by Maxime Gauine
The Young Turks’ Crime against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire
TANER AKÇAM, 2012
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
528 pp., US$ 37.80 (hb), ISBN-10: 0691159564, ISBN-13: 978-0691159560
Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 2015, Vol. 35, No. 1, 141–157 DOWNLOAD THE PDF COPY HERE
After a presentation of what he considers as the relevant context (the Ottoman archives,
Balkan wars and their aftermath, “ethnic cleansing” against the Greeks), Taner Akçam
bases his “demonstration” primarily on Ottoman and German sources to “prove” that
a “genocidal” decision was taken by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) leadership
in March 1915, after discussion with the German government, and carried out
during the war, mostly during the years 1915 and 1916, not only by massacres and deportations
but also by “forced assimilation” of women and children. Taner Akçam finishes
by a chapter consisting in a strident response to some arguments developed by both
Turkish and non-Turkish historians who have criticized the “Armenian genocide”
label (especially the exemptions of relocation, the issue of the Special Organization and
the punishment of Muslim criminals from 1915 to 1917).
Taner Akçam’s previous book in English, A Shameful Act (New York: Metropolitan
Books, 2006), contained numerous typographical and factual errors. 1 Such flaws
appear once again in The Young Turks’ the present book under review. For instance,
even the name of the important Turkish city of Erzurum in eastern Anatolia is not in
the index and other examples are provided below. Correspondingly, the style of this
book —especially in the last chapter— does not present the desirable precision and impartiality
needed for a scholarly work. The book’s argument aside, it bases itself on a limited
range of primary sources. It is apparent that Taner Akçam did not conduct any research
in the British archives. Instead, he only used published documents and photocopies provided
by his mentor, the sociologist Vahakn N. Dadrian. For instance, the work is lacking
any discussion on the important investigations of 144 former Ottoman officials interned
in Malta between 1919 and 1921, upon which the British prosecutor and his assistants
concluded that there was no evidence against any of them.2 Furthermore, Taner
Akçam did not make any use of the French archives, not even the compilations published
years ago by Arthur Beylerian and Hasan Dilan.3 In addition, Taner Akçam did not use at
all the Russian archives,4 or the Bristol papers at the Library of Congress, and even the
Dashnak archives in Watertown, Massachusetts. Along these lines of selective research,
Taner Akçam makes no reference at all to secondary sources by historians such as
F. Ata, Yücel Güçlü, Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Andrew Mango, Jeremy Salt, Stanford
Jay Shaw, Salâhi Sonyel, Gilles Veinstein and Robert Zeidner, not even to challenge
These deficiencies may point at Taner Akçam’s tendentious approach. The virulent
manner in which he presents Guenter Lewy —an Emeritus professor of political
science at Massachusetts University and Holocaust survivor who successfully sued for
defamation those who had accused him to have received money from Turkey 5 as
belonging in the category of the “denialist industry” (p. 411) reveals a purpose that
extends beyond scholarly objectives. Similarly, the book suffers from an imbalanced
view of history. While it is dedicated to the murder of the journalist Hrant Dink, it
neglects to mention, let alone asses the significance of the preceding barrage of Armenian
terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s, which took the lives of more than 70 Turks and others.6
Even more disconcerting is the fact that Mr Akçam’s book offers no reference to the
development of the Armenian revolutionary parties, their provocation strategy during
the 1890s 7 and in 1909,8 their assassinations of loyalist Armenians 9 or their devastating
policies after 1918. 10 Also, the book shows no recognition of the Armenian contribution
to the CUP administrations, before and after 1914. 11 The only element of framework is a
clearly inaccurate description of the Balkan wars and their aftermath —previously present
in the Turkish version of the book and already criticized.12
The goal of this paper is to survey the methods used by Akçam in this book, and offer
readers an opportunity to assess whether these methods are suitable for academic literature.
Use of False Documents
One of the most disturbing aspects of Young Turks is that Taner Akçam’s search for “evidence”
of a “genocidal intent” against the Ottoman Armenians leads him to use more
than questionable sources. On page 197, he relies on the so-called Ten Commands,
attributed to the CUP leadership. Canadian historian Gwynne Dyer has demonstrated,
as early as 1973 during a debate with Christopher J. Walker, that this “document” is
apocryphal.13 Since then, Mr Walker—who still applies the “Armenian genocide” label
—has carefully refrained from using the “Ten Commands”. In addition, Donald
Bloxham, who sides with the “genocide” charge against the CUP, has stated that this
“document” is “probably a fake”.14 On the other side of the debate, Stanford Jay Shaw
provided additional data in 2000 to corroborate Gwynne Dyer’s findings. 15 However,
Mr Akçam does not acknowledge the scholarly dialog in the field of study; instead, he
merely refers to a paper by Vahakn N. Dadrian (p. 197, n.130) whose own work on
the document is highly questionable 16 and whose translation of it is not entirely accurate.
Correspondingly, Taner Akçam also bases his claims on the “Andonian documents”.
In 2001, he had argued rightfully: “there are important grounds for considering these
documents fake”. 18 Also, in his current book, he says that “a reexamination of the validity
of the Andonian telegrams” is “necessary” (p. 254), but then he uses one of the fake documents
of Andonian without qualification (p. 272), as if the authenticity was beyond any
reasonable doubt. Akçam does not provide any rebuttal of the studies that have shown the
“Andonian documents” to be fakes. 19 He freely discusses their content, in utter disregard
for the work brought forth by scholars to demonstrate that these are forged telegrams.
He only tries to find few sources which are supposed to corroborate the content of the
“telegrams” published by Andonian. Not only this would be not a convincing argument
even if true, but also Akçam deliberately distorts these sources.
He writes that a “letter” quoted by Ahmet Emin Yalman in his book Turkey in the World
War presents “similarities” with those attributed to Sakir by Andonian (p. 136). The
problem is that Yalman does not reproduce any “letter”, but only mentions, without
any reference, a rumor about some CUP leaders, and without even giving their
names. 20 Correspondingly, on p. 254, n. 90, Taner Akçam affirms that the content of one
Andonian “telegram” is “nearly identical to those of Talat Pasha’s directive of 29 August
1915 to all provinces”. Margaret Lavinia Anderson enthusiastically endorses this argument:
“Indeed, the contents of one of the telegrams published in 1919 by Aram Andonian,
mocked as forgeries by spokesmen for the Turkish Republic, ‘are nearly identical
to those of Talat’s […] directive to all provinces of 29 August 1915’, which Akçam
found in the Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archives. ”21
In fact, the fake documents published by Andonian (in 1920 and 1921, not in 1919) are
considered to be forgeries not only by “spokesmen of the Turkish Republic” but also by
many non-Turkish scholars of various stances.22 Even some supporters of the “Armenian
genocide” label consider the “Andonian documents” to be dubious.23 It is also dubious
that Mr Akçam “found” the authentic telegram of Talat Pasha in the Ottoman archives,
because this document has been published (and translated) several times since 1983,
before Young Turks’, including in a book specifically devoted to showing Andonian-published
false documents. Moreover, the content of the telegram radically contradicts,
rather than confirms, Andonian’s fabrication (my emphasis):
Objective of the transfer of the Armenians from the places they are currently
living to the certain determined regions is to prevent their attempts and activities
against the government and to render them unable to pursue their national goal
of establishing an Armenian government. Since there is no intention like the complete
destruction of the Armenians it is absolutely necessary to protect the lives of the
individuals being transferred in convoys and to take every measure to provide
their food supplies regularly during their travel, the cost of which to be met
from the immigrants fund. It is also necessary for the government that, with
the exclusion of those who were decided to be relocated, the Armenians, particularly
the families of the army members, as mentioned in the previous
notice, as well as artisans and those belonging to the Protestant and Catholic
sects will be left at their current place of residence. About those who attack
the convoys and seize their properties and dare to rape the Armenians by
acting on bestial instincts, as well as the officials and gendarme members who
act as the initiator of such acts, the legal investigation shall be started immediately
for their severe punishment, without showing any mercy on them. Such
officials shall be immediately dismissed from the service and brought before
the military court. Furthermore, their names should be reported. In case
similar attacks are repeated, the administration of the province where such
attacks occur shall be held responsible.24
Misrepresentation of Key Sources
When the sources are not forged, Taner Akçam is found distorting the meaning of key
sources in order to provide evidence for the “genocide” charge.
