Letter: Genocide rewritten

I WILL let the Greeks and the Greek Cypriots fight their corners, but I cannot let pass the nonsense about "crimes unleashed on hundreds of thousands of Turks by Armenian 'Tashnaks' prior to the ordeals of 1915..." (Letters, 3 January)

Since the genocide of the Armenians was planned as early as 1913 (after the Turkish defeat in the Balkan war), and since Armenians were systematically disarmed, the suggestion that the Armenians unleashed anything on the Turks is outlandish. If Koray Asena refers to the few pockets of Armenians who defended themselves, then he must mean those who heard about the mass killings and deportations elsewhere and decided to resist when their turn came to die. The image of my father's 12-year-old sister killing Turks is a picture I have difficulties seeing.

For Mr Asena to talk about Armenians killing Turks is as tasteless as talking about the holding qualities of various kinds of rope in the home of a man who has been hanged. It reflects one of the more recent twists in the Turkish distortion of history in order to deny this century's first genocide during which more than 2 million Armenians were killed or otherwise removed from their 3,000-year-old homeland.

As to reading about the genocide, you could not possibly allot me enough space to list the relevant documents, but some places to start would be in Hansard and the British newspapers of the period, the report by Arnold Toynbee, and An Ambassador's Diary, the account of his time in Turkey by the American ambassador Henry Morganthau.


London W1