Friday, March 27, 2009


26.03.2009 19:44 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Suppressed truth poisons the suppressor, it also
poisons those who are deprived of the knowledge of the truth. Not
only that: suppressed truth poisons the entire environment in which
both the suppressor and those who are subjected to that suppression
live. So it poisons everything. Nearly a century after the genocide
of Armenians and Assyrians/Syriacs as well as other Christian peoples
of the Asia Minor, Turkey is still being poisoned by the suppression
of the truth. And because the suppressed truth concerns a crime,
because the suppressors are those in power, and those deprived of
the truth are the whole nation, it is the very future of that nation
which is also poisoned.

If you are a ruler suppressing a truth, you have to suppress those who
seek the truth as well. The poison feeds you with self-glorification
in order to evade guilt, hatred to justify your lying and cruelty
to sustain the lie at all costs. Bits of truth may be known to some
of the people you rule. So you either have to make them join your
self-deception by offering excuses for the crime you committed to
persuade them there was no other choice or declare them traitors and
carry on an endless war against those who resist persuasion.

But people tend to be persuaded; so in Turkey the great majority of
people sincerely believe that if it is a question of life or death for
the "fatherland" the state machinery may rightfully resort to unlawful
methods - in other words, that the so-called "national interests"
justify all means. This is how the suppressed truth and the methods
of that suppression poison minds generation after generation.

So, it is no surprise that for nearly a century Turkey saw no real
democracy, no real peace, no real well-being. Violence has always
been part of our lives. Military coups followed one another and
in the absence of an actual military rule, there has always been
sometimes overt, sometimes covert, threat of it. Since the foundation
of the Republic, the Kurdish uprisings and their violent repression
continued. In the last 30 years the land which was once the homeland
of Armenians and Assyrians as well, has been suffering from what the
authorities call the "fight against terrorism". Evacuated villages,
forced migration, people under custody going missing and unsolved
murders became the characteristics of the region.

The bloodshed has never stopped since 1915.

It's not only the violence. Permit me to borrow here what I had written
on the occasion of the 91st anniversary of the Genocide, which Khatchig
Mouradian quoted in his article published by Znet on April 23, 2006:

"A big curse fell upon this land [in 1915]. The settlements where once
artisans, manufacturers, and tradesmen produced and traded goods,
where theatres and schools disseminated knowledge and aesthetic
fulfillment, where churches and monasteries refined the souls, where
beautiful architecture embodied a great, ancient culture; in short,
a civilized, lively urban world was turned into a rural area of vast,
barren, silent, uninhabited land and settlements marked by buildings
without a history and without a personality."

Nowadays an excavation is going on in Silopi, to investigate the
allegations that in the 1990's the dead bodies of persons who went
missing under custody by security forces had been dumped there. So
far some bones, hair and pieces of clothing have been found - what was
left after the clean-up operations - and sent to forensic laboratory
for analysis.

This is one of the places which has suffered most from the suspension
of rule of law in the region for the sake of the so-called "unity
of Turkey".

And it is the same place where, 96 years ago, masses of mostly
Assyrians/Syriacs but Armenians as well, though in smaller number,
were either massacred outright or driven on foot to the mountains
where death was certain as a result of starvation, destitution and
exposure to harsh weather conditions without any shelter. This was
what happened in many places to Armenians throughout Asia Minor during
that reign of terror.

Now the "death wells" represents the continuation of the bloodshed
and suppressed truths. After 96 years there are still unburied dead
bodies to be searched for by means of excavations.

Yes, "All suppressed truths become poisonous," said Nietzsche many,
many years ago, but he continued: "- And let everything break up
- which can be broken up by our truths! Many a house is still to
be built!"

"This is the only way that would bring justice to our lives - I mean
recognition of the damage done and making amends," stated Professor
Ayse Gunaysu in his report at "Legacy of the 1915 Genocide in the
Ottoman Empire" conference in Stockholm held on Mar.23, 2009.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Armenian population numbers are a chilling reminder of genocide

Fresno Bee Editorial
Armenian population numbers are a chilling reminder of genocide
Mar. 12, 2009

A chilling bit of new evidence has emerged in the controversy over the
Armenian genocide, and it comes from an unlikely source: the records
of the man who was in charge of the deportation of tens of thousands
of Armenians during World War I, when the genocide began.

A book published in Turkey in January quotes records left by Mehmed
Talat, the Ottoman Empire's interior minister during that period. By
the numbers, the population of Armenians in the empire fell
dramatically in 1915-1916, from just under 1.3 million to a little
more than 280,000. Almost 1 million people simply disappeared from the

The modern-day Turkish government, as always, has little to say about
the figures beyond its standard line about there being a war on, and
the Armenians were treacherously supporting Russia, the Ottomans'
ancient enemy.

As always, that story doesn't wash. The armed opposition of a tiny
handful of Armenians doesn't explain the Ottomans' perceived need to
deport, starve and kill some 1.5 million people, many thousands of
them old men, women and children.

This revelation will add new fuel to the campaign for official
American recognition of the genocide. April 24, the traditional day
marking the beginning of the genocide, is coming up, and with it a
renewed effort to put the American government on record acknowledging
those awful events.

To that end, a group of congressmen who've lobbied hard for genocide
recognition has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, calling on
him to fulfill his earlier support, as a senator and presidential
candidate, for American recognition of the genocide. The group is led
by Rep. George Radanovich -- a co-author of the Armenian Genocide
Resolution -- and includes Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, Mark Kirk,
R-Ill., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J.

