Pure white became the darkest black
jep jehrmag yeghahv sep sev
This is the title of a work written by Lucine Kasbarian. She very deftly explains the travails Armenians are experiencing with Turkish scholars and Turkish government officials who are attempting to deny the Turkish massacres of the Armenians. The title of her short articles speaks volumes about how the truth can be twisted and reworked into a complete lie just as a pure white cloth may be described in such a way as to make it seem a deep black color.
There is a website that helps people learn the Turkish language. It also provides information about Turkish proverbs, customs, holidays, music, tourist spots of Turkey, etc. There is also an open blog where people can discuss points of interest about Turkey. On the blog, there is an interesting dialog between Turks about the Armenian Question. A Turkish participant, whose blog name is “thehandsom” presents a point of view of the Turkish massacres of Armenians between the years 1890 and 1917 that is sympathetic to the Armenian’s claim that they were subjected to government sponsored genocide. The following is a sample of “the handsom” point of view in four parts.
“I know what happened to my nation..You call it what ever you like” Hrant Dink
As you know, there are some serious taboo subjects in Turkey.
If we want to write them down:
1- The position of the army.
2- In Turkey everybody is a Turk..There are no ethnic-cultural differences..(Kurds)
3- No massacres committed by us, especially against Armenians..
4- Turkey is a classless society..(so we donÂ´t need communism)
5- Turkey is a secular country so Islamic culture is our enemy..
As you all know from the news and the articles you read about Turkey (of course, I am talking about political writings..Not about dudus ), almost every action trying to break these taboos are being punished and the people who have been having different views about those subject have been declared as public enemy!!
Turkish constitution have had many articles to defend above taboos..(Old articles 141-142 -class struggle/communism, article 163 forbids religious propaganda.. Article 125 bans Kurdish propaganda..Well just very recently a Kurdish writer/politicianÂ´s case was accepted by EU human rights court -Taraf journalist Orhan Miroglu, who was convicted of a crime for speaking Kurdish during an election campaign in 2007. Miroglu was sentenced to six months in jail followed by five years probation for using Kurdish expressions in his election speech in Mersin in 2007.)
Some people in Turkey think that our history is the history of rebellions against these taboos.. All those early Kurdish rebellions and the latest PKK, left wing struggles of 1970s and lately, the rebellion of Islamists (AKP etc).. (In fact, some people will argue that our republic was founded on these taboos).
All those revolts (Kurdish, 1970Â´s left wing, 1990s Islamist revolts) were Â´crushedÂ´ in true sense.. But after all those revolts, these groups learned one thing which is indispensable to be every bodyÂ´s existence -at the same times indispensable to their own existence- and that is democracy.. All crushed left wing, Islamists, Kurds have realized and thoroughly learned the importance of democratic institutions..
Now it can be argued that almost all those subjects which were thought as taboos have been broken: Everybody knows that we do have classes in Turkey; not everybody is a Turk in Turkey we do have different ethnic citizens; we can live without thinking that Islamic culture is our enemy and in fact most of our traditions and cultural life was determined by Islamic culture..
Breaking of all these taboos have been making Turkey a more democratic state and a more democratic society!!
I would like to talk about our ultimate taboo, Â´the Armenian ProblemÂ´.
Almost every Turk will accept the fact that there is almost no information regarding what happened to Armenians in our history and in our education system!! (I was reading a Turkish columnist in Milliyet the other day, he was confessing that when he graduated from our famous faculty of Political Sciences in Ankara..And he has been saying that he did not know anything about 1915. The title of his column was Â´the truth lands on your shoulders, you can not live with liesÂ´ -Turkish- . The paper is not a paper with extreme views..It is one of the most circulated papers from Dogan group)
After the beginning of modern Turkey, the question, Â´what happened to Armenians?Â´ was never a subject in Turkish society until 1970 (until the beginning of terrorism from Asala).
About 100 years ago it was the period of time in which almost 1 in 10 people perished from Anatolia..
The events took place were so intense, so dreadful so unprecedented in those soils..
The level of brutality was so immense in a way that nobody in Asia minor/Anatolia/west Asia experienced before..
The basic rules of the war such as not killing people who are unable carry guns-women, children, old- unless there are very very special circumstances, broken. Old Anatolian/Ottoman/Turkish war/warrior ethics were violated..
Those people were not killed in battle fields, they got killed on the sides of the roads, edge of the towns, next to rivers, in the bushes where they were hiding, in mosques/churches by setting fire on them…
They got killed not only with arms and knives..they were killed with axes, with reaping hooks, with stones.. Series of these events which were so important to us , to our republic, but we donÂ´t know anything about them.. And we almost are trying to forget it..(And we have been trying to punish anybody who dared to open the subject)
It is almost the case that apart from Turks, everybody knows something about it…As soon as we leave the borders of Turkey, almost everybody will have an idea about Â´what happened to ArmeniansÂ´. And they will Â´nameÂ´ “what ever it is” too..
So in my opinion talking openly about the subject of Armenians will have a direct impact on pushing Turkey towards becoming a real democratic state..
It is not only just about learning some facts but also it is necessary for other ethnic-religious groups in Turkey. We can not afford another incident like this. We have to be in peace with our past. Being in peace with our history will have a positive aspect of becoming a better democratic state. All those variations in our society, all those different ethnic groups are our richness. Why do we need to deprive ourselves from this treasure?So, we will talk about this issue from with the aim and perspective of creating a better Turkey..:)
Since it is a gigantic and a colossal subject I want to split the writings into a few parts:
-Mental state of Young Turks -Brief history from late 17th century till 1915-
-Dealing with “Armenian problem”..mid 1914 till mid 1915/till 1916..Young Turks Enver , Talat.. Zeytun +Van Armenian rebellions.
