Friday, October 17, 2014

Kurt: Bardakçı’s Chest as a Cognovit

Special for the Armenian Weekly
In Kanunların Ruhu: Emval-i Metruke Kanunlarında Soykırımın İzini Sürmek (The Spirit of the Laws: Pursuing the Trace of Genocide on the Abandoned Property Laws), Taner Akçam and I exposed the ways in which the moveable and unmovable properties of the Armenians who were displaced and eliminated in 1915 were obtained and distributed, using all the vehicles provided by the “law,” first by the ruling Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), and later the Republican regime with the Abandoned Property Laws (Emval-i Metruke Kanunları) that the government inherited.1
Murat Bardakçı’s İttihatçı’nın Sandığı (The Unionist’s Chest)
Murat Bardakçı’s İttihatçı’nın Sandığı (The Unionist’s Chest)
Although all of the laws issued within the scope of the Abandoned Property Laws noted the Armenians’ entitlement to their property and assets, and stated that at the very least their value should be handed over to them, the process was obstructed in many ways. As a result, the Armenians’ material foundations were eliminated and their physical annihilation was complete. The measure of existence “granted” to the Armenians by these laws was reduced to nothingness.
The promise of Lausanne
The goods that were known to be the property of the Armenians and termed “abandoned” were first distributed by the Treasury and the Finance Ministry to migrants coming from the Balkans and Caucasus, to local notables and minor gentry; in the CUP era, to a variety of state organizations and the army; and again in the Republican era to various organizations and people providing services to the government. Through various means, including the citizenship and passport laws, the same republic that promised in Lausanne to restore the Armenians’ goods, instead of returning to Turkey the Ottoman citizen Armenians left outside the country, sold the goods obtained through the Abandoned Property Laws at a profit, recording the income for this in the 1928 budget as revenue. At the same time, the CUP issued property rights to those already in possession of Armenian immovable properties.2
No wonder, then, that of those actively involved in the seizure of goods and assets during the deportation and annihilation of the Armenians, many were members of the CUP central committee, and many Unionist civil servants and officials benefitted from this “remedy.” Following the signing of the Armistice of Moudros in October 1918, many CUP members who had not left the country were tried for crimes committed during the deportation process at the courts martial established in Istanbul. Among the important CUP names who fled Turkey for Europe immediately after the war, Talat Paşa, Said Halim Paşa, and Cemal Paşa, and Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir Bey and Cemal Azmi Bey, were all killed between June 1920 and July 1922 through “Operation Nemesis,” embarked upon by the Armenians.
With the rulings made in Istanbul, Kemal Bey, the district governor of Boğazliyan and provincial deputy governor of Yozgat, and Nusret Bey, the provincial governor of Urfa, were executed, along with Hafız Abdullah Avni, an Erzincan hotelier and gendarmerie bureau clerk. Interestingly, they were later, in a special law issued by the Turkish Parliament in June 1926, given the title of “national martyr,” and their families were given income and various goods from the “abandoned properties” of the Armenians.
Two hundred and twenty documents
This has been a lengthy preamble, I know. Let us come to the book that is the focus of this long introduction. Coming six years after his book Talat Paşa’nın Evrak-ı Metrukesi (The Abandoned Paper of Talat Paşa), Murat Bardakçı’s İttihatçı’nın Sandığı (The Unionist’s Chest) has now been published, and contains documents and letters of considerable importance that only he was able to access, by entering the personal archives of the Unionist leaders.
Published by İş Bankası Yayınları, the book also includes 19 documents from the Prime Ministry’s Republican Archives relating to the goods of the deported Armenian that were given to the above-mentioned Unionist members and civil servants recognized as “national martyrs” by parliamentary decree. In this book based on 220 documents, 198—in addition to archive documents—are from Bardakçı’s private archives, some of them provided by Unionist families.
The writings in the second section of the book leave the door open for works of the upmost importance in the coming period, and include those of Treasury Minister Cavid Bey (here the correspondence between Halide Edip and Cavid Bey contains particularly interesting information on Edip’s services to the Ayn Tura Orphanage), in addition to the letters of Kürt Şerif Paşa; the documents of Bahriye Nazırı Paşa and İzmir Governor Rahmi Bey; the Malta letters of CUP Secretary-General Midhat Şükrü; and a striking CUP members photo album.
The author’s response
Now let’s come to the book’s purpose: In his introduction, Murat Bardakçı responds to the rightful criticism frequently directed at him—that “To be an historian it is not enough simply to publish documents; those documents must also be commented upon.” As far as Bardakçı is concerned, the criticism comes from those unable to access the documents of the architects of the events of 1915, and are the product of jealousy at being unaware of the documents’ existence and being unable to access them.
Yes, it is true that in terms of access to the documents of the architects of what in the modern understanding was the first great genocide and displacement of the 20th century, and of the decisions that shaped the fate of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century and during the first quarter of the 20th—it seems it must have been easy for Bardakçı. For, on his own television programs he has said countless times that he is a Unionist, and has professed his admiration for Unionism, and clearly used his close relationships to access vitally important personal archives and writings.
From an historian’s perspective, what is important here is what sort of evaluation these first-hand documents have been subjected to within the historical framework of the period. Otherwise, we could simply peruse second-hand bookstores, find whatever there was from that period, and publish “The Chest of This” or “The Cupboard of That.” The essence and the key point in this matter are the historical conditions and the flow of events within which these documents and writings were produced. How sad, then, that Bardakçı has shown neither the inclination nor efforts with regards to these factors indispensable to historians.
