Reasons for Relocation
The Ottoman Government, in order to deal with the Armenian riots and massacres, primarily applied regional measures and preferred to maintain a position of defence to settle the events locally. Despite the great roles the religious leaders played in riots and the desertion of Armenians with their arms, the Government agreed to define these riots as individual attempts. At the same time, the Armenian Patriarch and Armenian parliamentarians, committees and leaders of the Armenian community were told that more severe measures would have to be taken in order to ensure the defence of the country in case of newly arising disputes.
These endeavours of the Ottoman Government have been proven with documents. However, the Armenians that were well prepared for any riots before the occurrence of the war, didn’t revolt in masses as soon as the war broke out. While the Ottoman army was actively fighting on the fronts, the Armenian activities continued according plans prepared with “the aim to serve the alliance ideal for the Armenian independence”. Nonetheless, the fact that the activities carried out by the Armenian gangs were considered as a betrayal regarding the international laws was ignored.
The Armenian riots spread from Eastern Anatolia other towns. As the Russian occupation spread in and around Erzurum, Armenians considered that they could claim right on the blood of the dwellers and, as a German general cited, began to eradicate the Muslim population in this region.
While these actions and brutalities of the Armenian gangs continued, numerous kinds of arms and guns were caught in the searches performed by security forces in regions where Armenians resided. This severe condition that endangered the existence of the state indicated that more problematic arouse as result of more tolerance compensation would be impossible.
After the Ottoman State entered the war and especially after the defeat on the Caucasus front, occurrences such as Armenian oppression against the Muslim population, their desertion the military units, their attacks on the soldiers and security forces, their being capture with arms, the capturing of French, Russian and Armenian coding groups were the most significant proofs showing that they were about to start revolts within the country.
Besides taking necessary security precautions against riots and massacres, the Ottoman Government, before the “Law on Replacement and Settlement” was passed, had also settled the Armenians in some other regions when these precautions were not sufficient enough. However, the incident that strengthened the idea of the generalization of this practice that was the riots of the Armenians of Van.
Official documents prove that the Armenians were gathering in Van and, took up armes, waiting for the Russians to get closer, when the Ottoman State entered the war. The riots that Armenians caused, excluding the massacres and destruction, resulted in the occupation of Russians of Van, Malazgirt and Bitlis within a month. The example of Van showed clearly that the Turkish army would always be betrayed. Under these circumstances, the government had to decide upon the relocation of Armenians residing in various regions of the country.
The implementation of replacement became a necessity because Armenian dreaming over the foundation of an independent Armenia and thinking that they would be given the regions they occupied in the First World War. The practice of relocation of the Armenians living in the regions which formed a security line through the Caucasus, Iran and Sina, was not performed with the aim of eradicating the Armenians, but with the aim of ensuring security in the state and to protecting them. The replacement was the most successful one that ever been done in the history of world.
However, the implementation of relocation is not considered from this point of view. Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora have been exercising propaganda full of lies and calumnies against the Ottoman State. Nonetheless, the historical fact is this: by the decision of relocation, Ottoman State saved the Armenians from becoming extinct and also protected them in a way never seen before. If there exists an Armenian nation and is vast in population, it stems from the good intentions and the success of the Ottomans. Armenia and the Armenians, instead of accusing them, have to be thankful to the Ottoman State for providing them with an independent church and protecting them, and they have to consider the faithful and sensible approaches Turkish Armenians, as a good example.
As the riots and massacres made by the Armenians who joined in the activities of The Allied States and Russia reached to a point that would change the result of the war, the commander in chief Enver Pasha, sending a written notification to Talat Pasha, the Minister of Domestic Affairs, on 2nd May 1915, stated that it was necessary to disperse the Armenians that were ready and gathered to maintain their riots in the Van region so that they could not riot.
