“Shared Pain” or “Genocide”? Turkey Apologizes For Deaths Of Armenians

260px-MarcharmeniansTurkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered what the government described as unprecedented “condolences” for the killing of Armenians in the First World War. The “apology” however is likely to be viewed as manifestly inadequate for those who have long demanded that Turkey acknowledge the killings as “genocide.” There remains a sharp historical debate over the killings though countries like France tried to end that debate by criminalizing arguments that this was not a genocide. The overwhelming world opinion however is that this was genocide and that Turkey continues to offer a revisionist history to its students and citizens. This statement comes as the country approaches the 100th anniversary of the killings next year. Turkey continues to deny that 1.5 million people were killed in 1915.

Erdogan expressed regret over the “shared pain” of the 1915 killings — something that is likely to be viewed by Armenians as falsely equating the level of injury between those who killed innocent civilians and the survivors of those victims. Various countries have labeled the deaths as genocide.

Erdogan said “[i]t is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren . . Having experienced events which had inhumane consequences – such as relocation – during the First World War, should not prevent Turks and Armenians from establishing compassion and mutually humane attitudes among towards one another.” However, he appeared to suggest that Turkey, a Muslim country, is being unfairly treated for the deaths of Armenians who are Christian. He insisted that “[u]sing the events of 1915 as an excuse for hostility against Turkey and turning this issue into a matter of political conflict is inadmissible.”

It is interesting to see how Turkey views these remarks as a breakthrough and unprecedented. I cannot imagine that Armenians will share that view.

Source: Globe and Mail

33 thoughts on ““Shared Pain” or “Genocide”? Turkey Apologizes For Deaths Of Armenians

  1. An Armenian guy owned the liquor store near my boyhood home. I learned from an early age about this genocide. Eddie was a nice, easygoing, guy. Except when he discussed this. He lost family in this holocaust.

  2. For those readers who have not studied this issue much, know that Erdogan’s statement represents a mile stone in making progress towards having Turks acknowledge this travesty. And sure, it is likely done to help Turkey become more accepted by Europeans. And when compared to the problems existing between Palestinians and Jews who occupy Palestine in the name of a much greater holocaust and genocide, it’s still an important step. Now if we only could get the Muslim Smites and their Jewish cousin Semites to love one another like the most famous of all Jews taught, we could make more progress.

  3. To the winner goes the spoils and the history perspective. The world is changing though, as now everyone can find out what is really behind the curtain in the City of Oz, I mean London.

    If you have not read the Creature From Jekyll Island by Ed Griffin, it is a non-fiction and must read for those who wish to know the economics and corruption behind WWI. As General Smedley Butler’s book title denotes; War is a Racket and the participants will be quite unsettling for many.

  4. Mr. Erdogan’s apology is insufficient, but he is walking a fine line. My belief is that Turkey will eventually acknowledge that genocide did occur, but that the politics for such an admission are not yet favorable. Of course, had there been smart phones in 1915, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Genocide is no longer a crime that can be buried with the dead.

  5. Turkey is not alone in refusing to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. While some individual states have formally recognized these mass atrocities, the US government has not.

    Nor has Israel.

  6. While I am sorry that so many Armenians were killed, it is not anywhere close to the genocide Nazi Germany committed nor was it of similar intent. The Armenians were in revolt against the Ottoman Empire and were relocated as part of suppressing that revolt. What the Empire did is what the US did in Vietnam with similar results, though not as fatal for the victims in such numbers.

    Most of those deaths were a result of starvation, exposure, and other forms of neglect, not as a direct result of intentional murder by shooting them. That there were so many survivors shows the lack of intent to murder ALL Armenians just because they were Armenians. My guess is that the Ottoman Empire killed nearly the same number of their own troops in similar fashion they were so inept and incompetent in even providing for their own people. The Turks suffered horribly too at the hands of the Ottomans which is why they got rid of the Sultan. One has to ask if the current government can be held accountable for the crimes of the Sultan who I might add the Allies were supporting in the Civil War! The Allies need to apologize to the Turks for killing the troops of the current government too then in support of the government which committed that genocide.

