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The Critical Corner - 09/22/2004

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"The Armenian Genocide: A New Brand of Denial by the Turkish General
Staff - by Proxy"
(With Reference to Edward J. Erickson, Ordered to Die.
A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 2001, 265pp, $67.95)

Armenian News Network / Groong
September 21, 2004

By Prof. Vahakn. Dadrian

Ottoman Turkey's significance in the overall picture of World War I
and its outcome is underscored by three landmark events associated
with that war.  1.  The inordinate endurance of the Turkish army in
the face of enormous handicaps, such as the scarcity of a host of
indispensable resources, an antiquated system of roads, a wholly
inadequate transportation set-up, and widespread epidemics among the
recruits that nearly crippled the force structure of that army.
Nevertheless, that army remarkably managed to maintain a modicum of
stamina and fighting spirit for four years of gruelling warfare
against the overwhelming armed forces of the Entente powers counter
posed to them, i.e. Great Britain, Russia and France.  2.  The direct
and indirect role of that army in the organization and implementation
of the wartime Armenian genocide.  Noteworthy in this respect is the
active involvement of its auxiliary units, in particular the irregular
cavalry brigades and infantry regiments, and killer bands of the
semi-autonomous Special Organization (Teskilat-i Mahsusa), which were
almost entirely led by a select group of staff and reserve officers of
that army.  3.  The costly failure of that army at the very least to
preserve the Ottoman Empire, whose war-related ultimate collapse
through a twist of fate and a combination of fortuitous circumstances
served to spawn in the aftermath of the war the modern Republic of

Given these conditions, a comprehensive study of the performance of
that army during World War I, theoretically speaking, has the
potential to enrich our knowledge in such areas as military
organization, strategy, detailed staff planning, methods of deployment
of reserves, and combat doctrines and tactics.  Equally significant,
however, such a study could, beyond the scope of these domains,
illuminate an ancillary phenomenon of that war, a phenomenon that
Toynbee in his massive documentation called "a gigantic crime that
devastated the Near East in 1915,"[i] and which American ambassador to
Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, characterized as "the murder of a nation."[ii]
At issue here are the underlying governmental motivations and the
mechanics of subverting the standard functions of a regular standing
army by way of using components of that army as a principal instrument
of organized mass murder.  In other words, what was the role of the
Ottoman-Turkish army in the mass murder of a domestic minority, the
members of which were all Ottoman citizens?  The reference is, of
course, to the Armenian genocide.

Naturally, the bulk of the book is devoted to the exploration of the
issues that were central to the organization and execution of the
general military campaign involved.  The fate of the Armenians is
discussed in this broad context.  It is thus treated as a subsidiary
matter. At first glance, the book appears to be a signal contribution,
in terms of its foci, wealth of data, amplitude of sources, and a new
framework of analysis, thus surpassing in scope and depth the two
antecedent Western works dealing with the same subject matter, namely
the work of Larcher,[iii]and that of Allen and Muratoff.[iv] These two
volumes barely touch, however, the Armenian cataclysm which Erickson
confronts head-on as he tries to come to grips with the major factors
configuring in its incidence, outcome, and overall significance.

As in the case of any act of confrontation, the way one decides to
proceed does often condition, if not precondition, the result one may
be seeking.  At the very start of his book he candidly, and one should
add, with rare fortitude, admits that he has confronted the problem by
proceeding from "the Turkish side of the hill," thereby relying,
almost entirely, "on Turkish sources."  In fact, the book is suffused,
indeed saturated, with references drawn from "Turkish source material."
And therein lies the Achilles' heel of this otherwise impressively
invested product of labor and dedication, for it is predicated upon a
type of reliance, by choice, which is inextricably entwined with
seemingly pronounced affinities and a companion partisanship for
Turkey and Turkish interests. As he describes it in the
Acknowledgements section of the book, as an American officer on duty
in NATO Headquarters in Turkey in the early 1990's, Erickson ended up
cultivating many personal friendships, foremost among which was his
friendship with then Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General
Hüseyin Kivrikoglu, from whom he "received VIP treatment," and who, in
return, expressed his pleasure and gratitude to the author for using
Turkish source material and ultimately producing a book utilizing
these sources.  This act of high praise of and the attendant bestowing
of acclamatory imprimatur upon Erickson's book is cast in relief when
one bears in mind that the main animus in the entrenched Turkish
culture of denial relative to the historical fact of the Armenian
genocide comes from the Turkish military establishment, especially the
Turkish General Staff, the omnipotent crux of that establishment.  The
values stemming from this culture of denial have permeated, and
continue to dominate, the main trend in contemporary Turkish

