Nouvelles d'Armenie    
Halacoglu offers $20 million for Armenian archives ; claims 500,000 Armenians in Anatolia today

A Sefa Kaplan report in today’s Hurriyet (May 20th, 2008) says that Prof. Yusuf Halacoglu, the President of the Turkish History Society, has offered $20 million "to have the Armenian archives in Boston opened."

Prof Halacoglu reportedly said : "I offered $20 million in cash to have the Dashnak archives opened. With that money, the documents in the archives can easily be cataloged. However, there were no takers.

"The Dashnak archives in Boston are very important. They contain the answers to many of the questions asked today. I told this openly to journalists who came here to interview me as well as various members of the US House of Representatives. I also asked historians Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser to convey this proposal to our colleagues there. The Dashnaks were until now saying that they cannot open their archives because they do not have the money to catalog it. So I said : ’We will give you whatever money you need, just as long as we can have the archives opened.’ However, there was no response."

Halacoglu continued : "This archive must certainly be opened if we want to find out what happened in 1915—how many Armenians died and how many emigrated. We entered US, Russian, British, French, and Iranian archives ; conducted studies ; and gathered the documents we need. I am looking for an answer to the question : ’What happened to the Armenians in 1915 ?’ Unfortunately, we cannot make use of three very important archives, because the Armenian archives in Yerevan and Boston are closed. The Armenian archive in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is open to only certain individuals. Those who have criticized us indiscriminately in connection with Ottoman archives do not raise their voice even though they know that these archives are closed."

He added : "This would mean opening the genocide allegations to open debate. The Armenians know this and this is why they do not want [to open the archives]. They are doing everything they can not to sit at the [negotiating] table."

Half Million Armenians in Anatolia

Halacoglu also made interesting comments with regard to the number of Armenians in Anatolia today. He said that, in addition to the 60,000 Armenian citizens of the Turkish Republic who have minority status according to the Treaty of Lausanne, approximately 500,000 Armenians remain in Anatolia today. He said : "According to archive records, approximately 90,000 to 95,000 Armenian children and women were protected by Muslim families during the deportation in 1915. These converted to Islam over time.

"Then there are those [Armenians] who posed as regional people to save themselves from the deportation and the attacks and massacres that occurred during the deportation. These people changed their names and survived this way. Hrant Dink and his family were part of this group. These people started changing their names and taking on Armenian names in the mid-1970’s. In Anatolia, everyone knows who is Armenian. Hrant used to say that such persons number around 500,000. Indeed, you can see this clearly when you look at US archives."

mardi 20 mai 2008,
Stéphane ©

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