International Association of Genocide Scholars

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The IAGS unites over 500 mostly Western scholars and has been openly urging more nations to recognize the Armenian genocide since 2007. “The historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous and documented by overwhelming evidence,” it said in a 2007 letter to members of the U.S. Congress.

A Letter from The International Association of Genocide Scholars

President First Vice-President Second Vice-President Secretary-Treasurer
Israel Charny (Israel) Gregory H. Stanton (USA) Linda Melvern (UK) Steven Jacobs (USA)

To Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

TC Easbakanlik


Ankara, Turkey

FAX: 90 312 417 0476

June 13, 2005

Dear Prime Minister Erdogan,

We are writing you this open letter in response to your call for an "impartial study by historians" concerning the fate of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

We represent the major body of scholars who study genocide in North America and Europe. We are concerned that in calling for an impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention. We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades. The scholarly evidence reveals the following:

On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens — an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. The rest of the Armenian population fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years.

The Armenian Genocide was the most well-known human rights issue of its time and was reported regularly in newspapers across the United States and Europe. The Armenian Genocide is abundantly documented by thousands of official records of the United States and nations around the world including Turkey’s wartime allies Germany, Austria and Hungary, by Ottoman court-martial records, by eyewitness accounts of missionaries and diplomats, by the testimony of survivors, and by decades of historical scholarship.

The Armenian Genocide is corroborated by the international scholarly, legal, and human rights community:

  1. Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined the term genocide in 1944, cited the Turkish extermination of the Armenians and the Nazi extermination of the Jews as defining examples of what he meant by genocide.
  2. The killings of the Armenians is genocide as defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  3. In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, an organization of the world’s foremost experts on genocide, unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.
  4. 126 leading scholars of the Holocaust including Elie Wiesel and Yehuda Bauer placed a statement in the New York Times in June 2000 declaring the "incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide" and urging western democracies to acknowledge it.
  5. The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem), and the Institute for the Study of Genocide (NYC) have affirmed the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.
  6. Leading texts in the international law of genocide such as William A. Schabas's Genocide in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000) cite the Armenian Genocide as a precursor to the Holocaust and as a precedent for the law on crimes against humanity.

We note that there may be differing interpretations of genocide—how and why the Armenian Genocide happened, but to deny its factual and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims, and erase the ethical meaning of this history.

We would also note that scholars who advise your government and who are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled institutions are not impartial. Such so-called "scholars" work to serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish Parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide. In preventing a conference on the Armenian Genocide from taking place at Bogacizi University in Istanbul on May 25, your government revealed its aversion to academic and intellectual freedom—a fundamental condition of democratic society.

We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and equal participants in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust.

Approved Unanimously at the Sixth biennial meeting of


June 7, 2005, Boca Raton, Florida

Contacts: Israel Charny, IAGS President; Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide, 972-2-672-0424; [1]

Gregory H. Stanton, IAGS Vice President; President, Genocide Watch [2], James Farmer, Visiting Professor of Human Rights, University of Mary Washington; 703-448-0222; [3]


International Genocide Scholars Meet In Armenia


The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) began a conference of its members in Yerevan on Wednesday, underscoring its strong support for greater international recognition ofthe 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

The five-day forum titled “Comparative Analysis of 20th Century Genocides” is attended by some 180 scholars from around the world specializing in research of crimes against humanity and seeking the prevention of more such atrocities.

“2015 is an important year for all Armenians worldwide in terms of commemoration of the centennial of the beginning of the Armenian genocide,” the IAGS said last year in a statement announcing the venue of its 12th meeting.

“The Armenian genocide is sometimes considered as the first genocide of the 20th century and in many ways served as a template for subsequent genocidal crimes,” it said. “2015 is also is the year of 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Holocaust.”

“Therefore, it is a significant time to analyze both crimes and all genocides of the 20th century in global and comparative perspectives,” added the association founded in 1994.

The IAGS conference is taking place under the auspices of the Armenian Genocide Museum- Institute in Yerevan. President Serzh Sarkisian underlined its significance for the Armenian government with a speech at the opening session of the forum.

“One hundred years have passed since the Armenian genocide but nothing has been forgotten,” said Sarkisian. “We have also not forgotten those intellectuals, scholars and humanists who … have shed light on the crime committed 100 years ago, making sure that it is not veiled by time.”

Sarkisian went on to thank Pope Francis, other world leaders and foreign states who publicly described the 1915 slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians as genocide shortly before or after the April 24 ceremonies in Armenia that marked its centenary. “It is in this context that I regard your decision to hold your conference in Armenia in this important year of commemoration,” he said.

The IAGS, which unites over 500 mostly Western scholars, has been openly urging more nations to recognize the Armenian genocide since 2007. “The historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous and documented by overwhelming evidence,” it said in a 2007 letter to members of the U.S. Congress.