“The Armenian Problem is solved,” a statement attributed to Ottoman Turkey’s most powerful leader during World War I, is the title of a new Turkish book – released this week – written by a pioneer historian who has been openly writing about the Armenian Genocide.  As of now, the book has received no reviews in the Turkish media.

According to a Turkish website, historian Taner Akcam’s new book on the Armenian Genocide  – a taboo subject in Turkey – is based on documents available in the Ottoman archives.  One of these documents is a telegraph by Talaat Pasha, the architect of the Armenian Genocide, where the bloody leader states “Ermeni meselesi hallolunmuştur” meaning “The Armenian problem is solved.”

Taner Akcam, a native of Turkey who currently teaches at the University of Minnesota, recently told a Minnesota publication that his upcoming book would demonstrate “[t]he genocidal intent… based only on Ottoman documents.”


Image: Taner Akcam

And before the book even came out, several ultra-nationalist Turks commented angrily on our December 20, 2007 post linking to the interview with Minnesota Law & Politics.  The comments came after letters were circulated in nationalist Turkish groups, one of them available here, informing of our post and discussing strategies on how to react against Akcam’s upcoming book.

In addition to the regular accusations of “treason and terrorism,” some ultra-nationalist Turks even added reviews of the upcoming book without knowing the title:

Iclal Atay, for instance, (who is the Chief of Bureaue of Release Prevention of Radiaton Protection Programs with the New Jersey state government) commented that “This fictional book is absurd:”

This book is nothing but fiction. Someone who does not use all the historical original factual documents cannot call themselves a historian. It is obvious that Mr. Akcam wrote this book to perpetuate the lies of some Armenians distorting the facts that are: ” the Armenian-Ottoman citizens of the Ottoman empire committed treason, and fought against their own country, and committed unspeakable acts which led to their relocation.” Their treason caused the death of many Ottoman citizens Armenian and non-Armenian alike. Even without investigating the historical documents, the mere knowledge that during the referenced time frame the Ottomans were involved in World War I at all of their borders, anyone with common sense can figure out that they could not afford to start an internal conflict with their own citizens.

What’s troubling about Dr. Atay’s post is not his stupidity of calling an academic book “fiction” before reading it but the fact that he is using taxpayer money of the people of New Jersey – state equipment and state salary – to engage in online ultra-nationalist Turkish campaigns.  The IP address Dr. Atay left his comment from, according to ARIN WHOIS Database, is  that of New Jersey’s Department of Transportation:  

OrgName:    New Jersey Department of Transportation
OrgID:      NJDT
Address:    1 Schwartzkopf Drive
City:       West Trenton
StateProv:  NJ
PostalCode: 08625-0113
Country:    US

NetName:    NJDOT
NetHandle:  NET-160-93-0-0-1
Parent:     NET-160-0-0-0-0
NetType:    Direct Assignment
NameServer: NS1.STATE.NJ.US
NameServer: NS2.STATE.NJ.US
RegDate:    1992-05-01
Updated:    2001-10-23

RTechHandle: SJO1-ARIN
RTechName:   Orzol, Stephan, J.
RTechPhone:  +1-609-530-6552
RTechEmail:  [email protected]

Now how Dr. Atay is going to deny that he has used taxpayer money of New Jersey residents to engage in online Turkish campaigns is his business, but my business is not to accuse all Turks of denial.

In fact, there was one Turkish user who left a comment asking his compatriots to stop the hatred:

Dogru Yol on 31 Dec 2007 at 11:04 pm #

My fellow Turks,

Do you not realize that the pure aggressiveness of your hatred as witnessed in the above comments is itself offering additional support that we Turks can and did murder up to if not more than a 1 million Christians ?

We must stop acting dishonorably with historical facts. Stop being the dupes of state propaganda. Research the facts, hold your political leaders accountable (if you are able).

It’s time for us and our government to do the right thing : to acknowledge the truth. Anything else is “sherefsizlik” my friends.

Saygilarimi sunarim,

And although Turks like Dogru Yol are not too many, it is encouraging that Taner Akcam’s entire book was worked on by Turkish individuals like Kerem Ünüvar, Remzi Abbas, Suat Aysu, Ümit Kıvanç, Hüsnü Abbas, Şahin Eyilmez, Hasan Deniz, Mat Yapım and Sena Ofset.

The English version of “The Armenian Problem is Solved,” our sources say, won’t be coming out for another year or so.