-Where to go from here/ethics of theses/trauma for all of us etc..”
“Mental state of Young Turks -Brief history from late 17Th century till 1914″
“Young Turks were the people who took the decision to deal with the Armenian problem at the time..In this part, I will try to explain their mental state and what they were thinking before taking those decisions which caused unprecedented level of catastrophe in those soils!!
Lets start this part 2 with some basic history:
As we all know, We, Turks, came from central Asia to Anatolia. And when we came the population was mainly Greek, Armenians, Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Jews etc..Mainly, Armenians + Kurds were in the east and Greek population was around the shores of Black sea, Aegean sea and in Istanbul. Of course all those cultures were mixed up throughout history..(We, Turks mixed with the those people as well, as according to the gene pool researchers, only 3% of the population are carrying the genes with central Asian origins)
When Turks captured Anatolia, Kurds kept living as a semi autonomous state because of the geography and Armenians did cope well with the situation and were living happily there. I mean there were some Armenians in Istanbul such as patriarchy, upper class and fully integrated with Ottomans. And there were Anatolian Armenians who worked and paid their taxes (mostly to both Ottomans and -illegally to- Kurdish tribes). And the ones living in Anatolia were the farmers, local businessmen, dealing with arts and crafts etc..
But when they came to 1800s the things started to change..
-Evil west started to stop using Silk Road..
-The nationalism was on the rise..
-Nations which were living with Ottomans for hundreds of years started to win Â´their independenceÂ´ wars.(Well they call theirs as the independence war, according to us they were “ingratitude people” who were persuaded to knife us on our back)
-in 1838 with the agreements Ottomans had to sign, cheaper goods flooded into Anatolia and local businesses got effected..
-in 1839 With reforms and with the first constitution, Â´TanzimatÂ´ , non Muslims got equality with the Muslims.. (They were not considered as equal before that date)
-Because the local economy collapsed and Last Kurdish rebellion was crashed in 1847, Kurds started to get more lawless and Â´bolderÂ´ against Armenians.
-Seyh Shamil lost his war against Russians (1859) and many Muslim refugees poured into Anatolia from Caucasus and they joined the Kurds in looting!! (I just remembered: there is also a dance called seyh samil in Turkey.. I used to have a girlfriend many years ago and she was one of the best seyh samil dancers I have ever seen:) )
Well of course, the time was the time revolting against Ottomans..Young and educated Armenians become revolutionists whereas Armenian in Anatolia complained their horrible situation to Istanbul.
When we came to 1890s, The peace treaty Ottomans signed with Russians in 1878 -after losing the war!-(then almost the same type of treaty was signed between Ottomans and UK in Berlin) and in that treaty, it said that ottomans will protect Armenians from Kurds and Caucasians-people from North Caucasus..But with those treaties, Ottomans lost huge lands, especially in Europe..(Practically, it was the end of Ottomans In Europe..Serbia/Bulgaria/Bosnia etc..all gone).
Eastern Problem-Hamidiye Battalions
Now, what happened just after this treaty was also shows the clear indication about what was going to happen to Armenians in 1915 (if they continued to be a problem – or if they kept asking for independence).
Sultan Abdulhamid II established a new fighting force in the east consists of Kurdish tribes in 1890: Â´Hamidiye AlaylariÂ´ . These battalions were formed to deal with Â´the eastern problemÂ´.
According to Armenian sources approximately 300.000 Armenian were massacred during 2 years between 1895 and 1897. Although some historians tell us that they were backlashes against Armenian revolts but many massacres took places where Armenian population was not bigger than Kurds and Turks. Most of the atrocities took place after Cuma prayers and some historians say that Armenians attacked the mosques. But in many places in which these massacres took place, Armenians were actually minority!! (No one can comprehend the logic of attacking mosques knowing that every one will be butchered in the backlash)
Btw..in 1890s also two Armenian revolution/terrorist groups emerged into political arena :Hunchaks and Dashnaks.. . Hunchaks were more radical and their aim was a complete independence. Dashnaks were not as radical as Hunchaks because they were with Young Turks until 1908 (and being blamed by Hunchaks as Â´you collaborated with the enemy and that was the reason why they so easily butchered usÂ´)
But in 1897 Hunchaks were finished in east of Turkey by Hamidiye Alaylari..
These groups looked at how Bulgaria/Serbia etc gained their independence. The idea was as follows :
Create trouble..Attack Turkish villages and Turks come back with heavy forces and commit massacres and then Western governments interfere (that was almost the case with each successful independence in Balkans) .. But Armenians did not calculate the facts very carefully as a-East of Turkey was not in Europe. b- their population was not greater than the others in many areas..They were minority ..
Turkish Nationalism-Western Hatred
Now lets start to look at Turkish nationalism or the birth of Turkish nationalism at the time.:
First of all, as fact, we have to mention that Turkish nationalism was a delayed nationalism at the time (comparing to Greeks, Arabs, Bulgarians, Serbians, Armenians etc). Turkish nationalism came as a delayed one ( and may be that was the reason it was more aggressive and trying to close the gap at the time?)