Taking immediate action, Talat Pasha, through sending a coded message to the 4th Army Command on 23th May 1915, ordered that the Armenians who were moved from Erzurum, Van and Bitlis be replaced and settled in Urfa district, excluding the southern part of Musul province, Zor district, and the central district; the Armenians who were moved from Adana, Halep, Maras settled in the eastern part of Syria province and to the eastern and southeastern part of Halep province. The Civil Services Inspector Ali Seydi Bey was assigned to the post of inspecting the settlement and relocation procedures in Adana region, Hamid Bey in Aleppo and Maras region.
The Ottoman government had founded the basis of the practice of relocation within the framework of a law already valid in those times. It was not an arbitrary practice. The law containing four articles comprises the measures to be taken by military units against the rebels that refused the authority of the state taking action in war.
It is stated in the Article 1 of the Law on Relocation and Settlement that if there is opposition against the governmental powers and the established order, attacks and resistance, severe defence and elimination should be exercised, and in Article 2, it is stated that towns and villages that are proven to be betraying and engaging in espionage towards the armed forces be displaced to other regions, in Article 3 the validity of the law and in Article 4 the liability of the implementation of the law is stated.
As seen from the law, it is exactly an authoritative law against violence, and ensuring the protection of the state and public order. The most significant feature of the law is that no specific ethnic group and community are implied or indicated. The Ottoman citizens of Muslim, Greek and Armenian origin covered by this law were subject to relocation. Thus regarding the Law on Relocation and Settlement also known as the “Law on Migration” to be aiming at a specific nation either results from lack of information or is a deliberate attempt of propaganda.
While the Ministry of Domestic Affairs were taking measures to arrest the Armenian rebels, Russian, French and English governments, who issued a joint statement on 24th May 1915 claimed that Armenians were continuously being killed in one month in Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia, which they named as “Armenia” and declared that they agreed upon the fact that the Ottoman Government had to be charged for all these events.
Upon the new international dimension the issue had gained, Talat Pasha delivered an official note on the practice of relocation to the Prime Minister on 26th May 1915. In the note, he stated that they decided on the settlement of Armenians living in regions of war in other regions, after it was proved that Armenians started rebellions and massacres. The note of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs together with another note by the Prime Ministry was immediately put on the agenda of the Parliament. In the note of the Prime Ministry, it was stated that the practice of relocation was necessary for the security of the state and that it was necessary to exercise it in association with a procedure and regulation. The Parliament took a decision that approved this practice on the same date. Thus, the law issued on 27th May 1915 in the Parliament was put into force by being published in Takvim-i Vekayi, the Official Gazette of those times, on 1st June 1915.
In a written notification sent by the Prime Ministry to the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and Finance and the War Ministry on 30th of May 1915, it was explained in detail how the migration would be implemented and it was stated that the Armenians would be settled in the regions allocated for them, ensuring security for their lives and properties; their needs would be met through the subsidy of the immigrants’ association until they completely settled in their new houses; they would be given real estate and lands in regard with their former financial conditions; the ones in need would be provided with housing constructed by the government; the farmers and those engaged in agriculture as a profession would be provided with seed beds, equipment and devices; the movable properties they left behind would be returned to them; the immovable property, after their values being determined, would be sold and the money to the owners would be handed over; places such as olive, mulberry and orange groves, vineyards, shops, factories and warehouses which yield revenues would be sold by auction or be rented and costs of the same be registered at the deposit so that they would be paid to their owners later; all these issues would be executed by special commissions and a detailed instructions guide would be prepared regarding this matter.
The Telegraph Attributed To Talat Pasha
That the measures taken regarding the Armenians were not aiming at their eradication was frequently repeated by Talat Pasha. Even, the tone of the language used in a coded telegraph sent to the governor and the administrative units of the relevant provinces on 29th of August 1915 is a clear evidence of this. The code is as follows:
“The objective carried out by the government by displacing the Armenians from where they live and settling them in assigned regions is to ensure that this nation does not take part in activities opposing the government and that they become unable to follow their national ideal on founding an Armenian Government. The case is not that these people be eradicated, yet, during relocation, the security of Armenian convoys shall be ensured and all necessary precautions shall be taken in order to meet their needs through the subsidy of the immigrants’ association. Severe legal measures shall be taken against the attackers towards these convoys or the against gendarme and officials that take part in such attacks and they shall immediately be dismissed and delivered to the military courts.”
