Armenians 1915: The Genocide Controversy

19 Apr

Armenia: The Genocide Controversy


Of the many current concerns associated with historic wrongs, none is more salient these days than the long simmering tensions between modern Turkey and the Armenian diaspora (and the state of Armenia). And none so convincingly validates the assertion of the great American novelist, William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This year being the centenary of the contested events of 1915 makes it understandable that was simmering through the decades has come to a boil, with the anniversary day of April 24th likely to be the climax of this latest phase of the unresolved drama.


The Armenian red line for any move toward reconciliation has been for many years a formal acknowledgement by the Turkish government that the killings that occurred in 1915 should be regarded as ‘genocide,’ and that an official apology to the descendants of the Armenian victims should be issued by the top political leaders in Turkey. It is not clear whether once that red line is crossed, a second exists, this one involving Armenian expectations of reparations in some form or even restorations of property and territory. For now the battleground is over the significance of granting or withholding the G word from these momentous happenings. The utterance of this word, alone, seems the only key capable of unlocking the portals leading to conflict resolution, but it is a key that Turks across the political spectrum refuse to use.


What has recently raised the temperature on both sides is the clear alignment of Pope Francis with the Armenian demands. At a solemn mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on April 12th that was devoted to the centenary of the Ottoman killings of Armenian Christians Francis quoted with approval from the 2001 joint declaration of Pope John Paul II and the Armenian religious leader Karenkin II to the effect that these massacres in 1915 were “widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century.” The pope’s reliance upon an earlier declaration by a predecessor pontiff was interpreted by some Vatican watchers as a subtle indication of ‘restraint,’ showing a continuity of view in the Catholic Church rather than the enunciation of a provocative new position. Others equally reliable commentators felt that situating the label of genocide within a solemn mass gave it more authority than the earlier declaration with the 1.1 billion Catholics around the world, with likely more public impact. The unusual stature enjoyed by this pope who is widely admired the world over as possessing the most influential voice of moral authority, exerting a powerful impact even on non-Catholics, lends added significance to his pronouncements on sensitive policy issues. There are some in the Catholic community, to be sure, who are critical of this latest foray into this conflict about the application of the word genocide at a delicate time. For instance, the respected Vatican expert, Marco Politi, said that Pope Francis’s comment were typical of this pope who “uses language without excessive diplomatic care.”


For these very reasons of salience, one supposes, the Turkish response has been strident, involving some retreat from the more forthcoming statements made just a year ago by the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In an apologetic and conciliatory speech addressed directly to the Armenian community Erdoğan in 2014 said: “May Armenians who lost their lives in the early twentieth century rest in peace, we convey our condolences to their grandchildren.” His language in 2015 reverts to a much harsher tone, in a pushback to Francis declaring that religious leaders make a ‘mistake’ when they try to resolve historical controversies. In an effort to constructive, Erdoğan restates the long standing Turkish proposal to open the Ottoman archives and allow a joint international commission of historians to settle the issue as to how the events of 1915 should most accurately be described, and specifically whether the term genocide is appropriate. Both Erdoğan and the current prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, continue to regard the core issue to be a historical matter of establishing the factual reality. The Turkish position is that there were terrible killings of the Armenians, but at a level far below the 1.5 million claimed by Armenian and most international sources, and mainly as an incident of ongoing warfare and civil strife in which many Turks also lost their lives, and hence it was an experience of mutual loss, and not ‘genocide.’


The almost internationally uncontested historical narrative is that the essential factual questions have settled: the Ottoman political leaders embarked on a deliberate policy of mass killings of the Armenians living in what is now modern Turkey. From this international consensus, the Armenians claim that it follows that Armenian victimization in 1915 was ‘genocide,’ the position endorsed and supported by Pope Francis, the European Parliament, and about 20 countries, including France and Russia. As might have been expected the NY Times jumped on the bandwagon by publishing a lead editorial with the headline, “Turkey’s Willful Amnesia,” as if was a matter of Ankara forgetting or a dynamic of denial, rather than is the case of selective perception, nationalism, and fears about the fragility of domestic political balance that explain Turkey’s seemingly stubborn adherence to a discredited narrative.


