Prof. Dadrian’s Work on The Armenian Genocide Published in Turkey

255 Duncan Mill Rd., Suite 310
Toronto, ON, Canada M3B 3H9
Tel: 416-250-9807 Fax: 416-512-1736 E-mail: [email protected]

DATE: April 14, 2004 Tel: (416)


Istanbul – The Turkish Belge Publishing House has just released a volume of
studies by internationally renowned scholar, Prof. Vahakn N. Dadrian,
Director of Genocide Research with the Zoryan Institute. This collection
contains three monographs and five journal articles on the World War I
Armenian Genocide and is the first of a two-volume series Belge has
projected for publication. The translations from English into Turkish were
done by the Turkish intellectual Attila Tuygan. It is hoped that the
publication of this new book will contribute to establishing a common body
of knowledge on Armenian-Turkish history for Turkish civil society.

As far as it is known, this is the first time that a collection of Dadrian’s
in-depth and multi-faceted studies on the Armenian Genocide, with all their
extensive footnotes, have appeared in Turkey in the Turkish language. As the
publisher has stated, one of the many aspects of the significance of this
publication derives from the fact that the primary sources and data that
Dadrian relies on are mainly authentic Ottoman-Turkish documents; they are
complemented and reinforced by extensive use of the state archive documents
of Imperial Germany and Imperial Austria-Hungary, Turkey’s staunch wartime

Another aspect to this new book’s significance is the fact that discussion
of the Armenian Genocide is still a taboo subject in Turkey. In 1995, the
same publishing house had issued a Turkish language edition of Dadrian’s
legal analysis of the Armenian Genocide, which originally appeared in the
Yale Journal of International Law under the title “Genocide as a Problem of
National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and its
Contemporary Legal Ramifications” (vol. 14, no. 2, 1989, pp. 221 – 334). The
Turkish authorities prosecuted the publisher, the late Ayshe Zarakolu, for
that publication. She was convicted by Istanbul’s State Security Court on
charges of “incitement to enmity based on racial and religious differences”
(Clause 2 of Article 312 of the Penal Code), and accordingly faced a heavy
fine and long-term imprisonment. However, a petition to the Turkish Appeals
Court, signed by a dozen American academics from a variety of U.S.
universities, proved instrumental for overturning the verdict of the
Security Court some three years later. The prosecution tried to have this
acquittal reversed, unsuccessfully. In that petition, the American scholars
defended the publication by emphasizing, on the one hand, the impeccable
academic credentials of the author, and, on the other hand, by questioning
“the standards of fairness and justice in democratic Turkey.”

More recently, the Turkish Government seems to be renewing its pressure on
the Armenian Genocide issue. In May 2003, it required all public employees
to attend a mandatory seminar on “The Baseless Armenian Genocide
Allegations.” When some teachers at one such seminar in Elbeyli district
simply asked questions about the Genocide, the meeting dissolved in an
uproar. The government prosecutor indicted six teachers, and one was jailed
briefly, then released on bail. The teachers were to be tried on charges of
instigating social unrest. The teachers’ union has mounted a vigorous legal

In such a highly charged atmosphere, it is hoped that such sound, reliable,
academic studies as represented in this book will help provide factual
information for rational discussion.

Several thousand copies of that publication have already been distributed in
academic circles, as well as public sectors, in Turkey’s three major cities:
Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. This new volume comprises the following
important studies.

1) The Convergent Roles of the State and Government Party in the
Armenian Genocide. (From Studies in the Armenian Genocide. Eds.
Chorbajian and Shirinian. 1999).

2) Party Allegiance as a Determinant in the Turkish Military’s
Involvement in the World War I Armenian Genocide. (From Revue du Monde
Arménien Moderne et Contemporain, vol. 1, no. 1, 1994).

3) The Role of the Turkish Military’s Involvement in the Destruction of
Ottoman Armenians. (From Journal of Political and Military Sociology, vol.
20, no. 2, 1993).

4) The Role of the Special Organization in the Armenian Genocide during
the First World War. (From Minorities in Wartime. Ed. P. Panayi. 1993).

5) The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of the
Ottoman Armenians. (From Holocaust and Genocide Studies vol. 1, no. 2,

6) The Armenian Genocide: An Interpretation. (From America and the
Armenian Genocide of 1915. Ed. J. Winter, 2003).

7) A Textual Analysis of the Key Indictment of the Turkish Military
Tribunal Investigating the Armenian Genocide. (From Journal of Political and
Military Sociology. Special Edition on Collected Essays by Vahakn N.
Dadrian. Vol. 22, no. 1, 1994.)

8) The Turkish Military Tribunals Prosecution of the Authors of the
Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series. (From Holocaust and
Genocide Studies vol. 11, no. 1, 1997).