Friday, December 5, 2008

Armenian Genocide Timeline

1875 December 1
By order of the Turkish government, the Armenian market district at Van is destroyed by fire with great loss to Armenian property, goods, and businesses.

Russia victorious in Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Russo-Turkish Treaty of San Stefano (February 19, 1878) provides for protection and reforms for Armenians. Great Britain negotiates a secret Cyprus Convention with Turkey (June 1978) to allow British to establish bases on Cyprus and to administer Cyprus. In return, Britain insists Russo-Turkish issues be decided, instead, by an international conference. The resulting Congress of Berlin (June 1978) replaces the protective measures of San Stefano under Article 16 with unsatisfactory and ineffective provisions for Armenian people under Article 61, and returns Garin (Erzerum) to Turkey. Russia retains Kars and Ardahan.

Armenian performances are forbidden in Constantinople. The urban Armenian population of Garin and Arabkir come out against the government.

1880 August
By special order of the Turkish government, the word "Armenia" is forbidden for use in official documents.

1884 June
Armenians "rebel" in Zeitun against oppressive Turkish taxes.

The Turkish government divides Western Armenia administratively into separate vilayets of Erzerum, Garin, Kharput, Diarbekir, Dersim, Bitlis (Baghesh), Van, Hekyari and Sivas (Sebastia).

The Turkish government orders that all Armenian periodicals and magazines in Constantinople and Western Armenia be discontinued.

1890 June 15
An Armenian demonstration in the district of Gum-Gapu in Constantinople is drowned in Armenian blood.

1890 June 18-20
Alleging provocative actions by Armenians, Turkish armed forces and Turkish mobs attack Armenians in Garin (Erzerum). Hundreds of Armenians are killed.

1891 January
The Armenians of Vardenis in Taron are robbed by Turks and their village is destroyed.

Sultan Abdul Hamid II, known as the Bloody Sultan, suspends the Armenian National Constitution, and also discontinues the national parliament in Constantinople, which includes some Armenian representatives.

1894 August 20-27
Sassun’s Gelie-guzan village massacre, known as the "Gelie-guzan Hole Carnage" takes place. Here, Turks inaugurate the system of slaughtering unarmed people, which later was the prototype for Hitler’s concentration camps.

1894 August 25-30
Sassun’s Gebin Mount carnage is inflicted when the Turkish army manages to force Armenian women, children and old men to leave Andok for the forest on the bottom of mountain. The army ignites the forest and burns the Armenians alive. Note: This is a harbinger of the extermination of future victims by burning them alive in stables and other large storage facilities.

1894 August
10,000 Armenians are killed and 74 Armenian villages are destroyed in Sassun.

1894 August-October
Armenians refuse to pay illegal taxes to Kurdish irregular forces in Sassun. Unrest in the vilayet of Bitlis, near Mush. Revolt in Sassun. Attempted uprising against Kurdish oppression is followed by massacres in Sassun. A joint report published on July 28, 1895 by the Commission of Inquiry created by the initiative of the Great Powers, estimates the number of victims at 5,000.

1895 May 11
Governments of six countries present the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II a special note describing the disastrous conditions of Armenia and demand the Turkish government to carry out improvements.

1895 August
Joint memorandum presented by Britain, France and Russia to the Sultan, pointing out the disastrous situation in the Armenian provinces and urging him to proceed with the reforms. The Imperial Turkish Government replies in August 1895 and promises to carry out the reforms specified in Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin (1978).

1895 September 30
Carnage of Armenians in Baberd at the hands of the Turks.

1895 September 30, October
In the Bab Ali section of Constantinople, Armenians carry out a peaceful demonstration. The Turks set upon killing Armenians. 2000 Armenians die. Protests by the Great Powers by joint note from three ambassadors (French, British and Russian) on October 13-15 demand reforms. On October 31 a decree is issued, providing for reforms.

1895 October 5
Mass obliteration of Armenians takes place in Trebizond and its villages. Armenians of Sassun share the same fate.

1895 October 7
Armenians of Derjan province are slaughtered by the Turks.

1895 October 8
Massacres of Armenians by Turks begin in the vilayet of Trebizond as confirmed by the report of Gillieres, the French Consul in Trebizond.

1895 October 9
The carnage of Armenians at Erzingan and Kamakh by the Turks.

1895 October 10
In Kghi province more than 1000 Armenians are killed, and dozens of villages destroyed. In Bitlis, 102 villages are destroyed. On the same day the carnage of Armenians at Charsanjak and in its villages begins, taking almost 700 lives. In Balu, the body count of Armenian victims reaches 1200, Arabkir – 2800, Torgom – 500

1895 October 13
Most of the Armenians in Baghesh are killed by the Turks.

1895 October 16
Urfa in Yedesia is attacked and in spite of persistent defense, the Turkish army and the Turkish mob succeed in slaying around 10,000 Armenians. On the same day, the Turks inflict similiar carnage in Shapin-Garahisar. 2000 Armenians are slain in the town and 3000 in 30 villages.

1895 October 21
The Armenian population in Erzingan, a town of Erzerum vilayet, is slaughtered by the Turks. 1000 Armenians are killed.

1895 October 23
3000 Armenians of Malatia are killed. 1000 houses are burned.

1895 October 25
Massacres follow in Bitlis, in the vilayet of Bitlis.

1895 October 26
Almost the entire Armenian population of Kharput is slaughtered by the Turks. The body count exceeds 4000. Mass massacres take place in Bayburd, vilayet of Erzerum. 165 villages are destroyed.

1895 October 27-28
Massacres in Urfa, vilayet of Aleppo, the first by the Hamidie Kurdish regiments organized by the Turks for this purpose, confirmed by the report of the British consul, Fitzmaurice, dated March 16, 1896.

1895 October 30
Massacres in Erzerum, vilayet of Erzerum. 400 killed by the Turkish mob and soldiers.

1895 October 31
Massacres occur in Garin and in the vilayet of Erzerum. Around 2000 Armenians are killed; 43 villages are destroyed.

1895 October
Organized massacres of Armenians by Turks in Constantinople and Trebizond.

1895 November 1
Diarbekir carnage begins. 1000 Armenians are killed in the town and 30,000 more in the villages. 119 villages are destroyed. Massacres in Arabkir, vilayet of Kharput. 2,800 dead. Massacres in Diarbekir, vilayet of Diarbekir. Confirmed by a telegram of Meyrier, the French consul in Diarbekir, sent on November 3 to P. Cambon, the French ambassador in Constantinople. He estimates incorrectly: 5000 dead. 119 villages are pillaged and set on fire.

1895 November 3
Almost the whole Armenian population in Marzvan, around 700 people, are killed by the Turks.

1895 November 4
3,800 killed in the vilayet of Kharput by the Turks.

1895 November 10
Systematic Turkish army attacks on Van take place. The city of Van, in the vilayet of Van, is attacked by the Turkish Hamidie forces. Forced conversions to Islam in Kharput, vilayet of Kharput.

1895 November 11
Turkish army attacks the town of Balu, in the vilayet of Kharput. It results in 1680 Armenian deaths. Turkey proclaims a holy war (Djihad).

1895 November 12
Turks kill 1,500 Armenians in the vilayet of Sivas, and an equal number in Gurun.

1895 November 15-17
Armies of Sultan destroy Aintab in the vilayet of Aleppo and kill 1500 Armenians.

1895 November 18
Massacres in Marash, vilayet of Aleppo. 1,000 Armenians are killed.

1895 November 18-20
160 villages around the city of Van are robbed and pillaged.

1895 November 28
In Zklus, 200 Armenians are killed; in Amasia, 100; and in Aleppo, 1000.

1895 December
Armenians of the villages of Norduz, Hayots Dzor, Gavash and Karchevan in the vilayet of Bitlis are set upon by fire and sword. 100 villages are destroyed. On December 28 in the town of Ourfa (Yedesia), 8000 Armenians are slaughtered. 100 villages around Mush, vilayet of Bitlis, are destroyed.

1895 December 28
A battalion of Turkish-led Hamidie forces, proceeding from Aleppo, encircles the town of Urfa. Massacres on the following day kill 8,000 Armenians. This is confirmed by the above-mentioned report of the British consul, Fitzmaurice, dated March 16, 1896, as well as by the French consul.

Global Estimates
Most of the figures mentioned through 1895 come to a total of 150,000 to 300,000 dead, to which must be added some 150,000 forced conversions and some 100,000 emigrants forced to flee. The report written by the agents of the European Powers estimate 28,000 killed just in the localities where representatives of foreign nations were present.

1896 June 8-15
The population of Van and nearby villages is destroyed. The major Armenian population of Sgherdi is decimated and survivors are forcibly converted to Islam. In 40 villages of Khizan, 400 people, and in 20 villages of Mamrzank 160 people are slain, and the others are converted to Islam forcibly. All Armenian villages of Shatakh are devastated and turned to ruins. 11 villages of Gyumushkhane are destroyed and most of their population slain.

1896 Middle of June
Turks break their vow and near St. Bartholemew Church, attack Armenians in Van seeking to defend themselves, murdering 1500 people. The survivors flee to Persia.

1896 August 26
A group of Armenian militants of the Dashnak Party occupies the Ottoman Bank in Constantinople in order to gain the attention of foreign powers to the oppression of the Armenians. Achieving their purpose, they leave the bank in the evening and are picked up by boat and taken to France. Much attention is aroused in the Western capitals. However, this action results in a massacre in Constantinople, on August 27, killing approximately 7,000 Armenian victims.

1896 August 28
Representatives of the Great Powers send a telegram of protest to the Ottoman authorities.

1896 September 2
Armenian population of Agn is destroyed. Half the houses in the city are burned. Joint verbal note of protest issued by the Great Powers, accusing the Sublime Porte directly.

1896 September 3
In the city of Mush and its villages, 250 Armenians are killed by the Turks.

1896 November 10
In Agn’s Binkaya village, 250 Armenians are killed. Of the 250 houses there, only 12 houses remain standing.

300,000 Armenians become the victims of the carnages inflicted by the Turks. In addition, almost as many flee the country.

