Dr. Taner Akçam (Vartan Esenyan photo)

Akçam to Lecture on ‘The First Decision of the Armenian Genocide and the Role of the Kurds in Ottoman Documents’


FRESNO — Historian Dr. Taner Akçam will speak on “The First Decision of the Armenian Genocide and the Role of the Kurds in Ottoman Documents” on Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m., in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, on the Fresno State campus. A reception will take place immediately before the lecture at 6 p.m., in the University Business Center Gallery. The event is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring 2023 Lecture Series.

Based on some newly available Ottoman documents, Akçam will revisit the question of the final decision to exterminate the Armenian population. He will show that the first decision to exterminate Armenians, contrary to the common belief in the field, was not taken in February-March 1915 but much earlier, in the beginning weeks of the First World War in December 1914. He will also show that the letters belonging to Bahaattin Şakir revealing the decision of total extermination of the Armenians published by Aram Andonian are authentic.

The role of the Kurds during the Genocide is another important topic that Dr. Akçam will discuss. He will introduce some new Ottoman documents and argue that some Kurdish tribes acted not on the order of the central government and attacked the Armenian villages singlehandedly outside the central government’s control.

Akçam is the inaugural director of the Armenian Genocide Research Program at the UCLA Promise Institute. Before coming to UCLA, Akçam held the Kaloosdian and Mugar Endowed Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. Akçam is widely recognized as one of the first Turkish scholars to write extensively on the Ottoman-Turkish Genocide of the Armenians in the early 20th century. He published extensively on Armenian Genocide and Turkish Nationalism. His most known books are A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan Books, 2006) and “Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton University Press, 2012), received several awards. Akçam’s latest book is Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide (Palgrave, 2018).

He is the founder of Krikor Guerguerian Online Archive: https://wordpress.clarku.edu/guerguerianarchive/.

The reception and lecture are free and open to the public. Parking is available in Fresno State Lot P6, near the University Business Center, Fresno State. A parking pass is not required for the Friday evening presentation.

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The presentation will also be live-streamed on YouTube at: https://bit.ly/armenianstudiesyoutube.


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