Johann von Bernstorff (German ambassador); “The way the Armenian problem was solved was hair-raising. I can still see in front of me Talaat’s cynical expression, when he emphasized that the Armenian question was solved.”1
Einar af Wirsén (Swedish Diplomat) “When I kept on pestering him about the Armenian question, he once said with a smile: ‘What on earth do you want? The question is settled, there are no more Armenians'”.2
Henry Morgenthau (American Ambassador (He was Jewish)); “Whatever crimes the most perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever refinements of persecution and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people. I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.”3
On May 30th 1915 Talaat Pasha issued the Tehcir Act, which on paper was a security measure the Turks put forth to prevent a Russian-Armenian revolt by forcibly relocating the nationals of Armenia to Mesopotamia and Syria.4 This was the story the Young Turks told the world to avoid and minimize any public disapproval or foreign resistance. The relocations involved disarmed Armenians being forcibly marched to camps in the inner deserts of Anatolia and Syria, and these camps were not stocked with necessary supplies for survival.5 The properties of these people were confiscated and sold to new arrivals, the men were often singled out to be killed first, and the women were often enslaved and raped en masse.
The accusation of Russian-aligned rebellion was used as justification and cover. American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau frantically remarked;
“Have you received my 841? Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.
Protests as well as threats are unavailing and probably incite the Ottoman government to more drastic measures as they are determined to disclaim responsibility for their absolute disregard of capitulations and I believe nothing short of actual force which obviously United States are not in a position to exert would adequately meet the situation.”6
A confession is considered as valuable only if it contains some true and verifiable details of the crime the investigator did not know of. This rule of criminal investigation was observed in the controversial telegram transcriptions written in The memoirs of Naim Bey.7
On March 25, 1915, Talaat states: “It is the duty of all of us to effect on the broadest lines the realisation of the noble project of wiping out the existence of the Armenians who have for centuries been constituting a barrier to the Empire’s progress in civilization.”8
What events led to these horrific genocide and near destruction of the Armenian people, and why are the Armenian people important for European history?
Armenians are an ethno-linguistic-religious group distinct from their surrounding neighbors. They have their own church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which was founded in the 1st century CE, and became in 301 CE the first branch of Christianity to become a state religion. They have also their own alphabet and language which is classified as an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. The historical homeland of the Armenians sits north of the Fertile Crescent, a region of substantial importance to modern human evolution. Genetic and archaeological data suggest farmers expanding from this region during the Neolithic populated Europe and interacted/admixed with pre-existing hunter-gatherer populations.
Furthermore, Armenia’s location may have been important for the spread of Indo-European languages, since it is believed to encompass or be close to the Proto-Indo-European homeland (Anatolia or Pontic Steppe) from which the Indo-Europeans and their culture spread to Western Europe, Central Asia and India. 9
The Holocaust of the Armenian people wasn’t simply stopped at the borders of Turkey; Ottoman troops by the Young Turks insistence had also invaded Persia. During this invasion Christian Armenians and Assyrians alike were slaughtered. In fact, approximately half of Persia’s Christian Assyrians alongside about four-fifths of the Christian Assyrian leadership were killing during this time by Turkish and Kurdish invaders.10
Two months after the (largely Jewish led) Bolshevik revolution the new Russian government began withdrawing Russian troops from the Caucasus. This withdrew the only ally the Armenians had and put their remaining people at risk of extinction. At this time the last refuge for these people was the small remaining unconquered land of historic Armenia centered around Mount Ararat.11
Mount Ararat is traditionally the Christian-accepted location of Noah’s Ark in the Book of Genesis. Armenia was the first Christian country in the world. The Armenian language is the most ancestral, oldest Indo-European Language left since the extinctions of its Indo-European predecessors Anatolian and Tocharian. It’s hard to overstate the ethnocultural significance in this event threatening complete extermination of the most ancestral Indo-European speakers and also the most ancestral Christians. Much of the Armenian highlands were lost; Western Armenia was renamed “Eastern Anatolia” by the invaders. With the survivors and refugees concentrated in Caucausia the impending invasion threatened complete annihilation.