  7. randyjet,

    Excellent job of articulating the Genocide denial position. Less of a good job in the accuracy department, however.

    You write:

    Most of those deaths were a result of starvation, exposure, and other forms of neglect, not as a direct result of intentional murder by shooting them.

    However, these “starvation” and “exposure” deaths were the direct result of Turkish soldiers driving Armenians from their homes in Armenia and Anatolia and into the Syrian desert. That’s pretty darn intentional.

    You also claim:

    That there were so many survivors shows the lack of intent to murder ALL Armenians just because they were Armenians.

    There were an estimated one and a half million Armenians killed in the Genocide of an estimated total population of two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Though estimates of total population and of those murdered vary, the proportions are consistently horrifying.

    On April 24, 1915 the Ottoman Empire rounded up and imprisoned/executed hundreds of Armenian leaders and intellectuals – a significant early step in any preplanned Genocide. Indeed much of WWII’s Genocide of the Jews, the Rom, and others follows a similar pattern.

    Adolph Hitler himself, when confronted on his Final Solution to the Jewish problem is quoted as stating:”Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?”





  8. fiver While the number of Armenians is in dispute, I think that the most reasonable and accurate is the one of 600,000, which is still a massive amount and does indeed qualify as genocide by any definition. Having said that, it is STILL NOT of the same type and quality of Nazi Germany’s genocide of subject people. One has to remember that the Serbs in WWII were subject to genocide by the Croatian Ustashi government which claimed over 800,000 and did a similar genocide in the last war in Yugoslavia.. I would hope that you would demand the SAME acknowledgement by the Croatian government who killed more people than the Ottomans. So far though, the Croats are immune from criticism of their genocide of the Serbs since they are political allies. So I have to take a rather jaundiced view of legislation to declare Turkey as being responsible for that genocide of the Ottoman government which as I pointed out was supported by Entente after WWI against Ataturk’s government. If the Entente was so outraged at the genocidal Ottomans they should not have been fighting for them.

  9. fiver, Great comment. Keep them coming here and on other threads. We need thoughtful people like you.

  10. The above is a bit out of character for me, but it’s been such a busy, stressful day, and I really must have needed the laugh. You all know how it is, sometimes, there’s only enough time to peruse just the subject lines of the emails in your inbox. We all receive the same number from Jonathan, so hopefully you won’t begrudge me this comment. Jonathan’s posts aren’t always of serious nature, and I guess I just read the subject of this one the wrong way. The way things are in the world these days – in this country, it may even have been just the right thing. Humor goes a long way when the load is sometimes otherwise just too heavy to bear. So this doctor hopes your orbicularis oris responds upwardly, knowing I also felt the weight of the post’s intent. Enjoy or now… it’s all I could think of when I read the subject, as I said. (I’ll repost it if my html code is incorrect. Maybe someone can fix it for me, if so.) Thanks,.

  11. randyjet,

    Where to begin? I’ll start with the numbers. Sure, it’s hard to get accurate numbers in this situation. We’re talking about the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago. We’re also talking about the difficulty of counting many, many hundreds of thousand of bodies reduced to bones in the desert. Is it required that we count each tooth?

    But discrepancies in numbers are hardly determinative. While many Genocide deniers love to hang their hat on any real or imagined discrepancies – check out Stormfront and other sites delighting in Holocaust denial (sorry, no links to such disgusting filth) – the reality is that one hundred percent accurate statistics are simply impossible to obtain especially when those controlling the information at the time are the alleged perpetrators of these horrific events.

    Not sure what your comment on Croatians and Serbians has to do with this discussion other than to distract. Nor do I understand what the straw man of modern Turkey being “responsible for that genocide” has to do with anything.

    We are talking about recognition of a horrible crime against humanity. Modern Turkey’s (and the Obama Administration’s and Israel’s) refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide is the issue.

