This is a provocative title. The accusation of genocide in 1915-16 is common, but was there really a 30-year genocide, implying a steady, continuous campaign with one goal in mind, lasting from the late Ottoman period to the early days of the Turkish republic? Through all the social and political changes in these 30 years, did the Ottoman and Turkish governments have the same unchanging murderous mindset?
These are just two of the questions this book poses for the reader, if already pre-answered by the authors in the title. Morris and Ze’evi divide their accusation of genocide into four “staggered” parts: the pre-1894 background, the massacres of 1894-96, their claim of the genocide of the Armenians in 1915-16 and their further claim of the destruction of Greeks, Assyrians and the “remaining” Armenians from 1919 to 1924.
In the introduction, they buttress their arguments with a reference to Taner Akçam, who, they say, wrote that the founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk,” described the “mass murder of Armenians” (p. 4) as a shameful act. In fact, it is the “Armenian genocide’’ that Akçam claims Atatürk described as a shameful act, which he could not have done since the word “genocide” had not yet been coined.
Furthermore, Atatürk did not condemn a specific shameful act (faziha), but only the general “shame” or “disgrace” (fazihat or fazahat, as reproduced in the Turkish text) that he connected with the early stages of the war. Even if he had the relocation of the Armenians in mind, he does not refer to it, let alone mass murder or genocide, only to the “calamities’’ of the past. By comparison, on other occasions he specifically referred to Armenians as the massacrers of Muslims.
Moreover, these versions of what Mustafa Kemal said do not include the context. He was speaking in the early 1920s, when the British government was trying to deflect outrage at the atrocities committed by the Greek army by renewing accusations of “Turkish” atrocities against Armenians. Propaganda cover for Greek atrocities, and not the past suffering of the Armenians, was the main point of his remarks.
Most of the essential groundwork is missing from this book. The authors do not define genocide as they understand it. There is no overview of the dominant political, social and economic characteristics of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century. Many accusations are repeated as fact and, while the authors refer to some Ottoman documents, the bulk of their material is drawn from hostile, biased or hardly neutral sources.
They acknowledge assistance in the translation of German documents but do not say whether they or someone else selected and translated the Ottoman ones. Given the highly political nature of the Armenian question, the readers of this book are entitled to know. The authors produce no evidence for their claim that the Ottoman interior minister, Talat Paşa, destroyed every incriminating government document he could find (p. 8) and not an iota of proof for their further claim that the archives have been repeatedly purged in the life of the Turkish republic.
Finally, with regard to the title of this book, while in the 19th century, Europeans referred to “Turkey in Europe” and “Turkey in Asia,” there was no Turkish state until 1923. Almost all the years of this study were part of Ottoman history, yet the authors put “Turkey” in the title and continually refer to “Turks” when Ottoman Muslims were a blend of the empire’s many ethnicities.
Morris and Ze’evi begin their analysis with the introduction of the Ottoman constitution in December 1876, at a time the empire was about to be shaken by the biggest crisis in its history. In April-May, Bulgarians incited by revolutionary nationalists set upon Muslim villagers, killing hundreds if not thousands. Irregular Ottoman soldiers known as başıbozuks (broken heads) then suppressed the rebels amidst considerable carnage.
This was the “year of the three sultans”: Abdülaziz, dying apparently by his own hand on May 30; Murad V, his successor, deposed on August 31 on grounds of mental instability; and Abdülhamit II, succeeding immediately and ruling until 1909. By the end of the year, the crisis in the Balkans had grown into the likelihood of war with Russia. Contrary to the authors’ claim that Abdülhamit sent the başıbozuks to quash the rebellion (p. 16), it had already been suppressed by the time he took the throne. Europe was outraged by reports of atrocities against Christians. While repeating William Gladstone’s slander of the Turks (“one great anti-human specimen of humanity,’’ p. 17), the authors ignore the infinitely greater massacres and ethnic cleansing of the Bulgarian Muslim civilian population during the war that followed (April 24, 1877 — March 3, 1878).
Kemal Karpat writes that about 300,000 Muslims (mostly Turks) were killed and about one million fled, only a quarter able to return to their homes when the war was over. Queen Victoria was so outraged by reports of atrocities committed by the Russian army and bandit gangs trailing in its wake that she wanted the fleet sent to Istanbul. These crimes against Muslims have no place in this book.
While national feeling had been growing among Armenians, it was the Congress of Berlin (June–July 1878) — convened to bring about a diplomatic settlement of the war — that marked the birth of the “Armenian question.” The authors refer to the treaty that followed and the undertaking of the Ottoman government to introduce “improvements and reforms” in provinces inhabited by Armenians, while failing to deal with the substance of these “reforms” or why the British government, in particular, was so determined to impose them on the sultan.
Their reference to European insistence on “fair treatment and guarantees of security” (p. 19) for Armenians takes attention away from the core of what was being planned, and what they do not mention: the “ethnographic” separation of Armenians and Kurds in a scheme of provincial reorganization to be carried out under British supervision. The project was divisive, destabilizing, impracticable and completely unacceptable to the sultan, his ministers and the Kurds.
While there was strong humanitarian support for the Armenians, Britain’s ulterior motive was the building of a bulwark against Russian penetration of the eastern Ottoman provinces. References by British politicians, missionaries, “humanitarians” and journalists to “Armenia” — in a region where, with some exceptions (such as Van province, whose population was about 30 percent Armenian), the Armenians constituted small and scattered minorities — only heightened Ottoman and Kurdish suspicions that what these projected “reforms” were really all about was laying the groundwork for Armenian autonomy, which, once achieved, would inevitably lead to demands for independence, resulting in the further partition of the empire.
The “somewhat paranoid” (p. 38) Abdülhamit was justified in many of his suspicions of European governments. The British had exploited Ottoman weakness by appropriating Cyprus just before the diplomats met at Berlin and decided to take much of the Balkans out of Ottoman hands. France occupied Tunisia in 1881, and Britain invaded Egypt in 1882. Both countries were sovereign Ottoman possessions, even if local rulers had a wide remit of autonomy. Bulgaria annexed Ottoman “eastern Rumelia” in 1885, and more territory was to be taken in the coming years.
At Berlin, the Armenians failed to achieve what other Ottoman Christians had secured with European support: independence, or at least a measure of autonomy. But European sympathy was still encouraging. Berlin was the trigger for a cycle of Armenian provocations and Ottoman suppression that, in the calculations of the Armenian political committees, would keep the Europeans involved and perhaps shame them into more forceful intervention.
The size of the Armenian population was a political football from the Congress of Berlin onwards. The authors repeat (p. 22) the gross exaggeration of the Armenian patriarchate, in 1880, that more Armenians “alone” lived in the six eastern Anatolian provinces than Muslims (1.5 million to 1 million). They quote from Servet Mutlu’s demographic analysis, but do not mention his figures for the six provinces in 1897: 2,332,760 Muslims, 555,902 Armenians and 47,903 Greeks.