The Christian leader Catholicos Gevorg V ordered Church Bells to peal for six days as all classes of Armenian people were called to take up arms with the women and children readying supplies and the entire survivors of the nation prepared for total war.12 The President of the Armenian assembly stated “If we are to perish, let us perish with honor.”13
In the battles of Sardarabad, alongside Abaran and Karakilisa, the outnumbered Armenians managed to defy the odds and fight off the Turkish invaders. Historian Christopher Walker remarked that with a loss at Sardarabad “it is perfectly possible that the word Armenia would have henceforth denoted only an antique geographical term.”14
The Destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire resulted by most estimates with 1.5 million of the 2 million Ottoman Armenians being exterminated.
The history of Armenia is intertwined with that of Europe and Russia especially. Russia had generally had an Armenian presence through its history but after the Russo-Persian wars in 1828 Russia annexed parts of the historical Armenian nation. Since that time Russia has generally defended the rights of Christian minorities in the Ottoman lands. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is perhaps the most visible example of a Russian Armenian given that he was born to an Armenian father.
But the Armenians had, for the most part, been very well integrated in the empire as well. Armenians were formerly dubbed the “loyal millet”.15 The Armenians opportunities in the region arguably increased with the transition from Greek Byzantine rule to Ottoman rule. Armenian villages traditionally had a high degree of autonomy as well. Any sort of separatist nationalism would seem unviable, and the main Armenian conflicts with the Ottoman Muslims were based about regional autonomy and protection from bandits. The primary Armenian political organizations with public protests were advocates pushing for autonomy such as the 1890’s Kum Kapu demonstration.16 These requests were quite reasonable as the Armenians had suffered various attacks and murders from Muslim Kurds and other bandits who, by the Ottoman empires laws, held legal superiority in court.
During this time the Sultan Abdul Hamid II attempted to shed the “sick man of Europe” label his failing Ottoman Empire had by encouraging a modernization of the Empire, which required a stronger and more centralized government role in citizens affairs. Abdul Hamid II was attacked in the British press as the “Red Sultan” for various atrocities committed against minorities such as Armenians and for all intents and purposes was the perfect archetype of a Tyrant.17
The Young Turks who sought to overthrow him by contrast were revolutionaries. They shouted their slogans of “Hürriyet, Musavat , Uhuvvet” inspired from the French “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” meaning “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. Turkish ethnicity is often described as a “melting pot” of all Anatolian people ranging from the gene pools of the Balkans, Anatolia, and parts of Asia.”18 The Young Turks were also rationalists following a materialist ideologies like positivism which they prioritized over religion; The Islamic authorities the Ulama even denounced them as “trying to change Islam into another form and create a new religion while calling it Islam”.19
The Ottoman Empire was historically a place where Jews could live without fear of persecution according to one of the Erdogan aligned newspaper the Daily Sabah.20 Indeed this tolerance extended into the post-Sultan era of the Young Turks, as the Encyclopedia Judaica noted that various Zionist groups were hopeful in 1908 for opportunities to press their interests; “the absence of antisemitism in Turkey made the idea [Jewish settlement in Palestine] possible”.21 Talaat specifically was very open to these ideas;
“Four years later Talaat even propagated the fantastic idea of a ‘Muslim-Jewish Alliance.’ The Balkan wars had plunged the Ottoman Empire into financial ruin and Talaat, who became a key member of the CUP’s ruling triumvirate following the military coup of January 1913, expected the Zionists to link the empire with the fabulous wealth of ‘world Jewry.'”22
Knowing this background of the states historical pluralism, alongside the progressive and secular motto of the new government and its noted tolerance of Jewish minorities, one has to ask how a genocide could have even been possible. How could such a progressive government proceed to horrifically genocide many of the states indigenous Christian populations?
