Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  An Austrian Eyewitness: Dr. Stephan Steiner  
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 In a March 18, 2005 paper, Dr. Mete Soytürk wrote that a name caught his attention in pg. 230 of Prof. Justin McCarthy's "Death and Exile," that of Austrian newspaperman Dr. Stephan Eshnanie. I must say, when I ran into this name, I had wondered about this Austrian myself. (Mentioned as well in McCarthy's “The Destruction of Ottoman Erzurum by Armenians,” having written the following report: "All the villages from Trabzon to Erzincan and from Erzincan to Erzurum are destroyed. Corpses of Turks brutally and cruelly slain are everywhere. I am now in Erzurum, and what I see is terrible. Almost the whole city is destroyed. The smell of corpses still fills the air.") It's rare to have a Western observer from the period to have conquered his prejudices and to have seen the truth, and I wanted to learn more about him and his writings. But who was he?

Kudos to Dr. Soytürk for having conducted the necessary research and for finding out. Having lived for years in Germany, Dr. Soytürk became aware that the name "Eshnanie" did not have Germanic roots. He went to the source provided in the book, and dug up the 23.05.1918 report written by the Austrian, this time under a byline that was spelled with a slight difference. Dr. Soytürk then investigated the German and Austrian journalists covering WWI, and one thing led to another. Reading the memoirs of Ahmet Emin Yalman in a 1917 series of the Turkish newspaper "Vakit," Dr. Soytürk learned the Austrian had a connection with "Vakit." (As well as the "Neues Wiener Tageblatt" in Vienna, "Pester Lloyd"  in Budapest, the "Lokalanzeiger" in Berlin, and the "Algemeen Handelsblad" in Amsterdam.) But his real name turned out to be Dr. Stefan Steiner!
Dr. Mete Soyturk

Dr. Mete Soyturk; a medical doc

This rang a big bell with me, because another pair of mystery Westerners I have had my eye on are the German writer Dr. Weiss and the Austrian Dr. Stein, with whom Ahmet Refik recorded the cruelties of the Armenians in April-May of 1918. No doubt the "Dr. Stein" in question here is none other than the Stefan (or Stephan) Steiner, whom Dr. Soytürk had uncovered.

In fact, Dr. Soytürk brings up Refik, who mentions that German ex-consul Anders had accompanied him on these investigations. Another lead brought up a book by Kazim Karabekir having to do with Armenians, "Armenian Cruelties from Erzincan to Erivan, 1917-1920" ("1917-1920 arası Erzincan'dan Erivan'a Ermeni Mezalimi," 2000, İstanbul); here there is a photograph where Refik is observing wells filled with the bodies of Muslims, and beside him are the "foreign newspapermen," "Doktor Vays, Doktor Stayn (Avusturyalı)." These names were "Turkified," but they were obviously the aforementioned Weiss and Stein.

Dr. Soytürk also recalled having read a 1921 book entitled "Armenische Lügengewebe," uncovering the lies of Armenian propaganda, and here is where a Dutch newspaper account was noted, dated May 25, 1920. Dr. Soytürk got a hold of the article, and noticed that the writer's name was not revealed, but that his identity was obvious: it was the elusive Dr. Stephan Steiner himself.

In this very revealing article the Austrian candidly admits his ingrained prejudices, but has the honor to "revise" his views, once he comes face to face with uncomfortable truths. The article appeared in
Algemeen Handelsblad, and the Dutch version may be read on this very page if you click here.



The photo is from Karabekir's "Armenian Cruelties" book  (p. 190); the arrows
are Holdwater's, indicating the two men in Western garb. One is "Dr. Weiss (German),"
the other "Doctor Stein (Austrian)." Ahmet Refik must be the man in the middle,
conversing with the one indicated by arrow at left. They are observing wells filled
with Muslim bodies. Thanks to Dr. Soyturk for providing the photo.

Algemeen Handelsblad article, "Armenia"

 "I am of the opinion that it is in the interest of truth to investigate"

The Turkish-Armenian Question

Algemeen Handelsblad
25.05.1920 - Tuesday

From one of our colleagues in the Balkans, we received the following interesting letter, the contents of which gives a different view on the Armenian question from the customary one in Western Europe. We have the greatest confidence in the objectivity of this colleague. The way in which he relates his story contains the proof that he is deserving of this trust, and therefore we are printing his correspondence unchanged and without comment.

