Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Examples of Biased New York Times Coverage    
First Page


Major Players
Links & Misc.



Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

Reproductions of NY Times articles presented in Peter Balakians' "The Burning Tigris" as "evidence" the genocide occurred.

Reproductions of New York Times articles presented in Peter Balakian's
"The Burning Tigris" as "evidence" the genocide occurred. Viscount Bryce
(upper right) worked as chief propagandist for England's Wellington House,
and author Balakian unethically still represents these propaganda reports as
valid testimony; even some Armenian activists have come to realize the
"10,000 Drowned at Once" story was malarkey. As for
"800,000 Armenians ... Destroyed," please see table below, on this page.

     The American and Western press were totally biased against the Turks during the World War I period. (As opposed to these days, when they always make sure to be fair. Right. See bottom.) However, America's most prestigious newspaper, The New York Times, carried special weight. If you read it in The New York Times, it had to be true... no? Unfortunately, the newspaper relied almost entirely on biased sources, such as Armenians and missionaries... as if their already built-in, pre-existing prejudice didn't already serve as a deterrent to the truth.

It's not like The New York Times had their own reporters on the field, generally speaking. They mainly relied on the reports of the huge propaganda machinery that was Britain's Wellington House, which had an arm in the United States, operated by the Canadian, Sir Gilbert Parker. Any quote by the missionaries was taken at face value, as the missionaries were the heroes of the Christian world, at the time.

Let me make this clearer in the words of Dr. Nazim Bey, "Secretary of the Young Turks' Committee and one of Turkey's most prominent men," according to the Times article (which I'll be ironically citing), "LOOKS TO GERMANY TO SET TURKEY FREE" (December 22, 1915):

Dr. Nazim Bey

Nazim Bey

     Dr. Nazim Bey spoke calmly except when the subject of the world's impression of Turkish-Armenian relations was brought up. Of this he talked in bitter words. America in particular, he said, had gained a false impression in two ways. First, investigators of conditions had not been neutral or unbiased. Second, these investigators went to the wrong sources for their information to Greeks, Jews, and Armenians, who are Turkish subjects and have grudges to air.

"Every time a Turk does something praiseworthy in this world he is hailed as an Armenian," he continued, "but or acts basely, he is a Turk or something else."

This is why Western news accounts from the period are almost entirely tainted, and the objective evaluator must take these reports with at least a grain of salt. Below are a few examples, compliments of an Armenian web site.




Turkish Statesman Says Government Has No Gendarmes in Interior 


OCTOBER 25, 1915 

BERLIN, Oct.24, (via London.)--The Constantinople correspondent of the Tageblatt, Emil Ludwig, sends the story of an interview which he had with Halil Bey, President of the Turkish Chamber of Deputies, regarding the Armenians. Halil Bey is quoted as follows: 

"They are traitors. You have in mind certain excesses and blunders, but, believe me, the Government is not responsible for them, and regrets them as sincerely as anybody. But we have no more gendarmes in the interior. Everybody is under arms as a soldier. Thus it comes to pass that we have not everywhere been able to restrain the rage of the Mohammedans against these traitors to their country. The Government itself will only keep the Armenians so far from the theatre of war that they cannot conspire with the enemy." 

Halil Bey pointed out, says the correspondent, that the Armenians went over to the Russians by thousands when the latter made an inroad to Van, and asked: 

"Will you defend such things?" 

AMSTERDAM, Oct. 24.--A dispatch from Constantinople to the Frankfurter Zeitung says that Halil Bey, former President of the Turkish Chamber of Deputies, has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ottoman Cabinet. 


Note the sarcasm used in the reporting. The article is coming from the viewpoint that the Turks are such monsters, of course the Armenians' betrayal is entirely defensible... since if they stick around, the Turks are going to murder them all. The irony is, the Western media's made up arguments aside (Muslims hate Christians, the Turks wanted to plunder the Armenians' wealth), the only reason why Armenians got into this mess was because of their back-stabbing treachery. Had they remained loyal, nothing would have happened to them... just like nothing happened to them during the two peoples' peaceful co-existence for many centuries; and just like nothing happened to other non-Moslem citizens of the empire who remained loyal, such as the Jews. 

Maybe The New York Times could have answered Halil Bey's question more fairly, had they substituted "America" for "The Ottoman Empire."