    Blowing smoke to cloud that issue gets us nowhere – except for the implicit recognition that deniers of the Armenian Genocide or the Holocaust simply do not have a leg to stand on.

    Nick Spinelli,

    Thank you.

  12. Nick I don’t think that we have made an apology for slavery in the US either. I fail to see the relevance of the US or Israel, “recognizing” Armenian genocide. This is more a concern of historians, though as I read, the REAL reason is to pump more money into Armenia since they are now the second biggest recipient of US tax dollars after Israel and it is blatantly a political thing rather than a search for truth to have government pass judgments on such things.

    The reason I brought up the genocide against the Serbs is that there are LOTS of similar ones of even greater magnitude that have NOT been declared or recognized by the US or Israel. You talk about deniers and since I do not agree with the inflated numbers of some of these rabid Armenians, YOU say I deny the fact of that genocide. Sorry, but if you would READ my post, you would notice that I said killing “only” 600,000 certainly is genocide by any measure. You then make the conclusion that since I contest the 1.5 million number that I deny the genocide. Sorry, but just because I do not think that getting an official statement is of great importance does not make me a denier of that genocide.

    I think that the use of the term genocide has been grossly over used to describe many such atrocities and to diminish the Holocaust which was such a massive horror that using the same term for other mass murders takes away from the special horror of that one. Getting Turkey to officially declare that genocide occurred is of small import. I will get more upset when they are the only country in the UN that does not recognize the horrors in their history. I am more upset at the Japanese who whitewash their own criminal actions during WWII and cry about the A bombs while ignoring the Rape of Nanking which killed nearly as many people as the Armenian genocide. There are LOTS of things in history we can demand governments recognize other than this one. Think that will bring those people back or even prevent other such things? Recent history has shown that is not the case.

  13. randyjet,


    Not sure where all that is coming from, and I’ll keep my guesses to myself.

    As far as the US not recognizing the crime of slavery: I’m thinking that fighting, and winning, the bloodiest war in American history might negate that point a little bit. You might have been a bit more on point by directing your ire at the lack of recognition of the Genocide of the native peoples of the American continents. In that case, I might agree.

    But it’s a bit too late to deny you’ve been arguing as a Genocide denier. You wrote:

    My guess is that the Ottoman Empire killed nearly the same number of their own troops in similar fashion they were so inept and incompetent in even providing for their own people.

    You further wrote:

    The Armenians were in revolt against the Ottoman Empire and were relocated as part of suppressing that revolt.

    Your argument actually passed beyond the realm of Genocide denial and entered into the realm of Genocide justification. If such an argument were made to justify the Holocaust (and it has been argued, disgustingly, that Jews were Germany’s internal enemy and had to be “dealt with” for national security reasons), I’m guessing you might find that wholly invalid point as offensive as most others should find yours.

    I’m also guessing that if the German government were to deny the Holocaust you might be singing a wholly different tune. Whether that would be because the more recent atrocities are even more undeniable or because of other reasons you’ve more than hinted at, I’ll not speculate.

    I’ll certainly not judge the horror of crimes against humanity based upon the the ethnicity of the victims requiring it to be a “special horror.” Nor will I even pretend to respect the opinions of those who do.

    The Armenian Genocide of WWI was a horror and a massive crime against humanity. The Jewish Genocide of WWII was a horror and a massive crime against humanity. The Rom Genocide of WWII was a horror and a massive crime against humanity.

    While you believe that getting governments to “officially declare that genocide occurred is of small import,” the victims of these atrocities, their descendants, and those who fight to prevent further such crimes, certainly do think it is of great importance.

    Why is your denial so important to you?

  14. randyjet,

    Two more things:
    1) Comparing the foreign aid received by Israel to that received by Armenia (or any other country for that matter) is really kind of silly – qualitatively and quantitatively.