It was formed at the time when there was constant humiliation for Ottomans and losing the wars, land and its people..(btw..from 1870 till 1920, Ottoman empire lost 75% of her land and 85 % of its population)
It was developed at the times when Turkish people had fear of extinction..
End of the century, because of losing all those lands and wars, Turks accused non-Muslims.. (There were, of course, many good reasons for that..In Crimean war itself, around 1 million people were kicked out of Europe and had to come to Anatolia.. Of course, they did not tell Turks Â´ah you go home thenÂ´. There were horrible massacres, shockingly dreadful ethic cleansings. The suffering was immeasurable!!).
There were capitulations for example..Powerful and rich European nations, dealing with Christians businessmen and ignoring the Turks and non-Muslim population who become capital holding class..Double standards of western powers against Turks -in many cases there were not christian massacres for example, but the western powers were persuaded that there was by christian minorities (at those times humanitarianism and human rights/democracy etc were associated with the westÂ´s double standards and were seen as a way to carve Turkey. And as you can see, some of the Turks still believe this exactly with the same mentality today)…..
And all of these created a huge bad feelings against the non-Muslims..During Balkan wars , when Greek and Bulgarian army were advancing towards Istanbul, minorities celebrated their victory in Istanbul for example..All those incidents created a kind of furious Turkish nationalism which can be said , in effect, got squeezed between the glory of the past and humiliation of the current days at the time…
Heros or murderers / Leaders of Ittihat ve Terakki
And the beginning of 20Th century was also the rise of social darwinism. The Â´concept of living together with all other nations and all other religious groups were non existing in those soils at the time -despite the fact that they all lived together for centuries-. The idea of oppressing the other nations/groups or exterminating the others for your own survival, or kicking them out were the acceptable way of thinking for their social Darwinism..
And we come to Ittihat ve Terrakki (young Turks/Jon Turks ):
They took the government in 1908 (and at the time they were supported by Dashnaks!! Much later, when Young Turks adopted the ideas of Turkish nationalism and got rid of the idea of reforming the Ottomans and living together with everybody , Armenians left young Turks).
Enver, Talaat, Cemal were the leaders of Ittihat ve Terakkli and representing the new soldier elite..
They were born into blood in Balkans, they lived with the blood and died with it..
They had nothing to do with old Ottoman ruling class with its cavalier principles..
They were ambitious and predatory..
They had no roots in the ottoman ruling engine, they went up the hierarchy with education and the army only.
They lived in violence and this violence was the violence what they saw in the Balkan uprisings or in the wars of Ottoman Empire..
They become nationalist so quickly without a serious theoretical back ground.,..
They were Â´kill or get killedÂ´ type social Darwinists..”
Armenian Question – Medz Yeghern-BÃ¼yÃ¼k Facia
Â´Murderers. You are all murderers who kill Armenians behind the front line. None of you can come and fight at the front lineÂ´ Ataturk..1915..Halep/Aleppo
Medz Yeghern-BÃ¼yÃ¼k FaciaÂ´
I am going to copy some lines from one of my earlier posts (I think it is very important how and when the things happened.. The time period is one of the most important parts for our history but somehow it is missing in our history lessons )
-August 1914.. Young Turks attempt to persuade Armenian Revolutionary Federation to fight for Ottomans against the Russians in the east..It was not welcomed by the Armenians. End of cooperation between young Turks and Armenian Revolutionary Federation .
-October 1914.. Starting to process of getting non Muslims into the army Â´amele taburlariÂ´. Armenians are taken into different sections of the army to be used for non combatant works.
-December 1914.. Enver takes the command of the 3rd army. The army marches against Russians only about 3200 soldiers manages to complete the march -the rest got frozen to death without a fight- and they were taken as prisoners by the Russians. according to the first report from the army, the loss was 109.000 , later it becomes 90.0000 and then reduced to 75.000. in 2007 the army said that 60.000 people died without firing up a single bullet..According to the memories of some, the army was 173.000..This is called Sarikamis incident..
-19 February 1915.. Allied forces start to attack Dardanelles..
-25 February 1915.. They send telegrams to the army from Istanbul and tell them the weapons should be taken from Armenian soldiers. Later on, almost all of them were killed!!**)
-25 march 1915..Zeytun incident (Kahramanmaras today)..500 deserters of Armenians rebelled..
-19 April 1915..Van rebellion…Armenian mobs slaughter Turks around Van and some army units do the same to Armenians. (btw..**Because Armenians learnt what happened to Armenian recruits and they refused the armyÂ´s demand to have 5000 soldiers from them. And also almost everybody agrees the cruel Cevdet Bey, nicknamed “Nalband Bey” (Lord Blacksmith) – he had nailed horseshoes onto his victimsÂ´ feet- grossly mismanaged the situation) had a lot to do with this incident..
-24 April 1915..1st 235 Armenians from Istanbul is sent to Anatolia as exile..most of them not seen again.. (Since then April 24 is commemorated by Armenians all over the world as the day of remembrance of their victims)
-18 may 1915. Van is taken by Russia with the help of Armenians. Armenian mobs slaughter and sacks the villages around..
-27 may 1915.. The Temporary Law of Deportation (the “Tehcir” law) is announced
-31 August 1915.. Talat tells the German ambassador Â´Armenian problem is solvedÂ´
-14 march 1919..The commission which was set up to investigate the war crimes by the Ottoman government says that during WW1 800.000 Armenians lost their lives.
I think what I will try to do is that I will try to go through that year from 1914 august to 1915 August in detail as much as I can..