Give No Quarter to Men Held Responsible for the Massacre of Armenians 


MONDAY, MARCH 6, 1916 

LONDON, March 6.--The Russian soldiers at Bitlis, according to a Petrograd dispatch to the Morning Post, took a terrible revenge on the Turkish troops for the cruelty which the Turks were alleged to have practiced to ward the Armenians in that district. The correspondent says: 

"Terrible slaughter followed the capture of the Turkish positions at Bitlis. The Russian troops had witnessed at Van, Mush, and many other places, an appalling sight, the massacre: namely, by Turkish fanatics of tens of thousands of Armenian Christian men, women, and children. It was unlikely after such deeds that any quarter should be given. This colossal killing completed the destruction of the Turkish third army. 


Well, wasn't that just ducky of the Russians, standing up for the Armenians the way they did! 

The only massacred people in these regions were Turks... by the Armenians, who revolted in anticipation of the Russians' arrival. Professor McCarthy concludes: "At the beginning of the World War, it seemed as if Erzurum's Muslims might escape the fate of their neighbors who were killed in Van and Bitlis. In those provinces a large proportion of the Muslim population had been slaughtered by Armenians, both local and from Russia." (The Americans Niles and Sutherland witnessed the devastation at Van years later: "..The only quarters left at all intact in the cities of Bitlis and Van are the Armenian quarters, as was evidenced by churches and inscriptions on the houses, while the Musulman quarters were completely destroyed.") What a very convenient excuse for the Russians... if they slaughtered Turkish soldiers after the battle was lost... to commit a war crime and blame it on their outrage over the Turks' nonexistent (in this case) barbarism.

Even if The New York Times had reason to be suspicious about the accuracy of this report, which they almost certainly did not (although, to their credit, they did use the word, "alleged"), demonizing the enemy was the path to take. The U.S. wasn't at war with Turkey, but America was certainly allied with the Allies.



Associate Editor of The Philadelphia Public Ledger

OCTOBER 25, 1915

There are 100,000 Armenians in Constantinople. The Turks whenever they please hale them to the police stations, soak their feet in salt water, and then apply the bastinado till their victims have to walk about on their knees for many days thereafter, if they walk at all. One man I talked with, a cook in charge of a bake oven at an American institution, had recently received the full official tale of seventy strokes while the doctor held his pulse to make sure the exquisite torment did not send the victim's fluttering life quite over the brink. But a weak old man, who in the same hour was given but twenty strokes, died on the day following. 

The newspapers today are filled with the execrable deeds of hireling Kurds and Bashi-Bazouks in Asia Minor. And still, Ambassador Morgenthau assured me, the half has not been told. The Black Sea and the Tigris River hold the secret of struggling thousands ruthlessly thrown into deep water and shot from the bank. A good woman that I knew wanted to go down from Scutari to Nicomedia by rail to help the evicted there, but the Turks would not let her, for they did not wish her to see the crimes committed and apprise the world of them. From that region 30,000 at least had been thrust forth to desert wanderings, and tens of thousands more were interned in and around the station, waiting till the cattle-cars had dumped their human freight and returned for more. 

Of course, the Turks, with his sluggish mentality, is jealous of the Armenian's progressive temper that out bargains, out builds, outplays and in all non-military ways outgenerals him. The Turks fears the league of the Armenians and the Russians, for which the former have toiled as their one hope of political and social salvation. 

In the meantime, this man Morgentau, his soul fired to white heat by Russia's oppression of his own people, the Jews, is determined to do his best for those whom Turkey so barbarously mishandles. 


Holdwater says: Wow! The Constantinople cops sure knew how to have fun... summoning old men to the stationhouse for the pleasure of whipping them and wrecking their feet.  (We know from MIDNIGHT EXPRESS that Turks love to punish feet. Remember when the hero of the film was hung upside-down and "Bluto" started whacking his poor, bare feet?)

Do you feel the newspaperman got his information from reliable sources? Given comments like the Turks' "sluggish mentality" (and other lame descriptions in the rest of the article, not presented here), Fullerton was full of it, and he was probably hoping to one-up the racist outlook of Ambassador Morgenthau, who assured him that "the half (of the ugly story) has not been told."

It's interesting that Russia's oppression of the Jews was mentioned. One reason cited for the intense demonization of Turks has been the need to take the heat off the Russian ally. (One instance of persecution in particular was the Russian soldiers' massacring large numbers of Jews during Russian campaigns against the Germans, in 1915.) The people would less likely concentrate on Russia's mistreatment of their Jewish citizens during this period, if a greater devil could be conjured up.

