Armenian Genocide

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Death Toll: 1,500,000 Armenians killed

The Genocide of the Armenians by the Turkish government during World War I represents a major tragedy of the modern age. In this the first Genocide of the 20th century, almost an entire nation was destroyed. The Armenian people were effectively eliminated from the homeland they had occupied for nearly three thousand years. This annihilation was premeditated and planned to be carried out under the cover of war.

During the night of April 23-24, 1915, Armenian political, religious, educational, and intellectual leaders in Istanbul were arrested, deported to the interior, and mercilessly put to death. Next, the Turkish government ordered the deportation of the Armenian people to “relocation centers” – actually to the barren deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Armenians were driven out brutally from the length and breadth of the empire. Secrecy, surprise, deception, torture, dehumanization, rape and pillage were all a part of the process. The whole of Asia Minor was put in motion.

The greatest torment was reserved for the women and children, who were driven for months over mountains and deserts, often dehumanized by being stripped naked and repeatedly preyed upon and abused. Intentionally deprived of food and water, they fell by the hundreds of thousands along the routes to the desert.

There were some survivors scattered throughout the Middle East and Transcaucasia. Thousands of them, refugees here and there, were to die of starvation, epidemics, and exposure. Even the memory of the nation was intended for obliteration. The former existence of Armenians in Turkey was denied. Maps and history were rewritten. Churches, schools, and cultural monuments were desecrated and misnamed. Small children, snatched from their parents, were renamed and farmed out to be raised as Turks. The Turks “annexed” ancestors of the area in ancient times to claim falsely, by such deception, that they inhabited this region from ancient days. A small remnant of the Armenian homeland remained devastated by war and populated largely by starving refugees, only to be subsequently overrun by the Bolshevik Red Army and incorporated into the Soviet Union for seven decades, until its breakup in 1990. The word ” genocide” had not yet been coined. Nonetheless, at the time, many governmental spokesmen and statesmen decried the mass murder of the Armenians as crimes against humanity, and murder of a nation.

Reports of the atrocities gradually came out and were eventually disseminated the world over by newspapers, journals, and eyewitness accounts. In the United States a number of prominent leaders and organizations established fundraising drives for the remnants of the “Starving Armenians”. In Europe the Allied Powers gave public notice that they would hold personally responsible all members of the Turkish government and others who had planned or participated in the massacres. Yet, within a few years, these same governments and statesmen turned away from the Armenians in total disregard of their pledges. Soon the Armenian genocide had become the “Forgotten Genocide”.

In effect, the Turkish government had succeeded in its diabolical plan to exterminate the Armenian population from what is now Turkey. The failure of the international community to remember, or to honor their promises to punish the perpetrators, or to cause Turkey to indemnify the survivors helped convince Adolph Hitler some 20 years later to carry out a similar policy of extermination against the Jews and certain other non-Aryan populations of Europe.

The Genocide Monument is designed to memorialize the innocent victims of this first genocide of the 20th century. The Genocide Museum teaches that understanding the Armenian Genocide is an important step in preventing similar tragedies in the future, and that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

The Plan 

The German Vice Consul at Erzerum, Count Max Erwin von Scheubner- Richter, summarizes the Armenian Genocide quite succintly in a report to his superiors:

I have conducted a series of conversations with competent and influential Turkish personages, and these are my impressions: A large segment of the Ittahadist [Young Turk] party maintains the viewpoint that the Turkish empire should be based only on the principle of Islam and Pan-Turkism. Its non-Muslim and non-Turkish inhabitants should either be forcibly islamized, or otherwise they ought to be destroyed. These gentlemen believe that the time is propitious for the realization of this plan. The first item on this agenda concerns the liquidation of the Armenians. Ittihad will dangle before the eyes of the allies the specter of an alleged revolution prepared by the Armenian Dashnak party. Moreover local incidents of social unrest and acts of Armenian self-defense will deliberately be provoked and inflated and will be used as pretexts to effect the deportations. Once en route however, the convoys will be attacked and exterminated by Kurdish and Turkish brigands, and in part by gendarmes, who will be instigated for that purpose by Ittihad.

Armenian Genocide Fact Sheet

Knights of Vartan Armenian Research Center

The University of Michigan-Dearborn
Dearborn, MI 48128

The Armenian Genocide was carried out by the “Young Turk” government of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 (with subsidiaries to 1922-23). One and a half million Armenians were killed, out of a total of two and a half million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Most Armenians in America are children or grandchildren of the survivors, although there are still many survivors amongst us.

