Events of 1915

The Events of 1915

At the turn of the 20th century the Ottoman Empire became a target. Russia, Great Britain and France sought to break it into pieces at the end its 600 years of existence. These external powers enlisted Armenian organisations and their efforts ended in great tragedy.

Ethnic Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire were highly trusted. They held great responsibility in the Ottoman administration. The balance of power shifted after weakening of the Ottoman Empire. Russia and the European nations wish to increase their interference in internal Ottoman affairs. Armenians as members of the orthodox Christian world where they were logical allies.

Russians deceived Armenians with a propaganda campaign of an Armenian dream. Armenians took up arms establishing the Hunchak ad Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), also known as Dashanksutyun groups, formed beyond Ottoman Borders.

Hunchak and ARF terrorists infiltrated themselves into Armenian Ottoman society through religious institutions and missionaries, even turning churches and schools into arms depots. Their objective was to elicit a violet Ottoman reaction to an Armenian uprising, and to thus secure a European intervention in the region.

The Armenian uprisings intensified with the eruption of World War 1 in 1915. Taking advantage of the conflict, the Armenians went even further and betrayed the Turkish army. When the war ended in 1918 the Ottomans lost.

In all the Armenian uprisings which endure through World War 1 until 1918, millions of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Turkish Kurdish and Armenian Ottoman citizens were killed.

In the war’s aftermath the Treaty of Lausanne was signed with the newly reformed Republic of Turkey. The Armenians were given no promise of a nation, the dream ended with the Treaty of Lausanne. Russia and Europe were finished with the Armenians who had failed to serve their interests.

The Armenians withdrew to a region within Soviet Russia and saw the error of their ways. The first Prime Minister of Armenia, Hovhannes Katchaznouni admitted at the ARF Party convention in Bucharest that Russians had deceived Armenians. Armenian had erred. Armenia only achieved independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In this section you will find a brief summary of the tragic events of 1915-16. Read our articles for facts about the Armenian history and issues about the Armenian conflict.

Diaspora Armenians claim that ‘historians’ accept the genocide case. There is some preposterous organization called ‘association of genocide scholars’ which does indeed endorse the Diaspora line, but who are they and what qualifications do they have? Knowing about Rwanda or Bosnia or even Auschwitz does not qualify them to discuss Anatolia in 1915, and the Ottoman specialists are by no means convinced of the ‘genocide’.

There is in fact an ‘A’ team of distinguished historians who do not accept the Diaspora line at all. In France, Gilles Veinstein, historian of Salonica and a formidable scholar, reviewed the evidence in a famous article of 1993 in L’Histoire. Back then the Armenian Diaspora were also jumping up and down about something or other, and Veinstein summed up the arguments for and against, in an admirably fair-minded way. The fact is that there is no proof of ‘genocide’, in the sense that no document ever appeared, indicating that the Armenians were to be exterminated. There is forged evidence.

Prof Dr Norman Stone, Oxford University

  • What is a "Genocide"?

    What is a “Genocide” ?

    This term refers to a well defined crime, the definition of which has been given in an international convention made after the Second World War: “the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” , approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution of December 9, 1948 and which went into effect on January 11, 1951, a convention which Turkey signed and ratified.

    3 Elements of Genocide :

    1- National, Ethnic or Religious Group :

    In the convention the definition of the crime of genocide consists of three elements: for one thing, there has to be a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

    2- Being Subjected to the Listed Acts :

    This group has to be subjected to certain acts listed in the Convention. The “murder of the members of the group, and forced transfer of the children of one group into another group and subjecting the members of a group to conditions which will eventually bring about their physical destruction” come within the range of actions listed in the said convention.

    3- There has to be “an intent” of destroying” :

    The third element is the most important: there has to be “an intent of destroying” the said group in part or in entirety. Political intents are therefore not included, because then all the wars would be regarded as “genocides”.

    This key-description helps to differentiate between genocide and other forms of homicide, which are the consequences of other motives such as in the case of wars, uprisings etc.

    Homicide becomes genocide when the latent or apparent intention of physical destruction is directed at members of any one of the national, ethnic, racial or religious groups simply because they happen to be members of that group.

