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Conclusion

ŞİNASİ OREL*
The Talat Pasha Telegrams
 

 !á¼ `="justify">CONCLUSION


WE have come to the end of our study of the origin and nature of the ‘documents’ published by Armenian circles in 1920, under the name of Aram Andonian.

We have demonstrated, in minute detail, the fact that Andonian’s ‘documents’ are forgeries concocted by him and his associates, with the aim of providing support for the claims and demands made in the name of the ‘Armenian cause’.

We have also shown that the publication date of these forged documents coincided with the Entente efforts to partition Turkish territory, and that one of the aims of these attempts was to apportion a share of the spoils of victory to the Armenians. Likewise, the publication of Andonian’s work occurred in a period when the victorious Entente forces were engaged in a ‘hunt for the guilty’ among the ranks of the Ottoman administrative officials: a hunt which Andonian’s ‘documents’ were clearly intended to facilitate.

In conclusion, it is useful to reiterate the main elements in the chain of evidence we have constructed in proving that Andonian’s ‘documents’ were all patent forgeries.

(1) To show that his forgeries were in fact ‘authentic Ottoman documents’, Andonian relied on the signature of the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, which he claimed was appended to several of the ‘documents’ in question. By examining several actual specimens of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s signature as preserved on contemporary official documents, we have established that the alleged signatures appended to Andonian’s ‘documents’ were forgeries.

(2) In one of his forged documents, Andonian dated the note and signature attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. Again, by a comparison with authentic correspondence between the Governor of Aleppo and the Ministry of the Interior in Istanbul, on the date in question, we have shown that the Governor of Aleppo on that date was Bekir Sami Bey, not Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.

(3) Consistently, Andonian’s forgeries attest to the fact that he was either totally unaware of, or carelessly neglected to account for, the differences between the Muslim Rumi and Christian calendars. The numerous errors he made as a result of this oversight are, in and of themselves, sufficient to prove the fabricated nature of his ‘documents’. Among other things, the errors Andonian made in this respect served to destroy the system of reference numbers and dates that he concocted for his ‘documents’.

(4) By way of a detailed comparison of the entries made in the Ministry of the Interior’s Registers of outgoing Ciphers, wherein are recorded the date and reference number of every ciphered communication sent out by the Ministry, with the dates and reference numbers placed by Andonian on his forgeries, we have repeatedly proved that his so-called ‘ciphered telegrams’ bear no relationship whatsoever to the actual ciphers sent by the Ministry to Aleppo in the period in question.

(5) Again, by comparing the Turkish ‘originals’ of Andonian’s ‘ciphered telegrams’ with actual examples of contemporary Ottoman ciphered messages, we have shown that the number groupings he employed bear no relationship to the actual ciphers the Ottomans were using in that period. Thus, in his attempt to make his forgeries appear credible, he created a whole series of unusable, non-existent ciphers. Further, from the dates he affixed to his forgeries in this category, the Ottomans would have had to have used the same. ciphers over a six-month period which was impossible. By publishing a series of documents instructing officials to change the ciphers they were using, we have shown that, in fact, the Ottomans were changing their cipher codes on average once every two months during the war years.

(6) By comparing the manner in which the common Islamic injunction, Besmele, was written on Andonian’s two forged letters with numerous examples of the way in which it appears on authentic contemporary Ottoman documents, we have suggested that Andonian’s clumsy forgery of this term may well have stemmed, from the fact that non-Muslims, even those who knew Ottoman Turkish, did not employ this injunction.

(7) We have also provided a number of examples from Andonian’s forgeries of sentence structure and grammatical errors, which it is simply inconceivable that any Ottoman official could have used. In the same vein, we have discussed a host of expressions, allegedly utteged by prominent Ottoman officials, which no Ottoman Turk would ever have used. Andonian’s intention in these instances was clear: he wanted nothing less than the Turks themselves to be seeming to. confess to crimes which he had manufactured for them.

(8) The forged documents, with two exceptions, were written on plain paper with none of the usual signs found on the official paper used by the Ottoman bureaucracy in this period. The fact that one of the forged Turkish originals was written on a double-lined paper [see p. 166], which the Ottomans did not even use for private correspondence, constitutes an even more serious error on Andonian’s part. Even the two forgeries which appear at first glance to have been written on some kind of official Ottoman stationery are actually written on blank telegraph forms, which anyone wishing to send a telegram could pick up in any Ottoman post office.

