Turkey’s Tactics of ‘Oriental Slyness’

Turkey has announced that the annual commemoration of the Gallipoli Dardanelles battles of World War I, which was traditionally held on March 18, will be held on April 24 this year. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited more than 120 world leaders, including President Serge Sarkisian of Armenia, to attend the Gallipoli ceremonies. The reason for the date change is apparent to all Armenians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace (Photo: Official Website of the Turkish President)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace (Photo: Official Website of the Turkish President)

There is a term in Turkish, “Sark kurnazligi,” which means “Oriental slyness.” The term is used to define a person who resorts to cunning to deceive another, but both the deceiver and the deceived know that there is trickery involved, and more cynically, the deceiver does not care if the deceived person is aware of the deceit.

Already, a few state leaders have announced that they will attend, including “Turkey’s little brother” Azerbaijan, some African and Muslim states, and notably, Prince Charles.

It is worthwhile to remind these guests, and the entire English-speaking world, of another Turkish scheme involving trickery of dates that happened eight years ago.

The Holy Cross Church and Monastery complex on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van in eastern Turkey had been in ruins since 1915 and, in fact, was being willfully destroyed in the 1950’s by the Turkish Army. Only interference by famous Kurdish author Yashar Kemal (whose hidden Armenian roots were recently revealed) prevented the complete destruction of the last remaining church. In the 2000’s, the Turkish government decided to restore the church as a museum. The restoration was completed in early 2007, and the government announced the date of the opening of the museum to be April 24, 2007.

The Istanbul Armenian Patriarch of the time, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan, forcefully protested that by choosing this date the government was attempting to create political gains using Armenians’ pain, and that he would refuse to attend the opening ceremony if this insensitive decision was not revised. The government appeared to appease the patriarch but, continuing to employ tactics of “Oriental slyness,” announced that the date would now be April 11, 2007. The government was fully aware that April 11 was equally significant and unacceptable to the Armenians, as in the old calendar, which was in effect in 1915, April 11 was the same date as April 24. In fact, in 1919, the famous Armenian journalist Theodik, himself a survivor of the genocide, had compiled a list and the biographies of the 761 Armenian intellectuals arrested and subsequently murdered, in a booklet called Houshartsan Abril 11-i (Memorial to April 11).

The first April 24 commemoration took place in 1919, with the opening of a memorial sculpture called “Abril 11 Houshartsan,” in the Istanbul Armenian Cemetery in Taksim. In the 1930’s, the cemetery was expropriated and converted to the famous Taksim Square, the scene of recent protests against the government. All of these facts, known to both the Armenians in Turkey and the Turkish government, were revealed in an editorial in the Agos newspaper that questioned the wisdom of using these dates for the Akhtamar opening, under the headline: “Are you sure? Is this your final answer?” The headline was copied after the often-repeated question heard on the-then popular TV quiz show, “Who wants to be a millionaire?”

The date of that Agos editorial? Jan. 19, 2007—the day Hrant Dink was shot dead in front of the Agos newspaper offices.

The Akhtamar Museum was opened on March 29, 2007. Patriarch Mutafyan reluctantly attended, and shortly thereafter, he became incapacitated with a still-unexplained debilitating mental disease, and continues to live in a vegetative state. In the meantime, eight years after Dink’s murder, the real perpetrators and conspirators of the murder have neither been caught nor tried.

Therefore, it is now appropriate to again ask the Turkish government that sent the Gallipoli invitations for April 24, 2015, and any state leaders who choose to ignore the real significance of this date: “Are you sure? Is this your final answer?”

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Raffi Bedrosyan

Raffi Bedrosyan is a civil engineer and a concert pianist, living in Toronto. Proceeds from his concerts and CDs have been donated to the construction of school, highways, and water and gas distribution projects in Armenia and Karabagh—projects in which he has also participated as a voluntary engineer. Bedrosyan was involved in organizing the Surp Giragos Diyarbakir/Dikranagerd Church reconstruction project. His articles explain the significance of this historic project as the first Armenian reclaim of church properties in Anatolia after 1915, as well as other Turkish-Armenian issues. He gave the first Armenian piano concert in the Surp Giragos Church since 1915, most recently at the 2015 Genocide Centenary Commemoration. He is the founder of Project Rebirth, which helps hidden Islamized Armenians reclaim their original Armenian roots, language, and culture.

46 Comments

  1. What does one expect? The current Turkish government has no integrity, moral compass, or compassion for their own people never mind us Armenians. They are shameless cowards who will not face the truth. It is not realistic to believe that they will ever change unless there is a direct benefit to them.

  2. Those leaders who have accepted the invitation need to be notified of the list of dates that are significant to Armenians and should not be used for any Turkish events. Perhaps a petition by Armenians agreeing with this philosophy would make an impression.

