World

Armenians keep their archives on 1915 events closed

In contrast, says scholar, academics who accept Armenian genocide thesis can easily research Ottoman archives

Muhammet Ikbal Arslan, Dildar Baykan   | 03.05.2019
Armenians keep their archives on 1915 events closed

ANKARA / NEW YORK

Even as Armenians continue to push their claims about the events of 1915, they violate principles of good scholarship by only allowing those who support these claims to access their historical archives.

Armenia and the Armenian diaspora this year, like every year, continued to pursue their propaganda against Turkey on the international stage over the 1915 events.

Yet Armenians have refused Turkey’s call to open archives on the events and its proposal to form a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.

The Armenian archives -- the national archives in the capital Yerevan, the archives of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the city of Vagharshapat, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem archives, the Tashnag Party’s archives in the greater U.S. Boston area, and the Zoryan Institute archives in Toronto, Canada -- are open only to some Armenians and foreigners who support the Armenian claims.

Anadolu Agency refused access

For instance, the Armenians rejected an Anadolu Agency correspondent's request to access the archives in Watertown, part of the greater Boston area.

“Due to the ongoing digitization process and our limited staff, we cannot respond to all requests,” said George Aghjaya, director of the Armenian Historical Archives.


Turkish and Ottoman archives are accessible

“The Turkish and Ottoman archives were modernized and systematically classified in the 1990s and 2000s,” Mustafa Serdar Palabiyik, an international relations professor at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, told Anadolu Agency.

According to Palabiyik, the condition of the Turkish archives is extremely good. “It’s not possible to talk about any problems in accessing the Turkish and Ottoman archives,” he said.

“Many local and foreign academics who accept the Armenian genocide thesis can easily research and obtain documents in the Ottoman archives,” he added.

“However, Armenians systematically hinder researchers who do not support their claims from accessing their archives.”

“Especially in the years 2000-2007, there have been very positive developments in accessing the Turkish archives,” Maxime Gauin, a French historian at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University, told Anadolu Agency.

“However, one cannot see positive changes in access to the Armenian archives,” Gauin added.

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" but describes the 1915 events 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 plus international experts to examine the issue.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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