Claims on 1915 events not reflecting truth: Academic

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EDIRNE, Turkey

The former head of the Turkish Historical Society on Saturday said “genocide” allegations regarding 1915 events did not reflect truth and this was clearly stated in foreign documents as well.

Prof. Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu, speaking at a virtual event titled, “Armenian allegations and Historical Realities” held by Trakya (Thrace) University in northwestern Turkey, said the historical documents refuted genocide claims.

He argued that Armenian governments have kept the genocide allegations on the agenda with the guidance of western countries for years and abandoned scientific studies and acted with political motivations.

“… Armenians come up with allegations that they were subjected to genocide in 1915, with some claiming 1.5 million of them were killed and others saying [this figure was]two million. That is a claim, but there are also realities. They engage in politics, completely ignoring these realities,” said Halacoglu.

According to Halacoglu, the US and some Western countries did not honestly want this issue to be resolved so they could use it as leverage against Turkey on the political front.

Stressing that the scientific circles did not have any debate in this regard as no evidence pointed to the so-called genocide, he further said Turkish Historical Society scanned archives of the US, the UK, France, Germany, League of Nations, Russia and Iran, and collected over 100,000 pages of documents, and the findings refuted Armenian allegations.

He said the Ottoman officials back then punished assailants that targeted traveling Armenians, killing them or stealing their goods and a total of 1,673 people were referred to the court in 1915 in this context.

On the other hand, Halacoglu said Armenian gangs killed about 518,000 Muslim Turks from 1914 to 1922 and this was officially documented.

Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide,” describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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