  3. If the Turks decide to renovate an old Armenian church and open it on August 24, Armenians must call their bluff! Because that is exactly 3 months from April 24. Or if they do it on January 15, don’t forget, that’s ONLY 9 days away from Armenian Christmas. Evidence of cravenness!

    But if they don’t renovate and open churches, that’s even more evidence of cravenness!

    I just wonder – what does the Armenian community attempt to achieve by turning its just struggle into a battle about numbers and dates? Gone is the depth and the content. Gone is the wisdom to choose the right battle. Gone is the wisdom of playing the game, of winning the war by refusing to fight a battle. If you’re right, and the Turksih government’s intent to celebrate Gallipoli on April 24 was meant to provoke Armenians, congratulations, based on your article, you played right into their hand.

    Simply two international lobbies bickering over dates, words, labels, and minutiae. They don’t even know what they would do if they won. For example, if the Turks come out tomorrow and decide to cancel the Gallipoli celebration, and apologize for causing offense to the Armenians, what would Armenians gain? The satisfaction of having politically embarrassed Turkey? Is it just me who thinks that would be of absolutely no help to the long-term aims of the Armenian nation?

    • I see your point and agree that the Armenian community can be accused of focusing too much on dates and terms and ‘recognition.’ However, these are not unimportant issues. I advocate focusing on the big picture as you do, but we have to also guard against the insidious chipping away of Armenian interests caused by minimization and distortion of, and denial and distraction from the truth. Looking for balance.

    • I most definitely agree with you, Jack, especially your last paragraph. Having worked in law enforcement for over twenty years, I have found that, regardless of a jury’s decision, denial can stay with the perpetrator until their death. Even with a plethora of evidence presented at trial to prove my case, I would watch the defendant whisper sweet nothings into the ear of their attorney as they plotted their next desperate move. Now here’s the rub, Jack (and anyone else reading this). Sadly, after many hours of sitting in the witness stand, presenting factual evidence to support the basis of the crime and being subjected to convoluted questions by silver tongued defense attorneys, I have encountered many angry victims who still weren’t satisfied with the guilty verdict. Instead, they insist on hounding me and the court with demands of apologies, more restitution and longer sentences, etc. In the case of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s denial will continue to be passed down from generation to generation, rolling down Mount Ararat like an out of control snowball that no one will be able to stop. The evidence related to the crime of genocide has already been pulled from Turkey’s own Ottoman newspapers and archives and slapped into books…yet denial still thrives. My Armenian grandmother, who survived the “death march” with deep scars on her back from the business end of a bayonet, never once mentioned any dates related to her deportation. Further, as Armenians, we should refuse to engage in any toxic conversation, including name-calling, that hurts both sides and incites the hatred that keeps that snowball rolling. I rest my case. Peace out.

    • “Simply two international lobbies bickering…?” There is nothing “simple” about this. The choosing of these dates is completely systematic, strategic and manipulative. As the granddaughter of a survivor of the genocide I can see that, but it is clearly not as obvious to others. Shame!

  4. Actually, middle eastern approach with a stench of foul, hummus and basturma all blended by endless nauseating praises to Allah and his Prophet.

    Turkey is not fit to rule over The Ummah.

    • Vahe,

      They sent invitations to a 100 countries instead of those who took part in the battle. And they’re making a huge deal out of.

      I believe 2 years ago Davutoglu was quoted as saying that they would be using gallipoli to distract from the genocide centennial.

    • http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-gallipoli-centenary-is-a-shameful-attempt-to-hide-the-armenian-holocaust-9988227.html

      {This is not just diplomatic mischief. The Turks are well aware that the Allied landings at Gallipoli began on 25th April – the day after Armenians mark the start of their genocide, which was ordered by the Turkish government of the time – and that Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day on the 25th. Only two years ago, then-president Abdullah Gul of Turkey marked the 98th anniversary of the Great War battle on 18th March 2013 — the day on which the British naval bombardment of the Dardanelles Peninsular began on the instructions of British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. At the time, no-one in Turkey suggested that Gallipoli – Canakkale in Turkish — should be remembered on 24th April.}

      http://www.todayszaman.com/anasayfa_turkeys-attempt-to-distract-from-armenian-centennial-commemorations-falls-short_370620.html
      { The Gallipoli commemorations will take place on April 23-24 this year for the first time and the Turkish government has sent invitations to more than 100 leaders around the world, whose soldiers fought in World War I, including Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan.}

      http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-invites-armenian-president-to-100th-anniversary-of-gallipoli-war-.aspx?PageID=238&NID=77002&NewsCatID=510

      {With plans to hold massive ceremonies to mark the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli on April 23 and 24, Erdoğan has sent out invitations to the leaders of 102 countries, including Armenian President Sargsyan and U.S. President Barack Obama. }

      Before: April 24-25.
      After: April 23-24.

      ANZAC day is April 25. Not April 24.
      Nothing earthshaking in the anzachotel link you provided.
      Clearly not everything can be done in one day, April 25, so minor parts of the service are held on April 24.
      The main show is on April 25.
      What Turks did this year is shift the whole thing by one day, so the main events fall on April 24.

