EXILE, NOT GENOCIDE
Anatolia News Agency
16 May 2004
Using mathematical calculations based on Western sources, a history foundation responds to Armenian genocide claims.
In its new book, "Exile and Migration," the Turkish Historical Society (TTK) presents the results of its extensive research into US, British, German and Ottoman archives
Featuring a photo of deportees from German archives on its cover, the book offers the research conducted by Hikmet Özdemir, Kemal Çiçek, Ömer Turan, Ramazan Çal k and Dr. Yusuf Halaço lu, president of the TTK, as a model of a scientific approach to studying history.
The book supplies Armenian population figures from British, American, German and Ottoman archives for both before and after 1915, when the alleged genocide is said to have occurred.
According to figures from many Western scholarly sources, in 1914 some 1.5 million ethnic Armenians lived within the borders of the Ottoman state, and in 1918 – three years after the alleged event – these Armenians numbered 1,479,000, according to the documents of David Magie, an American researcher of the time.
British and US statistics
The book refers to a document from the British archives, a demographic study conducted between 1917 and 1919 under the editorship of G.W. Prothero, according to which a total of 1,602,000 Armenians lived within the borders of the Ottoman state in 1919, thus refuting the allegations of a 1914 massacre of 1.5 million Armenians.
The book also includes figures from the 1918 demographic study by Magie, who was also a member of the US delegation at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, citing them as the most "realistic figures" published to date. According to Magie, 1,479,000 Armenians lived on Ottoman lands at that time.
Varying figures in Western sources
The book also points out how figures produced in the West about the Armenian Ottoman population in 1914 are not in agreement
For instance, Ludovic de Constenton puts the number at 1,400,000, compared with US scholar Justin McCarthy's calculation of 1,698,301, whereas Stanford J. Shaw, another US scholar, cites a figure of 1,294,000.
Though the various figures are not in agreement, by averaging the figures reached by Magie and McCarthy one can assume a total Armenian population within the empire of around 1.5 million, says the book.
Deportation recommended by German General Staff
The book’s authors contend that following the 1915 Armenian uprisings in Van, Bitlis and Mara , the Ottomans had to take the decision to deport some Armenians at the insistence of the German General Staff.
The book also draws on a large number of sources to document the widespread disease in Anatolia during World War I, arguing that Armenians suffered great losses as the result of both war and disease.
The documents in Ottoman, US, British and German archives demonstrate that during World War I, about 500,000 Armenians were deported to what is now Syria and Iraq, both former Ottoman territories outside the war zone. Also, 350,000-500,000 Armenians left eastern Anatolia and the Black Sea region for the Caucasus for a variety of reasons.
Taking into account that Armenian casualties in the war numbered some 200,000, as well as that around 400-500,000 Armenians remained within the borders of the Ottoman state and the total Armenian population living on Ottoman territories was about 1.5 million at the beginning of the war, the calculation is consistent.
German Consul Rössler reported that about half a million Armenians were exempted from deportation at the end of 1915, and around the same number were brought to Mesopotamia and Syria, thus confirming the results of the research.
The book’s authors note that after the end of the war, when the Ottoman government issued a decree allowing the return of the deportees, many of them did so.
The authors emphasize that documents prove the return, but add: “A sizeable Armenian population who were not subjected to deportation remained where they were. As the population was not deported as a whole and some were left where they were, this refutes the genocide thesis.”
Many of those who did not return and were recorded lost in some documents were later proven to have emigrated to the Middle East, Russia, the US, France and various South American countries.
Migration and disease
Many people were lost to epidemics and famine, the book says, quoting the reports of Near East Relief (NER) saying that "12,000 Armenians died from typhoid and epidemics between 1 June 1921-31 January 1922 in Harput, Malatya, Sivas and Diyarbak r … 30,000 of the 80,000 Armenian emigrants who went to the Caucasus from Ah lkelek in 1918 died of cholera …. A total of 200,000 Armenians either died of typhus or of hunger in 1919.”
The book also mentions the records of the League of Nations saying that some 200,000 Armenian soldiers died fighting on behalf of the Central Powers during the war.
Armenians who emigrated from Turkey
The book investigates figures from Western sources of Armenians who emigrated from Turkey after 1915, when the alleged genocide is said to have taken place.
According to the book, Justin McCarthy puts the number of Armenians who left Anatolia in 1919 either by exile or migration at about 810,000, whereas another document dated 1923 in the US Nara Archives says that of all the Armenians in the world at that time, about 817,873 were exiles or émigrés.
Another US document dated 16 September 1925 puts the total number of Armenians besides those living in Turkey, the US, Greece and Armenia just shy of 1.4 million.
The book’s conclusion says that the Western sources effectively prove the Armenian claims to be unfounded.
It says that by comparing the figures from before and after the war, the alleged killing of 1.5 million Armenians is shown to be impossible.
"It should not be forgotten that in 1915, the Ottoman state sent Armenians living in eastern and central Anatolia into exile in Syria and northern Iraq, which were then part of Ottoman territory,” says the book. “During this relocation, some Armenians died of disease and poor conditions. But this could not have resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians, as the documented sources reveal that this was actually the total number of Armenians then living throughout Anatolia.
“The number sent on exile was about 500,000. But starting in 1918 most of them returned to their former homes, and a sizeable majority emigrated to other countries.
“Apart from these, a considerable number of both Russian and Ottoman Armenians died as soldiers fighting in the war. Just as in other nations, some of them died of influenza, cholera or typhus. When all these facts are taken into account, it becomes clear that the Armenians were not subjected to a planned extermination."
Deportation was not perfect
During a time of war, when most of the world was experiencing hardships, the deportation was "not perfect," the book concedes, adding that transportation difficulties, lack of food, attacks by bandits, disease and neglect of some officials did lead to suffering for some Armenians.
Still, the deportation shouldn't be seen "as a decision taken against a community minding its own business,” says the book, “that is to say the Armenians were not entirely blameless.” The book notes how had they been successful in their fight against the Ottomans, the Armenians were planning to set up an independent state like Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria did before them.
The book calls the 1915 incidents “the result of Western policy towards the Ottomans,” adding: "Unfortunately this policy caused great pain among Muslims and Armenians, as both communities suffered huge losses. Most important of all, the ties between two nations which for centuries had lived side-by-side were severed, thus sowing seeds of hatred which years later bore the bitter fruit of assassinations” (referring to the assassinations of Turkish officials by the Armenian ASALA terrorist group since the 1970s).
The West is now apparently pursuing a policy to cover up its misdeeds of 1915, the book concludes.
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