There will be considerable pressure brought to bear on Obama to
continue the denial of the Armenian genocide that has characterized
presidents of both parties for decades. The argument has been that the
U.S. relationship with Turkey would be threatened by recognizing the
historical fact of the genocide, given the Turks' intransigence on the

It's time for that to end.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nearly a Million Genocide Victims, Covered in a Cloak of Amnesia

The New York Times
Published: March 8, 2009

ISTANBUL ' For Turkey, the number should have been a bombshell.
Nearly a Million Genocide Victims, Covered in a Cloak of Amnesia

Ottoman Armenians are marched to a prison by armed Turkish soldiers in
April 1915. About 972,000 Armenians disappeared from population
records in 1915 and 1916.

Times Topics: Armenian GenocideAccording to a long-hidden document
that belonged to the interior minister of the Ottoman Empire, 972,000
Ottoman Armenians disappeared from official population records from
1915 through 1916.

In Turkey, any discussion of what happened to the Ottoman Armenians
can bring a storm of public outrage. But since its publication in a
book in January, the number ' and its Ottoman source ' has gone
virtually unmentioned. Newspapers hardly wrote about it. Television
shows have not discussed it.

`Nothing,' said Murat Bardakci, the Turkish author and columnist who
compiled the book.

The silence can mean only one thing, he said: `My numbers are too high
for ordinary people. Maybe people aren't ready to talk about it yet.'

For generations, most Turks knew nothing of the details of the
Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918, when more than a million Armenians
were killed as the Ottoman Turk government purged the
population. Turkey locked the ugliest parts of its past out of sight,
Soviet-style, keeping any mention of the events out of schoolbooks and
official narratives in an aggressive campaign of forgetting.

But in the past 10 years, as civil society has flourished here, some
parts of Turkish society are now openly questioning the state's
version of events. In December, a group of intellectuals circulated a
petition that apologized for the denial of the massacres. Some 29,000
people have signed it.

With his book, `The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha,' Mr. Bardakci
(pronounced bard-AK-chuh) has become, rather unwillingly, part of this
ferment. The book is a collection of documents and records that once
belonged to Mehmed Talat, known as Talat Pasha, the primary architect
of the Armenian deportations.

The documents, given to Mr. Bardakci by Mr. Talat's widow, Hayriye,
before she died in 1983, include lists of population figures. Before
1915, 1,256,000 Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire, according to
the documents. The number plunged to 284,157 two years later,
Mr. Bardakci said.

To the untrained ear, it is simply a sad statistic. But anyone
familiar with the issue knows the numbers are in fierce
dispute. Turkey has never acknowledged a specific number of deportees
or deaths. On Sunday, Turkey's foreign minister warned that President
Obama might set back relations if he recognized the massacre of
Armenians as genocide before his visit to Turkey next month.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was bloody, the Turkish argument
goes, and those who died were victims of that chaos.

Mr. Bardakci subscribes to that view. The figures, he said, do not
indicate the number of dead, only a result of the decline in the
Armenian population after deportation. He strongly disagrees that the
massacres amounted to a genocide, and he says Turkey was obliged to
take action against Armenians because they were openly supporting
Russia in its war against the Ottoman Empire.

`It was not a Nazi policy or a Holocaust,' he said. `These were very
dark times. It was a very difficult decision. But deportation was the
outcome of some very bloody events. It was necessary for the
government to deport the Armenian population.'

This argument is rejected by most scholars, who believe that the small
number of Armenian rebels were not a serious threat to the Ottoman
Empire, and that the policy was more the product of the perception
that the Armenians, non-Muslims and therefore considered
untrustworthy, were a problem population.

Hilmar Kaiser, a historian and expert on the Armenian genocide, said
the records published in the book were conclusive proof from the
Ottoman authority itself that it had pursued a calculated policy to
eliminate the Armenians. `You have suddenly on one page confirmation
of the numbers,' he said. `It was like someone hit you over the head
with a club.'

Mr. Kaiser said the before and after figures amounted to `a death

`There is no other way of viewing this document,' he said. `You can't
just hide a million people.'

Other scholars said that the number was a useful addition to the
historical record, but that it did not introduce a new version of

`This corroborates what we already knew,' said Donald Bloxham, the
author of `The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and
the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.'

Mr. Bardakci is a history buff who learned to read and write Ottoman
script from his grandmother, allowing him to navigate Turkey's written
past, something that most Turks are unable to do. He plays the tanbur,
a traditional string instrument. His grandfather was a member of the
same political party of Mr. Talat, and his family knew many of the
important political figures in Turkey's founding.

Though he clearly wanted the numbers to be known, he stubbornly
refuses to interpret them. He offers no analysis in the book, and
aside from an interview with Mr. Talat's widow, there is virtually no
text beside the original documents.

`I didn't want to interpret,' he said. `I want the reader to decide.'

The best way to do that, he argues, is by using cold, hard facts,
which can cut through the layers of emotional rhetoric that have
clouded the issue for years.

`I believe we need documents in Turkey,' he said. `This is the most

But some of the keenest observers of Turkish society said the silence
was a sign of just how taboo the topic still was. `The importance of
the book is obvious from the fact that no paper except Milliyet has
written a single line about it,' wrote Murat Belge, a Turkish
academic, in a January column in the liberal daily newspaper Taraf.

Still, it is a measure of Turkey's democratic maturity that the book
was published here at all. Mr. Bardakci said he had held the documents
for so long ' 27 years ' because he was waiting for Turkey to reach
the point when their publication would not cause a frenzy.

Even the state now feels the need to defend itself. Last summer, a
propaganda film about the Armenians made by Turkey's military was
distributed to primary schools. After a public outcry, it was stopped.

`I could never have published this book 10 years ago,' Mr. Bardakci
said. `I would have been called a traitor.'

He added, `The mentality has changed.'