View Poll Results: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

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Thread: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

  1. #1
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    Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Asking this question because recently one of my favorite bands System of a Down is starting a tour, and they are doing it in commemoration of 100th anniversary of "The Great Crime" (the Armenian Genocide) System of a Down to Commemorate Armenian Genocide | Al Jazeera America . This sparked my interest to see what DP's opinion on the manner is.

    Many countries have not recognized the Armenian Genocide. Its a topic of heated debate. The US government has not recognized it, but 44 states have.

    My question to you is: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?
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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Asking this question because recently one of my favorite bands System of a Down is starting a tour, and they are doing it in commemoration of 100th anniversary of "The Great Crime" (the Armenian Genocide) System of a Down to Commemorate Armenian Genocide | Al Jazeera America . This sparked my interest to see what DP's opinion on the manner is.

    Many countries have not recognized the Armenian Genocide. Its a topic of heated debate. The US government has not recognized it, but 44 states have.

    My question to you is: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?
    It happened, all right...but as so often the case (like Japan with the Rape of Nanking, what Britain did to India, and our own genocide of Native Americans), the ones who did it don't want to own up to it.
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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Contrarian View Post
    It happened, all right...but as so often the case (like Japan with the Rape of Nanking, what Britain did to India, and our own genocide of Native Americans),
    the ones who did it don't want to own up to it.


    Turkey will never admit that it happened.

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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    We have little evidence to the contrary, there is too much that tells us the Ottoman Empire did commit genocide against the Armenians even going so far as to leave behind the reasons for doing so. The Armenians not only thrived, but they aligned with Christians and that upset those in charge. Deportations, confiscation of property and wealth, and/or mass killings became the answer. It is still illegal to talk about this in Turkey, if that tells you anything about the will to keep this conversation closed.
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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    It is a tricky question because the definition of genocide is some what tricky.

    The general definition is "systematic destruction of all or a significant part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group"

    The problem here is "significant" and what is significant.

    For example, 6 million Jews out of about 15 million world wide. That is not all, but it certainly meets the significant part by any logical standards, especially when we only count European Jews.

    Another is the American Indian. Now the tricky part here is that we dont have numbers or even reliable estimates of the native American Indian population during the US expansion west. So the question is, was there enough Indians slaughtered in this expansion west to justify the genocide claim? Personally I would say yes, but US history books I learned history from never mentioned genocide of the American Indian. But we do know that quite a few Indian tribes were wiped out, which meets the "all" criteria.

    The final example is the so called Bosnian Genocide. Now here we have portions of the population targeted because of their religious or ethnic build. Were all killed? Nope. Were a "significant" portion killed? not really, if we use the Jewish holocaust as a guide. Considering the population of Bosnia is in the millions and that "genocide" part was under 10000 people, then no this certainly does not meet the basic criteria. Of course politically the UN and west had to paint it as genocide or ethnic cleansing, but in reality it was just war and **** happens so to say. For example, in Iraq during the US occupation there was far more killed in an ethnic cleansing campaign by the various sides but that is not called a genocide or even ethnic cleansing by most.. so...

    Now the Armenian question. Like in the American Indian example, accurate numbers are hard to come by. On top of that you have a hell of a lot of allied propaganda during a time of war to muddle through for truth and what is basic disinformation and propaganda. The estimates of deaths go from under 500k to 1.5 million. The problem comes to the estimation of the Armenian population at the time and frankly after. It is here it gets really strange.

    According to the Armenian religious scholars, in 1912 there were just over 1 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.. so considering that there were still Armenians after the so called genocide, then the 1.5 million deaths is impossible. Others state there was more likely 1.6 to 2 million, which makes the 1.5 million possible. The Ottoman census of 1914 stated there was 1.2 million, also making the 1.5 million deaths impossible. Other figures from the late 1800s stated around 1.2 million down to 800k.

    Now lets say that it was the high number of 2 million, then killing off 500k to 1.5 million would be significant and it would trigger the genocide accusation.

    Problem comes from a 1922 US State Department estimations, that state there was 817873 Armenian refugees. Other sources state there was 281k Armenians left in Anatolia, 150k in Constantinople and 131k in Asia Minor in 1921. Now that is 562k Armenians.. but the Armenians them selves stated that there was 1 million of them before the genocide, so how can there be 1.5 million killed which is what most pro-Armenian genocide people quote..

    So the math simply does not add up, which is why the genocide claim is a bit iffy. Mass murder and ethnic cleansning.. sure, but out right genocide of a population of up to 2 million when the US states there are 817k refugees and 562k still in what was left of the Ottoman Empire?

