The Armenian Genocide And Ethnic Cleansing In The Ottoman Empire


February 10, 2015

The Young Turks’ Crime against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and
Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire.

Taner Akcam

Co-Winner of the 2013 Albert Hourani Book Award, Middle East Studies

One of’s Best Books on the Middle East

Introducing new evidence from more than 600 secret Ottoman documents,
this book demonstrates in unprecedented detail that the Armenian
Genocide and the expulsion of Greeks from the late Ottoman Empire
resulted from an official effort to rid the empire of its Christian
subjects. Presenting these previously inaccessible documents along
with expert context and analysis, Taner Akcam’s most authoritative work
to date goes deep inside the bureaucratic machinery of Ottoman Turkey
to show how a dying empire embraced genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Although the deportation and killing of Armenians was internationally
condemned in 1915 as a “crime against humanity and civilization,”
the Ottoman government initiated a policy of denial that is still
maintained by the Turkish Republic. The case for Turkey’s “official
history” rests on documents from the Ottoman imperial archives, to
which access has been heavily restricted until recently. It is this
very source that Akcam now uses to overturn the official narrative.

The documents presented here attest to a late-Ottoman policy
of Turkification, the goal of which was no less than the radical
demographic transformation of Anatolia. To that end, about one-third
of Anatolia’s 15 million people were displaced, deported, expelled,
or massacred, destroying the ethno-religious diversity of an ancient
cultural crossroads of East and West, and paving the way for the
Turkish Republic.

By uncovering the central roles played by demographic engineering and
assimilation in the Armenian Genocide, this book will fundamentally
change how this crime is understood and show that physical destruction
is not the only aspect of the genocidal process.

Taner Akcam, the first scholar of Turkish origin to publicly
acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, holds the Kaloosdian and Mugar
Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. His many
books include A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question
of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan Books).


“Akcam has long courted controversy in Turkey, where he was jailed as
a student activist in the 1970s before claiming asylum in Germany,
but his intellectual courage is beyond question. Moreover, while
Turkey’s official account of what happened in 1915 is unchanged,
Turkish public and intellectual opinion is now much more open to
debate. This dispassionate, scholarly study is a valuable contribution
to help that debate move on.”–Delphine Strauss, Financial Times

“[T]he fact that a Turkish historian with access to the
Ottoman archives has written this book is of immeasurable
significance.”–Foreign Affairs

“Akcam has long been the most vocal Turkish scholars regarding the
Ottoman participation in genocidal acts against Armenians. Here, using
Ottoman archival sources, the author makes his case that the Young Turk
government had planned prior to WWI to remove the empire’s Christian
and no-Turkish Muslim population. . . . The author’s discussion of
the removal and execution of the Armenians is extremely detailed and
well documented, and his usage of Ottoman sources, although questioned
by Turkish nationalist scholars, is a very important addition to the
study of this issue.”–Choice

“[A] major breakthrough in the our understanding of the social
engineering that led to the near destruction of the Armenians of
Anatolia, and of the dual-track mechanism for organizing it that
the Young Turks employed. . . . [A] must for serious scholars of the
Armenian Genocide.”–John M. Evans, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia
(2004-2006), American Diplomacy

“Taner Akcam’s study represents a giant step forward. He produced a
most important book, all the more so because the ideology of Islamism
has endured, and most recently some of its outstanding proponents
have seized power in the Middle East.”–Dr. Wolfgang G. Schwanitz,
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

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