Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Genocide? This American says “NO!”  
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 The following appeared in the Turkish Daily News



Monday, November 5, 2007

Renee Abramson

The Anti Defamation League (ADL) has recently stated it supports the claim of an Armenian genocide occurrence. Does this come to anyone as a surprise? What else can we expect from a human rights group? The ADL is not a political group. The ADL is not Israel. It does not represent Israel (who has not taken a position). It does not represent the Jews. The ADL represents itself. That is all.

One would think that Israel, or certainly some lone member of Knesset, would support the claim on this sensitive issue of a possible genocide with an ally as close as Turkey is to Israel. Even more interesting is the time frame of this “ethnic cleansing” that the Armenians claim. During the same time that they claim the Turks set out to annihilated their entire existence, the Ottoman Empire was in Palestine, in Jerusalem . For centuries the Armenian Quarter had existed in Jerusalem. Why not start there? One would think that the Turks occupying Palestine would wipe out that quarter. Even back then it would probably take them all but an hour to do so. However, not only did the Armenians in Jerusalem, survive, but they thrived. There were no skirmishes. In fact, the Turkish Ottomans gave the Armenians, just as they had given the Jews, the freedom to practice their own religion.

Must we Jews be reminded that on Mar. 28, 1949, Turkey became the first country with a Muslim majority to formally recognize the State of Israel? Not only this but they were among the first nations to ratify Israel's Statehood. When 150,000 Spanish Jews fled the inquisition, the crusades and the Black Death, They repopulated Constantinople's (today's Istanbul) declining population. These Sephardic Jews settled in Constantinople, but also in Thessalonica which came to be known as "Mother of Israel" due to its large Jewish population.

Do we forget that Turkey also served as a transit for European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during the 1930s and 1940s? The Israeli foreign ministry has characterized its relations with Turkey as "perfect." With the dissolve of the Ottoman Empire, Israel has maintained a friendship for almost 90 years. These two countries train their armies together. If Israel had thought for a moment that their allies were capable of ethnic cleansing, then they would not have a long established friendship. If there were an ethnic cleansing, then the Armenian quarter that was long established for centuries would not have flourished during the Ottoman Empire.

 This was war

We Jews know what ethnic cleansing is. Probably more so than many other ethnic groups do. What happened to the Armenians was a horrific massacre and loss of life. Was every massacre throughout history motivated by ethnic cleansing? Certainly not. What Hitler tried to accomplish is a far cry from any Armenian so-called genocide. You cannot deny that many Armenians lost their lives as they were looking for a land of their own, however, what is not recognized is that the Armenians themselves inflicted as much damage as others in the hostilities of that time for their own selfish objectives. The Turk's only policy was the removal of Armenians from the front line with Russia, where they were collaborating with the Ottoman Empire's enemies. They were a threat to security. This is called war.

Regarding persecution, the Ottomans had one of the most tolerant policies toward non-Turks of any empire of its day. The three communities of Jews, Greeks and Armenians were virtually autonomous within the empire. It cannot be denied that throughout history the Ottoman Empire unlike any other empire of its time allowed Jews to practice their own religion as well as many freedoms of their time. When the Ottoman Empire had taken over Jerusalem, had they tried to annihilate the strong presence of the Armenians who had their own quarter? Never. Could you say that the Russians committed genocide against the Circassians and Adyghes? If you could then the Armenians slaughtered 200,000 people including Turks and Kurds and Jews in Eastern Anatolia during Turkey 's Independence War while the Turks were fighting against the imperial powers of Europe on five fronts. Armenians took advantage of the Turks' weak position and waged a war against them by opening a new front. But, this was war.

As a Jew, I have huge respect for the Ottoman Empire as they gave us freedom of religion to not only Jews but to the Christians as well. My grandfather was born under the Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem. We return to our history books that once again show us that the Ottomans allowed freedom of religion unlike every other empire that existed. This set the precedence for a friendship between Israel and Turkey . Once more, one does not befriend its enemy. Could it be that the Armenians massacred were only the victims of war?

When the public is given the correct information, then we can make an intelligent choice. Our history books give us the proof as the Armenians had a complete alphabet at that time and kept good records as did the Ottomans. In 2007, however, history was ignored and replaced with slanting, propaganda and lies. The House's decision to rewrite history and rename the Armenian/Turkish conflict as genocide is ridiculous. Not even the United Nations or Israel has supported this as true. It was not racially motivated. There was no ethnic cleansing. If this held any truth then the Armenian quarter could have been wiped out in an hour but instead was respected by the Muslim Ottomans allowing the Armenian quarter to flourish and grow giving them freedom of religion.

Genocide is being used as a loose term

In a recent article in the Jerusalem Post Armenians in Israel led a small protest and were upset that Israel had not taken an official position. One would think that Israel would be the first country to define Genocide with its own history. The problem is that Genocide is being used as a loose term. Israel, a people who have tasted the bitterness of ethnic cleansing would be the first to declare this as genocide. They have had nearly 90 years to do so. Instead, they have befriended Turkey as the two nations train their military together and have become close allies.