One would think that an author trained in the traditions of Western
standards of research and scholarship would be more inclined to apply,
or at least to try to apply, Max Weber's instructive guideline for
research in history and social sciences.  He declared, namely, that it
is perfectly legitimate for a scholar to embrace certain values prior
to embarking upon research, which he called a condition of
"value-relatedness" (Wertbezogenheit).  Conversely, he declared that
it is rather counter-productive when that scholar fails to jar himself
loose, i.e., to divest himself from the grip of these values the
moment he embarks upon actual research, which condition he described
as "freedom from values" (Wertfreiheit).  Tackling almost the same
problem, Gunnar Myrdal, the noted Swedish social scientist, went one
step further when he advocated in his monumental An American Dilemma,
a clear exposition of one's values at the very start of one's
published work, insofar as it relates to the controversy of the topic
the book deals with.  Such an act of clearly baring of one's pertinent
values, Myrdal believed, might afford the reader a basis upon which to
determine whether the author has succeeded, to any degree, in
exercising a modicum of the requisite detachment.

In the light of these observations, Erickson's volume might be
compared to an edifice that has an impressive format with a solid
structure.  Yet, upon closer examination, that edifice reveals itself
as a structure resting upon a tottering and faulty substructure.  To
be more specific, the book in several respects is methodologically
contaminated.  The source of that contamination is the bulk of his
source material that bears the stamp of the Turkish military archives
and the author's relationship to them.  At issue here are such
critical matters as the language in which the source material appears,
the conditions of access to the archives containing that material, and
the degree or level of independence through which he could select,
amass and utilize that material.  These problems find an expression in
Erickson's own account addressing them.  Nowhere in the book does he
explicitly indicate, for example, that he knew either Ottoman or
modern Turkish to a degree necessary to read and understand fully the
contents of the myriad documents referenced in the book.  Rather, the
reader is informed that author Erickson had to rely on a Turkish
"translator and researcher."  Furthermore, he states that he benefited
from the consultations and help offered to him by the director of the
Turkish General Staff's Archives and several high-ranking Turkish
officers in Ankara.  The problem that poses itself here is this: how
badly an author must be eager to write a book on a subject matter the
quintessential material of which is in a language one does not
dominate?  The problem is further compounded when one takes into
account the fact that for the study of a particular case of genocide,
one has to depend in a substantial way upon people who in one way or
another are identified with the perpetrator camp.

The author claims that he examined "about ten volumes of the Turkish
official histories." (p. xxi).  Thus, the training, ethos and
competence of the cadres of officers of various ranks involved are
matters that emerge here as concerns of paramount import for the
critical evaluation of his dependence upon them.  What avenues or
channels are available to test this problem?  The necessity to use
non-Turkish sources becomes unavoidable.  Certainly, none of the data
provided by the archives of any of the Entente powers, the wartime
enemies of the Ottoman Empire, can be viewed as entirely impeccable.
It is, therefore, an irony that one has to fall back on the very
military officers who throughout the war fought alongside the Turks.
In other words, one has to depend upon sources with ties of strong
alliance with the perpetrator camp, a camp that has generated this
vast corpus of reports detailing the performance of the army of that
camp.  The reference is, of course, to the Germans.  Indeed, under
present circumstances German officers on duty in wartime Turkey may be
deemed to be the most qualified observers in this respect.  The irony
of this procedure is exceeded only by the underlying paradox.

