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Compiled and written from numerous
public sources for Bible Probe
by Steve Keohane, USN (Ret)

Armenian & Greek Genocide
by Turkish Muslims against Christians

The world turned its head while large-scale "religious cleansing" took place

armenian genocide survivors

2009 Poster with faces of some of the few remaining Armenian Genocide survivors


 

Armenia was the very first Christian country. So it should be no shock or surprise that satanic forces (Muslims) tried to brutally "snuff it out"... /s/ Steve @ BibleProbe.com . During this same period, Greek Christians suffered just as badly from Ottoman Turks bent on eradicating Christianity from Greece also.

This bitter dispute is rooted in a violent period of world history, as Europe and much of the Middle East was torn apart by World War I, in the declining years of the Ottoman Empire. 

This era of atrocities continues to be referred to as "The Armenian Genocide", but in reality the Turks targeted all minority groups which were Christian, and killed or displaced millions of Armenians, Ionian and Pontic Greeks as well as Christian Assyrians.

The Pontic Greeks were driven on the same death marches by the Turks, along with the Assyrians, as they lived in more inland areas. The Ionians had the best chance for escape, as they lived on the western coastal region, though many were still slaughtered - even into the 1920s (most notably at the burning/massacre of Smyrna (Izmir to the Turks) in 1922.
 

The 1st Genocide of the 20th Century

Before the Nazi's slaughtered 6 million Jews, before the Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million of their fellow Cambodians, before Rwandan Hutus killed 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, the Armenians of Turkey endured mass slaughter at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.  The centuries of Turkish rule reduced Asia Minor, the epicenter of western civilization and Christendom, into a bloody Islamic cesspool which culminated in a genocide by Turks against Armenian and Greek Christian populations.

The Armenian Genocide, occurred when 2 million Armenians living in Turkey were eliminated from their historic homeland through forced deportation and massacres by the Turks.  As Turkish authorities forced them out of eastern Turkey, Armenians say they lost 1.5 million people in 1915-23, during and after World War I. Turkey says the death count is inflated and that the deaths were a result of civil unrest.  To this day Turkey denies the Armenian genocide, but history cannot be hidden or rewritten.

Even Adolf Hitler cited the killing of the Armenians as a precedent for his own slaughter of the Jews two decades later.

"Kill without mercy!" the Nazi leader told his military on the eve of the Holocaust. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"  See reference for this statement by Hitler at the very bottom.
 

Armenians

For three thousand years, a thriving Armenian community had existed inside the vast region of the Middle East bordered by the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The area, known as Asia Minor, stands at the crossroads of three continents; Europe, Asia and Africa. Great powers rose and fell over the many centuries and the Armenian homeland was at various times ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Mongols.  Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion. In 301 A.D., Armenia became the first nation to officially declare itself Christian.  A golden era of peace and prosperity followed which saw the invention of a distinct alphabet, a flourishing of literature, art, commerce, and a unique style of architecture. By the 10th century, Armenians had established a new capital at Ani, affectionately called the "city of a thousand and one churches."  In the eleventh century, the first Turkish (Seljuk Turks) invasion of the Armenian homeland occurred. The Muslim Turkish king, Alp Arslan invaded Armenia, and sacked its capital city Ani in 1064 A.D.  This began several hundred years of rule by Muslim Turks. By the sixteenth century, Armenia had been absorbed into the vast and mighty Ottoman Empire. At its peak, this Turkish empire included much of Southeast Europe, North Africa, and almost all of the Middle East.

But by the 1800s the once powerful Ottoman Empire was in serious decline. For centuries, it had spurned technological and economic progress, while the nations of Europe had embraced innovation and became industrial giants. Turkish armies had once been virtually invincible. Now, they lost battle after battle to modern European armies.

As the Ottoman empire gradually disintegrated, formerly subject peoples including the Greeks, Serbs and Romanians achieved their long-awaited independence. Only the Armenians and the Arabs of the Middle East remained stuck in the backward and nearly bankrupt empire, now under the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Ottoman misrule had made the Armenians, a prosperous minority despite its political disadvantages, sympathetic to Russia.  Between 1894 and 1896 over 100,000 inhabitants of Armenian villages were massacred during widespread pogroms conducted by the Sultan's special regiments. 

Sultan Abdul-Hamid II known in history as the "Red Sultan" carried out a series of massacres of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. The worst of the massacres occurred in 1895, resulting in the death of 100,000 to 300,000 civilians, and leaving tens of thousands destitute.  Most of those killed were men. In many towns, the central marketplace and other Armenian-owned businesses were destroyed, usually by conflagration.

armenian holocaust

 

The Young Turks were the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. The Young Turk Movement emerged in reaction to the absolutist rule of Sultan Abdul-Hamid (Abdulhamit) II (1876-1909). With the 1878 suspension of the Ottoman Constitution, reform-minded Ottomans resorted to organizing overseas or underground. The backbone of the movement was formed by young military officers who were especially disturbed by the continuing decline of Ottoman power and attributed the crisis to the absence of an environment for change and progress.

