Military Historian Explains ‘1915 Events’ at Turkish Embassy
WASHINGTON, DC – Turkey’s vericide campaign has received an interesting boost if one is to believe the analysis of the “events of 1915” as presented by Dr. Edward Erickson, who discussed his book on this topic at the Turkish Embassy, on October 9.
Sponsored by the American Friends of Turkey, Dr. Erickson, a military historian, presented his book, “Ottomans and Armenians, A Study in Counterinsurgency.”
Dr. Erickson began by challenging and denying the importance of “history,” about which he has no respect since
“history can say what you want it to say” and “history changes over time.”
Then, having destroyed the listener’s acceptance of history, Dr. Erickson discussed the atmosphere of the period in which, not surprisingly, Armenians were the real cause of their fate, because there was a “rebellion by the Armenians.” Contradicting himself often that the vast majority of Armenians were loyal, Dr. Ericsson nonetheless kept emphasizing the “rebellious” cells that existed, which the Ottomans felt was a threat.
Having established the two denials of history–that it can’t be trusted and that Armenians “were in rebellion”— Dr. Erickson then sets the war scene and why the Ottomans thought it necessary to clear the area of Armenians. The Ottoman Army was fighting in the Northwest (in the Caucasus) and in the South (in Palestine) and their supply routes were through the very areas where Armenians lived and, thus, it was necessary for the Ottomans to clear the areas so as to have an uninterrupted supply routes for their troops.
> What he ignores is that no contemporaneous report of the events ever reported any Armenian rebellion or any Armenian threat to the supply routes to the two fighting zones.
But, more importantly, Dr. Erickson would have his listeners believe that it wasn’t after the start of the fighting in the Caucasus and Palestine did the Ottoman Government get around to “relocating” the possibly troublesome Armenians. At this point, Dr. Erickson related how throughout history nations have always relocated people they “perceived” to be a threat — beginning with the British relocating the Acadians in Nova Scotia and Americans relocating the West Coast Japanese during World War Two.
Refusing neither to admit nor to deny the Armenian Genocide, Dr. Ericskon emphasized the word “perception” as if to say that wrong results can happen but by then it is too late.
By conveniently basing his book on explaining the Ottoman reaction to the events “of the late Spring of 1915,” Dr. Erickson ignores all the actions taken by the Ottomans before the “late Spring of 1915.” These include, but are not limited to:
- The November 14, 1914, declaration of “Holy War” against the infidels by Dr. Mehmed Nazim, one of the “intellectuals” of the Young Turks — “except against Germany and Austria” (Turkey’s partners).
- The December 3, 1914, cancellation of the February 1914 Agreement that gave Armenians certain rights, following the Balkan Wars.
- The December 3, 1914, disarming of Armenians, including those in the Turkish Army who were removed to “labor battalion’s” and subsequently killed.
- The January 1915 secret meeting in Smyrna during which the names of those to be rounded-up were finally agreed, and during which the plans for the relocation of Armenians and confiscation of their properties were detailed.
- The March 1, 1915, suspension of the Ottoman Parliament because there were voices against what was being planned.
- The April 15, 1915, instructions from the German Ambassador (von Wangenheim) to all Germans with the Turkish Army not to interfere with the killing “so as not to jeopardize more important issues.”
Conceding that the “revolutionary cells” were small and sparse, Dr. Erickson nonetheless kept using the word “perception” to justify the Ottoman “counterinsurgency” because it was not possible to tell who was loyal and who was not — thus contradicting himself when he repeated that the vast number of Armenians were loyal. And, based on the map he showed, those necessary Ottoman supply and communication lines took some rather strange routes, if the sole purpose was to prevent their interruption. For instance, it is hard for me to imagine any supply route or communication line going through my father’s village, whose entire Armenian population was killed.
The plain and simple rebuttal to Dr. Erickson’s thesis is that no contemporaneous report of the fighting in Ottoman Turkey during World War One ever reported rebellion by Armenians.
By using “rebellion” and “perception” constantly, Dr. Erickson, thus avoids getting involved with numbers — how many were killed and by whose count, etc., but he didn’t help his seeming “innocence” (or should it be said “pretended ignorance”?) of the subject when he cited the work of one of Turkey’s major apologists.
When a questioner asked that assuming Armenians were in rebellion, why were the Assyrians and the Pontus Greeks killed, he replied, curtly, that “they, too, were in rebellion.” Again, that has never been reported elsewhere.
By Dr. Erickson’s thesis, because the Jews in Warsaw rebelled in August 1944, it was necessary for the Nazis to start killing them in 1939.
While Armenians continue to contemplate their navels and take their time deciding what will take place during the Centenary of the Genocide, we can be sure that this book will be cited by Turkey’s apologists.