Saturday, November 16, 2013

Turkey denies 1915 Genocide to cover up 1895 Armenian massacres?

Turkey denies 1915 Genocide to cover up 1895 Armenian massacres?

Turkey denies 1915 Genocide to cover up 1895 Armenian massacres? PanARMENIAN.Net - The 1st genocide of the 20th century - the Armenian Genocide - was preceded by the 1895 Turkish massacres of Armenians, journalist Hervé Roubaix said in his article published at
"For centuries the Turks simply lived like parasites upon these overburdened and industrious people. They taxed them to economic extinction, stole their most beautiful daughters and forced them into their harems, took Christian male infants by the hundreds of thousands and brought them up as Moslem soldiers. I have no intention of describing the terrible vassalage and oppression that went on for five centuries; my purpose is merely to emphasize this innate attitude of the Moslem Turk to people not of his own race and religion---that they are not human beings with rights, but merely chattels, which may be permitted to live when they promote the interest of their masters, but which may be pitilessly destroyed when they have ceased to be useful. This attitude is intensified by a total disregard for human life and an intense delight in inflicting physical human suffering which are not unusually the qualities of primitive peoples," the journalist quotes the United States ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau.
Back then, Roubaix said, 2 000 000 Armenians had to leave their historic lands or die. This is what Europe has now in store for Jews in Palestine. “In 1894 to 1896, up to 400 000 Christian Armenians were killed in massacres orchestrated by special regiments of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, known as the Red Sltan.
In 1895, 300 000 Armenians, the richest and most educated citizens of the Ottoman Empire, were savagely murdered. Formally, massacres were meant to undermine “Armenian nationalistic moods,” with Armenian political parties stirring Hamid’s concern. According to the article, Hamid aimed to smother their activity, but contrary to Young Turks did not seek to exterminate the whole nation.
The article quotes representatives of France, Great Britain and Russia who slammed the Abdul Hamid II -period massacres as genocide. The article further quoted the U.S. President Grover Cleveland who stated in the December 2, 1895 address to Congress, “reports of the Armenian Christians’ massacres, fanatic animosity against them causes fear for the safety of people.”
“When in 1896, U.S. demanded that Abdul Hamid II stop the persecution of Armenians, the former, like his successor Erdogan, denied the charges, instead accusing Bulgaria and Russia of causing large-scale inflow of Muslim refugees, ” the article said.
And this is what signaled the onset of ‘Turkey for Turks’, the article concluded.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Editorial: Discrediting denial in Ankara

Published: Friday July 03, 2009

Advocate acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, and you risk prosecution and imprisonment for the crime – yes, it's still a crime – of insulting Turkey. If you're Armenian and you do it, you also risk getting killed, as we learned in January 2007 when Hrant Dink was shot dead.

That said, it's also true that open discussion of the Armenian Genocide is more common in Turkey today than it has been for decades. Mainstream newspapers like Radikal write about it, and respected public figures acknowledge it – like the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, who has had repeatedly to answer charges of insulting Turkishness.

Last week, a British peer, Lord Avebury, and historian Ara Sarafian set out for Ankara, a Turkish translation of the British parliamentary Blue Book on the Armenian Genocide in hand. (See story.) The stated purpose was to engage the Turkish parliament on a debate it had originated.

Four years ago, the Turkish Grand National Assembly sent a petition to the British Parliament, asking it to repudiate the Blue Book, which it had commissioned in 1916. The Foreign Office wrote back to say it saw no reason to do so. A group of British members of Parliament and peers wrote back to say the Blue Book is solid, but let's talk about it and hear your concerns.

The Turkish parliament dropped the matter. No response was forthcoming to the British legislators who had agreed to engage the Turkish legislators.

Instead of dropping the issue, Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian took the matter to Turkey.

Addressing the Turkish Grand National Assembly in April, President Barack Obama had urged the parliament to come to terms with Turkey's past as it relates to Armenians. He had reminded his audience of how America is better for having come to terms with some of the shameful parts of its history.

But the Grand National Assembly has yet to heed Mr. Obama's advice. And, indeed, no member of the Turkish parliament joined the foreign diplomats and other distinguished guests who attended the presentation made by Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian in Ankara last week. The absence even of members of the pro-Kurdish party MEP is an indication of the prevalence and extent of anti-Armenian pressure brought to bear against politicians in Turkey.

Present or absent, the members of parliament got to read about the presentation in the Turkish press, which covered it. It is perhaps an indication of the damage to the denial effort inflicted by this presentation that a retired ambassador held a news conference to denounce it.

In going to Turkey and engaging the establishment, we offer messages that are broadcast, if at all, through the filter of the Turkish media. It is not by any means an even playing field, or a safe one. And it's counterproductive to appear to engage in a debate over whether the events of 1915–17 constituted genocide. That is a contrived debate, and to their credit, Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian were able to avoid the appearance of engaging in such a debate.

What their modest presentation did was not simply to offer in Turkish an important resource for people who want to learn the truth about the Armenian Genocide. More importantly, it showed the bankruptcy of the Turkish denial machine.

The leaders of the denial effort had put the Turkish legislature into an embarrassing position, and that was clear: they had persuaded the legislature to denounce a book – the Blue Book – on grounds that were patently and demonstrably false. In demonstrating that the case made by deniers was dishonest and disingenuous, Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian helped discredit the denial effort itself. We commend them for that.

Meanwhile, this initiative may serve as a good opportunity for Armenian individuals as well as organizations to ask themselves whether they have anything to do in Turkey. The answer may not always be affirmative, but the question is certainly worth exploring.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Armenian Genocide Timeline: 1915

