How was the genocide of the Armenians stopped
Armenia: Was Mass Deportation Genocide?
upg. Whether genocide or not: Switzerland is dealing with this question before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In addition, according to the NZZ, an Armenian genocide memorial that has been passed in Geneva ensures “at the highest diplomatic level” for “unusual interventions”. In the following, the Turkish-born professor Hakki Keskin explains his opinion as to why the genocide has not been proven. He calls for an international commission of historians.
Controversial research and discussion for over a hundred years
The evaluation of the events of 1915, i.e. the forced resettlement of Armenians from Eastern and Central Anatolia to Syria - at that time part of the Ottoman Empire - has been the subject of controversial research and discussion for around a hundred years.
According to the UN Convention of 1948, “genocide” or “genocide” denotes the specific intention to directly or indirectly “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such».
Unsuccessful investigation of the occupying powers
Immediately after the First World War, the occupying powers Great Britain and France carried out investigations in the Ottoman Empire from January 3, 1919 to August 10, 1921 in order to be able to start the trial of alleged perpetrators of "poor treatment of prisoners of war and massacres of Armenians". 147 politically responsible and leading officers of the Ottoman Empire were deported from England to Malta.
In particular, England, as an occupying power, was in possession of all documents, resolutions and correspondence relating to the measures for the forced resettlement of Armenians in Ottoman. For 32 months, the Royal Prosecutor, in close cooperation with the British Foreign and Defense Ministries, the High Commissioner and the British Embassy in Istanbul, even with the participation and involvement of the British Parliament, prepared the trial of the detainees in Malta.
Acquittal in Malta
In July 1921, the Royal Prosecutor of Great Britain came to the following conclusion: "The evidence and information we have in hand do not provide evidence to convict and punish the accused after a civil trial." *
The Malta trial, which was conducted with great enthusiasm and effort on the basis of all the documents from the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, France and the USA against the imprisoned "responsible persons" for "poor treatment of prisoners of war and massacres of Armenians" ended after 29 months with acquittal. On October 31, 1921, the prisoners were returned to Turkey.
Great Britain rejected a neutral court
Still in front the Malta trial had asked the leadership of the Ottoman Empire to establish a court to deal with allegations of offense against Armenians in the countries of Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland and Spain, which were not involved in the First World War and were therefore considered neutral to investigate. But the occupying power Great Britain rejected this proposal.
Proposal for a historians' commission with equal representation
In 2001, when I was dealing with the highly controversial topic of the events of 1915, I had the idea that a joint historians commission with equal representation could enable this question to be clarified as objectively as possible. Turkish, Armenian and internationally recognized historians should work together in this commission and analyze the archive materials in the countries in question. This could possibly normalize relations between the neighboring states of Armenia and Turkey.
It was my concern then and is still about finding the truth. I submitted this proposal to the then President of Turkey, Necdet Sezer, when he visited Stuttgart in 2001.
Erdoğan's letter went unanswered
Ninety years after the events of 1915, on April 10, 2005, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Erdoğan, of whom I am one of the critics, submitted a letter to the President of the Armenian Republic, Robert Kocharyan, to set up a joint historians commission to analyze the events of 1915 on the basis of all archive material and to present the results to the world public. This result should then be binding for both sides. Armenia did not respond to this letter.
According to the ECHR, the legal basis is missing
A court in Switzerland had convicted Doğu Perinçek because he was of the opinion: "The allegation of the genocide against Armenians is an imperialist lie." Perinçek appealed against this decision to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on December 12, 2013 among other things: «The European Court of Human Rights lacks the clear international legal basis that exists in the case of the Holocaust for an unequivocal qualification as genocide.»
The Swiss government does not accept this complaint and on March 11, 2014 asked the Grand Chamber of the ECHR to reassess the case. On June 3, 2014, it decided that it would deal with the Perinçek case. The first court hearing will take place in Strasbourg on January 28th.
Double withdrawal of citizenship
Since the 1968s, since my active political life in Germany, I have consistently adhered to always fighting for truth and justice, regardless of personal consequences. Because of my criticism of the conditions in Turkey from 1968 to 1970 as chairman of the Turkish Student Federation in Germany, I was stripped of my Turkish citizenship in 1970, which I only got back after a trial at the administrative court in Ankara. After the intervention of the military in 1971, I was expatriated again and after another trial I got back my Turkish citizenship.
I was the second person to be stripped of my citizenship after writer Nazim Hikmet, and so this case received a wide response from the Turkish public.
In the years 1980-2010, as a university lecturer, as chairman of the Turkish community in Hamburg and as federal chairman of the Turkish community in Germany, as a member of the citizenship in Hamburg and the Bundestag with countless lectures, interviews and publications, I consistently for the same rights of Immigrants, but also for all socially disadvantaged in Germany.
As my dozens of publications in the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet show in recent years, I am committed to a democratic, secular and social constitutional state, as well as freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Turkey. I am making these remarks about my biography because I was not spared the accusation of a “Turkish nationalist” by Armenian lobbyists.
In countless publications by reputable historians, some of which are in my library, the reasons for the creation and events before 1915 and afterwards are explained in detail. They show how the rebellious Armenians who used terror and violence before and in the middle of the First World War, encouraged and supported by Tsarist Russia - even together with the Russian army - fought against their own country in Eastern Turkey.
When the Russian army occupied what is now eastern Turkey towards the end of 1914, supporters of the Armenian Daschnak party carried out massacres against the Turkish and Kurdish populations in eastern Turkey. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands were killed in the process. Dozens of archive materials, even reports from Russian generals and officials, clearly document these massacres.
Hundreds of thousands were the victims of forced relocation
Only after these events in Eastern Turkey did the Ottoman state, incidentally, also on the recommendation of the German generals who were influential in the Ottoman army, decide on the forced relocation of the Armenians on May 27, 1915. Undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed on this long route and under the extremely poor conditions at the time, with mostly lacking transport options.
There were also many acts of revenge and robbery against the Armenian population. It is to be critically criticized that the Armenian population, completely uninvolved in Eastern Turkey, was affected by this deportation and by the immeasurable suffering.
Armenians in western Turkey remained unmolested
The Armenian population in the western parts of the country, for example in Istanbul, Izmir and Bursa, was not affected by this forced resettlement. This is an indication that no general deportation of the Armenian population was planned or took place.
Personally, I sincerely regret that hundreds of thousands Armenians, but also Turks and Kurds died in these most dramatic and sad events. It is wrong to only talk about killed Armenians in this dispute and to exclude almost the same number of killed Turks.
The Armenians and Turks lived together in peaceful neighborhood for almost a thousand years. The Armenians were present at all professional levels in Ottoman society, but also as ambassadors and ministers in many leading positions in the state.
The first Prime Minister of Armenia Howhannes Kachasnuni sums up this very sad history of the Ottoman Empire in the following sentence. «We have been killed and we have killed. We were blinded by the dream for Greater Armenia. »**
Armenian exponents do not want a factual discussion
The active Armenian lobbyists, supported with massive amounts of money, are not allowed to discredit or even silence people with a different opinion on this issue as “genocide deniers”. Evidently by falsifying facts, even paintings, they try to impose their position on the world public as the only correct one. By avoiding a discussion on this topic, they want to prevent events from taking place with historians who are knowledgeable and researching this topic on the basis of archival documents.
Younger Armenian occupations and massacres
The increasingly louder work of Armenian exponents also pursues the goal of Occupation of Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding five regions of Azerbaijan (One fifth of Azerbaijani territory) and the massacres of the population of Chodjali (Hocali) in 1992 from the public discussion. Around one million people have been displaced from these occupied areas of Azerbaijan. The four resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (No. 822, 853, 874, 884) as well as resolutions of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament calling on Armenia to withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan are being ignored.
A joint historians' commission is needed
This extremely controversial story can only be elucidated by knowledgeable historians using archival materials and sources around the world. Only the support of the formation of a commission of historians can contribute to a mutual solution and to the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. An instrumentalization of this topic for whatever reasons does not contribute to the establishment of the truth and a solution to the problem.
You can find a more detailed article on my position on the Armenian question on my website under "Azerbaycan-Ermenistan Türkiye".
* Gürkan, U., Understanding the Armenian Question (Ermeni Sorununu Anlamak, Istanbul 2011, p.78 ff.
** Katschasnuni, H., Daschnak party cannot achieve anything, (Taşnak partisinin yapacaği bir şey yok), Kaynak yayınları, Istanbul, 2005, p.9.
Subject-related interests of the author
After completing political science studies in Germany, Hakki Keskin returned to Turkey for two years as a planning consultant on the staff of Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. From 1980 to 1982 Keskin was a research assistant at the University of Applied Sciences for Administration and Justice in Berlin. In 1982 he moved to Hamburg as a professor of politics and migration policy. From 1995 to 2005, Keskin was the founding chairman of the Turkish community in Germany. In 2005 he resigned from the SPD in protest against government policy. From 2005-2009 he was a member of the left-wing parliamentary group in the German Bundestag.
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