Halide Edip’s letter
As an example, let us look at a letter from the section of Bardakçı’s book that contains the correspondence between Cavid Bey and Halide Edip. In this letter, sent from Beirut by Edip, she writes: “In particular the Armenians; only here do a number of these unfortunate Armenians find the right to live, swearing on the blessed head of Cemal Paşa and by Allah… With stomachs swollen from eating grass out in the desert, some mothers, some fathers, many of them come here after losing their children… I am occupied with the children and women. We have opened a classroom for the little ones, and are teaching them there… In the garden there is another tragedy! An unfortunate struck mute after his son was killed right next to him, with no idea where his other son and family have ended up. Barefoot, with sorrowful eyes, screaming unremittingly of his tragedy. Sometimes in the night, like a woman with a dead child he sobs and wails with his head in his hands…”
In this letter, Edip refers to the Armenian children orphaned and the Armenian women widowed by the deportations and genocide. The description of the services that she provided in the Ayn Tura Orphanage in Beirut presents us with a cross-section of the Armenian Genocide. Such writings gain their meaning through a historically contextualized reading. The point we do not find, and will not find, in Murat Bardakçı’s book is this.
Let us come, then, to the decision that granted the distribution of the Armenians’ remaining goods and assets to those with “national martyr” status. First, let me say this: Anyone who wishes can go to the Republican Archives in Ankara and, within about half an hour, access the 19 documents that were translated from the Ottoman and published there. These documents are a confession of how the assets of the Armenians, in particular their properties, were appropriated by the state via its legal mechanisms and blatantly distributed to the agents of their destruction.
Another striking point highlighted by these documents, and by Bardakçı’s emphasis of the importance of Mustafa Kemal, is how the transfer and seizure of the Armenians’ assets were transferred from the CUP to the Republican regime—leading, in this way, to the continuation and perpetuity of the same mindset. This is because from the moment the Republican regime was founded, just as a silkworm spins its cocoon, the laws it created—replicating and thoroughly consolidating the Abandoned Property Laws constructed by the CUP—provided their perpetuity and prevented the return of goods to Armenian hands.
Perpetuity in the state
In this sense, Bardakçı has made a crucial point. By referencing these documents, it can be proven that Mustafa Kemal was not opposed to the deportations; did not hate the Unionists who gave and applied the decision for deportation; gave roles in the state to people involved in this business; did not see the deported Armenians as wronged; and did not use harsh expressions against those responsible for the deportations. In this respect, Bardakçı must be given his due credit, because many bureaucrats involved in the departments responsible for the Armenian deportations and genocide were promoted to key positions in the state during the years of Kemal’s presidency. Perpetuity was, indeed, embraced in the state.
Murat Bardakçı’s The Unionist’s Chest is presented as a story of destruction and loss, but what emerges from the chest is more like a “bulging” confession. The documents contained in this book are the recognition of the destruction and depredation hurled upon the Armenians. Since the writer was content to simply publish these documents, let the judgment fall to us.
[1] Taner Akçam and Ümit Kurt, Kanunların Ruhu: Emval-i Metruke Kanunlarında Soykırımın İzini Sürmek, İletişim Yayınları 2012, Istanbul.
2 For a detailed analysis of the entire so-called legal system behind the expropriation of the movable and immovable properties of the deported Armenians, see Taner Akçam and Ümit Kurt, Kanunların Ruhu: Emval-i Metruke Kanunlarında Soykırımın İzini Sürmek, İletişim Yayınları 2012, Istanbul. The English translation of this book will come out in May 2015: Taner Akçam and Ümit Kurt, The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide, Berghahn Books, May 2015.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Kristof: Erdogan Said 1915 not Genocide ‘to My Face’

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (A.W.)—Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof told Michael Krasny, host of KQED radio’s Forum program, that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told him in no uncertain terms that he did not believe what happened to the Armenians was genocide, during the show’s Oct. 7 broadcast.
Answering a question from a caller about the Armenian genocide, Krasny said, “It’s worse than denial—I had the Turkish ambassador on and he said there was no genocide, literally. Not only there was no genocide, it was trumped up, it was conspiratorial.”
Kristof, in turn, said, “President Erdogan has told me that to my face, invited me to look through Ottoman archives. The sense of denial is extraordinary.”
Kristof, who is also the co-author of A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunities, is partly of Armenian descent (his father was an Armenian from Romania), and has written on the topic of the Armenian Genocide in the past.
In 2010, in a column titled “Speaking Not as an Armenian,” Kristof wrote: “…I do think the evidence is clear that genocide is the right word for what happened, and that’s why I always refer to it as the Armenian genocide. It’s also true that Turkey has a problem acknowledging its brutality toward both Armenians and Kurds, although it has also gotten much better about this in the last decade. I’ve discussed the issue with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan a couple of times, and he is light years ahead of his predecessors (and still a few light years behind what is needed).”
Kristof’s aforementioned column argued against Congress passing resolutions on the Armenian Genocide, suggesting that instead, “We should be trying to nurture Turkey further along its path of conciliation toward Armenians and the Kurds. Smacking them—even for real historical sins—isn’t a great way to do that. Anybody who thinks that diplomacy is about telling the truth doesn’t know diplomacy.”
