Demons of the Past The Armenian Genocide and the Turks

AP/ Armenian National Archives

By , and

Part 2: 'Wrongs'

The wealth of image and film documents gathered from archives as distant as Moscow and Washington, says author and director Friedler, even surprised the historians who provided him with expert advice for his 90-minute film. Some incidents, such as the ostentatious 1943 reburial in Turkey of the remains of Talaat Pasha, who was murdered in Berlin in 1921, will be shown on film for the first time. Other documents depict individuals who the archivists had not recognized there before.

The film also offers an oppressive description of the current debate over the genocide, which is only now erupting in Turkey, almost a century after the crime. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blusters that Turkey will never admit that genocide took place. During an exhibition on Armenia, ultra-nationalists angrily rip photographs from the walls, and then, as if they've lost their minds, they attack a car in which Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, is being taken home after a court appearance -- because he dared to express what historians had proven long ago.

For decades, Armenians born after the genocide felt tortured and troubled by it. "The tragedy," says Hayk Demoyan, the director of the genocide memorial in Yerevan, has become "a pillar of our national identity." And Armenian President Serge Sarkisian has told SPIEGEL: "The best way to prevent the repetition of such an atrocity is to condemn it clearly."

The post-genocide generation of Turks had no trouble sleeping. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish republic, made a radical break with the Ottoman Empire and the three men who were primarily responsible -- Talaat, Enver and Cemal Pasha. Atatürk admitted that "wrongs" had been committed, wrongs his successors deny to this day, but he also let government officials and military leaders participate in his government who had been directly involved in the genocide.

A Living, Hidden Memory

The demons of the past are now awakening in response to pressure, particularly from the Armenian Diaspora. Every spring, before the April 24 anniversary of the arrests of Armenian politicians and intellectual in what was then Constantinople, arrests that marked the beginning of the deportations in 1915, more national parliaments adopt resolutions to acknowledge the Armenian genocide: France in 2001, Switzerland in 2003 and, this year, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives and the Swedish parliament.

Every time one of these resolutions is passed, Ankara threatens with political consequences -- and ultimately never follows through. It has become a ritual, the purpose of which men like Hrant Dink have questioned. The publisher of the Turkish-Armenia newspaper Agos didn't dwell on the definition of the world "genocide." Instead, he wanted Turkey to confront its gruesome past directly.

He paid for his views with his life. On Jan. 19, 2007, Dink was murdered in broad daylight. The 200,000 Turks who marched through the streets of Istanbul at his funeral, holding up banners that read "We are all Armenians," humiliated their own government with their forthrightness. A reality which thousands of Turks are confronted with in their own families appears to have had a stronger impact than diplomatic pressure.

In the early 1980s, Istanbul attorney Fethiye Çetin discovered that she had Armenian roots. Her grandmother Seher had confided in her after several anguishing decades. In 1915 Seher, who was baptized with the Armenian name Heranush, witnessed the throats of men in her village being slit. She survived, was taken in by the family of a Turkish officer, was raised as a Muslim girl and eventually married a Turk. She became one of tens of thousands of "hidden Armenians" who escaped the murderers and blended in with Turkish society.

Her grandmother's revelation came as a shock to Çetin, and she began to see her surroundings with different eyes. In 2004, Çetin wrote a book in which she outlined the history of her family. "Anneannem" ("My Grandmother") became a bestseller, and countless readers contacted Çetin, many with words of appreciation.

