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   Daily Blog - Tiger Software

                   October 11, 2007

       The Turkish Genocide of One Million
         Armenians in 1915.  We Must Not
         Forget It. 

          In memory of John Avakian,
          my friend and teacher.


William Schmidt, - Tiger Software's Creator
      (C) 2007 William Schmidt, Ph. D.  - All Rights Reserved. 

      No reproductions of this blog or quoting from it
      without explicit written consent by its author is permitted.

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              More Than A Million Armenians
       Were Killed by Turks in 1915-1916.  
              How Many Know This?

               Very Few in America.  
       That Is A Tragedy in and of Itself.  

                        Many feel if this genocide had been publicized properly, Hitler would
            not have dared to kill in a similar way many million Jews. The shame and stigma,
            if there had been more publicity, might even have prevented Hitler's rising to power
            using hatred for an entire race.  Even now US Pres. Obama refuses to appropriately
            condemn what the Turks did to the Armenians in World War I.  What is wrong
            with Obama that makes him so afraid of doing the right thing?  This is a warning
            of a severe character flaw in the new President, a lack of moral backbone. Without
            real moral leadership, all the authority of America's  vast weaponry is undercut. 

                       When Hitler was asked by his followers, what the World would do about his
             own genocide and whether there would be retaliation, he could point to the example
             of the Armenian genocide by Turkey and say "nothing".

                                         There is another lesson in this terrible tragedy.

                     Wars bring out the worst in all governments.  They kill.  They lie.  They spread
             hate and they quickly take away liberties, food and lives.  We must learn not to quickly
             go to war just because some scoundrel-politician wants us to.  This was as terribly
             true in Turkey in World War I, as it was in Tsarist Russia, militaristic Germany,
             Imperial England or repressive Wilsonian America.  Imagine how much better off
             Europe would have been if the US had not entered World War I.  Germany and England
             would have had to reach a reasonable armistice and peace.  There would have been
             no Hitler.   The Cold War would not have been started in 1918.  And hundreds of
             thousand Americans would not have been killed in war or in the Swine Flu Epidemic.

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The US House of Representatives has just passed a resolution honoring the
              one million Armenians killed by Turks in the Genocide of 1915-1916.  All the media
              attention, that I have seen, has been about how this House Resolution has caused the Turks
              angrily to withdraw their Ambassador from the US, about how the Turks are planning attacks
              on the Kurds in Iraq and about how they may stop allowing the US to use their bases and
              airspace in its Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 

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                        I think it is time again that the American mass media tell the American people about the
              grisly mass horrors of this first genocide of the 20th century.  It is a fact: the Turkish government then
              carefully planned, coordinated and murdered one million Armenians in World War I.  Though this
              took place 90 years ago,  The revolution of 1923 that brought to power Kemal Pasha and his Young
              Turks again buried for 87 years the issue of responsibity of this Turkish genocide.   

                       Listen to Peter Jennnings summary from 10 years ago during the "ethnic cleansing" of the
              Balkan wars.


                   As for myself, I must say that I did not learn about this massacre until graduate school when I was
              reading unassigned books about the Eastern front of World War I.  Not once did any
              teacher or professor ever raise the subject!  And I even took a seminar on Balkan History
              in college.

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                Armenians are marched to a prison by armed Turkish soldiers in April 1915.

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               Turkish soldiers survey Armenians killed in the Genocide of 1915-1916

                     At the beginning of 1915, there were two million Armenians living in Anatolian Turkey.
            By 1923, nearly all of them had disappeared.  In the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was ruled
            from Istanbul by a Sultan, who wielded absolute power, and ruled in the name of Islam.  Armenians,
            who were Christian, were more concentrated in Eastern Turkey. They were second class citizens.
            Armenians were exempt from serving in the military and were instead made to pay an exemption tax,
            the jizya; their testimony in Islamic courts was inadmissible against Muslims; they were not allowed
            to bear arms, and they had to pay a higher tax.[9] ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide )
            Many Armenians lived in Armenian Russia, which Turkey went to war with in World War I.