In his columns, Kristof focuses on human rights abuses and ongoing atrocities around the world, hoping to mobilize international, and particularly U.S. efforts to stop them. His advocacy surrounding the Darfur Genocide is especially noteworthy. He has cited the Armenian case, and the world’s inaction in the face of those atrocities, in his calls for action.

The World Never Really Faced Kobani

Special for the Armenian Weekly
Some stories are here to stay, and I suspect the story of the 3,000 fighters defending Kobani will be retold for generations to come. Shamefully, the world’s indifference will also be remembered, as will Turkey’s complicity.
Three-thousand Kurdish men and women—members of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG)—are fighting a bloody battle against 10,000 Islamic State fighters bent on establishing a caliphate that expands from Syria to Iraq, and possibly beyond. Neither the Kurdish YPG fighters’ manpower nor weaponry is a match to those of the Islamist militants. In fact, the Kurds are slowly running out of ammunition and options. Reinforcements are unable to reach them from the tightly controlled Turkish border. On the other hand, truckloads of crude oil are reportedly making their way to the black markets of Turkey to fund the jihadi efforts. Reports of ISIS fighters transiting through Turkey’s borders aren’t infrequent either.
The story of the 3,000 fighters defending Kobani will be retold for generations to come.
The story of the 3,000 fighters defending Kobani will be retold for generations to come.
“The world has turned its back on Kobani,” lamented one resident, named Mahmoud, to The Guardian. But has the world ever really faced Kobani?
Around 160,000 residents have reportedly evacuated Kobani and its surrounding area, and have crossed the border into Turkey. The town is said to be almost entirely empty of civilians—though the line between civilian and fighter are blurred in this life and death fight for survival, so perhaps we should say the town is almost entirely empty of unarmed civilians. Those who have crossed the border now have front row seats to the destruction of their town.
The coalition of the willing—the cartoonish band of unwilling parties under the leadership of the United States—has failed to take any meaningful action. Team U.S.A. includes Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, France, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, and others.
Oh, and Turkey—in name so far.
Some critics are left scratching their heads over the involvement of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey because of their alleged moral, financial, and logistical support of ISIS. Others have criticized the continued efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, pointing out that such efforts will only strengthen ISIS and other terrorist groups who will thrive in the vacuum created by a further weakened or ousted Assad.
Turkey, on the other hand, begs to disagree. In fact, Assad’s removal from power is Erdogan’s top priority.
Turkey is refusing to budge in the face of the Kobani offensive, despite the fact that the town is a rock’s throw away from the Turkish border. What’s more, Turkish security forces are even preventing Syrian and local Kurds from crossing the border into Syria to rush to the aid of their compatriots in Kobani. According to reports security forces are using teargas and water cannon to hold back crowds that have flocked to the border. On Oct. 6, over 1,000 residents of the town of Suruc reportedly tried to march to Kobani to join the Kurdish fighters, but were stopped by Turkish security forces.
Any justification given—none that I even care to regurgitate—reveal the simple fact that sinister calculations trump the safety of an entire town. The bottom line is that in no shape, way, or form will Turkey aid in the reinforcement—or in this case, survival—of a Kurdish autonomous enclave close to the PKK on its borders. This policy has been confirmed by recent statements made by Erdogan likening the threat of ISIS to a threat from the existence of such an enclave. Simply put, there is nothing more worrisome to Turkey’s ruling elite than Kurdish self-determination.
But haven’t we seen this before? All across the world, and throughout history, politics outweighing human lives—some would even call that “good diplomacy.”
A handful of haphazard U.S. airstrikes later, ISIS is still advancing into Kobani. Reports claim IS fighters are confidently strolling through streets, without much care or caution, giving rise to rumors that the fighters might be using hard drugs. A couple of black ISIS flags are already waving above buildings.
The fate of the Kurds has once again turned out to be nothing more than a bargaining chip, and Erdogan is the first to demonstrate that.
Kobani is about to fall, he said on Oct. 7. A matter of fact statement—too matter of fact, coming from the president of a country whose largest minority are the Kurds. Erdogan then coolly listed his conditions for involvement: the establishment of no-fly zones over parts of northern Syria (a condition that pundits fear will only pave the way to increased anti-Kurdish activity by Turkey); deployment of ground troops; and training and arming the moderate opposition in Syria. In essence, Erdogan’s priority is ousting President Assad—to be replaced by an Islamist and Turkey-friendly opposition, they would hope.
So much for the great peace process with the Kurds.
But tensions are rising on the Turkish front as well, with demonstrations and riots taking place across the country in nearly 30 cities and towns against Turkey’s policy vis-à-vis Kobani and the ISIS threat. Some protests have ended in deaths. Kurds have also held protests across European cities, as well as in front of the White House.
Kobani will mark a turning point in the emerging Middle East. It will predetermine the course of Turkish-Kurdish relations, the fate of Syria, and the future of ISIS in the region. It will also reveal Turkey’s weight in regional and international politics. All while Kobani is engulfed in flames.
So I’ll come back to you, Mr. Mahmoud. You said “The world has turned its back on Kobani.”