At the center of the Young Turk Revolution stood the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) formed in 1895. Its members came to be known as Ittihadists or Unionists. The most ideologically committed party in the entire movement, the CUP espoused a form of Turkish nationalism which was xenophobic and exclusionary in its thinking.  The CUP seized power in a coup d'etat in January 1913. Armenians in Turkey were delighted with this sudden turn of events and its prospects for a brighter future. Both Turks and Armenians held jubilant public rallies attended with banners held high calling for freedom, equality and justice.  But things were not as they seemed to those jubilant Armenians. 

Along with the Young Turk's newfound "Turanism" there was a dramatic rise in Islamic fundamentalist agitation throughout Turkey. Christian Armenians, who had always been one of the best-educated and wealthy communities within the old Turkish Empire were once again branded as infidels (non-believers in Islam). Young Islamic extremists, staged anti-Armenian demonstrations which often led to violence. During one such outbreak in 1909, two hundred villages were plundered and over 30,000 persons massacred in the Cilicia district on the Mediterranean coast. Throughout Turkey, sporadic local attacks against Armenians continued unchecked over the next several years.

To consolidate Turkish rule in the remaining territories of the Ottoman Empire and to expand the state into the so-called Turanian lands in the east, most held by Iran and Russia, the CUP devised in secret a program for the extermination of the Armenian population. From the viewpoint of its ideology and its new and ambitious foreign policy, the Armenians represented a completely vulnerable population straddling an area of major strategic value for its Pan-Turanian goals.  The traditional historic homeland of Armenia lay right in the path of their plans to expand eastward. And on that land was a large population of Christian Armenians totaling some two million persons, making up about 10 percent of Turkey's overall population.  Somewhat surprisingly to many, Armenians and Turks lived in relative harmony in the Ottoman empire for centuries.  Armenians were known as the "loyal millet". During these times, although Armenians were not equal and had to put up with certain special hardships, they were pretty well accepted and there was relatively little violent conflict.

During World War I, the Ottoman Turks, were allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and an enemy of czarist Russia.  The Armenians fought with the Russians, and both the Germans and Ottomans considered Turkey's Armenian citizens as "the enemy within".   When the world's attention fixed upon the battlegrounds of France and Belgium, the Turks decided it was time to solve their "Armenian Problem" by exterminating them. The cover the Islamic Turks used was the lie that during the war that Armenians had been, for their own safety, evacuated to strategic hamlets so they would not be caught between Turkey and Russia.

Echoes of the Jewish Holocaust

The remarkable thing about the following events is the virtually complete cooperation of the Armenians. For a number of reasons the Armenians did not know what was planned for them and went along with "their" government's plan to "relocate them for their own good".

The Turks began by disarming the entire Armenian population under the pretext that the people were naturally sympathetic toward Christian Russia who Turkey was at war with. First the Armenians were asked to turn in hunting weapons for the war effort.  Every last rifle and pistol was forcibly seized, with severe penalties for anyone who failed to turn in a weapon. 
 

armenian genocide

Turks seem to rejoice watching a massacred Christian family. Even babies were tortured and massacred.



Mass deportations of the the civilian Armenian population was carried out in the spring and summer of 1915 and were completed by the fall, the systematic slaughter of the Armenians had started earlier with the murder of the 40,000 able-bodied males already drafted into the Ottoman armed forces.  These able bodied Armenian men were then drafted and told it was to help Turkey's wartime effort. In the fall and winter of 1914, all of the Armenian soldiers had their weapons taken from them before they were put into slave labor battalions, building roads. Under the brutal work conditions they suffered a very high death rate. Those soldiers who survived were shot outright. 

By stealing the movable and immovable wealth of the Armenians, the CUP looked upon its policy of genocide as a means for enriching its coffers and rewarding its cohorts.

In 1908, Bulgaria was finally liberated from Turkish rule by Russia.  In that same year, the "Young Turk Revolution" began.  It was led by three young Turkish military officers: Mehmed Talat Pasha, Ismail Enver and Ahmed Djemal, were responsible for these policies.  These three formed the governing triumvirate which had concentrated dictatorial powers in their own hands after the January 1913 coup. They divided the governance of the Ottoman Empire among themselves.  Soon these three dictators began promoting the idea of a homogeneous Turkish state of one race and one religion (Islam).  They decided to expel or exterminate all non-Muslim, non-Turkish ethnic groups, specifically the Greek and Armenian Christians.  During World War I the western world was focused on Germany, France and England.  This provided Turkey with the perfect opportunity to carry out their premeditated massacre of its ethnic minorities.

