The Jihad Genocide of the Armenians
By Andrew G. Bostom
Danish translation: Jihad-folkemordet på armenierne
Source: American Thinker, April 22, 2005
Published on May 24, 2013

I attended a banquet in New York City April 2, 2005, celebrating Professor Vahakn Dadrian's distinguished career, most notably, his singular contributions to the study of the Armenian genocide. Dadrian's scholarship is characterized by a unique combination of painstaking, tireless research in the face of unseemly and well financed resistance, brilliant innovation (for example, his use of Austrian and German diplomatic sources free of either Armenian or Turkish biases), and, most remarkable of all in this era, an intellectual honesty oblivious to political correctness.

Regarding this latter point, specifically, Dadrian has always been unafraid to identify the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad as a critical etiologic factor in the Armenian genocide. Indeed, the most revealing interlude of that April 2nd evening, for me, was his blunt recapitulation of a massacre as depicted in Reverend K. Balakian's eyewitness narrative Hai Koghota (The Armenian Golgotha)—the major literary work [1] affecting Dadrian's decision to study the genocide. In a 2003 essay collection, [2] Dadrian recounted the harrowing details of this particular slaughter, its Islamic religious motifs unexpurgated. Six thousand four hundred Armenian children, young girls, and women from Yozgad, were decamped by their Turkish captors at a promontory some distance from the city. Then,

To save shell and powder, the gendarmerie commander in charge of this large convoy had gathered 10,000—12,000 Turkish peasants and other villagers, and armed with 'hatchets, meat cleavers, saddler's knives, cudgels, axes, pickaxes, shovels', the latter attacked and for some 4—5 hours mercilessly butchered the victims while crying 'Oh God, Oh God' (Allah, Allah). In a moment of rare candor, this gendarmerie commander confided to the priest—author, whom he did not expect to survive the mass murder, that after each massacre episode, he spread his little prayer rug and performed the namaz, the ritual of worship, centered on prayer, with a great sense of redemption in the service of Almighty God.

The Commemoration Date

Within 24—hours of agreeing to a secret military and political pact with Imperial Germany on August 2, 1914, the Ittihadist ('Young Turk') government ordered a general mobilization, which resulted in the military conscription of nearly all able—bodied Armenian males aged 20—45. Additional calls were soon extended to the 18—20, and 45—60 year old age groups. The preponderance of these Armenian recruits were executed by Turkish officers and fellow soldiers after having been employed as labor battalion soldiers. [3] German and Austrian military and political officials—whose governments were allied with Turkey, as well as the American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau—all rejected the subsequent Turkish argument during the commission of the genocide that massive deportations of the Armenians were justified due to concerns for military security.

Aleppo's veteran German Consul, Walter Rossler, in a report of 27 July 1915 to Berlin declared, 'In the absence of menfolk, nearly all of whom have been conscripted, how can women and children pose a threat?'...German Colonel Stange, in charge of a detachment of Special Organization Forces in eastern Turkey, questioned the veracity of the argument of Ottoman military authorities. These authorities were maintaining that the deportations were a military necessity because they feared an uprising. In his report to his German military superiors, Stange retorted, 'Save for a small fraction of them, all able—bodied Armenian men were recruited. There could, therefore, be no particular reason to fear a real uprising (emphasis in the original)...Austrian Vice Marshall Pomiankowski, Military Plenipotentiary at Ottoman General Headquarters, provided his answer to these questions. The Turks, 'began to massacre the able—bodied Armenian order to render the rest of the population defenseless'. After graphically describing the scenes of these serial massacres of conscripted Armenian men which were 'in summary fashion', and 'in almost all cases the procedure was the same',... Morgenthau noted with emphasis the same rationale: 'Before Armenian could be slaughtered, Armenia must be made defenseless'. In this connection, the Ambassador notified Washington on 10 July 1915 that 'All the men from 20 to 45 are in the Turkish army' [4]

Dadrian has argued that perhaps this initial isolation of the 18—60 year old Armenian male population in the first week of August 1914 heralds the onset of the subsequent genocide. However, the Armenian genocide is formally commemorated on April 24, this year marking the 90th year since the events of April 24, 1915. On that date, the Turkish Interior Ministry issued an order authorizing the arrest of all Armenian political and community leaders suspected of anti—Ittihadist or Armenian nationalist sentiments. In Istanbul alone, 2345 such leaders were seized and incarcerated, and most of them were subsequently executed. The majority were neither nationalists, nor were they involved in politics. None were charged with sabotage, espionage, or any other crime, and appropriately tried. [5] As the intrepid Turkish author Taner Akcam recently acknowledged,

...Under the pretext of searching for arms, of collecting war levies, or tracking down deserters, there had already been established a practice of systematically carried—out plunders, raids, and murders [against the Armenians] which had become daily occurrences... [6]

Within a month, the final, definitive stage of the process which reduced the Armenian population to utter helplessness, i.e., mass deportation, would begin. [7]

