ANKARA: Ottoman Archives Open to All, Including Armenian Researchers

Journal of Turkish Weekly
March 29 2005

Ottoman Archives Open to All, Including Armenian Researchers
Ottoman archives promoted

Prime Ministry State Archives Director General Yusuf Sarinay said
that there were tens of thousands of documents in Turkish State
Archives refuting the Armenian allegations.

Holding a news conference, Sarinay said, ”Armenians have been making
propaganda against Turkey for a long time. There are more than 1
million documents related with Armenians directly and indirectly in
our archives from 1870s to 1922. These documents are waiting for a
scientific examination.”

”When we read those documents, we see that the Ottoman Empire
decided to relocate Armenians to suppress a de facto uprising and put
an end to Armenian’s collaboration of Russian army, not toprevent a
likely rebellion,” he said.

Noting that the allegations of so-called Armenian genocide were based
on subjective works and evaluations like memories instead of
scientific documents, Sarinay said, ”there are tens of thousands of
documents in our archives refuting these allegations. Our basic
target is that the history should be written objectively. Therefore,
we have opened our archives to all scientists.”

Recalling that April 24th was declared as ”day of genocide” by
Armenians, Sarinay told reporters, ”in fact, leading names of
Armenian committees were arrested on that date. For instance, 235
Armenian people were arrested in Istanbul. None of them was sentenced
to death penalty or sent to exile. Some circles claim that Armenian
artist Comidas was killed in the genocide. In fact, he was a member
of the Armenian committees. He was arrested in Istanbul and served 14
days in Cankaya Prison. He later left for Paris and died there.”

”Armenians created an imaginary history. The Republic of Turkey
remained silent against their allegations till 1990s in order to
prevent revival of past hatred, however, its silence did not resolve
the issue. On the contrary, this silence was wrongly perceived as a
sign of its being guilty,” he said.

Sarinay kept on saying, ”when we examine these documents as a whole,
it is evident that the decision of the Ottoman Empire to relocate
Armenians was totally legal. The Ottoman Empire had also made some
arrangements about properties of Armenians, and adopted a law about
return of these properties to Armenian people when they returned. The
Ottoman Empire had never targeted a genocide. It had made such an
temporary decision on political and military grounds.

Western historians and Armenian diaspora ignore these documents to
preserve their imaginary history.”

”There were many high-level Armenian officials in Istanbul in those
days. If the Ottoman Empire had intended a genocide, it would have
killed those officials first. The Ottoman Empire had sent notes to
Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland in 1919, which had not been
involved in the World War I, to send jurists. If they had sent
jurists to Turkey, all those allegations would have been buried in
the history,” he stressed.

”Once again, we call on Directorate General of Armenian State
Archives to pave the way for scientific studies. Also, archives of
the American diaspora in the United States should be opened,” he

Upon a question, Sarinay told reporters, ”according to the latest
population census in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians had a population
of 1 million 161 thousand. Sources say that nearly 400 thousand
Armenians had left for Russia, and 450-750 thousand Armenians had
been subject of the relocation. However, warfare and epidemics made
it impossible to clarify all these figures.”

Turkish Prime Minister tayyip Erdogan and Turkish opposition leader
Deniz Baykal had called the Armenian side to open their archives.
Erdogan said Turkish archives were open to all, and Turkey expected
the same from the Armenians and all related states. The Armenian
Tashnak Archives are closed to researchers. The Armenian politicians
argue that there is nothing to be discussed or researched because all
of the reality is clear. Armenian Foreign Minister Vaskan Oskanyan
said “the problem is not a matter of science but politics. Historians
has nothing to discuss.”

JTW News desk. Compiled from Anatolian news agency and other nes
29 March 2005

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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