Armenians all over the world commemorate this great tragedy on April 24, because it was on that day in 1915 when 300 Armenian leaders, writers, thinkers and professionals in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) were rounded up, deported and killed. Also on that day in Constantinople, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were butchered in the streets and in their homes.

The Armenian Genocide was masterminded by the Central Committee of the Young Turk Party (Committee for Union and Progress [Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyet, in Turkish]) which was dominated by Mehmed Talât [Pasha], Ismail Enver [Pasha], and Ahmed Djemal [Pasha]. They were a racist group whose ideology was articulated by Zia Gökalp, Dr. Mehmed Nazim, and Dr. Behaeddin Shakir.

The Armenian Genocide was directed by a Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa) set up by the Committee of Union and Progress, which created special “butcher battalions,” made up of violent criminals released from prison.

Some righteous Ottoman officials such as Celal, governor of Aleppo; Mazhar, governor of Ankara; and Reshid, governor of Kastamonu, were dismissed for not complying with the extermination campaign. Any common Turks who protected Armenians were killed.

The Armenian Genocide occurred in a systematic fashion, which proves that it was directed by the Young Turk government.

First the Armenians in the army were disarmed, placed into labor battalions, and then killed.

Then the Armenian political and intellectual leaders were rounded up on April 24, 1915, and then killed.

Finally, the remaining Armenians were called from their homes, told they would be relocated, and then marched off to concentration camps in the desert between Jerablus and Deir ez-Zor where they would starve and thirst to death in the burning sun.

On the march, often they would be denied food and water, and many were brutalized and killed by their “guards” or by “marauders.” The authorities in Trebizond, on the Black Sea coast, did vary this routine: they loaded Armenians on barges and sank them out at sea.

The Turkish government today denies that there was an Armenian genocide and claims that Armenians were only removed from the eastern “war zone.” The Armenian Genocide, however, occurred all over Anatolia [present-day Turkey], and not just in the so-called “war zone.” Deportations and killings occurred in the west, in and around Ismid (Izmit) and Broussa (Bursa); in the center, in and around Angora (Ankara); in the south-west, in and around Konia (Konya) and Adana (which is near the Mediterranean Sea); in the central portion of Anatolia, in and around Diyarbekir (Diyarbakir), Harpout (Harput), Marash, Sivas (Sepastia), Shabin Kara-Hissar (�ebin Karahisar), and Ourfa (Urfa); and on the Black Sea coast, in and around Trebizond (Trabzon), all of which are not part of a war zone. Only Erzeroum, Bitlis, and Van in the east were in the war zone.

The Armenian Genocide was condemned at the time by representatives of the British, French, Russian, German, and Austrian governments—namely all the major Powers. The first three were foes of the Ottoman Empire, the latter two, allies of the Ottoman Empire. The United States, neutral towards the Ottoman Empire, also condemned the Armenian Genocide and was the chief spokesman in behalf of the Armenians.

The American people, via local Protestant missionaries, did the most to save the wretched remnants of the death marches, the orphaned children.

Despite Turkish denial, there is no doubt about the Armenian Genocide. For example, German ambassador Count von Wolff-Metternich, Turkey’s ally in World War I, wrote his government in 1916 saying: “The Committee [of Union and Progress] demands the annihilation of the last remnants of the Armenians and the [Ottoman] government must bow to its demands.”

German consuls stationed in Turkey, including Vice Consul Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richner of Erzerum [Erzurum] who was Adolf Hitler’s chief political advisor in the 1920s, were eyewitnesses. Hitler said to his generals on the eve of sending his Death’s Heads units into Poland, “Go, kill without mercy . . . who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians.”

Henry Morgenthau Sr., the neutral American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, sent a cable to the U.S. State Department in 1915:

“Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses [sic] it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.”

Morgenthau’s successor as Ambassador to Turkey, Abram Elkus, cabled the U.S. State Department in 1916 that the Young Turks were continuing an “. . . unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history.”

Only one Turkish government, that of Damad Ferit Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian genocide. In fact, that Turkish government held war crimes trials and condemned to death the major leaders responsible.

The Turkish court concluded that the leaders of the Young Turk government were guilty of murder. “This fact has been proven and verified.” It maintained that the genocidal scheme was carried out with as much secrecy as possible. That a public facade was maintained of “relocating” the Armenians. That they carried out the killing by a secret network. That the decision to eradicate the Armenians was not a hasty decision, but “the result of extensive and profound deliberations.”

Ismail Enver Pasha, Ahmed Cemal Pasha, Mehmed Talât Bey, and a host of others were convicted by the Turkish court and condemned to death for “the extermination and destruction of the Armenians.”