Yet there are weighty problems here, as well. The conclusion of ‘genocide’ is ambiguous. Not only did no such crime, labeled as such, exist in 1915, but there was not even the concept crystallyzed in this manner. Indeed the word was not coined until 1944 by Rafael Lemkin in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, written in reaction to the crimes of the Nazis. Lemkin’s text does indirectly lend support to the Armenian insistence that only by acknowledging these events as genocide is their true reality comprehended. Consider this often quoted passage from Lemkin’s book: “I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times in history. It happened to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action.”


From a Turkish perspective, it is notable that the Nuremberg Judgment assessing Nazi criminality avoids characterizing the Holocaust as genocide, limiting itself to crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. If in 1945 there was no legal foundation for charging surviving Nazi leaders with genocide, how can the crime be attributed to the Ottoman Turks, and how can the Turkish government be reasonably expected to acknowledge it. Also in the Nuremberg Judgment there is a clear statement to the effect that criminal law can never be validly applied retroactively (nulla poena sine lege). This principle is also embedded in contemporary international criminal law. That is, if genocide was not a crime in 1915, it cannot be treated as a crime in 2015. Yet from an Armenian perspective, this issue of criminality is tangential, and is not the ground on which the Turkish narrative rests. Both sides seem to agree that what is at stake is whether or not to characterize the events as ‘genocide,’ regardless of whether genocide was a distinct crime in 1915.


But here ambiguity abounds on this issue of criminality. The preamble of the Genocide Convention (1950) includes language compatible with the wider import of Armenian contentions: “Recognized in all periods of history that genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity.” In effect, that the reality of genocide long preceded the conclusion of the treaty. And even the premise of prior criminality is reinforced by Article 1: “The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace, or time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and punish.” By using the word ‘confirm’ it would appear that the crime of genocide preexisted the use of the word ‘genocide’ invented to describe the phenomenon, and thus no persuasive jurisprudential reason is present to oppose redescribing the events of 1915 as an instance of genocide.


Such a discussion of the pros and cons of the legalities is far from the end of the debate. The pressure to call what happened to the Armenians as genocide is best understood as a pycho-political campaign to achieve an acknowledgement and apology that is commensurate with the magnitude of the historical wrong, and possibly to set the stage for a subsequent demand of reparations. The insistence on the label ‘genocide’ seeks to capture total control of the moral high ground in relation to the events by authoritatively associating the tragic experience of the Armenians with the most horrendous events experienced by others, and most particularly by the Jewish victims of Nazism. In this sense, although Nazis were not indicted at Nuremberg for genocide, the whole political effort to criminalize genocide as a crime was in reaction to the Holocaust, lending an initial credibility to the ‘never again’ pledge. In other words, only by calling the events of 1915 genocide can the issues of guilt and responsibility be resolved in accord with the Armenian narrative with sufficient gravitas. The Armenian claim is thus not to be understood as primarily expressive of a criminal law perspective, but reflects the key contention that what took place resembled what is prohibited by the Genocide Convention, and thus in this extra-legal sense is appropriately called ‘genocide,’ which functions as a way of concluding that the Armenians were victimized by the worst possible type of human behavior. And further, that no other word conveys this assessment as definitively as does ‘genocide,’ and hence the Armenian insistence is non-negotiable. Any step back from this posture would be interpreted as a further humiliation, thereby dishonoring the memory of those who suffered and opening the wounds of the past still further.


At present, both sides are locked into these contradictory positions. No way forward is apparent at present. Each side is hardening their positions, partly in retaliation for what they perceive to be the provocation of their adversary in the controversy. Erdoğan’s relatively conciliatory tone of 2014 has been replaced on the Turkish side by a relapse into defensiveness and denial, and the revival of the largely discredited nationalist version of the events in 2015 as a mutual ordeal. The Armenian campaign, in turn, has intensified, taking advantage of the centenary mood, and now given the strongest possible encouragement by Pope Francis. In this setting, it is to be expected that Armenians will mount further pressure on the U.S. Government, considered a key player by both parties, to abandon its NATO-oriented reluctance to antagonize Turkey by officially endorsing the view that what happened in 1915 should be acknowledged by Turkey as genocide. Barack Obama had assured the Armenian community during his presidential campaign that he believed that Armenians were victims of genocide in 1915 but has to date refrained from reiterating this position in his role as president.