1900 August
Mothers and children are cut down by sword in Sassun’s Spaghanak villages by sudden attacks late at night.

1904 May
7500 Armenians are slain in Sassun by the Turks.

1908 April 14
Violent outbreaks in Adana (in Cilicia) and in near-by towns, in an attempted counter-revolution by Turks supporting the Sultan. They are soon squelched.

1908 July
Military coup in Salonica by the Young Turk movement (the Union and Progress Party). There begins a brief period of collaboration among Turks, Armenians and other minorities. The subsequent massacres in Adana do not shake this new-found cooperation.

1908 July 24
The Ottoman Constitution is proclaimed.

1909 April 15-25
30,000 Armenians are slaughtered in Adana, Tarsus and other towns of Cilicia. The Turkish army bears direct responsibility, but the Armenian community is willing to consider it as an isolated incident, and to continue to trust the Young Turks until further events prove otherwise.

1913 January 29
In Turkey, the triumvirate of Enver, Talaat and Jemal Pasha heads the government.

1914 February 8
Under the combined influence of Russia and Great Britain, the Turkish authorities sign the Armenian Reform Project and agree to take certain measures in favor of the Armenian population.The Dutch, Westemeck, and the Norwegian, Hoft, are appointed as General Inspectors of the Armenian provinces, but they are rendered ineffective. The promised measures are not implemented.

1914- beginning of 1915
The Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople estimates the Armenian population in Turkey at 2,100,000. World War I begins July 1914. Loyally, the Armenians participate in the war effort. Mobilization of the entire population, including Armenians, is decreed and the Armenians of Turkey take part in the war on the Caucasian and Western fronts. Immediately preceding the war, the Armenian population is neutral because a number of Armenians in Russia is mobilized on the Russian side, and a natural desire to avoid a fratricidal war. Some Armenian presence in the Russian Army will become an argument used by the Turkish authorities in their attempt to justify the measures they took later to destroy the Armenian people.

1915 January
Enver is disastrously defeated in Sarikamish at the hands of Russian troops, marking a failure of his Pan-Turanian plans. The Turkish authorities decree the demobilization and disarmament of the Armenians. The Armenians are grouped into small work battalions used for garbage details and similar tasks. The Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army, under the pretext of work details, are marched and killed in cold blood or used for target practice.

1915 January 13
A.F. Kerensky, a member of the National Council of Russia and later briefly to be the leader of Russia, in a report, describes the astounding plight of Armenian refugees. He declares that when the Turkish attacks on Russian territory began, rivers of Armenian refugees stretched to the North… "That was not an escape, it was the great demise of a whole nation".

1915 February 13
Two Armenian deputies of the Ottoman Assembly submit a note concerning the massacres and executions of several such battalions.

1915 February 26
War Minister Enver convenes 75 top ranking Ittihadists. This secret meeting finalizes the details of the plan to carry out a genocide of the Armenians. Evidence indicates that the decision to carry out the Genocide was made some years earlier.

1915 April 8
The process of removing the Armenian population of Zeitun commences. Taking advantage of the defense staged by a group of young Armenians, the Turkish army invades Zeitun, with the assistance of local Turks, to re-establish control. The mass deportation and massacres of Armenian inhabitants of the entire region is immediately organized. This mountainous region had always preserved a quasi-autonomy.

1915 April 15
Talaat, Enver and Nazem send a secret order to the local governments for the removal and extermination of Armenians in Turkey.

1915 April 15-18
While the Armenian population of Van is fleeing to Russia because of the evacuation of the Russian army, the Turkish forces attack villages of the vilayet. They destroy 80 villages and slay 24,000 Armenians in the vilayet and city of Van. The Turks accuse the Armenians of collaboration with the Russian troops.

1915 April 20
At the news of the massacres, the mostly Armenian population of Van takes to the barricades. The Turkish authorities will also use this incident on the Caucasian front and the resistance of the Armenians as a pretext to justify the measures of deportation (and massacre) they are about to inflict.

1915 April 20- May 19
The remaining Armenians of Van try to defend themselves from the overwhelming Turkish forces.

1915 April 24
800 Armenian leaders, writers and intellectuals are arrested in Constantinople and murdered. The barbaric Armenian genocide begins. This is a most important date for all Armenians today. It represents the date for commemorating the Armenian Genocide each year throughout the world.

1915 April 27-30
The forced removal and deportation of Dyurt Yol’s Armenian population begins.

1915 May 15
Turkish forces begin the process of removal and deportation of the Armenian population from villages in the vilayet of Erzerum.

1915 May 16
Law of May 16, 1915 is enacted with "instructions pertaining to property and real estate abandoned by the deported Armenians, consequences of the war and unusual political circumstances". This law provides for the installation of Turkish refugees in the homes and on the lands belonging to the Armenians.

1915 May 24
The governments of England, France and Russia jointly warn the Turkish government publicly that "They will hold personally responsible... all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres". This is the first time in the international arena three large countries publicly characterize the Turkish actions against Armenians as crimes against "humanity and civilization" for which "personal responsibility is laid on every member of the Turkish government who participated in the carnages". The communique of the Allied Powers of the Entente, published by the Havas news agency, accuses the Ottoman Turkish government directly for the massacres against the Armenian population.

1915 May 27
The law of May 27, 1915 is enacted concerning the "displacement of suspected persons." This law empowers army officers to relocate populations upon the simple suspicion of treason or for military reasons.

1915 June 1
12,000 Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army are massacred in Balu, vilayet of Diarbekir.

1915 June 10
A supplementary law is enacted regarding reporting property of deportees. See entry under September 26 as to supplementary law adopted September 26, 1915.

1915 June 12 – July 3
Turkish armies slay or remove Armenians of Shapin Garahisar, who tried to defend themselves.

1915 June 15
21 leaders of the Hnchukyan Party are hanged publicly in Constantinople.

1915 June 24
Massacres and deportations of the inhabitants of Shabin Karahissar begin.

1915 June 25
The removal and deportation of the Armenians of the city of Sivas begin.

1915 June 26
The removal of the Armenian population of Kharput and Trebizond vilayets are commenced by the Turkish army. Photocopy of the original deportation order (written in old Turkish with Arabic characters) is to be found in the Archives of the United States State Department in Washington, DC.

1915 June 27
Mass removals and deportations of Armenians begin in Samsun.

1915 July 1
Assyrians and Armenians are deported from Medzpin (Nisibe), Tel-Ermen (Hill of the Armenians), Bitlis, vilayet of Bitlis, Mardin and surrounding regions.

1915 July 3
The massacre begins of the Armenian population of Mush, Sassun and Bitlis vilayets begins.

1915 July 10
The Armenian population of Malatia is deported.

1915 July 13
Self-defense of Musa mountain begins. The heroic band of Armenians is later vividly depicted in the best-selling novel "Forty Days of Musa Dagh" by Franz Werfel.

1915 July 27
The Armenian population of Cilicia and Antioch is deported.

1915 July 28
The removal of the Armenian population of the Cilician cities, Aintab and Qilise, is carried out. In Great Britain's House of Lords, in answer to Viscount James Bryce’s question concerning the slaughter of Christians in Armenia, the president of the Military Council, Lord Grew declares that the information received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows that the Turkish crimes are increasing both in numbers and in violence. Lord Grew declares that "all those mass carnages and violent removals are engaged under the pretext of forced transmigration".

1915 July 29
Deportations begin from Aintab and Kilisse, in Cilicia.

1915 July 30
Deportations begin from Suedia, in Cilicia.

1915 August 16
Deportations begin from Marash in Cilicia and Konia in western Asia Minor.

1915 August 10- 19
Removal and deportations begin of Armenians from Smyrna (Nikodemia), Brusa, Bartizak, Adabazar and surrounding areas.

1915 August 19
Removal and deportation begin of Armenian population of Urfa in Yedesia.

1915 September 15
Turkey’s Minister of Interior, Talaat Pasha, cables to the Aleppo Prefecture the confirmation of the previously transmitted order for removal of Armenians and their final elimination. The original of this cable is reproduced in the book of A. Andonian "The Memoirs of Naim Bey (The Genocide of the Armenians by the Turks). With a New Preface by the Armenian Historical Association", Documentary Series, Vol. I, Great Britain, Reprint 1964, 83 pp. Exhibit No. 3 at the trial of Soghomon Tehlirian, authenticated by the German Court. (At a trial before a Berlin court in 1921, following the assassination of Talaat by Tehlirian, Tehlirian was acquitted by the Court because of the circumstances.)

1915 September 15
Rashid, Governor of Diarbekir, sends cable to Talaat, the Minister of the Interior, announcing that the number of Armenians "expelled" from Diarbekir has reached 120,000.

1915 September 26
"Provisional law concerning the property, debts and receivables of persons relocated elsewhere" is adopted. This law provides for the liquidation of debts and receivables of displaced persons (Armenians). A special commission is "charged" with holding the proceeds of sales in escrow. The German Foreign Office summarized this law as compressed to provide "1. All goods of the Armenians are confiscated. 2. The governments will cash in the credits of the deportees and will repay (will not repay) their debts".

1915 September 30 and October 7
In Bern, Switzerland, at its Central Hall, public meetings are held deploring the ongoing Armenian tragedy.

1915 October
110 famous German and Italian civilians in Switzerland, including scientists, journalists and public figures publish "The Call" both in French and German, in defense of the Armenian people.

As in Switzerland, in many other places all over the world, there were many, many public meetings of protest and countless public statements by various heads of state and other officials condemning the Turkish massacres and deportations of the Armenians, threatening the Turks responsible with appropriate punishment and promising justice and territorial and/or monetary restitution for the Armenians. The statements and meetings referred to in this chronology are but a tiny sample.

1915 October 6
In Great Britain’s House of Lords, Lord James Bryce denounces the Turkish murderous campaign against the Armenians. He declares the time has passed when any harm could be caused by public statements and the more complete the statements, the more good it may bring, because it remains the only chance of preventing these carnages from continuing, if they are not over yet. It is a pity, he says, that his information from several sources indicates that the number of victims is very large. It is considered to be 800,000 as of then. He states that there is no commandment in Islam that can justify such slaughters. He urges every effort be made to send help for the poor, wretched survivors, hundreds of which are dying of starvation and disease. "That is all that we can do now in England and let us do it and do it swiftly".

