The Jihad Genocide of the Armenians

American Thinker, AZ
April 22 2005


The Jihad Genocide of the Armenians
Andrew G. Bostom

I attended a banquet in New York City April 2, 2005, celebrating
Professor Vahakn Dadrian’s distinguished career, most notably, his
singular contributions to the study of the Armenian genocide.
Dadrian’s scholarship is characterized by a unique combination of
painstaking, tireless research in the face of unseemly and well
financed resistance, brilliant innovation (for example, his use of
Austrian and German diplomatic sources free of either Armenian or
Turkish biases), and, most remarkable of all in this era, an
intellectual honesty oblivious to political correctness.

Regarding this latter point, specifically, Dadrian has always been
unafraid to identify the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad as a
critical etiologic factor in the Armenian genocide. Indeed, the most
revealing interlude of that April 2nd evening, for me, was his blunt
recapitulation of a massacre as depicted in Reverend K. Balakian’s
eyewitness narrative Hai Koghota (The Armenian Golgotha)-the major
literary work [1] affecting Dadrian’s decision to study the genocide.
In a 2003 essay collection [2], Dadrian recounted the harrowing
details of this particular slaughter, its Islamic religious motifs
unexpurgated. Six thousand four hundred Armenian children, young
girls, and women from Yozgad, were decamped by their Turkish captors
at a promontory some distance from the city. Then,

To save shell and powder, the gendarmerie commander in charge of this
large convoy had gathered 10,000-12,000 Turkish peasants and other
villagers, and armed with “hatchets, meat cleavers, saddler’s knives,
cudgels, axes, pickaxes, shovels”, the latter attacked and for some
4-5 hours mercilessly butchered the victims while crying “Oh God, Oh
God” (Allah, Allah). In a moment of rare candor, this gendarmerie
commander confided to the priest-author, whom he did not expect to
survive the mass murder, that after each massacre episode, he spread
his little prayer rug and performed the namaz, the ritual of worship,
centered on prayer, with a great sense of redemption in the service
of Almighty God.

The Commemoration Date

Within 24-hours of agreeing to a secret military and political pact
with Imperial Germany on August 2, 1914, the Ittihadist (“Young
Turk”) government ordered a general mobilization, which resulted in
the military conscription of nearly all able-bodied Armenian males
aged 20-45. Additional calls were soon extended to the 18-20, and
45-60 year old age groups. The preponderance of these Armenian
recruits were executed by Turkish officers and fellow soldiers after
having been employed as labor battalion soldiers. [3]. German and
Austrian military and political officials-whose governments were
allied with Turkey, as well as the American Ambassador to the Ottoman
Empire, Henry Morgenthau-all rejected the subsequent Turkish argument
during the commission of the genocide that massive deportations of
the Armenians were justified due to concerns for military security.

Aleppo’s veteran German Consul, Walter Rossler, in a report of 27
July 1915 to Berlin declared, “In the absence of menfolk, nearly all
of whom have been conscripted, how can women and children pose a
threat?”…German Colonel Stange, in charge of a detachment of Special
Organization Forces in eastern Turkey, questioned the veracity of the
argument of Ottoman military authorities. These authorities were
maintaining that the deportations were a military necessity because
they feared an uprising. In his report to his German military
superiors, Stange retorted, “Save for a small fraction of them, all
able-bodied Armenian men were recruited. There could, therefore, be
no particular reason to fear a real uprising (emphasis in the
original)…Austrian Vice Marshall Pomiankowski, Military
Plenipotentiary at Ottoman General Headquarters, provided his answer
to these questions. The Turks, “began to massacre the able-bodied
Armenian men…in order to render the rest of the population
defenseless”. After graphically describing the scenes of these serial
massacres of conscripted Armenian men which were “in summary
fashion”, and “in almost all cases the procedure was the
same”,…Morgenthau noted with emphasis the same rationale: “Before
Armenian could be slaughtered, Armenia must be made defenseless”. In
this connection, the Ambassador notified Washington on 10 July 1915
that “All the men from 20 to 45 are in the Turkish army” [4]

Dadrian has argued that perhaps this initial isolation of the 18-60
year old Armenian male population in the first week of August 1914
heralds the onset of the subsequent genocide. However, the Armenian
genocide is formally commemorated on April 24, this year marking the
90th year since the events of April 24, 1915. On that date, the
Turkish Interior Ministry issued an order authorizing the arrest of
all Armenian political and community leaders suspected of
anti-Ittihadist or Armenian nationalist sentiments. In Istanbul
alone, 2345 such leaders were seized and incarcerated, and most of
them were subsequently executed. The majority were neither
nationalists, nor were they involved in politics. None were charged
with sabotage, espionage, or any other crime, and appropriately
tried. [5] As the intrepid Turkish author Taner Akcam recently

…Under the pretext of searching for arms, of collecting war levies,
or tracking down deserters, there had already been established a
practice of systematically carried-out plunders, raids, and murders
[against the Armenians] which had become daily occurrences…[6]

Within a month, the final, definitive stage of the process which
reduced the Armenian population to utter helplessness, i.e., mass
deportation, would begin. [7]