Unfortunately, the world never really faced Kobani, Mr. Mahmoud. Despite your numbers, you have never really commanded much empathy in the international arena. Your enemies have been too powerful, too valuable.
The world knows how to talk a good talk—democracy, human rights, and the right to self-determination. But frankly, your life is expendable, Mr. Mahmoud. Think of Zilan. Think of Dersim. Think of Halabja. And I’ll think of Der Zor.
But you know all this too well, Mr. Mahmoud.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scholars, Activists Condemn Turkish Textbooks Vilifying Armenians

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—Turkish scholars, artists, and writers harshly condemned primary and middle school textbooks that are replete with anti-Armenian rhetoric in Turkey, and demanded that the books be pulled from circulation.
An image of page 23 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. The section deals with 1915, and alleges that Armenians committed massacres against innocent Turkish women and children, while Turkish men were fighting on the fronts. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
An image of page 23 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. The section deals with 1915, and alleges that Armenians committed massacres against innocent Turkish women and children, while Turkish men were fighting on the fronts. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
In a statement issued in late September, the signatories wrote, “After immediately pulling the ‘History’ and ‘History of the Turkish Revolution’ textbooks from circulation, apologies should be issued to all students, particularly to Armenian ones. As we approach 2015, the road to Turkish-Armenian peace that we long for passes through here.”
The textbooks portray Armenians as traitors who plotted with foreign enemies to tear apart the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, and as mass murderers of innocent Turkish and Muslim women and children while Muslim men were waging a war of survival.
The textbooks, all published over the past few years and approved by a special commission of Turkey’s Ministry of Education, are also mandatory in Armenian schools in Turkey.
The cover page of Unit 2 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
The cover page of Unit 2 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
Two newspapers in Turkey, Agos and Taraf, had published a series of articles by Taner Akçam on the anti-Armenian hate-filled rhetoric in Turkish textbooks earlier in September.
Here is the full list of signatories: Adalet Ağaoğlu, Ahmet Altan, Ahmet Hakan, Ahmet İnsel, Ali Bayramoğlu, Ali Nesin, Asaf Savaş Akat, Aydın Engin, Ayhan Aktar, Ayşe Günaysu, Ayşe Hür, Baskın Oran, Bekir Ağırdır, Betül Tanbay, Bülent Bilmez, Bülent Keneş, Cafer Solgun, Cemal Uşak, Cengiz Aktar, Daron Acemoğlu, Defne Asal, Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, Deniz Türkali, Edhem Eldem, Elçin Macar, Emel Kurma, Emine Uçak Erdoğan, Eren Keskin, Erol Katırcıoğlu, Fatih Akın, Ferhat Kentel, Fikret Adanır, Fuat Keyman, Gülten Kaya, Hadi Uluengin, Halil Berktay, Halil Ergün, Hasan Cemal, Hidayet Şefkatli Tuksal, İbrahim Betil, İhsan Eliaçık, İhsan Yılmaz, İsmet Berkan, İştar Gözaydın, Kemal Burkay, Kenan Çayır, Kutluğ Ataman, Leyla Neyzi, Mehmet Altan, Murat Belge, Murat Morova, Nilüfer Göle, Niyazi Kızılyürek, Oktay Özel, Oral Çalışlar, Orhan Pamuk, Oya Baydar, Ömer Laçiner, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Ömer Madra, Perihan Mağden, Roni Margulies, Samim Akgönül, Saruhan Oluç, Savaş Genç, Selçuk Gültaşlı, Selim Deringil, Serra Yılmaz, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Seyfettin Gürsel, Sinan Çetin, Soli Özel, Şahin Alpay, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem İşigüzel, Taner Akçam, Tarık Ziya Ekinci, Temel İskit, Tilbe Saran, Turgay Oğur, Ufuk Uras, Uğur Kömeçoğlu, Umut Özkırımlı, Ümit Kardaş, Ümit Kıvanç, Üstün Ergüder, Vedat Türkali, Yasemin Çongar, Yavuz Baydar, Zeynep Direk and Zeynep Tanbay.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ISIS Destroys Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor

DER ZOR, Syria (A.W.)—The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, Syria—considered the Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide—news agencies in the Middle East reported.
Armenians commemorating the genocide at the Memorial Church on April 24, 2004. (Photo by Studio Ashnag)
Armenians commemorating the genocide at the Memorial Church on April 24, 2004. (Photo by Studio Ashnag)
The reports surfaced as Armenia was celebrating the 23rd anniversary of its independence on Sept. 21.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian issued a statement condemning the destruction of the church, which housed the remains of victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling it a “horrible barbarity.”
Nalbandian called on the international community to cut the Islamic State’s sources of supply, support, and financing, and eradicate what it referred to as a disease that “threatened civilized mankind.”
The church was built in 1989-90, and consecrated a year later. A genocide memorial and a museum housing remains of the victims of the genocide was also built in the church compound.
Thousands of Armenians from Syria and neighboring countries gathered at the memorial every year on April 24 to commemorate the genocide.
Hundreds of thousands of Armenians perished in Der Zor and the surrounding desert during the genocide. In the summer of 1916 alone, more than 200,000 Armenians, mostly women and children, were brutally massacred by Ottoman Turkish gendarmes and bands from the region.