    The concept of numbers only becomes significant when it can be taken as a sign of such an intention against the group. That is why, as Sartre said in speaking of genocide on the occasion of the Russell Tribunal on the Viet-Nam War, that one must study the facts objectively in order to prove if this intention exists, even in an implicit manner.

  • Background


    Even before the War the Ottoman Empire had begun to decline continuously as a result of the penetration of European colonialism, nationalism and corres- ponding warfare.

    The Russian expansionism and the winds of nationalism that blew from the West re- sulted in the disintegration of the Western provinces of the Empire and led to the inevitable weakening of the ailing Ottoman State structure.

    Nearly 4.5 million Ottoman Muslims perished from 1864 to 1922 and many more dead were never counted.

    Moreover, around 5 million Ottoman citizens were driven away from their ancestral homes in the Balkans and the Caucasus during the period of the Empire’s disintegration and found shelter in Anatolia and Istanbul.

    Armenians, as all the other people that made up the Empire, also suffered immensely. The loss of so many innocent lives and departure from ances- tral lands was a common fate.

    Even today traumatic consequences of the 1915 events continue to distress Turks and Armenians. Competing and hitherto irreconcilable narratives on the 1915 events erode the mutual empathy and self- critical assessment that is needed for reconciliation. What is required is to try to examine objectively how this tragedy happened and reveal its true historical context, including the dynamics of cause and effect, so as to reconcile Turkish and Armenians views of history.

  • How many lost their lives?

    How many lost their lives ?

    The figure of how many Armenians lost their lives changes dramatically depending on the sources. While Armenian sources claim the numbers to be around 1.5 million, the Turkish side usually claim it to be around 200 thosaunds. Prof McCarthy says the actual figure is around 500-600 thousands. But we should emphasise that millions of Muslim Ottomans were also lost their lives in WW1 and events after this war.

  • 1828 to 1914 - Russia agitates Armenian Groups

    In 1828 Russia, England and France began to actively attempt to acquire Ottoman territory.

    The Treaty of Berlin was signed in 1877 after the war between the Ottoman Empire and Russian. The treaty granted Russia and Europe the right to interfere with the internal affairs of the Ottoman Empire.

    Propagandising the Armenians, Russia deluded them with the promise of an Armenian dream; a concept which had never existed before.

    Encouraged by the Russians, Armenians founded the Dashnag and the Hunchak nationalist organisations. These groups armed the Armenians in the empire to incite an Armenian rebellion.

    The first uprising occurred in Erzurum in Anatolia.

    It was followed by other massacres, rebellions, even an attempt to assassinate the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II.

    ARF Militants before the Siege of Van

  • 1914- 1915 - WW1 , Uprisings and Relocation order

    During World War 1, Armenians enlisted in the Ottoman army defected to Russia and fought against the Turks. Their betrayal led to the Russians seizure the city of Van and many other territories in 1914.

    17 April 1915

    Armenian terrorist groups captures the biggest city in the Eastern Anatolia ; Van, slaughtering thousands of innocent Muslim civilians.

    24 April 1915
    The Empire needed to respond. To stop the Armenian rebellions and prevent the further loss of more people, the Empire arrested the leaders of Dashnak and Hunchak committees.

  • 1915 to 1918 - The Aftermath

    November 1915 – 1918
    Armenian citizens in the war zone were transported to non-combat areas. As a result of disbanding the Dashnag and Hunchak terrorist organisations, and careful precautions for the rebellions were prevented.

    In all the Armenian uprisings which endured through World War 1 until 1918 millions of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian Ottoman citizens were killed.

    Russian and Europe were finished with Armenians who had failed to serve their interests.

  • 1918 - Ottomans court martial those responsible & Malta Tribunals

    1916 – 1918

    Ottoman Government prosecuted and executed responsible the some army officials.

    Historical documents prove that the Ottoman Government not only did not intend these outrages to take place but that actuallly prosecuted the perpetrators. Officials/civilians who disobeyed the instructions of the Government to carry out the relocation in an orderly and secure way were courtmartialed and those found guilty were sentenced to capital punishment by the Government in 1916, long before the end of the First World War.