Enver was a young 26 year old military hero who married into the Ottoman dynasty.  He provided the most public face of the CUP. As Minister of War he coordinated the buildup of the Turkish armed forces with German financial, logistical, and planning support. In an ill-conceived plan of attack, he precipitated land warfare against Russia in the Caucasus in the dead of winter. His December 1914 campaign cost an entire army lost in a period of four weeks. In his capacity as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Enver exercised ultimate control over the Ottoman armies which carried out major atrocities, first in 1915 and then with renewed vigor when Turkish forces broke the Russian line in 1918 and invaded the Caucasus. The forces under the command of Enver's brother, Nuri, and uncle, Halil, spread devastation through Russian Armenia and carried out massacres of Armenians all the way to Baku. Talaat was the Minister of the Interior in Istanbul who ran the government for a figurehead grand vizier.  Talaat was the mastermind of the Armenian Genocide and coordinated the various agencies of the Ottoman government required for the deportation, expropriation, and extermination of the Armenians.

The decision of Genocide:
The decision to annihilate the entire Armenian population came directly from the ruling triumvirate of ultra-nationalist Young Turks. The actual extermination orders were transmitted in coded telegrams to all provincial governors throughout Turkey. Armed roundups began on the evening of April 24, 1915, as 300 Armenian political leaders, educators, writers, clergy and dignitaries in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) were taken from their homes, briefly jailed and tortured, then hanged or shot.  In May of 1915  claiming that the Armenians were untrustworthy, the Minister of Internal Affairs (Talaat) ordered their deportation to relocation centers in the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia.

Armenians from Kesaria

Armenians from Kesaria in front of jail one hour before all were killed


Next, there were mass arrests of Armenian adult men and teenagers throughout the country by Turkish soldiers, police agents and bands of Turkish volunteers. The men were tied together with ropes in small groups then taken to the outskirts of their town and shot dead or bayoneted by death squads. Local Turks and Kurds armed with knives and sticks often joined in on the killing.
 

armenians beheaded by turks

Turkish soldiers posing proudly with the
 decapitated heads of Armenian community
 leaders, 1915


Then it was the turn of Armenian women, children, and the elderly. On very short notice, they were ordered to pack a few belongings and be ready to leave home, under the pretext that they were being relocated to a non-military zone for their own safety. They were actually being taken on death marches heading south toward the Syrian Desert.  The death marches would lead across Anatolia and the purpose was clear. The Armenians were being raped, starved, dehydrated, murdered and kidnapped along the way.  Those who miraculously survived the march would arrive to this bleak desert only to be killed upon arrival or to somehow survive until a way to escape the empire was found.  Countless survivors and refugees scattered throughout the Arab provinces and Transcaucasia were to die of starvation, epidemic, and exposure. Even the memory of the Armenian nation was intended for obliteration; churches, and monuments were desecrated, and small children snatched from their parents, were renamed and farmed out to be raised by Turks. Many girls and younger women were seized from their families and taken as slave-brides.

starved armenian mother

A starved mother with her two starved children

armenian orphanarmenian orphans

Armenian Orphans


Muslim Turks who assumed instant ownership of everything quickly occupied most of the homes and villages left behind by the rousted Armenians. In many cases, local Turks who took them from their families spared young Armenian children from deportation. The children were coerced into denouncing Christianity and becoming Muslims, and were then given new Turkish names. For Armenian boys the forced conversion meant they each had to endure painful circumcision as required by Islamic custom.

Turkish gendarmes escorted individual caravans consisting of thousands of deported Armenians. These guards allowed roving government units of hardened criminals known as the "Special Organization" to attack the defenseless people, killing anyone they pleased. They also encouraged Kurdish bandits to raid the caravans and steal anything they wanted. In addition, an extraordinary amount of sexual abuse and rape of girls and young women occurred at the hands of the Special Organization and Kurdish bandits. Most of the attractive young females were kidnapped for a life of involuntary servitude.

The death marches during the Armenian Genocide, involving over a million Armenians, covered hundreds of miles and lasted months. Indirect routes through mountains and wilderness areas were deliberately chosen in order to prolong the ordeal and to keep the caravans away from Turkish villages.

armenians being deported


Food supplies being carried by the people quickly ran out and they were usually denied further food or water. Anyone stopping to rest or lagging behind the caravan was mercilessly beaten until they rejoined the march. If they couldn't continue they were shot. A common practice was to force all of the people in the caravan to remove every stitch of clothing and have them resume the march in the nude under the scorching sun until they dropped dead by the roadside from exhaustion and dehydration.