Just as during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid abhorrent reports of mass slaughtering of the Armenians have been coming in again from Cilicia, through which the nerves of the already relatively unnerved world again are being shaken. In absolutely no way is it my intention to justify slaughter, no matter by whom it is performed, and to try and protect the most heinous of all murders, [that is] murder committed on religious grounds. But there are two sides to every truth and when the Armenian media campaign’s intention is to exploit the Armenian bloodbath in Cilicia against the Turks in the sense that she thus is trying to realize the complete destruction of Turkey by the Entente, then I am of the opinion that it is in the interest of truth to investigate whether only the Turkish animalism is to blame for these mass murders.

I believe that I have some right to state this since, during the war, I had the opportunity to observe Turkey, in a manner of speaking, in her negligee and of all places there where the Armenian and the Turkish clans going at each other with the bitterest of hatreds.

In the spring of the memorable year 1918, when as a result of the Russian defeat, Turkey went on the offensive again and the flag of the Prophet waved victoriously in foreign lands, which had not happened since the peace of Kücük Kaynarca, I was at the Armenian/Russian frontier and so witnessed a part of the Turkish advance in the area that was predominantly inhabited by Armenians.

Anybody who knows what war is about shall have to admit that there is no better opportunity for getting to know a country and a people than during a war, where all human rise to the surface, and where the thin layer of culture and pretense disappears before the higher necessity of waging war. At the time I happened to find myself as the only European in this critical environment and have been possibly the only European witness of the manner in which the events occurred during the Turkish advance into Russian-Armenia and how these two people related to one another.

"...Years later the Greek- and the Levantine Europeans still managed to relate to me in every detail the indescribable scenes of horror... God preserve every one of us for this [Turkish] barbarity..."

Before beginning my journey, I was already a sympathizer of the Armenians. During my stay in Constantinople, in the years 1916/17 I had already heard plenty of revolting details on the Armenian mass murders in Turkish Armenia and the Europeans, who were more or less well informed about the events in Armenia, therefore attributed blame to the Turks alone and they regarded the Armenians as the innocent victims of Turkish religious hatred and of the bestial passions of a barbaric population.

My relationship with the Turks was good enough to also discuss with them this difficult issue that nearly no European dared to bring up. The Turkish attitude strengthened my conviction that the Armenian people were innocent and the Turks were to blame for everything. Because again and again, with a nod of dismissal, each Turk whom I had asked for information in regards to the pros and cons of the Armenian issue, answered: “Yes, all is true what people say about us. We killed a million Armenians; it was a terrible bloodbath, but we were justified in doing so and are only accountable to ourselves for that.” I was not successful in finding out further details of the reasons for these terrible acts. And so I could only arrive at the conclusion … In the released passions of the war, the religious fanaticism towards the Christians were let loose wherever there was opportunity. And that happened in the highlands of Armenia, where, cut off from the entire world, the Armenians were entirely in the hands of the Turks.

In the spring of 1918 I arrived in Trabzon [Trebizond] from where, as is known, runs the only passable road to the interior of Upper Armenia.

In 1915 Trabzon itself was witness to an Armenian bloodbath and three years later the Greek- and the Levantine Europeans still managed to relate to me in every detail the indescribable scenes of horror that occurred within the ancient city walls of Trabzon in 1915. How the streets of Trabzon ran red with the blood of Armenians! How the Armenian quarters went up in smoke and flames and that for days and weeks after the bloodbath the bodies of children continued to wash up against the ancient Constantine Dam in the harbor of Platana. I saw ruined stretches [of the city] and people told me that these had once been the quarters where the Armenians had lived. People showed me Christian Churches. These were the Churches of the Armenians. People raked over dung heaps and bones and decomposed bodies appeared. These are the bodies of Armenians, people told me.

These are such awful realizations that one is never able to forget them and they evoke the same wish with everyone: God preserve every one of us for this barbarity and for the religious hatred of the Mohammedans!

"...it is not the entire truth that you have seen and heard."