A True Genocide

Was the horrific fate of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian minority, at
the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, in particular, during
World War I, due to “civil war”, or genocide ? A seminal analysis by
Dadrian published in 2002 validates the conclusion that the Ottoman
Turks committed a centrally organized mass murder, i.e., a genocide,
against their Armenian population. [8] Relying upon a vast array of
quintessential, primary source documents from the World War I allies
of the Ottoman Empire, Germany and Austria- Hungary, Dadrian obviated
the intractable disputes surrounding the reliability and authenticity
of both Ottoman Turkish, and Armenian documents. He elucidated the
truly unique nature of this documentary German and Austro-Hungarian

During the war, Germany and Austria-Hungary disposed over a vast
network of ambassadorial, consular, military, and commercial
representatives throughout the Ottoman Empire. Not only did they have
access to high-ranking Ottoman officials and power-wielding
decision-makers who were in a position to report to their superiors
as locus in quo observers on many aspects of the wartime treatment of
Ottoman Armenians. They supplemented their reports with as much
detail as they could garner from trusted informers and paid agents,
many of whom were Muslims, both civilians and military…[9]

Moreover, the documents analyzed possessed another critical
attribute: they included confidential correspondence prepared and
sent to Berlin and Vienna, which were meant for wartime use only.
[10] This confidentiality, Dadrian notes, enabled German or
Austro-Hungarian officials to openly question the contentions of
their wartime Ottoman allies, when ascertaining and conveying facts
truthfully to their superiors in Europe. Dadrian cites the compelling
example of the November 16, 1915 report to the German chancellor, by
Aleppo Consul Rossler. Rossler states,

I do not intend to frame my reports in such a way that I may be
favoring one or the other party. Rather, I consider it my duty to
present to you the description of things which have occurred in my
district and which I consider to be the truth. [11]

Rossler was reacting specifically to the official Ottoman allegation
that the Armenians had begun to massacre the Turkish population in
the Turkish sections of Urfa, a city within his district, after
reportedly capturing them. He dismissed the charge, unequivocally,
with a single word: “invented”. [12]

Amassed painstakingly by Dadrian, the primary source evidence from
these German and Austro-Hungarian officials- reluctant witnesses-
leads to this inescapable conclusion: the anti-Armenian measures,
despite a multitude of attempts at cover-up and outright denial, were
meticulously planned by the Ottoman authorities, and were designed to
destroy wholesale, the victim population. Dadrian further validates
this assessment with remarkable testimony before the Mazhar Inquiry
Commission, which conducted a preliminary investigation in the
post-war period to determine the criminal liability of the wartime
Ottoman authorities regarding the Armenian deportations and
massacres. The December 15, 1918 deposition by General Mehmed Vehip,
commander-in-chief of the Ottoman Third Army, and ardent CUP
(Committee of Union and Progress, i.e., the “Ittihadists”, or “Young
Turks”) member, included this summary statement:

The murder and annihilation of the Armenians and the plunder and
expropriation of their possessions were the result of the decisions
made by the CUP…These atrocities occurred under a program that was
determined upon and involved a definite case of willfulness. They
occurred because they were ordered, approved, and pursued first by
the CUP’s [provincial] delegates and central boards, and second by
governmental chiefs who had…pushed aside their conscience, and had
become the tools of the wishes and desires of the Ittihadist society.

Dadrian’s own compelling assessment of this primary source evidence
is summarized as follows:

Through the episodic interventions of the European Powers, the
historically evolving and intensifying Turko-Armenian conflict had
become a source of anger and frustration for the Ottoman rulers and
elites driven by a xenophobic nationalism. A monolithic political
party that had managed to eliminate all opposition and had gained
control of the Ottoman state apparatus efficiently took advantage of
the opportunities provided by World War I. It purged by violent and
lethal means the bulk of the Armenian population from the territories
of the empire. By any standard definition, this was an act of
genocide. [14]

Jihad as a Major Determinant of the Armenian Genocide

The wartime reports from German and Austro-Hungarian officials also
confirm independent evidence that the origins and evolution of the
genocide had little to do with World War I “Armenian provocations”.
Emphasis is placed, instead, on the larger pre-war context dating
from the failure of the mid-19th century Ottoman Tanzimat reform
efforts. [15] These reforms, initiated by the declining Ottoman
Empire (i.e., in 1839 and 1856) under intense pressure from the
European powers, were designed to abrogate the repressive laws of
dhimmitude, to which non-Muslim (primarily Christian) minorities,
including the Armenians, had been subjected for centuries, following
the Turkish jihad conquests of their indigenous homelands. [16]

Led by their patriarch, the Armenians felt encouraged by the Tanzimat
reform scheme, and began to deluge the Porte (Ottoman seat of
government) with pleas and requests, primarily seeking governmental
protection against a host of mistreatments, particularly in the
remote provinces. Between 1850 and 1870, alone, 537 notes were sent
to the Porte by the Armenian patriarch characterizing numerous
occurrences of theft, abduction, murder, confiscatory taxes, and
fraud by government officials. [17] These entreaties were largely
ignored, and ominously, were even considered as signs of
rebelliousness. For example, British Consul (to Erzurum) Clifford
Lloyd reported in 1890,

Discontent, or any description of protest is regarded by the local
Turkish Local Government as seditious. [18]

He went on to note that this Turkish reaction occurred irrespective
of the fact that “..the idea of revolution..” was not being
entertained by the Armenian peasants involved in these protests. [19]