An estimated 75 percent of the Armenians on these marches perished, especially children and the elderly. Those who survived the ordeal were herded into the desert without a drop of water. Being thrown off cliffs, burned alive, or drowned in rivers.

armenian deportees

Armenian deportees walking



During the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish countryside became littered with decomposing corpses. At one point, Mehmed Talaat responded to the problem by sending a coded message to all provincial leaders: "I have been advised that in certain areas unburied corpses are still to be seen. I ask you to issue the strictest instructions so that the corpses and their debris in your vilayet are buried."

hanged armenian doctors


But his instructions were generally ignored. Those involved in the mass murder showed little interest in stopping to dig graves. The roadside corpses and emaciated deportees were a shocking sight to foreigners working in Turkey. Eyewitnesses included German government liaisons, American missionaries, and U.S. diplomats stationed in the country.

During the Armenian Genocide, the Christian missionaries were often threatened with death and were unable to help the people. Diplomats from the still neutral United States communicated their blunt assessments of the ongoing government actions. U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, reported to Washington: "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race..."

The Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Russia) responded to news of the massacres by issuing a warning to Turkey: "...the Allied governments announce publicly...that they will hold all the members of the Ottoman Government, as well as such of their agents as are implicated, personally responsible for such matters."

The warning had no effect. Newspapers in the West including the New York Times published reports of the continuing deportations with the headlines: Armenians Are Sent to Perish in the Desert - Turks Accused of Plan to Exterminate Whole Population (August 18, 1915) - Million Armenians Killed or in Exile - American Committee on Relief Says Victims of Turks Are Steadily Increasing - Policy of Extermination (December 15, 1915).


In 1918, the Armenians managed to acquire weapons and they fought back, finally repelling the Turkish invasion at the battle of Sardarabad, thus saving the remaining population from total extermination with no help from the outside world. Following that victory, Armenian leaders declared the establishment of the independent Republic of Armenia.

Turkey's Continuous Denial:

The Turkish denial in the past several decades of this evil Genocide is interesting, yet not unexpected since Islam itself is a religion of denial and lies.  The Turks forget that they themselves have confessed in earlier times.

Turkish Prime Minister Damat Ferid Pasha placed the blame squarely on the Young Turk Party. Mustafa Kemal Pasha {Ataturk} said {in a 1926 interview with a Swiss reporter that} the Young Turks "should be made to account for the lives of millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred. . . ."

The Armenian Genocide was witnessed by hundreds of American missionaries in the Ottoman Empire but especially in Anatolia, which was the traditional Armenian homeland.  These missionaries worked among the Armenians and have testified to their destruction by the Ottoman government.

The Genocide was also witnessed by American and European consular officials, stationed in the areas inhabited by the Armenians, who reported it to the ambassadors in Istanbul. Also, there were indeed with many European military advisers with important posts in the Turkish army at the time.

The American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., confronted the Young Turk leaders, and then he telegraphed the American Secretary of State calling the Turkish action an attempt at "racial extermination."

The Armenian Genocide was well-reported in the American press, and the U.S. Senate held hearing which affirmed its reality.

President Woodrow Wilson agreed to draw the boundaries of a free Armenia and sent a message to Congress asking for permission to establish a U.S. mandate over the new state.

[I ask this] "Not only because it [the mandate] embodied my own convictions and feeling with regard to Armenia and its people, but also, and more particularly, because it seemed to me to be the voice of the American people expressing their deep sympathies. At their hearts, this great and generous people [the Americans] have made the case of Armenia their own.

The American people raised millions of dollars to aid the victims of the Genocide. Our older citizens will remember aid to the "starving Armenians."

President Herbert Hoover wrote in his Memoirs:

Probably Armenian was known to the American school child in 1919 only a little less than England ... of the staunch Christians who were massacred periodically by the Mohammedian Turk, and the Sunday School collections of over fifty years for alleviating their miseries. . . .

 

turks killed millians of christians

Turkish soldiers proudly posing with bodies of their Christian victims. To these Muslims, the "Christians were like animals to be hunted."

The Hellenic & Armenian Genocide was the systematic torture, massacre and ethnic cleansing of several millions Hellenes (Greeks) and Armenians perpetrated by the Turks in Asia Minor, Constantinople (called Istanbul by the Turks), Eastern Thrace, Imvros, Tenedos, Macedonia, Cappadocia and Pontos between the beginning of the 1890's and the end of the 1950's.

Millions of children, men and women were tortured and massacred or expelled from their homes only for being Hellenes. In the same places and often at the same time, were also massacred millions of Armenians and Assyrians.

