Armenian genocide denial

fringe theory that the Armenian genocide did not occur

Denial of the Armenian Genocide is the belief that the Armenian Genocide did not happen or that what happened was not genocide.

From 1915-1923, the Ottoman Empire (which later became the Republic of Turkey), tried to remove many Armenian people from the Empire. Between 800,000 and 1,800,000 Armenians were killed.[1][2] Also many Armenians had to leave their homes (this is called relocation or displacement).[1]

Countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide in green and countries that deny the Armenian Genocide in red

People who deny the Armenian Genocide say that these things never happened or that it was not that serious. They also say that the Ottoman government never centrally organised genocide against the Armenian people.[3] For example, the Republic of Turkey, and Azerbaijan do not believe at all that the Ottoman government tried to remove and kill the Armenian people in the Empire.

Origins of Armenian Genocide Denial in Turkey change

The Armenian Genocide happened in 1915-1916, but since 1789, Turkey has denied many acts of violence towards the Armenian people.[4] Fatma Gocek, who studies the Armenian genocide, believes that because Turkey has denied violence towards Armenians since 1789, Turkey was more likely to deny the Armenian genocide.[4]

Since the Armenian Genocide happened, the main claim of denial used by the Ottoman Empire (later the republic of Turkey) has remained the same.[5]The Ottoman Empire believes that the genocide never happened, that Turkey is not responsible for the genocide and that “Genocide” is too strong of a word to use to describe what happened.[5]

The leaders of the Ottoman Empire thought they could not say the Armenian Genocide was real.[6] This was because most of the countries the Ottoman Empire was allied with had mainly Christian people.[6] Armenians were also Christian, and if the Ottoman Empire’s allies found out the Ottoman Empire used violence against other Christians, the allies would have been upset.[6] The leaders of the Ottoman Empire instead tried to say Armenians were a national security (making sure a country is safe) threat as the reason why the deportations happened.[6]

During the time the genocide was happening, Enver Pasha, told Ambassador Morgenthau (the American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) that Armenians were separatists (wanting to create their own country on Ottoman Land), traitors (people who betray their country) and violent towards Ottoman soldiers and that was why the Ottoman government had to displace them.[7] This was untrue, Armenians were only violent after the genocide had started.[7]

After World War 1, Talat Pasha (another leader of the Armenian Genocide and the Ottoman Empire), followed Enver’s strategy to minimize the Armenian Genocide.[7]

  • Talat Pasha said “Every government has the right to defend itself against those who stage armed revolts.”.[7]
    • He meant that any country has the right to defend itself against people who participate in violence with the goal of changing the government.

The Armenians did not participate in violence against the government until after the genocide had started.[7] The violence the Armenians participated in was for their self-defense.[7]

After World War 1, the Ottoman Empire tried to prove they were not responsible for the genocide by trying to place the blame on other groups.[5] The Ottoman Empire blamed corrupt officials, Kurds, and criminals for the events of the genocide.[5]

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founder of Turkey, and still holds a very important role in how Turkish people see themselves.[8] Ataturk originally supported justice for people responsible for the genocide.[8] He said the genocide was

  • “[A] Shameful [act]”[9]
    • and said
  • “What were the Allied powers waiting for before hanging these scoundrels”[9]
    • Ataturk meant that the Allied powers of World War 1 should have sentenced the people responsible for the genocide to death.

