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The Profile of the Armenian Diaspora in Germany

Aydan İYİGÜNGÖR*
Armenian Studies, Issue 3, September-October-November 2001

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When did the Germans first come in touch with Armenians and how did this relationship develop up to present? Only by taking a close look on the historical development of this relation we can see that there is a change of character of this relation.

It seems that the first contacts of these two nations took place in 300 A.C. In this period, for the first time Armenian missionaries came to Germany. Later the Armenians gave support to the German crusaders, which continued in the 17th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries Armenian merchants and students came to Germany. Still the connecting component constitutes religion: theology students translate religious texts from one language to the other. This situation leads to a broad exchange in the field of religion. Societies and associations founded until that date are completely of a religious nature. Only after 1914 other components were added to the German - Armenian relationship. An interest in Armenian language, Armenian history and culture started, which lead finally to the fact that at several universities in Germany chairs, besides research institutes and societies in these field have been founded. The cornerstone of these developments is the common religion – one should never forget this while evaluating this topic. The ‘German Armenian Society’ which has been founded in 1914, which is still one of the most significant associations in Germany, was founded by Johannes Lepsius, a famous priest. In the 19th century, the Protestant – Armenian friendship has been consolidated and later underlined with the foundation of the ‘German Orient Mission’, which started its missionary and aid activities in the Ottoman Empire. This aid was focused on Christian minorities, especially on the Armenians.

In this period the developments and activities were quite in the background because they were very little. Another fact for staying in the background was the German government’s official policy, which was supporting the Ottoman Empire. Bilateral agreements on military cooperation etc., kept the two states close together. This was the most important reason that hindered the Armenians, from immigrating to Germany.

It can be pointed out clearly that the fundamental of the German Armenian relations constitutes the common religion. Today still, conferences and other events in Germany concerning genocide claim recognition are held in Protestant Churches’ locations.

The Profile of the Armenian Diaspora

In terms of number, the Armenian community in Germany cannot be compared to the great and effective Armenian community and the Armenian lobby in the USA or France. In theses countries the Armenian Lobby has a certain political weight, especially in the American Congress and in the French municipalities. The total amount of the Armenian diaspora is 3.5 million all around the world. Of this, about 25.000 Armenians live in Germany. Additionally about 15.000 Armenians are expecting refugee status in this country.[1] Armenians in Germany can be divided into three different groups:

- German citizens of Armenian origin

- Armenian citizens

- Turkish citizens of Armenian origin

Whereas the last group is represented in the first figure of 25.000 Armenians. Still, it is difficult to estimate the real figures about the Armenian population in Germany. On the one hand the figures given by the Armenians are relatively high, whereas the Armenians among Turkish citizens cannot be counted easily because there is no special statistics for the Turkish citizens of different origins (Greeks, Armenians etc.). It is obvious that among the 15.000 Armenians, who are expecting refugee status in Germany, there are almost no Armenians from Turkey but from Armenia, Iran, and Lebanon.

As it is mentioned above, in the formation of the number of 25.000 Armenians, there was almost no influence of the Armenians who emigrated from the Ottoman Empire after the relocation in 1915. The biggest immigration wave of Armenians came to Germany in the 1960’s: the years in which Germany invited guest workers from several countries. Regionally Armenians are represented in all major cities of Germany, namely Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt. The biggest Armenian population is located in Cologne, where the concentration of Turks is also high.

In the past, Armenian associations were mainly limited on religion and on cultural exchange. This tendency, the profile and aim of the associations have changed in the last ten – fifteen years, which can easily be seen in the presentation of some institutes and associations below. Today the most significant and effective two associations in Germany are:

1. Central Council of Armenians in Germany - Zentralrat der Armenier in Deutschland

The Central Council of Armenians in Germany is an ‘umbrella organization’ to which all Armenian associations, societies etc. are connected to. All activities in Germany are coordinated by this ‘umbrella organization’. In 1998, the Central Council of Armenians in Germany founded a ‘Recognition Working Group’ (Arbeitgruppe Anerkennung). The activities of this group are completely focused on the recognition by the German parliament, of the so - called Armenian genocide.