The renowned Ottomanist, Roderick Davison, has observed that under
the Shari’a (Islamic Holy Law) the “..infidel gavours [“dhimmis”,
“rayas”]” were permanently relegated to a status of “inferiority” and
subjected to a “contemptuous half-toleration”. Davison further
maintained that this contempt emanated from “an innate attitude of
superiority”, and was driven by an “innate Muslim feeling”, prone to
paroxysms of “open fanaticism”. [20] Sustained, vehement reactions to
the 1839 and 1856 Tanzimat reform acts by large segments of the
Muslim population, led by Muslim spiritual leaders and the military,
illustrate Davison’s point. [21] Perhaps the most candid and telling
assessment of the doomed Tanzimat reforms, in particular the 1856
Act, was provided by Mustafa Resid, Ottoman Grand Vizier at six
different times between 1846-58. In his denunciation of the
reforms, Resid argued the proposed “complete emancipation” of the
non-Muslim subjects, appropriately destined to be subjugated and
ruled, was “entirely contradictory” to “the 600 year traditions of
the Ottoman Empire”. He openly proclaimed the “complete emancipation”
segment of the initiative as disingenuous, enacted deliberately to
mislead the Europeans, who had insisted upon this provision. Sadly
prescient, Resid then made the ominous prediction of a “great
massacre” if equality was in fact granted to non-Muslims. [22]

Despite their “revolutionary” advent, and accompanying comparisons to
the ideals of the French Revolution, the CUP’s “Young Turk” regime
eventually adopted a discriminatory, anti-reform attitude toward
non-Muslims within the Ottoman Empire. During an August 6, 1910
speech in Saloniki, Mehmed Talat, pre-eminent leader of the Young
Turks disdainfully rejected the notion of equality with “gavours” ,
arguing that it “…is an unrecognizable ideal since it is inimical
with Sheriat [Shari’a] and the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of
Muslims…”. [23] Roderick Davison notes that in fact “ genuine
equality was ever attained..”, re-enacting the failure of the prior
Tanzimat reform period. As a consequence, he observes, the CUP
leadership “…soon turned from equality…to Turkification…” [24]
Indeed, an influential member of the Ottoman Committee of Union and
Progress, Sheik Abd-ul-Hack, a “progressive” Young Turk, made this
revealing declaration writing in a Parisian Muslim review, (Le
Mecherouttiete, edited by Sherif Pasha, Paris), in August, 1912:

Yes! The Musulman religion is in open hostility to all your world of
progress. Understand, you European observers, that a Christian,
whatever his position may be, by the mere fact of his being a
Christian is regarded by us as a blind man lost to all sense of human
dignity. Our reasoning with regard to him is as simple as it is
definitive. We say: the man whose judgment is so perverted as to
deny the existence of a one and only God, and to make up gods of
different sorts, can only be the meanest expression of human
degradation; to speak to him would be a humiliation for our
intelligence and an insult to the grandeur of the Master of the
Universe. The presence of such miscreants among us is the bane of
our existence; their doctrine is a direct insult to the purity of our
faith; contact with them is a defilement of our bodies; any relation
with them a torture to our souls. Though detesting you, we have
condescended to study your political institutions and your military
organization. Over and above the new weapons that Providence
procures for us through your agency, you have yourselves rekindled,
the inextinguishable faith of our heroic martyrs. Our Young Turks,
our Babis, our new Brotherhoods, all our sects, under various forms,
are inspired by the same idea; the same necessity of moving forward.
Towards what end? Christian civilization? Never! Islam is the one
great international family. All true believers are brothers. A
community of feeling and of faith binds them in mutual affection. It
is for the Caliph to facilitate these relations and to rally the
Faithful under the sacerdotal
standard. [25]

During the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid, the Ottoman Turks massacred
over 200,000 Armenians between 1894-96. This was followed, under the
Young Turk regime, by the Adana massacres of 25,000 Armenians in
1909, and the first formal genocide of the 20th century, when in
1915 alone, an additional 600,000 to 800,000 Armenians were
slaughtered. [26] The massacres of the 1890s had an “organic”
connection to the Adana massacres of 1909, and more importantly, the
events of 1915. As Dadrian argues, they facilitated the genocidal
acts of 1915 by providing the Young Turks with “a predictable
impunity.” The absence of adverse consequences for the Abdul Hamid
massacres in the 1890s allowed the Young Turks to move forward
without constraint. [27]

Contemporary accounts from European diplomats make clear that these
brutal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad
against the Armenians who had attempted to throw off the yoke of
dhimmitude by seeking equal rights and autonomy. For example, the
Chief Dragoman (Turkish-speaking interpreter) of the British embassy
reported regarding the 1894-96 massacres:

[The perpetrators] are guided in their general action by the
prescriptions of the Sheri [Sharia] Law. That law prescribes that if
the “rayah” [dhimmi] Christian attempts, by having recourse to
foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed them by
their Mussulman [Muslim] masters, and free themselves from their
bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the
mercy of the Mussulmans. To the Turkish mind the Armenians had tried
to overstep those limits by appealing to foreign powers, especially
England. They therefore considered it their religious duty and a
righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and properties of the
Armenians. [28]

Bat Ye’or confirms this reasoning, noting that the Armenian quest for
reforms invalidated their “legal status,” which involved a “contract”
(i.e., with their Muslim Turkish rulers). This

…breach…restored to the umma [the Muslim community] its initial right
to kill the subjugated minority [the dhimmis], [and] seize their
property… [29]