The Permanent People’s Tribunal recognized the Armenian Genocide on April 16, 1984.

The European Parliament voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide on June 18, 1987.

President Bush issued a news release in 1990 calling on all Americans to join with Armenians on April 24 in commemorating “the more than a million Armenian people who were victims.”

President Clinton issued a news release on April 24, 1994, to commemorate the “tragedy” that befell the Armenians in 1915.

The Russian Duma (the lower house of the bicameral Russian legislature) voted on April 20, 1994, to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Israel officially condemned the Armenian Genocide as Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin proclaimed on the floor of the Knesset (the Israeli legislature), on April 27, 1994, in answer to the claims of the Turkish Ambassador, that “It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember.”

The Armenian genocide is similar to the Jewish holocaust in many respects. Both people adhere to an ancient religion. Both were religious minorities of their respective states. Both have a history of persecution. Both have new democracies. Both are surrounded by enemies. Both are talented and creative minorities who have been persecuted out of envy and obscurantism.


– The Republic of Turkey must cease to be the only major country in the world to deny the Armenian Genocide.

– The Republic of Turkey must show good will by allowing American aid to present-day Armenia to pass through unhindered.

– The Republic of Turkey must cease to train Azerbaijani soldiers in Turkey for the purpose of attacking Armenia.

Ironically, Turkey’s Accusers are also guilty of genocides they seldom recognize or teach:

1. Germany
Germany committed genocide against the Herero tribe in then Southwest Africa during its colonial occupation in the 1890s. The best evidence shows the Germans slaughtered members of the tribe because they believed they were genetically and mentally inferior. The tribe was not guilty of treason and not provoked the German savagery by its own massacres of Germans. The butchery of the Hereros was not during wartime when excesses are inevitable. Those who survived the initial German genocide revolted against their brutal treatment with the Hoitentots in 1904, but were viciously destroyed with vastly superior arms or otherwise.

2. France
Substantial evidence implicates France in Algerian genocide during 1954-62 war of independence in which more than 200,000 Muslims were slaughtered. Senior French officers who fought in Algeria have recently confessed that torture and summary executions were routine grisly instruments of French warfare. President Chirac and Prime Minister Jospin, however, have fiercely opposed a parliamentary inquiry into the genocide as exploring a subject best left to historians.

3. Belgium
Belgium is seemingly guilty of genocide during its gruesome colonization of Belgian Congo under King Leopold II. The genocide spurred the legendary book by Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness. The King deliberately inflicted on numerous Congolese tribes conditions of calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part. Belgium’s ugly Congo genocide has been recently chronicled in the book, King Leopold’s Ghost.

4. Portugal
Portugal’s apparent genocides uncurtained in Angola, Portuguese Guinea, and Mozambique during colonial years. The Portuguese sold back tribal members as slaves, and inflicted brutal conditions of slave and caused death to Angolan, Guinean, and Mozambican tribes.

5. Spain
Spain seems implicated in the genocides of hundreds of Caribbean and Central and South American peoples, like the Mexican Aztecs, and the genocide of Basques in mainland Spain. Spanish killings and enslavements of indigenous tribes and peoples are notorious, and stretched over centuries. Ditto for Spanish Basques living on the border with France. Slavery was not ended in Cuba until Spain’s defeat in 1898 Spanish-American war. Spain may also have been guilty of genocide in Spanish Morocco during its colonization.

6. Great Britain
The British apparently committed genocide of the Irish during the Great Potato Famine, 1845-48. the Irish lost ½ their population from emigration provoked by starvation conditions, and the British aggravated the starvation by callous policies permitting the exports of foodstuffs from Ireland during the famine calamity. The state of New York in the United States teaches the Potato Famine as an example of genocide.

7. Austria
Austria is guilty of the Jewish Holocaust. The sole reason it escaped that hideous stigma is because of Cold War politics after World War II when it was occupied by the West and the Soviet Union until 1955.

8. Greece
Greece is guilty of genocide of Ottoman Muslims in Crete and of Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus twice, 1963-64 and 1974. The evidence of genocide is voluminous, including testimony from former U.S. Undersecretary of State George Ball and foreign reporters on the scene.

9. Italy
Italy is guilty of genocide in Ethiopia and Somalia during its colonization and war aggressions, and a co-inspirator in the Jewish Holocaust as an ally of Hitler’s Third Reich.