Falsifying Talat Pasha’s Words
Taner Akçam argues that the telegram dispatched by Talat Pasha to Ankara’s province on
29 August 1915 is the remarkable evidence that “the policies adopted against the Armenians
were aiming at their annihilation” (pp. 203–204). Interestingly, in an inaccurate
translation, Akçam quotes only the two first sentences of this text: “The Armenian issue in the Eastern Provinces has been resolved. There is no need to sully the nation and
the government[’s honor] with further atrocities.” Taner Akçam’s replacement of context
with his own speculations distorts the meaning of the full telegram. Reading the full and
accurate text of the document is enlightening (my emphasis):
The Armenian issue pertaining to the Eastern provinces has been solved. Therefore,
there is no need to harm the reputation of our nation and government by
conducting unnecessary cruelties. Particularly the recent attack conducted on
the Armenians at a place close to Ankara has caused great regret of the Ministry,
considering its way of occurring, the obvious incompetence of the officials
charged with supervising the transfer of Armenians, and audacity on part of
the gendarmes and the local people who acted on their bestial instincts to
rape and rob the Armenians. The transfer of Armenians, which is desired to
be carried out in an orderly and prudent manner, should henceforth never be
left to the individuals having fanatical feelings of enmity, and that the Armenians,
whether or not they are subject to relocation, will be definitely protected against any
assault and attack. At the places where such a protection could not be provided,
the transfer of Armenians should be postponed. From now on, all of the officials
in charge shall be held responsible with respect to their ranks for any attack,
which may occur and shall be brought before the military courts. It is necessary
to give very strict orders to the relevant personnel in this regard. 25
Instead of proving any “genocidal” design on the part of Talat Pasha, this document
might actually prove the reverse. Although Akçam’s distortion has been publicized at
least on three separate platforms, he has shown no interest in offering a rebuttal. 26
There is another misrepresentation of Talat Pasha’s words that cannot be detected by
readers for whom Taner Akçam is the only source of information. Claims that the note
sent by the Minister of Interior Talat Pasha to the Grand Vizier Sait Halim on 26 May
1915 “has never been completely translated into modern Turkish” are false. 27 Furthermore,
Taner Akçam cherry picks which parts of the several paragraphs contained in
the document he wishes to share with his readers. This is not a random choice, for it
allows him to claim that the document is
the clearest possible refutation of the official Turkish version of the events of
1915, which insists that the policies toward the Armenians were the result of
the wartime exigencies. On the contrary, Unionist policy was aimed at resolving
the issue of Armenian reforms in a definitive manner. (pp. 136–137)
However, access to the full document would reveal that the relocation of Armenians was
decided upon as a measure against “armed attacks on security forces and armed uprisings”.
The text also states the following (my emphasis):
Unfortunately, while the means to bring about a final solution to this problem
[by reforms] is being worked out, some of the Armenians living in places
close to the battlefields have recently become involved in activities aimed at
creating difficulties for our army in its fight against the enemy to protect the
Ottoman borders. Those Armenians are trying to impede the operations of
the army, and the transfer of supply and ammunition. They are combining
their aspirations and activities with those of the enemy’s and are fighting
against us in the ranks of the enemy. Within the country, they dare to carry
out armed attacks against the military forces and the innocent civilians, to become involved in acts of murder, looting and plundering in the Ottoman
cities and towns, to provide supplies to the enemy’s navy and to inform them
of the places with fortified posts. The conduct of such rebel elements has rendered
it necessary to remove them from the area of military operations and to evacuate the
villages serving as operational bases and shelters for the rebels.
It bears noting that the allusion to the reforms proposed in 1914 is only incidental and not
the reason given by Talat Pasha for the relocation decision.
Taner Akçam also removes the reference to the protection of relocated Armenians,
especially the following:
A decision has been taken to ensure the comfort of those subjects on their way to
places allocated for their resettling. To ensure the subjects arrival at the resettlement
places, and facilitate their rest, and protect of their live [sic.] and properties
on their journey. 28
By every aspect, this letter by Talat Pasha may serve as a clear refutation of Taner
The third main instance of complete inversion of the meaning of Talat Pasha’s words
by Taner Akçam is his misuse of the telegram sent by the Ottoman Minister of Interior on
22 July 1915 (p. 210). Once again, Mr Akçam bases his speculations on few words while
cutting out the most relevant part of the source:
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to enforce the public security in a firm
manner on the border of the province, and especially on the route of the Armenian
convoys, and to avoid any delay in the military transportation and dispatch.
The results of the measures which would be taken should be reported. 29
In addition to the fake “Ten Commands”, Taner Akçam relies on two key sources to
“prove” that the “genocide” decision was made in March 1915 and discussed by the
German government: the Memoirs of Halil Mentese and of Arif Cemil Denker. Four
years before the publication of Young Turks’ Crime, Hilmar Kaiser, a supporter of the
“Armenian genocide” label, protested against Mr Akçam’s misquotation (in A Shameful
Act) of Mentese’s Memoirs: the book “says exactly the opposite” of what Taner Akçam
affirms. It says: Taner Akçam’s use of Turkish sources “is totally unscholarly”. 30 Once
again, this criticism was completely unanswered and the same manipulation of the
source is repeated in Young Turks’ Crime, in an even less sophisticated form than in A
Shameful Act. Indeed, Taner Akçam pretends (p. 184):
On March 18 , foreign minister Halil Mentese traveled to Berlin for talks
with the German government on the Armenian deportation. (Finance minister
Cavit Bey, who opposed Ottoman entry into the war, was also in Berlin at this
time but was not trusted in the Armenian matter.) Upon returning at Istanbul,
Mentese was welcomed at the train station by Talat, who greeted him thus: ‘Tell
me, dear Halil, what did you discuss in Berlin regarding the deportation of
On the same page, Mr Akçam affirms: “all this information was reported by Mentese
himself” in his Memoirs. Firstly, Halil Mentese was not, in March (or even later in
spring) 1915, the Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs. He took his position in October; in March, he was still the president of the National Assembly. Secondly, and
more important, Taner Akçam’s summary is, as pointed by Hilmar Kaiser, a complete
inversion of the sense of Mentese’s account. Indeed, the president of the Ottoman
National Assembly does not pretend at all that he was sent to Berlin “for talks with the
German government on the Armenian deportation”. He explains that the goal of his
trip was the supply to the Ottoman Empire of German products through the Balkans.