2. German Armenian Society - Deutsch Armenische Gesellschaft

The German Armenian Society was founded by the famous priest Johannes Lepsius. The German Armenian Society is together with the Central Council of Armenians in Germany the most active organization. These two groups lead the activities in Germany concerning the recognition of the Armenian “genocide” claim. In May of 2001 the German Armenian Society organized a conference in Mülheim, at the Protestant Churchs’ location, under the title ‘The Heavy Weight of History – an Armenian Turkish Dialogue Attempt’. The most significant characteristic of this conference was that the content was far away from a dialogue, despite its title. It can be argued that it was a one sided activity, where no space was left for a dialogue although the title of the conference promises a dialogue between the Armenian and the Turkish side. Those who were presented as the defenders of the Turkish side were actually of Turkish origin, yet the majority supported Armenian cause. So it can be said that there were no two opposing sides but only one side consisting of Armenian, Turkish and German participants. It was understood that this partial position was intended form the beginning onwards and the speakers could not develop a dialogue forum during the conference. It was also interesting to see that, it was a formidable job to enter the conference by any Turk, even as a listener. The participation procedure was “exaggerated”; sending the photocopy of ID or passport was made compulsory for possible participants, which obviously was applied in order to select convenient Turkish people. The Armenian side was reduced to a pro - genocide recognition campaign and the Turkish side was formed by a few, who were close to the Armenian thesis.   

As a result it is obvious that from the beginning on it was not intended to create a democratic platform of different opinions but to present one view only. The Turkish participants were mainly from Germany with a few exceptions. Whereas the ones who were not from Turkey used the term “genocide”, the ones who live in Turkey did not use the term but meant it by using other terminology.

Actually it was clear that the aim of this very peaceful looking organization was to make the Armenian claim popular and finally help it being recognized by the German parliament in a similar way as it happened in France at the end of the year 2000. There have been great efforts to convince the German public opinion to recognize the Armenian cause for several years, but it can be clearly pointed out that this campaign strengthened in the recent years. In the 80’s special research institutes and other organizations were founded, which only focused on the ‘Armenian genocide’ claims in order to present the German population, the existence of an ‘Armenian genocide’. These research institutes are:

1. Center for Armenian Information and Documentation – Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum Armenien (1985)

This center has been founded in 1985 by Tessa Hofmann and Dr. Gerayer Koutcharyan (Tessa Hofmann will be dealt with in this article in many other connections, for she is leading the ‘recognition of the Armenian genocide” campaign in Germany). The exclusive function of the center is to ‘document’ the ‘Armenian genocide’ and make it popular in Germany. 

2. Institute for Genocide and Diaspora Research – Institut für Genozid-und Diasporaforschung (1989)

This institute, which is connected to the University of Bochum was founded in 1989 and is headed by Mihran Dabag, an Armenian. The focus of this institute is directed on the research of genocide and diaspora psychology. Mihran Dabag has shown up in the recent months at several conferences concerning the recognition of the Armenian genocide claim. The institute’s support to the recognition of the Armenian cause, is obvious.    

Holocaust and the Armenian “Genocide” Claim

At present Germany does not recognize the Armenian “genocide” claim. Most probably Germany won’t recognize it in the near future. Still Germany’s attitude towards the debate on the Armenian question is of a great importance for Turkey. There are two valid reasons for this. Firstly nearly three million Turks live in Germany. The Turkish community would be directly affected and disturbed in case of a recognition by the German parliament. Secondly Germany is the heir to holocaust, Germany’s most intensive historical trauma is the holocaust.

According to a belief, rooted in Christianity, if a murder is committed, the seven generations after the murderer are sinful and responsible for this act of crime. This component is quite significant in the holocaust context. Although Germany officially takes responsibility of the holocaust, Germans feel themselves not only responsible but also guilty for their history. They think that the following generations should also do so. today Now still several new books are published on Holocaust and guiltiness psychology. Accordingly to this approach, there is a historical crime and it has to be paid for it. This psychology leads to the fact that Germans and Germany would like to share this heavy burden! This precondition makes Germany’s opinion even more important for Turkey than that of some other countries’. It is a new development that this issue is being made popular in Germany. Only two years before, this ‘genocide recognition campaign’ was started on such a broad level. Nowadays the so - called Armenian genocide issue is being debated on diverse platforms. The common message is the myth of ‘the first genocide of the century’. What does this ‘first genocide of the century’ imply? It implies that the Germans did not invent the genocide but that it already existed and was practiced by the ‘barbarian’ Turks. It further implies that the Germans ‘only’ copied something very bad, being committed by another nation. One of the first things frequently mentioned when there is a debate on the so - called Armenian genocide is Hitler’s supposedly expressed ideas: “Who after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”. This claim has been suggested many times, but there is no such a document that proves the claimed speech.[2] In the Nurenberg trial this supposedly document hasn’t been considered as an official document.[3]

