The German publication, Die Welt, is
not normally known for being Turk-friendly. Yet a remarkable article appeared
in its pages, clearly recognizing that the "Turkish side" of the
genocide debate is actually being conducted from the standpoint of honesty.
The original article may be found at welt.de/data/2006/03/20/862391.html
Great thanks go to Dr.Oylar Saguner for pointing out this article, as well as
having translated it. The translation has been slightly modified, for
officers condemned to death
The great conference in Istanbul on the Armenian Genocide could set a remarkable change
by Boris Kalnoky
It could be a discussion platform on which the Armenian historians could have shown up
their Turkish colleagues in a proper manner, regarding how the Armenian people, from 1915
until 1917, had been exterminated by the Turkish hand. But most of them preferred to stay
away. Four Armenian historians who represented the Armenian Genocide thesis were invited
to the three day conference, New Basic Approaches in Turkish-Armenian Relations,
however they have refused to participate. Therefore there were only three advocates of the
Genocide-Thesis at the conference, facing off to their opponents, historians who do not
see a genocide in the deportation of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Government. Hilmar
Kaiser, the Israeli historian Yair Auron and Ara Sarafian from the Gomidas-Institute of
London listened to what their collegues had to say. The result was interesting: Sarafian
promised at the end to start combined projects together with the historians of the TTK
(an institution which made it their duty to invalidate the genocide thesis).
New research results came especially from Yusuf Sarinay who presented documents according
to which the Ottoman Minister of Interior Affairs Talat Pasha ordered a stringent action
in order to protect the deported Armenians from hostile attacks, and signed the death
penalties of 1,643 Turkish officers, soldiers and officials who assaulted/mistreated the
deportees. It was clearly known that such executions were ordered; however, the personal
role of Talat Pasha, referred to by the Armenian side as a merciless hater of Armenian
people and the architect of the genocide, was new. 
The German-Turkish historian Cem Özgönül presented a remarkable debut. Özgönül has
diligently studied the documents of the archives of the German foreign office as the first
Turkish historian and compared them with the ones which were published in 1919 by the
Protestant Armenian activist Johannes Lepsius
(under the order of the government of the German Empire). In The Myth of a Genocide
(Onel-Publishers, 2006) Özgönül demonstrates that Lepsius systematically and massively
manipulated the documents, in order to suggest exaggerated dimensions to the Armenian
genocide (number of the victims), and to belittle its causes (Armenian terrorists) and to
insinuate racist motives upon the Ottoman leadership. At the end, Lepsius so argues
Özgönül wanted the spin off of the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire. Özgönül
means that the manipulations to a certain extent served to diminish German complicity
because Lepsius followed pro-Armenian objectives without the consent of the German foreign
If those explanations prove correct, then the most important documentary basis of the
representatives of the Genocide-Thesis will be shaken. Another main pillar, the so called
Andonian Documents were already proven falsified more than 20 years ago.
Hilmar Kaiser, a famous protagonist of the Genocide, listened to Özgönül's
presentation, but brought up no objections or criticism. It will be interesting to
follow this aspect of the discussion in upcoming months. If Özgönül's work indeed
stands against critical examination, there could begin a basic turn to the
discussions to the genocide of the Armenians.
One can always allege a genocide in the debate. At that time there was not a
judicial term; however, it is not very difficult to classify the incidents as
genocide according to the UN Definition.
In contrast, the Turkish historians say that there was no intention to exterminate,
and the number of victims on the Armenian side (by illness, hunger, and attacks) was
not higher than the number of victims on the Turkish side by illness, hunger and
Armenian attacks. In addition, there was no singularity of the Armenian Sorrow
one can reproach the Armenian Revolutionaries in much the same manner as the
Ottomans, regarding the massacre and systematic expulsion of civilians in those
areas where they (Armenians) had been the ruling power at times. Perhaps the next
time, Armenian historians will attend in order to defend their position.
March 20, 2006
 The TTK represents the Turkish initials
for the Turkish Historical Society, currently presided by Prof. Yusuf Halacoglu.
 The figure of those Turks who were brought to trial, accused of committing crimes
against Armenians, has been updated from Kamuran Gurun's 1,397. More details may be seen here (where the number is 1,673, and not 1,634). If the
article claimed all of these people were faced with the death penalty, that would have
been a huge mistake.
While it is wonderful that Turkish professors are finally getting off their lead-lined
behinds (not all are like that, of course) and conducting original "genocide"
research in foreign archives, some are so green around the edges, they figure because they
encounter information, it must have been for the first time. In reality, the manipulations
of Lepsius are old news. This is not to say Dr. Özgönül's work is not to be
appreciated, as hopefully he has come upon new insights.
If the author of this article was inspired by the truths presented at this conference,
that is very refreshing. Too often, bigoted Westerners brainwashed by Armenian propaganda
are in "denial," no matter how solid the evidence may appear to be. Regardless,
the author was being far too optimistic, in regards to the impact of this conference. The
genocide industry has an aversion to truth, and none (more importantly, the biased Western
media as well) paid serious attention to the goings-on. They would much rather focus on
the closed-door genocide club meetings, like the Suny-Gocek WATS workshops (where only
like-minded participants are allowed to attend; that is, one must have already agreed
there was an Armenian genocide).
The fact that Turkish conferences allow the opposition to attend is already a great sign
of how much more honest the Turkish side is. This is nothing new; Dr. Levon Marashlian
provided a report on a similar conference
back in 1990. (He was the only one with the guts to have attended, even though "the
usual gang of propagandistic idiots" were all invited.)
Running a search for "New Approaches in
Turkish Armenian Relations," the name of this symposium, makes it apparent that
there has been practically no coverage in the English language press, except in sites such
as panarmenian.net and armeniandiaspora.com. The most popular report was "Not Many
'New Approaches' for Armenian Issue," written by an Armenian-Turk, Talin Suciyan
(Sujian); one can tell from the title how little the partisan author cared for the
proceedings. The author sneered in his sub-headline that the conference "witnessed
the reproduction of nationalist reflexes and unscientific propositions."
The powerful genocide industry has managed to get their claws into Turkey itself, hoping
to manipulate gullible Turkish minds. Late in 2005, a genocide seminar was held in Bilgi
University, where not only the speakers, but even the people in the audience were
evidently pre-screened. (This one was originally slated at Bogazici University, and caused
a commotion. A little backdrop may be read on this
page.) Immediately after that travesty, the Turks held a conference of their own,
inviting without fear genocide advocates. As flawed as this one reportedly was (it went
off the genocide topic), a few genocide advocates like Fikret Adanir did attend (while
Halil Berktay, the star of the Bilgi U. affair, did not), and were evidently shell-shocked
by all the irrefutable evidence. The Istanbul U. conference held in mid-March of 2006
appears to have been a step in the better direction, focusing on genocide particulars, as
ignored as it was in the genocide universe.
Seeing Israel Charny trying to compete with the
likes of a genuine scholar, Justin McCarthy, would have been worth the price of admission.
The two were seated next to each other, littlle Izzy and the robust McCarthy, and the
study in contrasts must have been irresistible. One who attended the conference privately
mentioned that she had seen Hilmar Kaiser greet Charny at the lobby after Charny's ordeal,
and overheard Kaiser offering words of consolation. Spoiled with their usual one-sided
genocide club conferences, the genocide advocates must have been aware that they were