Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Turks are freaking out because Obama appointed Samantha Power to be senior Director

Samantha Power gets a top White House job, backs Armenian claims

Hurriyet Daily News Online,
31 January 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Samantha Power to a senior foreign policy job at the White House. Power supports the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents, a move likely to create concern in Turkey.Officials familiar with the decision told the Associated Press that Obama has tapped Power to be senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council. Power has resigned from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" and made some pro-Israel activists unhappy with her past criticism of Israel. Her new post will require close contact and potential travel with the Secretary of State Clinton.Power is an expert on human rights and foreign policy. She is currently a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.She also known as a fierce supporter of the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents.The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.MOST PRO-ARMENIA ADMINISTRATIONThe new US administration became the most pro-Armenian claims administration in the history with the appointment of Power, Hurriyet daily reported on Saturday.Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents during the election campaign. Vice President Joseph Biden, Clinton and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also support Armenian claims.Also the new director of CIA, Leon Panetta, also backs the Armenian claims on this highly controversial issue on which the historians and experts are divided.Hurriyet said it is worried that Obama will use the term "genocide" in his statement on April 24 or a new legislation will be pushed to the Congress to recognize the Armenian claims, such moves likely to spark crisis between Ankara and Washington.


Genocide against Armenians, the "Great Catastrophe" of 1915-1922

"There are times, young fellah, when every one of us must make a stand for human right and justice, or you never feel clean again." Lord John Roxton in The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

1915 to 1922


Muslim government

Armenian and other Christians

Number of victims
1.5 million Armenian Christians; unknown number of Greek Christians and Assyrians

The Genocide:
"The [Christian] Armenian genocide of 1915-1916 effectively wiped out the Armenian population of Turkey, claiming some 1.5 million victims. Perhaps 75,000 Armenians endure in Turkey today, most of them in Istanbul." 1
"The Armenian Genocide occurred in a systematic fashion, which proves that it was directed by the Turkish government." This was the Ittihat ve Terakki government -- also known as the "Young Turks" -- of the Ottoman Empire.
"First the Armenians in the army were disarmed, placed into labor battalions, and then killed. Then the Armenian political and intellectual leaders were rounded up on [1915-]April 24 and killed. Finally, the remaining Armenians were rounded up, told they would be relocated, and then marched off to concentration camps in the desert between Jerablus and Deir ez-Zor where they would starve and thirst to death in the burning sun...The authorities in Trebizond, on the Black Sea coast, did vary this routine: they loaded Armenians on barges and sank them far out at sea." 2
Although the main victims of this genocide were Armenian Christians, the approximately five million Greek Christians living in Turkey at the start of World War I were also targeted for programs of deportation, forced marches leading to extermination, and ethnic cleansing. These victims have been almost entirely forgotten. They include Greek Orthodox victims living along the Anatolian coast in 1914, at Adrianople, Constatinople and Smyra during 1916, in Ordou in 1918, etc.
By 1923, Greece had received about a million refugees - mostly elderly and children Christians. Able-bodied adults did not make it to safety.
Mustafa Kemel, the founder of modern Turkey in 1923 , who later took the name of Ataturk, spoke openly about the genocide, calling it an "abomination of the past." However, the history books of current and past governments of Turkey have either denied that the genocide actually happened, or suggested that typhoid, the Russians and the Germans were responsible for massive loss of life. The use of the term "genocide" is "categorically unacceptable," according to Yüksel Söylemez, the chairman of a group of former Turkish ambassadors. Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer said the accusations of genocide are baseless and that they "upset and hurt the feelings of the Turkish nation."
Recent acknowledgments of the genocide:
Some have suggested that Turkish government's unwillingness to admit to the past atrocity by its predecessor may threaten its prospects for its future membership in the European Union. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said:
"I believe that when the time comes, Turkey should come to terms with its past, be reconciled with its own history and recognize this tragedy. This is an issue that we will raise during the negotiation process. We will have about 10 years to do so and the Turks will have about 10 years to ponder their answer." 7
Developments 2001-now:
2001-JAN-18: France passed a law branding as genocide the mass murder of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.
2005-JUN: Another resolution will be voted upon in 2005-JUN in the German Bundestag.
2005-APR-24: The 90th anniversary of the genocide was observed. All survivors of the genocide will probably have died by the time of the next decennial remembrance.
2005-MAR: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leader Deniz Baykal agreed to address the past. The Prime Minister noted that the state archives in Ankara and Istanbul are open to everyone. He said that an independent entity -- like UNESCO -- might participate in an historical fact-finding mission.
2008-SEP: In a dramatic move President Sargsyan of Armenia invited President Gul of Turkey to Armenia to watch a World Cup qualifier between their two soccer teams. This was followed by representatives of the two states meeting to discuss opening their border, establishing diplomatic relations, and generally improving tensions between the countries.
2008-DEC-07: CNN presented a special program anchored by their Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour called "Scream Bloody Murder." It described various genocides thorough history with an emphasis on those who witnessed the atrocities, tried to stop them, and were ignored by the world. Ara Khachatourian of Armenia was critical of the relative lack of coverage of the Armenian genocide, and commented:
"Amanpour’s 'Scream Bloody Murder' is an important piece of journalism as it asks the very critical questions that could have prevented so many acts of Genocide. In its reporting, Amanpour is also very adept at pointing to US complicity in all these events, much like Samantha Power was in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book 'A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide'." 8.9
2008-DEC-12: a group of about 200 Turkish academics, journalists, writers, artists, and other public figures sent an open letter to Abdullah Gul, the President of Turkey, urging him to recognize the mass murder as a genocide. issued an apology via the Internet for the genocide. This event has been generally acknowledged by historians outside of Turkey The intellectuals described the event as the "Great Catastrophe" and acknowledged that it was a "genocide." The letter said, in part:
"The new situation formed in the South Caucasus as a result of the latest events, the bold step of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to invite you to Yerevan and the meeting held reaffirm that establishing good-neighborly relations between Armenia and Turkey requires courageous and realistic solutions. First of all we face the knotty issue of the Armenian Genocide. ... The new situation formed in the South Caucasus as a result of the latest events, the bold step of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to invite you to Yerevan and the meeting held reaffirm that establishing good-neighborly relations between Armenia and Turkey requires courageous and realistic solutions. First of all we face the knotty issue of the Armenian Genocide"According to Pakrat Estukian, editor of the Istanbul-based Armenian-Turkish newspaper, Agos, each of the signatories of the petition were not pressured to sign. They did it only after "... listening to the voice of their conscience." 10