10. Netherlands
The Dutch seem indictable for genocide of Indonesian tribes during its long colonial rule that ended only after World War II. The Dutch slaughtered and subjugated indigenous populations for economic gain and a belief in their racial and religious superiority.

11. United States
The United states is seemingly guilty of genocides of several Native American Indian tribes and blacks during slavery. The Sand Creek massacre of helpless Indian woman and children and General Phil Sheridan’s fighting fighting creed that only good Indian is a dead Indian exemplifies the former genocides. The lethal conditions of black slavery captured in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin illustrates the latter genocide.

12. Australia and New Zealand
Neither country is a EU member, but both associated with its lofty ideology of moral superiority, and were former colonies of Great Britain. Both under the colonialism of the latter and during their early years of independence, these twin nations committed genocides against Australian aboriginals and New Zealand Maoris, respectively.

2 thoughts on “Armenian Genocide

    Garbis Altinoglu, 6-8 April 2010

    The Armenian question or rather the Turkish-Armenian question is a very complex and deep-rooted one and as historical experience has demonstrated cannot be solved through simple formulas. This understandably emotionally-loaded question cannot be solved without considering,
    a) the historical background of the Armenian genocide, that is the nature of Turkish-Armenian relations in the second half of the 19th century, the tragic events of 1915-16 themselves and the aftermath of 1915-16;
    b) the traumatic experience of Ottoman-Turkish ruling circles during the long and painful decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and its approaching break-up during the first decades of the 20th accompanied by the almost systematic intervention of the so-called Great Powers (British Empire, Tsarist Russia, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary etc.) in the internal affairs of Turkey; (1)
    c) inflow of millions of impoverished and ethnically cleansed Muslim immigrants to Anatolia in the second half of the 19th century and the first 15 years of the 20th, as a result of the formation of new national states in the Balkans and the gradual occupation of the Caucasus by the Tsarist Russia; (2)
    d) the ideological and political endeavours of Ottoman-Turkish ruling circles to form a “Turkish nation” out of the Muslim peoples of the gradually crumbling Ottoman Empire;
    e) the formation and rise of a new Armenian bourgeoisie and the economic, political, cultural factors accompanying this process, including its impact on the traditional relationship of the Armenian community with the Ottoman rulers;
    f) the roles of the so-called Great Powers vis-à-vis “the Eastern Question” and their rivalries for markets, raw materials and political-military influence at the time.

    I do not pretend to present a comprehensive analysis of this question here. I only would like to draw attention to its complexity. Imprisoning one’s attention solely on the tragic developments of 1915-16, taking the genocide as an isolated event and ignoring the greater picture will inevitably engender a subjective and one-sided perception of the Turkish-Armenian question and this approach in turn will lead to simplistic or naïve proposals for the solution of the problem. I could enumerate the establishment of reconciliation or joint research commissions, the opening up of Turkish-Armenian border crossings, the revival of original Armenian (or other) names of geographical places, restoration of the remains of Armenian architecture, such as Akhdamar, the increase of commercial, cultural etc. relationships between Turkey and Armenia among such proposals. Such steps might, of course, serve to alleviate the tensions between Turkish and Armenian peoples and contribute to the adoption of a more cool-headed attitude on both sides. To this list I could add the opportunistic proposals of several writers who advise Turkish ruling circles to blame the massacres or genocide solely on the CUP (=Committee of Union and Progress/ Ittihat ve Terakki) led by Enver, Talat and Jemal pashas and move on. (3) Proponents of this hypothetical scenario wish and expect the emergence of more open-minded and cooperative Turkish rulers who will play the role of the reasonable partner. “Everything would be so nice if the Turks could be far sighted enough to express their grief or regret on the tragic events of 1915-16!” However, apart from being unrealistic and impracticable, such proposals, gloss over the complexity of the Turkish-Armenian question and do not and cannot bring about a genuine reconciliation. None of the various fractions of Turkish bourgeoisie will ever accept the fact that modern Turkey was built on the almost total liquidation of the Christian minorities of Anatolia and the devastation and ruin of the towns, villages and neighborhoods they had occupied.