The Ittihad representative of Bursa reports to the Ittihad Central Committee that local criminals and bandits have been registered in the Special Organization.
Nuri, the vice-governor of Gavar District in Van Province, receives orders from the military governor to kill the Armenian soldiers in the Turkish Army who were stationed in his district.
The Turkish government publicly charges that Armenian bakers in the army bakeries of Sivas were poisoning the bread of the Turkish forces. The bakers are cruelly beaten, despite the fact that a group of doctors prove the charge to be false by examining the bread and even eating it. As this marks an attempt on the part of the government to incite massacre, the government does not rescind the charge.
Turkish and Kurdish chetes (Halil Pasha's "First Corps") attack Armenian and Assyrian villages in northwest Persia. They remain around the city of Tavriz (Tabriz) and the city of Urmia from January 8 until January 29, 1915. From Urmia alone, more than 18,000 Armenians, together with many Assyrians and even Persian Muslims, flee to the Caucasus.
Ahmed Muammer, the governor-general of Sivas Province, orders the destruction of Tavra-Koy and other strategically located villages around the city of Sivas in order to make future defense impossible for the Armenians. Inside the city of Sivas strategically-located buildings were requisitioned.
The last actions of the Battle of Sarikamish are reported. The Turkish army is totally defeated and almost destroyed with a loss of 70,000 men out of 85,000.
Enver arrives in Sivas by automobile from Erzerum after his calamitous defeat at Sarikamish. He instructs the Army to accept only his orders and none hereafter from the German commanders and to draft at once all those deferred in the 20 to 40 age group, along with all males between the ages of 18 and 20 and 45 to 52.
Enver arrives in Constantinople by automobile from Sivas. After his arrival, he makes a speech congratulating the Armenians for admirably doing their duty on the Caucasian Front and elsewhere. Enver seeks to lull the Armenians of Constantinople who had not yet experienced the general persecutions in the provinces because of the presence of a large European community in the city.
Enver, now actively Minister of War again, issues a general order to shoot all persons resisting his orders.
Talaat advises German Ambassador Count Hans von Wangenheim that the war is the only propitious moment to conclude the Armenian Question.
S. Pasdermadjian, the Second Director of the Ottoman Bank, is murdered in the presence of German Major-General Posseldt, who reported that no investigation was carried or was any attempt made by the Turkish authorities to apprehend the guilty parties.
Enver's brother-in-law, Hafiz Hakki, dies of typhus and is replaced by Mahmud Kamil as Commander of the Third Army (Erzerum).
Tahir Jevdet, the governor-general of Van Province, is reported saying that the government must begin finishing the Armenians in Van at once.
The vice-governor of Mush orders 70 gendarmes to attack the village of Koms and to kill the Armenian Dashnak leader Rupen and all persons with him. Rupen and his companions resist and eventually escape to the Caucasus.
Talaat, Osman Bedri, and other Ittihadist leaders decide in a meeting that should Allied naval ships force the Dardanelles, the Turks would burn Constantinople, blow up the Hagia Sophia, and slaughter the Christian inhabitants. Kerosene is distributed to all police stations in Constantinople for ready use in such an eventuality.
An attack by chetes on the village of Purk near Shabin-Karahisar results in looting, murder, rape.
Vramian, an Armenian parliamentary deputy from Van, writes Talaat advising him to remove the large number of chetes in Van Province.
In Sivas Province a general attack is reported on many Armenian villages accompanied by raping, looting, and an increasingly larger number of killings.
In the village of Chomaklu in Kayseri Province and in other places, the government demands all weapons from the Armenians.
In Marash, the Armenians in the Turkish Army are deprived of their uniforms and arms.
A dispatch from the Ittihad Central Committee is released announcing the decision to exterminate the Armenians.
Armenian soldiers in the Erzerum army area are deprived of their uniforms and arms.
The British decide to attack the Dardanelles.
In Van Province, regular gendarmes and chetes are reported attacking many villages inhabited by Armenians and Assyrians.
A search for weapons is conducted in Iskenderun (Alexandretta) and a mass arrest of Armenians carried out.
Chetes and regular Army units attack Zeitun. Six Turkish gendarmes are killed by individuals resisting the attack.
Massacres and robberies are carried in Alashkert District as part of a general campaign led by the chetes forces against the Armenian villages of the district.
Mass arrests of Armenians are carried out in Dortyol and a public announcement is made that those arrested would be sent to work on road construction near Aleppo. They are never heard of again.
Enver leaves for Berlin to see Kaiser Wilhelm II.
A traveling commission of parliamentary deputies tours all the cities of Anatolia. The commission includes Dr. Fazil Berki, parliamentary deputy from Chankri, Ubedulla, parliamentary deputy from Smyrna, and Behaeddin Shakir, member of the Central Committee of the Ittihad Party. They address the Turkish population in the mosques describing the Armenians as internal enemies which must destroyed.
In Sivas Province the population in all the Armenian villages is disarmed.
Sahag, the Catholicos of Cilicia, advises the Armenians of Zeitun not to resist under any conditions.
Russian forces advance between Urmia and Tavriz.
An Allied attack on the Dardanelles begins.
In Zeitun, the Turkish forces arrest many of the remaining Armenian notables and intellectuals whom they torture and finally kill.
Six Armenian soldiers from the town of Gurun are publicly hanged in Sivas to frighten the Armenian population.
Greek recruits are massacred near Smyrna.
Omer Naji, a circulating Ittihad propagandist, travels to Aleppo, Adana and nearby towns to arouse the Muslims.
Chetes and gendarmes attack Armenians in the towns of Bayburt (Papert) and Terchan in Erzerum Province, and in Bitlis.
Sahag, Catholicos of Cilicia, renews his instruction to the Armenians of Zeitun not to resist.
Thirty more Armenian community leaders are arrested in Zeitun.
The Armenian Dashnak leader, Murad, resists arrest in Sivas and flees to the mountains, and after many daring escapes reaches the Caucasus.
Hamid, the governor-general of Diyarbekir Province, is removed for opposing the order of massacre, and is replaced by Dr. Reshid.
In Aleppo, the capital of the province, Jemal Pasha falsely announces that the Armenians of Zeitun are in revolt and therefore he is instructing the military authorities, to the exclusion of the civilian government, to take measures to punish the Armenians.
Artillery and three regiments of the regular army are sent to Zeitun as reinforcements for the three battalions which had arrived in the town in January and February.
Mass beatings and tortures are inflicted on the Armenians of Chomaklu.
In Marash, Turks announce a mass meeting to prepare a massacre. Acting under the terms of the March 29 order, the government forbids civilians to take matters into their own hands.
Deportation of Armenians from Zeitun begins. Some of the inhabitants are sent to the Konia Desert in central Anatolia. The rest are sent to Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor) in the Syrian Desert.
Azadamart, the leading Armenian newspaper in Constantinople is closed by an order of the government issued through the office of the Police Commissioner of Constantinople, Osman Bedri. 300 Turkish pounds in the petty cash box are stolen. The printing presses are removed to the Ittihad Press, where the organ Tanin was published by the CUP, with Huseyin Jahid (Yalchin) as editor-in-chief, and Ahmed Emin as associate editor.
The mass arrest of Armenian political leaders is carried out in Sivas and other provinces.
General robbery and arrests of Armenians are reported throughout Bitlis and Erzerum Provinces.
In Sivas Province, battalions of gendarmery and 4000 chetes begin regular attacks on Armenian villages with increasing brutality.
(Easter week) Mass arrests and a search for weapons are carried out in Marash and Hadjin (Hajen), with the seizure of all arms, including household knives. Numerous rapes during the house searches are reported.
In Marash Turks demand 5,000 jackasses from the Armenians in an excuse to loot.
Turkish emigrants from Bosnia are settled by the government in the villages of Zeitun District. 8,000 Turkish regulars are reported in Zeitun.
The famous monastery of Zeitun is burned by the Turks.
Turks declare a meeting in Marash to deport the Armenians. The Turkish government forbids civilian action on the ground that the March 16 Army command covered the situation.
Talaat tells the Armenian parliamentary deputy Bedros Halajian that there will be no massacres.
Widespread attacks on, and looting of, Armenian villages in Bitlis and Erzerum Provinces are fed by the accusation that the Armenians caused the war.
(toward the end of the month) The Turkish government forbids American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau to send coded messages to the American consuls and deprives him of his diplomatic prerogative of receiving communications uncensored.
The governor-general of Van, Tahir Jevdet invites the Armenian parliamentary deputies from Van and the Dashnak leader Ishkhan to attend a conference.
Armenian refugees from villages surrounding the city of Van arrive and notify the inhabitants that 80 villages in Van Province were already obliterated and that 24,000 Armenians had been killed in three days.
The Armenian leaders Vramian and Ishkhan are slain during the night in the Kurdish village of Hirj by chetes on orders from Governor-general Tahir Jevdet.
Friendly Kurds inform the inhabitants of Van of the assassination of Vramian and Ishkhan.
The Armenians organize defense against the sudden attack by Turkish forces on the city of Van. (They hold out until advance units of the Russian Army consisting of Armenian volunteers arrive to their rescue on May 23, 1915).
Until the end of April 32,000 more Armenians are slain in the villages of Van Province, including the inhabitants of remote villages.
In Erzerum, Turkish civilians declare intentions to hold a meeting. The Army forbid it. Similar gatherings in other centers are also forbidden on the grounds that the Army is the agency responsible for handling the Armenians.
The Governor-general of Van Province demands that the Armenians of the city of Van surrender their weapons. The Armenians refuse as chete units were harassing the surrounding villages.
House searches are made in Diyarbekir and widespread persecution takes place.
The deportation of the 25,000 Armenians of Zeitun is completed.
The first large-scale arrests of Armenians are made in Diyarbekir upon the orders of Governor-general Reshid.
Twenty Armenian Social Democratic Hnchak Party members are brought to the Central Prison in Constantinople to face court martial. They are hanged publicly on June 2, 1915.
250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders are arrested in Constantinople and sent to Chankri and Ayash, where they are later slain.
The editors and staff of Azadamart, the leading Armenian newspaper of Constantinople, are arrested, and on June 15 are slain in Diyarbekir, where they had been transported and imprisoned.