They do not even refer to the standard work on Ottoman demographics, Kemal Karpat’s Ottoman Population 1830-1914: Demographic and Social Characteristics, which is based on official census figures and gives only slightly different figures from Mutlu: 670, 318 Christians and 2,509,408 Muslims. Quoting Mutlu inaccurately, they give figures of more than 1 million Greeks and about 1.1 million Armenians living in Anatolia in 1897. In fact, Mutlu’s figures are for Greeks and Armenians living in Anatolia “and Istanbul,’’ which had a combined Greek-Armenian population of close to half a million.
In a rapidly developing climate of violence in the eastern Anatolian provinces, the events around the Sasun rebellion in 1894 were the most dramatic. The authors’ narrative is one that has been repeated countless times since the late 19th century. They concede that “outside agitators did play some role in Sason’’ (p. 56), but otherwise dump all responsibility onto Turkish or Kurdish shoulders.
Armenians are said to have testified before a commission of inquiry that the Kurds were saying they had received orders from Ottoman authorities “ to exterminate the Armenians’’ (p. 56). The source is a British consul, Hammond Shipley, but only in a buried endnote do the authors add Shipley’s qualification that “ the above story may or may not be true’’ (endnote 47, p. 517).
Lurid claims of women jumping to their deaths from cliffs, of Armenians being hacked to death and rivers running with blood (pp. 58-59) are repeated as fact. A Kurdish chief is said to have taken 30 Sasun girls into his harem while 17 others were “ravished’’ by Kurds and Turks (pp. 60 and 83). Elsewhere women are taken for pleasure (p. 183) and carried off as concubines (p. 122). Their claim that the Kurds themselves mutilated the bodies of Kurds (p. 57) is completely implausible, especially against the evidence taken on the spot by Ottoman authorities of murder and mutilation by Armenians.
The sultan was reported to have told troops and the Kurds “to spare no one or nothing . . . for their King and Prophet’’ (p. 60). The source of this accusation was the unsigned report of an American missionary at Bitlis, more than 50 miles away. Indeed, none of the consuls, missionaries or newspaper correspondents who fed these stories to the outside world were anywhere near the scene in the Sasun region.
The authors repeat the statement by the American minister in Istanbul, Alexander Terrell, that Armenian insurrection was responsible for the violence but then dismiss this with their opinion that he was “taken in by the deceit’’ (p. 61). Again, only in an endnote do they refer to the conclusion of the most senior American missionary in the Ottoman Empire, Cyrus Hamlin, the founder of Robert College (now Boğaziçi University), that Armenian revolutionaries were the cause of the violence at Sasun.
What is missing in the Morris-Ze’evi narrative except for incidental references is the Ottoman account of what happened around Sasun, based not on hearsay but day-to-day military field reports compiled on the spot. The authors refer to the Yildiz Palace archives but make no use of the three-volume collection of palace documents that track the rebellion as it developed.
The authors’ claim that between 3,000 and 6,000 Armenians were killed (p. 60) in the Sasun region is wildly inflated. Evidence given at a commission of inquiry indicates that 228 armed men died during the fighting (97 Armenians, 117 Kurds and 14 soldiers), with “at most” 150 civilians killed as an indirect result of the fighting, according to a detailed scholarly study of the rebellion that Morris and Ze’evi do not even consult, for a total of 378 deaths. Three foreign consuls permitted to observe the hearings filed their own report but still came up with a figure not much different: 265 known Armenian dead. Their estimates do not include Kurdish or military casualties.
Based on often contradictory Armenian witness statements, even the figure of 265 was unreliable: it included the names of people found not to have died, people who had died from other causes and duplicated names. In 1895, British consul Shipley changed his mind but still only increased his estimate of Armenian dead to perhaps as many as 900. While repeating Shipley’s criticism of the commission, Morris and Ze’evi ignore his revised death toll in favor of their own exaggeration. Their attempts to deride the serious nature of the revolutionary threat — the “stories the Ottomans told themselves’’ (p. 47) — are not supported by the readily available evidence of widespread attacks across the eastern provinces.
On September 30, 1895, a street demonstration by Armenians in Istanbul ended violently. Morris and Ze’evi say it was “unclear’’ who fired the first shot (p. 68), but both the British ambassador and the American minister, in accounts they do not quote, believed it was an Armenian.Philip Currie, the British ambassador and no friend of the sultan’s, wrote that the Hunchaks had organized the demonstration with the aim of provoking European intervention. Sixty Armenians and 15 gendarmes were killed, with mob attacks on Armenians continuing for two days.
Clearly alarmed, the sultan introduced some of the reforms being demanded by the powers. As the news spread, relations between Muslims and Christians in the eastern provinces, after nearly two decades of stress, finally collapsed. As a minority everywhere, Armenians were doomed to be the chief victims of the violence that swept the region in the last three months of 1895.
American missionaries and British consuls were the chief sources of information reaching the outside world. Relying heavily on their accounts, Morris and Ze’evi quote British vice-consul Charles Hampson as being told by a “trustworthy Armenian’’ that the sultan had sent a telegram to provincial authorities telling them to be ready “on my order’’ to put every Armenian to the sword (p. 72). Not in this book or anywhere else is there evidence of such a telegram being sent or such an order being issued.
In similar fashion, missionary Caleb F. Gates accused the sultan of setting in motion “a deliberate plan to exterminate the Christians’’ (p. 82). The accusation became general among missionaries and “humanitarians” in Britain, but there is no evidence of any such plan ever being drawn up by the sultan.
The authors refer to the visit to Urfa in March 1896 by the dragoman (translator) at the British embassy, Gerald Fitzmaurice, who held the authorities responsible for the mob violence that had overwhelmed the town on December 28-29 the previous year. In his opinion, the government had wanted Armenians massacred, and the mob had picked up the signal and responded (pp. 85-86). Again, there is no evidence that the government wanted any such thing.
Fitzmaurice was a man of strong Catholic beliefs who “saw things through the spectacles of the Christian Missionary Societies,’’ according to a friend in the Foreign Office. Visiting the town more than two months later, he pieced together a hearsay account that is not evidence of what happened but only evidence of what Fitzmaurice was told by his sources — undoubtedly missionaries and Armenians — from the trumpet being sounded to begin the attack to the “mullah” (an Iranian title) waving a green banner and “the mufti” and other notables going round the town “preceded by a band of musicians” to announce the end of the “massacres” (p. 89). As the playing of music is condemned by Muslim conservatives, and as Urfa is a conservative religious city even now, Fitzgerald’s depiction of Muslim notables walking around the streets in the company of a band of musicians does not seem remotely credible.