Nowhere does this Ottoman leader pretend that “Finance minister Cavit Bey was not
trusted in the Armenian matter.” Correspondingly, Mentese does not mention any conversation
about the Armenian issue with the German officials. Right after the question
“Dear Halil, tell me what you spoke in Berlin for this Armenian relocation?” Mentese
quotes the reaction of Talat Pasha to his response:
Dear Halil, I wronged you unfairly. If Halil comes, he would influence my moral
matters, I decided: let me finish this work and let him come after that, it turns
out I was mistaken.
And just after these lines, at the same page, Mentese explains that “one morning” after
this conversation (the date are not provided, but it must be at the beginning of
summer 1915), Talat Pasha told him how sad he was, learning by the governor of
Erzurum that some convoys of relocated Armenians have been attacked. 31 A checking
in the Memoirs of the president of the Ottoman National Assembly clearly shows that:
. This leader was not sent to Berlin to discuss the Armenian relocation, quite the
- . The goal of the relocation was not “genocide”.
One may find that in his treatment of Arif Cemil Denker’s Memoirs (p. 183), Akçam was
trying to offer a more subtle version of Dadrian’s work: 32
There is a strong possibility for that the final decisions to eliminate the Armenian
population were made during discussions held in Istanbul at the end of
March. As a result of these discussions, ‘it was decided in Istanbul that, while
the Special Organization concerned itself with matters concerning [the country’s] foreign enemies, Bahaeddin Sakir Bey would occupy himself with the
country’s internal enemies.’ In other words, Bahaeddin Sakir was entrusted
with the task of destroying the empire’s Armenian population.
The fact remains, however, that Taner Akçam’s summary is selective, and thereby misleading.
There is nothing in Denker’s Memoirs to suggest that Sakir was in charge of
any “destruction of the Armenian population”. Denker actually wrote:
In Istanbul now, Dr. Bahattin Sakir Bey has decided to concentrate on the country’s
internal enemies by abandoning the Special Organization’s affairs related to
This was because Dr. Bahattin Sakir Bey has witnessed many facts during the
period of four-five months he has spent in Erzurum and at different points of
the Caucasian front. The attitudes the Armenians have taken against Turkey
and the assistance they provided to the Russian army have convinced him
[Bahattin Sakir] that it was necessary to fear the internal enemies as much as
the external ones. The Armenians inside through formation of bands were
threatening the rear of our army and were trying to cut our lines of retreat. (…..) In İstanbul Dr. Bahattin Sakir Bey was busy with discussing the precautions
to be taken to save the army from a grave danger by placing these [documents] to
the attention of the CUP’s Central Committee. These discussions finally
resulted in the formulation of Relocation Law. When Dr. Bahattin Sakir Bey
returned to the Caucasian front after a while, the new situation had completely
come into existence. But again we will pass on without touching these matters.
Because the issue of the Armenians’ relocation was completely out of the O.S.’s scope.33
There is quite a big difference between “precautions to be taken” and “destroying” a
whole ethnic group; and there is no basis in the context to affirm that the discussions
gave any responsibility to Sakir: on the contrary, it appears as a personal initiative. In
addition, Denker’s Memoirs contradict two fundamental allegations of Taner Akçam:
the alleged role of the Special Organization in the Armenian relocations34 and the supposedly
negligible importance of the insurrections in the decision-making which eventually
led to the relocation decision.
In any case, pretending that a general decision regarding the Armenian problem was
taken by the Ottoman leadership before May 1915 is in contradiction with the information
contained in the Ottoman archives. Indeed, as late as 2 May 1915, Enver sent
a letter to Talat Pasha, advocating the removal of the Armenians from Van and Bitlis provinces,
and “to either send these Armenians and their families to Russia, or to disperse
them within Anatolia”. This extremely important document proves that, at the beginning
of 2 May 1915, no decision was yet taken about the future scope of the relocation, and the
place where the relocated Armenians should be forced to go was not even fixed, too. 35
Exaggeration of Selected and Questionable Material
Not unlike in his previous books, Taner Akçam heavily relies on the accounts of trials that
took place in front of courts-martial in İstanbul, during the years 1919 and 1920.
However, the justice issued by these courts-martial was subject to political considerations,
and may not be discussed responsibly and accurately without recognizing the conditions
in which they were set. Indeed, the Entente libérale (Liberal Union), reconstituted
in 1910–1911 under British and Greek sponsorship, 36 came back to power in March
1919 as a British initiative. In the words of the liaison officer of the French High Commissioner,
lieutenant-colonel Louis Mougin, “l’Entente libérale est leur chose”. 37
The Damat Ferit Pasa government had chosen an unconstitutional procedure against
the former CUP ministers: instead of putting them on trial in front of the High Court, it
took place in front of a court-martial; according to the Ottoman Constitution, only the
High Court was competent for the crimes committed by the members of cabinet in the
exercise of their functions. Such an unconstitutional (and so, without legal value from
the beginning) procedure was chosen because it deprived the indicted CUP leaders of
the right to be assisted by a lawyer during the investigation, and banned the right of
cross-examination of the witnesses and “documents” introduced by the prosecutor
during the trial. 38
In April 1920, Damat Ferit even suppressed the right of the defendants to hire a lawyer,
at any moment, even during the trial. 39 Taner Akçam does not discuss these conditions.
In a previous article, he reiterated Vahakn N. Dadrian’s argument, pretending that the
Ottoman military law was the same as the French law. 40 Mr Akçam, who does not
speak any French and has no degree in law, is at least mistaken. The right to be assisted
by a lawyer during the investigation was definitely established in France by the Constans Act, on 8 December 1897, 41 more than 20 years before the first trial in İstanbul (and this
right already existed in the Paris tribunal at least since the circular of the general prosecutor,
in 1884) 42 . For the trial, this same right was established a long time prior to that, in
The first prosecutor of the ministers’ trial was removed in May 1919 by the Damat
Ferit cabinet as a result of his “incompetence” 44 and one of the main presiding judges,
Nemrut Mustafa Pasa (a Kurd actively involved in Kurdish nationalist activities during
the 1920s), was sentenced in December 1920 for abuses. 45 Among the indicted ministers,
there was even Oskan Mardikian, an Armenian and a member of the CUP, minister
of the posts, telephones and telegraphs from 1913 to 1914. 46 In January 1921, most of the
sentences pronounced between April and October 1920 were overruled in appeal, and in
March 1922, the last Ottoman government had to admit, after an investigation, serious
irregularities in the conduct of the 1919–1920 trials. 47 That is probably for such
reasons that the Entente’s representatives in İstanbul were generally skeptical, not to say
worse, vis-à-vis these trials, as early as 1919. On 1 August 1919, Admiral Calthorpe,
the British High Commissioner, forwarded to London a memorandum of the Armeno-
Greek section of his staff, saying that, since May, the trials were “proving to be a farce
and injurious to our own prestige and to that of the Turkish government”. 48
The original records of the proceedings are lost. Current studies of the courts-martial
are based on partial accounts of the trials and verdicts, and copies of documents published
in İstanbul newspapers. These newspapers were submitted to censorship, and
the French military in İstanbul complained several times about unsubstantiated
rumors and selective information published by at least some of these newspapers. 49
Regarding the editor of the Entente libérale’s newspaper, Alemdar, to which Taner
Akçam makes several references in Young Turks’, lieutenant-colonel Mougin wrote he
was “a tinhorn”, an “English agent” and even an “accomplice of the Armenian intrigues”.