August 1914 was the time the secret special forces unit called Teskilati Mahsusa was reorganized by Ittihat ve Terakki .
The main task of the committee was to organize the paramilitary units that would carry out activities in the Eastern Anatolia -specially against the Russians-..”activities to serve to unite the Turks inside and outside Turkey….implemented inside and outside of the country..”
Bahattin Sakir was appointed as the head of this spacial unit..
Three sources were mainly recruited:
1-Kurdish tribes 2-convicted prisoners 3-Immigrants from Caucasia and Balkans..
Though, in the beginning, the operations of Teskilati Mahsusa were considered as successful but at the end of the year they turned out into serious of defeats -the help of Armenians to Russians played a huge role of course-.
The operations most of the times aimed at Armenian civilians and sometimes even at Muslim population-that was the reason the armyÂ´s relation with the Units became sour..
When you consider one of the Ittihat ve Terakki leaders, Enver, lost the entire 3rd army against the winter conditions, the panic started to set into Ittihat ve Terakki hearts!
They began to lose their judgments about the situations!
There was a rebellion -actually ..it is debatable if it was a rebellion or not–.Zeytun rebellion in March 1915. 20 days later, Van rebellion..
And a few days after that in Istanbul 24 of April, influential and intellectual Armenians were sent to Ankara as exile..-most of them never came back-
Actually, the actual decision for deportation was taken the most probably at the end of March and it was decided that Bahattin Sakir would be dealing with the internal problems onlyÂ´.
Teskilati Mahsusa was used for implementation of the deportation!!!
So what happened during the deportations?
The testimonies in the trials after the war and the documentations managed to remain to tell us that the central committee of Ittihat ve terakki discussed the issue and taken the decision after many broad and deep discussions and they thought they are solving the Eastern Question!!
The next thing of course was the implementation of these decisions..There are serious arguments and documentations about the idea that “the deportation was meant liquidation”!!!
-According to trials after the war, they presented many telegrams which made clear that the deportations meant liquidation and massacre.
-The department of Interior -Talaat Pasha- sent telegrams about the deportations of Armenians but at the same time sent the orders of liquidation to the regions with the party (party of Ittihat ve terakki) secretaries..
-The entire departments of Interior ministry were utilised..and Talat pasha was the coordinator of all these units..
-How party secretaries took these orders to the regions were again and again mentioned in the main trail and also governors who disobeyed these orders removed from their positions by these secretaries..
Some examples: Governor of Ankara Mahzar bey Â´I received the orders of deportation from the interior and pretended not to understood..while the other governors started, I did not. Atif bey came..and gave the verbal order of liquidation of the armenians..I said No, Atif bey..I am a governor not a criminal; I can not do itÂ´.
The governor of Kastamonu, Resit beyÂ´ I wont have blood on my handsÂ´ they both were dismissed..
Mutassir of Yozgat, Cemal bey, Â´Necati bey showed him an official document about the liquidation of the Armenians, but when he was asked for the letter, it was not given. Then he said he would not implement it and he was dismissed a few days later..
Kaymakam of Lice, Abidin Nesimi, refused to carry out the orders and was called into Diyarbakir but during the journey, he got killed!!
The governor of Basra and some more were amongst the people who got killed because they refused to take part in these incidents.. (btw..when you look at the historical events and if a Turk was asked about who we should consider as our ancestors, who we should consider as our heroes, my personal choice would be these people who were murdered by Ittihat ve terakki because they refused the be part of these crimes against humanity. But if you are still considering Talat Pasha as your hero, then no words from me )
-During that summer the government specially interior ministry prepared many temporary laws regarding how the goods remained from Armenians would be used..There were almost none about how these goods will be compensated back to the Armenians..:(
-Talaat knew what was happening and what was going on as he was informed during the entire techir/deportation with the telegrams. He asked constantly how many Armenians left; how many of them arrived to the destinations..In some cases even the fate of some individuals were traced and followed by Talat..
-Germans and Americans constantly told Ittihat ve Terakki for their intention to help with the deportation but they were constantly refused…
-They constantly monitored the numbers..One of the ampric considration was 10% which meant that non muslims should be /would be distributed amongst the muslim populations with the maximum of 10%.. When there were 480.000 managed to arrive Syria at the begining of 1916 and the muslim population was about 2.000.000 at that area at the most, but later on the armenian population was reduced to 200.000 (I think Robert Fisk mentioned this in his book as well-I am not sure, I will check at some stage)….
Well I dont want to continue. Whenever I try to think to write of something about this subject and talk about the incidents, somehow I can not..
Anyway, the result of this Â´deportationÂ´ was Almost all armenians were curetted from Anatolia.
Even the Armenians who were residing in Istanbul, Tekirdag etc (the cities they were not in the military zone whatsoever) were subjected to this deportation.
As I meantioned before, In anatolia there was no tradition of moving a people, a millet/nation who was not very friendly with you because of the war.
Turks or Ottomans did not even consider to deport the Bulgarians when they were fighting between them and the Russians and they well knew they would lose the war but the idea of deporting Bulgarians was never thought of.
Ataturk never ever considered moving part of population because of rebellions during the independence war….
And there is still no logical explanation why you would move the women and childeren and the sick if your aim is really to protect them or your army..why not the men only? And what were the armenians in Istanbul got to do with the incidents in the east?
I dont think the numbers are that important..But almost 1.000.000 people were forced to leave according to the documentations..
