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Most Comprehensive Account Yet of Genocide of 2.5 mil Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians by Turks - New Book

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


The author is the longest serving foreign correspondent covering Russia. He published his fascinating memoirs in December of 2018. They are full of insights into what has really been going on in Moscow over the past 30 years. RI wrote about it here. He is the author of 12 books, 3 of them about Russia.


This is an excerpt from an article on Russian-Turkish relations by the same author which we published two weeks ago:

History is repeating itself. A newly published book, The Thirty-Year Genocide, Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924, is the most detailed record to date of the policies of the Ottoman sultanate and its successor, the nationalist government led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to destroy the entire populations living on Turkish territory of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. The 650-page work explains region by region, year by year, what the Turkish methods of ethnic cleansing were, and why. “The Armenians were the main victims of Turkish atrocity,” the authors, Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi, write, “in terms of the numbers slaughtered in 1894-96 and 1915-1916. Certainly, the Turks appear to have hated them the most.”

The book also documents the continuous efforts of successive Turkish regimes to erase all trace of their genocidal policy. The military archives remain closed; the non-military state documents have been edited so that they “contain almost no direct evidence of Turkish culpability… Knowing that they were ordering or engaged in criminal activity, the political leaders in Constantinople and in the provinces, often in real time, ordered all copies of telegrams destroyed after reading. Sometimes they transmitted instructions orally, to avoid leaving paper trails, or used euphemisms to camouflage their intentions and deeds.”

The evidence on which this history is based has been compiled by cross-checking Turkish records against German, Austrian, American, British, French and other foreign sources. “We realize that a great deal is missing. This was, after all, the intention of those covering their tracks.”

Why read this history in Moscow today? One reason is that the intention of Turkish state policy to destroy Christian populations and to expand Turkish state power into the territories cleansed thereby is an ongoing one, just as it remains Turkish state policy to dissemble and deceive outsiders that this is so. Syria, Cyprus, Iraq, Kosovo and Albania are contemporary cases in point.

A 1920 cartoon, when Lenin’s policy was to covertly arm the Ataturk-led nationalists against the Sultan’. The caption reflects the Russian policy and traditional Russian public opinion.: “Behold  the cowardice of the Turk, and the prowess of our lad.”

Another reason is that over the 30-year genocide period documented, both Tsarist Russia and Communist Russia were the strongest defenders of the region’s Christians, and the most steadfast enemies of the Turkish state. Only very briefly, in 1920-21, did the Kremlin support Kemal’s (Ataturk) Turkish nationalist movement when, for strategic reasons, he was judged capable of obstructing the British and French attempts to attack southern Russia.

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