This policy is based on sharing the heavy burden of history, trying to find a scapegoat, namely the Turks. Despite its economic strength and its internationally strong political position, Germany’s most sensitive point is the holocaust. Holocaust is a subject each German citizen is being confronted, especially outside of Germany. If a population psychology is made up of the above described elements, it is quite natural that this population wishes to share the heavy burden of history with some other people. 

One should never forget that people do not necessarily need scientific material to make up their mind on a certain issue. If it is asked hundred Germans ‘whether the Turks committed genocide towards the Armenians’, supposingly eighty five per cent of them would reply ‘yes’ without any hesitation. This very clear attitude is made up by two main factors. The first one is the general negative image of the Turks in Germany. It is a fact that Germans believe that the Turks do bad things in general rather than that they believe that something unjust happened to the Armenians. Secondly the media in Germany dealt in a very partial way with this issue in the near past. On the TV and in the newspapers, almost without exception ‘the first genocide of the history’ or ‘Armenian genocide’ are used as titles regarding the Armenian question. It comes to ones mind that this might be a version of Finkelstein’s ‘Holocaust Industry’[4]

The head of the Jewish Community in Turkey clearly points out in his statement that the organized killing of 6 million Jews cannot be compared to the events in 1915.[5] The attitude of the Jewish Community in the USA is contradictory. Whereas the rightist Jewish organizations support the idea of an Armenian genocide to be happened, the leftist Jews criticize this desire of similarity.

Leading Actors of the “Genocide” Recognition Campaign

Two profiles of actors in Germany, leading the ‘genocide recognition campaign’ should be focused on: Tessa Hofman and Taner Akçam.

Dr. Taner Akçam, a sociologist is of Turkish origin. He is grown up in Turkey and went to Germany, where he still lives. Akçam not only claims that a genocide towards Armenians has taken place in an organized and brutal way[6], he further claims that the Turkish National Identity is build up on myths, of which one is the Armenian issue. He points out that his criticism is focused on Turkish National Identity.[7] In this respect his defending of the Armenian “genocide” claim is only one of a number of ways to criticize and to weaken the Turkish National Identity and the Turkish Republic. In evaluating his articles and books on the Armenian issue his starting point or his basic criticism should never be left aside. Taner Akçam became very popular with his point of view. Not only in Germany but also in Turkey his books are widespread and he is present in the media. This is an obvious proof for the reality that different opinions can be discussed openly in Turkey. Still, whether negative or positive, he is reduced to ‘the Turk, who defends the Armenian position’. With this position he works actively in Germany for the recognition of the Armenian “genocide” claim. The petition presented to the German Parliament concerning a recognition, has been underlined with Taner Akçam’s report on the issue. Unfortunately Akçam on discussion platforms is presented as the ‘Turkish side’, which is not true, because he does not represent the view of the Turkish majority. He himself stresses that he wants to be considered as an individual, presenting this opinion.[8] Still his thesis touches every Turk because he talks of a collective crime. Akçam’s opinion should be viewed in the light of his main target, which is, as above mentioned, to criticize the Turkish national identity. Beneficial and constructive criticism towards Turkey cannot be expected from somebody who has been imprisoned in Turkey and fled from jail[9], so his extreme view is a result of an extreme anti-Turkey psychology in general.

