Friday, November 10, 2006

The Other Side of the Story

The Other Side of the Story: The Trurth behind the Armenian Crisis of 1915
by Rachel Salomon

Since 1915, Armenian activists have deceived many people into believing that there was unquestionably a genocide that occurred against them within the former Ottoman Empire. However, history demonstrates that there is another side to what happened in Anatolia during the First World War, a view that has been expounded upon by prominent historians such as Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton University and Professor Stanford Shaw of the University of California. According to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, there must be a clear intent to destroy an entire nation, race, ethnicity, or religion in order to be classified as genocide ("Convention on the Prevention"). Going by this internationally recognized definition, the Armenian case is not genocide, for there is no proof that the Ottoman Turks intended to annihilate the Armenian people.Genocide is not a word that should be tossed around lightly. It is true that there have been genocides, such as the Jewish Holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, and East Timor, which have occurred throughout the 20th century. Some cases of genocide, like that of the Sudan, are going on as we speak. In each of these cases, the goal of annihilation of an entire group of people has been on the agenda of the ruling government. For this reason, they are genocides and should be classified as such.However, other cases, such as that of the Armenians, are unfortunate tragedies that have taken place in times of extremely brutal wars, but they are not genocides because the intent of the annihilation of an entire people has been lacking from the situation. All suffering that occurred during the First World War should be recognized, but it would be criminal to belittle the suffering that occurs during actual genocides by equating the natural consequences from an exceedingly bloody war with the unique crime of genocide. As Professor Bernard Lewis once said, "My loyalties are to the truth." Throughout this entire essay, my goal is not to deny an indisputable genocide, but to demonstrate that an unfortunate incident has been labeled unjustly as genocide to the depreciation of incidents that the United Nations defines as actual genocides.Americans and Europeans have heard many lies about Turkey from powerful Armenian lobbyist organizations. For instance, some Armenians allege that over 1.5 million Armenians died in Eastern Anatolia. However, Turkish demographic statistics taken prior to World War One prove that fewer than1.5 million Armenians lived throughout the entire Ottoman Empire, which included all of Anatolia, significant parts of Europe, North Africa, the Caucasus, and the Middle East ("Turkey"). Even the Armenian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1920 noted the large portions of Armenians who survived the war. In sum, 280,000 Armenians remained in Anatolia, while 700,000 had immigrated to other countries. If 1.5 million Armenians had been slaughtered by Turks, given the demographics, there would not have been a single Armenian who survived the war.It is true that many Armenians were killed: "Historian and demographer, Dr.Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, calculates the actual losses as slightly less than 600,000. This figure agrees with those provided by the British historian Arnold Toynbee, by most early editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and approximates the number given by Monseigneur Touchet, a French missionary" ("Turkey"). All of these deaths are tragic and should be recognized in the history books. However, it is also important to remember that many Turkish, Russian, French, British, German, Canadian, and American citizens also died during the exact same time period. It was a brutal era in human history with many peoples from many nations dying.Armenians were not unique in this aspect.Nevertheless, in order to gain statehood from land carved out of the former Ottoman Empire, Armenian activists needed to prove that the crime of genocide had occurred so that they would have foreign support. Given their unfriendly relations with their neighbors, they needed powerful allies in order to become a state. Once Armenia became a state, they knew that they would need foreign aid to survive. Armenian activists knew that foreign powers would not support them unless they could provide evidence that a Christian people had been sought after for extermination. In order to prove an Armenian Genocide, they found it necessary to commit outright intellectual fraud. Without this fabricated support, there is no proof that such a genocide took place.The infamous Talat Pasha Telegrams, which have been used as pivotal supporting evidence for all Armenian arguments against Turks, were an invention. The originals of the papers copied by the Armenian author Aram Andonian were never seen by the British War Office. When the British Foreign Office enquired about them to General Allenby, it was discovered that these documents were not found by the British during their occupation of Istanbul, but were produced by an unidentified Armenian political organization in Paris (Delen). However, without the originals, it is still quite evident that the Talat Pasha documents were a scam. When Andonian dated a memo in his book, he claimed that Mustafa Abdulhalik Bey was the Governor of Aleppo, while the actual Governor of Aleppo on the date noted was Bekir Sami Bey.Andonian lacks the proper knowledge of the Rumi calendar (the lunar calendar of the Ottoman Empire) that would be necessary in order to create a believable forgery of an Ottoman document (Delen).The Armenian lobbyists often distribute a photograph of human skulls with their publications, claiming that this was an example of Turkish savagery.In reality, this supposed photograph was a painting entitled "The Apotheosis of War" that was created in 1872 by the Russian master Vassili Vereshchagin.

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