Garo Garabedyan's Divergent Thinking Blog

Notes on Armenian Genocide Recognition

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To the memory of my grandfather Agop Garabedyan (Ermenikyulyan), a survivor of the Armenian genocide. The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland. Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group, as such.

Israel W. Charny writes in the Introduction to The Encyclopedia of Genocide:
The Encyclopedia of Genocide is dedicated by its editors to HUMAN LIFE. It is a text with a definite bias toward respect for the sanctity of all human life, and the responsibility of all human systems-governments in particular but also the professions such as medicine and education, and also all human organizations such as business and communications-to contribute to a maximum life opportunity for all people.
Needless to say, this is also a text with a bias against any and all forms of prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, domination, superiority, dehumanization, or devaluing of any people-on any bias of religion, ethnicity, physical makeup, political identity, social class, health status, sexual identity, sexual preference-whatever the bias will be the next times.
It is intended as a text pertaining not only to the past and present but to the future of our human life on Planet Earth. The Encyclopedia of Genocide is an encyclopedia of scholarship to support the efforts of all those who seek to protect and enhance the lives of all people and peoples, now and in the future.

Genocide is a crime against the insight definition of the man’s diversity of race and ethnic origin and moral choice of religion. International recognition of the Armenian genocide is validation of the legal definition (criteria), confirmation of the international statute of this crime. Of its own word genocide is important in manner of reconciliation, justice and prevention of such crimes to happen in future.

The un-condemned genocide sends wrong messages to the society.

Current interest of End the cycle of genocide (protection and prevention) and promoting peace process. International recognition is confirmation of the International statute of this crime and its part in the universal conscience.

Recognition of a genocide is an act of civilization. All genocides develop in people are divided into “us and them” and “One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases.”; “Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda…” and “Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity…”; “It is ‘extermination’ to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human.” and “The perpetrators… deny that they committed any crimes…” [Gregory Stanton, The 8 Stages of Genocide]. Denial during the crime and after it is culmination of dehumanization.
“In my studies of genocide, I have discovered that the process of every genocide has predictable stages. They aren’t linear, because they usually operate simultaneously. But there is a logical order to them, because a “later” stage cannot occur without a logically “prior” stage. It is also useful to distinguish them, because they can help us see when genocide is coming and what governments can do to prevent it.
The first is Classification, when we classify the world into us versus them. The second is Symbolization, when we give names to those classifications like Jew and Aryan, Hutu and Tutsi, Turk and Armenian. Sometimes the symbols are physical, like the Nazi yellow star.
The third is Dehumanization, when perpetrators call their victims rats, or cockroaches, cancer, or disease; so eliminating them is actually seen as “cleansing” the society, rather than murder.
The fourth is Organization, when hate groups, armies, and militias organize.
The fifth is Polarization, when moderates are targeted who could stop the process, especially moderates from the perpetrators’ group.
The sixth stage is Preparation, when the perpetrators are trained and armed, victims are identified, transported and concentrated.
The seventh stage is Extermination, what we legally define as genocide, the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
When I first outlined these stages in a memo I wrote in the State Department in 1996, I thought these seven stages are the entire process.
Then I realized there is an eighth stage in every genocide: Denial. It is actually a continuation of the genocide, because it is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives.” [The Cost of Denial by Dr. Gregory Stanton, President, International Association of Genocide Scholars President, Genocide Watch, speech delivered infront of US lawmakers,]. Denial is always found in genocide, both during it and after it. The brutal perpetration of genocide (plus the humiliation of the victims) is one more prove about the denial that any crime was committed- victims are not fully humans.[Social stages of a genocide according to the fundamentals of crime,] Continuing denial is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. Denial extends the crime of genocide to future generations of the victims. It is a continuation of the intent to destroy the group.

Campaign of Genocide Prevention focused on the concrete genocides. For the crime of genocide to encourage re-occurrence of itself, it has to be erased that the victims group, as such, have ever faced such genocide, or that group does not exist at present days. Erasing the memory of the survivors is derogating their right of dignity and moral restitution by hiding genocide. “To recognize the right of a people to its history is also to recognize its right to existence, and that concept should form part of the overall concept of human rights and the rights of peoples.” [UN SubCommission’ report]. “After the Ottoman Courts-Martial of 1918-1920, there were no further trials. The killers literally got away with mass murder. With blood on their hands, they returned to their jobs. But out of that denial grew a Turkish state that denied the existence of all non-Turks within Turkey. Kurds became “mountain Turks,” Kurdish schools were closed, and people speaking Kurdish had their tongues cut out.” [The Cost of Denial by Dr. Gregory Stanton, President, International Association of Genocide Scholars President, Genocide Watch, speech delivered infront of US lawmakers,]

Recognition of human rights has retroactive application.
In the aspect of genocide: Law in general has no power to make people find the insight definition of the man as an enough characteristic to describe concrete behaviour or apply judgment, stereotype. Man is born with the understanding that he is different than others and only not-civilized worlds tie the ethnic identity of the man with its life. Someone commits crime when he has an intent to and understands that his actions are wrong, in general law has non-retroactive application and is publicly aware, by definition, to everyone after it receives its statute of law in power. Concerning human rights, law only discovers, like Physics discovers the laws of nature, the insight definition of the man. Human rights are not bind with views of future development of economics.
Law can punish and is free to define behaviors when the letter cases are shared points of more than one human right (in order to say which human right is more valuable/important in this concrete situation), or no human right is found.
Genocide, as destruction of a whole specie in nature, remains insightly understood from people committing this action as destroying the insight definition of the man- its concrete ethnical, moral (concerning religion genocide), or racial diversity. By separating people because of their identity you understand that you commit action denying the constitution of law, someone can be charged only on an informed choice (rule determined by the human rights of freedom).
People understand the religious, ethnical and racial diversity of the man, this is a fact and can only be cited in science, but not introduced as new legislation, or a new assumption.
If the equality of the man (in ethnical, racial or religious aspect) is confirmed in the law, everyone, by force of the law, is aware of the insight ethnical, racial and religious diversity of himself- the man. [Social stages of a genocide according to the fundamentals of crime,]

Whereas the Armenian genocide is perpetrated by the government of the Ottoman empire and its local administration. Fighting with the Armenian Genocide is right to be made on the ground of lawmakers and city rulers. Politics is every process where a group of people take a decision.

Politics, as every process by which groups of people make decisions, has the right to send messages aiming prevention, validating human’s dignity etc. The recognition of the Genocide should thus not be viewed as the ascendancy of one ´ethnic´ lobby over another. It is justice achieved, a little victory for a people downtrodden and crushed into the dust. All that remains therefore, as we pay respect to their memory. On 30 April 2009, the South Australian lower house recognized the genocide of the Christian peoples of Anatolia.


Excerpts from Letter of Gregory Stanton, President International Association of Genocide Scholars, to President Barack Obama, March 7, 2009,
We are confident that you know and value the historical record on the Armenian Genocide, but want to underscore that this human rights history was a watershed for the modern age because:
1) [The Armenian genocide] was the template for all modern genocide- Adolph Hitler was so impressed with the Turkish extermination of the Armenians that it figured in his own genocidal plans, as he exhorted of his military advisors in 1939, “who today, after all, remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?”
2) Raphael Lemkin, who created the concept of genocide as a crime of international law, did so in large part on the basis of what happened to the Armenians in 1915;
3) the 94-year denial of the Armenian Genocide has emboldended perpetrators ever since;
4) American efforts to rescue the Armenians from massacre from the 1890s through the 1920s set the stage for the modern era of human rights activism, and is a proud and important chapter in U.S. history.

Hayk Demoyan, Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute in the Republic of Armenia, recently wrote: “International activism for the recognition of the Armenian genocide would be regarded as a humanitarian rather that a political act, the culmination of which is targeting the global prevention of new crimes against humanity. This is the highest values for humankind, much higher than any strategic partnership.”
We believe that acknowledgments of the Armenian Genocide are an important step toward ending the final stage of every genocide, denial, which continues to inflict suffering on the group that has been victimized- an inhuman assault on memory perpetrated by the Turkish government for more than 90 years.

Israel Charny, executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, explains the destructiveness of genocide denial as “[D]enials of known events of genocide must be treated as acts of bitter and malevolent psychological aggression, certainly against the victims, but really against all of human society, for such denials literally celebrate genocidal violence and in the process suggestively call for renewed massacres — of the same people or of others”. See I. W. Charny, The Psychological Satisfaction of Denials of the Holocaust or Other Genocides by Non-Extremists or Bigots, and Even by Known Scholars,

Raphael Lemkin, the author of the word of genocide, as he was struggling to get the United States to pass the UN Genocide Convention and he writes this :
Raphael Lemkin to Mrs. Thelma Stevens, Methodist Women’s Council, July 26, 1950 [Israel W. Charny, Encyclopedia of genocide]
This Convention is a matter of conscience and is a test of our personal relationship to evil. I know it is very hot in July and August for work and planning, but without becoming sentimental or trying to use colorful speech, let us not forget that the heat of this month is less unbearable to us than the heat in the ovens of Auschwitz and Dachau and more lenient that the murderous heat in the desert of Aleppo which burned to death the bodies of hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenian victims of genocide in 1915.

Resolution on genocides committed by the Ottoman Empire, International Association of Genocide Scholars, 2007,
WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognized as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides;
WHEREAS the Ottoman genocide against minority populations during and following the First World War is usually depicted as a genocide against Armenians alone, with little recognition of the qualitatively similar genocides against other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire;
BE IT RESOLVED that it is the conviction of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association calls upon the government of Turkey to acknowledge the genocides against these populations, to issue a formal apology, and to take prompt and meaningful steps toward restitution.

Why Is It Important to Learn about the Holocaust and the Genocides of All Peoples? (excerpt)
The Most Reverand Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M. Tutu,
Foreword from the Encyclopedia of Genocide, Israel Charny, Editor in Chief, published by ABCClio, Santa Barbara, CA, December, 1999
It should all awaken in us the desire to value human life as precious, all human life, so that we would refuse to demonize even adversaries. What makes genocide possible is that the victims are seen as less than human. In Africa we have something called ubuntu, the essence of being human, when we recognize that our humanity is bound up in that of others.
We say a person is a person through other persons. We are created for interdependence, togetherness, and complementarity. Genocide happens because people are intolerant of difference. Ubuntu celebrates diversity. Our differences should make us realize our need of one another. The completely selfsufficient person is subhuman. Ubuntu speaks about hospitality, generosity, caring, and compassion.

Jews, Armenians : << Solidarity for the befallen >>
(there is a high possibility this speech to be delivered in relation of the incriminalization of the Armenian Genocide Denial in France)
The French Philosopher and Writer, Bernard-Henri Levy:
Armenians must deal with a type of revisionism, which is no longer sectarian, but is rather State-run. Facing them and against them is a large, powerful State that possesses all imaginable blackmailing means on its side. And it is true that, during these last couple of hours, while I was thinking about all of this and about the brief time I’d be spending with you, I was asking myself what would have happened to the survivors of the Holocaust. What would have happened to the Jews of my generation born in the aftermath of the Holocaust if they were faced with a structurally revisionist Germany. A Germany denying the Crime. This is the situation of the Armenians. And this is what makes this situation particulary tragic. Also, the fact is that the truth is not enough. The truth, both in its bareness and its strength, is not almighty against bastards. Its that, in this story, faced with this form of insanity, faced with the views of those who are not here to express an opinion, but as I told you earlier, are here to state that the reality did not exist, faced with those who are here to say that your grand-parents or great grand-parents weren’t actually killed. Or didn’t really die in that way. Or claim that they have died this way due to obscure interests, for which you are responsible, you and the Armenians and us the Jews. Faced with this. Faced with this particular passion. Faced with this infinite cruelty. Faced with this brutal hatred that words can hardly describe, the truth is in fact powerless. It is something other than a lie. It is something different than a battle between whats true and whats false. It is a type of hatred, whose name we know so well. Anti-Semitic hatred on the one hand, and racist hatred on the other. A type of hatred that can only be stopped by Law. Lets put it in a different way. The Genocides. Both these Genocides. The Genocide of the Jews and the Genocide of the Armenians. The attempt to exterminate without a trace these two nations. Among all the crimes invented by humanity, this crime still has another particularity. One of the things which characterizes and distinguishes a genocide is the following: it includes in its actual plan of action, at the very moment the criminal act is carried out it really incorporates its own denial. The revisionist act is contemporary of the criminal act. That was the case for Hitlerians. It is known how Himmler, In June 1942, established a Special Commando No. 10 05 to dig up corpses, to burn them and to scatter the ashes. It is known how the Nazis invented euphomisms. They spoke of transfers, evacuations, of displacements of population in order to avoid calling them exterminations at all costs. The same applied to Armenians. A criminal act that has the following in particular it is being denied while being carried out. Vice-versa. Denying the genocide. Denying it for twenty years, thirty years, fifty years or ninety years, it is for this very reason a cynical, horrible, sordid way to continue perpetration the crime, reproducing it and perfecting it so that the crime becomes flawless. The Jews know it and the Armenians knew it before them. For the crime to be perfect, it has to be traceless. And for it to be traceless, it has to be annihilated even from the memories of survivors and descendents. This is how we can do away with the Jews. This is how we can do away with the Armenians. And this is the reason why revisionism can rightfully be qualified as the ultimate stage of genocide. And this is why it is so important that it be punishable by Law.

