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Turkish Journal - A scientific perspective on Armenian conflict

A scientific perspective on Armenian conflict

Emotions and Deceptions Versus Facts, Truth and Reality by Pembe Hande Ozdinler, PhD

By P.Hande Ozdinler, PhD, NEW YORK

What is a scientific perspective and how can it help us resolve conflicts?

* Scientific investigations are based on evidence, facts, reality and truth.

* In scientific investigations emotions are not involved. Thus deceptions are kept to a minimum.

* Topics that involve history, human nature are open to bias. Conflicts in those areas urgently require a scientific approach for a better evaluation of events, the circumstances and the outcome. To reach a truthful conclusion, we need to approach conflicts with a scientific perspective.

Important steps in a scientific approach

* What is the problem or the conflict?:Definition of the problem

* What are the causes of the problem or the conflict?: A true understanding of cause and relation

* What are the measures taken to solve the conflict? Are those the right measures?: Development of best approach to solve the problem or the conflict.

* What is the outcome?: True, unbiased interpretation of the data

What is the problem or the conflict?

* Perception of events that happened during 1915 in Anatolia and the consequences thereof..

Point of view of a group of Armenians living in United States: Armenians were killed by a planned act by the Ottoman Empire.

Point of view of the Ottoman Empire: Not available, today Ottoman Empire does not exist. But the documents related to the topic are available and are under investigation.

Point of view of the State of Armenia: Accepts the events as an ethnic cleansing.

Point of view of Turkish Government: Armenians were not killed by a planned act, but due to war conditions at that time, many Ottoman Armenians suffered and died and so did Ottoman Turks.
Point of view of the Turkish nation living in United States: Varies.

What are the main points of the conflict?

A group of Armenians living in United States wish this events to be documented as “genocide” and wish the Turkish Government to be responsible for it.

Turkish Government acknowledges that during World War I many Armenians died, but counters that Turks died as well, and that massacres were committed on both sides as a result of inter-ethnic violence and the wider conflict of World War I.

Why do Armenians living in United States wish the events to be documented as “genocide” and why do they wish the Turkish government to be responsible from it?

* They simply believe it to be so and they wish to have a recognition of their suffering.

* To force the Turkish Government to acknowledge publicly its alleged responsibility for the deaths of Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an Armenian homeland. The territory to be ceded are the area promised to the Armenians at the Treaty of Svres in 1920 (which never came into effect)

Why the Turkish Republic does not accept the charges?

* Turkish Republic is not Ottoman Empire, it is not the continuation of Ottoman Empire and the government does not feel obliged to accept, or deny any act performed by the Ottoman Empire.

* The Turkish Republic, based on its own interpretation of the data, do not see this as a “genocide” or ethnic cleansing.

What are the measures taken by the Armenians to solve the conflict

* Some Armenians took the route of terrorism and formed the group ASALA and attacked and killed numerous Turkish diplomats world-wide. (ASALA was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States in 1980s)

* Some Armenians became active in politics, prepared resolutions and actively worked to have them pass in the congress of various countries. The most recent is United States House resolution 106.

What are the measures taken by the Turkish Republic to solve the problem

* Turkish Republic made the documents available from Ottoman Empire public, and funded research programs to investigate the history and the consequences.

* Turkish Republic did not accept the charges and invited parties for an international investigation.

What is the outcome?

* Various Turkish parliament members, writers and ambassadors are killed by ASALA.

* Various senators in numerous countries are forced to give an opinion about a historic event that did not take place in their country, that did not happen under their jurisdiction.

* A topic that requires scientific investigation is pulled toward a political arena and politicians are asked to take sides and by doing so they failed to become a part of a solution.

* The relation between the Turkish people and the Armenians and the relations between Republic of Turkey and Armenia did not improve.

* By pulling it to the political arena, the relationship between various countries are badly affected.

* The conflict ossified and both parties became more resistant in their stance.

* The conflict is not solved!!!

Are House Resolutions part of the solution or part of the problem?

* What is the point of having a House Resolution? To judge and execute or to facilitate the process for an effective solution?

* Are House Resolutions unbiased?

* Are House Resolutions based on scientific data and solid references? Do they have scientific merit?

* How effective are they? Do politicians have the power to rewrite history, to reshape history, especially the history that they do not share?

But now that H. Res.106 is under investigation, let’s look at it with a scientific perspective

* The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the relocation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors expelled from their homes, and were succeeded in the elimination of over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic land.

* A) In previous issues of the resolution the date was stated as “1915 to 1919”, now the dates are changed to 1915 to 1923. Why? In 1923 there was no Ottoman Empire. Turkish Republic was established in 1923. By changing the dates the resolution is aimed to force modern day Turkey to be responsible for the events. Is this change in time based on historical facts or is it a distortion in the facts? Since it is different from the previous version an explanation with references is due.

* B) The numbers presented in the document are not in accordance with the whole population of the Ottoman citizens living in the region of interest, and it conflicts the numbers presented by the Armenian Patriarchie (Patrikhane) to the British and French consulate generals in 1918. In their documented counts the number of Armenians that died was 200,000.