As to the telegraph that the so-called Armenian genocide claim supporters:
An Armenian called Aram Andonian mentioned this issue in his book “Naim Bey’in Anilari / Ermenilerin Tehcir ve Katliamina Iliskin Resmi Türk Belgeleri” (Memoirs of Naim Bey / Official Turkish Documents Related to the Armenian Migration and Genocide) he published in London, 1920. The telegraphs that are mentioned in the book and attributed to Talat Pasha are fake documents produced in order to create a criminal for the so-called genocide. As a result of the researches made by Sinasi Orel and Sureyya Yuca on these documents, numerous concrete evidences were found that they were fake.
The Practices during Relocation
Law on Relocation and Settlement provided how relocation would be made in detail. In these decisions and instructions, issues such as how movables and real estates were to be delivered of, condition of the lands and crop on them, their registration and even, giving hot food with meat to the immigrants were taken into consideration. The legislation clarifying how the law would be applied did not aim at destruction of any movables or real estate or killing of the people; on the contrary any mistakes in the execution of the regulation punished severely, including capital punishment.
Fundamentals of how relocation would be made was resolved by the Board of Ministers as follows:
The inhabitants shall be moved to the allocated regions in security, safety and comfortably.
Their victuals shall be met by the subsidy of immigrants association until they become resident at their new homes.
They shall be given lands and real estates taking into consideration their previous financial and economic conditions and the government shall construct houses for those in need and seeds and tools shall be supplied to the farmers and business experts.
The movable properties they left behind shall be taken to them in a proper manner.
Pursuant to fixing and evaluation of real estates in cities and villages evacuated by the Armenians, those shall be distributed to the migrants to be settled down in such villages.
Places such as olive and mulberry groves, vineyards, shops, factories and warehouses which yield revenues shall be sold by auction or shall be rented and costs of the same shall be registered at the deposit for to be paid later to their owners.
Such issues shall be pursued by a special commission and instructions shall be issued on this subject.
As may be understood from the text, displaced persons would take their movable assets with them or they shall be taken to them afterwards, their real assets were to be sold by auction, prices to be paid to them.
In accordance with the Law on Relocation and Settlement dated 27 May 1915 and the decrees setting forth the forms of application of this law; the Armenian convoys were gathered in some certain centers such as Konya, Diyarbekir, Cizre, Birecik and Halep, on the crossroads to their destinations.
The routes on which the convoys were to be displaced were selected among the nearest roads due to security reasons and prevention of difficulties the migrants may suffer.
Maximum attention was paid for orderly sending and protection from any dangers or loss of the convoys despite the war conditions. As a matter of fact, Mersin Consul of America, Edward Natan, in the report he sent to Ambassador Morgenthau on 30 August 1915 depicted, “All routes from Tarsus to Adana were full of Armenians; despite some troubles that may take place due to the crowd, the government managed the situation well; it did not allow violence and irregularity; the migrants were provided necessary number of tickets; and those in need were provided assistance”.
If Ottoman government initiated a practice of intentionally killing a group of people, it would not implement decisions such as conditions to be provided for the migrants on their way, protection of the convoys against attacks by the bandits, medical aid, protection of children, registration of movables and real assets they left behind, giving food with meat at certain intervals. Therefore, relocation of the Armenians was not slaughtering of the Armenians, but was aimed at ensuring the security of the state and is the most successful relocation and settlement movement in history.
Expenses incurred during the Relocation
General Administrate for Migrants was established in order to meet the needs arising in relation with displaced Muslims, Greeks and Armenians and the migration movements toward Anatolia which attempted to solve the settlement, means of living and other problems of the migrants.