A True Genocide

Was the horrific fate of the Ottoman Empire's Armenian minority, at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, in particular, during World War I, due to 'civil war', or genocide? A seminal analysis by Dadrian published in 2002 validates the conclusion that the Ottoman Turks committed a centrally organized mass murder, i.e., a genocide, against their Armenian population. [8] Relying upon a vast array of quintessential, primary source documents from the World War I allies of the Ottoman Empire, Germany and Austria— Hungary, Dadrian obviated the intractable disputes surrounding the reliability and authenticity of both Ottoman Turkish, and Armenian documents. He elucidated the truly unique nature of this documentary German and Austro—Hungarian evidence:

During the war, Germany and Austria—Hungary disposed over a vast network of ambassadorial, consular, military, and commercial representatives throughout the Ottoman Empire. Not only did they have access to high—ranking Ottoman officials and power—wielding decision—makers who were in a position to report to their superiors as locus in quo observers on many aspects of the wartime treatment of Ottoman Armenians. They supplemented their reports with as much detail as they could garner from trusted informers and paid agents, many of whom were Muslims, both civilians and military... [9]

Moreover, the documents analyzed possessed another critical attribute: they included confidential correspondence prepared and sent to Berlin and Vienna, which were meant for wartime use only. [10] This confidentiality, Dadrian notes, enabled German or Austro—Hungarian officials to openly question the contentions of their wartime Ottoman allies, when ascertaining and conveying facts truthfully to their superiors in Europe. Dadrian cites the compelling example of the November 16, 1915 report to the German chancellor, by Aleppo Consul Rossler. Rossler states,

I do not intend to frame my reports in such a way that I may be favoring one or the other party. Rather, I consider it my duty to present to you the description of things which have occurred in my district and which I consider to be the truth. [11]

Rossler was reacting specifically to the official Ottoman allegation that the Armenians had begun to massacre the Turkish population in the Turkish sections of Urfa, a city within his district, after reportedly capturing them. He dismissed the charge, unequivocally, with a single word: 'invented'. [12]

Amassed painstakingly by Dadrian, the primary source evidence from these German and Austro—Hungarian officials— reluctant witnesses— leads to this inescapable conclusion: the anti—Armenian measures, despite a multitude of attempts at cover—up and outright denial, were meticulously planned by the Ottoman authorities, and were designed to destroy wholesale, the victim population. Dadrian further validates this assessment with remarkable testimony before the Mazhar Inquiry Commission, which conducted a preliminary investigation in the post—war period to determine the criminal liability of the wartime Ottoman authorities regarding the Armenian deportations and massacres. The December 15, 1918 deposition by General Mehmed Vehip, commander—in—chief of the Ottoman Third Army, and ardent CUP (Committee of Union and Progress, i.e., the "Ittihadists", or "Young Turks") member, included this summary statement:

The murder and annihilation of the Armenians and the plunder and expropriation of their possessions were the result of the decisions made by the CUP...These atrocities occurred under a program that was determined upon and involved a definite case of willfulness. They occurred because they were ordered, approved, and pursued first by the CUP's [provincial] delegates and central boards, and second by governmental chiefs who had...pushed aside their conscience, and had become the tools of the wishes and desires of the Ittihadist society. [13]

Dadrian's own compelling assessment of this primary source evidence is summarized as follows:

Through the episodic interventions of the European Powers, the historically evolving and intensifying Turko—Armenian conflict had become a source of anger and frustration for the Ottoman rulers and elites driven by a xenophobic nationalism. A monolithic political party that had managed to eliminate all opposition and had gained control of the Ottoman state apparatus efficiently took advantage of the opportunities provided by World War I. It purged by violent and lethal means the bulk of the Armenian population from the territories of the empire. By any standard definition, this was an act of genocide. [14]

Jihad as a Major Determinant of the Armenian Genocide

The wartime reports from German and Austro—Hungarian officials also confirm independent evidence that the origins and evolution of the genocide had little to do with World War I 'Armenian provocations'. Emphasis is placed, instead, on the larger pre—war context dating from the failure of the mid—19th century Ottoman Tanzimat reform efforts. [15] These reforms, initiated by the declining Ottoman Empire (i.e., in 1839 and 1856) under intense pressure from the European powers, were designed to abrogate the repressive laws of dhimmitude, to which non—Muslim (primarily Christian) minorities, including the Armenians, had been subjected for centuries, following the Turkish jihad conquests of their indigenous homelands. [16]

Led by their patriarch, the Armenians felt encouraged by the Tanzimat reform scheme, and began to deluge the Porte (Ottoman seat of government) with pleas and requests, primarily seeking governmental protection against a host of mistreatments, particularly in the remote provinces. Between 1850 and 1870, alone, 537 notes were sent to the Porte by the Armenian patriarch characterizing numerous occurrences of theft, abduction, murder, confiscatory taxes, and fraud by government officials. [17] These entreaties were largely ignored, and ominously, were even considered as signs of rebelliousness. For example, British Consul (to Erzurum) Clifford Lloyd reported in 1890,

Discontent, or any description of protest is regarded by the local Turkish Local Government as seditious. [18]

He went on to note that this Turkish reaction occurred irrespective of the fact that "..the idea of revolution.." was not being entertained by the Armenian peasants involved in these protests. [19]