The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and Zohrab, Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, petition the Grand Vizier, Said Halim, the Minister of the Interior Talaat, and the President of the Senate, Rifat, on behalf of the arrested Armenians of Constantinople. Though approached separately, all three give identical answers; that the government is isolating the Armenian leadership and dissolving the Armenian political organizations.
Three Armenians are hanged publicly in Mush without trial.
A second meeting in Erzerum to organize a communal massacre is disbanded by the government as interference in the affairs of the Army.
26 Armenian leaders are arrested in Marsovan (Merzifon). A two-week-long search for weapons is started accompanied by acts of violence and the abuse of women.
Russian citizens of Armenian origin are arrested in Constantinople.
The disarming of the Armenians of Constantinople is carried out with many outrages.
The vice-governor of Erzinjan begins the persecution of the Armenians with the arrest of many intellectuals.
The arrest of the Armenian professors and teachers of the American Euphrates College in Kharput is started.
Halil Pasha's forces are defeated by the Russian Army in the Caucasus and in northern Iran, and retreat to Van, Bitlis, and Mush, where they participate in the massacre of the Armenians.
3,000 English and French civilians are arrested in Constantinople.
House searches are made in Aleppo.
Macedonian Turkish immigrants are installed in Zeitun by the government.
The deportations from the villages of Erzerum Province are started.
The mass arrests of Armenian leaders in Aintab are begun.
200 Armenian leaders in Erzerum are arrested.
Arrests and persecutions begin in Kharput.
Allied nationals in Beirut (Beyrut) are deported to Damascus and dispersed from there.
The New York Times reports that the Young Turks had adopted a policy to annihilate the Armenians.
Lord Grey, British Minister of Foreign Affairs, sends a message to Enver holding him personally responsible should anything happen to the 3,000 captive English and French civilians.
950 prominent Armenians are arrested in Diyarbekir on orders from Dr. Reshid, the governor-general of Diyarbekir Province.
The Armenian refugees from Zeitun found in Marash, who had previously been spared deportation, are removed to the Syrian Desert.
Vartkes, an Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, visits Talaat to protest the arrests of April 24.
English and French civilian prisoners are deported to the interior of Anatolia.
38 Armenian community leaders are arrested in the town of Chomaklu in Kayseri Province and shortly thereafter executed.
The Armenian community leaders in the town of Bayburt are arrested and subsequently killed in Urbajioghli-Dere.
Armenians are deported from the northern villages of Erzerum Province.
Courts martial are set up in Marash to try the Armenian leaders arrested there shortly earlier.
Advance troops of the Russian Army in the Caucasus led by Armenian volunteers reach Van and lift the siege of city.
Armenians in the Khnus region of Erzerum Province are massacred.
Regular Russian Army forces arrive in Van. They begin the cremation of the dead in the city and in the villages of the province. 55,000 dead are identified as Armenians.
Armenian parliamentary deputy Vartkes visits Police Commissioner Osman Bedri to protest the arrests of the Constantinople Armenian community leaders.
Turkish refugees are settled in the emptied Armenian villages of the Tortum District of Erzerum Province.
A note is sent by the Allied Powers to the Turkish Cabinet holding it responsible for the massacres of the Armenians.
Armenian parliamentary deputies Zohrab and Vartkes are arrested in Constantinople and later murdered while in custody in Kara-Kopru.
German Marshal Otto Liman von Sanders reports that the deportations were planned by the Committee of Union and Progress, and received the approval of all the ministries, and that the execution of the plans was placed in the hands of the governors-general, their subordinates, and the police.
The promulgation of the Temporary Law of Deportation, months after the depopulation of the Armenian settlements had been initiated.
2,000 Armenians are deported from Marash.
300 Armenians arrested on May 10 in Diyarbekir are murdered while in custody.
Talaat is reported to have said that he was going to give to the Armenians a new and final residence.
630 Armenians arrested on May 10 in Diyarbekir are murdered in the village of Bisheri while in custody and their bodies are thrown in the Tigris River.
Two weeks of outrages perpetrated against the Armenians of the town of Chomaklu under the guise of forcing the Armenians to give up their arms are ended.
German Ambassador Hans von Wangenheim advises against German interference in the deportations.
Ayub Bey, an arch-assassin, leaves Adana for Aleppo in connection with the organizing of massacres.
Enver issues a circular dispatch classified secret and urgent concerning the deportations.
The first convoy of Armenian deportees leave Erzinjan toward Kemakh on their way to the Syrian Desert.
The Armenian Prelate of Shabin-Karahisar, Vaghinag Vartabed, is assassinated.
The Armenians of Constantinople appeal to the German and the Austrian Embassies to prevent the deportations and associated outrages, but receive no satisfactory reply.
The Armenians arrested in Sivas on April 1 and transported to Angora Province are murdered in the woods of Meshedler-Yeri. The mass slaughter is witnessed by Greek woodcutters who report the news to the Armenians of Sivas.
The second convoy of deportees from Erzinjan leaves for the Syrian Desert.
The third convoy of Armenians departs from Erzinjan.
Three Armenian medical officers, Dr. Hairanian, Dr. Baghdasar Vartanian, and Dr. Maksud, serving in the Turkish Army are murdered in the city of Sivas.
Over a period of four days the Armenians deported from the towns and villages of Erzerum Province are slaughtered in a major massacre at Kemakh.
The War Ministry orders the seizure of all the domestic animals of the Armenians.
The War Ministry notifies that the permits given to Armenians exempting them from the deportations and safety certificates are only provisional and temporary.
25,000 Armenians are murdered by the fourth day of the Kemakh massacre. The 86th Cavalry Brigade with its officers and the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Division of the Turkish Army participate in the slaughter.
Instructions concerning procedures for the deportations and urging extreme strictness are sent to provincial governors.
Subhi Bey, the assistant to the Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry asks for a list of Armenians working in the shipyards, docks, and arsenals of the Ministry of the Marine.
The third convoy of Armenian deportees from the town of Bayburt departs.
300 Armenian community leaders are arrested in Shabin-Karahisar.
Twenty members of Armenian Social Democratic Hnchak Party are publicly hanged in Constantinople as a signal to the provinces to intensify measures.
Twelve Armenian community leaders are publicly hanged in Sivas.
The Armenians of Shabin-Karahisar organize defense against chete forces and the regular Turkish Army.
3,500 Armenian men are seized in a mass arrest in Sivas Province.
Talaat is reported to have declared that he will uproot the internal enemy.
1,213 Armenian men are arrested in Marsovan (Merzifon).
8,500 Armenians withdraw into the ruined castle of Shabin-Karahisar to defend themselves against the Turks.
160 families are deported from city of Erzinjan.
A second convoy composed of 300 families leaves the city of Erzerum.
The governor-general of Aleppo, Jelal Bey, resigns in protest against the deportation order and the massacres.
Talaat sends instructions to prevent the populace from robbing the abandoned goods of the Armenians.
The Interior Ministry advises provincial governors that the Commission on Abandoned Goods will have charge of the resettlement of Turkish Muslim immigrants.
The Interior Ministry advises taking the precaution of separating the convoys of Armenian deportees by a distance of five hours.
The wholesale arrest of 1,500 men is carried out in Sivas Province.
First large-scale massacre of Armenian men is carried out in the town of Kharput.
Wholesale arrests are made in Bitlis of the scattered remnant Armenians who had escaped the previous series of massacres.
Massacres of Armenian Christians, Maronites, Nestorians, Europeans, Catholics, and other non-Muslim people in the city of Mardin are carried out under the direct order of Dr. Reshid, the governor-general of Diyarbekir Province.
The Armenian notables of Trebizond are sent by boat toward Samsun, and on the way are thrown, tightly bound together, into the Black Sea.
The massacre of Armenians of Bitlis is carried out under the direct orders of Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda.
A government decree instructs the 30,000 Armenians in Trebizond to leave the city within 5 days.
An decree issued in Erzerum orders all Armenians to leave for Syria.
A decree issued in Samsun orders all Armenians to leave within 15 days.
The remaining Armenian men in Sivas are arrested.
The previously arrested Armenian educators and community leaders in Kharput are transported from prison to be murdered.
Vartkes and Zohrab, two Armenian deputies in the Ottoman Parliament, deported from Constantinople, arrive in custody in Aleppo.
3,000 Armenians from the city of Erzerum are murdered while being deported.
6,000 Armenians from Zeitun arrive in the Konia Desert and nearby malarial marshes.
2,000 Armenian soldiers in the Turkish Army used as laborers are massacred near the city of Kharput.
The first convoy of deportees leaves the seaport of Trebizond for the south.
The governor-general of Sivas announces that the first convoy of deportees from the city are to leave by July 5 in groups according to street residence. A total of 48,000 persons are deported. The governor, commissioner of police, two parliamentary deputies, the qadi (the chief religious judge), and the mufti (the religious chief) tell the Armenians that they were being resettled for the duration of the war in order to forestall any resistance.
Bands of 4,000 chetes operating out of the mountains around Erzinjan begin daily raids against the southward bound convoys of Armenian deportees.
The deportation decree is issued in the city of Mush.
For the record an official German protest is registered with the Grand Vizier. The protest is left unanswered by the Turkish government.
Neshed Pasha leaves Sivas with three regiments and artillery to subdue the Armenians resisting in Shabin-Karahisar.
In Diyarbekir 2,000 Armenian soldiers working in labor corps are killed.
The first convoy of deportees leaves the city of Sivas. Every day for 16 days an average of 400 families leave, the overwhelming majority being slain on route to the Syrian Desert. The last convoy departs from the city on July 20.
By this date up to 1,000 Armenian families had left Trebizond in convoys headed south.
The male members of 800 Armenian families in the town of Kharput are killed.
Zaven, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, appeals to the Minister of Justice, Ibrahim Bey, who replies that he cannot intervene in matters concerning the War Ministry.
2,700 persons are killed in a second massacre in Mardin.
The beginning of a four-day massacre in Mush under the combined orders of parliamentary deputy Elias, vice-governor Servet, and Governor-general Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda, Talaat's brother-in-law.
The Interior Ministry instructs that the Armenian villages be settled with Muslim immigrants.
The government advises all governors-general that Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor) District is saturated and that the rest of the deportees be routed to Kirkuk District in northern Iraq, to the south of Aleppo, and to the east of Syria.