Without ignoring some of the stalwart qualities of many a Turkish
officer, several high ranking German officers, members of the German
Military Mission to Turkey, almost uniformly complained during and
after the war, about the indolence and laxness with which the former
went about preparing maps, compiling statistics, and, above all,
preparing reports.  The German chief of staff of the Ottoman Third
Army, Colonel Felix Guse, for example, bitterly complained that "The
Turks knew only poorly their country, on top of that the possibility
of getting reliable statistical figures (zuverlässige statistische
Zahlen) was out of the question."[v] Even some Turkish historians and
chroniclers lamented this carelessness, a carelessness that bordered,
they said, on a proneness to invent or fabricate (uydurma) details in
the preparation of a report.[vi] In one particular case, for instance,
elements of two divisions of the Xth Army Corps of the Third Army for
four hours fought against each other because of "a faulty map,"
thereby inflicting upon each other some 2,000 casualties, dead and
wounded.  According to a Turkish historian this episode,
significantly, is left out in the texts of the respective official
reports covering the battle involved.[vii] There is no mention of the
existence of these problems in Erickson's tome.  On the contrary, he
confidently proclaims in it that the claim that "the Turks kept poor
records" is a "myth" (p. 214).

Another high ranking German officer who started as a lieutenant
commander of the navy first in charge of the Turkish cruiser Mecidiye,
1914-1915, and subsequently was promoted to the rank of commander of
the navy, has prepared a forty-page memorandum for his superiors.  In
it he provides a detailed evaluation of the Turkish officers he came
to know not only as a navy commander but also as a departmental chief
in the Turkish Ministry of the Navy.  While granting that there were a
number of smart and capable Turkish officers, he nevertheless stated
that "the number of the inept ones who are careerists is considerably
higher" (erheblich grosser).  There are people, he went on to say, who
often are "given to fantasies, ever ready to exaggerate and at the
same time overestimate their own capacities.  They are prone to
fabricating upbeat fairy tales with a resoluteness that ultimately
causes them to think these tales are actually real facts.  When
opportune to do so, they will lie and indulge in spreading the meanest
calumnies." Admiral Büchsel's most pungent decrial pertains to the
issue that is of central relevance in this review.  He stated that
Ottoman-Turkish culture does allow an ethos through which "an official
communication (eine dienstliche Meldung) may be so framed that it may
not entirely correspond to the truth and the framer of it may not
consider it unethical.  The dictum corriger la fortune is commonly
practiced in the official transactions of the Turks."[viii] In other
words, the practice to amend or embellish, or to use contemporary
parlance, to "spin," in the framing of official reports is a practice
that is almost taken for granted.

At the end of his detailed examination of the wartime performance of
the Ottoman-Turkish Third Army, of which as noted above, he was chief
of staff, Colonel Felix Guse, a pronounced Turkophile German military
officer, offers some comments depicting some of the troublesome
aspects of what he calls Turkish culture that he believed impinged
adversely upon the conduct of the Turkish military.  Here are some
excerpts: The Turks unabashedly admit that they lie a lot but resent
being told about it by others.  They fail to appreciate the
theoretical value Europe places upon truth.this peculiarity of
attitude makes it very difficult to work with them in tandem.  The
issuing of a false communication (falsche Meldung) is by and large
considered to be no offense or violation of ethics (vergehen)."  [ix]

The chapter on the Armenians is dotted with numerous citations from
the documents taken from the repositories of the Turkish General Staff
Archives.  With hardly any exercise of a modicum of caution, Erickson
rather mechanically picks up and relays to the reader a whole array of
allegations and accusations against the Armenians that are very
general and that lack any slightest specificity.  He writes, for
example, that the Armenians were "actively hostile.were heavily armed,
were belligerent.and were actively engaged in open rebellion" and
which word rebellion he capitalized by referring to in as the
"Armenian Rebellion" (pp. 80, 90, 101, 103).  If one disregards the
four insurrections that were highly local, last minute defensive
improvisations by desperate people facing imminent destruction, there
was no general rebellion at all.  Four German ambassadors on duty in
wartime Turkey in their numerous reports to Berlin denied any such
rebellion.[x] Nor were the insurgents "belligerent" in the sense used
by Erickson, or were they "heavily armed".  In all four cases, the
insurgents, totally surrounded and equipped only with the barest
stocks of ammunition, weapons, and provisions, had chosen to wage a
hopeless defense against a heavily armed professional army and die
fighting rather than be deported to the slaughterhouse.  When
commenting on the Van uprising, for example, Vice Marshal Joseph
Pomiankowski, the military plenipotentiary of allied Austria-Hungary,
confirmed its desperately defensive nature by describing that uprising
as "an act of despair" (Akt der Verzweiflung).  The Armenians, he went
on to say, "recognized that the general butchery (die allgemeine
Schlächterei) was sweeping clean the province's Armenian population
and that "they would be the next [target]."[xi]

