Armenian.. Genocide or War? - Page 4

May 18th, 2006  
Originally Posted by oRTouCH
I have, and I remain totally unipressed. The site is pro-Turkish and purports that there never was a genocide, it was all made up, etc, etc. However, as with many other sites and documents of this type, there is no source, except on documents that were supposedly written 'way back when. What both sides need to realize is that sites and documents like these are absolutely worthless. This is a collection of articles and transcripts that point to one conclusion; but the ever-present problem in this debate again comes through. At this point in time, it is totally impossible to find out if anything that any of these articles says is accurate. Again, all of these articles, even those meant for the US government, are nothing more than well-documented heresay.
Compare this with the holocaust. The Nazis who manned the camps, conducted the forced marches and went around exterminating Jews were all documented as having done so. The Jews who died left behind their names and records, and the survivors left bevind their living memories. In the Armenian debate, neither side has any such evidence, and this site is merely proof of that. It claims that the Turks have been victimized by an Armenian plot, but of course, it cannot name the plotters, The Armenians claim that they were massacred by the hundreds of thousands, yet they cannot name but one or two of the murderers. In fact, there is very little about the victims, other than the only real evidence I have seen that a massacre did indeed take place... the photographs.
They are haunting. In them we see women and children, usually in rags, and often bare-breasted, their ribs showing plainly in the grainy black and white photographs. It is easy for us today to fake a photograph; a couple of minutes with any image and a good computer and whammo: an image that can last through the ages! At that time, things were a bit different, and faking photos was harder. However, there was a very high volume of photographs that have come from that region, many of them showing the same type of subject. To me, these photos, along with the written reports of the US missionaries, is the most solid evidence that a massacre did indeed occcur. But then again, one that I always remembered showed a young Armenian girl with many tattoos, which the caption stated were signs that here former owners had left on her, another tattoo would then be put on here by the subsequent owner, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum. But as with the spirit of this particular debate, the tattoos in the photo were, of course, illegible.

As such, I have a suggestion for the proponents of both sides of this debate: If you want to prove your point, find real, hard, concrete scientific evidence. Go to the sites of the marches and dig up skeletons. Prove that there were families that lived in Armenia that no longer exist anywhere in the world. Find the names of the soldiers that participated in the massacres. Bullet casings, clothing, shoes, skulls, buttons, luggage, all of these can last a century, and if people died there, they left some evidence. Interpret it, and come back and see me. In the meantime, just shut up the did-too,-did-not-did-too,-did-not-type arguments. It got boring 80 years ago.

May 19th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
A Brief Synopsis of the Armenian "Genocide":

Introductory Note: The following summary of the WWI events was taken from a series of German and Swiss papers dealing with the subject. After providing the narrative, I take a look at the evidence. Most readers will recognize all of the usual traits of genocide in the following synopsis: racism, pogroms, an escalating event, isolation and liquidation of the elite, and then the full turn to outright slaughter. The narrative itself gives a strong indication of genocide.

A Summary of the Events:

(1) Prewar Armenian Repression: The Ottoman Empire officially encouraged the persecution of Armenians after Sultan Abdülhamit II took power in 1876. The Sultan immediately encouraged the repression of Christians and the Armenian independence movement. The "Hamidiye", political cavalry units, were first "used" against the southern Armenians in Sassun to crush farmers rebelling against unfair taxes. A series of protests followed and were put down in violent fashion. In 1895, Ottoman troops set fire to a cathedral in Urfa which killed the 3000 Armenians who had taken refuge there. Foreign observers questioned whether these political actions were in fact spontaneous or part of a planned program. According to the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker, 330,000 Armenians were killed between 1894-1909 in a series of pogroms.