In 1920 the Treaty of Sevres was signed.[8] This would have resulted in a loss of land and loss of sovereignty (the ability for a country to govern itself independently) for Turkey.[8] In 1921 Greece invaded Turkey.[8] In two ways Turkey’s territory and sovereignty were threatened.[8] Because of this, Ataturk changed his opinion on the Armenian Genocide so he could bring Turks together. Ataturk denied the Armenian Genocide to promote nationalism and unity against the two major threats (The Treaty of Sevres and the Greek invasion).[8]

Later, Turkey began a campaign claiming that people who survived the genocide were lying.[10] Turkey also said that foreigners who said the Armenian Genocide happened were part of a group conspiring against Turkey (trying to cause harm to Turkey).[10] Also, Turkey said any documents proving the Armenian Genocide happened were fake.[10]

Armenian Genocide Denialism in Turkey Today change

Today, denial of the Armenian Genocide is a large part of Turkish nationalism and how Turks define themselves.[11] If a Turk agreed that the Armenian Genocide was real, this would go against how Turks see their country.[11] This would cause problems with self and national-identity.[11]

Many people in Turkey still do not believe the Armenian Genocide happened.[12] This is because of five reasons. Firstly, there were laws which said that people who publicly said they believe the Armenian Genocide is real could go to jail.[13] Secondly, people who believe in the Armenian Genocide are seen as traitors.[12] This creates a lot of social pressure to continue denial.[12] Thirdly, many Turkish people do not learn about Armenian history.[12] Fourthly, many Turkish and Kurdish people gained property and wealth because the genocide.[12] When Armenian people were removed from their homes, their homes and belongings were divided between other people.[12] Fifthly, Turkish people were affected by social amnesia (a group of people start to forget their past because other people remove evidence of the truth).[13]

Study of Armenian Genocide Denial change

In 1990, psychologist Robert Jay Lifton got a letter from the Turkish Ambassador to the United States. In the letter, the Ambassador asked Lifton how he could have talked about the Armenian Genocide in one of his books (because the Ambassador believed the Genocide never happened). By mistake, the Ambassador also included a draft of a letter written by scholar Heath Lowry, which told him how to keep the Armenian Genocide from being talked about in books. Lowry was later named to a chair (an important position) at Princeton University. Princeton had been given a $750,000 grant from the Republic of Turkey. This led to many arguments about ethics in scholarship.[1][2]

Open University of Israel scholar Yair Auron has talked about the different ways the Turkish government has tried to make it seem like the Armenian Genocide never happened:

  • "Since the 1980s, the Turkish government has supported the establishment of "institutes" affiliated with respected universities, whose apparent purpose is to further research on Turkish history and culture, but which also tend to act in ways that further denial."[14]

→ Auron is saying that since the 1980s, the Turkish government has given money to some good universities to create "institutes" that should study Turkish history and culture more in details. However, these institutes helped to deny the Genocide and the events of it even more.

University of California, Los Angeles scholar Leo Kuper, in a review on Ervin Staub's "The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence" research, writes:

  • "The Armenian genocide is a contemporary current issue, given the persistent aggressive denial of the crime by the Turkish government - not withstanding its own judgment in courts martial after the first World War, that its leading ministers had deliberately planned and carried out the annihilation of Armenians, with the participation of many regional administrators."[15]

→ Kuper is saying that the Turkish government keeps saying the Genocide never happened. But in courts-martial after World War I, the Turkish government admitted that it organized, planned, and committed the genocide of Armenians.

Problems with denials change

Laws and the denial in Turkey change

In the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, the newly founded Republic of Turkey created an organization that investigated how many Armenians had died between 1915 and 1918. It was discovered that 800.000 people had died during this time, though many historians believe the death toll is much higher. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, admitted to the killing of Armenians more than once after the First World War, and many within his movement agreed accountability was needed. This changed in the following years, when it was discovered that many of Turkey's founders were involved in the genocide. Since these men were celebrated as heroes during the First World War, their crimes were not recognized by Turkey.