References used:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Genocide history brief," at:
"The Armenian Genocide," at:
Sofia Kontogeorge Kostos, "Before the Silence," at:
"Memories from Smyrni - 1900 - 1922," at:
Roberto Lopes, "The Hellenic Genocide," at:
Bernhard Zand, "Armenian Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On," Der Spiegel, 2005-APR-25. at:
"Turkey 'must admit Armenia dead;," BBC News, 2004-DEC-13, at:
Ara Khachatourian, "Documented omission: CNN special report ignores Armenian history on genocide," Armenia, 2008-DEC-05, at:
Samantha Power "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," Harper Perennial, (2007). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book review by Shawn Carkonen:
"During the three years (1993-1996) Samantha Power spent covering the grisly events in Bosnia and Srebrenica, she became increasingly frustrated with how little the United States was willing to do to counteract the genocide occurring there. After much research, she discovered a pattern: "The United States had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred," she writes in this impressive book. Debunking the notion that U.S. leaders were unaware of the horrors as they were occurring against Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Iraqi Kurds, Rwandan Tutsis, and Bosnians during the past century, Power discusses how much was known and when, and argues that much human suffering could have been alleviated through a greater effort by the U.S. She does not claim that the U.S. alone could have prevented such horrors, but does make a convincing case that even a modest effort would have had significant impact. Based on declassified information, private papers, and interviews with more than 300 American policymakers, Power makes it clear that a lack of political will was the most significant factor for this failure to intervene. Some courageous U.S. leaders did work to combat and call attention to ethnic cleansing as it occurred, but the vast majority of politicians and diplomats ignored the issue, as did the American public, leading Power to note that "no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on." This powerful book is a call to make such indifference a thing of the past."
Gayane Mkrtchyan, "Appeals for Genocide recognition: Intellectuals in Armenia, Turkey address 1915 events," Armenia Now, 2008-DEC-12, at:

The U.S. and Turkey: Honesty Is the Best Policy

By Samantha Power
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007

Ninety-two years ago, the "Young Turk" regime ordered the executions of Armenian civic leaders and intellectuals, and Turkish soldiers and militia forced the Armenian population to march into the desert, where more than a million died by bayonet or starvation. That horror helped galvanize Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew, to invent the word genocide, which was defined not as the extermination of an entire group but rather as a systematic effort to destroy a group. Lemkin wanted the term — and the international legal convention that grew out of it — to encompass ethnic cleansing and the murdering of a substantial part of a group. Otherwise, he feared, the world would wait until an entire group had been wiped out before taking any action.
But this month in Washington these historical truths — about events carried out on another continent, in another century — are igniting controversy among politicians as if the harms were unsubstantiated, local and recent. At stake, of course, is the question of whether the U.S. House of Representatives should offend Turkey by passing a resolution condemning the "Armenian genocide" of 1915.
All actors in the debate are playing the roles they have played for decades. Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit warned that if the House proceeds with a vote, "our military ties with the U.S. will never be the same again." Having recognized the genocide while campaigning for the White House, President George W. Bush nevertheless followed in the footsteps of his Oval Office predecessors, bemoaning the euphemistic "tragic suffering" of Armenians and wheeling out men and women of diplomatic and military rank to argue that the resolution would harm the indispensable U.S.-Turkish relationship. In Congress, Representatives in districts populated by Armenians generally support the measure, while those well cudgeled or coddled by the President or Pentagon don't. Official pressure has led many sponsors of the resolution to withdraw their support.
One feature of the decades-old script is new: The Turkish threats have greater credibility today than in the past. Mainly this is because the U.S. war in Iraq has dramatically increased Turkish leverage over Washington. Some 70% of U.S. air cargo en route to Iraq passes through Turkey, as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military there. While Turkey may react negatively in the short term, recognition of the genocide is warranted for four reasons. First, the House resolution tells the truth, and the U.S. would be the 24th country to officially acknowledge it. In arguing against the resolution, Bush hasn't dared dispute the facts. An Administration that has shown little regard for the truth is openly urging Congress to join it in avoiding honesty. It is inconceivable that even back in the days when the U.S. prized West Germany as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, Washington would have refrained from condemning the Holocaust at Germany's behest.
Second, the passage of time is only going to increase the size of the thorn in the side of what is indeed a valuable relationship with Turkey. Many a U.S. official (and even the occasional senior Turkish official) admits in private to wishing the U.S. had recognized the genocide years ago. Armenian survivors are passing away, but their descendants have vowed to continue the struggle. The vehemence of the Armenian diaspora is increasing, not diminishing. Third, America's leverage over Turkey is far greater than Turkey's over the U.S. The U.S. brought Turkey into NATO, built up its military and backed its membership in the European Union. Washington granted most-favored-nation trading status to Turkey, resulting in some $7 billion in annual trade between the two countries and $2 billion in U.S. investments there. Only Israel and Egypt outrank Turkey as recipients of U.S. foreign assistance. And fourth, for all the help Turkey has given the U.S. concerning Iraq, Ankara turned down Washington's request to use Turkish bases to launch the Iraq invasion, and it ignored Washington's protests by massing 60,000 troops at the Iraq border this month as a prelude to a widely expected attack in Iraqi Kurdistan. In other words, while Turkey may invoke the genocide resolution as grounds for ignoring U.S. wishes, it has a longer history of snubbing Washington when it wants to.
Back in 1915, when Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, protested the atrocities to the Turkish Minister of the Interior, the Turk was puzzled. "Why are you so interested in the Armenians anyway?" Mehmed Talaat asked. "We treat the Americans all right." While it is essential to ensure that Turkey continues to "treat the Americans all right," a stable, fruitful, 21st century relationship cannot be built on a lie.,8599,1672790,00.html

Saturday, January 31, 2009

U.S. Congress and Adolf Hitler on the Armenians

by United States Congress
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 at 12:26 PM CT