      {“ I am NOT defending Turkey.”}

      Are you sure ?

    • Vahe, it was implied that it was traditionally held on March 18. “the Gallipoli Dardanelles battles of World War I, which was traditionally held on March 18, will be held on April 24 this year”.

    • Vahe, if the Gallipoli landing was on the 25th of April 1915, then they should hold the commemoration on the 25th! The choice to commemorate it on the 24th is an obvious thumbing of the nose at the pain of their Armenian citizens, their neighbors in Armenia, and the Armenian diaspora worldwide—especially because this is the year of the centenary of the genocide. Nevermind that they commemorated Gallipoli on the 24th in the past: there is no need to be naive about this deliberate act of distraction aimed at the nations of the world and the provocative flipping of the finger at us.

  5. With regard to Turkey’s attempts to divert attention away from our commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, would it not be time well spent–and couldn’t the ARMENIAN WEEKLY as well as other diasporan organizations point out Turkey’s machinations to audiences outside their domains? In matters like this, we have a chronic habit of keeping news to ourselves when there is a compelling need to disseminate it broadly to dilute its intended effect. By the way, who will inform Prince Charles?

  6. Jack “apologize for causing offense to the Armenians” is admission of guilt.I’m reading between the lines, very discouraging, rest assure even If you think “absolutely no help to the long-term aims of the Armenian nation” you won’t be able to change a single Armenian mind and his determination to carry every battle for their just cause to the end.

  7. I don’t see any rationale in this article. In the case of Akhtamar, the idea was to create the illusion that Turkey is trying to change its aggressive policy towards Armenia and Armenians. In this case, they are acting like a child who is trying to say that I can throw my own party and I don’t give a hoot about what Armenians do or say!! Those who will attend the Turkish party are either third world country leaders whose attendance essentially doesn’t mean anything or leaders of so-called democratic western countries who are well aware of what is going on nevertheless they are simply driven by their interests. In the end of the day, Turkey is not going to gain anything out of this. It is typical eastern style foreign policy, you would never see a western country with flexible foreign policy acting like this.

  8. PRINCE CHARLES

    An absolute incapable and incompetent member of the royal family !If Britain sends him it means the Brits regard this commemoration as unimportant as Turkish toilet paper ( if the Turks gave up using their left hand!).
    How even the Queen judges her son shows the fact that she tries to sit on the throne till CHARLES is passed away:

  9. Imagine what would have happened if the Dardanelles campaign had succeeded and taken over Constantinople in 1915. It would have interrupted the Genocide halfway through.

    I think in some way we Armenians should see the Allies who fought and died in this campaign in a new light or from a new angle. Yes the Allies let us down vis-a-vis the Genocide as a whole in so many ways. But their victory in this campaign would have changed history for us.

    • The Dardanelles campaign couldn’t have succeeded. The operation was ill-conceived, ill-prepared, and poorly executed from the military perspective. The timing, the fighting force, miscalculations of the terrain and the landing place–all went wrong. Otherwise, Turks wouldn’t stand a chance. The Allies’ victory would have changed history for us, but so would Russian advances in the East had they not been disrupted by the shift of forces from the Caucasus to the Western Front in 1915 and by the February and October 1917 judeo-masonic revolutions.

    • To me, the Gallipoli campaign symbolizes the utter incompetence of the Allies, and the tragic foolishness of the Armenian leaders (not the people, the leaders) to rely on them. Have you seen the movie War Horse? Where the British, led by Benedict Cumberbatch, ride their horses against German machine guns? That scene to me epitomizes the tragedy of Armenians in 1915. These are the people we relied upon? Sure, the battle showed the Kemal’s talent (which Armenians would get a taste of five years later, in another tragic episode of history). But there is a good chance the battle would have been won had it not been for the Allies’ incompetence. They got the whole terrain wrong, they landed in the wrong place, and then they kept charging against machine guns. The best known movie about the battle (in fact called “Gallipoli,” starring Mel Gibson) shows the tragedy of this incompetence in the very last scene (Mel’s buddy getting killed while running against machine guns).

      The incompetence was not limited just to the British. Russia, as always backward and corrupt, had its entire armies annihilated in August of 1914 by Germany. And that was a few months before the start of the Genocide. As a result, the czar had to send many troops (including newly recruited Armenians) to the German front, significantly weakening the Caucasus front. And despite this, Armenians (in Russia, not Turkey) joined the Russian war effort with fanatic enthusiasm, as if Russia’s main goal in the war was to liberate Armenia. One of the significant facts about the Genocide is that it occurred just a few miles away from the Russian front line, a result of a combination of weakened front (due to Russian incompetence) and indifference (Russia cared little about the fate of Armenians themselves, contrary to Armenians’ illusions). Russians advanced and retreated repeatedly whenever it suited them, each retreat resulting in more Armenian deaths.

