In response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allegations that no one can call Turkey a genocide perpetrator, historian Taner Akcam has raised several questions, calling the premier’s attention to the three telegrams sent by Talaat Pasha, the Ottoman ruler during the WWI period.
“I do not seek a dialogue; I only wish the premier to give an explanation on certain documents of the Ottoman Empire,” Akcam said, calling upon Erdogan to comment on his statement that ‘no genocide was ever committed in the history of the Muslim nations’.
The first telegram dated August 29, 1915 states explicitly that there is no more need for undue violence the Armenian issue can be considered resolved as of that date.
“My question is very clear, Mr. Premier; you have been the head of the cabinet for ten years now. Why does the interior minister distinguish between due and undue forms of violence? What is the difference between due and undue violence, or what do you think is the idea behind the statement saying ‘everything is settled’,” he asked.
“Some 1.5 million Armenians were deported and re-settled in Syria, so how come that the nation seeking a solution to its national cause suddenly stepped backed from its demand,” Akcam continued.
“The Armenians’ exile is aimed at ensuring the country’s welfare. For wherever they settle they won’t give up their damned ideas, we reduced their number to the maximum,” reads the telegram.
Referring to Talaat’s words the Turkish scholar suggests that the the Armenians number was reduced in an attempt to prevent them from pursuing national issues.
He further points to other methods, such as the destruction of the Armenian historical and cultural heritage.
“It’s Talaat who said that, not me. A document dated September 7, 1917 provides details on how the property of the Armenian Patriarchate was confiscated and the catholicos was exiled. A telegram addressed to Cemal Pasha describes how the huge institutions were confiscated or eliminated. Our premier may not know this, but we do; so we cannot insist our nation has not committed genocide. There must be someone who did what was committed in this country. So who is it if not us?” he commented.