Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Confronting the Armenian Genocide

Transaction Publishers
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The decades separating our new century from the Armenian Genocide, the prototype of modern-day nation-killings, have fundamentally changed the political composition of the region. Virtually no Armenians remain on their historic territories in what is today eastern Turkey. The Armenian people have been scattered about the world. And a small independent republic has come to replace the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was all that was left of the homeland as the result of Turkish invasion and Bolshevik collusion in 1920. One element has remained constant. Notwithstanding the eloquent, compelling evidence housed in the United States National Archives and repositories around the world, successive Turkish governments have denied that the predecessor Young Turk regime committed genocide, and, like the Nazis who followed their example, sought aggressively to deflect blame by accusing the victims themselves.

This volume argues that the time has come for Turkey to reassess the propriety of its approach, and to begin the process that will allow it move into a post-genocide era. The work includes “Genocide: An Agenda for Action,” Gijs M. de Vries; “Determinants of the Armenian Genocide,” Donald Bloxham; “Looking Backward and Forward,” Joyce Apsel; “The United States Response to the Armenian Genocide,” Simon Payaslian; “The League of Nations and the Reclamation of Armenian Genocide Survivors,” Vahram L. Shemmassian; “Raphael Lemkin and the Armenian Genocide,” Steven L. Jacobs; “Reconstructing Turkish Historiography of the Armenian Massacres and Deaths of 1915,” Fatma Müge Göçek; “Bitter-Sweet Memories; “The Armenian Genocide and International Law,” Joe Verhoeven; “New Directions in Literary Response to the Armenian Genocide,” Rubina Peroomian; “Denial and Free Speech,” Henry C. Theriau

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Additional Information

Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Pages
301
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ISBN
9781412827676
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / Turkey & Ottoman Empire
Political Science / International Relations / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A landmark assessment of Turkish culpability in the Armenian genocide, the first history of its kind by a Turkish historian

In 1915, under the cover of a world war, some one million Armenians were killed through starvation, forced marches, forced exile, and mass acts of slaughter. Although Armenians and world opinion have held the Ottoman powers responsible, Turkey has consistently rejected any claim of intentional genocide.

Now, in a pioneering work of excavation, Turkish historian Taner Akçam has made extensive and unprecedented use of Ottoman and other sources to produce a scrupulous charge sheet against the Turkish authorities. The first scholar of any nationality to have mined the significant evidence—in Turkish military and court records, parliamentary minutes, letters, and eyewitness accounts—Akçam follows the chain of events leading up to the killing and then reconstructs its systematic orchestration by coordinated departments of the Ottoman state, the ruling political parties, and the military. He also probes the crucial question of how Turkey succeeded in evading responsibility, pointing to competing international interests in the region, the priorities of Turkish nationalists, and the international community's inadequate attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

As Turkey lobbies to enter the European Union, Akçam's work becomes ever more important and relevant. Beyond its timeliness, A Shameful Act is sure to take its lasting place as a classic and necessary work on the subject.

Introducing new evidence from more than 600 secret Ottoman documents, this book demonstrates in unprecedented detail that the Armenian Genocide and the expulsion of Greeks from the late Ottoman Empire resulted from an official effort to rid the empire of its Christian subjects. Presenting these previously inaccessible documents along with expert context and analysis, Taner Akçam's most authoritative work to date goes deep inside the bureaucratic machinery of Ottoman Turkey to show how a dying empire embraced genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Although the deportation and killing of Armenians was internationally condemned in 1915 as a "crime against humanity and civilization," the Ottoman government initiated a policy of denial that is still maintained by the Turkish Republic. The case for Turkey's "official history" rests on documents from the Ottoman imperial archives, to which access has been heavily restricted until recently. It is this very source that Akçam now uses to overturn the official narrative.


The documents presented here attest to a late-Ottoman policy of Turkification, the goal of which was no less than the radical demographic transformation of Anatolia. To that end, about one-third of Anatolia's 15 million people were displaced, deported, expelled, or massacred, destroying the ethno-religious diversity of an ancient cultural crossroads of East and West, and paving the way for the Turkish Republic.


By uncovering the central roles played by demographic engineering and assimilation in the Armenian Genocide, this book will fundamentally change how this crime is understood and show that physical destruction is not the only aspect of the genocidal process.

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