1915 October 12
In Great Britain’s House of Commons, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Grey declares "All the information concerning the carnages of Armenians in Turkey became public. Only two feelings can describe it – horror and disturbance."

1915 November 16
As the government spokesman for questions from members of the House of Commons, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lord R. Cecil declares that Turkey intended not to punish the Armenian race, but to destroy it. That was the only goal.

1915 November 18
In Paris at the "American Club", a public meeting urges help to alleviate the Armenian suffering.

1915 December 12
Talaat, Minister of the Interior, sends a telegram to the Prefecture of Aleppo. He states that in view of the rather compassionate attitude of certain valis with respect to orphans, the order is given that the orphans be sent away with the caravans, with the exception of the very young ones unable to remember the atrocities. The original cable is reproduced in said Andonian's book "The Memoirs of Naim Bey (The Genocide of the Armenians by the Turks)".

1916 January 11
In Germany’s Reichstag, deputy Karl Libknecht, an international socialist figure, directs a question to the Vice Chancellor, as to whether he is aware that in Turkey, their ally, thousands of Armenian citizens have been removed from their homes and exterminated. He demands that the German government forbid the Turks from further terrifying actions against the remaining Armenian population.

1916 February 9
The United States Senate votes (with the concurrence of the House of Representatives) to ask the President of the United States of America to set a special day when citizens of this country can help Armenians with financial support, considering that many of them, being in the country that was at war, were forced to leave their houses and belongings without any opportunity to care even for their primal needs, are afflicted with hunger, disease and untold sufferings. President Wilson designates August 21 and August 22 for making contributions for the suffering Armenians.

1916 February 9
In the Russian Duma, Minister of Foreign Affairs S.D. Sazonov declares "I have mentioned before about the awful sufferings of that wretched race. Under the tacit assent of its ally, Germany, the Turks hoped to bring alive their desire to exterminate the entire Armenian race..."

1916 March 7
Talaat, Minister of the Interior, sends a cable to the Aleppo Prefecture, ordering the extermination of children at military installations.

1916 April 9
"Homage to Armenia" gathering takes place in Paris’ Sorbonne University, attracting thousands of people. Speaking at that gathering, France’s Minister of Education declares that "For more than a year carnages paint Armenia red in blood and have surpassed other crimes in scale and in violence. Germany can be proud of its horrid deeds". At the same program, the opening words of the president of the National Council of France, Paul Deshnanel, firmly condemns the slaughter of Armenians at the hands of the Turkish executioners.

1916 July 29
"France-Armenia" company is formed in Paris, members of which are ministers of the French government, senators, deputies, Georges Clemenceau, writer Anatole France and other dignitaries.

1916 August 19
Decree abolishes the national Armenian constitution of 1863, in violation of Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin concerning religious freedom.

1916 November 16
In Berlin’s Missionary Union, Doctor Karl Accenfeld sends a statement to the German Chancellor Bettman-Holveg in which he asserts "In neutral countries large accusations are spreading against Germany about not only calmly watching, but also helping to realize the extinction of a whole Christian race". Note: In the bibliography in this web-site is listed a volume by Dadrian dealing with the German involvement.

1917 January 1
By a special decree/law the government of Turkey condemns the 1978 Treaty of Berlin and especially Article 61.

1917 March 29
In Stockholm, a large meeting takes place dedicated to repudiation of the mass murder of Armenians. The members of the meeting deplore the insensitivity of Sweden towards Armenians.

1917 November 6
In Great Britain’s House of Commons, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arthur Balfour declares "Do we need to ignore that Armenia should be given back, as respected gentlemen wish to give it back with their formula, under the reign of Turkey. I don’t want to ruin the Turkish community – consisting of Turks, in Turkish fitting style, commanding the Turks. No, our constant goal is the emancipation of non-Turks from Turkish governance. What is imperialistic in wishing to see Poland independent, Armenia liberated from Turks, Alsace Lorraine rejoined to France, to see Italy having its own population, language, area and civilization".

1917 December 4
Speaking in the Congress of the United States, President Wilson states "We hope to provide the right and opportunity for people living in the Turkish Empire to make their lives safe and their fate secure from aggression and injustice, orders of foreign courts and parties.

1918 January 6
In the name of the "Germano - Armenian community", Paul Rorbach, Edward Kir and Martin Rade urge the government of Germany to promote autonomy for Armenia.

1918 January 8
President Wilson’s Declaration of Fourteen Points is published. The 12th Point extends promise to the Armenians of security of life and an unmolested opportunity for autonomous development.

1918 March
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed between Russia and Turkey after Russia's withdrawal brought about by the Russian Revolution. Turkish invasion of Russian Armenia causes more killings of Armenians including those fleeing from Turkish Armenia. Fighting continues on the Caucasian front involving Armenian units.

1918May 28
The Armenian National Council, of necessity to fill a vacuum, announces itself the supreme and only administrative body for the comparatively small remaining territory in what was Russian Armenia. Such words as "independence" or "republic" are intentionally avoided pending the outcome of a nearby battle with the invading Turkish forces (which the Armenians do win).

1918 June 4
In Batum, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship is signed between Ottoman Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, proclaiming, hollowly, peace and eternal friendship. It provided, among other terms, detailed provisions dealing with conduct at or near their common boundary.

1918 mid-October
United States Congressman Edward Little presents a resolution to the Congress advocating that the "Armenian people have the right to be free and independent, have an outlet to the sea and be the masters of the Christian culture for which their sons had been sacrificed".

1918 October 30
The armistice of Moudros ends the war between the Allies and Turkey. Global estimates of the campaign of extermination: close to 1,500,000 Armenians dead.

1918 November
Defeated Turkey recognizes the small Armenian Republic whose territory consists only of a small fraction of former Armenian lands. Turkey also cedes to it the vilayets of Kars and Ardahan the following year. This transfer proves to be only temporary.

1918 November 13
In Great Britain’s House of Lords, James Bryce, speaking about Armenia and Cilicia, severely criticizes the Turkish government. He states in part: "As Your Highness and Lords already know, the present Turkish government includes people that were involved in the astonishing carnages (that happened in 1915). Every respected Lord that wants to refresh his memory can read the Blue Book published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1916, in which you’ll find the description of the awful massacres that are written in history everywhere, in spite of all the attempts not to allow or justify them. Not only is Talaat Pasha in the group of criminals that created the Union and Progress Committee, but also others who still are active in the present Turkish government must take the responsibility for those carnages".

1918 December 10
United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presented a proposal for the Senate to express the view that Armenia, including the six vilayets in Turkey and Cilicia should be independent and the peace conference should help Armenia to create an independent republic. While Lodge was very sympathetic to the Armenian cause, he later opposed the United States accepting a mandate of Armenia to avoid possible military involvement.

1919 January 8
By the order of Sultan Mahmed VI it was ordered that the First, Second and Third Military Tribunals prosecute criminally the leaders of the "Young Turks" and other implicated members of the government.

1919 April 8
A Military Tribunal finds a number of Turkish leaders guilty of carnages in the Yozkhat area. The Court finds that Kemal Bey ordered the Moslems of the area to eliminate all the Armenian population, and sentences him to death.

1919 April 27
In Constantinople, the trial begins of members of the Union and Progress Party, and other leaders of the Turkish government. The trial continues until June 26, 1919.

1919 May 22
The special Military Court tries the organizers of deportations and slaughter in Trebizond and punishes eight as criminals.

1919 May 28
By secret order of the British Military Government, 77 Turkish criminals are transferred from a prison at Constantinople to Malta and their convictions are expunged.

1919 June 25
In the name of the the Supreme Allied Council, Georges Clemenceau declares at the Peace Conference that Turkey officially has accepted guilt for the Armenian massacres.

1919 July 5
Following the trial of the Unionists (these were the members of the Union and Progress Committee, in power since 1909), Talaat Pasha, Enver Pasha, Djemal Pasha and Dr. Nazim "are adjudged to be the principal criminals and their guilt has been decided by unanimous vote". All four are sentenced to death in absentia. It is to be noted that this trial took place during the period Constantinople was occupied by the Allied armies.

1919 October 17
The Supreme Council of the Allies, at the San Remo Conference, proposes that the United States accept a mandate over Armenia.

1920 January 13 and for months following
Various other trials take place in Constantinople and a number of Turkish officials and Young Turks are convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the crimes against the Armenian people.

1920 February
French forces in post-war occupation of Cilicia unexpectedly withdraw. Turks take advantage of the opportunity and kill 30,000 Armenians.

1920 May 24
The President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, asks the Congress to give him the right to accept a mandate over Armenia and send troops there. Ultimately, the United States decides not to accept a mandate because of the inherent risks, even though still widely sympathetic to the Armenian cause.

1920 August 10
The Treaty of Sevres, signed by Turkey, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Lebanon, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbian-Croatian-Slovenic Republic and Czechoslovakia, recognizes the Armenian Republic and ordains that the borders between Turkey and Armenia in the vilayets of Erzerum, Trebizond, Van and Bitlis be determined by President Wilson. According to the peace agreement, Turkey accepts its responsibility for the crimes against the Armenians during the war and undertakes the obligation to compensate for the losses sustained by the Armenians. It also agrees to hand over to the Allies the persons responsible for the massacres. President Wilson appoints a commision which sets the boundaries of a much expanded Armenia, including significant seacoast, but all to naught. The Treaty of Sevres is never carried out. It was repudiated by Turkey and eventually replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne, which had no provisions dealing with Armenia.

1921 May 16
The independent Armenian Republic, in existence since May 28, 1918, is tranformed into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia.

1922 September
Kemal Ataturk's forces seize and set fire to the city of Smyrna and engage in a rampage, killing Greeks and Armenians. 150,000 perish.