In the style of his previous publications, 51 and much like other authors with whom he
shares similar conclusions, 52 Akçam relies on written testimony provided by General
Vehip (pp. 6–8, 194, 199), who elsewhere stated that the war of independence launched
by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) was ruining Turkey. 53 While Vehip’s credibility should be
put into question due to his known anti-patriotic disposition, Taner Akçam relates to
him without relating to his readers the context in which Vehip formed his views.
Vehip, who had long made anti-CUP and anti-Kemalist statements, was indicted for
embezzlement, and eventually sentenced in September 1921, but managed to escaped
before being put in jail. 54
Furthermore, Mr Akçam presents a highly questionable document as incontrovertible
evidence, which he describes as the “written deposition of Kastamonu governor Reşid
Pasha”, relating that
In his statement, the governor recounted that he had at one point received a
memo from Bahaeddin Sakir (signed ‘Head of the Special Organization’)
announcing that the Armenians of Kastamonu were to be deported and informing
him that he was being removed from his position for noncompliance with
this order. (p. 416)
However, Sakir was never the “head of the Special Organization” and could not have
signed any “memo” with such a title. 55 Also, even after the removal of Resid, the ministry
of Interior made clear that the Armenians of Kastamonu should not be removed. Eventually,
in 1916, a part of this population was scattered within the limits of the province. 56
Even more strikingly, by an inaccurate translation, selective ellipses and a wittingly
wrong extrapolation, Taner Akçam changes the sense of the words pronounced by
Yusuf Rıza Bey, a CUP official (pp. 414–415):
In seventh session of the trial, when Yusuf Rıza was read some incriminating
testimony and documents regarding the involvement of the SO units in
crimes, he responded that ‘it is a shame that conditions have now, today,
come to such a state [so as to show] that the Special Organization became a
means for carrying out all of these crimes under the orders from the [CUP] Central Committee. Your servant cannot find words to reply to this [state of
affairs], Your Honor.’ In short, under the weight of such compelling documentation,
Yusuf Rıza was forced to admit that both the CUP’s Central Committee
and the SO had played an important role in the various wartime crimes against
the Armenians and others.
In fact, no “document” was read during this interrogation of Yusuf Rıza, and there is no
basis for the words “so as to show” put into brackets by Taner Akçam, and still less for his
extrapolation about any “role” of the SO in “wartime crimes” (italics added):
My presence in the SO along with Dr. Nazim Bey, was a patriotic service, Your
Excellency. We believed that there was a war going on, and that all of us should
serve this state, this nation, this homeland as much as we were able to cope with.
[…] Unfortunately, today the circumstances bring [this] to such a position that
the SO had become an instrument for the execution of all crimes under the
orders of the Central Committee. I am myself unable to find and give an answer
to this, Your Excellency. […] I swear to God, in any form you may wish, that no one from here [the Central
Committee] intervened [in the relocations]. The Central Committee has nothing to
do with these affairs. Please investigate [this]. Please be assured that there is
Denial of Armenian Rebellion
To defend his thesis of a virtually unprovoked “genocide”, Taner Akçam tries to trivialize
the series of insurrection organized in 1914–1915 by the Armenian revolutionary committees.
Without any argument, he avoids a discussion about the Armenian rebellion
at Van, or the crucial issue of the lines of communication attacked by Armenian guerillas.
Although there have been studies on the subject,Mr Akçam does not even mention them
by name, let alone attempt to challenge their conclusions. 58
In order to downplay the level of threat posed by the insurrection in Zeytun, Akçam
discusses a document in the following manner:
In a report to the Ottoman Fourth Army Command sent on 14 March 1915, the
author states that he ‘does not entertain the possibility of a general Armenian
uprising’ and states that ‘in the face of the oppositional stance and rebellion displayed
by certain Armenian military deserters in Zeytun, the state has attempted
to take measure [to punish them].’ He relates the local population’s attitude
toward the events as follows: ‘A large portion of our Armenian compatriots
are sorely grieved by these actions of just a small, wicked remnants; their
sense of connection of the homeland is beyond all doubt and suspicion.’
However, the report actually says:
As I have received your telegram, dated March 14, 1915, this morning I did not have
time to reply during the night. As far as I amconcerned about the events in Zeytûn,
the only information I have is limited to the martyring of several gendarme soldiers
during a clash that broke out upon the attack of several people to the
prison. I do not have enough information neither on the identities of the aggressors
nor about the sources that led to the occurrence of the events. However, I am
definitely of the opinion that the aggressors who attempted to violate the soldiers
and dared to commit massacres ought to be punished with the heaviest penalties.
I have read one or two of telegrams, sent by the people of Zeytûn to Istanbul
Armenian Patriarchate and to Sis Armenian Catechumenate, as shown by the
censor officer. As far as I have gathered from those telegrams and from the
Armenian delegate as well as from the notables here, the Armenians are in a
great hurry. They are claiming that these events were incited by couple of discreditable
people, and that all of the Armenian people were in fact truly loyal and
devoted to the government. I believe that, punishing of the murderers and the
aggressors will be sufficient for the sake of delicacy of the situation; however, we
should pretend that we believe in their so-called sincerity.
Under the present circumstances, the holding of the Armenian notables and
spiritual leaders in Maras and Aleppo in pledge might lead to a misunderstanding
that the government considers the Armenians residing in Zeytûn as accomplices,
and this will eventually lead to a more severe sense of insecurity among
the Armenians, and to a severe hatred and anger among the Muslims. At this
point, when the major states, which used to defend them no matter the circumstances
were, whether they were right or wrong, are struggling with their own
problems, the wise Armenians will conceive the delicacy of the situation and
evaluate the reasons of upheavals better, and therefore, I do not think that the
Armenians will rise.
Nevertheless, all of these are nothing but my personal evaluations, right or
wrong, as I am not equipped with thorough investigations on the issue.
It is clear that Mr Akçam attributes to an Ottoman officer the statements of Armenian
delegates, in spite of the skepticism of this very same officer regarding these affirmations.
In addition, this officer indeed said he did not think “the Armenians will rise”, but, once
again, Mr Akçam cuts out crucial words: this officer was not in position to investigate the
matter deeply. It should be added that another report describes the seizure of the gendarmerie’s
armory, the cutting of the telegraphic line and the killing of Ottoman soldiers
by Armenian insurgents of Zeytun. 59 At the end, the crushing of this rebellion costed the
life of 500 Ottoman soldiers.60
Taner Akçam also tries to present as virtually unimportant the projects of landing in
Cilicia in 1914–1915, affirming (p. 180) that if Armenian representatives, including “a
certain Varandian” presented projects, “Great Britain did not take these proposals
seriously and soon abandoned the idea of a landing in or near İskenderun”. Apparently,
Taner Akçam does not know that Mikael Varandian was a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation and its main ideologue, from 1905 to his death in 1934.