The American missionary Corinna Shattuck, another source for Morris and Ze’evi, sent letters to “friends” but remained in the missionary compound under the protection of the Ottoman gendarmerie during the two days the mob ran wild and saw nothing for herself. Shattuck’s claims of converts to Islam being forced to wear white turbans and of gendarmes going from house to house “axe in hand” to demand that Christians become “Mohammedans” (p. 87) clearly came from hearsay accounts and cannot be regarded as reliable.
The number of Armenians who died in 1894-96 is still contested. Morris and Ze’evi estimate 100,000 — Muslim military and civilian victims are not included in their tally — with even 300,000 possible. The higher figure is not to be taken seriously, and even the lower is challenged by Ottoman and Turkish estimates that the authors ignore. Kamuran Gürün quotes Ottoman government figures for 1895 of 8,789 “non-Muslim” and 1,828 Muslim dead. Çiçek gives a figure for the mid-1890s of 15,000 Armenian dead. The only reliable fact in this welter of conflicting figures is that, ultimately, none are reliable as a guide to the true number of Armenians and, to a much lesser degree, Muslims who died in these years.
The evidence of arms-stockpiling and Armenian attacks on soldiers, government officials and civilians across the eastern provinces is voluminous. Furthermore, there was no known Ottoman “policy” aimed at wiping out the Armenians, only a policy seeking the suppression of a revolutionary movement any European government would have been obliged to extinguish.
The Armenian committees were fully complicit in the breakdown of order in the east and so were British governments, through inflammatory “reforms” they could not enforce. Missionaries and distant “humanitarians” fed the flames with anti-Islamic invective, wild exaggerations, fabrications and support for Armenian political aspirations. While repeating the claims of consuls and missionaries, the authors provide not a scintilla of proof for their accusation that “almost all the massacres of 1894-1896 were organized by the state” (p. 112). Indeed, many of their massacres were not “organized” at all, but clashes between Armenian insurgents and the Ottoman military in which rebels, soldiers and civilians all died.
The authors’ recital of the lead-up to 1914 includes the “events” at Adana in 1909, when communal violence boiled over into large-scale massacres. Their estimate of “more than 200,000’’ (p. 227) for the Armenian population of the province is grossly exaggerated. According to the Adana census figures for 1906-07, the combined Armenian population (Gregorian/Apostolic, Catholic and a few Protestants) was 55,073. By 1914, the official figure had changed little, to 57,686. Allowing for all variables, even the doubling of this number would bring it nowhere near “more than 200,000.”
Morris and Ze’evi refer to “more than’’ 20,000 and even 30,000 slain Armenians (p. 144) during the violence that overwhelmed the province. There is no reliable data supporting these figures. An official inquiry concluded that 6,429 Armenians died along with 418 Assyrians, 62 Catholic Syrians, 133 Chaldeans, 33 Greek Orthodox and 1,186 Muslims. A further 662 people were killed in Aleppo province: 556 Armenians, 11 Muslims and 95 unidentified individuals. About 1,000 seasonal workers may also have died.
Tetsuya Sahara has made a detailed investigation of the Adana events. While avoiding a figure of his own, he quotes the notoriously anti-Ottoman and anti-Muslim newspaper correspondent Edward Pears as estimating the number of dead at about half the 10,000 he had heard. Taking all the estimates into account, a reasonably accurate death toll would seem to be about 8,000-9,000. The ferocity shown on both sides indicates that, had the demographic imbalance been reversed in favor of the Armenians, the Muslim casualties (again ignored by Morris and Ze’evi) would have been just as great.
The authors blame Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) representatives for incitement but make no mention of arms smuggling into the province and the inflammatory behavior of an Armenian priest, Musheg Seropian. This was no onslaught launched in line with a “policy” of genocide but an explosion of communal violence that a dithering Ottoman governor failed to suppress in time.
In 1912, four Balkan states (Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro) attacked the Ottoman Empire. The ethnic cleansing was far worse in numbers and brutality than what is frequently described as the 20th century’s first genocide: the German colonial campaign against the Herero and Nama peoples of southwest Africa, 1904-08. Massacres and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Ottoman domains in the Balkans constituted the first great crime on the European landmass in the 20th century. These terrible events have been largely ignored in the Western cultural mainstream.
Morris and Ze’evi’s depiction of ethnic cleansing “by both sides’’ (p. 142) distorts the true picture. In 1913, Turks certainly took their revenge in eastern Thrace, when the Balkan states began fighting among themselves over the territorial spoils but, overwhelmingly, this was ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population of southeastern Europe, the second major wave since 1877-78.
The authors’ attempt to exculpate the Greek government by claiming that it had not “actively supported’’ Muslim “emigration’’ (p. 149) is risible. Greece was committed to the creation of a territorially expanded and ethnically homogenous Greek kingdom. It clearly was glad to see the Muslims go, and “emigration” is completely warped as a description of the panicked flight of Muslims driven from their homes. The Carnegie Endowment report, which the authors do not consult, is an indictment of the Greek army, civilians and bandit gangs for atrocities they committed against Muslims and then other Christians.
The authors write off the vast scale of massacres, pillage and dispossession of the Muslims in a few paragraphs. Their concern is not the suffering of the Muslims at the hands of Balkan armies and their civilian camp followers; it is the suffering of Ottoman Greeks as refugees and their Muslim co-religionists took their revenge. In the tailoring of their narrative, the horrors of this war are turned into an “opportunity’’ (p. 138) for the Young Turks to “de-Christianize’’ the empire (p. 138).
In fact, Christians had been “de-Christianizing” the empire themselves for a long time.Protected by European intervention, the Greeks established their national state in the 1820s. The Lebanese Maronites won a limited form of autonomy in the 1860s; the Bulgarians were given their independence in 1878 (also with European help) and annexed remaining Ottoman territory in 1885; while the Albanians (Christian and Muslim) declared statehood in 1912. Macedonian Christians wanted a separate future, while Armenians had been chasing autonomy since the Congress of Berlin and had never lost sight of the ultimate goal of independence. Even the Syrian Arabs wanted at least decentralization, further propelling the movement in the CUP government towards not just Muslim but Turkish identity.
Along the Aegean seaboard, where food and housing had to be found for tens of thousands of refugees, Muslims struck back in 1912-13 at the nearest vulnerable target, the Ottoman Greek population. Ethnic cleansing in the Balkans was now being matched by ethnic cleansing along the Aegean and Sea of Marmara coasts, with furious bands of refugees joined by locals attacking Greek communities and boycotting their shops and businesses. Tens of thousands of Greeks fled for the safety of the Greek mainland.