1923 April 25
Unrepentant Turkey enacts the law of "abandoned property" which provides for the confiscation of all property abandoned by Armenians absent from the country, regardless of the date, reason or conditions of their departure.

1923 July 24
The Treaty of Lausanne is signed by the new Republic of Turkey and the Great Powers. The Treaty recognizes full Turkish sovereignty over all its territory, and contains no provisions about Armenia. Winston Churchill has written: "In the Treaty of Lausanne, which re-establishes peace between Turkey and the Allies, history will search in vain for the word Armenia".

1923 September
Turkey adopts a law which prohibits the return of Armenians who left Cilicia or any of the eastern vilayets whether or not they had left voluntarily.

Historical Background

A short history of the Armenian Genocide of 1915

The Armenian genocide was meticulously planned by the Ottoman Turkish government—known as the Young Turks—and executed under its orders from 1915 to 1917. The aim was to clear the lands of historic Armenia from its native population in order to create a homogenous pan-turanian (pan-turkic) state extending into central Asia.

The mass deportation decree applied to Turkey’s entire Armenian population of more than 2 million people. The resulting massacres and atrocities of unprecedented cruelty claimed one and a half million lives. The survivors found refuge in countries willing to provide asylum. The genocide then led to the illegal seizure of the victims’ personal property.

An entire national group was decimated, their homeland misappropriated: more than three thousand years of uninterrupted Armenian presence in their historic homeland was brought to an abrupt end.

Judging from the news coverage of the day, the world at large had been kept informed on a daily basis of the hideous details of this crime against humanity. Eminent statesmen on both sides of the Atlantic made solemn commitments to obtain—as soon as the war would be over—justice and compensation for the Armenians. It was inconceivable that a crime of such magnitude should remain unpunished. Yet that is precisely what happened.

The victorious allies did indeed sign the 1920 Treaty of Sevres which recognized the emergence of an independent Armenian Republic on most of the Armenian historic lands affected by the 1915 genocide. Later on, in 1921 and once again in 1922, the General Assembly of the League of Nations passed resolutions calling for the creation of an “Armenian homeland” on these same territories. Both commitments were however betrayed in 1923 when these same allies signed—at the exclusion of the Armenians—the Treaty of Lausanne with the new Turkish regime. No reference was made to Armenia nor was the act of genocide ever remembered. It was as if a mere change of political colour was reason enough for the Allies to forget that a crime against humanity had just been committed … they seemed to be prepared to let the Armenian Cause to be buried under.

However, just causes cannot be disposed of that easily; if brute force can annihilate millions of lives or usurp their ancestral lands, it cannot stifle the innate quest for justice. The Cause itself will always rise from the ashes of the victims.

Following the genocide and the seizure of their lands, the Armenian survivors refused to accept the injustice imposed upon them as being the final solution. Being powerless, their voice remained unheard. However, they passed the torch to their off-springs who now continue to press for their legitimate claims on the basis of the international Charters and Conventions enacted since the end of the World War II.

In fact, the UN Convention of Genocide condemns this barbarous act, and qualifies it as being a crime against humanity, not subject to statutory limitations, especially in cases where the impact of the crime is still in effect.

Despite several appeals made in the late twenties by the Secretary General of the League of Nations, the authorities of modern Turkey have categorically refused to recognize the right of the Armenian survivors to return to their homes and properties. The current Turkish regime attempts to circumvent the issue altogether by pretending that the 1915 genocide never took place. Both actions make succeeding Turkish governments accomplices-after-the-fact of the 1915 genocide.

The present day Armenian Diaspora is the product, the living proof, and the undeniable extension of the 1915 genocide compounded by the racist attitude of Kemalist Turkey. The Turkish State cannot shirk its responsibility in this crime-laden legacy by hoping for the sands of time to cover their predecessors’ bloody footsteps.

The persistent Turkish policy of falsifying History does nothing but reinforce Armenian determination. The unpunished genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey must be condemned. The right to live and prosper in peace in one’s ancestral homeland, as well as the inalienable right to self determination recognized to all people by the UN Charter, apply equally to the Armenians.

The just resolution of the Armenian Cause, as that of all oppressed people, has a universal impact. Coexistence among nations and world peace can never be achieved as long as just and legitimate causes remain unresolved. To that end, the involvement and vigilance of all is called for, because these struggles concern us all.

It is in this spirit of humanity and equal justice that the Armenian National Committee of Canada calls on its friends in the print and broadcast media to respect their pledge to uphold the truth, and asks them to finally, unambiguously qualify that most heinous of crimes committed against the Armenians as “genocide.”

Countries and organizatios that have officially recognized the genocide

Officially recognized countries and organizations

Countries and organizatios that have officially recognized the genocide

Resolutions, Laws, and Declarations
- Canada, Government, Declaration, April 2006
- Lithuania, Parliament, Resolution, December 2005
- Germany, Bundestag Parliament, Resolution, June 2005
- Polish, Parliament, Resolution, April 2005
- Netherlands, House of Representatives, Resolution, December 2004
- Slovakia, National Assembly, Resolution, November 2004
- Canada, House of Commons, Resolution, April 2004
- European Parliament, Resolution, April 2004
- Argentina, Senate, Declaration, March 2004
- Uruguay, Law, March 2004
- Switzerland National Council, Resolution, December 2003
- Argentina, Senate, Resolution, August 2003
- Canada, Senate, Resolution, June 2002
- Common Declaration of His Holiness John Paul II and His Holiness Karekin II at Holy Etchmiadzin, Republic of Armenia, September 2001
- Prayer of John Paul II, Memorial of Tzitzernagaberd (Armenia) - September 2001
- Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Declaration, April 24, 2001
- France, Law, January 2001
- Italy, Chamber of Deputies, Resolution, November 2000
- European Parliament, Resolution, November 2000
- Lebanon, Parliament, Resolution, May 2000
- Sweden, Parliament, Report, March 2000
- Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Declaration, April 24, 1998
- Belgium, Senate, Resolution, March 1998
- Lebanon, Chamber of Deputies, Resolution, April 1997
- U.S., House of Representatives, Resolution 3540, June 1996
- Greece (Hellenic Republic), Parliament, Resolution, April 1996
- Russia, Duma, Resolution, April 1995
- Argentina, Senate, Resolution, May 1993
- European Parliament, Resolution, June 1987
- U.S., House of Representatives, Joint Resolution 247, September 1984
- Cyprus, House of Representatives, Resolution, April 1982
- U.S., House of Representatives, Joint Resolution 148, April 1975
- Uruguay, Senate and House of Representatives, Resolution, April 1965
- U.S., Senate, Resolution 359, May 1920
- U.S., Congress, An Act to Incorporate Near East Relief, August 1919
- U.S., Senate, Concurrent Resolution 12, February 1916
- France, Great Britain, and Russia, Joint Declaration, May 1915

International Organizations
- International Center for Transitional Justice Report Prepared for TARC, February 2003
- European Alliance of YMCAs, July 2002
- Le Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, May 1998
- The Association of Genocide Scholars, June 1997
- Parlamenta Kurdistane Li Derveyi Welat, April 1996
- Union of American Hebrew Congregations, November 1989
- Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, Verdict of the Tribunal, April 1984
- World Council of Churches, August 1983
Heads of State
- Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, April 24, 2002
- Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, President of Greece, July 1996
- Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, April 24, 1996
- François Mitterrand, President of France, January 1984
- Al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali, Sharif of Mecca, 1917

United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

July 2, 1985
"Toynbee stated that the distinguishing characteristics of the twentieth century in evolving the development of genocide 'are that it is committed in cold blood by the deliberate fiat of holders of despotic political power, and that the perpetrators of genocide employ all the resources of present-day technology and organization to make their planned massacres systematic and complete'."

United Nations Economic and Social CouncilCommission on Human RightsSub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of MinoritiesThirty-eighth sessionItem 4 of the provisional agendaE/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6 — 2 July 1985REVIEW OF FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN FIELDS WITH WHICH THE SUB-COMMISSION HAS BEEN CONCERNEDRevised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide Prepared by Mr. B. Whitaker[Paragraph 24]

24.Toynbee stated that the distinguishing characteristics of the twentieth century in evolving the development of genocide "are that it is committed in cold blood by the deliberate fiat of holders of despotic political power, and that the perpetrators of genocide employ all the resources of present-day technology and organization to make their planned massacres systematic and complete"11. The Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the twentieth century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are the German massacre of Hereros in 1904,12 the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916,13 the Ukrainian pogrom of Jews in 1919,14 the Tutsi massacre of Hutu in Burundi in 1965 and 1972,15 the Paraguayan massacre of Ache Indians prior to 1974,16 the Khmer Rouge massacre in Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978,17 and the contemporary Iranian killings of Baha'is.18 Apartheid is considered separately in paragraphs 43-46 below. A number of other cases may be suggested. It could seem pedantic to argue that some terrible mass-killings are legalistically not genocide, but on the other hand it could be counter-productive to devalue genocide through over-diluting its definition.