The only "sin" of those millions of persons was to live where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years before the Turkish invasions. The Turkish rulers carried out with unimaginable cruelty their plan to create a "Turkey for the Turks."

april 24, 1915

April 24th 1915, is commemorated worldwide by Armenians as Genocide Memorial Day, when hundreds of Armenian leaders were murdered in Istanbul after being summoned and gathered.

"
The fall of Abdul Hamid had been made possible by the cooperation and aid of the Christians. But the latter — Greeks, Bulgars, Serbs — were soon cruelly disillusioned. A general persecution was started, the details of which were reported to their various governments by all the consuls of the city. This persecution first displayed itself in the form of sporadic murders of alarming frequency all over Macedonia, the victims being, in the beginning, notables of the various Christian communities. A favorite place for shooting these people was at their doorsteps at the moment of their return home. It became evident that the Turkish Government, in order to gain control of the territory, was bent upon the extermination of the non-Mussulman leaders. Many of those murdered had been prominent in the anti-Abdul movement."
 

U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau's says;  

"
And for centuries the Turks simply lived like parasites upon these overburdened and industrious people. They taxed them to economic extinction, stole their most beautiful daughters and forced them into their harems, took Christian male infants by the hundreds of thousands and brought them up as Moslem soldiers. I have no intention of describing the terrible vassalage and oppression that went on for five centuries; my purpose is merely to emphasize this innate attitude of the Moslem Turk to people not of his own race and religion---that they are not human beings with rights, but merely chattels, which may be permitted to live when they promote the interest of their masters, but which may be pitilessly destroyed when they have ceased to be useful. This attitude is intensified by a total disregard for human life and an intense delight in inflicting physical human suffering which are not unusually the qualities of primitive peoples."

President Grover Cleveland:

On December 2, 1895 President Grover Cleveland wrote in his Seventh Annual Message to Congress:

"Occurrences in Turkey have continued to excite concern.  The reported massacres of Christians in Armenia and the development there and in other districts of a spirit of fanatic hostility to Christian influences naturally excited apprehension for the safety of the devoted men and women who, as dependents of the foreign missionary societies of the United States, reside in Turkey under the guarantee law and usage and in the legitimate performance of their educational and religious mission."

President Grover Cleveland addressed the problem of Turkey's wicked treatment of its minorities and subjects in his Eighth Annual Message on December 7th, 1896. In that address to Congress he said about Turkey:

"we have been afflicted by continued and not infrequent reports of the wanton destruction of homes and the bloody butchery of men, women and children, made martyrs to their profession of Christian faith."

 

Theodore Roosevelt on the Armenian Holocaust:

In his book "Fear God and Take Your Own Part" (NY, George H. Doran Co, 1916), Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

"Armenians, who for some centuries have sedulously avoided militarism and war, and have practically applied advanced pacifist principles...and they are so suffering precisely and exactly because they have been pacifists whereas their neighbors, the Turks, have not been pacifists but militarists." Page 61

"During the last year and a half...unoffending, industrious and law abiding peoples like the Armenians, have been subject to wrongs far greater than any that have been committed since the close of the Napoleonic Wars...and, indeed, in the case of the Armenians, the wars of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane in Asia." Page 111


 

Treaty of Sevres
8/10/1920

Woodrow Wilson on the Armenian Holocaust:

In recognition of the Armenian holocaust, in the last major endeavor before he died, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's Treaty of Sevres was intended by him to provide protection for the Armenians.  Congress had earlier discussed making Armenia a U.S. protected country like the Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.  In his special message to Congress Woodrow Wilson stated:

Whereas the testimony adduced at the hearings conducted by the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered; and

Whereas the people of the United States are deeply impressed by the deplorable conditions of insecurity, starvation, and misery now prevalent in Armenia....

 

In the early 1800's, President John Quincy Adams commented on the fate of Christians in Muslim lands (John Quincy Adams, "Essays on Turks", page 303):

"Those provinces are the abode of ten millions of human beings, two thirds of whom are Christians, groaning under the intolerable oppression of less than three million Turks.  Those provinces are in some of the fairest regions of the earth.

They were Christian countries, subdued during the conquering period of the Mahometan imposture, by the ruthless scymetar of the Ottoman race; and under their iron yoke, have been gradually dwindling in population, and sinking into barbarism.

Time of their redemption is at hand."

Below is what he wrote regarding treaties with Muslims (John Quincy Adams, "Essays on Turks", pages 274-275), which is something Presidents Carter to the present George Bush have not been able to comprehend:

"The victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace and the faithful follower of the prophet may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat, but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory when it can be made effective...The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud or by force.  Of Mahometan good faith, we have as memorable examples ourselves.... Such is the spirit, which governs the hearts of men, to whom treachery and violence are taught as principles of religion."

 

Heads of Christians, traditionally treated like trophies by the Turks.

muslim atrocities

A Christian child lies dead in front of a house.