More seriously, his main assertion on the reception of the Armenian nationalist proposals
is plainly wrong. After some efficient operations during winter 1914–1915, 61 the British government gave the priority to the landing in Çanakkale, because Winston
Churchill considered this operation as the best solution from a military perspective. 62
The French minister of foreign affairs Théophile Delcassé made a more political analysis
in a letter sent to the minister of War. The landing in the Dardanelles was the best way,
argued Delcassé, because it would lead quickly to a change of the government in İstanbul,
as a result of the arrival of Entente’s armies; after this change, only a more effective
control on the Ottoman Empire would be needed. For Delcassé, as late as April 1915,
it was out of question to share the Ottoman lands—above all, because France was
already the prominent power in this part of the world, and, as a result, had no interest
in sharing what she possessed already. 63
Regardless, far from having renounced the idea of a landing in Cilicia, the British War
Office advocated once again for it at the end of summer 1915, 64 and the Armenian guerillas
in Musa Dag˘ were rescued by a French military ship. 65 The idea was studied very
seriously in Paris. 66 However, the French and British armies were already in the
Balkans, in the Dardanelles, in Egypt and in Kuwait. A new landing would suppress
the last hopes of victory at the Dardanelles and would relieve the Ottomans, even more
since Bulgaria joined the Triple-Alliance. The building of new Ottoman defenses
during the summer 1915 increased the difficulties and it was impossible to use any
unit fighting against the Germans in France. 67
It is so impossible to affirm, as Taner Akçam does without having worked in the British
or the French archives, that “Great Britain did not take these proposals seriously and
soon abandoned the idea of a landing in or near İskenderun.”
Taner Akçam also conveniently avoids any description of the war crimes committed by
the Armenian volunteers of the Russian army and by the Armenian insurgents. 68 This is
not only a striking example of double standards, but also a serious problem in the presentation
of the framework: after the massacre of innocent Turks and Kurds, their friends
and relatives did not need any instruction from the government to commit violent and
bloody reprisals against equally innocent Armenians. 69
Misrepresentation of Ottoman Government’s Relocation Policy
Denying the exemption for a very significant number of Armenians, Taner Akçam contradicts
himself once again, since he refers as a reliable source to a draft written in 1917 by
a secretary of Talat Pasha: this draft indeed explains that between 350,000 and 400,000
Armenians have been not relocated at all, especially in the western half of Anatolia.70
More seriously, Taner Akçam distorts one more time the record (p. 378), he alleges
that “the new order was emphatically not retroactive but solely applied to ‘the Armenians
who were not [already] uprooted and deported’”. The word “already”, added by Taner
Akçam into brackets, has no basis at all in the text: this document is the telegram sent by
Talat Pasha on August 29, to various provinces, previously quoted in this article (see
Similarly, Taner Akçam alleges that “the distribution of aid to the [Armenian] deportees
was absolutely forbidden. Humanitarian workers and the government officials who
closed their eyes to these distributions were to be ‘severely punished’” (pp. 277–278).
To support such a serious accusation, Mr Akçam relies on a “Communication from
interior minister Talat Pasha to the Command of the Ottoman Army, dated 25 March
1916”. In fact, the words “severely punished” are not in the text written by Talat
Pasha himself, but in a document (dated 28 January 1916) forwarded (with approval)
by the minister of interior. Much more seriously, Akçam quotes the words “severely punished” out of context. The document dated 25 March 1916 actually speaks about “the
heavy penalties given to the officials who allow the secret distribution of money [my emphasis] among the Armenians”. And the communication of Talat Pasha says that “the distribution
of the money to the Armenians which hereafter should be carried out only by the
government officials and under the supervision of the local authorities”. 71 This is only the
“secret distribution of money” and not the distribution of money as such that was forbidden;
the in-kind assistance is not even mentioned in these documents.
More generally, Taner Akçam’s assertion about a general famine organized by the
Ottoman government is radically contradicted by both American and Ottoman
sources. In March 1916, William W. Peet, the treasurer of the American Board of Commissioners
for Missions Abroad (ABCFM), stated that “the relief already received has
worked wonders”. In June of the same year, the American missionaries’ representatives
told the U.S. Congress that “the situation from the point of view of human life is not
quite so black as it seemed”. 72 Peet, who, like U.S. High Commissioner Mark
L. Bristol, is never mentioned in Taner Akçam’s book, had a very positive recollection
of Talat Pasha’s willing collaboration with the American missionaries. 73 Correspondingly,
Abram Elkus, U.S. ambassador in İstanbul from 1916 to 1917, wrote that the
American relief work was “carried on effectively at all of the centers under increasing
friendliness on the part of the Turkish officials”, even after the severance of diplomatic
relations. 74 In addition to this Western relief, Talat Pasha ordered the local civil servants
to provide food to Armenians. 75 Cemal Pasa, the strong man of the CUP in the Near
East, was the most efficient in this distribution of Ottoman relief and cooperated with
Americans as well as with Germans, 76 but Taner Akçam avoids any description of
To present Talat Pasha as machiavelian and to support the “double track” conspiracy
theory (Talat Pasha is supposed to have sent dozens of telegrams only to mislead future
historians), Taner Akçam also takes liberties with the reports and telegrams of Ernst zu
Hohenlohe-Langenburg, acting German ambassador in İstanbul in 1915. Indeed,
Akçam quotes a report of Hohenhole, dated 25 September 1915, regarding the difficulties
of Armenians in Adana, and then writes: “for this reason, the ambassador’s report
referred to Talat Pasha as a ‘liar’” (p. 380). The word “liar”, or any synonyms, any periphrasis
of the same meaning, is not used in this report. 77 In a previous report (September
14), Hohenhole even denied any dishonesty from Talat Pasha. 78
Correspondingly, Taner Akçam wittingly mistranslates (p. 208) a telegram sent by the
minister of interior Talat Pasha to the governor Mehmet Resit on 12 July 1915 (my
In Mardin the Armenian bishop and some 700 persons from among Armenian
and other Christian population were taken outside the city and slaughtered like
sheep by some persons arrived from Diyarbekır.
Actually, the document says:
Particularly, from individuals sent from Diyarbakır recently, it has been learnt that in
Mardin, a total of seven hundred people consisting of Armenians and other
Christians, also including the bishop, had been taken from their houses at
nights and killed by beheading like sheep. 79
Mr Akçam’s intention is obvious: if “individuals” were “sent from Diyarbakır” to inform
the ministry, it implies that Talat Pasha was involved with such misdeeds.
The core of Taner Akçam’s argumentation for the “double track” is based on Henry
Morgenthau’s so-called Memoirs and an anecdote mentioned by Falih Rıfkı Atay, who
was, during the First World War, a secretary of Talat Pasha. Morgenthau indeed
alleges that Talat Pasha sent secret order from his house, by a private telegraphic line.