Experts from Congressional Speeches on the Armenians

SENATOR RUDY BOSCWITZ, R-Minn. (CR-Senate, 4/25/84, p. S4852): When Hitler first proposed his final solution, he was told that the world would never permit such a mass murder. Hitler silenced his advisers by asking, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
Today, I join my colleagues in answering Hitler by pledging the truth.
SENATOR CARL LEVIN, D-Mich. (CR-Senate, 4/24/84, p. S4703): But, regrettably it was soon forgotten, not by the surviving Armenians, but by most of the rest of the world. So that when Adolf Hitler planned his invasion of Poland and the destruction of the Jewish people, he was able to scornfully state, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
SENATOR HOWARD METZENBAUM, D-Ohio (CR-Senate, 4/24/84, p. S4719): Three years ago, in a speech given here in the Capital rotunda, Elie Wiesel, Chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, made a telling point.
Professor Wiesel said: "Before the planning of the final solution Hitler asked "Who remembers the Armenians?" He was right. No one remembered them, as no one remembered the Jews. Rejected by everyone, they felt expelled from history."
CONGRESSMAN LES ASPIN, D-Wis. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2977): Two decades later, when adolf Hitler was planning the elimination of the Jewish people, he is reported to save said, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN HOWARD BERMAN, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p.H2982): It should be a source of concern to all of us that to this day Turkey does not acknowledge, despite eyewitness accounts, either the facts or its historical responsibility; for the line from Armenia to Auschwitz is direct. The holocaust of European Jewry has its precedence in the events of 1915 to 1922. "Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians, " Hitler told his generals on the eve of the extermination of the Jews. The horrendous events of World War II overshadowed the Armenian genocide, and it is only recently, through the peaceful efforts of the Armenian groups, that the rest of the world has once again begun to recognize the collective agony of the Armenian people.
CONGRESSMAN THOMAS BLILEY, R-Va. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2979): Mr. Speaker, I know that the actions of the Ottoman Government did not lead directly to the forced starvation of the Ukraine by Josef Stalin, the gas chambers of Auschwitz, the gruesome slaughter of the Cambodians. Idi Amin's death campaign in Uganda, and the more recent actions in Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, but I know that human nature, even a warped and infamous human nature, needs the comfort of believing that it can get away with something before it proceeds. As an example I would cite Adolf Hitler's statement concerning the final solution for the Jews of Europe when he said, "Who now remembers the Armenians?" If more proof is needed then we can all look up Idi Amin's frequent statements of his adoration for Adolf Hitler as a man who knew how to handle a problem.
CONGRESSMAN EDWARD BOLAND, D-Mass. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2975): The silence with which the community of nations greeted the decimation of the Armenian people may have emboldened those who would later perpetrate similar acts. It certainly had an effect on Adolf Hitler who while planning the extermination of millions of Jews was asked how the world would respond a program of mass murder. In reply Hitler said, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA BOXER, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2977): The repeated denials of these well documented crimes of the Ottoman Turkish regime call to mind the Nazi maxim that a big lie if often repeated becomes truth. Hitler himself cited the Armenians massacres as evidence that humanity cares nothing for the murder of a people.
CONGRESSMAN JIM COURTER, R-N.J (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2977): But here can be no could that this ignorance of history's darker events aids those who perpetrate them, and those who would do son in the future. It is known that Hitler cited that fact that the Armenian genocide was little known, little discussed and little remembered in his time. We can only imagine the conclusions he drew from this fact.
CONGRESSMAN MERVYN DYMALLY, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/12/84, p. H2924): Today, historians argue about the number of Armenians actually killed. Others claim that no genocide took place at all. This is a devastating conclusion to the survivors, whether they be Americans, Lebanese, Egyptians, French or citizens of any other country..... If we deny the Armenian Genocide - a historical event that has been well documented - we echo the words of Adolph [sic] Hitler who said, "Who still talks nowadays, of the extermination of Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN EDWARD FEIGHAN, D-Ohio (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2971): But only twenty years after the fact, the century's first genocide was the "forgotten genocide." As Hitler paused on the edge of his own reign of terror, he asked "Who remembers the Armenians?" And no one had. A world blind to the lessons of history saw them repeated on a wider scale.
CONGRESSWOMAN GERALDINE FERRARO, D-N.Y.(Quoted in the Armenian Reporter, July 26, 1984, p.2.) I have dwelled on the Armenian genocide not because it is unique as a flagrant abuse of human rights, but precisely because it is not unique. The world knew about the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews ñand failed to act. Those failures spread the shame of these unspeakable crimes against humanity far beyond those directly responsible for them.
The events in Turkey in 1915 and in Germany in World War II, and in Cambodia in the 1970's, are of course not directly related. The madness and brutality of the perpetrators of each genocide had their own tragic basis.
But there is a strong tie in the world's silence in the face of each of these horrors. We can only be haunted by the words of Adolph Hitler, who said, in embarking on his "crazed attack" on the Jews. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Now, today, years too late for the millions killed in the Nazi gas chambers and Khmer Rouge execution centers, we stand to say that we speak of the annihilation of the Armenians. And of the Jews, and of the Cambodians. We stand to remind the world of these crimes against humanity, that we may prevent future crimes.
CONGRESSMAN HAMILTON FISH, R-N.Y. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2982): In speaking of the consequences of the Jewish Holocaust, Adolf Hitler once remarked: "Who remembers the Armenians?" Indeed it is our responsibility to do just that; remember that which we would rather choose to forget.
CONGRESSMAN WILLIAM FORD, D-Mich (CR_House, 4/24/84, p. H2981): Even Adolf Hitler used past events to shape his own policies. In 1939 as he was beginning his invasion of Poland, Hitler ordered the mass extermination of its inhabitants, commenting, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Humanity's failure to remember the genocide of an entire people scarcely 25 years earlier gave Hitler the go ahead to exterminate millions of innocent people.
