YEREVAN — On June 14, 2018, the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted Turkish-German historian Dr. Taner Akcam who delivered a guest lecture on Turkish denialism of the Armenian Genocide and the killing orders in Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha’s telegrams.
AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian greeted the guests and gave floor to Dr. Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, Assistant Professor and the upcoming Chair of the Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program, who introduced the speaker. Dr. Akcam is known as one of the first Turkish scholars to publicly acknowledge and study the Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government at the beginning of the 20th century.
“In order to understand the Turkish denialism, we should know one thing ? denialism in Turkey was an inherent component of the Armenian Genocide. So, the denial of the Armenian Genocide began not in the wake of the event but was an intrinsic part of the plan itself,” said Dr. Akcam.
Dr. Akcam discussed the denialist attitude of the Turkish government toward the Armenian Genocide based on the supposed “lack of original documentation,” the hidden or destroyed documents with killing orders, as well as the evidence proving the existence of Ottoman bureaucrat Naim Efendi, who had passed the killing orders of Talat Pasha to an Armenian intellectual named Aram Andonian. Dr. Akcam displayed the coding systems of some official Ottoman documents and telegrams which he had discovered in the private archives of Armenian Catholic priest Krikor Guerguerian.
“My last argument is, if the Turkish government believes that Talat Pasha’s telegrams, which Naim gave to Andonian, are fake, it’s very simple to prove. They should simply publish their coding books. The fact that for one hundred years they haven’t been publishing these books, shows only one thing ? the telegrams are authentic,” he concluded his lecture.
The attendees had the opportunity to ask Dr. Akcam questions related to his motivation to do research on the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish policy of denial, the possible change in the Turkish mentality toward recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as his future scholarly publications on this topic. During the Q&A session, Dr. Akcam proudly stated: “My father taught me one thing, ‘Tell the truth and fight for justice.’ This is how I grew up.”
His trip to Armenia was sponsored by Knights of Vartan.
You can watch Dr. Akcam’s full lecture here.