(9) At a time when the British were frantically searching the world’s archives for anything to be used as ‘evidence’ against the group of Ottoman officials whom they were holding for trial as being ‘responsible for the Armenian incidents’, their failure to utilize Andonian’s ‘documents’ which were readily available in their English edition, strongly suggests that the British Government was fully aware of the nature of these forgeries.

(10) Had documents of the nature of those concocted by Andonian ever actually existed, their confidential nature would have dictated that they be sent by courier for security reasons, rather than through the easily breachable public telegraph system. Likewise, had such documents really ever been written, it is inconceivable that they could have lain around in a flue for three years, instead of being destroyed as soon as they had been read.

(11) We have also placed some emphasis on the numerous differences between the French and English editions of Andonian’s book. Indeed, these variations are of such significance that it is absolutely impossible to ascribe them to printing errors, or errors in translation.

(12) Finally, we should not overlook the fact that even some authors with close links to Armenian circles, who serve as spokesmen for Armenian causes, have indicated their own doubt as to the veracity of Andonian’s ‘documents’.

In short, from start to finish the so-called ‘Talat Pasha Telegrams’ are nothing more than crude forgeries, concocted by Andonian and his associates.

In criminology there is an expression which states that there is no such thing as a perfect crime. This is the truth. Every crime leaves behind some trace, some clue, no matter how small. The Armenian circles, too, have left behind many clues in the crime they sought to commit by compiling these forged documents— for to cast such evil aspersions on an entire nation is undoubtedly a crime — and this study has caught them red-handed with the evidence of their crime.

The fact that Andonian’s so-called ‘documents’ are forgeries will not come as a surprise to many people who read this book. The fact that these ‘documents’ are forgeries has been known for many years to Turks. The large number of serious foreign scholars who have utilized the Ottoman archives in past decades are also aware of this fact. Likewise, the small body of serious Armenian scholars must be aware that Andonian’s ‘documents’ are false. What we have done in the present study is to show in a systematic manner, based on detailed examination and comparison with authentic Ottoman documents, the nature of and the manner in which these ‘forgeries’ were concocted.

Following the end of the Second World War, a new term was added to mankind’s vocabulary. It was ‘genocide’, a term used to describe the horrible fate of European Jewry, at the hands of the Nazis, during the Second World War. Shortly thereafter the Armenians adopted this term and began to use it to describe the events of the First World War. As is well known, the term ‘genocide’ by definition means the systematic killing of, or a programme of action intended to destroy, a whole national or ethnic group. In support of their charge of genocide against the Ottoman Empire, Armenian circles have consistently advanced Andonian’s ‘documents’ as their evidence. The reason for this is simple: they do not have any other document to support their claim that the Ottoman Government engaged in the systematic annihilation of the Armenians. An event which never occurred can hardly be supported by documents. In point of fact, the myth of Armenian ‘genocide’ has been based from its outset on nothing more than a series of forged documents. Correspondingly, this myth collapses like a house of cards, when the truth behind Andonian’s ‘documents’ is known.

Will this work have the effect of causing Armenian circles to re-evaluate their own claims? Probably not, for the patterns under which the Armenian propagandists operate are well established: anything, including the production of forged documents, is permissible, as long as it serves the purpose of the ‘Armenian cause’. Unfortunately, this is just as true in the 1980s as it was in 1920. At present, Armenian circles are busily engaged in rewriting Armenian history so as to make it conform to their own dreams, aspirations, and desires. Within this effort, they see nothing wrong in trying to appropriate the culture, art, traditions, and life-styles of other nations, most especially of the Turks.

In closing, we should note one additional fact, and that is the gullibility with which certain circles in some Western countries have accepted, and continue to accept today, the authenticity of Andonian’s ‘documents’, and of the claims which are based upon them. These Western circles are true believers without having researched the question at all. What is particularly disquieting is that these circles, who traditionally pride themselves on their meticulous ‘objectivity’ in other matters, do not demonstrate the same quality as regards Armenian claims.

We must also note that this attitude stems in part from the fact that the Ottoman documents for the period of the First World War are only now being de-classifled. As a result, serious scholarship on this period is still in the embryonic stage. We trust that our work, and particularly the authentic Ottoman archival documents it contains, will be a small first step towards the ultimate publication of all the relevant documents from this period. Only when this task is completed, will the realities perceived by the Turkish public as well as foreign scholars who are specialists on the Ottoman Empire, be unveiled for all to see.

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- The Talat Pasha Telegrams
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ERAREN - Institute for Armenian Research

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