Turkish professor Unmasks Turkey’s Criminal Secrets, Outlines the Eight Phases of the Armenian Genocide

By Appo Jabarian*

Ankara is fast at work to counter the wave of intra-national and international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. But is it successful? Recently a damning Turkish documentary surfaced on Youtube.com unmasking the eight phases of the 1915-1923 genocide. Professor Ugur Ümit Üngör, a lecturer at the Department of History at Utrecht University and at the Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam, revealed the Turkish-documented inner workings of Turkish-masterminded and executed government policies of mass deportations, dispossession, and annihilation against the Armenians then living under Ottoman yoke. Personally I watched it at least half a dozen times. In the documentary Prof. Ungor clearly outlines the damning details of Turkey’s secret plans to exterminate the Armenians and to expropriate their real and personal properties as well as their ancestral homelands in Western Armenia. Professor Ungor, author of the “Confiscation and Destruction: The Young Turk Seizure of Armenian Property (Continuum, 2011)” and the award-winning “The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1950 (Oxford University Press, 2011),” elaborated on “how Western Armenia became part of Turkish nation state. And he went on to illustrate how “the confiscation of the properties of Armenians” was carried out. He underlined the fact that “This process hasn’t really been studied.” He contrasted it to other mass murders and genocides, “such as the Holocaust, the genocide in Bosnia and the one in Rwanda.” He went on: “The genocide was not one process. It was not just deportations; just massacres. But it was a whole range of destruction policies and I count at least eight of them. Then I’ll move on to discuss some of the laws such as confiscation, expropriation, and finally I would like to give an example of one Armenian business that was expropriated by Ottoman Young Turk government. .. In several cases (the processes) overlapping one another … geared into each other, they work together to produce the intended process of destruction.” Then he went on to list the eight phases of the Armenian Genocide. 1) Firing of all Armenian civil servants in the Ottoman Empire “Starting in early winter 1914, Talaat Pasha fired all the Armenian civil servants in the Empire starting with the police officers, civil servants, firemen, teachers – primary school teachers secondary school teachers,. All Armenians were fired from the Turkish bureaucracy,” noted Prof. Ungor. 2) Decapitation “Talaat and company then moved on to the second phase of the process which was decapitation, and this was of course the infamous arrests of April 24, 1915 paving the way to the complete decapitation of the Armenian elite in Istanbul and was replicated in the provinces,” he said. He continued: “I’d like to say two things and I think this is extremely important, first of all these were extremely systematic; there were lists of the men to be arrested and executed and of course these lists were sent back to Istanbul for corroboration. Secondly this was extremely a fast process. Time flies especially in the Armenian Genocide. In matter of weeks complete elite of the Armenian community of the Empire – cultural intelligentsia; economic intelligentsia; religious intelligentsia were destroyed.” Then he showed two photographs, the first one depicting Krikor Zohrab, a famous writer, an Ottoman Armenian member of the Ottoman Parliament headquartered in Istanbul; the second depicting Mikael Khachaturian, the Bishop of Malatya. Then he drew sharp contrasts between the two men: “It was interesting to study the biographies of two very different men.– Krikor Zohrab, very critical of the church and very liberal; and Bishop Khachaturian, a very pious, very spiritual and strong believer in the Christian faith. Both of them were arrested. Both of them were murdered. I think this is quite important — two very different individuals that have nothing in common except for the fact that they were Armenians. And this is the essence of the genocide – reducing people to their ethnic identity.” 3) “The third phase was heralded through the deportations. On 23 May, exactly one month after the massive arrests of the elite, Talaat Pasha ordered complete deportation of all Armenians into the Syrian desert of Deir-ez-Zor. And this is also important because this order was published and we found the official document in the Ottoman archives in which they ordered this and which in itself is a genocidal order for the complete deportation of the civilian population into the desert,” he underlined. 4) “The fourth phase was the dispossession process. Between May and November 1915, Talaat Pasha issued four decrees in the form of laws — and of course they had nothing to do with the laws. For laws, you need to have a legal process; separation of powers. That was not the case because it was a dictatorship. He began with a deportation order and the first order which was about deporting all of the Armenians contained provision that Armenians could bring along everything they wanted. ‘So you have a house; you have lands to sell. You can take the money with you and then you can go to the Deir-ez-Zor where you will be resettled.’ That sounded promising. But then of course the new decrees reversed this policy. In June 1915, the government established Abandoned Property Commissions and these were really organizations to assault the Armenian economy. With one decision, all of the properties were officially handed over or transferred to the government. So they took the decision and they had to fine tune it so they took more decisions. One in September 1915, when they delegated the implementation of this huge plan to three ministries – the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice because they understood that this is a huge process. And who’s going to organize it? These three ministries! And they of course had a record of all these properties and they corresponded among each other. And we have correspondences. They are in the Ottoman archives in Istanbul. I looked at them extensively,” he asserted. 5) “The fifth phase was mass murder. From the summer of 1915 on, the special units began murdering Armenian civilians throughout the Empire. So far we had very little information of these men of the organization “Tashkilat al Mahsusa”. What kind of organization was this? How was it set up? I found this document – a photo in the archives of the Ottoman government. It was interesting to see that all of them were dressed in the same uniforms. And secondly, even more important, they’re standing in front of the War Ministry in Istanbul. So no longer can the government say that we have nothing to do with these – with “chetes” (Turkish– armed bandits) running wild, and posing for photographs in front of the war ministry. The building still exists. It is now converted into a military museum in Istanbul. And the list goes on,” he added. 6) “The sixth phase of the genocide was forced assimilation. The absorption of women and children into the Turkish households. This is also significant in the genocidal process because it was an assault on cultural identity of people. By making sure that people could not reproduce; could not continue to perpetuate their identity. It is an assault on an abstract idea of culture embodied in these individuals. This is the essence of what genocide is. Men were separated from women. Children were separated from their parents breaking up the most essential ties in human beings,” he further noted. 7) “Then we had the seventh phase of the genocide – the famine crime. Starting in 1916 on those Armenians were forced into Deir-ez-Zor and were pushed into organized artificial famine zones. People were put into the region where (the Turkish soldiers) prohibited bread from reaching the victims. And this is extremely important. You can distinguish what makes it genocidal. The Turkish people that were living in Deir-ez-Zor were given bread. The Armenians were prohibited to buy bread. Why did they do that? Of course there is no question about the intention behind this policy. And I’m still not finished,” he emphasized. 8) “The final phase of the genocide was the assault on material culture and architecture. Starting from 1915 on there was a policy that was continued well into the 1920′s when the Turkish government continued destroying churches and monasteries. And here’s only one example: Sourp Hovhannes (monastery) in Alashkert (he showed an old photo depicting the church in Alashkert on the left and also showed a new photo of the same location depicting a destroyed church then he said: “And what is left of the monastery was the foundation only. And you can clearly see that this is the same place. Some of my students have asked me, how to know if this is the same place? He responded: “I’ll show it to you. The black stripe here in the mountain (in the background of the church), and these are the foundations of this monastery,” he illustrated. Speaking of the entire eight processes he said: “Together and only together they produce a coherent process of destruction. By the end of the war there were approximately 2900 Armenian settlements that were depopulated by about a million Armenians because they were dead. I’d like to move on to the dispossession policy. These eight phases have to be studied and in fact they are studied in details.” I must acknowledge that this article in no way is an adequate report on the monumental work done by Prof. Ungor. Watch the video on Youtube.com at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6_InAhUmmM. The presentation is in English with Turkish subtitles. Please share it with your friends. One needs to get further acquainted with Prof. Ungor’s works in order to grasp the magnitude of his revelations. As well-informed members of the new Turkish generation emerge, denialist Turks see the walls of silence falling around them. *Appo Jabarian is the Executive Publisher / Managing Editor of USA Armenian Life Magazine, http://www.armenianlife.com