Documents pertaining to the practice give detailed information on in which provinces and districts hospitals were established, and which buildings were allotted for the orphaned Armenian children. The documents show that the amount spent for relocation, settlement and ensuring the living of the migrants subject to relocation was 25 million kurus in 1915, and 230 million kurus in 1916.
The convoys established during the migration were provided with means of transport or saddle beasts special care was given to women, elderly and children. Article 2 and Article 3 of the regulations issued by the term Ministry of the Interior, explained respectively that “the displaced Armenians could take all their goods and animals together with them” and “protecting the lives of the Armenians on the journey to the places they were to be settled during their travel and supplying their food and rest were the duties of the administrative authorities of the regions they pass; any slackness or carelessness that might take place with regard to this issue would be responsibility of all of the officers”.
Quinine was distributed to those migrating via sea in order to make sure that they protect themselves from malaria, which was an epidemic of the day and for the patients, the possibility of benefiting from military hospitals in addition to the civil hospitals was given.
Ottoman Government, while spending so much money for this replacement implementation, either delayed or cancelled the public and private debts of the Armenians subject to immigration. At the same time, an amount of money sent from America to be given to the Armenian immigrants was distributed to the Armenians by the American missionaries and consuls with the consent of the.
Armenian Population before the Relocation
The most abused and distorted issue, which the Armenian revolutionary committee members and their supporters of today use, is the Armenian population before and after the migration process. The records of war period, official figures, church logs, information on population in the reports of foreign missionaries are being constantly distorted to make the real population of those days look much more despite those documents the figures are unreasonably exaggerated so as to find support to their so-called genocide allegations. Some of these figures even exceed the total Armenian population of today’s world.
In some foreign resources the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire is:
2.5 million as per Armenian Patriarchate
2.2 million as per the Armenian Committee of Lausanne
1.5 million as per the French Yellow Book
1.5 million as per Britannica
1 million as per the English yearbook.
Armenian population as to Ottoman official documents is as follows:
1.001.465 as per 1893 Census
1.120.748 as per 1906 Census
1.221.850 as per Population Statistics of 1914
Taking into consideration the statistics pertaining either to the Ottomans and foreigners, it is evident that the population of the Armenians living in the Ottoman territories during World War I was about 1.250.000 at most.
It is certain that the most reliable numbers with regard to Armenian population of Ottoman State is in official documents. General Directorate of Statistics was established in 1892 in the Ottoman State. The general director was Nuri Bey in 1892, a Jew called Fethi Franco between 1892 and 1897, an Armenian called Migirdiç Sinabyan between 1897 and 1903, an American named Robert between 1903 and 1908 and Mehmet Behiç Bey between 1908 and 1914. As it is seen, non-Muslims were in control of the information about population in the Ottoman Empire in a period during which important events were taking Armenian issue to the political arena. Therefore, the information on population given by Ottoman sources should be relied on since no documents and opinions showing the contrary have been found until now.
The Regions where the Armenians were Settled
Within the framework of relocation implementaitons, it was decided that the Armenians from Erzurum, Van and Bitlis were to be sent to south of Musul, and to Zor and Urfa Districts; and Armenians from Adana, Halep, Maras to be sent to eastern Syria and east and southeast of Halep. However, a note to Adana, Erzurum, Bitlis, Halep, Diyarbekir, Syria, Sivas, Trabzon, Elazig (Mamuretülaziz) and Musul provinces and Adana Abandoned Property Commission Chairmanship, Zor, Maras, Canik, Kayseri and Izmit Administrates upon continuing revolutions and slaughters of Armenians, on 5 July 1915, set forth that the regions allotted for Armenian settlement was widened. At the same time, special attention was paid to establish the residential areas of the Armenians 25 km far from the Baghdad railway at most, to make sure that the Armenian population does not exceed 10 percent of the Muslim population of the region and to ensure that every village has maximum 50 houses.