[Paragraph 73]

73."In place of the law of the jungle of “vae victis” (“woe to the conquered”) Hugo Grotius laid the foundation for international law during the terrible Thirty Years War in the Seventeenth Century with his work De Jure Belli ac Pacis (Concerning the Laws of War and Peace). Following the founding of the Red Cross two centuries later, a series of Geneva and Hague Conventions were ratified seeking to establish international norms of conduct even in warfare. There were however no agreed sanctions or procedure to deal with war criminals. After the First World War, the defeated Germans themselves held some war crime trials in Leipzig in 1922, but these were unsuccessfully organized and 888 people out of the 901 charged in them were acquitted. The Turks also in 1919-20 held trials: not of ‘war criminals’ but of some of the Ottomans guilty of the Armenian genocide. When in the Second World War awareness of the extraordinary scale of the Nazi crimes became widespread, a European advisory Commission on War Crimes was set up to consider, as it was told by the French “an enemy who has sought to annihilate whole nations, who has elevated murder to a political system, so that we no longer have the duty of punishing merely those who commit but also those who plan the crime”.56 As early as January 1942 the representatives of nine occupied countries conferred in London and issued the St. James’s Declaration that “international solidarity is necessary to avoid the repression of these acts of violence simply by acts of vengeance on the part of the general public and in order to satisfy the sense of justice of the civilized world”.57 The Declaration announced that punishment for war crimes, whoever committed them, was now a principal war aim of the governments at the conference. It also made clear the intention to bring to justice not only those who themselves physically perpetrated such crimes, but those leaders who ordered them. The St. James’s Declaration was approved by Britain, the United States and the USSR, and significantly, expressed disgust not only at atrocity but at the idea of more vengeance: it implied a desire for some form of judicial proceeding to determine guilt and satisfy a sense of justice. The St. James’s conference was followed by one practical step: the United Nations War Crimes Commission was set up in London in 1943 to collect and collate information on war crimes and criminals.”58

At the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers in November 1943, Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union had issued a joint declaration condemning Nazi atrocities in occupied Europe. This stated that ‘at the time of the granting of any armistice to any government which may be set up in Germany, those German officers and men and members of the Nazi Party who have been responsible for or who have taken part in the above atrocities, massacres and executions, will be sent back to the countries in which their abominable deeds were done in order that they may be judged and punished according to the laws of those liberated countries and of the Free Governments which will be erected therein’.”
11 Arnold Toynbee,Experiences (London, Oxford University Press, 1969).12 General von Trogha issued an extermination order; water-holes were poisoned and the African peace emissaries were shot. In all, three quarters of the Herero Africans were killed by the Germans then colonizing present-day Namibia, and the Hereros were reduced from 80,000 to some 15,000 starving refugees. See P. Fraenk,The Namibians (London, Minority Rights Group, 1985).
13 At least 1 million, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany. The German Ambassador, Wangenheim, for example, on 7 July 1915 wrote "the government is indeed pursuing its goal of exterminating the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire" (Wilhelmstrasse archives). Though the successor Turkish Government helped to institute trials of a few of those responsible for the massacres at which they were found guilty, the present official Turkish contention is that genocide did not take place although there were many casualties and dispersals in the fighting, and that all the evidence to the contrary is forged. See, inter alia, Viscount Bryce and A. Toynbee,The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16 (London, HMSO, 1916): G. Chaliand and Y. Ternon,Genocide des Armeniens (Brussels, Complexe, 1980); H. Morgenthau,Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (New York, Doubleday, 1918); J. Lepsius,Deutschland und Armenien (Potsdam, 1921: shortly to be published in French by Fayard, Paris); R.G. Hovanissian,Armenia on the Road to Independence (Berkeley, University of California, 1967); Permanent People's Tribunal, A Crime of Silence (London, Zed Press, 1985); K. Gurun,Le Dossier Armenien (Ankara, Turkish Historical society, 1983); B. Simsir and others,Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul, Bogazici University Press, 1984); T. Ataov,A Brief Glance at the "Armenian Question" (Ankara, University Press, 1984); V. Goekjian, The Turks before the Court of History (New Jersey, Rosekeer Press, 1984); Commission of the Churches on International Affairs,Armenia, the Continuing Tragedy (Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1984); Foreign Policy Institute,The Armenian Issue (Ankara, F.P.I., 1982).14 Between 100,000 - 250,000 Jews were killed in 2,000 pogroms by Whites, Cossacks and Ukrainian nationalists. See Z. Katz ed.,Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities (New York, Free Press, 1975), p.362; A. Sachar,A History of the Jews (New York, Knopf, 1967).
15 The Tutsi minority government first liquidated the Hutu leadership in 1965, and then slaughtered between 100,000 and 300,000 Hutu in 1972. See Rene Lemarchand,Selective Genocide in Burundi (London, Minority Rights Group, 1974) and Leo Kuper,The Pity of it All (London, Duckworth, 1977).16 In 1974 the International League for the Rights of Man together with the Inter-American Association for Democracy and Freedom, charging the Government of Paraguay with complicity in genocide against the Ache (Guayaki Indians), alleged that the latter had been enslaved, tortured and massacred; that food and medicine had been denied them; and their children removed and sold. See Norman Lewis and others in Richard Arens ed.,Genocide in Paraguay (Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1976); and R. Arens "The Ache of Paraguay" in J. Porter,Genocide and Human Rights (op.cit.).17 It is estimated that at least 2 million people were killed by Pol Pot's Kher Rouge government of Democratic Kampuchea, out of a total population of 7 million. Even under the most restricted definition, this constituted genocide, since the victims included target groups such as the Chams (an Islamic minority) and the Buddhist monks. See Izvestia, 2 November 1978; F. Ponchaud,Cambodia Year Zero (London, Penguin Books, 1978); W. Shawcross,Sideshow; Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1979); V. Can and others,Kampuchea Dossier: The Dark Years (Hanoi,Viet Nam Courier, 1979); D. Hawk,The Cambodia Documentation Commission (New York, Columbia University, 1983); L. Kuper,International Action against Genocide (London, Minority Rights Group, 1984).18 See evidence presented to United Nations Human Rights Commission and Sub-Commission, 1981-1984, and R. Cooper,The Baha'is of Iran (London, Minority Rights Group, 1985).
56 United Kingdom Lord Chancellor’s Office, LCO 2.2978. See A. and J. Tusa, op.cit.
57 Telford Taylor, International Conciliation, No. 450 (April 1949).
58 It was made up of representatives of 17 nations – but had no Russian member. Stalin would only join if every Soviet Republic were given separate representation. This was refused.

E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6/Corr.1 29 August 1985
Original: ENGLISH
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Thirty-eighth session Item 4 of the provisional agenda
Revised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide Prepared by Mr. B. Whitaker

31. Paragraph 73, line 10: Between “acquitted” and “when”, insert the following: “The Turks also in 1919-20 held trials: not of ‘war criminals’ but of some of the Ottomans guilty of the Armenian genocide”.

United Nations War Crimes Commission Report

May 28, 1948
"...the warning given to the Turkish Government on this occasion by the Governments of the Triple Entente dealt precisely with one of the types of acts which the modern term 'crimes against humanity' is intended to cover, namely, inhumane acts committed by a government against its own subjects."

United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission on Human RightsReport Prepared by the United Nations War Crimes CommissionIn Accordance with the Request Received from the United NationsRestricted — E/CN.4/W.20 — 28 May 1948Information Concerning Human Rights Arising from Trials of War CriminalsII. Developments during the First World War1. The Massacres of the Armenians in TurkeyIn connection with the massacres of the Armenian population which occurred at the beginning of the First World War in Turkey, the Governments of France, Great Britain and Russia made a declaration, on 28 May 1915, denouncing them as "crimes against humanity and civilization" for which all the members of the Turkish Government would be held responsible, together with its agents implicated in the massacres. The relevant part of this declaration reads as follows:"En presénce de ces nouveaux crimes de la Turquie contre l'humanité et la civilisation, les Gouvernements alliés font savoir publiquement à la Sublime Porte qu'ils tiendront personnellement responsables des dits crimes tous les membres du Gouvernement ottoman ainsi que ceux de ces agents qui se trouveraient impliqués dans de pareils massacres."As will be shown later in more detail, the warning given to the Turkish Government on this occasion by the Governments of the Triple Entente dealt precisely with one of the types of acts which the modern term "crimes against humanity" is intended to cover, namely, inhumane acts committed by a government against its own subjects....The first peace treaty with Turkey, namely, the Treaty of Sèvres, signed on 10 August 1920, contained in addition to the provisions dealing with violations of the laws and customs of war [Articles 226-228 corresponding to Articles 228-230 of the Treaty of Versailles] a further provision, Article 230, by which the Turkish Government undertook to hand over to the Allied Powers the persons
responsible for the massacres committed during the war on Turkish territory. The relevant parts of this article read as follows:"The Turkish Government undertakes to hand over to the Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Turkish Empire on the 1st August, 1914.""The Allied Powers reserve to themselves the right to designate the Tribunal which shall try the persons so accused, and the Turkish Government undertakes to recognize such Tribunal.""In the event of the League of Nations having created in sufficient time a Tribunal competent to deal with the said massacres, the Allied Powers reserve to themselves the right to bring the accused persons mentioned above before such Tribunal, and the Turkish Government undertakes equally to recognize such Tribunal."The provisions of Article 230 of the Peace Treaty of Sèvres were obviously intended to cover, in conformity with the Allied note of 1915 referred to in the preceding section, offenses which had been committed on Turkish territory against persons of Turkish citizenship, though of Armenian or Greek race. This article constitutes therefore a precedent for Articles 6c and 5c of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charters, and offers an example of one of the categories of "crimes against humanity" as understood by these enactments.The Treaty of Sèvres was, however, not ratified and did not come into force. It was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24 July 1923, which did not contain provisions respecting the punishment of war crimes, but was accompanied by a "Declaration of Amnesty" for all offenses committed between 1 August 1914, and 20 November 1922.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Violent nationalism blights Turkey

Turkey is fiercely patriotic and proud of it. But the country's bid to join the European Union has sparked a nationalist backlash that has turned murderous, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford reports from Istanbul.

Writer Hrant Dink was the first victim, killed last year because some in Turkey could not tolerate what he stood for. To nationalists, he was a traitor.
In a country where every citizen is defined as a Turk, Hrant Dink defined himself as ethnic Armenian. That was already subversive to some. But Mr Dink went further.
He wrote about the expulsion and killing of hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Armenians from eastern Turkey in 1915. To Armenians, and others, that was genocide - a claim Ankara vigorously denies.

Hrant's cause
Hrant Dink was convicted of insulting the Turkish nation. That is a crime here. Nationalist protesters surrounded his office shouting "Love Turkey or leave it!" and he received hundreds of death threats.
Already low-profile, after Mr Dink's murder most Armenians retreated into scared silence. But almost two years on, his widow has decided to speak out.
"Hrant was really affected by those protests," Rakel says, fighting back tears. "After that, we said only a miracle could help us live here."
But the family stayed.
"Hrant could never abandon his cause," says Rakel, explaining that he wanted to convince Turkey that diversity and dissent were a strength, not a threat.
His killers disagreed.
"I don't know if I should say this, but the origins of this murder go back to 1915," Rakel says.
"An Armenian told the truth to the face of the Turkish state and the law. That's why Hrant was murdered. It offended them, it dishonoured them."