Commemorating the genocide at the Memorial Church in Der Zor. (Photo by Studio Ashnag)
Commemorating the genocide at the Memorial Church in Der Zor. (Photo by Studio Ashnag)

72 Comments on ISIS Destroys Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor

  1. avatar Hovik Nersessian // September 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm // Reply
    …When such organizations announce themselves as “religious” and do such inhuman acts against religous concepts, I suppose they are absolutely unaware of least human concepts, even if they supposedly should have been human beings…I suppose!
    • The thing is my friend, that they are religious, and they do what “their religion” commands them to do.
  2. Fathomable… sadly.
    Egregious and unconscionable to be sure.
    What is Turkey’s hand in this?
    (Rhetorical question)
    Just sad.
  3. avatar Hagop Hagopian // September 22, 2014 at 12:17 am // Reply
    The blood of these monsters shall pour like the river Nile .. Who ever that supports this group shall die like rats in a fish tank full of snake heads.
  4. avatar connie kasparian // September 22, 2014 at 12:42 am // Reply
    im so sad to hear of the destruction issis has to be stopped..
  5. Absolute monsters and a menace to civilization! Time that the world stops ISIS in their tracks and makes an example of how such uncivilized behavior will not be tolerated.
  6. No doubt, Turkey’s hand in it, as was in Kessab.
  7. This church was in an area controlled by IS for a long time so, why did they destroy it now, two days after they released Turkish hostages? Was part of the deal to release the hostages or are they trying to please Turkey?
    This is related to Turkey one way or another. The only Church ISIS destroys is the one with Genocide museum and the one that houses the remains of Genocide victims. The government of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora must raise hell. Everyone is watching if we let this go like all other events it will be an indicator to actors that Armenians will not care about what happens on April 24, 1915
    • Do Armenians care what happened on April 24, 1915? If they(we) would, then they(we) would never forget or forgive acts like
      1) Distructions in Nakhijevan
      2) every soldier and civil death in Armenia and Artsakh
      3) Killings in Kesab
      4) Destruction of Armenian churches and graves in Georgia
      5) Killing of Gurgen Margaryan in Europe
      6) All falsifications of Armenian history and language
      7) etc……………..
      So …
    • Rest-assured the Turkish leadership is behind this attack. Its finger prints are all over it. The Turks are very tricky people, like opportunistic hyenas, and they seem to conduct their criminal activities best in an atmosphere of lawlessness and chaos and under the cover of war so as not to leave any trace of their involvement.
      It is no coincidence that this particular Armenian Church and Genocide Memorial in Der-Zor was targeted. It is a reminder to the Turks of their past criminal activities and genocide, which like the French guillotine is hanging on the back of their necks, and it is geographically closest to the Turkish border. The destruction of this Genocide Memorial Church is the Turkish way of getting rid of evidence so close to home.
      As the criminal and opportunistic Turkish leaders have used our enemy next door, in a conflict (Artsakh) that has nothing to do with them, to score political points through illegal border closings and to punish the Armenians for their pursuit of the worldwide Armenian Genocide recognition, they are now using ISIS (which they funded and armed) to destroy the symbols of the very crime they are accused of and are trying very hard to distance themselves from.
  8. Well- what would one expect from satanic morons- it is kill or get killed-do we not learn from mistakes and history- they are cowards and the crap of the earth that needs to be squashed-
  9. We are not surprised. We know them and their religion.
  10. It remains to be seen whether ISIS is a false flag operation with the cooperation of the US, Turkey and Israel. Nevertheless, the time for prayer is long past us. Miyayn zenkov gah Hayots purgoutiun.
  11. To what extent have US, Turkish, and Israeli policies contributed to the rise of ISIS?
    The invasion of Iraq by the US, and subsequent disorder, are also partly to blame, and we know the people in the US government who brought THAT about.
  12. Unspeakable horror… re-enacting of the horrors. Prayers … and wise and reasoned appropriate action. God help and strengthen us. Let us awaken.
  13. avatar Nubar Zohrabian // September 22, 2014 at 9:20 am // Reply
    With this Cancerous Idiology They Commited Armenian Genocid.
    And this Cancer will spread and repeat itself every now and then unless they take out the Idiologies of distructio and beheading from their BOOKS and BURN THEM; and stop teaching them in AL-Azhar, Mosques and Madrassas.
  14. Either the Arab states are so weak militarily that they can’t take on a bunch of rag-tag extremists such as ISIS, or something else is going on.
    It makes you wonder.
    • Arab states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia were financing ISIS. They want no Shia state in Irak and no Alevi state in Syria. Instead,they want Sunni rule in those two countries.
  15. avatar Lynda Donigian Marsland // September 22, 2014 at 9:47 am // Reply
    I was talking to a turkish man a few months ago. Who lives in the US. it’s a very sore subject to talk about, But I did. He said that the Turks want to cut off all funding of any Armenian welfare. Which probably this Monument might be one of them? I don’t know.
  16. avatar Kevork Hagopian // September 22, 2014 at 9:48 am // Reply
    To all Armenians, stand up and rise for your rights. Send a group of volunteers to destroy the ISIS right away. If we don’t act now it will be too late.
    • {“Send a group of volunteers to destroy the ISIS right away.”}
      As soon as _you_ volunteer, there will be 1000s right behind you.
      {“If we don’t act now it will be too late.”}
      Since you would be part of ‘we’, please act now yourself: others will act as soon as you do.