Instructions are issued to distribute Armenian orphans to Turkish homes.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins. During the whole month the greatest concentration and universalization of massacring and murdering occurs in every province of Turkey.
The last convoy, containing all the remaining Armenians in the city, leaves Kharput.
Zaven, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, is declined an audience with Talaat.
Jemal, Commander of Aleppo's Fourth Army Corps, protests to Dr. Reshid, the governor-general of Diyarbekir Province about the dumping of dead bodies in the Euphrates River and advises burial. From June 22 to July 17, a period of 25 days, a steady stream of bodies of massacred Armenians floats down the Euphrates River.
Bodies from Kharput Province and Erzerum Province float down the Euphrates to Jerablus, where they are seen and identified by German officers.
In the region of Dersim, 3,000 Armenians are killed by the Turks. Almost all of the large Kurdish population of Dersim refuses to participate in the massacres and even shelters many Armenians.
First day of the Turkish attack on Musa Dagh (Musa Ler in Armenian).
The Italian consul at Trebizond reports about the barbarities he had witnessed.
The seventh anniversary of the 1908 restoration of the liberal Constitution of 1876 is celebrated.
Talaat sends instructions to Urfa, Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor), and Diyarbekir to bury the bodies of those fallen by the roadside and not throw them in ditches, lakes, or rivers.
The registration and classification of all prisoners from Sivas is carried out. This was done in accordance with a directive in general circulation.
Behaeddin Shakir, chief of the Special Organization in Erzerum Province, telegrams Nazim Bey Resneli via Sabit Bey, the governor-general of Kharput Province, inquiring whether the Armenians deported from there are being exterminated or just being convoyed.
Behaeddin Shakir instructs the governor-general of Kastamonu Province to begin the deportation of the Armenians there.
Talaat informs the Ittihad party organization in Malatia explaining that half of the loot captured from the Armenians is being assigned to the Central Committee of Ittihad in Constantinople, and the other half is to be distributed to chetes. (On December 12, 1918, the Turkish newspaper, Sabah, reported that each chete in the Malatia area received as a result 15,000 Turkish pounds.)
Governor-general Reshid Pasha reports to the Interior Ministry that the deportation of the Armenians from Kastamonu Province is completed.
Behaeddin Shakir sends a cipher telegram to the governor-general of Adalia Province, Sabur Sami Bey, asking him what steps he was taking at a time, when in Erzerum, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Sivas, and Trebizond Provinces, not a single Armenian remains because they have all been sent in the direction of Mosul and Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor). Sabur sends a copy of the telegram to Talaat to show that he had received these indirect instructions.
The vice-governor of Yozgat District, in Angora Province, reports to the Interior Ministry that 68,000 Armenians had been slain in the district.
Sabit, the governor-general of Kharput Province, informs the Interior Ministry that all the road are filled with the bodies of women and children and time cannot be found to bury them.
The governor-general of Erzerum Province reports of widespread looting and rape.
The Interior Ministry issues a circular telegram instructing that the Muslim population be settled in the large Armenian villages.
The deportation of the Armenians of the town of Aintab begins.
The deportation of the Armenians of the town of Kilis begins.
The deportation of the Armenians of the town of Adiaman begins.
Professor Kakig Ozanian of the American College and others from Marsovan (Merzifon), together with the Armenian community leader Dikran Diranian and others from Samsun, are transported to the prisons of Sivas to be killed.
A mass arrest of Armenians in the city of Angora is carried out. Those arrested are slain the next day at a place six hours distance from the city of Angora.
The withdrawal of the Russian Army from the city of Van begins.
The mass murder of Armenian community leaders of Constantinople imprisoned in Ayash and Chankri is carried. They are killed along with the Armenians of Angora arrested the day before.
The deportation of 25,000 Armenians from Adabazar, near Constantinople, begins.
20,000 deportees arrive in Aleppo.
Mass torture inflicted on 500 Armenians in the prisons of Adabazar.
Ambassador Henry Morgenthau reports that on this day Talaat told him that the Ittihad Committee had carefully considered in all its details the matter of crushing the Armenians, and that the policy which was being pursued was that which had been officially adopted. He also told Morgenthau that the deportations were not the result of hasty decisions but of careful and prolonged deliberation. Talaat, moreover, indicated that three quarters of the Armenians had already been disposed of, and none were left in Bitlis, Van, and Erzerum.
For six nights, Armenian prisoners, mostly intellectuals, held in Gok-Medrese in Sivas, which was a Seljuk structure in use as a temporary prison, were taken out and slain.
150,000 deportees arrive in Aleppo from various unspecified places.
4,500 Armenian deportees from Seghert and 2,000 deportees from Mezre arrive near Aleppo.
15,000 Armenians arrive in Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor).
In response to unofficial German protests about large-scale murders, rapes, and tortures inflicted on the Armenian deportees on the highways, which was creating a bad impression on the Americans, a circular telegram is sent advising against attacking and raping Armenians on the highways.
Officials are instructed not to appropriate the 'abandoned goods' of the Armenians for personal use.
60,000 Armenian deportees from unspecified places arrive near Aleppo.
Talaat sends a circular telegram to all governors and officials expecting accountability for the 'abandoned goods.'
Eighteen Armenians are publicly hanged in the town of Everek near Kayseri.
The Armenians of Mersin (Mersine) are deported.
The listing of all real estate seized from the Armenians is requested by the Interior Ministry.
All the Armenians of Chorum are deported via Boghazli and Bozanti with the Syrian Desert their purportedly ultimate destination.
A circular telegram calls for the registration of all Muslim creditors of the Armenians.
Instructions are issued that Turkish settlers be sent via Angora, Sivas, and Kayseri to Kharput and others via Konia (Konya) and Adana to Diyarbekir.
Armenian women married to Turks are deprived of the right of inheritance.
The last of 84 Armenian intellectuals, who were brought to the Ayash prison and who over the course of the weeks had been taken out in small groups to be murdered at various times, was killed. The longest-held was in prison in Ayash for 105 days.
The Armenian intellectuals imprisoned in the Sifahdiye Medrese (a Muslim religious school) in Sivas, are taken out from the city and slain. There were 36 extermination centers in the area of Sivas. 5,000 Armenian intellectuals imprisoned in the Gok Medrese and the Sifahdiye Medrese, both Seljuk structures in use as temporary prisons, were taken to these 36 execution centers and slain.
The end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. First day of the three day holiday of Bairam. No massacres were carried during these three days as it was time off for rest.
Enver reports that to date 200,000 Armenians had been slain.
In Aleppo Province 200,000 Armenian deportees are reported in transit to the desert.
Boghos Nubar, a leading Armenian from Egypt, who had never been in Turkey, but who had been instrumental in Paris in pressing Turkey to introduce reforms in the Armenian provinces, was tried in absentia by a Turkish court martial and sentenced to death for treason.
The deportation of the Armenians of Izmid (Izmit), Baghchejik (Bardizag), Bursa, and Adabazar begins.
Instructions are issued to avoid deportees from coming to rest near military installations.
From the Central Prison of city of Sivas where many Armenian intellectuals, political leaders, and the leading men of the villages surrounding Sivas were imprisoned, 15,000 Armenians were taken out and slain in the 36 extermination centers of the region.
Instructions are sent out to the committees liquidating the 'abandoned goods' of the Armenians and directions given about methods for depositing the moneys obtained.
Saturday, the third and last day of Bairam.
50,000 deportees are observed on the road from Bozanti to Aleppo.
The New York Times reports of a plan for the destruction of the whole Armenian nation.
250 Armenians are killed in the city of Urfa in a massacre by Turks inaugurating the first attempt to uproot the Armenians of Urfa. The Armenians of Urfa begin the defense of their city
Lord Bryce reports that 500,000 Armenians had been murdered in Turkey.
The War Ministry requisitions for the military forty-one kinds of articles of merchandise from the Armenians.
A general order is issued for the liquidation of the closed commercial stores of the Armenians.
A second massacre of Armenians in Urfa is organized.
The War Ministry requisitions all soap found in the homes and stores of the deported Armenians.
The War Ministry requisitions for its military supply depots all wood, coal, and copper found in the homes and stores of deported Armenians.
The Armenian poet, Daniel Varoujan, together with the poet physician Rupen Sevak, and others, are murdered by chetes while incarcerated in the Ayash prison.
60,000 deported Armenians in the Aleppo area are ordered to leave for Hawran, an Arab district in northern Trans-Jordan.
The Armenian Catholics in Angora are arrested.
Instructions are issued forbidding the purchase of property from Armenian deportees.
The students of the Sanasarian Academy in the city of Sivas are murdered in the town of Gemerak some thirty miles southwest of Sivas.
Talaat tells the German ambassador, Prince Ernst Hohenlohe-Langenburg, that the Armenian Question no longer exists. Hohenlohe had assumed the German ambassadorship on July 20.
4,750 Armenians are murdered in Jezire.
10,000 survivors from the Armenians deported from Bursa and Izmid (Izmit) arrive in Konia (Konya).
The New York Times reports that Izmid (Izmit) had been put to the torch and the Armenians massacred.
15,000 Armenian deportees are reported at Eskishehir, 5,000 at Alayund, and 2,000 at Chai.
In Marsovan (Merzifon), of the 62 Armenian girls who had been saved by American missionaries, on this date only 21 remained. 21 others had been abducted by Turks.
The Interior Ministry orders all Armenian schools to be placed at the disposal of Turkish authorities.
Massacres of Armenians are carried out in Yozgat District.
The War Ministry instructs that the goods requisitioned from the Armenians are to be distributed to the Third, Fourth, and Iraq Armies.
The second Liquidation Commission in Kayseri is organized.
5,000 Armenian deportees are reported at Bozanti.
On the fifty-third day of the Armenian defense in Musa Dagh, 4,058 persons are rescued by three English and one French warship, which transport the survivors to Port Said in Egypt.
6,000 Armenian deportees in transit left Adana in the direction of Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor).
A Fifth Army notice advises that the Islamization of Armenian soldiers is the responsibility of the civilian authorities.
The Turkish Red Crescent Society asks that all cotton goods, and other necessities be granted to the organization from the 'abandoned goods' of the Armenian deportees.
The New York Times reports the murder of 350,000 Armenians.
The survivors of Musa Dagh arrive in Port Said.