Article 49 Principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties
1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national law or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than that which was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed. If, subsequent to the commission of a criminal offence, the law provides for a lighter penalty, that penalty shall be applicable.
2. This Article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles recognised by the community of nations.
3. The severity of penalties must not be disproportionate to the criminal offence.

What is Genocide?
By Gregory H. Stanton, President, IAGS
The crime of genocide is defined in international law in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
“Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.
The Genocide Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. More than 130 nations have ratified the Genocide Convention and over 70 nations have made provisions for the punishment of genocide in domestic criminal law. The text of Article II of the Genocide Convention was included as a crime in Article 6 of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Punishable Acts
The following are genocidal acts when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence:
Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.
Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.
Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.
Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.
Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by through fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as persons under the age of 14 years.
Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence:
It is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide: Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.
Key Terms
The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional” means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.
Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorial integrity, etc.,) if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.
The phrase “in whole or in part” is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.
The law protects four groups – national, ethnical, racial or religious groups.
A national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.
An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.
A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.
A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.
© 2002 Genocide Watch

Chairman of the Board of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden, Historian and Editor in Chief of the Vahagn Avedian addressed an open letter to US President Barack Obama.
Mr. Minister, The persecutions of the Armenians have reached hair-raising proportions and all points to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize the opportunity, since due to different reasons there are no effective external pressure to be feared, to once and for all put an end to the Armenian question. The means for this are quite simple and consist of the extermination [utrotandet] of the Armenian nation. – Per Gustaf August Cosswa Anckarsvärd, Swedish Ambassador to Turkey, in his report to the Swedish Foreign Minister Knut Wallenberg, July 6, 1915, Constantinople
Dear President Obama,
The above stated report is merely one of several which were recently found in the Swedish National and Military Archives, confirming the reality which has since long been established by the genocide scholars regarding the events in the Ottoman Turkey during World War I. The world was far from as hesitating as it is today in condemning the treatment of the Armenians, demanding justice for the victims and punishment of those guilty of “crimes against humanity and civilization”, the very first occurrence of the term in international circumstances. However, the soon growing Kemalist movement put a stop to the demands for justice and the clever politics of the Republic of Turkey have ever since held the world conscience as hostage in exchange for economic and political gains.

Excerpt from a letter of Armen Rustamian, Chairman Foreign Relations Committee of the Armenian National Assembly, in relation of the H.Res.252 recognizing the Armenian genocide:
I have the pleasure to write you upon the introduction of legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and to share with you and your colleagues our complete support for the adoption of this measure affirming the commitment of the United States to the cause of genocide-prevention. Armenia aspires for the universal recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, and sees it both as a restoration of an historical justice and as a way to improve the overall situation in the region, while also preventing similar crimes in the future.

United Nations Human Rights Commission
SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities [1]

Excerpts from The UN Report on Genocide 1985
Paragraph 24 and the Armenian Genocide [1]
August 5-30 1985 Geneva, Switzerland

Statement by Mr. Laurin of the International
Federation of Human Rights [2]
Genocide is the worst crime under international law, and any attempt to hide it or deny its existence must be looked upon as a serious infringement of human rights, derogating from the rights of peoples to their history, their memory, their dignity and their right to moral restitution.
My organization, which has protested in both the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission at the deletion from the previous report of a paragraph3 concerning the Genocide of which Armenians have been victims in the Ottoman Empire, welcomes the fact that Mr. Whitaker has covered the topic in his latest report. ‡
Evidence of that massacre has been provided in numerous diplomatic documents of the various countries, including Germany, which had been Turkey’s ally during the First World War. The premeditated nature of the acts aimed at the systematic and organized extermination of all Armenians living in their own historical territory and in the rest of the Ottoman Empire has been amply documented.
In 1923 and 1926, my organization urged the League of Nations to ensure that Armenians who had survived the massacre were given sufficient territory to guarantee their national life. The acts committed against the Armenians meet the definition of genocide given in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

1 This document was prepared by Heritage Publishing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Genocide Convention. While containing the text of official UN documents, it is not a publication of the UN. It reprises key UN documents and Paragraph 24 of the UN report prepared by Benjamin Whitaker in 1985. It also includes statements made by Paul Laurin of the International Federation of Human Rights during the proceedings. Paragraph 24 and its footnote of the Revised and Updated Report on the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide prepared by Benjamin Whitaker noted the massacres of Armenians in 1915-1916 as genocide. The report was adopted by a 15-4 majority of the panel of experts in the Sub-Commission, thereby recognizing the massacres of Armenians in 1915-16 as genocide. [38 U.N. ESCOR Commission On Human Rights, Sub-Commission. on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, (Agenda Item 4), 8-9, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6 (1985)].
2 Mr. Laurin’s speech was one of many excellent statements read into the record and is available from:
3 The previous report, Paragraph 30, was prepared by Rwandan U.N. Rapporteur Nicodeme Ruhashyankiko in 1978.

The Armenians are still suffering from the tragedy that befell them at the beginning of the
century, since they are still deprived the right to their history. The silence of the international community adds to their sufferings.
To recognize the right of a people to its history is also to recognize its right to existence, and that concept should form part of the overall concept of human rights and the rights of peoples.
The Genocide of the Armenians forms part of the universal conscience and the collective
memory. Recognition of the existence of genocide is an essential prerequisite for its prevention.
The United Nations came into being largely as a result of the genocide committed during the Second World War against the Jewish and gypsy populations in Europe.
One of the foremost tasks of the United Nations is to prevent the crime of genocide, with
particular reference to the crimes committed prior to its establishment. Prevention is difficult unless past crimes of genocide are acknowledged by the international community.
The international community has a duty to oppose all efforts to manipulate history. Knowledge of the historical facts constituting the crime of genocide, which have dishonored and are still dishonoring the societies of the world, should be passed on to future generations so that the case of those who denied the existence of that crime will not be strengthened by forgetfulness.

PARAGRAPH 24 (and its Footnote) of the REPORT ‡ on the
From the Report prepared by Mr. Benjamin Whitaker
Toynbee stated that the distinguishing characteristics of the twentieth century in evolving the development of genocide “are that it is committed in cold blood by the deliberate fiat of holders of despotic political power, and that the perpetrators of genocide employ all the resources of present-day technology and organization to make their planned massacres systematic and complete”
The Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the twentieth
century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are the German massacre of Hereros in 1904, the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916 1, the Ukrainian pogrom of Jews in 1919, the Tutsi massacre of Hutus in Burundi in 1965 and 1972, the Paraguayan massacre of Ache Indians prior to 1974, the Khmer Rouge massacre of Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978, and the contemporary Iranian killings of Baha’is.
Apartheid is considered separately in paragraphs 43-46. A number of other cases may be
suggested. It could seem pedantic to argue that some terrible mass killings are legalistically not genocide, but on the other hand it could be counter-productive to devalue genocide through over diluting its definition.

1 At least 1 million, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated by independent authorities and eye-witnesses to have been killed or death marched. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally
Germany. The German Ambassador, Wangenheim, for example, on 7 July 1915 wrote “the government is indeed pursuing its goal of exterminating the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire” (Wilhelmstrasse archives). Though the successor Turkish Government helped to institute trials of a few of those responsible for the massacres at which they were found guilty, the present official Turkish contention is that genocide did not take place although there were many casualties and dispersals in the fighting, and that all the evidence to the contrary is forged. See, inter alia, Viscount Bryce and A. Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16 (London, HMSO, 1916); G. Chaliand and Y. Ternon, Génocide des Arméniens (Brussels, Complexe, 1980); H. Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story (New York, Doubleday, 1918); J. Lepsius, Deutschland und Armenien (Potsdam, 1921; shortly to be published in French by Fayard, Paris); R.G. Hovannisian, Armenian on the Road to Independence (Berkeley, University of California, 1967); Permanent People’s Tribunal, A Crime of Silence (London, Zed Press, 1985); K. Gurun, Le Dossier Arménien (Ankara, Turkish Historical Society, 1983); B.Simsir and others, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul, Bogazici University Press, 1984); T. Ataov, A Brief Glance at the “Armenian Question” (Ankara, University Press, 1984); V. Goekjian, The Turks before the Court of History (New Jersey, Rosekeer Press, 1984); Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Armenia, the Continuing Tragedy (Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1984); Foreign Policy Institute, The Armenian Issue (Ankara, FPI., 1982).

‡ See Benjamin Whitaker, Revised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, 38 U.N. ESCOR Comm. On Human Rights, Subcomm. on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, (Agenda Item 4), 8-9, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6 (1985).

In letter DEEP IN MY HEART by Khatchatur I. Pilikian, The Grand Committee Room, The House of Commons, Westminster, Desmond Fernandes’ new book ‘The Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, Kurdish and Greek Cypriot Genocides and the Politics of Denialism’, Sponsor: David Drew, MP., Monday, July 21st 2008; aware to me by RAG Mamoul bulletin; we read:
The research scholar Fernandes has not ‘forgotten’, as many have, to remind the public in general and the people struggling for freedom in particular, of the importance of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, of July 4th, 1976. He seems to be in tune, and rightly so, with the “conviction”, as noted in the Declaration’s Preamble: “that the effective respect for human rights necessarily implies respect for the rights of the peoples.” Indeed, a timely reminder that we are approaching the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of October 10th, 1948.
As the Preamble of the Verdict of the prestigious Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal of April 16th, 1984, concludes: “Indeed, acknowledging genocide itself is a fundamental means of struggling against genocide. The acknowledgement is itself an affirmation of the right of a people under international law to a safeguarded existence.”

Durban: Genocide Denial is the most perverse form of racism

Durban (South Africa) – The anti-racism conference organized by the United Nations from April 20th to 24th has just released its final declaration on the struggle against racism. The declaration tackles the question of genocides and their necessary recognition.
Hence, article 62 of this declaration “recalls that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide must never be forgotten and in this regard welcomes actions undertaken to honour the memory of victims”.
Article 63 “notes actions of [those] countries that have, in the context of these past tragedies, expressed remorse, offered apologies, initiated institutionalized mechanisms such as truth and reconciliation commissions and/or restituted cultural artifacts since the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and calls on those who have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so”.
“This declaration is a vibrating plea in favour of the necessary contrition of the criminal States – without which there would be neither peace, nor justice, nor reconciliation – and a definitive condemnation of the tortuous and dilatory schemes by which they try to escape from it” declared Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
The European Armenian Federation recalls that denial partakes to the crime of genocide, and has no link with freedom of expression, though it attempts to wear this disguise in order to hide its racist purpose. In this sense, it constitutes the most perverse form of racism. Several judgments of the European Court of Human rights insisted on the social aim of freedom of expression and, thus, on the limitations which frame it for this purpose.
“In compliance with this final declaration adopted during the anti-racism conference in Durban, we invite the UN Member States to urge Turkey to apologise for the Armenian Genocide and that it sets up the institutional mechanisms which will constitute the premises for its compensation” concluded Hilda Tchoboian.
Turkey is the only State in the world which continues an officially denialist policy directed to the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish State remains legally and politically responsible for this genocide according to the International law.