CONGRESSMAN SAM GEJDENSON, D-Conn. (CR-House, 4/25/84, p. E1766): In the now infamous quote, Adolf Hitler, before beginning his Holocaust against the Jews, referred to international indifference in the face of the Armenian genocide, "Who," he asked, "remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN WILLIAM GREEN, R-N.Y. (CR-House, 4/2/84, p. H2972): When Hitler was about to begin the Holocaust and a member of his staff asked him what the world would think, Hitler is reported to have replied, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN RICHARD LEHMAN, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/12/84, p.H2793): Questioned by an aide about his policy of Jewish genocide, Hitler said: "Who after all now remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN BRUCE MORRISON, Conn. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2979): Adolf Hitler took advantage of the world's amnesia, looking at the Armenian genocide as a precedent for his own Holocaust perpetrated against Europe's Jews. Hitler said, in a chilling remark made in 1939. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN NICHOLAS MAVROULES, D-Mass. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2979): Sadly, however, the Armenian genocide would be surpassed by the Nazi holocaust in the 1930's and 1940's. Adolf Hitler, in an attempt to explain away his maniacal slaughter, would ask with a laugh: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2976): It is of paramount importance that we do not let this tragedy be forgotten with the passage of time. This act of inhumanity, based on religious and nationalistic grounds, was as terrible as any manmade catastrophe to that time yet only two decades later Hitler could ask, "Who remembers the Armenians?" Perhaps if the world had paid more attention to the plight of the Armenian massacre later tragedies could have been averted.
CONGRESSMAN JAMES SHANNON, D-Mass. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2973): This act of wholesale annihilation set the stage for Hitler's attempted extermination of the Jewish people. He justified his plan to doubting coconspirators with the reasoning that no one remembered the Armenian genocide which had taken pace only 15 years earlier.
CONGRESSMAN HENRY WAXMAN, D-Caliph. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2981): This day server to remind us that this first genocide of our century served as a precedent for the holocaust of World War II when more than 6 million people were destroyed by a government leader who responded: "Whoever cared about the Armenians?" When it was suggested that world opinion would not allow the Nazis to get away with their attempt to eliminate the Jewish people.
APPENDIX II: Excerpts from the Lochner Version of the August 22, 1939, Obersalzberg Speech Dealing with the Planned Invasion of Poland Lochner, 1942, p.2: Our strength consists of our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter ñ with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It's matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me.
I have issued the command ñI'll have anybody who utter one word of criticism executed by a firing squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy.
Accordingly, I have placed my death head formations in readiness ñ for the present only in the East ñ with orders to them do send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space [lebensraum] which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
NCA, Volume VII, p. 753: Our strength is in our quickness and our brutality. Ghenghis Khan had millions of women and children killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees only in him a great state builder. What weak Western European civilization thinks about me does not matter.
I have given the order, and will have everyone shot who utters one word of criticism that the aim of the war is not to attain certain lines, but consist in the physical destruction of the opponent. Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my "Death's Head units" with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Only in such a way will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?
The Times, November 24, 1945, p. 4: Our strength is in our quickness and our brutality. Ghengis Khan had millions of women killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees in him only a great State-builder. What the weak European civilization thinks about me does not matter.
I have given the order, and will have everyone shot who utters one word of criticism...
Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my Death's Head units, with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?
APPENDIX III: Excerpts from the Nuremberg Versions of the August 22, 1939, Obersalzberg Speech Dealing with the Planned Invasion of Poland Us-30 [1014-PS]
TMWC, Vol. II, pp. 290-291NCA, Vol. III, pp. 665-666DGFP, Vol. VII, pp. 205-206
Destruction of Poland in the foreground. The aim is elimination of living forces, not the arrival at a certain line: Even if war should break out in the West, the destruction of Poland shall be the primary objective. Quick decision because of the season.
I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the war ñ never mind whether it bi plausible or not. The victor shall not be asked, later on, whether we told the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not be Right is what matters but Victory.
Have no pity. Brutal attitude. 80 million people shall get what is their right. Their existence has to be secured. The strongest has the right. Greatest severity.
Quick decision necessary. Un shakable faith in German soldier. A crisis may happen only if the nerves of the leaders give way.
First aim: advance to the Vistula and Narew. Our technical superiority will break the nerve of the Poles. Every newly created Polish force shall again be broken at once. Constant war of attrition.
New German frontier according to healthily principles. Possibly a protectorate as a buffer. Military operations shall not be influenced by these reflections. Complete destruction of Poland is a military aim. To be fast is the main thing. Pursuit until complete elimination.
Boehm, August 22, 1939 TMWC, Vol. XLI, p.25: The goal is the elimination and destruction of Poland's military power even if war should begin in the west. A swift, successful outcome in the east offers the best prospects for restricting the conflict.
A suitable propaganda cause will be advanced for the conflict. The credibility of this is unimportant. Right lies with the victor.
We must shut and harden our hearts. To whomever ponders the world order it is clear that what is important are the war ñlike accomplishments of the best....
We can and must believe in the value of the German soldier. In times of crisis he has generally retained his nerve, while the leadership has lost theirs....
Once again: the first priority is the swiftness of the operations. To adapt to each new situation to shatter the hostile forces, wherever they appear and to the last one.
This is the military goal which is the prerequisite for the narrower political foal of later drawing up new frontiers.
Halder, August 22, 1939, DGFP, Vol. VII, p. 559: Aim: Annihilation of Poland ñ elimination of its vital forces. It is not a matter of gaining a specific line or new frontier, but rather the annihilation of an enemy, which constantly must be attempted by new always.
Solution: Means immaterial. The victor is never called on to vindicate his actions. We are not concerned with having justice on our side, but solely with having justice on our side, but solely with victory.
Execution: Harsh and remorseless. Be steeled against all signs of compassion!
Speed: Faith in the German soldier, even if reverses occur.
Of paramount importance are the wedges [which must be driven] from the southeast to the Vistula, and from the north to the Narev and the Vistula.
Promptness in meeting new situations; new means must be devised to deal with them quickly.
New Frontiers: New Reich territory. Outlying protectorate territory. Military operations must not be affected by regard for the future frontiers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Israel, Turkey and the politics of genocide