Turkey continues to deny that the killings of Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire was a genocide. While there is no specific law in Turkey today that forbids people from talking about the genocide, there have been many cases of Turkey using the law to stop education on the Armenian Genocide. Scholars of history have named several reasons as to why Turkey still continues to deny that the Armenian Genocide happened. [16] For example, many Turkish policymakers have expressed that admitting to the genocide would result in Armenia calling for reparations, or even demand back the territories they lost in World War I.[17]

International Laws change

Some countries, for example, Switzerland, have laws that punish people who deny genocides or crimes against humanity.[18] A Turkish politician Dogu Perinçek was found guilty by this Swiss law in March 2007 because he said that the Armenian genocide is “a great international lie.” [19] He did not agree with the court`s decision, and he said that the decision went against his freedom of speech (the right to express ones opinion without legal intervention). He went against the court`s decision, and his law case went to the European Court of Human Rights. The court decided that Dogu Perinçek is not guilty and that this law is against the freedom of expression.[20]

There are some countries which do not formally recognize the genocide, and are neutral about the recognition or the denial. These countries include Israel and the United Kingdom.[21][22]

Media and the denial change

In the June 6, 2005 edition of the TIME Europe magazine, the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (a group of business people and corporations interested in business matters) paid for tourism advertisements. These advertisements included DVDs accusing Armenian people of killing Turkish people. [23] Time Europe later apologized for sharing the DVD and published a letter saying the DVDs were wrong. The February 12, 2007 edition of TIME Europe had a page that said that the Armenian Genocide did really happen. It also included a DVD of a documentary by French director Laurence Jourdan about the Genocide. [24]

In 2014, Armenian-American singer-songwriter Serj Tankian wrote a letter addressed to the "People of Turkey" in which he posed the question "Must I fight propoganda and corruption internationally to regain justice?" In it he talks about how the Denial of the Armenian Genocide has impacted him, and how he feels Turkey could do better moving forward.[25]

100 years later and the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day change

The 24th of April is the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. In 2015, exactly 100 years after the genocide, lots of seminars, workshops, and events were organized in the capital city of Armenia, Yerevan. Presidents, politicians and important people from all around the world were invited, and the Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan as well.[26] Erdogan answered back with an invitation for a celebration of the battle of Gallipoli.[27] For the first time, the celebration of this battle was on the same day as the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. This decision might have been a trick to turn international attention away from the Armenian Genocide. Armenian president at that time, Armen Sargystan, said in his answer to Erdogan`s invitation that “it is not our rule to be hosted by guests.”[28]

On this day, there were protests all around the world. For example, in Tehran, around 1,000 people protested in front of the Turkish embassy. Even in Istanbul around 100 people called for the recognition of the Armenian genocide.[29]

Countries that recognise the Armenian genocide[30] change

  1. Argentina
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bolivia
  5. Brazil
  6. Canada
  7. Chile
  8. Cyprus
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Denmark
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Greece
  14. Italy
  15. Latvia
  16. Lebanon
  17. Lithuania
  18. Luxembourg
  19. Mexico
  20. Netherlands
  21. Paraguay
  22. Poland
  23. Portugal
  24. Russia
  25. Slovakia
  26. Sweden
  27. Switzerland
  28. Syria
  29. Vatican City
  30. Venezuela
  31. United States
  32. Uruguay

USA and the denial of the Armenian Genocide change

On 22 April 1981 American President Ronald Reagan talked about the Armenian Genocide in reference to a speech he made about the Holocaust, saying "Like the genocide of the Armenians before it ... the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten".[31]

In 2021 President Joe Biden said that the killing of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was a genocide.[32] This was the first time when an American president formally and publicly recognised this event as a genocide.[33] This decision made relationships between USA and Turkey more complicated but was important for Armenians living in the United States.