Kinross [30] has described the tactics of Abdul Hamid’s agents, who
deliberately fomented religious fanaticism among the local Muslim
populations in Turkish Armenia, and the devastating results of this

It became their normal routine first to assemble the Moslem
population in the largest mosque in a town, then to declare, in the
name of the Sultan, that the Armenians were in general revolt with
the aim of striking at Islam. Their Sultan enjoined them as good
Moslems to defend their faith against these infidel rebels. He
propounded the precept that under the holy law the property of rebels
might be looted by believers, encouraging Moslems to enrich
themselves in the name of their faith at the expense of their
Christian neighbours, and in the event of resistance, to kill them.
Hence, throughout Armenia, “the attack of an ever increasing pack of
wolves against sheep.”… Each operation, between the bugle calls,
followed a similar pattern. First into a town there came the Turkish
troops, for the purpose of massacre; then came the Kurdish irregulars
and tribesmen for the purpose of plunder. Finally came the
holocaust, by fire and destruction, which spread, with the pursuit of
fugitives and mopping-up operations, throughout the lands and
villages of the surrounding province. This murderous winter of 1895
thus saw the decimation of much of the Armenian population and the
devastation of their property in some twenty districts of eastern
Turkey. Often the massacres were timed for a Friday, when the
Moslems were in their mosques and the myth was spread by the
authorities that the Armenians conspired to slaughter them at prayer.
Instead they were themselves slaughtered, when the Moslems emerged
to forestall their design. The total number of victims was somewhere
between fifty and a hundred thousand, allowing for those who died
subsequently of wounds, disease, exposure, and starvation…In each of
thirteen large towns the numbers of those dead ran well into four
figures. In Erzurum, the bazaar of a thousand shops was looted and
wrecked by the Moslems, while some three hundred Christians were
buried the next day in a single massed grave…Cruelest and most
ruinous of all were the massacres at Urfa, where the Armenian
Christians numbered a third of the total population. Here in
December 1895, after a two-months siege of their quarter, the leading
Armenians assembled in their cathedral, where they drew up a
statement requesting Turkish official protection. Promising this,
the Turkish officer in charge surrounded the cathedral with troops.
Then a large body of them, with a mob in their wake, rushed through
the Armenian quarter, where they plundered all houses and slaughtered
all adult males above a certain age. When a large group of young
Armenians were brought before a sheikh, he had them thrown down on
their backs and held by their hands and feet. Then, in the words of
an observer, he recited verses of the Koran and “cut their throats
after the Mecca rite of sacrificing sheep.”…When the bugle blast
ended the day’s operations some three thousand refugees poured into
the cathedral, hoping for sanctuary. But the next morning – a Sunday
– a fanatical mob swarmed into the church in an orgy of slaughter,
rifling its shrines will cries of “Call upon Christ to prove Himself
a greater prophet than Mohammed.” Then they amassed a large pile of
straw matting, which they spread over the litter of the corpses and
set alight with thirty cans of petroleum. The woodwork of the
gallery where a crowd of women and children crouched, wailing in
terror, caught fire, and all perished in the flames. Punctiliously,
at three-thirty in the afternoon the bugle blew once more, and the
Moslem officials proceeded around the Armenian quarter to proclaim
that the massacres were over. They had wiped out 126 complete
families, without a woman or a baby surviving, and the total
casualties in the town, including those slaughtered in the cathedral,
amounted to eight thousand dead.

A 1915 Ottoman Fatwa [31] believed to have been written by Sheikh
Shawish (entitled, Aljihad, and translated into English, March 10,
1915) included a statement attached to its official United States
consulate translation indicating, “It was undoubtedly this and
similar pamphlets which inspired the Jewish community of Alexandria”
to contact the United States Consul General’s office in Cairo. The
calls to religiously motivated violence against non-Muslims, as
sanctioned by Islam-jihad war-are unmistakably clear.