Dr. Tessa Hofmann is the head of the Recognition Working Group, which belongs to the Central Council of Armenians in Germany. She is the spokesperson of the Armenian Community in Germany concerning the recognition of the Armenian Genocide claim. She is member of the PDS party, which is the former governing party of the German Democratic Republic, a leftist party. Dr. Tessa Hofman works at the East Europe Institute at the Free University of Berlin and is considered as an Armenia expert. Besides Taner Akçam she is the most active person in Germany, who supports the recognition by the German parliament of the Armenian genocide claim. Her basic thesis is that Germany’s position in this issue is much more important than that of any other state because she is supporting the thesis of ‘common responsibility’.[10] In April 2000 a petition has been presented to the German parliament by the Recognition Working Group. In this petition it was demanded that Germany should recognize the Armenian genocide claim and additionally that Germany should ‘invite’ Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide claim, too.[11] Another attempt of presenting a cross party resolution failed because of a lack of adequate support within the parliamentarians. After having heard the position of the Foreign Office the parliament decided to consider the events of 1915 as ‘tragic events’.[12] Dr. Tessa Hofmann’s ‘reliability’ can be shown with one simple example. She used the painting of the Russian Wassili Wereschtschagin as her book cover. This ‘famous’ painting has been made in 1871! and has appeared in Erich Feigl’s Myth of terror publication in this way for the first time.[13] This painting, which shows a pyramid of skulls was up to that date used by the Armenians as a tool of propaganda. Dr. Hofmann also used this painting in order to present the ‘crime committed to Armenians’. In a letter to the newspaper Hürriyet she states that every scientist makes mistakes and that she corrected her failure in the second edition of her book.[14]

German Literature

Franz Werfel is most probably the most famous name, writing in German on the Armenian issue. Werfel is worldwide one of the main columns, who upholds the ‘Armenian Genocide’ claim. His novel ‘The Forty Days of Musa Dagh’, written in 1933, claims to be a historical novel on Armenians who were rescued by the French on the mountain Musa, after having rebelled against the relocation order forty days long. This novel is internationally presented as a historical fact and has been made popular all around the world by the Armenians. Most recently the movie rights for this novel have been secured by a famous Hollywood star. Prof. Erich Feigl will focus on Werfel’s ‘The Forty Days of Musa Dagh’ in his article in this issue of the Armenian Studies.

Johannes Lepsius, born in 1858 in Germany is the famous pastor, who founded the ‘German Orient Mission’ (Deutsche Orient Mission) in 1914. Within the German Orient Mission he lived several years in the Ottoman Empire. Since 1896 Lepsius traveled throughout Eastern Anatolia, where he later established orphanages for Armenian children. He has several publications on the situation of Armenians in Turkey. Lepsius didn’t speak the Ottoman language, which excludes ottoman archive material from his research work. This fact makes his publications less valuable. He played a big role in the famous Tehlirian process in Berlin. Tehlirian murdered Talat Pa?a in Berlin and Lepsius’ report lead to Tehlirians release. The Tehlirian process will be dealt with in a following chapter.

There are more authors, who at the beginning of the last century wrote down their experiences in the Ottoman Empire. One should not forget that most of them were like Lepsius, missionaries, which makes their works less objective[15]. It can be argued that these reports are full of prejudices against Turks and cannot be considered as scientific material. Jacob Künzler, another missionary, who stayed in ?anl?urfa for several years and established hospitals and orphanages, throughout his book titles the Turks in negative ways and accuses them of being “lazy”, of a “low culture”.

“I understood that the lazy Turks were not capable of any serious work.”[16]

This phrase is quite representative for the general position the missionaries took. They went to the region with prejudices against Turks and with a certain sympathy towards the Christian Minorities. In this connection it is very significant to stress that the aid given in hospitals, orphanages etc. was directed to Christian Minorities, not to the Muslim Turkish population. At least the health of an Armenian seems to be of a higher importance than the health of a Turk:

“Only by sending away the Muslim patients, we could provide some space.”[17]

These historical preconditions show that the German population is being influenced by a subjective information transmission for a long time. Whereas the above mentioned examples laid the foundation of the German population’s opinion concerning the relocation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, the new generation went a step further and started an ‘Armenian genocide recognition’ campaign.

This new development consists of the support of the recognition of the relocation in 1915 as a genocide by the German government. This support is given by leftist groups in Germany (the PDS party TAZ Newspaper) and by Armenians. This movement, which we define as a campaign, is headed by two persons in Germany, who are Tessa Hofmann and Taner Akçam, both not Armenian.

Recent Developments

One of the most recent developments in Germany is once again related to Johannes Lepsius, whose house is at present in talk for the establishment of an archive. The above described line of Lepsius shows obviously the subjectivity of his attitude. Therefore it is subject to dispute whether a house in Potsdam, which is close to Berlin, where the largest Turkish community in Germany lives, should be established in form of an Armenian genocide claim propagandizing component. The Lepsius – House raised deep criticism within the Turkish community. As a result of this reaction going together with the comprehension of German officials of the sensitiveness of this issue, the proposal of establishing an archive and opening it for researches has been stopped.