In a circular letter Talaat explains that the real intention of sending the Armenians to the Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor) Desert is to annihilate them.
Talaat sends instructions by circular telegram to mete out the same fate to the Armenian women and children that had been dealt to the Armenian men.
A circular dispatch is issued advising caution against the looting of the property of foreigners, with special mention of Singer Sewing Machine Company property.
Talaat send a telegram to Ali Suad Bey, Governor of Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor), explaining his responsibilities.
A circular telegram instructs all district attorneys to sign and seal the account books cataloguing the properties seized from the Armenians.
In Aleppo, Nuri and Ali Bey consult about the future massacre of the Armenian remnants in the Syrian Desert at Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor).
A circular telegram authorizes the seizure of all Armenian schools and authorized their placement under the control of local education committees.
Weekly reports on the number of Armenians dead is requested.
The War Ministry requisitions for the use of the army all wood and coal in the homes and stores of Armenian deportees.
300 Armenians are killed in a massacre at Urfa.
11,000 Armenian deportees from 26 different villages are observed at Afiyon-Karahisar.
The vice-governor of Bolu, Mufid, wires the Interior Ministry that the Armenians of Bolu are about to be deported.
The local Ittihad Secretary informs the Interior Ministry that 61,000 Armenians had been deported up to this date from Chankri and Angora. He also reports that the Muslims of Angora Province worship the Ittihad party and government for its committed deeds and that the same can be secured in Bolu if the same measures are taken there.
The Sanitation Division of the War Ministry requisitions all the medical implements and pharmaceuticals held by Armenians.
24 Armenian schools in Kayseri alone are requisitioned in four days.
A Law on Abandoned Goods is ratified by the Ottoman Senate legalizing ex post facto the looting by the government of the properties of the Armenians.
The Interior Ministry by circular telegram orders the deportation of all Armenian women, children, and the sick.
The German ambassador in the United States, Johann Heinrich Count von Bernstorff, suggests that the stories about massacres in Turkey are fabricated.
A circular telegram advises that all Armenian property now belongs to the Turkish government.
The governor-general of Diyarbekir Province, Dr. Reshid, reports to the Interior Ministry that more than 120,000 Armenians have been deported from Diyarbekir Province.
By this date 10,000 Armenian deportees had arrived at Afiyon-Karahisar, 50,000 had arrived at Konia (Konya), 10,000 had arrived at Intille (Intili), while 150,000 were reported at Katma.
The deportees from Yalova, Angora, and Kastomuni (Kastamoni) are numbered at 250,000.
U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing delivers a note to German Ambassador Bernstorff relating to the massacres of the Armenians.
The governor-general of Sivas Province, Ahmed Muammer, travels to Amasia and elsewhere to inspect the completion and effect of the massacres in preparation for Talaat's inspection trip.
600 Armenian orphan boys are Turkified in Herek.
(General Vehib Pasha reported during the postwar court martial that in September 1915, Behaeddin Shakir assembled and used murdering cutthroats in the Third Army Zone [the six eastern or Armenian provinces of Turkey].)
The Interior Ministry advises against the need of opening orphanages and prolonging the life of Armenian children.
By this date the number of deported Armenians still living is estimated at 360,000 minimum, and the number of Armenians dead is estimated at 800,000 minimum.
$75,000 is collected in the United States for relief for the Armenian deportees.
In the British House of Lords a general discussion of the Armenian situation takes place. Lord Bryce, Lord Crewe, and Lord Cromer condemn the Turkish barbarities.
Talaat requests from provincial officials documents proving Armenian 'treason' against Turkey to justify the massacres.
45 Armenians are arrested in Adrianople (Edirne), and 1,600 Armenians are deported.
Orders are issued forbidding marriage with Armenian women.
In Berlin an announcement is made that the story of the Armenian massacres is an Allied fabrication.
The dean of the Realschule (the German technical school) in Aleppo and German professors there protest against the massacres of the Armenians to the German Foreign Office.
16,000 Armenian deportees are observed at Afiyon-Karahisar and 80,000 at Konia (Konya).
6,000 Turkish soldiers stage the final attack on the Armenians defending themselves in Urfa. 400 Turkish troops are killed as Armenians defend to the last.
Immunity from prosecution is guaranteed to those carrying out the massacres of the Armenians in Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor).
16,000 Armenian deportees from Bursa and Izmid (Izmit) leave Afiyon-Karahisar for Konia (Konya).
Lord Bryce remarks that Germany could stop the massacres if it wished to do so.
20,000 Armenian deportees in transit are murdered in the city and environs of Urfa.
The governor-general of Sivas Province, Ahmed Muammer Bey, inspects the carrying out of his orders for the deportation and destruction of the Armenians in the province, in anticipation of Talaat's inspection trip which occurs shortly thereafter.
A large public gathering to protest the massacres of the Armenians by the Turkish government is held in the Century Theater in New York. Rabbi Wise, B. Cochrane, Dr. Barton, and H. Holt are the main speakers.
Mufti Zade Zia, a Turkish propagandist, writing in New York describes the Armenians as traitors.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington accuses the Armenians of treason against the Ottoman state.
Halil Bey of Menteshe, the Vice-President of the Turkish Chamber of Deputies and president of the State Council, becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Instructions are issued requesting that within one week documents be sent to the Interior Ministry indicting the Armenian people as traitors.
20,000 Armenian deportees are reported in Konia (Konya) on this date.
Numerous Armenian families are deported from Adrianople (Edirne) at midnight without prior notice upon the order of Acting Governor-general Zekerie.
Per earlier instructions sent by Talaat, 80,000 Armenian deportees left the Konia (Konya) station for Bozanti on this date on their way to their 'final destination.' These 80,000 were deportees from cities near Constantinople and from the Armenian communities in the western parts of Turkey.
Instructions are issued advising that the special measures taken against the Armenians be conducted in places beyond the view of foreigners and especially the American consuls.
Instructions are issued for the trial by court martial of any Armenian reporting the events of the deportations to any foreigner.
Doctor Schacht, a German army physician, stationed near the village of Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor) village, reports counting 7,000 severed Armenian heads (skulls) in Sabgha District near the Euphrates River.
The German consul in Mosul reports that Halil Pasha's soldiers had massacred the Armenians north of Mosul and were preparing to massacre the Armenians in the city of Mosul.
On this date, 10,000 Armenian deportees are reported in Bozanti, 20,000 deportees in Tarsus, 40,000 deportees in Islahiye, and 50,000 deportees in Katma.
150,000 Armenian deportees are reported scattered between Adana and Aleppo crossing the Amanos Range.
20,000 Armenian deportees are reported in Adana.
The Turkish authorities again make preparations to deport the 200,000 Armenians of Constantinople.
Jemal Pasha, as commander of Syria, seeks to court martial the dean of the Realschule in Aleppo and other German signatories of the protest of October 15 for publicizing the Armenian events in Cilicia.
20,000 Armenian deportees are reported in the Hawran District of Trans-Jordan. (On November 15, 1918, only 450 of this group of 20,000 were reported alive.)
On this date, 10,000 Armenian deportees were reported in Intille (Intili) and 150,000 deportees were reported in Katma living under terrible conditions, disease-wracked and starving.
The Anglican and the Orthodox Churches ask U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to pressure the German government to intervene with the Turkish government to stop the massacre of the Armenians.
The German Charge d'affaires Baron Konstantin von Neurath, welcomes the new ambassador, Paul Count von Wolff-Metternich, who represented Imperial Germany from this date until October 3, 1916. The Charge d'affaires had been in charge of the German diplomatic representation in Turkey since October 2, 1915, when Hohenlohe had departed.
The fields in Bakche District were reported littered with the corpses of many thousands of Armenians who had starved to death while being deported through here.
Sir Robert Cecil protests the Turkish charge that the massacres were a response to an Armenian revolt, and charges that they were the result of a premeditated plan on the part of the Turkish government.
A circular telegram is sent ordering the deportation of Armenian children.
Talaat leaves Constantinople for an inspection tour of Anatolia. He returns on December 18.
Up to this date, 500,000 Armenian deportees are estimated to have passed through Bozanti (northwest of Adana).
1,010 Armenians are deported from the village of Mamure (Mamura) in Adana District.
The fields around the village of Mamure (Mamura) are reported littered with several thousand corpses of starved or murdered deportees who had been traveling through.
10,000 Armenian bachelors are deported from the city of Constantinople up to this date. A list is prepared of 70,000 Armenian individuals to be deported from Constantinople.
A circular telegram instructs that no Armenian is to be left alive in the eastern provinces.
The German ambassador Wolff-Metternich goes to the Sublime Porte in connection with the massacres and is told that nothing could be discussed until Talaat's return.
Orders are issued in Aleppo Province for the deportation of 400 Armenian orphans previously placed in an orphanage.
180,000 Armenian refugees from Turkey who had reached Tiflis (Tbilisi) are reported to be in dire conditions.
Orders are issued for the killing of Armenian priests.
A circular telegram clarifies that the purpose of the deportations is annihilation.
Instructions are issued advising against slowing the deportations and urging the dispatch of the deportees to the desert.
Talaat returns from Anatolia. German Ambassador Wolff-Metternich is told by Talaat that the Turks are not killing innocents.
Orders are issued forbidding the acceptance from any Armenian of an application of exemption from the deportations.
Orders are issued for the deportation of all children except those who did not remember their parents.
On this date, of the estimated 210,000 refugees who had reached the Caucasus, only 173,000 are reported still living, almost 40,000 having died as a result of privations and disease. Of the remaining 173,000, 105,000 were from Van Province, 48,000 from Bayazid (Bayazit) District, 20,038 from Mush District.
A circular telegram, as a follow-up on the telegram of December 15, instructs that Armenians desiring to convert to Islam are to be notified that their Islamization must take place after they reach their final destination. In view of the earlier instructions clarifying the purpose of the deportations as annihilation, the new instructions imply that Armenians are no longer to be allowed to escape destruction for any reason.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nothing Personal: Turkey's Top Ten Challenges