If you believe in God, in his faith and apostle, hear the words of
our sages as recorded by his holy prophet. “You believers take not
the Jews and Christians as friends unto you, He who loves then shall
be called one of them”. “God shall not foster the tyrants”. You
believers accept not unto you friends of these who abuse your faith
and mock thereof. They are called unbelievers, and you hearken unto
the words of God of you believe. Therefore if after you will put to
heart to these sacred words, perhaps they have been spoken to you by
God not to acquire unto us Jewish or Christian friends. From these
holy words you will realize that it is forbidden us to approach those
who mock our faith – Jews and Christians, for then God forbid, God
forbid we shall be deemed by the almighty as one of them God forbid….
After all this how can we believe in the sincerity of your faith when
you befriend and love unbelievers, and accept their Government
without any rising without attempting to expel them from your
country. Therefore arise and purify yourselves of such deeds. Arise
to the Holy War no matter what it costs so as to carry into execution
this sacred deed. It is furthermore said in the Koran “If your
fathers if children taken unto them friends of the unbelievers,
estrange yourselves even from them.”… The Mohammedan religion enjoins
us to set aside some money for Government expenses and for
preparations of a holy war. The rest of your tithes and
contributions you are duty bound to send to the capital of the
Caliphate to help them to glorify the name of God, through the medium
of the Caliph. Let all Mussulmans know that the Holy War is created
only for this purpose. We trust in God that the Mohammedan lands
will rise from humiliation and become faithfully tied to the capital
of the Caliphate until, so as to be called “the lands of Islam”.
This is our hope and God help us to carry through our holy aims to a
successful issue for the sake of our holy Prophet… A holy war is a
sacred duty and for your information let it be known that the armies
of the Caliph is ready and in three divisions, as follows: War in
secret, war by word of mouth, and physical war. War in secret. This
is the easiest and simplest. In this case it is to suppose that
every unbeliever is an enemy, to persecute and exterminate him from
the face of the earth. There is not a Mussulman in the world who is
not inspired by this idea. However in the Koran it is said: “That
such a war is not enough for a Mohammedan whether young or old, and
must also participate in the other parts of the Holy War. War by word
of mouth. That is to say fighting by writing and speaking. This
kind of war for example should pertain to the Mahomedans of the
Caucasus. They should have commenced this war three or four months
ago, because their actual position does not permit them to but the
carrying on of such warfare. Every Mahomedan is in duty bound to
write and speak against the unbelievers when actual circumstances do
not permit him to assume more stringent measures, as for instance in
the Caucasus. Therefore every writer must use his pen in favor of
such a war. Physical war. This means actual fighting in the fullest
sense of the word… Now let us mention here the means to be adopted in
carrying on this holy war, as follows: Every private individual can
fight with deadly weapons, as for example. Here is the following
illustration of the late Egyptian Verdani who shot the unbelieving
Butros Gal Pacha the friend of the English with a revolver. The
murder of the English police Commissioner Bavaro in India by one of
our Indian brethren. The killing of one of the officials of Kansch
on his coming from Mecca by the Prophet’s friend “Abu Bazir El
Pzachbi”, peace be unto him! Abdallah ibn Aatick and four colleagues
killed “Abu Raafah Ibn El Hakiki”. The leader of the Jews of Khaybar
so famous for his enmity to Islamism. This was executed by our
Prophet’s command, so did Avrala Ibn Ravacha and his friends when
they killed Oscher Ibn Dawas one of the Jewish dignitaries. There
are many instances of similar cases. Lord of the Universal What
fails us now, and why should not some of us go forth to fight this
sacred war for exalting thy glorious name?

An intrepid Protestant historian and missionary Johannes Lepsius, who
earlier had undertaken a two-month trip to examine the sites of the
Abul Hamid era massacres, returned to Turkey during World War I. He
again documented the results of such invocations of jihad against
non-Muslims, as espoused by Sheikh Shawish, during the period between
1914-1918. Lepsius wrote:

Are we then simply forbidden to speak of the Armenians as persecuted
on account of their religious belief’? If so, there have never been
any religious persecutions in the world…We have lists before us of
559 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with
fire and sword; of 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and
razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into
mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Gregorian (Armenian)
priests who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, murdered on
their refusal to accept Islam. We repeat, however, that those figures
express only the extent of our information, and do not by a long way
reach to the extent of the reality. Is this a religious persecution
or is it not? [32]

Finally, Bat Ye’or [33] places the continuum of massacres from the
1890s through the end of World War I, in an overall theological and
juridical context, as follows:

The genocide of the Armenians was the natural outcome of a policy
inherent in the politico-religious structure of dhimmitude. This
process of physically eliminating a rebel nation had already been
used against the rebel Slav and Greek Christians, rescued from
collective extermination by European intervention, although sometimes

The genocide of the Armenians was a jihad. No rayas took part in it.
Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs, and their
refusal to collaborate in the crime, these masssacres were
perpetrated solely by Muslims and they alone profited from the booty:
the victims’ property, houses, and lands granted to the muhajirun,
and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The elimination
of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the
commandments of the jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the
payment of the jizya. The four stages of the liquidation-
deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre- reproduced
the historic conditions of the jihad carried out in the dar-al-harb
from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by
Muslim authors in particular, give detailed descriptions of the
organized massacres or deportation of captives, whose sufferings in
forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian experience
in the twentieth century.

“Double Killing”- Ongoing Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide

Elie Wiesel has noted, appositely, that the final stage of genocide,
its denial, is “double killing”. Ignoring absurd and scurrilous
allegations contained in Turkish propaganda screeds (for example, the
May 27, 1999 eleven page document entitled, “An Objective Look at
House Resolution [HR] 155”, submitted by the Turkish ambassador in
Washington, D.C., to all United States Congressmen, which contained
the mendacious claims that Armenians had murdered 100,000 Ottoman
Jews, and 1.1 million Ottoman Muslims [34]), several persistent
denialist rationales at least merit exploration and sound rebuttal,
before being dismissed. Dadrian [35] has reduced these particular
attempts to characterize the Armenian genocide as “debatable” into
the following three lines of argument (which he aptly terms
“disjointed”): (i) the Ottoman governments intent was merely to
relocate, not destroy, the deportee population; (ii) in the context
of the larger global conflagration, i.e., World War I, the Armenians
and Turks were engaged in a civil war, which was itself directly
responsible for heavy Turkish losses; (iii) Turkish losses during the
overall conflict far exceeded Armenian losses.

