Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Armenian Grandparents vs. Turkish Grandparents  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 Although the letters section of TAT has been woefully neglected, plenty of messages come in. Offended Armenian readers frequently fall back on what their grandparents have told them, followed with the accusation, Are you calling my grandma a liar?

I respond by saying, of course they are not liars; but those who have experienced great trauma are not unknown to embellish the details. Particularly when the community demonizes one's tormentor. It is a fact that, by and large, Armenian parents, churches and teachers drill racist hatred of Turks into the minds of their innocents. Years later, even if the experiences of these now elderly Ottoman-Armenians were not that bad, how could they not be influenced by what everyone has kept on reinforcing, that the Turks are nothing less than subhuman animals? Even responsible Americans fell into this trap of imagination, having been conditioned by unending Terrible Turk tales, as this Mark Prentiss article reveals.

As an example, allow me to share "grandparent" excerpts from the recent letter of an Armenian reader, Ms. Selian. She offered two:

[1] Look, if I was not an Armenian whose grandparents' families were not murdered (including two children who were dismembered on their mother's thighs with an axe, so that she bore the two long scars until her own death in the early 1920s; seriously, no joke!)...

[2] [M]y very lucid Turkish-speaking 94 year old grandfather will tell you today about how he was taken in the 1940s in cattle cars to Turkish work-camps in Anatolia (along with other Armenians, Greeks and Jews), with the promise of never returning home, near-starvation and of being turned into bars of soap.  He was there for over a year and a half, and barely survived — and this was in the 1940s when Turkey was more "civilized".   Does that truth hurt too much to hear? 

Of course, the second example was from a shameful period of Turkish history;  all countries have their share of shameful history, but the ones from Turkey — as isolated as they have been — needs to be drudged up and lovingly preserved by the anti-Turkish hate mongering industry. This example has nothing to do with proving whether there was a "genocide," merely provided to show how "evil" Turks really are.

After expressing sincere regret for the family's suffering, the way I typically respond is, yes, of course Armenians were mistreated and murdered. But who were their murderers? The region was filled by lawless bands of all stripes looking for criminal opportunities. In order to prove "genocide," one must display the evidence that the killers were in league with the central government. "Intent" lies at the heart of the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention.

Grandmother and child.
Photo credit: W. Whiteside, United Methodist Committee on Relief.
UMCOR is helping people from
both Armenia & Azerbaijan.

But even with these anecdotes, one must wonder about the huge holes in the stories. For example, with the first story, as gruesome as it may be to imagine: a mother is sitting or lying with two children on her lap. Someone is attacking with an axe (presumably; it does not sound like the attacker was using a little hatchet. Naturally, we know nothing of who this attacker really was. Was he swinging that axe on orders from his government?), with the purpose of hurting the children, in this case looking for "dismemberment." After we wonder why the purpose would not have been to outright kill (in which case the mother would not have been left alive to tell the tale), it's difficult to envision that repeated blows of a heavy axe, despite the presence of children (who probably weren't sitting still) to cushion the blows, would not have rendered the woman's legs useless.

As for the second anecdote, after I wondered whether the train was really of the "cattle car" variety, I responded, "I am sorry he suffered. But of note is that he was promised to never return, and to be turned into soap, presumably by the authorities. Yet he returned. I guess that was another example of broken Turkish promises."

Such is the harm caused by stories as these. Even if 100% true, what purpose does it serve to relate these inhuman tales to the young and impressionable? Of course, the idea is for the child to grow up and hate, following in the footsteps of their racist parents and grandparents. Turk-hatred is the binding force for many nationalistically-inclined Armenians (and Greeks). Even the Dashnak historian M. Varandian pointed out back in 1910 that such hatred may be demonstrated by "scandalous excesses, obviously found in the most intense pleasure in indulging in the most irreconcilable scorn and hatred of the Turks. 'The Turk is a cretin!' 'The Turk is a mongrel!' 'Wherever the Turk rules there is rule and decay!'"

Here are examples of the granny influence upon Armenian scholars, or would be scholars, Richard Hovannisian, Peter Balakian and Ronald Suny.

Now what is the flip side? How have Turkish parents and grandparents relayed their family history and suffering to their young, at the hands of Armenians, and others?

Turks write in to this web site as well, and I can see their experiences have paralleled my own. The topic has been mostly nonexistent in their upbringing.

This is the big difference between Turks on one side, and Armenians & Greeks on the other; the former is the "silent" type. The latter knows well the rewards that come with the squeaky wheel getting greased.

Armenians and Greeks are quick to charge Turks are filled with hatred against them. Are there Turks with hatred? Of course; Turks are people too. But this hatred is a "reaction" to Greek and Armenian "action," their relentless campaign to keep suckering the Christian West to keep their old prejudices alive.

But the whole of the Turkish community is free of hatred. They simply were not raised to hate.