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                    But even before the war, in 1894 and 1895, three hundred thousand Armenians were massacred
            in apparent retaliation for their seeking better protection and more civil rights in the Ottoman Empire.
            When the Ottoman Empire was threatened by the rise of the Young Turks, the Sultan played the
            religious Islamic card.   30,000 Armenians perished in the subsequent Adana Massacre.

                   By 1913, the Young Turks had taken power.  They were ultra-nationalistic.  They wished
             to espand eastward into areas of Russia where Turkish people lived.   In 1914, they brought
             the Ottoman Empire into the War on the German-Austrias side, against Russia.  In 1915, as
             Turkey waged war with Russia to pursue its aims in Cenral Asia, it implemented a planned
             strategy of eradicating Armenians everywhere in Turkey.  The Armenians were convenient
             scapegoats when there were military defeats, when the Turkish Army failed to conquer Baku
             and when many in the Turkish Army froze to death on the march back to Turkey. 
                   An Ottoman naval officer in the War Office described the planning:
                               In order to justify this enormous crime the requisite propaganda material was thoroughly
                              prepared in Istanbul. [It included such statements as] "the Armenians are in league with the enemy.
                              They will launch an uprising in Istanbul, kill off the Ittihadist leaders and will succeed in opening
                              the straits [of the Dardanelles]."[21]

                  In the Spring and Summer of 1915, under the orders of  Mehmed Talat Pasha, with the
             full support of   the Turkish Cabinet and the Young Turk Central Committee, Armenians were
             ordered deported from their homes.  It was not a resettlement campaign.  No compensation
             was offered.   All their properties (land, livestock, homes and valuables) were simply confiscated. 
             Tens of thousands of Armenians, including women, and children were driven hundreds of miles
             toward the Syrian desert.  No new homes were provided.  The deportees were not protected
             from thieves or hired government killers as they walked.  It was a Death March for most. 
             The deportees were denied food and water in the shelterless concentration camps.
             By August 1915, the New York Times reported that "the roads and the Euphrates are strewn
             with corpses of exiles, and those who urvive are doomed to certain death. It is a plan to
             exterminate the whole Armenian people."[37]   At the same time there were mass Turkish
             executions of Armenian intellectuals and those who resisted.  Armenians who were in the
             Turkish Army had their weapons taken and were either killed outright or in Labor Camps. 

                  These actions were, of course, could not be kept secret.  The US was not at war at
              this time.   Its consular officials made numerous reports about the massacres.  See the telegram
             sent by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. to the State Department on 16 July 1915.  It described
              the massacres as a "campaign of race extermination." German  officials even reported it.  The New
              York Times reported almost daily on the mass murder of the Armenian people, describing the
              process as "systematic", "authorized" and "organized by the government." Theodore Roosevelt
              would later characterize this as "the greatest crime of the war."[28]

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                      After the war, a new Turkish Sultan conducted domestic court martial
                 trials.   These courts were designed by Sultan Mehmed VI to punish the
                 Young Turks' Committee of Union and Progress for the Empire's ill-conceived
                 involvement in World War I. The Armenian issue was used as a tool to punish the
                 leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress.  As a result, the Young Turks
                 Committee was disbanded and their assets seized.  At trials in Istanbul,
                 they were sentenced to death in absentia.  But most of those responsible
                 for planning and organizing the genocide fled Turkey in 1918, either fled the country
                 and escaped justice or joined nationalist forces under Kemal and completed the
                 eradication of Armenians from Turkey by their attacks in Cilicia and Smyrna. 
                 At trials in Istanbul, they were sentenced to death in absentia.

                     Kemal was a Young Turk general, who had been in charge of the defense of Gallipoli in
                1915-1916.  He drew a band of of Turkish fighters together in 1919 and attacked his
                forces against the "French in Cilicia with fatal consequences for remant Armenians,
                who had taken shelter their with Allied encouragement and promises of protection.
                In 1920 there was large scale slaughtering of the Armenians there."