Lynn Hunt: Inventing Human Rights
Lynn Hunt, UCLA Professor of Modern European History, discusses the genesis of human rights.
Excerpts from Lynn Hunt:
Thank you so much for coming out… …
Human rights doctrines relay on the claim of self-evidence. Tomas Jefferson made this very clear in 1776. “We hope these truths to be self-evident.” he wrote famiously in a Declaration of Independence. That all man are created equal, that they are endoubt by their creator with curtain un-allienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and persude of happiness. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of UN took a more legalistic tone. “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalliable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. Yet this too was a claim of self-evidence. “Whereas” being simply a legalistic way of assurting a given, something self-evident. This claim of self-evidence, crucial to human rights even now, gives rise to a paradox. If equality of rights is so self-evident, then why did this assurtion have to be made and why was it only made in certain times and places. How can human rights be universal if they are not universally recognized. Shall we rest content to the explaination given by the 1948 framers that to quote them: “We agree about the rights, but on condition no one asks us why”. Can they be self-evident when scholars have argued for more than 200 years about what Jefferson meant by his phrase. Debate will continue forever because Jefferson never felt the need to explain himself. No one from the Congress wanted to revise his claim even know that they extensively modified other sections of his poluminary version. Moreover, if Jefferson had explained himself, the self-evidence of the claim would have oveporated. An assurtion that requires argument is not self-evident.
My first question is deceptively simple one. What made someone like Jefferson, slave owner, imagine that equal, natural, and universal rights were self-evident. How they went to get their self-evidence? Jefferson’s language of 1776 had a certain influence beyond the borders of the new U.S.A. and perhaps especially in France. But the Declaration of Independence remained as John Cuincy Adams said in 1821 “merely an occasional state paper, it have no constitutional standing”. In contrast the French declaration of the rights of man and citizen of 1789 stood as the preamble to the new French constitution. Its invocation of the natural, inalliable and secret rights of man, galvanized opinion world wide. This gives me a more precise question. Where did the phrase “rights of man” come from? When was it used first? Well, I could spent a life-time to find the answer, but fortunately computerized databases of French literature allow us ask the question more systematically. The firs appearance of the “rights of man” occurred in 1762 in Rouso’s social contract. Rouse use the phrase only once and never defined it, and yet already by 1763 people were referring quite often to rights of man. The term appeared even more frequently in 1770s and 1780s with no inventor cited and it often appeared on wrong side of rights of humanity and of course natural rights, the most important predecessor to rights of man.
The expression no sooner appeared than it was considered self-evident. The ambiguities of this process can be heard in the words of the French Calvanist Minister John Paul Rabosententien who wrote to the French king in 1787 to complain about the limits of a proposed edict to toleration for protestants like himself. Rabosententien insisted, to quote him: “We know today what natural rights are and they certainly give to man much more than the edict to courts to protestants. The time is come when is no longer exceptable for a law to overtly overrule the rights of humanity that are very well known all over the world.” They may be well known. Yet in 1787 Rabo himself granted that the Catholic king could not officially canction the Calvanist right of public worship, only tolerate private religious practice. In short, everything depended on the interpretation given to what was no longer accpetable. As he said “the time is come and there is no longer acceptable law to overly overrule the rights of humanity.” My first efforts led me to the 1760s and 1770s as the critical turning point in emergence of human rights doctrines.

The Key Distortions and Falsehoods in the Denial of the Armenian Genocide.
(A Response to the Memorandum of the Turkish Ambassador)

Prepared by the Zoryan Institute
Revised August 1999

© 1999 by The Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation
19 Day Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
All rights reserved

In April 1999 there was an initiative of some sixty Congressmen in the United States House of Representatives to pass a resolution “to provide in a collection all United States records related to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to enforce the judgments of the Turkish courts against the responsible officials, and deliver the collection to the House International Relations Committee, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for incorporation into its holdings of official documentation on genocide and for purposes of public awareness and education, and to the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan, Armenia.” After enumerating eighteen findings affirming the historicity and importance of remembering the Armenian genocide, the Resolution went on to require that the above be done “Within six months of the enactment of this resolution…in an act documenting and affirming the United States record of protest and recognition of this crime against humanity.”
It is the collection of the National Archives, which contain the World War I and post-World War I documentary records of the U.S. State Department that are at issue here. That department was entrusted with the task of collecting, through its officials stationed in Turkey at the time, evidence on the decision-making, organization, and implementation of the mass murder of the Ottoman Armenian population.
The Turkish government, through its ambassador in Washington, D.C., wrote a letter to all Congressmen, dated May 27, 1999, which included an eleven-page report titled “An Objective Look At H.Res.155,” with a view to blocking the passage of a resolution that proposes to utilize for purposes of research and scholarship the holdings of a strictly American institution.
What follows is a revised version of the refutation the Zoryan Institute made to the Turkish ambassador’s report. This rebuttal was endorsed by Congressman Steven Rothman and sent to all members of Congress. As of the date of this writing, the outcome of this Congressional resolution is not yet known.
…the troubles in Van and elsewhere merely served as a convenient excuse for getting a program of mass deportations and large-scale extermination started.
[These measures led to] the Armenian holocaust….
[The annihilation of the Armenians] was not the unfortunate by-product of an otherwise legitimate security program but the result of a deliberate effort by the Ittihad ve Terakki [Young Turk] regime to rid the Anatolian heartland of a politically troublesome ethnic group.
– Ulrich Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire 1914-1918. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968, pp. 203, 219, 268.

Slowly, yet with increasing authoritativeness, the reality of the Turkish genocide perpetrated against the Armenian people has come to be accepted as established, incontrovertible fact. Such a process…has overcome formidable obstacles, especially the well-orchestrated, shameful, as yet ongoing campaign by the Turkish government to impose silence by promoting a variety of coopting devices, by disseminating various falsifications of the historical record, and through cajolery and intimidation.
– Richard Falk, (Milbank Professor of International Law, Princeton University). From his foreword to the Special Issue of the Journal of Political and Military Sociology v. 22, no. 1 (Summer 1994): 1, titled, “The Armenian Genocide in Official Turkish Records,” Roger Smith, guest editor.

Because the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide were not prosecuted, the Nazi-organized Holocaust against the xxxs became possible. There is a direct linkage between the failure to prosecute the crimes against humanity before World War II and their commission during World War II.
This failure did not occur because there was no offense or because there was no jurisdiction. Both existed, and still the prosecutions did not occur. This reluctance to act, in spite of the offense and in spite of the jurisdiction, made the Nazis more brazen and the Holocaust more likely.
– David Matas, “Prosecuting Crimes Against Humanity: The Lessons of World War I,” Fordham International Law Journal (1989-90): 104.

“The future of Holocaust denial may be foreshadowed by the persistent denial of the Armenian genocide.”
–Katherine Bischoping, “Method and Meaning in Holocaust-knowledge Surveys.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 12, no. 3 (Winter 1998): 463.
The Key Distortions and Falsehoods in the Denial of the Armenian Genocide.
(A Response to the Memorandum of the Turkish Ambassador)
Prepared by the Zoryan Institute


The Turkish government through its ambassador in Washington, D.C. once more has ventured to intervene in the American legislative process with a view to blocking the passage of a Resolution that proposes to utilize for purposes of research and scholarship the holdings of a strictly American institution, the National Archives, which contain the World War I and post-World War I documentary records of the U.S. State Department that are at issue here. That department was entrusted with the task of collecting, through its officials and functionaries stationed in wartime Turkey, evidence on the decision-making, organization, and implementation of the mass murder of the Ottoman Armenian population.
One would think and hope that a government claiming to be infused with democratic principles would only welcome such a move. For decades now the world, especially the academic world, has been told by successive Turkish governments that only solid and reliable research based on primary sources and official documents can resolve the ongoing dispute they themselves have generated about the Armenian genocide. Obviously, and regrettably, the quest for truth in this connection is, and remains, a hollow pretense. Indeed, a state system that for more than eighty years withheld authentic material on this matter by selectively denying access to its archives to a host of researchers through resort to a variety of excuses, can hardly be expected to favor a Congressional Resolution that proposes to recharge the quest for truth by introducing new mechanisms of access to similar sets of primary sources and official documents.
The overriding question, however, is not the attempt of the Turkish state to mobilize its vast resources in order to defeat this Resolution, but the quality of the impending response of the majority of the U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen confronting this curious situation. What follows is an effort to examine with as little bias as possible the objections and sets of allegations put forward in a lengthy Memorandum by the ambassador, and to demonstrate the spurious character of some of them, and the untenable nature of most of them. In fact, practically all of these objections and allegations are part and parcel of the standard repertoire of Turkish denials that are repeated time after time blandly and almost ritually. It is as if none of them had been effectively rebutted and discredited by eighty years of research and publication by scholars not identified with Armenian interests. Given the critical importance of the problem at issue here, however, the need arises to confront this ill-founded and ill-advised challenge once more and deal with it appropriately.
This is a response that transcends the particularity of the present case of denial and may well have application for other, future manifestations of denial by Turkish authorities.

Alternate Use of the Words “Ottoman” and “Turkish”

In the period in question here, all diplomatic correspondence as well as publications by many historians and political scientists continued the tradition of previous centuries to use the words “Ottoman” and “Turkish,” and “Ottoman Empire” and “Turkey” interchangeably; nor were officials and learned men of the Ottoman Empire itself always exempt from this practice. The objection to this practice is in this sense, therefore, unwarranted. Moreover, the ostensible effort to dissociate the Turkish Republic of today as a new and separate entity from the imagery one has about the Ottoman Empire is contradicted by the recent statements of a Turkish Minister of Culture, Istemihan Talay. In an interview with two Turkish journalists he publicly declared that “the Republic of Turkey is the continuation of the Ottoman Empire whose legacy is part of our history.” He was speaking on the occasion of the festivities celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Ottoman Empire. He further stated that “to be embarrassed on account of that empire’s legacy is tantamount to denying one’s very own being.”1

The Allegation of “Inter-Communal Clashes”

This description denotes the idea of a kind of civil war supposedly resulting from the relative collapse of the authority of the central government. It implies that the Armenians, an impotent defenseless minority, were able to engage in armed conflict with the omnipotent and dominant Turks and the other Muslims ruling over them. The patent fallacy of such an allegation can be recognized by considering the following facts. On August 3, 1914, i.e. three months before Turkey precipitated the war with Russia, all able-bodied Armenian men in the 20-45 age categories, and later in sequences those in the 18-20 and 45-60 categories, were conscripted in the Ottoman army. What was left behind in the Armenian community was a mass of frightened, if not terrorized, old men, women and children still haunted by the memories of the cycle of the massacres that were committed in the decades preceding World War I. The question poses itself: how could these wretched people be in a position to contemplate, let alone mount, armed clashes against a population identified with and supported by a mighty empire, the Ottoman Empire? The might of that Empire was manifested in its ability to wage for four years a relentless multi-front war in alliance with two other mighty empires, the German (Hohenzollern), and the Austro- Hungarian (Hapsburg). According to Vice Marshall Pomiankowski, Austro-Hungary’s military plenipotentiary, who throughout the war was attached to Ottoman General Headquarters, the Young Turk regime first liquidated the able-bodied Armenian men “in order to render defenseless the rest of the population” which, according to him, paved the ground for “their annihilation.”2

