Turkey is constantly denying the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman government in 1915. Although decades of scientific research determined systematic exterminations of Armenians, Turkey continues to deny the fact of the Genocide by arguing about an alleged lack of direct evidence.
In his Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide, Turkish-German historian and sociologist Taner Akçam smashes the Turkish strategy of denial. Akçam featured a recently discovered document, which he himself refers to as a “smoking gun”. This document points to the central role of the Ottoman Empire in the planning of their Armenian population’s extermination. Apart from that, Akçam demonstrates that the orders of the massacres signed by the Ottoman Minister of Interior Talaat Pasha are genuine.
Named “Sherlock Holmes of the Armenian Genocide” in a recent New York Times article, Akçam discovered the evidence in a private archive. Akçam argues that the documents found by him decisively prove the Armenian Genocide.
“Successive Turkish governments have gone to great lengths to ensure that evidence of the intent to extinguish the Armenian people could not be located. These findings are ‘an earthquake in the field of genocide studies.’ They will make it impossible for the Turkish Government to continue to deny the Armenian Genocide,” says Akçam.
Akçam was one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide. He has lectured all around the globe and published numerous books and articles. In particular, the book “The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire” became a co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award.
Akçam’s many honors include the Hrant Dink Freedom Award from the Armenian Bar Association and the Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal from the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, both awarded in 2015. In May 2015, he was also awarded the Heroes of Justice and Truth at the centennial commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. In 2016, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) acknowledged him as a Friend of Armenians. In May, Akçam received the 2018 Outstanding Upstander Award from the organization named World Without Genocide.