Some says 100.000, 300.000, 600.000, some says 800.000 lost their lives..
I dont think we will ever learn the correct figure…
Lets finish this with a part of a poem from Nazim Hikmet (aksam gezintisi)
Bakkal Karabetâ€™in isiklari yanmis.
Affetmedi bu Ermeni vatandas
KÃ¼rt daglarinda babasinin kesilmesini.
Fakat seviyor seni,Ã§Ã¼nkÃ¼ sen de affetmedin
bu karayi sÃ¼renleri TÃ¼rk halkinin alnina
The lights in the Shop of Karabet are on..
That Armanian citizen never forgave
His fatherÂ´s slaughter in Kurdish mountains
But he loves you
Because neither you did forgive those people,
Who blackened the foreheads of Turkish people
Next : Where do we go from here? since our theories -ranging and started with Â´nothing happened; if something happened Armenians did it; They did /we did it too; They were so cruel we could not stop responding- did not persuade anybody in the world, what is next?
ps..I remember si++ was saying that no Ottoman officials were found guilty in the trials..
But according to the Official Gazette (Takvim-i-Vekayi),No. 3604.
“Their guilt has been determined by a unanimous vote ….. Talaat, Enver, Djemal and Dr. Nazim are sentenced to death” at July 5, 1919..”
25 Jun 2010
“Armenian Question -IV- Final
Trying to invent a new history for yourself is a dead end./ what is next?
“In history, the denial politics and trying to invent a new history for yourself is a dead end. ”
Hasan Cemal (writer, journalist)
Letâ€™s look again what I tried to describe so far regarding the Armenian problem:
- Turkey and its taboo subjects, and the necessity to talk about these taboo subjects from democracy point of view..
- Armenian problem as the ultimate taboo .
- 1 in 10 people perished from Anatolia, yet, we still did not want to open the subject.
- Level of brutality; killing people with axes; with reaping hooks; with stones; they got killed on the side of the roads, next to rivers.. etc.
- Violation of Anatolian/Turkish war ethics!!
Then we moved on to the end of 19th century and talked about:
- lost wars; displaced people; immigrants; Turkish nationalism; western hatred; the “Young Turks”;
The column number III was about the event itself and the time period leading to the decision of techir/deportation/liquidation (I have to admit..I could/should have written about those issues in a more descriptive way)
- The psychology of the rulers at the time, how they failed miserably on all fronts, and how they prepared everything for that “shameful event”. We learnt how they restructured the special unit Teskilati Mahsusa for this task a year earlier. We also saw the testimonies from the trials in Ottoman courts, how some of the governors refused to implement the orders from the central government, and those deportations meant liquidation and massacre.
We learnt that almost all of Armenians were deported, including women children and sick, including the ones living in the Western part of Anatolia – people who had nothing to do with the war.
And the result was:
- Almost 1.000.000 Armenians were subjected to forced deportation. We donâ€™t know the exact figure but a large number of people were destroyed (the number of people who got killed ranges from none to 800.000)
Anyway, after this little summary, I would like to talk about what is now ahead of us
Is there any other example of a similar event in the history of the world?
It is unimaginable that the rulers of a country, which has 70 million people and wants to be a regional power, are biting on their fingernails every year on the 24th of April. Why: because they are wondering whether the president of the USA will use the word Â´genocide or not!! If he does not use that word, everybody is happy and says Â´thanks god, we have gone through another year. The president of USA uses many other heavy words to describe the events of 1915, but that doesnâ€™t matter.. As long as he does not use the word Â´genocideÂ´ we are happy and content!!
And if other countries try to recognize the events of 1915 as genocide, we threaten them with economic sanctions.. And when they pull these recognitions back (or their president/pm makes a negative comment about that recognition or upholds that decision etc), we think of ourselves as successful.. But what sort of success is that exactly? Success in “how good of a bully we are”? Is it the case that we go to these countries and explain what happened and then changed their minds. No.. We donâ€™t.. We threaten them..
Have we managed to persuade any country in the world with our thesis? The answer is a huge NO..
Lets look at what we have been saying so far to the world at different times:
“Nothing happened in 1915″
“it was a relocation”
“if something happened, Armenians did it”
“it happened but it was a reciprocation”
“They betrayed us and what could we do? We had to respond”
Do we Turks really believe that we can persuade anybody in the world with above rhetoric?
What do you think is coming next? What do you think we will be saying to the world 5-10 years later..?
We behave as if the world consisted only of Turkey. When we say “WHITE”, it does not matter if the rest of the world says “NO.. IT IS NOT WHITE BUT BLACK”.
What is known in the world about this subject is what the truth is, and just because we / Turks – are saying that Â´nothing happened, is not changing the truth. That is a fact!!
The way we Turks react to this issue is, of course, a completely different ball game!! The level of our reaction alone makes many people think: Â´Gosh, are they trying to hide something?Â´
People who watch us/Turks from the outside – when there is a debate about this issue – would not guess that we are talking about a historical event but they think that we were in war with Armenia RIGHT NOW and that Armenians are killing Turks.
