No Armenian ‘genocide’ in 1915 Commentary
No Armenian ‘genocide’ in 1915
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His Excellency Nabi Sensoy, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey [Turkish Embassy, Washington DC]: "During the First World War the Ottoman government was fighting for survival against the Entente powers. A situation of extreme danger existed as a result of serious military setbacks. Many Armenians sided with the enemy and for the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. They were actively engaged in subversive activities and in armed fight against the Ottoman army. Thus the Armenian people had thrown in their lot with the Entente cause and were arrayed against the Ottoman forces in a fateful struggle. Used by Russians in their armed hostilities with the Ottoman Empire in eastern Anatolia and by the British and the French in Cilicia, the Armenians were without doubt a threat to security. The Ottoman government had to secure its position by removing the Armenians from strategic points where they were assisting the enemy and were attacking the civilian population. The Sublime Porte did not instruct or plan the annihilation of the Armenian population in 1915, as some argue. What it did was to order the relocation of the Armenians from areas made sensitive by the progress of war.

Since genocide is now a technical term in international law, the definition established by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 has assumed prima-facie authority, and it is with this definition that one should assess the applicability of the concept of genocide to the Armenian events of 1915. The initial phrase of Article 2 of the convention addresses the fundamental element of the crime of genocide, that is, the 'intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.' Practically all legal scholars accept the centrality of this clause. Genocide thus covers a precisely-defined range of prohibited conduct only when that conduct is intentionally undertaken. Up to now no direct and objective evidence of malicious intention in the Armenian case is manifest. Ottoman archives in Istanbul are replete with government decrees and regulations proving the contrary. As the classification process is completed, more documents are becoming available to researchers. Access to the Ottoman archives through the Internet is possible. On 10 April 2005 Turkey extended an invitation to Armenia to establish a joint commission consisting of historians and other experts from the two countries to study the events of 1915 not only in the archives of Turkey and Armenia but also in the archives of all relevant the third countries and to share their findings with the international public. The Armenian government has so far failed to accept the call."

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