Okay... what this boy is vomiting is not so different from almost every other report regarding the Turks of World War I.  The New York Times was only doing, after all, what every other journal was doing... bombarding the public with everything negative about the Ottoman Empire. However, it would have been one thing for the Times to simply print these libelous words... but the editor decides to add salt to the wound by presenting his own opinion (the highlights are mine), at the end of the article:

Constantinople is now the critical point in the Great War. The issue of the conflict turns upon it, and the next few weeks may decide the question. The city is besieged by armies of Russians, English, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, French, Senegalese and Italians. Armies of Austrians and Germans are pushing down thru Serbia to reach Constantinople before it falls. British, French and Italian troops have rushed to stop their onward march. Meanwhile "the Sick Man of the East" is in mortal danger. The Turk feels that he is losing his grip and the subject races who have suffered under his tyranny for centuries are getting restive at the thought that the day of their deliverance is at hand. He has determined that they shall be destroyed rather than be freed. The colleges which Americans have founded in Turkey are threatened with extinction. It makes an American thrill with pride to read in Mr. Waldo's article how these educational outposts of ours in the East are calmly continuing their work in the midst of war. ---THE EDITOR.

ADDENDUM: The above may not have appeared in The New York Times, but "Independent Magazine." (Not that it makes much difference... every publication in America followed the same hysterical style.)

 ENVER'S 100,000

MARCH 11, 1919 

Et d'un! as Monte Cristo used to say. RESHID BEY, sometime Governor of Diarbekir, one of the guiltiest planers, and executors of the Armenian butcheries, killed himself the other day when caught by the police. He seems to have been intending to take refuge in Anatolia, where he might have made trouble. The arrest of drivers and unary grandees of the Committee of Union and Progress spoiled his plans, and the police were too hot on his track. If he dies unwipped of justice, yet "suicide is confession." 

Perhaps the strangest story in all the motley multifarious history of the Committee attributes to it the dispatch of missionaries to the Russian Bolsheviki. Turkish nationalism has vanished; but the far-scattered survivors of the Committee may well have seen that their sole, if desperate, chance lay or lies in the spread of Bolshevism to the west. To the Turks themselves the economic, social, and political doctrines and practice of Bolshevism would be about as intelligible and interesting as the nebular hypothesis. In so far, however, as it is mere looting and murder, it has been practiced by the Turks in Asia and Europe for hundreds of years. The assassins of Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Syrians, understand that part of the Bolshevist gospel. The Kurds are illustrious professors of it. 

The Committee of Union and Progress, or its thriftiest members now in exile, are supposed to have plenty of money in Swiss, German, Austrian, Dutch banks. It will require a credulity almost unimaginable to believe that these chevaliers of political and financial industry will be inclined to waste any of the proceeds of their virtue on the dissemination of Bolshevism. In Constantinople an unexpected but lovely fruit of the Bolshevist missionary work carried on by the Committee or its colporteurs is the belief, according to a London Correspondent, that ENVER PASHA "will shortly return from Russia with an army of 100,000 desperate characters who will restore Committee rule." Evidently ENVER is rapidly becoming a legendary character. It is only just to his merits to say that, compared with his gentle character and achievements, the 100,000 desperadoes, if he could raise them, would be like an infant school headed by one of those eminent pirates, Flint or Blackbeard


I hope this was an editorial, and not an actual news story. 

Well, whatever it was, now we know that Reshid Bey was on a level with Adolf Eichmann, given that he was a most guilty planner and executor of the Armenian butcheries. That's all fine, but, ahhh... where's the proof?

Dr. Resit Bey

Dr. Reshid (Reşit) Bey

Coming to the events of 1915, Dixon-Johnson writes: "Now... we find once more the same influence at work.... There is absolutely no reason why we should implicitly believe the reports which have been so assiduously circulated in the Press.... The exploiters of these stories are under the same disability, having only heard one side, and that an extremely biased one".
He adds that no Englishman would condemn a prisoner on the evidence for the defence.
The Editor of the Economist says that "we must not allow our standards of proof to decline in judging reports of atrocities". And this is especially necessary "when sensational stories are passed as authentic reports for the acceptance of a public prone to believe anything".

C.F. Dixon-Johnson, British author of the 1916 book, "The Armenians."



Moslems Made Money in the Midst of War Slaughter


DECEMBER 6, 1918

LONDON, Dec. 5. -- Throughout the last four years the Turks, acting under the orders of the Committee of Union and Progress, have done their best to ruin Turkey and have succeeded "extremely well, " says the Constantinople correspondent of The Morning Post, in describing the corruption and misery of Turkey. Three million persons, he says, have been massacred and another million is on the verge of starvation this Winter.

"The greater portion of the Ottoman Empire," the correspondent continues, "has been conquered and parsed out among different races, and what remains is a total ruin.