Related pages change

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 "8 facts about the Armenian genocide 100 years ago -". CNN. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  2. "100 Years Ago, 1.5 Million Armenians Were Systematically Killed. Today, It's Still Not A 'Genocide.'". The Huffington Post. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  3. "Q&A Armenian 'genocide'". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Göçek, Fatma Müge (2014-11-03), "Young Turk Denial of the Act of Violence, 1908–1918", Denial of Violence, Oxford University Press, p. 4, retrieved 2023-05-15
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hovannisian, Richard G. (1998). Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide. Wayne State University. p. 273.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Akçam, Taner (2012-04-15). The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity. Princeton University Press. pp. xi. ISBN 978-0-691-15333-9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Suny, Ronald Grigor (2015-03-22), ""They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else": A History of the Armenian Genocide", "They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else", Princeton University Press, doi:10.1515/9781400865581, ISBN 978-1-4008-6558-1, retrieved 2023-05-15 pp. 304, 319, 330
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Melson, Robert (2008). "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, Taner Akçam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), xii + 467 pp., $30.00". Holocaust and Genocide Studies. 22: 113–114.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Akcam, Taner (2006). A shameful act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility. New York: Metropolitan Books. pp. 345–346.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Marchand, Guillame Perrier, Debbie Blythe, Laure (2015). Turkey and the Armenian Ghost: On the Trail of the Genocide. Montreal: MQUP. p. 116.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Bilali, Rezarta (2013). "National Narrative and Social Psychological Influences in Turks' Denial of the Mass Killings of Armenians as Genocide". Journal of Social Issues. 69 (1): 20. doi:10.1111/josi.12001. ISSN 0022-4537.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Oranlı, Imge (2020-11-24). "Epistemic Injustice from Afar: Rethinking the Denial of Armenian Genocide". Social Epistemology. 35 (2): 121–122. doi:10.1080/02691728.2020.1839593. ISSN 0269-1728.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Alayarian, Aida (2008). Consequences of Denial: The Armenian Genocide. London: Karnac Books. pp. xiv, 125.
  14. Auron, Yair. The Banality of Denial, p. 47
  15. "Review (The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence. by Ervin Staub)", Leo Kuper // Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 19, No. 5. (Sep., 1990), p. 683
  16. Cooper, Belinda; Akcam, Taner (2005). "Turks, Armenians, and the "G-Word"". World Policy Journal. 22 (3): 81–93. ISSN 0740-2775.
  17. de Waal, Thomas (2015). "The G-Word: The Armenian Massacre and the Politics of Genocide". Foreign Affairs. 94 (1): 136–148. ISSN 0015-7120.
  18. "Article". Retrieved 2023-05-02.
  19. "Human Rights Court: Denial of Armenian genocide is not a crime". 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2023-05-02.
  20. "Article". Retrieved 2023-05-02.
  21. Charny, Israel W. (2021-04-27), "Chapter 10. Israel's Continuing Denial of the Armenian Genocide", Chapter 10. Israel’s Continuing Denial of the Armenian Genocide, Academic Studies Press, pp. 221–248, doi:10.1515/9781644695241-013, ISBN 978-1-64469-524-1, retrieved 2023-05-09
  22. Fraser, Giles (2015-04-24). "Why is the UK government so afraid to speak of Armenian genocide?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  23. Vick, Karl (2005-09-30). "In Turkey, a Clash of Nationalism and History". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  24. fm (2007-02-02). "TIME carries documentary, adopts policy on Armenian Genocide". Financial Mirror. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  25. "Serj Tankian writes a letter to the people of Turkey | Music of Armenia". 2018-02-05. Archived from the original on 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  26. "Armenians mark 100 years since genocide". France 24. 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  27. "Turkey invites Armenian president to 100th anniversary of Gallipoli War". Archived from the original on 2023-04-25. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  28. "It isn't our rule to be hosted by guest - Armenian leader to Turkey's Erdogan". Archived from the original on 2023-04-25. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  29. "Armenians mark 100 years since genocide". France 24. 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  30. "Countries that Recognize the Armenian Genocide". Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  31. "Ronald Reagan". Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  32. "What Biden's Recognition of Armenian Genocide Means to Armenian-Americans". Time. 2021-04-27. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  33. "What Biden's Recognition of Armenian Genocide Means to Armenian-Americans". Time. 2021-04-27. Retrieved 2023-04-28.

Other websites change