Globe and Mail online
January 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM EST

President Obama - I love saying those words - has momentarily united the world. Almost. Among the exceptions, though barely noticed by the mainstream media, is the estrangement of Turkey and Israel, previously staunch allies in the turbulent Middle East.
At first blush, this alliance may seem counterintuitive, but in fact it makes good strategic sense for both countries. Israel gets a warm working relationship with one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, while enriching Israel's all-important industrial-military complex. Less than two months ago, for instance, came the news of a deal worth $140-million to Israeli firms to upgrade Turkey's air force. In the hard-boiled, realpolitik terms that determine Israel's strategies, it's a no-brainer. Almost.

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

I should make clear that this Israeli position is not held casually. On the contrary. Over the years Israelis, with a few notably courageous exceptions, have actually worked against attempts to safeguard the memory of the Armenian genocide. (The bible on this issue is the excellent book by an Israeli, Yair Auron, called The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide, 2003.)
For many, this may well be a pretty esoteric sidebar to the world's many crises. But readers need to understand that every Turkish government for almost a century now has passionately denied that a genocide took place at all. Yet the vast majority of disinterested scholars of genocide have publicly affirmed that it was indeed a genocide, one of the small number in the 20th century (with the Holocaust and Rwanda) that have incontestably met the definition set down in the UN's 1948 Genocide Convention.
For Armenians in the Western world, even after 94 years, nothing is more important than persuading other governments to recognize this. For Turkish authorities, even after 94 years, nothing is more important than preventing that recognition. In that pursuit, Israel has been perhaps Turkey's most powerful ally. After all, if the keepers of the memory of the Holocaust don't acknowledge 1915, why should anyone else?
But the Israeli-Turkish bargain goes well beyond Israel. Not only is Israel, of all the unlikely states in the world, a genocide denier, but also many established Jewish organizations in other countries, especially the United States, have followed suit. In the United States, those who argue that denying the Holocaust is psychologically tantamount to a second holocaust have taken the lead in pressuring presidents and Congress against recognizing the reality of 1915. Resolutions calling for recognition are regularly pushed by American-Armenians and their many supporters. Jewish groups regularly lead the opposition. Some believe that members of these groups in fact understand perfectly well the rights and wrongs of the case. But a mindset that backs any and all Israeli government initiatives trumps all else. And successfully. Repeated attempts in Congress to pass this resolution has failed, even though the list of nations that now recognizes the Armenian genocide has grown steadily and, thanks to Stephen Harper, now includes Canada.
It is this rather unseemly, if not unholy, Israeli-Turkish deal that has been among the many victims of the latest Israeli attack on Gaza. Whether the Israelis anticipated it or not, the Turkish government turned against its erstwhile ally with a vengeance, pulling few punches. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan accused Israel of "perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents." Mr. Erdogan described Israel's attack on Gaza as "savagery" and a "crime against humanity."
Israel formally described this language as "unacceptable" and certain Israeli media outlets have raised the stakes. The Jerusalem Post editorialized that given Turkey's record of killing tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq, "we're not convinced that Turkey has earned the right to lecture Israelis about human rights." Israel's deputy foreign minister was even more pointed: "Erdogan says that genocide is taking place in Gaza. We [Israel] will then recognize the Armenian-related events as genocide." Suddenly, genocide turns into a geopolitical pawn.
It isn't easy to choose a winner in the cynicism stakes here. Here's what one Turkish columnist, Barcin Yinanc, shrewdly wrote: "When April comes, I can imagine the [Turkish] government instructing its Ambassador to Israel to mobilize the Israeli government to stop the Armenian initiatives in the U.S. Congress. I can hear some Israelis telling the Turkish Ambassador to go talk to Hamas to lobby the Congress."
I'm guessing some readers work on the naïve assumption that an event is deemed genocidal based on the facts of the case. Silly you. In the real world, you call it genocide if it bolsters your interests. If it doesn't, it's not. It's actually the same story as with preventing genocide.
What happens now? Candidate Obama twice pledged that he would recognize the Armenian claim of genocide. But so had candidate George W. Bush eight years earlier, until he was elected and faced the Turkish/Jewish lobby. Armenian-Americans and their backers are already pressing Mr. Obama to fulfill his pledge. With the Turkish-Israeli alliance deeply strained, the position of the leading Jewish organizations is very much in question this time. Whatever the outcome, be sure that politics, not genocide, will be the decisive factor.