Missionary and consular sources claimed official coordination, when clearly many of the attacks were spontaneous. Other accusations quoted by the authors came from the Greek and Armenian patriarchates. Morris and Ze’evi implicate the Ottoman interior minister, Talat Paşa, whose alleged remark to a provincial governor that “the Greeks … must go’’ is reported by a Russian consul-general before turning up in a Danish source (p. 151). Evidence even in British archives that Talat did his best to control the situation and tried to stop the Greeks from leaving does not figure in this narrative.
UPRISING AND “RELOCATION”
From the Balkan wars, the authors jump into World War I. They refer to the crushing defeat of the Ottoman Third Army at Sarıkamış early in 1915, but only to emphasize its “severe effect on Turkey’s Armenians’’ because of the proof, in Ottoman eyes, of Armenian perfidy (p.156). In fact, while volunteer Armenian brigade support for the Russian army at Sarıkamış irritated the Ottoman military command, its primary concern was the overall strategic implications.
The losses at Sarıkamış were enormous: 33,000 dead, according to Edward Erickson (other figures are higher), with thousands of other soldiers wounded or taken prisoner. From a standing force of close to 120,000 in December 1914, the Third Army was reduced by the Sarıkamış losses to about 25,000.
The authors make an unsourced allegation that the Ottoman Special Organization, the Teşkilat, a black-operations group, massacred “thousands’’ of Armenians along the front lines from November 1914 to January 1915 (p. 156). They refer to “similar actions’’ against Muslims by the Russian army (p. 156), but omit the detail that would enable readers to form balanced conclusions. In fact, large-scale massacres by Russians or Armenians were being reported from the beginning of the war. Morris and Ze’evi include Michael Reynolds’ outstanding study of the war on the eastern front in their bibliography but somehow miss his reference to a finding that in January 1915, as the Russian army drove back Ottoman and irregular forces who had invaded Ajaria and adjoining districts in Georgia, the Cossacks were ordered to destroy every Muslim village and mosque. According to an Ottoman estimate, 30,000 men were killed, leaving women and children without shelter in a harsh winter. According to another estimate, 45,000 Muslims were massacred in the Chorokhi valley alone. Armenian units took part in these operations.
The crushing defeat at Sarıkamış threw northeastern Anatolia wide open to Russian conquest and the operations of Armenian insurgent bands behind Ottoman lines. The civilian population — Muslim and Christian — was also exposed to inter-ethnic attacks that the Third Army no longer had the manpower to prevent.
In April 1915, a large-scale Armenian uprising was launched in the city of Van, which had been a center of uprisings, assassination and arms stockpiling since the late 19th century. Relying heavily on missionary and Armenian sources, Morris and Ze’evi paint a picture of a besieged community set upon by a cruel governor and thousands of Kurdish and Circassian troops (p. 161). In this version, the Armenians resist and, after weeks of fighting, the Ottoman governor flees. Many Muslims are massacred as the Armenians take their revenge, with departing Ottoman troops also massacring Armenians (p. 163). By the time the dust settles, Russian soldiers estimate that “as many as 55,000 corpses were scattered across Van vilayet’’ (p. 160).
The Armenians claimed the uprising was defensive, but they were well prepared ahead of time and, in any case, from the perspective of the Ottoman military command, the main issue was that a city in a strategic region close to the Russian border was at risk of falling into enemy hands. Once it went, others — nearby Bitlis, for example — were sure to follow.
The authors write that an approaching Russian force shelled the Muslim quarter, but it was Armenians and not the Russians who destroyed much of this part of the city. They took pleasure in the destruction they had wrought. Their targets included the post office, the Ottoman Bank building, the offices of the Public Debt Administration (established by the powers in 1881 to sequester Ottoman revenue) and the police and military barracks. The rebels tunneled under some of these buildings to blow them up. All of this is missing in the Morris-Ze’evi account.
The withdrawal of the governor on May 16 was followed by a general Armenian onslaught on the civilian Muslim population. Morris and Ze’evi briefly describe attacks in the town but omit the evidence of large-scale massacres of many thousands of Muslims by Armenian and Cossack bands in nearby villages. That Armenians were bent on exterminating the Kurds, who seem to have been the bulk of the local population, is clear from the correspondence of Aram Manukian, appointed “governor” of Van province before it was placed under overall Russian control. The remarks of a Russian military staffer indicate that Armenians elsewhere in northeastern Anatolia had the same murderous intentions. One thing is clear: very many if not most of the 55,000 bodies said to have been seen across the Van countryside by Russians were Muslims and not Armenians, as implied in missionary and Armenian accounts of what had taken place.
After months of worsening violence across the east, the uprising at Van was the last straw for the Ottoman military command and the government. On April 24, Armenian political committees were shut down across the empire and the arrests ordered of their known leaders and sympathizers. This was followed by the decision to separate civilians from insurgents by “relocating” the bulk of a previously loyal but now suspect Armenian population. There were many precedents. Relocating a suspect population is a common tactic in warfare, utilized before 1914 by the British in South Africa, the Spanish in Cuba and the Americans in the Philippines. The British were to resort to it again in Malaya, the French in Algeria and the Americans in Vietnam.
Armenians had already been moved piecemeal from several locations when a general “relocation” into the Syrian interior was ordered in late May on the grounds of military necessity. Unlike Morris and Ze’evi, Edward Erickson has done the necessary research in the Ottoman military archives, reaching the conclusion that the perception of a threat to the entire war effort arising from Armenian insurgency was very real within the Ottoman government and military command. It was not a question of Enver Pasha or anyone else making the “usual allegations of treason’’ (p. 158); treason was being committed by thousands of Ottoman Armenians, crossing the border into the Caucasus to join up with the Russians or sabotaging Ottoman operations from behind the lines.
The relocation was a disaster. Across eastern and central Anatolia and even close to the Aegean in the west and the Sea of Marmara coast, hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women and children were forced out of their homes. Trains were used for the movement of Armenians from the west, but the military had priority over all forms of transport. There were no railway lines in the eastern provinces. One line had been constructed from Konya in central Anatolia to the southeast, but was blocked by the barrier of the Taurus and Amanus mountains.
Those entrained were often living in pitiful conditions around stations because no further trains were available or because the military had first call on them when they did arrive. In fact, the majority of Armenians had to be moved on foot or by wagons if they could afford them. Makeshift camps were set up, but — without sufficient food, without sanitation and with little or no access to medical care — tens of thousands died from malnutrition or disease. Thousands of others were massacred in attacks on the convoys. The United States did not enter the war until 1917, but American missionaries were on hand to give assistance where they could. By early 1916, close to half a million Armenians had been shifted into Syria. The number varies according to source, as does the number of Armenians who died from all causes in 1915-16 or throughout the war. Armenian or “pro Armenian” estimates for 1914-18 have fallen in recent years from about 1.5 million to 1 million dead. “Pro Turkish” historians give a figure of about 600,000, while Turkish estimates are even lower. As the entire Ottoman Armenian population hovered around 1.5-1.6 million, allowing for undercounting and the hundreds of thousands of Armenians who survived the war, a death toll of 1.5 million is not credible.
