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Dec 03 2018

Turkish historian launches digital archive documenting Armenian genocide

 

Turkish historian Taner Akçam, a professor of Armenian genocide studies at Clark University in Massachusetts, has launched a digital archive of evidence collected by an Armenian genocide survivor  which documents the atrocities of 1915.

Akçam, the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, worked with Turkish experts and graduate students on a digital repository comprised of  1915 Armenian genocide survivor and Krikor Guerguerian’s collection, for which he travelled the world to collect evidence.

Turkey has never officially acknowledged that events leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915 constitute a genocide, though many other countries do.

The Krikor Guerguerian Archive (https://wordpress.clarku.edu/guerguerianarchive/) contains thousands of original Ottoman documents and Guerguerian’s unpublished writings, including the handwritten memoirs of Naim Bey, an Ottoman bureaucrat stationed in Aleppo who actively participated in the deportation and massacres of Armenians and documents from the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate containing first-hand information about the Armenian genocide.

Ciphered telegrams sent by the Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha, seen by many as the principal architect of the Armenian Genocide, as well as army commanders, and the chief of the government’s paramilitary to governors throughout the Empire are among the most noteworthy materials of the archive.

“Access to these materials has the potential to change scholarly and political discourse as well as to destroy Turkish denial,” wrote Professor Akçam stressing that he sees it as his duty to make the ‘’evidence accessible for the world to see.’’

Sixty-five year old Akçam is widely regarded and criticised as one of the first Turkish academics to openly acknowledge and discuss the events of 1915 as genocide committed by the Turkish Ottoman government.