by Raffi K. Hovannisian

www. foreignpolicyjournal. com/2009/04/19/nothing-personal-turkeys-top-ten-challenges/

April 19, 2009

YEREVAN, Armenia - That an Armenian repatriate, American-born into a
legacy of remembrance inherited from a line of survivors of genocide
nearly a century ago, feels compelled to entitle his thoughts with
a focus on Turkey - and not Armenia - reveals a larger problem,
a gaping wound, and an imperative for closure long overdue on both
sides of history's tragic divide.

The new Armenia, independent of its longstanding statelessness
since 1991, is my everyday life, as are the yearnings of my fellow
citizens for their daily dignity, true democracy, the rule of law,
and an empowering end to sham elections and the corruption, arrogance
and unaccountability of power.

"Generation next" is neither victim nor subject, nor any longer an
infidel "millet." We seek not, in obsequious supplication, to curry
the favor of the world's strong and self-important, whose interests
often trump their own principles and whose geopolitics engulf the
professed values of liberty and justice for all. Gone are the residual
resources for kissing up or behind.

And so, with a clarity of conscience and a goodness of heart, I expect
Turkey and its administration to address the multiple modern challenges
they face and offer to this end a list of realities, not commandments,
that will help enable a new era of regional understanding and the
globalization of a peaceful order that countenances neither victims
nor victimizers.

1. Measure sevenfold, cut once: This old local adage suggests a
neat lesson for contemporary officials. Before launching, at Davos
or elsewhere, pedantic missiles in condemnation of the excesses of
others, think fully about the substance and implications of your
invectives. This is not a narrow Armenian assertion; it includes all
relevant dimensions, including all minorities. Occupation, for its
part, is the last word Turkish representatives should be showering
in different directions at different international fora, lest someone
require a textbook definition of duplicity.