The contextualization of this tension associated with the redress of a historical grievance is also an element in the unfolding story. There appears to be an Israeli role in deflecting Turkish harsh criticism of its behavior in Gaza by a show of strong support for the Armenian campaign. Then there is the peril in the region especially faced by Christians, the Yazidis (an ancient syncretist religion drawing on Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam, and believed by many Iraqi to be devil-worshipers) and non-Muslims, especially at risk from ISIS and other extremist groups seeking to ‘purify’ areas under their control in the Middle East. In this picture also is the rise of Islamophobia in Europe, as well as the moral panic created by the Charlie Hebdo incident and other post-9/11 signs that religiously induced violence is continuing to spread Westwards. When Pope Francis visited Turkey last November there was reported an agreement reached with Erdoğan that the Vatican would combat Islamophobia in Europe while Turkey would oppose any persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East.


I have known well prominent personalities on both sides of this Armenian/Turkish divide. More than twenty years ago I endorsed the Armenian position in talks and some writings. In more recent years, partly as a result of spending several months in Turkey each year I have become more sympathetic with Turkish reluctance to apologize and accept responsibility for ‘genocide.’ Among other concerns is the credible anxiety that any acknowledgement of genocide by Turkish leaders would unleash a furious right-wing backlash in the country imperiling social order and political stability. Aside from such prudential inhibitions there are on both sides of the divide deep and genuine issues of selective perception and identity politics that help maintain gridlock through the years, with no breakthrough in sight. Augmenting pressure on Turkey as is presently occurring is likely to be counter-productive, making the Turkish hard line both more mainstream and inflexible. Indicative of this is the stand of the main opposition leader, Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu (head of the CHP) who seldom loses an opportunity to oppose the governing party on almost every issue, when it comes to the Armenian question is in lockstep solidarity with Erdoğan.


I see no way out of this debilitating impasse without finding a way to change the discourse. It serves neither the Armenians nor the Turks to continue this public encounter on its present path. The Turkish proposal for a historical joint commission is a bridge to nowhere as either it would reinforce the existing consensus and be unacceptable or the gridlock and be unacceptable. What might be more promising would be a council of ‘wise persons’ drawn from both ethno/religious backgrounds, and perhaps including some third parties as well, that would meet privately in search of shared understanding and common ground. A Turkish columnist, writing in this same spirit, proposes renewing the Erdoğan approach of 2014 by moving beyond sharing the pain to making an apology, coupled with offers of Turkish citizenship to the descendants of Armenians who were killed or diplaced in 1915.[See Verda Özer, “Beyond the Genocide Debate,” Hürriet Daily News, April 17, 2015] One possible formula that might have some traction is to agree that if what was done in 1915 were to occur now it would clearly qualify as ‘genocide,’ and that was done one hundred years ago was clearly genocidal in scale and intent. Perhaps, with good will and a realization that both sides would gain in self-esteem by a win/win outcome, progress could be made. At least it seems worth trying to use the resources of the moral imagination to work through with all possible good will a tangle of issues that has so long seemed intractable.

31 Responses to “Armenians 1915: The Genocide Controversy”

  1. Noushin Framke (Lazarian) April 19, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    Thanks for this nuanced reflection and approach. As the granddaughter of survivor, I like your suggestion of the compromise of calling it genocide if it were to happen today, and calling the crimes as genocidal in scale and intent. Intent being the operative word. However, if such a compromise were to be reached, I would still always refer to it as “The Armenian Genocide.” Thanks for shining a light.

  2. Nick April 19, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    I had understood that the Young Turks, Kemal Pasha & Co, were responsible, and not the Ottoman government. While the Young Turks may have operated withing the framework of the Ottoman regime, they seem to be to have been a functionally separate shadow government, one intent on establishing a new regime to replace the Ottoman regime. While the Ottomans, of course, engaged in numerous massacres and pogroms of Armenians long before the genocide, it was the Young Turks who embarked on the extermination program. I thus would draw a line between the Ottoman and Young Turk governments.

  3. Kata Fisher April 19, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    This is what I understand:

    Pointing out generational sins of a repentant region / nation would be ignorance without full explanation why such things (as genocide) are taking place in other regions / nation. Today, a thing such as genocide is better understood.

    Pope should have praised Turkey for their generational progress, and then also talk about heavy consequences upon those who have not repented in their way in relationship to genocide. Not in reference to the “first genocide” of the last century, as well as an ongoing genocidal process that are going on right now. Pope did not get to the heart of the matter, and he, as a global religious leader, either was ignorant or was forbidden to be clear on Church stand. So, we would not know what Pope is talking about, and do not know what the babblers of Rome are talking about, and more accurately I should ask this: “are they hypocrites?”