(2) 1914-1915: As already mentioned, The Ottoman Empire fought alongside Germany against Russia, France and England. Since Armenia was situated between Turkish territory and Russia, with a part of historic Armenia actually in Russia, the Ottomans suspected that the Ottoman-Armenians might make common cause with the Russian-Armenians. In February 1915, after a series of Ottoman military disasters, the government decided to remove all Armenians from the front and demobilize the soldiers. These men were then enslaved according to the "hamalar" and "amelye taburi" traditions of the empire. In order to crack down on imagined dissent, the government then instituted a series of emergency decrees whereby all Armenian food and other commodities were confiscated. The government also started taking photos of the disbanding Ottoman-Armenians and using the pictures of men with guns as proof of a military uprising.

(3) The "Genocide": On 24 April 1915, Constantinople began the systematic murder of the Armenian population. The initial orders first singled out the spiritual and political leaders (a standard tactic used by Stalin and Hitler). By the end of April, more than 2000 such men were deported to the central jail in Constantinople, moved into the countryside and then tortured to death. A series of similar actions concentrating on the towns and villages followed. Some Armenians resisted and this was used by the authorities as the call for massive reprisals. In March, the government had already decided to deport all Armenians. The official deportation law was proclaimed on 27 May 1915 -- in direct response to the English, French and Russian warning that they would hold the Turkish government responsible for the increasing atrocities against the Armenians. Another law, promulgated on 10 June 1915, stripped all non-Muslims of all their legal possessions.

The deportation of the Armenians followed a typical pattern. The Ottoman troops looked on as the Armenians were attacked by the local Muslim population. Women were raped. Some children were taken and sold into slavery. The troops then separated the men from their families and most of them were liquidated immediately. The women and children were then sent on a death march through mountainous terrain. Those who were too slow were beaten to death or shot. Those who survived were interned in concentration camps along the Euphrates river where a good proportion died of disease. In addition to this "methodical killing" a whole series of bizarre murders were documented by eyewitnesses including a German priest disguised as a carpet trader. In June 1915, a large number of Armenian boys were crucified near Bitlis. The hands of children were hacked off. The Bishop of Diyarbakir's feet were shod with horseshoes.

The Issues:

How many died?: The German Embassy in Constantinople, which sent out observers, estimated that 1.5 million of a total population of 2.5 million had died by October 1916. The Minister of State Mehmet Talaat in fact informed German diplomats that the "Armenian question no longer existed". Whether he was referring to deportation or genocide is unknown. The infamous American Ambassador Morgenthau also claims to have been privy to this type of information. Some call him a liar and cite his open hatred of Turkish culture as evidence. But the German sources plainly verify his claims. In any case, since the Ottomans were able to move troops onto Russian-Armenian soil after the November 1917 Revolution and the caving in of Kerensky's provisional government, the deportation or killing continued. Many Armenians had fled across the border into Russia. The Turks now had even more to do. Another 500,000 Armenians supposedly died either at the hands of the Turks or through starvation and disease. The short-lived Armenian Republic, declared after the collapse of Russia, was brutally repressed and the population shrank from an estimated 1.6 million to 800,000.

Just how many people died is of course unknowable. The estimates range from 400,000 (Turkish claims in reference to disease, etc.) to several million (Armenian claims). A British report of 1917 states 1.056 million. The French Yellow Book of the period states 1.4750116 million. Some sources even attribute most of the murders to the Kurds. So what? We don't know an exact number. Who cares? It was, and this is without doubt, enough to constitute a large murder operation--either planned or tolerated.

The Evidence: Here comes the tricky part. Some of the evidence comes by way of a German Lutheran Priest: "in the year 1915, he [Johannes Lepsius] met with the Ottoman Minister of War Enver Pascha in Constantinople. The theologian asked the politician to stop the murder machinery that was already in use against the Armenian minority. But he had no success...During his trips through Armenian territory, disguised as a carpet trader, he gathered reports from eyewitnesses and collected statistical material...". There are no Armenian documents. Why? Because there was no Armenian government. Governments other than the Ottoman Empire were the ones who looked on with varying degrees of horror. These eyewitnesses count. They saw death all around them. The German diplomats used the word "Ausrottung" or extermination to describe the events. The 600 pages of evidence listed below is enough for me.