      So, I do not believe we owe any thanks to the Allies. We do owe it to ourselves to properly the incompetence of our past leaders, at the very least so the current ones will not repeat their mistakes. Of course, we can only hope.

    • {“..Armenians (in Russia, not Turkey) joined the Russian war effort with fanatic enthusiasm, as if Russia’s main goal in the war was to liberate Armenia. “}

      Still trying to blame everybody except your Nomadoglu Turkic kin, քոչվորoğlu ?
      btw: how were things in Baku ? Long vacation ? Well rested ?
      did you get a chance to visit with your Sultan, Heydaroğlu ?

    • Indeed, there was a good chance the battle would have been won had the Allies better planned and executed it militarily. No Kemal’s “talent” would have saved the Turks from imminent defeat. In fact, witness Harold C. Armstrong in his book “Grey Wolf, Mustafa Kemal: An Intimate Study of a Dictator” describes how disconcerted Kemal was during the Dardannelles Campaign. Despite the fact that the campaign went wrong from the start, the British and the ANZACs showed incredible courage and mateship. And scenes from movies, as understood by sane men, cannot serve as historical evidence. Even if in reality the British rode horses against German machine guns, it could only speak for their bravery. In my opinion, the Dardannelles Campaign achieved one major goal: it distracted the Turks from extending any kind of support to the Central Powers on the Western Front.

      Armenians indeed got a taste of Kemal’s “talent” five years after Gallipoli, during the Turkish-Armenian War of 1920, when he rascally violated the provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres and, incapable of winning the war, sent a telegram to Lenin requesting 5 mln lira in gold and armaments for his troops. Armenians also got a taste of Kemal’s “talent” during the Great Fire of Smyrna of 1922, when he, as Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish armies, without doubt had complicity in burning the Armenian quarters and then, cowardly, sent a telegram to his foreign minister offering the official version of the massacre, in which he implicated the Armenians and the Greeks in premeditated destruction of the city (read: in voluntary burning of themselves alive).

      Armenians had to rely upon external powers. It was in no way a sign of “foolishness” on the part of their leaders, but the full realization of the fact that centuries of the Ottoman colonization brought grief and hardships to their people, a status of second-class citizens, deprivation of their arable lands, unbearable double taxation by central authorities and local Kurdish tribes, mass murder during the Hamidian Massacres, etc. In 1908, Armenians relied upon the CUP party that gained power in the Young Turk revolution and united with the Turks by the common goal of changing the monarchical regime and easing their plight. We all know what catastrophe this reliance on sly Turks brought on our heads.

      Russia, incomparably more advanced than inherently backward Ottoman empire, did not have its “entire armieS” annihilated in August of 1914 by Germany. Russia suffered a defeat at Tannenberg where one Russian army, the Second Army, was almost completely destroyed. At the same time, in August of 1914, the Russians had won a similar victory against the Central Powers in Galicia, in which the Austro-Hungarian armies were almost completely destroyed. Already in June of 1916 the Brusilov Offensive of the Russian armies brought about the worst crisis of the war for the Central Powers. The Russian advances in the Caucasus were not affected by a Russian defeat in the Western Front and Turks were retreating all the way until the fatal decision was made by the Russian Stavka to shift troops to the Western Front. In the Caucasus, the Russians advanced and retreated repeatedly according to tactical requirements not “whenever it suited them”. Indeed, each Russian retreat resulted in savage massacre of the Armenians by the Turks. In the mountains of Sasun, as one example, where tens of thousands of Armenians fled from from Sasun and Mush villages, once Turks knew that Russians had retreated, the butchery had lasted for three days and three nights. Russia’s main goal in the war was not to liberate Armenia, but Armenians hoped (not collaborated but just hoped) that Russian advances will grant them liberation from Turkish shackles.

      Such a hope was not at all an indication of incompetence of our past leaders. In fact, the leaders of every nation–even the Turks’ fellow Muslim Arabs–colonized under the Ottoman rule had hoped for the same. It is that the Armenians became the victim of a premeditated plan to use the World War One as a cover to empty the eastern vilayets of their native inhabitants.

    • Addandum: Armenians of the Ottoman empire joined the Turkish war effort with enthusiasm. There are many witness accounts of the Allied officers testifying to their courage, mastery, and quick wit. Armenian males fought bravely on the Turkish fronts; while their fathers and mothers, wives and children were being barbarously massacred back home. This is another example of what “reliance” on the Turks could bring.

    • Alex,

      There is nothing in Robert Hewsen’s Historical Atlas that suggests, let alone presents evidence, of such a theory. I know Hewsen’s work well. It is, for the most part, a collection of maps.

