The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire

Princeton University Press
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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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About the author

Taner Akçam, the first scholar of Turkish origin to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, holds the Kaloosdian and Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. His many books include A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan Books).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 22, 2012
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9781400841844
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
History / Middle East / Turkey & Ottoman Empire
History / Modern / 20th Century
Political Science / Human Rights
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Turkey's bid to join the European Union has lent new urgency to the issue of the Armenian Genocide as differing interpretations of the genocide are proving to be a major reason for the delay of the its accession. This book provides vital background information and is a prime source of legal evidence and authentic Turkish eyewitness testimony of the intent and the crime of genocide against the Armenians. After a long and painstaking effort, the authors, one an Armenian, the other a Turk, generally recognized as the foremost experts on the Armenian Genocide, have prepared a new, authoritative translation and detailed analysis of the Takvim-i Vekâyi, the official Ottoman Government record of the Turkish Military Tribunals concerning the crimes committed against the Armenians during World War I. The authors have compiled the documentation of the trial proceedings for the first time in English and situated them within their historical and legal context. These documents show that Wartime Cabinet ministers, Young Turk party leaders, and a number of others inculpated in these crimes were court-martialed by the Turkish Military Tribunals in the years immediately following World War I. Most were found guilty and received sentences ranging from prison with hard labor to death. In remarkable contrast to Nuremberg, the Turkish Military Tribunals were conducted solely on the basis of existing Ottoman domestic penal codes. This substitution of a national for an international criminal court stands in history as a unique initiative of national self-condemnation. This compilation is significantly enhanced by an extensive analysis of the historical background, political nature and legal implications of the criminal prosecution of the twentieth century's first state-sponsored crime of genocide.
 Ermeni meselesiyle ilgili yaptığı çalışmalarla dikkat çeken Taner Akçam, 1915 Yazıları’nda bir araya getirilen makalelerinde çözümsüzlük girdabında sürüklenen sorunu değişik yönleriyle ele alıyor. 1915 hakkındaki en basit doğruları karartmak için gösterilen çabaları gözler önüne seren; ilgili kişi ve kurumların tarihsel gerçekleri nasıl çarpıttıklarını, belgeler üzerinde tahrifata varan oynamalar yaptıklarını ortaya koyan Akçam, var olduğunu ileri sürdüğü “inkâr endüstrisi” ile hesaplaşıyor. Türkiye’de soykırım konusunda mevcut eksik bilgilenmelerin ve yanlışlıkların giderilmesine önemli bir katkı sağlayan bu kitaptaki makaleler, Türk-Ermeni ilişkilerinin normalleşmesi yolunda atılması gereken adımlara da işaret ederek iki halkın kardeşlik ve dostluk temelinde bir arada yaşamaları yolunda ufuk açıyor.
Türk tarihçiliği ve belge kullanma geleneği konusunda yapılacak tartışmalara da katkı sunan 1915 Yazıları, konuyla ilgili kapsayıcı ve karşılaştırmalı araştırma biçimiyle, Türkiye’de genel olarak hem siyasetçilerde hem akademisyenlerde egemen olan yalnızca ve esas olarak “Osmanlı arşiv belgelerine güvenmek” tutumunun ne kadar doğru olduğunu da sorguluyor.

Tüm bunların yanı sıra “soykırım” kavramını uluslararası hukuk bağlamında gözden geçiren ve Uluslararası Ceza Mahkemeleri kararları ışığında değerlendiren Akçam, sadece Türk diplomasisinin içine düştüğü açmazları değil “soykırım”ın ne olup ne olmadığını da inceliyor.
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