Let me give you a hypothetical scenario :
You go into a bar just after a brawl has ended. You see two parties, both heavily bruised and agitated and both held back by others trying to stop the fight.
One of them is very loud and aggressive and keeps screaming nonstop:
“He is the guilty party! Don’t hold me; hold him! He is the one who needs a good beating. He threw the first punch. Look, I am bleeding. Then he grabbed this 500 lb bier keg and repeatedly hit my face with it. There were three armed guys helping him, but noone helped me. I lost my friends: two men, four women, and six children. They just died due to lethal blows thrown by this barbaric aggressor. You don’t have to ask for his side of the story because he is a denier. I am a great guy, belong to the same religion as you, and as honest as it gets. Trust me. Just condemn him. Go ahead. And then help me teach him a lesson.”
Would you immediately take this screamer’s side and condemn the other guy—who happens to be a silent type, not a big talker, and too proud to defend himself even when his interests are at stake?
The silent type, in contrast, just says “ Please ask around first and research all the facts. Then whatever decision you come to is fine with me. But things aren’t as the screamer makes them out to be. “
What would you do?
Would you ignore the silent type anyway and just go with the screamer?
Or would you try to talk to the silent type to find out about the other side of the story?
And what would you do if the silent type alerts you:
“Don’t take the screamer’s words at face value. I know him well enough not to trust his word. This screamer is the kind of guy who would enjoy your gracious hospitality at your home all day and cut your throat, rape your wife, and escape with your money at night. Still not finished with you, he would tell all in his new neighborhood that he was the one attacked and mauled by you. He would even write shameful fabrications, impossible falsifications, to fill a book and make films, too. But we all know what really happened, don’t we? He hit me first when I wasn’t looking. I was only defending myself after that attack from behind. ”
The metaphor above, of course, is only a vehicle to make you analyze your motives and inclinations.
If you are the kind who would take the screamer’s outrageous claims at face value, for the sake of friendship, bias, or whatever else, then you do not need to read the rest. Facts really do not matter to you anyway. Why bother learning the truth?
But if you a fair-minded, truth-seeker, who wants to solve a conflict fairly and bring peace, then you would talk to the accused, ignored, censored, and silent type and, therefore, you should read the rest of this essay.
Read it because facts do matter to you.
Warm regards to all readers and happy holidays!
AN SCHOLARLY ANALYSIS BY
Turkish Coalition of America, www.tc-america.org
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW-Suite 1000, NW Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: 202-370-1399 | Fax: 202-370-1398 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CORRECTING THE RECORD ON H.RES.252
The Resolution Skews the Historical Argument:
STATEMENT #1: ‘THIS RESOLUTION IS CITED AS THE ‘AFFIRMATION OF THE UNITED STATES
RECORD ON THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION’.
FACT: The resolution presents a one-sided selection of the U.S. record.
The complete U.S. record on events in eastern Anatolia during the closing
years of the Ottoman Empire contains reports depicting a tragedy, but
offers no proof of genocide. The U.S. record also includes reports of
respected envoys, who documented the Armenian Revolt and questioned
accounts of massacres. H.Res.252 willfully omits this record.
– Admiral Mark Bristol, U.S. High Commissioner to the Ottoman Empire
Admiral Bristol’s often-overlooked annals contain 33,000 items including eyewitness
accounts and investigator reports that reveal deliberate misinformation about atrocities.
(From Bristol’s “Report on Operations” for the week of November 7, 1920.)
– Colonel Charles Furlong, U.S. Army Intelligence Officer & Delegate to Paris Peace
In a speech, Colonel Furlong declared, “We hear half the truth when we hear of the
massacres of Armenians in Turkey; we’ll hear the other half when we hear of the
massacres of Turks by Armenians and Greeks.” (July 25, 1921.)
– Captain Emory Niles and Mr. Arthur Sutherland, U.S. Government Commissioners
While investigating the situation in eastern Anatolia, Captain Niles and Mr. Sutherland
held Armenians responsible for the damage and destruction in the region. They observed,
“only quarters left at all intact in the cities of Van were the Armenian quarters, […] while
the Musulman quarters were completely destroyed.” (See U.S. 867.00/1005, Philip Brown
of Princeton University to William Carr, Princeton, 11 October 1919, as referenced in
Justin McCarthy’s Death and Exile, p. 225)
– Robert Lansing, U.S. Secretary of State
After the war, a genuine effort was made to distinguish between propaganda and fact.