    Turkey has apologized, and they have responsibility to manifest that in a valid works that will back that apology. Armenians should have accepted what was said back in 2014 – and hold the region / nation accountable for their words, timidity: why they cannot stand on solid ground and deliberately acknowledge the sin of past generations. Is there some fear? They should have gotten together 2014 and talked trough their pain and suffering – as people / minority / religious community. What holds them back? Perhaps this:”I do not know who we are and where we come from, all together?” Humans have to have some sense of identity that is both spiritual and natural.

    I have intended this in a good will – and no criticism to all. However, when I reread what I wrote – my intentions became not relevant and it is what it is.

  4. Jerry "Peacemaker" April 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    If there is some controversy as to whether genocide of Armenians occurred in 1915, then, simply because what happened during that time is perceived by some as possibly genocide, call it genocide. The best option is recording and acknowleging the true situation and causes of the extreme violence back then so young people and future generations can learn from the dark lessons of history.

    • Richard Falk April 20, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

      I agree, yet where conflicting narratives recall different histories, is not so easy to
      follow your guideline in practice.

  5. Kata Fisher April 19, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

    I have a reflection:

    It seems that things we wear are accursed even to this day. Would not be a genocidal process, as well that what is going on in India’s with cotton farmers?

    The condition of Cotton Farmers in India is unbearable, and farmers have to be reimbursed for they have been defrauded and cheated by the global market and its demands.

    What else can farmers grow on their land?

  6. Gene Schulman April 20, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    “It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today, too, there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few, and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by.”

    POPE FRANCIS, describing the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks as the first genocide of the 20th century.

    One of the disagreements I have with this post is the contention that Pope Francis’ is a valid moral voice to give lessons to the rest of us. After all, he was a member of the clergy that stood by as the military junta perpetuated its ‘genocide’ against the opposition in Argentina. His nice words above will not change the past nor affect the future.

    Regarding the argument over whether or not the slaughter of Armenians during the 1st WW was genocide, Richard Falk’s description of the facts makes sense. However, I still don’t understand why Turkey should continue to deny it. After all, modern day Turkey is not the Ottoman empire, and had nothing to do with such a genocide, if that’s what it was. Even the Nazi Holocaust is not considered officially a genocide, even though its successors were obliged to pay reparations. (I’m not sure why those reparations were paid to Israel which didn’t exist at the time, and never distributed them to the those survivors who suffered. But that’s another issue.)

    Nor do I understand just why the Armenians insist on having their misfortune being called a genocide. What’s in a name? This all seems a storm in a teacup; ….sound and fury, signifying nothing!

    I believe we could more profitably argue whether genocide is being committed today by the US and Israel against the peoples of the West Asia, and seeking ways to prevent it. One of my hopes is to live for the day when the American/Israeli empire collapses and the perpetrators of this contemporary genocide are brought to justice!

  7. rehmat1 April 20, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Some ‘food for thought’ on this subject.

    1. Why Abraham Foxman (ADL) pressured lawmakers to vote against recognition of Armenian “genocide”, while insisting Nazi crimes against European Jews – not “genocide” but holocaust?

    2. Why in 2006, ADL awarded its highest award to Turkish prime minister Erdogan for his recognition of Jewish holocaust, and Armenian genocide?

    3. Why since the creation of the Zionist entity in 1948, every Zionist regime refused to recognize the Armenian holocaust. The issue was never allowed to be debated even in Israeli Knesset for the last 67 years.

    Robert Kazandjian, a London-based freelance journalist and researcher, in an article, entitled Inconvenient victims: Tracing the roots of anti-Armenianism in Israel, published by UK’s CeaseFire magazine on December 19, 2014.

    A great majority of Turks believe that Armenian genocide of 1.5 million was carried out by Young Turk militia led by Donmeh (Crypto-Jews).

    • Gene Schulman April 20, 2015 at 11:15 am #

      That’s too easy. The Zionists believe there has been only one genocide in history, and the name belongs to them. Only Jews are the perennial victims.

      • David A. Baker May 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

        not true. ‘Holocaust’? maybe. ‘Shoah’ ? Absolutely. But Zionists do not believe the word “genocide” is unique to them. That is totally absurd.