Morris and Ze’evi think it “probable” that, between 1894 and 1924, more than 1 million Armenians died, either killed outright or, they claim, “deliberately placed in circumstances of privation and disease that resulted in death” (p. 487). They make no attempt to estimate the number of Muslims massacred or driven from their homes in the same circumstances in the same period of time, from the Balkans to eastern Anatolia, but the figure would run into multiple millions. The authors claim that there is “hardly any mention’’ (p. 7) of the recall or punishment of officials implicated in the killing or mistreatment of Armenians. In fact, commissions of inquiry and courts-martial were held in 1915-16. On receiving reports that the convoys were being attacked by tribal groups, Talat Paşa ordered that greater protection be provided for the Armenians. With attacks continuing, the government set up three commissions of inquiry in the autumn of 1915.
The commissioners traveled across the eastern provinces taking evidence. Out of their hearings came the courts-martial of more than 1,600 people including police, jandarma, members of the Special Organization, senior provincial officials and local notables. Hundreds were imprisoned and 67 sentenced to death. Many if not all of the sentences were carried out. Morris and Ze’evi ignore all of this. Had Yusuf Sarinay’s detailed research been included in their narrative, it would have posed an obvious conundrum for readers: if the Ottoman government was so intent on annihilating the Armenians, why was it punishing people committing serious crimes against them?
A SPECULATIVE HODGEPODGE
The authors claim that “documents” — mainly telegrams — giving evidence of massacre “disappeared’’ (p. 8) when it has never been proved that they existed in the first place. In their bibliography they include the 1986 publication of Şinasi Orel and Süreyya Yuca’s, The Talat Pasha “Telegrams”: Historical Fact, or Armenian Fiction? but ignore the detail of their meticulous examination of the so-called Naim-Andonian collection. Their research, based on comparisons between these papers and authentic documents in the archives, is clear proof of forgery.
The authors concede that there is no “ smoking gun,’’ referring only to “ indications’’ (p. 249) that, in the early months of 1915, the CUP decided to perpetrate genocide. As they extensively quote Taner Akçam, it is his unproven claims that must be considered as well as theirs. In his book A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (2006), Akçam asserts, “ It is likely that the key decisions concerning the massacre were made within the CUP in Istanbul during March 1915.’’ Two pages later, Akçam’s “decisions” for massacre slide into many “ indications’’ that a “ decision for genocide’’ was taken by the CUP Central Committee “ deliberately and after long consideration.’’ While the Ottoman government would have been holding many meetings early in 1915, Akçam provides no evidence that any meeting was ever held at which decisions were taken for massacre, let alone genocide. His accusations are based on suppositions, forged “documents” even he admits are questionable, allegedly handwritten “copies” of documents kept at the Armenian patriarchate in Jerusalem, and postwar accusations made during the allied occupation of that city.
“Likely’’ and “many indications’’ are hardly persuasive, and Morris and Ze’evi’s insinuations lead the reader into the same evidentiary dead end. They talk of “apparently’’ important “ gatherings’’ at which “documents” were produced that “ supposedly’’ proved Armenians were preparing to betray their homeland, ignoring the mass of evidence that thousands really were.
They quote speculation by Donald Bloxham (pp. 246-48) and, without producing any evidence, write that “ we believe’’ planning for mass murder began as early as September 1914 (p. 248). A “ design’’ they have not shown even existed is then finalized over months (p. 248) ending in “ strong indications’’ — Akçam’s word repeated — that, early in 1915, the CUP had decided “ that it would perpetrate genocide,’’ a word unknown at the time (p. 248). The authors then profess to see “ uniformity’’ (p.2 53) and a ‘‘clear playbook’’ (p. 252) in the way this unproven design and these unproven decisions were then carried out. This is such a hodgepodge of speculation, insinuation and opinion that it cannot be taken seriously as history, let alone as proof of anything.
The authors fail to substantiate their claim that “killing orders were relayed by coded telegram or orally from messenger to governor” (p. 254). The “evidence” is a combination of their speculation, Taner Akçam’s suppositions, accusations made during the allied occupation of Istanbul, and attempts to incriminate the wartime Ottoman government through the production of fraudulent “documents,” the Naim-Andonian collection (already mentioned) and the even more ludicrous piece of paper known as the “Ten Commandments.”
According to this cartoon version of Ottoman history, a group of evil Turks sat around a table somewhere in the heart of Istanbul and decided to kill all Armenian men, enslave the women and children and convert them to Islam. The basic plot line is very similar to The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, first published in 1903 and attracting a lot of attention before Philip Graves, writing in The Times (London), exposed it as a fake in 1921. Perhaps it was the inspiration for an Armenian version.
The “Ten Commandments” were handed to the British, desperate for evidence they could use against imprisoned Ottoman officials. Not even they took them seriously, and this piece of paper was forgotten for decades — until Vahakn Dadrian and his Turkish protégé Akçam retrieved it from the dustbin of history, brushed it off and sought to present it as compelling evidence to gullible readers.
Authentic orders were sent by Talat Paşa but only for the “relocation” of the Armenians. The reader of this book would not know what these orders contained; they are omitted in the Morris-Ze’evi narrative. The initial “relocation” order was followed by a stream of coded instructions from Talat to make sure the Armenians were moved safely, were fed and accommodated and received medical attention. The Morris-Ze’evi dismissal of these instructions as “fake’’ (p. 457) is an evasion, allowing them to ignore the evidence without even examining it.
They allege that the Ottoman government deliberately set out to annihilate the Armenians. Following Akçam’s lead, their case is entirely speculative. They consistently underplay or ignore anything that gets in the way of their argument, such as the large-scale killing of Kurdish Muslims by Armenians, pointing to the motive of revenge in attacks on the convoys being moved south. The thin lines guarding the convoys point to a lack of manpower, all men of fighting age being off at the front. Across the empire, military requisitions reduced civilian life for everyone to bare subsistence, with agricultural production plummeting, partly if not largely because of the same lack of manpower.
Disease and malnutrition killed tens of thousands of Armenians who reached Syria, but the health and food situation was scarcely better for the locals, hundreds of thousands of whom died during the war from the same causes. Starving civilians were dropping dead in the streets of Damascus and Beirut. The locust plague of 1915 and the allied naval blockade of the eastern Mediterranean coast greatly worsened already precarious living conditions. Ripening crops and municipal gardens in southern Syria were stripped bare by locusts, while the cash economies on which many of the population depended were killed off by the blockade.