Secretary of State Robert Lansing played a key role in the deliberations of the
Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of
Penalties for Violations of the Laws and Customs of the War at the Paris Peace
Conference in 1919. Lansing objected to the commission holding trials for the ‘Armenian
massacres’ and to the creation of so-called crimes against the laws of humanity. He
reasoned that creating new laws to punish the Turks would not only offend general legal
principles against ex post facto laws, but also would tread into uncharted areas of
international jurisprudence. He stated, that he knew, “of no international statute or
convention making a violation of the laws and customs of war an international crime.”
Ultimately, the commission omitted these crimes and the associated charges.
(“Memorandum of Reservations presented by the Representatives of the United States to
the Report of the Commission on Responsibilities,” April 4, 1919, pp. 51-63)
– Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire: An Unreliable Witness.
Those who summon Ambassador Henry Morgenthau as impartial and authoritative part of
the U.S. record on the so-called Armenian genocide ignore the many faults in his
reporting. They also suppress reports by U.S. officials who tell of the suffering of the
Muslim population at the hands of Armenians and contradict reports by the Morgenthau’s
Armenian sources and staff.
First, Morgenthau’s reports were based on hearsay only. He never traveled beyond
Istanbul during his 26 months of ambassadorial service. He never visited the regions
where the alleged great crimes were committed. He did not speak Turkish, Greek, French
or Armenian, the four languages of the Ottoman capital. And, he misled by selective
reporting. On November 26, 1917, Morgenthau confessed in a letter to President Wilson
that he intended to write a book vilifying Turks and Germans to, “win a victory for the war
policy of the government.” He conceded that his works were edited and occasionally
altered by his Armenian assistants: Arshag K. Schmavonian and Hagop S. Andonian,
neither of whom visited the areas in rebellion, but were tightly connected to the rebellious
Armenian leadership. It is therefore not surprising that Morgenthau was deeply critical of
the Ottoman leadership and painted them in the most negative light possible.
Second, Morgenthau scorned the scruples of truth: “I have instructed Andonian to take my
diary and copy it with some elaborations of his own. Of course this relieves me of all
responsibility for any error.” In a Feb. 2, 1920 letter, the U.S. Consul General in Beirut
and then London, W. Stanley Hollis, wrote to the Secretary of State severely questioning
the honesty and reliability of Schmavonian, who was still in the employ of the U.S.
Embassy in Istanbul.
Third, in his biography, “Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story,” Morgenthau betrays his racist
hatred toward Turks (“humanity and civilization never for a moment enters their mind,”
“They are possessed of “an inferior blood”) and his admiration for Armenians (“They are
so superior to the Turks intellectually and morally.”).
Fourth, several of Morgenthau’s consuls sent inflammatory stories to him, customarily in
the form of unsubstantiated assertions of atrocities. They are the most oft-cited evidence
offered by proponents of the genocide allegation. Morgenthau simply withheld conflicting
consular reports to avoid undermining his wartime propaganda. U.S. Consul in Mersin,
Edward Natan, for example, reported to Morgenthau on August 30, 1915 that the railway
route from Tarsus to Adana was full of Armenians, that the Ottoman Government
organized the transportation in the most orderly fashion, and that the government assisted
needy Armenians. That report was concealed from the U.S. State Department by
Sadly, even under Morgenthau’s successors, the tradition of suppressing reports that do
not condemn the Ottoman state continued. On February 2, 1920, W. Stanley Hollis, the
U.S. Consul General in Beirut and then London, felt it necessary to write directly to the
Secretary of State voicing extreme doubt about the quality of the reporting produced by
the U.S. Embassy in Istanbul. He accused the Embassy of disregarding his reports and
falling under the sway of the Embassy’s Armenian translator, Mr. Arshag Schmavonian.
Hollis wrote, “Although in all of my dispatches, and in my letters to the Embassy, I
confined myself to statements of actual fact …such reports of facts and actual
occurrences were not well received by the Embassy. … [T]he attitude of the Embassy at
[Istanbul] towards a Consular Officer’s reports was largely influenced by the opinions of its
Armenian Dragoman, Mr. Schmavonian…”
Similarly, the infamous “Blue Book,” the much-referenced portion of the British record on
the fate of the Ottoman Armenians, was by and large a product of the wartime
propaganda according to a March 16, 1966 letter penned by Arnold Toynbee, one of the
Blue Book’s authors. According to a biography on Toynbee, William H. McNeill sees
Toynbee’s work on the Armenian massacres as “a disinformation book favoring the Allied
states and aiming at shaping the public opinion, which does not go beyond the obsessive
task of humiliating the Turks.” (Arnold Toynbee – A Life by William H. McNeill, Oxford,
STATEMENT #2: ‘VAST MAJORITY OF EXPERTS, INCLUDING THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF GENOCIDE SCHOLARS (IAGS) CONFIRM THAT EVENTS OF 1915 CONSTITUTE GENOCIDE’
FACT: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Genocide accusations are
too important for fleeting or skewed analysis. A large group of reputable
and independent scholars and a vast body of scholarly work disputes the
characterization of the mutual mass killings of World War I in eastern
Anatolia as an Armenian genocide.
