ISTANBUL (Marmara)—A prominent Turkish historian told Taraf newspaper in an interview published Wednesday that “the Young Turks planned to annihilate the entire Armenian population.”
Historian Selim Deringil told Taraf that there was also a distinction between the aims of the Young Turks and their predecessor Sultan Abdul Hamid at the turn of the 19th century.
“The difference between Sultan Abdul Hamid and the Young Turks was that the Young Turks wanted to completely destroy and annihilate the Armenians, while Sultan Abdul Hamid sought to get rid of a certain element of Armenians, to diminish their economic dominance and to create and Islamic bourgeoisie.”
“There were Armenians [living] everywhere [in Turkey]. The massacre of Armenians took place in different cities. Today, the official history states that in all the areas where people were killed there were Armenians revolts; however, the majority of those were not rebellions,” said Deringil.
The historian told Taraf that between 1841 and 1897, 300,000 Armenian were massacred under Sultan Adbul Hamid. He claims that 800,000 were murdered during the Armenian Genocide.
Deringil also cites the failures of Turkish policy after the establishment of the modern-day Republic. He told Taraf that at the onset of the Republic an estimated 300,000 Armenians lived in Turkey, while today that number has dwindled to 70,000.
“Annihilation does not only happen through killings,” claimed Derengil. “If you make life unbearable [for people] they will pick up and leave.”
Derengil also criticized Turkish historians, who, he said, spend all of their time trying to rationalize Turkey’s official denialist position on the Genocide. “They work only to prove that Armenian assertions are baseless.”
After World War I, Derengil said, there was plenty of evidence that demonstrated the crimes, kidnapping and rape of Armenian women in Anatolia beginning in 1915. He cited that at that time the number of adoptions was 300,000”
“This is worth discussion.”