The renowned Ottomanist, Roderick Davison, has observed that under the Shari'a (Islamic Holy Law) the '..infidel gavours ['dhimmis', 'rayas']" were permanently relegated to a status of "inferiority" and subjected to a 'contemptuous half—toleration'. Davison further maintained that this contempt emanated from 'an innate attitude of superiority', and was driven by an 'innate Muslim feeling', prone to paroxysms of 'open fanaticism'. [20] Sustained, vehement reactions to the 1839 and 1856 Tanzimat reform acts by large segments of the Muslim population, led by Muslim spiritual leaders and the military, illustrate Davison's point. [21] Perhaps the most candid and telling assessment of the doomed Tanzimat reforms, in particular the 1856 Act, was provided by Mustafa Resid, Ottoman Grand Vizier at six different times between 1846—58. In his denunciation of the reforms, Resid argued the proposed 'complete emancipation' of the non—Muslim subjects, appropriately destined to be subjugated and ruled, was 'entirely contradictory' to 'the 600 year traditions of the Ottoman Empire'. He openly proclaimed the 'complete emancipation' segment of the initiative as disingenuous, enacted deliberately to mislead the Europeans, who had insisted upon this provision. Sadly prescient, Resid then made the ominous prediction of a 'great massacre' if equality was in fact granted to non—Muslims. [22]

Despite their 'revolutionary' advent, and accompanying comparisons to the ideals of the French Revolution, the CUP's 'Young Turk' regime eventually adopted a discriminatory, anti—reform attitude toward non—Muslims within the Ottoman Empire. During an August 6, 1910 speech in Saloniki, Mehmed Talat, pre—eminent leader of the Young Turks disdainfully rejected the notion of equality with 'gavours' , arguing that it ' an unrecognizable ideal since it is inimical with Sheriat [Shari'a] and the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of Muslims...'. [23] Roderick Davison notes that in fact ' genuine equality was ever attained..', re—enacting the failure of the prior Tanzimat reform period. As a consequence, he observes, the CUP leadership '...soon turned from Turkification...' [24] Indeed, an influential member of the Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress, Sheik Abd—ul—Hack, a 'progressive' Young Turk, made this revealing declaration writing in a Parisian Muslim review, (Le Mecherouttiete, edited by Sherif Pasha, Paris), in August, 1912:

Yes! The Musulman religion is in open hostility to all your world of progress. Understand, you European observers, that a Christian, whatever his position may be, by the mere fact of his being a Christian is regarded by us as a blind man lost to all sense of human dignity. Our reasoning with regard to him is as simple as it is definitive. We say: the man whose judgment is so perverted as to deny the existence of a one and only God, and to make up gods of different sorts, can only be the meanest expression of human degradation; to speak to him would be a humiliation for our intelligence and an insult to the grandeur of the Master of the Universe. The presence of such miscreants among us is the bane of our existence; their doctrine is a direct insult to the purity of our faith; contact with them is a defilement of our bodies; any relation with them a torture to our souls. Though detesting you, we have condescended to study your political institutions and your military organization. Over and above the new weapons that Providence procures for us through your agency, you have yourselves rekindled, the inextinguishable faith of our heroic martyrs. Our Young Turks, our Babis, our new Brotherhoods, all our sects, under various forms, are inspired by the same idea; the same necessity of moving forward. Towards what end? Christian civilization? Never! Islam is the one great international family. All true believers are brothers. A community of feeling and of faith binds them in mutual affection. It is for the Caliph to facilitate these relations and to rally the Faithful under the sacerdotal standard. [25]

During the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid, the Ottoman Turks massacred over 200,000 Armenians between 1894—96. This was followed, under the Young Turk regime, by the Adana massacres of 25,000 Armenians in 1909, and the first formal genocide of the 20th century, when in 1915 alone, an additional 600,000 to 800,000 Armenians were slaughtered. [26] The massacres of the 1890s had an 'organic' connection to the Adana massacres of 1909, and more importantly, the events of 1915. As Dadrian argues, they facilitated the genocidal acts of 1915 by providing the Young Turks with 'a predictable impunity.' The absence of adverse consequences for the Abdul Hamid massacres in the 1890s allowed the Young Turks to move forward without constraint. [27]

Contemporary accounts from European diplomats make clear that these brutal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad against the Armenians who had attempted to throw off the yoke of dhimmitude by seeking equal rights and autonomy. For example, the Chief Dragoman (Turkish—speaking interpreter) of the British embassy reported regarding the 1894—96 massacres:

[The perpetrators] are guided in their general action by the prescriptions of the Sheri [Sharia] Law. That law prescribes that if the "rayah" [dhimmi] Christian attempts, by having recourse to foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed them by their Mussulman [Muslim] masters, and free themselves from their bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the mercy of the Mussulmans. To the Turkish mind the Armenians had tried to overstep those limits by appealing to foreign powers, especially England. They therefore considered it their religious duty and a righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and properties of the Armenians. [28]

Bat Ye'or confirms this reasoning, noting that the Armenian quest for reforms invalidated their "legal status," which involved a "contract" (i.e., with their Muslim Turkish rulers). This

...breach...restored to the umma [the Muslim community] its initial right to kill the subjugated minority [the dhimmis], [and] seize their property... [29]