– Experts who dispute the characterization of the mutual mass killings among
Ottoman Muslims and Armenians alike as genocide include:
Arend Jan Boekestjin, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Youssef Courbage, National Institute of Demographic Studies, Paris, France
Paul Dumont, March Bloch University, Strasbourg, France
Bertil Dunér, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden
Gwynne Dyer, Military Historian and Journalist
Edward J. Erickson, Birmingham University
Philippe Fargues, National Institute of Demographic Studies, Paris, France
Micheal M. Gunter, Tennessee Technical University
Eberhard Jäckel, Stuttgart University
Yitzchak Kerem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Bernard Lewis, Princeton University
Guenther Lewy, Massachusetts University
Heath W. Lowry, Princeton University
Andrew Mango, University of London
Michael E. Meeker, University of Washington
Justin McCarthy, University of Louisville
Hikmet Ozdemir, Turkish History Council in Ankara, Turkey
Stephen Pope, former Oxford modern-history scholar
Michael Radu, Foreign Policy Research Institute
Jeremy Salt, Melbourne University
Stanford J. Shaw, UCLA
Norman Stone, Bilkent University
Hew Strachan, Oxford University
Elizabeth-Anne Wheal, Cambridge University
Brian G. Williams, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Gilles Veinstein, Collège de France
Malcom E. Yapp, University of London
Robert Zeidner, University of Utah
– The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) is not an impartial
scientific or scholarly body.
Identifying the organization as “the leading body of scholars on genocide” misrepresents
the diversity of the organization’s membership, which includes students, activists,
journalists, and poets, in addition to genocide scholars.
IAGS does not test members for factual or historical knowledge about any claimed
genocide, for the elements of genocide under the authoritative U.N. Genocide Convention
of 1948, or for knowledge of genocide precedents rendered by national or international
courts. Its position on the Armenian allegation of genocide was adopted in a closed
meeting without any opportunity for those who hold an opposing viewpoint to present their
Strangely, the IAGS’s position on the tragedy in Bosnia has been unusually muted,
despite the fact that the crimes against Bosnian Muslims or the massacre of 8,000 men
and boys in Srebrenica have been adjudicated as genocide. Fully six of the eleven
statements or resolutions adopted by the IAGS advocate for the Armenian viewpoint.
There is no IAGS statement on Srebrenica and the IAGS’ President has been widely
criticized for stating that Srebrenica did not constitute the crime of genocide, leading to
claims of an anti-Muslim bias.
STATEMENT #3: “UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 96(1) and the
united nations convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide itself
recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations
intended to prevent and punish by codifying existing standards.”
FACT: H.Res.252 flagrantly misstates the United Nations’ position on the
issue. According to U.N. spokespersons, “There is no indication that the
U.N. has taken an official position on this.”
– U.N. Spokesman Farhan Haq stated unequivocally on October 5, 2000 “The United
Nations has not approved or endorsed a report labeling the Armenian experience
Mr. Haq repeated this statement again on April 9, 2007, when H.Res.252’s predecessor
H.Res.106 made the same assertion. Mr. Haq stated “the U.N. does not take a position on
events prior to the establishment of the organization. For this reason, the claim that the
U.N. ‘corroborates’ any archival account or population figure is incorrect.”
Mr. Haq was referring the report of Benjamin Whitaker, Executive Director of the
nongovernmental Minority Rights Group (MRG) made upon a request of the United
Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Mr.
Whitaker was the author of a book entitled, “The Armenians,” in which he argued for the
Armenian version of events to the exclusion of all other views.
Yet, after deliberations, the Sub-Commission decided not to accept Whitaker’s report.
The U.S. delegate, Mr. John Carey, stated, “It is certainly impossible to apply juridical
norms retrospectively and in the future one should be extremely careful when using words
qualifying such vigorous events. … Certainly there exist other persons that the Special
Reporter [Mr. Whitaker] should have consulted…. all existing sources have not been taken
into account and the matter has not been elaborated sufficiently in depth. … The question
of genocide has not been elucidated sufficiently.”