If we take a closer look at the killings we come across many disturbing disparities in the treatment of these minority groups. After all in the Great fire of Smyrna catastrophe of 1922 the Christian Armenian and Christian Greek sections of the city were destroyed while the Jewish and Turkish sections were not.23 In 1918, three years after the passing of the Tehcir law, Talaat Pasha made a Turkish Balfour declaration equivalent expressing support for the establishment of Jewish Palestine.24 Clearly it is a strange sort of nationalism the Western world is unfamiliar with when the Jewish minorities are spared.
The Armenian Holocaust was not only unexpected by the victims but in fact it is still to this day denied by the perpetrator state Turkey. And until recently, the execution of the genocide itself was only known by third party observers, with the state of Turkey claiming the genocide was really just a civil war. The only direct evidence of intentional genocide were in translated telegrams written in the 1921 published The Memoirs of Naim Bey which lost much of the source material telegrams.
In October 2016 however Prof. Taner Akçam found archived Ottoman telegrams confirming the legitimacy of various events from The Memoirs of Naim Bey and confirming that they were not mere fabrications for propaganda.25
This legitimacy was confirmed further when the “smoking gun” of April 2017 was discovered, an original telegram directly inquiring over the murder of Armenians. The official Young Turks government telegram asks directly if the deported Armenians are being killed or “merely sent off and deported”.
“Are the Armenians who were deported from there being liquidated? Are the troublesome individuals whom you have reported as having been exiled and expelled been eliminated or merely sent off and deported? Please report honestly.”26
This is a telegram with an Ottoman letterhead and with the Ottoman coding system acquired by an Armenian Catholic priest, Krikor Guerguerian. He held the evidence in a private archive wherein it was secured by his nephew. The issue being re-raised has re-opened conflicts between Turkey and the international community. During the Western progressive-leftist worlds drama over President Donald Trumps Holocaust remembrance statement of “11 million”, an angry and emotional response from the Jewish Telegraph Agency made some very interesting admissions on the Jewish Holocausts history.27
The “5 million” has driven Holocaust historians to distraction ever since Wiesenthal started to peddle it in the 1970s. Wiesenthal told the Washington Post in 1979, “I have sought with Jewish leaders not to talk about 6 million Jewish dead, but rather about 11 million civilians dead, including 6 million Jews…”
“I said to him, ‘Simon, you are telling a lie,’” Bauer recalled in an interview Tuesday. “He said, ‘Sometimes you need to do that to get the results for things you think are essential.’”
Bauer and other historians who knew Wiesenthal said the Nazi hunter told them that he chose the 5 million number carefully: He wanted a number large enough to attract the attention of non-Jews who might not otherwise care about Jewish suffering, but not larger than the actual number of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, 6 million.
With the newly opened international drama of the Armenian Holocaust denying Turkish government, we can find some interesting admissions of the origins of the Young Turks revolution. The Young Turks Revolution broke out in Salonica. Salonica was the largest Jewish city in the world at this time with Jewish people constituting over half the population. According to a prominent Turkish Newspaper in a very recent article on October 13th 2017; 28
“The most prominent financier and mentor of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), which seized the government in 1908, was a Jewish banker of Italian origin from Salonica, Emmanuel Carasso. When Greeks, who had held a privileged status up until then, fell into disfavor after the Constantinople massacre of 1821 targeting Greeks, Jews were hoping for a second chance.
However, with their art facilities scattered around Anatolia, Armenians came in first thanks to their capital surplus. As a result of the Jewish lobby’s recommendations, the Young Turks government removed Armenians from Anatolia in 1915. Hence, the economy of the country was left in the hands of Jewish capital.
Carasso, who was a part of the committee that informed Abdülhamid II of his dethronement, was the closest confidant of Talat Pasha, the figure responsible for the deportation law. In fact, when Talat Pasha escaped abroad in 1918, he entrusted his entire estate to Carasso. To take an active role in the foundation of the Ankara government, Carasso returned to his homeland before his death.”
The allegations of the Armenian Holocaust denying Erdogan-aligned newspaper are very important and need to be explored in depth, as these allegations may help to uncover background historical interactions between Jewish groups and European/Christian groups in a multicultural environment.