    Yes, above all, one has to understand the fact that the formation of modern Turkish nation has been based on the genocide of Armenian people (and a similar destruction of Assyrian people and the massacre and deportation of Greek people) who had been living in Anatolia for thousands of years and the seizure of almost all of their land and all other material wealth. At the moment these non-Turkish peoples are almost extinct in their ancestral land. Destruction of these peoples was not an accident of history, nor was it the unexpected result of spontaneous decision related to the needs of the war. Several researchers have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that the leading members of the CUP had been planning the liquidation of Christian peoples of Anatolia even before the First World War. (4) In fact the Armenian genocide of 1915-16, carried out with the support of German imperialists, have been the culmination of a long anti-Armenian campaign of intimidation, land seizures, state-sponsored terrorism and massacres that had begun in the 1870s, that is long before the establishment of the rule of the CUP. Before proceeding further, I want to remind the reader of the fact that the Turkish Republic founded in 1923 after the Turkish war of independence (1919-22) is to a great extent a continuation of the CUP regime both in terms of policies and personnel. The groundwork for the war of independence led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was prepared by the leaders and cadres of the CUP many of whom fought together with him notwithstanding certain factional and personal frictions and conflicts. In fact the main aim of this so-called war of independence was to convince the Allies (the British, the French, the Italians) not to treat the Turks too harshly, to lobby them for the rejection of the “unjust demands” of Armenians and Greeks who longed for revenge and restitution of their material losses. (5)

    These two historical events (the formation of modern Turkish nation and the genocide of Armenian people) are inextricably intertwined with each other. It was in this way and with the active support of the Ottoman-Turkish state apparatus and under its leadership that the nascent Turkish bourgeoisie implemented its primitive accumulation. Therefore, the Armenian genocide has played a very important role in the constitution of the Turkish national psyche, despite the fact it’s very existence is hotly denied by Turkish ruling circles and their intellectual yes-men; it, however, is driven to the collective subconscious of Turkish society and considered a taboo subject. Understandably, the impact of this tragedy constitutes an essential part of the Armenian national psyche as well. It is a very rare event even when measured against the standards of our very violent modern times in the course of which humanity has witnessed and continues to witness the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in wars, civil wars, massacres and genocides and as a result of sanctions and embargoes.

    It is not difficult to comprehend the still very much alive quasi-colonialist mentality Turkish ruling circles maintain towards all non-Turkish peoples who are or were under the rule of their Ottoman forefathers. Despite appearances and the impressions of most outsiders to the contrary, in many respects Turkish Republic has been a worthy successor to the Ottoman Empire which was not only a “prison”, but also a “slaughterhouse of nations.” During the almost nine decades following the establishment of the Republic, Turkish ruling classes have conducted a policy of violent repression and discrimination towards the Kurdish people and continued to ethnically cleanse the already the greatly dwindled Christian minorities through state terrorism. However, one has to concede the fact that the hostility Turkish ruling classes feel towards the Armenian people is qualitatively different from their hostility towards other oppressed ethnic and religious communities, such as Kurds, Assyrians, Alevites etc. Even today, that is almost a century after the Armenian genocide Turkish reactionaries and chauvinists continue to use the term “Armenian” as an invective and perceive everything Armenian as a potential or actual threat and enemy. The fact is that the Armenian genocide is the real reason behind the the unquenchable hate and hostility Turkish ruling classes exhibit vis-à-vis the Armenian people. Mentioning the name “Armenian”, let alone that of “the Armenian question” itself reminds them of the great sin their forefathers have committed from the 1870s through the 1920s. This general feeling of hate and hostility permeating all classes of Turkish society, makes the solution of the Turkish-Armenian question very complex and difficult. The case of Hrant Dink, an Armenian progressive journalist killed in broad daylight on 19 January 2007, can be considered a living proof of this mentality. Later it became apparent that the “security” forces knew about the coming murder and did nothing to prevent it. Besides some high-level members of the police and the gendarme were themselves involved in the planning and execution of this infamous act. More than three years on the real forces behind the murder have not been apprehended. Turkish ruling circles did not bother to listen to the very moderate messages Dink tried to convey to them. Why? Because they were determined to destroy and nip in the bud all efforts at a Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. In retrospect one can say that Dink himself was too naïve politically and greatly underestimated the extremely reactionary character of the Turkish ruling classes.