STATEMENT #4: ‘1.5 MILLION INNOCENT ARMENIANS PERISHED AND THE PROOF IS
FACT: The presumption that 1.5 million were killed has no statistical or
scholarly basis. The figure likely inflates the Armenian death toll, while
ignoring Muslim and Jewish casualties. To dispute the numbers is not to
challenge the existence of a tragedy, though it may challenge its scale. It is
immoral to count only one side’s deaths while denying the other side’s
suffering caused by the same chain of events.
– Population estimates of prewar Ottoman Armenians do not exceed 1.6 million.
Christian missionaries and foreign diplomats estimated the prewar Ottoman Armenian
population at between 1 million and 1.6 million. Likewise, George Montgomery – President
Wilson’s emissary to the Paris Peace Conference – estimates the Armenian’s prewar
population at 1.6 million.
– There is no consensus among scholars on the Armenian death toll.
Counting civilian losses during wartime is not an exact science, as demonstrated by the
civilian body count controversies surrounding the ongoing war in Iraq. According to
George Montgomery, U.S. Representative to the Paris Peace Conference, Armenian
wartime losses did not exceed 500,000.
– The number of Armenians who died in the World War I years and their causes can
at best be conjectured.
Scholars in Ottoman history generally agree that the Armenian deaths resulted from a
multiplicity of causes: inter-communal warfare, the conditions of the forced relocations,
murder, famine, disease, deficient medical care and austere conditions of life during
wartime. The fact remains that there is no reliable assessment of the Armenian death toll
or its categorization according to causation.
STATEMENT #5: ‘NO ONE HOLDS MODERN TURKEY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED.’
FACT: Claims that the resolution is not aimed at Turkey should be
dismissed out of hand. In an April 24th rally in 2005, Congressman Frank
Pallone, Co-Chair of the Armenian Caucus, declared that “it is important
not only to recognize the genocide, but we have to make it clear that those
who committed it pay restitution.”
– Genocide allegations imply U.S. involvement in what some consider a border
The Armenian Diaspora’s lead organizations are on the record for demanding reparations
and land from the modern Republic of Turkey. These claims have been publicly amplified
by the lead sponsors of the congressional resolution. With this purpose, the timeline
covered by the perennial congressional resolutions over the course of years has changed
from covering 1915-1917 to 1915-1923. The latter period includes the four formative years
of the young Republic of Turkey and the Turkish National Resistance Movement, whose
legitimacy was established with the formation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on
April 23, 1920.
STATEMENT #6: ‘HITLER WAS INSPIRED BY WHAT HAPPENED TO ARMENIANS.’
FACT: The single version of the speech in which the quoted phrase
appears was found insufficiently reliable by Nuremberg prosecutors and
was rejected as evidence.
– The alleged quote is attributed to a 1945 Times of London article that cited the
quote as having been included in Hitler’s 1939 address to his commanders at
The Nuremberg tribunal entered into evidence two official versions of the Obersalzburg
address in captured German military records. Neither document contains any reference to
Hitler’s remark about Armenians. In fact, neither document refers to the Jews; Hitler’s
address was an anti-Polish tirade.
Dr. Robert John, a historian and political analyst of Armenian descent from New York City,
declared in his paper “Information and Misinformation,” that a commonly used quotation of
an alleged statement by Adolf Hitler concerning the Armenian massacres was a forgery
and should not be used.
Dr. John demonstrated how he had traced the original document in the Military Branch of
the U.S. National Archives after being handed a folder bearing the quotation at a rally
outside the United Nations building in New York following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
(From The Armenian Reporter, Vol. XVII, NO. 40 August 2, 1984.)
MISPLACED MORAL ARGUMENTS:
STATEMENT #7: ‘U.S. FOREIGN POLICY MUST REFLECT OUR MORAL OBLIGATION TO UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS’
FACT: Congress is neither the conscience of the world, nor its historian.
– Sacrificing an important, long-term strategic relationship for the shortsighted
political gains from appeasing a limited constituency is neither sound nor moral
U.S. national interests lay in maintaining a strong U.S.-Turkish relationship, a relationship
that cannot survive the repeated efforts of the Congress to sit in judgment on Turkey’s
– The Committee’s insistence on substituting their judgment for that of international
bodies and without due process of law is no moral victory.
Rather than denying outrages against Armenians, the Ottoman Empire tried 1,673
individuals by court-martials for crimes committed against Armenians.
