I must say I was not surprised when I read Charles Tannock's article ("Turkey, Armenia and the heavy burden of memories," April 23, page 9), since it contained the usual one-sided and unfounded allegations by the Armenians.
After reading the article I felt that the readers of the Taipei Times had to learn the truth about these allegations.
Armenians were a favored minority in the Ottoman Empire and occupied the commanding heights of the civil service and the economy.
With the guidance and encouragement from the enemies of the Ottoman Empire, Armenian extremists hoping to gain independence began a series of terrorist attacks against Ottoman Muslims in the late 1800s. The terrorism was intended to provoke an over-reaction by the Ottoman rulers and the intervention of European powers.
So even before World War I commenced, the Armenians declared war against the empire -- a classic case of treason.When the war broke out and the men were in the battlefield fighting against the invading countries, Armenians who sided with the enemy attacked the cities and villages, killing innocent women and children left behind. These uprisings took place in the eastern region of the country which consequently facilitated the enemy's job.
This led the Ottoman authorities to warn the Armenian leaders that they would be forced to take drastic measures if the situation continued. Unfortunately these warnings had no effect on the Armenians, forcing the Turkish authorities in 1915 to call for the relocation of Armenians living in the war zones away from the front lines and into other parts of Ottoman territory, certainly not with the intent to annihilate the Armenians, but because the government had no other possible choice, since it was engaged in a life-and-death situation.
Today the Turkish government accepts the fact that many Armenians, Turks and other civilians died during this time of relocation due to harsh weather and wartime conditions, as well as diseases. However, this is by no means an act of genocide. If any genocide was committed it was by the Armenians themselves, who slaughtered over 500,000 innocent, defenseless women, children and elderly. Today more than 200 mass graves of Turkish civilians killed by the Armenians in the areas where the uprisings took place have been uncovered and many more mass graves are waiting to be discovered, proving to the world the inhumane acts committed by the Armenians.
Today, because the Armenian allegations lack the support of academic research, the Armenians attempt to legislate their version of history by lobbying parliaments -- where they have influence over the local politicians -- to pass resolutions recognizing their allegations. The European Parliament is a case in point. Instead of backing their allegations with credible documents, they choose to harass, threaten and commit outright attacks against prominent scholars such as Bernard Lewis and Stanford Shaw of UCLA, who independently and objectively research these Armenian claims.
Recently, in order to bring an end to these allegations, the Turkish government once again invited the Armenian authorities to open their archives, like it has done, and allow historians both from the Armenian side and the Turkish side to carry out research on these archives. Historians of both sides coming together to view these documents and debate the issue would be the best way to solve this problem. Since history should be left to historians.
Unfortunately, the Armenian authorities have rejected the offer Turkey has made, an offer which gives them a great chance to prove such allegations. The Armenian authorities' refusal to open their archives and defend their allegations shows that they have no clear evidence that an act of genocide took place against them.
Representative of the Turkish Trade Office in Taipei
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