Under the title ‚The forgotten humanist’ an exhibition in rememberance of Armin T. Wegener is being organized in Wuppertal. Armin T. Wegener is titled as the protocolist of the Armenian genocide claim, therefore this exhibition popularizes this claim.

Another exhibition is presented in Bonn, which consists of the Berlin State Library archives. In this exhibition there is a special section on ‘German reactions on the genocide of 1915’.

Even on the cultural platform the public opinion is tried to be convinced on a sentimental platform. Several theater plays choose as topic this issue and present stories of destroyed families and traumas etc. ‘The Beast on the Moon’ is a play telling the story of a ‘surviver of the holocaust’ who wants to build himself a new life and family in the US, but he fails because the ‘shadow of history’ is always with him. This is a very simplified way of black and white painting, which is very effective on the German population: Bad and evil Turks and the poor victims, Armenians.  Mostly this kind of events are linked with a ‘discussion’ at which, again the above described actors Tessa Hofmann etc. participate. So this one sided flow of propaganda attacks an average, not too intellectual German.  

Talat Pasha’s Assasination and the Trial of Tehlirian

Talat Pasha, the Minister of Interior of the Ottoman Empire and the leader of the Union and Progress Party, after WWI, had been sentenced to death by the Court Martial, together with Kemal Pasha and Enver Pasha, who were found guilty of crimes against humanity. Kemal Pasha was hanged whereas Talat Pasha and Enver Pasha fled to Germany. Soghomon Tehlirian, an Armenian, murdered Talat Pasha in Berlin by shooting him down in March 1921. Armenian resources point out clearly that this act was a well organized and planned assassination, with years of preparation.[18] Tehlirian, who did not live in Germany but came there in order to ‘fulfill his mission’, which was ‘to take revenge for his family, which was annihilated on Talat Pa?a’s order’.[19] Tehlirian in a trial was found not guilty and did not have to go to prison for the crime he committed, because his act of violence was considered as justified homicide. The jury came to this conclusion, after heard the testimony of Johannes Lepsius. Besides Lepsius, the popular ‘Aram Andonian telegraph’ is being used as a proof. This doubtful telegraph, attributed to Talat Pasha supposedly proved Talat Pasha’s official order to annihilate the Armenian population, turned out as faked documents years later. This historical fact constitutes a serious justice and law failure, which also raised protest voices in the German press of that time. The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of the 24th of July 1921 states that the witnesses of the Tehlirian trial did not directly experience any violence themselves during the relocation but were rather reporting hearsay. A German lieutenant general, a former chief of the Ottoman general staff protested in this article against the unlawfulness of the trial.[20]

The fact that Talat Pasha and other leading personalities had been held responsible for committing massacres and had been condemned, shows that the new government was based on a functioning and a just legal system. Whereas Talat Pasha could flee, were others hanged for the crimes they committed. This aspect seems to be forgotten or not considered as significant in the frame of this discussion. Finally Tehlirian turned out as a hero, although what he did was a planned murder, which is now considered as a terrorist attack. It should be noted that today there is still a Tehlirian Monument in Fresno, USA.  

The Armenian Terrorism and ASALA

Bahattin ?akir and Cemal Azmi have been murdered on the 17th of April in 1922 in Berlin by Aram Yergenyan.[21] Whereas the murder of Talat Pasha was considered as an individual act (although it was an organized crime) resulting from sentimental feelings, the murderer of these two persons were belonging to the Armenian terror organization NEMES?S. ASALA is one of the follower terror organizations of NEMES?S. The NEMES?S operations have to be viewed closely not only because of its connection to the following ASALA operations. The assassination of Bahattin ?akir is dealt with in this issue by Prof. Arslan Terzio?lu.