At the same time, great crimes were committed against Armenians, irrespective of the great crimes some of them had committed. In line with the general principle of government responsibility, the Ottoman government has to be held to account for the consequences of the decision it took in May 1915 to relocate the Armenians, even if it could not foresee what those consequences would be.
This is the crux of the issue. Was the disaster that overwhelmed the Armenians deliberately planned and executed, as Morris and Ze’evi claim, or was it the outcome of a hastily planned operation ordered by a government that lacked the resources and competence to move the Armenians safely — even though, in the view of the military command, the insurgent threat to the war effort behind the lines was so grave that they had to be moved?
The grim scenes actually witnessed by U.S. consuls and missionaries are damning. The hearsay accounts that constitute the bulk of the claims made in this book fall into a different category. Apart from missionaries, consuls and the Greek and Armenian patriarchates, the authors’ sources include the American ambassador, Henry Morgenthau, who never traveled far from Istanbul. Statements allegedly made by members of the wartime Ottoman government interned on Malta are equally questionable. For political reasons, the British government was determined to prosecute them, but it was the attorney general’s view that the “evidence” would not stand up in a court of law. The emphasis then shifted to an exchange of the detainees for British prisoners held by the Turkish nationalists.
INVASION AND RESISTANCE
While every section of this book is open to challenge, space must still be allowed for what Morris and Ze’ev claim was the final stage of their 30-year genocide, the period between 1919 and 1924, covering the Greek invasion of the western Ottoman lands and the ultimately successful Turkish national resistance.
If Anatolia was finally “cleansed’’ (p. 26) of its Christian population, the blame is shared by the allied powers, which had armed and encouraged Ottoman Christians to rise up against their government; Ottoman Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians who had joined forces with the enemy, jeopardizing the security of their communities; and a Greek government that instigated one short war of territorial expansion (over Crete) in 1897 and two more large-scale attacks on Ottoman and Turkish territory in 1912 and 1919.
The cumulative damage to Ottoman Muslim-Christian relations by these wars was enormous. It was the Greek attack in 1919 that finally triggered the population exchange of 1923. The primary cause of the “final bout of ethnic cleansing and genocide’’ (p. 266) was not any policy of the Turkish national government, as Morris and Ze’evi would have their readers believe, but Greek aggression, fully supported by the British government. It was this war that hammered the final nail into the coffin of Muslim-Christian relations in Ottoman lands.
The authors claim that “Turkish anti-Christian terrorism was on the rise with massacre threatened’’ (p. 267) before the Greek landing at Izmir, or “Smyrna” as they insist on calling it throughout. This is no more than the repetition of Greek and British propaganda set loose to justify the invasion. In fact, Izmir was calm. The authors refer to Greek “misbehavior’’ (p. 272) after the landing, as if the Greeks were no more than naughty boys. They do concede “several massacres’’ (p. 272) without conveying the full horror along the waterfront as Greek soldiers murdered hundreds of Turkish civilians.
They dwell at length on atrocities committed or alleged against Ottoman Greeks when being moved to the interior. In their narrative, “the Turks” are accused of rape, sodomy, of cutting children to pieces, of crucifying priests or axing them to death, of cutting off the hands and feet of their victims before cutting their throats or burning them alive, of hanging 250 people at Amasya and 400 elsewhere (p. 402), of raping 800 Greek and Armenian girls at Bursa before stamping them on the head with “a burning iron’’ as a sign of their dishonor (p. 414), of delivering five sacks of heads to a military commander on the Black Sea coast (p. 410) and of stuffing little children into sacks before throwing them into the Black Sea (endnote 50, p. 554).
An unnamed “New Zealand pastor’’ is said to have met a woman and her daughter “each of whom had been ravished by fifteen Turkish soldiers’’ (p. 441). At Amasya, beautiful girls are subjected to the “beastly lust’’ of bandits over several days (p. 409), while others are carried off to “the harem of the Pasha.’’ The Armenian Red Cross claimed 60,000 women were being held in “Turkish harems’’ (p. 317).
Such lurid tales have all been told before. Cruelty, sadism, blood lust, sex and the harem are the core elements in centuries of anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish invective, revived every time of crisis in the Ottoman Empire involving Christians. The hearsay stories in this book are strikingly similar, and none can be taken at face value, let alone as evidence of what really happened, bad as it might have been.
Given the atrocities committed by the Greeks, there was clearly a mood of revenge after the Turkish national army reached Izmir. The crimes committed by civilians or irregulars included the murder of the Greek metropolitan, who in 1919 had welcomed the invaders of his Ottoman homeland. However, the allegations of large-scale massacres are not borne out by sources Morris and Ze’evi either disparage or do not consult. The authors’ unsourced accusation that, within three days, “incoming Turkish troops’’ raped “ hundreds if not thousands of girls and women’’ (p. 444) could have come straight from the Greek foreign ministry or the Armenian patriarchate. By contrast, in their opinion, “only occasionally’’ were Turkish women raped (p. 475).
In fact, many foreign observers praised the Turkish army for its discipline. Several looters were shot, and within a few days order had been restored. The U.S. consul and vice consul concluded that about 2,000 people, not necessarily Greek or Armenian, had died during the initial chaos. Of this number, hundreds most probably drowned during the panic along the waterfront; hundreds of others were armed civilians. Rear Admiral Mark Bristol, the U.S. high commissioner in Istanbul, spoke of 2,000-3,000 dead but “in his wonted manner,’’ Morris and Ze’evi claim, he was downplaying the scale of Turkish atrocities (p. 449). Rarely do they suggest that their Greek and Armenian informants, in their wonted manner, might be exaggerating.
As the Turkish army approached Izmir, tens of thousands of hysterical Greek and Armenian civilians packed the waterfront, among them, undoubtedly, those who had committed crimes and feared retribution. On September 13, much of the city was consumed by fire. Morris and Ze’evi survey accusations hinting that the Turks were to blame, but to this day responsibility has never been fixed.
Between 1919 and 1922, the scale of destruction and murder by the Greek army and Greek and Armenian civilian bands was enormous. Arnold Toynbee spent months in the region in 1921 and gives details of dozens of villages partly or wholly destroyed and atrocities committed against men and women. On the Greek army’s retreat to the coast in 1922, it sacked and burnt every town it passed through. When Toynbee talked of a “ war of extermination,’’ there is no doubt he primarily had the Greeks in mind. Maurice Gehri, the International Red Cross delegate who inquired into the massacres, concluded that “ elements of the Greek army of occupation have been employed in the extermination of the Moslem population of the Yalova-Gemlik peninsula on the Sea of Marmara.’’ The authors quote Gehri but, against all the evidence, still attach the greatest criminality to the Turks.