Critical flashpoints
To Turks, honour is everything. From childhood they learn of a glorious history: how a soldier - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - forged a new nation from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
To most, the allegation their ancestors were guilty of genocide is an unacceptable slur.
Turkey's justice minister underlined that view himself this week, defending his decision to allow the trial of another writer to proceed for referring to "genocide".
"The man describes Turkey as a murderer state," Mehmet Ali Sahin is quoted as saying.
It seems freedom of expression is no defence.
"That is why they were against Hrant," Rakel says. "They could not digest what he was writing about, even though he used very soft language."
But Turkey's drive to enter the EU has made nationalists feel threatened, and that has made them aggressive.
The Armenian issue, and the treatment of millions of Kurds in Turkey, have become critical flashpoints.

'Once-and-for-all fight'
Almost 50 writers have been brought to trial since May for insulting the nation.
"Democracy means questioning, it means self-critique - and this is the thing they [nationalists] would not like," explains Umut Ozkirimli, from Istanbul's Bilgi University.
"For them, when you start questioning things you become a traitor."
That is why Hrant Dink was murdered.
It is also why at least 20 writers in Istanbul are now living with bodyguards.
Oral Calislar is one of them. A close friend of Hrant Dink, he is also a well-known critic of the Turkish military - particularly its policy towards ethnic Kurds.
He has had dozens of death threats. Now, wherever he goes his armed guard goes with him.
"We want to change this country into a democratic country and the EU accession process is important for that," the journalist says.
"I think because of that, some powers in the state want to shut our mouths."
Mr Calislar is sure Mr Dink's murder is part of a far broader resistance to reform. He sees that deep within institutions of the Turkish state; groups clinging to power - and to their own vision of the republic.
"This is a once-and-for-all fight. It's been going on in the closet for 80 years, between those who want change and those who don't," Mr Ozkirimli agrees.
"If the whole project of EU membership goes away, [then] the democratic forces will lose, and forever," he adds.

'Ergenekon' trial
In that battle for democracy, Hrant Dink was on the frontline. Now there is another sign the fight will be fierce.
Eighty ultra-nationalists are currently on trial just outside Istanbul, accused of plotting to overthrow the government and block democratic reforms.
The prosecutor claims the group - known as Ergenekon - planned a campaign of murder and violence. It was meant to create chaos - and force the military to step in and take control.
Hrant Dink believed Turkey could change. His vision was of a truly democratic republic and the EU accession process was a vital part of that.
To his widow, such change now looks a long way off.
"[Turkey] doesn't want people to express their ethnic identity, or live freely. That doesn't fit the founding ideas of this country,” Rakel says.
"Turkey needs time to adjust. The EU process may help, but my husband's death is their biggest loss."

Watch the video

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Turkish Americans Bribe Republicans To Deny Armenian Genocide

Watch the video

And it's just a little drop of Turkish "work" for the sake of the denial of the first Holocaust of the 20th century.
The fact CANNOT BE HIDDEN with the help of dirty money!
Numerous historical documents CANNOT BE "EATEN" OR BURNT by those who deny Armenian Genocide!

Confronting Turkey's Armenian Genocide

Weekend Edition
October 14-15, 2006

"Suddenly, Those Armenian Graves Opened Up Before My Own Eyes"

Confronting Turkey's Armenian Genocide


This has been a bad week for Holocaust deniers. I'm talking about those who wilfully lie about the 1915 genocide of 1.5 million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turks. On Thursday, France's lower house of parliament approved a Bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide. And, within an hour, Turkey's most celebrated writer, Orhan Pamuk--only recently cleared by a Turkish court for insulting "Turkishness" (sic) by telling a Swiss newspaper that nobody in Turkey dared mention the Arm! enian massacres--won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In the mass graves below the deserts of Syria and beneath the soil of southern Turkey, a few souls may have been comforted.
While Turkey continues to blather on about its innocence--the systematic killing of hundreds of thousands of male Armenians and of their gang-raped women is supposed to be the sad result of "civil war"--Armenian historians such as Vahakn Dadrian continue to unearth new evidence of the premeditated Holocaust (and, yes, it will deserve its capital H since it was the direct precursor of the Jewish Holocaust, some of whose Nazi architects were in Turkey in 1915) with all the energy of a gravedigger.
Armenian victims were killed with daggers, swords, hammers and axes to save ammunition. Massive drowning operations were carried out in the Black Sea and the Euphrates rivers--mostly of women and children, so many that the Euphrates became clogged with corpses and changed its course for up ! to half a mile. But Dadrian, who speaks and reads Turkish fluently, ha s now discovered that tens of thousands of Armenians were also burned alive in haylofts.
He has produced an affidavit to the Turkish court martial that briefly pursued the Turkish mass murderers after the First World War, a document written by General Mehmet Vehip Pasha, commander of the Turkish Third Army. He testified that, when he visited the Armenian village of Chourig (it means "little water" in Armenian), he found all the houses packed with burned human skeletons, so tightly packed that all were standing upright. "In all the history of Islam," General Vehip wrote, "it is not possible to find any parallel to such savagery."
The Armenian Holocaust, now so "unmentionable" in Turkey, was no secret to the country's population in 1918. Millions of Muslim Turks had witnessed the mass deportation of Armenians three years earlier--a few, with infinite courage, protected Armenian neighbours and friends at the risk of the lives of their own Muslim families--and, o! n 19 October 1918, Ahmed Riza, the elected president of the Turkish senate and a former supporter of the Young Turk leaders who committed the genocide, stated in his inaugural speech: "Let's face it, we Turks savagely (vahshiane in Turkish) killed off the Armenians."
Dadrian has detailed how two parallel sets of orders were issued, Nazi-style, by Turkish interior minister Talat Pasha. One set solicitously ordered the provision of bread, olives and protection for Armenian deportees but a parallel set instructed Turkish officials to "proceed with your mission" as soon as the deportee convoys were far enough away from population centres for there to be few witnesses to murder. As Turkish senator Reshid Akif Pasha testified on 19 November 1918: "The 'mission' in the circular was: to attack the convoys and massacre the population... I am ashamed as a Muslim, I am ashamed as an Ottoman statesman. What a stain on the reputation of the Ottoman Empire, these criminal people..! ."
How extraordinary that Turkish dignitaries could speak such truths in 1918, could fully admit in their own parliament to the genocide of the Armenians and could read editorials in Turkish newspapers of the great crimes committed against this Christian people. Yet how much more extraordinary that their successors today maintain that all of this is a myth, that anyone who says in present-day Istanbul what the men of 1918 admitted can find themselves facing prosecution under the notorious Law 301 for "defaming" Turkey.
I'm not sure that Holocaust deniers--of the anti-Armenian or anti-Semitic variety--should be taken to court for their rantings. David Irving is a particularly unpleasant "martyr" for freedom of speech and I am not at all certain that Bernard Lewis's one-franc fine by a French court for denying the Armenian genocide in a November 1993 Le Monde article did anything more than give publicity to an elderly historian whose work deteriorates with the years.
But it's gratifying to find French President Jacques Chi! rac and his interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy have both announced that Turkey will have to recognise the Armenian death as genocide before it is allowed to join the European Union. True, France has a powerful half-million-strong Armenian community.
But, typically, no such courage has been demonstrated by Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara, nor by the EU itself, which gutlessly and childishly commented that the new French Bill, if passed by the senate in Paris, will "prohibit dialogue" which is necessary for reconciliation between Turkey and modern-day Armenia. What is the subtext of this, I wonder. No more talk of the Jewish Holocaust lest we hinder "reconciliation" between Germany and the Jews of Europe?
But, suddenly, last week, those Armenian mass graves opened up before my own eyes. Next month, my Turkish publishers are producing my book, The Great War for Civilisation, in the Turkish language, complete with its long chapter on the Armenian genocide entitled "The ! First Holocaust". On Thursday, I received a fax from Agora Books in Is tanbul. Their lawyers, it said, believed it "very likely that they will be sued under Law 301"--which forbids the defaming of Turkey and which right-wing lawyers tried to use against Pamuk--but that, as a foreigner, I would be "out of reach". However, if I wished, I could apply to the court to be included in any Turkish trial.
Personally, I doubt if the Holocaust deniers of Turkey will dare to touch us. But, if they try, it will be an honour to stand in the dock with my Turkish publishers, to denounce a genocide which even Mustafa Kamel Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state, condemned.