Denial of a crime by those who one way or another are identified with
that crime is by and large a function of the impunity accorded the
perpetrators by the rest of the world.  The modalities of such denial
are often contingent upon the circumstances through which the
perpetrators manage to escape prosecution and punishment.  The more
uncontested and abiding that condition of impunity, the more daring
the apologists of the crime are likely to become in their choice of
methods when denying the crime.  The unrelenting assertion that
Armenians are guilty of engaging in a long chain of empire-wide
wartime acts of rebellion belongs to this category of methods.  Given
the long, sanguinary history of the Turkish-Armenian conflict,
antedating World War I, and given the exigent and turbulent conditions
of that war, such an assertion may carry some elements of plausibility
as far as an unwitting and ill-informed outside public is concerned.

However, it is incumbent upon a researcher, intent on engaging in a
historical interpretation or analysis of a complex topic not to be
swayed by such elements of plausibility but apply instead a measure of
critical scrutiny - unless such a researcher is hostage to certain
restrictive prejudices or has some extraneous agendas of his own.  The
evident absence of such a mode of scrutiny apparently prompted the
author to readily embrace from the Turkish archive holdings all these
assertions with respect to which even some independent Turkish
historians use the derisive epithet "official history" (resmi tarih).
Inevitably, such a posture led to a whole string of errors undermining
the value of the book.[xii]

To illustrate the liabilities intrinsic to such a methodology, a
detailed and critical examination of a particular case is presented

Involved here is the overarching assertion of acts of Armenian
rebellion and the illustration of a case.  Thirty thousand Armenians
from Sivas province avowedly had launched a rebellion in the thick of
the war.  Fifteen thousand of them, who were of military age, remained
in the province, another fifteen thousand Armenian men departed to
join the Russians.  "Unfortunately, conscription of all Turkish men up
to the age of 50 years old had left the local villages practically
unprotected and vulnerable to Armenian depredations." (p. 100).

This excerpt, that combines the input of the military commander of the
Special Organization contingent of Sivas province and the imprimatur
of that province's civilian governor-general, is a classic example of
the ease and frivolity with which military and civilian Turkish
officials throughout the war framed and compiled reports of this
nature.  They epitomize a persistence with which distortions and
falsehoods are routinely purveyed for internal as well as external
purposes.  Whether considered geographically or demographically, or in
terms of wartime exigencies and governmental measures, the contents of
this excerpt are patently belied by taking into account the following
facts.  1.  Not only all the Turks, but the bulk of the Armenian
citizens of the Empire, in the 18-45 age group, was likewise
conscripted; those few who could afford to pay the stiff exemption fee
were later in short order conscripted regardless.  Within a few weeks
after general mobilization in August 1914, those in the 16-18 and
45-60 age categories were likewise called to the colors.  How is it
conceivable that the remaining Armenians, consisting almost entirely
of destitute women, children, and old men, full of anxieties and fears
about the likelihood of new wartime massacres, would dare to
contemplate, let alone mount in fact a general guerrilla campaign
against a mighty and fully mobilized army whose combat zone
jurisdiction and authority encompassed the same province of Sivas?
Furthermore, in Sivas were headquartered the reserve units of the Xth
army Corps of the Third Army. 2. No explanation is provided as to how
this phantom army of 15,000 Armenian insurgents under exigent wartime
conditions managed to escape from Sivas, cross hundreds of miles of
rugged terrain that was watched and defended by the Third Army, and
reach Russian front lines. 3. According to the official Ottoman
statistics, "adjusted" by Justin McCarthy, an openly pro-Turk American
demographer, some 180,000 Armenians lived in Sivas province.  About
90,000 fell in the category of "males," and of those about half -
45,000 - were children and old men, and as such, may be excluded from
consideration.  The remaining 45,000, then, would fall in the 18-60
year old age group.  In order to form and army of 30,000 rebels, two
out of three eligible Armenian males would have had to be enrolled in
it.  The questions to be posed are: Where could they have been hiding
between August 1914, the onset of the general mobilization and April
1915, when they allegedly went into action?  Who was supplying,
housing, training, commanding this rather large group of insurgents,
and how?  Where were the logistics, communication gear, depots,
weapons and the requisite supply of ammunition, along with the other
provisions, to render such an irregular force a viable fighting