Others cursed her as a "traitor." But the taboo had been broken.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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Norberto_Tyr 04/09/2010
1. XX century, the most bloody since the appearance of man1.5 million years ago
The XX th century, was the bloodiest since the appearance of man around 1.5 million years ago, and nature had nothing to do, it was man made alone. It is extremely immoral to categorize or rank crime, a genocide is a genocide regardless of the number of people slaughtered, there is not a single privileged point of reference that can be defined in this regard, attempting to do so is repugnant and a crime against the rest of humanity.
plotinus 04/09/2010
2. You ain't seen nuthin' yet!
Zitat von Norberto_TyrThe XX th century, was the bloodiest since the appearance of man around 1.5 million years ago, and nature had nothing to do, it was man made alone. It is extremely immoral to categorize or rank crime, a genocide is a genocide regardless of the number of people slaughtered, there is not a single privileged point of reference that can be defined in this regard, attempting to do so is repugnant and a crime against the rest of humanity.
The present century will make the twentieth seem like a pastoral idyll. .
mustafaka 04/11/2010
3. Armenian genocide thesis depends on forgeries, lies, distorted facts
I The Armenian genocide thesis depends on forgeries, falsified documents and lies. Here are some of them: 1)The number of Armenians who were relocated: The number of the Armenians who were relocated was reported as 600-700 thousand by Bogos Nubar Pasha who attended to the talks of Sevres Treaty as a chief of Armenians; however the number of relocated Armenians is given as 1.5 million by some Armenian sources and 2 and even 2.5 million by some others. However, the total number of Ottoman Armenians including those who live in the West Anatolia (therefore who were not relocated) was reported as 1.5 million in Encyclopedia Britannica's 1910 edition which was edited by an English editor. It is another striking point that the total number of Ottoman Armenians was increased to 2.5 million in 1953 edition of the same encyclopedia which was edited by an Armenian editor. 2) Aram Andonian's book (The telegrams which were claimed to have been sent by Talat Pasha to order the massacre of the Armenians which were pressed in the book of Aram Andonian in 1920, in three languages): It was proven by both the Turkish and foreign historians that these telegrams were fake too. After these telegrams were published in Daily Telegraph in England, in 1922, the English Foreign Ministry made a scrutiny and denounced that they were prepared by an Armenian association. 3)Diary of American Ambassador Morgenthau published in 1918. Professor Heath Lowry, an American historian from Princeton University displayed that the events depicted in the book depended on lies or half true events, by comparing the information Ambassador Morgenthau sent to American Foreign Ministry, with those written in the diary, in his book entitled 'The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story', in 1990. What's more, after the Ottoman State was defeated in the 1st World War in 1918, the French and English invaders arrested 144 high level Ottoman veteran or civil officials including the ex-prime ministers, ex-deputies, governors and many newspapermen, and banished them to Malta Island, claiming that they were responsibles for the death of Armenians. The English seized all the Ottoman Archives and also all other archives in other cities, like those in Urfa Governer House. No evidence could be found neither in the Ottoman and English Archives. The Americans, whom the English applied, failed to find any proof in American Archives and reports of American Orthodox church or missioners either. Nor could Damat Ferit Pasha, then the Ottoman Prime Minister who was in absolute collaboration with the English could find any evidence. And, they had to make all these 144 Ottomans free in 1921, since they could not find any proof to be able to verdict them. Can you imagine a genocide planned by a government but no kind of proof can be found, even when the members of this government have been taken prisoners and when all her archieves are under control of the invaders and under the directory of an Armenian official? If The Blue Book, the telegrams of Aram Andonian and the diary of Ambassador Morgenthau (which had already been published at that time) were reliable proofs, why did the English and French invaders and the Americans not accept them to give verdicts of those 144 Ottoman officials? Additionally, during the trial in Berlin of the Armenian assassin Soghomon Tehlirian, who had murdered Talat Pasha in Berlin on March 15th, 1921, none of the Andonian documents was allowed to be entered into the court proceedings as evidence (Dashnakists' book Justicier du Genocide, 1981, p.213).
mustafaka 04/11/2010
4. Armenian genocide thesis depends on forgeries, lies, distorted facts