      There is no evidence that the Russians “intentionally let the genocide happen”. The shift of forces from the Caucasus Front, where Russian advances proceeded relatively well, to the Western Front in 1915 was a military expediency. And Russians never actually believed that “if Anatolia were emptied of Armenians, it would be easier to populate it with Russians”. There were some designs contemplated by a few government officials, for instance, minister of agriculture Alexander Krivoshein, with regard to possible administrative division of Western Armenia under the Russian rule. One of the provisions of his plan suggested that the lands be populated with the Cossacks beside–NOT in place of–the Armenians. These Russian officials believed that the Cossacks’ presence would greatly contribute to defense and security of the newly-acquired lands. These designs were doomed from the start, because only Armenians could live in the demanding environment of the Western Armenian terrain.

    • [Alex: “accusing the Russians of “indifference” is being too kind. They intentionally let the genocide happen”]

      Thanks for the source, Alex. Robert Hewsen’s Historic Atlas is one of my favorite sources on Armenian history. They have a copy right here in my hometown Glendale, in the public library. Hewsen himself is Armenian. Despite his work being attacked by some pro-regime “historians” in Armenia, his work is quite valuable.

      Another favorite source of mine is Christopher Walker’s book “Armenia: Survival of a Nation.” It’s free of all the ultra-nationalist “heroic” nonsense present in other works, and still presents the Armenian people (not its leaders) in good light.

      I agree with you on Russians. Indeed, it seems to be a pattern that has kept repeating throughout our “relationship.” Just as in the fall of 1920, when Russians waited at the border while Kemal’s troops devastated Armenia, so Armenia would submit to Russians out of desperation. And during the 1991 Operation Ring, a joint Russian-Azeri operation to depopulate Armenian villages. Or, exactly this time in 1988, in Sumgait, where Soviet troops “mysteriously” arrived after three full days of slaughter. The list goes on.

    • What average Armenian–who would either know or might have heard that Robert Hewsen is an Armenian–would insert such a clause in his comment: “Hewsen himself is Armenian”? Perhaps only an “Armenian” who–paraphrasing the famous idiomatic phrase–wants to look more Armenian than Catholicos.

      Waiting at the border while Kemal’s troops were advancing towards Armenia after receiving gold and ammunition from Lenin, was the Bolshevik army under the command of the Petrograd Bolsheviks, the prevailing majority of whom in the highest echelons of power were not ethnic Russians. Likewise, during Operation “Ring” and in Sumgait were “successors to a tradition”, so to speak, the Soviets, the multinational totalitarian superpower.

      Let’s elaborate details of the presented list a bit, since the facts about actual perpetrators of crimes against the Armenians were suppressed.

      What nation’s troops, in violation of the provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres, advanced to devastate the remaining portion of Armenia after perpetrating genocide of the inhabitants of Western Armenia? Turkey’s.

      Who in 1991 started the war against the Armenians of Artsakh and embarked on the campaign of depopulation of Armenian villages? TurkoAzeris.

      Who in 1988, just like Turks in 1915, murdered, burned alive, raped, mutilated, and threw from high-rise buildings the innocent Armenian residents of Sumgait? TurkoAzeris.

    • Such fantasies. Says volumes about the psychology dominating these pages.

      Firstly, Gallipoli was a disaster for the Allies not because they failed, or they were led incompetently, but simply because the Sick Man of Europe had one more good kick left in him. They underestimated the power of desperation when foreign invaders show up at your doorstep, not some distant possession.

      Secondly, it was exactly during the massive Allied landings that Rebellion of Van broke out. The city was eventually handed over (literally!) to the Russian general by the Armenians (after killing off the Muslim population). It is an established fact that Armenians, many from Anatolia, joined the ranks of Allies and Russians enthusiastically. Allied reports indicate that most of the Ottoman soldiers crossing the firing line at Gallipoli and surrendering were Armenians and other Christian minorities. It is also true that many Armenians and non-Muslim Ottomans died for their country at Gallipoli. There is a special cemetery there for them.

      What difference an Allied victory would have made at Gallipoli? In my opinion, very little. Allies did win in the end. Turks did give up, signed Sevres and the massive armada did sail to Istanbul and anchored in front of Sultan’s palace. You all know what happened after that.

    • Murat,

      Have you read the testimony given by Ottoman generals and leaders during the post-war indictments of Talaat, Enver, and Jemal? Have you supplemented these sources with reports from the Ottoman Empire’s wartime allies? Or do you refuse to consult these sources because they portray your country in a bad light? The irony is that the Ottoman Empire should be commended by people like you for engaging in an act of unprecedented national self-condemnation and honesty. Instead, you pretend like this act never happened.