Robert Fisk is a reporter for The Independent and author of Pity the Nation. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's collection, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. Fisk's new book is The Conquest of the Middle East.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A people killed twice

It is the forgotten 20th-century catastrophe. In 1915, under cover of world war, Ottoman Turks wiped out a third of the Armenian population. To this day, Turkey denies blame - and, behind it, Britain stands firm among a dwindling band of nations that fail to acknowledge the massacres were genocide

Julia Pascal
The Guardian, Saturday January 27 2001
Article history

Today is Britain's first Holocaust Day, and already the row has started. January 27, Auschwitz's Liberation Day, is the symbolic memorial for the Jewish holocaust, and that will be the focus of a ceremony in Whitehall. The genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda will also be remembered. But what about the Armenians, whose holocaust was the first of the bloody 20th century? Originally they were to be excluded from the ceremony entirely. Following intensive pressure, the government has made a concession: a few Armenians have been invited to the event, and mention will be made of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in 1915. This immediately provoked an angry reaction from the Turks - without satisfying the Armenians who were planning to hold a silent vigil in protest outside the Home Office on the night before the ceremony.
At the end of 1999, there was a collective feeling that the year 2000 would begin with a clean slate: the Jewish holocaust was part of the past century. That changed when the new millennium brought with it the David Irving trial, plunging British law into the sensitive area of holocaust-denial. Currently, Jewish writers and historians are making connections between holocaust deniers such as Irving and Turkey's refusal to accept the bloody anti-Armenian policies of the Ottoman Empire. And, across the sweep of the century, a real link between the Armenian and Jewish genocides becomes clear. Just as Hitler wanted a Nazi-dominated world that would be Judenrein (cleansed of its Jews), so in 1915 the Ottoman Empire wanted to construct a Turkic Muslim empire that would stretch from Istanbul to Manchuria. Armenia, an ancient Christian civilisation spreading out from the eastern end of the Black Sea, did not not fit into the plan. In a terrible coincidence, both Jews and Armenians lost a third of their population through genocide. Both are still recovering.
Already, at the end of the 19th century, Ottoman Turks had murdered between 100,000 and 250,000 Armenians. We can now see that these pogroms were a warning of what was to happen in 1915. Tens of thousands fled. In 1901, Protestant missionary Theresa Huntington Ziegler chronicled a massive haemorrhaging of Armenians towards France, Egypt, Lebanon, South America, Palestine and the Sudan. Today, the majority of diaspora Armenians live in California.
Who exactly are the Armenians? Their language is Indo-European and their culture dates back to more than 2,000 years BC. In AD303, as an act of collective identity against assimilation by the Persians, they were the first nation to declare Christianity a state religion. St Mesrob Mashtots is their literary hero. He created the 36-letter Armenian alphabet in AD405. Armenian culture is a multilayered heritage of music, dance, theatre, literature and extraordinary poetry. Armenia was an independent state in medieval times but was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, from the 15th century right up until 1920 when it was briefly declared a republic. Two years later much of it became part of the USSR; now - with the break-up of the Soviet Union - there is once again a Republic of Armenia. The entire diaspora speaks western Armenian; only those living in this independent homeland of Armenia speak eastern Armenian, with its structural and phonological differences.
A certain amount of romance has surrounded Armenian culture since the 19th century. Lord Byron went to Venice to study Armenian in the belief that "Armenian is the language to speak with God". William Gladstone said, "to serve Armenia is to serve civilisation". But, of course, geography is all. Armenia, in 1914, was uncomfortably sandwiched between the warring sides of Tsarist Russia and the sultanate of Mohammed V. In the first world war, conscripted Russian and Turkish Armenians, just like German and British Jews, were fighting their own cousins in the trenches.
At the beginning of the last century, civil rights for European minorities became a serious issue. A modernisation of the Ottoman Empire was promised by the 1908 revolutionary movement of Young Turks, and Turkish Armenians hoped for equality. In fact, the Young Turks continued to target Armenians and other non-Muslims. As Sultan Abdul Hamid II put it, at the beginning of the century, "The way to get rid of the Armenian Question is to get rid of the Armenians."
In 1915, the Young Turks, who had deposed the old sultan, carried out a systematic final solution, through mass shootings, concentration camps, starvation, abandonment in the desert, even gassing and mass deportation. This happened despite conscription, the year before, of 250,000 Armenians into the Turkish army. Christopher Walker and David Marshall Lang, writing for a journal in the Minority Rights Group series, detail Armenian loyalty to the Empire during the first world war: "When the Turkish war minister, Enver Pasha, was defeated by the Russians, it was the Armenian soldiers who saved him from being killed or captured by Tsarist forces." But, remembering the 1896 assassinations and recent pogroms, some Armenians joined the enemy Tsarist armies as volunteers. This helped the Ottomans portray the Armenians as a dangerous fifth column.
By 1915, all Armenians had been forced to give up personal firearms. Armenians in the Ottoman army were assembled into labour battalions where they were starved, beaten or machine-gunned. On April 24, 1915, more than 300 Istanbul Armenian intellectuals were arrested and then murdered in a mini Katyn. This included MPs in the Turkish parliament. The Armenian community was now without able-bodied men and intellectuals. This lack of leadership was to have a profound political and emotional effect on the survivors. The loss is felt even today.
Memories from this genocide make gruelling reading. There are stories of women's breasts being cut off. Others were systematically raped and then murdered. Some were taken to harems and disappeared. In every province, town and village of Turkish Armenia and Asia Minor, the entire Armenian population was rounded up. The men were usually shot, and the women and children forced to walk in huge convoys to the Syrian desert. Even today, skeletons are still found from this journey to hell. Few survived the death marches. Those who did get through made sure their experiences were passed down to children and grandchildren.
Dr Susan Pattie, senior research fellow at University College London, is a 50-year-old US-born anthropologist. Her family was deported from the town of Kessab on the Turkish/Syrian border in 1915. Two of her grandmother's children died on the death marches and two more were taken away by Turks. (Many Armenian children were used as slave workers, others were adopted and converted; the rest disappeared.)
Pattie, who grew up in Washington DC, has been profoundly affected by her grandmother's early tragedy. "Although my father was American-English and my schoolfriends were mainly Jewish, I totally identified as Armenian, particularly as my grandmother lived with us. We were told about the deportation when we were growing up. It was part of being Armenian."
Genocide was decided at government level. Locally, gendarmes carried out the mass murders together with a special organisation (Teshkilat-i Mahsusa) of convicted criminals who had been offered a pardon in return for slaughtering Armenians. Survivors from the death marches were held in the infamous Syrian open-air concentration camp of Deir el-Zor, where many were murdered by camp guards.
Death came in various ways. In Trebizond, local Armenians were pushed on to boats then thrown overboard. Others were hurled off the edge of a gorge. Before 1914, more than two million Armenians lived in Turkey. After the genocide, only 500,000 remained, destined to become refugees in what was to become known as the Armenian diaspora.
Talaat Pasha, Ottoman minister of the interior, was the genocide's main architect. He wrote, "By continuing the deportation of the orphans to their destinations during the intense cold, we are ensuring their eternal rest." This uncannily prefigures the Nazis' welcoming of the Jews to Auschwitz with the sardonic words, "Now you are on the road to Paradise."
Jews bore witness to the Armenian holocaust from the start. Henry Morgenthau, a German-born Jew and America's ambassador to Turkey, protested fiercely to the US government in an attempt to force its intervention. Writing in the Red Cross Magazine in March 1918, he said, "None of the fearful horrors perpetrated in the various zones of war can compare with the tragic lot of the Armenians." Morgenthau has become a hero to the Armenians. But Jewish sympathy did not provoke any international aid for the Armenians, whose extermination was being veiled under cover of war.
After the war, France and Britain were anxious to seize whatever territory they could from the 1918 dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. Palestine was to become a British mandate, the French took Syria and Lebanon. The fate of the Armenians was of little interest to the imperialist powers. In a 1915 dispatch, the Times war correspondent, J Norman, writes of "husbands mourning their dishonoured wives, parents their murdered children, churches despoiled, graves dug up, young of both sexes carried off". He describes men being forced to dig trenches for their own graves. These are disturbingly prophetic images of events 26 years later, when the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union forced Jews to do the same.
Turkey has never admitted to the genocide, but there are too many independent witnesses for its denial to be credible. The Reverend Henry H Riggs was an American missionary in the Ottoman Empire. His book, Days Of Tragedy In Armenia, is one of the most detailed genocide histories in English. The US National Archives have information on the slaughter and deportations on file and open to the public. There is even protest from Mehmet Sherif Pasha, former Turkish envoy to Sweden. Writing to the New York Times in 1921, he says, "The Armenian atrocities perpetrated under the present regime surpass the savagery of Genghis Khan and Tamburlaine." Dr E Lovejoy of the executive board of the American Women's Hospital wrote to the Times, "I was the first American Red Cross woman in France, but what I saw there during the Great War seems a love feast beside the horrors of Smyrna. When I arrived at Smyrna there were massed on the quays 250,000 wretched, suffering and screaming women beaten and with their clothes torn off, families separated and everybody robbed."
The problem is that guilt admission sometimes takes centuries. The Vatican has taken nearly 1,000 years to apologise for the Crusades. Even in Britain, particular archives from both world wars remain closed, so it should be no surprise that the Turks are equally secretive. Historian Ara Sarafian notes how Ottoman archives fail to detail "abandoned" private properties or any compensation paid to individuals for "resettlement". He also details how "no such records have emerged on the actual 'resettlement' [a euphemism for death] of the hundreds of thousands of Armenians deported during this period". As recently as 1990, Turkey's ambassador to the US, Nuzhet Kandemir, claimed the Armenian deaths were, "a result of a tragic civil war initiated by Armenian nationalists".
Public Armenian protest did not emerge until the 60s. Until then, survivors were too busy picking up their lives to start retribution claims. When recognition of the Jewish holocaust gradually filtered into the popular imagination in the 70s and 80s, the Armenians felt that their story was being upstaged, especially as constant Turkish denial helped bleach out the facts.
In the late 70s and early 80s, the Armenian liberation army (ASALA) assassinated Turkish diplomats to focus media attention on the Armenian genocide. In July 1983, a Turkish diplomat was killed in Brussels. In Paris, six people died and 48 were wounded when a bomb exploded in front of the Turkish Airlines' check-in desk at Orly airport. ASALA killed 39 diplomats in a decade. Many of the gunmen were trained in Libya and had Palestinian connections. The Armenians have, at different times, identified with both Palestinians and Jews.