    Turkish ruling circles have developed certain political and psychological defense mechanisms in this respect, some crude and some a bit more refined. One of them has been the preservation of an almost complete censorship on the discussion of this subject throughout the history of the Republic. Until recently, academicians and intellectuals did not even dare to air their views on this subject; those who a few years ago tried to organize symposia or discussions on the fate of Ottoman Armenians or wanted to express their grief over the plight of this people were publicly censured by government ministers, systematically harassed by the chauvinist press and threatened with prosecution. A second one has been the adoption of an aggressive attitude towards all Armenian aspirations whether they relate to conceding the grave crimes committed against the Armenian people or the very moderate and just demands of Turkish Armenians. In this case, Turkish reactionaries try to blame the Armenian nationalists and the Armenian people and play the part of the victim while in fact they have been the aggressor. (One cannot but remember the Nazi Germany which felt “threatened” by Czechoslovakia and Poland in the 1930s and the US which felt “threatened” by Vietnam in the 1960s and Iraq in the 1990s and nowadays feels “threatened” by Iran!) According to this argument Armenians had rebelled against the state, had stabbed the Turk in the back and forced him to take certain measures to “protect” himself. (6) A third one has been focusing the attention of the public opinion on the plight of Anatolian and Balkan Muslim Turks in the period under consideration. It is true that millions of Muslim Turks lost their lives and many more were wounded during the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and the First World War. But how can one blame the Armenian nationalists or the Armenian people for the outcome of the adventurist policies of the CUP which allied itself with imperialist Germany and took the country to the slaughterhouse of the Great War in the hope of recovering territory it had lost to the Balkan states?

    The impact of the Armenian genocide on the Turkish national psyche has also contributed to the emergence and prevalence of a very aggressive brand of Turkish nationalism, which in turn has proved to be a huge obstacle to the solution of “the Kurdish problem” among other things and greatly curbed the overall democratization of the country. This exaggerated nationalism of the Turkish bourgeoisie betrays a hidden fear, a feeling of uncertainty and lack of legitimacy; it is as if it doesn’t feel sure about its sovereignty over this ancient land, which has been acquired through grave crimes. Constant proclamations and warnings by the Turkish authorities of the “indivisibility” of Turkey, of the “inviolability” of its borders, of endless plots of “external forces” to weaken and undermine Turkey etc, bear witness to this mentality. One only should take note of the extremely rigid attitude of Turkish ruling circles in dealing with the fate of 20 million-strong Kurdish nation to see this mentality in action. For decades they have denied even the very existence of the Kurdish people as an ethnic group, have suppressed all manifestations of Kurdish national identity and culture, have striven to drown in blood all Kurdish resistance against national oppression and systematically terrorized, killed and massacred Kurdish civilians, intellectuals and community leaders. They have consistently stood for armed confrontation, while the PKK has several times offered to cease fire, declared unilateral ceasefires times and again since 1993 and called and worked for the peaceful solution of this question. All the efforts of the Kurdish side to secure the peaceful solution of the question, however, have been either ignored or rejected by Turkish ruling circles. Turkish reactionaries have always demanded the total and unconditional surrender of the PKK, without any pledges for democratic reforms and been bent on the destruction of all institutions of Kurdish people, including their legitimate parliamentary parties. (7) Doubtless to say, at the root of this sort of extreme chauvinism and militarism lies the barbaric mentality the Turkish Republic has inherited from the Ottoman despots and CUP murderers.

    * * * * *

    The Turkish-Armenian question can only be solved through a radical transformation and reconstruction of Turkish society. Such a transformation and reconstruction cannot be effected without the overthrow of the chauvinist Turkish bourgeoisie and the military and the seizure of political power by the exploited working masses. The workers and other exploited toilers alone, led by a party fighting all forms of oppression, exploitation, repression and discrimination can carry out such a radical upheaval and in the process can face the reality of the Armenian genocide and accept the fact that the Turkish Republic was built by a bunch of mass murderers, state terrorists and thieves.

    Of course such an approach does not exclude or reject the role of the struggle for partial demands which might help to deal blows to Turkish chauvinism and political reaction. However, I once more have to emphasize the fact that, not even the most liberal and “democratic” fractions of Turkish property-owning classes can and will question the bases of the Turkish Republic; none of them hesitates or will hesitate to stir up anti-Armenian, anti-Greek, anti-Kurdish feelings and prejudices to distract the attention of the working masses from internal or external problems. In this sense, there is an unbreakable tie with the social liberation of the exploited Turkish working masses and their ideological liberation from the bonds of Turkish chauvinism. “No nation can be free” said Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “if it oppresses other nations.” In other words, a genuine peace and reconciliation and a true democracy can be achieved only through a common struggle of the downtrodden peoples of Anatolia against their tormentors and through their internationalist revolutionary education. Here, the key question is the revolutionary re-education of the Turkish working masses who for decades have been indoctrinated in the spirit of suspicion, animosity and hate towards other peoples and first and foremost towards the Armenian people.

    This is all the more necessary in view of the fact that, certain fractions of Turkish bourgeoisie in alliance with the US and Israel have been fanning the flames of Kurdish-Turkish confrontation for years. On the other hand, one of the most important preconditions of a genuine Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is the recognition of the national identity and legitimate rights of Kurdish people. So, the Armenian people cannot but oppose the vicious national oppression of Kurdish people by the descendants of CUP murderers.

