The Stance Taken By Scholars To Allegations Of Genocide

The scientists, who perceive the history within the scientific principles, have reached the original copies and documents relating to the issue since 1925 until today, have listened to living witnesses and have made individual observations at the locations of the events. These are the scientists, who knew that the Ottoman archives were open to the researchers since 1925 and who themselves reached the documents. Therefore, only those who are as knowledgeable on this issue as they can comment on or can object to their views. For this reason, the report submitted by 69 American scientists to the members of the Assembly of Representatives in relation with the issue has great importance.

"To the attention of the Members of USA Assembly of Representatives The Turkish, Ottoman researches and the American Academicians specialized in Middle East, whose signatures are put hereunder, have agreed that the language used in decree number 192 by USA Assembly of Representatives is misleading and / or wrong in many points.

"Although we fully support the concept of "National Day of Commemorating Inhuman Behaviors", we find the following part, in this text, unacceptable:

…. 1.5 million Armenian - originated people, who have been the victims of the genocide made in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 …" Our disagreement focuses on the use of he words "Turkey" and "genocide" and may be summarized as follows: From the 14th century until 1922, the area, which is called Turkey, more correctly as the "Republic of Turkey" today, was a part of the Ottoman Empire, which was a multi - religion and multi - national state. Just as it is wrong to accept the Habsburg Empire to be equivalent to the Republic of Austria of today, it is also wrong to accept the Ottoman Empire to be equivalent of to the Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire, which exited from the history stage in 1922 with the Turkish Revolution gave birth to the establishment of current Republic of Turkey in 1923, was a state, which kept the lands of more than 25 states, over Southeastern Europe, Northern Africa and Middle East. The Republic of Turkey was only one of them can not be held responsible for any events that happened in the Ottoman period. But the ones, who have written the decree, wanted to give the responsibility of the "genocide" between 1915 and 1923 to Turkey by using the name "Turkey".

As for the genocide accusation, no one, who has signed this paper, have the purpose of underrating the dimensions of the pains that the Armenians have suffered. Likewise, we have the opinion that the pains of the Muslim public in the mentioned region can not be assessed in any other way. The evidences put forward until now point out that an internal war between the communities (between the Muslim and Christian groups) has become more complex with the hunger, epidemics and the massacres and pains in and around Anatolia during the first World War. In fact, during those years, a continuous war has been suffered in the region that is not so different from the tragedy going on in Lebanon in the last decade. The losses of both the Muslim and the Christian nations are big numbers. However, there are many documents and findings that the historians must reach in order to determine the reasons of the events that resulted in the death of the Eastern Anatolian public, which includes many Christians as well as Muslims.

History is created by the statesmen and the politicians and it is written by the scientists. For the operation of this process, the scientists must be given the chance to reach the written records of the former statesmen and politicians. Until now, a big part of the archives related with this issue in the Soviet Union, Syria, Bulgaria and Turkey have been kept closed to the historians. Until these archives are reached, the history of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 - 1923 in the scope of the decree of the Assembly of Representatives numbered 192 can not be completely known.

We believe that USA Congress should encourage the full opening of the history archives relating to the issue and should not make any accusations until the historical events are fully brought into light. The accusations such as the ones in the decree number 192 of the Assembly of Representatives would unavoidably result in unfair decisions about Turkey and maybe damaging the improvement, which the historians started to record in understanding these tragic events.

As shown by the comments herein above, the history of the Ottoman - Armenians is an issue that is frequently debated among the historians and many of the historians do not share the expressions in the decree number 192. In case the congress adopts this decree, it will have tried to decide which part of the historical problem is true through laws. Such a decision basing on assumptions that are historically doubtful gives harm to the honest historical research and damages the reliability of the American legislation process.