    2) Sorry for the late reply: The Blackhawks just won in overtime:)

  15. Aargh! The blockquote was supposed to end after “The Armenians were in revolt against the Ottoman Empire and were relocated as part of suppressing that revolt.”

    My html skills are severely lacking.

  16. fiver, I suggest reading Lincoln Unmasked to have a better understanding of the major players and their true motives behind the Civil War. I think you will be astounded by both the amount of research and revisionary history it reports. Like much of our history, not everything we were told was truth. Columbus did not discover America either.

    As an example Lincoln met with free Black Americans at the White House in an attempt to get them to remove themselves to Liberia. He did not think the races should mingle and favored the Republican Party stance on the fugitive slave laws. He was originally a Whig before the party imploded and it’s members and he joined the Republicans. He was a rich elitist that represented the wealthy railroad interests before gaining political office and fought the war primarily to gain greater central power for he and his corporate and banking supporters/benefactors. Lincoln jailed and executed people, closed down over 30 northern newspapers who criticized him, arrested most of the Maryland legislature and even put out an arrest warrant out for a circuit court Judge and Supreme Court member as some were back then, when he gave a man a Writ of Habeas Corpus after it’s suspension by Lincoln via an executive order. We all know he suffered from mental illness. Imagine that? He was probably just taking a rest from his tiresome despotism.

    How many Civilians and their homes did his Generals burn and murder even though his Army had a 2 to 1 man advantage? Is that the mark of a compassionate man trying to rid the world of slavery? The abolition of slavery was already in the works. He and his cronies gave the blacks Citizenship to the District of Columbia where they have been brutalized for decades with excessive taxation and regulation.

    It is quite clear, then, that there is a citizenship of the United States** and a citizenship of a State, which are distinct from each other and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances in the individual.
    [Slaughter House Cases, 83 U.S. 36]
    [(1873) emphasis added]

    The first clause of the fourteenth amendment made negroes citizens of the United States**, and citizens of the State in which they reside, and thereby created two classes of citizens, one of the United States** and the other of the state.
    [Cory et al. v. Carter, 48 Ind. 327]
    [(1874) headnote 8, emphasis added]

    We have in our political system a Government of the United States** and a government of each of the several States. Each
    one of these governments is distinct from the others, and each has citizens of its own ….
    [U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542]
    [(1875) emphasis added]

    One may be a citizen of a State and yet not a citizen of the United States. Thomasson v. State, 15 Ind. 449; Cory v. Carter, 48 Ind. 327 (17 Am. R. 738); McCarthy v. Froelke, 63 Ind. 507; In Re Wehlitz, 16 Wis. 443.
    [McDonel v. State, 90 Ind. 320, 323]
    [(1883) underlines added]

    A person who is a citizen of the United States** is necessarily a citizen of the particular state in which he resides. But a person may be a citizen of a particular state and not a citizen of the United States**. To hold otherwise would be to deny to the state the highest exercise of its sovereignty, — the right to declare who are its citizens.
    [State v. Fowler, 41 La. Ann. 380]
    [6 S. 602 (1889), emphasis added]

    The first clause of the fourteenth amendment of the federal Constitution made negroes citizens of the United States**, and citizens of the state in which they reside, and thereby created two classes of citizens, one of the United States** and the other
    of the state.
    [4 Dec. Dig. ’06, p. 1197, sec. 11]
    [“Citizens” (1906), emphasis added]

    There are, then, under our republican form of government, two classes of citizens, one of the United States** and one of the state. One class of citizenship may exist in a person, without the other, as in the case of a resident of the District of
    Columbia; but both classes usually exist in the same person.
    [Gardina v. Board of Registrars, 160 Ala. 155]
    [48 S. 788, 791 (1909), emphasis added]

    There is a distinction between citizenship of the United States** and citizenship of a particular state, and a person may be the
    former without being the latter.
    [Alla v. Kornfeld, 84 F.Supp. 823]
    [(1949) headnote 5, emphasis added]