But a Prior of the Franciscan monks, a simple old priest, who undoubtedly stood on the side of the Christians, shook his head, when I started to curse the Turks. “You are mistaken”, he said, “the Turks are not the only ones to blame. Yes, someone who comes from Europe and who wishes to judge Asia with a European understanding will [undoubtedly] condemn the crime of the extermination of this people. But it is not the entire truth that you have seen and heard. You ought to look upon these things through Asian eyes and have understanding for the fact that here two peoples have been going to battle with a hatred and bitterness that are centuries old. One has two mentalities here, the Turkish and the Armenian and both mentalities were saying that one of them had to go down. Everything was arraigned against them and they were made to suffer defeat. But are you convinced that the Armenians, under the same circumstances, would not have done or in fact did exactly the same!? I have my reports from missions, sent forth by my order in Beyazit, Van, Erzurum, Erzincan; from the reports I know that in 1915 when the war with Russia started, it was the Armenians who, behind the Turkish army, were fanning the revolution and who were depopulating Turkish villages and settlements and razed them to the ground. The subsequent events that happened in Turkey afterwards were only the consequences of this first hostile attitude of the Armenians. I admit that horrible things have happened and that never before so much blood was spilt. But the Armenians were not [exactly] innocent in how this bloodbath came about. And when the Turks went further than they had to, then the blame for that does not solely lie with the Turks, but with the mentality of Asia, where the hatred for a people runs deeper than with the European peoples and where war assumes beastly shapes.” Just look at Trabzon, for instance. You have seen the burned down Armenian quarters, but did you also see the burned down Turkish quarters? Did you happen to pay attention to the graves of the Turkish population that were still fresh? No! You can see that when the Armenians found themselves in the same position as the Turks, when they advanced victoriously under the protection of the Russian army, the same spectacle occurred as in the year of 1915, but that time it was the Turks who got it in the neck. Wherever the Armenians found a Turk he was mercilessly hacked down, wherever they saw a Turkish Mosque it was plundered and set on fire. Turkish quarters went up in smoke and flames just like the Armenian quarters. You are presently about to travel round the country and you will still be able to follow in the footsteps of war: Bayburt, Erzincan, Erzurum, and Kars. You will still see smoldering heaps of rubble; you will still smell blood and corpses, but it so happens that these were Turkish corpses.”

The Franciscan Father only told the truth. For months I traveled all across Armenia and Kurdistan and I found confirmation of what people had been telling me. After the withdrawal of the Russian army, which followed after the Russian peace, the troops of the so-called Armenian army, took over the military operations in the occupied Turkish areas. During the Russian occupation the Russians protected the lives and properties of the Turks. What happened after the withdrawal of the Russians is heart rendering. The smallest Turkish settlements were killed down to the last man by the gangs of the Generals Antranik and Murad and churches were destroyed down to the very last stone.

Back then the Armenian expectations were still in high spirits. Their plans were far reaching, and encompassed the entire Turkish state. And they were hoping that they could settle the score with the old hereditary enemy, down to the last man, the last woman, the last child. I have seen ruins in Erzincan where hundreds of bodies of strangled Turks lay amidst the rubble. I have had light shone down wells that were full of bodies. I have seen with my own eyes that graves were opened in which the bodies of men and women were thrown haphazardly across one another, hundreds of them. Who had done this? The victorious Armenians.

"Can one then say that the Armenians were not to blame?"

These spectacles accompanied me on the distant and long road through Upper-Armenia, Kurdistan right up into Russian-Armenia. And is it a wonder that the Turks, when they in their turn became the victors, exacted revenge, repaid evil with evil? I have to admit that during the Turkish advance to Russian-Armenia the murdering was continued by the Turks. On the other side of the border of the Sarikamish the Armenian settlements, of which there were many, were depopulated with the aid of fire and iron. The most bitter of racial hatred was raging against the former victors, presently those who were conquered, in a bestial form, a wild country particular to Asia. Our European brains fail to comprehend this unrelenting hatred that sets people against people whipping them into a frenzy in which the worst atrocities are committed. But we should not forget that Upper-Armenia is a country the civilization of which can be compared to the primitive culture of the European peoples. The peoples there do not form nations, but rather tribes . And just like in ancient times, the meeting of two tribes meant the destruction of one of them, thus in the mountains around Great Ararat, people’s minds are still not directed towards coexistence, but rather towards destruction. In the bare mountains of Upper-Armenia there exists no compromise, only a fight to the death. The victor will live, the defeated can only die.