    • Kata Fisher April 20, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

      A note:

      I am not sure why he (Abraham Foxman) would do that; maybe he is just reflecting that into a misinterpreted detail that is Scriptural in preception?

      Holocaust may and may not be applied to Jews alone, in a way.

      Scripturally, we learn by the Old Testament that Israeli exiles (contemporary Jews and non-Jews) are ‘sifted’ among the nations, and the sinners are cut off by the sword (See Amos 9).

      That part of the Old Testament Scripture can be a difficult one.
      I could not get into details on this apart from the New Testament.

      One can approximately note that the house of Israel is cut off while the fallen tent / tabernacle / of David’s House (natural descendants of King David) are established in the earth. Restoration of Israel is also to be determined by to the restoration of the dwelling – all applicable to Davidic covenant, to establishment of Davidic Promise. Moreover, that which was fallen (in a way) will be overcoming other nations that are loose.

      There are some wild tribes on loose, and world-wide community is on hell-fire, killing each other. It is the interesting point in time.

      It is important to note that we do not always know what “sword” in exact meaning would be. In the context, the word can not be misplaced, because it can and also can not be either natural (as agent), and also supernatural (spiritual agent) or both.

      Now, in fact, One can study this by New Testament Order – but this would be irrelevant for this setting on that subject.

      Prophesy in the Scripture, however, is not interpreted apart from the fulfillment of that what was written, itself. People who try to interpret any prophesy apart from the fulfillment of it, in fact, acts as a heretic/s.

      About Coptic Judaism:

      The region of Turkey is the home of the ancient city (Smyrna) Church of Smyrna during the time of Roman Empire. At that time, some interesting tribes were there. What does this thing mean than in the relation to the Armenian holocaust – if now relevant at all?

      What is written down in that letter of Revelation is very interesting? I also find it more interesting when it is read from the original language, and also from the perspectives of different languages / interpretation of the Scripture in other languages.

      Why would Jews (by free will) secretly adhere to Judaism while being another religion / faith tribe? – That is impossible to understand. Perhaps, it could have been the generational tradition that was passed down.

      Were there some Jews that were excommunicated from Jewish communities because of that – or similar behavior? – Contemporary Zionist, for example? Did Zionist have their roots from excommunication by Jews and / or some simular relationship with Church Knights – it seems they have similar to Knights (ancient) / traditional bizarre behaviors?

      What does this thing mean than in the relation between the Armenian holocaust and Coptic Jews? Why would Coptic Jews cause Armenian holocaust? They would have to have some false beliefs that were extraordinary in order to do such thing.

      Can one apply now that what is written in Revelation about the region of present Izmir / ancient Smyrna? Did it come to pass – or not just yet?

      • Gene Schulman April 22, 2015 at 9:41 am #

        You’re really helpful rehmat1, spreading this nonsense (s&%çt) around. Now I don’t know who is nuttier, you or Kata. If I were the owner of this blog, you’d be deleted and banned forthwith!

      • Richard Falk April 22, 2015 at 9:56 am #

        You have a point..or maybe two!!

      • rehmat1 April 23, 2015 at 6:35 am #

        Than you Gene Schulman for living in your ‘self-denial’. I bet Dr. Cornel West would agree with me.

      • Gene Schulman April 24, 2015 at 1:43 am #

        I am well enough acquainted with Brother West to know that you are probably the last person he would agree with. He is radical, but not meshugge!

      • rehmat1 April 24, 2015 at 7:24 am #

        I never met a “meshugge” who’s not a self-denial. For example, Israel’s three-time defense minister Moshe Arens, who wrote in Ha’aretz on April 20, 2015 that Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah is more “existential threat” to the Zionist entity than a future nuclear Iran.

      • Gene Schulman April 25, 2015 at 8:52 am #

        What does self-denial mean?

  8. Kata Fisher April 20, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

    Important word-note on the prior post that is loosed somewhere:

  9. Laurie Knightly April 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    William Schabas has a video – A Legal Distinction between Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity. Might be more useful than the Book of Revelations designed for the total destruction of humanity.