    Furthermore, the Armenian people will not truly be able to settle accounts with the perpetrators of the genocide without opposing and fighting against all instances of national oppression and social injustice throughout the world. The great injustices done to the Armenian people will not be remedied through lobbying the American senators and statesmen whose hands are stained with the blood of tens of millions of people in almost all parts of the globe; these injustices will not be remedied through appealing to German statesmen, descendants of German colonialists and imperialists responsible for the genocide of the Herero people, partially responsible for the genocide of the Armenian people, to a great extent responsible for the initiation of First and Second World Wars, responsible for the Jewish holocaust and for the killing of more than 20 million citizens of the Soviet Union and so forth. These “masters of the world” led by the US, have shed and/ or been shedding the blood of the peoples of Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia; they are making preparations to attack Iran under the guise of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and they are working overtime to start the flames of the Third World War, which may lead to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people through the use of nuclear weapons, deal a very hard blow to the material and cultural accomplishments of humanity and do enormous harm to the natural environment. To seek the support of such powers and their leaders, for the recognition of the Armenian genocide is both wrong and immoral. Besides, as historical experience has demonstrated times and again, it is useless. Whatever “Armenian resolutions” their parliaments pass, these powers do not give a damn about the Armenian people and the tragedy this people have lived through; they have long been and are accomplices, allies, protectors and commercial partners of Turkish reactionaries despite frictions and disagreements between the two sides on some issues.

    Consistent democratism and the genuine interests of the great majority of the Armenian people requires them,
    a) to take an unequivocal stand against the wars of aggression conducted at the moment mainly against Muslim peoples of the world by the US, Britain, Germany, Israel and their allies,
    b) to take an unequivocal stand against ongoing attempts at widening the imperialist war to Iran on the pretext of opposing the proliferation of nuclear weapons,
    c) Not to allow US, British, German, French and other imperialists to exploit the question of “the Armenian genocide” to further their criminal plans and
    d) To strive for the withdrawal of Armenian troops in Afghanistan and the rejection of any Armenian participation in the future in such wars of aggression. (8)

    (1) Taner Akçam has mentioned the fact that the Ottoman Empire had lost 85 percent of its population and 75 percent of its possessions between 1870 and 1920. (“Türk-Ermeni Barışmasında Atılması Gereken Adımlar”, April 2005) To this observation one might add that after the defeat of the Empire at the end of the First World War, even Anatolia was in danger of being colonized by Britain, France, Italy, Greece and divided between Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Kurds etc.
    (2) According to a source, around four million Muslims were forced to come to Anatolia between 1855 and 1914. (Emin Akdag-Hasim Söylemez, “Sürgün Yurdu Anadolu”, Aksiyon, 24 May 2004) Along with the massacre and deportation of Christian minorities during the first two decades of the 20th century, this giant wave of migration altered the demographic composition of Turkish mainland decisively in favor of Muslims.
    (3) To blame the Armenian tragedy only on three leading pashas of the CUP and to absolve Ottoman-Turkish ruling circles of their crimes would be tantamount to blaming the initiation of the Second World War and the Jewish holocaust only on Hitler and his close associates and absolving German monopoly capitalists and state apparatus of their crimes. However, this has been and remains a favourite trick of almost all bourgeois politicians and writers in their efforts to absolve those “distinguished” moneybags who supported the Nazi terrorists.
    (4) A prominent member of the CUP, later prime minister and president Jelal Bayar had once told about the discussions in the CUP government and war ministry about the liquidation of Christian minorities. “… the main subject of the secret meetings” had said Bayar “was the liquidation of non-Turkish masses who are situated at strategic junctions and are open to negative external influences.” (Suat Parlar, Osmanlıdan Günümüze Gizli Devlet, p. 78) Besides, even before the Great War, that is in the spring of 1914 the CUP leaders forcibly deported around 130,000 Greeks from the Aegean region and seized their possessions.
    (5) Turkish nationalists, who refrained from antagonizing the Allied powers, clearly expressed their anti-Armenian and anti-Greek positions at the Erzurum Congress (held in July-August 1919) and at the Sivas Congress (held in September 1919). “A provisional administration shall be formed in Eastern Anatolia” the resolutions of the Erzurum Congress said “to prevent the Greeks and Armenians from trampling our motherland.” (Sabahattin Selek, Anadolu Ihtilali, p. 274) At the time, however, several regions of Anatolia and Istanbul were under the occupation of British, French, Italian and Greek armies.
    (6) Armenian nationalists should be criticized for allying themselves with Tsarist Russia during the First World War. They also should be criticized for collaborating with the occupation forces and taking part in revenge actions after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. But these instances of unjust actions cannot in any way compared with the protracted Turkish state terrorism which culminated in the Armenian genocide. On the other hand, under the conditions of an oppressive and despotic state which regularly terrorizes its subjects, oppressed nations have a right to defend themselves by force of arms. Even the United Nations itself recognized this right in its General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974 and I quote:
    “3. (General Assembly- G. A.) Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle;…”
    (7) For further information on the anti-Kurdish policies of Turkish ruling circles go to
    (8) In 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, Armenia had deployed 46 troops under Polish command there. Later this presence was extended by one year at the end of 2005 and 2006. This contingent was withdrawn on October 7, 2008.
    In January 2010, 40 Armenian soldiers were sent to Germany to undergo four-week training. In February 2010 they were deployed to Kunduz province of Afghanistan and at the moment are serving there under the command of the German military.