      In denying (or, more precisely, justifying) the genocide, you rest your entire argument on the alleged Van rebellion. Yet you fail to explain why, if Van “caused” the deportations, the deportation orders were given in early 1915, before this “rebellion” took place. Nor can you explain why Armenians were deported–and massacred en route–from all of Anatolia, not just Van. Nor do you acknowledge the Ottoman generals’ own admissions, bolstered by German consular reports (for example in one from Scheuber Richter, German Vice-Consul of Erzerum, dated 4 December 1916, catalogued in the German Foreign Ministry Archives as Türkei 483/37), that the Ottomans had an orchestrated effort to provoke–violently–Armenian self-defense, and then use such self-defense as pretext for wider deportation and extermination. Nor can you explain why, if the deportations were benevolent acts intended to ensure the Armenians’ safety, were the Armenians actually deported INTO warzones, such as close behind the Ottoman Sixth Army at Der Zor (according to Turkish historian Cerkez Hassan).

      The irony about these “Armenians were disloyal” arguments is that they are full of projection. Turks act as if being a “fifth column” is an unpardonable sin, whereas the Ottoman Government actually tried to get the Armenians to be such a “fifth column” in Russia. The Ittihadists sent a delegation to the Dashnak Party Congress in Erzurum in August 1914, according to the Congress’s minutes. They offered to grant Armenians autonomy if Dashnaks could convince Russian Armenians to rebel against the tsar. The Dashnaks refused, stating that Armenians would remain loyal to their respective countries. So the Ottoman Empire actually tried to be an accomplice to the type of “disloyalty” that you say warrants genocide.

      And most importantly, you’re conflating the concepts of “motive” and “intent”. Reasonable “motives” do not constitute an affirmative defense to the crime of genocide. An intent to destroy a population, whether or not the intent stemmed from certain motives, is genocide.

      To recall the late Christopher Hitchens, “You’re saying it did not happen, but it would have been justified if it did happen.” Pick one.

    • Alex,

      Hewsen’s work was one secondary source that I studied well for my professional purposes. One must be very cautious when he states something and then fails to support his statement with evidence.

      In your February 26, 2015 at 10:54 am post you wrote, with certainty: “They [Russians] intentionally let the genocide happen, under the belief that if Anatolia were ‘emptied’ of Armenians, it would be easier to populate it with Russians and assimilate it to Russia. This theory is advanced, WITH EVIDENCE (capitalization mine), in [Robert Hewsen’s] work”.

      I retorted in my February 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm post that “there is nothing in Hewsen’s Historical Atlas that suggests, let alone presents evidence, of such a theory.”

      You decided to press on and quoted an extract from p. 228 of Hewsen’s work. Did you care to read it thoroughly to determine whether it supports your “theory”?

      This is what Hewsen actually wrote:
      “[…] It was now that THE RUMOR (capitalization mine) arose that the Russians, realizing what was happening in Turkey and seeing that it would be to their advantage to occupy Armenia without its Armenian population, had deliberately retreated in 1915 in order to allow the Genocide to run its course. WHILE THIS HAS NEVER BEEN PROVEN (capitalization mine), there is ample documentation that the highest Russian officials wanted to colonize the Armenian Plateau with Russian settlers and actively prevented many Armenian refugees from returning to their homes.”

      Therefore, in the first part of your “theory” you failed. There is NO evidence whatsoever in Hewsen’s work that Russians “intentionally let the genocide happen”. Rumors, by definition, are circulating stories of uncertain or doubtful truth. As for designs by a few Russian government officials to populate Western Armenia with the Cossacks–beside, not in place of–the Armenians, there indeed exists ample documentation about such ill-conceived plans. The most famous plan was that of Krivoshein’s. However, the design didn’t envisage “assimilation of the Armenians to Russia”. The prevailing concern was the defense and security of the newly-acquired lands and the Cossacks were seen as a force that would ably fit for the task.

      Hope this helps.

    • Murat,

      Educate yourself before accusing others of “fantasies” and some “psychology dominating on these pages”. Try to set yourself free from covering your guilty nation at all costs simply because it is your nation.

      Forced deportations of the Armenians began BEFORE the resistance in Van. And, for your education, it was not a revolt, but legitimate self-defense. The Turks fired the first shot at Van on April 20th, 1915; whereas the first Armenians were deported from Zeitun on April 8th. There is a record in the European archives of the arrival of Armenian survivors in Syrian deserts as early as April 19th.

      For your further education on the issue who started first in 1915, please read Christopher J. Walker, Visions of Ararat, Writings on Armenia and Arnold Toynbee, A Summary of Armenian History up to and including the Year 1915, which appears in the Blue Book.

    • John,

      Your post does not address the most incriminating parts of Hewsen’s extract. In following your example I will capitalize these parts for emphasis:

      “[…] there is AMPLE DOCUMENTATION that the highest Russian officials wanted to COLONIZE the Armenian Plateau with Russian settlers and ACTIVELY PREVENTED MANY ARMENIAN REFUGEES FROM RETURNING TO THEIR HOMES.”

      The facts that Russia wanted to “colonize”, and not merely “populate”, Armenia with Cossacks, and in fact “actively prevented Armenian refugees from returning to their homes” to this end, cast doubt on your claim that the Russian government planned to put Cossacks beside–not in place of–Armenians.