Kinross [30] has described the tactics of Abdul Hamid's agents, who deliberately fomented religious fanaticism among the local Muslim populations in Turkish Armenia, and the devastating results of this incitement:

It became their normal routine first to assemble the Moslem population in the largest mosque in a town, then to declare, in the name of the Sultan, that the Armenians were in general revolt with the aim of striking at Islam. Their Sultan enjoined them as good Moslems to defend their faith against these infidel rebels. He propounded the precept that under the holy law the property of rebels might be looted by believers, encouraging Moslems to enrich themselves in the name of their faith at the expense of their Christian neighbours, and in the event of resistance, to kill them. Hence, throughout Armenia, 'the attack of an ever increasing pack of wolves against sheep.'... Each operation, between the bugle calls, followed a similar pattern. First into a town there came the Turkish troops, for the purpose of massacre; then came the Kurdish irregulars and tribesmen for the purpose of plunder. Finally came the holocaust, by fire and destruction, which spread, with the pursuit of fugitives and mopping—up operations, throughout the lands and villages of the surrounding province. This murderous winter of 1895 thus saw the decimation of much of the Armenian population and the devastation of their property in some twenty districts of eastern Turkey. Often the massacres were timed for a Friday, when the Moslems were in their mosques and the myth was spread by the authorities that the Armenians conspired to slaughter them at prayer. Instead they were themselves slaughtered, when the Moslems emerged to forestall their design. The total number of victims was somewhere between fifty and a hundred thousand, allowing for those who died subsequently of wounds, disease, exposure, and starvation... In each of thirteen large towns the numbers of those dead ran well into four figures. In Erzurum, the bazaar of a thousand shops was looted and wrecked by the Moslems, while some three hundred Christians were buried the next day in a single massed grave... Cruelest and most ruinous of all were the massacres at Urfa, where the Armenian Christians numbered a third of the total population. Here in December 1895, after a two—months siege of their quarter, the leading Armenians assembled in their cathedral, where they drew up a statement requesting Turkish official protection. Promising this, the Turkish officer in charge surrounded the cathedral with troops. Then a large body of them, with a mob in their wake, rushed through the Armenian quarter, where they plundered all houses and slaughtered all adult males above a certain age. When a large group of young Armenians were brought before a sheikh, he had them thrown down on their backs and held by their hands and feet. Then, in the words of an observer, he recited verses of the Koran and 'cut their throats after the Mecca rite of sacrificing sheep.'... When the bugle blast ended the day's operations some three thousand refugees poured into the cathedral, hoping for sanctuary. But the next morning — a Sunday — a fanatical mob swarmed into the church in an orgy of slaughter, rifling its shrines will cries of 'Call upon Christ to prove Himself a greater prophet than Mohammed.' Then they amassed a large pile of straw matting, which they spread over the litter of the corpses and set alight with thirty cans of petroleum. The woodwork of the gallery where a crowd of women and children crouched, wailing in terror, caught fire, and all perished in the flames. Punctiliously, at three—thirty in the afternoon the bugle blew once more, and the Moslem officials proceeded around the Armenian quarter to proclaim that the massacres were over. They had wiped out 126 complete families, without a woman or a baby surviving, and the total casualties in the town, including those slaughtered in the cathedral, amounted to eight thousand dead.

A 1915 Ottoman Fatwa [31] believed to have been written by Sheikh Shawish (entitled, Aljihad, and translated into English, March 10, 1915) included a statement attached to its official United States consulate translation indicating, 'It was undoubtedly this and similar pamphlets which inspired the Jewish community of Alexandria' to contact the United States Consul General's office in Cairo. The calls to religiously motivated violence against non—Muslims, as sanctioned by Islam—jihad war—are unmistakably clear.