There can of course be no doubt that the Ottoman Empire ordered the liquidation of the intellectuals (they called it punishing treason) and the deportation of the Armenians (they called it relocation). These Turkish documents exist and are not disputed. It can also hardly be challenged that various kinds of atrocities like rape or theft occurred. Nor can it be argued that men were not mutilated, tortured, crucified or hanged. The question is how many? And why? But even Kemal Atatürk himself stated 800,000 died. Sounds like genocide to me.

Did the Ottomans plan a genocide operation? This is the issue for historians. Some like Guenter Lewy and C. Özgönül argue no. There are many points that can be raised. Some Armenian groups were not persecuted, for example. Many people, including English POWs and the Turks themselves, died of disease and starvation during the war. And where are the documents calling for extermination? But all of this, in my opinion, is trying to use the Jewish Holocaust as the yardstick. Genocide can only be a genocide if we have an equivalent of the Wannsee Conference, Zyklon B, and cold SS men pulling the trigger. Rape, crucifixion, hangings do not count. Historians once again turn an historical event into a circus. Some of it even sounds like neo-Nazi revisionism. That is the problem. We have become incapable of clear vision in the world after Auschwitz. For the love of God, hundreds of thousands of people died in a climate of hate. What was that again: the "Armenian question no longer existed"?

May 19th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
Originally Posted by Dean
As such, I have a suggestion for the proponents of both sides of this debate: If you want to prove your point, find real, hard, concrete scientific evidence. Go to the sites of the marches and dig up skeletons. Prove that there were families that lived in Armenia that no longer exist anywhere in the world. Find the names of the soldiers that participated in the massacres. Bullet casings, clothing, shoes, skulls, buttons, luggage, all of these can last a century, and if people died there, they left some evidence. Interpret it, and come back and see me. In the meantime, just shut up the did-too,-did-not-did-too,-did-not-type arguments. It got boring 80 years ago.
The sources cited in the last post stated the following:

(1) You can still find piles of bones and skulls owing to the arid climate.

(2) The Turks also burned bodies.

I am sure that basic residue or teeth would remain even after burning. But who has the time to count 32 or 48 million teeth? By the way, I have asked this question concerning Hitler's and Stalin's atrocities. Nobody cares about Stalin or Turkey, but in view of all of the Holocaust museums, movies, and the general attitudes, why hasn't Germany been forced to pay for the exhumation of every corpse?
May 20th, 2006  
I don't see why amditting to genocide is such a big issue for the turks. The generations that committed it are dead and i think it would be important to realize the suffering caused in conflicts past. The EU doesn't like it much either and that isn't looking good for a westernizing turkey.

I'm assuming this has something to do with the kurds, in anycase the turks have indoctrinated their population well into believing the armenians just died off on their own.
May 20th, 2006  
I have to agree with Italian Guy, that this thread is the most interesting; and I think the most important on the forum.

There are a number of contemporary German accounts of massacres. As allies it would not of been in their interest to make stories up, and risk losing an ally.

As stated previously there is a lot of archaeological evidence of a large number of deaths, many violent.

When a country denies something so terrible for so long, it is hard to admit the truth. No one can hold the people of Turkey responsible for the actions of their ancestors, but the crime should be acknowledged. Did the armenian genocide encourage the Nazis to commit thier crimes?
May 21st, 2006  
Hitler stated that "afterall who remembers the genocide of the armenians" or something to that effect.

So maybe they were glad to see that it was precedented and no one would care, who better to note than the germans who recorded most of the armenian genocide in the first place?
May 21st, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
According to one of the Turkish authors, Hitler did not make that claim. It was part of a statement later rejected by Allied lawyers at Nuremberg. They initially used the testimony to prove Hitler was planning genocide in 1939. I, however, cannot judge the accuracy...either way.
May 21st, 2006  

Topic: Listen up orTorch

My grandmother was there (and thank God escaped) unfortunately so was the rest of my entire family who died. It sickens me when people start campaigning against reality using the holocaust denial models for any other genocides.