Maintain dignity but tread lightly, for history is a powerful and
lasting precedent.

2. Self-reflection: Democracies achieve domestic success, applicants
accomplish European integration, and countries become regional drivers
only when they have the political courage and moral fortitude to
undergo this process. Face yourself, your own conduct, and the track
record of state on behalf of which you speak. Not only the success
stories and points of pride, but the whole deal. Be honest and brave
about it; you do possess the potential to graduate from decades of
denialism. Recent trends in civil society, however tentative and
preliminary, attest to this.

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish
soldiers, 1915.

3. The Armenian genocide: Don't revise history; recognize the
historical record and take responsibility. There is a wealth of
evidentiary documentation, more than sufficient to disarm the various
instruments of official denial that have been employed over the
years. But this is only the paperwork. The most damning testimony is
not in the killing of more than a million human souls in a manifest
execution of the 20th century's first genocide or, in the words of
the American ambassador reporting at the time, "race extermination."

4. Homeland-killing: Worse than genocide, as incredible as that
sounds, is the premeditated deprivation of a people of its ancestral
heartland. And that's precisely what happened. In what amounted
to the Great Armenian Dispossession, a nation living for more
than four millennia upon its historic patrimony was in a matter
of months brutally, literally, and completely eradicated from its
land. Unprecedented in human history, this expropriation constitutes to
this day a murder, not only of a people, but of a civilization and an
attempt to erase a legacy of culture, a time-earned way of life. This
is where the debate about calling it genocide or not becomes absurd,
trivial, and tertiary. A homeland was exterminated by the Turkish
republic's predecessor and under the world9 9s watchful eye, and
we're negotiating a word. Even that term is not enough to encompass
the magnitude of the crime.

5. Coming clean: It is the only way to move forward. This is not a
threat, but a statement of plain, unoriginal fact. Don't be afraid
of the price tag. What the Armenians lost is priceless. Instead
of skirting this catastrophic legacy through counterarguments
or commissions, return to the real script and undertake your own
critical introspection and say what you plan to do to right the wrong,
to atone for and to educate, to revive and restore, and to celebrate
the Armenian heritage of what is today eastern Turkey. Finally take
the initiative for a real reconciliation based on the terrible truth
but bolstered by a fresh call to candor.

6. Never again: The rewards of coming to this reality check far
outweigh its perils. What is unfortunately unique about the Holocaust
is not the evil of the Shoah itself, but the demeanor of postwar
Germany to face history and itself, to assume responsibility for
the crimes of the preceding regime, to mourn and to dignify, to seek
forgiveness and make redemption, and to incorporate this ethic into
the public consciousness and the methodology of state. A veritable
leader of the new Turkey, the European one of the future, might do
the same, not in cession but in full expression of national pride and
honor. My grandmother, who survived the genocide owing to the human
heights of a blessed Turkish neighbor who sheltered little Khengeni
of Ordu from the fate of her family, did not live to see that day.

7. The politics of power: Turkey's allies can help it along this way.

Whether it's from the West or the East, the message for Turkey is that,
in the third millennium AD, the world will be governed by a different
set of rules: that might will respect right, that no crime against
humanity or its denial will be tolerated. The Obama Administration
bears the burden, but has the capacity for this leadership of
light. And it is now being tested.

8. Turkey and Armenia: These sovereign neighbors have never, in
all of history, entered into a single bilateral agreement with
each other. Whether diplomatic, economic, political, territorial,
or security-specific, no facet of their relationship, or the actual
absence thereof, is regulated by a contract freely and fairly entered
into between the two republics. It's about time. Hence, the process
of official contacts and reciprocal visits that unraveled in the
wake of a Turkey-Armenia soccer match in September 2008 should mind
this gap and structure the discourse not to disdain the divides
emanating from the past, but to bridge them through the immediate
establishment of diplomatic relations without the positing or posturing
of preconditions, the lifting of Turkey's unlawful border blockade,
and a comprehensive, negotiated resolution of all outstanding matters,
based on an acceptance of history and the commitment to a future
guaranteed against it recurrence.

9. Third-party interests: Nor should the fact of dialogue, as facially
laudable as it is, be exploited as an insincere justification to
deter third-parties, and particularly the U.S. Congress, from adopting
decisions or resolutions that simply seek to reaffirm the historical
record. Such comportment, far from the statesmanship expected,
contradicts the aim and spirit of rapprochement.

10. The past as present: The current Armenian state covers a mere
fraction of the vast expanse of the great historical plateau upon
which the Armenians lived until the surgical disgorgement of homeland
and humanity that was 1915. Accordingly, as improbable as it seems
in view of its ethnic kinship with Azerbaijan, modern-day Turkey also
carries the charge to discard outdated and pursue corrective policies
in the Caucasus. This high duty applies not only to a qualitatively
improved and cleansed rapport with the Republic of Armenia, but also
in respect of new regional realities.

On the road to inevitable self-discovery, Turkey, its future with
Armenia, and their immediate neighborhood have come to form one of the
planet's most sensitive and seismic tectonic plates. Integrity, equity,
and a bit of humility might help to sav e the day. And our world.

Raffi K. Hovannisian was Armenia's first minister of foreign affairs
and currently represents the opposition Heritage party in the National

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.'

Friday, January 30, 2009

Israel, Turkey and the politics of genocide

Globe and Mail Update

President Obama — I love saying those words — has momentarily united the world. Almost. Among the exceptions, though barely noticed by the mainstream media, is the estrangement of Turkey and Israel, previously staunch allies in the turbulent Middle East.

At first blush, this alliance may seem counterintuitive, but in fact it makes good strategic sense for both countries. Israel gets a warm working relationship with one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, while enriching Israel's all-important industrial-military complex. Less than two months ago, for instance, came the news of a deal worth $140-million to Israeli firms to upgrade Turkey's air force. In the hard-boiled, realpolitik terms that determine Israel's strategies, it's a no-brainer. Almost.

In return, Turkey gets military, economic and diplomatic benefits. But it also gets something less tangible, something that matters deeply for reasons hard for outsiders to grasp. As part of the Faustian bargain between the two countries, a succession of Israeli governments of all stripes has adamantly refused to recognize that in 1915 the Turkish government was responsible for launching a genocide against its Armenian minority. Some 1.5-million Armenian women, men and children were successfully killed.

I should make clear that this Israeli position is not held casually. On the contrary. Over the years Israelis, with a few notably courageous exceptions, have actually worked against attempts to safeguard the memory of the Armenian genocide. (The bible on this issue is the excellent book by an Israeli, Yair Auron, called The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide, 2003.)

For many, this may well be a pretty esoteric sidebar to the world's many crises. But readers need to understand that every Turkish government for almost a century now has passionately denied that a genocide took place at all. Yet the vast majority of disinterested scholars of genocide have publicly affirmed that it was indeed a genocide, one of the small number in the 20th century (with the Holocaust and Rwanda) that have incontestably met the definition set down in the UN's 1948 Genocide Convention.

For Armenians in the Western world, even after 94 years, nothing is more important than persuading other governments to recognize this. For Turkish authorities, even after 94 years, nothing is more important than preventing that recognition. In that pursuit, Israel has been perhaps Turkey's most powerful ally. After all, if the keepers of the memory of the Holocaust don't acknowledge 1915, why should anyone else?

But the Israeli-Turkish bargain goes well beyond Israel. Not only is Israel, of all the unlikely states in the world, a genocide denier, but also many established Jewish organizations in other countries, especially the United States, have followed suit. In the United States, those who argue that denying the Holocaust is psychologically tantamount to a second holocaust have taken the lead in pressuring presidents and Congress against recognizing the reality of 1915. Resolutions calling for recognition are regularly pushed by American-Armenians and their many supporters. Jewish groups regularly lead the opposition. Some believe that members of these groups in fact understand perfectly well the rights and wrongs of the case. But a mindset that backs any and all Israeli government initiatives trumps all else. And successfully. Repeated attempts in Congress to pass this resolution has failed, even though the list of nations that now recognizes the Armenian genocide has grown steadily and, thanks to Stephen Harper, now includes Canada.