      I would have preferred that Hewsen had detailed, rather than merely alluded to, the “ample documentation” on this point, but I defer to his research.

  10. This is NOT the first time Turkey has held it on April 24. It did so in 2013 (and even before that I think). See this link:

    http://www.anzachotel.com/anzac-day-dawn-service-2013-programme.htm

    April 25 of 2015 there will also be major services on Gallipoli:

    http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/ThraceMarmara/gallipoli/anzac_day.html

    Does Turkey want it all to overshadow April 24 Armenian genocide day? Of course.
    My point is, these dates of April 24 and 25 are not new this year for Gallipoli in Turkey. Maybe there is a slight change. I don’t know. I just want us to get our facts straight.

    Another thing: The only news outlets that took as fact the Zaman report that Turkey was going to cancel the Gallipoli events this years were Armenian media. No one else jumped on it.
    We have to be careful with our facts.

  11. Bottom line is that Turkey is playing passive-aggressive games to overshadow our Remembrance Day. No matter what childish tactics they use, it won’t take away from the burden of their guilt and our stand for justice. Those leaders who will attend are clearly not the ones who are supporting our fight against denial of the genocide and inhumanity around the world. They can all get together and howl at the moon together as far as I am concerned. Those who believe we should let this go need to remember that what encourages criminals more than their lust for blood is the knowledge that others like them “got away with murder”. NOT happening on my watch!

  12. (Alex // February 26, 2015 at 10:54 am //)

    {“Vahagn, accusing the Russians of “indifference” is being too kind. They intentionally let the genocide happen, under the belief that if Anatolia were “emptied” of Armenians, it would be easier to populate it with Russians and assimilate it to Russia.
    This theory is advanced, with evidence, in this work:”}

    A nonexistent “theory” (disinformation) which is “advanced” (promulgated) with alleged “evidence” (what evidence ?) is another Turkophile disinformation planted meme to absolve Turks of the colossal crime of the Armenian Genocide.
    Yes, of course: everything is the fault of Russians.
    Turks, were, you know, dunces: they didn’t even know they were committing Genocide.
    Those evil Russians tricked them into carrying it out.

    Maybe our friends, who are giddy with joy blaming Russian actions for the Genocide of Armenians committed by Turks, can give us references as to how Russian actions were also responsible for the 1895 Hamidian Massacre of up to 300,000 Armenians at the hands of…..wait for it……Turks.

    Recently somebody has been advancing a theory, with evidence, that Russians intentionally allowed Seljuk Turks to invade the Armenian Highlands in 1000AD: the idea being, if Asia Minor and Armenian Highlands were emptied of their indigenous peoples, the 1 Billion Russians who were crammed into 100,000 square kilometers around Kievan Rus would populate those fertile lands easily and assimilate it to Russia.

    In 1914 Russian Empire had about 125 million people.
    Its size was about 22 million square kilometers.
    In 2014 population of Russia was about 144 million people.
    Size of Russia today is about 6.6 million square kilometers.
    (USA 3.8 million square kilometers; 2014 population about 320 million)
    Russia, even today, is mostly empty land. Very rich, fertile land. With an abundance of water.
    The notion that Russia would need to, quote, {“ ….intentionally let the genocide happen, under the belief that if Anatolia were “emptied” of Armenians, it would be easier to populate it with Russians and assimilate it to Russia.”}, is beyond absurd.
    What is there in Asia Minor that Russian Empire needed to allegedly populate it with Russians ?

    btw: I am glad [Random Armenian] and [Alex] agree, on record, with our Anti-Armenian Turkbaijani քոչվորoğlu guest.
    Q.E.D.

    • From page 228 of Hewsen’s work:

      “[In May 1915, the Ararat Legion, composed of Armenian Volunteers from Russia] soon reached as far as Tatvan, hoping to relieve the beleaguered Armenians of Bitlis, Mush and Sasun, but en route they met with a strong Turkish counterattack and were forced to withdraw. Upon arriving back at Van, the advance troops found that the rest of the [Russian] army had already headed back to the [Ottoman-Russian] frontier. … It was now that the rumor arose that the Russians, realizing what was happening in Turkey and seeing that it would be to their advantage to occupy Armenia without its Armenian population, had deliberately retreated in 1915 in order to allow the Genocide to run its course. While this has never been proven, there is ample documentation that the highest Russian officials wanted to colonize the Armenian Plateau with Russian settlers and actively prevented many Armenian refugees from returning to their homes.”

    • And before you (further) question my patriotism, Avery, I will say it very clearly: the fact that it was in the interests of multiple powers for the genocide to happen in no way absolves Turkey of the primary–and only–responsibility for the crime. The reason to analyze the behavior of other countries is to understand the extent to which these countries have historically had Armenia’s best interest in hear.