    Malta Tribunals

    More over the Entente also conducted their own trials in Malta. Russia, England and France were in charge of Malta trials. Out of hundreds of army officials, not one single of them were charged with any offence of war crimes and/or other atrocities were all acquitted of all charges.

  • 1918 to 1970 - Lausanne Treaty & Turkish Republic


    In the war’s aftermath Europe and Russia signed the Treaty of Lausanne with the newly-formed Republic of Turkey. The Armenians were given no promise of a nation, the dream in the treaty.

    The first Prime Minister of Armenia Hovhannes Katchaznouni
    admitted at the ARF party convention in Bucharest that “Russians had deceived Armenians. Armenians had erred.”

    1924 – 1970:

    Even after the war there weren’t any significant problems.

    Despite the tragedy of 1915 and the wars between Turkish and Armenian armies between 1918-1920, relations between the two people continued without any significant problem until the 1960s. However, the dynamics of cold war politics exploited bitter memories and grievances on the Armenian side. This fuelled the radicalism of certain nationalist Armenian groups, resulting in violent anti-Turkish activities.

    Armenian Terrorism

    Following the Lausanne Treaty, the ‘Armenian Question’ of “Creating an ethnicly homogenous Armenian Homeland” ceased to exist. However, the Armenians of Diaspora, clinging firmly to their allegations, unleashed a series of terrorist attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions abroad as of 1970.

    All these attacks were masterminded by ASALA for short, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. Under a mask of independence, ASALA carried out ruthless and dastardly attacks. Psychologically and logistically supported by the Hinchaks, ASALA engaged in acts of terror against Turkish diplomats, representation offices and other organizations. Armenian terrorism is a result of hatred preached against Turks in the Armenian Diaspora.

  • 1970 to 1989 - Armenian Terrorism

    1970-1989 :

    Armenian Terrorism against Turkish Diplomats (in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Lisbon etc.. )

    Painful for all Turks to remember, terrorism became a tool to get the attention of world public to Armenian claims. Over 40 Turkish diplomats and their relatives were killed in terrorist attacks from 1975 onwards by Armenian terrorists.

    This included the first terrorist attack on Australian soil with loss of life, the assassination of Mr Sarik Ariyak, Consul General of Turkey in Sydney and his security officer Mr Engin Sever by the Armenian terrorist organisation called Justice Commandoes for Armenian Genocide (JCAG) on December 17, 1980 in Sydney and car bombing of the Melbourne Consulate in 1986 by the Armenian Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorists.

    During Armenian Terrorism period 1970 -1989, the Armenian view and the genocide thesis started to be widely disseminated, at times using forged documents and photos. Significant parts of the pro-Armenian literature rested upon a highly questionable methodology for explaining population figures. Some dubious memoirs were used and repeatedly crossreferenced in order to build up a case for genocide recognition.


    Turkish Australians acknowledge the massacres of Ottoman Armenians, while they also remember the deaths of over 1.1 million Ottoman Muslims who perished in eastern Anatolia under similar conditions.

    The Turkish community believe, however, that the Armenian Tragedy does not constitute genocide.  For this, they rely on the findings of experts on Ottoman history, the vast majority of whom do not accept the Armenian allegation of genocide, such as Bernard Lewis, Guenter Lewy, Andrew Mango, Avigdor Levy, Stanford Shaw, Masaki Kakiszaki, David Fromkin, Norman Stone, Edward Erickson, Heath Lowry, and Justin McCarthy, to list just a few notables.


    More over, the following 69 prominent historians in the United States do all agree that the events of 1915 do not constitute a genocide. 