"It is probably true that never before have the Turks in the empire been so rich. An ordinary policeman in Pera is estimated to be worth anything between 10,000 and 15,000 Turkish pounds.

"This accumulation of wealth has been a part of the program of the committee to enrich the Turks at the expense of the Christians, and was carried out especially in Smyrna and Constantinople. The consequence is that prices in Constantinople today are enormously exorbitant. It must not be supposed however, that Constantinople lacks anything. There is probably enough food were to feed the population for at least eight months. The committee, by means of requisitioning from the Christians, has concentrated all the trade in the hands of the Mohammedans. German officers had their share also in this plunder.


SALONIKI, Dec. 4. -- M. Khanzadian, an Armenian leader and a former officer of high rank in the Turkish Navy, on his arrival here today declared that German and Turkish statistic which he saw in Constantinople in 1916 showed that 1,396, 350 Armenians had been deported and that of that number 1,056 550 had been massacred.

He expressed thanks to the Greek Government for its sympathy with the cause of the Armenians, and said that the Greeks and Armenians should combine their efforts against Turkish oppression.



These two articles appeared back to back. It seems whatever report came out of the well-oiled American branch of Britain's propaganda arm, Wellington House, The New York Times would be in a hurry to print it... there's nothing like sensationalized news to attract readers. (Of course, not all biased reports originated from Wellington House...  the source here is a not-very-specifically specified journalist.) Any bit of hearsay, like the report of "three million" massacred, The New York Times saw as "News Fit to Print." An especially tiresome "motive" the Ottomans had for exterminating the Armenians, according to Armenians and their supporters in a desperate search for motives, is that this was the nasty Turks' way to get wealthy. Doubtless, Armenians were taken advantage of when they needed to sell properties quickly at unfair prices, like the Japanese-Americans were ruined during their WWII settlement... but the buyers were almost always fellow citizens, and not government officials. Many of the affected Armenians were from the central and eastern regions, and the more east one travelled, the poorer the Armenians got (generally). If the Turks wanted to "rob" the Armenians, they would have had to do so in the "wealthy" cities, and the silly article above claims that is exactly what occurred. Well, I wonder how this occurred? If the Armenians were not booted out of their homes for the resettlement program, the only way these Armenians could have been robbed were if the Turks came into their homes with guns drawn, demanding money to be handed over... which is pure, unadulterated poop-droppings. To get an idea of who really robbed these richer Armenians (although this example could have been from a different period, but the Armenians' treacherous tactics remained constant... and this example is still applicable), look here.

My compliments to the Armenian who once served his country before likely betraying it; unless he was given all the time in the world as an Armenian to review critical government documents in 1916, he must have had one heck of a photographic memory to have retained such numbers so precisely.


An "Edited" Letter From a Turkish Official

OCTOBER 19, 1915

To the Editor of The New York Times:

Thanking you for your publishing my letter of the 15th inst. in connection with the Armenian crisis. I beg to attract your attention that at least three important paragraphs of the omitted. As I consider these paragraphs of the utmost importance in favor of my argument, I beg you to publish in extents this letter of mine with its corrections, in justice to the claim of fairness you champion.

The second paragraph of my letter read.

Before entering any further into the subject I want to express my surprise in seeing protests emanating from every quarter, though every nation has in its history similar black pages, and I want to remind in this connection that should the different nations follow the precept of the Christ. "Let he who has no sin throw the first stone. " none of them would be in a position to raise any protest.

In connection to the expulsion, massacre, and the driving away of the Armenians, I said in explanation, not as excuse:

In other words the Ottoman Government sees itself obliged to follow now the line of conduct the United States adopted in regard to the Indian reservations and its action is thus at least explained.

Finally my article ended:

If they (the Armenians) are now suffering of the severity of the punishment, it is very deplorable, but they must not forget their previous actions: They were willing to take unnecessary chances, they failed, they must now take the consequences of their rebellious and treacherous actions.

These sentences were purposely meant to emphasize that the Turkish nation, as a race or as a Government, is neither better have no doubt you will be kind enough to publish them.


New York, Oct. 18, 1915.


While it is to the newspaper's credit to have gone ahead and included the missing portions... why did The New York Times originally leave out what the author claims were the most telling paragraphs of his argument? Innocent oversight?

Now that the paragraphs were printed out of context from the original letter, it kind of reduces whatever effectiveness they might have had, don't you think?