    • It has been too late for the last 200 years.
  17. This outrage MUST be Publicised WIDELY and Aggressively on all Media; social, internet and print.
    This event will throw a spotlight on the Tragic history of Christians in this area and make clear that the conflict in this region and the violence and hatred aimed at Christians, Armenians and Assyrians is but an echo and last stage of that which was perpetrated against NATIVE Christians beginning in 1898-1922.
    This can be used to EDUCATE and MOTIVATE Westerners, their media and public to act RESPONSIBLY and MORALLY this Time and in the future.
    Want to not repeat these tragedies?
    CALL THE EDITORS OF the Media you use and tell them to cover this tragedy and its repercussions.
  18. This whole ISIS problem was organized by the USA, UK, France, Turkey and Israel who are conducting the whole terrorist scenario in the Middle East. Most of these terrorists are coming to Syria and Iraq from Turkey. Watch this
  19. avatar Vehanoush Tekian // September 22, 2014 at 10:36 am // Reply
    This is genocide of the Genocide. Those bones, samples of earth and the ringing silence were ‘alive’!
    I was there some years ago. Gathered some bone fragments. Two candles unlit from the church. It was a most moving pilgrimage with no possibility of catharsis….
  20. is it not time to unite as one around the world. not many political parties, but one.
    what are we waiting for. the french president charles de gaulle once said,’l’union fait la force’, roughly translated… ‘unity is power’
    so what are we waiting for. there’s only about 10 million of us left.
    • We can’t even have two Armenians agree on anything, let alone a whole cluster. The truth is that Armenians are inherently selfish. What has become of us is the best proof.
    • Who is this ‘we’ you are referring to Turkoglu ?
      Got tired spreading your Anti-Armenian Turkophile disinformation @Asbarez, so decided to try your luck @AW ?
      Welcome: myself and likeminded posters will debunk your Turkophile propaganda with pleasure.
      Indeed, what has become of us, Armenians, is proof that we agree on and work together to achieve a lot of great things.
      For example, Armenians from all over the world, and primarily Artsakh and RoA, united to crush your invadonomad Turkbaijani kin and their radical Islamist terrorist supporters.
      We, Armenians, now have two little miracle Gampr pups in Caucasus, growing stronger every year.
      That’s what we have become, Turkoglu ‘Hratch’.
  21. avatar blueskybigstar // September 22, 2014 at 11:35 am // Reply
    NSA documents revealed by Snowden show that America and Israel are behind ISIS’s creation, funding, training, and arming. Wikileaks and other articles reveal that Turkey has been giving them medical care.
    • I’m sorry but you are totally misinformed. Such documents don’t exist and needless to say Snowden did not reveal them therefore… Think logically please.
    • Most of the US people the citizens hate Turkey and Israel and Turkey are once again enemies
  22. This was bound to happen when Catholicos Aram I openly announced, during his meeting with Obama last week, that Armenians were part of the coalition against ISIS.
  23. This is undoubtedly act 2 of the invasion of Kessab, compliments of Turkey as a gift for Armenia’s independence day and before the Genocide centennial. The relationship between ISIS and Turkey is very obvious, as there are even many Turks in ISIS, and those so-called 49 “hostages” were all a premeditated plan by the Turkish government itself, even if the “hostages” did not know it. Yet the despicable neocons in the US continue to bark that “Turkey is an ally”.
  24. Enough is enough.
    The Armenian government must ask the U.N.securiry Council to adopt a resolution to;
    1. Condemn the attack.
    2. Ask to rebuild the monument and museum
    3. Put boots on the ground to irradiate ISIS.
    4. Since Turkey is aiding ISIS to do its diety work,Turkey must be held reaponsible.
    Thanks for your attention.
    • avatar travellinpat // September 22, 2014 at 1:58 pm //
      Ummm… I think you meant eradicate? Not irradiate? Though both seem like a good idea…
      Amen to doing this through the U.N. It’s darned hard to deal rationally with irrational people. And I see a lot of irrational responses above.
  25. IS destroys everything and anything that does not agree with it’s order.
    ‘Praying’ to bones under the glass is definitely out.
    They don’t allow anything even cemetery stones.
  26. avatar ELI ARSLANIAN // September 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm // Reply
  27. If the United States gave Armenia 1 nuclear missile for each Armenian that died by Islamic hands, the Islamic world would never threaten Armenians again!
  28. United States won’t ever give up being an ally with turkey because of the strategic placement of some of US nuclear bombs in turkey. they would rather not have turkey acknowledged the genocide so the US has a greater reach with there arsenal
  29. Nobody cares. Armenians don’t care, my friends don’t care , the world doesn’t care. We have become desensitized to violence and now simply ignore it. I certainly care but everyone else does not. I post and repost and hardly ever get responses.
  30. I have absolutely NO doubt that Turkish leadership is behind this attack and here is why I came to this conclusion:
    1. ISIS fighters were funded, armed and given safe passage into Syria through Turkish-Syrian border with full knowledge of the Turkish government.
    2. Several thousand of ISIS members and foot soldiers either volunteered or were recruited from Turkey.
    3. The three captured western hostages, two Americans and one British, were executed (beheaded) and with utmost brutality for the world to see but the so-called 49 Turkish hostages were unharmed.
