Turkish Genocides: Introduction
‘Genocide’ is a concept that most people associate with the two large ideologies of the 20th century, communism and Nazism, who in termination camps, through hunger and deportations killed millions and millions of individuals. In particular the dreadful fate of the Jews comes to mind in the context of genocide. But others were also on the list of groups to be extinguished for their religiousness rather than their ethnicity. In the Soviet Union millions were killed for the sole reason that they were Christians. Of the originally 40.000 churches so many were closed or destroyed that at a time only 40 churches were active in the Soviet Union. And for Nazism, in particular Catholics were hated. In Poland alone, one third of the priests, monks and nuns were murdered. Even the Catholic bishop of Berlin was shot.
The third large ‘ism’, which stands behind a series of genocides of which few have ever heard, is Islam. Though being a religion, it is at the same time an extensive body of law and a system for society. With the institution of the Islamic caliphate and in the wake of the Islamic conquests, one people after another was destroyed. Genocide followed genocide, in particular at the conquest of Buddhist and Hinduistic areas, where millions were ruthlessly murdered. This booklet will restrain itself to the genocides that took place within the area of the Turkish caliphate in recent times, in particular the years 1875 through 1955. Here in particular the genocide of the Armenians stand out, also because of the inaction of the European countries. But also the genocides against the Macedonians, Bulgarians and Greeks will be covered.
The sources are chosen as broadly as possible: From Ernest Hemingway over Georg Brandes to the Danish heroine Karen Jeppe, who worked herself out for the dying Armenian people. Furthermore there are accounts from German, English and German consuls and officers, and a personal account of the atrocities a small Armenian girl endured during one of the Armenian death marches. The tale of the Armenian girl Serpouhi is in its simplicity and terror so grasping that it shows the vastness of the atrocities that took place.
My diligent research after broad sources led me to read horrors I had not thought possible. And I am not ashamed by stating that many tears were felled during the writing of this book.