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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Turkey Confronts a Disputed Period in Its HistoryA group of Turkish intellectuals have taken a bold step to open a public debate on the disputed events of 1915, when the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were forced to relocate, leading to the death of scores of people and the beginning of what the Armenians claim was genocide. Turkey officially denies claims of genocide and maintains that both peoples suffered from interethnic conflicts. The group led by leading academics, writers, and journalists, who are known for their critical position on the official Turkish thesis, has initiated a campaign inviting the Turkish people to sign a petition to apologize for the suffering of the Ottoman Armenians.Having first collected signatures from other intellectuals, the initiators of the campaign, including Baskin Oran, Ahmet Insel, Ali Bayramoglu, and Cengiz Aktar, started to solicit signatures from Turkish citizens on the internet on December 15 ( The website is named “Ozur Diliyoruz” (we apologize). The short and precise petition offers a personal apology yet falls short of demanding the Turkish state to do likewise. The text reads as follows:
My conscience does not accept the insensitivity toward and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice; and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers and sisters. I apologize to them (
The text calls on the Turkish people to confront a controversial episode in their history. The organizers say the signatures are a demonstration of the reaction of individual to their historical responsibility. In their view, many Turks’ knowledge of the deportation of Armenians is based on hearsay, and there is an urgent need to offer people an objective account of the events. Although official history presents these events as mutual massacres, according to the organizers, the reality is much different. They believe that Turkish citizens have a right to learn history outside the official theses, and this campaign might be a step in that direction (Vatan, December 4).Despite the organizers’ optimism, the campaign has already led to divisions in Turkish society. As soon as the news about the petition drive came out, nationalist forces, the staunchest supporters of the official theses, reacted vehemently against the organizers, as reflected in nationalist daily Yeni Cag’s headline: “Ermeni Agziyla Kampanya” (A Campaign Mimicking Armenians) (Yeni Cag, December 5). Nationalist critics questioned the sincerity of the organizers, charging them with being on the verge of hysteria. In a stark response to the organizers’ call for reevaluating the official Turkish stand on the deportation, nationalists maintained that the organizers lacked a basic knowledge of the actual course of history. For the nationalists, the real victims of the 1915 events were the Ottoman Turks. “Every house has memories of people butchered by Armenians. I regard apologizing to the Armenians as an insult to the Turkish nation. People who call themselves intellectuals have not even been enlightened about their own history,” said Zeki Ertugay, a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy from Erzurum (Today’s Zaman, December 6).The MHP leader Devlet Bahceli was outraged by the campaign and issued a written statement. For him, there was no one to whom the Turks should apologize. “The dirty campaign” was “humiliating,” he said, and reflected the extent of “degeneration and decay” being imposed on Turkish society by so-called intellectuals working as collaborators of outside powers. Bahceli blamed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for creating a fertile environment for this situation. He lambasted the AKP’s recent openings to Armenia, because they compromised national priorities and created inside Turkey a pro-Armenian front that worked to undermine Turkish historical heritage (, December 7;, December 16).Another response to the petition campaign came from a group of retired Turkish envoys who issued a counter-declaration on December 15. Around 50 diplomats, including former undersecretaries of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Sukru Elekdag, Korkmaz Haktanir, and Onur Oymen, maintained that the apology initiative was “unjust, wrong, and damaging to [Turkey’s] national interests.” Their declaration read:
Such a false and one-sided initiative is tantamount to disrespecting our history and betraying our citizens who lost their lives due to the violence perpetrated by terror organizations during the last days of the Ottoman Empire [and] into the Republican era. Although the Armenian relocation, which took place under wartime conditions, resulted in tragic outcomes, the loss and suffering of the Turkish people due to Armenian rebellions and terror attacks were no less than those of Armenians (ANKA, December 12).
The retired diplomats noted that a rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia could not be achieved by such one-sided “compromises,” but what was needed was mutual recognition of each other’s borders and suffering. They went on to challenge the organizers of the petition campaign: “Will there be an apology for the victims of Armenian terror?” Since the Turkish diplomatic corps lost some of its members to terrorism by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), the envoys’ sensitivity to this issue can be better understood.Although the apology initiative seeks to break taboos, the reactions so far indicate that it might actually re-ignite the controversy and deepen the preexisting divisions. Instead of conversing across the aisle, the parties prefer so far to fortify their dug-in positions on the 1915 events and continue to furnish contrasting “factual” accounts about what took place during that period
—Saban Kardas

The Eurasia Daily Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. The opinions expressed in it are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Jamestown Foundation. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of EDM is strictly prohibited by law.

Intellectuals Launch A Campaign To Apologize Armenians

Some intellectuals and academicians are getting ready to launch a campaign to apologize Armenians for the denial of the “Great Catastrophe” they were subjected to in 1915.

“My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the ‘Great Catastrophe’ that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers, I apologize them.”
This is the text of the campaign that was introduced by Journalist Ali Bayramoğlu, professors Baskın Oran and Ahmet İnsel and Dr. Cengiz Aktar, with the support of some the other academicians. The text will be opened for signature in the internet for one year, starting on the new years day.
“It has been almost hundred years, and it has not been discussed openly”
Aktar told Tülay Şubatlı of daily Vatan why they were apologizing:
“We are apologizing for not being able to discuss, not talk openly about this topic for such a long time, nearly one hundred years.”
“This is a voice coming from individual’s conscience”
Aktar described the purpose of the campaign as such:
“What happened to the Armenians is not well-known; people are forced to forget it, and the subject is highly provocative. The Turks have heard this mostly from their elders, their grandfathers. But, the subject has not become an objective historical narrative. Therefore, today many people in Turkey, with all the good intentions, think that nothing happened to the Armenians .”
“The official history has been saying that this incident happened through secondary, not very important, and even mutual massacres; they push the idea that it was an ordinary incident explainable by the conditions of the First World War. However, unfortunately, the facts are very different. Perhaps there is only one fact and it is that the Kurds and Turks are still here, but the Armenians are not. The subject of this campaign is the individuals. This is a voice coming from the individual’s conscience. Those who want to apologize can apologize, and those who do not should not.” (TK/TB)