The Population of the Armenians Subjected to the Relocation
The number of Armenians subjected to the relocation regarding their arrival and departure points was under control and registered at all times. It is quite obvious that 438.758 people were displaced from various regions of Anatolia and 382.148 of these people were safely replaced in new settlements between 9 June 1915 and 8 February 1916. As seen, there is a difference of 56.000 people between the evacuees and the arrives. All the figures regarding the relocation of the Armenians were registered. The pertinent Ottoman documents explain this difference as follows:
500 people on the road between Erzurum and Erzincan; 2000 in Meskene, between Urfa and Aleppo and 2000 others on the outskirts of Mardin were massacred in attacks launched by bandits or nomadic Arabs. Another 5000 people were killed in attacks on convoys passing through Dersim. These figures prove that no massacre had been occurred against the Armenians and it is impossible to mention a genocide.
It was understood from these documents that many people had also fallen victim to hunger while on the road. Apart from these, some 25-30 thousand people had lost their lives when struck by fatal diseases such as typhoid and dysentery. In all, an estimated 40 thousand casualties had been registered during relocation. The remaining 10-16 thousand people were made at stay in provinces they had reached, when the implementation of relocation was brought to an end. For instance, on April 26, 1916, orders were given to provide the return to and the settlement in the province of Konya of those Armenians setting out form the province to new destinations. On the other hand, many other Armenians are believed to have fled to either Russia or to Western countries, including the Unites States.
Apart from this, many Armenians went to several countries prior to the war and after the war mainly to United States of America and Russia. It was set forth with certain documents that 50.000 Armenians were trained in the region where they joined the Russian army and that 50.000 Armenians were receiving training in the American army for fighting with the Turks. In fact, the letter of an Armenian who was living in America to Murad Muradyan an advocate in Elezig shows such information. In the concerned letter, Muradyan mentions that some Armenians were escaped to Russia and America and later 50.000 of those trained soldiers went to Caucassia. As it can be understood from all the concerned documents, many of Armenian subjects of the Ottoman State were scattered through various countries especially to U.S.A. and Russia, before and during the war. For example, Artin Hotomyan who was a tradesman in America sent a letter to the Chieftain of Security on January 19, 1915 and stated that thousands of Armenians migrated to U.S.A. and they were facing with hunger and hardships.
According to the report presented by Noradungian Gabrial to the Lausanne Conference Evacuation Commission, it was observed that 345.000 people went to the Caucasus, 140.000 people went to Syria, 120.000 to Greece and to the Aegean islands, 40.000 to Bulgaria, 50.000 to Iran; 695.000 in total.
In a message sent to Hüseyin Rauf by Hatisov who participated in the Trabzon Conference (14 March – 14 April 1918) and who was one of the eminent figures of the Armenians (he became the President of Armenia afterwards), it was said that the number of Armenians who left the Ottoman territories and went to the Caucasus was 400.000.
Another Armenian Richard Hovannisian states that 50.000 Armenians went to Lebanon, 10.000 to Jordan, 40.000 to Egypt, 25.000 to Iraq, and 35.000 to France and USA from the Arabian countries except for Syria .
In the light of the figures given by Armenians and foreigners, it is clear that 345.000 Armenians went to the Caucasus, 140.000 to Syria, 120.000 to Greece and to the Aegean islands, 40.000 to Bulgaria, 50.000 to Iran, 50.000 to Lebanon, 10.000 to Jordan, 40.000 to Egypt, 25.000 to Iraq, and 35.000 to France, USA, Austria etc. in the application of evacuation and placement; 855.000 Armenians in total.
It is impossible that 2-3 millions of Armenians could have been killed as claimed by Armenians. This slander may be the biggest lie on the earth as the number of the Armenians living in the territories of the Ottoman State had been around 1.250.000.
