DECLARATION ON THE 1915 EVENTS (SO-CALLED ARMENIAN ATROCITIES) BY THE CENTRAL BOARD OF TURKISH HEARTHS (TÜRK OCAKLARI)1
It was thanks to the Turkish rule that multi-ethnic and multi-religious Anatolia had enjoyed a relatively peaceful atmosphere for nine centuries under the Seljuks and the Ottomans. However, from the beginnings of the 19th century separatist and nationalist movements took place first in the Balkan territories and later in Asian lands of the Ottoman empire. In this context, since the last quarter of the 19th century the Armenian organizations acted in collaboration with the imperialist powers that aimed at expelling the Turks from Anatolia back to the Central Asian steppes.
Before the so-called tehcir or relocation of Ottoman Armenians, Armenian militia perpetrated massacres in and around Kars and Ardahan, started a big revolt in Van where they collaborated with the Russians, one of the main belligerents of the Ottomans during the WW1. It is a fact that while the Ottoman army was engaged in an extremely crucial war in several fronts, it was stabbed behind the back by the Armenian gangs and militia. It was against this that the decision to relocate part of the Armenian population was taken as a measure of self-defense for the survival of the Muslim Turkish population of Anatolia.
It is certainly extremely sad that innocent people lose their lives under war conditions. However, approaching the memory of victims of wars on the basis of their faith or ethnic origin has been the product of an inhumane mentality. We ask whether there has been any government or parliament that used the term “ shared agony” for those millions of Turks who were subjected to ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, Anatolia and the Caucasus from the beginning of the 19th century until 1920s. Has there been any government that declared a message of sympathy for the grandchildren of those 520.000 Muslims who were, as documentarily proven, killed by Armenian gangs and militia between 1915 and 1922.
Although their total population was around 1.350.000 in 1914, the Armenian diaspora and its supporters have been claiming that 1.500.000 Armenians were killed. This is a blatant lie. It is known very well that part of the Armenian population was exempted from the relocation decision and most of those who were sent to relocation region, northern Syria, then part of the Ottoman lands, reached their destination, a fact confirmed by the representatives of foreign embassies and relief organizations. Despite these obvious facts, the Pope and the European Parliament have recently termed what happened in 1915 as the Armenian Genocide. In the name of the reality, humanity and the Turkish nation, we condemn the Pope, the European parliament and similar institutions and statesmen for such one-sided accusations.
1 Türk Ocakları (Turkish Hearths) has been the oldest NGO in Turkey, founded in 1912.