As German admiral Büchsel has reiterated again and again in his
memorandum cited above, he found many Turkish officers with whom he
had daily dealings throughout the war to be prone to fantasies,
repeatedly calling them "fantasts."  German Colonel Guse, likewise
cited above, underscored the common propensity of many Turks he came
to know in the army to be prone to lie routinely, without any sense of
acting unethically.  Amending, or tampering with the text of documents
is depicted here as part of Oriental culture.[xiv]

In his seemingly strong penchant for glorifying the Turkish Army,
Erickson ended up completely overlooking a major aspect of the
complicity of segments of that Army both in terms of strategic
planning and tactical execution of the wartime annihilation of the
bulk of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire.  The reference is first
of all to the paramount role the commander-in-chief of the Third Army,
General Mahmud Kâmil in this respect.  As stated above, the Third
Army's control extended to the seven eastern and central-eastern
provinces containing the bulk of the Armenian population of the
Ottoman Empire. According to the wartime Turkish army commander Ahmet
Izzet Pasa, the first Grand Vizier of the post-war Ottoman government,
General Mahmud Kâmil was the one who "proposed and demanded" (teklif
ve talep) the wholesale deportation of the Armenians of the region of
Erzurum.[xv] According to another wartime Turkish general, Kâmil was
appointed to that post through the direct intervention of the three
principal authors of the Armenian genocide, i.e., MD's Sakir and
Nazim, and CUP's chief ideological guru, Ziya Gölkap.[xvi] Kâmil had
thus abruptly displaced and replaced the newly appointed Vehip Pasa
who regained that post only in 1916 when the genocide had all but run
its course.  Official German documents confirm and reconfirm Kâmil's
pivotal role in the deportation and destruction of the bulk of the
Armenian population of the seven provinces mentioned above.[xvii]
Foremost among these reports is that of Colonel Stange who was in the
thick of the military operations of Kâmil's Third Army and,
accordingly, could observe firsthand the military underpinnings of
that army's anti-Armenian exterminatory campaign.  Describing Kâmil as
a ruthless destroyer of the Armenians, Stange quotes him as saying
that "there will be no more an Armenian question after the war." (nach
dem Kriege keine Armenienfrage geben werde).[xviii] Several
high-ranking Turkish military officers during the Armistice in 1919
through affidavits and oral testimony before the Turkish Military
Tribunal attested to the extermination measures of General Kâmil,
including General Süleyman Faik, the military commandant of Harput
province,[xix] and Colonel Pertev, the Acting Commander of the Third
Army's 10th Army Corps, who stated, "I have in my possession telegrams
from him ordering the massacre of the Armenians."[xx]