Dadrian poses the following logical question as a preface to his
analysis of the spurious claim that the Turks engaged in a
“benevolent relocation” of Armenian deportees:

…how did the Young Turk authorities expect to resettle in the deserts
of Mesopotamia hundreds of thousands of dislocated people without
securing the slightest accommodation or other amenities affording the
barest conditions of subsistence for human beings? [36]

The sham of “relocation” was made plain by the Chief of Staff of the
Ottoman Fourth Army who oversaw the areas designated to receive these
forcibly transferred Armenian populations. He rejected the relocation
pretense categorically in his memoirs stating “…there was neither
preparation, nor organization to shelter the hundreds of thousands of
deportees.” [37] This critical assessment from a key Ottoman official
confirms the observations of multiple consuls representing Turkeys
allies Austria and Germany (in addition to the US Ambassador to the
Ottoman Empire, Morgenthau). These diplomats maintained repeatedly
that dispatching the victimized Armenian populations to such desert
hinterlands sealed their fate-death and ruination. [38]. Moreover,
the hundreds of thousands of deportees were not merely transferred
from war zones, as claimed, but from all parts of the Ottoman Empire.
Dadrian further observes,

As official documents unmistakably reveal (and American Ambassador
Morgenthau confirms) only the rapid deterioration of Turkeys military
situation and the resulting time constraints prevented the
authorities from carrying out the projected comprehensive deportation
and liquidation of the rest of the Armenian population. In the case
of Istanbul, for example, then the capital of the Empire, by November
1915 already 30,000 Armenians had been surreptitiously, and by a
system of quotas, removed, according to a confidential report to
Berlin by German Ambassador Metternich. As to Smyrna, only forceful
intervention of German General Liman Von Sanders, the regional
military commander, stopped the completion of the deportation of that
major mercantile harbor city’s Armenian population. That intervention
was triggered by the dispatch of Smyrna’s first Armenian deportee
convoy as ordered by the province’s Turkish governor-general Rahmi.
This intervention proved a mere respite, however, as in 1922 the
insurgent Kemalists destroyed Smyrna in a holocaust that consumed
large segments of the surviving Armenian population, as well.
(emphasis added) [39]

Were the mass killings of the Armenians merely an unintended
epiphenomenon of a “civil war”, characterized by one apologist [40]
as “…a struggle between two nations for a single homeland”? Dadrian
ridicules this argument by first highlighting the essential
attributes of a bona fide civil war: the collapse of central
government authority, creating a power vacuum filled by armed,
antagonistic factions engaged in violent and sustained clashes. [41]
This basic paradigm simply did not apply to wartime Turkey, whose
Ottoman state organization,

…was not only fully functional but on account of its armed forces
were able to wage for four years a multi-front gigantic war against
such formidable enemies as England, France and Tsarist Russia. The
wartime emergency measures, martial law and the temporary suspension
of parliament were conditions which helped invest the executive
branch of the Ottoman government with enormous and concentrated
power, power that was more than enough to exercise dictatorship.
Moreover, most able-bodied Armenian males were conscripted into the
Ottoman Army long before Turkey intervened in the war. What was left
of the Armenian population consisted by and large of terror stricken
women, children and old me desperately trying to stay alive in an
environment filled with the memories of past massacres, a consuming
apprehension regarding new and impending disasters and burdened with
all sorts of war-related hardships. [42]

The “civil war argument” also hinges on the assertion that four
specific Armenian uprisings-Shabin Karahisar (June 6-July 4, 1915),
Musa Dagh (July 30-September 1915), Urfa (September 29-October 23,
1915) and in particular Van (April 20-May 17, 1915)-comprise a major,
organized “Armenian rebellion”. Reports by consuls of Turkeys wartime
allies-Austria and Germany, debunk this argument. The Austrian
Military Plenipotentiary to Turkey during World War I, in his memoirs
[43], characterized the Van uprising as “…an act of desperation” by
Armenians who “…recognized that [a] general butchery had begun in the
environs of Van and that they would be the next [victims]”. Germany’s
consul in Aleppo, Walter Rossler, described the Urfa uprising in
similar terms. Imbued with the recent memory of the brutal 1895
massacre, and the unfolding spectacle of mas murder in their vicinity
during the summer of 1915, the Urfa Armenians made a hasty, last
ditch effort to defend themselves. [44] German Ambassador Paul Count
von Wolff-Metternich filed a 72-page report to his government in
Berlin addressing all four of these uprisings. Metternich maintained
that each of these uprisings was a defensive act attempting merely to
ward off imminent deportation, and he stated bluntly “…there was
neither a concerted general uprising, nor was there a fully valid
proof that such a synchronized uprising was organized or planned.”
[45] As Dadrian observes,

How could desperate groupings of people trying to stay alive by
defending themselves be described as “rebels”supposedly bent on
undermining a mighty state system intent on destroying
them?…without exception these uprisings were improvised last-ditch
attempts to ward off imminent deportation and destruction. Without
exception they were all local, very limited, and above all, highly
defensive initiatives; as such they were ultimately doomed to
failure. The temporary success of the Van uprising was entirely due
to a very fortuitous circumstance: the timely arrival of the advance
units of the Russian Caucasus army. A delay of one or two days in
this movement might well sealed the fate of the defenders. [46]

Dadrian concedes that regardless of their justification (underscored
in wartime German, Austrian, and US consular reports of the sustained
historical record of Armenian oppression and episodic massacre by the

Individual Armenians and even some small groups of Armenians in very
isolated cases resorted to espionage, sabotage, and other
anti-Turkish hostile acts…[and]…several thousands of Armenians from
all over the world, including several hundred former Ottoman
subjects, rushed to the Caucasus to enroll in the ranks of the
Russian Caucasus army to fight against the Turks; the majority of
them were, however, Russian subjects. [47]