"
Mr. Carlier saw an atrocious spectacle. A Christian stood at his door, which the bandits wished to enter, as his wife and daughter were in the house. He stretched out his arms to bar the way. This motion cost him his life for they shot him in the stomach. As he was staggering toward the sea, they gave him a second shot in the back, and the corpse lay there for two days."


turkish atrocities

Piles of skulls of Christians massacred by the Turks

Turkey unlike Armenia, is a relatively primitive nation with an Islamic Turkish heritage and a bloody past, Turkey has serious geo-political problems with virtually everyone of its neighbors. Turkey has serious territorial disputes with Armenians, Greeks, Cypriots, Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians and its own Kurdish population.

armenian quarter, Beatrice Kaplanian
Beatrice Kaplanian in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter. 2005

A 100-year-old survivor of the Armenian expulsion from Turkey recalls the horrors she survived

Among Beatrice Kaplanian's sharpest memories from the death march of 1915 is thirst. "We would cry for water," she says. She remembers seeing her father die. "He was so weak. We covered him and they took him to the valley. They didn't bury him, they just left him there with the others." She saw a lot of Armenians on the march die from thirst and fatigue. "Somebody would faint, and he wouldn't get up."

Sitting outside in her gray-brick, 17th-century rooftop apartment in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter, Kaplanian, whose memories of the killings put her age at roughly 100, is Israel's last living survivor of the Armenian genocide. Between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenian civilians were killed in 1915-16 by the troops and mobs of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, mainly on forced marches from Turkey to Syria. Another 500,000 to one million Armenians survived and became permanent refugees.

The journey featured widespread rape, as well as mass murders by burning, drowning, axing and beating with blunt instruments - this last "to save shell and powder," in the words of then-US ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau. In this way, live ammunition was saved for the Ottoman armies fighting World War I.

Countless other Armenians died of epidemics in the gigantic concentration camps set up along the route.

Kaplanian is small and somewhat bent over and her hands tremble, but she's remarkably mobile and alert and still has a headful of thick, straight, blondish-white hair. She moves plastic chairs and a clothesline out of the way for the interview, and poses according to the photographer's requests.

Translating my questions into her native Turkish is George Hintlian, Israel's leading Armenian historian, a lifelong resident of the Armenian Quarter who "discovered" Kaplanian only a few years ago. Born Filomena before being renamed Beatrice by her British adoptive parents, she is one of some 800 survivors he says he has interviewed.

The living memory of the genocide is "like a sinking ship, and you have to salvage whatever you can," says Hintlian, 58.

As a little girl in her mountain village, Filomena and her sister Christina used to play with the Turkish neighbors' girls. Then one day the town crier went from house to house among the Armenians telling them that they would all have to leave the next day. Neither the two girls, their older brother or their parents understood what was going on, the old woman says.

They took cheese and bread, threw a mattress and saddle over their donkey - a relative luxury on the march, only for the well-to-do - and the two sisters sat in the saddle while the rest of the family walked. They weren't told their destination, but they were being led to Aleppo, Syria, some 700 km. away.

One night one of the "escorts" on the march - who were often violent criminals released by the Ottomans especially for this murderous duty - snatched one of the pretty Armenian girls in an instant. "We heard her shriek," recalls Kaplanian, and the girl was not seen again.

Twice the old woman cried in the interview. The first time was while recalling how she and her sister refused their mother's request to sit in the saddle for a few hours to rest her feet, telling her that their feet hurt too. The second time was when Kaplanian remembered how a Turkish official took her back to Turkey to be his and his wife's daughter; she never saw or heard from her family after that.

The postwar British occupation of Turkey removed Filomena from the Turkish couple's home, bringing her to a British orphanage in Beirut, where she was adopted and later brought to Jerusalem. There she married a shoemaker from her family's village named Kaplanian who died some 20 years ago, and they had a son who is now in late-middle age.

A devout Christian whose only book at home is the Bible, she says she has "no hard feelings" toward the Turks - or the Kurds, Circassians or Chechens, who also took part in the slaughter - over what happened 90 years ago. "They are human beings too," she says. "My heart is at peace." Based on what he knows of other survivors, Hintlian says Kaplanian's longevity is tied to her extraordinarily forgiving attitude. "The survivors who were filled with hatred usually didn't live long lives," he says.

We met at Jaffa Gate as it was filled with Jews coming for the Pessah birkat hakohanim, or "priestly blessing." In the adjacent Armenian Quarter walls were pasted with posters for the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

As with millions of Armenians above a certain age, Hintlian grew up on family memories of the genocide. His father was on the death march, and he would tell stories about how his father was axed to death, and how his baby brother died from acute diarrhea a few days after their despairing mother, unable to still the boy's endless cries for water that they didn't have, gave him muddy water from the ground to drink.