If you believe in God, in his faith and apostle, hear the words of our sages as recorded by his holy prophet. 'You believers take not the Jews and Christians as friends unto you, He who loves then shall be called one of them'. 'God shall not foster the tyrants'. You believers accept not unto you friends of these who abuse your faith and mock thereof. They are called unbelievers, and you hearken unto the words of God of you believe. Therefore if after you will put to heart to these sacred words, perhaps they have been spoken to you by God not to acquire unto us Jewish or Christian friends. From these holy words you will realize that it is forbidden us to approach those who mock our faith — Jews and Christians, for then God forbid, God forbid we shall be deemed by the almighty as one of them God forbid....
After all this how can we believe in the sincerity of your faith when you befriend and love unbelievers, and accept their Government without any rising without attempting to expel them from your country. Therefore arise and purify yourselves of such deeds. Arise to the Holy War no matter what it costs so as to carry into execution this sacred deed. It is furthermore said in the Koran 'If your fathers if children taken unto them friends of the unbelievers, estrange yourselves even from them.'...
The Mohammedan religion enjoins us to set aside some money for Government expenses and for preparations of a holy war. The rest of your tithes and contributions you are duty bound to send to the capital of the Caliphate to help them to glorify the name of God, through the medium of the Caliph. Let all Mussulmans know that the Holy War is created only for this purpose. We trust in God that the Mohammedan lands will rise from humiliation and become faithfully tied to the capital of the Caliphate until, so as to be called 'the lands of Islam'. This is our hope and God help us to carry through our holy aims to a successful issue for the sake of our holy Prophet...
A holy war is a sacred duty and for your information let it be known that the armies of the Caliph is ready and in three divisions, as follows: War in secret, war by word of mouth, and physical war.
War in secret. This is the easiest and simplest. In this case it is to suppose that every unbeliever is an enemy, to persecute and exterminate him from the face of the earth. There is not a Mussulman in the world who is not inspired by this idea. However in the Koran it is said: 'That such a war is not enough for a Mohammedan whether young or old, and must also participate in the other parts of the Holy War'.
War by word of mouth. That is to say fighting by writing and speaking. This kind of war for example should pertain to the Mahomedans of the Caucasus. They should have commenced this war three or four months ago, because their actual position does not permit them to but the carrying on of such warfare. Every Mahomedan is in duty bound to write and speak against the unbelievers when actual circumstances do not permit him to assume more stringent measures, as for instance in the Caucasus. Therefore every writer must use his pen in favor of such a war.
Physical war. This means actual fighting in the fullest sense of the word... Now let us mention here the means to be adopted in carrying on this holy war, as follows: Every private individual can fight with deadly weapons, as for example. Here is the following illustration of the late Egyptian Verdani who shot the unbelieving Butros Gal Pacha the friend of the English with a revolver. The murder of the English police Commissioner Bavaro in India by one of our Indian brethren. The killing of one of the officials of Kansch on his coming from Mecca by the Prophet's friend 'Abu Bazir El Pzachbi', peace be unto him! Abdallah ibn Aatick and four colleagues killed 'Abu Raafah Ibn El Hakiki'. The leader of the Jews of Khaybar so famous for his enmity to Islamism. This was executed by our Prophet's command, so did Avrala Ibn Ravacha and his friends when they killed Oscher Ibn Dawas one of the Jewish dignitaries. There are many instances of similar cases. Lord of the Universal What fails us now, and why should not some of us go forth to fight this sacred war for exalting thy glorious name?

An intrepid Protestant historian and missionary Johannes Lepsius, who earlier had undertaken a two—month trip to examine the sites of the Abul Hamid era massacres, returned to Turkey during World War I. He again documented the results of such invocations of jihad against non—Muslims, as espoused by Sheikh Shawish, during the period between 1914—1918. Lepsius wrote:

Are we then simply forbidden to speak of the Armenians as persecuted on account of their religious belief'? If so, there have never been any religious persecutions in the world...We have lists before us of 559 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with fire and sword; of 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Gregorian (Armenian) priests who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, murdered on their refusal to accept Islam. We repeat, however, that those figures express only the extent of our information, and do not by a long way reach to the extent of the reality. Is this a religious persecution or is it not? [32]

Finally, Bat Ye'or [33] places the continuum of massacres from the 1890s through the end of World War I, in an overall theological and juridical context, as follows:

The genocide of the Armenians was the natural outcome of a policy inherent in the politico—religious structure of dhimmitude. This process of physically eliminating a rebel nation had already been used against the rebel Slav and Greek Christians, rescued from collective extermination by European intervention, although sometimes reluctantly.
The genocide of the Armenians was a jihad. No rayas took part in it. Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs, and their refusal to collaborate in the crime, these masssacres were perpetrated solely by Muslims and they alone profited from the booty: the victims' property, houses, and lands granted to the muhajirun, and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The elimination of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the commandments of the jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the payment of the jizya. The four stages of the liquidation— deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre— reproduced the historic conditions of the jihad carried out in the dar—al—harb from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by Muslim authors in particular, give detailed descriptions of the organized massacres or deportation of captives, whose sufferings in forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian experience in the twentieth century.

'Double Killing'— Ongoing Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide

Elie Wiesel has noted, appositely, that the final stage of genocide, its denial, is 'double killing'.

Ignoring absurd and scurrilous allegations contained in Turkish propaganda screeds (for example, the May 27, 1999 eleven page document entitled, 'An Objective Look at House Resolution [HR] 155', submitted by the Turkish ambassador in Washington, D.C., to all United States Congressmen, which contained the mendacious claims that Armenians had murdered 100,000 Ottoman Jews, and 1.1 million Ottoman Muslims [34] ), several persistent denialist rationales at least merit exploration and sound rebuttal, before being dismissed.

Dadrian [35] has reduced these particular attempts to characterize the Armenian genocide as 'debatable' into the following three lines of argument (which he aptly terms 'disjointed'): (i) the Ottoman governments intent was merely to relocate, not destroy, the deportee population; (ii) in the context of the larger global conflagration, i.e., World War I, the Armenians and Turks were engaged in a civil war, which was itself directly responsible for heavy Turkish losses; (iii) Turkish losses during the overall conflict far exceeded Armenian losses.