Turkey is changing however…The change inside the borders of Turkey is immense. Changing the constitution; abolishing shameful 301; challenging the armyÂ´s role in Turkish politics; more freedom about almost anything; talking about minority rights; talking openly about Kurdish Problem without risking to go to jail etc might be seen as normal actions in the west but they are really important for Turkey. Apart from these positive changes, people are talking about these events; reading; learning about these things and the Armenian Issue is one of them. There was even a small group this year they had a remembrance day in Taksim square. Another positive change in Turkey is of course about Â´the confidence in being able to face our own historyÂ´. We have been afraid of it for so long.. We have had a huge fear about our past. Humiliation of WW1; how big we were once and now we are not; questioning the credibility of our heroes; continuation of ideas from 1915 to our new republic; how could we do this; shame; anger. They are all in one package which we did not have enough confidence to face so far. But now, some people beginning to realise Â´History of Turks without mentioning Kurds and Armenians in it will be like the history of America without the natives; history of Germany without the JewsÂ´.
We simply can not invent a new history for ourselves..
The world is changing too and there is no way of continuing to live with the illusion that we are the only people in the world (well, that might be possible if we were like North Korea). So in my opinion, as far as the Armenian problem is concerned, I think we are approaching a culminating moment. I think that this issue wonâ€™t be a problem anymore in the coming years. (Obviously, we could not persuade the world with our thesis. Year after year, the number of countries accepting the event of 1915 as a genocide is increasing..)
I think there are some people in the Foreign Ministry who see that this is not a way in which we can continue. Something has to change. Something has to change because of the constant burden of humiliation the foreign ministry personnel face in first hand.
I think the resolution from USA House of RepresentativesÂ´ Foreign Affairs committee, labelling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a “genocide” could be a turning point as far as the external elements are concerned (and of course, killing of Hrant Dink was its internal counterpart).
This can create a domino effect in many countries which were holding their decisions.. (I have to point out that Sweden came just after USA).
Considering in 2015 will be the 100th years of Armenian events in Anatolia, I think, we have to be ready for a barrage of decisions from many countries..”
“thehandsom” was maligned and ridiculed by other Turks who countered his point of view. The following is a sampling of several Turks who present a different view of the events from 1890 to 1917. They try to portray the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman empire and later the Young Turk Republic as disloyal and treasonous. They claim the Armenians massacred Turks mercilessly and that the government’s decision to “displace” the Armenians from Turkey to Syria and other destinations was justified and necessary.
The following is a reply to “the handsom” by “metahan2001″, who ridicules thehandsom’s point of view as a distortion of the facts by quoting from a “Turkish Scholar” named Mim Kemal Oke.
“1. Well, it is interesting to know that you donÂ´t trust Ottoman Archives but trust Armenian Sources. Such an attitude is understandable for an Armenian nationalist but not for a Turkish citizen. because many eminent scholars claim that Armenians produced false documents with the Issue, but the Ottoman Archives are a really reliable source.
2. On the contrary of what you are saying in your reply, the organized Armenian attacks on Turkish people started in 1880Â´s. As you mentioned about the “chronological order”, let me give you the the brief story of ArmeniansÂ´ plans, terrorist activities and attacks on Ottoman Muslims between 1890-1915:
“The Organization of the Armenian Separatist Movement:
The Revolutionary Committees and Their Methods of Struggle:
(……) With the budding of nationalistic feelings among the Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire, the first stage was accomplished in the way of establishing an independent Armenia. Now it was time to realize as soon as possible the goals expressed in the two quotations above. Several societies began to be formed with the purpose of establishing an independent Armenia, first in Turkey and then also outside of Turkey. At the beginning, these societies kept their real purpose secret, and pretended to be charitable societies. From the perspective of our subject, the Hunchaks and the Association of Armenian Revolutionary Societies (Dashnaktsutiun) were the most important among these societies. The Hunchak Revolutionary Party was established on Marxist principles in 1887 in Switzerland by Avadis Nazarbekian, an Armenian from the Caucasus, a female friend of his named Maro whom he married later on, and by their student friends from the Caucasus. There were many Russian Armenians among the leaders and members of this organization. The headquarters of this Revolutionary Party was later moved to London. The Hunchak Revolutionary Party declared that its goal was to Â´free the Turkish ArmeniaÂ´ and Part IV of its political program makes clear the methods to be used for this purpose:
The only way of achieving our immediate goal is to start a revolution, that is, using force to upset all order in the Turkish Armenia, forcing the people to start a war against the Turkish Government with a general revolution.
The means of these activities are:
1. Propaganda: using the press, publications and oral means to spread the revolutionary ideas of Hunchak in the millet, and especially among the workers, establishing a revolutionary organization among them, and organizing revolutionary regiments.
2. Terror: using terror as punishment against Turkish administrators, secret agents, informers, and traitors. Terror must be a means and a weapon for protecting the revolutionary organization.
3. Raider regiments organization: military units kept ready to fight against … government forces. These regiments can serve as vanguard regiments during general revolutions.
4. General revolutionary organization: comprises several regular groups all of which are attached to each other to form a unity and a harmonious whole, all of which use the same tactics to advance in the same general and common direction, and all of which are administered and directed by a central committee.
5. Revolutionary regiments organization.
6. The declaration of a war by any state against Turkey should be considered as the most opportune time for the general revolution, for the immediate goal.