A Recurring Element


The one interesting element I keep running across in these newspaper accounts is that there were times the Turkish viewpoint was expressed. For example, in a November 23, 1915 article, "TURKEY IS UNEASY OVER GERMAN ARMY":

The correspondent also touched upon the Armenian question, which he calls the "thin ice of Turkey, which one avoids as dangerous." Halil Bey said on this subject that the Armenians had been guilty of treason and conspiracies with the Russian and other anti-Turkish activities. He declared that the Mohammedan population of Armenia had become so enraged at the Russophile elements that they had finally resorted to violent acts. The Turkish Government, he added, despite its own wishes, had been powerless to check these outbursts because the land was without policemen, who had been turned into soldiers and transported to the front.

How ironic that this very explanation, which basically sums up the Turkish position today... and is backed up by plenty of objective, irrefutable evidence, often (indirectly) by Armenians themselves...  was almost absolutely ignored. I guess it was a case of "The Turkish government says...." Sure, who is going to trust the official line of a government, especially the government of a people held in the lowest esteem? Ironic. The very same attitude exists today... whenever the Armenian "genocide" is covered in an American newspaper, the equal time portion pretty much amounts to: "The Turkish government says..." Translation: it's a lie.

However, reporters today cannot be as off the hook as their predecessors from many years ago. During the 1910s and 20s, the hatred of Turks stemmed from understandable ignorance, as there were practically no outlets to tell the Turkish side of the story. (Those who tried would get vilified in the press, as Admiral Chester Colby was, to an extent.) Today, now that Turkey has finally made an effort to tell her side of the story, for journalists, historians, and the media  to ignore the presented evidence makes them unprofessionally irresponsible. (It's one thing if they make an open-minded study and conclude the Armenians are the truth tellers... that they would be entitled to do, of course; but to dismiss the opposing viewpoint out of hand is what would be inexcusable. And this is what is happening, still... time and time again.)

Speaking of time, that's all this is a matter of. In time, the truth will be revealed. This is why Armenians are getting more flustered, resorting to ridiculous avenues such as taking people to court... for daring to voice an opinion other than their own. Why, their very reason for being would be challenged. (Can you think of "Armenian" without thinking of "Genocide"?)

When that time arrives, hopefully the Armenians, who are so totally obsessed over this "genocide" topic, can get over their hatred and concentrate on areas of our existence that truly matter. Peace, love and brotherhood would be good for a start.


"The Armenian, the Jew or the African should not damage their development with a continual conditioning of hate; neither should spurious guilt be vented upon others. These negative preoccupations and obsessions are obstructing our evolution.”

Robert John (Hovhanes), Armenian historian; The Reporter, "America's Leading Armenian Newspaper," August 2, 1984


An Example of Biased Coverage from "Modern Times"

Stephen Kinzer has been The New York Times' specialist on Turkey in recent years (it appears his run as correspondent in Istanbul came to an end around 2000, and he has subsequently written a book entitled, "CRESCENT & STAR: Turkey Between Two Worlds"); some of his fine articles have been included on this site (Here's one, and another). However, I ran into letters from Turks who were none too pleased about Mr. Kinzer's take on the Armenian "Genocide".... thanks to the magic of the Internet, I came across this very article, and what follows is most of it. While Turks can be grateful Stephen Kinzer is not the anti-Turkish journalistic maniac that, say, Briton Robert Fisk has proven  to be, it's interesting how Kinzer could be behind such a one-sided tale; it's almost like this article was written in the wholly less enlightened days of Western media coverage during World War I... where the accused comes across as guilty of all charges.


May 10, 2000

Turkish Region Recalls Massacre of Armenians


LAZIG, Turkey, May 7 -- Groves of mulberry trees at lakeside resorts are about all that remains from the days when this region was a center of Armenian life. 

One of the gnarled trees used to stand beside a long-gone Armenian Orthodox church. Now it shades Tahire Cakirbay, 66, as she looks out over her fields and shimmering Lake Hazar below. 

"They took the Armenians up there and killed them," Ms. Cakirbay said, pointing to a hill above her. "They dug a hole for the bodies. My parents told me." 

More than one million Armenians lived in what is now eastern Turkey until their community was shattered in an orgy of ethnic violence that exploded 85 years ago this spring. Many aspects of what happened then are still hotly debated, but here where the killings took place, few people doubt they occurred. 

"They don't teach it in school, but if you're interested there are plenty of ways you can find out," said Yasemin Orhan, a native of Elazig who graduated from the local university last year. "Many Armenians were killed. It's for sure."

Ms. Orhan said she had learned about the killings from her grandmother. Here in eastern Turkey, the passage of several generations has not been enough to wipe them from memory. 

