Philippe Videlier published the book “Nuit turque” (“Turkish night”) in Paris in 2005. The book has been translated into several languages, including Greek, Russian, Armenian, and a number of others. The book was translated into Armenian and published by Pargev Shahbazyan in 2010.
In the book, the French historian and writer tells what happened to the indigenous people on their homeland at the will of the outsider Turks who had set a mission to eliminate the masters of the Armenian Highlands and to replace the region’s name with the political term “Eastern Anatolia”.
“Nuit turque” refers to a variety of historical documents, as well as testimonies of diplomats and the witnesses of the massacres of Armenians committed by the Turks and Kurds in the years of Sultan Abdul Hamid and the Young Turks.
“’Let us go to Stambul, master allowed us to kill Armenians,’ demanded the mob both in the city and the province as soon as the news of the massacres reached them. ‘Let us go, master allowed us.’ The house doors in the crooked streets of the Khas-Kech district were marked with chalk. By the evening, the mob has arrived by boats or just crossed the large bridge.
They have all been well-organized, disciplined, armed with iron rods, yataghans, and axes. They went into the houses and dragged people out by their arms, legs, hair. They stroke, cut, and hacked them with their weapons. Then, everything calmed down…
‘Pig’s trotters on sale!’ yelled the laughing murderers. They turned the heads of their victims into a bloody mess. Then, they left with the loot: money, jewelry, furniture, worn clothes, sandals, even copper cranes. They had the right to it: their master had allowed them.”
Videlier brings in the impressions of Europeans, a French woman and a British man, who witnessed those events. He also remarks the criminal position of German diplomats who were perfectly aware of the 1915 mass killings but didn’t forget that Turkey was their ally, that Djemal Pasha wore an Iron Cross on his coat, and that Enver Pasha was a military attache in Berlin.
The book also paid special attention to the efforts of the 4th US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau Sr. who attempted to intercede for the Armenians during his meetings with the Minister of Interior of the Ottoman Empire Talaat Pasha. However, Talaat, who had all the power over the state in his hands and commanded the life of its every subject, remained apathetic to the ambassador’s calls.
Over a century has passed since those events. The Turkish policy remains the same. The names of the three main perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, Enver, Talaat, and Djemal are treated with great respect. The government of this country isn’t going to acknowledge the monstrous one-century-old crime, let alone confess the mass killings.
A “Turkish night” continues to reign over the country. Perhaps, the present-day situation seems more decent than that of the era described by Videlier. Raffi was certainly right when he asserted that a “civilized” Turkey would become even more dangerous for its surroundings.
Professor Khachik Badikyan, Doctor of Philology