By Alin K. Gregorian
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A capacity audience gathered to hear Prof. Taner Akçam speak about his most recent book, The Young Turks’ Crime against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Akçam is the only scholar of Turkish descent who chairs an Armenian studies department and one of only a handful of Armenian Genocide scholars researching in the Turkish archives. He has mined the archives extensively, with his latest book significantly contributing to the field.
“At the risk of sounding immodest, this is a first in many ways,” Akçam said of the book, noting that he is presenting new theses to explain the Genocide. He said there are two issues: what happened and why did it happen. “As to why,” he said, “We still have a long way to go.”
The latest book is based on more than 600 documents from the Ottoman archives. There are two contradictory views, he explained.