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ARMENIAN GENERAL BENEVOLENT UNION
805 Manoogian Street
OTTOMAN ARCHIVES OPEN A SLIVER
Montreal, Wednesday September 7, 2005 -
Filled to capacity last Thursday night at the Montreal Armenian Community's AGBU Demirdjian Hall, renowned German archival historian and genocide scholar, Dr. Hilmar Kaiser, delivered a presentation on his recent studies in the Ottoman archives.
Dr. Kaiser had worked in the Ottoman archives between 1991 and 1995. In 1996, he was banned from the archives by the Turkish authorities for political reasons. In the past, he had uncovered important archival material detailing key aspects of the Armenian Genocide but was stymied by bureaucratic impediments. He eventually received an outright lifetime ban. For years, scholars, politicians, and Armenians worldwide had demanded his readmission.
In July 2005, Dr. Kaiser, visited the Turkish Prime Minister's Ottoman Archives in Istanbul, Turkey. He spoke about the full and unhindered cooperation of the staff at these archives. Therefore today, he concluded projects he had left unfinished 10 years earlier.
Dr. Kaiser said that a critical step forward in the opening of the Ottoman Turkish archives has been made. The Turkish government has officially reopened those archives and the ban on Dr. Kaiser's work there has been lifted.
He spoke about important material that he has uncovered such as miscellaneous original deportation orders against Armenians in the Anatolian regions of Ottoman Turkey thus confirming the views of worldwide Genocide scholars. But, some collections of the Turkish Prime Minister's Ottoman archives are still unavailable. Notably, the Ottoman Ministry of the Interior's Directorate for Public Security, 2nd Department (Armenian Department) remains closed.
It is hoped that the positive developments at the Turkish archives will continue and those collections will be made available for study in the near future.
Dr. Kaiser's lecture finished with a lively question and answer session with the audience. For more information, please contact AGBU Montreal at 514-748-2428 or by email agbumontreal @ bellnet.ca, attention: Harry Dikranian
Dr. Hilmar Kaiser's most recently published an introduction and provided commentary in a book entitled "The Memoirs of Abram Elkus: Lawyer, Ambassador Statesman." Abram Elkus was the American Ambassador to Turkey following Henry Morgenthau. This and other books by Dr. Kaiser are available for purchase on the web at http://www.garodbooks.com