    4. The Turkish hostages were given access to cell phones which they used to call their loved ones back home. It takes no brain surgeon to know that phone calls can be traced and by granting Turkish hostages access to cell phones, ISIS was compromising its own security.
    5. Turkey refused to cooperate with the United States, France, Britain and others to engage and confront ISIS under false pretenses.
    6. All Turkish hostages were released unharmed and returned to Turkey and displayed and paraded in front of the unsuspecting Turkish public by the Turkish leaders like trophies to claim fame as heroes and their saviors.
    7. Turkey refuses to share the details of the Turkish hostage crisis and the reasons why only Turkish hostages were let go unscathed while all the others were murdered in cold-blood.
    8. The Turkish hostage crisis took place in Mosul in northern Iraq far from Turkey and released uneventfully and the Armenian Church and Genocide memorial destruction in Der-Zor, with farthest proximity to ISIS activities but with closest proximity to Turkey, coincided with the release of the Turkish hostages.
    9. Need I say more?
    Now, you do the math and come to your own conclusions. I did and all the reasons for this sudden, unexpected and seemingly “random” attack point to Turkey. Also, take into account the significance of this particular Church and Genocide Memorial to both Armenians and the Turks, the initial attack by ISIS on mainly Armenian-populated town of Kessab on the Turkish border, the frozen conflict in the region and Turkish covert involvement in it on the side of our enemy and the Armenian Genocide centennial commemoration around the corner.
    I strongly believe the Turkish hostage crisis by ISIS was staged with full knowledge of both sides and Turkey’s hands are bloody as always. The Turkish leaders must not be let go unpunished and must be made to pay a heavy price for their crimes against humanity.
  31. Turkey and ISIS are working hand in hand. No Doubt about it. Turkey may be part of NATO but, it not a true ally. At some point down the road the United States will go out to war with Turkey.
  32. We must see the broader issue.
    If Hitler had trampled an Armenian Church in Austria, or Czechoslovakia, would our focus be just on the Church, or on all mankind he threatened to kill or enslave? If Hitler allowed our hypothetical Church to be left alone, would we turn a blind eye?
    ISIS is today’s episode of a recurring modern nightmare: men with arms eager to kill innocent men, women and children. They must be opposed by an armed and aggressive mankind as ruthless as they are. Unfortunately many regional governments see some advantage in allowing them to kill their opponents in the false belief that ISIS will not eventually kill them too.
    They will join with their friends in Pak. to get nukes. Then we will have a first class crisis making every other one since the Black Death look quaint.
  33. I completely agree that Turkey must be held accountable for aiding ISIS. The U.S. really needs to wake and smell the proverbial coffee when it comes to Turkey. That country is not a friend to the U.S. That country not only aids terrorists, but denies the first genocide of the 20th century.
  34. Buildings could be repaired, considering the damage to the country of Syria at least no be headings to our people we should keep our cool and make our priority to rebuild to what we are known for as builders and not destroyers
  35. Is it possible they got the idea from the events in Constantinople the night of 6-7 September, 1955???
  36. the hostage ordeal with the turkish government and isis was,give us back our 45 hostages in return ,we will give you 48 kurdish villages in northern syria plus you have to destroy the armenian church in der el zor
  37. avatar Dottie Bengoian // September 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm // Reply
    Disgusting and tragic. The Turks are at it again – never mind what group carries them out, the Turks are always behind these monstrous crimes.
  38. I think it is time to conduct a modern version of the post WWI Operation Nemesis and do some major cleanup. The region has a foul Turkish odor in the air once again.
  39. avatar Mary (Azarigian) Omartian // September 22, 2014 at 10:24 pm // Reply
    The madness continues for Armenians, world-wide. Destroying yet another Armenian church. Doesn’t the outside world see and care? When does it end? Keeping in mind and prayer all who are suffering, particularly in the Middle East.
  40. avatar Viken Evereklian // September 22, 2014 at 11:31 pm // Reply
    One should not blame the rabid dogs who perpetrated this act.The blame should rightfully be ascribed to those who insist on building such edifices in the lands of rabid dogs.What were our pseudo-leaders thinking when they spent precious resources erecting memorials to Genocide victims in the lands of rabid dogs?What audience or constituency were they trying to impress (aside from the rabid dogs inhabiting those areas of course)?Coming on the heels of a Genocide that nearly wiped out our nation and left thousands of churches in ruins,the mad dash to build more such churches in the lands of rabid dogs was either criminally irresponsible or a symptom of mental retardation on the part of our so-called leaders.May God have mercy on our tortured nation and grant us leaders worthy of leadership and blessed with the wisdom to invest where it matters for the long run.
  41. ISIS is killing 100 years ago killed 1.5 million innocent Armenians once again. Is this the Islamic religion.? No way. I use to leave in Egypt and I know them as nice and kind people. Who’s signature is under this barbarian act? This is a big shame to the humanity.
  42. I am a US army veteran who sees no better use for our military right now than the complete destruction of ISIL. We certainly have the might to do what is clearly right. Unfortunately, the cavalier use of our armed forces to invade Iraq caused needless loss of life and created massive debt. Now, when there is a genuine need for US military presence in Iraq/Syria, many Americans have misgivings. My question is if obliterating a group like ISIL is not justifiable, what is?