Heath Lowry has demonstrated, more than 20 years before the publication of Taner
Akçam’s book, that this telegraph is a pure invention of Morgenthau, and a checking
in the full text of Morgenthau’s diary confirms that. 80 Similarly, four years before the
publication of The Young Turks’ Crime against Humanity, it has been established that
Taner Akçam distorted what Falih Rıfkı Atay actually wrote. 81
Regardless, the most devastating argument against the theory of a “double track” is the
repression, by the CUP government, of the crimes committed against Armenians. That is
why the sociologist Taner Akçam tries to mock the historians—such as Yusuf Halaçoglu
—who worked on this subject. In fact, Mr Akçam does not discuss at all the main documents
used. He simply presents (pp. 395–398) a short list of “those who received the
death penalty”, as if it was a comprehensive one. It is not. Only from February to May
1916, as a result of the work of investigative commissions established at the initiative
of Talat Pasha, 82 67 Muslims have been sentenced to death, 524 to jail, 68 to exile,
hard labor or imprisonment in forts(kalabendlik); 227 have been acquitted and the fate
of 783 indicted persons is yet unknown. 83 Among the 67 who were sentenced to
death, 51 had been already hanged at the beginning of June. 84
The Young Turks’ Crime against Humanity is by no means “the state of the art” on the
Armenian issue, as it has been described without sufficient checking, 85 but a climax in
distortion of sources, selective evidence and selective indignation. In this regard, the
examples are so numerous that this review essay has no claim to completeness. 86 This
reviewer does not pretend to agree on everything with Hilmar Kaiser and his views on
the subject—far from that—but he joins him in this appraisal of Taner Akçam and his
reception: “The celebration is there because no one is able to check the sources.”
However, sooner or later, Taner Akçam’s disregard for the truth will be widely known
in academia, and those who endorsed, explicitly or implicitly, his baseless accusations,
without proceeding to any verification of the sources, will have to explain why they did so.
Yücel Güçlü, “Kitap Tanıtma—A Shameful Act”, Belleten, Vol. LXXI, No. 260, April 2007, p. 228–
229 and 238.
- Salâhi R. Sonyel, “Armenian Deportations: A Reappraisal in the Light of New Documents”, Belleten,
January 1972, pp. 58–60; Bilâl N. S¸ ims¸ir, Malta Sürgünleri, third edition, Ankara-İstanbul: Bilgi Yayınevi,
- Arthur Beylerian, Les Grandes puissances, l’Empire ottoman et les Arméniens dans les archives françaises
(1914–1918) [The Great Powers, the Ottoman Empire and the Armenians in the French archives
(1914–1918)], Paris, 1983; Hasan Dilan, Les Evénements arméniens dans les documents diplomatiques
français [The Armenian Events in the French Diplomatic Documents]. Ankara: Türk Tarih
- This flaw has been pointed out for A Shameful Act by Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First
World War, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011, p. 278, Note 75.
- See the communiqué of Prof. Lewy’s lawyers: https://www.taldf.org/ProfessorLewysReputation
- Maxime Gauin, “Remembering the Orly Attack”, Review of International Law and Politics, Vol. 7, No.
27, September 2011, pp. 113–139. https://usak.org.tr/images_upload/files/uhp%2027_5.pdf
- William L. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism. 1890–1902, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1960,
pp. 150–160, 204–210 and 349–350.
- Yücel Güçlü, Armenians and the Allies in Cilicia (1914–1923), Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press,
2010, pp. 39–50.
- Hasan Oktay, “On the Assassination of Van Mayor Kapamacıyan by the Tashnak Committee”, Review
of Armenian Studies, No. 1, 2002, pp. 79–89.
- Maxime Gauin, “How to Create a Problem of Refugees: the Evacuation of Cilicia by France and the
Flow of Armenian Civilians (1921–1922)”, Review of Armenian Studies, No. 25, 2012, pp. 65–101.
- Yücel Güçlü, The Holocaust and the Armenian Case in Comparative Perspective, Lanham–Boulder–
New York–Toronto–Plymouth: University Press of America, 2012, pp. 79–87.
- Let’s compare The Young Turks Crime against Humanity, pp. 63–96, with Erman S¸ ahin, “Review
Essay: the Armenian Question”, Middle East Policy, Vol. XVII, No. 1, Spring, 2010, pp. 144–146.
Also see İlker Alp, Bulgarian Atrocities, Nicosia: K. Rüstem & Brothers, 1988; and Justin McCarthy,
Death and Exile. The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821–1922, Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press,
1995, pp. 135–177.
- Christopher Walker and Gwynne Dyer, “Correspondence”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. IX, No. 3,
1973, pp. 376–379.
- Donald Bloxham, “Donald Bloxham Replies”, History Today, Vol. 55, No. 7, July 2005, p. 68.
- Stanford Jay Shaw, From Empire to Republic: The Turkish War of National Liberation, 1918–1923. A
Documentary Study, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2000, Vol. I, pp. 315–317.
- For an analysis of this article of Mr Dadrian, see Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman
Turkey, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2005, pp. 49–50.
- Ferudun Ata, “An Evaluation of the Approach of the Researches Who Advocate Armenian Genocide
to the Trials Relocation”, in The New Approaches to Turkish-Armenian Relations, ed. Mustafa Aydın,
Istanbul: Istanbul University Publications, 2008, p. 560.
- Taner Akçam, Türk Ulusual Kimlig˘i ve Ermeni Sorunu [The Turkish National Identity and the Armenian
Question], İstanbul: İletis¸im Yayınları, 2001, p. 119, Note 8 (1st edition, 1992).
- S¸ inasi Orel and Sürreya Yuca, The Talât Pasha “Telegrams”: Historical fact or Armenian fiction? Nicosia-
Oxford: K. Rüstem & Brothers/Oxford University Press, 1986; Jean-Louis Mattei, Belgelerle Büyük
Ermenistan Pes¸inde Ermeni Komiteleri [The Armenian Committees Pursuing Greater Armenia. A
Documentary study], Ankara-İstanbul: Bilgi Yayınevi, 2008, pp. 261–284; Maxime Gauin, “Aram
Andonian’s ‘Memoirs of Naim Bey’ and the Contemporary Attempts to Defend their Authenticity’”,
Review of Armenian Studies, 2011, No. 23, pp. 233–292.
- Ahmet Emin Yalman, Turkey in the World War, New Haven–London: Yale University Press, 1930,
- Margaret Lavinia Anderson, “Shooting an Elephant”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. XV, No. 4,
2013, p. 465.
- For example: Bernard Lewis, From Babel to Dragomans. Interpreting the Middle East, New York-
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 389; Lewy, The Armenian Massacres, op. cit., pp. 63–73;
Andrew Mango, “Turks and Kurds”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. XXX, No. 4, October 1994,
p. 985; by the same author, “The Definition”, Times Literary Supplement, 17 September 2004;
Norman Stone, “A Bungled Case for the Prosecution”, The Spectator, 24 April 2004, pp. 43–44,
Veinstein, “Trois questions sur un massacre” [“Three Questions on a Massacre”], L’Histoire, April
1995, p. 40; Erik Jan Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History, London–New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004,
- Christopher Walker, “World War I and the Armenian Genocide”, in The Armenian People From
Ancient to Modern Time, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1997, p. 247.
- Hikmer Özdemir and Yusuf Sarınay eds., Turkish-Armenian Conflict Documents, Ankara: TBMM,
2007, p. 237. Slightly different translations in Orel and Yuca, The Talât Pasha, op. cit., pp. 129–
130, and Yusuf Halaçog˘lu, Facts on the Relocation of Armenians, 1914–1918, Ankara: Türk Tarih
Kurumu, 2002, pp. 78–79.