    1. RIFAAT ABOU-EL-HAJ  –  Prof. of History, California State University at Long Beach
    2. RODERIC DAVISON  – Prof. of History, George Washington University
    3. SARAH MOMENT ATIS – Prof. of Turkish Language & Literature, University of Wisconsin at Madison
    4. WALTER DENNY – Prof. of Art History Associate & Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts
    5. KARL BARBIR  – Associate Prof. of History, Siena College (New York)
    6. DR. ALAN DUBEN  – Anthropologist, Researcher, NYC
    7. ILHAN BASGOZ  – Director of the Turkish Studies Program at the Department of Ural-Altaic Studies, Indiana University
    8. ELLEN ERVIN  – Research Assistant Prof. of Turkish, New York University
    9. DANIEL G. BATES  – Prof. of Anthropology, Hunter College, City University of New York
    10. CAESAR FARAH  – Prof. of Islamic & Middle Eastern History, University of Minnesota
    11. ULKU BATES  – Prof. of Art History, Hunter College, City University of New York
    12. CARTER FINDLEY  – Associate Prof. of History, The Ohio State University
    13. GUSTAV BAYERLE  – Prof. of Uralic & Altaic Studies, Indiana University
    14. MICHAEL FINEFROCK  – Prof. of History, College of Charleston
    15. ANDREAS G. E. BODROGLIGETTI  – Prof. of Turkic & Iranian languages, University of California at LA
    16. ALAN FISHER  – Prof. of History, Michigan State University
    17. KATHLEEN BURRILL  – Associate Prof. of Turkish Studies, Columbia University
    18. CORNELL FLEISCHER  – Assistant Prof. of History, Washington University (Missouri)
    19. TIMOTHY CHILDS  – Prof., Lecturer at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
    20. PETER GOLDEN  – Prof. of History, Rutgers University, Newark
    21. SHAFIGA DAULET  – Associate Prof. of Political Science, University of Connecticut
    22. TOM GOODRICH  – Prof. of History, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    23. JUSTIN McCARTHY  – Prof. of History, University of Louisville
    24. ANDREW COULD  – Ph.D. in Ottoman History, Flagstaff, Arizona
    25. JON MANDAVILLE  – Prof. of the History of the Middle East, Portland State University, Oregon
    26. MICHAEL MEEKER  – Prof. of Anthropology, University of California at San Diego
    27. RHOADS MURPHEY  – Assistant Prof. of Middle Eastern Languages, Cultures & History, Columbia University
    28. THOMAS NAFF  – Prof. of History & Director, Middle East Research Institute University of Pennsylvania
    29. PIERRE OBERLING  – Prof. of History, Hunter College of the City University of New York
    30. WILLIAM OCHSENWALD  – Associate Prof. of History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
    31. ROBERT OLSON  – Associate Prof. of History, University of Kentucky
    32. WILLIAM PEACHY  – Assistant Prof. of the Judaic, Near Eastern Languages & Literatures, Ohio State University
    33. HOWARD REED  – Prof. of History, University of Connecticut
    34. WILLIAM GRISWOLD  – Prof. of History, Colorado State University
    35. TIBOR HALASI-KUN  – Prof. Emeritus of Turkish Studies, Columbia University.
    36. WILLIAM HICKMAN  – Associate Prof. of Turkish, University of California at Berkeley
    37. J. C. HUREWITZ  – Prof. of Government, Emeritus Former Director of the Middle East Institute, Columbia University
    38. JOHN HYMES  – Prof. of History, Glenville State College, West Virginia
    39. HALIL INALCIK  – Un. Prof. of Ottoman History, Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, University of Chicago
    40. RALPH JAECKEL – Visiting Assistant Prof. of Turkish, University of California at Los Angeles
    41. RONALD JENNINGS  – Associate Prof. of History & Asian Studies, University of Illinois
    42. JAMES KELLY  – Assoc. Prof. of Turkish, University of Utah
    43. KERIM KEY  – Adjunct Prof., Southeastern University, Washington, D.C.
    44. DANKWART RUSTOW  – Distinguished Un. Prof. of Political Science, City University Graduate School, NYC
    45. ELAINE SMITH  – Ph.D. in Turkish History, Retired Foreign Service Officer, Washington, D.C.
    46. STANFORD SHAW  – Prof. of History, University of California at Los Angeles
    47. EZEL KURAL SHAW  – Associate Prof. of History, California State University, Northridge
    48. METIN KUNT  – Prof. of Ottoman History, NYC
    49. FREDERICK LATIMER  – Associate Prof. of History Retired, University of Utah
    50. AVIGDOR LEVY  – Prof. of History, Brandeis University
    51. BERNARD LEWIS  – Cleveland E. Dodge Prof. of Near Eastern History, Princeton University
    52. DR. HEATH W. LOWRY  – Prof. of Ottoman History, Princeton University
    53. GRACE M. SMITH  – Visiting Lecturer in Turkish, University of California at Berkeley
    54. JOHN MASSON SMITH, JR.  – Prof. of History, UC Berkeley
    55. DR. SVAT SOUCEK  – Turcologist, New York City
    56. ROBERT STAAB  – Assistant Director of the Middle East Center, University of Utah
    57. JUNE STARR  – Associate Prof. of Anthropology, SUNY Stony Brook
    58. JAMES STEWART-ROBINSON  – Prof. of Turkish Studies, University of Michigan
    59. DR. PHILIP STODDARD  – Executive Director, Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C.
    60. FRANK TACHAU  – Prof. of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
    61. METIN TAMKOC  – Prof. of International Law and Regulations, Texas Tech University
    62. DAVID THOMAS  – Associate Prof. of History, Rhode Island College
    63. MARGARET L. VENZKE  – Assistant Prof. of History, Dickinson College (Pennsylvania)
    64. WARREN S. WALKER  – Home Prof. of English & Director of the Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative,Texas Tech University
    65. DONALD WEBSTER  – Prof. of Turkish History, Retired
    66. WALTER WEIKER  – Prof. of Political Science, Rutgers University
    67. JOHN WOODS  – Associate Prof. of Middle Eastern History, University of Chicago
    68. MADELINE ZILFI  – Associate Prof. of History, University of Maryland