As NEMES?S is considered as the forerunner of ASALA and other Armenian terror organizations, the attacks of this terror organization are titled as a ‘new wave of terrorism’. Whereas worldwide over thirty Turkish officials have been murdered by ASALA members, in Germany four major attacks have taken place between 1979 and 1983. The Turkish Airlines office in Frankfurt, a Turkish bank in Cologne, the Turkish headquarter in Dortmund and the French headquarter in Berlin were subject to bomb attacks. Luckily nobody lost lives as a result of these attacks.[22]  

Conclusion

It is interesting that the persons who are leading the ‘Armenian Genocide Recognition’ campaign in Germany are not Armenians but Germans and Turks. This fact is important because usually one tends to think in narrow patterns. All Armenians do not necessarily have to be pro-genocidal. On the other hand it seems more convincing to people if non-Armenians support the ‘Armenian cause’ especially if Turks do so. But if to a discussion in the name of the Turkish side, Turks who are pro-genocidal are invited and presented – this might cause a wrong impression. Because besides the official policy of Turkey not accepting a genocide towards Armenians and the policy of leaving this issue to historians, the greater part of the population does definitely not accept an Armenian genocide. Just the opposite is the case: Turks in general believe that genocide towards them has been committed by the Armenians. The Turkish population accuses the government that this is not made public by them internationally. 

One of the main struggle points is the discussion of the Ottoman archives. Turkey states that the archives are open for researches, which is true. All archives, except the military ones, are open and can be used for investigations. Some obligations, which exist, are valid for archives and some libraries everywhere (the reason for research, the researcher must have received a certain level of education etc.) But in fact it is true that these archives are not well organized, not even classified appropriately, which in fact constitutes a point of criticism. So in this situation it is easy for Turkey to say ‘the ottoman archives are open, all historians, dealing with this issue shall come and complete their researches and see that there was no intention of the Ottoman Empire to eliminate Armenians’, on the other hand it is almost impossible to make any investigations in an archive, that is not classified.   

After having evaluated above the profiles of the supporters of the Armenian Genocide claim, it is quite clear that the way, which is followed by them, does not aim to reach a peaceful environment. Especially in Germany, were over two million people of Turkish origin live it is definitely not constructive to try to make the Turkish nation responsible for events, that happened at the beginning of the century. Germany is not a classical diaspora country: Armenians who had to leave their homelands in 1915 did not go to Germany. Armenians, who went to Germany went there out of economic reasons in the 60’ies, together with Italians, Turks etc. Looking at the last decades of Germany we can notice that there hadn’t been organized Memorial days by Armenians in April each year. Without evaluation we can simply say that these Memorial Days f. e. are new, so to speak are a trend. If this is so it comes to ones mind to ask why now? What is the reason for Armenians to start worldwide a genocide recognition campaign? The fact that this activity started only a few years ago lessens the sincerity of the presented sentimental approach. In discussions on this topic in Turkey the distinction between ‘historical facts’ and ‘political facts’ is stressed deeply. It is a historical fact that in Germany, although there was living an Armenian minority in the 60’ies and 70’ies too, no wreaths have been laid down in front of Turkish embassies and consulates. It will also be a historical fact in the future that Turkey does not have enough money or does not spend enough money to be as present as the Armenians are in the internet or to let make pro-Turkish movies in Hollywood. The pre-conditions of both sides differ from each other enormously. Whenever a non-Turkish historian ‘defends the Turkish position’ (which it is not, it is presenting archive material) he/ she is accused by receiving money from the Turkish state.         

What we consider as surely necessary is a respectful terminology by presenting views/ ideas/ attitudes/ researches/ publications. It is not helpful to make generalizations like ‘THE ARMEN?ANS…’, THE TURKS…’. ‘ARMEN?AN GANGS…’ ‘SOME TURK?SH SOLD?ERS…’ could be the basic for a better understanding. Differentiation in the terminology could constitute a significant step towards smoothening expressions, which leads to smoothening of attitudes. It doesn’t help anybody, neither in Germany nor elsewhere, to indoctrinate prejudiced thoughts on Armenians or Turks. Deeply criticized should be the series of photographs, which should document a bad treatment of Armenians or Turks. The aim of these photos is nothing but to raise compassion and each of them imply criminal intention. On most of the used photos it isn’t even possible to distinguish whether the harmed person is an Armenian or a Turk. ALL Turks did not kill ALL Armenians and ALL Armenians did not kill ALL Turks. It doesn’t help the coming generations to make them believe so. Turks and Armenians in the USA, in France, in Germany and most importantly in Turkey, live together. Living together is much easier and much better without prejudices.   

Of course there should be enough space for extreme attitudes and people like Taner Akçam should find a platform of discussion in Turkey too. But his thesis should be criticized with an anti thesis, which defends that there IS a Turkish National Identity, that didn’t need myths in the past and doesn’t need myths now. Of course it is not understandable that an independence war and a republic, which still exists and is an important part of the international community is reduced to be build up on a myth.