It is this rather unseemly, if not unholy, Israeli-Turkish deal that has been among the many victims of the latest Israeli attack on Gaza. Whether the Israelis anticipated it or not, the Turkish government turned against its erstwhile ally with a vengeance, pulling few punches. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan accused Israel of "perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents." Mr. Erdogan described Israel's attack on Gaza as "savagery" and a "crime against humanity."

Israel formally described this language as "unacceptable" and certain Israeli media outlets have raised the stakes. The Jerusalem Post editorialized that given Turkey's record of killing tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq, "we're not convinced that Turkey has earned the right to lecture Israelis about human rights." Israel's deputy foreign minister was even more pointed: "Erdogan says that genocide is taking place in Gaza. We [Israel] will then recognize the Armenian-related events as genocide." Suddenly, genocide turns into a geopolitical pawn.

It isn't easy to choose a winner in the cynicism stakes here. Here's what one Turkish columnist, Barcin Yinanc, shrewdly wrote: "When April comes, I can imagine the [Turkish] government instructing its Ambassador to Israel to mobilize the Israeli government to stop the Armenian initiatives in the U.S. Congress. I can hear some Israelis telling the Turkish Ambassador to go talk to Hamas to lobby the Congress."

I'm guessing some readers work on the naïve assumption that an event is deemed genocidal based on the facts of the case. Silly you. In the real world, you call it genocide if it bolsters your interests. If it doesn't, it's not. It's actually the same story as with preventing genocide.

What happens now? Candidate Obama twice pledged that he would recognize the Armenian claim of genocide. But so had candidate George W. Bush eight years earlier, until he was elected and faced the Turkish/Jewish lobby. Armenian-Americans and their backers are already pressing Mr. Obama to fulfill his pledge. With the Turkish-Israeli alliance deeply strained, the position of the leading Jewish organizations is very much in question this time. Whatever the outcome, be sure that politics, not genocide, will be the decisive factor.

Gerald Caplan, author of The Betrayal of Africa, writes frequently on issues related to genocide.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When it comes to Gaza, leave the Second World War out of it

Robert Fisk's World: When it comes to Gaza, leave the Second World War
out of it

How do Holocaust survivors in Israel feel about being called Nazis?

Saturday, 17 January 2009 Web

Exaggeration always gets my goat. I started to hate it back in the
1970s when the Provisional IRA claimed that Long Kesh internment camp
was "worse than Belsen". It wasn't as if there was anything nice about
Long Kesh ` or the Maze prison as it was later politely dubbed ` but it
simply wasn't as bad as Belsen. And now we're off again. Passing
through Paris this week, I found pro-Palestinian demonstrators carrying
signs which read "Gaza, it's Guernica" and "Gaza-sur-Glane".

Guernica, as we all know, was the Basque city razed by the Luftwaffe in
1937 and Oradour-sur-Glane the French village whose occupants were
murdered by the SS in 1944. Israel's savagery in Gaza has also been
compared to a "genocide" and ` of course ` a "holocaust". The French
Union of Islamic Organisations called it "a genocide without precedent"
` which does take the biscuit when even the Pope's "minister for peace
and justice" has compared Gaza to "a big concentration camp".

Before I state the obvious, I only wish the French Union of Islamic
Organisations would call the Armenian genocide a genocide ` it doesn't
have the courage to do so, does it, because that would be offensive to
the Turks and, well, the million and a half Armenians massacred in 1915
happened to be, er, Christians.

Mind you, that didn't stop George Bush from dropping the word from his
vocabulary lest he, too, should offend the Turkish generals whose
airbases America needs for its continuing campaign in Iraq. And even
Israel doesn't use the word "genocide" about the Armenians lest it
loses its only Muslim ally in the Middle East. Strange, isn't it? When
there's a real genocide ` of Armenians ` we don't like to use the word.
But when there is no genocide, everyone wants to get in on the act.

Yes, I know what all these people are trying to do: make a direct
connection between Israel and Hitler's Germany. And in several radio
interviews this past week, I've heard a good deal of condemnation about
such comparisons. How do Holocaust survivors in Israel feel about being
called Nazis? How can anyone compare the Israeli army to the Wehrmacht?
Merely to make such a parallel is an act of anti-Semitism.

Having come under fire from the Israeli army on many occasions, I'm not
sure that's necessarily true. I've never understood why strafing the
roads of northern France in 1940 was a war crime while strafing the
roads of southern Lebanon is not a war crime. The massacre of up to
1,700 Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatila camps ` perpetrated by
Israel's Lebanese Phalangist allies while Israeli soldiers watched and
did nothing ` falls pretty much into the Second World War bracket.
Israel's own estimate of the dead ` a paltry 460 ` was only nine fewer
than the Nazi massacre at the Czech village of Lidice in 1942 when
almost 300 women and children were also sent to Ravensbrück (a real
concentration camp). Lidice was destroyed in revenge for the murder by
Allied agents of Reinhard Heydrich. The Palestinians were slaughtered
after Ariel Sharon told the world ` untruthfully ` that a Palestinian
had murdered the Lebanese Phalangist leader Bashir Gemayel.

Indeed, it was the courageous Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz of the
Hebrew University (and editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica) who wrote
that the Sabra and Chatila massacre "was done by us. The Phalangists
are our mercenaries, exactly as the Ukrainians and the Croatians and
the Slovakians were the mercenaries of Hitler, who organised them as
soldiers to do the work for him. Even so have we organised the
assassins of Lebanon in order to murder the Palestinians". Remarks like
these were greeted by Israel's then minister of interior and religious
affairs, Yosef Burg, with the imperishable words: "Christians killed
Muslims ` how are the Jews guilty?"

I have long raged against any comparisons with the Second World War `
whether of the Arafat-is-Hitler variety once deployed by Menachem Begin
or of the anti-war-demonstrators-are-1930s-appeasers,
most recently
used by George Bush and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara. And pro-Palestinian
marchers should think twice before they start waffling about genocide
when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem once shook Hitler's hand and said `
in Berlin on 2 November 1943, to be precise ` "The Germans know how to
get rid of the Jews... They have definitely solved the Jewish problem."
The Grand Mufti, it need hardly be added, was a Palestinian. He lies
today in a shabby grave about two miles from my Beirut home.

No, the real reason why "Gaza-Genocide" is a dangerous parallel is
because it is not true. Gaza's one and a half million refugees are
treated outrageously enough, but they are not being herded into gas
chambers or forced on death marches. That the Israeli army is a rabble
is not in question ` though I was amused to read one of Newsweek's
regular correspondents calling it "splendid" last week ` but that does
not mean they are all war criminals. The issue, surely, is that war
crimes do appear to have been committed in Gaza. Firing at UN schools
is a criminal act. It breaks every International Red Cross protocol.
There is no excuse for the killing of so many women and children.

I should add that I had a sneaking sympathy for the Syrian foreign
minister who this week asked why a whole international tribunal has
been set up in the Hague to investigate the murder of one man `=2
Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri ` while no such tribunal is set
up to investigate the deaths of more than 1,000 Palestinians.

I should add, however, that the Hague tribunal may well be pointing the
finger at Syria and I would still like to see a tribunal set up into
the Syrian massacre at Hama in 1982 when thousands of civilians were
shot at the hands of Rifaat al-Assad's special forces. The aforesaid
Rifaat, I should add, today lives safely within the European Union. And
how about a trial for the Israeli artillerymen who massacred 106
civilians ` more than half of them children ` at the UN base at Qana in

What this is really about is international law. It's about
accountability. It's about justice ` something the Palestinians have
never received ` and it's about bringing criminals to trial. Arab war
criminals, Israeli war criminals ` the whole lot. And don't say it
cannot be done. Wasn't that the message behind the Yugoslav tribunal?
Didn't some of the murderers get their just deserts? Just leave the
Second World War out of it.