The Dashnaktsutiun Revolutionary Party came into being in 1890 in Tiflis in the Caucasus through the efforts of Christopher Mikaelian and his friends to unite brigands formed by Armenian nationalists in imitation of brigands which had been established in the Balkans. Whereas the Hunchaks supported the idea of an Armenia under the protection of Russia, the Dashnaks – at least during the first few years – wanted an independent Armenia. Pro-Russian Armenians did not want this; the independence of the Ottoman Armenia would mean closing the path to the Mediterranean, to Russia. The Dashnaktsutiun opened branches in Trabzon, Istanbul and Van and began to be organized throughout Turkey. According to the organizational statute of the Dashnaktsutiun which held its first meeting in Tiflis in the Fall of 1892, the areas covered by the activities of the organization were assigned to two bureaus responsible for the East and the West. The Western Bureau concentrated especially on propaganda and began to be influential in both public opinion and among decision makers in Europe by becoming organized first in Paris, and then in London, Brussels, Berlin, Leipzig, Geneva, Rome and Milan. On the other hand, the Eastern Bureau was in charge of planning and implementing terrorist and revolutionary activities in the Ottoman Empire. Thus, in spite of the difference in purpose, the Dashnaks had also adopted terror as their method of operation, like the Hunchaks.
It was not by chance that these revolutionary committees adopted terror as their method of struggle against the Ottomans. It was almost a conjunctural necessity for a nationalistic movement devoid of objective elements to adopt the most radical means for achieving its goals. We saw above that the elements constituting Armenian nationalism were unfounded. The most important point worth repeating is that the area they sought to Â´freeÂ´ was not one like Bulgaria or Greece, a country defined and delimited by a relatively unified mass. In areas called real Armenia, Armenians were living as small islands among Muslims who constituted 87% of the general population. Even if all Armenians worldwide were to be brought to this area, they would not be able to constitute a majority in Eastern Anatolia. Thus, starting with this suspicion, the Armenian revolutionary committees thought terror was necessary from two perspectives. First, actions of individual terror and mass massacres would be the most effective way of making the Muslim inhabitants of the so-called Armenia flee. just as had been the case with emigrations from Rumelia, these Muslims would be forced to desert their homes if the ottoman State failed to protect their lives, and those who would refuse to emigrate would be subjected to massacres by the Armenian revolutionaries so that the area would eventually be left entirely to Armenians. Secondly, the Armenian revolutionaries knew that they would not be able to succeed in their cause by themselves; it was impossible to make substantial changes in the international political system without the intervention and approval of external powers. The revolutionary committees believed that the powers which controlled world politics could be attracted to this subject only through Â´terrorism.Â´ Thus, if the people in Eastern Anatolia would be provoked enough through uprisings and if Muslims could be brought to the point of attacking Armenians, civil war would easily break out in this area. This or that measure that would then be taken by Ottoman security forces trying to stop the fighting between the Christian and Muslim subjects would be announced to Western public opinion as I massacresÂ´ by the bureaus of propaganda of the revolutionary committees, and states would be invited to stop the Â´bloodshed.Â´ The Great Powers which would thus be forced to take an interest in this subject would demand that the Ottoman State introduce certain regulations in favor of Armenians in order to prevent similar events from taking place in the future. Each step in reforms would bring Armenians closer to autonomy. To put it briefly, Western intervention was regarded as indispensable for the Â´ArmenianizationÂ´ of Eastern Anatolia and terrorism was regarded as the sole key to the door which would usher in that intervention under existing conditions.
The first of the uprisings which led to the second stage of the Armenian Question in the Ottoman Empire broke out in Erzurum in 1890. This was followed by the Kumkapi demonstration in Istanbul in the same year, the Kayseri, Yozgat, Corum and Merzifon events in 1892 and 1893, the 1894 Susan rebellion, the demonstration at the Sublime Porte and the Zeytun rebellion in 1895, the Van rebellion and the raid on the Ottoman Bank in 1896, the second Sasun rebellion in 1903, the attempt to assassinate Sultan Abdulhamid in 1905, and the 1909 Adana rebellion. It would be good to note certain points about these rebellions. The first point I would like to emphasize is the number of Armenians and Muslims who died during these events. Calculating roughly on the basis of differences in population between the 1890Â´s when the events started and 1915 when Armenians were relocated on account of the war, it will be observed that only a relatively – relative to their numbers in the general population – small number of Armenians lost their lives in this period. Armenians who were killed by revolutionary Armenians are also included in this estimate. Although it is impossible to give any definite numbers, the number of Muslims who died in this period should also be taken into account. It is recorded in some Armenian sources that in Zeytun alone 20,000 Turks were massacred. Even if these statements were considered to be exaggerated, it becomes clear that there were as many Muslims who lost their lives as there were Armenians during the Armenian uprisings. The second point I would like to stress is that Ottoman sources record that the Patriarchate harbored Armenian revolutionaries during these rebellions. It is especially noted that it was difficult to differentiate between selected young priests and revolutionaries. Third, the roles played by British and Russian consulates should be emphasized as well. When the Ottoman forces apprehended some revolutionaries, the consuls appealed to the Sublime Porte and argued that these Armenians were their own citizens, and that it was their legal right (protected by the capitulations) to be tried at the consulates and to serve their sentences – if found guilty – at the consulates. Records also show that these trials by no means contributed to the carrying out of justice, but that revolutionaries were smuggled out of the country under the protection of the consulates and were subsequently brought back to the Ottoman State to create new incidents after having been given new identities.”