Here in the year 2007, nearly 100 years after the decline of the Ottoman Empire, Armenians are still trying wake the dead in this controversy. This is alike to Black African Americans looking for reparations for slavery. And like this it falls upon deaf ears. Society has little tolerance for people with a chip on their shoulder.

It is not enough that this country had not learned from Vietnam and Iraq, but now the House wants to re-write history concerning the Armenian Turkish conflict. The problem is, the West is trying to judge history with respect to its own historical and cultural references. Racism is a Western concept, which didn't have a place in Turkish or Ottoman history and the West cannot understand anti-racist Ottomans. Annihilation is a Western concept and the West cannot understand the Ottomans which chose to let live instead of wipe out. Assimilation is a Western concept and the West cannot accept the fact that different ethnic groups could live together.

Mainstream Western understanding has given the word "culture" a specific meaning and does not understand culture beyond that. And it chooses to denigrate what it does not understand. The problem is, the last real empire that the West had was the Roman Empire. Later so-called "empires" were only colonial formations, not real empires, and depended on exploitation and repression. Like Ilber Ortayli said, the last Roman type empire was the Ottoman Empire.

You can't really expect the (declining) Western powers to understand and appreciate something that is really different from their understanding of politics. That's like Americans appreciating Martian culture and politics. However while the House committee voted, acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, it disregarded the Azerbaijan Genocide of 1905-1907 by the Armenians. War is war. This claim of genocide happened as much as the Jews crucified Jesus. When will the House stop robbing Peter to pay Paul? The ADL, and like organizations such as CAIR and the NAACP should go back to their support of illegal immigrants rights as they have been doing and leave history to the books.



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...Is to expose the mythological “Armenian genocide,” from the years 1915-16. A wartime tragedy involving the losses of so many has been turned into a politicized story of “exclusive victimhood,” and because of the prevailing prejudice against Turks, along with Turkish indifference, those in the world, particularly in the West, have been quick to accept these terribly defamatory claims involving the worst crime against humanity. Few stop to investigate below the surface that those regarded as the innocent victims, the Armenians, while seeking to establish an independent state, have been the ones to commit systematic ethnic cleansing against those who did not fit into their racial/religious ideal: Muslims, Jews, and even fellow Armenians who had converted to Islam. Criminals as Dro, Antranik, Keri, Armen Garo and Soghoman Tehlirian (the assassin of Talat Pasha, one of the three Young Turk leaders, along with Enver and Jemal) contributed toward the deaths (via massacres, atrocities, and forced deportation) of countless innocents, numbering over half a million. What determines genocide is not the number of casualties or the cruelty of the persecutions, but the intent to destroy a group, the members of which  are guilty of nothing beyond being members of that group. The Armenians suffered their fate of resettlement not for their ethnicity, having co-existed and prospered in the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but because they rebelled against their dying Ottoman nation during WWI (World War I); a rebellion that even their leaders of the period, such as Boghos Nubar and Hovhannes Katchaznouni, have admitted. Yet the hypocritical world rarely bothers to look beneath the surface, not only because of anti-Turkish prejudice, but because of Armenian wealth and intimidation tactics. As a result, these libelous lies, sometimes belonging in the category of “genocide studies,” have become part of the school curricula of many regions. Armenian scholars such as Vahakn Dadrian, Peter Balakian, Richard Hovannisian, Dennis Papazian and Levon Marashlian have been known to dishonestly present only one side of their story, as long as their genocide becomes affirmed. They have enlisted the help of "genocide scholars," such as Roger Smith, Robert Melson, Samantha Power, and Israel Charny… and particularly  those of Turkish extraction, such as Taner Akcam and Fatma Muge Gocek, who justify their alliance with those who actively work to harm the interests of their native country, with the claim that such efforts will help make Turkey more" democratic." On the other side of this coin are genuine scholars who consider all the relevant data, as true scholars have a duty to do, such as Justin McCarthy, Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Erich Feigl and Guenter Lewy. The unscrupulous genocide industry, not having the facts on its side, makes a practice of attacking the messenger instead of the message, vilifying these professors as “deniers” and "agents of the Turkish government." The truth means so little to the pro-genocide believers, some even resort to the forgeries of the Naim-Andonian telegrams or sources  based on false evidence, as Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Naturally, there is no end to the hearsay "evidence" of the prejudiced pro-Christian people from the period, including missionaries and Near East Relief representatives, Arnold Toynbee, Lord Bryce, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and so many others. When the rare Westerner opted to look at the issues objectively, such as Admirals Mark Bristol and Colby Chester, they were quick to be branded as “Turcophiles” by the propagandists. The sad thing is, even those who don’t consider themselves as bigots are quick to accept the deceptive claims of Armenian propaganda, because deep down people feel the Turks are natural killers and during times when Turks were victims, they do not rate as equal and deserving human beings. This is the main reason why the myth of this genocide has become the common wisdom.