May 19 1985

Prof. Dr. Rifaat Abou - El - Haj History, California State University Prof. Roderic Davison History, George Washington University Ass. Prof. Sarah Moment Atis Turkish Language and Literature, Wisconsin University Distinguished Prof. Walter Denny Art History and Near East Researches, Massachussets University Ass. Prof. Darl Barbir History, Siena Institution (New York) Dr. Alan Duben Anthropologist, Researcher, New York Ilhan BASGÖZ Ural - Altay Studies Division, Turkish Researches Program Director, Indiana University Ass. Prof. Ellen Ervin Turkish Researches, New York University Prof. Daniel G. Hates Anthropology, New York City University Prof. Caesar Farah Islam and Middle East History, Minnesota University Prof. Ülkü Bates Art History, New York City University Prf. Carter Findley History, Ohio State University Prof. Gustav Bayerle Ural - Altay Studies, Indiana University Prof. Michael Finefrock History, Charleston Institution Prof. Andreas G. E. Bodroglifetti Turkish and Iran Languages, California University Ass. Prof. William Hickman Turkish, California Berkeley University Ass. Prof. Kathleen Burril Turkish Researches, Columbia University Ass. Prof. Frederick Latimer History, Utah University Prof. Alan Fisher History, Michigan University Prof. John Hymes History, Glenville State Institution Prof. Timothy Childs Teacher, Johns Hopkins University Dr. Health W. Lowry Turkish Research Institution Inc. Washington D.C. Prof. Shafiga Daulet Political Science, Connecticut University Prof. Halil Inalcik Ottoman History, American Art & Science Academy Member, Chicago University Ass. Prof. Ralph Jaeckel Turkish, California University Ass. Prof. Ezel Kural Shaw History, California University Ass. Prof. Ronald Jennings History & Asian Researches, Illinois University Prof. John Masson Simth, JRHistory, California Berkeley University Ass. Prof. Cornell Fleischer History, Washington University Dr. Svat Soucek Turkologist, New York Prof. Peter Golden History, Rutgers University Dr. Philip Soddard Middle East Institute Director, Washington D.C. Prof. Tom Goodrich History, Indiana University Prof. Frank Tachau Political Science, Chicago, Illinois University Dr. Andrew Could Ottoman History, Arizona, Flagstaff Robert Staab Middle East Center Vice Director, Utah University Prof. William Griswold History, Colorado State University Prof. Rhoads Murphey Middle East Languages, Cultures and History, Columbia University Prof. Tibor Halasi - KuvTurkish Researches, Columbia Professor Ass. Prof. June Starr Anthropology, Suny Stony Brook Distinguished Prof. J.C. Hurewitz Former Director of Middle East Institute, Columbia University Prof. James Stewart Robinson Turkish researches, Michigan University Prof. Avgdorlevy History, Brandens University Prof. Thomas Naff History, Middle East Researches Institute Director, Pennsylvania University Prof. Bernard Lew'is Middle East History, Princeton University Ass. Prof. John Woods Middle East History, Chicago University Ass. Prof. Justin Mc Carthy History, Louisville University Prof. Pierre Oberling History, New York CityUniversity Prof. Jon Mandaville Middle East History, Portland State University Ass. Prof. Madeline Zilfi History, Maryland University Prof. Michael Meeker Anthropology, California University Prof. Metin Tamkoc International Law, Texas Tech. University Ass. Prof. James Kelly Turkish, Utah University Prof. Stanford Shaw History, California University Ass. Ass. Prof. Kerim Bey Southeastern University Dr. Elaine Simth Turkish History, Retired Foreign Affairs Officer Prof. Metin Kunt Ottoman History, New York Ass. Prof. David Thomas History, Rhode Island Institute Ass. Prof. William Ochsenwald History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute Ass. Prof. Grace M. Simth History, California Berkeley university Ass. Prof. Robert Olson History, Kentucky University Ass. Prof. Margaret L.Venzke History, Dickinson Institute (Pennsylvania) Ass. Prof. William Peachy Jewish and Near East Languages & Literatures, Ohio State University E. Prof. Donald Webster Turkish History Ass. Prof. Donald Quataert History, Houston University Prof. Walter Weiker Political Science, Rutgers University Prof. Howard Reed History, Connecticut University Prof. Warren S .Walker English, Turkish Oral Stories Archive Director, Texas Tech. University Prof. Dank Wart Rustow Political Science, New York City University

Invitations have been made by Turkey at different times in order to discuss the correctness of the documents put forward by the Armenians and the Armenian pretensions supported by the Western European Countries and Russia. These calls have been both directed at to the Armenian scientists and to the people, who have undertaken the Armenian propaganda. However, an important part of these people did not participate the meeting without showing any reasons. The last example of this condition has been set in the 11th Turkish History Congress that gathered in 1990.

For the first time, an "Armenian Section" had been programmed in the 11th Turkish history Congress and the foreign historians who have been "Armenian struggle Supporters" have been invited to the discussions in this section, but each of them using various excuses avoided participating in these scientific discussions.

The list of the foreign scientists invited to the 11th Turkish History Congress, held in Ankara between September 5th - 9th 1990, in relation with the Armenian problem, is given hereunder:

Prof. Dr. Heath LOWRY (participated) Garin ZEDLIAN (did not answer) Prof. Dr. Bernard LEWIS (could not participate) Prof. Dr. Justin McCARTHY (participated) Prof. Dr. Stanford SHAW (participated) Prof. Dr. Anthony BRYER (Did not answer) Dr. Andrew MANGO (participated) Prof. Dr. Salahi R. SONYEL (participated) Prof. Dr. M. MARMURA (did not answer) Prof. Dr. Allan CUNNINGHAM (did not answer) Prof. Dr. Robert ANCIAUX (participated) Prof. Dr. Aryeh SHMUELEVITZ (participated) Prof. Dr. Jak YAKAR (participated) Prof. Dr. Hans G. MAJER (could not participate) Prof. Dr. Wolf Dietrich HUTTEROTH (did not answer) Prof. Dr. Klaus KREISER (could not participate) Prof. Dr. Jean - Paul ROUX (did not answer) Prof. Dr. Paul DUMONT (participated) Prof. Dr. Robert MANTRAN (could not participate) Prof. Dr. Richard HOVANNISIAN (did not answer) Dr. Gerard LIBARDIAN (did not answer) Dr. Levon MARASHLIAN (participated) Prof. Dr. Vahakn DADRIAN (did not answer) Christopher WALKER (could not participate) Anahid Ter MIMASSIAN (could not participate) Tessa HOFFMAN (did not answer)


(1) Yildirim, Dr. Hüsamettin, Ermeni Iddialari ve Gercekler, Ankara, 2000