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Sedat LAÇİNER, Asst. Prof. Dr.
05 February 2007 - Turkish Weekly
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During World War I, like all other groups, so many people among Armenians lost their lives, and many of them were forced to leave their homes. However, the dispute on how many Armenians died during the war is the maybe one of the most complicated debates in the world.

Comparing the various historians’ answers to the question of “how many Armenians died” is really difficult. Each historian, Turkish, Armenian or from any other origin, reaches quite surprising results. One says 1 million, the other says 2 millions. It is worse than guessing the true numbers in lotto; at least you have just 49 numbers in lotto. Turkish historians and their formal institutions try to show these numbers as low as they can. Among these people, there are some historians who say this number is below 200.000 while some others can increase the number to 400.000 etc. And there are also people who draw down the number to even 10.000. But, even the Turkish historians cannot reach a mutual understanding. Almost every number between 10.000 and 800.000 people have mentioned in Turkey. If you regard Orhan Pamuk as a ‘Turkish historian’ (!), it is possible to increase this estimation up to 1.5 million people.

If you look at the numbers of the Armenian side, you surprise more. The numbers start from 500.000 and increase up to 1 million, 1.5 million even 2 millions. In recent years, in one of the meetings in Wales, the Armenians have increased the number up to 2.5 millions. Henceforward, it cannot be known that, if this number is going to be increased up to 3 millions, 4 millions, or even over the total population of Ottoman Empire at that period.

Unfortunately, the debates on the number of the killed Armenians resemble the auction rooms. But with one difference, while Armenians increase the number, Turkish people tries to decrease it…

“1 million…”

“There is someone who gives 1.1 million …”

“Yes, they say 1.5 millions. Who increases it?”

“Mr. Pamuk, they say 1.5 millions. Do you increase this number? Or you Mr.? Isn’t there any historian who increases the number? Isn’t there any scientist who increases the number?”


The scene is cursorily awful. The policy is made on the corpses. So-called historians, play corpse-lotto. There is not a single person who is abashed of this. The people who say 2.5 million people died and who say 500.000 people died can argue with a same tone of voice… However, this is very clear: some people lie without blushing. They also lie without scruple. They are not abashed of this… They make business on the corpses, in order to defend their benefits they use, they abuse the corpses.


“500.000. Isn’t there anybody who decrease it?”

“There is someone who says 400.000. Yes, is there someone who decrease to 300.000? Isn’t there any professor who decrease the number, isn’t there any historian who decrease it to 10.000 even less than that? 

If there are this much different numbers, some people anyhow lie. Or, some people do not fulfill the requirements of their jobs. If there are tens of dead-toll, we cannot say ‘historian’ to the so-called historians who speak. It also cannot be said “the historians should come together and solve this problem ”. It’s necessary for the historians who are at this picture not to appear on the scene, not to show themselves…

Another 24 April is close again … And, again the number of the people who play corpse-lotto increases … People who want to satisfy their interests and desires are going to give an estimate one more time and they are going to call it ‘science’ … Let’s see this year; up to what number will the Armenian researchers increase the number…

By the way, how many Turks and Armenians live right now to live together, any guess?


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sedat LACINER: Director of the USAK (International Strategic Research Organization, Ankara & Davos Economic Forum Young Global leader 2006.

translated by Zerin Acar and Kemal Tuzcu (JTW)

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