The Redundancy of the Argument of Armenian Rebelliousness

The four instances of uprising were not only isolated, local, and disconnected incidents but, above all, they were improvised, last-ditch acts of desperation to resist imminent deportation and thereby avert annihilation. Being strictly defensive undertakings, practically all of the insurgents involved perished in the course of the operations regular Turkish army units launched against them to suppress the insurgency. By sheer chance and fortuitous circumstance only the insurgents of the Van uprising managed to survive when at last they were liberated by the advance units of the Russian Caucasus Army, which overwhelmed the surrounding Turkish defense positions and captured the city of Van. The term “chance” calls for emphasis, for but for the timely arrival of the Russian military units, the insurgents of Van were likewise doomed, given the inevitable depletion of their meager resources of defense, including ammunition and weapons, and the mounting casualties they were sustaining. A delay of two or three days in the arrival of the Russians would surely have sealed the fate of the desperate defenders. The following testimony of Vice Marshal Pomiankowski, mentioned above, succinctly encapsulates this plight of the Armenians. He characterized the Van uprising as “an act of despair” because the Armenians “recognized that the general butchery had begun in the environs of Van and that they would be the next victims.”3 A similar judgment was expressed by Metternich, German ambassador to Turkey, and a Venezuelan military officer of Spanish extraction who was in charge of the artillery battery relentlessly bombarding and reducing the Armenian defense positions in Van. His eyewitness testimony has extraordinary value because, as he put it, he was “the only Christian who witnessed the Armenian massacres and the deportations in an official capacity….”4

The Charge of Armenian Treachery

Reference is made to “the Ottoman Armenians’ violent political alliance with the Russian forces.” One is prompted to ask, “what alliance” and “by which Ottoman Armenians?” In the annals of violent behavior inflicted upon defenseless human groups by tyrants, apologists have often taken refuge behind such utterly senseless generalizations. It is a matter of historical record that the leaders of the major Armenian political party, the Dashnaktzoutiun, as early as August 1914, publicly declared their allegiance to the Ottoman state and vowed as citizens of the state to fight for the defense of the country should the government, against all advice, decide to intervene in the war. It is likewise a historical fact that the religious head of Turkey’s Armenian community, the Patriarch, through an encyclical, enjoined all the Armenian faithful in the provinces as well as the Ottoman capital to obey the governmental officials everywhere and loyally discharge their duties as Ottoman subjects. Nor can one dismiss the ancillary fact that the leaders of the above-cited Armenian political party did all they could to stop the Armenian volunteer movement that was gaining momentum in the adjoining Russian Trans-Caucasus, but failed. Still, the fact remains that the bulk of these volunteers eager to fight against the Turks in the ranks of the Russian army were either Russian subjects or citizens of various countries in Europe and North America. In any event, how could the presence of some Ottoman subjects, past and present, among these volunteers in any way justify the resort to the sweeping indictment of “Ottoman Armenians?” By the same token, why is the fact being ignored that thousands and thousands more Azeris and Kurds were likewise fighting against the Turks in the ranks of the Russian army? The same may be said about thousands of xxxs from Russia and Europe who in 1915 served in the columns of the British Expeditionary Force at the Dardanelles and again in 1918 in the army of British General Allenby at the Palestine front. Does it not follow that there were other abiding and strategic considerations, than the participation of contingents of Armenian soldiers on the side of the Russians in the war against Turkey, in the genocidal selection and targeting of the Armenians?
Against this backdrop, the assertion that the anti-Armenian measures were but limited to the eastern theaters of war, and as such were strictly regional in thrust and scope, is simply astounding. It is belied by the grim realities of the Armenian genocide, whose sweeping compass engulfed Armenian population clusters in all corners of the vast Ottoman Empire. As one high-ranking wartime Turkish counter-intelligence officer in his post-war memoirs movingly lamented, “among those Armenians who were atrociously wasted, despite the fact that they were most innocent, guiltless, and who had committed no crime whatsoever, were the Armenians of Bursa, Ankara, Eskiehir, and Konya.”5 These involved regions and provinces that were far removed from the war zones!

The Utter Fiction of the Claim of “Relocation”

The U.S. Congress is invited to lend credence to the transparently incredible assertion that the deported Armenian population was being merely exiled to the deserts of Mesopotamia where they were being “relocated.” The brutal and utter cynicism of this assertion is exceeded only by the insolence with which the intelligence of the Congressmen, for that matter the intelligence of any thinking person, is thereby being insulted. Responding to this official claim at the time, Lewis Einstein, the Special Agent of the U.S. State Department at the American Embassy in Istanbul, mocked this brand of “official euphemism…the grim humor of paternal solicitude which usually covers the most barbarous massacres in Turkey…an armed policy of deportation, and the implied sequel of extermination.”6 Another U.S. official, Leslie Davis, wartime American consul at Harput, in his report to the State Department described how huge clusters of Armenian deportee convoys on their way to Mesopotamia were rerouted to Harput “only to be butchered in this province…the Slaughterhouse Province.”7 The candid testimony of a Turkish general with military jurisdiction over the Mesopotamia regions in question is even more telling in this respect. In his post-war memoirs he emphatically declared that “there was neither preparation, nor organization to shelter the hundreds of thousands of the deportees.”8
“Disloyal Ottoman Armenians killed 1.1 million Muslims and 100,000 xxxs”

The recklessness of this statement is matched by the sordidness attending it. More important, it reveals and punctuates the ineptness with which the picture of 100,000 entirely invented xxxs is injected into the controversy. The attempt to play on xxxish sensitivities already exacerbated by the impact of memories of the Holocaust and thereby to coopt the xxxs in the ongoing game of denialism is as transparent as it is lurid. Even by official Ottoman statistics, this falsehood emerges as absurd as one may be able to imagine. Moreover, the figure represents a magnitude that would have provoked reaction and intense inquiry a long time ago. Nor is there any reference to any record or credible source on this matter in the entire literature respecting the whole episode at issue here. Indeed, as far as official Ottoman statistics are concerned, in the areas in which, according to Turkish claims, the Armenians committed atrocities in the course of “inter-communal clashes,” the number of xxxish residents did not exceed 4,000. The question begs itself: where did this charge and the associated figure come from and how?
The figure of “1.1 million Muslims” killed roughly corresponds to the total number of the Ottoman Armenian population as presented by several Turkish sources. Like so many other, similar assertions, this too borders on the fantastic, as expounded earlier in the section “The Allegation of ‘Inter-Communal Clashes.'” As the French essayist Montaigne once observed:

no one is exempt from talking nonsense;
the misfortune is to do it solemnly.
– Essays v. III, i.

On the Number of Armenian Victims

Without providing specifics, the Memorandum states that “the number of Armenians claimed to have perished has tripled over the last 80 years.” Far from such being the case, however, that number more or less remains constant as far as credible sources are concerned. In March 1919 the then Ottoman Interior Minister relying on statistical data which the staff of the ministry had been compiling during the previous two months, publicly declared that “during the wartime deportations some 800,000 Armenians were killed.”9 Excluded from this figure are the Armenian conscripts who, in the wake of their conscription, were liquidated in stages by fellow Turkish soldiers, and countless children, young girls, and brides who were forcibly Islamised and absorbed into the mainstream of the Turkish national entity. If one discounts French and British sources, identified as they were with the enemy camp, the available German and Austro-Hungarian sources involving civilian and military officials of all ranks, and serving as wartime allies of Turkey, supply much more inclusive figures. According to these sources, the number of victims of the Armenian genocide ranges between 1.2 and 1.5 million.10

The Legal and Political Import of the May 24, 1915 Declaration of the Allies (The Entente Powers)

In that declaration France, Great Britain and Russia accused the Young Turk regime of “connivance and often assistance” in the perpetration of the mass murder of the Armenians, at the same time warning that “in view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity…”11 the Allies propose to prosecute and punish after the war all the perpetrators involved. This declaration is dismissed out of hand as wartime propaganda. Quoting author David Fromkin, the ambassador likewise dismisses “the British official accounts” as untruthful propaganda reflecting the exigencies of the war. Yet historian Arnold Toynbee, who in 1916 produced the official and most comprehensive British documentation of the Armenian genocide, some half a century later in his memoirs reconfirmed his findings and reaffirmed the historical reality of that genocide. He wrote, “the massacre of Armenian Ottoman subjects [during the Sultan Abdul Hamit era, 1894-1896] was amateur and ineffective compared with the largely successful attempt to exterminate…in 1915…[That undertaking] was carried out…under the cloak of legality, by cold-blooded governmental action.”12
The depositories of the state archives of the German Federal Republic and of Austria are replete with official documents attesting to the complicity of the Young Turk regime in the enactment of the genocide.13

The Non-Existence of “Malta Tribunals”

In the Memorandum in question, on three different occasions reference is made to so-called “Malta Tribunals” which in fact never existed and accordingly are nowhere in the respective literature cited. The British camp and affiliated domiciles were strictly a detention center where the Turkish suspects were being held for future prosecution on charges of crimes perpetrated against the Armenians, Ottoman citizens. The envisaged international trials on the new penal norm “crimes against humanity” never materialized, however – largely because of political expediency. The victorious Allies, lapsing into dissension and growing mutual rivalries, chose to strike separate deals with the ascendant Kemalist insurgents in Anatolia. One such deal concerned the recovery of some British subjects who were being held hostage by the Kemalists and who were to be released in exchange for the liberation of all Malta detainees. Commenting on this deal for the exchange which he later deplored as “a great mistake,” British Foreign Affairs Minister Lord Curzon wrote the following, “The less we say about these people [the Turks detained at Malta] the better…I had to explain why we released the Turkish deportees from Malta skating over thin ice as quickly as I could. There would have been a row I think…The staunch belief among members [of Parliament is] that one British prisoner is worth a shipload of Turks, and so the exchange was excused.”14
It is, therefore, inaccurate to state that they were released because “the charges were exhaustively probed, investigated, and studied.” Nothing of the sort happened. The Allies, especially the British, studiously avoided getting judicially involved at that juncture of developments. Everything was deferred for an eventual, anticipated international trial. To an incidental, single inquiry from London, Aukland Geddes, the British ambassador in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 1921 responded saying that the U.S. archives at that time already contained “a large number of documents on Armenian deportations and massacres”15 but that under existing conditions it was not possible to assign and charge specific culpabilities to the Turkish detainees at Malta as the Allies were not involved in the specific task of prosecution that would require pre-trial investigations, the administration of interrogatories, and the application of other methods of evidence gathering. Nor did the British “exhaustively search the archives of many nations,” not in 1919, not in 1920, or ever! Like so many other statements noted above, these are purely fabricated declarations to confuse the issue and confound third parties.

The Juxtaposition and Equating of Armenian Losses with Turkish Warfare Losses

Turkish historians and others identified with Turkish interests continue to resort to this artful device in order to minimize the scope and import of the Armenian catastrophe. Two distinct and separate categories of losses are cleverly collapsed into a single and undifferentiated category where one may readily play the numbers game through simple additions and subtractions and come up with wholly deceptive figures. What is involved here is, on the one hand, the category of victims of organized mass murder and, on the other hand, essentially the dead resulting from warfare with foreign armies and from other war-related causes. This is clearly stated in the report of American Major General Harbord, to which reference is made in the ambassador’s Memorandum. Harbord stated that “Not over 20 percent of the Turkish peasants who went to war have returned…Six hundred thousand Turkish soldiers died of typhus alone…and insufficient hospital service and absolute poverty of supply swelled the death lists.” Counterposed to this account is Harbord’s other account dealing with the conditions of the Armenian victims. He referred to “the wholesale attempt on the [Armenian] race…,” at the same time underscoring “the evidence of this most colossal crime of all ages [involving] mutilation, violation, torture and death…Testimony is universal that the massacres have always been ordered from Constantinople.” After announcing that “the official reports of the Turkish Government show 1,100,000 as having been deported,” Harbord estimated the number of the Armenian victims of the genocide to be “about 800,000.”16
The Legitimacy of the Turkish Military Tribunal Prosecuting the Authors of the Armenian Genocide

