Armenian Genocide cannot be denied

Daily Targum
University Wire
April 22, 2004 Thursday

Armenian Genocide cannot be denied

By Avo Youmshakian, Daily Targum; SOURCE: Rutgers U.


On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government apprehended, deported and
brutally murdered 300 Armenian intellectuals and professionals in
Istanbul, Turkey. Later that day, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were
savagely murdered in their communities. This day was the beginning of
the tragedy that came to be called the Armenian Genocide — which is
defined as the systematic execution planned and ordered by the
Ottoman Turkish government and carried out by the Turkish army — of
1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.

The Turks started and nearly achieved the goal of wiping out the
entire Armenian population of western Armenia within the borders of
the Ottoman Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Middle
East, including what is known today as the country of Turkey. After
89 years, Armenians still possess animosity against members of the
Turkish race not only because they murdered the Armenians but also
because they still continue to deny the existence of the Armenian

The Central Committee of the Young Turk Party, which was controlled
by the most racist individuals in the government in 1915, devised the
Armenian Genocide. The genocide was directed by a special
organization set up by the Committee of Union and Progress, which
created special butcher battalions composed of extremely violent
Turkish criminals who were released from prison for the sole purpose
of exterminating the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire.

As if this inhuman act was not a crime itself, Turkish governments
since the fall of the Ottoman Empire have continuously denied the
genocide. Some government officials claim Armenians were removed from
their homes because they were living in the Eastern War Zone and the
Turks feared for the safety of the Armenian people.

This claim is false because fact proves Armenians were massacred in
cities in western, central and southwest Turkey as well as on the
coast of the Black Sea. Christians were not allowed to carry firearms
in the Ottoman Empire, thus defeating another claim the Turks were
protecting themselves from Armenian rebellion.

Despite the approval of the Armenian Genocide by the majority of
Turks in the Ottoman Empire and the denial of its occurrence, there
were a few righteous Ottoman officials such as Celal, governor of
Aleppo; Mahzar, governor of Ankara; and Reshid, governor of
Kastamonu. These three officials were dismissed from their offices
for not complying with the extermination campaign. Any common Turks
who protected Armenians during the genocide were also taken on the
death marches and slaughtered.

In late 1915, Henry Morgenthau Sr., the neutral American ambassador
to the Ottoman Empire, sent a message to the United States State
Department. “Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians
is increasing, and from reports of eye witnesses, it appears that a
campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of
reprisal against rebellion.”

Even though historic facts, eyewitness reports and especially the
stories of surviving victims all prove the Armenian Genocide’s
existence, Turkish officials struggle to deny it. One questions why.
In an interview with a reporter from the French newspaper Le Figaro,
Armenian President Robert Kocharian publicly discussed recent
developments on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. He provided
an explanation that the recognition of the genocide does not provide
legal basis for territorial demands. While most Armenians do not
agree with the way the president’s remarks were interpreted by
Turkish journalists, one fact remains: The Turkish government is
actually concerned with Armenian territorial demands. Turkish
leadership is well aware of the possibility of redrawing geographical
boundaries. Through the elimination of Armenians from the western
provinces of Armenia, entire Armenian regions eventually became part
of present Turkey.

Armenian people in Armenia and all over the world struggle daily to
have the genocide remembered. Every year, on the Sunday before the
saddening day of April 24, thousands of Armenians gather in Times
Square in New York. They hold a march and a rally to educate the
public about the existence of the massacring, the butchering, the
genocide the Armenians lived through between 1915 and 1923. Educating
the public and having Turkish officials accept the sad reality,
Armenians believe, are important to prevent similar crimes against

Eight days before invading Poland in 1939, Adolf Hitler — commander
of the Nazi forces during World War II — said, “Go kill without
mercy. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?” I
remember it.

(C) 2003 Daily Targum via U-WIRE