    A person may be a citizen of the United States** and yet be not identified or identifiable as a citizen of any particular state.
    [Du Vernay v. Ledbetter]
    [61 So.2d 573, emphasis added]

    … citizens of the District of Columbia were not granted the privilege of litigating in the federal courts on the ground of diversity of citizenship. Possibly no better reason for this fact exists than such citizens were not thought of when the judiciary article [III] of the federal Constitution was drafted. … citizens of the United States** … were also not thought of; but in any event a citizen of the United States**, who is not a citizen of any state, is not within the language of the [federal] Constitution.
    [Pannill v. Roanoke, 252 F. 910, 914]
    [emphasis added]

  17. fiver, All wars result in atrocities on all sides. The UN was guilty of some in WWII, but to such a lesser degree that to compare ours to those of the Axis is absurd. You miss some important facts in considering what the Ottomans did You have to put it in context for historical accuracy. That is the reason I mentioned other genocides, and the warfare. The US put Japanese Americans into camps with scant justification for that action, even though that action was LEGAL. While the Ottomans were facing an actual armed revolt and mass action of Armenians allying themselves with Russia against the Ottomans. I am unaware of Jews in Europe actively taking up arms against the Nazis prior to WWII or even at the beginning.

    Then you simply LIE and say that I deny the genocide. My point is that it is irrelevant for the current government to declare something since as you point out the US has not done the same for the genocide against Native Americans here. The point is also that this is more a political ploy than a historical one which should be done by historians.

  18. randyjet, The world and history portrayed by the oligarchs through their main stream media outlets is not the real world we are led to believe. The book, Hiltler’s Secret Bankers is as interesting as the story of the Warburg Families financing of both sides of WWI and WWII. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2434851/Wartburg-Hitlers-Secret-Bankers

    And the more recent book by Adam Lebor of the same title. http://www.adamlebor.com/books/hitler's_secret_bankers/

    And here is a story of a bunker built for Hitler in Hollywood, CA had the won the war. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116684/Hitlers-Los-Angeles-bunker-planned-run-Nazi-empire-war.html

    What we have been taught is one thing and the true is another of almost all economic history of the last two centuries. Once States rights was defeated during the Civil War, the centralized political power and their bankers have controlled most of the industrialized world. As an example, the British invaded all but about 30 counties in the world between about 1875 and 1950 and the US and the UN have taken over after them.

    It is all about the use of taxation to fund the military industrial complexes of the world and they care not what country provides or buys the arms. Almost all foreign aid is provided and utilized for this single goal.

    As an old golf buddy told me, “I was making a very extravagant living as an arms manufacturer in the 1970s, until I was one day entrapped through a government sting operation, using art work, paintings of all things, which I knew very little about, and thrown in prison without lawful due process using perjuring witnesses. I was really naïve.” He was a commercial real estate broker when I met him and a hell of a nice guy. He assumed that he just built his business to large and was starting to step on the toes of his competitors.

    It is sort of how the Economic Hit Men work and behind every venture are the central bankers and their cronies.

  19. fiver, Wow! A Blackhawk fan and an All Star commenter. I fell asleep watching the Hawks. I truly hope to see you on many more threads. Some folks may not, but I do whether I agree w/ you or not.

  20. You can not show photos of the Armenian genocide on the blog. It is like showing child porn photos. The dead people are victims and your are exploiting them by showing their photos just like children in porn films are exploited by anyone who owns a photo or looks at one. So, you owe some heirs of some Armenians some restitution here.

  21. Al Zheimer – I don’t agree that child Porn is a good analogy in this case, thus your conclusion I also believe is incorrect. I think we need to show the results of war to our young people until the can’t look at it any more out of disgust. I know the pictures from the Viet Nam War had a profound affect on me. It’s like taking a child who is misbehaving down to the prison to show him what happens to people who do bad things to other people.

    Most wars are unjust and thus are promoted by those in the business of warfare. I believe there actions and results need to be shown to the world. I would want the world to see what happened to my relatives, if they were murdered.

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