This tribunal was created through a series of Imperial Rescripts in late December 1918 and early January 1919. The issuing of them was an exercise of the type of sweeping powers with which reigning sultans were invested by the Ottoman Constitution. It was only natural that the occupants of the many Cabinet posts of successive post-war Turkish governments were enemies of the defunct Young Turk regime. So were those sitting in judgment of the Nazis at Nuremberg. One cannot just dismiss the resulting findings and judgments simply because of the presence of an animus of hostility against the accused. Given the enormity of the crimes involved, such hostility often simply becomes inescapable, but there are other yardsticks with which to assess findings and judgments in judicial proceedings.
The statement “why a government allegedly intent on eliminating a portion of its citizenry would try and convict those who committed crimes against those very citizens” is an exercise in sophistry. One needs only consider the fact that not one unitary government but disparate governments identified with disparate regimes are at issue here. Indeed those trying to administer retributive justice in the post-war era were in design and function the very antithesis of those who enacted the genocide during the preceding war.
Moreover, several aspects of the court-martial proceedings merit attention for their quality of judiciousness, despite the consideration of the fact that these trials were urged on by the victorious Allies under whose shadow they took place.
a. Using judicial discretion, the panel of judges decided to hold public trials in order to “help the defendants and facilitate their defense” and, “in a spirit of impartiality and lofty justice”17 as avowed by this panel.
b. Led by Istanbul University law professor and president of the Turkish bar association, C. Arif, a battery of sixteen lawyers was engaged as defense counsel. These attorneys frequently and vigorously challenged the prosecutors, their witnesses, and often the panel of judges, at the same time raising many constitutional questions.18 It is, therefore, astonishing that the ambassador, through the Memorandum, dares to declare that the defendants were tried “with almost no presentation of evidence.” One wonders indeed whether he and/or his staff had ever heard of Takvimi Vekâyi and if so, had ever perused its many issues. The official gazette of the Ottoman government, its supplements regularly carried many portions of the proceedings of the court-martial, including the presentations of the defense counsel.
c. Before being introduced as accusatory exhibits, each and every official document was authenticated by the competent staff personnel of the Interior Ministry who thereafter affixed on the top part of the document the notation: “it conforms to the original.”19
d. The series of verdicts pronounced by the Tribunal were based almost entirely on these authenticated official documents which had a wartime provenance and had, therefore, nothing to do with post-war “politics.” As at Nuremberg, so at Istanbul, courtroom testimony was given minimal significance. This deliberately designed procedure was announced by the Deputy Attorney General on March 29, 1919, at the 16th sitting of the Yozgad trial series.20

The Conviction of Top Young Turk Leaders by the Turkish Military Tribunal

The categorical declaration that “according to the trial transcripts” none of these leaders “were convicted of organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people,” is again belied by the text of the verdict. As principal ground for conviction and sentencing, which was death on the gallows, the Tribunal cited “the massacres against the Armenians” in various parts of the Ottoman Empire. Continuing, the Tribunal further asserted that these bloodbaths were “organized and executed” by “the Ittihadist [the Young Turk] leaders,” a fact which was “investigated and ascertained” by the Tribunal. Among those convicted and sentenced to death were Interior Minister, later Grand Vizier, Talât, and the two top military leaders, War Minister Enver, and Minister of Navy and Commander-in-Chief of the Ottoman IVth army, Cemal.21 It is likewise untrue that the “Tribunal did not convict Dr. Behaeddin akir and Cemal Azmi.” The former was convicted and sentenced to death at the end of the Harput trial series;22 the latter, who was governor-general of Trabzon province, was convicted and sentenced to death at the end of the Trabzon trial series.23

On the Value of the Turkish State Archives Relative to the Task of Documenting the Armenian Genocide

It is maintained by Turkish authorities that the evidence contained in these archives, civilian as well as military, does not in any way support the charge of genocide. Before accepting such a conclusion, however, one has to ask the cardinal question: how reliable, intact, and complete are these depositories that purportedly cover the entire evidence on the wartime treatment of Ottoman Armenians. The facts listed below cast in stark relief the dubious aspects of these archives, especially those of Yldz, the Prime Ministry, and the General Staff.
a. For more than six decades the Turkish authorities had made these depositories containing material on the Armenian question inaccessible to most researchers. In fact a regime of preferential treatment was instituted. Those well-known for their pro-Turkish proclivities or open partisanship were allowed access; others were denied it.24
b. After the archives, i.e., some parts of them, were finally opened up to the public with great fanfare in January 1989, access to them remained, and still remains, restricted through the imposition of a host of conditions. Indeed, the government, i.e., the authorities administering the archives, reserve the right to control and, when necessary, to deny access on three grounds: (1) risk to national defense, (2) risk to public order, and (3) danger to Turkey’s relations with other states, or to the need for maintaining normal relations between two foreign countries.25
c. Beyond these restrictions, deliberately framed general and vague terms to allow the indulgence in arbitrary interpretations, there is the practice of selectively withholding documents under a variety of excuses. This practice is applied to those researchers who are suspected of not being in line with Turkish national interests.26
d. Despite great impediments, the post-war Turkish Military Tribunal had been able to seek, locate, and secure an array of documents, including formal and informal orders for the elimination of the bulk of the empire’s Armenian population. These documents implicated the Ottoman High Command, the Ministers of Interior and Justice, and the top Young Turk leadership.27 Yet, nowhere can one find a trace of these archives of the Military Tribunal, which seem to have simply vanished. Nor is there any credible account as to who made the vast documentary corpus attesting to the facts of the Armenian genocide disappear, and how.
The conclusion becomes inescapable that what one may be able to glean from the Turkish archives is circumscribed and limited by what the authorities involved are arbitrarily and selectively willing to offer.
Did the Ottoman Authorities Really Punish the Perpetrators of the Massacres of the Armenians During the War?

The Turkish Memorandum sent to the U.S. Congressmen maintains that “1,376 individuals were sentenced to varying degrees of punishment…62 officials were sentenced to death and were executed….” As far as it is known former Turkish diplomat Kamuran Gürün who, citing documents from the archives of the Ottoman Interior Ministry, released these figures for the first time in his book denying the Armenian genocide. He was persuasive enough to induce noted Ottomanist and Arabist Bernard Lewis to embrace this claim in his latest work, presumably in an effort to fortify the rationale for the revising, if not retracting, of his earlier recognition of the Armenian genocide which he had seen fit to characterize as a “holocaust.”28
In advancing this argument an obvious effort is made to once more deny the reality of the Armenian genocide by denying the rationale of it. Indeed, why would a government organize a mass murder and then turn around and punish some of the actual perpetrators? To the extent that there is some truth to it, the argument is neither baffling, nor devoid of an explanation. But, as explained below, the greater truth is that the limited trials that were set in motion were nothing short of being farcical. Here are the reasons.
a. Following the completion of their criminal deeds against their Armenian victims, many of the perpetrators began to be viewed as distinct liabilities for the regime. For one thing, they knew too much regarding the lethal secret operations conducted against the victim population, and some of them started to drop hints that unless they were accommodated in certain respects, they may “spill the beans.” Referring to the decision of the Central Committee of the Young Turk Ittihad party to hang two such prominent mass murderers, actually a major and a lieutenant who were part of the Special Organization’s killer squads, a Turkish general in his post-war memoirs confirms this occurrence. Describing them as “bloodthirsty brigands,” he offers this explanation for their demise through hanging. “When deciding to get rid of them, the party’s Central Committee most probably reasoned as follows: ‘Indebtedness to [recruited] executioners and murderers is bound to be heavy…Those who are used for dirty jobs are needed in times of necessity [in order to shift] responsibility. It is likewise necessary, however, not to glorify them but to dispose of them just like toilet paper, once they have done their job.'”29 On the same occasion, party boss and then Interior Minister, Talât, in a cipher telegram is quoted as having declared with respect to the execution of one of them, Major Ahmed – “His liquidation in any case is necessary. Otherwise he will prove very harmful at a later date. Talât.”30
There were several such cases where top Young Turk leaders are seen ordering the liquidation of all kinds of massacrers on account of the same, or similar considerations.31
b. Far more significant were the circumstances under which the authorities did indeed conduct investigations and trials with a view to punishing the offenders only, however, in the end to reduce these trials to sheer travesty. A Muslim witness i.e., a Turkish peasant, for example, who insistently wanted to describe the scenes of the massacres he personally had witnessed, was put down and summarily dismissed by the presiding judge with the swear word “dog.” Furthermore, those gendarmes who were less cruel towards the Armenians but still robbed them, were found guilty and were punished. “Their cases served as the basis of embellished reports about the punishment of the perpetrators who had victimized the Armenians.”32 This fact was confirmed and became public at the 11th sitting of the Yozgad trial series (March 3, 1919). Aziz Nedim, an Ottoman civil inspector, and a personal friend of Talât from the earlier days of Saloniki, had been sent to Boazlyan, a county in Yozgad district in Ankara province, to investigate the abuses against Armenian deportees. But, in his testimony he admitted that he had received specific orders not to investigate the incidence of massacres but to limit himself to economic crimes. Attorney General Sami in that sitting concluded that “when inspectors came to the area, they confined their investigations to…plunder and fraud.”33
In other words, the authorities were not in the slightest interested to prosecute and punish massacrers, but to stop the massive embezzlements. By virtue of these abuses the vast riches of the Armenian victim population were being personally appropriated by the organizers and executioners of the massacres instead of being transferred, as was their duty to do, to the Treasury of the state.
The whole picture is summed up by a noted Turkish publicist with a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University. He had close ties with the Young Turk leaders during the war, and for two years after the war in Malta where he, along with the former, had been detained by the British. He wrote, “a commission of investigation composed of inspectors of the Ministries of the Interior and Justice, was formed…to punish those guilty of excesses. Some minor offenders were really punished; but those favoring the deportations being very influential in the Government, the whole thing amounted more to a demonstration rather than a sincere attempt to fix complete responsibility.”34

Hitler, the Holocaust, the Nuremberg Trials and the Armenian Genocide

Hitler’s reported reference to “the annihilation of the Armenians,” the veracity of which is being questioned in the Memorandum, is but one of the indices that describe the historical and legal interconnections between the Armenian Genocide and the xxxish Holocaust.35 Nor is that reference the only one that portrays Hitler being inspired and encouraged by the impunity accruing to the authors of the Armenian Genocide. Eight years earlier, in June 1931, Hitler is reported to have included in his list the case of “the extermination of the Armenians,” among the mass murders in history that he perceived to have been successful operations.36
Even though it is true that the 1939 document in question was not ultimately used at Nuremberg, where it was introduced as a prosecution exhibit, because of strong objections by German defense counsel, that does not mean that it is invalid. At the time of the Nuremberg trials there were uncertainties regarding the provenance and venue of the document containing Hitler’s statement. However, noted American specialist in this field, Gerald L. Weinberg, explained in his book and subsequently in a communication to the New York Times that the provenance and the source of the document was later identified to be the main note taker of Hitler’s secret speech, namely, Admiral Canaris, the chief of the Counter-Intelligence Department of the German Armed Forces High Command (Abwehr). Weinberg gives credence to the authenticity of the document by emphasizing the more solid reliability of Canaris as a source compared to the other two sources in which Hitler’s respective words are missing.37
The organic character of the links between the two foremost genocides of this century is a recurrent theme in the works of some prominent experts of international law. These links are treated as the byproduct of the failure to prosecute the first of the two genocides. But as Bassiouni pointed out, “the fact that a crime is not prosecuted does not negate its legal existence.”38 Still, through this type of existence it may help generate and sustain the existence of other crimes emulating it. This is the sense in which Bassiouni links the mass murder of the Armenians “now commonly referred to as genocide [and which] remained unpunished,” to the calamity of World War II. “The crimes against the laws of humanity” attending the World War I Armenian genocide, were “prosecutable and punishable international law crimes…The reluctance [to deal with them] came back to haunt” the world.39
The summary judgment of another international law expert is more trenchant as it links the two genocides even more closely by suggesting that the second genocide was conditioned, if not pre-conditioned, by the first genocide, on account of it having remained unpunished. He wrote, “Nothing emboldens a criminal so much as the knowledge he can get away with the crime. That was the message the failure to prosecute for the Armenian massacre gave to the Nazis. We ignore the lesson of the Holocaust at our peril.”40 Middle East historian Howard M. Sachar concurred when in his respective book he wrote, “The [Armenian] genocide was cited approvingly twenty-five years later by the Führer…who found the Armenian ‘solution’ an instructive precedent.”41
Raphael Lemkin, International Law and the Armenian Genocide