During my stay in Alexandropol (Gümrü) the following happened, which casts a good light on the mentality of the people there. From the direction of the group of mountains, the Alagöz, people one day heard the thunder of cannons being fired. The Armenian population, which lived in fear behind the Turkish front line, explained this rumble of cannons as that the English were advancing against the Turks. And they were under the conviction that within several hours the Turks would be beaten. Immediately there arose a rebellion behind the Turkish front line, and the weak Turkish posts in the Armenian villages were being terrorized and abused in a most refined way. But the English did not come. A detachment of Caucasian-Armenians had tried to break through the thin Turkish front. Hence the reason for the rumbling cannons. And when the fight was over only a couple of hours later there followed the revenge. The villages, in which Turkish soldiers had been murdered, were destroyed. Can one then say that the Armenians were not to blame?

"Cursed are they who befriend Turks."

In Alexandropol itself, a pure Armenian city, where, despite the Turkish occupation, the Armenians quietly continued to do their work, I often came in contact with leading Armenian figures. They were continually living under a terrible fear that one day due to an ill-considered act of Armenian gangs the Turks would take revenge and that they would then be among the first to bear this revenge. A number of the Armenian people, the best part, were in favor of a peaceful coexistence with the Turks. For it so happened that they were more or less compelled to live together. And in that case only tolerance could put a stop to the murdering. But the greater number of the people and the gangs, the so-called soldiers, did not wish to know of peace. Their slogan was: “Them or us, one will have to go down.”

The men, who preached tolerance and reconciliation, were cursed by the greater part of the Armenian people. People in Armenian circles openly said to me: “At present those Turks are in control. But soon we will be lord and master again and then we will not suffer a single Turk that falls into our hands to live. No agreement is possible between us. We have a score to settle that is centuries old. Our fight is as old as our people. This fight started on the day on which the Turks entered our lands and it will last until the day on which they will be brought down. We do not wish to have reconciliation. Cursed are they who befriend Turks.”

Such was the mood in a time in which the Armenians had no hope ever to be liberated from the Turks. It looked as if the victorious crescent would be making the whole of Russian-Armenia her own.

With this in mind one can judge what happened when the Turks were forced to withdraw and the Turkish settlements once again fell into the hands of the Armenians.

A comparison is only possible between civilized peoples. With the peoples of the wildest [part of] Asia there exists only hatred and destruction. “The Turks are guilty. They have murdered [people].” However, are the Armenians less guilty, who also murdered as soon as they had the power to do so?

One can only judge Asia with Asian eyes.

(Thanks to Sukru Aya and also to Johan B.)

"But there are two sides to every truth" —Steiner

Holdwater's Reflections

Ahh, the Europeans. How they love to present themselves as civilized superiors. Wasn't it an Austrian corporal who rained massive carnage and destruction upon the world in recent world history?

Before we commend the remarkable testimony that you have read, let's put our cards on the table. "Kill or be killed" is a universal concept. Dr. Steiner's nation has had the good fortune to never historically experience the fate of extinction, as the Ottoman Empire faced during and in the aftermath of World War I. (With the implementation of the Sèvres Treaty and murderous Allied-implanted Greeks in the west and murderous Allied-implanted Armenians in the east, there would have been no Turkey today, if not for Ataturk.) But you can bet if some hateful nation had in mind to wipe Austria and Austrians off the face of the earth, all of that superior notion of European civility would vanish, and the ugly, primitive reality of "tribalism" would surface in most Austrians' hearts. (We have seen other evidence of Austrians' acceptance of "tribal favoritism" when Hitler peacefully occupied Austria; a lot of Austrians loved the idea of being part of the Aryan Brotherhood.)

Another notion to be corrected is the Franciscan monk's contention that "two peoples have been going to battle with a hatred and bitterness that are centuries old." The Turks felt no hatred and bitterness toward the Armenians at all (quite the contrary; for centuries, the Armenians were regarded in a brotherly way as the "Loyal Millet"), and even Armenians did not develop their hatred until the later centuries. As these developments grew out of control, and particularly after the coming of the Dashnaks and Hunchaks, it was the Armenians guided by hatred. Not the Turks. The Turks even made sure not to poison the minds of their youth by excluding (in Turkish classrooms) the horrific crimes of Armenians and Greeks perpetrated against Turks/Muslims. Turkish parents also censored themselves, in the noble goal of letting bygones be bygones. The Turks stress brotherhood and love. Too many Armenians and Greeks thrive on the hatred that has been injected into their hearts, from parents, churches and schools.