The first report (1919) into Greek atrocities by an inter-allied commission of inquiry was suppressed because it was so embarrassing to Greece and the British government. By the time the second, shorter report was published in 1921, the atrocities were such an international scandal that Greek criminality had to be admitted. The British strategy seems to have been to muddy the waters by talking mostly of past Turkish atrocities rather than any committed recently. Neither the Ottoman government nor the Turkish national government taking shape in Ankara had a “policy” of being invaded by a Greek army. The Greek government launched the invasion, and the British government backed it to the very end, at the cost of perhaps 200,000 mostly Turkish lives.
Along the Aegean and Black Sea coasts, some Greek civilians took up arms in support of the invasion. Repeating the Armenian relocation, the Turkish nationalist government moved a now suspect civilian population into the interior. This was a cruel operation, but ordered in the context of a savage war intended by Greece and Britain to put the Turkish national movement to the sword. Who is primarily to blame for the consequences of this war, the Greek and allied governments that launched it or the nationalists who resisted the invasion and occupation of their homeland?
A “NATIONALIST INVENTION”
The Morris and Ze’evi account of the French occupation of southeastern Anatolia and the fate of the Assyrians is written from the same partisan or openly hostile sources that characterize their book. There is nothing to balance the mix from Ottoman or Turkish sources, such as the research by Salahi Sonyel or Yücel Güçlü. The Armenian legion that accompanied the French army was so undisciplined (as Morris and Ze’evi admit) that it soon had to be disbanded. At one stage, virtually the entire Muslim population of the city of Adana was forced to flee into the countryside because of Armenian attacks and the takeover of their homes. Arson, pillage and murder were common; the French authorities were disgusted with the behavior of their protégés. Having followed the French army into Cilicia, Armenian civilians suffered the consequences as the French were defeated in city after city by the Turkish nationalists. It was a disaster, but, again, who was ultimately to blame, the French who had occupied the region or the Turks and Kurds who were resisting them?
A faction of Ottoman Assyrians (a catch-all that subsumes a number of small eastern Christian confessions) had also turned on their own government. Like the Armenians, they were seduced by Russia and Britain into joining the allied war effort and suffered the consequences, especially after Russia dropped out of the war. Fighting between Assyrians, Ottoman soldiers and Kurdish tribes eventually engulfed northwestern Iran. The Assyrians fled into Iraq, thousands of civilians dying on the way. They never got the autonomy or independence the British had hinted at in return for their wartime support. Instead, the men were recruited as a Christian force to be used against Arabs and Kurds resisting occupation by the British army.
About four million Ottoman subjects died in this war. Immediate postwar estimates put the Armenian death toll from all causes (massacre, malnutrition, disease and exposure) at about 600,000, leaving more than three million Ottoman Muslims who disappeared from the face of the earth. As about three-quarters of a million were soldiers, the probable Muslim civilian death toll stood at well over 2.5 million.
The torture, mutilation and massacre of Muslims in eastern and northeastern Anatolia by Russians and Armenians (mostly the latter) has been recorded in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of documents filed when the Ottoman army was able to return to eastern Anatolia and take evidence from survivors.
Armenian atrocities against Muslims (mainly Kurds) are only touched upon in this book, even as every consideration is given to the most bloodcurdling accusations against “the Turks” The authors minimize the dimensions of the slaughter of Muslims by referring to “some Armenians’’ seeking revenge (p. 186) or the “minor misdeeds’’ of Armenians compared to “Turkish crimes’’ (p. 332). In fact, the atrocities committed by Armenians in northeastern Anatolia were every bit as gross as anything alleged against “the Turks.” The authors could write a reverse of this book, concentrating on the crimes committed against “the Turks” and the Kurds rather than by them.
The authors admit to ‘‘the death of some 2.5 million Muslims due to famine, war and disease’’ (p. 292), but omit a specific cause: massacre. In fact, Ottoman documents compiled from the evidence of survivors when the army was able to return to the east in 1918 indicate that hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians were massacred by Russians and Armenians. Documents in government archives anywhere have to be read with a skeptical eye, but that Muslims were massacred by Armenians on a very large scale across the eastern Anatolian provinces is not to be doubted.
The authors’ remark that Mustafa Kemal “understood the meaning of straightforward old-fashioned massacre’’ (p. 329) is ad hominem abuse. Their claim that Turkish commanders met in Izmir to discuss the deportation of Armenians comes from an endnote reference to a “Memorandum by a Mr. Hole in Smyrna.” Whoever he was, Mr. Hole was almost certainly not there to know what Turkish military commanders talked about, if indeed there was even such a meeting (endnote 373, p. 437).
The authors’ claim that Mustafa Kemal “may have’’ attended this meeting and thus may have “authorized pillage’’ comes from an endnote reference to a postwar pamphlet published in Paris that has no credibility anyway (endnote 374, p. 437). Their reference to Mustafa Kemal’s “Islamic world view’’ (p. 493) shows how little they know of the man. Mustafa Kemal certainly harnessed religious feeling to the independence war effort, as did the Ottoman state’s enemies to their own wars, but he himself was secular and agnostic at the very least.
The title of this book will catch the eye, but there was no 30-year genocide, no “policy’’ to “de-Christianize’’ the Ottoman Empire and no “policy’’ of massacre. There was not one but many causes of the unfolding sequence of events that culminated in the destruction of Christian life in the Ottoman Empire.
TALES ALREADY TOLD
In a crowded field, this is one of the most pernicious books yet written on late Ottoman history. There are no original insights and no previously uncovered facts of any significance — quite an achievement in a book that is so long. It is a “history” that has more of the character of a prolonged diatribe, replete with shrieking maidens and rivers running with blood, picking up where Christian polemicists against Islam and the Turks left off more than a century ago. Just when he might have been forgotten, the “terrible Turk” has been dusted off and stood before the public again.
The Thirty-Year Genocide will be devoured in chunks by ravenous lobbyists, propagandists, partisan “historians” whose minds are made up before they put fingers to the keyboard, Turkey’s political enemies in Europe and the United States, Christian defenders of Europe against Muslim infiltration, and miscellaneous bigots who have been served up further proof of what they always believed about Islam and the Turks. Readers who fall into none of these categories, who know little of Ottoman history but are interested in knowing more, should be on their guard.
Morris and Ze’evi express the hope that their book will generate debate and reconsideration among the Turks. Naturally, because it is the Armenian and Greek versions of history they are repeating, this is not matched by a suggestion that Armenians and Greeks perhaps need to reconsider their own history. As for the Turks, they will need something a lot more convincing than this worn retread of tales already told a thousand times over. They are bound to see this book as a hatchet job against themselves and their country.
