spent reading Dr. Matiossian’s latest article (and all his articles), something it is clear he has not done yet and probably has no intention of doing. That being the case, one cannot take what he says seriously.

    • Diran,

      Do you know that third-person salutation in a correspondence or conversation between two people is a breach of elementary etiquette and a sign of vulgarity?

      My latest response to you proved that your unsubstantiated criticism of my argument for Hamidian and Adana mass murders referred to in the Armenian literature as “jarter” or “kotoratsner” as totally false was absurd. You supported your argument that these mass murders were referred to as “yeghern” by digging out a single book title by 1 (one!) author. Does a single title prove my statement completely(?!) false in that the Adana massacres had never been referred to as “yeghern”? How can my statement be completely false if I cited works of several authors in which both Adana and Hamidian massacres are referred to as “jarter” or “kotoratsner” or “arhavirq”? If you think one author who used the term “yeghern” in support of your argument makes your statement right, then how could several authors who used the terms “jarter” or “kotoratsner” or “arhavirq” make my statement “completely wrong”?! Have you sanity at all?

      And since when referring to sources is called “inventing facts”? How can you be taken seriously if you single out one author but denounce several others as falsehood? Is this what you call “relevant” research?

  37. It is interesting to note that the recent, tragic event in Connecticut was often described as a ‘massacre’, which of course it was. The outcry and reaction across the US and the world was palpable. However, it made me think about the many thousands of such massacres that took place all across Anatolia, day after day, week after week, that decimated that land of its native Armenians, after 4000+ years of existence there. If the cumulative result of all those cold-blooded murders was not a genocide, it’s very hard to know what else to call it. Official Turkey, the nation that created the event and still protects and reveres the ringmasters, rejects the word. That, in an of itself, is very telling. As I’ve said before, they should be ashamed of this murderous, genocidal legacy and should properly be asking Armenians what Turkey can do for them. They should be bending over backwards for our forgiveness. But instead, it continues to treat Armenians and the word, with contempt. It just shows how deep the evil of the CUP went into the psyche of the ruling class in Turkey. Since it was enshrined by Ataturk and all who followed him, it is doubtful that much can or will change on their end, since the cards are and have been stacked against Armenians in Turkey since April 24, 1915, no matter what we or they call it. Perhaps the hypocrisy of Turkey’s supposed ‘democratic’ and open society needs to be more fully exposed, because unless the full truth of the Armenian story can be openly voiced inside Turkey, nothing will ever really change there.

  38. ARx: I owe you nothing in the matter of etiquette, but I will here address you directly to make myself as clear as possible. You ask: Does a single title prove my statement completely(?!) false in that the Adana massacres had never been referred to as “yeghern”?

    Yes, it does; especially when you say the Adana massacres had NEVER been referred
    to as ‘yeghern’. Look at your own statement! This blindness to what you actually say may not call your sanity into question, but certainly your thought processes, your logic. Yes, you continue to invent your facts as you go along and change the subject when the going gets rough for your “argument”, whatever that is.

    Here is another example for you from Dr. Matiossian’s series [from “The Great Crime That Was Brewing”, Dec. 20, 2012]:

    Armenian writer Tlgadintsi (Hovhannes Harutiunian, 1860-1915) published a chronicle called “Take My Sun, Send Me My Death,” where his interlocutor, Rev. Aslanian, a priest who had been to Adana, was quoted as saying: “Babikian too, that poor man but also a select and true Armenian, was melting like a candle against the fire when he saw things and heard the stories of the unprecedented extremes of the yeghern committed by the Turkish mob with a kind of official treason.”

  39. “Medz Yeghern” (ՄԵԾ ԵՂԵՌՆ) and “Tseghasbannoutyun” (ՑԵՂԱՍՊԱՆՈՒԹԻՒՆ)
    In my Armenian Thesaurus (Բառագիրք) I found all the above words were Origin Armenian, These are words which were existed in the Armenian Dictionary’s before 1915
    “Medz” (ՄԵԾ )= great, huge, big
    “Yeghern” (ԵՂԵՌՆ) = Crime, villaiyny, Killing, execution, murder, Punishable by law; evil Act.
    Tsegh (ՑԵՂ) = race, tribe
    Sbanoutyun (ՍՊԱՆՈՒԹԻՒՆ) = killing, execution, murder
    In my opinion, the survivors during “Tseghasbannoutyun” were elderly, women and children, who carried their memories the rest of their lifes distressed and lull. They would cry before they finish their eyewitnessing accounts (my father was four years old in Urfa, he witnessed his defenceless mother killed and his two-year-old sister taken away…).
    At that time who would have stoped and thought to designate the crimes commited to Armenians falls into what category? the survivors in their depictions of- Killings, executions and murders they eyewitnessed, they used readily available words which was “Yeghern” or “Medz Yeghern” I suppose it comes from Biblical morals of TEN COMMANDMENT.
    But second Generations of survivors, during a conversations they would only comment as a conclusion of that subject Such as “the Turks wanted to obliterate Armenian RACE from the face of earth by KILLING” which possibly led the two words to combine and make “Tseghasbannoutyun” translates to GENOCIDE.
    Unfortunately some Armenian Dictionaries hasn’t as yet adopted the “ՑԵՂԱՍՊԱՆՈՒԹԻՒՆ” word and remains uncombined, that goes to shaw our academy (Կաճառ) how slow to catchup.
    Since, the word has become legalised by the:-
    Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crime of Genocide Paris, 9 December 1948

  40. Dear Vazken,
    I don´t know how come but you have gone back 2 months(Beginning o Dec. 2102,when we discussed/debatesd word Metz yeghern Contra Genocide8Tseghasbanutyun.
    None above-very sorry to say- dwelt upon the MAIN ISSUE<.Of course yours Diran´s are dealing with the effort in trying to give exact definition of the meaning of both words and to stress DIFFERENCE.!!!!
    Main issue -as per me- is WHO FIRST TRIED to DIVERT from Tseghasbanutyun (Genocide9 to Medz Yeghern ) and thus belittle the JURIDICAL significance of the issue.Our Cause/Case.
    We are investigating the (hedabndoum) the Criminal to bring him to Justice and prove culpability beyond doubt.Which incidentally has been provfed a few times over in pertinent establishments….
    But ,you all forgot to comment and I did not wish to bring it up -being a bit delicate matter, so tpo say) that Pope John first time ppronoiunced the word INTERNATIONALLY at Tstzizernakapert Yerevan!!!! then indeed, other statesmen(one our own President Obama followed suit).
    This gentlemen is the core of the issue. We are expecting that important personalities such as presidents like NICOLA SARKOZY pronounce the real word G E N O C I D E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Forget about debating what the real meaning of medz yeghern is we need TO HAVE IT IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AS G E N O C I D E period:::::::::

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