Without even looking at your talltale shit I can tell you that holocaust denial is a sick phenomena wherein the deniers:

1. Have absolute certainty they have the truth.
2. Believe America (or country in question defending genocide) is controlled by conspiratorial group. In fact they believe this group is very powerful and has control over other nations.
3. Have an open hatred of oppents.
4. Have little faith in democratic process (conspiracy theorists)
5. Willingness to deny basic civil liberties to certain fellow citizens, because enemies deserve no liberties.

Not all deniers are the same, but the fact remains that in all Holocaust/genocide denial there is a core of racist, paranoid, conspiratorial thinking that is clearly directed at group (Jews, Armenians, etc.) This is the basis of what drives deniers to seek and find what they are looking for, and to confirm what they already believe. Why do they say the Genocide never hapenned? Depending on whom you ask, interest in history, money, perversity, notoriety, ideology, politics, fear, paranoia, hate.


1. They concentrate on their opponents' weak points, while rarely saying anything DEFINITIVE about their own position. Deniers emphasize the inconsistencies between eye witness accounts for example.

2. The EXPLOIT the errors made my scholars, implying because a few of their opponant's conclusions were wrong, ALL of their opponont's conclusions must be wrong. (In the case of the Holocaust, the deniers point to the case of the human soap story, which has turned out to be a myth, and talk about the incredible "shrinking holocaust" because historians have reduced the number killed at Aushwitz from 4 million to 1 million).

3. They use quotations, usually taken out of context, from prominent mainstream figures to buttress their own position.

4. They mistake genuine, honest debates between scholars about certain points within a field for a dispute about the existence of the entire field. Deniers take the intentionalist-functionalist debate about the development of the Holocaust as an argument about whether the Holocaust happened or not.

5. They focus on what is not known and ignore what is known, emphasize data that fit and discount date that does not fit. In the example of the Holocaust, deniers concentrate on what we do not know about the gas chambers and disregard all the eyewitness accounts and forensic tests that the use of gas chambers was for mass murder.

In and for any historical incident, we don't use one account or disgard one disproven incident as proof or disproof, we use:

1. Written documents: Hundreds of thousands of letters, memos, blueprints, orders, bills, speeches, articles, memoirs and confessions.

2. Eye witness testimony: Accounts of survivors, guards, military, local townspeople, aerial photographs, news reporters, etc.

3. Photographs: Official military and press photographs, civilian photographs, secret photographs taken by prisoners, aeiral photographs and film footage, etc.

4. Physical evidence: Artifacts found at sites of camps, work and death camps, marchs, eye witness accounts of execution sites, etc.

5. Demographics: All those people who the deniers claimed survived the Armenian genocide are missing.
May 21st, 2006  
Now all you have to do is tell that to the Turks who think they're being insulted when you're telling them the truth about their past regimes.
May 22nd, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
Originally Posted by Lilmissflamethrower
Without even looking at your talltale shit I can tell you that holocaust denial is a sick phenomena wherein the deniers
Did I miss something? Who was denying the Holocaust or the Armenian tragedy? Nobody made the claim that the Holocaust did not occur. In terms of the Armenians, some people raised an interesting issue...namely that the Turks might have started a deportation program that turned ugly. As I tried to demonstrate, and which surprised me somewhat, historians are debating this issue at the moment.

In any case, I took the position that the Armenian deportation was probably genocide. I tried to create a link between Armenian deportation and the Jewish deportations.

Hitler's comment has no bearing on either the Holocaust or the Armenian tragedy. It is highly unlikely that Hitler ignored the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians because the topic was "in the news" in 1920s Germany. He probably formed at least an opinion. The historical debate concerns the accuracy of some evidence and determining what Hitler actually believed. Did Hitler find the Armenian slaughter a good thing? Probably not. The Nazis argued that the Armenians were Aryans and many Armenians jointed the SS during WWII. None of this helps us understand the events of WWI, however.