Clark University historian Taner Akcam launched a digital archive to document the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
The archive details the life and survival of Krikor Guerguerian, a priest during the genocide.
“Access to these materials has the potential to change scholarly and political discourse as well as to destroy Turkish denial. It is my duty to make this evidence accessible for the world to see,” said Akcam.
Akcam is the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies.
The newly launched Krikor Guerguerian Archive comprises thousands of original Ottoman documents and Guerguerian’s extensive, unpublished writings.
It includes the long-missing handwritten memoirs of Naim Bey, an Ottoman bureaucrat stationed in Aleppo who actively participated in the deportation and massacres of Armenians; documents from the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate containing first-hand information about the Armenian genocide; and critical papers from the Istanbul perpetrator trials held from 1919 to 1922 that were long assumed vanished.
Among the most noteworthy materials are ciphered telegrams that the Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha, army commanders, and the chief of the government’s paramilitary sent to governors throughout the Empire. Some of these telegrams, written on government letterhead stamped with the official Ottoman seal, clearly outline the Ottoman government’s planning and execution of the genocide.
These “killing orders,” considered the “smoking gun” of the Armenian Genocide, formed the basis of Akcam’s groundbreaking book “Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide,” released earlier this year.
Akcam was one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide.
His book “The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire,” was co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award and one of ForeignAffairs.com’s “Best Books on the Middle East.”
Among his many honors, Akçam received the 2018 Outstanding Upstander Award from the World Without Genocide organization; the Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal from the Organization of Istanbul Armenians and the Hrant Dink Freedom Award from the Armenian Bar Association (both in 2015); and the Heroes of Justice and Truth award at the Armenian Genocide Centennial commemoration in May 2015.