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The Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide of 1915

The Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide of 1915

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Published by Whitney Olsen

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Whitney Olsen on Dec 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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 1Whitney OlsenHistory 457-01Comparative EssayDecember 2, 2011The Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide of 1915In 1915, the Ottoman Empire began a deliberate attack and elimination of theArmenian population within its borders. This high organization and methodicalslaughter of the Armenians has become known as the Armenian Genocide or theArmenian Holocaust, one of the very first genocides to occur in modern times. Theastonishing thing is that, despite overwhelming evidence that would satisfy even themost stubborn critic, the modern Republic of Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire)continues to deny that a genocide against the Armenians ever took place. For thisreason, I have become fascinated with this historical event and would consider myself to be on a personal quest to discover why the Republic of Turkey continues to denytheir involvement in an event that is obviously true and why they refuse to accept theblame of something that happened almost 100 years ago. In my research, I havenoticed that many sources have vastly different approaches and perspectives on theArmenian Genocide of 1915. Some sources do not even acknowledge that it happenedand others go into great detail concerning the matter. For this essay, I haveconcentrated my research on comparing the accuracy and particular biases of threedifferent authors that write about the genocide. I will
compare the three sources’
approach to
how 
the Armenians were treated during the attacks,
what 
the Turks’
reasoning was for desiring to wipe out the Armenian race, and
why 
the Republic of Turkey firmly denies their involvement in the genocide to this day.
 
 2In the research process, it is crucial to understand whom the authors of yoursources are and what particular biases they have regarding the topic. Without understanding this, you may not have a very accurate perspective of the historicalsituation. For the purposes of understanding the Armenian genocide, I consulted the
book “Turkey: The Quest for Identity” b
y Feroz Ahmad. Orginally, Ahmad studied
history at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. Then he studied history at the
University of London where he obtained his PhD. Ahmad became an emeritusprofessor of history at the University of Massachusetts in 1978. He is considered to bean expert on modern Turkey and Middle East history. Ahmad worked in the Center forMiddle Eastern Studies at Harvard University in 1980-81. Some of his other worksinclude
“The Making of Modern Turkey” (1993), “From Empire to Re
public: Essays on
the Late Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey” (2008), and “Democracy in the Process
of Tu
rkey” (1994). Ahmad also was a visiting s
cholar at the Fares Center for EasternMediterranean Studies at Tufts University in the United States. Ahmad served as theChair of the Department of International Relations and Political Science at the YeditepeUniversity in Istanbul. As of 2005, Ahmad retired from being a professor and settled in
Turkey. Because of all Ahmad’s accomplishments and depth of studies
, it would seem
that he would be a highly credible source. However, in his book “Turkey: The Quest forIdentity,” he does not mention the Armenian Genocide even though he claims to give a
complete chronological list of the events in modern Turkey. It appears that his bias isto present Turkey in the same light that the current leaders of Turkey desire to havetheir country presented to the world. This bias would include denying the existence of the Armenian Genocide. Knowing this about Ahmad, it makes me leery to fully trust his
 
 3
works. His purpose in writing “Turkey: Quest for Identity” was to educate those whodo not know much about Turkey’s history and give an account of the current 
challenges the country faces.In contrast, Richard Stoneman, th
e author of “A Traveller’s History of Turkey,”
was born near Devon, England. He spent thirty years as a classics editor for Routledgeand recently retired from that in 2006. He is now an honorary visiting professor at TheUniversity of Exeter. His primary research interest has been in Greek tradition,primarily focusing on Alexander the Great. He is a Director of Westminster ClassicTours, which takes tour groups to classical sites in Turkey and Greece. He is the author
of many books including “A Literary Companion to Travel in Greece” (1984), “Legendsof Alexander the Great” (1994), and “Across the Hellespont: Travellers in Turkey from
Herodotus
to Freya Stark” (
1987). Stoneman appears to be a credible source, especiallyregarding Greek history. However, since his research has primarily been focused onGreek world history and Alexander the Great, we know that the history of Turkey is not his area of expertise. Because his interests have not been directly related to the historyin modern Turkey, it would seem that he would not have any huge bias regarding the
Armenian Genocide. I find these discoveries about Stoneman’s background to be
interesting because it certainly diminishes my trust in his credibility on this particular
subject. His purpose in writing “A Traveller’s History of Turkey” was to educate
students and tourists about important background information of Turkey that theycould not normally find in a guide. The emphasis of the book is given to sites andmonuments that are still in existence today; however, Stoneman claims that this book gives an accurate description of the events of Turkey from ancient to present times.

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