Two other wartime Turkish generals were actively involved in the
anti-Armenian exterminatory campaign.  Army commander (the Sixth Army;
later, commander-in-chief of Army Groups East), actively involved in
the extermination campaign, was War Minister Enver's uncle General
Halil (Kut).  In a December 4, 1916 report, Erzurum's General Consul
Scheubner-Richter advised his ambassador that Halil Pasa "had ordered
the massacre of his Armenian.battalions and had massacred the Armenian
population falling under his control (Massakrierung seiner
armenishchen.Bataillone).  In his memoirs, Halil not only admits but
almost prides himself on having destroyed 300,000 Armenians: "[I]t can
be more or less, I didn't count."  On 4 November 1915, Mosul's
Vice-Consul Holstein reported that "Halil's troops perpetrated
massacres in the north and now want to slaughter the Armenians of
Mosul.[xxi] The other officer was General Ali Ihsan Sabis, who is
reported of having boasted to German military officers of the scope of
his extermination of Armenians.  According to one of these officers,
Lüttichau, he "proudly" declared that he "killed the Armenians with
his own hands."  [xxii] Furthermore, Erickson likewise overlooks, or
perhaps was induced to overlook, another aspect of the vital role of
that army in the detailed planning of the wartime Armenian genocide.
As attested to by Colonel, later Major General, Otto von Lossow, the
German wartime plenipotentiary in Turkey, the Armenian deportations
(paving the way for the attendant massacres) were actually schemed and
organized at the Ottoman General Headquarters, Department II, whose
head, Colonel Seyfi, was in charge of the respective planning of these
deportations.  Moreover, a commander of the Special Organization, Fuad
Balkan, in his memoirs, reveals that Colonel Seyfi was also in charge
of the killer bands of that Special Organization which had functioned
as the principal instrument of the anti-Armenian extermination

There is no way to know whether Colonel Erickson was afforded
unfettered and complete access to all the relevant files of the
archives of the Turkish General Staff - assuming for a moment that he
would have no appreciable trouble in fully comprehending the Ottoman
and Turkish language contents of the respective documents.  This
uncertainty stems from his somewhat ambiguous statement that the bulk
of these documents, particularly those dealing with sensitive
political and military issues, are "unavailable to researchers."
(p. 24).  The cardinal question poses itself; was that bulk of the
documents available or unavailable to him personally?

It may be said in conclusion that in either case his volume could not
have escaped some serious deleterious effects.  Indeed, if he was
denied such access, the rationale and validity of his entire
undertaking will inevitably evaporate.  On the other hand, if he was
allowed such access, the judgment, based on the arguments adduced
above, becomes inescapable that he allowed himself to be manipulated,
wittingly or unwittingly, for the production of a considerably
incomplete, biased, and, therefore, tainted volume.


[i] The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
1915-1916. Documents presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Secretary
of State for Foreign Affairs by Viscount Bryce (compiled by Arnold
Toynbee) (London: His Majesty' s Stationary Office). Miscellaneous
No. 31 (1916). P. 653.  In another book Toynbee described that crime
by choosing the title Armenian Atrocities.  The Murder of a Nation.
(London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915).

[ii] Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (Garden City, New
York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1918), Ch. XXIV, pp. 301-325.

[iii] Commandant M. Larcher, La Guerre Turque dans la Guerre Mondiale
(Paris: Chiron and Berger-Levrault, 1926).

[iv] W.E.D. Allen and Paul Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields.  A
History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border, 1828-1921
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953).

[v] Felix Guse, Die Kaukasusfront im Weltkrieg (Liebzig: Koehler und
Amelang, 1940), p. 83.

[vi] Alptekin Müderrisoglu, Sarikamis Drami, vol. 2, (Istanbul:
Kastas, 1988), pp. 352, 366, 403.

[vii] Sevket Süreyya Aydemir, Makedonya'dan Ortaasya'ya Enver Pasa,
vol. 3, 1914-1922 (Istanbul: Remzi, 1972).  On p. 140 the author
identifies these divisions as being the 31st and the 32nd.