In the rest of the country, however, most people know little about the killings of 1915. Turkish textbooks refer to them only indirectly. They stress that Armenian militants were rebelling against the crumbling Ottoman Empire, and discount or ignore the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians after the abortive revolt. 

Conflicts over how to deal with this episode have provoked a worldwide propaganda war between Armenia and Turkey. 

Armenian lobbyists want foreign governments to declare that what happened in 1915 was genocide. Some Armenian nationalists say that if Turkey can be forced to concede this, their next step might be to claim reparations or demand the return of land once owned by Armenians. 

Turkish diplomats resolutely resist these efforts. They assert that Muslims as well as Christians were killed here in 1915, and that it is unfair to blame only one side. 

To most Turks the events of 1915 seem distant, but in the Armenian consciousness they are a vivid and constant presence. Awareness of what is simply called "the genocide" is acute in Armenian communities around the world. 

Often it is accompanied by fierce anger at Turkey's recalcitrance. 
This anger boiled over into violence during the 1970's and 80's, when a group calling itself Commandos of the Armenian Genocide mounted a campaign against representatives of the Turkish government. It killed Turkish diplomats in the United States and elsewhere, and bombed targets including the Turkish Airlines counter at Orly Airport in Paris. 

Since then the battle has shifted back to the diplomatic arena. Each spring, foreign leaders issue carefully worded commemorations of the killings. 

Last month, President Clinton issued a proclamation recalling "a great tragedy of the twentieth century: the deportations and massacres of roughly one and a half million Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire." He did not use the word "genocide." 

In the past year, Turkey has greatly improved its relations with Greece, but there has been little progress with Armenia. The two countries feud over a variety of political issues, but the wound that 1915 has cut into the Armenian psyche also plays an emotional role in keeping them apart. 

In recent months, some of the first efforts toward reconciliation between Turks and Armenians have begun. One was a conference of Turkish, Armenian and American scholars who met at the University of Chicago to begin a joint inquiry into the events of 1915.

"This was the most difficult paper I have ever written in my life," said Selim Deringil, a historian at Bosporus University in Istanbul, as he presented his analysis of Turkish-Armenian relations. "Venturing into the Armenian crisis is like wandering into a minefield."

The scholars who gathered at Chicago plan to meet again. Another group plans to open a series of conferences later this spring in Austria. 


Elazig is just one place where Armenians were killed by Ottoman soldiers and Kurdish tribesmen in the spring and summer of 1915. But because several foreigners were living in the area and recorded what they saw, the killings here were unusually well documented. 

One of the foreigners was an American consul, Leslie Davis, who took a trip around Lake Hazar, then known as Lake Golcuk, after the massacres. "Thousands and thousands of Armenians, mostly helpless women and children, were butchered on its shores and barbarously mutilated," he later wrote. 

Armenian houses, churches and schools in this area have long since been destroyed or allowed to collapse. New villages have sprung up along the lake. Residents picnic under the mulberry trees that Armenians planted around their summer homes a century ago. 

It is still possible to find artifacts of Armenian life here. At one antique shop near Elazig, $250 will buy a heavy copper serving tray inscribed with the name of its former owner in distinctive Armenian script. 

Just last month, a couple of men were discovered digging at what they believed to be a former Armenian cemetery. They were apparently looking for gold that, according to local lore, was often interred with wealthy Armenians. 

Nevzat Gonultas, manager of a telephone substation on the lakeshore, is considered a local historian because his father spent many hours telling him stories from the past. Like most people around here -- although unlike their brethren in other parts of Turkey -- he knows what happened in 1915. 

"Other people don't know because they don't live here," Mr. Gonultas said as he sipped tea on a recent evening. "My father told me that Turkey was weak at that time and the Armenians decided to stage an uprising. Then the order came to kill them. 

Almost all were killed. It wasn't a war, it was a massacre." 

The Turkish authorities do not accept this version, and many Turks never hear it. A historical atlas issued by a leading Turkish newspaper does not show that much of this region was under Armenian rule for centuries. 

At historical sites in this region, signs and brochures often discount or omit facts about the earlier Armenian presence. According to one new travel book, "guards are under instruction to eavesdrop on tourist guides who might be tempted to tell another story." 

Anyone who seeks to learn about the events in 1915, however, need only come here. 

"This used to be an Armenian area, but now they're gone," said a factory worker named Selhattin Cinar. "Dead, killed, chased away. Our government doesn't want to admit it. Why would you want to say, 'My yogurt is sour'?" 

Turkish Readers Respond


(At least there is one difference between the WWI era and now, regarding anti-Turkish coverage... sometimes journalists' reports don't go totally unquestioned. Not that The New York Times printed the following letters, mind you... they are from The Turkish  Times.) 