Bia news center - İstanbul

05 December 2008, Friday

Eternal Damnation of the Spotless Mind

Bernard-Henri Levy,
The New Republic
Published: January 13, 2009

I write this in remembrance of the renowned Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, murdered two years ago, on Jan. 19, 2007, for his comments on the slaughter of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces during WWI ... in horror that the police officers guarding the 17-year-old murder suspect, Ogun Samast, saw fit to take a video in which he proudly held the Turkish flag as they recorded their brief association with him for posterity ... in solidarity with the brave group of 200 Turkish writers and intellectuals who recently signed an online petition apologizing for the massacre, risking their freedom to keep pressure on the Turkish government.
Outrages like Dink's murder will continue. They will continue as long as Turkey, fearing the loss of prestige and alarmed by the possibility that it will be obliged to pay reparations to survivors and their descendants, continues to deny that the Armenian genocide took place. This struggle will continue as long as there are no laws in place penalizing genocide denial -- and these laws are needed not only in Turkey, but around the world.
Critics may say, "It is not for the law to write history." That is absurd. History has been written a hundred times over. The facts have been established, and new laws will protect them from being altered.
In 1929, the British statesman and author Winston Churchill wrote that the Armenians were victims of genocide, an organized enterprise of systematic annihilation. The Turks themselves have admitted it. In 1918, in the aftermath of WWI, Mustafa Kemal -- soon to be granted the honorific "Ataturk" -- recognized the massacres perpetrated by the Young Turk government.
The laws already in place in many countries regarding Holocaust denial do not touch historians -- for them the question of whether the slaughter of the Jews was or was not genocide is no longer at issue. What is at stake is preventing the erasure of such crimes from our society's memory.
Take France's Gayssot law, which criminalized the denial of crimes against humanity, and which as yet has been applied only to denial of the Jewish Holocaust. This is a law that reins in the fringe and extremist politicians who engage in lightly cloaked anti-Semitism and who may be tempted to advocate Holocaust denial. This is a law that prevents masquerades like that of historian David Irving's trial in London in 2000.
Irving brought a libel case against Deborah Lipstadt, author of "Denying the Holocaust," who had labeled him a spokesman for Holocaust deniers. Though the judge ruled in notably strong language that Irving was indeed a Holocaust denier, in the absence of laws penalizing this offense, Irving walked free. Meanwhile, the tabloid journalists and talking heads muddied the issues and ultimately drew more attention to Irving's work, which may well have been his intention all along.
Critics will say, "Where will the law stop?" since technically we could also extend this law to include the denial of the crimes that took place during the colonial era, the publication of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, even the sin of blasphemy. Must we forbid the expression of opinions that do not mirror our own? This is a trap, for two reasons.
First, the law would be focused specifically on genocide, a large-scale criminal enterprise in which, as Hannah Arendt said, someone gets to decide who has the right and who does not to inhabit this earth. Second, the deniers don't just have conflicting or nonconformist opinions. They categorically deny that this horrific crime took place at all.
The logic and pattern of the crime of genocide was clarified and refined over the 20th century, with the massacre of Armenians as a seminal event. Hitler was impressed, nay, inspired by the scope of the Armenian genocide. In August 1939, days before he invaded Poland, he said to his generals, "Who still talks nowadays about the extermination of the Armenians?"
It was a genocidal test firing. It was the basis for the Allies' use of the phrase "crimes against humanity" in their May 24, 1915 statement regarding the massacre of Armenians "with the connivance and help of the Ottoman authorities." It was a reference for the Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin -- who coined the term "genocide" and is responsible for developing our understanding of this crime -- when he was incorporating the definition of "genocide" into the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
I have spent some time perusing the Armenian genocide deniers' literature, which is remarkably similar to the literature on the destruction of the Jews. The same arguments minimizing the number of deaths ("sure, there were some, but not as many as they say") and the same reversing of roles -- just as Holocaust deniers render the Jews responsible for the war and their own martyrdom, their Turkish counterparts claim the Armenians betrayed the Ottomans by allying with the Russians, thus sealing their own fate.
Some may ask, "Can't the truth defend itself?" No, I am afraid not. Consider that in 1942, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, ordered the formation of Sonderkommando 1005, whose mission it was to dig up the dead, to burn their bodies and dispose of the ashes. In one of his memoirs of the camps, Primo Levi recalled that the SS militiamen enjoyed admonishing their prisoners that when the war was over, there would not be a single Jew left to testify and if by chance one did survive, they would do whatever was necessary to make sure his testimony would not be believed.
A similar logic drives those who proclaim to Armenians, "No, your brothers and sisters are not dead. Your parents, grandparents and great-great-grandparents are not dead, as you're so foolishly claiming." Such statements betray the absolute, insane hatred they harbor, against which factual evidence and debate are useless and the truth is impotent.
Laws prohibiting Holocaust denial are expressions of the fact that genocide, a perfect crime, leaves no traces. In fact, the obliteration of those traces is genocide's final phase. Holocaust deniers are not merely expressing an opinion; they are perpetrating a crime.
Bernard-Henri Levy's new book, Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against The New Barbarism, was published in September by Random House. This article was translated from the French by Sara Sugihara.