FACTS about the EVENTS OF 1915

  • FACT 1: Demographic studies prove that prior to World War I fewer than 1.5 million Armenians lived in the entire Ottoman Empire. Thus, allegations that more than 1.5 million Armenians from eastern Anatolia died must be false.

    Figures reporting the pre-World War I Armenian population vary widely, with Armenian sources claiming far more than others. British, French and Ottoman sources give total figures of 1.05-1.50 million. Only certain Armenian sources claim a pre-war population larger than 1.50 million. Comparing these to post-war figures yields a rough estimate of losses. Boghos Nubar, head of the Armenian delegation at the Paris Peace Con- ference in 1920, noted that significant numbers survived the war. He dec- lared that after the war 280,000 Armenians remained in the Anatolian por- tion of the occupied Ottoman Empire while 700,000 Armenians had emig- rated to other countries. Historian and demographer, Dr. Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, calculates the actual losses as slightly less than 600,000. This figure agrees with those provided by British historian Arnold Toynbee, French missionary, Monseigneur Touchet, and others.

  • FACT 2: Over 2.5 million Muslims died during the same period from similar causes.

    Armenians suffered a high mortality. But one must likewise consider the number of non-Christian dead. The statistics tell us that more than 2.5 million Anatolian Muslims also perished. Thus, the years 1912-1922 constitute a horrible period for humanity, not just for Armenians. Documents of the time describe intercommunal violence, forced migration of all ethnic groups, disease, and famine as causes of death.

  • FACT 3: Armenian Lobby's evidence of genocide is derived from dubious and prejudicial sources.

    Armenian Lobby purportd that the wartime propaganda of the enemies of the Ottoman Empire constitutes objective evidence. Oft-quoted Ambassador Henry Morgenthau stated in correspondence with President Wilson that he intended to uncover or manufacture news that would goad the U.S. into joi- ning the war, and thus he sought to malign the Ottoman Empire, an enemy of the Triple Entente. Moreover, Morgenthau relied on politically motivated Ar- menians; his primary aid, translator and confidant was Arshag Schma- vonian, his secretary was Hagop Andonian. Morgenthau professed that the Turks were an inferior race. Thus, his accounts can hardly be considered objective.

  • FACT 4: The Armenian deaths do not constitute genocide.