    • Gene Schulman April 22, 2015 at 5:09 am #


  10. Laurie Knightly April 24, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    On trying to research the time period involved during which the Armenians claims are being considered, I do not see how, or to what purpose, ‘legal’ categorization that was non existent at that time is now being presented in moral outrage. It does appear, for instance, that collusion occurred between the Armenians and the Russian enemy of the Ottomans. The Russians were fellow Christians of the Armenians and the Turks are Muslim. Has that rancor changed among groups? Also, after the Ottoman surrender, in Operation Nemesis, a group of Armenian nationalists were able to track down and assassinate the Young Turk leaders who organized their expulsion/massacre. Some justice did occur and with concurrence of Ataturk when he assumed power. The religious, ethnic, nationalist, tribal etc connections and loyalties – plus constant coups question the use of the word ‘government’ when assigning blame to those people at that time.

    As Armenia is about 95% Apostolic Christian, it seems appropriate that the pope would show allegiance, feigned or otherwise, to their cause. Also what I read was that the ADL made a ‘statement’ on the matter in 2007 after avoiding the issue. Foxman states here that if the word genocide existed then, they would have called it genocide. Maybe, maybe not. Israel has a strong commercial/political relationship with Muslim Azerbaijan and the Azeris have ties to Muslim Turkey. Israel is currently in bitter disagreement with Turkey There’s too many threads to reduce the issue to good/evil and the present motive is connected to possible Armenian reparations to which the specific labeling factors significantly. Another suggestion is to review the foreign/domestic actions of UK, France, US, et al during this same time period before getting morally indignant. After Nuremberg, the allies exempted nations from war crimes that existed before 1939 and probably for self serving reasons.

    I rest my case – but would get no rest for many months if seeking resolution on the matter of Armenia in 1915. It seems more appropriate that I try, however futile, to sort out contemporary global killing albeit somewhat futile/enigmatic even while I’m living it. I’m interested in the Next System Project and hope the leaders of this new movement might inspire a moral framework that would engage enough people to make needed changes.

    • Richard Falk April 26, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      I share your surrender to the complexities of the Present System and the belief that only a New and Different
      System could harness the more destructive tendencies of the human species..Also, agreed that the Armenian issue
      cannot be usefully reduced, as in most discourse, to a pro or con attitude toward the applicability of the word

  11. Gene Schulman April 25, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    What happened to Laurie Knightly’s comment?

    • Laurie Knightly April 25, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

      My 3 comments are included.

  12. Laurie Knightly April 25, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    From a textbook of International Law published in 1965:

    Early in 1920, the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers agreed to recognize the de facto government of Armenia, and a mandate fro the country was offered to the United States.
    This being declined, Armenia was annexed to the Soviet Union and became later a component part of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, itself a part of the U.S.S. R.


    On May 24, 1920, President Wilson formally requested the advice and consent of Congress to the acceptance of the proposed mandate. The Congress, however, respectfully declined to grant to the executive the power to grant it.

    • Laurie Knightly April 25, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      Small error: The last sentence should read ‘ ……..the power to accept it.’

  13. Gene Schulman April 26, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    Here’s a bit of interesting color on the genocide question from the NYRB.

  14. Sonya Varriale March 19, 2021 at 10:24 am #

    In your time spent in Turkey, how much did they pay you to actually even consider that there might be a different narrative other than genocide? You should be ashamed of yourself. There is countless evidence in global historical archives, eyewitness accounts from foreign missionaries, signed documents from the Turkish authorities giving the order to annihilate the Armenians. How DARE you even suggest such a thing? Shame on you and all others who try and muddy the waters. You should really be ashamed of yourself. I did my Masters Degree on why the Turks refuse to accept the genocide and the reasons are vast (and very sad though effective for their current holier than thou image they are trying to sell the world). Just remember – a crime which goes unpunished is likely to be committed again – and you Mr Falk, are indirectly encouraging just that.

    • Richard Falk March 19, 2021 at 10:54 am #

      I made a simple point: in 1915 the word ‘gemocide’ did not exist, and was avoided
      in relation to the Holocaust at the Nuremberg trials after World War !!. This is not
      meant to deny that it the crime had existed at that time, what the Armenian people experienced
      could be considered genocide. There are differences between the legal, moral, and political
      use of the word. It is such a serious allegation that the ICJ set a very high bar with respect
      to evidence and establishing the intentionality of the perpetrators.


  1. TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » Armenians 1915: The Genocide Controversy - April 20, 2015

    […] Go to Original – […]

  2. Richard Falk: Armenia’s Genocide - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics - April 20, 2015

    […] By Richard Falk By arrangement with Richard Falk […]

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