411:1

Editorial, 31 December 2014

“Turks and Armenians were living together harmoniously for centuries. Then the ungrateful Armenians decided to break apart the Ottoman Empire and create an independent Armenian state. To prevent Armenians from destroying the empire which had done so much for them, the Turkish authorities sent them to Syria. The government also wanted to keep its Armenian citizens away from harm’s way by moving them away from WWI theaters of war.”

For years this and its several variations have been top of the chart for Turkey’s propagandists, apologists, and Genocide deniers. There’s no doubt the tiresome sing-song will continue to be a hit next year as Ankara continues its inane campaign against the Armenians as the latter commemorate the centennial of the Genocide.

Editorial, 31 December 2014

“Turks and Armenians were living together harmoniously for centuries. Then the ungrateful Armenians decided to break apart the Ottoman Empire and create an independent Armenian state. To prevent Armenians from destroying the empire which had done so much for them, the Turkish authorities sent them to Syria. The government also wanted to keep its Armenian citizens away from harm’s way by moving them away from WWI theaters of war.”

For years this and its several variations have been top of the chart for Turkey’s propagandists, apologists, and Genocide deniers. There’s no doubt the tiresome sing-song will continue to be a hit next year as Ankara continues its inane campaign against the Armenians as the latter commemorate the centennial of the Genocide.

Because third-party followers of the news don’t know the truth about the above Turkish macabre tale and next year might give credence to the Turkish mythinformation, Armenians need to have a synopsis of the facts at their finger tips when they tell non-Armenians what truly happened.  They need a narrative which is short, to the point, and accurate.

The below statistics tell the truth loud and clear. They can be told within a minute or two—without confusing third parties with an avalanche of information.

At the beginning of 1915 the Ottoman Army had 2,873,000 officers and conscripts. In addition, it had several thousand German specialists and senior officers. The Ottoman Army was a professional military force and was equipped with modern weapons mostly supplied by its German ally. It had machine guns and cannons, modern telecommunication systems and an infrastructure (ex. medical care, food) to carry on a modern war.

In addition, the Ottoman Army was buttressed by recently-released convicts who were armed and given a free hand to eliminate the Armenians, including women and children. Lastly, there were the countless Kurds who were also armed and encouraged to kill the “infidel” Armenians.

And how many Armenian fedayeen fighters were there at the beginning of 1915? The highest estimate is around 7,000, spread across a vast territory. Unlike the Turks and Germans, they were amateurs and were armed with outdated weapons, home-made guns and had little ammunition. They had no modern communication network or medical support. For example, during the Van resistance, fewer than 1,500 Armenian combatants faced 15,960 Turkish soldiers in addition to Kurdish fighters. The latter had been given 24,000 rifles by the authorities.  The Armenians had 505 rifles, 720 Mauser pistols, and a small supply of ammunition.

Putting aside the uncounted number of Kurds, the convicts, the riff-raff, the Hamidiyes, and the Germans, in 1915 some 7,000 Armenian amateurs “fought” a professional force of 2,873,000. That’s a ratio of 411:1.

Yet, according to Turkey, this ragtag handful of Armenian amateurs were about to break up the Ottoman Empire. To accomplish that fantasy, each Armenian fighter had to kill 411 Ottoman soldiers without suffering a single loss. Not even a superhero conflation of Hercules, Superman, Lawrence of Arabia, the Red Baron, Billy Bishop, and Hollywood fantasy heroes could accomplish that magnitude of kill ratio.

There’s a “kicker” addendum to the above facts: Armenians were considered by the Ottomans as the loyal ethnic group. Armenians meekly went about minding their own business. Overtaxed, abused, harassed… they bent their heads and obeyed the unjust laws of the Ottomans. But despite their loyalty and vast and diverse contributions to the empire, they were discriminated, oppressed, looted, killed…

So why should Turkish authorities be surprised that some frustrated Armenians—a minute minority—would conclude that the only way to get the attention of the Sublime Porte was to defend their communities from quotidian Turkish depredations?

The puzzle is that only 7,000 Armenians took up arms.

Seven-thousand amateurs against 2,873,000 professionals.

One against four-hundred and eleven.

Some conspiracy to destroy the Ottoman Empire.

Some excuse for eliminating a nation.

Remember these statistics next time you hear about the “Great Armenian Conspiracy to Destroy the Ottoman Empire” malarkey.

 

3 comments
  1. Outnumbered freedom fighters

    Thank you, Keghart, for yet another editorial that speaks truth to power. You will not see such an article appear in mainstream media outlets. This piece reminds us why we must continue to support the free Armenian press.

  2. Keghart is doing a tremendous

    Keghart is doing a tremendous service to the Armenian cause and Armenian interests in general,unlike the rest of the Armenian media who are pedalling the message of our corrupt and criminal regime in Armenia for medals and business favours and opportunities from this fraudulent regime .

    Thank you Keghart.

  3. Defense or Offense

    Thank you for raising this important point. It is quite common for aggressors in atrocities to blame the victim. Although ridiculous from a factual perspective, denialists are not usually interested in the truth.

    When you push people beyond the limits of human dignity with institutional discrimination, corruption and violence, they will instinctively respond to defend themselves. That big lie of the Turks….That defending our God-given right to live in dignity was an act of aggression and justified there premeditation.

    The fedayees of the Armenians were heroes who attempted to restore the dignity of a peaceful people. They inspired generations that the victims had rights also. Azerbaijan tried the same act 25 years ago.

    Blame the victim who successfully prevented further atrocities.

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