II 4)The cover photograph of the book of Tessa Hoffmann: German Greek scholar Tessa Hoffmann printed the painting of Russian artist Vasili Vereshchagin entitled 'The Apotheosis of the Franco-Prussia War of 1871, depicting a mass of skulls which was probably painted after 1878, as if it were the photograph of 1915 Armenian genocide, in the cover of his book and had to admit his forgery during the trial of Doğu Perinçek held in Switzerland in March 2007, in which she was listened as a wittness. Note that Tessa Hoffman is one of the scholars of genocide of the Armenians. 5) Atatürk's photograph: The large poster with 'FACE OF DENIAL-DOES NOT LIE' related to a conference given by Dr Vahram Shemmasian, Ardashes Kassakhian and Dr Levon Marashlian, at UCLA on April 14, 2005, organized by Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Alpha Epsilon Omega, ( The photo depicts the founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk, sitting on a chair outside a house with the corpse of a young girl with her innards exposed to the elements. Soon, the original of this photo was found by the Turks: It was a photograph of Ataturk for his wife Latife Hanım as a souvenir, posing with some 'cute dog puppies' at his feet. Two photos were printed in the July 1, 2005 issue of Hurriyet (, as 'a forgery scandal'. It is another outstanding point that no dissenting comments were ever heard. What UCLA's ethical committee did was to erase the handwritten note and doctor a photo of Armin Wengler in place of the puppies. 6) Falcified allegations of speeches attributed to Atatürk: The first claim about Atatürk was that he was one of the witnesses, who supported Armenians in the "Court Martials" in İstanbul. In this claim, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was confused with the Chairman of the "Court Martials", Mustafa Kemal, whose nickname was Nemrud. During the trials in İstanbul, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was in Ankara as a leader of the national struggle. James H. Tashjian, the Armenian editor of the Armenian periodic 'The Armenian Review' stated that Mustafa Kemal, then a Pasha, never appeared before such a tribunal, nor did he render such a statement (The Armenian Weekly Boston, Mass, USA, March 20, 1982 and The Armenian Review Volume thirty five, Autumn 1982); however James H. Tashjian was fired from his work later on. The second claim was about the statement, which attributed to Atatürk, given to Los Angeles Examiner in 1926. However, it was proven that this claim, which was made by Armenians in various platforms, was false. There was no evidence that a Swiss journalist, who was called Emile Hilderband, came to Turkey. Moreover, it was not found a journalist named Hilderband in the documents of Swiss authorities. The third claim about Atatürk was put forward in Yeni Binyıl newspaper on 8 October 2000. According to this claim in his speech in Turkish Grand National Assembly, on 24th of April 1920, Atatürk condemned the leaders of Jön Turks for their genocide policies. After the research of the speech records of Turkish Grand National Assembly in both open and secret sessions, it was proven that Mustafa Kemal did not make such speech. One of the last claims about Atatürk was put forward by European Parliament, Foreign Affairs Committee's report on Turkey on 22nd of November 2001. In the footnote of this report claimed that Mustafa Kemal gave a speech in Turkish Grand National Assembly on 10th of April 1921, in which he said Jön Turk regime followed genocide policy against Armenians in the First World War. After the research of the speech reports of Turkish Grand National Assembly, it was seen that Mustafa Kemal did not speak in Turkish Grand National Assembly in April 1920. He even did not attend any session of Assembly during April 1920.
mustafaka 04/11/2010
5. Armenian genocide thesis depends on forgeries, lies, distorted facts
III 7) A quote attributed to Adolf Hitler in which he purportedly responded to a query about his planned annihilation of European Jewry, by quipping: 'Who, after all, speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?', on August 22, 1939, a few days prior to his invasion of Poland (Obersalzberg speeches). Contrary to Richard Hovannisian and other Armenians, the Nuremberg transcripts through their preservation of U.S.-29 (798-PS), U.S.-30 (1014-PS), and the notes of Admiral Boehm (which are corroborated by the relevant passages from the diary of General Halder), in no way authenticate the infamous Hitler quote. On the contrary, by establishing the actual texts of Hitler's Obersalzberg speeches they demonstrate that the statement is conspicuously absent from Hitler's remarks. The assertion that Hitler made a reference to the Armenians in any context whatsoever is without foundation. (Heath W Lowry, The U.S. Congress and Adolf Hitler on the Armenians, Political Communication and Persuasion. Vol 3, No 2, 1985 Crane, Russak & Company Inc. According to the Armenians the speech had been introduced as evidence to the Nuremberg Tribunal (L3 document, USA-28 document.) which was defined as 'forgery' (David Irving, 'Nuremberg: The Last Battle', 1996, p.100). A certificate dated, 25 June 1948 signed by Paul A Joosten, General Secretary of the International Military Tribunal states that L3, USA-28 Photostat document submitted as evidence has been withdrawn, in accordance with Rule 10 of the Tribunal but held in the National Archives. Mr Carlos Porter, who found these documents made the following important warning: ''Note: This translation attempts to retain the style and punctuation of the original, which is not correct in German: full space before colons and commas, no full space before following word. The document contains not one single sharp S (§ ) a standard letter in the German alphabet. C.Porter.
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