                   In 1920,  Turkish Nationalist forces had gone to war against the Republic of Armenia.
                With secret instructions from the Ankara government to proceed with the physical elimination
                of Armenia, General Kiazim Karabekir seized half the territories of Armenia in November 1920
                as Red Army units Sovietized the remaining areas. Once again the Armenian population was
                driven out at the point of the sword with heavy casualties as the city of Kars and its surrounding
                region were annexed by Turkey.

                   In 1922,  Kemal new Turkish Army attacked and defeated the Greek army at Smyrna. Soon
                after, a fire begun in the Armenian neighborhood consumed the entire Christian sector of the city
                and drove the civilian population to the shore whence they sailed into exile bereft of all belongings.

                    "In all, it is estimated that up to a million and a half Armenians perished at the hands of
                 Ottoman and Turkish military and paramilitary forces and through atrocities intentionally
                 inflicted to eliminate the Armenian demographic presence in Turkey. In the process, the
                 population of historic Armenia at the eastern extremity of Anatolia was wiped off the map.
                 With their disappearance, an ancient people which had inhabited the Armenian highlands for
                 three thousand years lost its historic homeland and was forced into exile and a new diaspora.
                 The surviving refugees spread around the world and eventually settled in some two dozen countries
                 on all continents of the globe. Triumphant in its total annihilation of the Armenians and relieved
                 of any obligations to the victims and survivors, the Turkish Republic adopted a policy of dismissing
                 the charge of genocide and denying that the deportations and atrocities had constituted part
                 of a deliberate plan to exterminate the Armenians. When the Red Army sovietized what remained
                 of Russian Armenia in 1920, the Armenians had been compressed into an area amounting to no
                 more than ten percent of the territories of their historic homeland. Armenians annually
                 commemorate the Genocide on April 24 at the site of memorials raised by the survivors in all
                 their communities around the world."

                (Source: http://www.armenian-genocide.org/genocide.html )

                                                  The Kurdish Minority in Turkey

                     In this way Turkey became ethnically homogeneous, except for a 20% Kurdish minority.
                 Kemal became the new President of modern Turkey.  Though Westernizing Turkey
                 and adopting the Latin alphabet, Turkey now became silent about their killing of
                 one million Armenians. 
                 ( )

                     Not surprisingly, the Turks, given their history of violent intolerance towards other
                  ethnicities, has always thwarted attempts by Kurds to have their own political party.
Most famously, in 1994 Leyla Zana--who, three years prior, had been the first Kurdish
                    woman elected to the Turkish parliament--was sentenced to 15 years for "separatist speech."
                   Her party was banned. More recently, in June the leaders of the pro-Kurdish People's
                   Democracy Party (HADEP) were sentenced to several-year prison terms for allegedly
                  having ties with the outlawed PKK guerillas... Adding to the grievances of Turkey's Kurds
                  is the economic underdevelopment of the southeast. The Ankara government has
                  systematically withheld resources from the Kurdish region. As a result, there are two
                  distinct Turkeys: the northern and western regions are highly developed and cosmopolitan,
                  part of the "first world," while the south and east are truly of the "third world."
http://www.fas.org/asmp/profiles/turkey_background_kurds.htm )

                                                          Influence on Hitler.

                     Hitler, of course, knew of the Turkish genocide of Armenians.  At one point,
                 he issued a command to "send to death mercilesly and without compassion,
                 men, women and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we
                 gain Lebensraum... Who, after all, speaks today of the annihlation of the Armenians."
                  (   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide )

                                                             The Modern Turkish View

                    Turks deny that the "deportations" were genocidal; that they were gpvernment
                 planned and carried out and that the killings were deliberate.  They further state
                 that the Armenians sided openly with the Russians when they could in the fighting.
                 Interestingly, the website of the Turkish General Staff has a Russian document which
                 views Armenians as hopelessly parasitical and greedy.

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      Armenia as a place to visit

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                   Armenian Apostolic Church

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                                                          Armenia in Pictures

               Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion, in AD 301
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