(Probably the priest was referring not to Turks, but to the Kurdish tribes, where an "ages"-old enmity between Kurds and Armenians existed.)

That is not to say Turks are incapable of hatred; despite what the omnipresent and hateful pro-Armenian propaganda tells us, Turks are actually human beings, and all  humans are capable of feeling both love and hate. In point of fact, when we speak of Armenian massacres committed by Turks, the brunt occurred not during the relocation (or what pro-Armenians refer to as "genocide," where the killers were usually Kurds and Arabs) process (where most Armenians died of non-violent reasons), but in eastern Anatolia during the changing tides of war. Dr. Steiner hits it on the head:

"...[W]hen the war with Russia started, it was the Armenians who, behind the Turkish army, were fanning the revolution and who were depopulating Turkish villages and settlements and razed them to the ground. The subsequent events that happened in Turkey afterwards were only the consequences of this first hostile attitude of the Armenians."

In other words, the Armenians fired the first shot, as they almost always have done in Turkish-Armenian conflicts. And this wasn't mere killing; based on accounts of their own allies, the Armenians engaged in the most sadistic deviltries. (The Armenian-sympathizing Raphael de Nogales wrote: "[T]he Armenians felt excessive pleasure at having killed such unfortunate people.") Van resident Mehmet Resit, for example ("p. 105") had only three survivors from his family of twenty-three. So what would be the reaction of any people, even those of "civilized" Europeans, when their loved ones are ruthlessly murdered and mutilated? The human reaction is not a pretty one, but most would think thoughts of revenge. ("Of course they were also killed; were we to look in their mouths while they were killing us? But this happened after they revolted." Read similar comments by Van Turks on "p. 106.")

And that is how Dr. Steiner sized it up above: "Is it a wonder that the Turks, when they in their turn became the victors, exacted revenge, repaid evil with evil?" In other words, as usual, crimes committed by Turks were a REACTION to Armenian ACTION. (However, let's add a caveat: ones who performed violent acts of vengeance generally were the ones whose families had been murdered. The Turks were, by and large, forgiving. Otherwise, 644,900 Armenians could not have remained in what was left of the Ottoman Empire by 1921 [as attested to by the Patriarch himself], and of those who had emigrated, no Armenian would have been allowed to return, as the Gumru and Lausanne Treaties stipulated. Furthermore, as we may learn from Turk-hostile Westerners who were on the spot — such as Near East Relief representatives in Kars 1920 — we know Turkish soldiers behaved professionally and did not engage in massacres.)

And we must thank Dr. Steiner for summing up, in a nutshell, how his feelings reflected those of lazy-minded and prejudiced Westerners, then and now:

"... I was already a sympathizer of the Armenians... I had already heard plenty of revolting details on the Armenian mass murders in Turkish Armenia and the Europeans... attributed blame to the Turks alone and they regarded the Armenians as the innocent victims of Turkish religious hatred and of the bestial passions of a barbaric population."

What comes to mind is  Vahakn Dadrian's contention:
"It is inconceivable that a military and political ally, during the war, would try, would venture to discredit another ally. It is inconceivable." Now we can evaluate this propagandistic defense for the hot air that it is. The fact that the Germans and the Austrians reluctantly allied themselves with the Ottomans in no way erased their centuries-old prejudices of the "Terrible Turk." Most Germans and Austrians, as we can see from Dr. Steiner's own admission, could not rise above their Christian sympathies and anti-Turkish bigotry, accepting Armenian and missionary-provided tales at face value.

(Incidentally, the passage where Dr. Steiner asked Turks to explain the Armenian situation was most revealing. "
With a nod of dismissal, each Turk whom I had asked for information in regards to the pros and cons of the Armenian issue, answered: “Yes, all is true what people say about us. We killed a million Armenians." Turks are perhaps the most incompetent people in the world, when it comes to defending themselves.)

With the world so mindlessly simpatico with the unholy alliance of racist and hateful Dashnak Armenians and their unscrupulous  "genocide scholar" allies, hiding behind the "noble cause" of their hypocritically selective "human rights," one must be grateful to honorable Westerners such as Dr. Stephan Steiner, who can manage to rise above their prejudices and allow only for truth to be their determining guide.




"West" Accounts


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This Site

...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.