Akçam to Present Story Behind ‘The Smoking Gun’ at the Armenian Museum of America


The Armenian Museum of America and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will present The Story Behind “The Smoking Gun”: A Presentation of Never-Before-Seen Documents by Dr. Taner Akçam on May 11, at 7 p.m.

Akcam addressing the 2015 International Hrant Dink Award ceremony in Istanbul on Sept. 15

On April 23, 2017, The New York Times published an article about Akçam’s recent work.

The article focused on an Ottoman document Akçam states is “the smoking gun,” which demonstrates the Ottoman government’s awareness of, and involvement in, the elimination of the Armenian population.

The document, acknowledged as authentic by the post-World War I Ottoman government, helped convict its author, Behaeddin Shakir, one of the founders of the Committee of Union and Progress, as one of the masterminds of the Armenian Genocide.

However, this key piece of evidence, along with other damning documents used during the post-war Constantinople trials of the perpetrators, vanished. Or so it seemed. In the  course of examining the archive of the late Fr. Krikor Guerguerian, Akçam discovered that the Armenian Catholic priest had made photographic copies of Shakir’s telegram and other crucial documents.

This presentation at the Armenian Museum of America will be the first time this and other documents have ever been discussed in public.

Taner Akçam is the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University.

He is the author of The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide, with Ümit Kurt (Berghahn Books, 2015), The Young Turk’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton University Press, 2012), Judgment at Istanbul: The Armenian Genocide Trials with Vahakn Dadrian (Berghahn Books, 2011), A Shameful Act: Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan Books, 2006), and From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (Zed Books, 2004).

He has also authored other works in German and Turkish, including most recently Naim Efendi’nin Hatıratı ve Talat Paşa Telgrafları: Krikor Gergeryan Arşivi [Naim Efendi’s Memoir and the Talat Pasha Telegrams: The Krikor Guerguerian Archive] (İletişim, 2016), forthcoming in English translation.


For more information about the presentation, visit

www.armenianmuseum.org/calendar, or contact hq@naasr.org.

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