    A. Boghos Nubar’s remarks

    Boghos Nubar addressed a letter to the Times of London on January 30,1919 confirming that the Armenians were indeed belligerents in World War I. He stated with pride,

    “In the Caucasus, without mentioning the 150,000 Armenians in the Russian armies, about 50,000 Armenian volunteers under Andranik, Mazarbekoff, and others not only fought for four years for the cause of the Entente, but after the breakdown of Russia they were the only forces in the Caucasus to resist the advance of the Turks….”

    Between 1893 and 1915 Ottoman Armenians in eastern Anatolia rebelled against their government -the Ottoman government — and joined Armenian revolutionary groups, such as the notorious Dashnaks and Hunchaks. They spearheaded a massive Russian invasion of Eastern Anatolia. On November 5, 1914, the President of the Armenian National Bureau in Tblisi declared to Czar Nicholas II,

    “From all countries Armenians are hurrying to enter the ranks for the glorious Russian Army, with their blood to serve the victory of Russian arms.”

    In the service of the Russians, traitorous Armenians massacred over 60,000 Muslims in the city of Van alone.

    B. Allegation of genocide is illogical

    The allegation of genocide is illogical. In the words of eminent historian Bernard Lewis, speaking to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on January 23,1998,

    “The Armenians want to benefit from both worlds. On the one hand, they speak with pride of their struggle against Ottoman despotism, while on the other hand they compare their tragedy to the Jewish Holocaust. I do not accept this. I do not say that the Armenians did not suffer terribly. But I find enough cause for me to contain their attempts to use the Armenian massacres to diminish the worth of the Jewish Holocaust and to relate to it instead as an ethnic dispute.” (translation)


    None of the Ottoman orders commanding the relocation of Armenians, which have been reviewed by historians to date, orders killings. To the contrary, they order Ottoman officials to protect relocated Armenians. Unfortunately, where Ottoman control was weak, Armenian relocatees suffered most. The stories of the time give examples of columns of hun- dreds of Armenians guarded by as few as two Ottoman gendarmes. When local Muslims attacked the columns, Armenians were robbed and killed.

    These Muslims had themselves suffered greatly at the hands of Armenians and Russians. Conversely,where Ottoman control was strong, Armenians went unharmed. In Istanbul and other major Western Anatolian cities, large populations of Armenians remained throughout the war, their churches open.

    D. Legally impossible

    The term “genocide” did not exist prior to 1944. It was later defined quite specifically by the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide. The standard of proof in establishing the crime of genocide is formidable given the severity of the crime, the opportunity for overlap with other crimes, and the stigma of being charged with or found guilty of the crime.

    While presenting the Convention for ratification, the Secretary General of the U.N. emphasized that genocide is a crime of “specific intent,” requiring conclusive proof that members of a group were targeted simply because they were members of that group. The Secretary General further cautioned that those merely sharing political aims are not protected by the convention.

    Under this standard of proof, the Armenian Lobby’s claim of genocide fails. First, no direct evidence has been discovered demonstrating that any Ottoman official sought the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians as such. Second, Ottoman Armenian revolutionaries confessedly waged war against their own government. Under these circumstances, it was the Ottoman Armenians’ violent political alliance with the Russian forces, not their ethnic or religious identity, which rendered them subject to the relocation.

  • FACT 5: The British convened the Malta Tribunal to try Ottoman officials for crimes against Armenians. All of the accused were acquitted.

    In 1919 The British High Commission in Istanbul, utilizing Armenian informants, arrested 144 high Ottoman officials and deported them to the island of Malta for trial on charges of harming Armenians. While the deportees were interned in Malta, the British appointed an Armenian scholar, Mr. Haig Khazarian, to conduct a thorough examination of the Ottoman, British, and U.S. archives to substantiate the charges. Though granted complete access to all records, Khazarian’s corps of investigators discovered an utter lack of evidence demonstrating that the Ottoman officials either sanctioned or encouraged killings of Armenians. The British Procurator General exonerated and released all 144 detainees – – after two years and four months of detention without trial. No compensation was ever paid to the detainees.

