The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History

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Kevorkian Discusses Monumental Genocide Book in NY By: Weekly Staff

Mon, May 16 2011

NEW YORK (A.W.)—On May 13, Prof. Raymond Kevorkian of the University of Paris presented a lecture on his research on the Armenian Genocide at the AGBU Central Office in New York.

The event, organized by the AGBU’s online publication Ararat Magazine, was held on the occasion of the English translation publication of Kevorkian’s monumental 1,000-page book titled The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History (I.B. Tauris, 2011).

Kevorkian began with an overview of his methodology, noting that in the book he zooms in on the micro-histories of Armenian villages and towns during the genocide, in order to come up with overarching conclusions on the process of the destruction of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Kevorkian then elaborated on what he referred to as the “two phases of the genocide.” The first, beginning with the deportations of Armenians in March 1915, resulted in the destruction of 80 percent of the deportees from the Armenian provinces, on the way to their “destination” in Syria. The Armenians who were deported from Cilicia, on the other hand, had a relatively safer trek, and almost 90 percent of them reached the areas designated for them.

The second phase of the genocide began in March 1916, and was characterized by a complete overhaul of top Ottoman officials in Syria, the emptying of the concentration camps around Aleppo, and the pushing of the survivors mainly in two directions: towards Iraq and to the south alongside the Euphrates River.

The Young Turk leadership was surprised that nearly 500,000 Armenians survived the initial phase of the deportation and destruction, Kevorkian noted. And thus a second wave of massacres began, with almost 200,000 Armenians being massacred, for example, in Der Zor.

Speaking about the Special Organization that carried out massacres across the empire, Kevorkian said Turkish historiography had led us to believe that it was the Kurds who were heavily involved in the atrocities. He noted that material on the perpetrators from the archives of the Armenian Patriarchate demonstrates that most of the leading figures of the Special organization were, in fact, Circassians.

Kevorkian also discussed the fate of what is euphemistically referred to as the “abandoned property” of the Armenians. Providing examples from different regions of the Empire, he demonstrated how the state and local Young Turk cadres confiscated and transferred Armenian wealth to Turks.

The event concluded with a lively question and answer session.

Prior to New York, Kevorkian’s book tour of North America took him to several venues in Toronto, Montreal, California, and Michigan.

Kevorkian is a lecturer at the University of Paris and director of the AGBU Nubarian library in Paris. He is the author of several book on the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the genocide.