Akçam’s New Book ‘Killing Orders’ Destroys Turkish Government’s Armenian Genocide Denial Strategy

The cover of Killing Orders (Cover: Palgrave)

WORCESTER, Mass.—Turkey has continually denied the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Government beginning in 1915. Although decades of scholarly research has decisively established the systematic annihilation of Armenians, the relative scarcity of direct evidence has allowed the Turkish government to persist in its denial.

In his groundbreaking new book, Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide, which was published on Jan. 23, Clark University historian Taner Akçam destroys the Turkish government’s denial strategy. Akçam includes a recently discovered document, a “smoking gun,” which points to the Ottoman government’s central role in planning the elimination of its Armenian population. Furthermore, he successfully demonstrates that the killing orders signed by Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha, which the Turkish Government has long discredited, are authentic.

Akçam, described as “the Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide” in an April 2017 New York Times article, made those landmark discoveries in a private archive. He argues that the documents he has uncovered remove a cornerstone from the denialist edifice and definitively prove the historicity of the Armenian Genocide.

“Successive Turkish governments have gone to great lengths to ensure that evidence of the intent to extinguish the Armenian people could not be located,” said Akçam. “These findings are ‘an earthquake in the field of genocide studies.’ They will make it impossible for the Turkish Government to continue to deny the Armenian Genocide.”

Dirk Moses of the University of Sydney, Australia, says the book is “essential reading for all those interested in Genocide and Human Rights Studies.”

Taner Akçam (Photo: Rupen Janbazian)

Akçam holds the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. An internationally recognized human rights activist, Akçam was one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide. Akcam has lectured widely and published numerous articles and books, translated into many languages.

His book, The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire (2012), was co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award and one of ForeignAffairs.com’s “Best Books on the Middle East.”

Akçam’s many honors include the Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal from the Organization of Istanbul Armenians and the Hrant Dink Freedom Award from the Armenian Bar Association (both in 2015); and the Heroes of Justice and Truth awarded at the Armenian Genocide Centennial commemoration in May 2015. The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) recognized him as a Friend of the Armenians in 2016. In May, he will receive the 2018 Outstanding Upstander Award from organization World Without Genocide.

Killing Orders is available for purchase from Amazon.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. Thank you Professor Akçam for your relentless pursuit of justice, at your own peril. May God give you good health and long life.

  2. Bravo to this Turkish man. Hes a living reminder that not all Turks are bad and that there are truly honorable and noble ones..

  3. The denial continues and that is even with all the evidence. Does that say something about the turkish government and the denialist?????????????

  4. The genocide began in the early 1880s. My family was killed in 1912 and a couple survivors made it here the end of that year.Since we are non-white they were not granted citizenship her which is why the us never intervened in the killing.

  5. Thank you Mr. Akçam for your outstanding work in pursuing justice for the Armenian people. Your persistence to uncover what’s been hidden for over a century is remarkable!! Turkey is very aware of their crime of atrocities but continue to deny the Genocide like a coward!!! It takes a BIG MAN like you to admit the killing of innocent people on the hands of his own country. Thank you again for standing up for what’s right and for being a Human Rights Activist.

  6. He couldn’t “destroy” anything. Many Turkish scholars destroyed Taner Akçam’s many false claims, many times. He is not a dependable person.

    • Mr. Tan is just like odious Kirlikovali, just less fluent in English.

      A senior who appears not to have aged well [remember, that is his best picture], he seems to have set his Google Alerts to “Armenian” and whiles away his golden years spewing ahistorical racist nonsense from somewhere in the Sublime Porte until 4:30 PM, when Sizzler Senior Meals go for 1/2 price.

      As for Mr. Akcam’s alleged status, anyone who is called a terrorist by the Erdogan regime or a Turkish Nazi likely is in truth a freedom fighter.

      Orhan, why don’t you deal with the book’s merits? Just copy something Kirlikovali has said. By the way, please tell us what Kirlikovali means in English too.

    • Of course you would doubt his Turkishness. Any Turk, a Turkish intellectual in particular, who speaks the truth about the Armenian Genocide can not be a real Turk, right? Only “fake’ Turks would speak the truth and defend the Armenians against their blood-thirsty Turkish mass murderers, right? You…will never change. You have not changed in a thousand years. I guess it is quite easy to institutionally brainwash a nation of racist illiterates…. So, tell us who do you consider as real Turks, those anti-Armenian racists who murdered Hrant Dink with directions from the Turkish government and those police officers taking pictures at the police station with his murderer?