Excerpts from THE ARMENIAN QUESTION, 1914-1923
By Mim Kemal Ã–ke
Last modified:Jun 07
“metaham2001″ also posts a comment where he accuses “thehandsom” of not being a Turk, but rather an Armenian or a Kurd. He tries to intimidate him with a threat is making false statements that “insult” the Turkish people and nation which is a judicial offence in Turkey. He further says that “thehandsom” will inflame Turkish people to “abuse” him. Remember the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who was murdered by a Turkish nationalist for the same reason. He discussed the massacre of the Armenians openly in Turkey as did other Turkish citizens such as Orhan Pamuk, a famous Turkish writer, who was prosecuted by the government for anti-Turk statements. Read the following:
I agree with you, si++. thehandsom pretends as a Turkish, but I bet he is not. In fact, he seems an Armenian nationalist propagandist in this forum, and a Kurdish nationalist in another forum. My personal opinion, he has not contributed any help in this website till now. He continuously and ironically abuses and insults Turks, the history of Turks and the State. On the other hand, our respected administrators just watch his game and do nothing for calling him to be more sensible. The administrators, please be fair, be reasonable! This is not something about speech of freedom. I personally respect all kinds of humanrights. I donÂ´t have any problem with any nation or people (If they are not terrorists) and millions of Turks feel and think like me towards other people. As an educated, 50 years old man, I have seen many times, such people, like thehandsom, who are not just a simple, innocent, intellectuals. They intentionally serve for some organisations.
So, my request from the administrators: Please warn this man to be more sensible and more empathetic towards Turks too. If he continuously insults Turks and gives wrong information about Turks and Turkey, he will make some young Turks angry with him and they will start abusing him. I think that is the thing he wants in this site: He wants to prove that how nasty Turkish people are.
Maybe such heated debates on such sensitive matters can be stopped in TC. Otherwise many users like me starting to think that the administrators and some foreigner users of this site just watch and enjoy the tiresome and detestable game of thehandsom.”
Fortunately there are educated and articulate Turks like “thehandsom” who are willing to objectively look at the facts of the Turkish massacres of the Armenians. They are obliged to remain secretive about their identity so as not to jeopardize their life and livelihood in Turkey. Imagine how difficult it must be for Armenians who live in Turkey whenever the subject of the genocide of Armenians is openly discussed.
“Metehan2001″ is typical of nationalist Turks who adamantly deny that the massacre of Armenians was deliberately planned and executed by the Young Turks. They insist on proving that the Armenian population of Turkey was seditious which justified the Turkish authorities decision to “displace” the entire population of Armenians from the Eastern provinces. From his point of view, it was unfortunate that during the displacement Armenians perished due to marauding thugs and hardships of the journey. My mother was one of the “displaced” Armenians. She lived in Malatia with her family. She was only eight years old in 1915 when her father was arrested by Turkish gendarmes of Malatia and executed. Shortly after, the rest of her family including all the women and children were forcibly evicted from their home and property and forced to walk over 1500 miles to a desert town in Syria called Del El Zor. They were allowed to take only what they could carry.
By the time she arrived in Del El Zor, all her family members died, murdered or kidnapped. She only survived because her mother did everything possible to keep her alive before she died. Fortunately, my mother was picked up off the streets of the forsaken desert town by a Turkish family and saved from starvation and death. She became a “Turkish child.” After the end of World War I and the defeat of the Young Turks, the Turkish family that saved her were obliged to turn her over to a Christian orphanage. If the Turks did not lose the war, she would have been “turkified” like the many Armenian orphans who remained in Turkey and were not freed back to Christian missions.
My mother and her family were not Armenian revolutionaries. They were “second class” citizens of the Ottoman empire and later of the Young Turk Republic. They were “displaced” and massacred because they were an Armenian minority that was arbitrarily declared “enemies of the state.” My mother and her family were not enemies of the state of Turkey. They were law abiding citizens of Turkey. But, because of the ethnic, racial and religious affiliation, they were completely deprived of their property and murdered or forcibly expelled from Turkey with no more than what they could carry. During the expulsion they were completely at the mercy of Turkish soldiers or police who were ordered to keep them marching until the forsaken desert town in Syria. During the forced march, they were the subject of all kinds of unspeakable hardships including starvation, exhaustion, sickness and atrocities including rape, kidnapping, murder, theft, etc. The end result was that
most of the Armenians that were evicted from their homes and forced to march died of the various
unnatural causes. The families that marched were deprived of their men such as fathers, brothers, uncles who were all systematically massacred before the march began or quickly during the march. The elderly, the women and children either died of hardship, kidnapped or murdered during the forced march. Whoever miraculously survived the forced march and arrived in Del El Zor, found no relief. The desert town was infected with disease, unsanitary conditions, lack of food and clean water and more dangers of kidnapping, rape, murder and starvation. It was a hopeless situation for Armenians unless they converted to Islam or were shown some rare mercy by Turkish, Kurdish or Arabic families. Many Armenians perished in Del El Zor.
Any person that pretends that the Turkish massacres of the Armenians was not a genocide is a liar.
The apologists for the modern Turkish government can make many claims that there were tangible justifications for the “displacement” of the Armenian population, that Armenian revolutionaries committed atrocities on Turks, that the Armenian revolutionaries were helping foreign invaders of Turkey like Russia occupy Turkish lands, etc. However, this is not an excuse to attempt the total elimination of the Armenian population of Eastern Turkey as well as confiscation of all the properties legally belonging to the Armenian population including monuments, churches, etc.
Since the massacres of the Armenians, the future generations of Turks have been denied any access to the history of the genocide in their public schools. The Turkish government has pretended as if it never happened. It is only because of pressure from outside of Turkey that an attempt has been made to justify the Turkish massacres of the Armenians by a revision of history. This attempt will never succeed. “thehandsom” very eloquently makes this point.