Moreover, if the Ottoman State had wanted to get rid of its Armenians subjects, this could have been handled by assimilation or by presenting the war as a reason. However, as it is known, Armenians led a more comfortable life than that of the Turks in the Ottoman Empire. As stated, when the Armenians, who were deceived by the dream that the territories occupied by Armenians would be given to them and that an independent Armenia could be established, began to fight with the Ottomans, in betrayal, the application of relocation became a must. Execution of relocation did not aim at the destroying Armenians, on the contrary, it was aimed at protecting them and providing security of the state, and it is the most successful relocation application of the world.
Attacks on the Armenian Convoys and the Measures Taken by the Government
Certain convoys were attacked by the tribes located between Aleppo and Zor, and by Arab bandits during the journey of Armenians to the placement areas. According to a deciphered telegram of 8 January 1916, it was reported that many Armenians had been killed by the attacks of Arab bandits whose intentions were robbery, in the area between Aleppo and Meskene, that 2.000 Armenians were robbed and attacked by the Arab tribes on their way to Aleppo through Saruç and Menbiç. It was also reported that around 2.000 people had been killed regardless of their religion including Muslims and non-Muslims in Diyarbekir by certain bandits and tribes, and that another convoy of 500 people travelling on Erzurum-Erzincan way was killed due to the attacks of Kurds.
The Ottoman Government spent great efforts in order to provide the safety of the convoys while it was also fighting with the enemy on battle fronts. Certain inspection delegations were established and sent to replacement areas in order to investigate the officials who failed to settlement areas. These delegations dispatched those people found guilty to Martial Court. Some authorities were dismissed from service and some others were given heavy punishments.
Those Armenians who were not Relocated
According to the telegrams of 2nd and 15th August 1915, sent to the Governor Offices of relevant provinces it was reported that those Armenians of Catholic and Protestant sects, Armenians serving in the Ottoman Army officers and in medical troops, Armenians working in the branches of the Ottoman Bank, Armenians in the Reggie administration and in certain consular offices were excluded from relocation as long as they remained loyal to the state.
In addition, the sick, the disabled, the old, and the women and children were excluded from relocation, they were taken care of in orphanages and villages and their needs were met by the state. In a circular of 30th April 1916, on Armenian families who need shelter, it was stated that those families whose fathers had been replaced or were serving the military or had nobody to look after them would be settled in villages and towns where there were no foreigners other then Armenians and that their needs would be met by the immigrant budget.
Property of the Armenians who were Relocated
According to the instruction published on 10th June 1915, properties of Armenians who were subjected to immigration were protected. Those properties that could not be protected, such as animals and workshops that needed to be operated were sold by certain committees established for the care purpose by public auction and the income earned was sent to their owners.
Returning of Armenians who were Relocated
The placement of Armenians in new settlements was stopped on 25 November 1915 due to winter. In a general instruction sent to the provinces and sanjaks, it was stated that the relocation of Armenians was stopped totally, and that no relocation would be performed for any reason. After the end of the World War I, a circular was issued in order to provide the return of Armenians who had been subjected to the relocation to their homes if they wished. In a document issued by the Interior Minister Mustafa Pasha and sent to the Prime Ministry on 4th January 1919, it was set forth that certain instructions had been issued in order to provide the return of Armenians who were subjected to relocation to their homes if they wished and it was stated in detail that required precautions were taken.
The Reflections concerning Relocation in the World
Although the foreign observers located in the areas where relocation operations were being executed reported that even though the Ottomans Government fought in several fronts in the World War I, it executed relocation operations successfully and with great care, the western press gave misinformation about the issue and distorted the facts. For example, although the Consular of the United States of America in Mersin, Edward Natan, stated in his report that the relocation implementations were carried out in an order, the Ambassador in Istanbul distorted the facts in Natan’s report and when his report reached America, the American press used this information against the Turks.
Within the framework of the reports of the British consulars in Iran, the claims that 1.000.000 Armenians were killed were taken into consideration in the English Parliament and the decision to protest the Turkish Government was taken. Moreover, the Mavi Kitap (the Blue Book) published in Britain on the Armenian events, claimed that in the Ottoman Empire one third of the total Armenian population, which was 1.800.000 was killed.