[viii] Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv. RM5/ v. 1571.  "Erfahrungen im
türkischen Marineministerium," copy to Avi S12434, pp. 7, 8, 31, 32.
The widespread nature of this practice of self-serving
misrepresentations by Turkish officers is further attested to by other
high-ranking Army officers on duty in wartime Turkey.  Major-General
Kannengiesser, for example, in his book Gallipoli.  Bedeutung und
Verlauf der Kämpfe 1915 expresses "shock and dismay" (erschüttert und
betroffen) about a book on the same subject put out by the Turkish
General Staff in 1922 (and translated by French military historian
Larcher under the title, Campagne des Dardanelles (Paris: Chiron,
1924).  In that book, which Kannengiesser decries as a work full of
"factual errors" (tatsächliche Irrtümer), Turkish military commanders
and staff officers are portrayed as the sole heroes and geniuses of
the Dardannelles campaign - "in complete disregard of [the leadership
of such German commanders as] (General) Sanders, (Admiral) Usedom,
(Vice Admiral) Merten, (Navy Commander) Wossidlo etc."  Mitteilungen
des Bundes der Asienkämpfer, vol. 9, no. 9, September 1, 1927, p. 111.
The article was published in Mitteilungen des Bunndes der
Asienkämpfer,vol. 9, no. 9, September 1, 1927, p. 110.  Another high
ranking German officer, Major General Schlee, in an article titled
"Versuchte Geschichtsfälschung" (The Attempt to Falsify History) gives
expression to his indignation against a Turkish staff officer [Cevdet
Kerim Incedayi] who in a speech at the tombs of Gallipoli's fallen
heroes, exalted the latter, totally ignoring Germany's help "without
which the Turks wouldn't have been able to hold on to the
[Dardanelles].  Cevdet knew this very well but he tried to create
through words something that they by themselves would never have been
able to create.  This is more than dangerous.  With such a bent for
Byzantine habits the Turkish people will never be able to achieve
moral triumphs."  Ibid., vol. 10, no. 11, November 1, 1928,
pp. 120-22.

[ix] Guse, Die Kaukasusfront.  op. cit., p. 107.

[x] The first, Hans Wangenheim, stated that "isolated instances"
(Vereinzelte Vorgänge) of resistance to deportation are being
portrayed as a general uprising. German Foreign Ministry Archives.
A.A. Türkei 183/36 A9528 or, R14085 in the new system of
classification of the documents. No.  140.  For his part, Ambassador
Wolff-Metternich in a comprehensive seventy-two-page report declared
that "There was neither a concerted general uprising, nor was there a
fully valid proof that such a synchronized uprising was planned or
organized."  Moreover, he said, that the few local uprisings in the
summer and fall of 1915 were defensive acts to resist deportation.
A.A. Türkei 183/40 A25749 or, R14093.  The quotation is from p. 14 of
the report.

[xi] J. Pomiankowski, Der Zusammenbruch des Ottomanischen
Reiches. (Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck-und Verlagsanstalt, 1969.
Originally published in 1928). P. 160.

[xii] Here are some of the more glaring errors.  (1) When citing those
historians who have disputed the Armenian genocide "as a matter of
historical fact," the name of Jay Winter, then from Cambridge
University (presently at Yale University), has been juxtaposed along
with the two most notable deniers of that genocide, namely, Stanford
Shaw of UCLA and Bernard Lewis of Princeton (p. 116, n. 37).  The fact
is, however, that Jay Winter is in the forefront of those historians
who not only recognize that historical fact but in several of their
works do contest the orchestrated denial of that fact.  A description
of Winter's respective output can be found in the introduction of the
book of which he is the editor, America and the Armenian Genocide of
1915 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).  (2) Von Jagow
(p. 232) was Foreign Minister of Germany, not ambassador. (3) Ahmet
Izzet (Furgaç) was definitely not involved "in the War of
Independence" (p. 230).  On the contrary, he was intimately connected
with the Sultan's government in Istanbul that the Kemalists, the
organizers of that "War of Independence," were challenging and
ultimately succeeded in toppling and replacing.  Ahmet Izzet Pasa was
not only the first Grand Vizier of that postwar government of the
Sultan, but several times he served in the cabinets of other Grand
Viziers before going in 1920 to Bilecik and then to Ankara to
negotiate a deal with the Kemalists.  He then had a chance to finally
dissociate himself from the Sultan's regime and join the insurgent
Kemalists.  Instead, he returned to Istanbul and rejoined that regime
of the Sultan in whose government he subsequently served first as
Interior Minister (October 21, 1920 - June 13, 1921), and then as
Foreign Minister (June 13, 1921- November 4, 1922).  (4) Vehip Pasa
(Kaçi), likewise, never served in the War of Independence, let alone
as a "front commander" (p. 221).  Though a successful army commander
on the eastern front during World War I, General Vehip had no
involvement at all in the origin, development, or the molding of the
military outcome of the ensuing War of Independence.  On the contrary,
he denounced that war as ruinous for the country, at the same time
castigating its chief architect, Mustafa Kemal, as a self-seeking
adventurer.  Besides, having fled Turkey in 1919 (escaping from a
Bekiraga prison) and returning there only thirty years later, he would
not have had any participation at all in the War of Independence
(1920-1922).  During all this period he wandered all over Europe,
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Palestine, engaging in military consultations for
reforms (Egypt) and in military command activities (Ethiopia) while
Mustafa Kemal's fledgling government through law no. 347 (September
25, 1923) terminated his membership in the Turkish army on October 18,
1923, and four years later, i.e., May 23, 1927, under the provisions
of law no. 1041, he was divested of his Turkish citizenship.  (5)
Halil (Kut) likewise never served in the War of Independence (p. 219),
as far as the actual military campaign is concerned.  He was
considered an arch-Ittihadist, i.e., CUP man, with close family and
ideological ties with his nephew, wartime War Minister Enver, who was
conspiring to topple and replace, M. Kemal with the intent of
restoring the discredited and bankrupt CUP regime.  He nevertheless
assisted from his vantage grounds in Moscow and the Soviet dominated
Transcaucasus in the task of securing and conveying to the Kemalist
front large quantities of Soviet weapons and ammunition as well as
substantial cash in gold.

