The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity
The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 08:44 PM UT
Publication Date: April 15, 2012
Introducing new evidence from more than 600 secret Ottoman documents, this book demonstrates in unprecedented detail that the Armenian Genocide and the expulsion of Greeks from the late Ottoman Empire resulted from an official effort to rid the empire of its Christian subjects. Presenting these previously inaccessible documents along with expert context and analysis, Taner Akçam's most authoritative work to date goes deep inside the bureaucratic machinery of Ottoman Turkey to show how a dying empire embraced genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Although the deportation and killing of Armenians was internationally condemned in 1915 as a "crime against humanity and civilization," the Ottoman government initiated a policy of denial that is still maintained by the Turkish Republic. The case for Turkey's "official history" rests on documents from the Ottoman imperial archives, to which access has been heavily restricted until recently. It is this very source that Akçam now uses to overturn the official narrative.
The documents presented here attest to a late-Ottoman policy of Turkification, the goal of which was no less than the radical demographic transformation of Anatolia. To that end, about one-third of Anatolia's 15 million people were displaced, deported, expelled, or massacred, destroying the ethno-religious diversity of an ancient cultural crossroads of East and West, and paving the way for the Turkish Republic.
By uncovering the central roles played by demographic engineering and assimilation in the Armenian Genocide, this book will fundamentally change how this crime is understood and show that physical destruction is not the only aspect of the genocidal process.
Editorial Reviews (from the inside book cover)
"For the past two decades, Taner Akçam has been tirelessly unearthing the Armenian Genocide. In The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity, he writes with a compassionate understanding both for the fears of the Ottoman Turks, who nearly became a subject people at the end of World War I, and for the aspirations of Armenians, Greeks, and others to emancipate themselves from the Ottoman yoke. This is essential reading for all who want to understand these world-historical events."-- Seyla Benhabib, Yale University
"Taner Akçam, a meticulous and courageous scholar, continues his pathbreaking work on the Turkish genocide of Armenians. The Young Turks' Crime against Humanity will have extraordinary significance not only for Armenians and Turks, but for all students of genocide and for the larger human struggle to identify, name, and combat mass killing."-- Robert Jay Lifton, author of Witness to an Extreme Century: A Memoir
"This major new contribution to our understanding of the Turkish atrocities directed against the Armenians in 1915 draws upon much hitherto untapped material. Akçam is a courageous scholar who has paid a stiff price for his intellectual integrity. He is also a masterful academic who thoroughly researches the primary sources and then writes with unquestionable authority."-- William A. Schabas, Middlesex University
"Akçam's newest book on the Armenian genocide is based on stunning documentation from the Ottoman Turkish archives. Arguing that the annihilation of the Armenians (and the ethnic cleansing of the Ottoman Greeks) was based primarily on the Young Turks' commitment to demographic engineering, Akçam also explores the forced conversion and assimilation of Armenian children and the seizure of Armenian property. The book stands as powerful testimony to those who perished and as an unimpeachable rebuttal to denial."-- Norman M. Naimark, author of Stalin's Genocides
"This is an extraordinary book in many ways. It is an important contribution to the documentation of the Armenian Genocide and stands as a marker to what we now know. And it is simply stunning to read through the documents gathered by Akçam and to hear the voices of those who ordered the deportations and killings."-- Ronald Suny, University of Michigan
About the Author
Taner Akçam, the first scholar of Turkish origin to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, holds the Kaloosdian and Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. His many books include "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility".