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#1841 MosJan


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Posted 18 July 2019 - 03:12 PM




aner Akçam unearths evidence of Ottoman decision to ‘annihilate’ Armenians
Historian: Ottoman governors ‘spoke openly’ of how to exterminate population



Letters referring to a decision to “annihilate” all Armenians have been authenticated as the work of Bahaettin Şakir, one of the architects of the Armenian Genocide, according to a new study by Clark University history professor Taner Akçam. His paper, “When was the Decision to Annihilate the Armenians Taken?” appears in the Journal of Genocide Research.

Akçam writes that the signatures on the two letters, dated March 3 and April 7, 1915, match those of Şakir on other documents. Akçam also says he has unearthed new documents from the Ottoman Archives showing initial decisions to exterminate groups of Armenians were taken by a local branch of the paramilitary organization, Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa (Special Organization), led by provincial governors in December 1914.

The first letter studied by Akçam states that the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) “has decided to annihilate all of Armenians living within Turkey, not to allow a single one to remain, and has given the government broad authority in this regard.” The second letter reiterates this message. Previously, the authenticity of these letters was questioned but, according to Akçam, signature comparison indicates they were authored by Şakir — who, as head of the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, helped to plan and carry out the genocide.

The Armenian Genocide, the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, was carried out during and after World War I. While present-day Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during the war, it continues to contest the 1.5 million figure and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide. This denial — which continues despite a recent United Nations Joint Allegation Letter demanding that the Turkish government investigate the treatment of Armenians from 1915 to 1923, establish the truth, and make reparations — has hinged on the patchy archival record.

“These letters indicate there was an actual, conscious decision taken to annihilate the empire’s Armenian population, and that it was taken before March 3, 1915,” says Akçam. “Moreover, there were other related decisions that preceded this final one, as a series of documents we discovered in the Ottoman Archives shows.”

These documents suggest that initial decisions to eliminate groups of Armenians were not taken by the Central Committee of the CUP and/or by the central government, but by governors in the provinces of Van and Bitlis.

“In their communications — both with Istanbul and with one another — the governors did not see the need to use vague language or euphemisms in referring to the annihilation of the Armenians, but spoke of it openly, even offering a number of tangible ideas regarding how such an extermination could or should be carried out,” Akçam says.

Policy decisions regarding the elimination of Armenians, while initially made at the regional level, would eventually serve to pressure the central government in Istanbul to adopt a more radical overall policy, he concludes.

Akçam is professor of history at Clark and holds the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Endowed Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies. One of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide, The New York Times referred to him as “The Sherlock Holmes of the Armenian Genocide.” His 2018 book, “Killing Orders: Talat *****’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide,” includes a document — a “smoking gun” — that points to the Ottoman government’s central role in planning the elimination of its Armenian population. A previous work, “The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire,” was co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award and named one of the “Best Books on the Middle East” by ForeignAffairs.com.

Among his many honors, Akçam received the 2018 Outstanding Upstander Award from the World Without Genocide organization; the Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal from the Organization of Istanbul Armenians and the Hrant Dink Freedom Award from the Armenian Bar Association (both in 2015); and the Heroes of Justice and Truth award at the Armenian Genocide Centennial commemoration in May 2015.

#1842 MosJan


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Posted 18 July 2019 - 03:32 PM




1915 letters ordering to “annihilate” all Armenians unearthed





(Courthouse News) – For nearly a century, scholars may have been overlooking key pieces of evidence detailing the decision of the Ottoman Empire to exterminate millions of Armenians during and after World War I.

Research published Wednesday in the Journal of Genocide Research by Turkish scholar Taner Akçam authenticates the signature of Bahaettin Şakir, an influential member of the Young Turks who formed the Central Committee of Union and Progress responsible for carrying out the killings. In his letter dated March 3, 1915, Sakir confirmed Istanbul had sanctioned the annihilation of the Armenian people – more than a month before April 24, which many historians recognize as the start of the genocide.

“These letters indicate there was an actual, conscious decision taken to annihilate the empire’s Armenian population and that it was taken before March 3, 1915,” Akçam said in a statement. “Moreover, there were other related decisions which preceded this final one, as a series of documents we discovered in the Ottoman Archives shows.”

Bahaettin Şakir made no efforts to hide behind euphemisms, writing in his letter that the Committee of Union and Progress “has decided to annihilate all of Armenians living within Turkey, not to allow a single one to remain, and has given the government broad authority in this regard. On the question of how this killing and massacring will be carried out, the [central] government will give the necessary instructions to the provincial governors and army commanders.”

The letters were first presented among other handwritten documents by journalist Aram Andonian in 1921.

But objections raised by the Turkey Historical Society in 1983 questioning their authenticity were widely accepted until recently. To this day, the modern Turkish government declines to use the word genocide, instead describing the dead as “victims of a civil war” killed in order to protect the empire’s borders.

In the United States, 49 out of 50 states recognize the Armenian Holocaust even as Congress has killed two resolutions to adopt that as the official foreign policy. U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., most recently sponsored a new House resolution “Affirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide” which has languished in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since its introduction in April.

However politicians chose to recall history, most historians maintain the systematic killing of the Armenian people falls under the dictionary definition of genocide. The question among scholars is instead whether the killings were premeditated or gradually radicalized. In his work, Akçam argues that governors in Erzurum, Van, and Bitlis likely pushed the central government toward radicalization.

Throughout December 1914, mass murders were being carried out in individual provinces, with men the initial target. Akçam wrote, “For example, 11 identified Armenians in Başkale were arrested on the pretext that they had to be brought to Van and were murdered on the way there. In some villages, the entire male population above the age of 10 was killed. The same method was used in the counties of Özalp and Saray.”

The regional efforts to wipe out Armenians eventually informed national policy in Turkey, according to Akçam.

“The more radical policy decisions regarding the Armenians, while initially made at the regional level, would eventually serve to pressure the central government in Istanbul to adopt a more radical overall policy,” Akçam explained. “In short, the ‘radicalization’ of policy vis-à-vis the Armenian population was first experienced in the periphery and only later adopted and expanded by Istanbul.”

The authentication of the Bahaettin Şakir letters, Akçam says, provides documentation that the attacks later carried out in April 2015 were approved in advance by the central government.

#1843 Yervant1


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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:58 AM

UPI - United Press Int'l
July 24 2019
Historian unearths evidence that Istanbul directed Armenian genocide
New documents suggest the Armenian genocide was both sanctioned and assisted by leaders of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul.
By Brooks Hays
Armenian civilians, escorted by armed Ottoman soldiers, are marched to a nearby prison. Photo by Wikimedia Commons
July 23 (UPI) -- Between 1914 and 1923, during and after World War I, hundreds of thousands of Armenians living in Turkey were systematically rounded up and murdered. Thousands more were forced to flee their homes. Some estimates put the death toll at more than 1.5 million.
Now, researchers say newly discovered documents suggest the Armenian genocide was both sanctioned and assisted by leaders of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul.

The fact that the Armenian genocide happened is well-accepted within academic circles. However, the Turkish government has continued to deny the culpability of their predecessors.

"The Armenian diaspora is trying to instill hatred against Turkey through a worldwide campaign on genocide claims ahead of the centennial anniversary of 1915," Turkey's president, Recep Erdogan, said in 2015. "If we examine what our nation had to go through over the past 100 to 150 years, we would find far more suffering than what the Armenians went through."

Erdogan's sentiments aren't without the support of the vast majority of the Turkish population. As the New York Times reported in 2015, a poll conducted by the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an Istanbul research organization, fewer than one in ten Turks believe the government should label the atrocities genocide and apologize.

"Turkish government officials continue to use the same argument, the argument that the Ottoman government never had the intent," Taner Akçam, an Armenian genocide expert and history professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, told UPI. "They accept that there were casualties and some massacres, but they claim the Ottoman government was not able to control the remote areas and that some Kurdish tribes or bandits or some other group, they committed these kinds of crimes."

What was missing, Akçam said, was a "smoking gun" linking the atrocities to the Ottoman government. That's exactly what Akçam found.

"This new evidence is a major blow against Turkish denialist arguments," Akçam said.

His discovery suggests the genocide was indeed carried out on periphery, not by rogue agents and bandits, but by provincial governors. These governors were in communication with and assisted by leaders in Istanbul.

"This shows the radicalization process started in the provinces," Akçam told UPI.

The evidence, a series of telegrams transcribed, decoded and signed by Turkish officials, was discovered among a slate of new documents released into the Ottoman archive, a collection of historical documents in Istanbul, organized by the government and made available to researchers.

The newly discovered letters feature the first unambiguous use of the terms "extermination" and "annihilation" by Ottoman officials, both among the provinces and in Istanbul. Analysis of the signatures confirmed several of the transcribed telegrams were authored by Bahaettin Şakir, head of the para-military Special Organization and one of the architects of the Armenian Genocide.

Though the plan to exterminate all of the Armenians living in Turkey began as a provincial idea, the new evidence suggests Istanbul was eventually convinced to back the genocidal approach.

In addition to the documents retrieved from the Ottoman archive in Istanbul, Akçam also discovered similar letters -- transcribed telegrams -- that were used as evidence in tribunals organized by the postwar Ottoman government.

"There were 63 different trials and more than 200 defendants," Akçam said. "The materials from these court procedures went missing. Government officials never made these court proceedings available to researchers."

Researchers only knew about these tribunals from reports written by daily newspapers in Istanbul. A few of the verdicts were also published by the Ottoman government. But some of the documents from these tribunals ended up in the private archive of a Catholic priest in Armenia.

Among the tribunal documents, Akçam found transcribed telegrams using the same coding system -- a series of Arabic letters and numerals to represent words and suffixes -- found among the letters unearthed from the Ottoman archive.

"I went to the Ottoman archive, I discovered that this four digit coding system was the same for both sets of telegrams," he said. "The authenticity cannot be disputed, this was the major discovery."

The transcribed telegrams provided further evidence of communication between those carrying out the genocide in the provinces and military and political officials in Istanbul, including messages that Akçam characterized as "killing orders."

As to why these revealing documents were publicly released by a government intent on denying its predecessors culpability, Akçam guesses officials simply didn't read them thoroughly. The documents in the archives were summarized by officials before being released, and the summaries of the newly discovered telegraphs mention nothing of the details relating the Armenian genocide.

Akçam said his discoveries, summarized in the Journal of Genocide Research, will further solidify the truth of the Armenian genocide. It's a truth he hopes will soon be accepted by the Turkish government.

According to Akçam, the genocide has implications for the political situation in modern Turkey.

"Turks and the Turkish government has the same problems today with Kurds as the Ottomans had with Armenians in the past," he said. "Armenians were making demands for legal and social equality. The Kurds are making similar demands today."

As a result, Akçam said, the Kurds have been labeled as a security threat and the Turkish government has attempted to suppress these democratic demands.

"Without acknowledging historical wrongdoings, Turkey cannot establish a democratic future," Akçam said.

According to the historian, reconciling with the record of the Armenian genocide is essential for improved relations between Turkey and its neighbors.

"Speaking regionally, if you continue this policy of denialism, this means you have the potential to repeat the same policy against your neighbors," Akçam said. "This is why many of Turkey's neighbors consider the Turkish government a security threat. Without reconciling history, peace will not be achievable in the region." 


#1844 Yervant1


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Posted 30 July 2019 - 07:49 AM

CBS Minnesota
July 28 2019
Finding Minnesota: Stories From Armenian Genocide At Museum Of Russian Art
July 28, 2019 at 10:10 pm
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After the Armenian genocide a century ago, many refugees settled in the Twin Cities. Now their stories of survival are finally being told at the Museum of Russian Art, in an exhibit that is sure to educate and inspire.

“The first survivor of the Armenian genocide arrived in Minnesota in 1919,” Fr. Tadeos Barseghyan, of St. Sahag Armenian Church in St. Paul, said.

Just over 100 years ago, our state and country were engaged in World War I. And while brave Minnesotans rushed to the front lines, people in other parts of the world were fleeing oppression and persecution.

“1.5 million people died in the Armenian genocide as a result of violence against Armenian people who were ethnically different, who were a Christian minority living in a Turkish empire,” Barseghyan said.

Today, about 1,000 people of Armenian descent live in the Twin Cities. They are all descendants of genocide survivors who made it through death marches and slavery, while many of their loved ones did not.

“The wounds are so deep that even 100 years later they have not fully healed,” photographer Artyom Tanoyin said.

As a way to help heal those wounds, Tanoyin began to photograph descendants and tell their stories.

“I started taking photos of my kids and I ended up doing this,” Tanoyin said.

It’s a labor of love that’s now on display at the Russian Museum of Art. The exhibit is called the “Treasures of Memory and Hope.”

Tanoyin teaches a class about the genocide at the University of Minnesota, and his grandmother and grandfather were the only survivors from their respective families. They met in the Armenian city of Gyumri as kids.

“The city was known as the city of orphans. At one point that orphanage housed 40,000 orphans and my grandparents were two of those,” Tanoyin said.

One of the people featured in the exhibit is Caroline Ylitalo.

“My grandmother was actually enslaved until my grandfather bought her from her own for two gold coins,” Ylitalo said.

She came to the U.S. with just a brush and a comb.

“She used to refer to them as, ‘This is all I have left from my old life,'” Ylitalo said.

These days, Ylitalo keeps those family treasures close, as a reminder of the sacrifices her grandmother made so she could have a better life in Minnesota.

“My grandmother used to say they can take everything from you except what’s in your mind,” Ylitalo said. “So going from grandmother who was a slave to having a degree from one of the top universities in the world. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human soul.”

Something they hope people of all backgrounds and creeds can learn from.

“We hope that when people read all these stories they’ll be inspired, they’ll have courage and hope to continue going and living and creating a new life for themselves and their families,” Barseghyan said.

The Treasures of Memory and Hope exhibit will be on display at the Museum of Russian Art through Tuesday. Then it will travel to the University of Minnesota in September.



#1845 Yervant1


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Posted 06 August 2019 - 08:09 AM

Aug 5 2019
Armenian Genocide survivor dies in Argentina
August 5, 2019 - 11:35 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian Genocide survivor Assana Sarkissian has died in Rosario, Argentina, El Ciudadano reveals.

She would have turned 98 on August 4.

Born in 1921 in the province of Diyarbakir (in present-day Turkey), she managed to survive the heinous systematic plan of extermination that the Ottoman Empire masterminded against the Armenian people.

And now, Sarkissian is no more, says Professor Delfina Demirdjian, a member of the Armenian community of Argentina.

"After crossing rivers and mountains to save her life, after crossing the ocean, creating a large family with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, after surviving everything, she's gone," says Demirdjian.

"Her life will always be a symbol of resilience for us."


#1846 MosJan


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Posted 06 August 2019 - 06:18 PM



Արգենտինայում մահացել է Հայոց ցեղասպանությունից փրկված վերջին հայուհին


Արգենտինայի Ռոսարիո քաղաքում մահացել է Հայոց ցեղասպությունից փրկված վերջին բնակչուհին՝ Ասանա Սարգսյանը, որը օգոստոսի 4-ին կդառնար 98 տարեկան: Այս մասին հայտնում է Diario Armenia պարբերականը:

Ասանան ծնվել է 1921 թվականին Դիարբեքիրում: Եղել է ամենամեծն ընտանիքի հինգ երեխաներից (Կարապետ, Անժելա, Միհրան, Լևոն): Ցեղասպանությունից Ասանան միայն այն էր հիշում, որ թուրքերը կոտորել են իր ողջ ընտանիքը, սակայն նրա հիշողություններն աղոտ են եղել:

1926-ին նա եղբոր՝ Կարապետի և մայրիկի՝ Օղիդա Հովհաննիսյանի հետ Մարսելից նավով տեղափոխվել է Արգենտինա: Այստեղ ծանոթացել է Ցեղասպանությունից մազապուրծ եղած Կիրակոսի հետ: Նրանք ամուսնացել են և ունեցել 3 երեխա, 10 թոռ և 10 ծոռ:

#1847 Yervant1


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Posted 09 August 2019 - 08:45 AM

Panorama, Armenia
Aug 8 2019
Politics 16:37 08/08/2019 Armenia
Turkey angered by Armenian Genocide reflection in Netflix series

A reflection on the Armenian Genocide by one of the episodes of Netflix's science fiction series 'Another Life' has angered Tukey.

In the episode, one of the characters in the series speaks of her Armenian origin and tells that her grandmother crossed deserts with her children to survive the Armenian Genocide, Ermenihaber reports.

The Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) has accused the company of openly propagating the Armenian Genocide topic. 

The council was also upset by the fact that Netflix has so far failed to provide any clarification or explanation on the issue raised by them. 


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