Dadrian poses the following logical question as a preface to his analysis of the spurious claim that the Turks engaged in a 'benevolent relocation' of Armenian deportees: did the Young Turk authorities expect to resettle in the deserts of Mesopotamia hundreds of thousands of dislocated people without securing the slightest accommodation or other amenities affording the barest conditions of subsistence for human beings? [36]

The sham of 'relocation' was made plain by the Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Fourth Army who oversaw the areas designated to receive these forcibly transferred Armenian populations. He rejected the relocation pretense categorically in his memoirs stating '...there was neither preparation, nor organization to shelter the hundreds of thousands of deportees.' [37] This critical assessment from a key Ottoman official confirms the observations of multiple consuls representing Turkeys allies Austria and Germany (in addition to the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Morgenthau). These diplomats maintained repeatedly that dispatching the victimized Armenian populations to such desert hinterlands sealed their fate—death and ruination. [38] Moreover, the hundreds of thousands of deportees were not merely transferred from war zones, as claimed, but from all parts of the Ottoman Empire. Dadrian further observes,

As official documents unmistakably reveal (and American Ambassador Morgenthau confirms) only the rapid deterioration of Turkeys military situation and the resulting time constraints prevented the authorities from carrying out the projected comprehensive deportation and liquidation of the rest of the Armenian population. In the case of Istanbul, for example, then the capital of the Empire, by November 1915 already 30,000 Armenians had been surreptitiously, and by a system of quotas, removed, according to a confidential report to Berlin by German Ambassador Metternich. As to Smyrna, only forceful intervention of German General Liman Von Sanders, the regional military commander, stopped the completion of the deportation of that major mercantile harbor city's Armenian population. That intervention was triggered by the dispatch of Smyrna's first Armenian deportee convoy as ordered by the province's Turkish governor—general Rahmi. This intervention proved a mere respite, however, as in 1922 the insurgent Kemalists destroyed Smyrna in a holocaust that consumed large segments of the surviving Armenian population, as well. (emphasis added) [39]

Were the mass killings of the Armenians merely an unintended epiphenomenon of a 'civil war', characterized by one apologist [40] as '...a struggle between two nations for a single homeland'? Dadrian ridicules this argument by first highlighting the essential attributes of a bona fide civil war: the collapse of central government authority, creating a power vacuum filled by armed, antagonistic factions engaged in violent and sustained clashes. [41] This basic paradigm simply did not apply to wartime Turkey, whose Ottoman state organization,

...was not only fully functional but on account of its armed forces were able to wage for four years a multi—front gigantic war against such formidable enemies as England, France and Tsarist Russia. The wartime emergency measures, martial law and the temporary suspension of parliament were conditions which helped invest the executive branch of the Ottoman government with enormous and concentrated power, power that was more than enough to exercise dictatorship. Moreover, most able—bodied Armenian males were conscripted into the Ottoman Army long before Turkey intervened in the war. What was left of the Armenian population consisted by and large of terror stricken women, children and old men, desperately trying to stay alive in an environment filled with the memories of past massacres, a consuming apprehension regarding new and impending disasters and burdened with all sorts of war—related hardships. [42]

The 'civil war argument' also hinges on the assertion that four specific Armenian uprisings—Shabin Karahisar (June 6—July 4, 1915), Musa Dagh (July 30—September 1915), Urfa (September 29—October 23, 1915) and in particular Van (April 20—May 17, 1915)—comprise a major, organized 'Armenian rebellion'. Reports by consuls of Turkeys wartime allies—Austria and Germany, debunk this argument. The Austrian Military Plenipotentiary to Turkey during World War I, in his memoirs, [43] characterized the Van uprising as ' act of desperation' by Armenians who '...recognized that [a] general butchery had begun in the environs of Van and that they would be the next [victims]'. Germany's consul in Aleppo, Walter Rossler, described the Urfa uprising in similar terms. Imbued with the recent memory of the brutal 1895 massacre, and the unfolding spectacle of mass murder in their vicinity during the summer of 1915, the Urfa Armenians made a hasty, last ditch effort to defend themselves. [44] German Ambassador Paul Count von Wolff—Metternich filed a 72—page report to his government in Berlin addressing all four of these uprisings. Metternich maintained that each of these uprisings was a defensive act attempting merely to ward off imminent deportation, and he stated bluntly '...there was neither a concerted general uprising, nor was there a fully valid proof that such a synchronized uprising was organized or planned.' [45] As Dadrian observes,

How could desperate groupings of people trying to stay alive by defending themselves be described as 'rebels' supposedly bent on undermining a mighty state system intent on destroying them?...without exception these uprisings were improvised last—ditch attempts to ward off imminent deportation and destruction. Without exception they were all local, very limited, and above all, highly defensive initiatives; as such they were ultimately doomed to failure. The temporary success of the Van uprising was entirely due to a very fortuitous circumstance: the timely arrival of the advance units of the Russian Caucasus army. A delay of one or two days in this movement might well sealed the fate of the defenders. [46]

Dadrian concedes that regardless of their justification (underscored in wartime German, Austrian, and US consular reports of the sustained historical record of Armenian oppression and episodic massacre by the Turks),

Individual Armenians and even some small groups of Armenians in very isolated cases resorted to espionage, sabotage, and other anti—Turkish hostile acts...[and]...several thousands of Armenians from all over the world, including several hundred former Ottoman subjects, rushed to the Caucasus to enroll in the ranks of the Russian Caucasus army to fight against the Turks; the majority of them were, however, Russian subjects. [47]