The Israeli authors profess to have no political agenda, but as they have raised the possibility, the reader is entitled to wonder. The history of almost the entire period they deal with is Ottoman, yet, as noted, they put “Turkey” in the title of their book and accuse not the Ottomans, but “Turkey” and “the Turks” of actively pursuing a policy of destroying Christians.
They may be innocents abroad, completely unaware of the political implications of what they are writing, but Turkey and Israel have a relationship that is adversarial when not openly hostile. The blackening of Turkey’s name with the publication of this book will certainly be useful in the intermittent propaganda barrages between the two countries.
Turkey and Turks can and do express great regret over what happened more than a century ago. It is to be hoped the day will come when Armenians and Greeks will express the same regret over what their forefathers did in that same period. This might set the three national groups on the road to true reconciliation.
The Turkish government deserves the strongest criticism for the damage done to human rights and other pillars of constitutional government, especially in the past decade, and for the authoritarian management style of its president, but neither Turkey nor Turks are responsible for decisions they did not make or for events that occurred before Turkey was even established as a state. Neither do they deserve to be smeared by association with the Nazis, a standard tactic in books like this.
At least Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter did not actually have “infamy” permanently branded on her forehead, but with “the Turks” why not? As Morris and Ze’evi write, ‘‘The Turkish behavior in Smyrna cannot be considered merely retaliatory. Turks, after all, had been massacring, raping and plundering Christians for decades’’ (p. 441). In other words, rape, massacre and plunder is what Turks do. Whatever the element of truth in this racist observation, “Christians” to redeploy the authors’ bigotry, had been doing the same and even worse to Turks in the same period of time.
Finally, one of the authors, Morris, in a 2004 interview (“Survival of the Fittest,” Haaretz, January 8, 2004) justified the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948, remarking that it was a pity Ben-Gurion did not get rid of them all at the same time. Of the West Bank Palestinians, he said, “Something like a cage has to be built for them . . . There is a wild animal there that needs to be locked up in one way or another.’’ It is certainly an irony that in this book the defender of ethnic cleansing in Palestine should be taking “the Turks” to task for what he says is the same thing.
1 Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (London: Constable, 2007), xxii.
2 Atatürk’s remarks can be found in Kazim Öztürk, Atatürk’un TBMM Acik ve Gizli Oturumlarindaki Konusmaları [Atatürk’s Addresses During Open and Closed Sessions of the Turkish Grand National Assembly] (Ankara: Kültür Bakanliği Yayınları, 1981), 59.
3Kemal H. Karpat, The Politicization of Islam: Reconstructing Identity, State, Faith and Community in the Late Ottoman State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 148.
4Servet Mutlu, “Late Ottoman Population and its Ethnic Distribution,” Turkish Journal of Population Studies 25 (2003), 7.
5Kemal H. Karpat, Ottoman Population 1830-1914: Demographic and Social Characteristics (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 196.
6Ertuğrul Zekai Ökte, ed., Ottoman Archives: Yildiz Collection: The Armenian Question (Istanbul: Tarihi Araştırmalar ve Dokümantasyon Merkezleri Kurma ve Geliştirme Vakfı, 1989), 3 vols., vol. 1, “Talori Inci dents,” 81-349.
7ustin McCarthy, Ömer Turan and Cemalettin Taşkıran, Sasun: The History of an 1890s Armenian Revolt (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 2014), 188.
8 Ibid., 152.
10See USNA (US National Archives), “Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Turkey, 1818-1906” (microcopy T46), Terrell to Olney, Constantinople Legation, October 1, 1895, and unnumbered despatch October 3; and Turkey No. 2 (1896) Cd. 7927, Currie to Salisbury, October 1, 2 and 3, 1895.
11G.R. Berridge, Tilkidom and the Ottoman Empire: the Letters of Gerald Fitzmaurice to George Lloyd, 1906-1915 (Istanbul: Isis Press 2008), 107.
12Karpat, Ottoman Population, 168. 13Tetsuya Sahara, What Happened in Adana in April 1909? Conflicting Armenian and Turkish Views (Istanbul: Isis Press, 2013), 172.
14Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars (Washington DC, Carnegie Endowment, 1914).
15Bilal N. Şimşir, ed., Ege Sorunu [Aegean Question], 1912-1913 (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1989), vol. 2, no. 551, Mallet to Grey, June 17, 1914, 541-44.
16 Edward J. Erickson, Ottomans and Armenians: A Study in Counterinsurgency (New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 155. 17 Michael A. Reynolds, Shattering Empires, The Clash and Collapse of the Russian and Ottoman Empires, 1908-1918 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011), 144.
18See the chapter on Van in Yektan Turkyilmaz, “Rethinking Genocide: Violence and Victimhood in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1915,” Ph.D. thesis, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University, 2011.
20Reynolds, 158. The official, Boris Shakhovskoi, who was attached to the general staff as a liaison officer with the Kurds, wrote that it seemed the Armenians wanted “to exterminate all Muslim residents of the areas we occupied.’’
21 Erickson, 181, 214.
22Yusuf Sarınay, “The Relocation (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 1915-16,” Middle East Critique 20, no.3 (2011) 299-312.
23 Şinasi Orel and Süreyya Yüca, The Talat Pasha Telegrams. Historical Fact or Fiction? (Nicosia: K. Rustem and Brothers, 1983). 24Akçam, A Shameful Act, 162.
25Bilal N. Şimşir, The Deportees of Malta and the Armenian Question (Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute, 1984), 42.
26Apart from attacks by Armenian insurgent bands and Greeks of the Pontus region armed by Russia, Elifoğlu mentions attacks on the Ottoman coast from nearby islands. He refers to one attack by 500 Greeks who had fled to the island of Kastellorizo. ‘Fuat Dündar and the Deportation of the Greeks,’ 101. With the Aegean coast regularly shelled by allied ships and with Ottoman Greeks potentially sympathetic to the Entente powers, their relocation away from the coast would seem to be a precaution any military command would have ordered in such circumstances.
27Maurice Gehri, “Mission d’enquete en Anatolie: (12-22 Mai 1921),” Revue internationale de la Croix-Rouge 3, no. 31 (July 15, 1921).
28Salahi R. Sonyel, The Assyrians of Turkey: Victims of Major Power Policy (Ankara: Turkish Historical Society, 2001). 29 Yücel Güçlü, Armenians and the Allies in Cilicia, 1914-1923 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2010).
31There is a mass of photographic evidence to support the Ottoman documentation of massacres by Armenians. The authors reproduce photos only of dead Armenians, however, and in any case, they should have looked more closely at the unaccredited photo of a woman bending over the body of “an Armenian child dead in the fields within sight of help and safety in Aleppo.” Readers who enlarge the photo will see that she is quite chubby and smiling. The photo is clearly a setup.