By contrast, the stories Hintlian heard from his mother taught him "that there were good Turks, too," he says. The mayor of his mother's village in Turkey, a man named Jellal, who had already been removed by the Ottomans from his post as governor of Aleppo for refusing to cooperate in the genocide, refused again as mayor of the village, costing him that position, too. Jellal won the village's Armenians crucial months to prepare for their eventual expulsion, says Hintlian.

"None of my mother's family died on the march," he says. "They were wealthy, they traveled in a carriage, and they bribed escorts and officials along the way." Many of the Armenian survivors owed their lives to such bribery, he notes, while others were aided by sympathetic Turks and Kurds, and still others, like his father, survived by resourcefulness and simple "Darwinian" stamina.

His father eventually came to Jerusalem to work as an assistant to the Armenian Patriarch, and George later followed him in the post, which he held for 25 years. During that time he became a historian, publishing eight books on 19th-century Jerusalem and the 1,500-year history of the city's Armenians.

He decided to research the Armenian genocide at age 19 after hearing a lecture by the pioneer historian of that cataclysm, Vahakn Dadrian, an Armenian-American.

Yet despite having interviewed hundreds of survivors, both local residents and foreigners coming on pilgrimage, and even though he has pored over accounts of the genocide left by American, German, Austrian and Scandinavian officials in Turkey at the time, Hintlian says he has not written a book on the subject and has no plans to do so.

"When Dadrian used to come to the library in the Patriarchate to do research, we had to remind him to eat lunch, he just became so overwhelmed by the cruelty of the stories," says Hintlian, sitting in an Armenian cafe for tourists at Jaffa Gate.

"Sometimes I go to Yad Vashem and I see scholars coming out looking depressed. I don't think I have the nerves and willpower to live in that world. It's a hell," he says. "I can read only one week at a time (about the Armenian genocide), then I want to stop. I'm not suited for this work." Still, he is drawn to the old people he interviews. "I start off asking them about their blood pressure, their simple human needs. Once they feel you care, they'll tell you anything," he says with a gentle smile.

"But sometimes I'm very worried about interviewing them," he continues. Hintlian fears that he may have actually brought on the deaths of three aged interviewees by leading them to recount their childhood memories from the death march. "Three people died very soon after I interviewed them. One died four hours after, another two days after," he says.

He is in touch with Israeli writers who've taken a deep interest in the Armenian genocide, above all Yehuda Bauer, the dean of Holocaust historians in this country. Others include novelists Amos Oz and Haim Guri, politicians Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin, broadcast journalist Ya'acov Ahimeir and historians Amos Elon, Tom Segev and Yair Oron.

Another reason Hintlian doesn't want to write a book about the Armenian genocide is because of the gaps in its history left by Turkey's refusal to open its archives from that period. "German archives from the Holocaust have been opened to Jewish researchers, but the Turkish archives from the genocide are either closed or they've been purged," he says. "So we are in the dark about so many details - who [among Ottoman officials] made a particular decision, and when. We have to grope our way and try to make sense of it." Ultimately, though, Hintlian says he cannot make sense of the Armenian genocide, and this is yet another reason why he feels unable to write a book about it. He is baffled as to how people could carry out an atrocity of such magnitude. "It's an endless mystery," he says.

It's also a mystery to Beatrice Kaplanian, but she doesn't dwell on it. Putting her balcony chairs away, she is asked how the God she worships could allow such evil. "It is a sin to interfere in the ways of God," she replies. "Whatever God wills to happen, happens."

See this BBC VIDEO:

The Betrayed: (Armenian Genocide)
How America betrayed the Christian Armenians... Survivors tell this story of massacre at the hands of Muslim Turks.
 

22 September

A Turkish court has ruled that a controversial conference on the mass killing of Armenians living under the Ottoman Empire should be suspended.

The conference of academics and intellectuals was to offer a critical look at the official approach to the events of 1915.

Armenians want the killings classified as genocide, but Turkey refuses, pointing to casualties on both sides.

It is the second time the conference has been called off.

The cancellation comes just 10 days before Turkey is due to begin accession talks for membership of the European Union.

Taboo

This was no ordinary academic conference. The delegates were set to discuss the fate of the Ottoman Armenians 90 years ago, one of the most sensitive subjects in Turkey.

The first attempt to stage the debate, in May, was abandoned after Turkey's Justice Minister accused organisers of stabbing Turkey in the back.

This time a group of nationalist lawyers petitioned a court at the last minute and once again the conference is off.

The alleged massacre of more than one million Armenians in 1915 has long been a taboo subject in Turkey.

It was illegal even to discuss the issue until a very recent reform inspired by Turkey's bid for membership of the European Union.