In his concluding remarks on the civil war apologetic, Dadrian poses, and then addresses this 'ultimate question':

...does the ensemble of these facts warrant a decision to deport and wantonly destroy an entire population? The answer should be no for a variety of reasons but in one particular respect that answer is cast into special relief. The reference is to a host of other ethnic and nationality groups and individuals who likewise indulged in such anti—Turkish hostile acts during the war, including sabotage, espionage and volunteering for service in the armed forces of Turkey's enemies. Foremost among these were the Kurds, who like the Armenians, were engaged in pro— as well as anti—Turkish activities. On the eastern front several of the spies caught by the Turks were themselves Turks; so were a number of Greeks operating in the west of Turkey. Nor can one exempt the Jews who provided two distinct volunteer corps fighting the Turks at two different fronts, the Dardanelles (in 1915) and Palestine (in 1918). Moreover, one of the largest wartime espionage networks, the NILI in Yaffa, Palestine, which was caught by the Turks, was run by a small Jewish group. And yet, a relatively mild, if not insignificant and inconsequential treatment was accorded to them by the Turkish authorities. These authorities at that time did not think it prudent to extend their operations of ethnic cleansing to these nationalities and minority groups and thereby compound the already existing problems arising from the ongoing mass murder of the Armenians. [48]

Lastly, Dadrian dismisses as 'blatant sophistry' the non—sequitur Turkish claim of 2.5 million victims in the 1914—1922 period because it includes (and conflates) ...

... disparate categories of events such as losses in World War I, losses in the post—Turkish campaign for independence, as well as losses due to epidemics, malnutrition and succumbing to the rigors of the elements... What is fundamental in all these losses is that overwhelmingly they are the byproducts and the results of warfare with Turkey's external enemies. These warfare losses are cryptically blended, juxtaposed and composed with the number of victims of an organized mass murder. Indeed, the two categories are collapsed whereby victim and victimizer groups are subsumed under a single, undifferentiated category, having been leveled almost beyond differentiation, and no longer discernible as separate, if not antithetical, categories. [49]


The Ottoman Turkish destruction of the Armenian people, beginning in the late 19th and intensifying in the early 20th century, was a genocide, and jihad ideology contributed significantly to this decades long human liquidation process. These facts are now beyond dispute. Milan Kundera, the Czech author, has written that man's struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. [50] In The Banality of Indifference, Yair Auron [51] reminds us of the importance of this struggle:

Recognition of the Armenian genocide on the part of the entire international community, including Turkey (or perhaps first and foremost Turkey), is therefore a demand of the first order. Understanding and remembering the tragic past is an essential condition, even if not sufficient in and of itself, to preventing the repetition of such acts in the future....

Yet ninety years after the events of April 24, 1915, the Turkish government persists in its denials of the Armenian genocide, abetted by a well—endowed network of unsavory political and pseudo—academic sycophants operating with the imprimatur of morphing geostrategic rationales—formerly, 'Turkey as a bulwark against Communism', and now, 'Turkey as a bulwark against radical Islam'. This leeway afforded Turkey is both illogical and morally indefensible. West Germany was arguably a much more direct and important ally against the Soviet Communist bloc, while each successive post—World War II West German administration, from Adenauer through Kohl, made Holocaust denial a punishable crime. Moreover, there is burgeoning evidence, available almost daily, that both Turkey's government under the Muslim ideologue Erdogan and large swaths of the Turkish media and intelligentsia (see, 'Turkish Media Project') hardly qualify as 'bulwarks against radical Islam'. Indeed, Turkey's contemporary Islamic 'revival' is of particular relevance to the tragic events that transpired between 1894 and the end of World War I, because the Armenian genocide was in large measure a jihad genocide. But most importantly, there is a compelling moral imperative which transcends the flimsy geopolitical considerations used to rationalize and sustain Turkey's ongoing campaign of genocide denial. Professor Deborah Lipstadt, the renowned Holocaust scholar, and author of Denying the Holocaust, and History on Trial (which recounts her crushing defeat of Nazi—sympathizer David Irving's 'libel' suit), in conjunction with twelve other leading genocide scholars, elucidated the corrosive immorality of genocide denial in this 1996 statement:

Denial of genocide—whether that of the Turks against the Armenians or the Nazis against the Jews—is not an act of historical reinterpretation. Rather, it sows confusion by appearing to be engaged in a genuine scholarly effort. Those who deny genocide always dismiss the abundance of documents and testimony as contrived or coerced, or as forgeries and falsehoods. Free speech does not guarantee the deniers the right to be treated as the 'other' side of a legitimate debate when there is no credible 'other side'; nor does it guarantee the deniers space in the classroom or curriculum, or in any other forum. Genocide denial is an insidious form of intellectual and moral degradation... [52]


[1] Balakian, Reverend K., Hai Koghkotan. Trouakner Hai Mardirosakroutiunen. Berlinen Tebee Zor 1914—1920 (The Armenian Golgotha. Episodes from the Armenian Martyrilogy. From Berlin to Zor 1914—1920), vol. 1. Vienna, 1922.

[2] Dadrian, V. 'The Quest for Scholarship in My Pathos for the Armenian Tragedy and its Victims', in Pioneers of Genocide Studies, S. Totten and S. Jacobs, editors, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002, pp. 239—240.