Inspection by Foreigners
After the World War I, following the occupation of Istanbul and other provinces by the Central European Powers, 143 Ottoman political and military leaders and intellectuals were arrested and sent to the Malta island by the British and to be tried. A comprehensive investigation was carried out in the Ottoman archives in order to find out the proof of guilt regarding these imprisoned people, but no proof showing that they were guilty could be presented to the court. The British Government studied on certain reports in its archives and the archives of the USA in Washington thoroughly, but no evidence was found.
In a message sent by the British Ambassador in Washington R. C. Craigie to Lord Curzon on 13 July 1921, it was stated that
“I am sorry to say that nothing to be used against the Turks persecuted in Malta as proof could be found… No problem is available at the moment to present as a qualified evidence. The relevant reports, in no way, seem to be including any proofs to support the information available in the Government of Her Majesty’s regarding the Turks”.
The Law Advisers in London stated on 29th July 1921 that the accusations on the persons included in the list of the British Foreign Office included semi-political judgement, and therefore a new operation has to be performed for those Turks who were arrested for accusations of war crimes.
“No statement was received from any witnesses proving that the accusations against the arrested persons are right. Indeed, it is not clear that any witness can be found as it is unnecessary to state that it is highly difficult to find any witness in a country which is far and hard to reach such as Armenia, particularly after such a long time”. This statement was made by the Law Advisers of the British Government in London.
In conclusion, those arrested people in Malta were released in 1922 without any hearing and any accusation directed to them.
During this period, certain documents were published in the British press accusing the Ottoman Government and trying to prove these accusations. It was claimed that these documents were found in the Ottoman State offices in Syria by the British Occupation Forces under the command of General Allenby. However, the investigations carried out by the British Foreign Office afterwards found out that these documents given to the British press were not the documents received by the British Army, but they were fake documents sent to the allied delegations by the Nationalist Armenian Delegation in Paris.
Replies of the Scientists for the Claims
Scientists considering the history according the sizes and principles of history, received the original information and documents regarding the issue since 1925 and listened to the witnesses, and made certain observations in the areas that the events took place. These scientists knew that the Ottoman Archives were open to foreign researchers to personal applications. Therefore, comments or contrary beliefs on their convictions can only be made by the people who know in detail as much as these scientists.
Another significant document regarding the issue is the report presented by the 69 American scientists to the Parliament of Representatives on 19 May 1985.
“The area called Turkey, in fact “Republic of Turkey”, was a part of the Ottoman Empire which was a multi-religious, multi-national state from the 14th century to 1922. It is incorrect to consider the Ottoman Empire as equal to the Republic of Turkey just as in the case of Habsburg Empire and Republic of Austria”.
Those American academicians whose signatures are present below and who are experts on Turks and Ottoman researches, are of the opinion that the language used in the resolution of the American Parliament of Representatives was distorted and incorrect. Our concerns focus on the use of the “Turkey” and “genocide” and can be summarised as follows:
The Ottoman Empire which was brought down in 1922 by the Turkish Revolution, which led to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 192, was a state that had the territories of more than 25 states currently located in the Southeast Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, one of which is the Republic of Turkey. The Republic of Turkey cannot be held responsible for any event that took place during the Ottomans.
As for the “genocide” accusation, those signing this report do not have any intention to look down on the dimensions of the pains that Armenians had suffered. Likewise, we are of the opinion that the suffering of the Muslim people in the concerned area cannot be treated in a different way either. (…) However, there are several documents and findings to be reached by the historians in order to differ the belligerent and innocent from the to find out the reasons for the events.
The accusations, such as those in the Resolution of the Parliament of Representatives No 192 shall lead to the unjust statements regarding the Turkish people and maybe will damage the improvements obtained by the historians in understanding these tragic events.
If the Congress approves this Resolution, it shall try to decide on what part of the historical problem is correct via laws. Such a decision based on suspicious assumptions shall damage historical research and shall damage the reliability of the American legislative process.”