  2. To the European Commission :


    In order to create a Turkish nation from above, Turkish nationalists waged a bloody campaign against non-Turkish and non-Muslim elements of the empire.
    The First World War served as an excuse for the Young Turks, the then Turkish goverment, to exterminate Armenians. It was a deliberate and sustain war, in the course of which hundreds of thousands Armenians, Syrians and Greeks had been ruthlessly killed or forced into exile.
    The collapse of the Ottomans had left a power vacuum, filled by another section of the Turkish nationalists, called Kemalists at a later time.
    Mass extermination of the Ottoman times and also an extermination of an ethnically distinct and separate people from Turks.
    What happened back then has been handed down to the later generations by their parents and grand-parents, who witnessed the onslaught, and of whom some are still alive.
    Furthermore the sites of the mass graves all over West Armenia are well known and can easily be located if and when need be. The ruins of the country`s cultural heritage including churches belonged to the nations`s Christian section are still visible.
    The Turks are guilty of the genocide of millions. Muslims in general, are guilty of even more millions of non-muslim deaths.
    The Genocide of Armenians caused more severe damage to the Armenian nation than the Holocaust did to the Jews. While the number of Jews killed by the Germany was larger than the number of Armenians killed by Turkey, the Armenians lost most of their homeland of Cilicia and Western Armenia due to the genocide. The Holocaust also gave a huge international impetus to create Israel. the Holocaust helped create Israel; the Genocide help in the disappearance of the Armenian homeland.
    For even if the opening of Turkey’s archives conclusively show there was a deliberate policy and practice on the part of Turkish authorities in 1915-1923 to dispossess and eliminate Armenians (and Greeks) from their ancestral homeland by the use of mass murder, threats and intimidation–in short, that Turkey was guilty of genocide–what then? It is too late to put on trial any of the perpetrators of that genocide, since they have returned to the dust and mud whence they emerged.
    We think it is only fair to mention the Assyrians that were slaughtered as well with the Armenians and Greeks the total of the 3 ethnic groups were 2.8 million.
    People wish to see the justice served. A search for justice has already began. A legal action against Turkey will at long last be taken at some time in the future.

    We demand of the Turkish authorities firstly the recognition of our country, occupied west Armenia, which was autonomous under the Ottoman Empire and which lost its autonomy; secondly the recognition of the genocides or attempted genocides suffered by our people and which it witnessed in 1915.
    We demand the immediate end of the policy designated under the name ‘Plan D’ which forces the population into an exodus or forced assimilation.

    We demand demilitarisation and the banning of all the activities of military and paramilitary teams which have been exercising terror over the population since 1889.
    The language of the occupied west Armenia, is still banned today. We demand self-determination in the matter of communication, education and social organisation. The Turkish state must recognise the specific beliefs and traditions of the occupied west Armenia people. The policy of Islamisation and Turkishisation (exemplified by the precept: ‘one mosque per village, one Imam per village’) must cease.
    The military policy of the Turkish state has already destroyed a great part of our patrimony: setting fire to our forests, bombing our villages, systematic destruction of our historical monuments the sacred of our culture, and riches of humanity as well.

    We bring to your attention this dramatic reality in the context of the discussion of entering into negotiations with Turkey.

    May the threat to pour people end and may all the minorities of Anatolia live in peace.
    We, the signatures below, demand justice and support the initiatives aiming to bring Turkey to justice.


    Hakis Datvan, spokesman for the Collective Lake Van.

    Click here, if you want to sign

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