The idea of this page is really not about comparing hatred, but about how Turkish family history not only has avoided their suffering, but has gone out of their way to clamp a lid on the happenings. It's really incredible.

And when Turks do talk about the horrors that were inflicted upon their families, they generally keep it between themselves. Advertising these stories to the world "never" is a consideration. (The few stories emerging during the 1970s-80s or so were mainly presented as a response to the overwhelming Armenian propaganda). Since there is no political purpose behind these never-heard of stories, we can more readily accept them as the truth. (As opposed to the reasons why most Armenian testimonials have been compiled, as part of the "master plan" to advance their genocide.)

The following two letters are from a Turkish-American. They are not atypical, in regards to similar letters from Turkish people, who feel sad about what happened to their families.

And since Armenians murdered many more Turks than the other way around, there were consequently many more such stories of actual violence. (Another reason why they may have been seldom told is because fewer Turks survived to tell them.) Much of Armenian Oral History, among the honest tellings at least, have centered upon general suffering, from famine, disease and the like.

What was great about these letters is that they summed up two general aspects of the Turkish character, vs. the general Armenian/Greek character. [1] Silence, vs. having a big mouth, and [2] Defending those who have wronged you, vs. going out of one's way to show your victimizer, real or imagined, is not part of the human species.

This latter aspect is a characteristic rarely mentioned, and I run into it (or hear of it) all of the time. For example, when the la-dee-dah "Picnic Turks" hold their "picnics," they usually discourage against the presentation of genocide-defense material, for fear of "offending our Armenian friends." During times when I check the knowledge of Turkish-Americans and bring up the topic of Armenians, the common replies I get are that Armenians are our friends, and sometimes — for those affected by the prevalent propaganda in the USA — that Turks sure did a number on the Armenians, didn't they?

But what a huge difference. The Armenians stress hatred and racism. The Turks go with humanitarianism, brotherhood and love. The former perpetrates the true systematic extermination effort, but it's the silent Turks who get hit with the genocide charge.



Pinar's Letter (Excerpt)

my family is from ordu, in the black sea coast. my father's mother was adopted by one of the large land-owners in Ordu from an orphanage in trabzon.

she was turkish. her family was turkish. her family was forced, among countless others to move out of her town when the armenians and russians attacked them. they killed her uncles and her grandfather. she was only 5-6 and she memorized her brothers and parents names. and she remembered her last day with her mother, who died from disease while escaping armenian attack.

i personally say it was armenian attack. it took my family until i turned 21 to mention the details of my grandmother's experiences. if she herself hadnt memorized and repeated the details of her family, and if her brother ahmet hadnt coincidentally found her after over a decade of searching for her, then i would perhaps think she was an armenian.

i would probably think that she was an armenian because i grew up in america, and heard only the armenian point of view of things.

we had close family friends in america, armenian-turks, who were from istanbul. their grandchildren wore watches with the statement imprinted "we will never forget, armenian genocide 1915"

during my high school years i got curious about such things and try as i may to get more information from my family, the only thing that i learned from them was that there were years and years of war. years and years of suffering. both turks and armenians and kurds and many other minorities in anatolia died.

when it came to hear the more specifics about my grandmother, it was emphasized that the russians attacked th turkish towns. yes, but wasnt it armenians who actually killed my grandmother's relatives??? "yes," was the response, "but they were goaded on by the russians. armenians and turks have lived together for hundreds of years and would never attack eachother"

all of the responses that i got from turks---turks who lost family members and had to flee their hometowns (my grandmother's hometown was bereket, tied to the province of artvin) was that it was a terrible time, and the russians kept provoking armenians into attack.

i find it interesting that turks who have been forced to walk on foot and have lost their homes and their entire families continue to this day to try to justify armenian actions.

Pinar's Follow-Up

(Fuat Amca: Uncle Fuat.)

In my original letter to you I had mentioned my father's mother's history. Well, yesterday I learned something small about my father's father's side of the family.

I was speaking to my father and his cousin (from his father's side) about the Celebi family in general. My father's cousin (Fuat Amca) mentioned one of his uncles. I did not remember that great uncle's name mentioned before, and asked him where his family lives now. Fuat Amca said he never had a family, had never gotten married even, because he had been killed in his sleep by Armenians.

I flipped out, not because yet another Turk in my family was killed by another Armenian, but because I am now over 30 years old and this is the first time I've heard of this great uncle at all!!

Sincerely I can say I flipped out, and immediately turned to Dad and asked why he never mentioned his uncle's unnatural death before. Dad said he forgot (!!!) and guessed that since it was before he was born, he was not affected by it as he was by his own mother's story.

Naturally, I asked Fuat Amca what he meant by "being killed in his sleep," and learned that their uncle had fought with his own parents and left their house, and went to sleep outside, under a tree!

