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.
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 (Metropolitan Books).
"Akçam has long courted controversy in Turkey, where he was jailed as a student activist in the 1970s before claiming asylum in Germany, but his intellectual courage is beyond question. Moreover, while Turkey's official account of what happened in 1915 is unchanged, Turkish public and intellectual opinion is now much more open to debate. This dispassionate, scholarly study is a valuable contribution to help that debate move on."--Delphine Strauss, Financial Times
"[T]he fact that a Turkish historian with access to the Ottoman archives has written this book is of immeasurable significance."--Foreign Affairs
"Akçam has long been the most vocal Turkish scholars regarding the Ottoman participation in genocidal acts against Armenians. Here, using Ottoman archival sources, the author makes his case that the Young Turk government had planned prior to WWI to remove the empire's Christian and no-Turkish Muslim population. . . . The author's discussion of the removal and execution of the Armenians is extremely detailed and well documented, and his usage of Ottoman sources, although questioned by Turkish nationalist scholars, is a very important addition to the study of this issue."--Choice
"[A] major breakthrough in the our understanding of the social engineering that led to the near destruction of the Armenians of Anatolia, and of the dual-track mechanism for organizing it that the Young Turks employed. . . . [A] must for serious scholars of the Armenian Genocide."--John M. Evans, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia (2004-2006), American Diplomacy
"Taner Akçam's study represents a giant step forward. He produced a most important book, all the more so because the ideology of Islamism has endured, and most recently some of its outstanding proponents have seized power in the Middle East."--Dr. Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Table of Contents