  43. @Avery: You are so typical. Always suspicious, coming to conclusions, and accusing anyone not following your failed policies as a Turk. I’ll let you know I’m more Armenian than you can ever imagine to be. If you cut me up I’ll bleed Garmir, Gaboud, Narinchakoun!
    The problem with people like you is that you do not accept reality. There is a reason why we have been destroyed and are now reduced to begging others for help. These things just don’t happen overnight. We’ve been on the path of extinction for the last 200 years. So, instead of living in lalaland, I suggest you reexamine your priorities and start doing something constructive with your time. To begin, you can read Garen Yegparian’s article on how things really are in Armenia today.
  44. The Azeris destroyed our cultural traces and history from Nakhichevan, and besides complain, what did we do? Nothing.
    For the past 20 years Artsakh soldiers have been getting murdered by Azeri aggression in a supposed cease-fire, and what did we do to stop it once and for all? Nothing.
    Turkey and Azerbaijan continually steal Armenia’s history and culture and get the backing and recognition from UNESCO and what do we do about it? Nothing.
    Foreign elements imposed the protocols on Armenia to harm Armenian interests and what did we do about it? Nothing.
    Each year the liars in the American government on their promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide fail to recognize it and what do we do? Nothing.
    Israel and its US operatives continually sabotage the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and have no business meddling in the war between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, but next provide weapons to Azerbaijan to bring harm on Artsakh and what do we do about it? Nothing.
    Turkey caused the destruction of Kessab and set back the progress of Armenians there by 50 years and what did we do? Nothing.
    Azeri and Turk terrorist jihadists went to Aleppo, Syria for the specific reason to hunt and harm Armenians, and what did we do? Nothing.
    Now ISIS, under orders from Turkey destroys the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, and what WILL we do about it? NOTHING.
    In the future with more acts of aggression and incidents by our enemies, my prediction is again we will do nothing.
    There must be an Armenian how-to bible out there which we have apparently been following for thousands of years which states that we can only act to defend ourselves when we are attacked. That’s a fairly honorable philosophy, but I suppose that’s also the reason why we have 90% of our lands lost and under occupation, and most of us dispersed around the world.
  45. avatar G. Hovanessian // September 23, 2014 at 7:56 am // Reply
    When it was becoming increasingly clear that the US and the west would finally have to do something about IS, I started to wonder as to what Turkey, as a “good & trustworthy” ally of the west would do when it was inevitably asked to help fight these barbaric islamists. How fortunate for Turkey that it’s hands were tied & could do nothing because IS had 49 Turkish hostages; problem solved. Like a lot of your readers,I too am sure that Turkey is aiding & abetting & is playing a major role in this current conflict, and, as a bi product doing whatever it can to hurt & displace Armenians & thwart the Armenian cause in any way possible.
  46. Let us show the world annd the turks that we still exist, let us commemorate the memories of our grandparents by uniting all over the world and declare April 24th a day of feeding or giving to the poor all over the the world, organize a program in each city, town or neighborhood.. When we help the community that we belong, then we can spread tne word the atrocities that was done to our people.
  47. Excellent analysis and conclusions by [Ararat].
    Also agree with [Krikor] and [Hagop D].
    Overwhelming evidence Turks are behind each and every Anti-Armenian act in Syria and elsewhere in Middle East.
    My thinking was that the ‘hostage’ incident was manufactured by Turkish leadership to give them the excuse to invade and grab some oilfields around Mosul in the convenient chaos they helped create (….by massively supporting and nurturing ISIL/ISIS/IS).
    One thing Turks desperately need is hydrocarbon sources under their own control.
    Anyone who thinks Turks would not possibly endanger their own diplomatic personnel to steal more of somebody else’s property, let us recall.
    A while back FM Davutoglu, MIT chief Hakan Fidan, and some other Turkish leaders were secretly* tape recorded discussing manufacturing an attack on their own Turkish soldiers guarding a Turkish tomb inside Syria, to give them the excuse to invade Syria and steal more land.
    It is interesting that afterwards Davutoglu did not deny the criminal act they were planning, but instead they went into a hysterics about being ‘betrayed’.
    Something went wrong with ‘hostages’ project, it got away from the Turks, so they decided to wrap it up: ‘hostages’ heroically ‘rescued’ by the heroic efforts of Turkish intelligence.
    * an interesting side story is what entity had the ability and the technical means to penetrate and record such a high level meeting of Turk leaders.
    • Avery that’s just how the world works man. A politician who doesn’t do ALL he can to better he’s country is a traitor.
      I’m also sorry for the church. Next time you build something of importance though pick your location more carefully.
    • I wonder, for how many more years US will call Turkey as an ally ??
    • All these years of attacks on the Armenians and seems they are always caught unarmed and executed Armenians must stay armed in order to protect themselves no matter where they are
  48. Powerful words from a former muslim. Worth watching the full 8 minutes of the following video, to understand where these people are coming from:

  49. If we think that the Genocide Monument destruction on The Armenia Independence day by orders from Turkey is just a coincidence, then we are so naïve.
    The message is so clear: It is a clear threat and a warning by Turkey to Armenia and it’s independence, if tarnishing of Turkey’s image internationally continues by the ongoing worldwide activities of Armenians for the Recognition of 1915 Genocide. It is crystal clear, the attack on Kessab and destruction of the Der Zor monument, are proactive counter attacks response by Turkey to the 100th Anniversary Genocide activities .