Dear Mr. Kinzer:

I have read your article on the Armenians in Turkey. It is clear that you are not interested in historical facts. Your article is full of stories that you and the militant Armenians would like to hear. Your knowledge of history is nil. Which region was ruled by the Armenians and when? Which historical atlas are you talking about? Which centuries are you talking about? As a journalist, you should be more precise than this. To my knowledge, the Turkish tribes took control of Anatolia (Asia Minor) as early as 1071. If you have a probIem with people taking territories other than theirs several centuries ago, please talk to the Spanish Portuguese, British, French, Germans, and Americans.

You have failed miserably as a journalist, because your aim is not to inform the public. Your aim is to declare the Republic of Turkey guilty of crimes against humanity. You certainly don’t know why you are willingly misinforming the public. I assume that you don’t know any better. But the militant Armenians have an agenda. You even mentioned this agenda in your article: “Some Armenian nationalists say that if Turkey can be forced to concede this, their next step might be to claim reparations or demand the return of land once owned by Armenians.” It’s all about the land. There are four groups of people who have never forgiven the Turks for staying on their ground, fought for their freedom after WWI, and built the Republic of Turkey on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire: the militant factions among the Armenians, Greeks, Europeans, and Islamists. Whenever they observe a political or an economic weakness in Turkey, they attack from every direction to achieve something that they couldn’t at the end of the WWI: to divide the country. Those days of the Sevres Agreement are over. Get over it.


Ayse Evrensel Muncie, IN


Gossip as “History”

Attn.: Mr. Stephen Kinzer
New York Times

Dear sir,

I have read your article “Turkish Region Recalls Massacres of Armenians” and I must say, I am lost for words. I was totally shocked because I have read many serious articles from you in the past. I simply cannot understand what got into you!

Your article is a school boy’s attempt to re-write history at Anatolian gossip corners. Hell knows how many people live out there whose minds have been poisoned by the PKK-propaganda as well as the anti-Turkish bandwagon fueled by the Armenian Diaspora!

Mr. Kinzer, you know very well, that what you wrote is unfounded and is just as absurd as the Armenian claims on this subject. Clearly paper is patient and the tongue has no backbone, however, history is what it is.

It has the distinct disadvantage, that it cannot be changed. Your sources of historic information are bizarre, to say the least. I have a distinct suspicion that you not only interviewed (!) some peculiar characters, unknown to us readers, but that you also read a lot of World War I bulletins. Why don’t you try reading Prof. McCarthy (USA) or Prof. Eric Feigl (Austria), both authorities on Ottoman history?

l am not going to get involved in historical arguments with you, sir, but I feel compelled to ask you a few questions.

1. How come you failed to define the beginning of Armenian Terrorist acts against innocent civilians and private property?

2. How come you did not mention the Greek component of that dirty game which started soon after the Greeks lost their fanatic war to hellenize Cyprus?

3. How come you failed to mention that 80% of all the Armenian Terrorists had fled to Athens after carrying out their murders just like the PKK Terrorists did?

4. How come you miserably failed to mention the Russian part played throughout history in this region.

5. How come you further failed to identify the neo-Tsarist and Russian dirty games played once again on the Armenian people?

6. How come you totally failed to mention that the Armenians have committed the very same mistake in occupying 20% of Azerbajan’s territory as they did in 1915 in attempting to seize parts of Anatolia with Russian help.

Finally sir, I would advise you to look for a correlation between the collapse of the PKK and the accelerated Armenian activities throughout the World. I would further advise you to scrutinize very carefully the non-Armenian elements at work, here with particular emphasis on Russia and Germany — both very much interested in the Caucasus region and the Turkic oil and gas reserves. Cheers Mr. Kinzer.

Best regards
Kufi Seydah, M. Sc., DIC.


An Open Letter to Stephen Kinzer

1 May 2002
Stephen Kinzer
The Art Editor in Chicago
The New York Times

Dear Stephen,

I had an opportunity to read your April 24 article "Plans for Museum Buoy Armenians and Dismay Turks" (Arts in America, April 24) only today, with shock and sorrow. Now I am convinced more than ever that you are among a select group of people who perpetuate a lie that has its origins in reports from the Ottoman Turkey published in the New York Times during the First World War, thanks to the likes of Ambassador Morgenthau, accepted blindly by the young Armenians around the world and even referred to as truth by the President of the United States. I was surprised to read letters from several Turkish-American Associations to the President of the United States, thanking him for his wise remarks, despite the fact that many prominent Americans and some of us have been telling to the world that the number of Armenians who died between 1890 and 1915 is less than three hundred thousand, not one and a half
million as stated even in the President's letter and that the number of Turks killed by the Armenians and others are in the millions. Therefore, how can you state that in 1915 over one million Armenians were annihilated by the Turks?