In his concluding remarks on the civil war apologetic, Dadrian poses,
and then addresses this “ultimate question”:

…does the ensemble of these facts warrant a decision to deport and
wantonly destroy an entire population? The answer should be no for a
variety of reasons but in one particular respect that answer is cast
into special relief. The reference is to a host of other ethnic and
nationality groups and individuals who likewise indulged in such
anti-Turkish hostile acts during the war, including sabotage,
espionage and volunteering for service in the armed forces of
Turkey’s enemies. Foremost among these were the Kurds, who like the
Armenians, were engaged in pro- as well as anti-Turkish activities.
On the eastern front several of the spies caught by the Turks were
themselves Turks; so were a number of Greeks operating in the west of
Turkey. Nor can one exempt the Jews who provided two distinct
volunteer corps fighting the Turks at two different fronts, the
Dardanelles (in 1915) and Palestine (in 1918). Moreover, one fo the
largest wartime espionage networks, the NILI in Yaffa, Palestine,
which was caught by the Turks, was run by a small Jewish group. An
yet, a relatively mild, if not insignificant and inconsequential
treatment was accorded to them by the Turkish authorities. These
authorities at that time did not think it prudent to extend their
operations of ethnic cleansing to these nationalities and minority
groups and thereby compound the already existing problems arising
from the ongoing mass murder of the Armenians. [48]

Lastly, Dadrian dismisses as “blatant sophistry” the non-sequitur
Turkish claim of 2.5 million victims in the 1914-1922 period because
it includes (and conflates)

… disparate categories of events such as losses in World War I,
losses in the post-Turkish campaign for independence, as well as
losses due to epidemics, malnutrition and succumbing to the rigors of
the elements… What is fundamental in all these losses is that
overwhelmingly they are the byproducts and the results of warfare
with Turkey’s external enemies. These warfare losses are cryptically
blended, juxtaposed and composed with the number of victims of an
organized mass murder. Indeed, the two categories are collapsed
whereby victim and victimizer groups are subsumed under a single,
undifferentiated category, having been leveled almost beyond
differentiation, and no longer discernible as separate, if not
antithetical, categories. [49]


The Ottoman Turkish destruction of the Armenian people, beginning in
the late 19th and intensifying in the early 20th century, was a
genocide, and jihad ideology contributed significantly to this
decades long human liquidation process. These facts are now beyond
dispute. Milan Kundera, the Czech author, has written that man’s
struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
[50] In The Banality of Indifference, Yair Auron [51] reminds us of
the importance of this struggle:

Recognition of the Armenian genocide on the part of the entire
international community, including Turkey (or perhaps first and
foremost Turkey), is therefore a demand of the first order.
Understanding and remembering the tragic past is an essential
condition, even if not sufficient in and of itself, to preventing the
repetition of such acts in the future….

Yet ninety years after the events of April 24, 1915, the Turkish
government persists in its denials of the Armenian genocide, abetted
by a well-endowed network of unsavory political and pseudo-academic
sycophants operating with the imprimatur of morphing geostrategic
rationales-formerly, “Turkey as a bulwark against Communism”, and
now, “Turkey as a bulwark against radical Islam”. This leeway
afforded Turkey is both illogical and morally indefensible. West
Germany was arguably a much more direct and important ally against
the Soviet Communist bloc, while each successive post-World War II
West German administration, from Adenauer through Kohl, made
Holocaust denial a punishable crime. Moreover, there is burgeoning
evidence, available almost daily, that both Turkey’s government under
the Muslim ideologue Erdogan (see here as well) and large swaths of
the Turkish media and intelligentsia (see, “Turkish Media Project”)
hardly qualify as “bulwarks against radical Islam”. Indeed, Turkey’s
contemporary Islamic “revival” is of particular relevance to the
tragic events that transpired between 1894 and the end of World War
I, because the Armenian genocide was in large measure a jihad
genocide. But most importantly, there is a compelling moral
imperative which transcends the flimsy geopolitical considerations
used to rationalize and sustain Turkey’s ongoing campaign of genocide
denial. Professor Deborah Lipstadt, the renowned Holocaust scholar,
and author of Denying the Holocaust, and History on Trial (which
recounts her crushing defeat of Nazi-sympathizer David Irving’s
“libel” suit), in conjunction with twelve other leading genocide
scholars, elucidated the corrosive immorality of genocide denial in
this 1996 statement:

Denial of genocide-whether that of the Turks against the Armenians or
the Nazis against the Jews-is not an act of historical
reinterpretation. Rather, it sows confusion by appearing to be
engaged in a genuine scholarly effort. Those who deny genocide always
dismiss the abundance of documents and testimony as contrived or
coerced, or as forgeries and falsehoods. Free speech does not
guarantee the deniers the right to be treated as the “other” side of
a legitimate debate when there is no credible “other side”; nor does
it guarantee the deniers space in the classroom or curriculum, or in
any other forum. Genocide denial is an insidious form of intellectual
and moral degradation… [52]

Dr. Bostom is an Associate Professor of Medicine and author of the
forthcoming, The Legacy of Jihad on Prometheus Books

