Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Rebuttal of Views Expressed by an Opportunistic Turkish Professor   
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Former ambassador to the United States, Şükrü Elekdağ, in an article which appeared in a major Turkish newspaper, counters Dr. Halil Berktay of Turkey's Sabanci University... a Turkish professor who has taken the Armenian cause to heart.

Professor Justin McCarthy writes: "I read Turkish newspapers that include interviews with men whose words sound as if they were been written by Armenian nationalists.  Sometimes I laugh at their arguments." It sounds like the professor could have been describing the very article by Dr. Halil Berktay which prompted the rebuttal by Ambassador Elekdağ.



Dr. Halil Berktay comes up short on “events of 1915”


Amb. Şükrü Elekdağ (Ret.)

Dr. Halil Berktay’s views on the forced migration of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 that he expressed during the interviews he gave to Neşe Düzel of Radikal (on October 9) and Şahin Alpay of Milliyet (on October 20) contain serious errors. Berktay does not present a sound interpretation of the events and official documents.

During the interview with Düzel, Dr. Berktay claimed that “there were 1,750,000 Armenians in Eastern Anatolia during that time.” But the historical records do not support that claim. According to the official Ottoman records, the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia was 1,250,000. Prof. Justin McCarthy, in his detailed and comprehensive study of the same events (Muslims and Minorities, New York 1983), rounded up the same figure to 1.5 million to compensate for the possibility that those living in the mountainous areas might not have been accounted for properly. Armenians. on the other hand, exaggerate their losses by claiming they lost 2 or even 2.5 million. Yet, they do not have any evidence to corroborate this claim.

“Scientific seriousness!”

When Neşe Düzel asks “how many Muslims died in the area?” Berktay provides an answer that has very little to do with scientific credibility: “It could be around one, two, or ten thousand lives.” That is, Berktay defends the nonsensical view that only ten or twenty thousand Turks have died during the First World War. According to McCarthy, 2.5 million Turks died during and immediately after WWI and a part of that loss took place in Eastern Anatolia (Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Bosphorus University Press, 1984).

We have to consult the four-volume “Arşiv Belgelerine Gore Kafkasya’da ve Anadolu’da Ermeni Mezalimi" (Armenian Savagery in Caucasus and Anatolia according to Archival Documents) published by the Ottoman Archives Department Directorate to get the most correct information on this issue. These documents prove that the Armenians killed a total of 517,955 Turks during the 1914-1921 period. Let’s mention within this context the fact that the Armenian activists have always minimized the losses suffered by the Turkish people in order to support their thesis that the Ottoman Armenians were killed on purpose and in accordance with a plan.

  Hamidiye Regiments

 Berktay, while explaining the origins of the events that provided a basis for the genocide allegations, says “what happened during 24-25 ‘April [1915] is the arrest of the leaders of the Armenian organizations in Istanbul.” Yet he provides grounds for misinterpretations by not explaining that all those arrested were not innocent people but members of the Dashnak and Hinchak Armenian terror organizations.

Halil Berktay

During the same interview, Berktay says “before 1915, were the 1880s and l890s. When during the 1890s, during the reign of Abdulhamid II, there were signs of a nationalist rebellion brewing, terrible Armenian massacres took place. Blood seeped in between the Armenians and the Ottoman Administration. Kurdish tribes and the Hamidiye regiments formed by Kurds were unleashed upon Armenians...”

The claim that during the Adbulhamid Administration great massacres were carried out against the Armenians is not true at all. By saying so, Berktay creates an impression that Turks one day suddenly started to butcher the Armenians for no reason at all. The historical fact which Berktay does not mention is that during that period Armenians were in a state of rebellion and the Armenian militants ambushed and massacred the Turkish villagers continuously in order to provoke the Turks to retaliate against the Armenians. The reason why Armenians behaved that way was their desire to have the European powers intervene militarily in Ottoman territory with the pretext of stopping the Armenian massacres. The famous historian Willam Langer in his monumental work The Diplomacy of Imperialism (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1968) supports our view on the basis of documents. On the other hand, Berktay, while asserting that Abdulhamid II has used ‘the Kurdish Hamidiye regiments to massacre the Armenians, forgets that there are no historical documents to support his allegation.