* The total number of Armenians living in the area of interest was reported to be 644.000 by the Armenian Patriarchie . This is not in accordance with the numbers given.

* The Ottoman population records indicate that the Muslim Turkish population to be three times more than the Armenian population living in the area and that the total number do not exceed 2,000,000.

* Taken these into account the numbers given in the document do not indicate a true representation of Armenian population.

(4) In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.

* A) This is a mis-representation of data. It is true that the officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, but their convictions was not based on their acts on Armenian people. The historical documents for their trial, for their convictions are all present and open to public. Not stated in this section, 114 members of the Young Turk Regime was put on court in Malta for their convictions against the so-called “Armenian killings” and the British could not find solid evidence to convict them.

* One must remember that British, who had control over Ottoman official records in 1918, admitted that they could not find any evidence of an organized killings of Armenians and could not charge 114 members of the Young Turk Regime.

(2) On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing “a crime against humanity”

* A) This statement which generally refers to the crimes against humanity may also include the crimes that are convicted by Armenian Ottomans to Turkish or Kurdish Ottomans in the region such as Van. There is no clear indication of Armenian suffering in this article and its reality is questionable due to its conflict of interest nature.

* B) It is of importance to remember that Ottoman Empire was in active war with each of these “allied powers”, so their issued statement could be biased, and could be the source of conflict of interest but not due to facts and realities. One must be very careful in using this information, and must consider all the historical settings of the time and the relationships between countries and their deeds.

(4) In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.

* Let’s look with a different twist: Let’s assume that the data given in this document is true. This item by itself speaks to the fact that the “killings of the Armenian people” is NOT a genocide… If the government killed the Armenians with a program and agenda and modern day Turkey was the continuation of that government, why would it convict and charge its top officials who did the job?

(15) A Displayed in the United States Holocost Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Polland without provokation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying: “Who after all speaks today the annihilation of the Armenians?” and thus set the stage for the Holocaust.

* A) There is now ample evidence to prove the untrue nature of this statement. The original document is present in the Military Branch of the National Archives of USA. This document originated in the Chief of High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht- OKW) files and was captured by American troops at Saalfelden Austria. The document was first released to the international press covering the Nuremberg War Crimes trials on November 23, 1945. The original document has no such section and this is proven to be a fact.

* The document that is used as a reference for this part of the speech is taken from a newspaper article by an unknown writer. The column appeared in Times (published in London) dated November 24, 1945. Since then this magazine article is being used as a sole reference, but the article is not based on scientific facts and can not be proposed as a “finding” of the congress….

(19) The Commission stated that “the provisions of Article 230 of the Peace Treaty of Sevres were obviously intended to cover, in conformity with the Allied note of 1915.., offences which had been committed in Turkish territory against persons of Turkish citizenship, though of Armenian or Greek race. This article constitutes thereof a precedent for Article 6c and 5c of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charters, and offers an example of one of the categories of “crimes against humanity” as understood by these enactments.

* It may be true that Peace Treaty of Sevres were intended to cover some items, but it is good news that Sevres has never been ratified since Treaty of Lousanne in 1923 became in effect. So it serves no purpose to bring an agreement that has never been active. This information nullifies this particular article.

* Here are just a few examples on the analysis of a few items of the House Resolution 106…

* If there was really an organized killings of Armenians, why were the Armenians living in Istanbul, where the Ottoman power was the greatest, not killed or deported? If this was a planned act wouldn’t one expect that the killings would occur in areas where the government has the highest power?

* If there was an organized killings of the Armenians, why did the Ottoman Empire relocate them to other parts of the country? About 500,000 people that are relocated survived. Why didn’t the Ottoman Empire kill them as well?

* If this was a planned act of killing of Armenians why did other nations suffer as well?

* Before a nation is designated as “criminal” it is their right to ask for better evidence, that are based on FACTS, TRUTH and REALITY.

* Distortions in the data, distortions in the documents can not be accepted.

What is the best approach to solve the conflict or the problem?

* Development and maintenance of a scientific approach for the investigations, and interpretations of data.

* Development and maintenance of a common ground for respect between the parties.

* Facilitation of mutual understanding and elimination of accusations and denials.

* Using politics to facilitate the process of mutual understanding and international collaborations on investigations.

* If politicians are forced to take side in national conflicts that do not involve their nation or their history, they must have the courage to go after the facts and find out the truth before reaching a conclusion. At times this may upset their supporters, and their friends.

* If politicians are forced to take side in national conflicts, they may simply deny to be part of a historical conflict and help the resolution of the conflict via scientific but not political measures..

“..May we, in our dealings with all peoples of the earth, ever speak truth and serve justice.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 1957

“..To do so we must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal ..” Theodore Roosevelt, Inaugural Address March 4, 1905

“..This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly…There is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

“..It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at the truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold..” Patrick Henry, from “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, March 23, 1775

“..Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science..” John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

“..we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin a new quest for peace..” John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address in January 20, 1961

“One man with courage makes a majority” Andrew Jackson


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