As a result of this article we can say that Germany wants to share the heavy burden of history with Turkey. The recent activities are nothing more than a campaign, for which Germans and Turks are being misused in order to be more convincible. Still the official position of Germany is of a greater importance. The official position of Germany became clear in September 2001. After having received the Statement of the Foreign Office, which stated that this issue should be left to the bilateral level (Turkey and Armenia) and that a recognition by Germany would hinder non governmental approaches (with which the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission is meant).[23] The opinion of ‘leaving this issue to historians’, which is the official position of Turkey, is very often criticized by the ones, who support the Armenian genocide claim. Still, this view is appropriated by German officials as well. The head of the SPD fraction considers this issue as belonging to historians rather than to the parliament.[24] The German parliament does not recognize an Armenian genocide claim. Still it can be expected in the following years that this issue will be presented to the parliament again.


[1] For the Armenian population figures see: http://www.armenien.de
[2] Zafer Özkan, Terörden Politikaya Ermeni Meselesi, ?stanbul, 2001, p. 241-242
[3] Heath W. Lowry, Political Communication and Persuasion, Volume 3, 1985
[4] Norman G. Finkelstein, Soyk?r?m Endüstrisi, Yahudi Ac?lar?n?n ?stismar?, Söylem Yaynlar? 2001
[5] Zaman Gazetesi, 28.01.2001
[6] Taner Akçam, Armenien und der Völkermord: Die Istanbuler Prozesse und die Türkische Nationalbewegung, Hamburger Edition HIS Verlagsgesellschaft.MbH
[7] „Çünkü ele?tirinin yönelmesi gereken as?l hedef Türk ulusal devletidir.“ Dr. Taner Akçam, Türk Ulusal Kimli?i ve Ermeni sorunu, Su Yay?nlar? Nisan 2001, p. 27
[8] Taner Akçam ‚Problems of Genocide’ Speach in Jerewan, April 1995
[9] ?enol Kantarc?, Ermeni Meselesi: Taner Akçam’?n çözüm örne?i ?????nda!, Erzurum 2001
[10] „Erfolgt eine solche selbstkritische Anstrengung nicht, zementiert sich bei Armeniern wie Türken immer mehr der schon seit der Tatzeit bestehende Verdacht deutscher Mitschuld.“ Tessa Hofmann’s letter to Michael A. Schrick (SPD party member, Federal Parliamentary Group member)  24.09.2001
[11] Petition No: 019260 to the Federal German Parliament, 13.04.2000
[12] Frankfurter Rundschau, ....
[13] Erich Feigl, Myth of Terror, (Salzburg: 1991)
[14] 02.05.2001, Hürriyet, Offene Antwort auf einen offenen Brief
[15] Doç. Dr. Selami K?l?ç, Baz? Alman Çevrelerindeki „Soyk?r?m“ ?ddialar?na Ele?tirisel Bir Yakla??m, Yeni Türkiye, Ermeni Sorunu Özel Say?s? I, No. 37, Ocak ?ubat 2001
[16] Jakob Künzler, Im Lande des Blutes und der Traenen, Erlebnisse in Mesopotamien waehrend des Weltkrieges (1914-1918), (Potsdam: Tempel Verlag, 1921), “Bei dieser Arbeit sah ich was ich zwar schon wusste, dass der Türke für ernsthafte Arbeit nicht geschaffen ist.”, p. 116
[17] Jacob Künzler “Mehrere muhammedanische Kranke konnten entlassen werden, wodurch etwas Platz geschaffen wurde.”, p. 86
[18]
www.dannymorrison.com/articles/revenge.php
[19] Bilal ?im?ir, ?ehit Diplomatlar?m?z 1.Kitap, Bilgi Yay?nevi, 2000, p. 48
[20] Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Nr.342, 24.07.1921, Beiblatt Morgen Ausgabe, Ein Zeugnis für Talaat Pascha
[21] Bilal ?im?ir, ?ehit Diplomatlar?m?z 1.Kitap, (Ankara: Bilgi Yay?nevi 2000), p51
[22] Bilal ?im?ir…
[23] German Parliament: 
www.bundestag.de/aktuell/bp/2001/bp0109/0109083b.html
[24] TV report: Völkermord – Die Armenierfrage und die feigen Politiker, 03.09.2001, ARD

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- Armenian Studies, Issue 3, September-October-November 2001
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