No appeal

Just 10 days before EU accession talks are due to begin, this court ruling is likely to embarrass the authorities.

The prime minister, though, has already voiced his concern, calling the decision undemocratic.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that although you may not approve of a point of view, that does not mean you should prevent others from expressing it.

The university does have the right of appeal, but lawyers here say there is now little to no chance the ground-breaking debate can go ahead as planned on Friday.

Armenian flag

Armenia today

Map of Armenia

  • Full name: The Republic of Armenia
  • Population: 3 million (UN, 2007)
  • Capital: Yerevan
  • Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Armenian, Russian
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 75 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 dram = 100 lumas
  • Main exports: Processed and unprocessed diamonds, machinery, metal products, foodstuffs
  • GNI per capita: US $1,470 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .am
  • International dialling code: +374

 

 

UPDATE - April 2008

New Armenian Genocide Museum in Washington, D.C.
Corner of 14th and G Streets, NW
 

Several blocks from the White House, Armenian-Americans are building a genocide museum. Like the US Holocaust Memorial Museum down the street, its location will make it impossible to ignore.

Genocide is a word that the White House avoids each April 24, when the Armenians commemorate the horrific event, which traditionally is dated from 1915. The US government acknowledges the atrocity without naming it, so as not to offend Turkey, which vehemently denies there was a genocide.  As no surprise, Obama avoided that word also this year. On April 23, 2011, Obama acknowledged it happened, but called it a massacre.

Read more about this: here

Learn more about this Museum: here


 

Turks apologize for Armenian massacres

Prominent intellectuals show regret online for World War I-era atrocities

Dec. 15, 2008

ANKARA, Turkey - A group of about 200 Turkish intellectuals on Monday issued an apology on the Internet for the World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey.

The group of prominent academics, journalists, writers and artists avoided using the contentious term "genocide" in the apology, using the less explosive "Great Catastrophe" instead.

"My conscience does not accept that (we) remain insensitive toward and deny the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected in 1915," read the apology. "I reject this injustice, share in the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers, and apologize to them."

The apology is a sign that many in Turkey are ready to break a long-held taboo against acknowledging Turkish culpability for the deaths.

Historians estimate that, in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in what is widely regarded as the first genocide of the 20th century. Armenians have long pushed for the deaths to be recognized as genocide.

While Turkey does not deny that many died in that era, the country has rejected the term genocide, saying the death toll is inflated and the deaths resulted from civil unrest during the Ottoman Empire's collapse.

Online apology
Nearly 2,500 members of the public also signed the online apology, giving their support to the intellectuals.

Finish reading this at: MSNBC

Reference:


Additional places one can Research:

Jerusalem Post, 27 Aug 07:
Turkey: 'Israel must get US Jews to back down'
Turkey expects Israel to "deliver" American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I, Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.  Tan cut short a vacation and rushed back to Israel Thursday to deal with the Anti-Defamation League's reversal last week of its long-standing position on the issue. Turkey's concern is that last week's decision by ADL national director Abe Foxman would open the dikes and enable the passage in Congress of a nonbinding resolution calling Ottoman Turkey's actions against the Armenians "genocide."  Tan said that while he understood Congressional resolutions on this would have no real "teeth," the psychological importance was enormous. Accepting the resolution, he said, "means you deny the past, it means you say that my ancestors have done something inconceivable. And the people who will be encouraged by this will use it to set up a campaign against Turkey and the Turkish people."

Bitter history of Armenian genocide row
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1132336.stm

Other Sites on this Armenian Holocaust:
Fact Sheet at the University of Michigan

The Armenian and Roma Genocide’s, Univ of the West of England
http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/armromgen.htm

Swiss accept Armenia 'genocide'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3325247.stm

Armenians say US failed them
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/2572667.stm

France recognizes Armenian genocide
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/102803.stm

Reference for Adolph Hitler's statement "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

Kevork B. Bardakjian, Hitler and the Armenian Genocide (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Zoryan Institute, 1985).

The text above is the English version of the German document handed to Louis P. Lochner in Berlin. It first appeared in Lochner's What About Germany? (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1942), pp. 1-4. The Nuremberg Tribunal later identified the document as L-3 or Exhibit USA-28. Two other versions of the same document appear in Appendices II and III. For the German original cf. Akten zur Deutschen Auswartigen Politik 1918-1945, Serie D, Band VII, (Baden-Baden, 1956), pp. 171-172. Also see: http://www.armenian-genocide.org/hitler.html

See: Kevork B. Bardakjian, Hitler and the Armenian Genocide (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Zoryan Institute, 1985). Hitler said;
"I have issued the command — and I'll have anybody who utters but 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 — for the present only in the East — with orders to them to 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?"