  13. To add to what [John] wrote re Caucasus front.

    In 1916, Russian Caucasus front lines extended to West of Trebizond, beyond Erzingan, Van Lake,…..
    Take a look at a map, and appreciate how deep into Western Armenia that was. The situation did not change much on the Caucasus front until Spring 1917.
    Russian Imperial troops were planning a final push to annihilate the Ottoman Turk armies facing them, and secure the Caucasus front.
    It never came.
    Starting Spring of 1917, Russia was in turmoil, which also affected the morale of Caucasus Russian Army.

    Russian troops were recalled from Caucasus, because a foreign virus had infected Russia, and had taken over the brain.
    Germans injected the virus into Russia, by way of V.I. Lenin in April 1917.
    The idea was for the virus to take over the brain and body, and get Russia out of WW1, so that German troops could concentrate on England and France.
    It worked.
    Lenin and his cohorts immediately set about causing turmoil, mayhem, and openly advocating desertion and disobedience to Russian Imperial troops.
    Treaty of Brest Litovsk was signed in March 1918, ending Russia’s participation in WW1.
    Central power signatories included the Ottoman Empire.
    (Didn’t really help Germany though: Germans unconditionally surrendered to Allies in November 1918)
    In January 1918, just two months after seizing power, Bolsheviks ordered Russian troops withdrawn from the Caucasus front.
    As soon as Russia existed WW1, Turks renewed their centuries long goal of wiping out Armenians from their homeland.
    They were stopped at the epic Battle of Sardarabad in May of 1918.

    The virus that was injected in Russia from abroad was Bolshevism. Do some research as to who the Bolshevik leaders were.
    As [John] pointed out above, V.I. Lenin saved Kemal from demise by rushing wagonloads of gold, artillery, new Mosin Nagant rifles, and tons of ammunition.
    Kemal had cleverly tricked Lenin into believing that he would turn Turkey Bolshevik once he gained power.
    The same Bolshevik virus also created the fake state of Azerbaijan on the lands of indigenous peoples, with the connivance of Turkey and British imperialists, and placed historic Armenian regions of Artsakh and Nakhichevan under the Turkic bastard child by the stolen name ‘Azerbaijan’.

    Fast forward to 1993: NKR’s Armenian mountain warriors, after fighting off the attempt by Turkbaijan and Turkey to commit another Genocide of Armenians in Artskah, after decimating the nomadic invaders are now chasing them out of historic, sacred Armenian lands.
    Alarmed that their bastard little brother might cease to exist as a state, Turkey masses an invasion army at the border of RoA.
    Someone threatens Turkey with WW3 if they move across the border into RoA.
    Was it US ? nope.
    EU, UK, France, Timbuktu…???? No, no, Non, no….
    It was CIS head (Russian) Shaposhnikov.

    And the rest, as they say, is history.

    • Avery, I had thought that the ship had sailed since ?

      Russia- Ankara axis seems to be fast emerging with the Turkish stream expected to be complete by 2017, effectively handing over the gas spigot of EU to Turkey. There is also the 100% Russian financing of the first Nuclear Power plant at Akkuyu. Trade developments between the two following a multi vectored approach. Turkey welcomes more than 5 million Russian tourists each year, which keeps its cash registers ringing. Turkish contractors are carrying out mouth watering contracts in Moscow worth more than $35 billion.
      Trade volumes between the 2 countries are expected to reach $100 billion by 2020. Russia considers Armenia as economically insignificant, with a lopsided power dynamic more representing a master / subordinate relationship.

      As they say there are no long term friendships or enemies just economic interests.

  14. Though April 24th has been celebrated in relation to Gallipoli campaign before, and I am not even sure why, I agree, March 18 is the meaningful day and most Turks commemorate that day.

    My grandpa was there and it is always on March 18 that I think of him, and countless young men dying by the thousands in a day and filling up ditches.

    Regardless, 2015 is an important anniversary for Turks, they are or should be too busy to notice other claims.

    • Thanks for the link Gev.
      I’ll save it.

      There were several warnings from Shaposhnikov during the NKR war.
      The one I was talking about is in 1993.
      Apparently Turkish intelligence had somehow learned that there will be a coup attempt in Moscow in 1993.
      Muslim Chechen Chairman of the Presidium Ruslan Khasbulatov had promised Turks that if he succeeded in overthrowing Yeltsin, he would recall Russian troops from Armenia, and allow Turkey a, quote, “limited”, incursion into Southern Armenia.
      “Limited” would in reality mean Turks would race all the way to Baku thru Southern Armenia and cut Armenia in half.
      People in Yerevan actually saw Turkish armor assembling across the border in the distance.

      Here are a couple of links about that:
      http://www.keghart.com/Boyajian-Threat
      http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/2531/

      (I have the book by the Greek ambassador: highly recommend people buy and read it; lots of fascinating stuff about the period)

  15. Avery…what are you’re thoughts on azeri going on an adventure in Artsakh again? do you think they will dare and risk it?

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