One of the signal after-effects of the Nuremberg trials was the general realization that, irrespective of the impact upon the rest of the world of their punitive thrust, Nuremberg rendered paramount service to humankind by directing attention to the fact that a crime of that magnitude should never be left untreated but should rather be fully exposed. In a sense the degree to which such a crime is exposed is a condition that often determines the effectiveness of the ensuing punishment.
Conversely, the impunity renders the crime debatable, infects its legacy with contagiousness and tends to make it for others with comparable propensities a venture worth emulating. These possibilities were underlined by none other than Albert Speer, who was one of the most trusted cohorts of Hitler and who with great competence ran the affairs of the Nazi munitions and armaments industry. After serving some time in Spandau prison as a Nazi war criminal – the charges against him were “war crimes “and “crimes against humanity” – he came up with a volume containing his memoirs. In it he wrote that the war criminals of World War I were allowed to escape punishment. Yet, punishment “would have encouraged a sense of responsibility on the part of leading political figures if after the First World War the Allies had actually held that trials they had threatened.”42
The Turkish ambassador’s Memorandum disputes that the U.N. ever recognized the Armenian Genocide. But the fact is that the very crystallization of the new international legal norm “crimes against humanity,” long before Raphael Lemkin conceived and developed its equivalent, “genocide,” has its origin in the public recognition of the Armenian genocide by the three principal Allies in World War I, Great Britain, France and Russia. These three Entente powers, by their May 24, 1915 declaration threatening the Turkish officials with prosecution and punishment, ushered in the new doctrine that made the notion of crimes against humanity synonymous with that of genocide. The Turkish perpetrators were officially and publicly threatened with punishment on grounds of the charge of the then evolving, organized mass murder of the Armenians, i.e., the empire-wide massacres, which for the first time were defined as “crimes against humanity.” The development of this doctrine into a legal norm to be embodied in the 1919 Report of the Commission on the Responsibilities of the Authors of War and on Enforcement of Penalties for Violations of the Laws and Customs of War, then in the Nuremberg Charter, and subsequently into the Preamble and the main body of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, are topics fully covered in the respective literature focusing on the international law aspects of the problem.43
As to the question of a specific recognition of that genocide, these are the facts. The Subcommission on Human Rights, a vital component of the U.N., in August 1985, after having been deadlocked for more than fourteen years, finally decided to vote on the respective Resolution contained in the special rapporteur’s report that had been in preparation for several years. In it, Benjamin Whitaker, the British specialist and its author, after eight years of meticulous research, had concluded that the World War I Armenian experience at the hands of the Turks was a case of “genocide” as defined by the U.N. Convention on Genocide.44 Despite insistent and persistent Turkish efforts of all kinds and in all directions to have the Resolution framed negatively, and having failed in that effort, to having it rejected by a majority vote, the Subcommission, led by U.S. expert Carey, by a vote of 14 to 1, with four abstentions, adopted the Resolution by the use of the words “it takes note.” The only negative vote was cast by the representative of the Soviet Union. In other words the Subcommission refused to cast a negative vote and thus refrained from rejecting it, and by an overwhelming vote opted to accept it.
Of all the members of the U.N., as far as it is known, it is only Turkey that is continuing to interpret this outcome as meaning that the U.N. “never recognized” the Armenian genocide!45
In line with this stance, it is further maintained that the Nuremberg trials “were not genocide trials” but trials prosecuting only war crimes. This fallacy too requires correction. The Nuremberg Charter, as a new code of international law, clearly states that “crimes against humanity” are “crimes against peace,” or are “war crimes.” The tribunal consistently tried to link together these three forms of offenses. As Bassiouni pointed out, “the inclusion of ‘crimes against humanity’ in both the Nuremberg Charter and the indictment represented a significant…advance in international criminal law…it was intended to include offenses committed by a state against civilians, including its own nationals, during the preparation and the waging of war.”46 In other words, in Nuremberg military aggression and wartime domestic genocide were inter-linked. This is a condition that aptly fits the Turkish model of genocide. Without provocation, but under German prodding and generous promises of rewards, the Ottoman Turks intervened in the war by attacking Russia unilaterally, thereby provoking the intended Russo-Turkish war. Nor can one easily dissociate the circumstances of that war from the circumstances of the likewise provoked and intended Armenian genocide.
A related misstatement attaches to the declaration that “the crimes against humanity punished under the Nuremberg Charter were not required to be directed against a particular national, ethnic or racial group.” Article 6c of that Charter in plain English refers to the condition: “persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds….”47 If an individual is persecuted for belonging to a racial or religious group, does it not follow then that the essential target of the persecution is the racial or religious group and that against this central fact the persecution of the individual is merely an incidental fact?
The Relevance and Significance of the U.S. Archives

Unlike the three Entente Powers who were allies, Great Britain, France and Russia, the United States had the distinct advantage of having in wartime Turkey a network of consuls in such cities in the interior as Harput, Trabzon, Aleppo, Mersin (Adana), and, of course, in the Ottoman capital, Istanbul; at different times it also maintained consular agents in Urfa, Samsun and Erzurum. Therefore, the U.S. government was in a unique position to observe at close hand and record through these American diplomats and functionaries the events in question up to April 1917, when the U.S. joined the above-cited Allies to wage war against the opposing Central Powers and accordingly broke off diplomatic relations with Ottoman Turkey.
This fact renders the American archives highly relevant for the thorough study of Armenian deportations and massacres. That relevance is matched by the significance that attaches to the neutrality the U.S. government maintained for three years. During this period American representatives stationed in various parts of Turkey ended up becoming an invaluable resource as they were afforded the singular opportunity to document through the prism of neutrality the origin and evolution of a major case of centrally organized mass murder.
In questioning the reliability of the testimony provided by these American officials, aspersions are cast upon the latter’s presumed sources, in the process blaming “missionaries,” the incidence of “anti-Muslim bigotry,” and above all, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. Within the confines of this mind-set, it is as if the stories of the Armenian genocide are just an array of falsehoods maliciously fabricated by the representatives of the U.S. government who, in reckless disregard of the mandates of their official duties, deliberately misinformed and misled their superiors in Washington. Space limitations prevent tackling every one of these arguments, but a brief review of the deprecations leveled against Ambassador Morgenthau may suffice to exemplify the questionable premises of this attitude of discrediting the U.S. archives dealing with the fate of the Armenians in World War I.
What is at issue here is the nature, dimensions, and above all the outcome of the wartime treatment of the Ottoman Armenian population by the Young Turk regime in power during that war. Compared to this central concern, everything else remains incidental. Morgenthau’s numerous reports to the State Department and his post-war memoirs unambiguously confront and tackle this central concern. As pointed out by a few detractors, he may have erred in some respects, blundered in other respects, and in the description of some events in his book he may have submitted to the impulses of his ghostwriter to embellish certain points, and yielded to the pressures of a superior at one point or other. But two paramount facts more than offset these shortcomings, which are endemic in all such cases. 1. In terms of authenticity and utmost reliability, his wartime reports take precedence over the import of his book. 2. Nevertheless, both source entities, i.e., the ensemble of his wartime reports, and his book, do converge in the crystallization of a quintessential theme that constitutes Morgenthau’s central message: He emphatically confirms the genocidal intentions of the leaders of the Young Turk regime and equally emphatically affirms the reality of the intended genocidal outcome. He summarized his wartime findings by incorporating in his book a chapter that bears the title, The Murder of a Nation.48 These facts clearly signal the extraordinary value of the U.S. archives in terms of resolving the controversy on the Armenian genocide. Anyone who may have any doubts on this may consult the following references in the U.S. National Archives.
R.G. 59. 867. 4016/74 (July 10, 1915)
R.G. 59. 867. 4016/70 (August 11, 1915)
R.G. 59. 867. 4016/117 (September 3, 1915)
R.G. 59. 867. 4016/162 (October 9, 1915)
R.G. 59. 867. 4016/797.5 (November 4, 1915)
R.G. 59. 867. 00/798½ (November 18, 1915)
R.G. 59. 867. 4016/799.5 (December 1, 1915)
Moreover, Morgenthau’s successor continued to report “the horrors of the anti-Armenian campaign” about which the U.S. Embassy was “in receipt of ample details.” On Oct. 1, 1916, U.S. Chargé Hoffman Philip advised the State Department to “threaten to withdraw our diplomatic representative from a country where such barbarous methods are not only tolerated but actually carried out by order of the existing government.” (R.G. 59.867.4016/297). Abram Elkus, the next U.S. Ambassador, on Oct. 17, 1916, in a cipher telegram reported to Washington that “…deportations accompanied by studied cruelties continue…forced conversions to Islam perseveringly pushed, children and girls from deported families kidnaped…Turkish officials have now adopted and are executing the unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history.” (R.G. 59.867.4016/299).
And yet, the assault against Morgenthau continuous unabated. The Turkish ambassador’s Memorandum describes him as a man who “sought to vilify the Ottoman Empire.” His motives are questioned because in a letter to President Wilson he admitted that he wanted to go public with the evidence he had gathered during his ambassadorship on the fate of the Armenians and thereby “win a victory for the war policy of the government.” Through the misuse of this quotation an important ancillary fact is being ignored, however. That letter was written on November 26, 1917, eighteen months after the Ambassador had left his post in Turkey and the material he proposed to use for his book was essentially of wartime provenance.
Given these facts, a brief review of the work (that is included in the ambassador’s brief bibliography) of an author who has been leading the assault against Morgenthau may be called for. He is recognized as a principal source for the attempts to discredit Morgenthau and thereby give impetus to the Turkish endeavor to deny the Armenian genocide. The reference is to Heath Lowry who, by questioning the reliability of Morgenthau as a source, is believed to be trying to indirectly invalidate the Armenian genocide story that is anchored on the accounts of Morgenthau.
Lowry’s preoccupation, if not obsession, with the goal to undermine the testimony of Ambassador Morgenthau apparently has driven him to remain fixated with the image of a few ailing trees – the purported flaws of Morgenthau’s book – thereby ignoring the robustness of the forest – the fundamental truth about the extermination of the Ottoman Armenian population punctuating the book as a whole. Lowry observes, for example, that a particular passage in Morgenthau’s book cannot be found in his diary, the accounts of which avowedly are reflected in his book. Suspecting contrived fictiveness, he promptly accuses Morgenthau of “slander.” In that passage Talât is reported to have declared to Morgenthau, who once more had tried to intercede on behalf of the Armenians, that “We are through with them. That’s all over.”49 Yet, German ambassador Bernstorff in his memoirs quotes Talât almost in identical terms. As Bernstorff wrote, “When I kept pestering him about the Armenian Question, he once said, ‘What on earth do you want? The question is settled, there are no more Armenians?'”50
Moreover, Lowry in his further effort to disparage Morgenthau reproduces excerpts from a letter by George Schreiner who, for nine months in 1915, had served as Associated Press correspondent in Turkey. In those passages Schreiner attacks Morgenthau for being critical of the Turks and some of their leaders. And yet his book, itself, has many accounts of atrocities committed against the Armenians, who “are going through hell again. I have heard that some have been burned alive…Massacres are said to continue…that shocking phase of barbarity….It is out in the open, in the waste places, that the worst comes to pass…My efforts to do my duty [to get out a story on the Armenian outrages] have prejudiced the Turkish censors against me.”51 So much for Lowry’s quest for discernment with respect to rectitude and forthrightness.
Despite all this, however, Lowry felt constrained to make an admission at the end of his respective booklet. He declared that Morgenthau’s “wartime dispatches and written reports…submitted to the U.S. Department of State,” rather than his book are “the real” material on which to base any pertinent study, including the wartime Armenian experience.52 It may, therefore, be appropriate at this juncture to end this segment of the discussion with the adducing of excerpts from a nine-page “Private and Confidential” letter Morgenthau sent to Secretary of State Robert Lansing on November 18, 1915. The significance of these statements is accented by the fact that for unknown reasons they are excised from the printed version of the document in the respective volume put out by the State Department in 1939. These excerpts succinctly encapsulate Morgenthau’s verdict on “the Murder of [the Armenian] Nation.”
I am firmly convinced that this is the greatest crime of the ages…massacres accompanied with rape, pillage and forced conversions…Unfortunately the previous Armenian massacres were allowed to pass without the great Christian Powers punishing the perpetrators thereof; these people believe that an offense that has been condoned before, will probably be again forgiven…It was a great opportunity for them to put into effect their long cherished plan of exterminating the Armenian race and thus finish once for all the question of Armenian reforms which has so often been the cause of European intervention in Turkish affairs.53