[xiii] For a fuller discussion of this matter see Vahakn N. Dadrian,
"Ottoman Archives and Denial of the Armenian Genocide." In The
Armenian Genocide. History, Politics, Ethics, ed. by Richard
G. Hovanissian. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), pp. 287-88.

[xiv] In a volume critical of the methods employed in modern Turkish
historiography, a Turkish historian with disdain speaks of a coterie
of Turkish officers who were engaged by the Department of Military
History of the Presidium of the Turkish General Staff for the task of
organizing and cataloging official military documents.  He maintains
that these officers were totally ill equipped to master the task
assigned to them.  "These apostles of official history couldn't even
handle the technicality of placing quotation marks where appropriate.
They would sometimes curtail a report, or unnecessarily use quotation
marks, or even alter its content."  Yalçin Küçük, Türkiye Üzerine
Tezler 1908-1978, vol. 2 (Istanbul: Tekin, 1979), pp. 633-34.

[xv] Feryadim, 2 vols. (Istanbul: Nehir, 1992), 1: 201.

[xvi] Ali Ihsan Sabis, Harb Hatiralarim, 6 vols. (Ankara: Günes,
1951), vol.  2, pp. 165, 179..

[xvii] A.A., BoKon (Botschaft Konstantinopel) 168, no. 3007, May 16,
1915 report of Erzurum's German Vice Consul Scheubner-Richter; ibid.,
169, no.  47, folio 110, June 26, 1915 report; ibid., 170.  July 28,
1915 report.

[xviii] Ibid., 170, Folio no. 3841, August 23, 1915 "confidential"

[xix] Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Role of the Turkish Military in the
Destruction of Ottoman Armenians: A Study in Historical Continuities,"
Journal of Political and Military Sociology, vol. 20, no. 2, Winter
1992, p.  277.

[xx] Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate Archives, Series 22, file Hee,
no. 149.  In the official Turkish publication, Documents, Prime
Ministry, Ankara, 1982, vol. 1, doc. no. 29, Pertev's military rank
and position, as described in the text, is confirmed.

[xxi] For a fuller discussion of this matter see Vahakn N. Dadrian,
"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
East Studies," 34:1 (February 2002) pp. 73-75.

[xxii] A.A. Türkei 183/54, A. 44055, Summer 1918 report, p. 12.

[xxiii] Dadrian, "The Armenian Question," op.cit., p. 75.

Prof. Vahakn Dadrian is the world's foremost authority on the
Armenian Genocide. Since 1999 he is Director of Genocide Research at
the Zoryan Institute.

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