Armenian History and the Question of Genocide

In old English practice, the writ of quo warranto—an order issued by authority of the king—was one of the most ancient and important writs. It has not, however.

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Some among them condoned the Young Turk policy.

‘A Question of Genocide’… and More Questions

Others confidentially reported to their superiors in Germany about the slaughter of the Armenian civilian population. Many Russians saw for themselves the devastation wreaked upon the Armenian communities when the Russian Army occupied parts of Anatolia. Many Arabs in Syria where most of the deportees were sent saw for themselves the appalling condition to which the Armenian survivors had been reduced. Lastly, many Turkish officials were witnesses as participants in the Armenian Genocide. A number of them gave testimony under oath during the post-war tribunals convened to try the Young Turk conspirators who organized the Armenian Genocide.

What was the response of the international community to the Armenian Genocide?

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The international community condemned the Armenian Genocide. In May , Great Britain, France, and Russia advised the Young Turk leaders that they would be held personally responsible for this crime against humanity. There was a strong public outcry in the United States against the mistreatment of the Armenians.

At the end of the war, the Allied victors demanded that the Ottoman government prosecute the Young Turks accused of wartime crimes.

The Armenian Massacre Still Haunts Its Last Survivors 100 Years Later - National Geographic

Relief efforts were also mounted to save "the starving Armenians. On the other hand, despite the moral outrage of the international community, no strong actions were taken against the Ottoman Empire either to sanction its brutal policies or to salvage the Armenian people from the grip of extermination. Moreover, no steps were taken to require the postwar Turkish governments to make restitution to the Armenian people for their immense material and human losses.

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On the night of April 24, , the Turkish government placed under arrest over Armenian community leaders in Constantinople. Hundreds more were apprehended soon after. They were all sent to prison in the interior of Anatolia, where most were summarily executed. The Young Turk regime had long been planning the Armenian Genocide and reports of atrocities being committed against the Armenians in the eastern war zones had been filtering in during the first months of The Ministry of War had already acted on the government's plan by disarming the Armenian recruits in the Ottoman Army, reducing them to labor battalions and working them under conditions equaling slavery.

The incapacitation and methodic reduction of the Armenian male population, as well as the summary arrest and execution of the Armenian leadership marked the earliest stages of the Armenian Genocide. These acts were committed under the cover of a news blackout on account of the war and the government proceeded to implement its plans to liquidate the Armenian population with secrecy. Therefore, the Young Turks regime's true intentions went undetected until the arrests of April As the persons seized that night included the most prominent public figures of the Armenian community in the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, everyone was alerted about the dimensions of the policies being entertained and implemented by the Turkish government. Their death presaged the murder of an ancient civilization.

April 24 is, therefore, commemorated as the date of the unfolding of the Armenian Genocide. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, describes genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Because the U. Convention was adopted in , thirty years after the Armenian Genocide, Armenians worldwide have sought from their respective governments formal acknowledgment of the crimes committed during W.

Countries like France, Argentina, Greece, and Russia, where the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants live, have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. However, as a matter of policy, the present-day Republic of Turkey adamantly denies that a genocide was committed against the Armenians during W.

Moreover, Turkey dismisses the evidence about the atrocities as mere allegations and regularly obstructs efforts for acknowledgment. Affirming the truth about the Armenian Genocide, therefore, has become an issue of international significance. The recurrence of genocide in the twentieth century has made the reaffirmation of the historic acknowledgment of the criminal mistreatment of the Armenians by Turkey all the more a compelling obligation for the international community.

Forget the Armenian Genocide. Why should we be concerned with something that happened 75 years ago and 8, miles away? Genocide is a crime against humanity, and there is no statue of limitations on genocide -- not even one 75 years old. The fact that a major crime against humanity takes place 8, miles away from the United States makes it no less a crime.

Was Hitler justified in killing Jews because he was 5, miles away? It was the old Ottoman Empire that committed the crime, but present-day Turkey becomes an accomplice after the fact by its expensive campaign of denial, denial not only for itself but for the old Ottoman Empire. This principle of becoming an accomplice by the cover-up of a crime is part of the rule of law. America was the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide and continued to recognize it until misguided officials sought favor with the Republic of Turkey by joining in an ugly, and quite unnecessary, distortion of history.

The Armenian Genocide was witnessed by hundreds of American missionaries in the Ottoman Empire who worked among the Armenians and have testified to their destruction by the Ottoman government. The Genocide was also witnessed by American consular officials, stationed in the areas inhabited by the Armenians, who reported it to the American ambassador in Istanbul.

Ambassador Morgenthau to continue the strongest possible protest to the Ottoman government on behalf of the Armenians. The Armenian Genocide was well-reported in the American press, and the U. Senate held hearing which affirmed its reality.

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President Woodrow Wilson agreed to draw the boundaries of a free Armenia and sent a message to Congress asking for permission to establish a U. At their hearts, this great and generous people [the Americans] have made the case of Armenia their own. The American people raised millions of dollars to aid the victims of the Genocide. Our older citizens will remember aid to the "starving Armenians. Probably Armenian was known to the American school child in only a little less than England All these Americans who reported the Armenian Genocide were biased against us.

They were not telling the truth. There was no reason for the Americans to lie. America was a neutral power during the time of the Armenian Genocide. In fact America never did go to war against Turkey but kept up diplomatic relations so that it could intervene on behalf of the Armenians.

Anyway, who are the Turks to accuse the Americans of lying? Why not leave historical questions to the historians? Why should the issue of the Armenian Genocide be fought out in Congress?

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The Turks have adopted the line of "leave Armenian history to the historians" because they are losing their propaganda battle. The issue of the Armenian Genocide is not a question of historical truth, that has been settled; it is rather an issue of morality and the acceptance of the truth.

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History is too important to leave to historians. The abandonment of the Armenians was not lost on Hitler. Hitler said before sending his troops into Poland, "Go, go kill without mercy. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians. Why should America acknowledge the Armenian Genocide now? America is the moral leader of the world. We must set the record straight, to rehabilitate America's innocence, extricate the U.

No principled Turk should be offended by the truth. After all, a large number of Armenian survivors of the Genocide owe their lives to devout Turks. To be a patriotic Turk does not require hating Armenians or distorting history. There is more than one side to every story.

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Truth is not divisible by two. Of course not. Genocide is so blatant an evil that it has no other side to the story. It is your word against ours. The Turks themselves have confessed in earlier times. Several were sentenced to death. Why do Armenians get all the sympathy, Turks died too.