  • FACT 6: Despite the acquittals by the Malta Tribunal, Armenian terrorists have engaged in a vigilante war that continues today.

    In 1921, a secret Armenian network, named Nemesis, took the law into its own hands and hunted down and assassinated several former Ottoman Ministers, among them Talat Pasha and Jemal Pasha. Following in Nemesis’ footsteps, during the 1970’s and 1980’s the Armenian terrorist groups ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia) and JCAG (Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide) committed over 230 armed attacks, killing 71 innocent people, including 31 Turkish diplomats, and seriously wounding over 520 people in a campaign of blood revenge.

  • FACT 7: The Holocaust bears no meaningful relation to the Ottoman Armenian experience.

    1. Jews did not demand land and rioted

    Jews neither demanded the dismemberment of the nations in which they had lived nor did they kill their fellow citizens. By contrast, Ottoman Armenians openly agitated for a separate state in lands in which they were numerically inferior. With determination they committed mass treason, and took up arms against their government. They also massacred local Muslim and Jewish civilians.

    2. Nuremberg vs. Malta Tribunals

    The guilt of the perpetrators of the Holocaust was proven at Nuremberg. By contrast, those alleged to have been responsible for the maladministration of the relocation policies were exonerated at Malta by the World War I victors.

    3. Hitler did not refer to the Armenians

    Hitler did not refer to the Armenians in plotting the Final Solution; the infamous quote is fraudulent. For this reason it was rejected as evidence by the Nuremberg tribunal.

    4. Armenians collaborated with Nazis

    Armenians collaborated with the Nazis, forming the 812th Battalion of the [Nazi] Wehrmacht, and its successor, the Armenian legion. Armenians published Anti-Jewish, pro-Nazi propaganda in the Armenian-language Hairenik daily and the Armenian weekly journal.

    The depth and volume of scholarship on the Holocaust is tremendous. By contrast, much about the late Ottoman Empire has yet to be learned and many conclusions have yet to be drawn.

Hope for Reconciliation?

Turks and Armenians should work to rebuild their historical friendship without forgetting the difficult periods in their common past. It needs to be remembered that, despite the events of World War I, until the Armenian assassination and PR campaigns began in the early 1970s, Armenians and Turks were very close to each other on the social level and that indeed they still are in some expatriate communities.

Turkish PM offered condolences for the atrocities

On April 24th, 2014 for the first time in Turkish Republic’s history a PM extended condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives in 1915. While the West and Armenians in Turkey have welcomed the statement, Armenia and the extremist Armenian Lobby did not seem satisfied. The statement was made in 8 languages which included Armenian. ANC Australia called the historic statement “genocide denial in action” and continued its anti-reconciliation views.

Proposal for joint commission :

Believing that this is possible, Turkey also proposed the establishment of a joint commission composed of Turkish and Armenian historians, and other international experts, to study the events of 1915 in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and third countries. The findings of the commission might bring about a fuller and fairer understanding of this tragic period on both sides and hopefully contribute to normalization between Turks and Armenians.

Armenian Lobby is stifling the “debate”

Individual Turks and Armenians share a common Anatolian and Ottoman heritage and most aspects of its culture, even language. This may be the reason why today’s Armenian radical opponents of Turkey insist on not having contacts of any sort with Turks or Turkey: they are trying to sever this heritage of mutual acceptance and shared heritage.

Reconciliation is a “must”

But in the endeavor to overcome historical and political bitterness, all sides must be honest and open-minded. A process of true dialogue, learning to respect the respect through familiarity and empathy may well be possible. Could that not help

Turkish and Armenian narratives come closer around a “just memory”? other side’s truths, gradually building up.

The issue is not whether the massacres happened or not, but rather if these massacres were as a result of a deliberate preconceived decision of the Ottoman Government, there is no evidence for such a decision.
On the contrary, there is considerable evidence of attempt to prevent it, which were not very successful. Yes there were tremendous massacres, the numbers are very uncertain but a million may well be likely, and that because of this and other significant differences between the Armenian massacres and the Holocaust, parallels are rather absurd.

Prof Dr Bernard Lewis , Princeton University

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