By Ümit Kurt
The question in one sentence: “What happened to the Armenians on April 24, 1915?”
What happened on April 24 in fact is one of the significant radical moments in the process of extreme violence and mass annihilation of the great tragedy, which befell the Armenians. For it was through a decision taken on April 24, 1915, that the route of the deportation of the Armenians, which actually began in February to March 1915 in Dörtyol, Adana, Marash and Zeytun and was planned to go to Konya, evolved to go out of Anatolia and to stop in Syria.
On that same day, first in Istanbul, and later in all of the provinces of Anatolia, the arrest of Armenian intellectuals began, which would continue as long as July 1915 and lead to the murder of many around Çankiri, Ayas and Ankara. Again on the same day, troops of the British Empire began to bombard Çanakkale from land and sea. The wrath of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) leaders of the Ottoman Empire, feeling pressed into a corner and their existence threatened, fell first of all upon the Armenian community and afterwards on all non-Muslim Ottoman subjects.
“What happened in 1915?” “In 1915, did the central administration of the Committee of Union and Progress (the triumvirate of Enver, Talat and Cemal and the two physicians, Drs. Nazim and Bahattin Sakir, who organized the entire deportations and massacres) truly carry out a systematic, planned policy of annihilation of the Ottoman Armenians?” It is well known that official Turkish historical literature and its representatives have wandered around all sides of these questions — to the left, to the right, to the front and to the back — but in a word have avoided answering them. They attempt to cover up the numbers of Armenians who lost their lives during the deportations with calculations “proved by documents.” They have not shown themselves interested in historical problems such as “what happened for the Committee of Union and Progress [CUP] regime to decide to follow such a policy of massacre against the Armenians?” or “what process led to this point?”
Let us give its name without any hesitation. Yes, Turkey continues in the course of a 100-year policy of lies and denial. And with great desire, arrogance and determination, it continues this mendacious policy anew with new techniques and methods. It has so internalized this deceitful policy that lies have been turned into the truth, and the truth has been turned into the regime. We live under a “truth regime of deceitful policy.” This regime has been able to preserve itself up to a certain period. It built itself protective castles and created a strong ideological discourse, an infrastructure and an important indoctrination process with which to buttress itself. For this purpose, the bureaucrats of the “truth regime,” intellectuals, and all possible ideological and bureaucratic tools for the carrying out this deceitful policy have been mobilized. An entire country, with its public opinion, media, History Foundation and Higher Education Foundation, central Ottoman archives, universities, military General Staff, War History Office, Ministry of Education, and Board of Education and Discipline, through history curricula and teachers, and through the education faculties created by those teachers, has twinned itself to a historical event which took place 100 years ago.