[3] Dadrian, V. 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', Journal of Genocide Research, 2003, Vol. 5, p. 273.

[4] Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Turkei 183/38, A23991, or R14087, K. no. 81/B.1645; Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Botschaft Konstantinopel 170, J. no. 3841, 'secret' report of 23 August 1914; Joseph Pomiankowski, Der Zusammenbruch des Ottomanischen Reiches, Graz, Austria: Akademischer Druck— u. Verlag, 1969, p. 160.; and Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1918, pp. 302—304. Morgenthau's 10 July report is in US National Archives, RG59, 867.4016/74; all cited in Dadrian, V. 'The Armenian Genocide: An Interpretation', in Winter, J., editor, America and the Armenian Genocide of 1914, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 63, footnotes 18—21.

[5] Uras E., The Armenians and the Armenian Question in History, 2nd ed., (Istanbul, 1976), p.612

[6] Akcam T., Turkish National Identity and the Armenian Question, (Istanbul, 1992), p. 109.

[7] Hovanissian R., Armenia on the Road to Independence, (Berkeley, CA, 1967), p. 51.

[8] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians as Documented by the Officials of the Ottoman Empire's World War I Allies: Germany and Austria—Hungary', International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, (2002), Vol. 32, pp. 59—85.

[9] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 60.

[10] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 76

[11] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 76, with specific primary source documentation, p. 84, n. 109.

[12] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 76, with specific primary source documentation, p. 84, n. 109.

[13] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 77, with specific primary source documentation, pp. 84—85, n. 111.

[14] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 77.

[15] Davison R., "Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian—Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century", The American Historical Review (1954), Vol. 54, pp. 844—864.

[16] Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, (Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996) 522 pp.

[17] Dadrian V., Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko—Armenian Conflict, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1999), p. 39.

[18] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 61, with specific primary source documentation p. 79, n. 11

[19] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', p. 61, with specific primary source documentation p. 79, n. 11

[20] Davison R., "Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian—Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century", p. 855.

[21] Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, Reports by British Diplomats [1850—1876], pp. 395—433.

[22] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', pp. 61—62, with specific primary source documentation, p. 79, n. 14.

[23] Dadrian V., 'The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of the Armenians', pp. 61—62, with specific primary source documentation, p. 79, n. 15.

[24] Davison R, "The Armenian Crisis, 1912—1914", The American Historical Review, (1948) Vol. 53, pp. 482—483.

[25] Servier, A. Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman, translated by A. S. Moss—Blundell, London, 1924, pp. 241—42.

[26] Dadrian V., The History of the Armenian Genocide, (Providence, RI: Bergahn Books, 1997), pp. 155, 182, 225, 233, n. 44; Auron Y., The Banality of Indifference, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000), p. 44.

[27] Dadrian V., The History of the Armenian Genocide, pp. 113—184.

[28] Dadrian V., The History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 147, with primary source documentation p. 168, n. 199.

[29] Bat Ye'or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, (Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985) pp. 48, 67, 101.

[30] Lord Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries—The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire, New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1979, pp. 559—560.

[31] U.S. State Department document 867.4016/57, March 10, 1915.

[32] Gabrielan M. C., Armenia: A Martyr Nation, (New York, Chicago: Fleming H. Revell, Co., 1918), p. 269.

[33] Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, p. 197.

[34] Dadrian, V. The Key Elements in the Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide: A Case Study of Distortion and Falsification, The Zoryan Institute, Cambridge, MA, 1999, pp. 18—19.

[35] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', pp. 274—275.

[36] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 275.

[37] Orgeneral Ali Fuad Erden, Birinci Dunya Harbinde Suriye Hantiralari [Syrian Memoirs of World War I], Vol. 1 p. 122; cited in, Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 275.

[38] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 275.

[39] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 275.

[40] Lewis, B., The Emergence of Modern Turkey, London: Oxford University Press, 1961, p. 350.

[41] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 275.

[42] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', pp. 275—276.

[43] Pomiankowski, J., Der Zusammenbruch des Ottomanischen Reiches, p. 160.; cited in Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 276.

[44] Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Turkei 183/40, A35040, Rossler's November 8, 1915 report; cited in Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 276.

[45] Germany Foreign Ministry Archives Turkei 183/40, A25749, September 18, 1916 report, p. 14; cited in Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 276.

[46] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 276.

[47] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 277.

[48] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 277.

[49] Dadrian, V., 'The Signal Facts Surrounding the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish Denial Syndrome', p. 277.

[50] Kundera M., The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1999)

[51] Auron Y., The Banality of Indifference, p. 56.

[52] Dadrian, V. The Key Elements in the Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide: A Case Study of Distortion and Falsification, p. 81.

Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School.
He is the author of:
The Legacy of Jihad, Prometheus Books (2005),
The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, Prometheus Books (2008),
Sharia Versus Freedom. The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism, Prometheus Books (2012),
The Mufti's Islamic Jew Hatred. What the Nazis Learned From the 'Muslim Pope', Bravura Books (2013), and
Iran's Final Solution for Israel. The Legacy of Jihad and Shi'ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran, Bravura Books (2014).