In a rare detailed interview to an American publication Turkish historian Taner Akcam has revealed information about his upcoming book on the Armenian Genocide saying it will show “[t]he genocidal intent… based only on Ottoman documents.”  

Speaking to Minnesota Law & Politics, Akcam – one of handful Turkish historians to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey – has said:

I’m working on some research projects. I just finished work with another leading scholar of the Armenian Genocide, Vahakn Dadrian. We are writing a two-volume book on the indictments and verdicts and minutes of the Istanbul trials. This is a very important first-hand account of the Genocide.

I’m also working on a book I call the Demographic Policy. My central argument in A Shameful Act was that the Armenian Genocide was not an isolated act against Armenians but a part of a demographic policy enacted during World War I. It had two main components. One was against the Muslim non-Turkish population, who were redistributed, relocated and resettled among the Turkish population with the aim of assimilation. The second was against the Christian population, the Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians. The goal was to get the Christians out of Anatolia, what we now know as Turkey-to forcibly move them to Greece or Iran. Or, in the case of the Armenians, to eliminate them altogether.

In 1914, Anatolia was about 25 to 30 percent Christian. After the war it was 3 to 4 percent. The aim was to reduce the Christian population to no more than 5 or 10 percent so that they would have little sway in Turkey.

Akcam has also given interesting details about his life including hesitations to talk on the Genocide:

I grew up in a very secular family. My father was an atheist, but I grew up, of course, within Islamic culture. I am sure I carry on much of this Islamic culture in the way I live, but in terms of my personal convictions, I am very secular.

Please understand that I am a very ordinary Turkish intellectual. I come from the ’68 Generation — here it was the Hippie Generation, but we too were against the Vietnam War, American foreign policy, and so on. As progressive people of that time in Turkey, we believed that we, Turks created our nation-state in a fight against the great imperialist powers. We assigned a very negative role to the Christian minorities in Turkey, to the Armenians. To us, they were collaborators. This is how we perceived ourselves and the world, and how we saw Turkey’s past. Since we saw all Christians in Turkey as allied with the imperialist state, we had a very negative image of them. As progressives, we always thought it was better not to touch on the topic of the Armenian Genocide, because to do so would be to enter a very dark, suspicious terrain, which could not be understood easily. It was not easy for me to decide to work on the Genocide. At first I thought: I’m working on a very suspicious terrain, better not to go in, actually.

After giving fascinating details about Turkey’s current Islamic leadership’s somewhat “silent” acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and their pressure from nationalist groups, Akcam provides us with some insights to the structure of nationalist Turkish groups in and outside Turkey:

The group who organizes the campaign against me in Turkey and here in the U.S. is a part of what we call the “Deep State,” the military-bureaucratic complex. This non-elected government body is behind the campaign to discredit Genocide scholars. The nationalists and the Social Democrat Party are behind this effort. Here in the U.S. there are some groups organized and controlled mostly by Turkish diplomats. I can give three names: ATAA (Assembly of Turkish American Associations); Turkish Forum (an e-mail group, coordinated between different initiatives in different states in the U.S.) and a Web site, (one of the most popular Armenian Genocide denial sites).

Definitely there are Turkish diplomats who nourish these sites with information. I mean, who could have given the exact date of my arrest in 1974? Even I had forgotten that! It was for leafleting! And there is no record of this in any journal or newspaper. This is what that Web site claims is a terrorist act. There must be some police officer in Ankara from whom they got the information. All these groups that I mentioned (ATAA, Turkish Forum,, some diplomats and police officers from Turkey) are very well connected.

Akcam has taken interest in the above Turkish websites especially after one of them – – organized hate campaigns against Akcam.  Operated by mysterious “Holdwater,” is one of the worst anti-Armenian websites and was most secretive until Akcam discovered that “Holdwater” is none other than Turkish-American cartoonist Murad Gumen.