    So to the question.. no, not genocide since there is not enough factual information. But yes to mass organized murder and ethnic cleansing.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Asking this question because recently one of my favorite bands System of a Down is starting a tour, and they are doing it in commemoration of 100th anniversary of "The Great Crime" (the Armenian Genocide) System of a Down to Commemorate Armenian Genocide | Al Jazeera America . This sparked my interest to see what DP's opinion on the manner is.

    Many countries have not recognized the Armenian Genocide. Its a topic of heated debate. The USk government has not recognized it, but 44 states have.

    My question to you is: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?
    I think not but I'm not sure enough to make a solid vote on it. However, from that I know about it, it was not a nazi style Holocaust but more of brutal eviction over a period of time. THAT may be the reason for the nonrecognitions.
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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    The general definition is "systematic destruction of all or a significant part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group"
    That's one definition.

    Whether or not it's the "general" definition is completely subjective.

    Since there's no authoritative regulatory body that oversees the inclusion and/or definition of words in the English language the best we can do when looking to define a word is to turn to what are widely considered the "good" dictionaries.

    The OED defines genocide as:

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxford English Dictionary
    The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
    And the M-W defines genocide as:

    Quote Originally Posted by Merriam-Webster
    The deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group.
    By either of these definitions the Ottoman government's deliberate and systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects is genocide.

    There are certainly other, less respected dictionaries out there that can define words in any number of ways and there's usually nothing wrong with using them.

    But if you're trying to come as close as possible to something that might approach an "authoritative" definition you can't go wrong to follow the OED/M-W lead, especially when they're largely or wholly in agreement, as they are here..
    Last edited by soot; 04-06-15 at 04:10 PM.
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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by soot View Post
    That's one definition.

    Whether or not it's the "general" definition is completely subjective.
    Actually it is not that subjective as you might think. There is plenty of legal basis for the definition I pointed out and it has been used before. And as I pointed out, it is a weak definition because of the significant aspect.

    Since there's no authoritative regulatory body that oversees the inclusion and/or definition of words in the English language the best we can do is turn to what are widely considered the "good" dictionaries.
    LOL dictionaries? Seriously, only legal decisions from various jurisdictions should be used, especially those from international courts.. not dictionaries.. seriously, might as well use a cornflakes box definition then.

    The OED defines genocide as:
    Then there is a hell of a lot of genocide going on... basically any war.

    And the M-W defines genocide as:
    Even worse definition.. does not even have to be a war.. gang crime in any major city could meet this definition.

    By either of these definitions the Ottoman government's deliberate and systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects is certainly genocide.
    By any these definitions, the US invasion of Panama could be called genocide.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    It is a tricky question because the definition of genocide is some what tricky.

    The general definition is "systematic destruction of all or a significant part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group"

    The problem here is "significant" and what is significant.
    While I am inclined to agree with you, given the history here and intention I am having a hard time looking at this as other than genocide (even if the Ottoman Empire was not as successful at ridding themselves of the Armenians, in various means, as the definition needs it to be.)
    "Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people." - Penn Jillette.

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    Re: Did the Ottoman Empire Commit Genocide Against the Armenians?

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanSlug View Post
    While I am inclined to agree with you, given the history here and intention I am having a hard time looking at this as other than genocide (even if the Ottoman Empire was not as successful at ridding themselves of the Armenians, in various means, as the definition needs it to be.)
    I dont disagree, but I think we have to be careful on using certain definitions like genocide because it could end up as "terrorism" or worse "liberalism".. actually meaning nothing and can be thrown against anyone someone disagrees with. Genocide to me is like the Jewish Holocaust and using the term in conjunction with say the Bonsnian war or even the Iraqi war (nr 2.) is just wrong, but some people have done so. Even today in the Syrian conflict, the word genocide is being used again and again... and frankly that is a bit iffy to say the least.

    That is why I like the term ethnic cleansing better in this case (and others), because it can be used in small geographic areas and does not need to include killing all people.. driving them out for example is also ethnic cleansing. And ethnic cleansing has happened far more and more often during history that we dare admit.

    The problem is also that the age old animosity towards Turks/Ottomans have been driving a lot of the "Armenian Genocide" bid, and not the facts. Yes it was mass organised ethnic cleansing/forced deportation with mass murder there is no doubt about that.. the Turks dont even dispute this fact. But labelling it a genocide changes the whole picture, both legally and morally. Genocide is a very very powerful word.. just like Terrorism once was.
    PeteEU

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