- Özdemir and Sarınay eds., Turkish-Armenian Conflict, op. cit., p. 235.
- “Yusuf Halaçog˘lu Cevap Veriyor”, This is an article in a newspaper, Taraf, 23 June 2008
(English translation and Turkish original version: “Halacoglu is Responding to Taner Akcam”
https://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2010/03/3032-halacoglu-is-responding-to-taner.html); Sahin, “Review Essay: The Armenian Question”, op. cit., pp. 153–154; Maxime Gauin, “Scholarly Ethics vs.
Politicized History”, The Journal of Turkish Weekly, 13 June 2011, https://www.turkishweekly.net/
- Özdemir and Sarınay, eds., Turkish-Armenian Conflict, op. cit., pp. 55–56; pp. 58–59 for the English
- Sahin, “Review Essay: The Armenian Question”, op. cit., p. 155.
- “An Interview with Hilmar Kaiser”, The Armenian Weekly, March 8, 2008, https://khatchigmouradian.
blogspot.com.tr/2008/03/interview-with-hilmar-kaiser.html ; Hilmar Kaiser, “A Deportation that Did
Not Occur”, The Armenian Weekly, special issue, April 26, 2008, pp. 17–18, https://armenianweekly.
- Halil Mentes¸e, Osmanlı Mebusan Meclisi Reisi. Halil Mentes¸e’nin Anıları [President of the Ottoman
Chamber of Deputies. Memoirs of Halil Mentes¸e], İstanbul: Hürriyet Vakfı Yayınları, 1986,
pp. 213–216 (these pages are exactly those mentioned by Taner Akçam).
- Vahakn N. Dadrian “The Naim-Andonian Documents on the World War I Destruction of Ottoman
Armenians: The Anatomy of a Genocide”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 18, No. 3,
August 1986, p. 357, Note 108.
- Erman Sahin, “Review Essay: A Scrutiny of Akçam’s Version of History and the Armenian Genocide”,
Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2008, pp. 310–311.
- On this point: Edward J. Erickson, “Armenian Massacres: New Records Undercut Old Blame”, The
Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 3, Summer, 2006, pp. 67–75.
- The full letter is translated in Kâmuran Gürün, The Armenian File, London–Nicosia–İstanbul:
K. Rüstem & Brothers/Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985, p. 199.
- Berthe Georges-Gaulis, Angora, Constantinople, Londres, Paris: Armand Colin, 1922, p. 65, https://
F. Knight, The Awaking of Turkey. The Turkish Revolution of 1908, Boston-Tokyo, J. B. Millet C°,
1910, p. 290, https://www.archive.org/download/turkeyawakeningo00knigrich/turkeyawakeningo00
- Rapport du lieutenant-colonel Mougin, 1er avril 1920, Service historique de la défense (SHD),
Vincennes, 7 N 3210, dossier 2, sous-dossier 2. Mougin was some months later promoted to
colonel then, in 1922, appointed as representative in Ankara. In 1924, just before going back to
Ankara, he became a brigadier general (général de brigade).
- Lewy, The Armenian Massacres, op. cit., p. 79.
- A translation into French of the new rules decided by the Damat Ferit cabinet is in SR Marine,
Turquie, n° 2036, 27 avril 1920 [French Navy’s Intelligence Service, Turkish chapter, report
number 2036, 27 April 1920], SHD, 1 BB7 235.
- https://www.jihadwatch.org/2005/10/vahakn-dadrian-responds-to-guenther-lewy.html; Taner Akçam,
“Review Essay: Guenter Lewy’s The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey”, Genocide Studies and
Prevention, Vol. 3, No. 1, April 2008, p. 122.
- François Dagallier and Edgar Bazenet, Commentaire théorique et pratique de la loi du 8 décembre 1897 sur
la réforme de l’instruction criminelle (loi Constans) [Theoritical and Practical Comment of the Law of 8
December 1897 on the Reform of Criminal Procedure (Constans Act)], Paris: V. Giard et E. Brière,
- Jean-Pierre Allinne, Gouverner le crime: les politiques criminelles françaises, de la Révolution au XXIe siècle,
[Ruling Crime: the French Criminal Policies, from the Revolution to 21st Century] Paris: L’Harmattan,
2003, p. 251.
- Encyclopædia Unversalis 2010, DVD edition, article « Avocat ».
- SR Marine, Turquie, 680, 13 mai. 1919 [French Navy’s Intelligence Service, Turkish chapter, report
number 680, 13 May 1919], SHD, 1 BB7 232.
- Türkkaya Ataöv, What Happened to the Ottoman Armenians? New York: Okey, 2006, p. 80.
- Ferudun Ata, Is¸̇ gal Iṡ tanbul’unda Tehcir Yargılamaları, [Proceedings of the Relocation’s Trials in Istanbul],
Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2005, pp. 219–220.
- Ibid., pp. 281–287; Lewy, The Armenian Massacres, op. cit. p. 78.
- The National Archives, Kew Gardens (London), FO 371/4174/118377, folio 256. For other
examples: Lewy, The Armenian Massacres, op. cit., p. 80, and lettre du haut-commissaire français au
ministre des Affaires étrangères, 19 novembre 1919, Centre des archives diplomatiques de Nantes
(CADN), 36 PO/1/7.
- 49 For instance: Rapport du chef de bataillon Labonne, Le mouvement nationaliste. N 10, 7 November
1919 [Report of Battalion Chef Labonne: The Nationalist Movement, No. 10, 7 November 1919],
pp. 1–2; Le mouvement nationaliste. N° 11, 16 November 1919 [The Nationalist Movement, No.
11, 16 November 1919], pp. 1 and 4–5; résumé du 7 décembre 1919 [Summary, 7 December
1919], SHD, 7 N 3210, dossier 1.
- Rapport du lieutenant-colonel Mougin, chef de la liaison française près le gouvernement ottoman, 1er
avril 1920 [Report of lieutenant-colonel Mougin, chief of the French liaison mission to the Ottoman
Gouvernement, 1 April 1920], SHD, 7 N 3210, dossier 2, sous-dossier 2.
- For instance: Taner Akçam, From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide,
London–New York: Zed Books, 2004, pp. 167, 170, 177, and Notes 53 and 240.
- Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris, New York: Perennial, 2004 (1st edition, 2003), p. 343; Vahakn
N. Dadrian, “The Naim-Andonian…”, op, cit., p. 330; Robert Melson, Revolution and Genocide,
Chicago–London: University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 151.
- 53. Michael M. Gunter, “A Reply to Joseph Kéchichian and Keith Watenpaugh”, International Journal of
Middle East Studies, Vol. 39, No. 3, August 2007, https://www.hnn.us/roundup/entries/41948.html
- Dépêche de Paul Lépissier, délégué du haut-commissaire à Trébizonde, 12 août 1919 [Despatch of
Paul Lépissier, delegate of the French High Commissioner in Trabzon, 12 August 1919], CADN,
36/PO/1/6; Gotthard Jaeschke, Türk Kurtulus¸ Savas¸ı Kronolojisi, [Chronology of the Turkish War of
Liberation], Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, Volume I, 161, p. 989; Tarık Mümtaz Göztepe, Osmanog
˘ullarının Son Padis¸ahı Vahidettin Mütareke Gayyasında [Vahidettin, the Last Sultan in the Deadlock
of the Armistice], İstanbul: Sebil, 1994, pp. 88–91.