Actually, the Kurdish-Armenian competition and animosity has a history more than a century old. After Russia conquered the Caucasus and occupied Iran, thousands of Armenians left Anatolia and migrated to Russia. In response, the Ottoman State relocated to the lands vacated by the Armenians the Turkish immigrants surviving the Muslim pogroms in the Balkans and Kurdish tribes. Armenians who did like to live under the Russian rule wanted to return to Anatolia after a while and resettle in their old lands. This attempt created animosity between the Armenians, on the one hand, and Turks and Kurds, on the other. That this enmity gave rise to bloody Armenian-Kurdish altercations is a fact. Yet the assertion that the Hamidiye regiments were formed and used just to massacre the Armenians is an unfounded allegation with no evidence.

Teşkilat-i Mahsusa

When it comes to Berktay’s view that, during the forced migration carried out in accordance with Ittihat ye Terakki [the Union and Progress Party in power back then] directives, there were massacres carried out according to Teşkilat-i Mahsusa [the Ottoman secret service] plans, this is nothing but a repetition of the same allegation defended all along by the Armenian historians. Yet, until today, the Armenians could not have proven this allegation in any way. Thus, Berktay’s claim is also nothing but a theory based on no concrete data. In reality, Teşkilat-i Mahsusa was tasked during WWI with garnering the support of Indian, Egyptian and Russian Muslims for the Ottoman State. There is not any evidence that this organization was given any tasks during the forced migrations.


The telegram reflects Talat Pasha ‘s sensitivity


An interpretation that Berktay has provided during his interview with Şahin Alpay regarding an Ottoman document violates both logic and common sense. The document that Berktay interpreted is an important ciphered telegram which the Minister of the Interior of the time, Talat Pasha, sent to the Governor of Diyarbakir on July 12, 1915.

In this telegram, Talat Pasha demands an investigation of the reports emanating from the region that, according to witnesses from Diyarbakir, “seven hundred Armenians and Christians in Mardin including the Armenian Bishop have been taken out of the city during the night and strangled like sheep,” that the total number of strangled has been estimated to be around two thousand, and that if the development is not stopped immediately the Muslims in the neighboring villages may attack and massacre all the Christians. Moreover, Talat Pasha demands that the “law enforcement and political” measures implemented against the Armenians should not be enforced against other Christians and that there has to be an immediate and definite stop to all similar events that threaten the lives of all Christians in the region. (Archives Directory General, Armenians in Ottoman Documents 19 15-1920, Ankara 1995, Document: 71).

The telegram reflects Talat Pasha’s sensitivity towards the safety of all Christians in the area including the Armenians in an environment where there were fears of a “Muslim retaliation” due to the prior massacre of almost 90,000 Turks in Kars-Ardahan, Van and Bitlis by Armenian rebels. This telegram proves clearly and beyond any doubt the fact that the Ottoman administration had no intention of launching a genocide against the Armenians.

While these are the facts, Berktay interprets this telegram with an unsound logic as though it is a document proving how the Ottomans implemented a pre-planned genocide. Berktay’s approach to the Armenian issue does not reflect the objectivity that befits a scientist and is not commensurate with a sense of respect for the facts.


The Turkish Times, 2000



Halil Berktay apparently relied on fellow leftist Turkish Turncoat Taner Akcam's translation from the Ottoman Turkish, regarding the above. Since Akcam and Berktay are Turkish, one can assume their translations would be correct. However, just like Armenian Prosecutor Vahakn Dadrian's translations cannot always be trusted, few are aware Ottoman Turkish carries subtle nuances that an amateur like Taner Akcam would not be up to task for (assuming his intentions would be legitimate, a big assumption for those who are full-fledged members of the deceitful "genocide club").

Here is an eye-opening analysis of Taner Akcam's questionable scholarly skills pertaining to his translation efforts (particularly of the Talat Pasha telegram, from above). This article reminds us that:

"...Reading the 'Ottoman Archives in Ottoman Turkish' requires extensive and special training. An archive expert is someone who knows the Arabic Alphabet, Arabic, Persian and Turkish grammar."



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