Well, did he pick a fight with the "band of Armenians" (as Fuat Amca worded it)? Did they actually know that he was Turkish? Wasn't it just an accident?

No, he didn't pick a fight with anyone, he had already had a fight with his parents and he just wanted to be alone and away from home.

Yes, they knew he was Turkish because everybody knew everybody since we had lived together all of our lives. There is no such thing as not knowing who is Armenian and who is Turkish.

No, it wasn't just an accident because as soon as these bands of Armenians got weapons from the Russians they began robbing, killing, and generally terrorizing the rest of the citizens in our area. It was not just in our village, Fuat Amca said (their village is Uzun Isa, in Ordu) but all the surrounding villages and as far out as we could get news from.

These answers were all given to me very matter-of-factly and without elaborate and dramatic details of any kind.

I cannot tell you how very very mad I am. Of course, not at any Armenians, or anyone in the past at all, but at my own family for not passing this on from generation to generation.

When I asked Fuat Amca why we don't hear about Turkish victims of Armenians in general (it can't be just my grandfather and my grandmother's families that were hurt---could it?) Fuat Amca's response was that people are ashamed of such things. What's the point of bringing shame onto your family?

Living through it once is saddening enough. Since it is already done and over with, and since nothing can be done to bring that life back, what's the point of talking about it? They were tricked by the Russians, and we have lived in peace since then and before that time so what's the point of mixing things up again?

So in conclusion, you are right, Holdwater. About the "Turkish denial" that you mentioned in your response to me. *

Still, at this date, my Turkish elders can really say "what's the point," and they can "forget to mention" (like my father) past injustices all in the light of the great present injustice to rewrite history to make victims look like barbarians.

Anyway, you need not reply to this e-mail. I just wanted to let you know that the more I search, the more I see the point in having a webpage like your tallarmeniantale.

Good luck with all of your work, thanks for your time,


(* Part of the response was: "There are a number of nuances in your letter, but most revealing is the Turkish attitude. Now this is what we can really call being in 'denial.'")

Holdwater's Thoughts

Who do we like in our movie heroes? We like the "Gary Cooper" or the "Clint Eastwood" type, the hero who never complains about his pains. Culturally, that has been the Turkish way... the Turks are the "strong and silent" type.

Too bad we live in an "everyone's a victim" world where this type of behavior does not go far.  It's the crying baby that gets the milk, and Armenians have made crying into an art form.

What served as a revelation to me is that the reason why Pinar's folks kept mum was very much in keeping with what British Consul Blunt wrote in 1877, while looking into the massive atrocities committed upon Balkan Turks; he referred to the

"‘[H]abitual reluctance of the Turks to speak of indignities to which any among them have been subjected."

The reason, as Prof. McCarthy filled in the blanks, had much to do with the Turks' wishing to underplay their defeats, no doubt related to this "shame" factor. ("
[Uncle Fuat's] response was that people are ashamed of such things. What's the point of bringing shame onto your family?")

Yes, Taner Akcam (with the title of his "Shameful" book) and Peter Balakian enjoy stressing this "shame" factor (in other words, appealing to the "conscience" of the Turks,  to come clean about their great crime. Fatma Muge Gocek also got into this act by taking responsibility, as a Turk, for the Armenians' genocide), little realizing the Turks' shame has been working in a way that has rarely been expressed.

Yet this silence has been counterproductive. The prejudiced West does not care about the massive ethnic cleansing programs historically performed against the Turks to begin with, and this silence has certainly not helped. Moreover, this lack of knowledge or caring about one's history (among Turks) serves as further reason why hysterical and obsessed pro-Armenians are leagues ahead in their genocide game. Turks today are simply apathetic. So, yes, Turks have lent a helpful hand in the campaign of hate waged against them, with the absence of hatred in their hearts... the hatred that serves as a motivating factor.

The end result is that Turks stink at propaganda. That's a great pity, and Turks had better start getting their act together. But it does not look good. Overwhelmed by all of the propaganda, the western world will continue with their antipathy or hatred against the Turks, so great that even with irrefutable, genocide-busting facts presented, the West simply does not care to listen.

At least there is some consolation for the Turks. As Pierre Loti observed, "The Turk is the noblest of the nobles. This high nobility is not artificial or showy — it is the gift of nature. The only people that can create simplicity out of magnificence, eloquence from silence, a sensitive vitality from a graceful calmness...are the Turks."

He further wrote (“Fantome d’Orient," 1928):

“One should be blind to history not to understand the Turks. The dignified silence of the Turks against the mounting unjustified attacks and mean slanders can only be explained by their pity for the blind.
…How beautifully this attitude of theirs answers the undignified calumnies.”

All in all, it's better that way. Still, nobility does not get you a ride on the subway.



 An earlier TAT page:

Do Turks Hate Armenians Today?


"West" Accounts


Armenian Views


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


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.