Moreover, whereas the Turkish government has opened its archives to the use of researchers,
Armenian archives and relevant sources remain inaccessible. The U.S. should support a Joint
Historical Commission to determine what the facts of history are and refrain from
prejudging what such a commission might discover.
– The U.S.’s moral obligation to uphold human rights cannot be fulfilled by handpicking
from historical tragedies on the basis of effective lobbying by one group
over another or by ignoring the historical massacres and vast abuses committed by
Tragedies that are truly forgotten and for which Congress would not dream to seek
– English policies that claimed the lives of one million Irish in the mid-
– Belgian King Leopold II’s insatiable greed that halved the population of
Congo during his reign,
– the genocide of South West Africa’s Herero and Namaqua tribes
by colonial Germany at the turn of the 20th century.
Tragically, massacres committed against the Turks and Muslims in the Balkans, the
Crimea and the Caucasus are also forgotten.
By some estimates, nearly 10 million Ottoman Muslims were slaughtered and ethnically
cleansed from these regions, millions arriving in impoverished wartime Ottoman Anatolia
as refugees, as the Ottoman Empire contracted during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
In the Balkans alone 1,750,000 Ottoman Muslims were slaughtered and 1 million were
forcibly removed from their homelands. During the same years and in the same region
that H.Res.252 covers, hundreds and thousands of Ottoman Muslims were massacred and
forcefully removed from their homelands as the Russian/Armenian invasion and
Armenian Revolt ensued.
STATEMENT #9: ‘HOW IS IT THAT IT IS NEVER A GOOD TIME TO PASS THIS RESOLUTION!’
FACT: It is never a good time to legislate history. H.Res.252, like previous
incarnations of the so-called ‘Armenian genocide’ resolution, seeks to pave
the way to try and convict a foreign state in a forum that lacks the requisite
– H.Res.252 undermines the ongoing reconciliation process between the
governments of Turkey and Armenia.
Prior to the Committee’s vote, Turkey and Armenia were on track to ratify protocols that
will establish a historical commission to investigate this very question. The status of those
protocols is significantly less certain today. Passing the resolution would strengthen the
hands of those in Armenia who are seeking to bury the protocols.
– H.Res.252 comes at a time when the U.S. critically needs to demonstrate that it is
not engaged in a war against Islam.
Yet the resolution glorifies the U.S. record which displays extraordinary sensitivity to
suffering Christians juxtaposed against the U.S.’s and absolute indifference toward
suffering Muslims during the same years and in the same region.
Background brief by
The Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, Washington DC,
Dec 21, 2010
H. RES. 252 AND CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS ON THE EVENTS OF 1915
Passage of the Armenian resolution by the House of Representatives will have concrete, immediate, and grave consequences.
The strategic, political, and economic relationship between the U.S. and Turkey is as strong as ever. But passage by either house of Congress of a measure that mischaracterizes the events of 1915 will unquestionably provoke strong public reaction in Turkey, which will drive a wedge between our two countries, hamper our “model partnership,” and set back our many joint efforts to bring peace and security to the Middle East, Afghanistan, Caucasus, Balkans, and other troubled spots. Moreover, passing a resolution will not put the issue to rest, as many members of Congress surely wish.
The Armenian resolution seeks to enforce an oversimplified and distorted narrative of complex historical events, the full record of which reveals human suffering by both Armenian and Turkish citizens of the Ottoman Empire. The full record recounts how Armenian nationalists, siding with an invading Russian army, secretly armed and rose in rebellion, and committed horrendous massacres against the local Muslim populations in eastern Anatolia.
Turks and Armenians, who each differently interpret their shared history, need to attain a just memory. Therefore, the historic protocols signed in October 2009 with the strong support of the U.S. Administration are of great and continuing importance. The protocols take a sensible approach towards normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. They also will establish a framework for the joint study of the shared history of Turks and Armenians. The ratification process now stands at a sensitive juncture. Passage of H. Res. 252 risks dealing a serious blow to Turkish and U.S. efforts to achieve reconciliation in the Caucasus on both the Turkish-Armenian and Armenian-Azerbaijani tracks.
“Genocide” is not a convenient catchphrase. Rather, it is a crime defined by law with legal consequences. To sustain a charge for this crime, indisputable evidence must be tested in, and ruled by, a proper court, not by a legislative body, which is not equipped for this task.
Also, the resolution’s main supporters have frequently and openly boasted that passage is but a stepping stone toward territorial claims and outrageous financial penalties against Turkey. Far from ending the controversy, the Armenian resolution promises to escalate it further.