In the history of human conflicts, including international conflicts with outcomes involving capital crimes, one may rarely see a perpetrator who, for a variety of reasons managed to escape punishment, voluntarily come forward and admit guilt. More often than not, such admissions are exacted either by total defeat and surrender at the end of a military conflict, or by circumstances affording a trial in a court of law where the availability of compelling evidence may preempt the possibility of routine denial. In the case of a capital crime of the type of genocide, power relations are of dual import. One needs superior power to overwhelm and decimate an impotent and vulnerable victim group but, perhaps equally important, one may proceed to deny that crime if in the aftermath of it one’s power position continues to hold or even increases. The persistent and often truculent denial of the Armenian genocide for more than eight decades by the Turks and their few partisan advocates is a function of this type of power leverage. One remedy or antidote against this posture is less equivocation or verbal gymnastics, and more firmness of purpose that is anchored on the twin pillars of American democracy and civilization: truth and justice. For too long American men of politics, largely influenced by the guardians of military and commercial interests, have opted to accommodate, at almost any price, the Turks, some of whom these days are wont to brag that they are “the spoiled brats of the Americans!” But are commerce and politics and military procurement everything? Are there not thresholds which, when crossed, one should have the fortitude to say no and call the bluff in face of the type of warnings and threats for which the Turks have special aptitudes?
Political alliances as a rule are temporary arrangements and are, therefore, unstable combinations, always liable to transformation and even reversal. But a nation’s ascendancy to a high level of self-fulfilment needs to be energized by a commitment to more abiding principles and ideals than the proclivities for dollar diplomacy and the skill to calibrate political interests that are often ephemeral.
America’s destiny is foreshadowed in the legacy of such pillars of political idealism as Jefferson and Lincoln, who knew how to be mindful of the binding constraints of probity in the regulation of national and international affairs.
In the context of this essay it is worth focusing in particular on Jefferson, whose love for organizing a library was emblematic of his passion for accumulating and transmitting knowledge over many generations. He helped found the Library of Congress and, after fire destroyed its collection, he offered his own library to the Congress. Just as libraries are much cherished as fertile grounds for the pursuit of knowledge and truth, so are national archives. The resolution before the Congress will serve as a crucible for those Congressmen and Congresswomen who may prefer to adhere to the legacy of Thomas Jefferson by granting the mandate this resolution is seeking. Let the National Archives serve the lofty purpose for which they were created. Let the truth emerge, shine through and liberate us all from the ongoing scourge of a corrosive denialism.


1. Türkiye (Turkish newspaper in Istanbul), March 1, 1999. The interviewers are identified as Nihat Kakc and Hasan Ylmaz.

2. Joseph Pomiankowski, Der Zusammenbruch des Ottomanischen Reiches (The collapse of the Ottoman Empire). Graz, Austria, 1969, p. 160.

3. Ibid.

4. German Foreign Ministry Archives, A.A. Türkei 183/40, A25749, September 18, 1916 report, p. 25. This source contains Ambassador Metternich’s reference. For the Venezuelan officer’s account, see Rafael de Nogales, Four Years Beneath the Crescent. M. Lee, trans. New York: Scribner’s, 1926, pp. 1, 72-97.

5. Ahmet Refik (Altnay), Iki Komite, Iki Ktal (Two committees, two massacres). H. Koyukan, ed. Ankara: Kekibeç Publications, 1994, p. 27.

6. Lewis Einstein, “The Armenian Massacres.” Contemporary Review 616 (April 1917): 490.

7. Leslie A. Davis, The Slaughterhouse Province. An American Diplomat’s Report on the Armenian Genocide 1915-1917. Susan K. Blair, ed. New Rochelle, NY: Caratzas, 1989, p. 181.

8. Orgeneral Ali Fuad Erden, Birinci Dünya Harbinde Suriye Hatralar (Syrian memoirs of World War I), vol. 1. Istanbul, 1954, p. 122.

9. Alemdar (Turkish newspaper in Istanbul), March 15, 1919. Takvimi Vekâyi No. 3909, July 21, 1920, pp. 3, 4. The minister in question was Cemal.

10. According to German Interim Ambassador to Turkey, Radowitz, 1.5 million Armenians died and 425,000 survived. A.A. Türkei 183/44. A27493, October 4, 1916 report. The German parliamentarian, Foreign Office Intelligence Director, and later Cabinet minister, Erzberger, estimated 1.5 million victims. A.A. Türkei 183/42, A13959, May 27, 1916 report. German major Endres, serving in the Turkish army, estimated that “1.2 million Armenians perished in Turkey during the war.” Die Türkei. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1918, p. 161. Austrian Vice Marshal Pomiankowski declared that “approximately one million Armenians perished,” [n. 2], p. 160. Austrian consul at Trabzon and Samsun, Dr. Kwatkiowski, reported to Vienna on March 13, 1918 that “in round figure 1 million Armenians were with studied cruelty deported from the six eastern Anatolian provinces as well as from Trabzon province and Samsun district. From these only a fraction could escape death.” Austrian Foreign Ministry Archives 12 Türkei/380, ZI.17/pol. Austria-Hungary’s Adrianople (Edirne) consul Dr. Nadamlenzki reported that from the entire realm of the Ottoman Empire, including its European part, by October 29, 1915 “already 1.5 million Armenians were deported.” 12 Türkei/463, Z.94/P.

11. Vahakn N. Dadrian, “The Historical and Legal Interconnections Between the Armenian Genocide and the xxxish Holocaust: From Impunity to Retributive Justice.” Yale Journal of International Law 23, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 504.

12. Arnold Toynbee, Experiences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969, pp. 241, 341.

13. Vahakn N. Dadrian, “Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in German and Austrian Sources.” In I. Charny, ed., The Widening Circle of Genocide. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Pub., 1994, pp. 77-125.

14. British Foreign Office Archives, FO 371/7882/E4425, folio 182.

15. FO 371/6503/E6311, folio 34.

16. Harbord Report to the U.S. Secretary of State, “American Military Mission to Armenia.” International Conciliation, CLI (151), [New York] (June 1920): 280, 281, 282.

17. Vahakn N. Dadrian, “Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and Its Contemporary Legal Ramifications.” Yale Journal of International Law 14, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 297.

18. Ibid. pp. 304-307.

19. Vahakn N. Dadrian, “The Documentation of the World War I Armenian Massacres in the Proceedings of the Turkish Military Tribunal.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 23, no. 4 (November 1991): 563.

20. Ibid.

21. Takvimi Vekâyi no. 3604, p. 219, right hand column. The verdict was issued on July 5, 1919 and the text of the conviction and sentence rendition was published on July 22, 1919.

22. Takvimi Vekâyi no. 3771, p. 2, left hand column. Conviction was announced on January 13, 1920, the text of the conviction and sentence rendition was published on February 9, 1920.

23. Takvimi Vekâyi no. 3616, p. 3, left hand column. Conviction was announced on May 2, 1919, the text of the conviction and sentence rendition was published on August 6, 1919.

24. For example, author Ulrich Trumpener was denied such permission. Germany and the Ottoman Empire 1914-1918. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968, Preface, pp. viii-ix; Stanford Shaw, on the other hand, had all this time free access to the same archives. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol. II, Reform, Revolution and Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977, Preface, pp. viii, xvii.

25. Resmi Gazete (Official Gazette), no. 20163, May 12, 1989, Cabinet Council’s no. 89/14028 decision, pp. 1-6; the three conditions are contained in article 10, subsections a and b.

26. In an interview with the editor of an Armenian newspaper in the United States, Ara Sarafian, a doctoral candidate of history at the University of Michigan, recounted the vexing problems of this type he had in the Yldz archives in Istanbul. Three prominent authors, Justin McCarthy, Kemal Karpat, and Mim Kemal Öke, known for their works categorically denying the Armenian genocide, had had free access to the documents of this archive. When Sarafian proposed to check some of their published claims, statistical figures and other data, he was invariably prevented from doing so by a variety of pretexts, including the occasional assertion that no such documents exist, or that they can not be found. In one particular instance involving Karpat’s treatment of the Yldz Perakende collection, Sarafian tried to check some material cited by Karpat, but was told that the collection was “closed” and had never been “open.” Hairenik, (May 13, 1993): 5. A summary of that account also appeared in Zeitschrift für Türkeistudien issue no. 1 (1993).
27. Vahakn N. Dadrian, “The Turkish Military Tribunal’s Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 11, no. 1 (Spring 1997): 32.

28. Kamuran Gürün, Ermeni Dosyas. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1983, pp. 221-222.The English translation is in The Armenian File. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985, pp. 212-213.

29. Erden, Birinci Dünya Harbinde [n. 8], p. 217. The brigands involved were Major Ahmed and Lieutenant Halil in whose belongings were found, among other things, “blood-stained ornamental gold coins.” (p. 218).

30. Ziya akir, Yakn Tarihin Üç Büyük Adam (The three great men from the recent past). Istanbul: A. Sait Pub., pp. 57-59. Falih Rfk (Atay), Zeytinda (Mount Olive). Istanbul: Ayyldz, 1981, p. 67. It should be recognized in this respect that not only IVth Army Commander Cemal in Syria and Palestine, but also IIId Army Commander Vehib Paa in eastern Turkey, despite their strong ties to the Ittihad Party, refused to embrace the secret genocidal agenda of the party’s top leadership and whenever they could they tried to resist and discourage the attendant massacres. In 1916, for example, Vehib court-martialed and hanged a gendarmery commander and his accomplice for organizing the massacre of some 2,000 disarmed Armenian labor battalion soldiers. He subsequently issued a proclamation threatening similar swift retribution against any and all who might be tempted to attack and harm the Armenians in the process of being deported. Ariamard (Istanbul), December 10, 1918. Cemal Paa acted similarly. In 1916, for example, he executed a gendarmery officer on charges of rape and assault. Austrian Foreign Ministry Archives, Consul Ranzi’s February 15, 1916 report to Vienna. 12/463. No. 4/P.

31. See a brief account of these operations of post-crime liquidation, including those undertaken by the Kemalists in Vahakn N. Dadrian, “A Twist in the Punishment of Some of the Arch Perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.” The Armenian Cause 10, no. 2 (May 1993): 2E-5E.

32. Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate Archives, Series 17, file Ho, pp. 37, 38, and p. 163 of report no. 67 relayed to the Interior Minister by one of the four commissions which Minister Talât had sent to Anatolia to investigate the abuses committed against the Armenians in the course of the deportations. For more details on this subject see Vahakn N. Dadrian, “The Armenian Genocide and the Pitfalls of a ‘Balanced’ Analysis. A Response to Ronald Grigor Suny.” Armenian Forum no. 2 (Summer 1998): 123-124.

33. Dadrian, “The Turkish Military Tribunal’s” [n. 27], p. 39.

34. Ahmed Emin (Yalman), Turkey in the World War. New Haven, 1930, p. 221. The author had close ties with the Young Turk leaders during the war and spent eighteen months with most of them in detention in Malta after the war before being released in October 1921 under the exchange program negotiated between the British and the insurgent Kemalists.

35. For a review of these indices see Vahakn N. Dadrian, “Common Features of the Armenian and xxxish Cases of Genocide: A Comparative Victimological Perspective.” In I. Drapkin, ed., Victimology: A New Focus, v. 4, Violence and Its Victims. Lexington, MA: Heath and Co., 1975, pp. 99-120; idem., “The Convergent Aspects of the Armenian and xxxish Cases of Genocide. A Reinterpretation of the Concept of Holocaust.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 3, no. 2 (1988): 151-169; idem., The Comparative Aspects of the Armenian and xxxish Cases of Genocide: A Socio-Historical Perspective.” In A. Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust Unique? Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996, pp. 101-135.