M. Zarceshi, French Counsul at Van___________1,300,000 Francis de Pressence (1895)_________________1,200,000 Torumnekize (1900)_______________________1,300,000 Lynch (1901)____________________________1,158,484 Ottoman Census (1905)____________________1,294,851 British Blue Book (1912)___________________1,056,000 L.D. Conterson (1913)_____________________1,400,000 French Yellow Book_______________________1,475,000 Armenian Patriarch Ormanian________________1,579,000

Pre-war  Ottoman-Armenian population estimates.
One million Armenians survived after the war,
according to Armenians. Do the math.
And please don't forget the ones who died did so
from all causes combined, not simply massacres.
Morgenthau himself wrote thousands of TURKS
were dying DAILY, of starvation.

It is because of writers and reporters like yourself, who can easily distort facts and ignore the truth, that amateur authors like Samantha Power can produce books which are totally biased and one sided. If you have read the article that I sent you earlier, "Samantha Power Lecture on Genocide - March 26, 2002, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, WDC, which gives a summary of a presentation by Ms Power, the author states that her purpose in writing the book was for future generations to avoid genocide and made references to the Armenians killed in 1915, completely ignoring the fact that the Armenians rebelled against their own government and started massacring Turks. Do you feel comfort that others are following in your foot steps, referring only to the death of Armenians and not mentioning the killing of the Turks?

You picked the right date to have your article published in the New York Times, April 24, adding your name to a long list of others who have also done the same thing since 1915. I am sure you received many thankful messages from your Armenian friends, in a way, back stabbing your friends in Turkey except those who support you, which is nothing new. I am sure the museum will be erected with donations from wealthy Armenians in the United states and around the world, with the Hitler quotation at the entrance, according to some Armenians. Many Jewish organizations will support the building of the Museum with their donations, just like the Armenians supported the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in return for displaying Hitler's quotation, which has been proven to be a fabricated statement. Do you believe that it is appropriate to exhibit Hitler's quotation at a Jewish Holocaust Museum, visited by over two million people who
do not know the truth behind that statement?

An interesting coincidence is the picture of a woman's sculpture, placed next to your article in the New York Times. The sculpture represents a woman, to be sure, but ugly and without any decent proportions, which the artist has chosen to present to the world. This sculpture also speaks the truth about your article, ugly and devoid of truth. What a shame?

Please do not tell the unsuspecting listeners at your never ending presentations that you love Turkey and you have many Turkish friends, because you will not be telling the truth.


Yuksel Oktay
Istanbul, Turkey

The Los Angeles Times Rewrites History

Time for a little cheating... this web page concerns biased reportage in America's most prestigious newspaper, The New York Times... but there is no end to the way other major American newspapers present misguided Turk-related facts to their readers. I couldn't resist adding this incredible bit from The Los Angeles Times, as reported in the Fall 1986 issue of ATA-USA:

On February 28, 1986, the Los Angeles Times carried an article about the death of Lady Amalia Fleming, a member of the Greek Parliament, in which this major American newspaper went so far as to rewrite history. 

“Lady Fleming was born Amaha Kousouri in 1912 in Constantinople, before Greece lost the city to Turkey in World War I and it was renamed Istanbul.”

ATA-USA concludes the article by writing, "Hopefully, the Los Angeles Times will get the message that this is 1986, not 1984!" 

Now I can readily understand and make allowance for the public's errors and misconceptions, for it has had, after all, no means of knowing that it has been systematically deceived, but I can find no excuse for those newspapers which, clinging to a policy of vilifying the Turk, failed to rectify the anti-Turkish charges printed in their columns even when it had been proved to the satisfaction of most fair-minded persons that they were unjustified. A case in point was the burning of Smyrna in September, 1922. There was scarcely a newspaper of importance in the United States that did not editorially lay that outrage at the door of the Turks, without waiting to hear the Turkish version, yet, after it had been attested by American, English, and French eye-witnesses, and by a French commission of inquiry, that the city had been deliberately fired by the Greeks and Armenians in order to prevent it falling into Turkish hands, how many newspapers had the courage to admit that they had done the Turks a grave injustice?

E. Alexander Powell, "The Struggle for Power in Moslem Asia," The Century Co., New York & London (1923), pages 32-33.


Related: Missionary Testimony in a Biased New York Times Article 

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