At a conference held in Lausanne in 1983, 200 Armenians met to discuss the creation of an independent Armenian state in northeastern Turkey; a country that might extend into Soviet Armenia. These Armenians described themselves as "something halfway between the World Jewish Congress and the Palestine National Council". Their dream may have seemed utopian, but the idea of a Jewish homeland also appeared unrealistic at the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897. Although the Lausanne conference did not lead to direct political action, the assassinations stopped. Since then, the battle for who writes Armenian history has intensified, and the Armenians are beginning to gain ground.
In 1985, the UN Committee on Human Rights published a report declaring the Ottoman Empire responsible for the massacres of the Armenians in 1915 and 1916. Two years later, the Council of Europe agreed that Turkey's refusal to recognise the genocide was an insurmountable obstacle to Turkey's admission to the EU. By the end of 2000, the European Parliament, France, Sweden, the Vatican and Italy finally acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Of the major powers, only the US, Canada and Britain still hold back. There are too many conflicting interests at stake. Turkey, for instance, threatened to deny the US use of its air bases if President Clinton agreed formally to accept the massacres as a genocide.
Perhaps the Armenians' best hope is allegiance with the Jews, who have learnt the importance of stubbornly pursuing justice. They certainly have Jewish allies. But Jewish solidarity is not always certain. Turkey is one of Israel's few Muslim allies and the Israeli state has not wanted to alienate the Turks. Enlightened Jews in the diaspora are less circumspect. In 1988, the Israeli Knesset signed a statement acknowledging the Armenian massacres during the first world war without mentioning Turkey, whereas in the US the Jewish Reform movement condemned the Ottoman Turks for "one of the most shameful events in history".
Recently, Israeli political priorities have shifted. Since the current intifada, the Israeli/ Palestinian struggle for Jerusalem has intensified. Israelis have traditionally appreciated Turkey's support, but they may now need Armenian sympathy even more: a sixth of non-Jewish, non-Arab Jerusalem is in Armenian hands.
Israel's internal power shifts also change the perspective. In 1989, rightwing prime minister Yitzhak Shamir called the commemoration of the Armenian genocide "not our business". The Israeli left is usually more sensitive. The Jerusalem Post is highly critical of Turkey's genocide denial: "Turkey should be advised that the attempt by the old Ottoman rulers back in 1915 to make the 'traitorous' Armenians into authors of their own misfortune does not serve well as the basis of contemporary relations." Jewish historians are alert to the fact that the murder of Armenians was helped by German officers and that Hitler saw the Armenian genocide as an inspiration for the Final Solution. They also know that denying the Armenian massacres is only one small step away from denying the destruction of the Jews.
In 1995, Israel's education minister, Ammon Rubinstein, wanted to include the Armenian genocide in the school curriculum. But this was rejected by Hebrew University historian Michel Abithol and other "experts", who declared the Ottoman critique "one-sided". Armenian historians counter-attack: "Is there another side to Hitler who gassed the Jews?" Some Israelis are reluctant to ally themselves publicly, fearing that an emphasis on the Armenian genocide might detract from the uniqueness of the Jewish holocaust, as if there is some crazy competition about who suffered the most.
For the Turks, the problem is enormous. An acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide might result in land claims and reparations. They have only to look at recent German and Swiss history to take fright. It is no surprise, then, that they try to control who writes history. Turkey has offered funding for academic programmes in the universities of Princeton and Georgetown. Three years ago, UCLA's history department voted to reject a $1m offer to endow a programme in Turkish and Ottoman studies because it was conditional on their denying the Armenian genocide. Professor Colin Tatz, director for the Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia, claims that Turkey has used "a mix of academic sophistication and diplomatic thuggery . . . to put both memory and history into reverse gear".
The argument over who controls history continues, even on the internet. In August, the Turkish government tried to suppress a Microsoft online encyclopedia entry. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the Turkish government threatened Microsoft with serious reprisals unless all mention of the Armenian genocide was removed. Authors Ronald Grigor Suny and Helen Fein refused to give in.
As for Jews in Turkey, their history has been easier than that of their cousins in Christian countries. Certainly, they have reason to be grateful to a land that welcomed them after expulsion by the 1492 Spanish Inquisition. Turkish Jews were a large pre-war minority in Turkey who felt a natural sympathy with Armenians. In the larger cities, both were considered a privileged, educated elite who, together with the Greeks, succeeded in business, culture and politics. They also had reason to thank their host country in the second world war.
Sixty-five-year-old Turkish Jewish novelist, Moris Farhi, now lives in London. He learnt about the Armenian genocide when his family was living in Ankara and they took in two penniless survivors from the death marches. Farhi remembers, "an apocryphal story that Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state, was a Jew, as he was born in the very Jewish city of Salonika. In 1933, Ataturk offered asylum to Jews and leftwingers persecuted by Hitler. Thousands came to Turkey."
But under Ismet Inonu's government in 1942, a new crippling wealth tax was imposed on non-Muslims. Farhi's father was breaking stones in a workcamp as punishment for his inability to pay these astronomical taxes. Despite family poverty, Farhi remembers never being hungry as food was offered by sympathetic neighbours.
The majority of Turks remained ignorant of the genocide while it was happening, and have since. Mehmet Ergen, a 34-year-old London-based Turkish theatre director, confirms, "In our Turkish schools we never learnt about our history. The Armenian massacre was never mentioned. In London I heard that the Kurds were told that if they killed the Armenians they could take their lands. So they did, and then the Turks killed the Kurds." Ergen, a multiculturalist, laments Turkey's denial of "its own historical mosaic". He says, "even Turkish theatre owes its birth to Armenian writers and actors. Armenian, Greek and Jewish culture has vanished, and Turkey is the loser."
If the genocide is now a central focus for Armenians, is this dangerous? Surely to fixate on disaster defines a people through destruction rather than achievement: as if the holocaust, Jewish or Armenian, becomes a new quasi religion. The majority of Jews and Armenians are not religious. They do not live in Israel or Armenia. If they don't adhere to their faith, then what makes them Jews or Armenians, particularly when so many are marrying out? These two holocausts remain like a terrible icon dominating the present as well as the past.
The problem is that there has been no proper mourning. As psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor Bruno Bettelheim said, a people cannot move on if it has not buried its dead. And the Armenians, as well as the Jews, had no bodies to bury. Therefore the unmourned are carried around in the psyches of the survivors and transmitted to children and grandchildren rather like ghosts. Sometimes the survivors are guilty of reconstructing so quickly that they forget to mourn. Israel's choice of Modern Hebrew as the new language for the new Jews and its total abnegation of Yiddish was expedient. It was a deliberate act to end the stereotype of the Yiddish-speaking ghetto Jew forced into the gas chamber. But the loss of the language has also meant the assassination of a wealthy culture. Two generations have already lost their grandparents' Yiddish heritage. In contrast, the Armenians have carried their language with them into the diaspora as a deliberate act of resistance.
Ani King-Underwood, a Beirut-born Armenian documentary film-maker, still owns the deeds to her family's Turkish property. Her mother was 40 days old when the family left during the deportations with Nansen papers (Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian diplomat, explorer and 1922 Nobel peace prize winner, a kind of early Raoul Wallenberg, who provided an escape for 300,000 Armenians using League of Nations documents). The British refused Ani's family entry into Palestine or Egypt, but finally permitted them to live in camps on Cyprus. Her 23-year-old law student son, Gregory, has an English father but is a fluent Armenian speaker. He takes an active part in the Armenian community and promotes the young Armenians' website, www. Here, the group RBO Unlimited have produced a rap song about the genocide.
Living here, does he feel a dual allegiance? "Very much so. I am a British Armenian, but perhaps more British. I play rugby. I drink beer. I'm proud of being British. It's multicultural." So what does being Armenian mean? "Armenia is not a nation. It's a culture. It's an idea in our heads." His mother interjects. "When he was a baby, I had him baptised. Not as a Christian but as an Armenian."
Secular Jews and Armenians both fuse religion with cultural identity but, even if they share the trauma of genocide, this does not automatically lead to solidarity. Are Armenians sometimes jealous of Jews? "Yes," says Gregory, "the Jews have been very good at marketing the holocaust. And it is a good thing." Synthesising the argument historically, Gregory says, "the problem is that the British were fighting the Nazis. Some liberated Belsen. They saw what was done to the Jews. But no outsider liberated us. The only people who know about the Armenian genocide are the Armenians and the Turks."
Clearly, the victims of both atrocities seek atonement from the murder state. German guilt-admission makes it easier for Jews to talk to Germans and even to work together. The process has to be gone through psychotherapeutically, by discussion and confrontation.
Then there is always revenge. In 1921, the Ottoman Hitler, Talaat Pasha, was assassinated by the Armenian Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin. The agent of retribution was released on grounds of temporary insanity and lived out his days as a hero in the Armenian paradise of California. There were similar murders of former Ottoman leaders in Rome and Tbilisi, Georgia. In March 1943, Talaat Pasha's remains were sent by Hitler from Berlin as a gift to the Turkish government. They were reinterred on Turkey's Hill of Liberty in a ceremony attended by the representatives of Hitler's ambassador to Turkey. Although Armenians are Christians, they are not turning the other cheek.
Reverend Dr Nerses Nersessian, an Iranian-born Armenian scholar and priest, is the curator of the Hebrew and Christian Middle East section at the British Library. His Christian name is Vrej, a very popular first name for boys. Vrej means "revenge".
Turkish-born Armenian author, Agop Hacikyan has written A Summer Without Dawn. The book is based on the experiences of his grandparents, who fled to Jerusalem during the genocide before returning to Turkey in 1920. In 1955, Hacikyan was called up and spent 18 months in Izmir as a translator between the Turkish Port Detachment and Nato. As a soldier in uniform, he remembers stopping to go to the public toilet. Looking down, he saw that the urinal had been constructed from Armenian gravestones. Forty years after the mass murders, Turks were happily making people urinate on Armenian graves. He now lives in Canada, which has a large Armenian community. Here, there are very few - shamefully, only 200 Armenians were allowed to immigrate to Britain between the wars, whereas France absorbed 63,000.
As the century ended, the Armenian Shoah seemed to fade out of public consciousness. There seemed to be just too many genocides to absorb.
On July 26 last year, a group of British parliamentarians from both houses petitioned Tony Blair to recognise the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The government refused - and the concession concerning today's Holocaust Day ceremony does not alter that. But the problem will not go away and, if prominent supporters of the Armenian cause are championing their case in the US and Israel, the debate is surely going to take root here. On September 27, eminent British Jewish historian Sir Martin Gilbert talked publicly about the Armenian genocide at Washington's Holocaust Museum in a deliberate attempt to push the issue deeper into Jewish consciousness.
As Thomas Bürgenthal, an Auschwitz survivor, lawyer and member of the UN Human Rights Committee, says, "I don't know why the Turks can't admit it, express sorrow and go on. That is the worst. You do all these things to the victim and then you say it never happened. That is killing them twice."