In his book Banality of Indifference, Yair Auron alleges that the Jewish citizens of Turkey during this time were apathetic to the murdered Armenians. Regarding the attitude of the Jews towards the Armenians, he wrote:
“A slight grimace on their lips, a short heartfelt sigh, and nothing more. The Armenians are not Jews, and according to folk tradition the Armenians are nothing more than Amaleks! Amaleks? We would give them help? To whom? To Amaleks? Heaven forbid!”29
During the 1922 great fire of Smyrna, in which the Greek and Armenian portions of the city were burned down while the Turkish and Jewish sections were spared, the accounts of Jewish teachers alleged that either the Greeks or Armenians started the fire themselves.30
This apathetic and dismissive attitude has even been shown in the Jewish “Anti-defamation league” which as recently as 2007 campaigned against the American governments recognition of the Armenian Holocaust.
“Foxman finally acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in his remarks. It was an encouraging development given that ADL’s only formal statement on the genocide is worded in such a way as to actually circumvent the intent required for a finding of genocide by the UN Genocide Convention.”31
“That statement, issued in 2007, said that the “consequences” of the Turkish massacres of Armenians were “tantamount” to genocide, implying it was not a planned extermination. This statement was widely censured, but calls for an unambiguous confirmation were rebuffed by ADL.”
It needs to be noted here that the American ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau was himself a Jew, and quickly became of the fiercest advocates for recognition of this genocide, and even demanded American intervention to protect the Armenian victims. But of course exceptions don’t break the rule.
The post-WW2 world has served to served to center all discussions of prejudice on nomadic minority ethnic groups. The topic is very well studied with any and all possible ethnic and political roots examined. By contrast, prejudice and oppression of Indo-European nationalities and their culture or religious practices are not widely discussed. While these events are minimized in the social/academic spheres of the Western world, Christophobia and Europhobia have not only happened historically but continue to happen today.
This lack of study for this sort of prejudice is very problematic for the modern “multicultural world” especially as anti-European/Christian prejudices are increasingly apparent and ignored by the mainstream media/academia.
This lack of study needs to be adequately addressed. The future and survival of European Christendom is depending on it.
1 A., Bernstorff (2011). Memoirs of Count Bernstorff. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-169-93525-7.
2 Avedian, Vahagn (21 May 2008). “The Armenian Genocide 1915: From a Neutral Small State’s Perspective: Sweden” (PDF). Uppsala University. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
3 Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, Page 119, Blackmask Online
4 Akçam, Taner (2006). A Shameful Act. New York: Holt & Co. pp. 165, 186–187.
5 Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). “Tehcir Law”. In Whitehorn, Alan. The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1610696883.
8 Naim Bey., . (1920). The memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish official documents relating to the deportations and massacres of Armenians. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
10 Baumer, Church of the East, at 263. The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, Christoph Baumer, I.B. Tauris, 2006.
12 Bobelian, Michael (2009). Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 34. ISBN 1-4165-5725-3.
13 Akçam, T. (2006). A shameful act: The Armenian genocide and the question of Turkish responsibility. Macmillan.
14 Walker, Christopher J. (1990). Armenia The Survival of a Nation, 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press. pp. 254–255. ISBN 0-7099-0210-7.
15 Dadrian, Vahakn N. The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995, p. 192. ISBN 1-57181-666-6
16 “Fighting In Constantinople.; The Armenian Patriarch Mobbed – Soldiers And Rioters Killed”. New York Times. 29 July 1890.
17 “Abdulhamid II | biography – Ottoman sultan”. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
18 The Ottoman Peoples and The End of Empire by Justin McCarthy (2007), p. 200-205
19 Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü, The Political Ideas of the Young Turks.
21 Roth, C. (Ed.). (1972). Encyclopaedia Judaica (Vol. 15). Encyclopaedia Judaica. P. 544
22 E. Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923.
23 Clogg, p. 98.
29 Ya’ir Oron, The Banality of Indifference:Zionism and the Armenian Genocide, Transaction Publishers, London, 2002, p.126.
30 The Post Magazine and Insurance Monitor, Volume 85, Issue 2 (1924), Buckley Press,  p. 2153