[1] Balakian, Reverend K., Hai Koghkotan. Trouakner Hai
Mardirosakroutiunen. Berlinen Tebee Zor 1914-1920 (The Armenian
Golgotha. Episodes from the Armenian Martyrilogy. From Berlin to Zor
1914-1920), vol. 1. Vienna, 1922.
[2] Dadrian, V. “The Quest for Scholarship in My Pathos for the
Armenian Tragedy and its Victims”, in Pioneers of Genocide Studies,
S. Totten and S. Jacobs, editors, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction
Publishers, 2002, pp. 239-240.
[3] Dadrian, V. “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, Journal of Genocide Research, 2003,
Vol. 5, p. 273.
[4] Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Turkei 183/38, A23991, or
R14087, K. no. 81/B.1645; Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Botschaft
Konstantinopel 170, J. no. 3841, “secret” report of 23 August 1914;
Joseph Pomiankowski, Der Zusammenbruch des Ottomanischen Reiches,
Graz, Austria: Akademischer Druck- u. Verlag, 1969, p. 160.; and
Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday, 1918, pp. 302-304. Morgenthau’s 10 July report is in US
National Archives, RG59, 867.4016/74; all cited in Dadrian, V. “The
Armenian Genocide: An Interpretation”, in Winter, J., editor, America
and the Armenian Genocide of 1914, Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 2003, p.63, footnotes 18-21.
[5] Uras E., The Armenians and the Armenian Question in History, 2nd
ed., (Istanbul, 1976), p.612
[6] Akcam T., Turkish National Identity and the Armenian Question,
(Istanbul, 1992), p. 109.
[7] Hovanissian R., Armenia on the Road to Independence, (Berkeley,
CA, 1967), p. 51.
[8] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians as Documented by the Officials of the Ottoman Empire’s
World War I Allies: Germany and Austria-Hungary”, International
Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, (2002), Vol. 32, Pp. 59-85.
[9] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.60.
[10] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.76
[11] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.76, with specific primary source documentation, p.84
[12] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.76, with specific primary source documentation, p.84
[13] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.77, with specific primary source documentation,
Pp.84-85 n.111.
[14] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.77.
[15] Davison R., “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim
Equality in the Nineteenth Century”, The American Historical Review
(1954), Vol. 54, Pp. 844-864.
[16] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam,
(Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996) 522 Pp.
[17] Dadrian V., Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian
Conflict, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1999), p. 39.
[18] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.61, with specific primary source documentation p.79,
[19] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, p.61, with specific primary source documentation p.79,
[20] Davison R., “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim
Equality in the Nineteenth Century”, p.855.
[21] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam,
Reports by British Diplomats [1850-1876], Pp. 395-433.
[22] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, Pp.61-62, with specific primary source documentation,
p.79 n.14.
[23] Dadrian V., “The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the
Armenians”, Pp.61-62, with specific primary source documentation,
p.79 n.15.
[24] Davison R, “The Armenian Crisis, 1912-1914”, The American
Historical Review, (1948) Vol. 53, Pp. 482-483.
[25] Servier, A. Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman, translated
by A. S. Moss-Blundell, London, 1924, pp. 241-42.
[26] Dadrian V., The History of the Armenian Genocide, (Providence,
RI: Bergahn Books, 1997), Pp. 155, 182, 225, 233 n.44; Auron Y., The
Banality of Indifference, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers,
2000), p. 44.
[27] Dadrian V., The History of the Armenian Genocide, Pp. 113-184.
[28] Dadrian V., The History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 147, with
primary source documentation p. 168 n.199.
[29] Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam,
(Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985) Pp. 48,67,
[30] Lord Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries-The Rise and Fall of the
Turkish Empire, New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1979, pp. 559-560.
[31] U.S. State Department document 867.4016/57, March 10, 1915.
[32] Gabrielan M.C., Armenia: A Martyr Nation, (New York, Chicago:
Fleming H. Revell, Co., 1918), p. 269.
[33] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, p.
[34] Dadrian, V. The Key Elements in the Turkish Denial of the
Armenian Genocide: A Case Study of Distortion and Falsification, The
Zoryan Institute, Cambridge, MA, 1999, pp. 18-19.
[35] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, pp. 274-275.
[36] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 275.
[37] Orgeneral Ali Fuad Erden, Birinci Dunya Harbinde Suriye
Hantiralari [Syrian Memoirs of World War I], Vol. 1 p. 122; cited in,
Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and
the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 275.
[38] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 275.
[39] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 275.
[40] Lewis, B., The Emergence of Modern Turkey, London: Oxford
University Press, 1961, p. 350.
[41] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 275.
[42] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, pp. 275-276.
[43] Pomiankowski, J., Der Zusammenbruch des Ottomanischen Reiches,
p. 160.; cited in Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the
Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 276.
[44] Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Turkei 183/40, A35040,
Rossler’s November 8, 1915 report; cited in Dadrian, V., “The Signal
Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial
Syndrome”, p. 276.
[45] Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Turkei 183/40, A25749,
September 18, 1916 report, p. 14; cited in Dadrian, V., “The Signal
Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial
Syndrome”, p. 276.
[46] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 276.
[47] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 277.
[48] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 277.
[49] Dadrian, V., “The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide
and the Turkish Denial Syndrome”, p. 277.
[50] Kundera M., The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, (New York, NY:
Harper Collins, 1999)
[51] Auron Y., The Banality of Indifference, p. 56.
[52] Dadrian, V. The Key Elements in the Turkish Denial of the
Armenian Genocide: A Case Study of Distortion and Falsification, p.