- Yücel Güçlü, “Mislabeling Genocide?”, The Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 13, Spring, 2006,
pp. 67–68, https://www.meforum.org/969/the-great-game-of-genocide.
- Telegrams of Talat Pasha to the governor of Kastamonu, 23 October and 20 April 20, Özdemir and
Sarınay, eds., Turkish-Armenian Conflict, op. cit., pp. 341 and 439.
- Sahin, “Review Essay: The Armenian Question”, op. cit., p. 153.
- Justin McCarthy, Esat Arslan, Cemalettin Tas¸kıran and Ömer Turan, The Armenian Rebellion at Van,
Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2006; Edward J. Erickson, “The Armenians and Ottoman
Military Policy”, War in History, Vol. XV, No. 2, April 2008, p. 152–153, https://www.tc-america.
org/media/Ericson_militarypolicy1915.pdf. After the publication of Taner Akçam’s book, Dr Erickson
developed his thesis in Ottomans and Armenians: a Study in Counter-Insurgency, New York–
London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013.
- Yusuf Sarınay, ed., Osmanlı Belgelerinde Ermeni Iṡ yanları, Vol. IV, 2008, pp. 105–108 and 113–115.
- Güçlü, The Holocaust and the Armenian Case, op. cit., pp. 23 and p. 56, Note 20. Also see Gwynne
Dyer, “Correspondence”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, 1973, pp. 383–384.
- Edward J. Erickson, “Captain Larkin and the Turks. The Strategic Impact of the HMS Doris in Early
1915”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1, January, 2010, pp. 151–162 ; État-major de l’armée,
service historique, Les Armées françaises dans la Grande guerre [The French Armies in the Great
War], tome IX, 1st Volume, Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1936, p. 12; Güçlü, Armenians and the
Allies, op. cit., pp. 54–64; Stanford Jay Shaw, The Ottoman Empire in World War I, Ankara: Türk
Tarih Kurumu, 2008, Volume II, pp. 878–881.
- Christopher M. Bell, Churchill and Sea Power, Oxford–New York: Oxford University Press, 2013,
- Lettre du ministre des Affaires étrangères au ministre de la Guerre, 28 April 1915 [Letter of the Minister
of Foreign Affairs to the Minister of War], SHD, 7 N 2150.
- Communication du lieutenant de Saint-Quentin au ministère de la Guerre, 22 September 1915
[Communication of lieutenant de Saint-Quentin to the Ministry of War, September 22, 1915],
SHD, 7 N 2150; Güçlü, Armenians and the Allies, op. cit., pp. 91–93.
- Edward J. Erickson, “Bayonets on Musa Dagh”, The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3, June
2005, pp. 529–548; Shaw, The Ottoman Empire, op. cit., p. 876.
- État-major de l’armée—Section d’Afrique—Bureau d’Orient, Opération sur Alep, 28 août 1915
[French General Staff—Africa section—Eastern office, Operation on Aleppo, 28 August 1915],
SHD, 16 N 3198, dossier J.
- Note sur un projet d’opération dans la région d’Alexandrette, 22 octobre 1915 [Note on a project of
operation in the region of Iskenderun]; Rapport sur un projet d’opération à Alexandrette, 23 octobre
1915 [Report on a project of operation in Iskenderun], SHD, 16 N 3198, dossier 2.
- Among many other references, see Justin McCarthy, “The Report of Niles and Sutherland—An
American Investigation of Eastern Anatolia after World War I”, in XI. Türk Tarih Kongresi
[Turkish Historical Congress], Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1994, Volume V, pp. 1809–1824;
Michael A. Reynolds, Shattering Empires. The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires,
1908–1918, New York–Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 144 and 156–158; Kara
Schemsi (real name Res¸it Saffet Atabinen), Turcs et Arméniens devant l’histoire [Turks and Armenians
in History], Genève: Imprimerie nationale, 1919, https://louisville.edu/a-s/history/turks/turcs_et_
- Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire, London-New York: Hodder & Arnold/
Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 110. Also see Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey,
New York–Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 356.
- Murat Bardakçı, Talat Pas¸a’nın Evrak-ı Metrukesi [Abandoned Papers of Talat Pasha], İstanbul:
Everest yayınları, 2008, p. 109.
- Turkish General Staff, Armenian Activities in the Archive Documents, Ankara: ATASE, Volume II,
2005, p. 8.
- Relief of Armenians. Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Washignton: Government Printing
Office, 1916, pp. 12–13.
- Louise Jenison Peet, No Less Honor: The Biography of William Wheelock Peet, Chattanooga, Tennessee:
E.A. Andrews, 1939, p. 170. This book, based on personal papers, was written by the daughter of
W. Peet, three years before his death.
- Letter of Abram Elkus to Charles Vickrey, 5 October 1917, Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson
papers, reel 337.
- Among others, see the regulations dated 7 October 1915 and Talat Pasha’s telegrams dated 7 November
1915, 30 April and 12 November 1916, Özdemir and Sarınay, eds., Turkish-Armenian Conflict, op.
cit., pp. 311–315, 363, 443, 481.
- Güçlü, The Holocaust and the Armenian Case, op. cit., pp. 68–79; Lewy, The Armenian Massacres, op. cit.,
pp. 196–198 and 218–220; Hikmet Özdemir, Cemal Pas¸a ve Ermeniler Göçmenler [Cemal Pasha and the
Relocated Armenians], İstanbul: Remzi Kitabevi, 2009.
- The full document is available online: https://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$
- Özdemir and Sarınay, eds., Turkish-Armenian Conflict, op. cit., p. 161.
- Heath Lowry, The Story behind Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, İstanbul: The Isis Press, 1990, Chapter
3; Ara Sarafian (ed.), United States Diplomacy on The Bosphorus: The Diaries of Ambassador Morgenthau
1913–1916, London: Gomidas Institute/Taderon Press, 2004, entry 3 November 1914.
- Sahin, “A Scrutiny of Akçam’s Version of History”, op. cit., p. 314.
- Minutes of the Ministers’ Council, 29 September 1915, Özdemir and Sarınay eds., Turkish-Armenian
Conflict, op. cit., p. 294.
- Yusuf Halaçoglu, The Story of 1915—What Happened to the Ottoman Armenians, Ankara: Türk Tarih
Kurumu, 2008, pp. 82–87; Yusuf Sarınay, “The Relocation (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of
1915–1916”, Middle East Critique, Vol. 3, No. 20, Fall 2011, pp. 299–315.
- “Turks Avenge Armenians—Fifty-one Muslim Soldiers are Shot for Mistreating Christians”, The
Washington Post, 4 June 1916, p. A2.
- Michael A. Reynolds, “Missing Context”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 4, No. 15, 2013, p. 478.
- Other examples could be provided by comparing Chapter 4 of Taner Akçam’s The Young Turks’ (on
the Ottoman Greeks) with a real scholarly work on the same subject by Stéphane Yerasimos, « La question
du Pont-Euxin (1912–1923) » [The Pontus Issue (1912–1923)], Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains
[World Wars and Contemporary Conflicts], No. 153, January, 1989, pp. 9–34.
MAXIME GAUIN © 2015