    • Um, I assume you are a troll who works for (or loves) the Turkish government? Please take your remarks elsewhere.
      Are these remarks not moderated???
      Because we absolutely don’t deserve to hear one more anti-Armenian or anti-genocide remark in this world and certainly not on our own newspaper website!

  7. My paternal grandfather, perished in the genocide against the Greeks of Asia Minor. Mr Akcam’s book will be a great gift to all of us.

    • Mr. Akcam is certainly Turkish. Because he has spoken out on Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, he has been found guilty of Turkey’s controversial Article 301, which makes it a crime to “insult Turkishness.” In other words, it’s a crime to tell the truth in Turkey.

  8. Thank you Professor Akcam,
    “Truth is beauty, Beauty is Truth”John Keats Ode to a Grecian Urn
    My Grandfather took a Turkish family into our home in the 1960’s.
    I learned about the Armenian Genocide 1.5 million. My Grandfather said when criticized “These people did kill our people.”

  9. “The relative scarcity of direct evidence has allowed the Turkish government to persist in its denial”. This is wrong. There is, and there always has been, plentiful direct evidence. Lack of evidence has never formed the basis of Turkish denials, nor have those denials been based on the serious discrediting of real evidence. Turkish denials always consciously ignore confronting real hard evidence; instead they engage in distraction, deflection, avoidance, side issues, unconnected issues, misrepresentation, and the occasional “discreditation” of obvious Armenian forgeries or exaggerations that only the very foolish or the foolishly complacent ever accepted. Turkish denial is grounded on what amounts to tribal self interest, and the core belief that there was nothing particularly wrong in committing the genocide. That core belief has been sustained by the enabling silence of almost everyone, be they academics or diplomats or writers or industrialists or ordinary tourists, who has engaged with Turkey on any level since the 1920s.

  10. Thank you Mr Akcam for ur book you’ve been a friend to Armenians & a consciously writhing about justice to the Armenians & for world justice. I wish my Turkish friend Mr Akcam long & healthy long life.You never give up defending justice to the Armenian people and your effect is tremendous not only us but also Turkish people Turkish Intellectuals & Turkish government.Continue your Noble work .Thank You Mr Akcam .God bless you

  11. My father was a Genocide survivor… In the spring of 1915, as a boy of 12, he walked with his mother and sisters, traveling at night from Kharpet and arriving in Yerevan just in time to witness Armenia’s Independence…a distance of over 500 miles it took them, 3 years. To cover that distance…the atrocities he witness was. told to me as a small boy…memories that have stayed with me my entire life…may God rest his sole…and grant him peace that was not present during his life on earth…inI://maps.app.goo.link=https://www.google.com/maps/@35.8353513,-115.16074,12z&apn=com.google.android.apps.maps&amv=914018424&isi=585027354&ibi=com.google.Maps&ius=comgooglemapsurl&utm_campaign=ml_promo&ct=ml-base2-lu&mt=8&pt=9008&cid=8517428605581173387&_icp=1u

  12. Dear Orhan Tan, If by doubting Prof. Akcam’s ‘Turkishness’ you mean you doubt his ‘being a brainwashed puppet of a devious Turkish regime that denies the barbaric acts committed by the bloodthirsty sultan Abdul Hamid followed by the planned genocides committed by the Young Turks’, then you would be absolutely correct. For further education, may I suggest that you read ‘The Fall of the Ottomans’, by the historian Eugene Rogan, especially Chapter Seven. FYI, this author and historian is neither Armenian nor Turkish.

  13. A while back the Holocaust was always presented as if there were no other Genocides, Yet we almost always mention the Armenian Genocide of 1.5 million without saying it was 3 million including Greek Assyrians and other Christians.

  14. He found a smoking gun document in a private archive/collection? A supposed signature by Talat condemns the whole of Turkey – as the heir to the Ottoman Empire – to forever apologise to the CHRISTIAN WEST because it so annoyingly survived the sinister plans by the Christians against the Ottomans! Go read up on the what the Christian-kin of the Armenians did in the Balkans… And get of the Erdogan obsession – this is not about him!

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