36. Edouard Calic, Unmasked: Two Confidential Interviews with Hitler. R. Barry, trans. London: Chatto and Windus, 1971, p. 81.

37. Gerald L. Weinberg, The Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany: Starting World War II, 1937-39. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 610-12. The author is William Rand Kenan Jr., Professor of History, University of North Carolina. His conclusion is based upon his own research in the archives of Britain’s Foreign Office, especially the papers of former British ambassador to Berlin, Neville Henderson, and the “detailed and careful articles that appeared in the scholarly quarterly issued by the Institute for Contemporary History in Münich in 1968 and 1971.” See his piece “Hitler’s Remark on Armenians Reported in ’39.” New York Times (June 18, 1985).

38. M. Cherif Bassiouni, Crimes Against Humanity in International Criminal Law. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1992, p. 176.

39. M. Cherif Bassiouni, “The Time Has Come for an International Criminal Court.” Indiana International and Comparative Law Review 1, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 3-4. Bassiouni expresses a similar view in his most recent article, “From Versailles to Rwanda in Seventy-Five Years: The Need to Establish a Permanent International Criminal Court.” Harvard Human Rights Journal 10 (Spring 1997): 58.

40. David Matas, “Prosecuting Crimes Against Humanity: The Lessons of World War I.” Fordham International Law Journal 86 (1989-90): 86, 104.

41. Howard M. Sachar, The Emergence of the Middle East 1914-1924, New York: A. Knopf, 1969, p. 115. For details see his entire chapter IV, “The Armenian Genocide,” pp. 87-115.

42. Albert Speer, Spandau: The Secret Diaries. Richard and Clara Winston, trans. New York: Macmillan, 1976, p. 43.

43. Bassiouni, Crimes Against Humanity [n.38], pp.168-185; Vahakn, N. Dadrian, “The Historical and Legal Interconnections between the Armenian Genocide and the xxxish Holocaust: From Impunity to Retributive Justice.” Yale Journal of International Law 23, no.2 (Summer 1998): 504-505, and the section on ” The Nuremberg Crucible,” subsection B. “Nuremberg and the Legacy of Humanitarian Intervention Applied to Armenia,” pp. 552-554; The United Nations War Crimes Commission, History of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and the Development of the Laws of War. London: His Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1948, pp. 32-36, 45, 188-189, 192-197.

44. Dadrian, “Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law” [n.17], p. 224.

45. Varoujan Attarian, Le Génocide des Arméniens devant l’ONU, with a Preface by Nobel Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel. Bruxelles: Éditions Complexe, 1997, pp. 88-93, 100-104, 109-110.

46. M. Cherif Bassiouni, “International Law and the Holocaust.” California Western International Law Journal 9, no. 2 (Spring 1979): 229.

47. William W. Bishop, Jr., International Law. Cases and Materials. 3d ed. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1971, pp. 999-1000, “Charter of the International Military Tribunal.”

48. Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story. New York: Doubleday, 1918, p. 301.

49. Heath W. Lowry, The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story. Istanbul: Isis Press, 1990, p. 58. In Morgenthau’s book [n. 48] it is on p. 392, but on pp. 337-8 and 342 Morgenthau quotes Talât in a similar vein.

50. Memoirs of Count Bernstorff. New York: Random House, 1936, p. 176. For similar comments see pp. 180 and 374.

51. George A. Schreiner, From Berlin to Bagdad. Behind the Scenes in the Near East. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1918, pp. 332, 333. See also pp. 32, 39, 208, 244, 327, 338.

52. Lowry, The Story [n. 49], p. 79.

53. U.S. National Archives, R.G. 59.867.00/798½, pp. 7, 8. In the volume put out by the State Department is: Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States. The Lansing Papers, 1914-1920, vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1939, pp. 766-769.
About Genocide Denial,
by Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern xxxish Studies at Emory University, a statement from Concerned Writers and Scholars

About the moral issue of genocide denial, the country’s leading scholar on Holocaust and genocide denial, Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern xxxish Studies at Emory University, has written in conjunction with a dozen other leading genocide scholars and intellectuals:
Denial of genocide–whether that of the Turks against Armenians or the Nazis against xxxs–is not an act of historical reinterpretation. Rather, it sows confusion by appearing to be engaged in a genuine scholarly effort. Those who deny genocide always dismiss the abundance of documents and testimony as contrived or coerced, or as forgeries and falsehoods. Free speech does not guarantee the deniers the right to be treated as the “other” side of a legitimate debate when there is no credible “other side;” nor does it guarantee the deniers space in the classroom or curriculum, or in any other forum.

Genocide denial is an insidious form of intellectual and moral degradation and a violation of what a university represents.
Denial of genocide strives to reshape history in order to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators. Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide; it is what Elie Wiesel has called a “double killing.” Denial murders the dignity of the survivors and seeks to destroy the remembrance of the crime.
William Styron, Writer; Arthur Miller, Writer; Susan Sontag, Writer; Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University; Robert N, Bellah, Elliot Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley; Jean Bethke Elshtain, Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School; Robert Jay Lifton, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center; Roger Smith, Professor of Government and President of the Association of Genocide Scholars.
from A Statement by Concerned Writers and Scholars, 1996.
Association of Genocide Scholars
Department of Government
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795 USA
757/221-3038, Fax 757/221-1868
Executive Board
Roger W. Smith, President
Frank Chalk, Vice President
Jack Nusen Porter, Vice President
Steven L. Jacobs, Treasurer
The Armenian Genocide Resolution Unanimously Passed By The Association of Genocide Scholars of North America
The Armenian Genocide Resolution was unanimously passed at the Association of Genocide Scholars’ conference in Montreal on June 13, 1997.

That this assembly of the Association of Genocide Scholars in its conference held in Montreal, June 11-13, 1997, reaffirms that the mass murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. It further condemns the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government and its official and unofficial agents and supporters.
Among the prominent scholars who supported the resolution were: Roger W. Smith (College of William & Mary; President of AGS); Israel Charny (Hebrew University, Jerusalem); Helen Fein, Past President AGS); Frank Chalk (Concordia University, Montreal); Ben Kiernan (Yale University); Anthony Oberschall (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Mark Levene (Warwick University, UK); Rhoda Howard (McMaster University, Canada), Michael Freeman (Essex University, UK), Gunnar Heinsohn (Bremen University, Germany)
The Association of Genocide scholars is an international, inter-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to the understanding and prevention of Genocide. The Association is an affiliate of The Institute For the Study of Genocide, New York, Dr. Helen Fein, Executive Director.


Twelve Ways To Deny A Genocide
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By Israel Charny, these 12 methods were originally called “Templates for Gross Denial of a Known Genocide: A Manual” in The Encyclopedia of Genocide, volume 1, page 168. These 12 tactics have all been followed (or perhaps more the more accurate word is pioneered) by the Turkish Government, in its genocide denial campaign.

1. Question and minimize the statistics.

This is one of the biggest distractions to the main issue itself. By claiming that the numbers are exaggerated or inflated, and that only a few hundred thousand were killed, not over a million, they try to completely side-track the entire issue. As if a few hundred thousand would not have been a genocide as well.

2. Attack the motivations of the truth-tellers.
The claim that Armenians cannot be trusted because they may want reparations is like saying no victim should ever be heard, because they are biased in their pursuit of justice.

3. Claim that the deaths were inadvertent.

As a result of famine, migration, or disease, not because of willful murder. Also mention that Turks/Muslims died too at that time – without mentioning that they died on the battlefield, not at the hands of their very own government.

4. Emphasize the strangeness of the victims.

The victims were infidels (Christians), a fifth-column, and not “good” Ottoman Turks.

5. Rationalize the deaths as the result of tribal conflict, coming to the victims out of the inevitability of their history of relationships.
Check. Armenians and Turks could not share that land anymore since some Armenians might prefer independence to being second class citizens.

6. Blame “out of control” forces for committing the killings.

They often blame the very Kurds they later struggled to keep down.

7. Avoid antagonizing the genocidists, who might walk out of “the peace process.”
Turkey refuses to even open diplomatic relations with Armenia because it talks about the Armenian Genocide.

8. Justify denial in favor of current economic interests.

Undoubtedly Turkey’s number one weapon in denying the Armenian Genocide. Constant threats to the west the military contracts worth billions will be canceled have worked wonders in legislatures considering the issue. In fact, the debate over whether to officially recognize the genocide in the west is clearly not about whether it happened or not – since it very clearly did – but on just what economic/diplomatic repercussions Turkey has threatened or might retaliate with if they do recognize a 90 year old truth.

9. Claim that the victims are receiving good treatment, while baldly denying the charges of genocide outright.
Show how a few thousand Armenians were not killed in Istanbul as evidence that 2.5 million were not killed/driven out in Anatolia.

10. Claim that what is going on doesn’t fit the definition of genocide. At the time of writing (September 2004), the European Union, the Secretary General of the United Nations and even Amnesty International still avoid calling the crimes in Darfur by their proper name. There are three reasons for such reluctance:
A. Another misconception is the “all or none” concept of genocide. The all-or-none school considers killings to be genocide only if their intent is to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group “in whole.” Their model is the Holocaust. They ignore the “in part” in the definition in the Genocide Convention, which they often haven’t read.

B. Since the 1990’s, a new obstacle to calling genocide by its proper name has been the distinction between genocide and “ethnic cleansing,” a term originally invented as a euphemism for genocide in the Balkans. Genocide and “ethnic cleansing” are sometimes portrayed as mutually exclusive crimes, but they are not. Prof. Schabas, for example, says that the intent of “ethnic cleansing” is expulsion of a group, whereas the intent of “genocide” is its destruction, in whole or in part. He illustrates with a simplistic distinction: in “ethnic cleansing,” borders are left open and a group is driven out; in “genocide,” borders are closed and a group is killed.

C. Claim that the “intent” of the perpetrator is merely “ethnic cleansing” not “genocide,” which requires the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. The U.N. Commission of Experts report of 2005 took this way out. It confused motive with intent. (Ironically, the U.N. Commission report even included a paragraph saying motive and intent should not be confused, an exhortation the Commission promptly violated, itself.) Even if the motive of a perpetrator is to drive a group off its land (“ethnic cleansing”), killing members of the group and other acts enumerated in the Genocide Convention may still have the specific intent to destroy the group, in whole or in part. That’s genocide.

11. Blame the victims.

Perhaps the most insulting tactic of all. Saying that actually it was the Armenians who were massacring and wiping out Turks.

12. Say that peace and reconciliation are more important that blaming people for genocide.
This is often heard from Turks, American government officials and others who have clearly never been victims of genocide. Much like telling a man whose mother was raped and murdered by the next door neighbor that it is more important to get along with your neighbors, this will never be accepted by Armenians who deserve and need an apology and reparations. They need an apology from Turkey now not only for the genocide, but for the nearly century long denial and miseducation campaign that took place, the continued mistreatment of Armenians in Turkey, the blockade of Armenia since the early 1990s and the post-genocidal war taking even more Armenian land.

Top level confirmation of the church commitment for the condemnation of the Armenian genocide
7 May 2008
Karekin II the Catholicos of All Armenians called « the whole nations » to “universally condemn the Armenian Genocide” during an official visit to Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican. This call was made on Piazza San Pietro in front of a public audience exceptionally chaired by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the presence of more than 20 000 faithful.
In his welcome speech, Benedict XVI addressed this issue in recalling that “at the beginning of XXth century, Christian Armenians suffered cruel persecutions” saying that “Armenia’s many martyrs are a sign of the power of the Holy Spirit working in times of darkness, and a pledge of hope for Christians everywhere”
Catholicos Karekin II then replied in asserting that Armenians “are a people who have survived genocide” and which thus knows well “the value of love, brotherhood, friendship and a secure life”. His Holiness Karekin II continued stating that “today, many countries of the world recognize and condemn the genocide committed against the Armenian people by Ottoman Turkey” and that “the denial of these crimes is an injustice similar to their perpetration”. He ended by calling “all the nations to universally condemn the Armenian Genocide so that who has power and authority can detect the accountability of these crimes”
The European Armenian Federation recalls that Vatican already recognized the Armenian Genocide through a joint declaration of John Paul II and Karekin II in 2000.


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